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
Yeah

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.