Sunday, December 9, 2012

High Five from Haelie

So, if you have followed my blog for very long, you probably know that I am a Mom of Master Books.

As such, I have been blessed to be able to share with you some wonderful books published by Master Books, an imprint of New Leaf Publishing Group.

Now, Master Books would like for me to pick out my top five books I have reviewed for them---or as I prefer to call it---my High Five from Haelie!

This is a difficult task, since I have reviewed MANY of their books and almost ALL of them are my favorite in some way.

BUT---in keeping with the request, here they are with links 
(in chronological order by review date):

BIG Book of History

The World of Animals


The Complete AQUARIUM Adventure by Merilee and Bill Clifton

Already Gone by Ken Ham and Britt Beemer with Todd Hillard

So, there you have it!

Now, as you know, I am not the only Mom of Master Books. Please check out the links below for some other Moms of Master Books Fave Five.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Wrecked

Have you ever been wrecked?

No, not IN a wreck---wrecked.

What does it mean to be wrecked?

As I listened to this audiobook version of Wrecked, I had the privilege of hearing the author, Jeff Goins, himself tell me what it means to be wrecked.

I cannot relay to you with the accuracy and passion of Goins what it means to be wrecked, but what I can say is that I think I live in a state of near-wrecked-ness. (Yes, I made that term up.)

To be wrecked, per Goins, is to be so impacted by the need and helplessness of others less fortunate than yourself that you cannot live without thinking of them and tangibly doing for them, with them, and giving to them. And actually, that is truly just a tiny glimpse of what it means to be wrecked. You should listen to Goins describe it to you as I had the pleasure of doing.

In listening to this book, I found myself identifying with the outer edges of the wrecked state, but not yet having been fully affected---not yet fully wrecked. This is why I say I live in a state of near-wrecked-ness.

Now, just a few minutes ago I just finished watching a movie portraying the real-life "Machine Gun Preacher," Sam Childers. I would definitely say that man was wrecked! He went on one trip to Sudan to help repair huts damaged in the Second Sudanese War. During that trip he was wrecked for the children of Sudan and Uganda who were being abducted by the Joseph Kony's "Lord's Resistance Army." His life and mission since then has been and continues to be to help those children tangibly in any way he can---and he does. He is wrecked.

As far as this audiobook from ChristianAudio goes, I highly recommend it. It was especially beneficial to hear it read by the author, as he was able to instill his own passion and intent into each word he wrote as he read it aloud. One drawback of audiobooks is that I am unable to easily quote from them for you since I typically listen to them during my commutes to and from work (which is actually one of the things I love most about audiobooks). So, it's a bit of give and take, but most definitely a rewarding experience.

Disclaimer: I received this audiobook for free from christianaudio.com. No other compensation was received. The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

While the gumbo simmers...

Mmmm...can you smell it?!

I can!

Homemade Chicken & Sausage Gumbo simmering away on the stove...mmm!

If your taste buds have never had the pleasure of experiencing the unique, tantalizing flavors of gumbo, then just let me be the one to tell you that you are being unfair to those precious taste buds of yours. What have they ever done to you? They deserve the comfort and blessing of this frugal delicacy.

Are you convinced?

Well, I am, so I guess that's what matters at this point, since I am the one who is sitting in a house that smells of simmering gumbo...and I can't even have any yet!

Yep. You've got that right. No gumbo tonight for this tempted soul. This is for tomorrow's lunch!

Why? What? How can I wait, you ask?

Well, it's really not that hard (said the person who tried to convince me to bungee jump...which I never did).

Okay, really though. You see, here's the thing.

Gumbo, like a fine wine, gets better with time. The flavors come together; the textures develop; the aroma thickens with temptation. It's just all around amazing after it has had time to truly come together.

Kind of like life...

You kind of have to understand the process of making gumbo to understand its comparison to life. Here---I'll help you. Stick with me now.

So---"first you make a roux." 
(That's pronounced "roo"---like Kanga-ROO---for you non-Southern folk that might be joining in here.) Yes, all good Cajun recipes start with this famous line---"first you make a roux."

What is a "roux" and how do you make it and why do you make it first, you might ask?

Well, I could tell you, but I would rather show you. But before I do, I must slightly disagree with the "first you make a roux" part. No, before you make the roux, you MUST have every chopped and/or boiled ingredient ready before you proceed. Once you start with the roux, you must stay with the roux---every inch of you is devoted to the roux---head to toe.

Here's why.

Making a roux consists of *gently* burning flour and fat (oil or butter depending on your recipe). I said GENTLY, which means you are cooking them together to the point that they are brown like chocolate and almost nutty flavored---but NOT SCORCHED---which is where the head-to-toe devotion comes in.

You can't rush a roux! It will either get scorched or, if under-cooked, will cause the gumbo to have the taste of raw flour throughout it.

As a matter of fact, my Facebook post tonight about sums it up. "I must say...making a roux & cooking gumbo cannot be done without a WHOLE LOTTA music & dancing...cause it takes a WHOLE LOTTA standing in one place & stirring. Just sharing some experiential wisdom...for what it's worth."

So, before you start the roux, you chop, chop chop. I used some nifty goggles to help keep the tears away while chopping.

Now, let me jump back to the part where I said making a gumbo is a lot like life.

Life involves some necessary though uncomfortable and tear-inducing chopping and boiling along the way. 

You know what I'm talking about, so I don't think I need to go any farther with that analogy. I am sure some vivid examples are sitting at the forefront of your mind right now.

But, without those painful, hot, tearful experiences, 
the outcome just would not be as satisfying nor as sought after.

Now, fast forward through the prep work, and we're back at the roux.

Remember how I described a good roux? The color of chocolate. Nutty flavored. No, I'm not in any way describing a Reese's peanut butter cup, but I am pointing out that you need to remember how delicious and necessary the appropriate outcome is to endure the next part.

As soon as you put the flour and fat (oil or butter) in the pot and turn on the heat, you MUST stand there and STIR, STIR, STIR. No questions asked! A scorched roux ruins a gumbo! (Ask anyone who attended my wedding and sampled the fare...)

Finally, once you have gotten the roux to the desired gently-burnt-not-scorched state, (NO, you DO NOT get to stop stirring...not yet!) you then add in the chopped Cajun Trinity of vegetables (onions, celery, and bell peppers).

And guess what you do now...KEEP STIRRING! (until the veggies are a bit wilted, per Emeril).

Once they are wilted, you add the sausage (in the recipe I made tonight, at least) and you KEEP STIRRING for just a little longer.

THEN, you can FINALLY pour in the water component (I used the stock from my boiled chicken) and...well...yes, KEEP STIRRING...but only until the water and roux start to blend together well and the mixture starts to come to a boil.

THEN, and ONLY THEN, when the mixture finally starts coming together and boiling, you can STOP STIRRING and let it simmer for a while (about an hour) only stirring occasionally (which will feel like a beach-side vacation after all of the CONSTANT stirring you've been doing).

After the first simmer-time, you then go back and add the chicken (for this recipe, at least) and let it simmer some more...a LOT more...like about TWO HOURS more.

Simma' down now! ;)

And of course at the end, you add the finishing touches of some chopped green onions, parsley, and Gumbo File'.

What?!?!?! 
You don't know what 
Gumbo File' is?!?!?!

Of course not. I knew that. Seriously though, it is a very finely ground powder that is made from the leaves of a sassafras tree. We can thank our local Native American ancestors for it. File' (pronounced "FEE-lay") adds a nice earthy flavor and even a unique texture to dishes it is added to. I saw one description that said it is spicy, but Wikipedia, I must disagree. Maybe it's just my Southern taste buds, but no spice detected here when tasting a File' infused dish.

Well, I really wasn't trying to be all Cajun Pioneer Woman or anything with this post, but it looks like I have accidentally tip-toed into food blogging.

Anyway, my real point of all of this is to say that, life takes some hard, intentional, work that is sometimes hot and painful and is sometimes boring and monotonous (except for the awesome Pandora music mixes playing in the background). But like a good gumbo, that starts with lots of chopping and then a good well-stirred roux, that hard work that is put in all the way through pays off each step of the way, but most of all in the end.

You may be tired, achy, bored, and/or hungry for what you have envisioned that final outcome to be; I know I am. 

But, please, please, please, don't cut any corners or stop paying attention along the way.

It will be worth it very soon. God has unexpected, soul-satisfying blessings and paths for you that He will be bringing your way sooner than you think or can imagine. He's not waiting until "the end" to give you all the satiating riches He has in store for you. He is changing your current desires to match His desires for you so that He can give you the desires of your heart HERE and NOW! And many more are awaiting you and me in eternity, which by the way is not "the end" but merely "the beginning!"

So, don't scorch your gumbo!!! 
STIR, STIR, STIR 
and then enjoy the fulfillment of its rich flavors 
and inviting textures at the appointed time. 
Remember, if you have to wait to dig into it, that's not a bad thing. 
It gets better with time.

But as for me and my real gumbo, I'll be enjoying mine tomorrow, thank you very much! 

(By the way, I was inspired to write this post to also help you understand that, if you have wondered where I have been in my writing and reviewing, I am here...cooking stirring my gumbo. My life is full of interesting, time-consuming, energy-consuming, and mind-consuming ingredients right now, so please know I am here and will be writing as able. But, in the meantime, I am stirring and waiting...while the gumbo simmers...)

How about you?

Is your gumbo raw, scorching, simmering, 
or finally offering you the delectable product 
of all of that hard work and monotony?

Please share!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Jungle Doctor and the Whirlwind

So, how do you like my first ever screen shot from my new iPhone? Okay, I know I'm a little late getting one, but it was finally free with my contract renewal.

A-N-Y-W-A-Y...on to the review

Jungle Doctor and the Whirlwind written by Paul White, narrated by Paul Michael on audiobook, and published by christianaudio - yep, that's the book.

So, what did I think of it?

Well, it's more like what did I not think of it? No, I don't mean that they way it sounds. Here me out.

When I first requested to review this book, I honestly knew very little about it other than the title and what the cover art looked like. I actually thought it was more of a children's book than it turned out to be, which is not a bad thing.

As I began listening to this audiobook during my commutes, I was sucked in almost immediately. Paul Michael does an amazing job narrating this book! He does the various characters' voices so convincingly that I would have thought he was a mix of Australian and Tanzanian, and was both a young and old man...and even a woman - young and old. Sound crazy? Not at all. He is an excellent audiobook narrator.

Beyond the superb audio theatrics, I was also pleasantly drawn in by the captivating storytelling of Paul White (whom I knew nothing about until the intro to this book). He doesn't just excellently and creatively weave an interesting story; he also presents and unfolds some deep, important Biblical truths in ways that make God's Word and ways tangible to the reader/listener.

White uses the comparison of a storm - a whirlwind - to our lives in that if you "sow the wind" you will "reap the whirlwind." (Hosea 8:7) He also uses analogies from nature to relate how sin affects a person from the inside out, by describing how a destructive insect can get inside of an ear of corn and eat away at it without the outside of the ear having any evidence of what the inside has become.

I can in no way recount the stories and analogies in the way Paul White does, but let me just say that he is a master weaver of a captivating story with a meaning and a purpose.

This story does specifically center around a man who is a drug dealer and is pushing and using marijuana, so that is why I said at the beginning that I do not consider it a children's book. I do, however, highly suggest it as a book for adults of all ages including young adults and even teenagers. You may, however, want to screen it first for yourself before letting a pre-teen or maybe even a teen read/listen to it. I may be erring on the side of caution, but I know some people may not prefer for their child of those ages to be exposed to descriptions of people being high and such quite yet. Realistically, most of them probably are exposed to those discussions by those ages, but again, I leave that to your discretion. And besides, you will thoroughly enjoy and be challenged by reading/listening to this book yourself first anyway.

Do you enjoy audiobooks?

Which have been your favorite/least favorite?

What do you like/dislike about them?

Disclaimer: I received this audiobook for free from christianaudio.com. No other compensation was received. The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.

Monday, October 15, 2012

IndoctriNation

I had a very hard time with this book.

Just being honest.

IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity is a companion book to the DVD by the same title. I have watched it and it is just as disturbing as the book.

Disturbing, however is not bad.

In this book and accompanying DVD, the filmmakers and editor have compiled a combination of first-hand interviews and article/book excerpts into one vast resource regarding the history and state of public education in America.

Learning more about the history of American public education was quite enlightening to me...and disturbing as well.

I am one of the many Americans who has truly no choice (due to poor past financial decisions) other than to send my child to a public school. He has been blessed with great teachers and a great education thus far, but don't think for a minute that I don't have concern for what he hears or will hear in the classrooms he attends - both from teachers and other students. Thus the reason I try my best to diligently #TeachtheTruth in our daily lives in whatever ways God allows and leads me to.

Still, the government-guided school system has my child for more total, undivided time than I do if you factor in all of the other things that go on before and after school.

IndoctriNation brings to light how deliberate my situation is.

No, I do not deliberately choose to let the God-forsaking United States government indoctrinate and mold my child into becoming the kind of humanistic (man-centered) citizen they want to create, but they do deliberately structure our education system in such as way that what I described is highly likely to happen to most children who spend 12 formative years in this government created, government led system. If you don't think that is true, I challenge you to read my review of Already Gone by Ken Ham& Britt Beemer and read that book for more detailed survey results that prove it. Maybe many of the people who work in or have children in this system don't agree with that statement, but just a few pages into the book IndoctriNation will bring to light some things that were put in place many many years ago which have us already socialized in ways we don't even realize.

Again, though, I had a very tough time with this book. Not just for reasons I have described but also because the filmmakers and editor, in their notes of introduction to the book and even a couple of the authors of book portions, conveyed a tone that I did not agree with. I understand their passion for conveying this important message, but in their words some of them seemed to forget about parents like me. They wrapped all parents of publicly educated children into this package group of being "deceived" and lazy / careless about our children's education.

One such statement stands out that I would like to rebut, if I may.

Editor Charles LaVerdiere states, "Previous generations of 'We the People' gladly handed over their children, first to the one-room schoolhouse then to the government, all for convenience."

If anyone in those previous generations was like me, I can say that not all "gladly" handed their children over and likely not so much for "convenience" as much as out of necessity. I struggle internally daily with having to be far less involved with my child's daily schooling than I would like (not even being able to be on campus at his public school as much as I would like due to work obligations). And the public school system is not so much a convenience to me as it is a necessity. Poor financial decisions of my past when I was younger and even single have affected me and continue to affect our family in a way that we are unable to afford living on one income nor can we even afford a private school (not that private schools are the perfect option either).

All that said, I stuck with the book and was very thankful I did. MANY important facts are brought to light in the nearly 400 pages of this book as well as the nearly 2 hours of DVD that accompanies it. You truly should delve into this one if you have children of any age in or near "school days."

Additionally, you can join me and the other MOMS of Master Books for our 2nd "a Book and a Bite" Facebook party this Thursday evening (10/18) from 8-9pm central. Bring your favorite recipe to share, as that is our theme of these new FB parties...food!!! And of course, good books!


Want to read more reviews? Don't just take my word for it...



So...have I got you thinking...?

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from New Leaf Publishing Group. No other compensation was received. The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Escaping the Cauldron by Kristine McGuire

Witch, Medium, and Ghost Hunter...

That's what Kristine McGuire once was.

Christian housewife and homeschooling mother...

That's what Kristine McGuire also was prior to and during her time as a Witch, Medium, and Ghost Hunter.

Yes, as a matter of fact, she called herself a "Christian Witch." And she was one among many who call themselves that.

In Escaping the Cauldron: exposing occult influences in everyday life, Kristine shares how in spite of being raised in a Christian home she had a fascination with the occult throughout her life, even as a young child. Seemingly harmless sleep-over games were just the beginning of what turned into an immersion into occult practice later in life.

You may think you have little to nothing in common with someone who is fascinated by the occult, but much of what Kristine uncovers about occult influences in our everyday life may surprise you. {Yoga, horoscopes, and many more}

As a matter of fact, Christine shares how she felt about her life in the occult in a way that will likely surprise you overall:
I loved ghost hunting. I wanted to be a medium. What I didn't realize was the subtle influence the enemy exerted through my ghost hunting and medium activities. I thought I was following God's will for my life.
He made sure I discovered the truth.
Yes, as Kristine frequently shares, she was not unlike many many other witches and mediums. She truly thought she was helping people and was following God's plan for her.

Kristine shares much of the inner workings of the occult including practical things, such as how she practiced, as well as the vast amount of mental involvement there is in the occult. She also shares from an insider's perspective of how people are drawn away from Christianity and into the occult. Reading this book very well coincided with my recent reading and review of Already Gone which described how and why people are leaving the church so often. Kristine identifies another subset of people who are drawn away from God but often are truly trying to connect with Him in the wrong ways.

Kristine additionally shares very thoroughly yet welcomingly the gospel of Jesus Christ and the power and freedom that comes with surrendering to God and giving up the fight of running from Him and His plan for you.

I suggest in this season of harvest as we are entering fall and as Halloween is on many minds, you should read Kristine's honest, insightful recount of her life and heart as she shares it in Escaping the Cauldron.

This is the season of harvest of souls!

You may discover for yourself the freedom you are longing for and missing. You may also discover ways of connecting with and reaching those who are influenced by occult influences which are drawing them away from God.

Something to think about and share about:  
What interests you most when you think about the subject of the occult and those who practice it?

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Glass Road PR. No other compensation was received. The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Already Gone by Ken Ham and Britt Beemer with Todd Hillard

Do you go to church?

If not, have you ever gone to church in the past?

If that is the case, when and why did you stop?

There is an epidemic today of people who grew up in church but over the years have stopped going. Maybe you are one of them; maybe you know some of them. Either way, there is a reason for this epidemic and it needs to be uncovered and addressed head-on before it spreads  to the point of no return.

In Already Gone: Why your kids will quit church and what you can do to stop it, Ken Ham and Britt Beemer along with Todd Hillard scientifically research this issue and share not only the results but also dig deep into how to get to the heart of it and stop it.

Ken Ham and Britt Beemer also later teamed up for research, writing, and planning in Already Compromised, which I have reviewed as well. Please check out that review when you get a chance.

The Introduction to Already Gone briefly highlights the fact that Europe has overall become a land of abandoned and repurposed church buildings. Throughout the rest of the book we are reminded of how close America is to doing the same.

But the church isn't a building, right? 
It is the Body of Christ...the people of Christ...right? 

Yes, this is very true. (See Colossians 1:24 & Ephesians 5:29-30) But the place where that body congregates to learn, grow, fellowship together and encourage one another is suffering from a severe, quickly progressing epidemic. As Ham states regarding his and his family's move from Australia to America to be missionaries to America:
"The Bible calls the Church the 'Body of Christ.' Today, over 25 years after our move, the statistics prove that His body is bleeding profusely. The next generation of believers is draining from the churches, and it causes me great personal and professional concern. I've sat in the grand, but vacant churches of Europe. I know where this is headed. Where Europe is today spiritually, America will be tomorrow---and for the same reasons, if the Church does not recognize where the foundational problem lies and address it."
Ham enlisted Britt Beemer of America's Research Group to create, facilitate, and analyze a qualified study that would help to unearth the problem(s). To discover who was leaving, why they were, and what could be done to reverse the trend, the study focused on those who said they had attended church very frequently growing up but rarely if ever do now.

Is that YOU? Do you know that person? 

Let me just say...you may think you know the answers to the why's and when's and who's, but I think you will be surprised to read what the statistical research unveiled. Such as:

  • Many begin to leave as early as elementary and middle school (not just later in college).
  • Sunday School is actually currently more harmful than helpful, not for lack of good intention...you really need to read the book for the in-depth explanation of that!
  • Music style and amount is NOT the main reason they leave, nor what they say they miss most (and these were people from age 20-30 answering the surveys)---legalism, hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and boredom were highly scored as reasons but poor music was very low.
  • They miss worshiping God and they miss the pastor's teaching more than most other reasons given (again, including music).
  • Many of them are still firm believers in God and His Word and most say that they don't attend because church is not relevant to them in that they do not feel closer to God there nor is it practical to them.
Those are just some of the results...the tip of the iceberg, really. You need to read this book to glean so much more from it. Excellent research with VERY practical application offered from it. I identified with much of what the results revealed.

Yes, I am one of those who left the church and came back! 
Again, you may be, too...or at the very least you most likely know someone who is.

Ultimately, all in all, Ham and Beemer uncovered that, "Central to this study was the issue of belief. You simply can't explain the behavior without understanding the beliefs behind the behaviors. 'Belief' is invisible." But through intense, well-developed and executed studies like this one, belief and lack-thereof becomes tangible. At least it did for me.

Ham and Beemer help us recognize that we need to do a better job as parents, pastors, and believers in God to help people of all ages realize that "The Bible is not some 'pie in the sky' philosophical book. It's a real book that is really connected to the real world...God's Word stands by itself and doesn't need defending---that is true---but, practically, in this culture we are talking about answering the skeptical questions to uphold the Word and proclaim why we can believe in the Bible's life-giving historical and scientific authority."

According to Ham and Beemer, "We don't need a remodel; we need a complete renovation. We don't need a Band-Aid; we need radical surgery. It's time for a revolution; it's time for a new Reformation in the Church---to call the Church back to the authority of the Word of God, beginning in Genesis."

So, are you intrigued?

Are you uneasy because of the statement that 
"your kids will quit church"?

Please don't let my review be the last you read of the study and revelations of this book, Already Gone.

You actually have a couple of chances to get your hands on a copy of this and others for FREE coming up very soon! Here are the details:

The Bite is all about great recipes worth sharing 
because the food is always "Already Gone" 
before you get a chance to have a Bite!
Master Books will share a recipe in advance. Then you can share some of your faves.
FB Party Date / Time = Tuesday, October 2nd - 8-9pm Central

And, in keeping with our tradition, 
Twitter Party Date / TimeSeptember 27th - 8pm Central 
Twitter Party Hashtag = #TeachtheTruth
Come early!!! There will be a pre-party prize!!!

Party Prizes = Books galore and even a few gift certificates


Spread the word and come join us!


Disclaimer: I received this book for free from New Leaf Publishing Group. No other compensation was received. The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Hurricanes & Holidays

Hurricane Isaac via Air Force Times
As I sit in the laundromat, I am thinking---of all of these people around me, were any of them affected by Hurricane Isaac?

You know, 
why even ask that question?

Most likely all of us were in some way---evacuation, hunkering down, power outage, family/friends/even themselves who lost everything...

Regardless, here we all are---carrying on life in whatever way is our current norm.

Looking back over the past week of post-hurricane life I would say that, yes, life did carry on as usual for many. The holiday that started the post-hurricane week was for many, however, truly fulfilling of its name - Labor Day. As a matter of fact, most of our recent, major hurricanes have ironically coincided with that supposed "labor-free" holiday. For many who are in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac or have been in the aftermath of other hurricanes, however, that day has too often consisted of cleaning debris and trying to get your life and home back to some semblance of normal.

Thankfully Isaac was gentle on my family's things, but I do have some dear friends and co-workers who cannot say the same.

Some lost all. Others lost some.

Many experienced traumatizing emotions at the very least.

And, oh, Tuesday---that first day back to "normal life" after the hurricane and the holiday. A day I do not want to relive, yet for no specific reason other than one word - overwhelmed! I am not sure if others can say the same, but it seemed everything I missed during my evacuation not only waited for my return but brought extra duties and decisions along with it.

I can only imagine what that day was like for so many others, though. I truly should be thankful rather than complaining and becoming overwhelmed with frustration.

One thing I know, however, is that these precious people I know and love here in South Louisiana will endure. Not only will they endure but they will thrive in a way that few others would. 

I have learned a bit of the secret to 
their undying joy and resolve.

You see, when you prepare for a hurricane---whether it be to evacuate or "hunker down"---you quickly undergo a perspective adjustment that will likely remain with you forever. (It has stayed with me since my first hurricane four years ago.) Suddenly you realize you can't protect everything from potential harm and destruction. If you begin to try, you wear yourself out mentally and physically quite fast. Once you come to that realization an unexplainable peace comes over you (or at least it did me). You begin to realize what---or rather who---matters most. As you recognize that preparing yourself and your family and close friends for safety throughout the hurricane is what matters most of all in hurricane prep, you have then reached the ultimate perspective adjustment. 

All of the trivets you own---big and small, precious and insignificant---all of them are just things. Some may take more work, money, and effort to replace but still they are replaceable.

And most of all, I have seen the way these precious people trust God and lean on Him as their strength in these trying times. So many give testimony unashamedly of how He has protected them, provided for them, and even rebuilt them.

This, my friends, is why I love South Louisiana.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Selfless Signers of the Declaration of Independence

Can you name more than three signers of the Declaration of Independence?

 I couldn't at one time.

 Come check out my guest post for more at New Leaf Publishing Group's blog by clicking HERE.

 Also, check out this awesome pin created by NLPG inspired by my guest post...and feel free to repin it!


Friday, August 17, 2012

D is for Dinosaur by Ken and Mally Ham

Remember 

Well, now my son & I have the honor of reviewing 
which is also 
by Ken and Mally Ham.

So, 
what did we think of it?!

Well, if you go back to my review of A is for Adam, I can tell you that the layout and design of D is for Dinosaur is the same. By that, I mean that it is in the style of a tent and is intended to be read by the parent or adult from one side while the child reads aloud and studies the picture from the other side.

Well, here, let me just show you what I mean. 
As a matter of fact, here is where my son's part of the review comes into play. I will demonstrate with the pages that he said were his favorite. See if you can tell why.
In case you can't tell, he loves this one because the dinosaur is bumping his head on the top of the ark.

Each parent / adult page is structured with sections including one called Let's Read where you can see what your child is reading without having to look at his side. 

Other sections include a brief summary of the main point of that page / picture, some Bible Bits that are tidbits the child can repeat after you, some other points they are told to Always Remember, and a couple of other sections including a Quick Review.

So, with all of those similarities to A is for Adam
what makes D is for Dinosaur unique and beneficial 
to have in addition to A is for Adam?

D is for Dinosaur reiterates the important facts of the Biblical creation account 
(as does A is for Adam), however it additionally teaches from the Bible how dinosaurs fit into the six days of creation and beyond. I honestly learned quite a bit myself from it.
Not only does it go along well with A is for Adam, but it is also a perfect accompaniment to Dragons: Legends and Lore of Dinosaurs
Both do an excellent job of breaking down the truth about dinosaurs and even dragons into a format that explains their real, literal 
existence to both children and adults.
My little man with his D is for Dinosaur book (and his always present "hand puppet friend")
So, when I asked my son what he liked best about the book, 
he said, "I likeded everything!" (No, that is not a typo..."likeded" is his cute, common form of "-ed" words right now...it will pass, so I enjoy it for now.)

He also specified that he loved the picture of the dinosaur hitting his head on the top of the door of the ark (as you saw above).

When I asked what he did not like about the book, he said, "I likeded it all! Even when they tricked us on the D is for Dinosaur page!" 
(You'll see what he means when you get the book if you so chose.)

Now that you have read my son's opinions as well as my synopsis, I will say that I definitely recommend D is for Dinosaur as an excellent resource to help you #TeachtheTruth to children.

If you have found yourself even the least bit curious about this book, 
please please please come and join us for a 
coming up on 
Thursday, August 23rd at 8pm Central. 

Who knows?! 
You just might win your own copy of this book!!!

Giveaways & FUN Galore!

Date: Thursday, August 23rd

Time: 8pm Central (lasts between 30 minutes & 1 hour)

Hashtags: Use #TeachtheTruth (throughout entire party) 
to follow the conversation & answer questions for a chance to win PRIZES!!!, 
Use #tttrollcall to check-in & say Hi when you first join the party.


Prizes include: Welllll...I think you need to come join us to 
find out what exciting prizes you might win! 

Spread the word and come join us!

If you don't have a Twitter account, 
(Click HERE to read Michelle's post that gives 
a great description of how to participate in a Twitter Party.)


Photobucket

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from New Leaf Publishing Group. No other compensation was received. The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Evolution Impossible by Dr. John F. Ashton

Could it be?

Could someone an actual scientist and adjunct professor of biomedical sciences and applied sciences actually be claiming in a book that evolution is impossible?!

Yes, it could be and actually is the case.

Though I have done a fair amount of study on this subject myself (some of which is mentioned in former review posts like Secrets of the Sixth Edition and The Case of the Missing Mountain), I have nowhere near as thoroughly and scientifically studied it as Dr. John F. Ashton as well as many other scientists he references.

Could widely accepted evolution truly be an 
impossible explanation for the origin of life on Earth? 

How so, if science has supposedly proven it? 

The truth is that many unproven pieces of the evolution theory cause it to easily be discounted if one has an open mind enough to at least consider the scientific proof against the theory of evolution. Many prominent scientists of our day and days past have uncovered and spoken of this same truth. Dr. John F. Ashton is just one of many, but has taken the time and effort to put his and others' research and conclusions into this book called Evolution Impossible: 12 Reasons Why Evolution Cannot Explain the Origin of Life on Earth.

In the foreward to this book, Emeritus Professor Warren Grubb, PhD (of the School of Biomedical Sciences of Curtin University in Perth, Western Austrailia), makes a statement that I highly agree with though I hope even my skeptical readers will prove this wrong. He says:
If one accepts that there are difficulties with the evolutionary process then one must look at other interpretations, and Dr. Ashton has proposed alternative interpretations of the evidence. Unfortunately, many people will look at the title of this book and dismiss the book without even opening it. This book is not for those who have already made up their minds but for those who have an open mind and are willing to look at alternative interpretations in their quest for truth. It is to these people that I recommend Dr. Ashton's book.
I will not try to quote from the book in order to convince you of the need to reconsider this widely and often blindly accepted theory of evolution. If I start quoting from the book, I could go on all day. Evolution Impossible is FULL of scientific proof and disproof regarding creation by an Intelligent Designer versus evolution with no said Designer involved.

In Evolution Impossible, Dr. Ashton has done an impeccable job of bringing to light many of the accepted "proofs" of evolution and showing how they are actually not proven as they have been presented and accepted to be. As a matter of fact, he has given such thorough scientific explanations of his own and of other scientists in this book that some of the reading is---well---very scientific. I, for one, did quite well in Chemistries and Biologies as well as my other sciences in high school and college, so I was able to follow the majority of it fairly easily. However, if one does not have as heavy of a science background as I do, then some of the reading may be a little difficult. Don't let that shy you away, though.

Go for it! 

Take the challenge! 

Ignore the part of you that wants to say, "Yeah, yeah...whatever! Those idiots don't know what they're talking about."

Be open-minded. Read this book.

Then, if you wish, please come back here and tell me what you thought of it...one way or another.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from New Leaf Publishing Group. No other compensation was received. The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Comfort...Here it is.

Listening to the last chapter of today's Bible reading in my Bible in 90 Days Summer Reading Challenge journey. (I am past the half-way mark on this journey!)

What a perfect, timely passage to wrap up this week for me!

Much needed comfort is here.

Read or listen here along with me:
http://www.youversion.com/bible/isa.40.niv84

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Butterflies, Botanists, and Bumblebees

Which are you?


"A Look into My Garden" as written by H. P. Barker

H.P. Barker gives a graphic illustration that points up the need for both knowing and applying the Bible's truths.

As I looked out into the garden one day, I saw three things.

First, I saw a butterfly. The butterfly was beautiful, and it would alight on a flower and then it would flutter to another flower and then to another, and only for a second or two it would sit and it would move on. It would touch as many lovely blossoms as it could, but derived absolutely no benefit from it.

Then I watched a little longer out my window and there came a botanist. And the botanist had a big notebook under his arm and a great big magnifying glass. The botanist would lean over a certain flower and he would look for a long time and then he would write notes in his notebook. He was there for hours writing notes, closed them, stuck them under his arm, tucked his magnifying glass in his pocket and walked away.

The third thing I noticed was a bee, just a little bee. But the bee would light on a flower and it would sink down deep into the flower and it would extract all the nectar and pollen that it could carry. It went in empty every time and came out full.
~H. P. Barker

I just had to share that with you all today. 

I will also add one of my own observations.

The other day while walking through the French Quarter of New Orleans on a drizzly afternoon with my family, I suddenly felt an intense burning on one of my fingers.

Yep, a "friendly" little honeybee had stung me and left his weapon behind. Let me just say...OUCH!!! For hours...even days I remembered that bee very vividly.

My observation in connection to Mr. Barker's illustration is that we should be so full of the nectar and pollen of God's word that, when necessary, we are able to wield our Sword of the Spirit defensively or even offensively as the little bee did with his stinger. I must say, he was quite effective in injecting his version of the truth into my situation. I pray I can be much like him with the things I learn from my time in God's Word. One way I hope to not emulate him, however, is that I hope not to inject the Truth of God in a painful way, but rather in a way that is thought-provoking and even enticing---kind of like honey, sweet and sticky.

So, with all of that in mind, again I ask---
~Butterfly, Botanist, or Bumblebee~
Which are you today?

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Henry Morris Study Bible

I really had no idea what to expect when I received this beautiful Henry Morris Study Bible in the mail from Master Books.

I was pleasantly surprised to say the least.

And it came at the perfect time as it is a great supplement to my current journey of reading through the Bible cover-to-cover in 90 days. (As I write this I am 1/3 of the way through the entire Bible...it is Day 30 for me! Yes, I am a tiny bit behind, but will catch up this weekend. No pressure in this effort, but blessings are abounding as I continue to read God's Word so thoroughly.)

Oh, and no, I did NOT read through the entire Henry Morris Study Bible in 30 days, nor could I in 90 days. That is in no way the intention of it. It is a study tool and a wonderful reference at any time.

Now, what makes this 
so unique and special?
Yes, it is special because it is so FULL of helpful annotations that it is VERY thick...BUT there is much more about it that makes it so special and unique as well.

Who is this "Henry Morris" anyway?

Well, in the words of John MacArthur, Dr. Henry Morris (founder of the Institute for Creation Research) was "our generation's foremost spokesman for biblical creationism."

And I will share a bit more with you about the late Dr. Morris and why as his life's work he compiled this study Bible, in his own words as stated in the amazing Introduction to The Henry Morris Study Bible.
Neither ignorance nor arrogance is appropriate armor for the Christian soldier.
It is with such admonitions in mind that I have undertaken the challenging task of preparing the annotations for The Henry Morris Study Bible. As an engineering scientist who has spent many years among the skeptical intellectuals of the academic world, I have felt very keenly the need for this kind of Bible study tool "in the defence and confirmation of the gospel" (Ph 1:7), and have therefore spent many, many hours in the study of Christian evidences and the scientific integrity of Scripture.
More importantly, every day for over 60 years has been partially devoted to the study of the Bible itself. The result has been a deep and settled conviction, stronger every year, that the Bible is indeed the very Word of the living God. Its histories are authentic, its science is accurate and far in advance of its times, its practical wisdom for daily living is unexcelled, and its insights into the human heart are profoundly perfect for every need. Furthermore, its own internal structures, as well as the claims of its authors, provide endless evidences of its divine inspiration to all who study it with open mind and heart. "Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name," the psalmist testified (Ps 138:2).
As you may see by Dr. Morris' quotes, he preferred the King James Version of the Bible and therefore  The Henry Morris Study Bible is in the King James Version.

The Annotations, or explanatory notes and commentary are so vast (due to the 60+ years of Dr. Morris' research and study) that some pages are almost all commentary, as you can see in the following pictures.

Genesis 1:1&2 plus explanatory notes on the word "God."

Genesis 1:3-8 plus explanatory notes

John 15:2-16:2 with red letters indicating Jesus speaking plus explanatory notes
I must add that as a student of the Bible, I firmly believe in relying on the Holy Spirit of God as your primary teacher and guide to understanding God and His Word. However, commentaries and explanations from trusted and wise Bible scholars offer an immense depth and multi-faceted understanding of often difficult topics. Again, though, we should test everything and not just take it at face value (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22).

Another rich benefit of this study Bible is the twenty-two Appendices he added to the end of it. They include such topics as:

- Authenticity of Biblical Text
- The Logic of Biblical Creation
- Outline of Earth History as Revealed in the Book of Genesis
- Bible-Believing Scientists of the Past
- Science and the Scriptures
- Quotations from or Allusions to Genesis in the New Testament
- Fulfillment of Biblical Prophecies
- "I AM"---The Eternal Self-Existent God
- Prophecies Fulfilled at the First Coming of Christ
- Creation and Consummation---The Book of Revelation
- The Creationist Faith of our Founding Fathers
- Addressing Alternate Explanations for the Age of the Earth

Without quoting the entire Introduction, Annotations, and Appendices to you, I can safely say that this  Henry Morris Study Bible is an invaluable resource for all Christians---those who firmly believe as well as those who doubt. 

But, I won't stop there. 

I challenge those who do not believe in God and/or do not believe in His Word---The Bible---to peruse this study Bible and some of the annotations and appendices that address some of the reasons you do not believe. If you do this, I invite you to come back here and share with me how those explanations have affected your thinking.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from New Leaf Publishing Group. No other compensation was received. The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Treasures of Healthy Living by Annette Reeder and Dr. Richard Couey

Doesn't that cover just look delicious and fresh and inviting?! 

(Maybe it's because I'm hungry...no, it really does look scrumptious!)

As soon as I read about this book I was intrigued to discover what it had to offer. And upon receiving it and delving into it, I have been in no way disappointed.

Treasures of Healthy Living by Annette Reeder and Dr. Richard Couey is actually more of a study than a book. As a matter of fact, I plan to try to go through this study with a couple of people whom I know have a major interest in eating healthy and living a healthy lifestyle. I really cannot wait to dig into it with them! I think they are going to love it just as much as I do.

This 12-week study is one of the most holistic health and wellness guides I have ever seen. Not only does it focus on giving the reader very practical guidance in food selection and consumption, but it also connects foods and lifestyle with our God and His Word. It is truly amazing to see how much He has to say in His Word about food and eating and drinking as well as health and well-being.

To give you an idea of the vast array of foods discussed in this book, I will list the chapters for you here:

  1. Treasure of Health (intro embarking on this treasure hunt about health)
  2. Beverages (includes water & The Living Water, milk, juice, and others)
  3. Grains (including bread & The Bread of Life, whole grains, seeds and nuts)
  4. Vegetables & Fruits (focuses on color as well as gardening)
  5. Herbs, Spices, Oil, & Vinegar (focus = flavor as well as herbal medicine)
  6. Protein & Meat (overall discussion about meat, beef, and protein)
  7. Fasting & Self-Discipline (God's design & benefits of fasting & self-control)
  8. Sweets (WooHoo! My fave! Okay, really, it's the good & bad about sweets.)
  9. Environment & Toxins (focuses both on recognizing toxins & on allergies)
  10. Stress & Forgiveness (Yes, those two go hand-in-hand at times!)
  11. Exercise (Caring for your body as the temple it is w/physical & mental exercise)
  12. The Fullness of Christ & Health (Joy, laughter, & practical action plans!)
  13. APPENDIX (Action Plan, Daniel Fast Journal, Health Assessment, & Results of My Hunt)
So, what do you think? 

Are you as intrigued as I was?

If so, I highly recommend getting a copy of Treasures of Healthy Living by Annette Reeder and Dr. Richard Couey as well as its companion books (which I plan to get soon also): the Treasures of Health Nutrition Manual and the Healthy Treasures Cookbook.

Sooo, will you join me on a journey to discovering and utilizing the Treasures of Healthy Living in many ways: by using this study guide, by exercising more (as I have recently started doing) & especially by reading through God's Word from cover-to-cover?

I hope you will! 

Please let me know how this is all going for you!

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Glass Road PR. No other compensation was received. The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Complete AQUARIUM Adventure by Merilee and Bill Clifton

I'm so excited! 
I just can't hide it!

We're going to the AQUARIUM this weekend!!!

The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas down here in New Orleans to be exact.

Oh yeah! Oh yeah!

I am even more excited because when we go we will be taking along our "field trip in a book" called The Complete Aquarium Adventure by Merilee & Bill Clifton.

What a cool and complete book this is! 

My state bird! The Brown Pelican! I see this bird often.
It is arranged in a tabbed format so that it is divided in sections for "Before the Aquarium", "At the Aquarium", and "After the Aquarium." Additionally there are tabs within the "At the Aquarium" section for various Sea Animals and Birds and other Sea Creatures that you will see at the aquarium. Each section has vibrant photos and brief, concise, but thorough content to read about the specific topic of the section. The coolest thing to me, of course, is that the content is Bible-based and helps me to teach the Truth about these creatures regarding how they were intentionally designed and created by God - not just a product of random, unplanned evolution void of a Creator.

The Tool Kit treasure chest in the back cover
And finally, after its "Appendix" tab, The Complete Aquarium Adventure has inside its back cover a special "Tool Kit" resembling a treasure chest. And treasures truly are to be found on the inside! I think second only to the content this tool kit is my favorite part of this book. It has several special cards in it designed for using at the aquarium as games to play along the way. One set is for playing a special form of BINGO in which you mark off each space as you find its creature somewhere in the aquarium. Another game in the Tool Kit is an alphabet-based game in which you write the name of the creature you find at the aquarium if its name begins with the specific letter of the alphabet on the line you still need to fill in.

Look at the treasures awaiting you inside the Tool Kit!
One tiny critique just to keep it real is that the little pieces of velcro used to close my little Tool Kit will not stay on. The glue that holds them onto their respective cardstock paper portions had loosened itself by the time the book got to me in the mail. (I DO live in HOT, HUMID Louisiana, by the way...go figure! Guess all glue is not made to withstand our wonderful temperatures. No biggie to me.)

Anyway, as you can tell, I do love this book and highly recommend it. They even have a similar one for zoo animals called The Complete Zoo Adventure by Dr. Gary & Mary M. Parker.

Does either of these sound like something 
you or someone you know may want?

Guess what?!

Yep, it's that time again!!!

Giveaways & FUN Galore!

If you don't have a Twitter account, 
(Click HERE to read Michelle's post that gives 
a great description of how to participate in a Twitter Party.)

Date: Thursday, June 21st

Time: 8pm Central (lasts between 30 minutes & 1 hour)

Hashtags: #TeachtheTruth (entire party), 
#tttrollcall 
(to check-in & say Hi when you first join the party)



Prizes include: Welllll...I think you need to come join us to 
find out what exciting prizes you might win! 
One HUGELY EXCITING hint I CAN give 
is that this time there will be a 
(Is "hugely" a word?...)

Spread the word and come join us!

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from New Leaf Publishing Group. No other compensation was received. The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.