Monday, May 28, 2012

The Canary List by Sigmund Brouwer: A Book Review

The Canary List: A Novel by Sigmund Brouwer is a dark tale that follows Jamie Piper, a child of the foster care system that can sense something most children can't - evil.  Crockett Grey, her teacher, just wants to mark the anniversary of his daughters death alone with a bottle of liquor.  (Read the 1st chapter here!)

While I found the book's premise interesting and the opening chapters engaging, I thought the book really failed to deliver its promise.  The characters were underdeveloped and the story line was confusing.  The only thing I found truly intriguing was the Catholic tie-in and discussion of true possession.  Everything else bored me.

If you're looking for a supernatural Christian thriller, this book definitely has some of those elements (dark vs light, good vs evil, etc).  But if you're looking for a real page-turner that will keep you up at night, this is not that book!

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for an honest review. 

You Can Be Everything God Wants You To Be by Max Lucado: A Book Review

Still looking for the perfect gift for the graduate in your life?  Grab a copy of You Can Be Everything God Wants You To Be by Max Lucado!  This small gift book packs the perfect punch from page 1, encouraging the reader to look at their life and determine their gifts, passions, and uniqueness.  For it is in these things that one will find their purpose in life.

Max Lucado has always been a favorite author of mine, and I've not read one book of his that I didn't like.  The same can be said for this little book.  Not only is the message profound and inspiring, the format of the book is engaging.  There are relevant scriptures at the beginning of each chapter, important passages highlighted in the margins, and unique illustrations throughout.

This little book has such a powerful, Godly message for those seeking God's purpose for their life.  Not only would I recommend it to the recent high school or college graduate, but I highly recommend it to anyone who is wanting to know what God wants them to be in life!

Book Giveaway:
I believe the message of this book so much that I've decided to give a copy away!  Here's how to enter:  1) leave a comment on this blog telling me why you want this book and 2) share this blog post on Facebook or Twitter.  The winner will be determined by a random drawing.  I will announce the winner on Monday, June 4th.  Good luck!!

Giveaway is officially closed!  The winner will be announced at 9am EST.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Summer Read-A-Long

For the past six weeks, my church - Centerpoint - has been doing a series called "Sex, Marriage, & Fairytales."  By far, my most favorite part of the series was the ladies even we held with a special guest speaker.  Our speaker was Marla Taviano and she had the fun task of talking to us ladies all about s-e-x.  Marla was flippin' hilarious, and I loved every minute of her talk.  She was funny, engaging, and most important, genuine.  Sex is a touchy subject, yet she was very open and honest.  It was refreshing.

Anyway, ever since the ladies event a few weeks ago, I've started reading Marla's blog, became her Facebook friend, and follow her on Twitter.  About an hour ago, she published a new blog post that excited me!  You all know how I LOVE to read.  Well, Marla is doing a "Summer Read-A-Long" beginning in June.  She chose the book "Evolving in Monkey Town" by Rachel Held Evans, an author/blogger/speaker.  I bought this book about a year ago at a discount store but put it away and never read it.  Funny enough, I found it in my office yesterday while digging through some stuff.

This is who Marla says should read the book:

If you’re a Christian and you’ve ever doubted some things you’d consider Essentials of the Faith–and it scared you to death–you should read this book.
If you’re a Christian who is 100% certain about every single one of your beliefs, you should read this book.
If you don’t consider yourself a Christian and want a little more insight into us crazy folk, you should read this book.
As part of the Read-A-Long, Marla's going to have an open discussion on her blog.  Anyone is open to join.  I'll be following along, and will probably post my thoughts every now and then.  Please feel free to join me!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

putting feet to our prayers

This year I had the honor & privilege of working alongside 30 other individuals from my community during the National Day of Prayer's annual community Care & Clean Day this past Saturday.  We split into different groups and tackled several different projects.  My group walked the grounds of Tiffin Elementary School picking up trash, then joined another group picking up trash alongside the train tracks between Eastern Ave. and Main St.  Once that job was complete, I joined the biggest group who had the daunting task of restoring a mural that was badly chipped and had been painted over by graffiti.

This is the mural before....

...and this is the restored mural!
(photos courtesy of Jeannette VanBuskirk)

I've been involved in the Care & Clean day for the past several years.  In fact, I wrote this post about my involvement a couple years ago.  Each year I learn something new, and this year was no exception.  Here are a couple of things that I learned:

Many hands make light work!  My friend who led the crazy crew of painters this past weekend wasn't quite sure that four hours would be enough time to finish the mural restoration project.  But, with as many people who showed up to help, four hours was plenty of time to finish the project.  Not only was it enough time, but the finished project looks amazing!

Believers long for unity!  The group of 30 individuals that worked together this past weekend represented about 4-5 different churches from the community.  These churches have different denominational backgrounds, different styles of worship, and different ways of doing things.  But one thing is clear - believers in this community long for unity.  There is a strong desire to be THE church working together, not a bunch of churches doing their own thing.

There is a big need for the church to put feet to our prayers!  The church loves to pray about things, which is very much needed.  Sometimes, though, we can simply skip prayer and DO SOMETHING.  One just has to open there eyes to see the needs of the people and of the community around us.  There will always be a neighborhood or two where trash constantly needs picked up, or where people need fed or clothed, or whatever.  It's time we put feet to our prayers and just BE JESUS to our community!

One belief of mine that hasn't changed through all the years of helping with the Care & Clean day is this: "small things done with great love can change the world."  Mother Teresa was a wise woman who put feet to her prayers daily.  And she changed the world, one person at a time.

Tell me, how have you been putting feet to your prayers lately?