Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Compassion

I love Compassion. The organization, not just the idea of compassion (although I like that, too). I've been following a few bloggers who were called Compassion Bloggers. I figured they worked for Compassion or had a special arrangement with them. But it turns out, the only major qualification to be a Compassion Blogger is to have a blog! So I signed up about two weeks ago, and have been patiently awaiting my first assignment. Well, I just got an email declaring September Compassion Blog Month, so this is going to be exciting!
Join the Compassion Blogger Network
So what is a Compassion Blogger?
A Compassion Blogger is someone who has a heart for the children of the world and for the work Compassion is doing. Their job is to spread the word and raise excitement to end poverty and hunger around the world. They help get sponsors for children in need. Sometimes they even travel with Compassion to witness firsthand what goes on in these countries and to write about it for the rest of us! I'm so excited for this opportunity to write about something I'm passionate about, for an organization I'm passionate about!

I'm also looking forward to this for a personal reason. I have sponsored a few children since I was in high school, but I've always been really bad about writing to them. Especially lately with automatic payments, I barely think about it. I'm hoping that with this reminder to write about Compassion, it will be a reminder and motivation to write to my child and get to know him better.

So what is Blog Month?
Blog month is a month long celebration and challenge. Celebrating the power of many individuals coming together for a cause, and the challenge of getting more than three thousand children sponsors by September 30th. Every week, bloggers will be given a new assignment. So every week you can expect a new post from me about Compassion, poverty, children, puppies.... honestly, I don't know what the assignments are going to be, I just know they will be used to bring knowledge, empowerment, and hope to a dark world. To learn more about Compassion's Blog Month or to sign up, click here.

I'm very excited about this for so many reasons, and I hope you'll join me for the adventure!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

"Shrewd"

Usually the only books I review here on the blog are only ones I receive from publishing companies (not sure why that's been my "rule". Hmm...would anyone want to read reviews for all the books I read?) This book I bought at a book sale, then realized it was an ARC for a book coming out this month, so I am reviewing it here. Let's take a look!
With lines like, "Daring to live the startling command of Jesus" and "The one Bible story you won't hear in church" written on the cover, I expected more from this book.  The premise of this book is that God calls us to be shrewd, just as the devil is shrewd, using the Biblical phrase "shrewd as serpents yet innocent as doves" with the story of the shrewd manager in Luke 16.  Lawrence explores the passage and unpacks what it means and could look like in a Christ-follower's life. 

But, to use the unpacking metaphor, the valuable message was hidden in a box full of paper and packing peanuts. It felt like Lawrence would present his thesis for the chapter, get distracted by all the things he wanted to say, then remember his message in time for the last paragraph. There were good points, but they were overwhelmed by extraneous stories and metaphors, some of which were used but never explained, expecting the reader to know what he was referencing. 

I liked the basic idea of this book. It has started me  thinking about being shrewd in my life and ministry. And yes, it is definitely a story that I have not heard in church, or even remembered reading in my own quiet time! I had to go check my Bible to make sure we were reading the same one! The little rabbit trails throughout the book, while they were mostly enjoyable and had a point, were overkill. They distracted from the main message of the book. 

Finally, I had a small pet peeve with this book. I know the book is called Shrewd, and is about being shrewd, but seriously, how many times can you use the word shrewd?? It seemed like sometimes he was using the word to describe what shrewd was! Or like he was getting paid by the use of the word! That's really my only critique on the actual writing of this book.

Overall, this book is average. If you don't mind a little rambling, you can find some small nuggets of value. 
3/5 stars.

"Short-Straw Bride"

Through a series of rather painful-and embarrassing- events, Meredith finds herself walking down the aisle towards her childhood hero, rancher Travis Archer. Despite marrying the man of her dreams, it is decidedly not her dream wedding! With her uncle forcing the wedding to a man she hasn't seen in twelve years,  and men trying to take the Archer land by force, it's certainly an awkward time, to say the least. After the vows are said, Travis battles his distrust of the world, while Meri is sure she falls after his land and brothers on his list of priorities. Will Travis and Meredith be able to put their faith in God, and each other, to find the love they each crave?

I loved this book by one of my new favorite authors! I may have teared up once....or twice...or half a dozen times...anyways...There was so much drama in this book! And so many different kinds of drama: physical danger, spiritual loss, emotions on the brink, relational uncertainty...in short, all the makings of a great book. Even though it was on the long side (page-wise, to some people, anyways), I didn't find it dragging or boring at any points. I loved getting to know these characters and I sincerely hope we'll get to see the other Archer boys find love, too! 

Check out this trailer for the book to get you even more excited! 

Highly Recommended for fans of historical fiction! 
4/5 Stars

*I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sparkling Teeth

Note to self:
If you decide to turn the knob of your toothpaste tube squeezer, even though it doesn't seem to be ready to turn, it WILL teach you a lesson by spitting 42 times the recommended amount of toothpaste at you the moment you take off the cap. Now, if you've got good reflexes (or just innate habits that have everything lined up at the precise moment for silly accidents), approximately half of it actually landed on your toothbrush. The other half is divided between the sink and the cap (good luck cleaning that sucker out!). Since you don't want to waste any of that toothpaste, you may be tempted to brush with that massive mound of tooth polish. Resist the urge! If you actually DO use it, aside from the large amount of foam you will produce, your tongue will go slightly numb from all that peppermint oil in your fancy organic product. Also, your entire mouth will feel oddly slippery. Like that time you sampled your homemade buttercream and realized you forgot to add the powdered sugar, so it was just flavored shortening that you were eating. It's not pleasant. And brushing your teeth will take 5 times longer than usual.

On the bright side, you are definitely not at risk for any mouth disease now....unless toothpaste can CAUSE mouth disease. In which case you're in big trouble. But also, why are they selling toothpaste if it causes mouth disease?? Shouldn't there be a warning on the box about that or something? I smell a lawsuit!


Note to readers:
Tonight's post is definitely not related to nor inspired by any real life events. Absolutely, positively, 100%.....okay, yeah it is. It totally is. Moral of the story: don't be in a rush to use your fancy toothpaste tube squeezer or it will punish you in hilarious, blog-worthy ways.
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