Monday, December 31, 2018

All Lives Are Sacred

All Lives are Sacred
Family Photo of My Baby Shower


You may have noticed that you no longer find regular posts here. Just book reviews.

There's a reason for that.

I have begun a new website a few months ago. Called AllLivesAreSacred, I have to say something upfront. The site is Christ-centered. This site is what we define as prolife. That is, all my posts stress, in some way or other, that all life is sacred. From conception to natural death. What does this mean? That abortion and euthanasia aren't morally acceptable. Yet this website seeks to inform the public, especially those facing crisis situations, of alternatives to abortions. These are options that, while not ideal, are a vast improvement over abortion as no one is killed. Also, I'm seeking support to legislate for a third option to replace abortion. If you want to debate abortion's merits or ask questions about it, I have set up a forum for you to question and debate (respectfully and without profanity). Been affected by abortion? Faced an unplanned pregnancy? Have a loved one who has faced an unplanned pregnancy? Have you been adopted? Adopted children yourself? Placed a child for adoption? Had an abortion and worked through it? Are you yourself been conceived in an unplanned pregnancy and worked through it? Then you can draft your story right on the "Share Your Prolife Stories" webpage. You can submit it anonymously. Also, I'm hosting something of a giveaway of of mostly Christ-centered books, newsletters, CD's and more. All freebies.

Looking forward to seeing you there! Whether you agree with my worldview or not.


All Lives are Sacred

Saturday, January 7, 2017

LIKED, by Kari Kampakis



This book is part memoir and part why-to or how-to. It's targeted to today's girls. A New York Times bestseller, the author dedicated this book to her daughters. The book uses an attractive, custom font for the Table of Contents. Kampakis begins this book with an Introduction. Then she writes her book in ten chapters. Each chapter has subheadings. She begins each chapter with a quote. The book includes brief quotes in sidebars, occasionally. Then she ends each chapter with questions for the individual reader's self-examination. The author follows her story and advice with a Conclusion, notes referencing sources she uses for her book, and acknowledgements. She wraps it all up with her author bio. Kampakis is a blogger, author, speaker, and newspaper columnist. Her first book, 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know, has been used all over the U.S. by teen youth groups and small groups, to build girls up in their faith. This author's work has been featured in The Huffington Post, TODAY Parents, and other national publications. She can be found at her website that bears her name, or by finding her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

I'm not a member of this book's target audience. My 17-year-old daughter is. This book is interesting, encouraging and inspiring. Kamakis lays the foundation for her call to girls to live generously for God. In the earliest chapters, her teen readers can get a sense of God's love for each of them as individuals. She'll learn that she can't build real friendships with people she doesn't know outside of social networking. Girls' concerns over boys, their appearance, popularity and bullying, are all addressed. As this is a Christian book, this author addresses all of these issues from a Christian perspective. Before I got this book, I thought it might be much like a book that i reviewed earlier, written by a teacher. This book, however, is addressed to girls themselves. Queen Bees Wannabees is addressed to parents, and is written from a secular perspective. It's far more detailed than Liked. Christian books often are shorter than their secular counterparts. In this case, I believe it's because of the target readership. Even as an adult, I can only imagine how challenging much of this is for teen girls from any generation, to swallow. Even for the middle-class teen girls whom this book speaks loudly to. This book, however, has little to says to girls with disabilities, especially those with autism or related disabilities. This book also has little to say to teen girls from low-income families, those whose families' central thought is just to survive. But this book is much needed, and it doesn't hurt adults to read it and apply its principles to our lives.

I recommend this book to all teen girls. However, I know that most of the will likely pre-judge this book as more adult lecturing. They won't want to read any books suggested by their parents. CHapters covering how girls should treat others, may indeed come off as lecturing teen girls. There's no getting around it. But girls should be able to feel the love that this author obviously has for them, and that she has their best interests at heart. I also recommend this book for parents and youth workers, so they'll get a feel for how to communicate with teen girls. What is needed is fr a counterpart book, addressed to teen boys.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through BookLookBloggers, in exchange for my honest review. I wasn't required to give a favorable review of this book.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

THE GREAT SUPPRESSION, by Zachary Roth



This book is a work of political non-fiction. The title reveals the purpose of the book, at a glance. Zachary Roth's bias is clear and he's obviously Democratic in his politics. This book is academic and well-researched. The author begins this book with his introduction about how we got to the condition he writes about. He spreads his message over seven chapters. There are no subheadings, only occasional bullets that separate sections. Zachary Roth ends this book with an epilogue, followed by acknowledgments of those who helped make this book happen. He ends this with end notes, split up by chapter. Finally, we encounter the book's index. Roth, born and raised in London, is a national reporter for the MSNBC, the national TV network.

THE GREAT SUPPRESSION isn't light, easy reading. Literally or emotionally. I knew the author's bias by his title, as it's normally Democrats who advocate against voter suppression. I found myself sickened at the lengths that many conservatives have gone, trying to make voting as difficult as possible for citizens. It never fails to dishearten me that this is the party that Christians and the pro-life community identify with. How has protection of the unborn become so linked with the shady practices and shoddy policies of far right conservatives, whose policies help the rich at the expense of the rest of us? And I'm angry and frustrated that this author, along with many other leading Democrats who fill leadership positions, advocate for so many of the vulnerable but have gotten so radical in their abortion stance that they want to increase PLanned Parenthood spending? All in the name of women's healthcare? So I read this book as a person who wants to support Democrats but can't stand with most of them, because of their abortion stance. But Roth is forever right in most of what he said in making his case against all conservative efforts to limit democracy and disenfranchise less advantaged groups of people. Republicans won't like this book and how it exposes so many of them as self-serving and corrupt. I can tell that this book was written before the primaries ended, as he wasn't sure who the nominees would be. I wonder what this author is thinking of the current results of this election.

I suggest that every honest conservative read this book, and get into the minds and worldview of those who think differently from them. I would suggest the same for liberals if the shoe was on the other foot. I can suggest to anyone interested in political science. But because this book isn't targeted to a broad readership, I don't think it makes sense to recommend it to many people, who would find academic books like this boring.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging For Books, in exchange for my honest review. I wasn't required to give a favorable review of this book.

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Thursday, December 29, 2016

SIMPLE PURSUIT by Various Authors



This book, a devotional, is by, for, and about young people. They seek to reach those who fall into the age range of 18-25. This devotional provides material for one full year. Louie Giglio writes the Introduction to this volume. Matt Redman writes a "declaration" that sums up the purposes that his readership should have and focus on. He also includes a "statement" which gives his thoughts about pursuing God. These devotions are arranged by each of the 365 days, not by date. Each brief devotion begins with an applicable Bible verse. Then we get the devotional itself. A brief prayer ends each one. Following the last devotion, the names of the contributing writers are provided. All the Bible verses used in this devotional are given at the end of this volume. Each of these authors falls into the age range of those they seek to reach. Other than their names, we get little information about these authors.

These devotions aren't for the faint of heart! Let me disclose that I'm not a member of the target audience for this book. The book makes clear that the authors are millennials (ages 18 to 25). They intend their devotions for their peers. So I read these devotions in this context. Thus, I found lots of challenging and convicting material. It's clearly meant to challenge young adults to live their best lives for Christ and give all they have and are to Him. This isn't comfortable reading, or meant to curl up to with your favorite drink. Like the Bible, the authors demand commitment and action in every devotion. But it was the last two sections that I found hardest, emotionally, to read. In these sections, the authors focus on our Christian responsibility to deliver the Gospel to any and all people we rub shoulders with. I found myself sighing throughout this entire section, as a shy individual who doesn't relish initiating conversations, certainly not with people I don't even know. Yet I had to mentally concede, "Amen, amen," as Jesus clearly commands that we Christians make sharing our faith central in our lives. The authors talk about the grace of God, but seem to focus on our responsibilities and performance much more. These devotions read more like brief spiritual lectures. I think that's because of the target audience, often fresh out of school. Or in higher education.

This book is for young adults, ages 18 to 25. Obviously, I recommend this volume for those who fall in this age range. This book has little to offer older adults, who usually can't relate to "the student life" of commuting to college, dorms, or lecture halls. Teens may find these devotions useful and want to use them in their quiet time. I recommend this volume for youth leaders and leaders of millennial Bible study groups. Others may find these devotions useful as long as they read it in context of the targeted audience.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through BooklookBlogger,in exchange for my honest review of this book. I wasn't required to give this book a favorable review.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

THIRTY-ONE VERSES FOR THE HEART by Liz Curtis Higgs



This hardback book is attractively arranged. It has a flower photo on the front cover. Higgs begins with an introduction called Well-Versed. Then she launches into the next 31 chapters. She begins each chapter with a Bible verse. Then follow a few pages of meditations with verses laced throughout the text. She wraps up each chapter with a prayer poem. The chapters end with a tip for memorizing Scripture and a Bible verse. Higgs includes a section of steps to commit Scripture verses to memory. She follows this with a study guide for how to get into God's Word. She includes acknowledgments with a Heartfelt Thanks page, followed by notes from the Bible. Liz Curtis Higgs is the author of more than 30 books with 4.6 million copies in print, including It's Good to Be Queen, Bad Girls of the Bible, The Girl's Still Got It, and The Women of Christmas. Higgs is a seasoned professional speaker and Bible study teacher. She has traveled with Women of Faith, Extraordinary Women, and Women of Joy. She's spoken at over 1700 conferences in all 50 states in the U.S. and in 15 countries worldwide.

This book is one for the heart. I just finished it, and mean to read it far more slowly. That's the way that Higgs means it to be read, an individual verse and chapter a week. No more. For this book review, though, I felt the need to read it faster. Her writing is thoroughly conversational, as if she were encountering you, the reader, face-to-face. I liked all the verses that she chose for this book. I was surprised that she left out a verse in the New Testament, that directly addresses temptation. But I know that her other chosen verses are probably meant to be used in times of temptation. I find this book to be most encouraging. I would have liked it to include many more verses, and to be comprehensive. I hope that Higgs will author another book just like this, or will write a more comprehensive devotion, with, say, 52 verses to cover each week of an entire year. But this book is most encouraging, uplifting, and I intend to use it over and over. Hggs breaks up each verse into smaller sentences, taking them apart. This is known as homiletics. This is a skill that, I believe, all Bible teachers have to have. But all of us believers would do well to acquire this skill, in order to know how to store up Scripture in our hearts, giving us strength to live the way that God tells us to.

I recommend this book for all Christians. Period. THere's really not much to say about that. It's ideal for Christians, whatever their stage of growth. Even the newest believer can benefit from this book. However, this book may do little to challenge pastors and seasoned believers who consider themselves Bible scholars. They may not need this book, but should pass it on to other Christians who have trouble with memorizing Bible verses, getting int the Word for various reasons, or who are new to the faith. I don't recommend this book for non-Christians, as these verses are God's words only for those who have identified with Jesus and united with him by faith. This seems to be a "For Christians Only" book. Christian women are Higgs' target readers. This book is ideal for them, as even the designs of the book are feminine.

I have received a complimentary copy of this book through Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to give a favorable review of this book.

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