Sunday, October 9, 2011

There is no rock like our God. 1 Samuel 2:2c

God is compared to a rock – not a shell. They are both very hard. They both probably have a similar chemical make-up. But shells. They are hard. But how hard is it to find a perfect shell on the beach? So many are crushed or broken or have holes. It makes it that much sweeter when you do find one that is whole. But God is always whole. Always perfect.

And God is rock, not a stone. Like shells, stones can be tossed around. They are light. They are small. They can be polished. Yu can decorate with stones. Think landscaping. Think vases.

Rocks. Rocks are different. Think about other attributes of God. God is bigger than the boogieman. Well, so are rocks. God is immovable. There are rocks so big you nee a bulldozer to move them. There are rocks so big you need dynamite to move them. There are rocks so big we call them mountains – Stone Mountain and Mount Rushmore.

God is invisible. There are rocks that are hidden so we only find them when we dig and they surprise us when we find them. Doesn’t God surprise you sometimes? Sometimes you only find Him when you dig. But then there are times the rock is right there in front of you. You don’t even notice t until you trip on it. God’s been like that too. He’s right there and He’s been there the whole time but I didn’t see Him until I tripped.

But scripture says, “There is no rock like our God.” Rocks do have qualities in common with God. But God is unlike rocks. God is invisible. We can’t see Him but He’s always there. God is loving, caring and merciful. Rocks are none of these things. Rocks don’t have feelings.

God is everywhere. Some would say rocks are everywhere. And there are times it seems that way. J But it only seems that way. There are no rocks in my head but God is there. There are no rocks in my heart but God is there too.

God sees everything. Rocks don’t have eyes. God hears everything. Rocks don’t have ears. God loves us. Rocks don’t have hearts.

God loves on us. Rocks can’t. They don’t have arms. Where are God’s arms? We are God’s arms. We are God’s body. How does God love on us? Through our loving on each other. I wouldn’t want a hug from a rock or a rock person. But I would want a hug from God.

As I’m on the beach playing with my feet in the sand – sand is really rocks that have been crushed so much they are tiny. (Or maybe sand is crushed shells.) But God can’t be crushed. He can’t be pulverized. He can’t be blasted into smaller, easier to handle sizes.

Hannah said, “There is no rock like our God.” And I for one am very happy about that!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Book 40

Gilgamesh the Hero by Geraldine McCaughrean

I'm starting to read books for the next school year. The literature for the girls so far is poetry and included an excerpt from Gilgamesh. I wanted to be sure I understood the story and so read Matthew's book. This story is very similar (as expected) to what I understood in the excerpt. But it starts much sooner in Gilgamesh's life and goes further. I do feel I understand the excerpt better.

Not just in this book, but also in the Ancient Egyptian poems I read, I'm finding stories very similar to what is in the Bible. I'm thinking there is truth to Romans where everyone has revelation of God and they will be judged according to their revelation. The Egyptians had a belief at one point of a single creator god. In Gilgamesh, they tell a rendition of the flood story complete with a boat they call an ark and animals on it. There are of course differences from the Biblical account.

Recommended: yes. It does give us insight to ancient peoples. But I would caution against young teens/tweens who are still easily swayed in their faith. If not fully convinced of faith in Christ, they could easily see the similarities as reasons to see the Bible as just another story ad not the truth.

Book 39

Cotillion by ??

I read this book a few weeks ago while on the way to and from the family reunion. It takes place in England, probably before Jane Austin days. But around that time. There was a little girl who was orphaned and taken in by an old man. He had no wife, no children, but 4 nephews. As the girl aged, he decided to make her his heir, but with the stipulation that she marry one of his nephews. He thought she would marry a certain one, his favorite. She was angry with him and convinced a different nephew to pretend to be engaged to her so she could have a "season" in London. Then they would break off their engagement and go their own ways.

The story that ensues is slightly predictable but still enjoyable. This is not a Christian story as it seems no on much goes to church and there is premarital relations, but nothing spoken of directly. You need to read between the lines to find it.

Recommended: Not for youngsters. Maybe not for Hannah, probably for Katie. But only if you like Jane Austin type stories.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Book 38

The Emperor of Nihon-Ja by John Flangan

Again, a book I was pre-reading for Matthew. This one again, I either read to fast or there weren't any curse words. I did notice a character saying "Blast it!" once or twice but no cursing. :-)

The books starts with the main characters separate. Will and Halt are in Toscana (I still haven't figured out where it is) and Horace is in Nihon-Ja. Will, Halt and Alyss are working out a treaty while Horace is learning new sword techniques. Right as negotiations are wrapping up on the treaty, Evalyn arrives with news that Horace has disappeared in Nihon-Ja. Wiil, Halt, Alyss, and Evalyn take off on a Skandian ship to save Horace.

Just like the others in the series, I enjoyed this one and recommend it. I've also heard a rumor that they are making some of the series into a movie. We'll have to see how it plays out.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Book 37

Case for Faith for Kids by Lee Strobel

I actually finished this book a couple weeks ago and I'm just getting back to blog it. Oops! Another pre-read for Matthew. I think he will get more out of this one than Case for Christ. This book answers the "hard" questions, at least some of them. "Why would a good God allow bad things?" and "Can other religions get us into Heaven?" are among them. It's a good book for the age group targeted.

Recommended: yes for either older children, youth or new adult believers.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Movie - Pirates 4

We unexpectedly went to Pirates of the Caribbean, on Stranger Tides today. Let's just say if I had gone onto to check it out before we went, we would not have taken M. Bad language being the reason. It's a popcorn movie. There are places where it is completely unbelievable - Blackbeard is magic, or rather his sword is. There are some thinly veiled sexual references that I don't think M got. I'm not sure about the girls. And then the zombies and the mermaids. Not your typical mermaids either - they were evil. Or rather you learn later that they react to the evil around them. There was a missionary in the movie. They didn't make him out to be over the top, thankfully. Nor did he turn on his faith. He wasn't what I would have hoped for a missionary either.

Not the best Pirates movie. But not a wasted 2 hour.

Recommended? I'm not sure. If you really like Pirates, the go. If you aren't a Pirates fan, then save your money, this one won't help.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Movie -Walk the Line

Oh no. More than one post in a single day! :-)

J and I sat down and watched the movie tonight. K didn't want to and H wasn't home - babysitting. And it's just not a movie for M. There was a little bad language, but not a lot. Enough to discount M but not enough to discount H. One after s*x scene, but nothing showed. So that will depend on your point of view.

In case this is new to you - it's a biopic of Johnny Cash. At least up to the late 60's. I didn't realize Johnny and June met so early and while he was still married to Vivian. Of course, all I ever knew was that June was a born again Christian, I didn't know when that happened. The movie did not paint Johnny's dad in a good light at all. But then it didn't really skim over Johnny's drug and alcohol addiction either. There was the allusion of affairs with fans, but you didn't see anything. Johnny was not made out to be a wonderful person, he had many flaws and they seemed to show them all.

I always wonder about movies based on real life - how true are they. I really don't know about this one. It's not something I looked up. I like Johnny Cash's music, some of it, but I'm not really a fan. I'll take the movie at face value and leave it at that.

Recommended - I don't know. Like I said I'm not a big fan of his music but I did enjoy the movie and seeing where he came from and how he came up through the ranks.

Book 36

To Live is Christ Day by Day by Beth Moore

This is a 90 day devotional that I used during quiet time each day until I finished it. I loved this one! From past experience, I'm sure she has either a book or a Bible study that goes along with this, probably by the same name except no "day by day" part. I enjoyed this devoational so much that I want to do the whole study now. :-)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Book 35

The Pastor's Wife by Jennifer Allee

This was another book I "bought" because it was free on the Kindle. It's a good beach read. That's actually where I read it. :-) Good beach read because if you get interrupted by others, it's fine. Good beach read because it's relatively brainless. If you need some sort of escapist reading, and who doesn't at some point, this is a great book for that.

The book starts with Maura coming back to Granger for the reading of a will only to find that she must move back in with her estranged husband for 6 months to inherit anything. Se quickly decides that what she will receive is worth it and moves back to Granger. What follows is the courtship of a couple that is already married. It's still a Christian romance and so they do nothing about being married for a long time!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Book 34

Case for Christ for Kids by Lee Strobel

This is a kids book similar to The Case for Christ, by the same author. It's a good book and covers some basic questions - who was Jesus? Did he fit the Messiah picture? Did his friends tell the truth? Can a dead man really come back to life? Then the last few chapters are about young people sharing their faith through common encounters.

I think for where Matthew is in his faith, this book is a little young. Which is not to say that it's young for many 10 yos! Matthew is just very mature in his faith.

Recommended - yes.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Book 32 and 33

Kings of Clonmel by John Flangan
Halt's Peril by John Flanagan

Books 8 and 9 in the Ranger's Apprentice series. This book starts with Will and Halt in separate places but brings them together soon in time but not in pages of the book. They are going to try and eradicate a cult trying to make inroads into Araluen. But right "now" the cult is in a neighboring kingdom of Clonmel. We learn many things about Halt in Clonmel and the cult is sort of taken care of. At least the leaders have left Clonmel.

Book 9 continues the journey to eradicate the cult as Will, Halt and Horace follow the leaders of the cult through Clonmel, into Picta and then into Araluen. Halt is shot with an arrow and the story tells what happens from there. We see old friends from Macindaw.

Of course they have many adventures in all these various countries. There were curse words in Kings of Clonmel but surprisingly, none in Halt's Peril. (Unless I read too fast and for my pleasure instead of reading to edit for ds, which is entirely possible!) There was a scene in Halt's Peril that is questionable. It is how Horace and to a small part Will find out what poison is used on Halt. It gives me pause enough to wonder about letting ds read it. But I htink what I will do is write a note in the book saying "see me" or some such so it gets discussed right away.

Recommended - yes.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Book 31

Hotness by Hayley DiMarco

This is the second book I went through for a summer teen girl Bible study. I don't know which one to focus on. They are both so good! The book - Sexy Girls (see book 29) - is more a practical application of the issue of modesty. This book is a why it's important to be modest. This book is a Bible study. This one goes directly to God's Word and says do it because God says. Sexy Girls has Bible verses in it and uses God's Word to support what she says but it feels like it says do it because you don't want men looking at you.

This is an oversimplification of both books. I need to incorporate them both. I love using God's Word to find out what you should do. But girls today really need to know what it is men see when they see skin. I can't do one alone. I need to do them both.

For you, yes this is a recommended book. What will your teens respond to better? Direct reading and study of God's Word? Or an application with scripture for support?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Book 30

Teen People of the Bible by Daniel Darling

Another book I'm previewing before using it to lead teens. :-) This is actually a devotional for teens - 100 days worth. Each day has the same basic format a question that plagues teens, today's teen, today's action verse, storyline, today's teen speaks, digging deeper, just like you, did you know?, today's prayer, journal question.

Some of the Bible people chose surprised me, like Jeremiah. I didn't think they were teens during their ministry years. Others were more obvious like Josiah who became king when he was only 8. It's a good book. If I wasn't using it for a light summer Sunday school, I'd be passing it to my girls with the admonition not to write in it so they can both use it. For Sunday school, I'm either going to need to skip some days or I'm going to have to change the journal question. (I'm going to use the question as a discussion topic.) Some of the questions, I just don't think they'll be comfortable discussing in a group. I figure I'm going to need to do more than one "day" each Sunday depending on how chatty they are each week.

Recommended: yes!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Book 29

Sexy Girls bu Hayley DiMarco

I read this book to prepare for a Bible study for teen girls this summer that I want to host. I wanted to make sure it said what I wanted it to say. :-) It does and it doesn't. It doesn't say your tops should be up to here and your bottoms should cover at least this much of you leg. The author lets you come to your own conclusion. BUT she does point out why you should cover up. She uses Bible verses to support her main points.

After reading this book, I feel every teenage girl should read. EVERY teenage girl. Even if she's not a Christian. If she thinks she's a "good girl" she should read this book. If she wonders why she gets the attention she gets from boys, she should read this book. DiMarco doesn't hide that she's a Christian and that's the why we should care, but I think girls should know what their clothes do to the boys around them.

Recommended: YES! There is language in the book that would cause me not to give it to a pre-teen, not to even go over the book with a pre-teen. But maybe I'm a little more sheltering of my girls and not talking about sex too early. I can't wait for the summer and the Bible study with this book. I hope there are a lot of girls who come! There are a few that I think need it.

Book 28

Erak's Ransom by John Flanagan

I didn't realize that I hadn't posted on this book. It's book 7 in the Ranger's Apprentice series, but chronologically it should go between 4 and 5. The author wrote 5 and 6 and then realized there were issues he hadn't dealt with and so went back in time so to speak.

In book 7, Will is still an apprentice and follows Halt to yet another new land to ransom Erak, the oberjarl of the Skandians. The issues the author is trying to deal with are the feelings that Will has that he's not ready to become a full ranger, to be on his own without Halt there to help him.

The fighting in this book is more graphic than in previous books. I almost did not want to give it to my son. Then I thought, he's seen stuff like this in movies.

Recommended: yes. Matthew has read it and we've already passed it on to a friend to borrow or I could tell you more. It almost seems that since we've gone back in time, there were fewer words to white out in this book.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Book 27

Adventuring through Paul's Epistles by Ray C Stedman

I got this book because I'm going to be teaching the youth Sunday school class in a few more weeks. I'm teaching on Paul and his letters. When I bought the book I was still trying to figure out which of Paul's letters to do. This book gives a brief (usually 10 pages) overview on the main points of each of Paul's letters. It was a good summary with some points covered very well. It was a good review but not anything near a study level. I did enjoy the book and I do recommend it. I hope to buy Stedman's other books - one on the gospels and another on Hebrews through Revelation.

And by the way, I'm teaching on Thessalonians.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book 26

The Siege at Macindaw by John Flanagan

This is book 6 in The Ranger's Apprentice series. This story continues where book 5 left off. Will is in Macindaw but has escaped into the forest with a very ill Orman. Horace arrives north in the first few chapters. And Will locates a ship-full of Skandians ready to help retake the castle. This story revolves around why Keren tried to kill Orman and his father and how Will and Horace and the Skandians retake the castle.

SPOILER warning: Again for those parents who need the warning, there is a battle scene and, unlike previous books, the injuries the combatants give each other are on the graphic side. "Trobar clutched at the sudden fierce pain, feeling his own hot blood course over his fingers. ... The point of the blade thrust into his massive forearm, sliding through muscle and flesh, jarring off the bone."

I do still recommend the books, with the warning above.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Book 25

The Sorcerer of the North by John Flanagan

Book 5 in the Ranger's Apprentice series. This book deals with, can you guess, sorcery. Or at least what people think is sorcery. SPOILER alert: To give parents a true warning if needed, I'm going to have to let you know things that happen so you can make an accurate assessment for your child. Much of the sorcery is visual fakes - lights in the woods, a shadow projected on a mist. Some of it is herb based. The book also has characters who are deformed, handicapped. This book has a direct lead into the next one.Books 1 and 2 tell one story which leads to the story in Books 3 and 4. The story in this one is independent (except for character development) from the first 4. The story in this book finishes in book 6. So book 6 has the same deformed, handicapped characters. They are treated with the common fears people who aren't used to seeing them have but then they are seen as they truely are - real people.

Like the previous books, there are swear words - mostly starting with d and h. And now Will is also using them. He is by now in his early 20's.

The story basics - Will is now a full Ranger, no longer an apprentice. He goes to his fief and then is sent on a covert mission to Macindaw. We see Halt and Horace again. We are reacquainted with Will's childhood friend Alyss.

I enjoy these books. My girls enjoy these books. Soon and very soon, I hope to be able to say that my son enjoys these books!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Books 21-24

The Ruins of Gorlan
The Burning Bridge
The Icebound Land
The Battle for Skandia
all by John Flanagan

I'm rereading these books because Matthew wants to read them. I'm making sure they are entirely appropriate. For the most part, they are. I'm using the white out on the curse words, mostly those that start with "h" and "d". These are all books in a series called The Ranger's Apprentice. I had told a friend a few days ago that" they aren't Christian, but they aren't anti-Christian either." You don't hear about the beliefs of the kingdom of Araluen. But everyone else seems to be polytheistic. Halt respects the beliefs of the other countries but we never hear about his own.

The Ruins of Gorlan introduces Will, Halt and Horace. The timing of the books is hard to figure exactly. There are knights and fiefdoms and a definite lack of cars. But they also measure using the metric system. (Of course, that could be becuase the author is Australian and he's writing for the youth there.) Will and Horace are 15 at the start of the book and are sort of enemies. They both apprentrice to different craftsman. Horace apprentices to the Battle school to become a knight and Will becomes a ranger apprentice under Halt. The boys become friends. This book outlines Will's adventures in tracking and fighting some pretty weird beings.

The Burning Bridge continues the story of Will and Horace. Halt is there too, but not as much. Will and Horace are sent on a diplomatic mission to Celtica. They find things not quite right as well as a girl named Evelyn and adventure ensues. The enemy from book one is still around and trying to get in through Celtica. Will burns down a bridge and gets captured with Evelyn in the process.

The Icebound Land follows Will and Evelyn into captivity in Skandia. Horace and Halt try to rescue them and have adventures in the process. The story goes back and forth between Will and Evelyn and Halt and Horace. The book has and interesting scene if you are having your young person read it. Horace and Halt see girls in very short skirts. Horace asks why and Halt insinuates it's so the girls can run easier than you could in long skirts. Halt is actually puling Horace's leg. Horace believes Halt and Halt lets it go as "Horace has plenty of time to learn about the seamier side of life.... He could retain his innocence for a little while longer." So is your young person going to question this sequence or let it go?

The Battle for Skandia finds our foursome in Skandia finally together but unable to leave. The Skandians are about to be attacked by another kingdom. They help the Skandians and have trials and tribulations along the way.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Book 20

Better Together: What on Earth are we here for? by Rick Warren

We used this book in our church small groups. For the second year everyone was invited to do the same study and this was the study during Lent. It was a good book, definitely a group book, not something you'd want to do on your own. I liked the small group. I enjoyed most aspects of the book. I did disagree with one point the first week, but other than that I do recommend the book in a group setting.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Book 19

The Gospel of Ruth by Carolyn Custis James

Excellent book! I got it as a free Kindle book. I read it because it sounded interesting. I love it! I may need to host a women's Bible/book study on this book. I learned so much about the time of the Judges. I learned so much about being a woman in that time.

I had read the book of Ruth earlier this year. Upon finishing it, I thought "someone needs to make a movie of this!" After reading this book about Ruth, I really think someone should read both and make a movie out of the book of Ruth. Someone did Esther, someone should do Ruth!

Monday, April 11, 2011

book 18

Summer at Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs

Another free Kindle book. It was obvious from the description on Amazon that this was a romance. But what wasn't obvious was that it wasn't a Christian romance. The difference is large. Christian romances stop at kissing. Since I don't think we should "see" further than that, I'm happy with Christian romances. I should have stopped several times and just set it aside. Innuendo abounds. And then...

But the story was a sweet story of falling in love as a teen, going separate ways and then finding each other again at a summer on Willow Lake.

Would I recommend it - well it doesn't stop where I think it should, so no, not really.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Book 17

Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A Milne

This book was on Matthew's literature list for the year. Of course I do recommend it. I started it months ago, probably in September. I didn't finish it before Matthew needed it, so I stuck a book mark in it and gave it to him. Then some time after that, Katie picked it up and read it. I just saw it again on the shelf this morning and decided to finish it. It's a wonderful story of course!

Book 16

Birkenhead Drill by Douglas Phillips

Quick read. Yes, I recommend it. Some won't like that Doug Phillips of Vision Forum wrote it and that's ok. It's still a good book. If you ever wondered where the phrase "Women and children first", this is your answer. The Birkenhead was a ship that sank back in the 1800's off the coast of Africa. The story of how the men stayed on board to make sure the women and children survived is told by Phillips and then retold by survivor accounts. It's a quick read. It just came in the mail on Monday. I started it Tuesday and finished it Wednesday.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Book 15

Hide in Plain Sight by Marta Perry

It's a Christian Romance. I needed light reading. I needed something quick. This fit the bill wonderfully. It's about an upwardly mobile woman who goes home to help her family when her sister gets hit by a car. Maybe by the "Plain Sight" in the title, you can tell it takes place in an Amish community. They are not Amish but live among them. It's all about the trials they go through trying to get a bed and breakfast open while her sister is in a wheelchair. Other things happen as well. :-)

Recommended - yes.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tobacco Road Marathon

I just realized that I never posted about the marathon. First let me say that I finished in my goal time (4.5 to 5 hours) and I didn't get hurt.

I was doing very well for the first several miles, ahead of goal time (10 minute miles). I finally decided I needed to slow down at mile 8, when I was 4 minutes ahead. By 13 miles, I was right at 10 minute miles overall. I walked through all the water stops. As the miles went on, it was getting harder to convince myself to start running again. I ran the first 21 miles, further than I've made it so far in the races. I walked early at Disney, 18 miles at Shamrock. Then after 21, I would walk and run part of each mile. At 20 miles, they started to have water every mile. I would then walk anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 mile and then run the rest. At 25 miles, when I started to run again I decided to run the rest of the way.

As I came around a curve at the end, I saw John and my folks waiting for me. They had an adventure! They parked at NetApp and road a bus over to the race site. This was provided by the race. But they ended up walking almost a mile to where the finish line was. Thankfully that morning I texted John where the van was parked. John found it and the chairs in the back end. He grabbed my camera and a chair for mom.

Total time 5:54

I cooled down a bit and we headed home.

Book 14

What Your Doctor May NOT Tell You About Premenopause by John R Lee, MD, Jesse Hanley, MD and Virginia Hopkins

Great book. Very informative. I feel much better about what's going on and how to "fix" things. But I also notice a marked similarity to other books I've read - whole foods. Could be because my friend Kathy recommended this and other books. But it's a good thing. I think I eat ok, but there is always room for improvement.

But the book is not all about nutrition. It's about the changes your body goes through in your 30's and 40's. What happens, why it happens and how to help the fallout. They keep saying over and over again that if you make changes now during your premenopause years, menopause will be much easier. I'll have to get back to you on that one. But if I can make these years, better. I'm all for it.

Yes - recommended!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Book 13

Falling Up by Shel Silverstein

This book was on Matthew's literature list this year. I read it because I don't think I'd ever read anything by Silverstein. I'd heard about The Giving Tree, but never actually read it. I'm also not a huge fan of poetry. But I did enjoy it. And Matthew will have to read it. There are a few poems I wonder if he will "get".

Recommended: yes.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Seven Pounds

Starring Will Smith

What a depressing movie. Of course it was, it was a drama. No Hollywood ending here that's for sure. I kind of knew the story line going in. But it was confusing trying to figure it out. Then it wasn't really clear what was a flashback and what was now. It all finally made sense in the end. But depressing.

I can't recommend it. I like movies that you can sit and enjoy your popcorn. Or romantic movies or comedies. Dramas have never been a favorite of mine. I'm not really sure why we watched it. I watched it with Katie. One s*x scene - not too graphic though. I don't remember language but it was Katie and we're opening those gates.

One good thing - I guess John had said a while back that Will Smith is someone who can actually act. Katie had only seen him in movies like Men in Black. Now she agrees with her dad. He can act.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Book 12

The Wonderful World of Boys by Dr. James Dobson

I bought this book years ago! I finally read it. It is good and before I go further, I do recommend it. It claims to be about boys, but remarkably much of the advice about how to raise them can go either for boys or girls. The photographs in the book are wonderful! It's almost a "coffee table" boo, if you know what I mean. But the photos are all of boys and others but mostly just boys. And mostly younger boys. There are pictures of teens, but not many. There are excerpts throughout the books from Dobson's other books - Dare to Discipline, Strong Willed Child and others. Good book. Easy read.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Book 11

Next Door Savior by Max Lucado

Recommended - Yes! It's Max Lucado why wouldn't I recommend it? I can't say that anything in there was ground breaking but it did give me a new way of looking at things. Max took familiar stories about Jesus and either put them in a modern view or took a modern story and drew the parallels. Either way, it was good. I read it during my quiet time and I really should have known after the first day or two that I needed the box of tissues right next to me instead of in the other room.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Funny from this weekend

I was at the Mom Heart conference this weekend so John took Hannah to her first soccer game of the season by himself. The coach came up to him with the snack schedule and asked if he was authorized to sign up. (I already had.)

God is good!

We had a water leak in January/February. I thought I had posted about it but can't find it. Suffice it to say it was bad. one clue before we knew about the leak was the water bill was about 3 times higher than normal. The same weekend we got the bill, we found and fixed the leak. I thought that was the end of it.

This weekend we got the next water bill. Almost 10 times higher! Close to $600!!! John called the city to see if we could get it reduced, at least not pay some of the exorbitant overuse fees. And since that water was going into the ground, we shouldn't have to pay the sewer fees either. I took a picture of the plumber's bill and sent it to John who then sent it to the city.

We still have a high water bill but they reduced it to under $200.

God is good!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mom Heart Conference

It turns out that I knew quite a few women there, but I still went "alone". It was funny, before dinner on Friday night (on our own), Sally told everyone who was there alone to raise their hand and everyone else to make sure they had someone to go to dinner with. I had found one of the people I knew by that time and I just went with her and her friends. Funny thing - they decided to go to a certain mall for dinner and missed the turn, I'm the one that got them there.

Anyway... Conference itself. I spent way too much money on books. I'm a homeschooling mom, what can I say? The talks were good. I have things to apply to my life - making kids a priority over the computer, being gentle with them, maybe even leading a group of women through one of her books. She did mention babies a lot, but what she said applies to moms with all age kids. Just because my oldest is 16 doesn't mean I don't need to make her feel special and to be gentle with her. There was a lot of stuff speakers said that I already knew and so didn't write down.

I bought a book for one friend at church but I think I should have bought one for another lady at church. When Sally (or others) kept saying to simply pass along a book, who can you buy a book for? This lady at church kept coming to mind. But I don't think she'd accept it from me. So then there's the problem of how to get it to her. And then would she read it anyway.

All of my family asked if I'd go again. I said probably. It will depend on when and where.

Shrek Forever After

Sweet movie. In all honesty, it's really "It's a Wonderful Life" rewritten with the Shrek characters. If you like the Shrek movies, you'll like this one. If you don't like Shrek movies, you probaby won't like this one. So recommended, conditionally.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Last Song

Two movies in one day! What's the world coming to?

This one was a movie that I thought I wanted to see, but the girls were so over Miley Cyrus there was no way they were going! :-) It was a cute movie, totally predictable. No too much Miley, my girls still wouldn't like it. A few bad words, but nothing major. Well maybe, the girls would be ok, she doesn't sing until the last song with the closing credits. Her clothes are skimpy in parts. Of course there are bikinis on the beach. And the fellas play beach volleyball, so no shirts there either. Greg Kineer did a great job as the dad. Sad movie though. A popcorn movie to be sure. Romantic drama I guess is how you'd classify it.

Recommended? I'm not sure. I'd hold off due to clothes in spots. And like I said it was predictable. Still. A sweet story.

The Last Starfighter

I'm doing mini-reviews on books, I figure why not review movies we watch too. :-)

We just finished Last Starfighter. It's a PG movie from 1984. It's one that I remember from my youth as being good. I remembered the basic story line as being something M would enjoy. I think he did enjoy it. And other than bad effects - it's from 1984, what did we expect??? - it's still a good movie.

Basic story - kid growing up in a trailer park is obsessed with a video game. He breaks the all time record and is then taken into space as a starfighter. He tells them no, he doesn't want to be there and they bring him home. Then for what ensues, I'll leave for those who will watch the movie.

The one disappointment - There are a handful of bad words. Not that I didn't expect them. I figured it's made at a time when curse words were common in movies and I'd need to preview the movie. John said let's just watch it and if it gets bad, we'll turn it off. So we did that. The disappointment is that every curse word in the movie, and some of them weren't the mild variety, were said by the 10/11 yo little brother. Not any of the adults or newly minted high school grads, the 10/11 yo. Oh and they flashed some Playboy covers. Not enough to see anything you wouldn't see at the beach these days. But those also belonged to the little brother. Not cool.

Recommended - yes, with the cautions above.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Book 10

Real Food by Nina Planck

This is a book I read once a year. It gets me on track with what I should be eating - food grown in dirt. Meat from animals that have eaten grass. I can't always afford it, but it's what I'd like to be able to do. Those of you who are young earth types will have to get over her "we've been eating this way for millions of years." I just ignore those statements, well I guess I change them to "We've been eating this way since the dawn of time." She does talk a lot about cholesterol - I happen to share her viewpoint. Recommended: YES.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Book 9

365 Daily Devotions for a Godly Woman

Obviously I didn't start this book this year. Truthfully, I didn't start it last year either. I started it in 2009! But I kept at it and have finally finished it! Yes, I would recommend it. It's nothing ground breaking but it is a set of wonderful reminders. It gets you thinking first thing in the morning about Christ and who He is and who He is to you. Which is what a devotional should do, right?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mom Heart Conference 2011

Join me at Mom Heart in NC in less than a month. Sally Clarkson leads the retreat. She has such a heart for moms. This year her theme is "My Mom Heart Matters, Reclaiming Motherhood, Shaping the Future."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Book 8

Breaking Free by Beth Moore

I had this book up on my bookshelf. I have no idea when or why I bought it. I picked it up because it is the book that goes along with the Bible study I am doing at SEEK. We split the study into 2 semesters so I needed a review before we started spring semester. I picked up this book. But I didn't read only the parts we studied last semester. I read the whole thing. :-) I figure the more the word washes over me the more I'll get what I need to get. Less forgetting and going my own way, you know. The subtitle is "Discover the Victory if Total Surrender". She lays out 5 benefits to submitting to God. There's part that describes the benefits, part that explains what keeps us from the benefits and part how to live out the benefits. If you are willing to do the work, it's a good study. Would I recommend the book? Yes, but I think the Bible study is better. You don't need one if you have the other.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Book 7

The Centurion's Wife by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke

The only reason I have this book is it was free on the Kindle. But I was intrigued by the story. Then the more I read the less I wanted to put the book down! Would I recommend this book - YES! It is in the genre of Christian fiction.

It takes place in Jerusalem between Christ's crucifixion and Pentecost, or the week after Pentecost. It's the story of a centurion who is told to find out what the disciples did with Jesus's body and the story of a servant to Pilate's wife who is told to find out if the disciples plan a rebellion. Well sort of. And it's really so much more than that as well. :-)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Book 6

Against All Odds by Irene Hannon

Good book. It is in the realm of Christian romance. It was suspenseful and intriguing. I didn't want to put it down last night to go to bed. It was a free kindle book, which is why I have it at all. If you like the genre, I think you'll like the book. Oh - more than just Christian romance, it's a mystery and suspense as well. Not over the top Christian. At several points early on, I was wondering if it was a Christian romance.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Book 5

The Red Pony by John Steinbeck

"That was a weird book" is what I said to Hannah as I finished it. After 2 chapters, I thought it was depressing. Now I think it was just weird. Chapter 1 tells how the little boy got a horse. Chapter 2 tells how an old man came to the ranch and stole a horse (different horse). Chapter 3 tells how the boy took care of a mare until she "threw a colt". Then chapter 4 tells how grandfather came to visit. I left out a lot, so there's much you could glean. But overall I wouldn't recommend the book. It's odd, disjointed. It's 4 little stories rather than one big one. This book was on Hannah's literature list for the year.

Just talking to Katie - she had to read Old Man and the Sea which was also strange but better. But that was last year. :-)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Marathon course - spring 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'm tired

I've been feeling like this running thing isn't fun anymore. I want running to be fun again. It's like this at this point of training for a marathon. Halfway through training. It's all work right now. Have to do the high miles to be able to run the marathon. I get that, but it's not fun.

So I decided I was just going to go run today. I plugged in my iPod, listened to tunes and just ran. (I haven't been listening to music while running. I've just been running.) I wasn't going to push it I was just going to take it easy and make it fun. Well, as fun as 5 miles could be.

I went out and felt really slow, but also still sore and working things out from Saturday's 17. The sore muscle that only bothered me twice on Saturday was almost yelling at me today. I could not run any faster if I had wanted too. First mile - 9:30. Second mile still choppy - 19:00. Third mile, I really felt the hill - 30:10. Fourth mile another big hill - 40:15. Fifth mile, finally feel like I can stretch out a little bit - 50:59.

I guess this means all this running is doing some good. A slow feeling run isn't really, not to my ordinary pace anyway. Ten minute miles is what I shoot for on a "pace" day.

It's a good feeling to look back on today's run and see those times. I just wish the legs felt that good. :-)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Friends or family

Where does your loyalty lie - with your friends or with your family? This is a really, really frivolous thing in the grand scheme. Who shall I root for at the Superbowl this year?

Green Bay is playing Pittsburgh. I have several friends who would say root for the Steelers without fail. But then my IL would frown at me and say why would I even think to root for anyone but the Packers.

Then there is the issue of Hannah and Matthew and tennis. Last year, if you rooted for the Steelers, you didn't have to run any hills at the end of practice. But Matthew will be rooting for Green Bay - just because that's who grandpa roots for. No other reason. Matthew has no ties to Green Bay. Grandpa grew up in Wisconsin. It's the hometown team.

My folks for the same reason would root for the Lions. (Do they play football? Or is it the Tigers? No, I think the Tigers play baseball in Detroit. The Lions play football.) Anywa, it's a big cat!

You see in our family, we don't really watch sports. I know enough about sports to know a good game from a bad one. How to actually root for one team. What to tell them to do. That sort of stuff. But who wins the Superbowl doesn't actually matter to us. For that matter, the teams going to the Final Four don't really matter either. But for the record, I'll cheer on whichever NC team makes it that far. And I'll cheer all the NC teams to make it that far since neither my alma matter nor John's will even be in the tournament.

No, it doesn't really matter, but who should I cheer for now?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Book 4!

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Another book on Katie's literature list. One that is an interesting read! I would recommend this one!!

It is well written. I can see how we are going down the same road now - no books. Burning books. Books are illegal.

Well written - it captured me and made me want to finish it. I read it while cooking. :-) The hard thing was it's only 3 chapters. Hard to find places to pause and actually do stuff.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Book 3

I'm on a roll! Not even 2 weeks into the new year and already I've finished 3 books!

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
Interesting book. I thought I had remembered that I read it in high school and didn't like it but I have no memory of the book now that I have read it. It's kind of strange. It's about two men who are... wait for it... waiting for Godot. They have interesting problems and are interesting companions to each other. Another book on Katie's literature list for the year. I can't wait to read the teacher notes on this one! The back says it's an allegory, but I just don't see it. An allegory for what? Notes, must read the teacher notes.
Recommended? Maybe, once I read the teacher notes and truly understand it myself. :-)

Book 2

Beyond Belief to Convictions by Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler

This book is about reaching our youth for Christ and confronting postmodern thinking. Wonderful book! Recommended for anyone who works with youth or parents youth.

Ok, this book is a cheater book. I actually started it last year. But from past experience I need all the help I can get. :-) I have finished this one so soon after the last one because I've been reading this one during quiet time.

52 books in 52 weeks Rules

The rules:

  1. The challenge will run from January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011.
  2. Our book weeks will begin on Sunday.
  3. Participants may join at any time.
  4. All books are acceptable except children books.
  5. All forms of books are acceptable including e-books, audio books, etc.
  6. Re-reads are acceptable as long as they are read after January 1, 2011.
  7. Books may overlap other challenges.

The goal is also to have fun, explore new books, rediscover old favorites and just plain old enjoy your reading time.

What are you reading this week?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

2011 - 52 books in 52 weeks

I'm trying this again. I didn't get much more than maybe 20 books last time. Maybe this year will work out better.

The thought is to read 52 books in 52 weeks. You can re-read an previously read book, but not one you've read this year. I'm already a little late with this book. I should have finished yesterday. :-) We'll see how this year goes.

Books 1 - The Crucible by Aurthur Miller.
This is on Katie's literature list for this year. It's actually a play. On the surface it's about the Salem witch trials but it was written in reaction to the McCarthy "Red Scare". I can see how it fits both. And it's scary how someone can take something so far! It was hard to read in places at the trust put in the wrong people and how judges wouldn't listen to reason.
Recommended - not really.