Sunday, May 13, 2007

Opinion Blog #2

Here is the second round of my "Opinion Blog". Hope you enjoy reading it. Today's reviews all get 2 thumbs up!

I have found that I really enjoy reading nonfiction & historical nonfiction. Who knew? I used to just love reading novels about whatever...

Last fall, I started reading the "Mark of the Lion" series by Francine Rivers. I had started it a long time ago when a friend bought me the first book in the series, but I just couldn't get into it! The first book, A Voice in the Wind starts off with a chilling description of the battle of Jerusalem from 70AD. I had no idea what that had been like for the Jews living there at that time. Gruesome. But the more I read, the more I was hooked. I stayed up late night after night to read the next chapter (this is not a normal behavior for me--I love sleep & never get enough of it!). I had to check out the next book from the library. I was not happy I had to wait to get it! The third book is quite a bit different from the first two, but was equally as enjoyable. A must read for Christians who want a different perspective of the 1st Century Church.

After getting a dog in December, I decided I needed to do some reading about dog training and dog behavior in general. My dad & one of other friends who recently got a dog turned us on to The Dog Whisperer (aka Cesar Milan). I think his show is on The National Geographic Channel. We rented the first season of DVD's from Netflix. We loved the show, so I checked out his book, Cesar's Way. It is a very easy read and starts with his own person biography of how he made his way to Hollywood from Mexico. The book explains natural dog behaviors and how to help dogs from a psychological level. A must read for anyone with a dog or who has children who will be around a dog. It has great tips on how to help kids behave appropriately around dogs. I will caution you that it does have some New Age material that I don't necessarily agree with. I just skipped over those parts and used discernment with the other material. Great book to read & a good handbook for dogs with troubled owners (read the book & you'll understand what I mean).

Finally, and probably most strangely, I have started reading non-fiction books about Communist China. China? Yes, China. My principal lived there for a number of years and I have enjoyed seeing pictures and hearing from her about the culture that seems so different from ours. Recently, she told me about a book called Wild Swans by Jung Chang. It is quite thick and full of history dating back to the 1800's. It starts with the story of her grandmother, a concubine to a Chinese warlord in the 1920's. It continues on with her mother's story and her own, leading up through the 1970's. I haven't actually finished it (it's due tomorrow--yikes!). But it is excellent. Again, I think Christians (and most Americans in general) should read this book. It has given me a totally new perspective on the communist way of life and what other countries are like outside of the USofA. Two thumbs up for me!

Her most recent book is called Mao and is all about the communist leader who ruled China for much of the later 20th Century. I hope to tackle that after I take a break from this heavy subject for a while!

Enjoy! If you read any of them, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

We'll see what other opinions I come up with. Don't worry, I'll think of something!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Green Thumb

To be honest, my green thumb may as well be spray paint. My mom, dad & Aunt Connie all have 2 green HANDS compared to me. But, that has not stopped me from trying!

My mom was here in April & helped me come up with some ideas for a small self-contained plot in the front of our yard & I finally had time to get some planting done! Let me tell you, Home Depot was hopping when I went down there at 10:00am on a Saturday! So, here is a picture of my FIRST attempt at gardening. The picture on the bottom is the finished side and the picture on the top is the unfinished side. I need to get a few more plants for that side. The plants are small, but my hope is big! I'll keep you posted!

3 & 1

On May 23, Joel & I will have owned our house for 1 year & on May 29, we will celebrate our 3rd anniversary! It has been a major year of changes and is sure to be another year of change to come.

As the school year wraps up and we celebrate many things in the next few weeks, (both of our birthdays, Mother's & Father's Day, anniversary, etc...) it seemed like a good time to reflect. Many things have changed in the last year...we now own a house & all the housework that comes with it! We own a dog--how great that has been. It's been a new year for us at work--me learning to work at school without Joel and Joel wrestling his way though the year at a new school. Now, we look forward to some stability--we're keeping our same jobs, we're living in the same house, we're not planning on getting any more pets....

One major change that will begin this summer is that Joel has been accepted into Graduate School & will start his classes on June 11. He will work on his Master of Arts in Liberal Studies at University of Denver at their University College. He hopes to graduate at the end of the summer of 2009 with an emphasis in Creative Writing.

Another major change is that I will only be working 4 days a week next year (32 hours instead of 40+++) each week! I am so excited and feel that God has really blessed me with the opportunity to do this. I essentially get to keep my same job, but just delegate some of the work to others.

I think the other major change that has occurred over the last year & I hope will continue into the next is our spiritual development. We found a church we love with many friends. We love our crazy small group & we have found that fellowship with other great believers is such a blessing.

As we close out this first year of owning a home & as the end of our 3rd year of marriage arrives, I couldn't help but to think about the numbers 3 & 1 again. It's been amazing how I've come to understand (a little better) the mystery that is the Trinity--God, Jesus & the Holy Spirit. It is really amazing how Paul talks about all 3 throughout the book of Romans. And, it's really amazing to me how each part of the Trinity has a special place and position and job. The three parts of the Trinity all encompass the ONE mighty work that God did on the cross through Jesus Christ. Without one of the Trinity, the work would not be complete and we would not be saved. How AMAZING our God is to have such a perfect plan!

So, as we celebrate our 3 & 1 anniversary this year, I hope you will be blessed by the 3 & 1 of the bible today!

The Good & The Bad

I've decided that since I tend to be opinionated about things, I may as well post my opinion about a few things on my blog! :) (If that's not the understatement of the year, I don't know what is!) My first "Opinion Blog" will be about books that get made into movies. I love to read, and I especially love to read books and then watch the movie. Like most readers, I love to form my own pictures in my mind while reading. Then, while watching the movie, I love to see how other people envisioned the story.

Back in January (the field trip was delayed in December because of our major snow storms!) our entire school went to see the newly released film, Charlotte's Web. When I learned we were going to see the movie, I quickly found a copy of the book (they were rather difficult to come by at this time) and read the book in one sitting (it's not very long or complex). I was reminded of how I love the book and had high expectations going into the movie. I also really love the cartoon version of the book. I have to say that even surrounded by 300+ elementary school age children, I was still brought to tears at the end. It was a great movie! The director & producers did a great job portraying the spirit and major themes of the movie. The acting was great, the animals were great & I just loved it! Two thumbs up! A must see for young children!

Next up, I read the books Eragon and Eldest, I think a 3rd book is coming out sometime soon... These are fantasy books targeted at jr high/high schoolers who love fantasy. I really enjoyed reading this book about a boy and dragons. It is set in a fantasy world much like Lord of the Rings. I was delighted to learn it was being made into a movie. Joel & I just watched it last night. Honestly, I give it two thumbs down. I know the book is dense with details and plot and characters, but the movie covered about 1/4 or less of it. I was really disappointed. Read the book, skip the movie.