Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Ahh, the joys of pet ownership!
For various reasons, we got a new pet this week, Jack. He's a nine month old chocolate lab, and he's a BIG puppy who has grown into his feet but hasn't quite filled out enough to match his head! He's had some basic training -- if you work hard enough he will sit, lay, come, and stay, but he has to really want to. He also thinks he's a lap dog and he doesn't understand why he can't sleep on our full size bed (despite the fact that he takes up the whole thing).
He's actually relatively docile, but he loves to play. I figured Scamper would love the opportunity to mother him, since she really liked that role with Sam. I think I misread her. I've since decided she likes to be the bossy big sister (a role that is unfortunately rather near and dear to my heart...).
When they first met, Scamper was a bit taken back. This dog is at least 1 1/2 heads taller than she and he tends to get a little personal! We hope neutering him will help with that. He really just wanted to play with her -- she would bark her fool head off and he would just wimper. He even got down on the ground as if to say, "It's ok, I'll let you be the boss if you want to." Amazing from a male dog. They had a few little show downs before Scamper decided that he really didn't want to harm her and we really weren't going to ignore her for this big lug.
Jack has been raised with doggy toys. Our dogs have never really had toys other than balls, frisbees, and pull toys, so this is a new thing for us. It is really funny to see this 80 pound dog walk around with a teeny McDonald's Happy Meal stuffed kitten in his mouth! Not very manly. Of course he doesn't know what is ok to play with and what isn't, so we are learning to keep stuff up off the floor, and I'm always on the alert for sounds of chewing.
Yesterday I heard some chewing and went to check it out -- Scamper had the little kitten and was pulling the stuffing out of it! This from a dog who NEVER touched a stuffed animal before! Hmmm...a little resentment you think?
Scamper has definitely got the big sister role down well, though. This morning I guess Jack was a little bored and he at various times got caught with the following in his mouth:
the food cup
a boy's winter glove
a baseball glove
Scamper's bone (that was her own fault - she likes to save them for later)
Kevin's shirt (he happened to be wearing it at the time...)
and a big stuffed bear
When she sees that Jack has something, she starts barking like crazy, as if to say, "Mom, he's doing it again!" She doesn't stop until I take the toy away or tell her that that one's ok to play with.
As I watch them wrestling now, it's humorous. Scamper is still the loud one, but she doesn't run away. He puts a paw on her back and tries to roll her over (reminiscent of 'pinned ya' from the lion king'), and she tries to run between his front legs, causing him to almost somersault in an attempt to get at her! They'll go on like this for about ten minutes before they tire out and end up laying next to each other playing 'whose leg is on top' by trying to get their own leg on top of the other one's head. Hilarious!
Jack and the cat get along fine -- they both ignore each other totally. The cat decided to check him out a little the other day, and he thought she wanted to play. She turned and ran, and he wanted to take off after her. I was nervous for a second because he can run fast, but he was on the laminate floor -- it was like a scene from a cartoon. The faster he ran, the less he moved!
My days are definitely a little more full now...and I have to say that I feel MUCH more secure! Jack's barks, when he chooses to use them, rattle the windows!
How in the world are the ants getting into our upstairs bathroom? And don't tell me they are coming for the water, because they only show up when it rains... The borax worked on lots of them based on the number of carcasses around the edges of the room, but obviously not all of them.
Toxic chemicals, here we come.
Now I feel like I'm covered with creepy crawlies.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Between this study and some other non-fiction books I'm reading (one in particular, Clutter-free Christianity by Robert Jeffress, which will be reviewed soon at www.hisreadinglist.blogspot.com) I'm getting a totally different perspective on the Bible.
Yes, I believe it is specifically meaningful to the intended readers for whom it was written. And I believe we can learn about the character of God through it's message, thereby understanding how God will act in our current culture.
But more than that, I realize that this book is more incredible that I'd ever imagined. Think of the people who are nearly illiterate. The Bible stories they hear from others and in church are often paraphrased, yet they touch hearts and move mountains. Some of the most faithful are those who cannot comprehend parallel texts and original Greek meanings.
Then there are Biblical scholars who spend their whole lives unearthing new understanding of history and culture. Their lives have been transformed and they spend decades researching the most specific facts and developing convincing arguments to help others believe.
Most of us fall somewhere in between. What other book can you think of that meets the needs of every single reader, regardless of his intellectual desire for complexity? It is the most simple and the most complex book in history -- all at the same time! It offers everything anyone could want or need.
Some days I need to read a short passage and hear God's voice reminding me of his love or admonishing me about my actions. Other days I need to seek and find His truth through investigation -- to discover his character as if I were on a treasure hunt. He offers both!
How cool is that?
Kathy Herman has crafted a very intricate crime that takes highly intelligent criminals to pull off in a way that makes the police department look foolish. The twists and turns in the story are brilliant. She goes beyond policework, however to include a tragic human story that goes on behind the scenes and becomes the main story -- a family falling apart at the seams while the world believes all is fine.
Once the story begins it is hard to put the book down. The crimes move quickly and there isn't much time for the police to pull together the clues. The busyness of the main character, Brill, allows her to avoid her family problems while she focuses on the crisis at hand in her new job.
I enjoyed the dynamics of the townspeople when they disagreed about ancient legends, the transition of Brill frombeing a member of a big city police force to the chief a smaller town's force, and the interactions of the family members in crisis. Some of the behaviors seemed a bit too persistent, but not obnoxiously so.
I thought the way the author brought the storylines to conclusion was masterful! I hope there is a sequel.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Suspense novelist Kathy Herman is very much at home in the Christian book industry, having worked five years on staff at the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and eleven years at Better Books Christian Center in Tyler, Texas, as product buyer/manager for the children’s department, and eventually as director of human resources.
She has conducted numerous educational seminars on children’s books at CBA Conventions in the U.S. and Canada, served a preliminary judge for the Gold Medallion Book Awards of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association , and worked as an independent product/marketing consultant to the CBA market.
Since her first novel, Tested by Fire, debuted in 2001 as a CBA national bestseller, she's added thirteen more titles to her credit, including another bestseller, All Things Hidden.
Kathy's husband Paul is her best friend and most ardent supporter and manages the LifeWay Christian Store in Tyler, Texas. They have three grown children, five adorable grandkids, a cat named Samantha—and an ongoing fascination with hummingbirds. They also enjoy world travel, deep sea fishing, stargazing, and bird watching and sometimes incorporate all these hobbies into one big adventure.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Brill Jessup just became the first female police chief in Sophie Trace, Tennessee, and is riding on the credentials of a stellar eighteen-year career on the Memphis police force. She may be a pro at finding clues, but she tends to ignore the obvious in her personal life. And she would rather work than deal with the bitterness she feels about her husband Kurt's infidelity. Kurt, is weighed down by her unrelenting anger as he struggles to let God redeem the stupidest mistake he ever made. He is genuinely contrite and making every effort to show his commitment to Brill. But she hides behind her badge and her bitterness, deciding that moving her family away from Memphis is the only change she needs to make. So why can't Brill get over this anger?
Before she ever has time to unpack her boxes, people start disappearing. Lots of them. Seven people in seven days To complicate matters, a local legend has many residents believing that the cause is unearthly─tied to the “red shadows,” or spirits of the departed Cherokee who once inhabited the land.
While Brill draws on all of her experience and instinct to solve the case, she must confront an enemy that threatens everything she holds dear─one that cannot be stopped with a badge and a gun. She is forced to confront the real enemy.
If you would like to read the first chapter of The Real Enemy, go HERE
Buy this book at amazon
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
So, I was looking for the recipe for the borax glop that I used in the dishwasher before and I found a website that said all you have to do is sprinkle a thin line of borax around the base of the cabinets and the back corners of the countertops. The ants ingest the borax and become dehydrated to the extent that they are just skeletons. Sounds evil!
Therefore, since I have powdered borax I have graced the edges of the kitchen. Looks a little like I had a salt frenzy, but hopefully it will work. A side benefit is that it is supposed to work on all bugs (although I'm not aware of any others in the house...I'm so naive!).
But I started thinking -- is it unethical to kill bugs? I mean, they really don't mean me any harm. But I thought the bugs and I had an agreement -- they stay out of the house and don't chomp on my flowers and I leave them alone. They aren't sticking with their side of the agreement!
Besides -- it's not like I'm actively killing them (like I had intended by spraying them with poison). It's their choice to either eat the borax and die or just go away!
Hmmm -- I wonder if some alien being is doing the same thing with humans by offering us transfats and high fructose corn syrup?!?!?
The Bad News: But when I looked up (coz the first thing I did was check the dishwasher), my little friends were all over the counter! I killed about 25 of them (all I could see), but I obviously need reinforcements. I'll go to the hardware store today for some chemicals (all you 'green friends' -- sorry, but bugs don't belong in the house unless they pay rent!).
Then I found one little 'scout' in the UPSTAIRS bathroom! Ugh... He's no longer able to report back. I hope his friends don't come looking for him!
Monday, March 23, 2009
In this case, though, I'm talking about the ants. I opened the dishwasher this morning and was, um, 'greeted', by thousands of ants. Ok, I exaggerate. But there were at least 25! Guess we have to move to plan B.
I'll try the borax again in the dishwasher and I'll keep vinegar in the bottom. Afterall, I don't want to poison us! Then I'll get fresh bug spray and attack the house inside and out!
I'm gonna get these little guys yet. Hmm, amazing how quickly my killer instinct comes out when it comes to crawling things in our house!
By the way, 'they're baaaccckk' is from Poltergeist 2.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I love the Biblical historical novels that have become so popular lately. This one takes you back to the days of the first Jewish king, Saul, and his daughter who wed David. We get a seat near the throne of Saul once he had been inhabited by demons and displayed crazy behavior. We see the impact of his disease on his family and his obsession with killing the handsome young hero, David.
I enjoy the historical portrayal of the time, but I had a little more difficult time with this book because I never really connected with the protaganist, Michal. I enjoyed the insight into the relationship between David and Jonathan, but there seemed to be many times when I believe the story will be filled in by future books about David's other wives. As a series the story will most likely pull together, but in the first volume I found the holes somewhat distracting.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Can their epic search for true love survive a father's fury?
The daughter of King Saul, Michal lives a life of privilege--but one that is haunted by her father's unpredictable moods and competition from her beautiful older sister.
As a girl, Michal quickly falls for the handsome young harpist David. But soon after their romance begins, David must flee for his life, leaving Michal at her father's mercy in the prison that is King Saul's palace.
Will Michal ever be reunited with David? Or is she doomed to remain separated from him forever?
Against the backdrop of opulent palace life, raging war, and daring desert escapes, Jill Eileen Smith takes you on an emotional journey as Michal deals with love, loss, and personal transformation as the first wife of King David. Jill Eileen Smith has more than twenty years of writing experience, and her writing has gathered acclaim in several contests. Her research into the lives of David's wives has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Michal, go HERE
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jill Eileen Smith is the author of several articles, poems, and stories, and her unpublished novels have placed in five writing contests in the past five years. A children’s story, which she wrote for her church led her youngest son to faith in Christ several years ago; much like a gospel tract led her to the Lord at a similar age.
That story, “Seeking Treasureland,” is now available. Jill is a member of several online writing groups and helps promote fellow authors’ works through monthly interviews on the "Spotlight" page of her website. She, along with her husband and children, are active members in their local church. A stay-at-home mom, she homeschooled the couple’s three sons for twelve years through high school, seeing them go on to higher education.
In her spare time, Jill teaches piano, reads, does picture scrap-booking, and enjoys trying out new recipes, especially those that include dark chocolate. Jill and her family make their home in Southeastern Lower Michigan.
If you would like to buy this book, go HERE
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Maybe I'll make another batch of Borax goo and put a little in every day. My goal is to be ant free!!!
Monday, March 16, 2009
What a unique concept -- a former CIA agent leaves behind her old life to be come the librarian in a small Midwestern town! While doing research would be convenient, it must be really difficult for an active operative to go from worldwide conspiracy and political insurgent infiltration to the very visible life in a small town. But that is just what Paige Rogers has successfully done.
But her nemesis, a former co-worker who seems to have gotten away with treason, is about to become governor of the state and he wants to be sure that Paige doesn't spill the truth. Someone in the small town is an informant, and she hopes it isn't the hunky football coach whose hands are full with teen boys and obnoxious parents who just happen to be on the school board.
This is an action-packed thriller that keeps you guessing until the end.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Award-winning author, DiAnn Mills, launched her career in 1998 with the publication of her first book. Currently she has over forty books in print and has sold more than a million copies.
DiAnn believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” DiAnn Mills is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels.
Six of her anthologies have appeared on the CBA Best Seller List. Three of her books have won the distinction of Best Historical of the Year by Heartsong Presents. Five of her books have won placements through American Christian Fiction Writer’s Book of the Year Awards 2003 – 2007, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005 and 2007. She was a Christy Awards finalist in 2008.
DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope and Love, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is also a mentor for Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writer’s Guild.
She lives in sunny Houston, Texas. DiAnn and her husband have four adult sons and are active members of Metropolitan Baptist Church.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Paige Rogers survived every CIA operative’s worst nightmare.
A covert mission gone terribly wrong.
A betrayal by the one man she thought she could trust.
Forced to disappear to protect the lives of her loved ones, Paige has spent the last several years building a quiet life as a small-town librarian. But the day a stranger comes to town and starts asking questions, Paige knows her careful existence has been shattered.
He is coming after her again. And this time, he intends to silence her for good...
Paige Rogers is a former CIA agent who lost all she treasured seven years ago when her entire team was killed in a covert mission. She blames their leader—Daniel Keary—whom Paige believes betrayed them. Disillusioned and afraid for her life, she disappeared and started a new life as a librarian in small town Split Creek, Oklahoma.
But her growing relationship with high school football coach Miles Laird and the political ambitions of her former boss threaten to unmask her. When Keary announces his candidacy for governor of her state, he comes after Paige to ensure that she won't ruin his bid for office by revealing his past misdeeds. He threatens everything she holds dear, and Paige must choose between the life of hiding that has become her refuge . . . or risking everything in one last, desperate attempt to right old wrongs.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Breach Of Trust, go HERE
Watch the Book Trailer:
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
I wanted to find something that was safe, since we DO wash our dishes here (and what is more disgusting that an ant carcas sticking to the glass you want to drink out of??). I found this recipe:
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
2 T borax
combine ingredients and boil for three minutes. As it cools it will thicken into a gel. Put a glob in a lid or just in the area where you see the ants. They will probably swarm it for a while, but once they ingest it and take it back to the nest they die!
So I'm trying it. I have borax at home since I use it in the laundry detergent we make, so it was easy to create this little concoction. I decided to pour the whole panful of it in the bottom of the dishwasher...did I say that ants disgust me?
I'll let you know how it works. I haven't seen ants anywhere else. Hopefully this doesn't cause them to find friendlier accomodations elsewhere in the house!
Thursday, March 12, 2009
What snap judgements do you make about women who have been married several times? Divorce and remarriage are common these days, but often the Christian world makes people who have been through the trauma of divorce feel intense scrutiny and a sense of failure.
The woman at the well had been married five times and was living with someone who wasn't her husband when she met Jesus at Jacob's Well. If our society tends to look down on those who've been divorced, the world at the time of Christ was even more judgemental. Diana Wallis Taylor introduces us to a woman who has been through a lot of rough times, most no fault of her own. She portrays the woman, whom she calls Marah, as a likeable woman who seems destined to live a life of suffering and abuse -- some from the men and more from the gossiping of women.
Diana does an excellent job of recreating the Samaria that Jesus visited. It is easy to imagine walking alongside Marah and her friend Hannah as the fulfill the expectations of women in Biblical times. She masterfully winds several well known Bible stories into this tale of love, loss, and salvation. I really enjoyed the book and look forward to reading more of Diana's work!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Diana Wallis Taylor, San Diego resident, is an award-winning Christian author and speaker who shares her personal testimony to women’s groups. The Lord gave Diana a desire to write a book about the woman of Samaria who encountered Jesus at Jacob’s Well. It was at the edge of the well where the woman of Samaria found the living water of Jesus.
A native Californian, Diana Wallis Taylor graduated from San Diego State University. She has had many occupations; elementary and junior high school teacher, bookshop owner, and conference director for a Christian college. A poet since the age of 12, she published a book of poems, Wings Of The Wind, in 1994, now republished with watercolor illustrations in 2006. She has received awards in songwriting and poetry and her writing contributions appear in various books and magazines. The author speaks on the woman at the well in conjunction with her own testimony. She also speaks on A Walk in the Darkness, on her family involvement in the occult and how it affected her life.
Diana lives with her husband Frank in San Diego, California and between them they have six grown children and ten grandchildren. In addition to her speaking and writing, she serves on the board of the San Diego Christian Writer’s Guild and is active in Christian Women’s Fellowship.
ABOUT THE BOOK
She went to the well for water. What she found there would change her life forever.
Marah is a young girl in love with her childhood friend, Jesse. When she is forced to marry an older man, she must abandon her dreams of happiness. At the mercy of men who are often only interested in using her, Marah must fight for survival. Will she ever meet a man who can save her?
The story of the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well is one of hope, redemption, and a life changed in an instant through a remarkable encounter. Jesus told her "everything she'd ever done," but we are left to wonder at the circumstances that led her life on such a tragic path to begin with. Now from the creative mind of Diana Wallis Taylor comes the full story of the woman at the well.
This well-researched portrayal of a woman's life in the time of Jesus opens a window into a fascinating world. Taylor's rich descriptions of the landscapes, lifestyles, and rituals mesh easily with the emotional and very personal story of one woman who desperately seeks to rise above the difficult circumstances of her life.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Journey To The Well, click HERE