Monday, December 23, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: The War on Christmas

Battles in Faith, Tradition and Religious Expression
Bodie Hodge, General Editor
Published by Answers in Genesis, 2013

What is Christmas to you?  What should Christmas be?  What is myth, tradition, or the truth behind our celebration?  Trusted Bible scholars at Answers in Genesis have set about to answer these questions and many more.  This book is a collection of essays by several authors answering questions and countering traditions, which makes for some overlap in content.  However, if you have a question or wonder about a Christmas tradition, or why we should even celebrate Christmas, this book will help.  It is an interesting book which relies heavily on the Bible (as it should since we are supposed to be celebrating Christ's birth), but also presents archaeological and astronomical evidence as well as customs and traditions of the time of Christ's birth.  By the way, you do know that Christ is not part of Jesus' name, right?  It is a title which means "the anointed One, the Messiah", and the angel who appeared to the shepherds used the title for Jesus (for unto you born a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord).  

Why title the book "the War on Christmas"?  Did you know that there actually is a "war" on Christmas?  We see evidence of this every day -- schools that don't allow Christmas plays, winter break instead of Christmas holidays, the pure commercialism of Christmas.  The traditions of Santa Claus and Saint Nick, some of which are based on good, but do not relate in any way to the birth of the Savior.  Yes, there is a war going on...

When we think about Christmas we generally think about the Baby in the manger.  But why did He even come? Why was it so special then and now?  Because this Baby is God's own Son, Who grew to be a sinless Man who was sacrificed for the sins of the world.  

What was the order of events surrounding the birth of Christ; what did the angels really say; were there three kings?  Did Mary have other children after Jesus?  Was Jesus really born in a stable?  You'll find all this and more in The War on Christmas.

I hope you will not only enjoy the book, but also be inspired to remember the real reason for the celebration.

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of Handlebar Publishing's book review program.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Compass, the Study Bible for Navigating Your Life

Published by:  Thomas Nelson, Inc. 2012

I am a die-hard King James Bible reader.  I love the language of the translation, and have never felt I was in over my head, as many claim to be when they read this translation of the Bible.  Maybe it's because I have been reading it all of my life.  Several years ago I received a different version of the Bible, made a comparison of some of my favorite parts and areas I consider very important doctrinally, and found that comparing the two versions was enlightening.  So when Shelton Interactive offered to allow me to review the new Compass, the Study Bible for Navigating Your Life, I was thrilled.  I was especially excited to see this new translation, because it features The Voice translation by Ecclesia Bible Society (I had previously reviewed The Voice in it's New Testament form).  

Let me just say I can't put this Bible down.  It has become my at home go to translation.  Yes, I still carry my King James to church, but now I compare the two and even find I like how the Compass Study Bible translates into more understandable ways of speaking (not modern language, but in ways of saying things and getting the point across).  

If you are familiar with The Voice, you already know that the translation is written in script format, such as when a person is speaking the speaker is identified, followed by what the speaker says; instead of saying something like "then Jesus said" it will say "Jesus:" followed by His words.  I find this much easier to read and understand.  This also eliminates the need of red lettering for the words of Jesus.

Another feature of the Compass Bible is it's paragraph formatting.  I could never understand ending a verse before a sentence or thought has ended.  But that could be just me and my way of reading.  I have personally found that when a translation is written in verse form, you may be tempted to end at the end of the verse, instead of completing the thought/sentence, and thereby lose the meaning of what is being said. 

The Compass Bible also uses the term "Anointed One" in place of "Christ".  We have all fallen into the trap of using the term Christ as a last or second name for Jesus, when in fact it is actually a title used of the Son of God, meaning "Anointed One".  Another term used is "The Logos" meaning the Voice.  Remember John 1:1 which in the King James translates "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."  The Compass translates this verse as "Before time itself was measured, the Voice was speaking.  The Voice was and is God."  

Let me give you one more comparison, using John 10:24-30:

24  Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt?  If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.
25  Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not; the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me.
26  But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
27  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
28  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 
29  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
30  I and my Father are one.

the Compass:
... 24and Jews gathered around Him.

Jews:  How long are You going to keep us guessing?  If You are God's Anointed, the Liberating King, announce it clearly.

Jesus:  25I have told you, and you do not believe.  The works I am doing in My Father's name tell the truth about Me.  You do not listen; 26 you lack faith because you are not My sheep.  27My sheep respond as they hear My voice; I know them intimately, and they follow Me.  28 I give them a life that is unceasing, and death will not have the last word.  Nothing or no one can steal them from My hand.  29 My Father has given the flock to Me, and He is superior to all beings and things.  No one is powerful enough to snatch the flock from My Father's hand.  30 The Father and I are one.

Especially important to note is that this translation uses the "word for word" in some places, and the "thought for thought" method in other places.  When you get your copy of the Compass, make sure to read the preface. 

Other features are the commentaries in the middle of the page where they apply to the Scripture, instead of at the bottom as is traditional.  Comparable verses are listed at the bottom of the page, although they seem to be few.  There is a topical index of words and ideas, and a topical index for notes, both of which are sufficient, but not as in depth as you might find in other translations.  There are great introductions to each book of the Bible, as well as a Transition from the Old Testament to the New Testament which includes an essay on the Covenants of God and one on the names of Jesus.

In my opinion, the Compass Bible brings out the beauty of the language of the Bible, gives a clear and concise translation of the Bible, and holds true to the doctrine of the Bible (man's preferences for interpretation are not chosen over what the actual translation would be). Overall, I believe you will learn much from this translation of the Bible, and maybe even be inclined to read and study the word of God more, falling deeper in love with the Anointed One, the Messiah, our Savior.

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of Shelton Interactive's book review program.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

It's been a long and relaxing weekend

Crepe myrtle, sage and cannas in my back yard.

This has been the strangest weekend for me.  I worked last Sunday afternoon and evening getting payroll ready to be processed a day early since this week had  a holiday in it.  So I was able to take off Friday and have a four day weekend.  I have been extremely busy at work lately and it has carried over into getting home late most evenings, so Thursday I didn't really know what to do with myself.   Yesterday was much easier, and today was fun!  Tomorrow starts Vacation Bible School so next week will be busy, too.  I am very thankful I was able to take these four days off!  

Because of the rain and thunder storms my son and I opted not to go to any fireworks shows this year.  Or any parades.  I guess when you hit the big 17 you just feel like a kid if you go to a parade.  Well, being a 40 something woman, sometimes I think it's nice to feel like a kid and go to a parade.  However, we just hung around the house after going to WalMart (to cash his paycheck) and then his favorite store, Game Stop.  Why would you want to go to Game Stop?!?  It's so BORING!  But we didn't forget why we celebrate the Fourth.  I am very grateful for all the sacrifices that were made for me and my family to live in a free country, and to worship in a manner we choose.   Of course we remembered my grandfather, my son's great grandfather, who passed away a couple of years ago.  He served in World War II and was highly decorated.  My son thinks of him as a hero (I do, too!).  I think it's really great that not only I and my siblings, but my children got to spend a great deal of time with our Papa.  He was an awesome man, and we miss him.

Elephant ears, monkey grass and hostas in backyard corner.
This is Alabama, and although it is generally very hot and very humid this time of year, it has rained All Week Long...  no joke, and the temps have been hanging around the upper seventies (we are used to high 90s this time of year).  I had planned do do yard work this weekend.  The yard really needs it and I am sure the neighbors would appreciate it.  There's been a lot of yard work going around and every one's yards look wonderful.  Then there is my yard.  Let's just say that all this rain has made my bushes try to become trees.  It's so embarrassing!  So yesterday afternoon I took advantage of a lull in the rain and laid into those bushes.  They gave it back, though.  I had leaves and limbs hanging all over me when I was done (I have loropetalums, and they stick to stuff and itch).  We are scheduled to have rain all next week, so I'll probably be out there butchering my loropetalums again very soon.  If I don't, they get out of hand very quickly.  Next I need to get after the holly...I hate that stuff.  Maybe I can just chop it down...My yard looks wonderful now, and with all the rain and the great temperatures, everything is starting to look like a beautiful garden.  Like it should.  Like my mother, I enjoy working in the yard.  Planting flowers, etc.  When I come in from working in the yard, I am often quite filthy.   I don't know how people can garden and not get really dirty.  What are they doing that I am not?  Well, enough about yard work.

My attempt at a dishcloth
Yesterday I also touched up a painting my sister found in my parent's barn.  Cleaned up the frame, and hung it over the piano.  Elizabeth, awesome idea!  It looks like it was made to hang there!  Then I found a pattern online showing how to knit washcloths.  I had made a few out of yarn and love them, they work so well.  So I was looking for a different pattern, and I found one that uses crochet thread.  You just hold two strands together and knit on the diagonal.  I am halfway finished, knitted while I watched movies, and it looks great!  I'm sure it will work well, too.  I also found a site that showed how to make face scrubbies.  Crocheted.  Really cool.  Made up a bunch of those.  I'll be sharing with my sister.

Today I decided to do a little painting.  I had a blank canvas and tons of photos, and my sister (once again the one with the good ideas) suggested that I paint one of my floral photos for my room.  This is what I came up with:  

Now I am waiting on the roast to finish cooking, will cook some rice and pop in some french bread, and dinner will be ready.    Right now it smells really good!  There is enough food that dinner will be ready for the rest of the week.  Especially since we start Vacation Bible School next week, and we get fed at the church every night. 

How has your weekend gone?  What did you do on the Fourth?  And don't worry, this was an extraordinary weekend for me! 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Prairie Song

By:  Mona Hodgson
Published by:  Waterbrook Press 2013

Although Prairie Song is the first book in a new series called Hearts Seeking Home, by Mona Hodgson, it picks up where the story left off in the series The Quilted Heart.  Prairie Song follows Anna Goben, her mother and her grandfather as they leave their home in Missouri for the promised land of California.  Anna hopes the trip and the new home will be the catalyst that will change all their lives.  They suffered a terrible trauma during the war (Civil War) in the death of Anna's brother.  Now they have an awefull secret -- her mother is an alcoholic -- and her grandfather has given up on life.  This is a family who is just living from day to day and not experiencing a life of contentment or joy.

Anna is right.  The trip brings about change in her family, if not change as she had hoped. And along with friends who leave Missouri with her family, she finds new friends along the trail.  And could she also find love?  Will she need to give up being the one in the family everyone leans on?  Can she really do that?  She has always sacrificed her life for the well being of others.  Now she finds that might have been a big mistake.

This book has not yet been released for publication.  However, you can pre-order on or with your favorite retailer.  As usual, I am looking forward to reading all the books in this series -- when they come out!

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of WaterBrook Multnomah's book review program.

Shakespeare Theatre, Montgomery, Alabama

One of the many lakes in the park

Several days ago I wrote the following, and just want to share.  If you are ever in the area you might want to check out the Shakespeare Theatre and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, both located on the grounds of the Blount Cultural Park.

This is incredible. I am sitting at a picnic table in front of the Shakespeare Theatre in Montgomery, Alabama, in the Blount Cultural Park. I dropped my son off with my brothers in Pike Road this morning. Of course I am not going to drive all of the way back home and then back again when he is finished. It's a little more than 25 miles one way! So I am at Shakespeare, enjoying this beautiful morning. It's a little after 8:30, the birds are singing, there is a soft breeze blowing, and it's not yet hot, which is wonderful. The sun is shining, the geese and ducks are on the pond and on the lawn, and walkers and joggers pass on the trails behind and in front of me. And I am being lazy! What a great way to spend a morning, with nothing pressing to do – but wait. And get caught up on my book reviews. Did I mention the smells? Sort of sweet, sort of green, all good and full of smiles. I think next weekend I'll bring Bella and we will walk, then crash and read. The wind is blowing stronger now, but not hard. I look across the small lake and see the wind blowing the leaves of a tree, making the light bounce off the leaves and looking like lights twinkling in the wind. The gentle ripples of the lake are glittering with light, too. Wish I could capture that on film.  Such an idyllic place to be in the morning.  I'm going to have to go back soon with my camera.  Cell phone photos don't do justice to the beauty here.
 Looking forward to going back very soon.

Sculpture in the park

BOOK REVIEW: Seven Steps to Knowing, Doing and Experiencing The Will of God for Teens

Seven Steps to Knowing, Doing and Experiencing The Will of God for Teens
Experiencing God at Home
By: Tom Blackaby, Mike Blackaby and Daniel Blackaby
Published by: B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, Tennessee, 2013

I was very pleased with this book! It is written by the son and two grandsons of the famous Henry Blackaby who wrote Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing The Will of God. I have never read the elder Mr. Blackaby's book, but I am certainly now entertaining the idea of finding it and reading it. His son and grandsons have made that great of an impression on me.

I just about guarantee that if you have a teenager in your life and you give them this book, they will learn much about how to learn about and serve God in their daily life. More than likely they won't be able to put the book down. It is written in such a way that it captures the attention. It shares personal experiences of each of the Blackaby's – some humorous, some challenging – as well as snapshots from history in helping to outline how to know and do God's will.

There are seven steps outlined:

  • God is always at work around you;
  • God Pursues a Love Relationship with You;
  • God Invites You to become involved with Him in His work;
  • God speaks by the Holy Spirit (this step is broken into four parts);
  • God's invitation leads to a crisis of belief;
  • Adjustments;
  • You come to know Bod by experience as you obey Him, and He accomplishes His work through Him.

Each chapter is followed up with study questions and ample space to write your thoughts. This book is written in an engaging, thoughtful, sometimes humorous manner, and will hold your attention and make you think. It just might help you grow to know God in a more personal way.

Why not read this book along with your teen? It's not too simple for adults to learn from, and you might learn how to relate to your teen while you're at it!

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of Shelton Interactive's book review program.

BOOK REVIEW: Experiencing God at Home

By Tom and Richard Blackaby
Published by B&H Publishing, Nashville, Tennessee 2013

As an adult, what is the most difficult area of your life? Where do you often have to make the hardest decisions, and sometimes experience what are your greatest failures or greatest accomplishments? If you are a parent, it would be in raising your family. And if you are a Christian, it is raising your children to become followers of Christ, to accept Him as their own. That's what this book sets out to accomplish. It applies guidelines from Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God. It is the belief of the authors, and my belief as well, that it is harder today to raise Christian, God-fearing children, than it has ever been. If you don't believe it, think about your own youth and compare it with the experiences and temptations our own kids have to deal with today.

The Blackaby's use their own families as examples of how to raise Godly children, and don't polish the stories to make their families look good. Do you think your kids are going to make it easy to raise them as Christians? No, their natural bent, as well as yours and mine, is to lean towards sin. Isn't that our birthright? Our inheritance from our long ago first ancestors? And just how self-centered is this generation? I have heard from my own children that it's “all about me”. They are right. You see it everyday everywhere you look. Haven't you heard the phrase calling this the “me generation”?

Here's a statistic that hits home for me: “Some studies indicate that roughly 70 percent of children who grow up attending church with their family will walk away from church – and often God – when they become teenagers and young adults.” I can attest to that. My own teenage sons who grew up in church and both made professions of faith as kids, politely refuse to attend church any longer. Fortunately I still see the impact of what they learned in their lives through their kindness to others and their casual, unsolicited comments on faith.

You may find yourself alternately laughing and crying as you read this book, and hopefully on your knees asking God to use you to influence your children to follow Him. You will find not only practical examples of how to and not to raise your children, but also study guides at the end of chapters. And have you ever heard that the only person you can ever change is yourself? You'll find ideas for that in this book, as well. And when you change yourself and allow God to work in your own life, maybe you will be surprised that it flows through you and allows your family to want to learn to follow Him, too. Nothing, however, comes without great effort and much prayer. And unfortunately sometimes that is not enough. We all have the gift of free will. Sometimes we must endure the heartache and continue to trust God. Don't give up!

I don't want to give away the contents of this book – you are going to be in for some surprises! Talk about Biblical examples of parents in the Bible – how many of them were successful? Who were failures? You might be surprised! Take a chance, read the book, and challenge your family to a closer walk with God. And share this book with others!

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of Shelton Interactive's book review program.

BOOK REVIEW: Sammy Experiences God

By Tom Blackaby and Rick Osborne
Illustrated by Isabella Kung
Published by: B & H Kids, Nashville, Tennessee, 2013

Normally I don't mention illustrators, because I normally don't read children's books anymore since I have teenagers. However I read this book, and I must say I was highly impressed by the illustrator. The illustrations take up the whole page, edge to edge, of every page of this book. The text is superimposed on top. On top of the illustrations are representations of the main character's sketches.

Sammy is a young boy who loves to hear his dad read Bible stories to him. He calls them “God adventures”. While his dad reads, Sammy sketches what he learns. One particular night he asks God if he can be in a God adventure. Over the next few days Sammy desperately tries to re-enact what he has learned in the Bible. Stories about Jacob, King David, Moses, Elijah, Abraham, Paul and Timothy. Each time he is disappointed, because God doesn't show up as he expects Him to. Finally, Sammy is taken on a fishing trip with his grandfather, and his grandfather points out the secret. It was there all along.

This book is not only filled with wonderful illustrations, and a great story for kids, it also has talking points on each page. At the end of the book is a list of ideas on how to make the story behind the story – actually the story of the Bible, more real to your child. As the book says, “God doesn't want our kids to experience Him just in their heads but in their hearts and lives as well. That's a journey that can take time and guidance.”

This book is a great teaching tool for your own children, or any other kids you know. 

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of Shelton Interactive's book review program.

BOOK REVIEW: I Am a Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes the Difference

 I Am a Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes the Difference
By Thom S. Ranier
Published by: B & H Publishing Group, Nashville, Tennessee, 2013

This little book is packed. With ideas, attitude and conviction. Seven small chapters focusing what I can do to be a better church member. Each chapter is summed up with a pledge and study questions. The book is less than 100 pages long so it doesn't take long at all to read. However, I would suggest reading and studying one chapter at a time, absorbing what Mr. Ranier is saying, and learn how to apply that to your life before continuing on to the next chapter. This book is as much about what a church member should not be as what one should be.

I mentioned that this book is convicting. It is! One of the most convicting chapters for me is chapter 4, I Will Pray for My Church Leaders. Do you know how hard it is to be a Christian leader, especially in this day and age? You think the devil comes after you, but a Christian leader who is sold out to God, who is trying to do as they believe God would lead them, is under constant attack. I had forgotten. I was moved to tears and had to confess in prayer, and then begin praying hard for my pastor. And I have seen God moving in my church since that time, or maybe God has removed the scales from my eyes and allowed me to see, and pray more specifically.

If you want to improve your walk with Christ, and if you want to grow as a Christian, I would highly recommend this little book. This is one that I will be passing along, but asking for it to be returned so I can read it over and over and remind myself of what I should be doing. By the way, the author is the CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources and is a pastor and researcher. As such, he has his finger on the heartbeat of modern Christians.

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of Shelton Interactive's book review program. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: The Winnowing Season

The Winnowing Season
Amish Vines and Orchards Book 2
By:  Cindy Woodsmall
Published by:  WaterBrook Press, 2013
This book continues the story of Rhoda Byler and Samuel and Jacob King, as begun in Cindy Woodsmall's previous book A Season for Tending.  If you love Amish fiction, this book is for you.  The tornado that devastated the King apple orchard is now taking it's tole on Rhoda, Samuel and Jacob.  Tensions are high as they try to rebuild, while at the same time preparing to make the move to Maine where they plan to form a new Amish community while at the same time expanding their business. Rhoda, Samuel and Jacob must deal with their pasts before they can have a chance at the future. 
Problems arise when Rhoda is called before the church on the night before she is scheduled to leave for Maine.  If she fails to attend, her brother and his family will not be permitted by the church to go to Maine.  Rhoda must show her quiet strength and her faith in God.
Jacob must deal with a reappearance of someone from his past.  He is engaged to Rhoda, but he has commitments that prevent him from traveling with Rhoda to Maine.  His past commitments show up time and again.  Will they cause harm to his relationship with Rhoda?
And what about Samuel?  He is constantly trying to smooth the way for others, mainly by asserting his control and doing what he feels is right for those he loves, not allowing them to make decisions and take the consequences for themselves.  Will he learn to loosen his control, or will he destroy any chances he may have with his family and friends?
The Winnowing Season is full of questions and answers, not all of which are answered in this book. will have to read the third installment of the series, titled For Every Season.
The Winnowing Season is a stand alone book, but if you haven't read the first book in the series, I would recommend you start there.  You won't want to miss anything!  You can find Ms. Woodsmall's books at her website:  You can also read her blog and check out the Amish Recipes section.

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of WaterBrook Multnomah's book review program.

Monday, May 6, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Freefall to Fly

Freefall to Fly:  A Breathtaking Journey Toward a Life of Meaning
by:  Rebekah Lyons
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Copyright 2013

Freefall to Fly is a raw, emotional, honest look at what happens when you let go and let God take control.  How do you find the meaning and purpose in your life, or is life wrapped up in your family and day to day responsibilities? 
Over the course of two years Rebekah Lyons dealt with panic attacks and had to face the reasons of why she was having them.  For a season they stopped, and then they returned.  What was the cause?  She had a fear of mental illness, because her father was debilitated and in assisted living because of all the drugs he had been prescribed over the years to deal with his own mental illness.  Rebekah discovered that her panic attacks stemmed from the fear of letting go.  Not willing and not knowing how to turn complete control of her life over to God.
Rebekah tells how the short online documentary Boatlift: An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience narrated by Tom Hanks made an impact on her life. 
Perhaps this is how God thinks of rescue.  When our panic sets in and we usher up prayers, desperate enough to jump off the seawall to swim for our lives, He rushes in with an overwhelming response.  If only we would make that final call.  It's the one action no one can do for us.
When we let go and ask God to take control, we are free to fly.
At times I cried with her, at times I laughed.  I have experienced a lot of the same emotions she went through.  I believe if you have the chance to read this book, you will gain a new insight into living the life God called you to.

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of  Handlebar's book review program.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Dandelions on the Wind

Dandelions on the Wind
By:  Mona Hodgson
WaterBrook Press

Maren came to America from Denmark as a mail order bride, right at the beginning of the American Civil War.  Her intended was a friend of her family, and she felt safe in knowing she would be cared for and would have the opportunity to bring her remaining family to America once she was married.  However, no one counted on the fact that Maren is going blind.  A wife who has difficulties seeing is not what her groom had intended, so he escapes to the war. 

Maren takes various jobs, but eventually settles in with a grandmother raising her four year old granddaughter, Gabi, alone.  The girl's mother had died during childbirth, and the death of his beloved wife was more than Rutherford, otherwise known as "Woolly", could take.  So like Maren's intended, he joined the war and has not seen his daughter or his mother-in-law since the day of Gabi's birth.

The war is now over and soldiers are coming home, Woolly among them.  He is met with coldness from his mother-in-law upon his return, but great joy by his daughter, who has been praying to meet her PaPa.  How will Woolly's return affect Maren?  Will she have to leave the family now?  Will this give her the opportunity to take a job in town in order to save money for her return to Denmark? 

This book was too short!!  It came to such an abrupt end, although a good one, and left me wanting more.  So of course I had to order the next book in the series! 
In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of  WaterBrook Multnomah's book review program.

Thursday, May 2, 2013





Adapting to the Environment

Tuesday morning I listened to a great story on Troy Public Radio entitled "He Helped Discover Evolution, and Then Became Extinct", a story about Alfred Russell Wallace.  I have an insatiable curiosity and love hearing about nature and new things, so I listened with interest, although caution.

One comment in particular caught my attention: 

By 1855, Wallace had come to the conclusion that living things evolve. But he didn't figure out how until one night three years later. He was on the island of Halmahera, ill with a fever, when it came to him: Animals evolve by adapting to their environment.

While I believe that plants and animals can adapt to their environments, I firmly believe this is limited to the characteristics God has given to the plant or animal.  As a Christian I wanted to yell out, questioning them as to why God couldn't have just made these creatures this way, specifically for this area of the world.

It's good to get the opinions and beliefs of others, but we must always remember that the Bible says that God created the heavens and the earth, and everything that is in them.  He created them by their own kind, and each, from plants to animals and everything in between, reproduces after it's own kind (from the first few chapters of Genesis).  In other words, a dog and a cat can't create a new type of creature, etc., but two different cats could create a new breed of cats -- staying in one's own kind or family. Neither did man come from a long line of sub-human creatures to eventually become what we are today (the Bible clearly states that God made man and woman in His own image, male and female).

In summary, God is the Creator of all, and nothing happens that is outside of His design.  Including adaptation to one's environment.

Linc to Troy Public Radio's story:

Saturday, April 27, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Be Still My Soul

Be Still My Soul
By:  Joanne Bischof
WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

This wonderful book is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains  in the early 1900s.  It tells the story of deep set family beliefs, where how you and your family are perceived by others is very important, at least to Lonnie's family.  This is a story of false accusations, hope, the beginnings of love and forgiveness. 
Lonnie is a gifted young singer who is one day forced by her father to sing in public.  She meets young Gideon, the most sought after bachelor in the hollow and beyond.  Lonnie and Gideon are caught kissing in the dark by Lonnie's father after Gideon walks her home from the gathering.  Lonnie's father forces a quick marriage between the two young people, a marriage that is not wanted by either one.
What happens when Lonnie and Gideon strike out on their own and meet with difficult challenges that are almost too hard to overcome?  Will she ever forgive and trust Gideon after the horrible way he mistreated her?  Will Jebediah Bennett and his wife Elsie help the young couple in matters of the heart and spiritual growth, as well as in the young couple's physical needs?
I am looking forward to reading Mrs. Bischoff's second book in the series, Though My Heart is Torn, which continues the saga of Lonnie and Gideon. 
Hope you enjoy reading Be Still My Soul as much as I did!  Stop by Mrs. Bischoff's website to learn more.
 In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of WaterBrook Multnomah's book review program.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: North of Hope: A Daughter's Arctic Journey

North of Hope: A Daughter's Arctic Journey
By:  Shannon Huffman Polson
Published by Zondervan, 2013

Shannon last spoke with her father and stepmother on Father's Day 2005.  She is on the return journey home after visiting her brother and his wife.  Her brother is in the car behind her when she receives a phone call.  It's from Alaska, and is the police are asking for Shannon Huffman.  Dread settles in.  Her father and stepmother are in Alaska kayaking down the Hulahula River located in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  Disbelief as the officer explains that her father and his wife have been killed.  She pulls over the to the side of the road, her brother behind her.  He crawls in the car with her and they sit stunned.  What had been an adventure for experienced Alaskan adventurers Richard and Katherine Huffman has become their final days on earth.  They have died a gruesome death.  Mauling by grizzly.

A year later Shannon and her adopted brother Ned, along with Ned's friend Sally, begin a rafting trip down the same Hulahula River.  Shannon has not been able to deal with the deaths of her father and stepmother and hopes that this trip will bring closure for her.  The trip brings back memories of a lifetime spent in the outdoors with her father, a retired JAG officer who started his own law firm in Alaska, where he raised his family.  Shannon, Ned and Sally reach the site of the deaths, each handling their grief in a different way.  Shannon, by praying and building a cairn, Ned by going off by himself.  Once they leave the site, Ned becomes angry, turning his brutal anger towards his sister. The trip cannot end quickly enough.  The trip does not bring the peach Shannon had sought.  Only when she is waiting alone for the plain to pick her up at the end of the trip does she begin to feel solace and understanding.

North of Hope: A Daughter's Arctic Journey seemed disjointed to me.  One moment you are in the present, then you are back in time, which was a bit confusing.  Also, Shannon is a very educated woman and writes as such.  I won't give a negative review, but neither can I give it my best, since it was a struggle to make myself finish the book.

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of  Zondervan's book review program.