Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Congratulations to Josh! He has passed all his architecture licensing tests on the first try! Simply amazing!

He is now sooooooo close to moving from an "almost architect" to a true architect. We have to pay some more money (of course) and he signs a paper and then he's official!

Way to go, Josh. You have done a great job and have worked very hard to get here. You are a talented, smart, hard-working man and you have earned this title. Thanks for working so hard for your family and for making it a priority to finish what you started. It's been a long road. I'm proud of you.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Blogging for Books

I'm usually not one to be interested in devotional or daily reading books. Ones that I've tried in the past have left me a little disappointed by the "feel-good" focus. Encouragement is nice, but I also want something to really think about or be challenged by. So I often don't look for these types of books.

I'm glad I signed up for this one, though. If I had followed my usual preference, I would have missed out.

In 40 Loaves: Breaking Bread with Our Father Every Day, C.D. Baker did not try to leave me feeling good with a pat on the head each day. Aiming to ask the questions and address the doubts that many Christians and non-Christians hold, he discusses things like
"Why don't I have more faith?"
"Why am I so bored with Jesus?"
"Why are Christians so hard to like?"
Baker is candid and honest, using his own experiences and struggles to get answers to these questions. He presents the case that these questions are welcome and necessary and that we should not be afraid to ask the hard questions.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It's not a devotional in the sense that there are not daily Bible passages to read or studies of Scripture. (And it shouldn't take the place of reading the Bible.) It's a book of daily readings. Each day he tackles a different question like the ones listed above. I think it could be interesting to read each day on your lunch break or in the morning over breakfast. I didn't get to read it that way, since I had a deadline for this tour, but I can see how you could just take one day's reading and ponder over it for a while. Maybe even more than a day.

I have to say that I was challenged more often than not. I did not put down the book thinking "Aw, how sweet" or "Yes, I am a great person and life is so beautiful." I put down the book thinking about how I related to the question and how I could move toward Jesus and a life of faith. I didn't agree with everything he said (not surprising if you know me well) but I appreciated the discussions he presented.

I recommend this book as a gift to someone you know who has questions. I recommend it for yourself, even if you think you don't have questions. =)

Click on the book title for ordering information.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Blogging for Books

This week we have 3 books for you, folks. One grown-up book and two kid books. Here we go!

Leigh McLeroy takes an interesting approach to getting to know God's character in Treasured. Using the motif of little objects we keep as mementos of special things in our lives, she looks at several things she thinks God would treasure. Objects such as an olive branch (brought by the dove to Noah after the flood), a scarlet thread (from the cloth Rahab hung in her window), a few grains of barley (that Ruth collected from Boaz's field), and many others. McLeroy uses each object to share about who God is, His presence in our lives, and His story of redemption. She weaves in stories of her own life and how she has seen God working all along.

I liked the concept that McLeroy develops. It's an interesting way to approach teaching and sharing about God and I enjoyed her creativity. At times, I think her narratives got a bit wordy and it seemed to drag on instead of hit the point and move on. It might have been more enjoyable for me if I had been able to read the book over more time instead of quickly in order to get it finished before this blog tour. =) McLeroy presents a very tangible picture of God's presence and encourages the reader to look for His hand in their life as well.

Lisa Tawn Bergren has written a God Gave Us... series for children. This blog tour includes God Gave Us Christmas and God Gave Us Love.
In God Gave Us Christmas, Little Cub asks Mama who invented Christmas. Mama uses that question to take time to tell Little Cub about God sending Jesus and uses creation to show some characteristics of God. I thought this story was sweet and I think Bergren did a good job of teaching about Jesus in other aspects besides only focusing on the manger. I also liked that Bergren did not ignore Santa Claus, but explained that God is more important than Santa and that Jesus is who we celebrate. The illustrations are beautiful, too.

In God Gave Us Love, Grampa teaches Little Cub about showing love to others because God first loved us. Grampa tells Little cub about the difference between loving someone and liking someone and that there are different kinds of love. There is repetition about God loving us, which is probably good for children. The only problem I had with the book is that while Grampa explains that God sent His Son because He loves us so much, he doesn't talk about the need for faith and belief (whoever believes in Him) to never be separated from God. I think a parent can easily fill in those gaps, but I think it's important for parents to be mindful that children don't get the message, which is easily embraced by our culture, that God loves us so we are okay just as we are.

So there you go. Click on the book titles for more information.

These books we
re provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Need to Laugh?

Here is your one-stop spot for more laughs than you can handle

Awkward Family Photos