Tuesday, October 11, 2011

There You'll Find Me [book review]

 Finley Sinclair is struggling to keep control of life. Two years ago she lost her older brother Will who lost his life on the mission field. Now Finley is heading to Ireland for a semester abroad, clutching Will’s journal that tell the story of his own visit to Ireland, and in the pages of his thoughts, Finley hopes to find a part of what she lost.
But life after death isn’t a smooth ride when you are faced with the challenges of a teen heart throb who is more than what he seems, a school project that assigns her to a grumpy senior who rejects Finley attempts at kindness and an eating disorder that threatens to break Finley’s last hold of control.
This book is such a good read. Finley is a character that anyone who remembers their teen years will adore and relate to. She isn’t perfect, she is hurting but she wants so desperately to feel whole and worthy again. The author raises the subject of an eating disorder in a way that makes you understand the “why would a person do that?” question and you are right there with Finley when she faces what she is becoming.
A fiction story about a real person is what this feels like. Jenny B Owens has always been one of my favorite authors and this book is just another “must have” of her’s you should be adding to your own reading list.  
Ps. if you're thinking that this character sounds familiar, you might have read the first book, Save The Date. Another highly reccomended read of mine

*I recieved a free copy of this title from the amazing BookSneeze program in exchange for an honest review*

A Sound Among The Trees [book review]

Adelaide is the matriarch of Holly Oak and a committed great-grandmother to the children of her deceased granddaughter Sara but when her son-in-law remarries and brings his bride to live at Holly Oak, Adelaide is torn between loyalty to the memory of Sara or accepting Marielle and sharing with her the secrets of Holly Oak.
Marielle’s world has turned upside down when she married and moved across the country to start a life wither her new husband and his two children. When she uncovers the dark past of Holly Oak’s ancestor, Susannah, she starts to question the existence of ghosts and her own insecurities are heightened by the memories of Sara that haunt Holly Oak. When she discovers letters written by Susannah herself, the past and present collide to bring healing for both Marielle and Adelaide.

My own thoughts:
Ghost stories. Not really my thing so my whole viewpoint is already skewed. This is a rather moody and dark novel about the sins of multiple generations finding them out. The book is written first from Adelaide’s perspective, then Marielle’s and then finally Susannah’s. None of the characters were particularly relatable or even likable to me. Perhaps it is because the overall feel of the book is dark or the fact that each character is bringing pain to another, you can’t really get past feeling depressed. Even with a relatively happy ending, I walked away feeling sad.

Objectively, I think the writing style is excellent. Good amount of detail, well explained events and the ability to give each character their own voice. I just believe that the author could create a much more enjoyable book if the plot had been less spooky and more driven by each character’s own growth through the story.

If you want me to pass this book along to you, just send me an email =)

*I received this book free from the wonderful people at WaterBrook Multanomah's Blogging For Books program, in exchange for an honest review*

Friday, September 30, 2011

Go Big [book review]

The key part of the book's synopsis is this: "Written by one of the dudes himself, Go Big tells their story and unveils their secret: five practical principles for taking your passions, skills, and dreams to the next level"

That is exactly it. The author shares his experience and breaks it down into 5 sections of advice about starting a business.

Go Big is a bit of a quirky "How to start a business" book, written by a guy whose business is trick basketball shots, his perspective is geared toward his experience so it defenitely isn't a guide for the average small business. The best thing about the book, in my opinion, is the "voice" of the author that shows through. So many nonfiction books are either dry, flowery or just plain bad writing so that you get a few chapters in and need a break from the 'drone tone'. This book is the opposite, you feel like you are reading a story with some helpful hints in it. Its an easy and relateable kind of advice book.

I admit, the fact the book was written on the premise of his business being about basketball wasn't interesting to me- I hate sports. But I enjoyed the writing style and the concept of the 5 principles.

*I recieved this title free from the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an honest review. Which is good since I can't do a dishonest book review to save my soul =) *

I Review For The Tyndale Blog Network

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cherished *book review*

Offical Synopsis: Kelli London once dreamed of being a songwriter. As crazy as it seemed, she hoped that God would use the lyrics that came to her even while she slept. She dreamed about Brian too, that the love they shared as high-school students would grow into marriage. But choices that still haunt her destroyed those dreams. Until now-when a series of love letters reawakens her hope for the future.
Heather Anderson's life has spun out of control-first, an affair with a married man, then a one-night stand with the drummer of a popular Christian band has left her devastated. Broken and alone, she cried out to the only One able to save her. He met her there, but it was just the beginning. Because now she must take a different path. And the one God has planned for her looks nothing like the one she envisioned.
As Kelli and Heather awaken to their true worth, they find the freedom to pursue their dreams-and relationships-based on the security of knowing God's unconditional love.

Cherished is a story of two women, Heather Anderson and Kelli London, searching for forgiveness and being cleansed from their past mistakes. Kelli had an abortion and that one choice echoed in her life loudly enough to drive her away from being used by God through her music. Heather is the adulterous woman in Proverbs who beneath the sins strangling her, longs to find a way back to purity and unconditional love.

I loved this book. The author takes on some really hard hitting things like adultery, abortion, spiritual deadness and healing. She doesn't create characters who get it right or even who always mess up. It feels very real, each person's story. Like you sat down and read a glimpse of the heartache we all deal with.

But a new topic for me was the multi-cultural emphasis in the book. There are both black and white characters who embrace their indivudal cultures while being color blind when it comes to friendship. How cool is that?

This is actually the second book, the first is titled "Faithful" and when I finished Cherished I went right out and bought Faithful. I was dying to read more about these characters and their journey.

If you want a real story about messing up and finding God can still forgive you- this is it
If you want a real story about the deep friendships women in Christ need with each other- this is it
If you want a good read that makes you think and laugh and want more- this is it

*I got a free copy of this title from BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review. Which is good since I can't be dishonest about my opinions even if you paid me =)

I suggest you order this book today and love it as much as I do.
Order it from Amazon.com because I love them. Or rather I love the free shipping...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

*book review* The Inconvenient Marriage Of Charlotte Beck

Charlotte is a 18 year old girl from America wreaking havoc on England for the first half of the story. Between too tight corsets, a sharp tongue and one escapade on the Wild West show with Bill Cody she has managed to muck up on almost every page. Along the way she meets Alex who is an English astronomer who is struggling with family and money problems. The two intersect and sparks fly- literally at one point.

The story revolves around Charlotte's escapades and encounters with Alex as she seeks to prove to her father that she is capable of running the family business and desires his permission to attend college for mathmatics. When this fails, her father takes advantage of their weaknesses (or desires) and an arranged marriage is planned and executed.

I love historical fiction and independant characters but this book was hard to enjoy. First off, Charlotte is a brat with very few redeeming qualities. Not once did she display mature actions or thoughts and for the majority of the book she is shown as a spoiled young women whose method is to manipulate until she gets what she wants. Not exactly endearing qualities. Alex is a bit more charming but so chauvinistic that by the end when they do end up together, you wish them on each other LOL

I did enjoy the author's writing style and the historical facts she adeptly weaves in the story but her characters were not enjoyable to read about.

*I recieved a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review. Please rank the review just as honestly*

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Thunder Dog *book review*

 9/11 is my generations Kennedy Assasination. Its a day most of us will never forget and there are endless stories of where you were when the planes hit the Two Towers. When I saw this book pop up as a review option, I grabbed it. I have a sister who loves animals and was a professional dog trainer so not only did I want to read it, I am planning on passing this onto her as well. Admittedly, I might do it as a Christmas gift ;)

This book is about, well, its right in the subtitle "The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog & the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero."

The story is told in a good paced way of Michael and Roselle's escape down 78 flights and then through the streets of NY being surrounded by the debris and dust. But it doesn't just cover that one day, it also takes you back to when Michael was born and the story of his life being blind from infant to how he grew up with a "find adventure" mindset.

This is one book that will make you cheer for not only Michael but his dog as well. I am not a pet lover but I do enjoy the bond that an animal and a human can have together.

*I recieved this book free from BookSneeze in exchange for writing an honest review*

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Your legacy.... on the internet

So I ran across a story of a young woman suing her school for naming a co-valedictorian instead of assigning that role only to herself. In her lawsuit she claims that the fact she is black and a single mother were the reasons behind the school's choice.

She is asking for $75,000 in damages and asking that the school recognizes her as the only valedictorian of her class.

Read the whole story here

So here is my thought, what happens now when someone Google's the name "Kimberly Wymberly"? All that will pop up is the story of this lawsuit. Frankly, I think this makes her look petty. I mean, if she was suing her school and only demanded that they recognize her as the sole valedictorian and they needed to pay her legal fees when it was over, I could see that. But this smacks as greed with a grandstanding race card pulled out of her hat.

What will a future employer think when he sees her history? That she is a women who stands up for her rights and a just cause? Or a scam artist who will take advantage of the opportunity to sue for the sake of suing?

So in this age of technology and employers searching Facebook and Myspace for information about employees, is this really the best bet for your future when with one click, this is the first and lasting impression a future boss has of you.

What do you think, would you want this kind of Internet legacy for yourself? Do you think she is legit, greedy or somewhere in between?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Homemade Sugar Scrub

So does anyone else look at their personal products ingredients and get a little freaked out? I can't pronounce half of them, much less know what they are. I just keep thinking "does my skin actually need this?!?!". I mean, I have acne, I try to watch what I put on my body and especially on my face. Which is why I also dislike wearing makeup, not only do I believe that it is used as an unhealthy crutch for women, it is just plain bad for your skin. Why do you think so many aestheticians tell you to WASH OFF YOUR MAKEUP BEFORE BED. Seriously, they are practically yelling at you to do it.

(not that I, or most other women, do)

So after getting worried about all these ingredient I didn't know and having a growing awareness that half of them were bad for my skin, I decided to do... nothing.

You didn't see that coming, did ya?

No really, I didn't do anything. I'm not an organic vegan type who wants to live off the earth and wear only what God gave me. It just isn't my style.

But I did start on one little journey- last night I made some homemade sugar scrubs. Here's the thing, I LOVE sugar scrubs. They do amazing things for my skin and I feel totally all polished up (and smell delightful) after using them. But they are not cheap. Well, the good kind isn't ;)   About $12 will buy you a 12oz tube which will last you around 5 scrubbings. For $15, you can make your own and have around 40 scrubbings. Quite a bit of savings, yes?

So here we go, my The Ultimately Easy Way To Homemade Sugar Scrubs

Here is the recipe:

3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil (I used extra virgin but I have heard you could use Jojoba Oil, Coconut Oil or even Baby Oil. I wanted my scrub to be entirely edible so I went with Olive Oil)

2 Tablespoons of Honey (this is up to you, I liked the antibacterial nature of honey for my acne and skin tone issues)

1/2 Cup of Sugar (Cane sugar or regular brown sugar, I experimented with both. I've been told organic sugar is a no-no for this)

So I went shopping and came home with these items:

(left to right)
Pure Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fischer's Honey
Domino Dark Brown Sugar
Domino Sugar
Cinnamon Extract
Mint Extract

And then I splurged on these, a lovely glass container to put my scrub in whilst it is sitting in my shower and some plastic craft jars so I could share my concotions with a few friends.

Yellow is my signature color and of course I wanted my containers to look nice when I was done, so I HAD to invest in some pretty ribbon to wrap around the top

So here we go, I swear I spent more time getting all my brand new products open than I did actually making my scrub =)

Oh, before you attempt to do anything remotely crafty or with cooking tools I suggest you find yourself a decent music playlist for those inevitable "what the crap did I just do?!?!" moments

Trust me, if you are getting down to Bite The Dust, slipping up won't hardly matter nearly as much if all you had in your mind was the echoing failure you just committed.

I also suggest grabbing your refreshing beverage of choice to glug as you are creating genius.

Can you tell I try to turn projects into some kind of weird minuscule vacation?

Tools you need.

~A bowl to mix in

~A spoon or spatula to mix it with (my Mom would be so proud if she knew I used this Pampered Chef spatula for the first time since I got it at Christmas)

~1/2 measuring cup and a tablespoon

In general, I was taught to eyeball everything but because this is new to me, I went the old fashioned route and actually measured my ingredients.

I'm sorry Grandma!!

 So measure out 1/2 cup of sugar, pour in 3 tablespoons of Olive Oil, then add 2 tablespoons of honey. Word to the wise (and me), this stuff will s.l.o.w.l.y seep into your sugar so you will be tempted to think "this looks a bit dry, more oil/honey!"- DON'T FALL FOR IT   Those measurements are perfect, just mix it well and then let it sit for a minute or two.

I was too impatient and started adding more left and right and I ended up with a bit too soupy a mixture that I had to fix.

At this point, feel free to add in any various smell ingredients. I chose mint and cinnamon extract as those are two fragrences I adore. They were out of lemon at Walmart :(
You could add in vanilla extract, orange extract, coffee grounds or really any kind of spice you like.

This is what my white sugar/honey/oil with mint extract looked like after mixing:

This is what the brown sugar/honey/oil with cinnamon extract looked like:

Now, toward the end, I got a bit crazy and mixed my sugars together. Sue me.

Frankly, I wasn't sure if I wanted to just eat it at this point or go ahead and do it right. I resisted the temptation and added in my honey/oil. Turns out, mixing sugars is a fine idea but really the only change is the color.

So this is what I ended up with for my personal stash. Mixing sugars with various flavors was fun for my small containers for my friends but I just threw all of mine in one jar to use. I figure the only thing setting them apart is color and smell at this point so I didn't mind mixing it all up together.

I was feeling pretty smug about my success with these sugar scrubs (I mean, I hadn't tried them yet but I figured they sure look pretty)

So I went ahead and got crazy. I made up a sugar/honey scrub for my face. I found (and by "found" I mean I dug out of my trash can) an old powder makeup containter and cleaned it out. Then I put some sugar and honey in it. I stirred and added more honey or more sugar until I got exactly what I wanted. I used this that night and it was AM.AZ.ING on my skin. I felt weird at first to scrub my face with admittedly painful sugar crystals but then the feeling of glorious CLEAN set it. It was totally worth a bit of harsh rubbing to feel how smooth and clean my skin felt after using this concoction.

So there you have it, a way too wordy lesson on sugar scrubs. But wait! There's more.

After all that work.... alright, after spending 15 minutes doing this, I decided one cute ribbon wasn't enough for my handiwork. So I dug out (literally) all my old scrapbooking supplies and finished up the look by adding some ribbon around the sides and a note on the top of the jar. Behold my Martha Stewart moment:

(I put the plain jar with the fancy one side-by-side so you could see how much nicer it looks all dressed up)

So there is the true end. Honestly, I feel so good about doing this that I am thinking about making my next project be homemade lipgloss.

Oh! And as a bonus, try using your olive oil as a makeup remover or moisturizer. You will be pleasantly surprised if you put a light coat on your face at night and wakeup to smooth skin the next morning.

(as a side note- I did use the sugar scrub and it felt awesome! Just like *maybe even a bit better* than my $12 professional salon scrub)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Breath Of Angel *book review*

Publisher's synopsis:
When Melaia, a young priestess, witnesses the gruesome murder of a stranger in the temple courtyard, age-old legends recited in song suddenly come to life. She discovers wings on the stranger, and the murderer takes the shape of both a hawk and a man.

Angels. Shape-shifters. Myths and stories—until now.

Melaia finds herself in the middle of a blood feud between two immortal brothers who destroyed the stairway to heaven, stranding angels in the earthly realm. When Melaia becomes a target, she finds refuge with a band of angels attempting to restore the stairway. But the restoration is impossible without settling an ancient debt—the “breath of angel, blood of man,” a payment that involves Melaia’s heart, soul, and destiny

First off, I would say this book is a good start to what might be a great series. It has a bit of everything to offer; adventure and mystery, romance and betrayal, friendships and evil. Who doesn't love all of those?

The weak points in the book are the character development, you will grow very frustrated by Melaia's simpleness and bad choices. But you also cheer for her as she makes up her mind about her crush Tevin and the secrets she learns about her past during the course of the story.

If you are looking for a book with Christian themes, this is not it. Yes, there are angels and a Most High figure but that is where any resemblence ends. The Most High is very vaugely referenced and the angels feel more like wizards than spiritual beings.

All that aside, it was a good read that had interesting characters and a fast pace. If you like SciFi/fantasy, this is your book

*I recieved this book free from the Blogging For Books program through WaterBrook Multnomah*

Buy it on Amazon.com

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Place Called Blessing (book review)

 Five-year-old Josh and his two older brothers lose their parents in a drunk-driving accident. A series of foster homes and a shocking tragedy eventually separate them, leaving Josh alone, angry, and distrustful of most everyone. At age eighteen, Josh strikes out on his own to find work. With only a high school education and few life skills, he is one step away from homelessness when he meets Anna and Mike. For the first time in his life, Josh receives unconditional love and something every human being craves, the gift of "the blessing."

I chose to review this book because I am looking at becoming a foster parent in a year or two, so the premise of a child who lives through the foster care system and how that impacts him was something I wanted to explore.
This book is written as a fiction read, actually, it is fiction but with a non-fiction point.
From what I understood, the author wrote this as a companion to his nonfiction book called “The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance”
The following is the synopsis for it “The Blessing by Drs. John Trent and Gary Smalley explains how the biblical gift of "the blessing" is the key to one's self-worth and emotional well-being. A foundational parenting tool, "the Blessing" consists of five essential elements: meaningful touch, a spoken message, attaching value, picturing a special future, and an active commitment. If you've missed out on the approval of your parents, the final chapters are for you. They include help for those who grew up without their own parent's blessing and ideas for blessing events”
After reading “A Place Called Blessing” I am very interested in getting my hands on a copy of the original book.
But back to the review- this story is a simple read (which I appreciate) and written only from the perspective of the character Josh so it has a limited scope of details but what really draws you in is the way you can picture this young boy and all he went through. By meeting and being accepted by just two people, his whole world was changed from an angry loner to a man who found forgiveness and a family.
The point of this whole story was that anyone can give a blessing by using the five essential elements: meaningful touch, a spoken message, attaching value, picturing a special future, and an active commitment.
Through a fictional story the author gives an example of how each of those elements can be used in a person’s life and the change using them will have on the recipient.

*I recieved this book free from BookSneeze

I review for BookSneeze®

Life, In Spite Of Me (book review)

Kristen Anderson was 17 years old on the night she laid across a railroad track and waited to die. Over 30 cars passed over her but when she opened her eyes and looked to the right she saw laying there were her legs with the new white tennis shoes still on them. Both legs had been severed off completely.

This book was gripping. I admit, I didn’t have enough points to get the fiction book I really wanted so I chose this one as a “meh” sort of option. Boy was I in for a surprise.

Kristin had struggled with depression for months leading up to that night. That year she had dealt with the suicide of a friend and being raped at a party by a guy she thought liked her. She saw a counselor after the suicide and a psychiatrist when her grades started failing and her parents saw her picking up habits like drinking and smoking. The psychiatrist handed her an antidepressant medication and sent her on her way.

After time, Kristen’s depression and feelings of worthlessness led her to a park late at night where she looked at a line of train tracks and decided to let go of it all, thinking Heaven would be a better option than what she had.

When her suicide attempt failed, Kristen began her journey toward God and healing. This book takes you through what led up to her choice and how she moved past that night.

Two things stood out to me as I read Kristen’s story. The first scared me, this was a girl who came from a good home, had parents that loved her and grew up in the church. Simply put, she could have been me.

The next thing that hit me was the grace of God is shown in a million different ways. Kristen didn’t remember for years that she lost her legs because she attempted suicide. She didn’t remember the details of that night although she was told by doctors that was the reason she laid on the train track. She just couldn’t understand why she would do that and according to her, she couldn’t handle knowing that she tried to commit suicide. God placed protection over her by not letting her remember. While she struggled to rebuild a life without legs, deal with her depression and find true salvation, that memory was not a burden God left her to handle.

Over time, she did remember the details and she uses her story today to impact other teens struggling with suicidal thoughts. Her ministry website can be found here Reaching You

I would recommend this book to parents of teenagers and also to youth ministries at church. Kristen grew up in church; she knew the basics but never truly understood that salvation wasn’t about church but about Jesus. She didn’t have the hope of Christ to let her see past the depression and I wonder how many youth are in the same spot. They sing the songs, eat the cookies and drink the Kool-Aid but never really get it. It’s up to us to change that.

Hand this book to a teen you know or encourage your youth minister to start a book club using this as the kickoff to open the door to conversations about depression, suicide and how to overcome both through Christ’s powerful mercy and grace.

I received this book free from the Blogging For Books program by Waterbrook Multanomah. I wasn't coerced or bribed into giving positive reviews, just to give my honest opinion (this is a disclaimer for all you pessimists out there lol )

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Like A 7 Day Old Cinnamon Roll

You know how some pastries look so fresh and delectable and then you bite in and the bread is stale, the taste has left and you are basically chewing a soft cracker?

That was this book. I was very excited to see this title offered through the Blogging For Books by WaterBrook. I had heard of the books "Every Woman's Battle" and "Every Man's Battle" but had not read them. So when I saw this one for singles I jumped at the chance to review it.

First off, it is not an original book. It takes excerpts from the above titles and regurgitates them. That to me is cheating LOL
I also should mention that it took the form of a workbook for a small group study. So lots of simple questions and yes/no responses made up the content. I didn't see that coming so perhaps if I was aware of that before hand I would be less disappointed.

Next misnomer was that nothing in it was FOR just singles, it was basic Christanese talk (don't know what that is? Just a made up word for the cliches and phrases that sometimes we Christians like to throw out) about sexual purity. Which is nice but I am a practical person, I don't need to hear "guard your heart", I want to know "here are a few ABC suggestions of what that looks like and how to do it"

That along with the fact that apparently, according to the author, women only struggle with emotional purity not physical was truly unbelievable. How can you write a book about sexual purity but never talk about physical sexual purity is beyond me.

This book took sections of the other books but instead of tailoring it to singles, it just basically said the same thing twice.

I'll be honest, I rarely read Christian help books for one reason- they are "encouraging" but never convicting. This was my main complaint about this book. You constantly feel like you have just been encouraged to do the right thing but never pushed to actually do it. Maybe I am reading the wrong books but this has been my experience with this genre.

I will say one good thing- all the excerpts from Every Man's Battle were the only thing that grabbed my attention. Those were direct, had a point and gave useful direction. So perhaps it is only books for women that tend to water down the lessons.

Final thought is to save your money and perhaps just go for the actual source and buy the two original titles. This is the clif notes version.

If perhaps you would like to redeem my wasted effort of reading this book, rank my review so I have a chance at getting to review better titles =)

They won't use your email for anything but verifying I'm not cheating and ranking myself a million times. Even on a Christian reviewing website you get the freaks who like to work the system *sigh*

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Health Insurance The Biblical Way

Insurance is often just another word for assurance. We need to know that if we fell off a ladder tomorrow we would not be stuck with a $250,000 hospital bill. There goes the plan of ever moving out of the in-laws basement....

In today's political climate, insurance is a big topic. Why? Because we don't have it yet we need it but we can't afford it. Isn't that the same cry you hear over and over? That is what it all boils down to. So there is much debate about universal health care Vs traditional, or the fact that insurance companies should be able to cross state borders or that insurance companies in general are screwing us over to make a hefty profit.

I would love to see a change happen. But we live in a country that is deadlocked in selfish and dirty politics. No way will the powers that be make a move for the middle class, after all, their health insurance and benefits are intact and will never change. They don't have that gnawing worry about deductibles or payments or limited coverage or getting rates you can't afford because your wife gets cancer. Those petty issues don't concern them... well, that is not fair, they act concerned during election time and hem and haw over it but we all know that nothing will be done about it.

So when I read about a company called Samaritan Ministries International I was intrigued. The premise is this- the Biblical way of "bearing one anothers burdens" is that its all for one and one for all. Here is how their website explains it:

Each member commits to sending a set "Share" amount each month. These "Shares" are sent directly through the mail from one household to another, to the members with "Needs". Samaritan Ministries uses a database that randomly matches Shares to Needs, so that the Sharing is coordinated and Shares go to the appropriate members with Needs.

When a member has a health care "Need" he receives health care treatment from a provider of his choice, collects the bills, and sends them to Samaritan Ministries. Samaritan Ministries verifies that the Need meets the Guidelines. Then, in the monthly newsletter mailing, Samaritan Ministries directs some members to send their Shares to the member with the Need. The member with the need receives the shares to pay his health care bills.

With more than 15,500 member households participating in the ministry, there is about $3.5 million available each month to meet health care needs.

To me, it sounds like a viable plan. True, I can think of loop holes and plenty of questions but just the fact that someone is stepping up and saying there is a better way to do this is refreshing.

Check out there site for yourself and let me know what you think: www.samaritanministries.org

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The one thing Africa has in abundance

Babies <----- click to go to original blog post

This blog post really grabbed my heart as I read it and pictured all these children who grow up in poverty and are taken by death before they even had a chance to live.

The author is on a missions trip to Africa for two weeks.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sorry, you are just too ugly for admittance

I was perusing the Yahoo articles today (first mistake) when I ran across this title:


"BeautifulPeople.com dating site hacked by 30,000 “ugly” people"

I couldn't resist finding out about this (second mistake)

The following is the text of the article:
Have you had a hard time finding attractive people on online dating sites? BeautifulPeople.com is a pay-by-month dating service that ruthlessly screens all applicants and admits only the best looking ones. But someone, perhaps a former employee, recently hacked the site and admitted 30,000 people who weren't deemed the most beautiful. Gasp! The horror!

The virus that broke into their system was aptly named Shrek, and admitted 30,000 who were never screened. But the website is quickly kicking them all off their site and refunding their $25/month membership fees. Greg Hodge, the site's managing director told
the Guardian, "We got suspicious when tens of thousands of new members were accepted over a six-week period, many of whom were no oil painting...We have to stick to our founding principles of only accepting beautiful people – that's what our members have paid for. We can't just sweep 30,000 ugly people under the carpet." The company claim they've already paid out $112,500 in refunds to 4,500 people.

In order to become a member of Beautiful People.com you must submit a photo, your height, weight, and measurements, describe your body type, and reveal whether you own a car or home, as well as your zodiac sign. Current members vote (sort of like on hotornot.com) on whether you are "beautiful" or "absolutely not" attractive. Apparently last year around 5,000 members were kicked off the site after they appeared to have gained weight over the holidays. Ouch. The site says about one in seven applicants are admitted (5.5 million have been rejected), and that they currently have 700,000 members representing 190 countries.

Hodge told the Guardian that he felt badly for the "unfortunate people who were wrongly admitted to the site and believed, albeit for a short time, that they were beautiful." We really feel like this has to be a joke.

Original article here

So.... just a cunning ploy for attention? And if so, does this confirm the old saying that any publicity is good publicity? Or is this legit?

I'm tempted to apply and see for myself if they really are kicking out the ugly folks. Because if so, I am seeing a huge law suit in their future.

How to tell if you are a nerd

You know what is crazy? It is now cool to be a geek/nerd (as long as you dress hip and have some social skills) although there is some debate of what those two terms mean and how to differentiate between the two.

I have found the most helpful way to tell the difference and give someone their label is to check out the chart on the left. That is a very concise and completely accurate showing of the characteristics each term displays.

So ok, once you have established you are indeed a nerd, from there it gets tricky. After all, the types of nerd-dom are as vast as the culture of Middle Earth. If you have no idea what Middle Earth is then you shouldn't even be reading this post. Go away, back to your Secret Life show and sparkling vampires.

Anyway, take a gander through the chart on the right. Its convoluted, hard to understand but brilliantly created while being entirely accurate. That my friends, is the art of a nerd. But do you see what I mean now about how immense the nerd world is? Its truly a good thing that nerds will never unite as they would be a power to be reckoned with. That of course could never happen as it would require them to leave behind their own nerd-dom and interact with a variety of other, different types of nerds. Much like animals, nerd species don't mix well =)

Anyway, if you have established yourself as a nerd and found your nerd niche- three cheers for you! Because the age of Nerds is now. Get some hipster clothes with black rimmed glasses and you are set to rule your little corner of the world. Go forth and conquer. Just take your iPhone with you so you can send me some pictures.

I will leave it up to your imagination to decide if this post means I am a nerd or not ;)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Challenge #9- Make a list

The #9 challenge from The Blogging Game was to make a list, any kind of list.

So I decided to list out my favorite websites.

1. ModCloth~ this site sells unique and quirky clothes along with some cool vintage-esque apartment stuff. My favorite things to peruse are the dresses. They add more daily so you can always go one there and ohhh and ahhhh over the beautiful clothes. I recently bought this dress from there.

2. ChristianForums~ epic message board community. There is a place for everyone and it can get quite addicting

3. FaceBook~ what better way to share your photos and snippets of your life with family and friends?

4. DuelBoard~ I play Rook online as I can't find enough friends who love it like I do to play in real life LOL

5. Blogger~ do I even need to explain this one?

6. Craigslist~ whether I am looking for a camera, a new job, or end tables or indulging in my secret pleasure of reading the "missed connections" ads, there is always something to entertain me on CL

7. YahooMail~ this may not be a favorite but I am on it a lot. I have 6 email accounts I keep up with. Which is about 5 too many in my opinion but with multiple jobs, spam, personal and fun stuff going on in my life, I needed to keep them separate as far as email goes.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

When you're broken

Wake up to a Sunny Day
Not a cloud up in the sky
And then it starts to rain
My defenses hit the ground
And they shatter all around
So open and exposed
But I found strength in the struggle
Face to face with my troubles

When you're broken
In a Million little pieces
And your tryin'
But you can't hold on any more
Every tear falls down for a reason
Don't you stop believin' in your self
When you're broken

Little girl don't be so blue
I know what you're going through
Don't let it beat you up
Hittin' walls and gettin' scars
Only makes you who you are
Only makes you who you are
No matter how much your heart is aching
There is beauty in the breaking

When you're broken
In a Million little pieces
And your tryin'
But you can't hold on any more
Every tear falls down for a reason
Don't you stop believin' in your self
When you're broken

Better days are gonna find you once again
Every piece will find it's place
When you're broken
When you're broken

When you're broken
In a Million little pieces
And your tryin'
But you can't hold on any more
Every tear falls down for a reason
Don't you stop believin' in your self
When you're broken
Oh When you're broken
When you're broken
When you're broken

Friday, June 10, 2011

I've accepted Challenge #1 from TheBloggingGame

There is a blog called The Blogging Game where it issues daily challenges of ideas for your blog to cover. Challenge #1 is to create your own idea of a keyboard.

I use mostly laptops for "fun" stuff. I mean, sometimes I sneak on at work.... (Ok, for real I do it out in the open and in front of my boss) and blog which means I get to use the Love Of My Life- Henry, my work PC <3  He has a full keyboard. But I am getting off track.

Anyway, for my personal use I have 3 laptops. I use them all at different times and for different things. But my point being that my perfect keyboard would be on a laptop. Which cuts down on the space of what I could include.

I think the first thing I would get rid of would be all the F keys. Hahaha, no, not the F word keys but all those useless keys of F1, F2, F3 etc. I know what they do but I don't use them. I would instead replace them with emoticons, a good basic emoticons list would be these:

Can't you picture how useful having quick keys for these expressions would be?

So then after that I would move onto these wonderfully useless keys on my righthand top of the keyboard that have things like "insert" "delete" "home" "end" "PgUp" "PgDn"- all of which I don't use. Those would be changed to shortcut keys for popular programs on my system. Like, you would be able to set them up to quickly open whatever program you desired. For me it would open to Word, InterVideo, YWriter5, Skype and ApprovedWorkmen. All of these are ones I use often. Another nice feature maybe would be once the program was open you could also close it with the key.

After that, I think I would go for a less... boring look. I like color. My bedroom and bathroom are painted a bright golden yellow. I love jewel tones and mixing fun bright stuff together. So my keyboard would be a reflection of that, possible using this as the keys background:

(A friend on my message board sent me this picture and I fell in love with it)

So that is a walk through of what my perfect keyboard would be. Want to try this challenge out? Visit the blog and link your post back so others can check out what you came up with =)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Not into Bible studies? How about an online one?

I just got done reviewing a book from a Blogging for Books program and got to select my next title. I chose "Every Single Woman's Battle"   Color me EXCITED =)

See, I am part of a really active Christian Singles message board and through that, have met tons of really amazing single women that are struggling with the same things I do. Part of that community is Bible studies and if after I read through this book and I find it helpful, I'm hoping to start a Book Review club on the message board and include the title as one we discuss.

My point of this post is that if you are not able or just don't feel comfortable joining a Bible study IRL (In Real Life) then I encourage you to find an online community where you can participate. No man (or woman) is an island and we all need encouragement and to get our butts kicked sometimes =)

There are a million online places where you could find a good Bible study, just Google it and off you go to explore new friendships and Biblical truths. Who knows? Maybe there are people out there who need YOUR perspective and challenges to help them out. Do you really want to be responsible for stunting their spiritual growth?!?! 

Just kidding. Go enjoy. You'll love it. And if you don't, you can come back here and have the satisfaction of proving me wrong LOL

If you relate more to Rahab than Ruth... this is your book!

I recieved this title as part of the Blogging for Book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group (thank you!, really, I need to shout out to this site as a very well run and organized blogging program. They did an amazing job designing their system)

I chose this title because I enjoyed Ms. Higgs Christian fiction books and wanted to check out what she was like as a more serious author.
What I really enjoyed was the beginning of each chapter was a re-telling of the traditional story in a modern way. It made it more relatable and for someone like me that reads and enjoys fiction, it was the perfect way to get my toes wet with non-fiction =)

The biggest thing that hit me was the author's note of seeing herself having more in common with the "bad girls" of the Bible rather than the typical heroines. I found that to be true for myself as well and when I read that, before I even got to the start of the book, it put me in the right frame of mind to be looking for nuggets of wisdom about how NOT to do things instead of the more natural approach of "to do's" that these kinds of books usually inspire.

Ms. Higgs did a great job of taking well known stories and getting you to look deeper at each life and see how it relates to your own sinful nature. But she didn't stop there, it was also about steps that could have been taken to avoid the ending we see in the Bible. That was the best part. Because as a women of God who is struggling to change myself into His image, there is no "happily ever after" or even an end in sight for this chick. Its a "keep going until you drop" lifestyle and this book encourages you to grab a hold of some truths that can keep you moving forward while avoiding the pot holes in the road.

Below you can rate this review, basically, if you rate it then I get a better score which gives me access to better books. You get the joy of doing your good deed for the day ;)

I can't promise they won't use your email to send you stuff but this situation is why you should always have a spam email account LOL

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Arranged marriage or arranged divorce?

As part of my end of the bargain for being lucky enough to get a FREE and GREAT read, I post reviews of books that Bethany House sends me. The follow is what I wrote for the title "Hidden Affections" by Delia Parr, actual and original review is on Amazon.com

I received this free from Bethany House as part of their Blogging for Books program. I really enjoyed the book, it had all the fun of an arranged marriage but the twist was that the couple wanted an annulment or divorce from the beginning. So you see these two characters not trying to make it work as much as failing to NOT make it work. A fun premise to read about =)

I enjoyed the character of Annabelle as she isn't a heroine that constantly is making mistakes and as you read, you are thinking "what an idiot, can't she get it together?!" Or possibly I am the only one who does that...

Anyway, she is portrayed as a woman of faith whose character and integrity are tested in numerous ways by her unexpected (and unwanted) marriage, her past coming back to haunt her and how she can handle doing the right thing when put in the wrong circumstances.

Overall, it was a good read with a character you want to cheer on. The romance side of it was a bit lacking, especially at the end, and you know how it will end up from the beginning but with a little twist.

I recommend this book and its author as a good fun read. 

Now onto my thoughts past the actual book. In most Christian circles, divorce is a bad word.  You hear about so and so getting a divorce and it is whispered about. Suddenly Nancy, who was an active member of the church, is nowhere to be seen, she doesn't quite fit in with her married friends anymore and she feels that the failure of her marriage is like walking around with a giant "D" branded to her forehead when she walks in the doors of the church.

This book deals with a woman, who by trusting the wrong kind of man, ended up getting the "D" labeled onto her name. She struggles to keep her integrity in tact when the world around her is telling her she is a fallen woman who should be ashamed of where her life ended up.

Isn't it scary how Satan chooses just the right people to whisper lies too so they can go scurrying around to spread those lies? Within the church are the biggest bunch of gossiping hypocrites. Just because they sit in that pew does not mean that truth will come from them. Deception inside the church is as prevalent as outside those walls. Sad but true. But what can you expect? After all, Satan doesn't need to lead away those lost but those who should already know the truth. He can save his biggest and most persuasive lies for those who are hearing the truth.

I like that this book dealt with the harsh reality of divorce from a Christian standpoint. Not really in a theological way as it doesn't try to address the Biblical issues surrounding divorce, but from a personal view of a Godly women who was shunned because of the title divorce gave her. It wasn't a preachy or tried to sway you to an opinion but left you wanting to show more compassion to the men and women who are in this position.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lists of the lists you've listed

Lists. Everyone makes them at some point. We have lists for:
-Bucket lists
-Lists of lists we have =)

I personally have a book I keep by my desk called "Listography" that when I am surfing the web, I will take a minute to fill in a new list. It's is a book that each page has a header of a question, for instance, I am going to open it up right now and... the next blank one I will fill out will be "List Your Biggest Pet Peeves". I may need more than one page for that one *snicker*

I also use an online website to create lists. Because I like lists. It keeps me organized but also gives me something to look back at, that is concrete, that I can point to and say " I did such and such"

For me, I need to know what I am going to do and what I have done. Heck, some weeks, just crossing off 'Did laundry' or 'Bought toilet paper' is an accomplishment that keeps me going that the week wasn't a total failure. I think lists are often about an inner need to control as much as they are a practical way to keep focused. Writing down goals, writing down needs, writing down accomplishments or memories. It feels good. It's something tangible that reminds you that where you are at right now is not where you have been or where you will stop.

And sometimes, that is the only nudge we need to get things done. One little line written on scrap paper, taped to my laptop telling me "Wash towels DO NOT FALL BACK ON USING WASHCLOTHS"

So now I am off to do my laundry so I can cross that item off my list. Do you think it counts if I wash the towels but don't dry them? I think it does.

Ps. Want a Listography book of your own? Go here: www.Listography.com

Saturday, March 19, 2011

So, on Sunday I watched the movie The Island (Ewen McGregor, Scarlette Johannason) and I couldn't help but think of all the parallels to abortion the movie had in it. No I am not crazy, but I am going to pull a move one of my brother's used to do and make a movie into a preaching lesson.
The basic premise of the movie was thousands of clones were being made in the giant under ground place. The clones were meant for "real" people as insurance policies in case some part of their body would no longer function, they would then use their clone to get exact match body parts and then kill the clone. This also applies to a woman who can't get pregnant (or doesn't want to live through 9 months of being pregnant) she would have her clone carry the baby and then the clone gets killed. In the movie, it was supposed to be this big secret that the clones were actually living beings and theh clones themselves had no idea. They were given a fake story and were happily going along living in a very healthy prison like setting. Then two clones found out about the whole thing, escaped and are on the loose being chased and thats the movie in a nutshell. Lots more to it, good movie, you should see it if you haven't yet.

So, what hit me about tying in Abortion to this movie was when the clones were talking to a "real" person who knew about everything and the guy was explaining everything to them.
The clone were kept in a controlled and very limited enviorment. What they ate, drank, did and actually felt were monitored and controlled outside of themselves. Alot like a baby in a womb. Their life depended upon the whims and descisions of their Sponsors (the "real" them), again, just like a baby in the womb.
The movie gave the premise that the clones had a right to live, not just as backup body parts, but as real human beings. Regardless if they were created, not born. Regardless if they were previously not allowed to actually "live" like normal people. And regardless if they were placing the lives and well being of their sponsors at risk by staying alive. Just like a baby in the womb.

So what seperates a clone from a baby in the womb to our society today? A single breath outside of a protected enviorment. Thats it, one breath and all of a sudden "Look, the mass of flesh, blood and bones is a baby and not a disposable fetus any more!!!"

Most people would argue that the movie is correct, the clones did have the right to life. Then most people would turn around and say "nope, its in a woman's body and has no rights to life, go ahead and kill it".
Do you know what I find tragic? Its illegal to willfully amputee a healthy part of your body. Many people experience the sensation of feeling ugly or less than perfect if they have two legs or two arms or something like that. They are considered to have a mental health issue. Yet woman who get pregnant and they know what that means, that a child is growing inside them, are allowed and encouraged to kill it if they want to. The desire to kill a life inside of you in a grusome and disturbing way is not considered a mental health issue, but a woman's right to choose what she does to her body.

So don't cut your wrists, don't amputee anything and do not starve or eat yourself into an unacceptable state. After all, those are signs of mental health issues and should be treated as such. But by all means get an abortion and have the child that at just 10 weeks has a heart beat, has a gender, all its arms, legs, toes and fingers are there, and it can smile. Ignore that, go to the doctor, have them suck its brain out or inject a drug that will slowly make it wither and die. The go back to life. After all, choosing to have an abortion is not a mental health issue. It's ok.
*sarcastic tone off*

I truly sympathize with the young girls and woman all over the world that choose abortion. I do not sympathize and its a "all gloves off" attitude toward abortion advocates and pro-choice people. I can understand facing a seemingly impossible and terrifying situation and having to choose between making the "easy and quick" choice or the harder, more "inconveinent" choice. I do not however, understand advocating for the killing of a child. A child who should have the right to live and not just be seen as a parcel of cells that one can vacuum from their body like dirt on carpet.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

And here we go...

So I signed up for (3) different Book Blogging programs and I am excited that after years of reading multiple books a week, I can have a voice in what I think about them.

Not to mention, there are so many amazing books out there that I just don't have the money to buy but I hate to think that I am missing out on some amazing reads so this solves that problem =)

If you are interested in getting books for free and reviewing them, Google the phrase 'book review programs' and see what pops up. I only signed up for Christian literature but there are many options out there for you to choose from.

So in the words of a good friend "go get you some!"