Sunday, July 22, 2012

Book List for 2012

This is more for my own documentation.

So far this year I have read:

July 22nd:

I finished the BIBLE! Yea! Every time I was in between a bible study for the past few years I caught up on my reading-through-the-bible project and a few weeks ago I finished. It brought to light things in a whole new way and raised questions as well. Both are good things. I even found a few nooks and crannies in there that I had not read before which I didn't think would happen since I have been in church all my life.

Kisses from Katie which I already posted here. Here are the highlights of what I took away: I need to trust God more, say yes more, and treat my town like a mission field. Seriously, what would I be doing differently right now if I were a missionary in Africa? Many of those same problems are just a neighborhood away. My buddy Katy and I are praying and brainstorming ideas of what we can do to be Katie-like which is actually Christ-like.
July 8th:
I know I haven't posted in a while but last week was our first full week at home since Memorial Day. For 5 weeks straight we were only home a handful of days. That my friends (all 5 of you out there reading this ;) is craziness. I read a few non-fiction books that did not meet our family's needs therefore I won't be discussing them here. They weren't bad books. They just didn't apply to our family at this stage of the game therefore I'm not in a place to talk about them.

Illusion by Frank Peretti  I like christian fiction but sometimes I feel like it's the same tale over and over again and only the names and places are changed. It all boils down to the lost being saved. That's not a bad plot but I need a bit more variety. Peretti is a christian author who writes suspense. So I can have the adventure that I love minus excessive cussing with the bonus of a relatable character. For example if Peretti were writing about an alien attack (there is sci-fi in this book but not aliens), the main character might think, "I am running for my life from the aliens. Should I lie to get away? God I don't want to lie but how do I get away?" Minus the aliens, I have conversations with God like that every day and if I were being chased by aliens, those same thoughts would run through my head! I can relate! This was my first book of Peretti's to read and hopefully I will be enjoying more of his works this summer. For some reason this is my favorite time of year to read fiction and let my brain rest!

Story of the World, Volume II by Susan Wise Bauer This may be a history textbook for a second grader but don't underestimate it's worth. I read this while we were relaxing on the beach for a week (Savannah was had already been listening to next years textbook on CD so I had to catch up with her!) and could not put it down! Periodically while reading it I would catch myself saying out loud, "oh! I never knew that!" or "Oh! So that's why..." or "Wow! Now everything I heard in school makes sense!" First of all you must realize that the book contains history of the Middle Ages in story format making it a very palatable tale for readers young and old. There is a concentration on relationships and dynamics instead of dates and facts. And part of history is literature, food, culture, and religion not just wars. Although difference in these things can lead to war! And understanding where people where coming from helps one also understand the war.
The book begins with the fall of the Roman Empire the dives into the spread of Christianity, birth of the Muslim faith and it's spread, and the start of Hindu. Getting into the truly dark ages you learn about the crusades and the birth of the nations that we know today such as France, England, Spain, China, India, Japan, and numerous others. It so fascinating that I ordered the adult version (and much larger) by the same author, The History of the Medieval World and plan to read it soon!

May 17:
The Judgement by Beverly Lewis Sometimes I have to take a break from educational material to prevent my head from exploding. Fiction is my method of mentally checking out for a while. The last time I indulged in christian Amish fiction was 2 1/2 years ago when I was pregnant with Arch. I read the first book in this series (The Rose Series) and then forgot about it. Luckily by the time I remembered it not only had the 2nd book been published but also the third. All of Lewis' books are light weight easy reads. Also this book if the first of hers that has not made me want to do nothing but bake bread, quilt with friends, and have babies. And that's a good thing. The plot goes beyond baking, babies, and quilting.

The Imagineering Field Guide to EPCOT As a rule of thumb, I am not into theme parks. But the level of detail and story built into everything single thing from rides to trash cans at the Disney Parks fascinates me. This book is a behind the scene look at EPCOT through the eyes of those who designed it, the imagineers. My attention was captivated but frankly speaking, I am a nerd. Tip: this would be good educational reading for kids who have a trip to WDW in the near future. There is much to be learned in the fields of design, engineering, architecture, horticulture, customer service, and more.

In Their Own Wat by Thomas Armstrong, PhD I am curious if any of you teachers out there have read this and what your thoughts are. I found the book interesting although it concentrates most on children who have been diagnosed with ADHD or other learning disorders. I did pick up a few things from the "multiple intelligences". But some of his tips for classrooms seem down right impossible. I'd like to know someone else's thoughts on the book.

April 21:
Wicked by Gregory Maguire Oh, what can I say about Wicked? Well, it was an awesome musical that I saw on Broadway. Wait, that has nothing to do with the book! OK, suffice to say that most folks in my circle of friends would not enjoy this book. I am not a book critic nor do I want to or have the authority to slam an author. In fact I purposely do not report any nutrition books I read that are terrible (I recently read one with no bibliography!!! Do you understand what I am saying? A book proclaiming "truth" in a science field with absolutely no bibliography! I was shocked) just to avoid publicly degrading someone. And I am not saying anything bad about this author but the unusual sexual escapades and views on religion (society needs it even though it is false) do not fit the tastes of most of my friends. I only report on it now because the musical is so popular that someone like me might pick up the book thinking it would be something they might enjoy.

The Birth Order Book by Kevin Leman This was funny and insightful. Of course it was entertaining. It was written by a baby of his family! Now I know why Savannah wants to do 4th grade math in first grade and why Archer thinks its funny to say "yellow" when I ask him what color the red apple is (meanwhile I am thinking about preschool tutoring!. Just kidding, kind of.) It even helped me understand myself.

What Every Sunday School Teacher Should Know by Elmer Towns This was given to me on teacher appreciation Sunday. It's an easy read with lots of helpful hints and reminders. I love my girls and I pray I am making a difference. I wish this guy would write a larger book. It wouldn't hurt for me to read a 900 page manual on teaching high school girls Sunday school!

The Well Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never had by Susan Wise Bauer.

Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman. This book is all the rage in the world of Christianity so I felt a little guilty when I found the book annoying. The first half of the book struck me as another one of those scare-you-into-thinking-you-are-not-really-saved speeches (everyone else loves it so I'm sure it's just me). But the last half of the book is very convicting about how we live out our christian life. Periodically God pushes me into an area where I am uncomfortable. But I have noticed that lately I have become very comfortable. I'm still in all those areas that were once uncomfortable but they no longer are stretching and growing my faith. This book gave me the little shove I needed to branch out yet again. Overall it's a very good read!


The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon
This is the 5th book in her Outlander series. I almost quit this series because the foul language from one of the main characters is so distracting. But I must say it lessens with each novel in the series. Her writing is brilliant. That said, her books are not an easy read which causes you to go slow and linger over words and imagery.
The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George
Historical fiction
Cleopatra, Ceasar, and Mark Antony are all stories we have heard. But considering the Roman Empire eventually won, the stories are often told from a Roman point of view until now. The craziest parts of Cleopatra's life are actually well documented as true. She was a bigger than lifer kind of person who has forever changed the Shakespearean image of the old man Ceasar into on of a hottie. Yeah, that's right. I call Ceasar a hottie (what I like to call old man hottie. Think Sean Connery and Harrison Ford).
The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise BauerA great read whether your children are going to a public school, home school, or private school. Invaluable information lies within it's pages.
Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo
This is about a 4 year-old boy who almost dies. Over the next year he says a few odd things to his parents and eventually they realize he has been to heaven. The boy's description of what he experienced forever changed my view of heaven and our Savior. A caption for the small little book would not do it justice and derives it's own post. We also read, Heaven is for Real for Kids.
Thou Shall Prosper
A Jewish Rabi shares the reasons the Jewish community tends to prosper financially (hint: it has a lot to do with how they view life)
Quitter by Jon Acuff
Funny! And informative.
Seeds by Priscilla Shirer
Great bible study

90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper. I was on a heaven kick after Heaven is for Real! Not a bad kick to be on :)
National Geographic Traveler: New York: My first travel book to read by them. Great information but not as all-inclusive with information as Frommer's guides are. If this were my first time to travel to NYC I would probably still pick up Frommers.
NYC Free and Cheap: This one is great. Of, course! It's by Frommer's.
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis on cd in the car with the kids.
The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis on cd in the car with the kids.
Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis on cd in the car with the kids.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Kisses From Katie

Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption

Imagine you have just graduated high school and instead of heading off to college in the fall you fly halfway around the world to Uganda. You think it's only one year of mission work then your back in the old US OF A to get a degree, marry your high school sweet heart, and finish your fairy tale with a happy ending.

But instead you stay in Uganda, adopt 14 children by the age of 22 as single mom and start a huge ministry while living amongst extreme poverty, disease, heartache and filth.

Let's see now. I am trying to think back to my own college years and how I used that time. Not well my friends. Not well.

As I read Katie Davis' story in book, Kisses From Katie I began to notice at every crossroads in her life I would have chosen opposite of her.

College or Africa? Well, you can do more good in the long run if you have an education.

Get married or Africa? Well, if I go back to America and get married I could probably still run my ministry and raise more money and awareness from there than in Africa. And two are better than one.

Adopt children in Africa or just run my ministry? If I adopt children here in Africa I can never bring them to the USA therefore I am committing to living here forever. Is that fair to me or these children? No. Especially since I'm not even married. I should probably just run my ministry.

Should I still allow sick people into my home with AIDS, scabies, worms, lice, skin diseases and other serious illnesses now that I have children? No. God gave me these children and I have to protect them first and foremost. That work will have to someone else without young children at home.

Should I still cook for the 200 children in my ministry who come over on Saturdays for praise and worship now that I have 14 children? No. That's too much. I need to cutback and put my family first. (I cannot imagine having 200 children in my home on a weekly basis!)

So now you have seen my answers to questions Katie has had to answer, And basically, I suck.

The truth is she has gotten an education by staying in Uganda that no university could provide. And although she may not be married, she is loved by thousands and even better, has the deep love of her 14 children. And do you know that her house is a refuge for the sick in which she nurses them back to health. She turns no one away and each time God protects her children from disease. The food doesn't run out, every answer is yes, and God continues to bless.

She has done so much at a young age. Was I not called to do great things or have I just answer incorrectly to God's calling over and over again?

Her faith amazes me. She was more spiritually mature at 18 than I am today. She calls me out on my many flaws of mothering without even trying to. The wisdom in her voice is that of a woman far beyond here years and more to the tune of an elderly woman who has already seen all of life.

"My knees are dusty orange, stained by the soil into which they press for hours as I beg God for mercy and strength to continue. My tears flow in puddles that do not soak into the red, parched earth of Uganda. The puddles and the color of my knees remind me that I was not to leave this life unstained or unscarred. Even Jesus kept his scars after the resurrection. My stains are beautiful to Him and as I become dirtier and more beat up, I am hoping to become perfect, transformed into the image of the one who made me. And I am thankful." -Katie Davis

When I grow up I want to be like Katie Davis. I am praying I grow up today.