Tuesday, July 23, 2013

So I took a break

You may have noticed that I haven't posted in a couple weeks. I didn't really intend to take a break, but nausea and morning sickness have taken their toll.

It has not been as bad as with Ben, but I haven't been real comfortable either. So I haven't really had much to tell you all about and my brain has been on auto pilot for a few days. In the next weeks or so, I don't really know what I will say or how much I'll say.

For now, I have one thought. William and Kate are amazing. They are living under an extreme amount of scrutiny and they manage to do so with grace and love and a sense of duty balanced with a sense of realism. I am amazed by them.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mr. Joe: Tales from a Haunted Life - Book Review

Mr. Joe: Tales from a Haunted Life
I was a bit hesitant to review this one. It sounded like an interesting story, but what if it was all these crazy ghost stories. What would I say about it? Thankfully this book is not at all like that. As a teacher, I know that custodian is arguably one of the toughest jobs in the building. Mr. Joe gives voice to all the custodians who do an amazing job and don't get the recognition they deserve. For that reason alone, I think everyone should read it. But thankfully, that's not it. Mr. Joe also lets us into his personal life. We see all the painful memories as well as the the happy ones.

My only caveat is that at the end he gets into some spiritual ideas that I personally disagree with. However, they are a part of his story and it is not my place to agree or disagree with it. I only say this to warn a reader who might be sensitive to various spiritual ideas.

My Amazon Review:

By definition a custodian has responsibility for or looks after something. Mr. Joe is a custodian in every sense of the word. He had a responsibility to the the school system he worked for and the meat plant before that. He looked after his family even when it was hard. He had responsibility for these stories and we are lucky that he has shared them with us. His narration is gentle and comfortable even when the stories are painful, embarrassing, and just hard.

There are ghosts in his stories and some of them are still living. There are ghosts that played tricks and ghosts that looked after him. There are ghosts of failed relationships and ghosts of painful memories. Mr. Joe has not had an easy life, but even in the telling he lets us know that it is all okay. 

An amazing story told in a beautiful way.

Book Details:

Do you believe in ghosts? Joseph Barnett didn t until he became a school custodian in a midlife career change. Joe had no idea that his first assignment, working nights in a school, he d be forced to confront his darkest fears. "Ghosts are part of my story," says Joe. "I believe in them; I have no choice. After you ve seen one ghost, you can go back and rationalize it. But after you ve looked a couple in the eye like I have, you believe. Otherwise, you doubt yourself. I ve done that, too and wondered if I was losing my mind but I know what I saw and heard. Here s something else I know: there are many ways to be haunted, and not all of my ghosts were dead. That s the other part of my story. It took almost becoming a ghost myself for me to see my life differently. I believe in ghosts, and I believe in myself. But back when this all started, I was just a guy trying to make a living."

380 pages
2013 Aug 1
Book length
Publication date

PublisherBettie Youngs Books (August 1, 2013)
Price: $14.52

Disclaimer: I received a free copy (after I requested it) from NetGalley in exchange for a review. The opinions are my own and are in no way influenced by anything other than the book. And I added the links to Amazon because that is where I reviewed it. I was not asked by Amazon, NetGalley, or any affiliate to add the links to Amazon.

Monday, July 8, 2013

How much does He love you?

While I was listening to the sermon, a verse came to my attention. John 17:26.

26 I have made you[e] known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

Did you catch that?

Jesus said that God loves us as much as he loved Jesus.


It isn't about how good we are or how many things we are doing or what we are saying or whatever else you are thinking is going to get God to love you.

He already loves you AS MUCH AS he loved Jesus!

And if you aren't as excited as me about that, go to your bathroom. Look in the mirror. And say this outloud,

"God loves me as much as he loved Jesus."

Now doesn't that feel amazing!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Good Stuff Saturday 7-6

Run With The Big Girls - What It's All About  

I just want to remind you whether you’re in the gym or at work or sitting at home with your family, there is always something you can do to help.  Wherever you are.  

Thoughts on Life, God, and Ministry - Faith and Patriotism  

Well, it’s almost July 4th. If you’re an American, that means it’s time for burgers, hot dogs, apple pies, and fireworks.  The majority of us will take a day off to celebrate our country’s independence from British rule over 200 years ago.  If you’re a Christian, there are lots of spiritual overtones to this holiday as well.  

Living in Harmony - He Sees You {Chasing History}  

Then a little more Spiritual meaning was added as we reach high school youth group.  Yet some how we never dug in to see the details God wanted us to.  One such story for me is about Abraham and Sarah or more specifically the handmaiden, Hagar.

Living In Harmony - My Sanctuary {Behind the Scenes} 

If I had a panorama view of you would see that where I am is not some peaceful beautiful sanctuary.  I am not sitting in some awe-inspiring bible study class being lead by a great theologian.  You might would be amazed at the pile of dirty laundry off to the right.  The cluttered desk that so badly needs dusting is to the left.  Granted my Master bedroom does not look like the most sacred meeting place.  However, to me it is. 

Overcome The Lie - Outward Appearances  

I think it’s completely safe to say that in 2013, women are
constantly bombarded with an idea of how we’re supposed to look.
We can’t watch a show on tv without a makeup ad telling us
how “flawless” our skin can be. We can’t get online to check out email with out
seeing yet another picture of a celebrity looking stunning.
And if I can be honest here.
Sometimes it’s even hard to get on social media these days,
because of the “perfect pictures” coming from friends.

Buzz Feed Rewind - Could You Pass the Literacy Test Given to Black Voters in the 1960's

Below are scans of an actual “literacy test” given to black voters by the state of Louisiana in the 1960s. As Slate points out, “There was little room for befuddlement. The test was to be taken in 10 minutes flat, and a single wrong answer meant a failing grade.” Careful readers will note the irony of the typos in this test.

This Time Around - A Life in a Tweet   

Yet there I was, reading 1 Chronicles when one of my favourite things popped out at me in chapter seven: a little factoid (they’re so cute and factual!). This particular factoid came in verse 24:
Ephraim’s daughter was Sheerah. She built the towns of Lower Beth-Horon, Upper Beth-Horon, and Uzzen-Sheerah.
~1 Chronicles 7:24 (CEV)

Navigating the Supermarket Aisles with Michael Pollan and Michael Moss 

Michael Pollan and Michael Moss visit a typical supermarket and talk about cooking and the food industry.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Big News from here!

The Golden Crystal: A Book Review

 Photo Credit: Amazon

The only caveat I will add to the review is that there were a couple places where I was confused or there were typos. I'm not sure which it was. However, I assume the copy I received wasn't the final copy and those things will be fixed.

My Amazon Review:

This book is a Sci fi Action Adventure Ancient History Thriller.June 28, 2013
As you can tell, it is hard to classify! A book that doesn't fit easily into a genre is a book that breaks some rules. And I like it that way!

Mr. Thacker has written a superb novel that I thoroughly enjoyed! The ancient history intrigued me. The sci fi marveled me. The action adventure startled me. And he even threw in a smidge of theology in a very simple and satisfying way. I loved the experience of reading this book. I loved the what ifs this book made me consider. And I fell in love with the brave and noble characters that save the day.

I generally do not read action adventure thriller books because the are a bit too brutal for my tastes. This book did have some brutality in it and at times I was uncomfortable. However the rest of the book was too compelling to stop reading.

If you are squeamish about death, read this book with caution. (I think you should still read it though.) If you typically don't like sci fi books, let this one change your mind. If you don't like historical fiction, read this one anyway because it most certainly isn't boring! And if you are uncomfortable with the mention or discussion of a deity in novels, you can skip the page(s). (But I wouldn't recommend that because I think the pages are too good to skip.)

I think there is something that everyone will enjoy in this novel, so I think you should read it!

Editorial Reviews


In 1791, two men began planning the layout for the nation's capital city. One is shunned and resigns in disgrace, and the other is all but forgotten. Years later, an original copy of the plans long thought to have been destroyed is found, with hastily marked notations by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.

During the second World War, American military scientists discover some fascinating properties of the hydrogen atom and its link to an ancient mystical number. The exact findings are never published, but a national laboratory is built in 1943 to further their research in covert silence. America is told it is a defense project, code-named The Manhattan Project.

An ego-maniacal entrepreneur and his company, Vilocorp, will stop at nothing to build the perfect human specimen. His firm's research has been getting closer every day, but they seem to have uncovered a horrific, ancient secret that has been locked away for thousands of years.

Now, it's up to two men to understand the mystery surrounding the events and ancient symbolism before Vilocorp unleashes a hellish fury upon the earth; one that hasn t been seen for ages... --From the back cover...

Book Details

422 pages
2013 Jul 1
Book length
Publication date

PublisherTurtleshell Press; 2 edition (July 1, 2013)

Price: $14.18

Disclaimer: I received a free copy (after I requested it) from Story Cartel in exchange for a review. The opinions are my own and are in no way influenced by anything other than the book. And I added the links to Amazon because that is where I reviewed it. I was not asked by Amazon, Story Cartel, or any affiliate to add the links to Amazon.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Middle Earth and Paris: Two Reviews

I have lots of ideas about Sgt. Fiana Thrace and the Environmental Crimes Division. I have every intention of working on that story. However right now, I'm stuck in a reading mode right now. As such, I'm going to be posting some reviews of what I have been reading.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit Photo Credit: Goodreads

I somehow had the mistaken notion that this was a boys book and therefore not interesting to me. I was completely wrong! I'm actually a little sad that it took me this long to get over that faulty notion. On the strong recommendation of a couple friends and my husband, I finally caved in and read the book. I LOVED IT!!

My Goodreads Review:

I can not believe that it has taken me so long to read this book. The detail is a bit overwhelming at first. However, you quickly become immersed in this new world where the danger is there, but the story teller keeps your feet from the fire. You are at a comfortable distance from the danger so that you do not feel the need to stop reading. The character of Bilbo changes and expands in a natural movement with the story. The character of some of the dwarves, elves, and so on remain a bit illusive until the end. 

After reading this one, I am even considering reading the trilogy. 

If you have not yet read this book, do yourself a favor and read it. It is a delightful story that is well written and well paced.

Book Description

 November 8, 2012
This lavish gift edition of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic features cover art, illustrations, and watercolor paintings by the artist Alan Lee.
Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have launched a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Bilbo reluctantly joins their quest, unaware that on his journey to the Lonely Mountain he will encounter both a magic ring and a frightening creature known as Gollum.
Written for J.R.R. Tolkien's own children, The Hobbit has sold many millions of copies worldwide and established itself as a modern classic.

Product Details

  • File Size: 6964 KB
  • Print Length: 316 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0395873460
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 114th edition (November 8, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009VN1Q00

(I reviewed this book on my own and did not receive a copy from any publisher.)

The Paris Lawyer

 Photo Credit: Amazon

I think a few weeks ago I mentioned that I wasn't a big fan a books set in France. This one unfortunately is no exception. 

My Goodreads Review:

It could be a great summer read for some people. The characters are all very unique and unlike any that I have read in other novels. The main character Catherine is fighting for the rights of others, even if she is doing it for her own reasons. The mystery does seem to be multi-layered. And the bad guy slowly reveals himself. 

I did notice there were a couple times when the point of view shifted to a different character unnecessarily. And several of the men were very creepy. Catherine was not really a favorite either. So I didn't finish the book. 

It wasn't for me, but maybe some who have a broader reading preferences would like it.

Book Description

 July 2, 2012

Winner of the Grand Prix Sang d’Encre crime fiction award in 2011, for the first time in English.

As a child, Catherine Monsigny was the only witness to a heinous crime. Now, she is an ambitious rookie attorney in sophisticated modern-day Paris. On the side, she does pro bono work and hits the jackpot: a major felony case that could boost her career. A black woman is accused of poisoning her rich farmer husband in a peaceful village in central France, where the beautiful, rolling hills hold dark secrets. While preparing the case, Catherine’s own past comes back with a vengeance. This fast- paced story follows Catherine’s determined search for the truth in both her case and her own life. Who can she believe? And can you ever escape from your past? The story twists and turns, combining subtle psychological insight with a detailed sense of place.

Product Details

  • File Size: 517 KB
  • Print Length: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Le French Book (July 2, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008H3QNSU

Disclaimer: I received a free copy (after I requested it) from NetGalley in exchange for a review. The opinions are my own and are in no way influenced by anything other than the book. And I added the links to Amazon because that is where I reviewed it. I was not asked by Amazon, NetGalley, or any affiliate to add the links to Amazon.

Good Stuff Saturday 6-29 on Wednesday

Photos and Videos

Estudia Feliz - España 

Estudia Feliz - Ala de mariposa vista a través de un microscopio (Butterfly wing seen through a microscope)

National Geographic Photo of the Day - Tallinn, Estonia

National Geographic Photo of the Day - Summer Palace, China

River's Edge Audiobook! Amazing.

I loved these thoughts about tattoos! Pastor Bob DAILY! 6/25/13 - "Before You Get That Tattoo ...."

Human Trafficking Awareness

The Life of A Christ Follower in Albania - Albania and Human Trafficking - Why does it happen? Read this and learn a little

New York Times - Behind Cry for Help from China Labor Camp  - What it is really like for those making our stuff in China.

God Stuff

Stuff Christians Like - Oh, you're a Christian  - This is totally my dream too!

NoSuperheros.com - The Breakdown of Marriage and Family  A great look at marriage and family in the Bible. Really good stuff here!

Fun Stuff

I'm a Wolf. What are you?  - You will need to know your personality type. If not, try this first.

The Ramtings of a Dad - All Done Daddy! - Love this story!

Healthy Stuff

Katie Axelson - Learning to say "No".  - We all need to do a little more of this.

Overcome The Lie - Sticking to a Plan  - Great practical Bible reading advice.