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Jul 30, 2013

Chivalry, A Review

Zach Hunter wrote Chivalry to remind his generation that we are called to live a chivalrous life with others and ourselves, whether male or female, straight or homosexual, black or white, or something in between.  He used little stories to introduce each of ten principles from the code of honor by which the knights of old used to live.  He believes that his generation will be known as a generation of action, especially in the realm of social justice.

Chilvary is not "being nice" or polite or something along those lines.  It is doing the right things because they need to be done and you are there to do them.  To paraphrase Zach's thoughts, chivalry is about the internal change from self centered to open our lives to the loving guidance of our amazing, awe inspiring God.  This internal change shows itself in our behavior that is much more long lasting and higher than anything we can do on our own without God.

This book was important to me because I am trying to live the best life I can.  With the migraines and disability I have, I am focusing more on what I can do, which is things like how I approach others and God.  I cannot control the pain or the migraines or any of that stuff.  I can only do my best, which does vary day by day.  That's all we can all do.

This book would be important for you to read because it will help you think about things beyond your own circumstances in a way that may spur you to action or at least to a new way of interacting with others.  It can also open your mind to new ways of thinking about life and the things beyond this world.  So, check it out and see what you think about it.

Comments would be awesome!  I love to know what others think about books we've both read and how we are the same and different.

I gave this book 4/5 stars because it made me think differently and that was a good thing.

I received my copy of this book from the publisher, Tyndale, through the NetGalley review program for free in exchange for my honest opinion.

Jul 26, 2013

Faith of a Mustard Seed

Earlier this summer, Karen and I had gone to a wedding with Casper.  I ended up getting a migraine from the lights.  The loud music helped to make me nauseous.  I let Karen know I was going to the car to take my medicine and rest my head, and that I'd like to talk with her there if she was okay with going outside for a while.

Thankfully, she came out to the car.  We had been talking with someone earlier in the evening and I couldn't hear what had been shared exactly because of the music.  Karen shared the story that had been shared with us.  After that, I initiated praying for those that had been shared about. Immediately after saying, "Amen," I got a stupendous insight.

I saw the mountain and a pail taking one pailful of dirt at a time and building a mountain in a different spot.  I had always thought of Jesus' statement, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can move mountains," as being in the background.  I had never given a lot of thought to this principle. It had always been believed but in the background, like wallpaper, the wall is there, but you don't really think about them.

I realized all of a sudden that the faith of a mustard seed doesn't mean magically levitating the mountain from point A to point B, but rather, that it is the faith that with concerted effort over time, the mountain will be moved with the filling of a pail of dirt, walking over to point B, emptying the pail, and repeating the process over and over until the mountain has been moved.  In that one second of of saying, "Amen," I went from a wallpaper understanding to totally understanding that thought fully.  I was so amazed that I said, "Wow!!"

Karen asked, "What?" So, I explained the insight to her.  It took a good five to ten minutes to get all of the words out.  I was so excited, but my head was hurting so we went home for the night.

Jul 17, 2013

Time To Get Honest About .... WIPs, A Confession

I was looking at my projects list and thought I had three WIPs.  I even said I had to finish only three projects before I could cast on a brand new project.  Then, I figured out how to put Ravelry Member and Ravelry Designer buttons in my sidebar.

I saw someone had a list of their WIPs in their sidebar too.  I wanted that!

But, it would mean coming out about something.  I have more WIPs than three.  I have more than five, or seven, or ten, or even fifteen.

I have seventeen WIPS.  If you count the projects in the sidebar, you will get to nineteen.  The discrepancy is because one project is a placeholder project for four other projects as one project and one project that has yet to be started.

The Muggle Studies OWL is a placeholder for the information related to my OWL exam for the Harry Potter Knitting/Crochet House Cup group on Ravelry.  The OWL is comprised of four sweaters I'm making to enable a baby wizard to blend in with the Muggles he will most certainly encounter through out his infancy.

The other project is my OWL reward project.  Hoxton Handmade's podcast host released her first pattern on Ravelry, Black Death!  I will make it in Malabrigo Rios in purple, which I got through the For Trade/Sale section of the Yarn Stash listings in Ravelry, for less than from the regular sources (even with postage!).   Black Death is a simple triangular shawl with eyelets in rows and columns, but the pattern was devised when Hoxton had an infection so there's all sorts of references to pestilence and death in the pattern, playing with that idea.

I am going to make this project to celebrate my survival from Bacterial Meningitis.  The references to Black Death in the pattern will just make the Bacterial Meningitis be even more put in its place. I will conquer it by doing this project.  Not literally, but even doing it figuratively will give me strength and power to continue through the hard days and the horrid migraines.

I'm calling my Black Death by the name Not A Black, Black Death.  This represents not only my survival through near death experience, but also the actual color is not black, so literally not a black Black Death.

I cannot wait to cast on.  I have to so I'll just have to knit fast.  I think I can do that. ;)

Curvy Girl Crochet, A Review

Mary Beth Temple has brought together twenty five awesome patterns in her book Curvy Girl Crochet.  There are sweaters, tunics, shawls, bags, scarves, and lots of fun projects!  I can't wait to get started on the Orange Marmalade and maybe one or two more, but I must finish some WIPs first.

I loved the pictures of the sweaters as they were all of models who have larger bodies than most models we see in magazines.  I still remember a talk I listened to where the speaker showed the subtle changes to Betty Boop's shape over time to coincide with what society thought was pretty and in vogue.  I was enraged by the messages we are given without even realizing we have been told anything.  It is refreshing to see models that reflect my reality. 

I also liked the colors used.  The projects weren't all in one color palette, nor were they monotonous.  I liked the variety because it let you think about the projects as fitting into more than just the colors presented in the book.  If you are into neutrals or brights or blues, inspiration was available to get your creative juices going.

I gave this book 5/5 stars because I really liked the use of regular sized models and the colors used.

I received my copy through the NetGalley review program in exchange for my honest review.

Jul 8, 2013

North of Hope, A Review

In North of Hope: A Daughter's Arctic Journey, Shannon Huffman Polson writes about the aftermath of losing her father and stepmother in a grizzly attack on a secluded river in Alaska's Northern Slope.  Polson embarks on the same journey her dad and his wife were taking when they lost their lives.  With her are her brother and his friend, it is not safe to travel the arctic alone, even in summer.

I was drawn to this story because I loved living in Alaska as a preteen many moons ago.  I was transported back to the land of my dreams in this memoir, and I was not dissatisfied with the journey.

Part of the journey through grief Polson took, mimics my own journey through grief.  I've already shared her description of being glomped by grief and getting up but still having grief as a walking companion in an earlier post and my response to same passage.  Seeing Polson's growth through grief has helped me to understand that it is okay to feel how I feel about the hard things in life.

I really liked the descriptions of the natural world, as savage creature and flowing river and serene sunlight.  I learned more about Alaska ecology and how interconnected life is on the Northern Slope.  I got to revisit a favorite state.

I gave the book 5/5 stars for being such a good read, for soul, mind, and health.

I received my copy of the book from the BookSneeze review program on behalf of Zondervan, the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Jul 6, 2013

Becoming Indigo, A Review

Tara Taylor and Lorna Schultz Nicholson, authors, have written an intriguing story in Becoming Indigo.  A coming of age story of Indigo who is a young lady with growing psychic abilities and who lives in the Glebe, a bohemian neighborhood of Ottawa, Canada, with her friends from high school.  Everyone else seems to be getting ready for college or the real world, except Indigo.

I liked the way the authors describe the characters.  The way they developed Indigo's character, as well as the others.  And, how they

My friend also read this book. She really liked how the story flowed.  The authors made you feel you were a part of Indigo's growth as a woman and her special abilities.  The authors also gave life to the other characters not just Indigo.

One time I was being a negative Nancy, and my friend told me about a time from the story when Indigo was going through something similar.  One of Indigo's older friends tells her, "There are voices in our heads. One's positive and one's negative.  And, you can tell the negative one to go away.  You don't have to listen to her."  That's my paraphrase there, by the way.

I really liked this idea because the Inner Critic was being particularly loud that day.  It needed to be told to go away and leave me alone.  So, I told my inner critic to go away, and the funny thing is, it did. :)

You know how you read things and you think oh, that's a great idea, but you don't implement it in your life?  That's what I had done with that bit of the story.  It took my friend seeing my attitude, having read the story, and being able to pull the right bit out of the story at the right time.

I gave this book 5/5 stars as it does have lots of real world application bits like what I've described here, the story is great, and I wanted to continue the story beyond the book.

I received my copy of the book through the NetGalley review program from the publisher, Hay House, in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Best-Dressed Bears, A Review

Emma King created many outfits, costumes, and accessories for teddy bears in her The Best-Dressed Bears.  She provides instructions for teddy bears in various sizes and with and without jointed limbs as well.  For each size of bear, Ms. King provides various clothing options. 

I really liked the beautiful and whimsical outfits.  The attention to details is fabulous.  The use of color palette is sublime.  This is a cute book.

I found the instructions easy to follow, simple, and direct.  The word pictures were easy to figure out.  The words seemed to flow from Ms. King's mind through the page and into mine.

I gave this book 4/5 stars because I was enchanted with the photos, wanted to cast on a project immediately, and could see making some of these for gifts for Christmas this fall.

I received my copy through the NetGalley review program on behalf of the publisher, Anova Books, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Eyes of the Heart, A Review

Christine Valters Painter in her book, Eyes of the Heart: Photograhy as Christian Contemplative Practice, is a photographic journey into visio divina, sacred seeing, using the camera to focus attention and heart on the beauty of God's presence around us in the everyday life.  Visio divina is based on lectio divina, sacred reading, which is a way of coming to the text of the Bible with the intent to commune with the Living God through His Living Words by seeing Jesus in each reading through the four steps of reading, meditating, praying, and contemplating/reflecting on Jesus.  Christine Valters Painter is a spiritual director and Benedictine oblate whom uses six themes to connect the art of photography and Christian spirituality.  The camera takes pictures, but the human receives the images and through visio divina is able to see with "the eyes of the heart" as it says in Ephesians 1,18.

I really liked Christine's photography scattered throughout the book.  It brought the words to life, and opened my mind and heart.  I also liked the adaptation of the lectio divina to a visual medium, not just a verbal one.  We are visual creatures and are stunned by images of breathtaking vistas.  I can see myself taking my smartphone on my next walk, snapping a few images of beauty that I pass by in a blur most days, and feel the slowness and stillness of God in my heart and soul.

This was a spectacular introduction to lectio/visio divina and to photography as a method to slow down and come into a stillness within your soul.

I gave this book 5/5 stars for the wonderful images, insights, and inspiration.

I received my copy of this book through the NetGalley Review Program from the publisher Ave Maria Press in exchange for my honest opinion.

I Am: Renewal From Within the Garden, A Review

In her book, I Am: Renewal From Within the Garden, Dr. Lucie K. Lewis pontificates on the importance of spiritual motherhood and the fourteen "I Am" statements made by Jesus Christ, most of which can be found in the Gospel of John.  Through her story she takes us through the journey of coming into a mature understanding of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit by trying to emulate her dear family friend and godmother, Marion Steel Coles.  Dr. Lewis does a masterful job in her writing of making clear points and backing them up with experiential and scriptural references.

I really liked how she grew in her spirituality through the course of the book.  By beginning with the second hand God of her spiritual mother and moving into her own relationship with God in all his persons, she goes through tremendous growth and changes.  It was exciting to see those changes happen. 

I also enjoyed learning more about the various "I Am" statements about Jesus.  I like learning more about Jesus from the Bible, and Dr. Lewis' book led me to do my own reading of the Gospel of John.  I am finding more than I realized was in there.  I had read through the Bible many years ago and my eyes were not opened like they are after reading Dr. Lewis' book and my life experiences.

Having gone through meningitis and chronic, debilitating migraines, I know how precious life is and how excruciating pain can feel.  I have often prayed for God to take my migraines away, but not my will but his, as Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.  I figure if my having the migraine spares someone else something worse somehow, then despite the great pain, it is worth it.  Like Jesus felt when thinking of taking our sins on himself to spare us from eternal separation from God.

I give this book 5/5 stars because I liked the story and the insights I gained from reading the book.

Be sure to check out my initial reaction to this book, here.

I received my copy from the NetGalley Reviewer Program in exchange for my honest review.

The Women's Bible Commentary, A Review

In their book, Women's Bible Commentary, 3rd Edition, Carol A. Newsom, Sharon H. Ringe, and Jacqueline E. Lapsley, editors, have compiled many articles about each book of the Bible including the Apocrypha/Dueterocanonical books as well as a few articles about women's roles and lifestyles in the times that the Bible was written.  They used the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible and referred to renditions of "LORD" as "YHWH" or "Yahweh."  They included the Catholic, Protestant, and Hebrew Bible books to be as wide reaching as possible.  The authors of the articles come from a lot of different perspectives, but have one thing in common.  They all read the Bible books self-consciously as women of North America well versed in ancient Greek and Aramaic.

I read the articles on Ruth and Proverbs as well as the preface and introduction.  They were both very informative, opened my eyes about confusing parts of the books, and gave me insights I never had before. 

One thing I had always been confused about was why did Naomi have Ruth uncover Boaz's feet.  Now, I know.  Ask in the comments, and I'll tell you why. 

I also had been confused by bits of Proverbs speaking about Wisdom as a subcreation of God, almost, or as the feminine side of God.  I couldn't quite word it the way that made sense to me.  Now, that I've been through the Tolkien class on Middle Earth, I have the understanding of subcreation and that explains it better.

I give it 5/5 stars for ease of reading and insights gained from reading it.

I received my copy for free in exchange for my honest opinion in a review through the NetGalley Review Program.