Friday, May 21, 2010

Bad Girls of the Bible: And What We Can Learn from Them Bad Girls of the Bible: And What We Can Learn from Them by Liz Curtis Higgs


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a fantastic book that talks about women in the Bible who are portrayed as "bad girls" - think Eve (the first bad girl, who just had to take a bite of that darn fruit!), Potiphar's wife, Jezebel, etc.

The author starts each chapter with a fictional story which is meant to illustrate, in a more modern and relatable fashion, each woman's sin. If you're familiar with the Bible, you'll probably catch on to who she's talking about before the end of each story. Then she goes on to break down the Scripture references about the woman so we can better understand what the Bible really says about her.

All in all, this book was completely eye-opening. In the beginning, the author says that whenever she read the Bible, she always thought that the "good girls" - Sarah, Mary mother of Jesus, the elusive Psalm 31 woman - seemed so unrelatable. But when it came to the bad girls, she recognized herself in them. I find that the same is true for me. All of these women sinned, yes, but that doesn't mean they're all bad women. Unfortunately, the Bible only gives us a glimpse of their lives, and the rest we can only imagine.

Each chapter ends with a list of life lessons that we can learn from each individual woman, along with several questions - which would make this book great for a group study.

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul by John Eldredge


My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I'm not totally sure how I feel about this book. I read it as part of a church small-group, and when I checked out the reviews (before ever reading the book), I was nervous. Many reviews said that this book is guilty of using Scripture out of context, and basically comes off as new-age fluff with a bit of God-talk thrown in.

Having read the book, I definitely agree with the problems talked about in the reviews. The authors switch back and forth without telling the reader, so most of the time you have to guess who is speaking at any particular point in the book. I'm pretty sure the book uses more movie references than Scripture references. And I'm very uncomfortable with the authors talking about woman (Eve) being the "crown of creation" and God's "piece de resistance." I agree with my aunt's description of this kind of book - it portrays God as what we may want Him to be, instead of what He truly is. Most of the authors' assumptions about God come from emotion, not from Scripture.

OK, having said all that, this book wasn't completely worthless. It really reconnected me with the joyful, grace-ful side of Christianity. So often I get sucked into the view of my faith being a duty - a set of rights and wrongs, and I forget that Jesus loves me just as I am. This book encouraged me to stop striving so much and keep my eyes open for the messages that God is giving me in my everyday life. I am reminded to turn to God for comfort and peace during the tough times in my life, rather than getting upset with myself for not "measuring up."

So, as I said before, I don't really know what to think of this book. It's not for everyone, and what the authors say has to be taken "with a grain of salt." I've got to think that there's a book out there with a similar message, but that's presented better.

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Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist (Left Behind #3) Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist by Tim LaHaye


My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This is book 3 in the Left Behind series. I've found that the books seem to get slower and slower (and more full of fluff/back story) as you follow the series. I think this particular book was "just ok" for a couple of reasons.

First, the authors felt the need to retell almost the whole story from the last two books. I can understand their motives, since each book was published about a year apart. So if you followed the story as it came out, it may have been a year since you read the last installment, and you may need to be caught-up. But for me, who is reading the books much closer together, it's frustrating to read so many pages of information that I already know.

Secondly, the story just didn't feel as suspenseful as in the previous two books. It wasn't as much of a page-turner, at least for me. In fact, I put this book down for a couple weeks in the middle because I was bored. I did eventually pick it back up, and ultimately I am glad that I finished it.

One warning for potential readers: These authors have an amazing talent at making you want to read the next installment in the series. They end each book (at least, books 2 and 3) with a huge catastrophe, so you want to pick up the next book to see how it all turns out. So, even though I wasn't super-impressed with this book, I will still probably go on to read book 4.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Christian Unschooling : Growing Your Children in the Freedom of Christ Christian Unschooling : Growing Your Children in the Freedom of Christ by Teri J. Brown


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I am a Christian, and I plan to unschool my daughter (who is now 3). I didn't know there was a community out there of Christians who unschool, so I'm very happy to know that there is. I had never thought of it before, but it makes sense that children in Biblical times were unschooled. I was especially encouraged to hear Isaiah 54:13 -

"All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children."

This obviously doesn't mean that God will be the teacher in a classroom, but that God has provided enough learning experiences in REAL LIFE that a classroom and curriculum are not necessary.

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sandra Dodd's Big Book of Unschooling Sandra Dodd's Big Book of Unschooling by Sandra Dodd


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What an AMAZING book! I've been interested in the concept of unschooling for a while now, but I've never seen it so well explained as in this book. Like the author says, unschooling is really an extension of Attachment Parenting.

This book isn't only about an educational philosophy - it's about a whole new way of parenting (at least, new to me!). So many of the parents I know - even the Attachment Parents - limit their children's choices in many ways (mostly in the areas of TV and food). But this book makes such a good case for letting your children make as many decisions about their lives as is safe and possible.

After years of feeling guilty about the amount of TV my daughter watches, I'm finally realizing how much she actually LEARNS from the shows. And I'm interacting with her more when she's watching - explaining new concepts and answering questions.

I highly recommend this book to any parent, or anyone who wants to know more about unschooling.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring has sprung!

Last week I was walking with Christina to Fred Meyer for something to do, and I walked past these absolutely beautiful trees that line the sidewalk of a nearby apartment complex. Every spring and summer these trees sprout the most gorgeous pink petals. I couldn't resist taking some pictures, so I can remember how beautiful it is, even when it's winter again and the trees are bare. It may sound wierd, but I really feel like these trees are one of God's ways of getting my attention and reminding me that He loves me.  Even just seeing the pretty petals strewn on the ground makes me smile.


Tiny Dancer

Friday, March 12, 2010

I am tired of walk-in clinics!

Last month I got sick. On a Friday night I started to get chills and body aches. By Saturday evening, I had a fever of 103.3. Sunday night, it was 102.6. So Monday morning, Sean took me to the local walk-in clinic. I was told that I had the flu (which I had already surmised), and that I could alternate Tylenol and Advil every three hours. Other than that, I had to ride it out.

The next couple of days, my fever was a bit lower (the 100 to 101 range), but I was still feeling bad enough that I was couch-bound. Then, Thursday night, my fever went back up to 102.3 (by this point, I had developed a really nasty cough). Friday morning (this is a week after I first felt sick), I got a nose bleed, after which I felt lightheaded and threw up a little. I called Sean and told him about it, and he came home from work to take me back in to the doctor. This time I made an appointment at MY doctor's office, only my doctor was booked, so I asked for another doc that I like there, Dr. Carolyn Sherman. She listened to my lungs and told me that I now had PNEUMONIA. Honestly, I was so GLAD to hear that it wasn't a virus. Now, I could take antibiotics and feel better! The doctor told me that to come back in if I wasn't feeling better in 72 hours. Well, at 48 hours, my fever spiked back up to 102.4. But the next morning, I felt a lot better...and it was all uphill from there.

Today, I still have a lingering cough, but I feel totally better. The fever was the worst part, and I'm SO glad it's gone!

Now for my second story...

Christina started coughing about five days ago. It was a dry cough, like when you have post-nasal drip, so I thought she was just coming down with a cold. On Wednesday morning, she had a coughing fit that lasted a couple of minutes, but after that, it was just intermittent coughing throughout the day. Then, later that morning, I was following Christina up the stairs in our house, and I noticed that her legs were completely COVERED in hives (thank goodness she goes around in just a diaper when she's at home, or I wouldn't have noticed).

I called my mother-in-law, since I couldn't get ahold of Sean at work (He had the car), and she came over and drove us to the walk-in clinic. The doctor said that yes, she had hives, and that I should give her Benadryl every 4-6 hours until they cleared up. I mentioned her cough, and after listening to her with the stethoscope, he said that her lungs sounded clear, and it was probably just a virus. I racked my brain trying to figure out what has caused her hives (new food, new detergent, new clothes or blankets), but I couldn't come up with anything. The doc actually said that in about 80% of cases, there are no obvious causes of hives.

Well, the next morning (yesterday), Christina and I woke up early to take Sean to the vanpool so we could have the car for the day. In the car, Christina had a coughing fit that lasted all the way from our house to the library where the vanpool meets (that's about 15-20 minutes). The longest break in her coughing during that time was maybe 20 seconds. Sean said I needed to take her back in to the doctor, and I agreed.

I called Christina's pediatrician, but she doesn't work on Thursdays, so I scheduled an afternoon appointment with one of the other pediatricians. Then...she got hives AGAIN (this time on her back AND legs). I decided not to wait for our appointment, and, after giving her some Benadryl, took her to the OTHER local walk-in clinic (since the doc the day before had not seemed particularly concerned, and I definitely WAS). Well, this doc also knew NOTHING. She said that Christina's lungs sounded clear, so it was most likely a virus. And she had no idea what had caused the hives. She offered to give me a prescription for an oral steroid that would keep the hives at bay, but ultimately, she said that I needed to get an appointment with Christina's primary care provider. (Keep in mind that we have a $15 copay for each doctor visit, so we're now out $30, and we have NO ANSWERS). I called the pediatrician's office immediately after that appointment and got Christina an appointment with Dr. Debbie Zaret, her pediatrician, at 8AM this morning. And I'm glad I did, since Christina was awake last night from 1AM to 2AM, coughing.

Sean decided to go into work late this morning so he could come with Christina and I to the appointment. I told Dr. Zaret about the coughing and the hives, and after answering all of the same questions I had answered the previous two days (Any new food? New clothes? New detergent?), she asked a new one - had Sean or I been sick recently? I told her about my flu/pneumonia, but that I had been better for a couple of weeks now. The doctor listened to Christina's lungs for quite a long time, and she counted how many breaths she took in a minute. I guess she was breathing a little faster than normal (26 breaths per minute, as opposed to her normal 20). The doctor also said that she heard a little raspy-ness in an area of Christina's right lung (She said that a clinic doctor probably wouldn't have heard it).

Dr. Zaret said that Christina's symptoms were one of two things. It could be walking pneumonia - a kind of pneumonia that gives you an annoying cough (and sometimes hives in kids), but otherwise you feel just fine (the incubation period is 10-14 days, so it's totally probable that she got it from me). Or, it could be a particular virus that's going around, which has the exact same symptoms - coughing and hives that last a couple of weeks.

The doctor said that since I had pneumonia recently, and since she heard a raspy spot in Christina's lung, she's 75% sure that Christina has pneumonia as well. So, we got her some antibiotics. If it IS pneumonia, Christina should no longer be contagious after having the antibiotic in her system for 12 hours (which would be 9:30 tonight). Oddly enough, regardless of if it's pneumonia or the virus, Christina should start feeling/sounding better in about 3-4 days. (If we're right about the pneumonia, the antibiotic should get rid of the cough by then. If we're wrong and it's the virus, it should be getting better around that time.) However, the hives may continue, on and off, anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

I'm just so happy to finally have an answer! I think I'm going to try to swear off the walk-in clinic from now on. With Christina's and my recent illnesses, our trips to the walk-in have been completely useless. It really seems better just to wait until our own doctors (or at least a doctor in the same practice) have appointments, since that's the only time we seem to get any real answers! The walk-in clinic has been a complete waste of time and money!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Natural Child: Parenting from the Heart The Natural Child: Parenting from the Heart by Jan Hunt


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is a collection of articles that the author has written for various magazines (several of the articles can be found online at www.naturalchild.org). Much of what I read was familiar to me because I've already read quite a bit about Attachment Parenting. But I still found the book quite valuable. There were some great chapters about empathic parenting and unschooling that introduced me to new ideas. I would definitely recommend this book.

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A Wrinkle in Time (Time Series, #1) A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book was AWESOME. It sucked me in right from the beginning, and I couldn't put it down. Great story - I can't wait to read more of this author's work, especially since she has more stories following the same characters.

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Gingerbread house

A few days ago, Christina and I decided to put together the gingerbread house that my parents got Christina for Christmas.  Of course, most of the "putting together" was done by me, but Christina enjoyed decorating the house with candy (when she wasn't EATING it!).  The house didn't turn out quite like the picture on the box - I don't know how anyone could squeeze out the icing that neatly!  We made a bit of a mess, but we had fun, and I think it turned out quite nicely.
 
  
  
  
P.S.  The gingerbread house only lasted about a day, since the day after we made it, Christina decided to take all of the candy off and eat it!  So, the house itself is still intact, but it's a bit bare!


Fun at the ice rink

Christina and I went with Sean to watch him play hockey last Sunday evening.  Granted, I never get to actually WATCH all that much, since I'm usually following Christina around.  Since I have a new camera that takes video, Sean wanted me to record as much of the game as I could.  I told him ahead of time that I probably wouldn't be able to get much, but I'd do my best.  So, what I ended up with was a video that shows a combination of the hockey game and Christina playing around.

Watch Sean playing hockey/Christina at the rink in People & Blogs  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

As it turned out, the game was not a good one for Sean (his team lost 1 to 6), but Christina enjoys watching her video!

After recording all I could (until the memory card was full), Christina decided she wanted to wander around the rink and play.  She followed the lead of another little girl and taught herself how to climb up and sit on the railing.
 
When we went to the bathroom, she thought it would be fun to sit in the little baby seat attached to the wall.
I remember when I had to put her in the little baby seat in the bathroom at Babies R Us, when Chrisitna actually WAS a baby.  I remember that as soon as I put her in there, she started screaming, and she didn't stop until I finished going to the bathroom and picked her up again - how things have changed!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Build-A-Kitty!

Christina's Grandpa Larry and Grandma Lindy (my in-laws) took her to the Build-A-Bear store at the Alderwood Mall to celebrate Christina's 3rd birthday, and I came along to take pictures!

I was quite surprised when Christina picked out the Hello Kitty toy (she knows nothing about the Hello Kitty brand - I don't think she's ever seen anything Hello Kitty before), and despite all other suggestions, the Hello Kitty was the one she wanted!

 
 
Then we went over to the the stuffing station, where Christina got to watch the gal fill up her kitty with stuffing, and she got to pick out a heart to put in her kitty.


 
Next, it was time to give the kitty a "bath."  The bath station blew air when you turned it on, and Christina thought that was a bit too loud, so she settled for brushing kitty's fur.

Now it was time to pick out an outfit for kitty.  Christina picked out a Disney Princess shirt right away, and Grandpa Larry helped her pick out a denim skirt to go with it.  At first, Christina wanted her kitty to wear ice skates ("just like Daddy"), but then she decided against it.  She also went back and forth on whether her kitty should have a purse, and she eventually decided against it.  But Grandpa Larry did convince her to get a matching Hello Kitty chair and Hello Kitty slippers.

 
 
 
 
Then Christina sat down at the computer, and I helped her fill out all of the information for her kitty's "birth certificate."  Christina couldn't decide what to name her new kitty, and Grandpa Larry came up with the name Snowflake, which Christina really liked. 
 
The great thing about Build-A-Bear is that if you ever lose your toy and someone returns it to a Build-A-Bear store, they can open up the toy's stitching in the back and get out the barcode, which, when scanned, will tell them your information, so they can get your toy back to you!  So, for future reference, if you ever find a Build-A-Bear toy somewhere, just return it to the nearest Build-A-Bear store, and they'll get it back to the owner!

Once the birth certificate was printed out, we got checked out, and Christina decided to stop by the fountain on the way back through the mall.  All in all, we had a great time, and Christina just loves Snowflake!

 
 

Monday, January 18, 2010

My new camera!

My friend Kristina gave me an awesome gift for my birthday. She gave me an old camera of hers that can be used to record video, along with a new memory card for it. Up to this point, I have no video footage of Christina, but I'm hoping to change that! So here's a video of Christina playing over at Sigrid's house. It's about 10 minutes long because I was checking to see how much video the memory card would hold.

Enjoy!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

One Wintry Night One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I read this book to my 2 1/2 year old daughter, and while the story didn't capture much of her interest - it's a bit long for her - it certainly captured mine. This is a great account of familiar Bible stories from creation until the time of Jesus. The stories are told in much more detail than in the Bible, which really draws you in and helps you to understand what the people were going through. On top of that, the illustrations are AMAZING, and my daughter and I both enjoyed finding the different animals in the Garden of Eden and in the underwater scene from the Noah's Ark story. I originally checked out this book from the local library, but now I'm planning on buying it so we can read it for many years to come.

A wonderful Christmas (or anytime) story!

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A New Graft on the Family Tree (Grace Livingston Hill Library) A New Graft on the Family Tree by Grace Livingston Hill Library


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a great story about a young lady, Louise, who gets married and she and her husband move in with HIS parents. (I know, scary!) Louise soon learns that she and her husband are the only Christians in the household, and she sets out to change that. Louise is a wonderful example of how we can live our lives in constant prayer.

This book was a great comfort and inspiration to me, as someone who has been praying fervently for members of my family and friends to become Christians. It shows what true Christianity is about - living our day-to-day lives for the Lord instead of ourselves. It also shows the many ways that God is at work in the lives of those He loves (which means everyone, not just those who are saved). We get to witness the great lengths that God goes to to lead people into relationship with Him.

I highly recommend this book.

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