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January Book Reviews

I made my way through three books this month. You'd think that since we took the month off I would have read more, but you know, quilting and tv......


When I was in high school, our church had a girl's group ... maybe it was Sunday School or part of youth group? Our leader presented the four personality types based on a book by Tim LaHaye (Spirit Controlled Temperaments). From that I discovered two things: 1. I was perfectly normal and not the only one like me and 2. I was an introvert and a "phlegmatic". Ever since then I've been fascinated with anything to do with personality typing.


Anne Bogel's book, Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything tells us about all sorts of personality typings and profiles. She sets out to enable us to use these profiles to help us see what changes need to be made, why those changes are necessary, and how to carry them out. She also helps us see how some things just aren't go…
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Book Review: Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God

Thought-provoking, irritating, and concerning are all words I would use to describe Brian Zahnd’s book, Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God.  Rev. Zahnd starts the book telling about his experiences as a child when much of the preaching centered around the wrath of God.  People were scared into hell.  His own favorite sermon was Jonathan Edward’s Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.  He relates how he used to read the Chick Publication tracts (probably most of my readers are too young to remember them) and how they formed his imagination to believe in an angry God.  Mr. Zahnd has reacted to all of this anger by swinging in the other direction.  He has written this book to show how God is not angry, He is loving.
First, Mr. Zahnd has a lot of good things to say.  However, he says a lot that I just can’t agree with.  I’m not a theologian nor a pastor nor an intellectual, but I do know my Bible pretty well and I’m very uncomfortable with much in the book.  I believe that some of his the…

January Happenings

If you follow my blog or know us at all, you'll remember that December marked the culmination of seven years of study and hard work for John when he successfully defended his doctoral thesis in Oxford, England at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies.  His degree will be awarded by Middlesex University.  That was a LONG seven years of non-stop work for John.  Even when we took vacation time, John was always reading or studying.  We had also had a very busy fall, with lots of traveling in October, November, and December.  So we decided to take January as a month off.

We had some really frigid temperatures in January, with day after day 10 degrees or less.



Since we had been gone half of December, we left our Christmas decorations up just a little longer than we normally do.



I have enjoyed having un-rushed quiet times this month.  It's been good to just take my time in my Bible reading.




We had some light snow falls and one pretty good storm.  I enjoyed going out and enjoying the fres…

Cooking Ex Nihilo -- Homemade Ravioli

Homemade ravioli is amazingly good.  But I'll tell you four things about homemade ravioli.  First, once you've had homemade ravioli, you will be ruined for life on ever eating tinned ravioli again.  You'll never, ever want the stuff from a tin ever again.  Secondly, making homemade ravioli takes a lot of time.  For that reason, I make it once a year and only once a year.  However, if you love to cook and if you love spending a long time preparing your evening meal, maybe you'll make it more often than I do.  Third, you're fit-bit will count all the rolling of the dough as steps, so at least your hard work counts for something.  And fourth, if you're going to make ravioli often, buy a pasta press.  I didn't even know such a thing existed and I would be tempted to buy one, but I'm not sure I want to pay $35.00 for something I'd have to find room for in a suitcase to take it back to Niger where I'd then have to find room in a cupboard to keep it.

So…

Why We Bought a Balance Bike for Our Granddaughter

When you see the pictures on this post you'll wonder where in the world we live that it's so green!  These pictures were taken back in the summer or early fall, so that explains the lack of snow.  It also shows how long a lag there can be between a plan for a post and actually making it happen!

Our granddaughter Tera's birthday was back in August.  We were trying to think of the perfect gift to get her when Suzanne mentioned that Tera's big sister would be getting a new bike through a donation to the foster system.  She knew that could cause some problems, so I immediately knew what to get her for her birthday!

I decided I needed to do some research on a good bike to get for a little girl turning three.  I assumed my choice would be between a bike with training wheels or a tricycle.  I googled the above and what should pop up in my feed but something called a balance bike, also often called a strider or glider bike.  I had never heard of such a thing and when I started r…

My Top 10 Books of 2017

My goal was to read 50 books in 2017.  I got 48 books read, so I was pretty close!  I've set 50 as my goal again for 2018.

Here are my 10 Top Favorite books from the year.

1.  Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman.  You can read the full review here.  If you haven't read this book, please do!



2.  Mama B -- A Time to Speak by Michelle Stimpson.  The full review is here.

3.  Abundant Simplicity: Discovering the Unhurried Rhythms of Grace by Jan Johnson.  Read the review here.








4.  Lord, Teach Us to Pray by Andrew Murray.  The review is here.


5.  Humility, the Journey Toward Holiness by Andrew Murray.  You can read the review here.











6.  My God and I by Lewis Smedes.  Read the review here.



7.  Trouble I've Seen by Drew G. I. Hart.  Please read the review here.



8.  Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo.  The review is here.















9.  The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.  That link is here.




10.  Bonhoeffer, Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Mataxas.

Recap of Year 2017

2017 was quite the year, wasn't it?  I am learning more and more that life in general is a paradox.  At the same time that we experience sorrow and difficulty, we are learning and growing.  In one facet of our life we might be struggling, while we're receiving great blessings in another facet of life.

As Charles Dickens so famously wrote, 
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct to the other place....Yes, 2017 was definitely a year of superlatives, of contrasts, and of paradoxes for us.

We were going through a tough situation at our church, yet we got to know people at a deeper level and we grew very attached to our home gro…