Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Several things on my heart, but...

My kids are all sick, so I can't write all that I had hoped to today.

There were 2 main things that struck me today. The first is from my Bible study this morning. I just started Becoming a Woman of Faith by Cynthia Heald and it was interesting the connection that the passages I was to read helped me realize. The passages were from the Gospels and were about how Peter saw Jesus walking on the water and walked out to him, but then doubted when the wind came up, the second was about Thomas refusing to believe Jesus was alive unless he saw Him himself, and the third was when Jesus was in the boat sleeping and the disciples woke him because of the storm. The question about the passages was what did the disciples do and what was the consequence/result of that. I struggled with the consequence part, but then I realized as I reflected on the third passage that the disciples were putting their trust in Jesus--who they could see and not God. So, they cried out to Jesus to save them instead of having faith that God would. And Jesus speaks to Thomas about how those who believe but have not seen will be blessed.

I realized that perhaps the disciples in each story were putting faith in what they could see rather than what they could not. I kept thinking about this. In their case, it was putting their faith in Jesus who they could see, rather than God the father--who they could not. In my case, I can put my faith in myself who I can see rather than God's faithfulness. Often, I rely on myself rather than trusting God. It can be easier to trust myself or others that I can see rather than God who I cannot. This was eyeopening to me this morning when I realized what the disciples had done and what it means to have faith.

Cynthia Heald includes several quotes which were wonderful and one of the other readings was Psalm 77 (I think) in which Asaph cries out to the Lord in his distress and then remembers and contemplates God's faithfulness in the past and all that He had done. It is by focusing on the truth of our convictions and the things we know to be true that we dispel doubt.

The second thing I've been thinking about today has been a much sadder part of life... This part is a bit of sensitive matter.

I reviewed a book for Amazon yesterday called Great Answers to Difficult Questions about Sex http://www.amazon.com/Great-Answers-Difficult-Questions-About/dp/1849058040/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262138760&sr=8-1 I write my reviews as Anne from Baltimore. If you have time, would you read my review and affirm what I wrote if you agree with me? The more I thought about this book, the more it concerned me and the things that are taught in this book.

People ask me a lot why we homeschool and one of the reasons is what is taught in the schools. This book brought all of that back to me. The book didn't take a stand in any way that kids shouldn't have sex--simply that they can once they hit puberty. I would understand if this was a science book, but it isn't valueless. There are morals being advocated in this book.

There was something I read in a great book by Dr. Paul McHugh in his book called The Mind Has Mountains. He was relating the story of a doctor who discussed with him his job--which was to take out perfectly good body parts that people didn't want because they wanted to be the other sex. The doctor told Dr. McHugh something that I have come to feel is more and more wise--that "Just because we can do something (in this case medically) doesn't mean we should".

I think that definitely applies to a lot of things talked about in this book.

For example, just because 11 year olds can have sex, doesn't mean they should.
Just because two five year old boys want to undress and play doctor doesn't mean they should.
Just because a 7 year old girl wants to touch her doll inappropriately doesn't mean she should.
I could go on, but I don't think I need to. I think that pretty much gives you the idea of the perspective of the author of this book.

What makes me most concerned about all of this is that at first I read it and it didn't seem so bad. But, then as I mulled it over, it was like big red flashing warning lights started going off. I thought about the authors definition that good touches are touches you like and bad touches are ones you don't and realized that that's a dangerous definition--especially putting those in light of the stories from the book that I just mentioned.

Well, it is time to go to bed. I have 3 sick kids and I'm low on sleep, but these things were burdening my heart.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Sweet By and By...

My last post was a quote that I read in this book and one that I thought was really good. I've finished it now and I did enjoy the rest of the book...

I enjoyed this book because it caused me to reflect on my own childhood and my responsibility for my decisions and who I am. But, let me back up a moment. This story is about Jade Fitzgerald who owns a vintage shop in a small town and is about to get married. She has significant baggage but is about getting married. She and her fiancee had decided that they would let the past be the past and not dig into each other's baggage or dredge up the past. But, Jade isn't able to avoid this because of several circumstances in the weeks leading up to her wedding. The story flows smoothly and easily. It is interesting and I enjoyed the characters. There was only one major flaw for me but it has to do with how little attention her fiancee received and his baggage. It seemed very disproportionate.

I have noticed that in our society today we are reticent to take responsibility for our actions and it was such a refreshing and convicting part of this story for me as Jade does this. It caused me to think about my childhood and how my actions affect my own life.

Christian fiction today is much like this book. It fits well within its genre. It isn't the best book I've read, but it is an enjoyable read and it's one you could sit down with a cup of tea and a blanket with and settle in to read.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Interesting quote

I am reading a fiction book called the Sweet By and By by Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck. It easy for me to feel cynical when Hollywood folks write books, so I haven't looked up who Sara Evans is or anything about her. I just want to read the book. But, last night I came across this quote that I thought was interesting...

The youngest daughter (shes about 19, I think) of a hippie mom (who is 59) says this to her mom:

"For a generation who claimed to be all about peace, you sure started a lot of wars. Not with guns and bullets, but with words and ideology. With your parents, with your kids. Your generation didn't bring anything together. You tore everything apart."

Hmm... I'm sure historians have said things like that before, but it's interesting to think about what happened with that generation. It made me think about our sinful nature and how we naturally want to rebel. The generation who were teens and young adults in the 60s outwardly rebelled against the culture they lived in--against their parents. Later, it was with that generation that some of the problems in our society with parenting began. Parents didn't want to be the authorities in their children's lives anymore, for a lot of reasons, I believe. They didn't want authorities over them so they didn't want their children to have authorities.

I wrote a review of a book a long time ago called "You Can't Make Me, but You Can Persuade Me" by Cynthia Tobias (I don't recommend this book at all by the way). I explained in my review that I believe we are all under God's authority and that even strong willed children need to learn that there are authorities in their lives and that they need to respect them and obey the rules they are given. The author of that book disagreed and believed that children (strong willed children in particular) should always be given choices and that rules are really guidelines. No!!!
When I tell my children not to touch the stove, it's a rule! When I tell my children not to cross the street without me, it's a rule! And when I tell them that they need to do their work, it is what they are expected to do--and they need to obey. I'm not an ogre. But, I see in myself my own rebellious heart towards authority and it has taken me a very long time to learn to submit and respect and follow the rules given to me by the authorities over me. I don't want that for my children. I want them to learn that there are authorities over them and that ultimately God is the greatest authority over them. And I want them to be comfortable with rules. Within boundaries, healthy freedom can be found.

In response to my review of that book, one woman who is a professor explained that she has taught her children to question everyone and everything and not to blindly follow. Her response made me very sad and reminded me of the ideology of the 60s. To me, that is a response of a rebellious heart as well--one could likely train her children to be cynical. Cynicism is by definition a matter of pride that you can see through what people are really doing and saying and see the truth--that you are better, essentially, than the system or the person because you know what's really going on and aren't blindly going along.

Well, my kids are up and I better scoot... This issue is one that is close to my heart because it has caused me so much strife in my heart over the years--the issue of submission to authority and rebelliousness. I wasn't outwardly rebellious, but rather inwardly.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

It's not fair!

Just like a child, I want to cry out, "It's not fair!" Do you ever feel like that? I know that God is sovereign--I trust Him, but I still find myself sad tonight. I haven't seen my mom since last Christmas. She was supposed to fly in tonight, but then a snow storm decided to hit us which cancelled all flights. I hoped, but expected it to get cancelled. Still, I didn't expect her not to be able to come until Tuesday. Tuesday!!! I will only get to see her for 4 days before she has to head home. My heart is heavy and sad tonight. My mom means a lot to me--she is my very best friend and I have missed her and so have the girls.

I trust God and His plan in all of this.

Feeling God's Grace

There are moments when I can feel the tender love of God's grace for me in my life because He knows exactly what I need. This week has been hard for me emotionally as I've sorted through some things in my heart and head. But, at the same time, I've been working my way through Becoming a Woman of Grace by Cynthia Heald (the Bible study I reviewed a few days ago). I saw God's grace for me in this study. It encouraged and blessed me as it drew me to God's Word. The quotes she included were thought provoking and wise. The study was filled with wisdom, rather than simply knowledge. And that wisdom was extended graciously without strings or criticism.

If I had the chance to thank Ms. Heald for writing this study and seeking the Lord--and extending grace to me through this book, I would. I wish I could.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Noah's Ark

I have really enjoyed Sami's Cubbies book activities this year. This morning we walked out paces to see how big Noah's Ark really was. I think this was a great idea. I was blown away. First, I walked out 75 paces (the width) and then only could get to 125 at the end of the hallway at the high school (it was way too cold outside). To think that the ark would have been 3 1/2 times that length was pretty crazy to realize!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wonderful Bible Study

I've written several times before about how I've had a hard time finding Bible studies that I really feel I can trust (and not be cynical about). I am really thankful for the one I'm doing right now for that reason. I am only half way through this study and I felt compelled to leave this review even before finishing.

Every day, I look forward to doing this Bible study for my quiet times. Every day it challenges me to dig into the scriptures. A few years ago, I tried to do one of Cynthia Heald's studies and I set it down. Honestly, I think I was young and I wanted to be spoon fed. I put more stock in feeling and dwelling on my feelings as a woman. I used to do a lot of studies that encouraged me to infer into the Word and only ask you to look up single verses. But, over the years, I've learned a few things about not taking verses out of context, not inferring into the Word, and not being misled by how an author tells a story (take it to the Word). =) Remembering these things is my way to fight cynicism about Bible Studies.

This Bible study is so good. Heald primarily looks to the Word and includes very wise quotes from other authors. (I have shared several with our small group and everyone has loved them.) She shares from her own experiences--but they are brief. Much more time is spent in the study with the reader digging into the word. She directs the reader to look up passages (most of the time) rather than a verse or two. In my selfish heart, I want to check the box and be given one or two verses to read, but that's why I know this study is so good for me to do--I have to look up passages (5-10 verses) at a time.

This study is about God's grace and how we love one another. The study delves into God's grace for us (His covenants with us), legalism vs. grace, love and grace, and what it means to live out our lives in God's grace. The chapter about legalism was especially good, but all of the chapters have been challenging and encouraging. I haven't found a Bible study in a very long time written for women that I would recommend--but now I have!

One last note...if you are a woman and you enjoy John Piper's, Jerry Bridge's, or Tim Keller's books and studies, I think you would particularly enjoy this study.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My early Christmas present

My daughter Sami is a very picky eater. It's been hard over the past two years as we've gone back and forth with her trying to get her to eat fruits and vegetables. We finally realized that we really needed to back off. I'd started giving her vitamins even.

Then two months ago, I was in BJ's when a man was demonstrating the VitaMix blender. I had never taken
the time to talk with someone about it before that day. But, the kids and I tried 3 different smoothies (2 smoothies and 1 ice cream/sorbet). They had spinach in them and Sami drank them right up. It made me think about what was most important to me--whether Sami ate fruits and vegetables in their original form or that she ate them at all =) I was tired of fighting with her and feeling bad for her continual constipation. So, I brought it up to my husband. He was skeptical and I dropped it.

A month later, he realized that we also needed to give Sami a break and so I brought up the Vita Mix again. He was skeptical still, but less so. He and I both knew it would be a big investment ($400) and we weren't sure where the money would come from in our budget. But, little did I know, he had started looking at Costco each time he went (since he had started doing my Costco shopping for me a month ago) for the VitaMix demonstrator's visit. Last weekend was that visit.

My husband told me that he bought me a cookbook--a cookbook? I don't need any cookbooks. He asked if I wanted to see it and I said, okay. We went downstairs and the cookbook happened to be the VitaMix cookbook. A VitaMix cookbook!

Well, it turns out he saw the demonstration and was persuaded. He had no idea it could do so many things (neither did I really).

This weekend we made 4 smoothies, cheese sauce for noodles, soup, and ice milk dessert. Today for lunch Sami had a smoothie with cantaloupe, pineapple, peach yogurt, honey, milk, ice, and banana. Eli was so upset when it ran out (he's not a good fruit eater either, really). Sami drank it right up and it was good for Autumn who won't drink milk.

Honestly, I wish we'd gotten one a long time ago--I didn't know it would be such a blessing and save us so many struggles with the kids over food! Sami is already much more regular after only 3 days of our family owning a Vita-Mix.

One last note...the last time I was in the pediatrician's office she mentioned to me that fruit juice is one of the big things the APA is concerned about. Straight Juice is like giving a kid alcohol, I guess. Their bodies can't process the fructose well without the fiber from the fruit. Juicers are great to give natural fruit--but they take out the fiber. The vitamix leaves in all the fiber (hence Sami's improving digestive track =) ). If you've thought about a juicer, I just wanted to let you know what my pediatrician shared with me. =)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

ESV, NIV, or NASB and then there's the ICB, ESV or NIrV...which should we read?

I am so thankful for my friend's question about the ESV vs. NASB and NIV. I couldn't remember the difference so I went to look it up. I knew that John Piper and Tim Keller, both pastors and authors that I deeply respect have switched over to the ESV. All of the churches that we have attended over the past few years PCA or Reformed Baptist have also switched to the ESV.

I did find a blog that explained the differences and that helped me (http://thefoolishgalatian.wordpress.com/2007/10/22/niv-vs-esv-and-why-piper-switched/ )
I knew why I didn't like the KJV--it was written in the days when writers were paid by a patron and that often slanted the translation. The NKJV, from what I understand, is a revision of the KJV that uses more modern language.

Most churches I have attended used the NIV until the ESV came out. The blog I found explained that the ESV is a more literal translation---like the NASB. The NASB is a very literal translation. The ESV has come to be considered as literal a translation, but more readable than the NASB. My husband likes the ESV and the little Bible in my purse is an ESV, but I haven't switched over in my main reading Bible yet. Maybe that's something I should ask for for Christmas =) from my husband. But, I found another blog discussion about translation vs. paraphrase that talks specifically about the question of translation vs. paraphrase:
I think my understanding is that the ESV is a word for word translation and the NIV is a thought for thought translation.
Here's one last website that lists all of the translations/paraphrases and identifies each one =)

The ICB, ESV, and NIrV is a different challenge of choices. A bookstore owner explained it to me a few months ago and I'm very thankful that he did. We just bought Autumn the NIrV Discoverer's Bible for Early Readers. It is a large print edition. Basically, the NIrV is the NIV with simpler sentence structure (more periods and such). The ICB, on the other hand, is a paraphrase--a rewording of the original text. The ESV children's Bible is no different in text from the adult version of the ESV. I think what I plan to do is to read the NIrV with Autumn until she is ready for an adult Bible, 4th or 5th grade? and then transition to the ESV.

I hope that is helpful information. =)

Adventures in finding Christmas gifts for my girls

Wow. It's been an interesting week for me in this regard. I have never before felt convinced that there was a certain toy I wanted for my kids. But, this year, I realized this week that I wanted to get them the Best Friends Club, Ink Dolls Addison and Kaitlyn. I started calling around on Tuesday and everyone told me they were out. So, I called a friend and asked if my girls could come over while I went to buy their last few Christmas gifts.

I drove from her house to the nearby Target and they had 2 left--just the ones I wanted to get them. But, let me back up...

As I was driving to the store, I sensed in myself a stress about this and I prayed. I realized how quickly I had gotten caught up in that feeling that I needed to find a certain toy for my kids. And wow! It is a powerful consumption! After finding the dolls, I headed to Toys R Us because I knew they had the clothes. I found them and saw a sign that they were free with the dolls--if only they had the dolls. After walking around a little more, I noticed an end cap full of them! So, I bought two new dolls (with the free outfits) and returned the others to Target across the street. I thought I was done.


I had a nagging feeling that when it came to a Christmas gift for my girls, I should be able to give them the wh
ole thing and not say "you can have this part, but not that part". I don't think that would have been very nice of me. So, I started opening up one of the boxes (already wrapped even) and realized that these dolls were very built! Probably a C cup (as opposed to Barbie's D or DD cup) Sorry for the graphic description, but I just don't know how else to put it! I was unsettled. I talked to my husband about it and he still liked the dolls--he pointed out that even the loving family dolls resemble real women in that way. True, but we had decided to put off Barbie and Polly Pocket another year this Christmas. He left it up to me.

So, I thought and thought and talked to a few friends. I looked online and decided that I would return them and get 2 Our Generation Dolls for my girls from Target. I had the impulse right then to run out and just get it taken care of and done with. But, I resisted and told myself, "no." I needed to pray and trust God that the dolls would be there the next night if that was what I was supposed to get. It all sounds so silly doesn't it? But, I know that God cares for the little things in our hearts as well as the big important ones! I just want my daughters to be excited when they open their gifts on Christmas--they really only get 1 toy from us, 1 book, and 1 something else (3 gifts in all like the Wise Men brought Baby Jesus).

So, over the next day, each time I would get anxious or want to do something about it, I would say a quick prayer to the Lord and give my cares to Him. Last night, the girls went to Awanas and I headed over to get gas, return the dolls to Toys R US (I've been doing a lot of returning!), and get the dolls from Target. They did have 2 dolls I liked and I brought them home.

After the girls had gone to sleep, I brought them inside and showed my husband. He agreed that they were the right ones for our girls. Autumn and Sami are just young and so innocent. I want to preserve that for them as long as I can and let them be little girls. It's hard to think about Autumn growing up! We looked at the back of the box for Sami and realized that one of them has a little dog that can go with it--so I have one last run to make--Sami loves dogs and my husband thought we should get that for her =)

So, that's my Christmas present buying story. I know it's a long one, sorry about that. I hope it made you chuckle, though--at my silliness. I'm thankful for God's lessons in this for me and the experience that will help me understand what other parents get caught up in around Christmas time and how they feel.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Message: A paraphrase, not a translation

A friend emailed me and asked what I thought of the Message
as a Bible, and these are the thoughts I shared with her...

I do have a copy of the Message. It is an interesting thing
to me in our culture is that so often we want things to be
easy for us. The Message is a paraphrase. When it first
came out, everyone knew that and looked at as such. But,
with the popularity of The Purpose Driven Life (which
doesn't differentiate between translations and paraphrases,
but says at the back of the book how good it is to read
different versions so that we can understand it differently),
the message came to be viewed (I think) in popular Christian
culture as much more of a Bible that can be read as a
primary Bible, essentially as a translation. That is
disconcerting to me. I believe that it is God and the Holy
Spirit that help us to understand the Word.

I don't think the NIV or ESV are culturally irrelevant and
hard to understand. But, I think it is easier to read and
digest the message, there isn't a lot of gnawing and
chewing or meditating on that has to be done to get the
meaning of a passage. I've seen more and more Bible studies
using the Message as the version that they quote (or the
NLT) and it unsettles me. I did a Bible study back in
September on my own that was like that and I wasn't crazy
about it. The Bible study I'm doing now compels you to
look up the verses (passages rather than verses) and is
really good. =) But, the biggest difference between the
two studies is that the first encouraged the reader to
infer and read into what the Bible said and the second
that I'm doing now doesn't. I think it's dangerous to
infer and put yourself in the shoes of the people in
the Bible. It doesn't bother me if it's a few times in
a study, but when it's throughout the whole thing, it
unsettles me. This is important to me because a few
years ago when I read a book about Bathsheba and then
went back to the scripture, I realized I had inferred
so much about the story over the years that isn't in
the Bible! I was shocked, but took it as a caution to
be careful and to know what is in the Word. And
that's the same reason I get concerned about para-
phrases. I don't want to read things into the Bible
that the Bible doesn't really say.

As far as paraphrases go, I do like the Message much
more than the NLT (New Living). I discovered this
year that the NLT chose to revise the Living Bible to
include gender neutral language =( It came out at the
same time as the TNIV, but didn't get the press that
the TNIV got for going with gender neutral language.
Chris and I do particularly respect Eugene Peterson
and his writing is solid theologically. That is why
I trust it as a resource, just not as a primary Bible.

The remix version is essentially only different from
the original in its formatting. It numbers each verse
rather than just each chapter like the original version
did. That would be very helpful.

One last note, there are times when I may struggles
with a passage and I do like the study Bible helps in
the NIV, because they help with background and under-
standing without paraphrasing the Word.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Best Books I've reviewed this year...

The Best Books I've read this year as a Book Review Blogger...

Most of these books have been from the programs I've been a part of this year. Last week, I realized that I've read and reviewed about 70 books this year. I realized that really has been my hobby this year. =) I wouldn't have read most of them on my own and have been so thankful that I did! I post my reviews on my blogs, but I was talking to my husband about my favorite books from the year and he encouraged me to write a list. So, here it is =)

for me:
Love in The Driest Season by Neely Tucker: Powerful memoir about his life, marriage, interracial marriage, Africa, foreign press reporting... I wish everyone would read it. It was that good and made that big an impact on my view of the world.

Trusting God by Jerry Bridges: Jerry Bridges explains how and why we trust God and what that means to live that out and truly believe God is sovereign. He doesn't use Christianese. He explains the words he uses like God's sovereignty

Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges: What he said about Ungodliness really hit hard and I loved his analogy that a machine can't work without electricity: the Holy Spirit is the electricity and we are the machine.

A Praying Life by Paul Miller: In my busyness with the kids, I have struggled to sit and pray. I haven't been able to quiet myself yet, but I am realizing how much I need to do that. He addresses cynicism in a way that I never expected.

This Momentary Marriage by John Piper: Most of John Piper's books are too thick for me to digest while tackling everything at home. But this is a short one that is wonderful--the best marriage book I've read, ever.

Most Unusual Book: Notes from a Tilt a Whirl--This book was a complete surprise to me and my husband. You can pick it up and set it down after reading just a page--but have completely and thoroughly enjoyed that page. It is part philosophy, part poetry, part theology, part science, part memoir, part art... And the writing is very good. It is an extremely rare book that both my husband and I enjoy, but this was the one for this year.

Favorite Cookbooks: Pie, Soup, and Apple Pie by Ken Haedrichs (3 different cookbooks). I like the way he writes and the stories he tells--but most of all the cookbooks have been great. I happened upon his cookbooks at a book sale and tried them out and loved them!

for the kids:
Read and Share Bible: very Biblical Children's Bible Storybook. And Autumn absolutely loves it! Great for 3-7 yr olds.
The Jesus Book: The Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How about Jesus. We repeated the 5 W questions each night before we read it. I haven't seen another book like it for kids 4-8 yrs.

Favorite Picture Book:
Mortimer's First Garden by Karma Wilson is about Mortimer the mouse planting a seed and watching it grow--and realizing that it is God who makes the plants grow. Such a sweet book.

Favorite Board Book:
Do's and Don'ts by Todd Parr I don't know if I've ever read a funnier board book. This one has been out a while and it wasn't a part of the blog program (all the others except for Momentary Marriage have been), but we just found it this year and laughed for several weeks.

Favorite surprise for the kids:
Hooked on Phonics! I was so cynical and didn't think I'd like it. But, I received the PreK, 1st, and 2nd grade sets from reviewing and loved them! I love the videos (and I'm not a video teaching person) and Autumn looks forward to it every week. It's made her reading stronger eventhough she has a 3rd grade reading level. Sami is looking forward to the K set--I liked them so much, I'm going to purchase that one. It's been a great addition to our homeschooling and Explode the Code and 100 Easy Lessons

Best Listening:
Screwtape Letters by Focus On the Family: They published the radio drama they did. Andy Serkis, the voice of Gollum in the Lord of the Rings was Screwtape--imagine that one. It was very, very good. It challenged me to think about a lot of things, but I had to listen to it in the light and not the dark!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Our Homemade Christmas Tree

The kids and I bought the least expensive fake Christmas tree and decorated it yesterday and today. They have loved hanging the ornaments (and making them!). I have to be honest and say it's the first time that I've actually gotten a paper chain made long enough to decorate a tree! I can't imagine how much work it must be to string popcorn and cranberries the way my husband's family did every year growing up. I am so impressed! The chains were enough for me to tackle this year =)

Thursday, December 3, 2009


At night time, we read a Bible story or devotional to our kids. Autumn is now 6 and Sami just turned 4. For several years, we read the stories from the Read Aloud Bible Stories (v.1-4) and the Tell Me Jesus Stories by Ella K. Lindvall. These are my very favorites for 2-5s. I can't wait to read them to Eli soon.

After that, we tried a few books, but found they were too old for the girls. My favorite this year has been The Jesus Book and the Read and Share Bible. But, I really like the book we are using right now. It is Big Thoughts for Little People by Kenneth Taylor. It has new pictures (instead of the original ones from the 70s). It is perfect for Sami at 4 yrs old. She was just a little young for The Jesus Book. But, we will soon be done with Big Thoughts, so I'm always on the lookout for a new book for our devotional. I think we will likely go back and read through the whole Read and Share Bible. It is perfect for both girls right now and great for 4-6s.

But, on another note, I did receive another devotional from Tyndale (a complimentary copy) recently that I want to review. It is one that I will hold onto--but I will definitely hold onto it, because I do like it--a lot! It is called "Did You Know? Devotions 2" by Nancy S. Hill It has 365 devotions, so it will take you through a whole year (you really get your money's worth =) ) and includes a verse, an interesting question and the answer and then a related thought about God for children to think about. I read several to my daughters yesterday and realized very quickly that they are too young right now for this book. It is listed as being for ages 6-10. I would usually recommend it for children 7-10 unless the child is a very curious or gifted 6 year old. I was surprised by how much I like this book and I do definitely look forward to reading it to my children when they are older. It would be a great devotional for a mixed group of children--both girls and boys. I think it's often harder to find good devotionals that will engage both boys and girls because they often have a lot of different interests (at leasts my daughters and son do).

It reminds of something that a friend shared with me about why young boys are slower to become good readers. There has been some research done that has shown that typically men and boys read nonfiction and don't prefer to read fiction. Women, on the other hand, tend to read mostly fiction. In the past, most of the books for written for younger children and beginning readers has been fiction. Now, publishers are coming out with beginning readers that are nonfiction. It's wonderful--because that's what boys want to read!

I think the same might be said of this devotional. The topics that Nancy Hill has chosen for her daily devotionals are things that would be interesting to both boys and girls--they are nonfictional, informational types of questions, but there's a lot of variety to them.

What a great devotional book to share with our children!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


This morning at breakfast Autumn asked me, "When is Thunder Cane season?"
Thunder Cane? What's a Thunder Cane, sweetie?
You know, like Tornadoes, Mommy.
Oh, you mean Hurricanes.
Yes, Hundercanes.
No, sweetie, Hurricanes. Well, it's July-September or October.

The funny thing is that Autumn is very well spoken and is great about pronouncing her words, but that made me laugh. I never knew Hurricane could sound like Thunder Cane! =)

A good story from a first time writer...

I read the author's bio before I read this book and realized it is his first book. I have to say--I have read a lot of books this year and I have really come to appreciate how hard it must be to write a book. I've tried several times, but blogging is all I have time for right now. When I blog, I only write short entries. Undertaking an entire novel would be a very different thing. All that said, I think Dan Walsh does a great job his first time around the block!

To read an excerpt from this story: http://www.revellbooks.com/Media/MediaManager/Excerpt_9780800719241.pdf

The story is set in the 40s during World War II. I believe it is set in Baltimore (I don't know of any other town with a Baltimore Pike). It made sense to me in light of the details included, because Baltimore is just south of the Mason Dixon line--it's not exactly in the North and not exactly in the south--but somewhere in between. A young boy has just come to live with his grandfather. His mother has died and his father is away at the war. The story centers around the young boy and the broken relationship between his widowed grandfather and his father. I don't like giving away details about stories because it's much more fun to read them for yourself. So, I don't want to say much more than that.

I enjoyed the historical details woven into the story. I learned a lot. The details about race relations during that time period were different than what I've read in most books, but they were different because they simply haven't been included in other stories I've read. I grew up out west and so did my father's family, so much of the details about the relationships between people at that time on the east coast are very foreign to me. I've been learning a lot about over the past 8 years that we've lived on the east coast.

The only thing I wished had been different about the book was that things were wrapped up a little too quickly and a little too neatly at the end. But, that said, it didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book and I look forward to reading more by this author!

Please note: I did receive a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher--but it is one I would have bought myself, borrowed from a friend, or checked out from the library on my own!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Finding Christmas

I am still figuring out how to post images and for some reason this one gave me a bad time today. This is a picture of the book that the excerpt below is from! =) Sometimes it seems to come up and sometimes it doesn't!
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Please read...


I've heard so many people say--I want to remember Christ this Christmas season! I want to remember why we celebrate!

If you have time, please read the excerpt above--just click on the link. It hit me hard this morning. The forward is so well written--at first, I thought it was going to be just a feel good collection of Christmas stories, but the forward is all about Christ. Then read the preface. You may be taken aback at the rudeness of the first few paragraphs, but soon you'll see the point. I don't want to give away the point, so please trust me and just read through to the very last paragraph--then it will make sense.

I have not read this book in its entirety. But, I want to. And I want to pass on this excerpt because I think it reminds us of what really is important this Christmas Season--the joy of Christmas--that Jesus loves us and that He came for us!