Monday, December 31, 2012

Les Miserables FOTF Radio Theatre Prod.

Les Miserables
Victor Hugo
FOTF Radio Theatre Prod.
Tyndale Publishers

Wow, another awesome Focus on the Family Radio Theatre production is available.  This latest production, Les Miserables,  follows in a long line of high quality audio drama.  I was quite excited to be able to receive this production.  I have seen the Broadway production and some movies, and at times felt a little lost in all the music since I wasn't familiar with the storyline prior to seeing them.  The quality of actors and acting, directing and more draw you into the story of Jean Val Jean and Cosette and the student revolutions in France. 
Since I have not read the book, I cannot attest to the accuracy of the presentation, but I felt that the story captured the essence of faith and a changed life and how it affects those around.  I didn't get lost in the story, although I would like more backstory about Fontine and Cosette than was provided.
Overall, it is a version that the whole family can enjoy together, and could draw a person into reading the whole of the book.  I would recommend this audio drama highly.

I was provided this book by Tyndale for an honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sisters in Faith Holy BIble

Sisters In Faith  Holy Bible
King James Version, SIgnature Series
Thomas Nelson Pub

     There are a myriad of Bibles out there with commentary geared towards anything and everything.
When I saw this Bible, geared towards African American women, I thought of a friend of mine, and decided to review it.    This Bible has highlights of various Biblical women, it deals with questions and issues that African-American women deal with, includes poetic prayers, and in general deals with women’s issues.
As I read through the extras, I believe that they are written intelligently, and will appeal to all women irregardless of cultural background.  Some of the featuress included are:  She Speaks, highlighting Biblical women from their point of view; Notes to Self; Lyrical Expressions, or poetry; A Place of Honor, that highlights specific Biblical women; Quest and Discovery,  which present a situation, and answer.
     I found that many of the helps in the commentaries and extras were Biblically founded and sound. 
They really didn’t address any controversial subjects.  The writing was thoughtful and well written.  My only concern was that the women thanked female pastors in their intro.  I have a feeling that they believe that women can be pastors, and that those issues were cultural for the day. This is a point on which I would disagree  Yet, I don’t feel that this concept was directly addressed in the writing so, I would say that it isn’t totally relevant to what is being taught.  They do stay away from women’s roles as described by the Bible and don't really address any major marital issues that deal with Biblca women's roles.  I would like to have seen more about respecting and loving your husband and raising Godly children.
      Overall, I liked this version and think it will be a Bible appealing to all women, and specifically
those in the African American community.

I received this book from for an honest review.  I was not required to give a positive revioew and the opinions expressed are mine.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Oliver Twist by Focus on the Family

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Focus on the Family's Radio Theater


Step out of your world and into the world of Oliver Twist just prior Victorian England. Journey with Oliver from birth, to the orphanage, through the work house, in the mortician's shop, on the road to London, into Fagin's lair and beyond as you listen to Focus on the Family's radio theater presentation. FOTF utilizes an all star cast to present a professional production that will not disappoint you. Along with the radio theater discs, they have included a DVD which shows some behind the scenes of the making of the radio drama along with a short documentary on modern day orphans.

My family and I listened with eagerness after anticipating this production for a while. IN fact we listened to it over a day and a half and pretty much straight through. My children who are 10, 8 & 6 enjoyed it... especially my 10 year old. Everyone's attention was kept eagerly for the next turn in the plot, and our imaginations lent the pictures. Overall I would highly recommend this program for anyone.... young or old and in between. I think you will be able to listen to it over and over again for many a year to come.

This product was provided by the publisher for review. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ahhh to be back...

It's been a crazy fall and I have had some serious computer problmes recently that have kept me from posting... so here are a few photos to tide us over until my next post!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Kylee and Casey

I had the privilege to photograph this awesome couple's wedding this last Saturday.  It was a beautiful day... warm and full of sunshine.  I wish them a happy marriage full of love, joy and children.

Share the Bounty, Finding God's Graace Through the Spirit of Hospitality by Benita Long

Share the Bounty
Finding God's Grace Through the Spirit of Hospitality
Benita Long

Long and her photographer, food stylist and artistic and floral design assistants, have compiled a book of menus set amidst pages of photographs and verses and quotes designed around the idea of hospitality and finding God's grace through such sharing food and comfort with guests.

The book is large and would be a beautiful coffee table book. The photographs are abundant and well done, although not quite how I would photograph them as a photographer. The book is divided into sections such as The Call, Prepare to Share and Three delightful Luncheons. Each focuses on an aspect of hospitality The recipes look good and are presented in an orderly manner that make them easy to read and follow.
Throughout the book, there are Bible verses and a variety of quotes from people throughout the ages. This is where I have the problem with this book. The book is titled in part... “Finding God's Grace Through the Spirit of Hospitality”, yet which God do they mean? There are quotes from ungodly people such as Yoko Ono, Led Zeppelin, Henry Nouwen, Ghandi and more. If this was billed as an inspirational book about hospitality, it might be okay. But... when we want to focus on God's grace, and the gospel (which is not presented in this book, but God's grace is not separate from the gospel), we are given an ecumenical view of hospitality; a view that includes Non-Christians who don't know God nor His hospitality.
Overall, this is a well presented book with doable recipes, nice photography, and a bevy of well meaning, but secular quotes scattered amongst Bible verses to inspire people to share God's grace through hospitality. I wish the authors would have kept to Biblical examples of hospitality, but since they did not, I cannot recommend this book wholly as a portraying a Biblical worldview about the subject. If you just want something inspirational, then it is a book that will satisfy many a woman's coffee table and dinner table.

I received this book from the publisher, and have given my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Voice in the WInd by Francine Rivers

A Voice in the Wind: 20th Anniversary Edition

Mark of the Lion , Book One

Francine Rivers

Tyndale Publishers

Step back in time to ancient Israel, Rome and Ephesus, and follow along with the story of Hadassah as she faces the destruction of Jerusalem under Titus, the death of her family and slavery. Hadassah is a Jewish/Christian girl who is a slave in a wealthy Roman household, where she serves a family (and ultimately God) with love and patience. Francine Rivers weaves a masterful tale with characters and circumstances that are uncannily similar of our day and age. It is not a shy tale, but one with vividly sinful and realistic characters, and a heroine who models the Christian faith steadily.

I read this book many years ago, and I loved it then and now. I liked that Rivers did not pull her punches with the circumstances of the human condition, the depravity of the human heart, and the mercy of God on sinners. Along with the story of Hadassah, as she faces life as a slave, she intersperses the story of Atretes, a German prisoner sold into the gladiator arena. The two stories intertwine at different times to create various facets to capture your attention. Love, hatred, greed, idolatry and more are addressed in throughout the story.

This book is not a book for young girls/women. There are adult themes and circumstances that are presented and should a teenage girl want to read it, I would suggest a parent reading it first and then with. Rivers presents a masterful work, that I would love to make into a movie. I wish I had the resources to do it.

Also, in this anniversary edition, the cover artwork is revisited and beautiful. They have included a map of the Mediterranean region, a page highlighting the previous covers, and a discussion guide.

I recommend the book to anyone who likes historical fiction and romance and wants more than the basic formulaic romances that are popular today.

I received this book for review from the publisher. The review was not required to be positive and is my own opinion.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


I went out with my camera yesterday, and I took a few close up photos... not macro... but I think they turned out beautifully....
These are fall photogrphs but the colors look like spring....  I love the pinks and greens.
I love the shape of these seed pods.... they remind me of stars..... 

Class of 2013 - AJ

I've been very lax in sharing my photography here lately, so here is my last senior of the  year...

It was 30 degrees out when we started at 8 this morning, but we had great light to start with and it was well worth it.  AJ was a good sport, he would go where I asked him even if it was creepy!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Trying out my new...?

I bought a new Canon 5D Mk III for it's video and photo abilities, and I bought a cheap slider to play around with too.  Here is what I have come up with so far....
I also bought a New Zeishh 35mm 1.8 MF lens... it is awesome.

I really just went out to test out the camera and slider with no particular focus, but I did add my kids and found myself with a focus... the kids and the neighbor's horses.  The slider I bought was a cheap one, but after fooling around with it, I made do with it.  I think it's a good starter one, but I think I should save up for something better from Rhino gear. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

God's Names by Sally Michael

Product Details

God's Names
Sally Michael
P & R Publishing

What is the first thing that you do when you meet someone? You introduce yourself and learn each others' names. Names are important. As a photograph, I strive to remember people's names so that they know that I care. God has many names. They are names we should learn because, not only is He God, but they are descriptive of His character. Sally Michael has written a book that introduces you and your children to the names of God. She has presented a valuable resource for parents instructing their children, and for parents too!

As a mom of three elementary age children, I was struggling to find Christian books that taught my children about God and about important Christian doctrines. There is such a lack of sufficient material. Everything is geared towards behavior and morality, but little on the nature and character of our Maker. I found this book to fill the niche I was looking for, and I'm not disappointed.

Sally Michael has chosen a list of the names of God to teach, and although not comprehensive, it is a great introduction. She includes an introduction to guide parents in presenting the material, a pronunciation guide, and of course the lessons. Each lesson introduces the name, it's pronunciation, its meaning and the study, which is centered around scripture. Her lessons are of sufficient length and depth to introduce the concept and apply without being too long to lose the children's interest. Each lesson ends with questions and an activity.

We tackled one lesson a week, usually on Saturday, and then repeated the names and meaning throughout the week. My kids always listened and enjoyed the lessons. They always wanted to look ahead in the book to find out the next name, which I wouldn't let them do. They learned the names and meanings easily.
I would highly recommend this book for any parent who wants to teach their children more about God and His names as found in the Bible and wants to learn themselves.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dreams and Visions by Tom Doyle

Dreams and Visions

Is Jesus Awakening the Muslim World?

By Tom Doyle, with Greg Webster
Published by Thomas Nelson

In Dreams and Visions, Tom Doyle, a missionary to the middle east and Asia, compiles various stories of dreams and visions of Jesus, Isa, by Muslim people throughout the region. The book is categorized into countries where the stories originate, and includes information about the region and culture that pertain to the subject at hand. You travel from Egypt to Syria to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other places. The book is well organized and written engagingly.

The question for me though, is not whether to book is well written, but does it bear the truth of God's Word. When approaching the idea of dreams and visions, I'm skeptical, as the author said he was at first. When I read the Bible in verses such as : 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21, Matthew 24:26, Matthew 24:26, Luke 16:29, John 14:25-26, John 16:7-11, John 16:14, Matthew 24:5, Hebrews 1:1-2, 2 Corinthians 11:4, 2 Corinthians 11:14-15, my skepticism isn't diminished but increased; I have more questions and doubts after comparing it the the Bible.

I don't believe that I can rely on personal experiences to believe that Jesus is revealing Himself to Muslims or any other people group other than through His Word and the working of the Holy Spirit.

I do believe that God can use these experiences, whoever originates them, to bring people to Him, because as Joseph said in Genesis 50:20

But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

In this book, there are a lot of good facts and pictures of Islam that are valuable for Christians to know and understand. I recommend reading it with a Bible in hand, reading the Bible in its historical and revelational context, and to remember not to set up personal experience above the Word of God.

I received this e-book from Thomas' Nelson's bloggers program.  This review is my own opinions

Sunday, August 19, 2012

My Boys

Here are some photos of my boys....  I love their new school clothes, and so I thought that it was time to get them out and shoot!  I did use some fill in flash just to cutinto the shadows a bit... but I love how they turned out.....just what I envisioned....

Saturday, August 18, 2012

the Money Smart Family System by Steve and Annette Economides

The Money Smart Family System
Steve & Annette Economides
Thomas Nelson

Have you every tried to figure out a way to teach your children financial principles but found yourself lacking the creativity to do it? I have... but never found a systematic or simplistic way to implement something that I could stick to. The Economides have written a book that presents a system to teach your children financial principles that any one can give a shot.
The start by introducing the 5/50/500 rule. This basically states that different stages in your child's life their financial blunders will cost from less to more. Basically a financial errors with a five year old are far less costly than with a 20 year old's. This is a very true principle that I have seen manifested in my life and the life of my family. They share several tools or principles that they use to manage their children's financial learning and even behavior. I like the point system that they introduced. Each child has four things throughout the day that they can earn points, and in turn money, and then they teach the children how to divide it into specified categories. I don't want to spoil the ideas....
Each chapter is consistent with starting with a concept, showing how they manage it, and put it into the framework of their 5/50/500 rule. They provide usable worksheets that you can copy and use. They also share examples from their family, to show how they used what they are presenting. There are a lot of practical ideas that help you to teach your child finances, how to earn and save, as well as give.
Overall, I liked the book, and I plan to implement many of their ideas.... or I am going to attempt it! The only thing I really had qualms with is their attack on youth groups... they look at the positives of many organization, activity ideas, but they came down on youth groups without looking at the negatives of other groups. I'm not saying that I disagree with their arguments, but felt it stood out against the upholding of other things that could have negatives as well. I would recommend this book for any and all parents. One additional note, if you are looking for a Bible-based study on teaching children finances, this is not it.

I received this book from Thomas Nelson's blogger's program and was not required to write a positive review.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

1960's Style Female Graphic

I created this vector graphic as one out of two proposals for a cooking blog. The author chose the other one, so I thought I would share this one for now.  I will share her blog header in a future post.  I have always had some difficulty with creating graphics of people, but I think this one turned out decent.  It is inspired by an old cookbook from 1961.

One thing that I did differently from the 60's cookbook drawings that I used as inspiration, was that instead of straight black lines, I used variable width strokes.  I think it added some life to it and some visual interest.  I do think I should add some lines on the top of the meringue pie to show the lumpiness of the pie. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The End by Mark Hitchcock

The End: A Complete Overview of Bible Prophecy and the End of Days

Mark Hitchcock


Prophecy, a topic that fascinates some and frightens others, but what does the Bible have to say about the end times and what does it mean? Hitchcock addresses the basics of Biblical end times prophecies from a dispensationalist view while briefly introducing other viewpoints with respect. This book is called a comprehensive guide to Biblical end times prophecy, and provides an informative resource for Bible students of all ages. Hitchcock lays out an understandable progression through the subject. He addresses the all-important beginning point of how to interpret prophecy, key prophetic passages, the benefits of studying prophecy, the strengths and weaknesses of key views within the church, and more.

Overall, this book provides Bible students with a basic overview or survey of the topic. It is a great resource for studying end times prophecies and various eschatological views that we should be aware of and have a basic understanding of. His focus is on end times events and primarily Revelation, but he brings in OT prophecy as needed to complete the picture. He addresses the signs of the times, the 144000, the antichrist, heaven, judgment and more. For anyone interested in learning about what the Bible says about the end times, this is a good primer for study.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Stars Branding Graphics

I haven't been putting much up in regards to graphic designs.  I've been working at growing my skills with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop amongst other things.  I created this marketing set after creating a graphic frame for the photo that inspired it. The photography name is fictitious, but I though it fit the design.
I really like the simplicity of the design and the contrast between the gold and black.  A star shines, and gives light in the darkness.....
It is a set that consists of a brand, a disc design, a letterhead, a postcard, and business cards.

Copyright 2012 by Brooke Kaczor, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

2013 Seniors

Here are two great senior portrait clients that I have had the pleasure of working for this summer...