Monday, May 30, 2011

Hungry for God, by Margaret Feinberg

Read this book!!! Buy it or borrow it and read it!! Okay, so obviously I liked this book. This book, Hungry for God, is apparently an update of an earlier book of Feinberg’s called God Whispers. I hadn’t read this earlier edition, but I can say that this book is a wonderful book.

From the prologue through to the end of the book, it was an easy, understandable, moving book. As I read it (it was a quick and easy read, too!) I found myself nodding and re-reading sections or marking them for later reference. The only thing I didn’t “get” about the book was the chapter numbers, for instance .001, .002, etc. Huh? But that was just peripheral. No big deal!

Listening to God was the message this book teaches. It gives ideas of how to best listen, how to best hear the Lord speaking, to ME. The author reminds us that God does want to speak to us, and He does want us to understand what He has to say to us. He speaks to us through planting thoughts in our mind, through things we read or hear, through the natural world, through Scripture, etc. He will ensure that we get his message—through reinforcement—for instance sometimes we will get a thought that seems to be from God, and later we may see the same idea written out somewhere, or mentioned in a song or some other way. An interesting concept in the book, which really stood out to me, was the statement, “When all we hear is silence, sometimes God is trumpeting a message to others.” Hmmm.

We are challenged to make time, make space, to listen to God, to be open and searching for His message. This book was a wonderful reminder to be deliberate in our listening for God’s message to us, personally. This message was a timely one for me to read. I very much enjoyed this book, and it is a book I plan to read several more times.

I received a free copy of this book from Zondervan as a part of their blogger review program. I was not required to write a positive review.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

My boots

Here's a nice "fluffy" post for today :)

I'm not a big "shoe" gal, I only have a couple pair of shoes, but today I want to tell you about my boots :) For no real reason, except that I so love them! My shoes (boots) that I like so much are the ones pictured above, Ariat Fatbaby boots. Ah, they are SO comfy--I wear them 3 seasons of the year (I'm a sandal gal in the summer!) They're nice and light and look good with jeans or slacks or just about anything. They keep the mud and water out when walking through puddles or a wet lawn, (or a muddy chicken yard!) They take scrapes okay, protect my toes from so many bangs and bruises, and still look good. I didn't even have to put snowseal or some other waterproofer on them!

An additional perk is that I bought them at Tractor Supply and for $10 more I purchased their protection plan, which will REPLACE them in the first two years if they get wrecked (even if it's just from "normal wear"!! Wow! I've had mine for almost two years and they're still holding up great, so I haven't had to use that, but it did give me peace of mind about paying so much for a pair of shoes! :)

So there's my non-poetic ode to my fatbabies! :)

Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus, by Kyle Idleman

Fan vs Follower! The theme question of the book Not a Fan is whether we are truly followers of Christ or just fans. A true follower is what Jesus wants us to be, but many of us fall short and are in the “fan” category. Throughout the book, symptoms of fans are described, along with traits of true followers.

I like the premise of this book, the understanding that following Christ is not a shallow addition to our lives, but actually a different life, of denial, of death to ourselves. There were several parts of the book that I didn’t love, such as hints that making our children obey and follow Biblical guidelines is setting them up for a lifetime of fandom rather than true following. I really don’t agree with that—the “Train up a child in the way he should go. . .”verse in Proverbs tells parents they should do this. I DO agree that just following the “rules” isn’t the fullness of following Christ, but it is a good place to start with our children, definitely followed by the teaching of the necessity of the personal relationship of a disciple. I certainly appreciated that the points Idleman made in the book were backed up with Scripture. This isn’t just a man’s opinion or thoughts, it is the teaching of Christ.

The book was a pleasant read, filled with cultural references (and some just plain silliness!) from today. That doesn’t speak well to a long-lasting, “classic”, but who knows, maybe the content will prevail and the cultural references will be overlooked or seen as cute comments fifty years down the road.

All in all, it was a good read. Challenging, thought provoking, and even action/attitude altering!

I received a free copy of Not a Fan from Zondervan books as a part of its blogger review program. Thank you Zondervan!

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead

The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead was an easy book to read, despite its length. As I sit down to write a review, however, I have mixed feelings about how to portray it. It’s a science-fiction/fantasy type book in that its primary story line is that there are Ley Lines, which are portals to alternate realities. The characters in the book are on some sort of quest to gather pieces of the skin map, which is a man’s skin on which directions to reaching to the alternate worlds were tattooed, while at the same time keeping them away from the “bad guys”.

The different chapters of the book were interesting, but the book as a whole was very disjointed, not giving enough information to satisfy me. For instance, many of the chapters were given to developing the character of Wilhelmina—but then she was just left until she swooped in at the end in combat-type gear from who knows where. The ending was not a conclusion by any means, rather it brought up more questions and had me thinking, “Huh?” The characters were not developed very thoroughly and some of them ended up dying, without much care given to that, which was a little weird to me too.

I understand that there is another book in this series scheduled to be out in September of this year, and this second book may clear up some of these issues, but I believe that a well-written book should be able to stand alone, without needing a future book to explain it well enough to enjoy.

On the whole, this book had potential, and it was an easy read, but truthfully, I would not recommend it at this point—perhaps when the second book comes out I’ll change my mind, but based on the book itself, there it is.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Island life

The waters are finally subsiding, a bit. Living on an island that is connected to the mainland by a causeway makes you sometimes forget that you're on an island! But this spring, with the lake level at 3 ft above flood stage we have at times been in danger of being cut off from the mainland. The northern route is way too flooded, but the dept of transportation has done a great job in trying to keep the southern route open. It's through a bit of water, but we can still get out if we absolutely need to. The causeway road has been undercut and crumbling, but they've done a great job of repairing that day by day as well. Thank you department of transportation!

Friday, May 6, 2011

iShine Bible

I like looking at different Bibles. I do have my favorite versions, but there are so many different styles of Bibles, with different designs, bindings, inserts, addenda, etc. This iShine Bible is made for a distinct audience. It’s marketed as a Bible for “tweens” which are identified by the iShine folks as kids in the ages 7-13. So I’ll base my review on this age range.

The iShine Bible comes in two color schemes, one very pink and girly, the other blue, gray, and gold. The covers are comfortable and catchy looking. The Bible is a nice small size, easy to grab and take with you. The print is very small, but not difficult to read. There is an extra section in the beginning, before the actual Scripture begins, which gives the plan of salvation and growing in Christ—in an easy to understand fashion. In amongst the pages are three sections of a heavier paper which speak to “tweens” about their value, identity, and purpose. A great addition is that on these pages are QR codes/URLs which lead to the iShine website—certain music videos and inspirational messages.

The actual text of Scripture is the New Living Translation which is not very familiar to me, not one of my favorites, but it’s understandable for kids.

All in all I liked this Bible for a certain audience. The age range for the “tween” thing seems a little young, I’d actually put suggested age for this as like 10 – 15 or so. The iShine association is interesting to me, not exactly what I’d have for my daughter, but she has a little friend who’s into hip-hop and I’m sure she would really appreciate it. My kids are not as in-tune to the “culture” as others perhaps. I find this Bible to be timely for those kids who are into this “tween” culture—not sure it’s a format which will be lasting, but it is a great tool for catching kids’ interest.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of each of these books for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Easy swim suit cover-up!

Short post on my quick project today! A bathing suit cover-up for my daughter. She found a huge (XXL) long sleeved t-shirt that she just loved at a rummage sale, but about fifteen of her could have fit into it. . .so it became transformed into a coverup! Here are the quick and easy steps. . .
The first step was to cut off the sleeves and neckline and stitch down the sides to make a tube shape (I used my serger)

Next I folded over (twice) the top of the "tube" and stitched in place, then inserted elastic.

Then came the waist. . .I measured to find out where the waist would go, then stitched in a piece of hem binding (could've used anything--just had this handy) and inserted skinny elastic

The last step was to make some shoulder straps--measured, made some, stitched them on, and voila!! Ready for summer fun!

Photobucket Photobucket

(the straps are really the same size, they're just sitting funny in this pic--so they look like one's way bigger. It's not!!)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Knitting Knee-Highs by Barb Brown

What an inspirational book! Reading this book was so enjoyable—great pictures, great stories, great text, great instructions!! This book by Barb Brown contains patterns for twenty awesome patterned knee socks. The patterns run the range from conservative to frilly to a little funky (in a good way!) I can totally see myself wearing these socks, or any one of these would make a valuable gift for anyone.

Besides the individual instructions for each style of socks, the book also contains information such as the formula for making socks knee-high, tips and tricks for custom fitting, converting knee-highs to other sizes, and general knitting information. She also gives tips on gauge and making a swatch to be sure your project turns out right. She also addressed one of my huge concerns, which is spending so much time on making socks and then being afraid to wear them for fear of wearing them out—she gives ideas for either repairing them or adjusting their function.

I have only ever knitted plain socks, I consider myself to be a very beginner knitter, yet I plan on trying one of these patterns soon. They are just too gorgeous to not try!

I highly recommend this book, with an explanation that I have not tried any of the patterns in this book, so I cannot vouch for their accuracy.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review.

Signs of spring

Sure sign of spring. . .winter coats and snowpants washed and hanging on the line! Hopefully not needed for several months! :)