Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Bibleforce, The First Heroes Bible, a review

My son loved graphic novels, especially as a teenager.  He took a class in college just because they would be studying a favorite graphic novel.  This book reminds me of a well done graphic novel, except the stories are true. 

It is a large hardback book, which makes the colorful images enjoyable for kids and teens.  Although I have to say, it would work very well as a read aloud to preschoolers.  The pictures could be viewed while the reader provides a simple story for the non-reader.

Throughout the book, there are not only Bible stories but a "hero profile" for the main characters, reminding kids and teens that the people we read about in the Bible are regular people who accomplished exceptional works for God.  I like that Jesus is called "The Ultimate Hero".

I highly recommend Bibleforce as a supplement to a standard Bible for kids of any age.  It is beautiful. 

Bibleforce was provided by Tommy Nelson for the sake of review but the opinions are my own.

More information can be found... here.

Disclaimer:  Most links to Amazon.com are Associate links.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sunday Afternoon Tea - A Little More Book Talk


After writing about bookish friends last week, I thought I'd share what I am reading now and some of my favorite books.  I get asked these questions a lot and I rarely am able to respond to individual questions.

I am always in the midst of multiple books because there are review books that must be read, books I want to reread, a Kindle book, and books on my "To Be Read" stack (which is ridiculously big and in more than one room), a couple devotional books, beautiful cookbooks to peruse, etc.

Right now I am reading The Life Giving Parent: Giving Your Child a Life Worth Living for Christ by Clay & Sally Clarkson.  I will be writing an official review near the publish date, which I think is May 1st.  However, unofficially I will say it is quite wonderful.

My Kindle current read is Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practises in Everyday Life by Tish Harrison Warren.  Warren is Anglican so her background is a little different than mine but so many people who know my taste in books told me I HAD to read this book.  I admit, three chapters in and I am smitten.

I want to reread some of my Edith Schaeffer books and I have had Anne Morrow Lindberg's five diaries waiting on my bookshelves to reread for ages.  They were collected over a few years from library book sales. I read them when I was very young and loved each one of them.  Her book, Gifts From the Sea resides on my desk.

Someday I want to renew my "Stalking Jonathan Edwards" reading, which I did a number of years ago.  That will require re-reading at least a couple of books, especially Marriage to a Difficult Man.  I want to read more of Edward's actual writings the next time.

I also plan to read more of Wendell Barry's Port William books.  I loved Hannah Coulter.  My mother's people are from near this part of Kentucky and as much as I enjoy Barry's writings, it also makes me feel I'm learning about a part of the land that resides in my DNA.  It is hard to believe that Hannah Coulter was written by a male, Barry's insight into the thoughts of an empty nest mom in the end of the book are remarkable.

Sitting on my desk to read very soon is another Berry... Mary Berry.  I adore her on The Great British Baking Show.  I want to be as elegant in the kitchen as she is!  Last year, I purchased a used copy of the the paperback version of her 2013 autobiography called Recipe For Life.  It arrived just after I had originally lost the vision in my right eye and I'd say it is far past time to read it.

To quickly answer some other questions... 

I have a few favorite series where I have read every book.  They are the Mitford series by Jan Karon, the Tea Room cozy mysteries by Laura Childs, James Harriot's All Creatures Great and Small series, and the original Nancy Drew mysteries.  Nancy Drew was my first book crush.

My favorite books?  If you ask me on any given day then the answer may be different.  I do have many favorites but a few titles are consistently near the top.

If I would choose books from how many times they have been reread, then L'Abri, Hidden Art, and What is a Family by Edith Schaeffer would be at the nonfiction top of the list. A Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George has been read multiple times. I think I have read most of her books for women, some of them at least twice.  While not perfect (I find her suggestion to be constantly busy annoying), they are very good.

Books by Emilie Barnes and Anne Ortlund were also read numerous times.  They were the women who, along with Edith, shaped the way I saw being a wife, mother, homemaker, etc.

Emilie's book on getting organized called More Hours in My Day was especially good and her book If Teacups Could Talk was instrumental in many of us developing an obsession with teatime (and tea cups).  Anne's most famous book, Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman, is still in print.  I read just about everything both of these women wrote.

As for fiction, the first book I remember rereading many times was Christy by Catherine Marshall. I haven't read it in a long time since there are so many novels to be read but perhaps someday it will get dusted off again.

I only "discovered" Elizabeth Goudge and D. E. Stevenson since blogging (although my husband told me his mom loved Goudge novels) and I'd have to say those two authors have been read and reread the most since then.

Specific books speak to me at different times, for instance I love Pilgrim's Inn (such a lovely book!) and I do reread it but the third book in the trilogy called The Heart of the Family speaks to me deeply at this stage of life.  Which is probably why some readers do not like it, for it speaks more to those who have lived more years than are ahead of them.

Which is why rereading books is important, we don't look at a book the same as years go by and in well written books, there is a lot of gold to mine at various stages.

I especially like to reread favorite books when going through difficult times because they are like old friends that I have visited many times, I know what to expect and the comfort they will bring.

I hope that answers some questions and provides kind of a snapshot of where my reading is at the moment.

Some of the books mentioned in this post are:
The Life Giving Parent (available for preorder)... here.
Liturgy of the Ordinary... here.
Gifts From the Sea... here.
Marriage to a Difficult Man (third party)... here.
Hannah Coulter... here.
Recipe For Life... here.
At Home in Mitford... here.
First Three Tea Shop Mysteries in one volume... here.
All Creatures Great and Small... here.
Hidden Art of Homemaking... here.
What is a Family... here.
L'Abri... here.
A Woman After God's Own Heart... here.
More Hours in My Day... here.
If Teacups Could Talk... here.
Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman... here.
Christy... here.
The Bird in the Tree (Eliot #1)... here.
Pilgrim's Inn (Eliot #2)... here.
The Heart of the Family (Eliot #3)... here.

Disclaimer:  Most links to Amazon.com are Associate links


Image:  Interior with the Artist's Daughter by Duncan Grant

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - How I Stock Up links


I think spring is beginning to win the battle of the seasons at last.  Even though we had another snow early this week, it melted fast and it was almost what I would call warm yesterday. 

I can't say it was a terrible winter, it was just long.  Given the choice, I think I would rather be dealing with cold temperatures in April than multiple blizzards and an early Spring as in recent winters.  Spoken like a true introverted bookish type person who kind of likes being forced to sip hot beverages and curl up to read just a little longer than normal.

Monday begins my "little at a time" outdoor chores marathon, perhaps the busiest weeks of the year for lawn and garden work.  It takes awhile but I usually get most of it done and since I begin with the highest priority, the most important outdoor chores that are my responsibility are... in most years... accomplished.

I promised a blog reader last week that I would link to the series I wrote nine years ago about "How I Stock Up".  (I can't believe it has been nine years!) It is pretty much the same now, some priorities have changed with just two of us at home.

They begin with a post I wrote providing a general explanation of what a Pantry Lifestyle is all about and then they are in an order that puts the first Stock Up post being last as you scroll down.

How I Stock Up Series... here.

Note:  Some links may not go to specific articles now since this was written some years ago.

Image:  This photo was taken a few years ago when I had purchased a large amount of raw honey at a good price and poured it into jelly jars.  I learned the hard way that raw honey is easier to liquefy again if needed in small jars.

Friday, April 20, 2018

The NKJV Vines Expository Bible, a review


Most often when I review something like an Expository Bible, I share if it will make a good reference book for your Bible study.  Thinking, of course, that it will be placed in a bookshelf and taken out when needed. 

That is what I expected with this Bible and I was very pleasantly surprised to find it not only informative but enjoyable.  This is not a reference Bible to keep on a shelf but to be used every day.  I was provided a hardback copy but I find it very easy to handle.  The larger than usual print is easy to read.

The Bible is edited by Baptist pastor Jerry Vines, who "leads you on a journey through the Bible, with observations and understanding straight from a pastor's heart.  Based on sermons selected from his lifetime of ministry, this Bible provides a distinctive, passage-by-passage guide through every book of Scripture and shows how God's revelation applies to your life."

Features Include:
  • 205 "Presenting the Message" detailed outlines from Jerry Vine's sermon archive
  • 148 "Living the Message" articles with illustrations for living the Christian life
  • 237 "Applying the Message" notes that help you see the relevance of Scripture for your walk with Christ
  • 311 "Discerning the Meaning" word studies that illuminate the meaning of key words in Scripture
  • 66 Book Introductions that describe each book's unique place in God's Word
  • Exclusive Thomas Nelson NKJV Comfort Print typeface
  • Easy-to-read 10.5-point type
  • Topical Index Concordance

I highly recommend this Expository Bible to anyone wanting to learn more about the Word of God from a man who has a gift of communication along with the heart of a pastor. 

The NKJV Vines Expository Bible was provided by the publisher for the sake of review but the opinions are my own.

More information can be found... here.

Disclaimer:  Most links to Amazon.com are Associate links.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

An Amish Heirloom, a review


I have come to enjoy these books which contain four novellas by well known authors of Amish fiction. They each have an interesting story with characters facing real life challenges. The authors for these novellas are: Amy Clipston, Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, and Kelly Irvin.

The four stories in this book are:
A Legacy of Love: About an Amish volunteer fire fighter and carpenter who agrees to repair his ex-girlfriend's rocking chairs she has inherited from her grandparents.  He realizes he still cares for her even though she is now engaged to another man.  She wonders if she is marrying for the wrong reasons.

The Cedar Chest: Emma Fisher has owned her great grandmother's cedar chest for decades when her daughter decides to help her pry it open.  Inside there are letters between her great grandparents which tell the story of their surprising history. While laying hidden for years, the letters also help the present day women face their own conflicts.

The Treasured Book: A wealthy young lawyer is considering joining the Amish church and he must decide if it is a true search for God or brought about by his feelings for an Amish woman, who has just come back into his life.  She has carried with her the tiny heirloom Bible he had gifted her before their previous parting, does this mean she cares for him more than she lets herself admit?

The Midwife's Dream: A young midwife is called upon to deliver the baby of a teenager when the brother of a friend brings the strangers to her parent's home.  The young couple abandon the newborn and in their quest to locate the parents, the midwife and the brother of her friend come to realize their feelings for each other as more than friends.

Each novella is just the right length for a quick read on the beach or during an extended coffee break.  Highly recommended for light reading.

An Amish Heirloom was provided by the publisher for the sake of review but the opinions are my own.

More information can be found... here.

Disclaimer:  Most links to Amazon.com are Associate links.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Sunday Afternoon Tea - The Joys of Bookish Friends


Last week a precious bookish friend asked if I would be willing to read an advanced copy of her new book.  I messaged my daughter that I thought it cute she asked for the obvious answer is... I will read anything she writes.  Such is my affection for my bookish friends... readers and writers.

Most of my bookish friends are those with whom I share a common vocabulary found in the books we have read and the authors we admire.  It is in this connection that we share a type of literary shorthand where one word or a name or perhaps a place from a favorite book is all that we need to totally understand what is happening at the moment.

For instance, there are those family and friends who cohabit the world created by Lewis, Tolkien, and friends.  They think nothing of Miss Potter chatting with inanimate objects and prefer their rodents wearing pinafores (as my daughter says her mother does).

We long for a peaceful place like Rivendell and desire to sip a pint... or a cup of good coffee... in an English pub with friends who weave words into lovely poems and prose.  We want to share elevensies with a Hobbit and afternoon tea with Grandfather and Henrietta.

I have bookish friends who believe Father Tim is the wisest pastor in all of literature and adopting a "dog as big as a Buick" is quite understandable.  Even for those of who prefer felines as pets.  We may have shed a few tears over the years as favorite characters passed on and the passage of time brought changes to Mitford as well as our own towns.

There are bookish friends and family for whom the term "kindred spirits" brings an immediate memory of an adopted orphan who tends to get into various scrapes but is true to her best friends... and we all see a bit of ourselves in her books.

Bookish friends understand when they call and they are told one cannot talk at the moment for one is in the midst of reading a particularly exciting section of a book or that the baby is napping and it is the only time to read a few chapters before beginning dinner.

Bookish friends are able to overcome differences in politics and religion by the agreed upon heroes we find in the authors we love.  For instance, I am certain Tasha Tudor and I would not agree upon religion (for she believed in some odd spirituality at times) but I thoroughly enjoyed the way she turned her own world into the look and feel of a previous century... in her home and in her books.

There have been instances while walking the gravel lane to the rural mailbox in the midst of falling snow that I think of Tasha in her red cape with her corgis at her side, walking to pick up her mail in her lovely Christmas DVD called Take Peace.

It is not only those bookish friends who share an appreciation of the same books that I love to chat with in person or online.  There are friends who are so talented in the way they put words together that I tend to drop what I'm doing to read their latest books or blog posts.

I probably came close to stalking my friend Lanier's website as I looked up and archived many of her Advent and Christmas related blog posts a few years ago.  They take my breath away in their beauty.  I find myself reading them when I need inspiration on how to write (for I believe one learns to write well by reading the works of excellent writers).

There are writers I know fairly well and those with whom I have a  nodding acquaintance online.  Which is one of the good things about technology in the way we can use it to maintain friendships with those in far away places.

This subject could take a year of blog posts so I had better end this post soon.  I will say that my greatest joy as far as bookish people I hold dear came in raising two bookish children, who each married bookish spouses, and are raising bookish grandchildren.  ;)

Of course, my favorite Book is one which was inspired by the Holy Spirit and tells us the Story of the Ages.  The Book that relates the Story of which Tolkien shared with Lewis as "True Myth"... and for that, those of us who love Narnia can take great joy.

Mentioned in this Blog Post
Miss Potter (the DVD)... here.
The Lord of the Rings books... here.
The Hobbit book... here.
A City of Bells... here.
At Home in Mitford (the first Mitford novel)... here.
Anne of Green Gables... here.
Tasha Tudor's Take Peace Christmas DVD... here.
The Chronicles of Narnia books... here.

Lanier's Books blog... here.

Disclaimer:  Most links to Amazon.com are Associate links.

Photo:  Instagram photo of my Living Room bookshelves.