Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Photos....from the tree

I thought that I would like to share a few photos that I took of things on my tree.... I was drawn to the colors from the reflections of lights onto the silver holographic  garland.....beautiful..!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Heaven is for Real for Kids Edition by Todd Burpo

This an illustrated storybook based on the book Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo.  It is geared towards smaller children.  Colton gets very ill, and find himself in heaven with Jesus, angels, family members and more.  He talks about various details of heaven as he experienced it.

First, I would like to address the positives.  I think this book is beautifully illustrated.  It also is written at a level where young children can understand what is being taught.

But on the otherhand, in Revelation 22:18, "For I testify to eveyrone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book :if anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book."  It is very important to scrutinize experiences and hold them up to the word of God.  Do I believe that Colton died and went to heaven?  No, I do not.  There are a lot of things in the book that I see no problem with theologically, but a little leaven leavens the whole lump.  I could argue about wings in heaven, but that is neither here nor there theologically.  I do have  a problem with showing the angel Gabriel on a throne at the left hand of God.  Thrones depict rulership, and therefore would be an incorrect placement. Next, God is spirit, and showing the Father with hands would be incorrect.  Also, the verse descriptions of heaven are of the new Jerusalem, and therefore according to Colton people are living in the new Jerusalem now.  The verse describing the wolves layng down with the lamb are a reference to the millenial rule of Christ, and although I don't doubt that it would be true in heaven, let's use verse in the right context. 

I also have a problem with referring to the Akiane painting.  Yes Colton did identify the painting as looking like Jesus, but in the ten commandments God calls us to make no carved image.... I don't believe that God would give us an image of Himself, knowing that people would worship the image over the Creator. This is not a review of Akiane, but I would be careful to take for truth, her works.  Colton knowing certain things, isn't proof either.  We have to remember that Satan came come as an angel of light, so things can look pretty legitimate but be deceptive.  Ultimately, you will have to refer to God's word and compare Colton's experience in both books to the Word, because the Word is the only authority about heaven or anything else. We need to read in in the right context and look at what God is saying to us.   

I liked this version better than the previous book, but I would recommend anyone that reads it to read the adult version, and compare the details to the Bible in the correct context.

I received this E-book from Thomas Nelson's program, and the review is my own opinion.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Future Door by Jason Lethcoe

The Future Door

No Place Like Holmes Vol. 2

Jason Lethcoe

Step back into time and meet a young man named Griffin Sharpe who has amazing observational skills akin to the master detective Sherlock Holmes. Together wit his uncle Rupert Snodgrass, a mechanical genius, they embark on a quest to save the past, present and future from the Moriarties, who have stolen a time machine Rupert created.

This is the second book in the No Place Like Holmes book series. I had not read the first, which I wish I had, but this story holds its own and Mr. Lethcoe fills you in on details from the previous book which helped quite a bit. I enjoyed this story. It is appropriate for the age group 8-12 and is a fun way to introduce kids indirectly to Sherlock Holmes with a character their own age. I enjoyed the fun used of character names and the ending. I did think it started off a little slow in contrast to the quicker development of the ending. I would like to have seen more descriptive action and detective work.

I really like the sprinkling of morals throughout. Griffin at times throughout the story shows His trust in the Lord and at the end….. Well….. You will have to read that part yourself. I enjoyed the ending immensely . I also liked and enjoyed the mini mysteries at the end. I think they are good little thinking bits for kids and adults too. I’m giving this story 4 stars only because I believe the development could have been more consistent across the story.

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson’s book review blogger’s program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my very own. I am disclosing this according to the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Festival Promo Video

Well here is a rough edit of a promo video I made for the arts festival.  I used my GL2 footage primarily because it handled the low light far better than the XL1s.  The XL1s is a great EFP camera but not a great event camera. SO I wouldn't say this video is pro level by far... I have a lot to learn, but it's a start.  I didnt' do very many event video in college, I did more script based video where I controlled the lighting and the movement like a feature film, so here it goes!

Monday, November 21, 2011

O'Neill Fine Arts Festival

This past weekend I had the privilege to videotape and photograph the O'Neill Fine Arts Festival.  There were many amazing performances and artists there sharing their work.  Here are a couple of photographs to tide us over until I can get some video clips edited!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Journey to Christmas, DVD

Journey To Christmas, DVD

4 Session Holy Land Study Experience

Tricord Media

Tyndale Entertainment

Five diverse people take a journey to the Holy Land for the first time to discover the true meaning of Christmas. These five people are guided by a local scholar to search throughout the Holy Land for the answer to this question from a personal point of view. This DVD series is presented in a reality show format following an artist, a musician/singer, a talk show personality, an agnostic, and a First Nations (Native American) person as they pursue the reality of the first Christmas. It also features commentaries by Biblical scholars to clarify some elements. The producers also provide study guides and marketing materials in PDF format on one of the DVDs.

The DVD’s are beautifully shot, utilizing great composition and color. I applaud the cinematography. It made me want to return to Israel to view and photograph the land again. The reality show format brings a nice twist to the DVD that helps to draw you into how the different people view and experience the culture and religious aspects of the land of Israel. Each person’s struggle or acceptance mirrors that of many and adds interest . I liked how they had the participants ask questions of each other and themselves, and I often found myself rooting for Drew, the talk show host. I could identify with his weariness of seeing so much religiosity. I could identify with my experience in which I found myself tired of the rituals and icons plastered everywhere marring the simplicity of the site. I think many people will identify with the participants experiences and feelings.

The DVD attempts to address the idea of finding the true meaning of Christmas. I found purpose more adequately expressed through the study guides than directly in the video. The video shows how the participants were exposed to the reality of how the first Christmas would have occurred but it doesn’t address why Jesus came. I think it assumes that we know why he came, and therefore would be geared to an audience that already know the why but not the reality of the circumstances.

Overall, I really enjoyed watching the videos. Since I have had the opportunity to visit Israel , I could understand some of their experiences an I think it will give people a great peek into the realities of the first Christmas. It is a video series that I willingly recommend to churches and individuals.

This DVD was provided by Tyndale. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my very own. I am disclosing this according to the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It is Dangerous to Be Right When the Government is Wrong by Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

It’s Dangerous to Be Right When the Government is Wrong

The Case for Personal Freedom

Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

Sit down, pick up this book, read it and ponder what it is saying. Judge Napolitano presents the case for denigration of our personal freedoms by our government. He asks (as well as quotes from an anonymous source)…does the government exist to protect our freedoms, or do we exist to serve the government? Judge Napolitano surveys subjects from the Declaration of Independence , the right to own property, the freedom of speech, the freedom of association, the freedom to travel, the right to privacy, your own body, the right to self-defense, the right to petition the government, and more. He provides examples of how these rights have been trampled upon or taken away. He writes clearly and defines his terms so that you are on the same page.

I don’t normally read political books, and since I don’t have TV, I wasn’t familiar with the judge‘s positions prior to reading this book. Yet, I am glad that I have read it. It is an book that seeks to inform readers, and I believe it does just that. While I don’t agree with every idea that the judge discusses or proposes, I think that this book is a valuable read and should open its readers eyes to what we have lost. I did feel that his conclusion was short and would like more of his thoughts on how to bring about change, and would it even be possible in today’s society.

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson’s book review blogger’s program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my very own. I am disclosing this according to the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Apple Pie

Cool fall days and apples everywhere demanded a beautiful apple to consume.. here are a couple of photos of the apple pie I made today.... almost two sticks in butter in the crust and I don't know how many apples... and looooottttttttsss of cinamon....

and I tossed a bit of glitter sugar on top to add a little texture and sweetness!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bound For Glory by T. Botts and P. Raybon

Bound For Glory

Celebrating the Gift of African American

Spirituals through Expressive Calligraphy

By Timothy Botts

With reflections by Patricia Raybon

Beauty….Struggle….Hope…Victory…Sorrow…all are subjects of the spiritual songs and beautiful artwork depicted in this book. The artist has skillfully captured in visual form, the words and expression of lyrics that the African-American people brought into the church and culture by way of its time in slavery. These poignant songs capture the soul of a people and their faith, and they continue to reveal the hope that we have in our Lord during trials and tribulations. The Gospel shines throughout . The volume illustrates around 50 songs in four different categories: The Bible Story, Times of Trouble, True Testimony and Heaven Bound.

Botts and Raybon, through the use of calligraphy, watercolor, photography, poetry, and scripture captures the essence of these emotional songs. Botts’ art is inspired by the African American community, quilts and even graffiti and flow freely and colorfully. We have been provided with a beautiful book worthy of any library. Each page is filled with a unique vision of the song, the lyrics, and a gentle reflection upon the song. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves art, music, African-American history and more. This would make a great gift.

This book was provided by Tyndale as a part of their blogger’s network. . I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my very own. I am disclosing this according to the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Voice New Testament

Open up this newer translation of the New Testament and step into the story of the scripture…this New Testament takes a different approach to presenting the Word for readers. First, it is presented in a screenplay format when dialogue is presented. Secondly, they use italic type to insert word or phrases that are supposed to add understanding to the original text. Lastly, they have delineated material to expand on the them in specific passages. This translation is meant to be more artistic in is presentation and more readable to people today.

First, I liked the formatting of the dialogue into a screenplay format. It visually helps to separate dialogue from narrative and therefore helps to create a mind picture of those who are speaking. Next, I liked that they provided a brief overview of each book and the historical setting. Finally, I liked the little notes scattered throughout the book.

On the other hand, there are a few things I’m concerned about. First, they exchange the phrase the Word in John 1:1 with the Voice. They provided their reasoning behind this, but I felt that it still fell short. A word gives meaning and purpose, but a voice can be used without meaning and purpose, and so I was uncomfortable with their use of it. For example, in the KJV John 1:1-4 is rendered as follows:

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

In the Voice, it is rendered as follows(italic word were added to add to understanding):

Before time itself was measured, the Voice was speaking. The voice was and is God.

2This [celestial] Word remained ever present with the Creator; His speech shaped the entire cosmos. 3. [Immersed in the process of creating,] all things that exist were birthed in Him. 4. His breath filled all things with a living, breathing light-

Please note that I added brackets to the italic words for sites that don’t render italics.

Once question on verse four… were is the word “men“? How is this translation similar? I do confess, that haven’t read the original Greek, but there is a lot of difference here, especially verse 4.

Another item, that I would like to address are the italic words that are added. I like the idea, but I don’t’ always agree that the information adds my understanding of every passage. I thought some were unnecessary. I also fear that some people might take these italicized words and count them as God’s word. The translators did explain what they were doing well, but I do think that this might be hard for some people to separate.

Overall, I liked the idea behind the translation, and I liked the format and presentation. I do feel that there needs to be more work on the translation side. If you read this, make sure you don’t substitute it for another translation , but read it alongside the other and compare. 

Update:  As I learn more about Bibles like the Voice, I cannot recommend it.  I do apologize if anyone read this an bought it because of my review.  Any time the Bible is translated, it should be translated as close to the original, not adapted to be relevant to a society.  The Bible is relevant to society in and of itself.  Please do not buy this copy but get a properly translated Bible to study.

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson’s book review blogger’s program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my very own. I am disclosing this according to the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

The Voice

Step Into the Story of Scripture

New Testament

By Ecclesia Bible Society

Thomas Nelson Publishers

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Heroes and Villans of the Bible, compiled by Tama Fortner

Heroes and Villains of the Bible

Compiled by Tama Fortner

Tommy Nelson

So have you every stopped to study the heroes and villains of the Bible? Who are those heroes and villains? “Heroes and Villains of the Bible” is a compilation of Bible Texts that are focused on various characters of the Bible that are either Heroes or Villains. The book uses the International Children’s Bible version as its Biblical source, and gives us a solid presentation of God’s word. Each section is focused on either a hero or villain and gives a brief summary of the traits of a hero or villain as demonstrated in the story, and it always ties in the idea of what a hero does, is or knows. For example, “Heroes know that God never lies.” Many of the sections have a digitally illustrated picture to lead into the section. These illustrations were wonderful.

I really liked that this is a scripturally framed book. I think that this is important. I also liked the brief summaries at the end of each section. I downloaded and read this book on my kindle as well as my PC reading app. I liked it on the eReader, although the illustrations were far better in color on my PC than in black and white on my reader, but I enjoyed them either way. Not every story had an illustration, and I do wish that each did. My children loved them. One thing I would have liked would be a section with some critical thinking questions to help kids to go deeper. .

Overall, I think this is an awesome book and recommend it to the intended age range and even a little on either side. This book would work great for a daily devotional series with your child, something for them to read on their own, for Sunday school or even home school.

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson’s book review blogger’s program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my very own. I am disclosing this according to the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Thank you God for Loving Me by Max Lucado

Thank You God for Loving Me

Read to Me Little Hermie

Max Lucado

Hermie the caterpillar is featured in this little board book for 9 months to about 4 years of age. In this Hermie book, Hermie prays to thank God for blessing him. First, he thanks God for loving him, and then for watching over him, for being at his side and more. This little book is geared towards about 9 months to 4 years old., although I think my 5, 7, &9 year olds would love it too.

The illustrations are really cute, and will appeal to the little ones. The book feels durable for little tykes too. I really liked that one illustration showed Hermie with a Bible. I believe it’s important to teach children about God’s word. One thing that I would like to see even in small children’s books are scriptures that support the story, even if it is one at the end. It is also a good book to help start a conversation with your toddler about thankfulness.

Overall, I enjoyed this little book, I love the illustrations, the rhyming, and how it teaches thankfulness to God. It will make a great bedtime storybook, or an anytime book.

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson’s book review blogger’s program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my very own. I am disclosing this according to the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Friday, September 30, 2011

A Handwoven Hand Towel 9/11

Here are some photos from my latest project.  It is not without mistakes unforunately...but I still think it turned out nicely.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tracy's Hair Salon Logo!

Here are two designs that I created for Tracy's Hair Studio... She picked the black based design... but I love them both!

PLease note that both designs are my original work, please do not copy.  Thank you.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Night of the Living Dead Christian by Matt Mikalatos

Night of the Living Dead Christian

Matt Mikalatos

Werewolves, mad scientists, vampires and zombies and Christians… you can find them all in Matt Mikalatos’ new book Night of the Living Dead Christian. The story revolves around Matt, a mad scientist named Dr. Culbetron, his robot assistant Hibbs 3000, and a werewolf named Luther. They team up to help Luther to conquer his werewolf side. They are also running from the werewolf hunter - Borut. So will there find the answer for Luther? Will Luther be rescued from life as a werewolf? You will have to read it to find out.

In this allegory, the monsters represent types of people…and the journey is one we all find ourselves in. Some of us are zombies, some of us are robots, some of us are vampires or another monster, and some of us have been rescued. This story has humor in it, appeals to those of us who love fiction and monsters, and attempts to provide an answer for monsters who want to be changed.

I really enjoyed the chapters in which Luther the werewolf addresses the reader. Mikalatos wrote proficiently and profoundly. I think these few chapters were the most well written of the book. I especially enjoyed the ending which you will have to read for yourself. On the other hand, the rest of the book, I found myself wanting to skip sentences or paragraphs to get to the ‘good’ part, and often times I was lost as to where they were at in a time frame. I would like to have had better transitions. I would also have liked more in depth description and idea development. This book is on the lighter side, which I believe is it’s intent, but I think it could have gone deeper.

I did like the monster guide at the back, and the book was a good read. I would recommend it to anyone who likes monsters… and allegories .

This book was provided by Tyndale. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my very own. I am disclosing this according to the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

180 Documentary

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Wonder of Your Love by Beth Wiseman

The Wonder of Your Love

Beth Wiseman

Thomas Nelson Publishers

The Wonder of Your Love is the second book in the “Land of Canaan” series centering around the Amish. Community in Canaan, Colorado. The main character is Katie Ann, a widow at 40 and mother to a new son. She faces life after the abandonment of her husband and his subsequent death. She has the support of an outgoing English woman, Martha, who lives amongst the community without converting. But this story is a romance…. When Eli, a widower with 6 grown children, comes to visit his family in the community, he meets Katie and the story revolves around this storyline along with a few other supporting but lightly developed plots (which I hope she will add to in further books).

This story is a very enjoyable read, with engaging characters and a predictable outcome. I read this book over two evenings, and the author kept me intrigued throughout. I would have read it in one evening, but I ran out of time! I would have loved more development of the side plots the author introduced involving the character of Martha. Overall I would give recommend this book to anyone who loves romance and the Amish…..

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson’s book review blogger’s program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my very own. I am disclosing this according to the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Hardest Thing to Do by Penelope Wilcock

Step back in time and into a medieval monastery, and step into the relationships and challenges that a group of priests and novitiates face within that community. This fourth installment of Ms. Wilcock’s Hawk and Dove series is a wonderfully written novel that again takes you back in time to a Benedictine monastery in medieval England. The book begins with the journey of the newly installed Abbott to St. Alcuin’s and takes you on the journey that the whole community faces when they take in an adversary of Peregrine’s ( the prior Abbott). This is a book filled with relationship and struggle. I found myself smiling to myself at times, struggling with the monks at times, and hoping for certain resolutions….. Was I disappointed? By far not.

I do recommend that a new reader to this series pick up the prior books and read them. They are beneficial to understanding some of the nuances….but this book can stand on its own as well. I really appreciated the Liturgical calendar, the monastery day schedule, and the list of characters.

One thing that I have missed in this book and the previous, is the mother telling her daughter the stories of the monastery. I loved how she integrated the two.

Overall, I think this book and the whole series is a work that I recommend to anyone, especially those who love historical fiction. It is a book that anyone can relate to, which makes it even more appealing.

This book was provided by Crossway for review, and I was not required to give a positive review. The review is my opinion.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

NIght Night Blessings by Amy Parker

Simple, colorful and cute. This little book for kids has simple little prayers to read along with beautiful color illustrations. The little girl gives thanks for the little things in her life… like for mommy’s kisses, bubble baths, snuggling into bed, and even doggy licks! The little prayers rhyme and will draw your little one’s attention. It’s not too long , so children’s attention won’t wander. It is a great little book for 6 mo’s through 3+ years old. I even think my 5 year old will like it.

I read this in the eBook format for Kindle, and I would have preferred it as a board book. Fortunately I have a desktop eBook reader and was able to see the illustrations in color. I would love to have had the option in an eBook, to have the writing in the illustration and to read it horizontally. Color isn’t as important as seeing the illustrations. On the reader, the illustrations are too small to catch a child’s attention like they would in a board book. There is one error in the eBook when she snuggles into bed… there is a p in front of into. It doesn’t detract from the story at all.

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson’s book review blogger’s program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my very own. I am disclosing this according to the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hermie A Common Caterpillar

Hermie a Common Caterpillar

Max Lucado

Tommy Nelson Publishers

Hmmmm….. Are you common? Do you wonder if God has a special plan for you? Max Lucado has created another fabulous book for children. This is the story of Hermie the caterpillar, a common caterpillar, who wonders why God made him common. He sees other creatures of God and compares himself to them. But Hermie, who talks to God and trusts Him, has something special awaiting…. You’ll have to read it to see it!

I read this book as an eBook…I debated between the two formats, but because my bookshelf is getting full, I chose this format. This book captures the struggle we all have with comparing ourselves with others and asking why God? It puts the struggle into a beautiful story and great format for kids to learn that God is not done with them yet, and that we need to trust Him to fulfill His plan in our lives.

Since this is an eBook, I can’t comment on the color! But the illustrations are wonderful and appropriate. The only thing I would comment on this format, is that sometimes there are pages without illustrations, which wouldn’t happen in a print book.

I highly recommend this book, in either format, for you and your children. I think we adults need to read stories like this regardless of the reading level or maybe because of it! My children really enjoyed the story…They love all of Max’s books….and this one is no different.

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson’s book review blogger’s program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my very own. I am disclosing this according to the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Surprised by Oxford A Memoir by Carolyn Weber

Surprised by Oxford

A Memoir

Carolyn Weber

Thomas Nelson

This is an excellent memoir that describes the spiritual journey of a young woman who is pursuing her Masters in Literature at Oxford. She takes a spiritual journey from agnosticism to faith, from darkness to enlightenment in the midst of an academic culture against faith in Christ. Her writing is reflective of her major. She writes descriptively and uses a scholar’s vocabulary plus a few non scholarly words in appropriate circumstances. She meets some great Christian academics whose maturity in Christ help her along the way. There is a little romance thrown in to the story as well, but the true romance is in finding the relationship with Jesus.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I debated on whether or not to read it, but I would have missed an excellent book if I had not. There were times I laughed, and there were other times that made me think. I often found myself highlighting things that made me think or see God’s Word and Works in a new light. I would highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. I would also recommend it to book group wanting a book to delve into and discuss. I think that it can fill that niche.

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson’s book review blogger’s program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my very own. I am disclosing this according to the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Gabby, God's Litlte Angel by Sheila Walsh

Gabby, God’s Little Angel

Sheila Walsh

Thomas Nelson

This is the story of a guardian angel in training by the name of Gabby (she talks a lot). She is given the task of watching over a little girl names Sophie who is a lot like her. I was really excited to read this book to my 5 year old daughter, the intended audience. She loved it. It’s her favorite story.

The illustrations are beautifully executed. They are my favorite part of the book. The sparkles on the cover were captivating for my 5 year old! I liked the concept of showing children that God has angels watching over them, and that He loves them. It’s important to know how He loves us. The little childlike angels are cute and will attract the attention of the kids.

On the other hand, I disliked the use of three different fonts. It was distracting to be looking at so many different font styles. I would stick to two fonts and keep a consistent placement of the illustrated font. For example, I would keep the large font at the beginning, or on one page, but not in between and here and there. It makes it hard to read.

There was also an error regarding riding her horse. On one page she says she is riding it for the first time, but on the next page it shows her riding it backwards the summer before. Most kids won’t notice this discrepancy.

On another note, angels are a venue that God uses to protect us (because of His love), but His love is greater than that. I would like to see children’s books that have more of the gospel.

Overall, I thought this was a book that I could enjoy with my daughter and use it to teach about how God protects us because He loves us.

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson’s book review blogger’s program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my very own. I am disclosing this according to the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

It's Your Kid, Not a Gerbil by Kevin Leman

It’s Your Kid Not a Gerbil

Kevin Leman

Tyndale Books

Do you feel like you don’t ever stop? This new book by Kevin Lehman is a witty and informative book about putting your family first and getting out of the rat race we sometimes find ourselves addicted to. In this book, Leman helps us to see what is important in raising our children….creating family time, putting our children’s true needs into perspective, and more. Also, he addresses some of the myths that we parents bite onto. Myths such as - busy is good? And - my child can do anything. Often, as a mom of a 9,7,&5 year olds, I often feel pressured by other people’s expectations to do everything, to believe those myths, and now I can rest assured that I’m on the right track or can get to it.

At various times, I laughed aloud, amused at Mr. Leman’s writing style. It made it easier to chew on the ideas presented. He addresses each point simply and accurately. At the end of each chapter, he gives brief tips to help his readers put ideas into practice. When necessary, he addresses single parents with tact and care.

This book isn’t just for parents who are on the activity wheel, but it’s truly for all parents who want the best for their families and kids. It’s a book I would recommend to all my friends, gerbils or no, and hope that they will take his advice to heart.

This book was provided by Tyndale as a part of their blogger’s network. . I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my very own. I am disclosing this according to the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Realms Thereunder by Ross Lawhead

The Realms Thereunder

The Ancient Earth Trilogy

By Ross Lawhead.

Thomas Nelson Publishers

Adventure, mystery, mysticism, ancient England and modern England meet in this new novel by Ross Lawhead. This debut story focuses on two characters Daniel Tully and Freya Reynolds who wander into the struggle between evil and good in the underground realms of England which are steeped in magic and adventure. It is counter pointed between Daniel and Freya’s present day adventure and an adventure they had 8 years previously. It also throws in another bit of a storyline that is woven together to create a compelling fantasy story.

I really enjoyed this fantasy book. I read it quickly, as I do most books that I really enjoy. I thought Mr. Lawhead’s descriptive writing was done well. His characters were well rounded and I enjoyed getting to know them. On the down side, although I love books of this genre, I did feel hesitant about some of the mystical ideas that were used, and wouldn’t quite expect it in a book from Thomas Nelson. I also did get lost at one point in the storyline but quickly found my way….a little like the characters I guess. LOL!

Overall, I believe that this book will be a delight to fantasy lovers of all types. I am looking forward to reading the next installation of the trilogy…. And I have to wait a year to read it!

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson’s book review blogger’s program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my very own. I am disclosing this according to the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

It couldn't Just Happen...Knowing the Truth about God's Awesome Creation

It Couldn’t Just Happen… Knowing the Truth about God’s Awesome Creation

By Lawrence O. Richards

Thomas Nelson Publishers

I chose this e-book because I have a nine year old in the public school system, and I wanted to see if it was a book that could help me to show him the truth about creation, evolution and how to understand the thought processes behind those two world views. I also chose it because I enjoy books on the subject.

I really enjoyed reading the e-book. In fact, it is the first e-book that I have read. I wish it had been on an e-reader but it was nice to read on my pc as well. This book is geared towards the 9-12 year old age group. The writing wasn’t too simple, and the words and ideas were communicated clearly for the audience intended.

This book is not a science textbook teaching facts to memorize and regurgitate. It is a book with an apologetic bent that presents ideas/theories from evolution, then presents why it couldn‘t just happen. There are facts presented and thinking exercises to help you ponder the material. I really liked that it explained to me a few scientific ideas that I had wondered about but never knew the definition. For example…. Red shift and how it is used to estimate the distance of stars.

I also liked how the author brought in scripture, but not overwhelmingly so. It was appropriate for the material and discussion. I liked the photos, and would have loved to have seen more of them. I would recommend this book to parents who want to present creation as opposed to evolution to their children in public school, and I think homeschoolers as well can benefit from seeing both ideas and an effective presentation of truth. I also appreciate the apologetic on the inerrancy of scriptures at the end.

I look forward to having my 9 year old read it and eventually my 7 and 5 years olds when they are at that reading level.

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson’s book review blogger’s program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my very own. I am disclosing this according to the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Has God Spoken by Hank Hanegraaff

Has God Spoken? Proof of the Bible’s Divine Inspiration

Hank Hanegraaff

Thomas Nelson Publishers

When I ordered this book I was excited to read it! I love apologetics and love reading apologetics books. I had never heard of Mr. Hanegraaff previous to reading this book, hence I had never heard his radio show. So I didn’t know what to expect.

So what exactly is his book about? Mr. Hanegraaff creates a structurally sound framework for defending the Bible in regards to its divine inspiration. His use of acronyms, while a bit overwhelming at first, is a manageable way to remember the material presented. So what is the material and is it sufficient? Although I will not give away all of his acronyms and info. I will present his overall acronym of MAPS…. Manuscript COPIES (another acronym), Archaeologists SPADE, Prophetic STARS, & Scriptural LIGHTS. Within each section, he gives valid arguable support for the inspiration of the scriptures. It is not exhaustive, which I would not expect, but sufficient. It is enough to create a solid foundation on which to extend your learning about scripture and its inerrancy.

Now in regards to Mr. Hanegraaf’s style…Since I was unaware of his writing style and eschatological beliefs previous to this read, I didn’t go into reading it with any preconceived notions. So let me address these briefly. My main problem with the book is that he tends to use a lot of big words, that although his radio audience and professionals (for want of a better word) would understand. These words or labels can have a multitude of meaning for those who are not versed in them from his perspective. I would like for him to at least have defined them for his readers in order to create a level playing ground of understanding if not agreement. If you are going to use the word fundamentalist, make sure that readers who are unfamiliar have your definition. This would be considerate of those who may be picking up the book but are not familiar with the politics.

Some of Mr. Hanegraaff’s eschatological beliefs come through and whether or not you believe the same as he does in regards to certain Biblical concepts, I think you can appreciate his delivery of the tools for analyzing scripture. Whether or not you agree with his use of the tools, the tools presented are efficient and effective for learning about the inerrancy of scripture and the process of discovering it.

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson’s book review blogger’s program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my very own. I am disclosing this according to the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Praying Mantis

Well the days of summer are drawing towards school....  School begins on Tuesday so with the nice weather we have, I forced the kids to go outside and play in the sprinkler that took all summer for me to buy.  They found something very exciting out there in the yard... yup you guess it... a praying mantis.  Now, they aren't my favorite bug by far, but they are an interesting one. I couldn't help but pull out my camera and give it a shot!  So I'm posting some photos of the bug for you all to see. 

I used my Canon l series 70-200 mm lens at 200 mm on aperture priority.
This is not a macro clens but the size of the PM made it easy to get close with.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo

Book Review:

Heaven is For Real

Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent

Heaven is for Real is the account of a child’s 3 minute visit to heaven during surgery for appendicitis, and the circumstances leading up to and afterwards. I have to admit that I came to this story with skepticism, and left it with a sense of enjoyment mixed with questions. This book is an easy read and can be read within a couple of hours or days depending on your reading style. The doubts I entered with concerning certain details weren’t converted, but other things were fun to read. As a Christian, I wanted to make sure I looked at this story fairly and tried to come from a scriptural perspective…. Are the things backed up scripturally? Are Colton’s remarks realistically portrayed from his viewpoint and age appropriate within reason?

I think Todd’s writing is good, and the story progresses nicely in most aspects but it is not a meaty book - it’s more like candy. It gives you some sweet pictures of Heaven but no real depth that some might look for, which I wouldn’t expect from a 3.5 year old’s perspective/story.

In retrospect, I believe the Burpo’s have recorded Colton’s testimony accurately. Now is Colton’s testimony accurate? I’m left with doubts on a few items that I believe are not directly supported scripturally nor contradicted scripturally. I’m left with a doubt about why Colton answered some of the questions or made remarks that appeared to show a lack of enthusiasm or excitement that I would hope to hear from someone (child or adult ) who visited heaven. On the other hand, I believe the overall message is encouraging. But for anyone reading this, you need to remember that scripture is the final authority and that faith should not be built upon this story….this story should encourage you to check out the Bible, to study it and learn who Jesus is, get to know Him and learn what eternity has in store for those who love God.….

Overall, I would recommend this to Christians who know God’s Word. I don’t know that I would use it as an evangelism tool, because even though there are scriptures in the book, they are sparse and specific to an experience. I believe the Bible is the best evangelism tool…. God’s Word to us directly.

I checked this book from my local library.  Thank you O'Neill Public Library.

PS As I study more of God's Word, the less I believe there is any accuracy in this book and do not recommend it as more than a work of fiction, and for those whose knowledge of the Word is new, they should avoid the false teachings in this book.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Family Session!

Well, last night I had a great family and child session. So I thought that I would share some portraits online!

Please note that I do not put names in order to protect my clients privacy!