Inspirational Thought

"The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 7:13 NIV

Friday, January 6, 2012

Another Absolute Must Read!!!!

The Resolution for WomenThe Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Like The Resolution for Men, I'm declaring this book an absolute must read for women and young women.

Today's culture has completely muddied the definitions of husband and wife, father and mother, which are completely contrary to the definitions the Bible lays out. As Christian moms and wives, we need to have these boundaries between the culture's definition and God's definition clearly set apart from one another--and choose to follow and implement and live out God's.

When we start making up our own rules, we open up a whole can of worms that can spell disaster for our children and our families.

Every woman, and every young woman who has visions of a glorious wedding and a healthy, happy household in her mind, needs to read this book to have God's desires for wifehood and motherhood clearly in our minds.

"God...has brought this book into your life for this particular season. He is calling you to make the hard yet necessary decision to face these chapters and the themes they present with a strong dose of courage, a prodigious amount of willingness to look inward, not outward, and a steady confidence in His Spirit to empower you to follow through on these resolves, regardless of how little your spouse or others may seem compelled to follow your example." (page 4)

I found the author's voice engaging and her stories and anecdotes poignant and vivid. Her focus being on the building up and encouraging of readers to view themselves and their roles as mothers and wives in a different light--in God's light--and strives to help us "stand as a living, walking, eating, breathing example of what God's grace can do with a woman He has set apart...."

I would have liked to have seen more Scriptural parallels and analogies to drive home the message of the Bible on these particular areas. The teaching is definitely there, but it would have been good to have more Scriptural back-up. I know she was trying to keep the lessons short, which was good, but I felt it would have helped tremendously with her overall message, if she took a passage (eg: 1 Peter 2:9-10 on page 53) and explored it in relation to the message of the chapter.

It's a completely eye-opening experience to look at value, self-worth, motherhood, wifehood...all the roles that God has called us to from His perspective rather than the one society claims is right.

Concepts like submission turn into issues of love and respect, rather than abuse and domination. There is no room for abuse and domination in God's version of family and marriage, and yet many in our culture, including many Christians still hold to this definition. God's message isn't based on domination and subjugation, but on love and grace. Many Christian denominations and world religions have taught for centuries that women are second-rate citizens not worthy of anything and use Scripture to back that up--when in fact Christ sets a completely different standard.

I believe both husbands and wives should read both books (The Resolution for Men and the Resolution for Women) so that they can be firmly grounded in God's purpose for that role in their lives, and so that they can keep each other accountable. The future of our marriage and our families depend on husbands and wives who are devoted to God and to each other, and to their God-given roles and purpose.

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An absolute MUST READ!!!

The Resolution for MenThe Resolution for Men by Stephen Kendrick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an absolute MUST READ for any Christian father, father-to-be, husband or husband-to-be -- and for every mother, mother-to-be, wife and wife-to-be. Very rarely do I get this excited about a book - and I have many on my bookshelf!

As families continue to crumble and fall and ex-life partners struggle to figure out why, it is imperative that the Church reinforce the roles of husband and wife that are very clearly laid out in the Bible and that husbands and wives take up the challenge of those roles instead of trying to define and live out their own as based on what society deems right and popular.

I would very strongly recommend that both husbands and wives read both the Resolution for Men and the Resolution for Women so that each can hold the other partner accountable for actions, inactions and ways of thinking that are not in keeping with God's ways and teachings.

Our families and children need strong fathers more than ever. Fathers/husbands that know the difference between loving and respecting and cherishing and being dominating and abusive and manipulative. Fathers, contrary to popular opinion, are integral to raising healthy, well-rounded kids, and to keeping a marriage together. When fathers negate their God-ordained role or abuse that role for purposes that God never intended, then families suffer. "A man cannot be passive about what Scripture tells him to do for his family and expect to be found faithful to God in the end." (page 3)

This is a lesson that every man, and every young man who has visions of being a husband and father in his life needs to read.

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Still Worth the Read

Courageous Living: Dare to Take a StandCourageous Living: Dare to Take a Stand by Michael Catt

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was very much looking forward to reading this book. After the whoopla about Courageous the movie, I was really hoping for a strong "accompanying" book that would help me (and the target audience) dig deeper into the renewed drive for men to step up in their families and retake the family leadership role that feminism has taken from them.

Let me preface my next thoughts by saying that I come at this review not only as a reader, but as a professional editor. My day-to-day work involves analyzing, correcting, reorganizing to get the message out of the writing most effectively.

I had a hard time turning off my editorial hat for this one. My comments have nothing to do with the message of this book, more the literary presentation of it. Others have given it a 5-star rating, so obviously they enjoyed it.

Despite the chapter headings, my main criticism about this book is it seemed disorganized, disjointed and jumped from one paragraph to the next. There was very little flow to this book. It gave me the sense that it was written under pressure and not really out of inspiration. Like the writer was struggling to come up with a message for a third book. I guess I expected the book to be more teaching oriented than it was, reinforcing the concepts from the movie and challenging men to take up the challenge if they hadn't seen the movie.

What I found is he seems to jump from one adage or anecdote to another and from Bible analogy to life application with no connecting language. I don't believe you have to play connect the dots with readers, but there is a way of drawing figurative lines that are obvious without being direct, and they're very effective at connecting with the reader. There were many Scripture passages or stories that could have been delved into to drive home his point, which, branched together with smoother transitions I think would have had a deeper impact.

I had a few issues with the expression of his political and doctrinal view points and name calling (bigots, racists, cowards), which could turn off many readers. There is a way to challenge people with certain viewpoints (bigots, racists) tactfully, but I found several areas of this book where the tone was outwardly offensive, as opposed to challenging; guilt-tripping and condemning instead of encouraging and compelling. God deals with everyone through grace; I didn't see any of that in this book. There is room for bluntness and telling it like it is, but to be effective it needs to be tempered with compassion and grace and backed up by Scripture. This book needed a whole lot more of this than it came with.

By the time I reached chapter 4, I was reading simply because I believed in the message and I wanted to see what other things he had to say. Chapter 4 was better, smoother. Perhaps it was the curse of the first three chapters - trying to get something written (early chapters are often rougher) and by the time you reach Chapter 4 or so, you've finally smoothed out your voice, your message, etc.

The entire intended message of this book, and the Courageous movement can be summed up in this statement from page 93: "Men are more committed to hunting, fishing, and sports than to Christ. They would never think of turning down tickets to a ball game or an invitation to a hunting trip, but they'll roll over and turn the alarm off if it's raining on Sunday morning. I don't care how old you are, you aren't a man until you take responsibility and live in accountability...If you spent as much time on your hobbies as you do on your walk with God, how good would you be at your hobbies? If you spent as much time on your walk with God as you do on your hobbies, what kind of man would you be?"

So many men today are plagued by "I'm good enough. I don't need to learn anything new. I'm good just the way I am." Women grab up Christian living books and desire to know how to become Proverbs 31 women and better wives and mothers, while trying to get a husband or father to read "How to Become a Godly Father/Husband" books is like pulling teeth. Where are the men who are courageous enough to want to learn what the Bible says about husbands and fathers, and to examine their lives and see where they need to make some changes, and then actually strive to make those challenges and hold themselves accountable to God's placement of them in their families.

This is the whole crux of the Courageous message and, like the author, I believe it is desperately needed. Men have been undervalued for so long that fathers have become unnecessary and expendable. But our families need strong, courageous men to take back the leadership role that God intended for them to have. Leadership that is respectful and understanding and involved, not domineering, abusive and disconnected.

Don't let my review of this book stop you on that journey. Perhaps you'll find something in it that will inspire and teach you.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Jiminy Crickets!!!!

This is not a cricket. It's a praying mantis. I'll get to the crickets in just a second...but this mantis is the reason for the crickets.

At the end of the school year, my teenage son came home with two "mantids" - baby mantises...they're really extremely cute, even for a bug.

Mantises are fascinating creatures, I learned several years ago from my now-ex who on a couple of occasions brought home an oothaca(sp?), which is an egg sack, about an inch in diameter, full of baby mantises, and we proceeded feed and raise them.

They are a natural pest control bug, eating pretty much anything in your garden or farm, and they are actually a protected species because they are of such great value to farmers.

When they're first born, they're really extremely tiny, about the same size as a mosquito. Normally, you're supposed to feed them "flightless fruitflies" but as those proved to be extremely hard to procure, I started feeding them mosquitos, and our two little mantids thrived and quickly molted several times. With each molt, which poses a death risk to mantises each time, the mantids get bigger and in later molts, they actually develop wings. For a bug, they're really quite beautiful, along the lines of gypsy moths, beautiful. And it's fascinating to watch them hunt.

Anyway...eventually, as you can imagine they get too big for mosquitos to satisfy them, so we graduated to dear flies, which only last five or six weeks. So what then. Crickets. Not the big black ones, smaller brownish coloured ones without exoskeletons. These you can get in most any pet store because they're nourishment for a number of other critters.

Well, the other day I had just picked up a whole bunch of these things of varying sizes and put them in an aerated box with clever little "tube holes" that supposedly made it easy for me to get the crickets out and feed them to the mantises. Yes, in the car. (Can you see where this is going?)

Unfortunately, it didn't occur to me to leave the tubes (which had caps on the end to keep the crickets from getting loose) in the tube holes. When I arrived home, I discovered that only about 10 of the 30 crickets I had bought were still in the box!! So 15-20 crickets were hopping around my car...and they are fast and hard to catch. Once they're loose you have very little chance of catching them because they like to find little corners or crannies where you can't reach. By the time you notice them and get to the place where they are to try to catch them, they're gone!


Oh, well. Now I've got the little cricket box figured out, but that doesn't mean they don't get away. I've lost a couple...

All for the sake of my son's summer science fair. *head shake*

Now, I'm faced with the dilemma of what to do with them for the winter. Since mantises are cold blooded, I can certainly keep them alive in the house, but they haven't gotten their wings yet (although they're pretty fine jumpers) and I'm reluctant to release them so close to the fall and without their wings. I had hoped by now to be able to release them, but the weather has grown chillier a little sooner than I anticipated and that seems to be affecting their activity level.

Guess we'll see!!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Wow! I know, three articles in one day!

I think every mother/parent is familiar with the dilemma of managing time...I have a rather substantial stack of dishes and an icky floor and mountains of clean laundry and probably just as much dirty laundry (thanks to son #1) sitting behind me at the moment. Don't know that I'll ever have this particular dilemma actually solved.

But every writer at heart struggles with the balance of family life, working to get paid, and following what her heart is telling her that she needs to do. I've always known that I would be a writer, but I knew that what I wanted to write wouldn't be enough to live least in the I capitalized on some of my other skills -- editing, typing and organization -- to pay the bills.

Fifteen years of secretarial work finally morphed into an opportunity to work from home doing what I loved -- working with words. I wouldn't have changed my decision for the world (you couldn't pay me enough to get me into an office job), but it doesn't mean it was without its struggles.

It meant putting me -- someone who is somewhat obsessive over schedules and incomes -- doing a job that is predictable in every aspect. One day is never the same as the next and every month brings with it the uncertainty of whether or not I will actually have work, and whether or not payments will come in precisely when I need them to. There was also the challenge of where would the work come from.

I cannot go any further without completely acknowledging how much this is a faith lesson. For any other obsessive compulsive type person letting go of control over such a major aspect of life would probably have resulted in anaphylactic shock or something. But, surprisingly, I was completely at peace with this...and still am. The work I've needed has always come to me and the Lord has never failed to provide...which leads me to the next transition.

I feel I have reached the point where I can finally trim some of the work I advertise and focus on those few regular clients and finally, finally, finally, get writing for myself. I've started taking more weekends off and enjoying the time with my kids and relaxing. I've already adjusted my website to reflect my new priorities...and even though the changes seem rather drastic, they were logical and I have no regrets at all.

There are a lot of things lining up for the second half of 2011 and I won't spoil them by posting on them now...but let's just say this whole change of perspective is part of the plan. I'm tired of watching the year swoosh by and I still have no books finished, my music is still sitting there unpublished and unformatted and unrecorded, and I don't seem to have any better grasp on life and home than I did in the beginning. I'm usually one of those "grab the bull by the horns" type people. I'm tired of playing the "someday I'll" game.

Of course, one can't always just do whatever they want. Sometimes these things are a journey in and of themselves. There has to be a certainty that these choices are the right ones to make at that time...and I have that feeling.

The toughest part of this is regaining the work discipline I once had, which has been challenged because the boundary between home and work is so much more flexible. But then, that's one of the advantages to being my own boss--I get to pick my own hours, right?

Setting a schedule is much easier when someone else is giving you work that has to be completed by a certain point in time. It is much more difficult--I find, anyway--to keep that tight schedule when it's just me...regardless of self-imposed deadlines and daily target word counts.

But it's a drive I just can't squelch anymore. I have to do this to silence the hundreds of literary voices in my head and particularly the one that keeps reminding me of how many ideas I have sitting in my notebook waiting for me to flesh out. Well, the waiting is over. I can't take it anymore! It's time to let the voices out and get the pen and keyboard to work.

Will try to keep you updated!

Still Single? Mr. Right is Out There, I Know it!

Not that I expect this post to drop Mr. Right into my front of me.

Some would say that nothing will really happen until my divorce is final...and I'm quite okay with actually waiting to do anything romance related until then, but I would just love to meet a guy and know the attraction is mutual and know that there will be someone waiting for me on the other side of this.

I'm trying to be patient, but I've never been patient when it comes to finding romance...which was probably how I ended up in my married/divorced situation in the first place. You think a girl'd learn! *hand smack on forehead*

After a 14-year loveless marriage, I kind of think I've waited long enough, but I guess the Lord has other plans. I'm on a couple of online dating sites...seems like that's where everybody goes now...and surprisingly this "great find" hasn't had much of a nibble...except from those who want to extort money out of a single mother of two or those who, after reading their profile, it's not great wonder why they're single.

Despite all this...I know he's out there. Somewhere.