Thursday, July 26, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: The Fourth Fisherman

By Joe Kissack
Published by WaterBrook Press, 2012

Let me begin by saying if you are squeamish, you may want to skip this book or be prepared to skip over parts of this book.  

Joe Kissack's new book The Fourth Fisherman tells the true story of five Mexican fisherman who set out on a three day fishing expedition only to encounter problems which eventually lead to the death of two of the fisherman.  Of being stranded in the Pacific Ocean for nearly nine months with no supplies such as food and water. How did these three men survive?  What gave them the will to go on?  

Simultaneously, Joe Kissack was facing his own ocean of problems. Although he was a fairly well off mover and shaker in the television industry, there was something missing in his life.  His life was beginning to crumble and fall apart.  The Fourth Fisherman combines the life and death story of the struggle of the Mexican fishermen with the life and spiritual struggles of Mr. Kissack. 

I did enjoy reading this book and had a hard time putting it down.  But without personally knowing Mr. Kissack I was somewhat uncomfortable wondering if he was using the fishermen's story to sell his own.  But the book does tell a beautiful story of the grace and mercy of God.  However you take Mr. Kissack's personal intentions, I don't think you will have a problem becoming engrossed in the story.

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of the Blogging for Books program.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Weekend of Camping and Photography

Path through the woods leading to my camp site.

Friday night I spent the night in the woods, by myself except for my dog Duke.  I, the 'fraidy cat.  It was really dark out there.  The bugs were loud, and some lights kept going off -- bright enough to shine through the roof of my tent.  At first I thought it was a plane going overhead, but it was really fast.  Growing up on UFO stories, that was my next fleeting thought.  Yep!  Then I realized it was only lightening bugs, and a lot of them.  Wish I would have thought to try to photograph them.  

Anyway, this was my first experience camping alone, and I wanted to do it somewhere safe. So I asked my parents if I could borrow their woods (unknown to them, if I got scared, I could make a five or ten minute run through the dark to their house!  Except they let me borrow their chuck wagon that has headlights, so the trip wouldn't have been so long or so bad).  Really, I wanted to make sure I was in a semi-familiar area where it would be okay if I forgot something. And yes I forgot something -- my bug spray!  It fell out of my bag in the car, and today I am feeling the after effects.  Ouch!!  I think the next time I go camping I'm going to have to pack an air mattress.  I kept tossing and turning, but I did sleep.

Yes, I really camped here.  By myself.

Camp site in the woods.

My camping buddy, Duke.
One of the benefits of camping at my parents' place is feeling safe to walk through the woods.  There is no chance of getting lost back there.  And although they have seen coyotes, foxes, deer, turkey and bob cats, it's still relatively safe.  Unless you want to count the snakes we've seen (Mom and I killed a big one earlier this year -- I held it down and she killed it).  Hence, my dog/warning system.  Unfortunately, because of my dog there was little chance I would see any wild life, but that can be saved for another time.

Beautiful weed in the woods.  So -- who determines if something is a weed?

Along the edge of the woods.

Tissue thin mushroom in the woods.  Perfectly pleated.

One of the things I enjoy most about my parents' place is being able to take and share photographs.  I can take pictures of the woods, the fields, and the flower beds around the house, as well as the pond and the creek.  The choices are almost limitless.  And early Saturday morning that's just what I did.  You know, I find it hard to understand that some people believe everything happened by chance.  When you are out in nature it's quite obvious that there is a master design going on!  As an amateur photographer, all I do is try and capture what He designed.  

There was a path of morning glories growing in the woods.
Love the design -- perfect star shape.
Morning glories.

In the woods.

Mushrooms growing in the woods.

Fungi growing behind a tree, alongside the road.
Saturday morning I took my grandmother (who will be 85 this fall) for a ride on the four wheeler.  We had to stop for a gaggle of geese crossing the road.  She pointed out the geese on both sides. There were forty or fifty geese spread from the field, across the road and into the neighbor's pond.  My dog soon found the geese, and off they flew.  Too bad they don't come with a warning system to tell you they are about to fly away, I would have loved to have gotten some better pictures!  

My grandmother and I saw this gaggle of geese.  So did my dog...

This is the result.

Thunder storms had been predicted for Friday evening and again Saturday evening.  And although we didn't have any, there was a lot of cloud cover.  Which made for beautiful skies.

Clouds equal a beautiful sky.
My mother is an excellent gardener.  She likes fullness and variety, as evidenced below.  She takes after her grandmother who was also an avid gardener (she always saved strawberries for me).

Lantana, salvia, and roses.
Mom asked if I had any butterfly pictures.  I told her I didn't have many because the butterflies flew away too fast.  She made a suggestion, and this is what followed:

Butterfly in the lantana.

I can't get over the color of these day lilies!  I love them mixed with the mini roses and grasses.  The best part is that when it's time to divide the day lilies, some of them go home with me!
Mom's day lilies, with mini roses and grasses.

My parents know the importance of taking a break every once in a while.  This is one of the shady spots they created by Daddy and my brother's building the arbor and hanging the ceiling fan, and mom's use of plants to make a cool, inviting place to relax.  It was nice to sit here and work on the computer some.

Wonderful place to relax anytime of the day.  Here in the steamy hot South, it's better with the ceiling fan on!

Hope you had a wonderful weekend yourself!


Thursday, July 19, 2012


I am naturally curious.  I always want to know more.  What is around the corner, why something happened the way it did, that sort of thing.  It shouldn't be a surprise that I'm this way.  I have heard often enough that my mother used to try to get me to quit asking questions, while my grandfather told her to answer them -- how else was I going to learn?

One evening not long ago and friend and I left Bible study, and he asked if I was in a hurry to get home or if I could just hang out for a while.  I drove because she doesn't like driving at night (neither do I!).  She pointed and asked if we could find out what was down that road?  Being naturally curious, I said sure!  It was dark and the way was lit only by a few street lights and the headlights of my car.  But we drove down the winding, rising and falling road, looking around, surprised we didn't know what was in this area of town.  I admired a small lake we crossed over, and the lights of homes shining in the lake.  I really enjoyed the architecture of the homes.  When my friend asked if we could explore one of the side roads, I happily complied.

All of our exploring got me to thinking.  I had never been down that road before so I knew nothing of what was there.  And when I took the road, I could only see what was along it's edges, not what was hidden from view.  Only when we drove deeper, down side roads, could I see what was off that first road.  And isn't that just like people?  What you see on the surface is not the whole truth.  Sometimes you get an accurate picture of what is buried inside, and sometimes you don't.  What would happen if we were to dig deeper into the lives of others?  What would we find?  And almost more importantly, what would someone find if they were to dig past the top layers of me?  Would it be pleasing to God?  I'm afraid that a lot of times it wouldn't be pleasing to Him. 

I don't want to be as Christ accused the teachers and pious leaders of His day: 
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean."  Matthew 23:27, New International Version (NIV)
But instead like this: 
"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."  Matthew 5:16, New International Version (NIV)
How about you?


BOOK REVIEW: Garden of Madness

Published by:  Thomas Nelson, 2012

Have you ever wondered what it would be like living in the times of the kings of the Bible?  What if you were of the house of Nebuchadnezzar?  Say, the daughter of the great king himself?  I love history, the actual life of history.  I always want to know more.  And Tracy L. Higley has certainly satisfied my curiosity and held my attention with this new book, Garden of Madness

Garden of Madness is set at the end of the seven years of Nebuchadnezzar's banishment, when he roamed as a madman, as a beast, until he submitted to the one true God, the God of the Jews, Yahweh.  Nebuchadnezzar's youngest daughter Tiamat has just lost her husband (whom she was forced to marry to form a political alliance), the son of the imprisoned Jewish king Jehoichan.  Now she is faced with another impending forced marriage alliance to one of her mother's cousins, a prince of the Medes.  Unbeknownst to Tiamat, the mage Shadir is plotting his own takeover of the throne through marriage to Tia by a man of his choosing.  A third possible contender for Tia's hand in marriage is the unwilling Pedaiah, the brother of Tia's deceased husband.

With so many unwanted marriage options, along with ferreting out the reason for the death of Tia's husband and two murders in the palace, Tia seeks solace in the presence of her father Nebuchadnezzar, to whom she remains loyal even through his madness.  She tries to find answers through the ways of her people using the magic of the powerful mage Shadir and through sacrifice to the gods.  When she finds herself in impossible, terrifying circumstances she begins to believes she is going mad.  After all, isn't madness hereditary?

In her search for answers, Tia has to decide if she is willing to follow where truth leads, and if she is willing to make choices based on that truth.  Following truth leads to surprising personal decisions and outcomes for Tia and her family.

Tracy Higley does a wonderful job answering the question of what might have happened to Nebuchadnezzar during his seven year absence, who might have reigned in his stead, how a takeover of the kingdom may have been presented, and a look into the life of the beloved Daniel.  To find out more about this book visit Tracy's website.  By the way, I'm going to the website myself to check out all of her other books!

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of  the Booksneeze program.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Tidewater Inn

Published by:  Thomas Nelson, 2012

I have to admit that that I am an avid fan of Colleen Coble.  When I saw this book up for review, I knew it was what I would be reading next.  Ms. Coble did not disappoint!  Tidewater Inn is a good mixture of romance, mystery and morals.

Libby Holladay is a driven woman who restores property to historical accuracy.  History and architecture, attention to details, a love of all things old is her life.  Tidewater Inn begins with Libby inspecting a property for renovations when she receives a phone call from her best friend and partner Nicole who has news about property on Hope Island, which she has been inspecting for a renovation project.  Nicole has uncovered surprising information about Libby's family -- Libby thought she had no one, but now she has a family.  Nicole tells Libby she has also inherited a substantial amount of property from her recently deceased father.  A few minutes later  Libby witnesses via video cam the kidnapping of Nicole, and now a double mystery begins.  Who took Nicole and why?  Why had Libby been told she had no family? 

Libby arrives at Hope Island in search of the missing Nicole, only to find she is now a suspect in Nicole's disappearance.  Can she clear her name?  More importantly, can she find Nicole?  A hurricane is brewing and time becomes critical.  Can Libby recruit her family and others to help her find Nicole?

What is she going to do about a family that does not want her? And what is she going to do with the beautiful old inn her father left her, which needs extensive, expensive repairs she cannot afford?  It looks like the only thing to do is to sell and move on, leaving behind her legacy and her family.

Tidewater Inn is a rapidly moving novel full of what ifs.  Full of learning to trust.  Learning to let go.  Learning to let God.  I highly recommend this new book by Colleen Coble, along with any other of her books you can get your hands on.  You won't be sorry!  Visit Ms. Coble's website (there's a free down loadable book available) to get more information on this and other books.

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of  the Booksneeze program.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Adam Brown: Further Information

What better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than reading about one of our American heroes?  Yesterday I posted a review on the book Fearless (by Eric Blehm), about the life of Navy Seal Adam Brown. Today I wanted to follow up with some further information, listed below:

Hope you get a chance to read the book Fearless!  

Have a wonderful Fourth, and don't forget those who have fought or are fighting for our continued freedoms!


Tuesday, July 3, 2012


By: Eric Blehm
Published by WaterBrook Press
Copyright 2012

I have heard about the book Fearless for a few months now, and even posted earlier that I had read the first chapter of the book, so I was very excited to find that WaterBrook Press was offering the book for review.  I read this book in two sittings, which really would have been one sitting if I didn't plan to get ready for a family reunion at my home over the weekend.  This book is just so good that it was very hard to put it down.  And like really great books, I did go through a few tissues, especially at the end.  I spent about twenty minutes during a drive with my teenagers yesterday excitedly re-telling stories from the book (with them listening wide-eyed).

Fearless, written by Eric Blehm, tells the life story of Adam Brown, a man who should go down in history as one of our American heroes. The book tells the good, the bad and the ugly in Adam's life, including a stint with drugs and a stay in prison.  It tells the incredible story of how Adam overcame physical wounds that would have sidelined any other man (including Navy Seals) to advance to the top level, DEVGRU (Naval Special Warfare Development Group), upon which time all records are labeled "Top Secret". 

Even though I knew the end of the story, it was still very hard to accept the fact that Adam gave his life for his country.  I wanted him to live on forever.  But as author Eric Blehm points out Adam was a Christian, a man who professed Christ as his Savior, and his life and his witness did not end with his death.  

Adam's witness at home and in the field affected many people, from the Afghan children he took shoes to during the cold months (over 500 pairs were distributed by Adam, collected from his family, fellow Seals and churches), to the way he engaged in battle.  He helped his wife teach Sunday school.  He brought fellow Seals to church with him.  One Seal struggled with the concept of Christianity, but accepted Christ shortly before he was killed on a mission.  Many lives were changed because of Adam's faith and example.  

The author makes a statement in his Afterword that speaks volumes to the character of Adam Brown:
And though I hadn't opened a Bible in more than twenty-five years, his (Adam Brown's) faith encouraged me to question my own questioning about religion.

This is a book you might want to reserve for older, mature teenagers and adults.  Those who can handle the graphic nature of the book, as well as a few choice words sprinkled in, mainly in the beginning of the book.  Overall, this is a book that I will be sharing with my sons, a couple of my nephews and other family members.  I believe it is important that we choose heroes who actually do what is right, those who serve our country and try to make our lives better, and not those who are portrayed as "heroes" today on television shows. 

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of  WaterBrook Press.