Thursday, December 22, 2011

The 21 Day Dad's challenge- Carey Casey Book Review

Twenty million kids in the US live in father absent homes, so that means roughly more than a one to four ratio. That is staggering, and the effects of it on the kids and our society is telling. This book sets up a 21 day dad challenge to help fathers improve their relationship with their kids. Are there radical, ground breaking, or larger than life challenges it presents? Would this book make a difference? Carey Casey has gotten a number of fathers to contribute articles and challenges to this book. It is a meat and potatoes type book that will stir fathers to do the basics...if they do that, it WILL be groundbreaking and radical.

The challenges, by and large are practical, down to earth, anyone can do this basics that create bonds and enhance communication. The articles are largely based on biblical principles and common sense wisdom(the tow DO go hand in hand). I like that there are additional “enhancements” such as videos you can go to, and use your smartphone to lead you to additional resources, so it appeals to the tech aspect in most guys.

The results are only as good as the effort you put in, but the book provides good inspiration, encouragement and is set up in a way that will reach the busy man of today, and help provide some tools to help them grow in fatherhood.

A good read for a Christian father and also something you could give your nonchristian guy friend who is a father as it is not a preachy book, but points out the wisdom found in the Bible and applies it in a straightforward manner that should appeal to men’s desire for practical, sound and active applications.

This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Healing is a Choice Stephen Arterburn- Book Review

Ten decisions that will transform your life and ten lies that can prevent you from making them.

Sounds like a typical formula of self help rhetoric...but this is much different!

I am VERY impressed with this book and the truth and practical nature of it. It is firmly grounded in the fact a relationship with God is of utmost importance, the use of scripture is throughout it and well presented, it is steeped in practical wisdom to walk a person through becoming more complete, more in the image of Christ, healing from past hurts, big or small. This updated version has a study guide that is inserted after each chapter, EXCELLENT! This is not designed to be a quick read, quick fix, but for you to take time to reflect, get counsel from others, journal, and take steps towards healing.

I was not in any particular crisis or unhealthy state when reading this, and I still found value and worth in it and look forward to going back and digging deeper into some of the areas and exercises presented. It would be a valuable resource for a counsellor or pastor to have in their office, and an excellent resource for ANY Christian who is looking to grow and second have a resource on hand that could help them as they have friends etc that are walking through challenging times.

The steps are logical, progressive, not easy, but are grounded in truth and explained in detail to equip and encourage the individual to make strides in each area, then to move onward.The lies are equally exposed in powerful,clear ways making this a powerful one two punch towards healing, if you make the choice to take that path.
This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It's your kid not a gerbil by Kevin Leman Book Review

I thought, how can an author fill up a couple hundred pages off the one point to just stop cramming your schedule so full so you can actually be a healthy family?!Well, this book is about so much more than just that, and it is a great read, lots of topics covered, lots of good practical advice, given with humor, and understanding so you feel encouraged and ready to give it another crack. When my two and a half year old saw the cover of a mini van in a gerbil wheel she said,” They were in an accident”, it is a fitting summary of what WILL happen to families that just don’t bring margins in, and stop dashing here there and everywhere so there is space to actually do the things that build into and don’t take away from family.

As I said before, there are lots of topics covered,I won’t even begin to list them, suffice to say there will be something there for any family. It will be of maximum benefit for those with younger family, but those with teens would still get at least a third of the book’s wisdom and value.

I found the start lagged a bit at the start, but after that it was very good read right through to the resource pages at the end of the book. It doesn’t have tons of biblical references, but is full of wisdom, and would be good resource for ANY family, regardless of their religious beliefs.

This book given to me from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, which was given.

Thank you, God, for blessing me Max Lucado Book Review

This small but wonderful little book is a blessing. Max Lucado has created some endearing characters with the Hermie “franchise” and with nice artwork accompanying it, it is wrapped up in a nice solid truth from the Bible. It is set to rhyme, and is a board book, that is in a nice little package. My two and a half year old enjoys the story and the art, the length is good, she usually has me read it a couple times a sitting. Ideally I would say age 4-7 will get the best target audience for this book.

I enjoy the way Max sculpts a story. whether long or short and to apply that gift to kids stories is such a gift for parents and their kids. I have read a couple of these books for his and an anxious to get the rest he has and will do.

This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review,which was given.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

More Lost than Found: Finding a way back to Faith by Jared Herd

If you are fortunate to find this, you have gained a book that is both good for those who have walked away from their faith, as well as for those who are still solidly walking in faith.

The author covers a wide and diverse array of topics in a way that communicates he understands, he is not judgmental, nor preachy, yet offers some good food for thought.

He explores the discussion on secular versus sacred lines, imagination, illusion and reality, purpose of pain, myth and truth, and a lot more. Each chapter, almost, can be read as an entity unto itself without apparent connection to the next. However each one builds on the other in subtle ways to conclude in a very strong way with a clear call that it is all about Jesus and your relationship with Him. He then adds at the end a wonderful chapter on renovating not demolishing in regards to the church. These closing chapters really puts a mind at ease that this is NOT someone who is some hard edged emergent church person or church hater.

That said, this book is thin on its use of the Bible. Stories are a strong point, but can be subjective, so more use of scripture would make this much more solid.

The author paints a realistic picture of the church and the people in it(and uses a very cool illustration about sketch art versus drip art...VERY nice, won’t spoil it in the review...).

For someone who is disillusioned with “the church” there is some good food for thought. For those still firmly walking in faith, this book provides good challenges for us as well and gives a good insight into some of the issues a LOT of folks are working through so we can seek to be a part of the solution not further exasperate the situation.

3 out of 5. The lack of scripture is "excusable" to a degree considering the authors main target audience,BUT discerning readers need to stay alert to not let good stories lead to points that might not be scriptural.The fact he quotes Rob Bell at points leads me to mention that. (I didn't find anything "off" in those quotes, but Rob is not the greatest source material, and will just leave it at that.)

This book was provided as a complimentary copy by the publisher Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hermie a Common Caterpillar- Max Lucado book review

LOVE IT!!! Wow! Super! Great Art! Great Story! Powerful Message! Timely Message!

When I first received this level 2 reader e-book, I thought it was going to be the same message as story of the Wemmicks, from Tell Me Your Secrets.There is a similar THEME, but the story, imagery of the caterpillar to butterfly is POWERFUL and there are other layers of story and truth presented in the story in subtle ways. Hermie talks about being able to talk to God and hear from Him, and how some other kids thought that was strange, yet we read of God's loving assuring communications to Hermie, impressing to kids THEY can talk and hear from God-EXCELLENT!

I also liked the undertone of Hermie having to wait to see that God did indeed have something special ahead for him. A nice sublesson on waiting and patience(dealing with a 2.5 year olds impatience makes me wish SHE was a level 2 reader right now LOL).

I will be buying this in paper version for when she is able to appreciate it more, I am that impressed with it.HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson Publishers as a complimentary copy, in exchange for an honest review.

Night Night Blessings- Amy Parker Book Review

This is a quick read book which would connect well with ages 6-9 year olds.It is set to rhyme, which is something I love, it makes it easy to remember, kids love rhyme, and having a rhythm to it helps draw in kids who may not enjoy reading but love music.

The overall message reminds kids as they go to bed to count their blessings and know that God is with them, watching from above and is the provider of the blessings they have.

Food, games, pets, sunlight, toys and family time are listed among the blessings. The art is nice, subtle colors, compared to bright and bold, appropriate for a book set to be read at night time.

In today's society of self entitlement it is a GOOD reminder to impress on our kids that we need to be appreciative and thankful for the BOUNTIFUL blessings we have.

I can see after a few readings this book being imprinted in their minds and having the kids say the rhyme along with you and working it into a bed time prayer. So I give it a high recommendation to check out.

This book was provided complimentary to me from the publisher, Thomas Nelson, in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Love You More The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter By Jennifer Grant

As an adoptive parent, I am glad to see more materials being put out that shares the realistic story of adoption, the gift, the loss, the biblical mandate to care for the orphan in various ways that is all wrapped up in the eyes of a precious child needing a family.

The author, who is a journalist, jumps between telling her story of adopting, to giving the reader some other related information about adoption, at the beginning the transition was a bit jarring, but once she got into the heart of her story the switches were not noticed, and the information given was valuable.

I was touched by the retelling of their story of meeting with their new daughter. I appreciated the way the author painted a realistic picture of adoption. Care for the orphan is something we ALL are called to, and adoption is part of the solution, but is something a couple has to feel called to as there are challenges mixed into the blessing there is, so it is good to get a balanced view. Adopted children experience loss, deep loss, couples often face loss due to infertility, adopted children get a family, couples get children, wonderful provision. The author communicates this well.

I also enjoyed the frankness she expresses in dealing with being a “conspicuous family”. There are definitely challenges, connected with that.

This book didn’t blow me out of the water, but it was an enjoyable read and would be that for someone whether they are adopted, adopting, or not connected with adoption. It is this last group that I think needs the exposure to help educate them so they can be supportive and informed so they can help those around them who adopt, while still being challenged in a very careful way about what THEIR role is in the care for the orphan.

This book was provided as a complimentary copy by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Smack-dab in the middle of God's love Brennan Manning and John Blase Book review

This book falls smack-dab in the middle.

The art, for me, is in the middle, certainly not bad, but not 100% my style.
The readership to most benefit from this is kids smack-dab in the middle of elementary(and above).

The truth about God it presents,however, is smack-dab top notch!

It clearly communicates that we can be right in the middle of God's love and that He has so much love, he can love the big things, the small things, and everything smack-dab in the middle! ALWAYS a good truth to be reminded of!

Another nice aspect of this story is the introduction of Mexican culture. The art and main characters reflect this and there are numerous references to Mexican food, the art shows clothing and landscape of that land.

The main couple are childless, but have a great love for kids,so there is opportunity for side discussion about that. The story also comments about how in love they are as a couple and they are shown as a strong, vibrant couple married and later in life, so a nice image contrasted to the breakdown of marriage seen all around us.

Overall the book falls high on the recommended list. This book was provided as a complimentary copy to me by Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for a fair,honest review of the product.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Rumors of God-Experience the kind of faith you’ve only heard about by Darren Whitehead & Jon Tyson

The rumors are true, God can and does live and move and work in His people and faith can be real enough to be seen and experienced.

The authors do a great job in covering 10 major areas of living out the Christian life/ living by faith. I was skeptical that they could cover enough of each topic(such as the concepts of abundant life, generosity, love, grace, freedom, commitment, community, justice...) in a chapter to make it real, or deep enough to move and inspire or challenge the reader. They did it.

It is written in an easy to read and understand form, they use scripture well, and I love how their goal is to move people to act/respond on each given topic. They do a wonderful job of leading the reader to want to apply what they have just learned in a natural way(as compared to a blunt, “here is the concept- what cha gonna do about it?” approach).

I found personal insights and got new information from most of the chapters, which was great, and unexpected. Usually if I get a handful of insights, or inspirational quotes I feel the book was time well spent.

I am confident you would find that to be the case too!

This book was provided to me free from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review of the materials.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Small is Big- Unleashing the big impact of intentionally small churches by Tony and Felicity Dale

This book is exploring the concept of the house churches movement(or simple church movement).Theologically(and much to my surprise) I wasn’t as against what they talked about as I thought I would be. They have an extreme charismatic view on the filling of the Holy Spirit(their personal view, not necessarily the view of those in house churches), and give a nod to such things as holy laughter, which are not expressions of the Spirit found in scripture.

They attempt to address some of the big issues I have with house churches, such as accountability, and keeping sound theology, and I found their responses somewhat lacking. They basically report to saying the leader of the group will lead wild statements back to sound ground. Experience has shown, MOST leaders of small groups don’t do that.They also fail to address verses such as “don’t neglect meeting together…” the church history of getting together in bigger “units”. Yes, the New testament church started in homes, but it went beyond that... They also fail to explore the role of pastor/teacher and the work of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry adequately. Their strongest point is that a simple church allows more participation, and I heartily agree on the strength of that point, they also point out the churches expect pastors to fulfill many functions(delegate, lead, administrate, teach, do visitation, preach, cast vision, serve, etc, etc) all with high degrees of excellence, and points out the folly of such expectations, no one has all the gifts and skills, so simple church seeks to empower the people to do that. I agree, BUT it seems to lack the equipping aspect.

It is hard to argue though with their points of bringing church to where the people are, rather than trying to bring people to the church. The great commission does say “GO”, not “invite them to your church meeting”.They explore the ins and outs of simple church, and have strong use of scripture for most of them.

I am not convinced house churches are the way to go, HOWEVER this book has given me a LOT of things to consider, much more than most books have, so it gets a HIGH recommendation on that basis!

This book was provided as a complimentary copy by Tyndale Publishers, for an honest review of this title.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Why God Won't Go Away- By Alister McGrath Review

This book attempts to outline the view held by New Atheism, and point out the aspects of their argument against Christianity.

The book is well referenced, but one thing I was wary of was that early on the author would bring up a point that the New Atheist held, gave a quick rebuttal of that point, and then would say," I will explore this aspect later in the book...". I kept a check sheet of each point brought up this way, as it can be misleading to hit a point, and never really unpack it. Well, the author DOES indeed go back and address these points in more detail.

This book is good at giving the reader a feel of the main faces behind the New Atheism platform, what they are promoting, and then later unpacks those main platforms and provides some good information, in which to engage those who are professing atheists.

This book is more of an overview rather than really addressing all the points in a deeper more comprehensive argument, but provides a good starting point for those not well versed in apologetics.

It is not a light read, but it isn't too bogged down either, so again, good for those with interest in this topic, to get them started.

I received this book from Booksneeze in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Surviving your Serengeti by Stefan Swanepoel Book review

7 skills to master business and life. What the author does in this book is take the7 skills and in a fable/story concept explains them by using animals found in the Serengeti.

I think he had to stretch the concept a bit on a couple of the animals, but by and large the connections between animal and skill taught were sound.

In his introduction he points out 3 things he hopes the book will reaffirm. One, everyone can survive their own Serengeti. Second, no journey is ever too long, and three ,nothing is impossible. Pretty lofty and he doesn’t really get there, and I don’t think this was the point of the book. First off, the first point only works if you see the Serengeti as hard, and it is obvious that he loves it there and see it so positively that the connection point misses that mark. Second, their trip was 3 days so the point about the journey of living out these traits etc fails short. Third, I think the book does give some encouragement with these practical traits that would help either a business person or other reader to keep striving, so it does well on that point. In my opinion it would be better to simply look at the book’s subtitle of “7 skills to master for business and life” and that fits what it does much better.

There are no God references in the book, I point that out simply to say it, as the publisher puts out Christian books. There is nothing in the book anti biblical, but it certainly is much more of a self help type book.

Big marks for the format he used, and for easy reading style. No ground breaking revelations, and he provides as the end of the book a website to take a short quiz to explore which animal/skill you are. I enjoy those type quizzes and self discovery aspects, but knew the animal I would be from the reading of the book. Despite my critical stance on his introduction goals, on a whole, it was a quick enjoyable read.

This book was provided as a complimentary copy by the publisher in exchange for my review, positive or negative of its contents. Thanks Booksneeze!

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Seraph Seal-Sweet and Wagner Book Review

This book is a mix of an Indiana Jones, Davinci Code, Apocalyptic/Science Fiction feel.What I liked was the mystery type aspect with some action thrown in, I liked and disliked the tie ins to the book of Revelation from the Bible(more on that later). I liked the appendix in the end that provided some notes, explanations and clarifications as the book is a long one and lots of characters popping in and out and so much symbolism thrown in.

This book is NOT a book to base theology on. Similar to aspects of The Shack, the story draws you in, but there are some things that leave a question mark. References are made the The Lamb, but His appearance is not,the focus is left on the people/characters and not the Person playing the main role in the end times.Symbolism can be read in many ways, and others have commented that there seems to be a feel of Universalism in the book. I haven't gotten all the way through to be definite on that, but it is certainly worth warning about.

There is also a love story plot thrown in. The back cover reads "...the Seraph Seal combines apocalyptic intrigue with a journey of love and discovery that blurs the lines between fact and fiction. It will lead you into a world where only you can determine the future of the earth as we know it." So I would say it delivers on that, and as long as discernment filters are on that will help when the BLUR is happening. I have mixed feelings on this. I like that there is the biblical aspects brought in, but the teacher in me gets concerned when it veers off of that. Of course in story you have the creativity to branch off, and I enjoy that, but I get concerned that it then, whether intentioned or not, teaches people untruths. The responsibility lies ultimately with the READER, the writers have not said this is a book of truth, so I appreciate that.

This book was provided to me free through Thomas Nelson Publishers with the understanding that I give an honest review.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Man, time flies...

Can't believe it has been over a month between posts...

April had us traveling a bit down to Edmonton and Calgary. We broke down and bought dvd players for the girls for the trip...definitely a sanity saver!

Katie is a snack monster and needs to be snacking from the time we pull out of the driveway until we arrive. Julia travels well during the day but made it VERY clear to us when we traveled to Edmonton to participate in the End the Wait Adoption Seminar, that driving near bed time is a no no. We ended up having to stay in Whitecourt at a hotel overnight as she protested over being in the car thinking she was supposed to sleep there.

In the hotel we quickly discovered that so many things are at Katie level. She was delighted!!!! In the first 20 minutes there she had raided the mini fridge, called front desk, turned on the air conditioner, and started empty microwaves, oh and set the snooze alarm off several times.

The room had 2 queen beds in it. Cara and Julia took one bed, and Katie and I the other. Next time I will just take my pillow and sleep in the bath precious little girl loves to snuggle which is wonderful when I don't want to sleep, but I can't sleep when someone is "in my sleep space". Once she fell asleep I moved her over, only to have her shift around to sleep vertically on the bed with feet kicking, jabbing and embedding themselves into my back all night. UGH!

The conference was excellent and I feel blessed to have played a part in it.

We did an extended family visit at the end of the month as my grandmother,dad and cousin, as well as a precious friend( who has prayed faithfully for Julia for 5 years), had not met her yet.

Julia is delightful, coming out of her shell even more and has a smile the lights up the room, melts daddy's heart. She turned one this month, I am in denial. I just can't wrap my brain around it, yet she is fully embracing it. She is so close to walking. She is cruising along the couches and walls, using the high chair as a walker. Vocally she has found crying works wonders to get mom and dad running to see if big sister has wronged her, or to see if she has tumbled from being too adventurous, or to simply communicate, "I don't see you, come back into my view!". Her most used sound(aside from the cry) is a word that sounds kind of like "up" and"fpt" combined. We are getting some dadda maa maa sounds but not connecting them to us. Her eyes tell us she know us, they light up, she will do the one raised eyebrow or bashful smile/turn to the side with a glance thing that is adorable. She LOVES being upside down and spun around, she is going to be the carnival ride queen in our group...

We are eager to embrace spring and summer this year, we plan to plant some veges among our large and often weed embraced flower garden to help reduce the work and weed quota.I am looking forward to biking to work, need the exercise. Had a few too many slurpees and 5 cent candies over the winter, combined with too little exercise and it is starting to show...

Summer plans seem to be full with me (wanting to)get Fall work prep done early, taking a week to speak at Ness Lake Bible Camp, and sticking close to church as half the staff are taking off to Rwanda on a missions trip.

Still staying busy(it is reasonable now-crazy bust start of the year)with magic shows, and Cara is delighting in trying out digital scrapbooking. We still long for some more sleep and energy, but being parents to our 2 gifts is such a privilege, even when they refuse to eat, sleep or obey as much as we would like, they bring so many more smiles, joys and delight to our hearts!!!

Daddy Dates-Greg Wright Book Review

Daddy Dates by Greg Wright

I love the idea behind this book, it was something I have planned to do even prior to hearing a book was done about it. Did this book really help me develop that further? No. BUT, and it is a big is still an excellent book and one I highly recommend to ANY dad, regardless of the age of his girls( I have been planning and developing ideas for this for years already). It is written in guy language, and is a very enjoyable read. Greg comes across with wisdom, humor, and authenticity that makes it okay for dads to admit they don’t have it all together, but offers encouragement and some clear guidelines to help any dad get an idea of this concept and the exhortation to give it a try. He covers the reasons for daddy dates, ways to plan dates that will work, stories to encourage, and gives insights for preschool daddy dates right through the age ranges.

I was greatly encouraged to be affirmed that there is deep value in investing in this way in your daughters lives. The role of a Father is often undervalued, yet to help daughters grow to be confident women, the impact of a loving, committed and interested father is priceless. Daddy dates is a very helpful tool in the daddy tool belt.

Men like books that get to the point, lay out the plan,makes them laugh, and in stirs their heart(not enough to make them cry in public-that is taboo, but grabs their heart ;)) .This book delivers on that front. High recommendation for any dads.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, March 28, 2011

Changed by Faith Luis Palau- REVIEW

“How many people do you know who say they believe in God . . . but you’d never know it from looking at their lives? Despite good intentions, their faith isn’t life-changing or world-shaking; they may go to church on Sundays, but God doesn’t seem to make much difference the other six days..”

From this description it would appear the target audience is church goers, but upon reading the book I feel it is an excellent book to give to someone who is spiritually seeking. Luis evangelistic heart is poured all over this book. It is an easy read, with lots of stories. He lays out the path to Jesus and his challenge is sensitive yet determined.

I feel the message better speaks to one looking at who this Jesus is and that a life in Him does result in change. I didn’t find the book offered much guidance to those who have a professed faith in Jesus but are not seeing the change the Bible promises. I think his book Say Yes! does a much better job of addressing that topic. I read it MANY years ago, and it still stick in my mind as a book I felt God used in a great way in my life. So if that is an area you want to read up on, check out that book instead. If you have friends or family seeking, give them a copy of this book.

I heartily recommend Waking the Dead by John Eldridge for a book that will bring a dead faith back to life!

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.

Read and Share Stories about Jesus Gwen Ellis- REVIEW

This book is illustrated by Steve Smallman.

The back cover states there are 13 stories about Jesus-from his birth to his death and resurrection. Now in a collection that is only going to pick SOME aspects of Jesus life, the choice was good EXCEPT for the end, it felt a little like false advertising. There is one line given to his death and resurrection, “He even died and came back to life.”

This was in a 2 page story where the main focus was the ascension, so I felt it is misleading in what it delivers. It also asks kids if they have been baptized. Seeing the target group for this book, that is, in my opinion a bit early to be asking this.

The quality of the book is good, it is a board book, good binding, nice colors and art work. I really like that after each story there is an application question or comment included, kudos for that!

I would say the book is ideal for ages 5-7. I think you could use it for preschoolers for short story times, but not in a Sunday school teaching setting, they are too brief for that, but I could see using it at nap time with this age group and having a short conversation prior to the nap.

Recommend it with the content comment noted.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sick girl again(Katie) changed our travel plans for this week, we were going to head down to Edmonton and Calgary for a visit, but that will be changed :(.

Julia is so wanting to walk, she is pulling herself up on stuff and has taken a couple of wobbly sideways steps.She is getting quite expressive and she was quite affectionate with me tonight, nuzzling my arm(partly wiping her dirty face on me, but there was also some affection :) ).

Got a couple of book reviews coming up, and looking forward to the adoption conference next weekend.

Focus on the Family has opened a new website My article on our church journey in orphan care is there in the church stories section.

Amazing race is in China the last few episodes, so time to tune in again.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

How the girls are doing

Grandma and Julia

Katie checking out videos on the camcorder.

The girls are doing well together and we have survived the "Everyone get sick in some way" month of February( I was spared).

Julia is 24 pounds and developing well. We need to get on immunizations soon(I have to find the video where I got her medical sheet on those translated verbally...).she is bouncing on her bum to get places and is so close to forward crawling, we sense she hits times of frustration over not being able to participate as fully as her sister. She has also grown to develop more of a sense of self entitlement(this is a good thing, in this case, for this stage of things),where she will cry if a toy she wants gets taken away or if she isn't getting the type of attention she wants.

I have been pleased to have her express some healthy dissatisfaction when daddy leaves and am loving seeing 2 beautiful smiling faces greet me at the door(Cara usually takes that time to run to the washroom for a "break" and know she can have a few minutes of silence and to do her thing before Katie marches in wondering what is going on and what can she turn on, push a button on, or pull off a shelf) Thus the reason why it isn't 3 beautiful smiling faces greeting me :)!

Julia is getting much more vocal and one of the things to expect each supper meal is the competition to see who is louder, Katie, Julia or Mummy(Mummy is trying to spoil the fun and have then tone it down, and she wins every time ;) ).

Julia hasn't been sleeping as well as we would like, we aren't sure if it is because we changed the sleep situation from the co sleeper attached to the bed to the co sleeper set up right beside the bed, or what. But the extra disruptions, sleep wise, is certainly wearing on my faithful wife.

We are certainly anxious for the snow and cold weather to stop so that there is more options to get out.

In other news, I will be speaking at a Focus on the Family Adoption awareness event in Edmonton, in conjunction with the Steven Curtis Chapman concert being held later that day. Still have a bunch of prep to do, including the debut of a brand new magic trick I will close my chat with, "dreams of orphan care" where the dream a spectator creates about how to care for orphans matches the dream I had, and had displayed in a sealed envelope in front of them the entire time.Fingers crossed on that :)!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


Grandma B with Julia

Katie and Uncle Chris dancing!

Play Doh creations( the adults were playing with it :)

We had a wonderful time with family coming up to celebrate Katie's 2nd birthday and us dedicating Julia to God in a ceremony at church.

Family has been so awesome and supportive, and what fun we had!

Life of attaching

Good blog post. Talking about how attachment is a life time thing, it is a larger issue for some kids more than others, but it goes far beyond just the first few months after you bring a child home, Good list of references at the end of the post!

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Katie is 2, Wow!

My Katie is growing up! 2 years old. Wow! She has entered toddler realm full steam! First Sunday she didn't run to me when I came to her Sunday School class. She said "hi, daddy", and continued playing. Not sure Daddy is ready for that yet!LOL!

We had a quiet family birthday supper, we opened presents. She loved spending time with each gift, rather than running on to the next one, that was nice, did make for a long time of gift opening(not that there was that many gifts, she just enjoyed each one! Mommy made a chocolate cake in a "K" shape, which was enjoyed. Julia wanted some but she will just have to wait until she is one!

Next weekend is the big bash with friends and family, Doodlebop theme. I was excited that I found some party stuff in that theme. Should be fun!
Got this in an email, it has some truth to it!

If it is on, I must turn it off.
If it is off, I must turn it on.
If it is folded, I must unfold it.
If it is a liquid, it must be shaken, then spilled.
If it a solid, it must be crumbled, chewed or smeared.
If it is high, it must be reached.
If it is shelved, it must be unshelved.
If it is pointed, it must be run with at top speed.
If it has leaves, they must be picked.
If it is plugged, it must be unplugged.
If it is not trash, it must be thrown away.
If it is in the trash, it must be removed, inspected, and thrown on the floor.
If it is closed, it must be opened.
If it does not open, it must be screamed at.
If it has drawers, they must be rifled.
If it is a pencil, it must write on the refrigerator, monitor, or table.
If it is full, it will be more interesting emptied.
If it is empty, it will be more interesting full.
If it is a pile of dirt, it must be laid upon.
If it is stroller, it must under no circumstances be ridden in without protest. It must be pushed by me instead.
If it has a flat surface, it must be banged upon.
If Mommy's hands are full, I must be carried.
If Mommy is in a hurry and wants to carry me, I must walk alone.
If it is paper, it must be torn.
If it has buttons, they must be pressed.
If the volume is low, it must go high.
If it is toilet paper, it must be unrolled on the floor.
If it is a drawer, it must be pulled upon.
If it is a toothbrush, it must be inserted into my mouth.
If it has a faucet, it must be turned on at full force.
If it is a phone, I must talk to it.
If it is a bug, it must be swallowed.
If it doesn't stay on my spoon, it must be dropped on the floor.
If it is not food, it must be tasted.
If it IS food, it must not be tasted.
If it is dry, it must be made wet with drool, milk, or toilet water.
If it is a carseat, it must be protested with arched back.
If it is Mommy, it must be hugged. I am toddler!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Some Julia time...

Cara and Katie are still battling a cold, so I decided to take Julia to church myself today. So I strapped her into the Snugglie and away we went. I was teaching the grade 1-4 and had a magic trick to share with them also.Needless to say I never practiced storytelling or this trick with a baby strapped to me, but it still went okay thankfully.

She napped part way through. :)

We then made it into church for the service, but missed the sermon as she started getting a bit too vocal... it was sure nice to spend some one on one time with her, I am missing that, so today was a nice blessing.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Look back- off the plane in Canada with Julia

I realize I take video of crazy mundane stuff, with a few clips of brilliance. Shaking my head over some of the stuff I taped(ie the diaper blowout as we left China)...Julia is soooo gonna dislike daddy when we go through the videos one day lol!!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Nanchang memory

This was in Nanchang,at the Teng Wang Pavilion. The dance that was to happen there was canceled due to the stage flooding, but this was, to me, my favorite/most memorable time(outside of getting Julia).

It has been like a month and a half and it has been wonderful. Last night mommy went out for some girl time and Katie went to bed well, so I had a couple of uninterrupted hours with my Julia. Sorely needed(for me much more than Julia!). Love being able to make her smile, to see her stare into my eyes. She loves to touch foreheads together and rub my beard. She is certainly working her way towards crawling, she has pushed herself,while on her tummy, backwards a couple feet, quite happily. She is done with the chest cold she got, and no one seems to be teething today, so stock prices of Kleenex may dip a bit today, and I am good with that!

I am sad that there hasn't been the time to go through even the pictures and video I have taken, nor to connect very much with the travel group, other than the odd email. We will hopefully correct that in the next little bit. I find myself thinking more and more about the amazing treasures we all got while in China and wondering how they are all doing.

Well, work is calling(more like screaming) off to it I go! gonna knock a bunch off the ol' to do list, oh yes I am!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Grace of God- Andy Stanley Book Review

There is always a fear when the topic of grace gets mentioned that there is no balance and inclusion of human responsibility for sin, so the topic and experience of grace gets ignored. I have read many good and bad books on grace, Andy Stanley...GOOD book!

Balance is maintained, and a concept that is nearly as large as God Himself is given thorough treatment. "Grace acknowledges the full implication of sin and yet does not condemn". From the first book of the Bible through to the end he uses powerful examples from it and the examples encourage, edify, and empower the reader.

I also like the use of bolding in the book to accent key principles. This accenting is not done in a typical point by point heading, but conversationally, which makes it an easy read to digest a FULL meal of content.

There is no study guide at the back of the book, but this shouldn't deter this book from being used in a small group setting. There is a wealth of discussion points that could be brought out, BUT I caution, one really has to answer personally and share from your life, you can't embrace this topic of grace in theory, this is real life stuff!

This isn't a complaint, but because the writing style flows so smoothly, it could make it hard to stop, park, and really process the points, and thus miss the meat of it, so as a reader, I would encourage you to take it in bite size portions and really chew on it. The path of grace is a journey and so it really is about enjoying and experiencing it along the way.This coming from a destination minded person! High recommendation.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Mockingbird Parables- Matt Litton

This book is based off a knowledge of"To Kill a Mockingbird". Now I had not read or seen any movie variations of To Kill a Mockingbird, but the one thing this book has done is make me want to. Sadly that is about all I can say as positive.

Obviously a working knowledge of To Kill would help, but the author gives enough detail of the story points he is building off that this was not a hindrance, but the flopping all over the place made it hard to follow and glean what he was trying to say. I would agree with him that To Kill has some great learning points, and all, but it was more like a hummingbird, quick flitting here and there. Rather than a book it seems more like a short hand diary of some of his thoughts on the story and those thoughts just seemed to point out the obvious, rather than ADD something to us the reader of THIS book.

There is a SHORT question guide at the back for folks to use in a discussion group. Some may find that useful, but I would suggest that simply reading or watching To Kill a Mockingbird and talking about it with friends would be more profitable use of time.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or ARC.

Saturday, January 08, 2011


Well, Happy New year to all.
Things have been full but awesome(overall) since returning home. We had a nice time with family over the holidays, and have settled in now to try to establish some routines.

Katie was ultra clingy and moody for the first couple weeks since returning, from missing us, to adjusting to Julia, to her cutting a bunch of teeth, it isn't surprising. Julia also cut another tooth. So the drool, tears, fevers, and runs have been flowing, but we seem to be in a lull now which is nice.

Julia is back to a better eating schedule, really enjoying the purees, so much so she is too full to finish a bottle, so that is nice. Sleeping has been an adjustment. For the first few days I took Katie to the basement and we slept there, as the girls were taking turns waking each other up with dealing with their teething stuff, and Julia was taking up half of the bed, so no room for me there anyhow.

We are now on a better schedule, although Julia still stays up later, 10 pm ish, prior to falling asleep, Cara is often having to lay with her to get her down, but it is going well, other than her wanting a 5 pm nap, that time isn't cool.So we are trying to work her thru that, and overall happy with that, still some tweaking to go, but all in good time.

Took the girls to the pet store today, Julia slept the whole time, oh well.

Been busy at work, having to preach the last 2 Sundays, have my first Masters level class starting in a couple weeks, and am working on some stuff for Focus on the Family, as part of an adoption/orphan care initiatives they are working on. Booked at couple shows for the next month, which was a surprise, it is usually pretty dead, but that is nice bonus. Still have a bunch of video and pictures to look at from the trip and really want to connect with some of the folks from our travel group to see how the kids are adjusting.

Still haven't gotten Julia to church yet, may or may not happen this Sunday. I will be bringing my Katie as Sunday School is starting up again. We have kicked things up a notch with her, as I have taken her out a bunch to give Mum a break. We have had lots of daddy/daughter adventures, she has started rinsing the dishes, helping daddy go grocery shopping, having spontaneous dance parties in the mall when we hear a good tune coming from a store. I figure folks look at us anyhow with Ultrawhite Boy and his sidekick Afro-girl, so may as well just have fun.She loves to dance, so why not bust a groove at the mall, she loves it, and I love making my girl smile so it is a blast.

We have been blessed to have meals provided for us this last week from friends of ours from the church, it is so nice to not have to add that to the list while we adjust to other stuff, a real blessing.

The girls can't get enough of each other, Julia follows Katie with her eyes everywhere she goes. Katie loves hugging and kissing her, too much and too strong, but that is better than her hating her.

Katie has started calling us Da da and Mama. Not sure where that came from ,she has always called us daddy or mommy, it is cute though.

Had a HUGE dump of snow, light fluffy but lots of it. Julia is NOT fond of the car seat in the car, that is a big adjustment that needs to happen. Cara has a bit of cabin fever, she is pretty house bound, and when she does get out, usually only for an hour or so, as one of the girls ends up crashing and needing to get home.

It is great being home. I do feel that I haven't gotten the same time with Julia as I would like, from working with or distracting Katie, or still giving Cara the main areas of attachment to work on with Julia,that is hard, but it fills my heart and makes it so worth it when I see her seeking Cara out and seeing her eyes light up when she sees her mommy that I know once that bond is deep, I will be able to win over Julia to becoming a daddy's girl like Katie has become, and that makes it all worth it.