Friday, April 27, 2007

Friday's Feast

Feast One Hundred & Forty-One -- April 27, 2007

How fast can you type?

I think my fastest ever was about 88 words per minute. But I knew someone who could type 120 wpm on a manual typewriter...whew!

What is your favorite online game?

I haven't played a lot of them, but I really like Bookworm...or is it Literati? Something to do with words.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 as highest), how intelligent do you think you are?

I'm not so comfortable with these types of questions. Either I sell myself short because I don't want to sound arrogant, or...I sound arrogant. I could say what my IQ score is, but I don't want to do that either. Sigh...I'll just be as humble as possible and say that I am an eleven, ha!

Main Course
Name three of your best teachers from your school years.

Mrs. Brown, my third grade teacher -- best ever. I could never say anything bad about her. She was like an angel. Then there was Mrs. Woodfin, my second grade teacher. She read a chapter from Charlotte's Web to us every Friday, and I followed along in my own copy. I just loved that! One of my other favorites was my history teacher my junior year of high school, but I can't remember her name...she was so encouraging.

What are your plans for this upcoming weekend?

There is an annual arts festival tomorrow in our town, lots of good food and music and arts, that sort of thing. I am looking forward to seeing how Miles enjoys it, especially if we go to the petting zoo.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Book Review: I'm OK -- You're Not: The Message We're Sending Nonbelievers and Why We Should Stop

I have had so many great thoughts pop into my mind the past several nights in a row after reading another section of this book. But now as I sit in front of the computer, they all seem to slip away! I'm still going to give it my best, and hopefully I will end up sounding just as witty as (I thought) I did in my head.

I have had my own moments of saying all the wrong things to non-Christians, some close friends, some acquaintances -- some even complete strangers. I don't doubt some of you have done the same, and maybe even, like myself, cringe when you look back on those times. What are we doing wrong? What can we do differently? What do non-Christians really think of Christians these days?

Author John Shore does an excellent job of answering all of these questions. Again, as in my previous book review, I find there are some comments/views that the author gives with which I am not in full agreement. But on the whole, I feel that every single Christian should read this book and really pay attention to what is going on in our world. Or to put it more plainly, to what we have been saying and doing to alienate those in our world.

First, the main point the author is making is that, while The Great Commission ('go out into all the world and preach the gospel...') is so very, very important, it seems that Christians have climbed on board to that way of thinking so passionately that we have sometimes forgotten The Great Commandment -- 'Love thy neighbor as thyself.' Shore makes a strong argument for really getting to know people, and love them just as they are, rather than letting them know how we think they need to be living their lives.

Second, this guy is just plain funny. I know there are many different sorts of humor, but I feel that Shore's wittiness and sometimes self-deprecation would connect with just about everybody. I don't do this often, but I actually found myself laughing out loud at most of the book -- in the doctor's office, no less! Chapter titles such as 'How Dare They Leave When We're Offending Them' and 'So Being Born Again Isn't the Same as Being Mature?' caught me in a way that I knew I wanted to keep reading (that and the fact that I agreed to review this book).

Third, I'm OK -- You're Not isn't all about the laughs. There is plenty of humor, to be sure, but I feel that in order to not get too upset about damage we may have done there is kind of a need to approach the subject in a bit of a joking way. Shore is smart enough to realize that it probably isn't the best idea to preach at people about how they've been preaching at other people too much. It also seems that, after reading what the author shared about his very tragic childhood, that humor is a huge way in which he has learned to cope with some aspects of his life. That alone connected very strongly with me, because Casey and I have used laughter a lot to get through the entire past year.

My very favorite part of this book came at the end of every chapter. I truly looked forward to it, even though it is so raw and sometimes so very difficult to read. Shore titled these sections appropriately 'Ouch' because they are a collection of quotes from non-Christians sharing how they feel about Christians, or what their experiences have been with Christians. These were obtained by the author through Craigslist. A brilliant idea, but wow...there are some harsh things. Nevertheless, I think they need to be heard, and so I applaud Mr. Shore for being so innovative in getting those quotes.

Overall, I'm OK -- You're Not has been an awesome read for me. Before I had even finished the first chapter, I was telling Casey that this would be a great book to use in the campus ministry. It is just so relevant and I know that the humor would really draw students in and connect with them as it did with me.

A big thank you to John Shore for allowing me to review his book on my humble little blog!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Ponderings and news

Five days ago, I wanted to write a poignant post about an anniversary. April 5th marked a year since I entered the hospital. It was midnight when we called the doctor and he told us to go...we had no idea what would happen, but we were hoping to be back that night having been told I was in false labor. What did happen instead was lots of craziness, and just a little more than a week later Miles was born! This Friday we will celebrate his first birthday, along with a few family members who live nearby. Sadly, not all our family members live so close, but at least some can be here. I am going to make a cake, we are going to begin a tradition of marking his height on the wall (something I've always wanted to do with my children), and we'll put his hand print in clay. Is it clay? Anyway, my sister gave me one of those kits to do that, so I thought his first birthday would be the day to do that. We're not doing a big bash kind of thing, but it will be very special. After all, thinking back to where we were one year ago brings up some painful memories, but it also brings up the addition to our family that I cannot imagine life without...that precious little boy who melts my heart every day. My little Miles. That is the memory we hold onto.

How's my wound doing, you ask? I wouldn't say it's doing real bad, but I wouldn't say it's doing real good. It looks the way it's supposed to look (don't worry, I won't go into detail), but it is just taking...its...time. Part of that is because of the auto-immune thing, but a big factor is nutrition and exercise. Admittedly, I have not done super-well in that department over the months, but lately I've been trying harder. I have taken Miles on many long (and fast) walks over the past couple of weeks, and I have been eating more protein...and just eating more in general. All we can do after that is keep praying for healing. I believe that it is not terribly far away, but I was hoping it would be healed by Miles' birthday. I'm not going to let it get me down, though.

My photoblog has a new look, although I don't know if anyone actually looks at it anymore. I did add two new photos to it, but for some reason they didn't take! So, I'm going to have to work on that again. For now, I hope anyone who visits likes it.

We haven't received the 'Complaint-Free World' bracelets yet, but I knew they might take some time since they've become so popular. I am still planning on trying it out, and would love anyone else to try it with me who wants to!

I'm in the midst of reading (see sidebar) another book which I'll review here (hopefully) soon. It's titled, "I'm OK -- You're Not: The Message We're Sending Nonbelievers and Why We Should Stop". When I was asked if I'd like to review this book, the title alone convinced me to take a look. So far, I have to say I am thoroughly enjoying it...but I'll save all that for the actual review. I'm also reading "Prince Caspian," which is the fourth book in the 'Chronicles of Narnia' series. I am loving it! Although I have to say, I was in the doctor's office recently, and I stopped reading it while I was there because I suddenly felt self-conscious about reading a book with pictures in it in front of other people. But see, I never read this series as a kid, and now that the first movie has come out -- which I loved -- I want to read them. If anyone out there hasn't read these books, get to it! They are a quick read and so enjoyable. I love disappearing into another world at the very end of my day.

Okay, I'll end the post talking about Miles. I can't help myself, I'm a mama! Anyway, he has started getting more cuddly lately, and I just can't get enough of it. He is such a sweet, sweet little boy -- though he does have his moments of total defiance! -- and Casey and I find ourselves loving him more and more. Oh, that's another thing: he is such a daddy's boy! It doesn't bother me so much. It's very endearing seeing him follow Casey around and wanting to be held by him above anyone else. But what am I, chopped liver?
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