Thursday, December 31, 2009

My dear blogging friend, Caroline asked me which book of all those I reviewed in 2009 touched me the most.

Good question!  Since Caroline doesn't have a blog and I don't have her email address I thought I would respond to her question here.

I looked back over all the books I reviewed. I picked out the ones I considered the best of the best and I couldn't come up with just one title. I couldn't narrow it down to two, three or even four.

I was touched in different ways by them all. I didn't read a bad book last year.

I think the value of a book to you will depend on where you are in life at the time you are reading the book.

As we come to the end of the year and move into a new year I do not have a single book laying around waiting to be reviewed. I do not have any books coming in to be reviewed. I planned it this way. In 2010 I plan to only accept for review books that I personally want to read or that I feel will be of value to the readers of my blog.

In the past I reviewed some books simply because they were offered. And it's true I discovered some great books and great authors this way. But now I want to read slower and meditate more on what I am reading.
I want to be more thoughtful!

What will be my first review for 2010? I can't wait to find out!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

MY PAPER CHASE--True Stories of Vanished Times by Harold Evans

OVERVIEW: Andrew Marr calls this "A jaw-dropping social history...the best education possible in what true journalism's all about." In My Paper Chase, Harold Evans recounts the wild and wonderful tale of his newspapering and publishing odyssey, which would take him from Manchester to London and finally to America. In England, he would become the editor of two of the most famous newspapers in the world, The Sunday Times and The Times of London. Along the way, Evans would crack England's biggest spy scandal; expose the cause of the world's deadliest DC-10 air crash; reveal shocking truths about what was happening in Northern Ireland; and uncover one of the greatest health scandals of the century. In New York he began all over again as a book publisher, acquiring the memoirs of Colin Powell, Marlon Brando, Henry Kissinger, Richard Nixon--and a then-unknown law school graduate by the name of Barack Obama. He also became a bestselling writer. In an age when newspapers everywhere are under threat, My Paper Chase is a poignant reminder of all that they have been, and all that they can be again.

MY REVIEW: This is my last book review for 2009. There was a time when I thought that I would not be able to complete the review this year. It is a big book of five hundred and eighty pages. My schedule during the holidays, like yours, was full.

If you are interested in journalism and enjoy reading exciting and interesting memoirs, you will love this book. The generous folks at Hachette Books are allowing me to give away five copies of this big, hard cover edition. But if you are not into reading about journalism and stories of vanished times then you will not want to request a copy of this book. In fact, I ask you, please do not request a copy if you know you will not read it. Sure it will look good on your book shelf but that is not what it's for.

I enjoyed My Paper Chase and I know that many others will also. I just do not know if the readers of my blog are among those people. Leave a comment and an e-mail address if you want to be entered in the drawing. I will close this giveaway January 12, 2010.


Monday, December 28, 2009

It's not that I can't. I just shouldn't.

The list of things I shouldn't do is long and growing longer every day.

No more climbing on the roof, lifting large objects, bending over pulling weeds and picking up "stuff."

Yes, I still do these things and many more like them--but I shouldn't.

I continue to do these things and then regret it for days. Why then, do I do them?

I have asked myself that question many times. Am I just silly or stupid? Is it that I just never learn? Am I too proud to admit that I've grown old?

I saw a friend of mine, who is a Doctor, a few weeks ago with his arm in a sling. He said he fell off his roof and broke it. He certainly could have afforded to hire someone to go upon his roof for him. He said he would next time!

My back has been "killing" me for days because I trimmed our palm trees. Everybody on our cul-de-sac has a gardener except us. We have never had a gardener and we never hire a repair man if I think I can do the job. That plan has worked well over the years.

It worked well because a young man once lived here. He had a large S on his chest. The S has started to fade badly.

Oh flip, I might as well admit it--there is no S on the chest. SUPERMAN IS GONE!


Saturday, December 26, 2009


God hath not promised
     Skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways
     All our lives through;
God hath not promised
     Sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow,
     Peace without pain.

But God hath promised
     Strength for the day,
Rest for the labor,
     light for the way,
Grace for the trials,
     Help from above,
Unfailing sympathy,
     Undying love.

(Annie Johnson Flint, quoted in The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart by Charles R. Swindoll)

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Cheryl works the breakfast shift at Coco's restaurant.

She moves quickly from table to table--never stopping to rest. She smiles, speaks kindly and does everything efficiently. She doesn't snap gum in her mouth or call you "Sweetie," or "Darlin."  She just sees you and respects you.


I admire and respect people who know their job and do it.

We live in the age of the "goof-off" but Cheryl refuses to participate in that.

I heard her say she has to work Christmas day. She wasn't complaining she just responded to a question.

Orchids to all our hard workers!

Merry Christmas and may God bless you richly.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

There are several Apple computer stores in the greater Phoenix area.

We have been blessed to have one only about fifteen or twenty minutes away at the Biltmore Shopping Center.

But recently they built a new one that is only about three minutes from our home in the Scottsdale Quarter.

We went there twice yesterday. Once to deliver Charlotte's beloved Mac to have the DVD burner repaired and then again to pick it up. It was a snap. And since the computer was under warranty there was no charge. O happy day!!

The store is new, beautiful, well stocked and the staff is trained and efficient.

The place was packed out both times we were there.

Somebody's got money to spend.

I did notice however, that some of the cars were the Mercedes and Jaguar type.

I make do with my PC but Charlotte loves her Mac.

I love Big Macs!


Monday, December 21, 2009

Some people have no problem knowing what's next, staying on schedule, keeping appointments, being on time.

I am a fairly well organized person by nature but for years I have used a system sold by Franklin Covey to help me.

Some people don't need any help. Others of you don't want any help. And some of you can't be helped.

I keep my "organizer" on my desk now. Before I retired I carried it with me. I needed to know where I needed to be at all times and what was coming up next. Now I don't have those kind of concerns. I could get along without an "organizer" but I don't want to.

Most of the time now I make notes on the daily pages and use the "organizer" almost like a diary. I file the pages away at the end of the year and have found them amazingly helpful in looking back for information long forgotten.

What about you? Are you organized? Do you want to be? Are you happier by not bothering yourself with this kind of thing? Do you keep dates on your computer or some other way?

I would really like to know.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tyndale House Publishers and Christian recording artist Matthew West have joined in an effort to reach l million downloads for a download of the Christmas Story from Luke. It is read by Matthew who does an excellent job.

Please participate and help share the Christmas Story as told by Luke with the world. It's not enough to keep saying over and over, "Keep Christ in Christmas." Let's help do it!

Please place this link on your blog and encourage your readers to stop by and listen to Matthew read from Luke. They can also get a free download of the Gospel of John.

Here is the link to the reading.



Thursday, December 17, 2009

My wife loves shoes.

I'm tempted to say she has never seen a pair of shoes that she didn't think is cute.

But that's not true. She sees many pairs that she thinks are ridiculous.

Generally speaking--she loves shoes!

Yesterday we strolled into Clarks, one of her favorite stores where she has bought shoes before.

The salesman asked her if she was the one shopping for shoes or if her husband was the one.

To my surprise she said she wasn't shopping for shoes she was just looking but that I was the one.

A week or two ago while looking at a pair of shoes I said, "Some day I might like to have a pair of these when I get ready to buy a new pair of shoes." That's all!

A few minutes later I heard her ask, "Do you have this in an eight and a half?"


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

PRIMAL--A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity
By Mark Batterson

OVERVIEW: Our generation needs a REFORMATION. But a single person won't lead it. A single event won't define it. Our reformation will be a movement of reformers living compassionately, creatively, courageously for the cause of Christ. This reformation will not be born of a new discovery. It will be the rediscovery of something old, something ancient. Something PRIMAL. This book is an invitation to become part of a reformation movement. It is an invitation to rediscover the compassion, wonder, curiosity and energy that turned the world upside down two thousand years ago. It is an invitation to be astonished again.

AUTHOR: Mark Batterson is the author of Wild Goose Chase and In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. He serves as lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington DC, which is focused on reaching emerging generations. Mark has two master's degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago.

MY REVIEW: It was just after lunch when I picked up Primal, a 179 page book and started to read. Immediately following lunch is a dangerous time for me to try to read. I say, "Try" because I usually cannot stay awake after a full meal no matter how good the book is. However, my experience with Primal was different. I couldn't put it down. I didn't go to sleep or even nod off.

Primal is one of the most challenging books I have read this year. My wife's Uncle Emmett says after every meal, "That's the best meal I have ever eaten." Other members of the family roll their eyes and wonder how many times they have heard that before. I fear some of you may begin to feel the same way about my book reviews. Regardless, I recommend this book without reservation. I realize you will not agree with everything Mark says. But I wish every Christian would read his book."This book will help you live in light of what matters most and discover what it means to love God." It will help you love God will all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Mark calls you to be a part of God's reformation, starting in your own life.


Monday, December 14, 2009

A few years back I didn't even know what a blogger was. I didn't know and I didn't care.

Now I care!

I care because now blogger is not just a word. No, it's much more than that. Now when I think of bloggers I think of men and women,human beings--FRIENDS. Men and women who laugh, cry, hurt, bleed, dream, live life large--and sometimes die.

I have blogging friends all over the world.

Today I'm thinking about and praying for my blogging friend LOREN. She lives in Oklahoma but she is in Florida with her father who is dying with cancer.

I'm asking all my blogging friends to pray for LOREN AND HER FAMILY as they go through this difficult time. Many of you already are praying and as a result of your prayers and hers, her father has given his life to Christ. It will never be easy to let him go but they can now smile through their tears.

Thank you for caring. Thank you for being part of the fellowship of the concerned.

Someone said: "Oh this world's a curious compound
With its honey and its gall;
Its cares and bitter crosses,
But a good world after all.
And a good God must have made it,
Leastwise that is what I say,
When a hand is on your shoulder
  in a friendly sort o' way."


Saturday, December 12, 2009

I love Eugene Peterson's paraphrase of 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 in THE MESSAGE

So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever.


Friday, December 11, 2009

By James N. Watkins

OVERVIEW: Martha Bolton, writer for Jeff Allen, Phyllis Dillar and Mark Lowry calls this "A book that will make you laugh, think, and start looking at those sour places in life in a whole new way."Life is filled with lemons! So here are top ten ways to squeeze the good out of those life-puckering problems. And James Watkins is a great guide since he's felt the squeeze of cancer, unemployment, family crises, and chronic nose hair. Join him in the journey. Author, Heather Gemmen wrote, "Jim Watkins is clearly a man who knows how to laugh and how to cry...and when one will be more effective than the other. Discover his godly wisdom for yourself by enjoying this important books as you make sense of life."

AUTHOR: James N. Watkins is the award-winning author of fifteen books and over two thousand articles. He serves as an editor with Wesleyan Publishing House and instructor at Taylor University, as well as popular conference speaker. His most important roles, however, are as child of God, husband, dad, and "papaw."

 MY REVIEW: James Watkins has as his purpose for writing this book the same one that Peter stated as his in l Peter 5:12b NLT "My purpose for writing is to encourage you and assure you that the grace of God is with you no matter what happens." Let that sink in! It doesn't get any better than that. James does an excellent job of fulfilling that purpose. His book is a wonderful source of encouragement for making your way through life-puckering problems.

I laughed and cried my way through this splendid little book of encouragement. I found it hard to put down and I think you will have the same problem. This is a book you won't want to part with but you will want to buy one for each of your friends.


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

We have a silly little sign in front of our house that says, "Let It Snow."

Well it is snowing in the "high country" of Arizona--up around Flagstaff. But not in Phoenix.

We decorate our houses, inside and out. The malls are decked out and Santa Claus is there.

Some people even put Christmas lights on their cacti.

It's even cooler today. It's cloudy and the high temperature is going to be around 58.

But that won't last. Most of the days in December will probably be warmer and the sun will be shining.

If you lived here would you be calling your "folks" in the Mid-West singing, "I'll Have A Blue Christmas, I know dear..."?

Well, what do you think?  Could you get into the "Christmas spirit" in a place like this?


Monday, December 07, 2009

THE KARMA OF JESUS--Do We Really Reap What We Sow
By Mark Herringshaw

OVERVIEW: Whether we call it Karma or not, life seems to be based on cause and effect. If we do something good, we expect (or hope) good will return. Do something bad, and bad will result. Indeed, the ancient idea of Karma--reaping what we sow--is recognized in almost every religion in the world. But this principle sets an inescapable trap: If "what comes around goes around," then every small mistake will haunt us to the bitter end. IS THAT IT THOUGH? IS THIS OUR DESTINY? In this provocative book, Mark Herringshaw boldly explores two mutually exclusive visions of life: Karma and grace. Prompted by a chance conversation with a spiritually curious young man, he gives us a probing look at the implications of Karma and the relevance of Christ's life.

AUTHOR: Mark Herringshaw is a pastor, sought-after teacher, and conference speaker. The coauthor of two previous books, he leverages the crafts of storytelling, biblical scholarship, and scientific research to make complex ideas simple, practical, and transformative.

MY REVIEW: This is a difficult review for me to write. I need to choose my words wisely. I do not want to praise the book too highly and thereby encourage readers to buy it thinking it is something it is not. However, at the same time I do not want to discourage  potential buyers who might profit from what Mark Herringshaw has written.

I liked this book very much. But I am coming from a background of Bible college and seminary training plus forty-seven years of practical Christian living as a full-time minister. This certainly doesn't make me any wiser than the average reader or better prepared to deal with this difficult subject. But the average person may not be as interested in the topic as I am.

Herringshaw writes in an interesting way and I learned much from reading his book. And yet when I read the last page and put the book down I didn't feel satisfied. I didn't have an "Aha, moment." I didn't say to myself, "Send the questioners in. I'm ready now. I can explain Karna to them."

I do think things happen for a reason. But after saying that, where do we go from there? If you are interested, maybe you should read this book.


The generous folks at Bethany House are allowing me to host this book giveaway for two (2) copies!
  • Winners are restricted to the US and Canada. No PO Box mailing address please.
  • You do not have to be a blogger to win. You can win more than once on my blog.
  • I MUST have a way of contacting you, so be sure to leave your email address in your comment.
  • Some choose to omit the @ sign and the . dot by writing it in "code" like this: you (at) your email (dot)com.
  • I'll close the comments December 21 and pick the two winners. I will contact the winners via email to get their mailing information. The winners will have three days to respond. If I do not hear from them within three days, I will select another winner(s).


Saturday, December 05, 2009

Somehow, not only for christmas
But all the long year through,
The joy that you give to others
Is the joy that comes back to you.
And the more you spend in blessing
The poor and the lonely and sad,
The more of your heart's possessions
Return to make you glad.
                                          John Greenleaf Whittier


Friday, December 04, 2009

The real Santa Claus was at the Paradise Valley Mall this morning.

I can't tell you how excited I was to see him.

Every year--for many years, I have been disappointed to see impostors sitting in Santa's place.

They were anemic, frail, little guys who looked like they had just drug in from skid row.

Not this year. The jolly ol fellow himself showed up. And I'm glad.

Don't worry. I can't explain Santa's magic. But he will be at your mall too.

If one of those impostors should show up. Go directly to the mall manager and tell him you want the Santa Clif saw at the Paradise Valley Mall.


Thursday, December 03, 2009

Do you like hot pastrami sandwiches?

Probably not! Most of my readers are women. My daughter tells me she thinks pastrami is a "man thing." My wife agrees.

They are probably right. I don't know. What do you think?

I have always enjoyed going to the Miracle Mile Deli. But until recently we have not had one in Scottsdale. Now we do. It's only a few minutes from our home.

Every time I go there I am interested in all the good things they offer.

I stand on one foot and then the other and then I always say, "hot pastrami sandwich."

Is it a "man thing"?

What do you think?


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Christmas Glass

GuidepostsBooks (October 1, 2009)


Marci Alborghetti


Marci Alborghetti has been writing only slightly longer than she's been reading. In seventh grade she received her first writing prize for a zany Halloween story. The prize? A five dollar gift certificate to a local bookstore. She was hooked. The Christmas Glass is her fourteenth book, and she is currently at work on a sequel as well as a non-fiction book about service. Some of her other books include: Prayer Power: How to Pray When You Think You Can’t, A Season in the South and Twelve Strong Women of God.

She and her husband, Charlie Duffy, live in New London, Connecticut and the San Francisco Bay area. While in New London she facilitates the Saint James Literary Club.


In the tradition of The Christmas Shoes and A Christmas on Jane Street, the heartwarming story of The Christmas Glass shows how, today as always, the Christmas miracle works its wonders in the human heart.

In the early days of World War II in Italy, Anna, a young widow who runs a small orphanage, carefully wraps her most cherished possessions -- a dozen hand-blown, German-made, Christmas ornaments, handed down by her mother -- and sends them to a cousin she hasn't seen in years.

Anna is distressed to part with her only tangible reminder of her mother, but she worries that the ornaments will be lost or destroyed in the war, especially now that her orphanage has begun to secretly shelter Jewish children. Anna's young cousin Filomena is married with two-year-old twins when she receives the box of precious Christmas glass.

After the war, Filomena emigrates to America, where the precious ornaments are passed down through the generations. After more than forty years, twelve people come to possess a piece of Christmas glass, some intimately connected by family bonds, some connected only through the history of the ornaments.

As Christmas Day approaches, readers join each character in a journey of laughter and tears, fractures and healings, as Filomena, now an eighty-four-year-old great-grandmother, brings them all to what will be either a wondrous reunion or a disaster that may shatter them all like the precious glass they cherish.

If you would like to read the first chapter of  The Christmas Glass, go HERE

MY REVIEW:  The Christmas Glass, a Novel is a splendid book for adults. I have recently reviewed two Christmas books that are for the family and that children will enjoy. This book is a novel that will not only hold the attention of adults but it is one they will thoroughly enjoy. I started reading it one afternoon and read until my wife called me to dinner. Immediately after dinner I went back to the book and finished reading it that evening.

Marci Alborghetti is an excellent writer. I have read many books this year and this is one of the best written books I have held in my hand. She writes about many people in many places and the names of these people are hard to remember. A page in the front of the book called, The People of The Christmas Glass is very helpful in keeping these people straight.

This book is filled with faith, passion and tenderness. If you read it you will discover how today, as always, the Christmas miracle works its wonders in the human heart.


Monday, November 30, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: THE TREASURE PRINCIPLE--Unlocking The Secret Of Joyful Giving
By Randy Alcorn

OVERVIEW: In Randy Alcorn's The Treasure Principle, you'll unearth a radical teaching of Jesus--a secret wrapped up in giving. Once you discover this secret, life will never look the same. And you won't want it to!

John Piper, senior pastor, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis said of this book, "supercharged with stunning, divine truth! Lightning struck over and over as I read it." Howard Dayton, CEO, Crown Financial Ministries said, "The Treasure Principle will change your life! This book is destined to become a classic." And Hugh Maclellan, president, The Maclellan Foundation remarked, "The Scripture passages and illustrations really ring true. Just what I needed!"

AUTHOR: Randy Alborn is a bestselling author and is founder and director of Eternal Pespective Ministries. He has written several novels and he wrote the stewardship classic, Money, Possessions, and Eternity. He also wrote the definitive book on the afterlife, Heaven.

MY REVIEW: Money seems to be the number one thing on people's minds right now. It's not about spending money--because many people do not have any to spend. The only people spending money right now are those in charge of our government.

I wanted to review this book at this time because I'm hoping pastors will order a copy for every family unit in their congregations and begin the new year with everybody studying this important topic. I predict that if they do, it will change and bless their church and the cause of Christ in general. It is impossible to seriously study this book and not be changed.

My wife and I were applying these principles to our lives before we read Randy's marvelous book. Our lives have been blessed beyond belief. Randy's book would have reinforced this principle and strengthened our faith. We didn't have these materials--but you do. Please don't miss this opportunity for spiritual growth and blessing. I wish that every Christian could read the chapter: 31 Radical, Liberating Questions To Ask God About Giving. It is powerful!

Eternal Perspective Ministries is offering this book and a packet of materials to pastors free of charge. I urge you to get this material and begin a study with your congregation. Individuals may purchase the book at retail for $9.99 or it is available from Eternal Perspective Ministries for $7.99. My only interest is to see you and your family blessed by God when you follow His directions. I know you will be!


Saturday, November 28, 2009

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV

Things may not be perfect in your life, but if you hope to get to where you want to go, you must be happy right where you are. Many people assume that they are not going to be happy until their circumstances change--until their spouse changes, or until they get a bigger house, or until they get rid of all their problems.

Don't make that mistake. Enjoy your life right where you are. Maybe you have some major obstacles in your path, but being discouraged is not going to make anything better. You need to realize that God is in control of your life. He's directing your steps, and He has you exactly where He wants you.

(From Joel Osteen's book, Your Best Life Begins Each Morning)


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I have always loved this time of the year. Thanksgiving Day has always been a special time. This year it has been made extra special because of our visit to Plymouth, MA. Even though our visit there was in early November, when we arrived at the Museum Shop at Plimoth Plantation (They spell it with an i) we were surrounded by "Thanksgiving". The gift shop was filled with beautiful things connecting back to the the English colonists known as "Pilgrims."

We saw the ship Mayflower ll docked on Plymouth's scenic waterfront and we also saw Plymouth rock where they landed. When you are there your mind goes back in time and you see the beginnings of New England with new eyes. I wish you could have been there with us.

I am grateful everyday for all the blessings of God. I know you are too. I pray that this Thanksgiving Day will be a blessed day for you in every way.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

 I love hot dogs. Always have. I especially love chili dogs.

Charlotte can tolerate them if there just isn't anything else to eat. She doesn't really like them.

However sometimes--and this has only been in the last few months, she will eat, not a whole one, but a piece of a Frick's Frank when I have the package out.

We were checking out at Sprouts.

The checker picked up the Frick's Franks--Hickory Smoked, Fully Cooked, Gourmet Franks that is.

She asked Charlotte, "Are these good?"

Charlotte said, "They are delicious!"

I went into shock.

I thought to myself, "Who IS this woman?"


Monday, November 23, 2009

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Loss Of Carrier

BookSurge Publishing (October 27, 2009)


Russ White


Bright yellow cables against a blue shirt? Carl never would have approved of that color combination. Why was his face so white? His eyes should be closed, not open. Why hadn’t one of the security guards seen this and reported it to the police? The lights were off, the cameras were useless in the dark.

Of course, the cables wrapped around Carl’s neck explained why the server wasn’t working. Loss of carrier.

Jess Wirth lives a dreary life. He spends most of his time crammed inside a cubicle, toiling as a network engineer and stewing over the details of his ugly divorce. But when he finds his co-worker dead in the basement of their office, Jess’s life takes a surprising—and unpleasant—turn.

The police quickly declare the death a suicide, but Jess isn’t so sure. Not long after he begins digging into the victim’s work, another co-worker turns up dead, convincing him once and for all that something sinister is brewing behind the cubicle walls.

His investigation leads him to a mysterious woman name Leah, who pushes him to entrust her with the information he’s collected about his dead colleagues. Wary of Leah’s motives yet inexorably drawn to her, Jess keeps her at arm’s length...until an attempt is made on both their lives. Realizing they are close on the trail of a dangerous criminal, the pair race to expose a data theft ring before they become the killer’s next victims.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Loss Of Carrier, go HERE

MY REVIEW: My computer was "acting up" when Christian Fiction Blog Alliance published their list of books for review in November. I was not able to see the list and therefore could not choose any for review. Bonnie Calhoun at CFBA was kind enough to select Loss of Carrier for me. And I am glad she did.

Knowing this was Russ White's debut novel I approached it not knowing what to expect. I am happy to report that the book is filled with action and suspense and makes you want to keep reading. I was upstairs reading one evening when my wife called me to dinner. I hated to put the book down and I love to eat.
I did enjoy eating dinner more than reading the book but I still recommend this as a good read for those who love suspense filled novels.

The many Christians who read my reviews will be pleased to know that White portrays Christians in a positive, realistic way as they live in a real world. There is a clear positive message about waiting for sex until after marriage. I appreciated this portrayal of Christians and I know you will too.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

(In his book, Seasons of Life, Charles Swindoll says, "I've got a love affair going with Thanksgiving. Hands down, it's my favorite holiday of all." And then he states four reasons for feeling this way. Today I want to quote part of his third reason.)

Third, it drips with national nostalgia. ...I recall as a little barefoot boy with a cowlick of snow-white hair on my forehead, standing erect in my classroom and repeating the "Pledge of Allegiance" one Thanksgiving season. Our nation was at war and times were hard. My teacher had lost her husband on the bloodwashed shores of Normandy. As we later bowed our heads for prayer she wept aloud. I did too. All the class joined in. She stumbled through one of the most moving expressions of gratitude and praise that ever emerged from a soul plunged in pain. At that time in my young life, I fell strangely in love with Thanksgiving. ...I swore before God that I would fight to the end to keep this land free from foes who would want to take away America's distinctives and the joys of living in this good land. I have never forgotten my childhood promise. I never shall.

(Charles Swindoll does not mention it here but I want you to know he grew up to be a marine. He was a marine before he was a minister.)



Friday, November 20, 2009

THE BIRDS ARE BACK: Yes, the birds are back--Snow Birds that is. The swallows return to Capistrano every year and the Snow Birds return to Arizona but the numbers have been down the last two years. This year, however, they have come back in large numbers. Yesterday Charlotte and I saw a couple from Minnesota driving along in a convertible with the top down. I told her that they would send all their relatives and friends back home a card with the following message: "Having great time in Scottsdale. We have been driving around with the top down and getting a tan."

THANKSGIVING: "With the number of turkeys I'm having to handle, by Thanksgiving I won't even want to look at a turkey." The older lady bagging our grocery's at Fry's Market had seen all the turkeys she wanted to see. She was understandably tired! I suspect that come Thanksgiving Day she along with most of us will be happy to see the turkey and thankful for it, all the food that goes with it and all of our blessings.

HOW DO THEY DO IT?: "Up, Up and Away"! Yesterday there was a computer problem someplace and flights all over were fouled up. Needless to say people were unhappy. I used to travel much more than I do now and the worst experience I can remember was trying to get out of Paris on a flight back home. Flights were backed up. Changes had to be made. It was a mad house and they either couldn't understand English or needed to pretend they didn't. We did finally get home--of course. Being in the safety and security of home I can think sanely (Kinda). I am sincerely grateful for airplanes, those who fly them and all that goes into making this kind of travel possible. I AM TRULY AMAZED AND THANKFUL FOR THOSE WHO DO ALL THESE WONDERFUL THINGS FOR ME THAT I CAN'T DO FOR MYSELF!

BRING ON THE TURKEY AND DRESSING: When the turkey and everything that goes with it is placed on the table, I go for the dressing. It hasn't always been this way. When I was a kid I couldn't stand it. But now that I am older--much older and a little wiser, I love dressing!

TRULY THANKFUL: I'm praying this morning that you are as blessed as I am. Wow! With all the craziness that goes on all around us, isn't it amazing that God somehow lifts us above it all and leads us on? I start off every morning reading the newspaper and then with a cup of coffee in my hand I sit down to watch the morning news. It is mostly bad, bad, bad. I sit there and complain, complain, complain. I hope I complain because I care and not because I am ungrateful. I want to be a grateful person. Not just this time of the year--but always!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

REGRET-FREE LIVING: Hope For Past Mistakes and FREEDOM From Unhealthy Patterns
By Stephen Arterburn

OVERVIEW: REGRET-FREE LIVING takes the focus from what was and what might have been and shines a bright light onto the path of what is and what is to be. Christian counselor Stephen Arterburn speaks honestly and forthrightly about what it takes to build strong, healthy relationships. Drawing on his own positive and negative experiences, he offers specific steps to rid yourself of relationship regrets, open your heart to healing, and move forward in love.

Arterburn's practical counsel shows you how to recognize the signs and qualities of both happy and unhappy relationships, admit guilt and accept responsibility, find and give forgiveness, set boundaries, love and give out of fullness, and much more.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephen Arterburn is the founder and chairman of New Life Ministries--the nation's largest faith-based broadcast, counseling, and treatment ministry--and is the host of the nationally syndicated New Life Live! daily radio program heard on over 200 stations in the United States, on two satellite stations, and around the world online. A nationally known speaker, he has been featured on CNN Live, and in the New York Times, US News & World Report, and Rolling Stone, and many other media outlets. Steve is the founder of the Women of Faith conferences and is a bestselling author of more than 80 books, including the multimillion-selling Every Man's Battle series; Being Christian; Toxic Faith; More Jesus, Less Religion; and The Life Recovery Bible.

MY REVIEW: After forty-seven years as a pastor which included many hours of counseling, I recognize the need, almost desperate need, for help to overcome regret and debilitating guilt. Stephen Arterburn has blessed us all by writing this practical and extremely helpful book. With grace and transparency, he shares some of his biggest regrets and how he has learned both to live beyond them and to allow God to use them.

In my opinion, the most powerful and helpful thing in the book is found in the introduction. He relates there, as he has in other books, how he talked a girlfriend whom he got pregnant into ending the life of their unborn child. After reading about this terrible mistake and sin and what he did about it made me eager to read the book.

I wish this book had been available back when I was a young minister just beginning my ministry. There is something in this book for all of us. The chapter that will be most helpful to you will depend on where you are in life and where you have been. I will mention just one chapter that stood out to me: Chapter 12, Restoring Warmth and Trust. The chapter begins: "A very good friend of mine whom I'll call Bill had the worst possible relationship with his father. They didn't argue and curse at each other. They didn't rail and harangue. They didn't argue vociferously and then retreat, hurt and insulted, back into their corners before beginning yet another round of active hostilities. They didn't stab each other in the back. They didn't spread gossip to other family members. Their relationship was worse than any of that. ...Bill and his father didn't communicate at all."

Arterburn  relates how a hole remained in their relationship for twenty-five years. Bill married, had three children but still never talked to his father. And then I love this part of the story: "Then one day, with the help and guidance of dear friends who prayed for and with Bill until--praise the Lord!--the Holy spirit was awakened within him, Bill came to Jesus. He was about thirty-eight when he finally fell into the arms of his heavenly Father, who from Bill's birth had never for a moment stopped trying to communicate with him."

I highly recommend this book. Most of us need it. If you don't you probably know somebody who does.

Regret-Free Living can be purchased from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

I am giving away two copies of this excellent book. If you are interested, read the information below and leave a comment.


The generous folks at Bethany House are allowing me to host this book giveaway for two (2) copies!
  • Winners are restricted to the US and Canada. No PO Box mailing address please.
  • You do not have to be a blogger to win. You can win more than once on my blog.
  • I MUST have a way of contacting you, so be sure to leave your email address in your comment.
  • Some choose to omit the @ sign and the . dot by writing it in "code" like this: you (at) your email (dot)com.
  • I'll close the comments December 3 and pick the two winners. I will contact the winners via email to get their mailing information. The winners will have three days to respond. If I do not hear from them within three days, I will select another winner(s).