Friday, May 28, 2010

Today we lay aside our work...To honor those who fell...Who heard the call to duty and ...Who served our country well...They are the heroes great and true...Who sleep beneath the sod...And who have earned their heritage...Of happiness with God...We owe eternal gratitude...To each and every son...Whose bravery made possible...The victory we won...They gave up all they had to give...That we might live in peace...And so that liberty might have...An everlasting lease...They are the men who did their best...Against the odds they met...And whose supreme unselfishness...We never will forget.
                                                                                           --James J. Metcalfe

Mr. Metcalfe uses only the masculine tense here but I'm sure if he was writing this today, he would include women as well. We are grateful for all those who have served our country well. And when we think of those who have loved us and died for us we remember Jesus. This weekend, especially on the Lord's Day, we remember that He died for our sins--and we are grateful.

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."  John 15:13


Thursday, May 27, 2010

SPENT -Memoirs of a Shopping Addict
By Avis Cardella

OVERVIEW: What happens when someone is consumed by the desire to consume? In this candid and visceral memoir, Avis Cardella details the shopping addiction that took over her life--and writes about her road to recovery. From an early age, Avis Cardella was entranced by the transformative powers of clothing, and shopping. Her role model was her dazzling mother, who always seemed dressed for a party. As a teenager, Cardella obsessed over fashion magazines. She memorized the names of models and the styles of fashion photographers. The images held the allure and promise of a glamorous life. Later Cardella would become a model herself and then a fashion  journalist. But what was once glamorous changed in tenor after her mother's unexpected death left her shopping away countless afternoons in order to avoid her grief. Set to the beat of New York City in the 1990's, Cardella's shopping odyssey took her from fabulous luxury boutiques to sample sales. Her wardrobe was brimming with designer fashions: Prada, Armani, and Jil Sander. But as the millennium drew to a close, so did her grand lifestyle. As her credit card debt grew like the pile of unworn clothing in the back of her closet, she had to confront the real reason behind her compulsion to buy, and the truth about this thoroughly modern addiction.

AUTHOR: After spending her formative years reading fashion magazines voraciously, Avis Cardella found her calling writing about photography, fashion, and culture. She has written for British Vogue, American Photo, and Surface, among other publications. She lives in Paris with her husband.

MY REVIEW: The addiction to shopping is a need that must be addressed in today's society. Many women I know, my wife included, like to shop. But this book is not just about shopping--it is about addiction to shopping! I read and review many books each year. Most of them are well written. But Cardella's book surpasses almost all of them. I agree with the publisher, this book is "written in gorgeous, jewel-like prose." This woman is a writer! If you enjoy good writing you will enjoy this book even if you are not interested in the subject. My reading of this book was interrupted by many things and I had to put it down. But I came running back as soon as possible. "Spent is an incisive exploration of our cultural need to spend and a timely, deeply personal and shockingly dramatic story of addiction and recovery."

(I received my copy of this book from the generous people at Hachette Book Group in return for an honest review)


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Allergies and warm weather have driven me inside.

I prefer to walk outside but when common sense kicks in I move indoors.

I now walk at Paradise Valley Mall.

The mall is only about three minutes from our home. It's air conditioned. It's a lovely place.

I prefer to walk outside where the young people walk, jog, and run. It makes me feel youthful.

But since I know I am not young anymore, I go where the old folks go--the mall.

Charlotte goes with me. She doesn't walk--at least not around the mall. She walks up and down the aisles in Macy's or Dillards.

So walking in the mall may be helping to save my life, but it's not saving me any money.

If you see me in the mall, wave and say, "Hi." I won't be able to stop and talk. I have to keep moving.
Walking in the mall cost me money. It's no walk in the park.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I'm not a student at the high school just a few blocks from our home.

But I get a lot of information from there almost every day.

It comes out of the mouths of the students passing by me as I walk to and from my mailbox.

Their vocabulary and mine are vastly different. I think I may have a bigger vocabulary than they do. At least I don't use the same words over and over and over again. And most importantly, my words are "cleaner" than theirs and not nearly as crude and rude.

I'm finding the same thing from some of my young people on face book.

I would give you a sampling of some recent fb postings but they are too crude for me to print.

Peggy Noonan wrote,"young people will say anything on networking sites because they're young, because no one has taught them not to, because they're being raised in a culture that has grown more exhibitionistic."

I guess my main complaint with this is that it is ignorant,rude, crude and so unnecessary.

I started to write that my young fb friends wouldn't look their mothers right in the eyes and say these things but then I thought again--yes, I believe they would. And that makes me sad.

(I do know young people who love life, talk constantly, and are a joy to be around. I respect them and hold them in highest regard. It's a joy to call them "friends.")



Monday, May 24, 2010

I have loved every state I have lived in and many that I have visited.

There is no perfect state. And when I see something that is wrong I stand against it.

There are things about Arizona that need to be changed or improved.

But the new law against illegal immigration is not one of them.


Our President said that a dark skinned person in our state could be taking his/her child/children out to get ice cream and the police could stop them and harass them. Well yes, that could happen in any state if there are mean, no-good for anything, police around. But our law strictly forbids this. It would be illegal to do it.

What the President was saying in effect is that the very people who are suppose to enforce all laws, keep us safe and protect us from this kind of thing, are the very ones that are going to harass everybody but white people.

This makes me furious. You have heard the expression, "This is enough to make a preacher cuss." Well, I'm not cussing but I'm mad. If I was big enough and the police would let me get away with it, I would kick his skinny,little butt all the way back to Chicago.

I love Arizona! And I'm going to stand up with 70% of the other people who live here and say, "It's what is illegal that we are not going to tolerate any longer. We can't just stand by and let our great state be destroyed.

I'll stand up for your state too as you stand up for what is right.

I love the United States of America! 


Saturday, May 22, 2010

The following poem is from Charles Allen's book, All Things Are Possible Through Prayer. He doesn't give a name for the author of the poem.

Worry? Why worry? What can worry do?
It never keeps a trouble from overtaking you.
It gives you indigestion and sleepless hours at night
And fills with gloom the days, however fair and bright.

It puts a frown upon the face, and sharpness to the tone
We're unfit to live with others and unfit to live alone
Worry? Why worry? What can worry do?
It never keeps a trouble from overtaking you.

Pray? Why pray? What can praying do?
Praying really changes things, arranges life anew.
It's good for your digestion, gives peaceful sleep at night
And fills the grayest, gloomiest day--with rays of glowing light.

It puts a smile upon your face, the love note in your tone
Makes you fit to live with others, and fit to live alone.
Pray? Why pray? What can praying do?
 It brings God down from heaven, to live and work with you.


Friday, May 21, 2010

What little respect I had for Democrats in Congress went down the drain yesterday.

When Mexico's President criticized Arizona's immigration law the Democrats in Congress gave him a standing ovation.

Seventy per cent of the people in Arizona and the same number of people nation wide agree with this new law.

The Democrats do not care what the people of this nation want.

I am fed up with this CRAP! There. I said it.

I'm just one person but I'm going to do everything in my power to see that this bunch of clowns are turned out of office and sent home.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

THE LUMBY LINES - A Novel by Gail Fraiser

OVERVIEW: Nestled in the Northwest is a quaint little town that its quirky residents are proud to call home. With Charming shops lining its one main thoroughfare, Lumby has the oldest apple tree in the county and the smallest bank in the state. And though it's hours from the nearest big city, you'll always find Lumby close to your heart. The Lumby Lines is the first in a series of books about this little town. The Lumby Lines is the name of the newspaper--"worth the paper it's printed on." Nearly destroyed by fire, Montis Abbey remains a ruin on the outskirts of Lumby. Once home to a resourceful order of monks, it stands abandoned, surrounded by its overgrown orchards. Then Mark and Pam Walker, a vacationing couple form the East Coast, stumble upon it--and upon the answer to their prayers. Leaving behind their hectic lives to restore the monastery and turn it into an inn is a dream come true.

AUTHOR: Prior to changing her life and becoming a novelist, Gail Fraser had a successful career in corporate America holding senior executive positions in several Fortune 500 corporations. Years ago, she gave it all up to move to the rural landscape of upstate New York, where she could work on her pottery, gardening, cooking and beekeeping. She is married to rural folk artist Art Poulin, who also does the cover interior illustrations for the Lumby series. Now, in a case of life imitating art, Gail and Art are creating their own "Lumby" called Lazy Goose. They purchased 40 acres of land, demarcated by a 200 year old stone wall, with a view of the Adirondacks and the Catskills. Like Montis Abbey, the property is a work in progress.

MY REVIEW: Gail Fraser's first book in this splendid series is a pleasant, fun and delightful read. You put it down wanting to immediately pick up the second book and continue on with what is happening in this cozy little town called Lumby.

Without hesitation I recommend this first book and the entire series to all who read and love Jan Karon's books. When I picked up Gail Fraser's first book I immediately thought of Jan Karon and her Midford series. Fraser's books are easy to read and they leave you feeling good. They take you away from the stress of reality. You will find yourself falling in love with the characters and feeling that you know them. From beginning to end the book is filled with compassion and love. You will find yourself wanting to visit this little town--maybe even wanting to live there.

Tomorrow I am going to post an overview of the next three books in the series and then later I will post about the latest book, Lumby On The Air, which I haven't received yet.


Monday, May 17, 2010

THE ART OF CHOOSING by Sheena Iyengar
9 CDs - Unabridged - Read by Orlagh Cassidy

OVERVIEW: How do we make our choices? Choice is a powerful tool to define ourselves and mold our lives--but what do we know about the wants, motivations, biases, and influences that aid or hinder our endeavors? In the Art of Choosing, Columbia University professor Sheena Iyengar, a leading expert on choice, sets herself the Herculean task of helping us become better choosers. She asks fascinating questions. Is the desire for choice innate or created by culture? Why do we sometimes choose against our best interests? How much control do we really have over what we choose? Ultimately, she offers unexpected and profound answers, drawn from her award-winning research. Here you'll learn about the complex relationship between choice and freedom, and why one doesn't always go with the other. You'll see that too much choice can overwhelm us, leading to unpleasant experiences. Perhaps most important, you'll discover how our choices--both mundane and momentous--are shaped by many different forces, visible and invisible.

AUTHOR: Sheena Iyengar is the S.T. Lee Professor of Business at Columbia University and a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award. Her work is regularly cited in periodicals such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, Fortune and Time, and in books such as Blink and The Paradox of Choice. 

MY REVIEW: Life is full of choices. How do we make them? Wow! I can honestly say, that until I listened to what Sheena Iyengar had to say on this subject, that I had never honestly considered how we make choices. At least I had never thought about this subject in depth. This has really been a challenging study for me. And that is what it is--an in-depth study.

This is the first time in my reviewing of books that I have written a review before finishing the book. I am about half way through. And it is taking me so long that I don't want to wait any longer to get this offer out to those of you who read my blog. I have three copies of this audio-book that I can give away. I want to give them to three people who are honestly interested in this subject and will listen to the CDs. This is not a book for everybody but it is a wonderful book for those interested in the art of choosing.

I agreed with almost everything I heard. I honestly do not know enough about this subject to disagree with much. Most of the time I sit with my tongue hanging out and my eyes wide open. I have learned a lot! And I am still learning. I was especially interested in what she had to say about those who choose socialism over capitalism.

(This book was given to me by Hachette Book Group in return for an honest review)


The generous folks at Hachette Book Group are allowing me to host this book giveaway for three (3) 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.
  • 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 June 7 and pick the three 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, May 15, 2010

Admit it, there have been times when you have wondered if God hears your prayers.

We want to understand how things work--and when we don't, we find it hard to believe.

If radio's slim fingers can pluck a melody
From night--and toss it over a continent or sea;
If the petaled white notes of a violin
Are blown across the mountains or the city's din;
If songs, like crimson roses, are culled from thin blue air---
Why should mortals wonder if God hears prayer?
                                                  --Ethel Romig Fuller

I have been young and now I am old and God has been faithful to answer my prayers.

I don't understand prayer anymore now than when I was young.

I don't understand prayer but I BELIEVE in prayer! I BELIEVE IN GOD!



Thursday, May 13, 2010

The world's first global Musical Instrument Museum opened its doors April 24 just about three minutes from our front door. Guests are treated to the sounds of more than 12,000 instruments in an unparalleled setting. You encounter an innovative experience with a global vision, including a special artist gallery that includes the rare and remarkable--like the Steinway piano John Lennon composed "Imagine" on.

This new museum will become a landmark for Phoenix. Bob Ulrich, MIM founder and board chairman said, "Our team has made enormous strides toward creating a museum like no other, where guests will see and hear how people everywhere share their experiences through music."

Grand in scale and scope, the $250 million project located just south of Desert Ridge is already a significant presence in Phoenix. More than a museum, visitors will find a performance hall, recording studio, garden courtyard, restaurant, cafe', classrooms and store.

The museum has advanced technology and high-resolution video screens, enabling guests to see instruments, their sounds and see them being played in their original settings--in performances that are often as spectacular as the instruments themselves.

In addition to Lennon, guests will enjoy video of concert footage, photographs and costumes from artists like Paul Simon, George Benson and Black Eyed Peas drummer Keith Harris--to name a few.

MIM President and Director Bill DeWalt said, "Our curatorial team has literally searched the world to collect diverse instruments that will spark the imagination of our guests, demonstrating the breadth of our musical heritage."
Me in front of John Lennon's piano.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

RADICAL --Taking Back Your Faith From The American Dream
By David Platt

OVERVIEW: In Radical, David Platt challenges you to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated the gospel to fit our cultural preferences. He shows what Jesus actually said about being his disciple--then invites you to believe and obey what you have heard. And he tells the dramatic story of what is happening as a "successful" suburban church decides to get serious about the gospel according to Jesus.

AUTHOR: David Platt is the pastor of The Church at Brook Hills, a four-thousand-member congregation in Birmingham, Alabama. Widely regarded as an exceptional expositor, David has traveled and taught around the world. he holds two undergraduate and three advanced degrees, including a doctorate from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

MY REVIEW: This book, Radical--Taking Back Your Faith From The American Dream and the companion booklet, The Radical Question, make me uncomfortable. And like most Americans, I do like to be comfortable. So if you are anything like me, you may not enjoy reading these books. However, let me quickly add: I am thankful that I had the opportunity to read these challenging books and I know that my faith is stronger and that I have been changed for the better.

I believe every Christian needs to read Radical. We need to be challenged the way David Platt challenges us to have a passion for the Great Commission. I agree with Jerry Rankin who said, "This book has the potential to revitalize churches today to practice a radical, biblical lifestyle that can transform society and reach a lost world." And with Wess Stafford who wrote, "David Platt challenges Christians to wake up, trade in false values rooted in the American dream, and embrace the notion that each of us is blessed by God for a global purpose...This is a must read for every believer!"

This book was given to me by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing group in exchange for an honest review. You may contact them and purchase a copy at this direct link: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

ROARING LIONS, CRACKING ROCKS, and Other Gems from Proverbs
By Warren Baldwin

OVERVIEW: For over two thousand years the book of Proverbs has provided wise counsel and spiritual direction for God's people. The short, rapid style and the piercing truths of Proverbs penetrate the readers' hearts, challenging them to align their lives with the wisdom they proclaim. Roaring Lions, Cracking Rocks, and Other Gems from Proverbs brings the ancient proverbs into contemporary focus by applying their truths to modern situations. Marriage, parenting, friendship, work, money and other topics are brought under the scrutiny of this ancient wisdom. Each chapter in Roaring Lions is a short essay on a specific proverb that makes God's word to you come alive with relevance.

AUTHOR: Warren Baldwin lives in Ulysses, KS with his wife and their three children. Warren attended Freed-Hardeman University, Harding Graduate School, and Abilene Christian University. He has ministered with churches in Florida, Wyoming and Kansas.

MY REVIEW: Warren Baldwin is a fellow minister that I met through blogging. I discovered that he posts on three different blog sites and that everything he writes is interesting, timely and beneficial for spiritual growth. When I heard that he had written a book, I knew that it would be good. I didn't know that it would be as good as it is.

Many books have been written about the book of Proverbs by some of the world's best scholars. I have several of these in my collection of books. And of course, some have been written by men and women who are not scholars but Christians who love the word of God and have been blessed with insight into its message. What Warren Baldwin adds to this collection of books and writers is his ability to take these proverbs and illustrate how they relate to today and to each of us. This book is filled with illustrations and stories that make it seem like each proverb was written just for you. This book is filled with wisdom--wisdom from God. This would make an excellent graduation gift. But it also a book that will bless all of us regardless of age.


Monday, May 10, 2010

By Max Lucado

A round sticker on the front of this splendid little book reads: Perfect Gift For The Graduate. I agree. No need to run all over town looking for the perfect gift. This is it.

Max Lucado, Minister of Preaching for the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas is the author of many books. I read his first one many years ago and fell in love with his writing. This one, like all the others he has written, will help make you a better person.

Like the preacher that he is, Max selects a text for this book like he does for his sermons. The text is Jeremiah 29:10-11 MSG "...I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out--plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for." 

Here is a sample of the topics he covers: Find Your Sweet Spot, Find Your Uniqueness, Magnify Your Maker, Your Work Matters, Unpack Your Bag, Don't Join the Dullsville Crowd, Put a Smile on God's face, You Need You to Be You, Take Risks for God. He covers many other topics but this gives you an idea of what this splendid book is about.

I like the quote on the back cover: "Da Vinci painted one Mona Lisa. Beethoven composed one Fifth Symphony. And God made one version of you. He custom designed you for one-of-a kind assignment. You cannot be anything you want to be. But you can be everything God wants you to be."

(This book was given to me by Thomas Nelson Publishing in exchange for an honest review.)


Saturday, May 08, 2010

My mother passed away when I was eleven years old. I am now seventy-five. I remember mama!

I want to encourage all young people to make a life of memories with their loved ones. You will miss so much if you do not.

When I hear the words of the song, "The Way We Were" I get all misty eyed.

"Memories...light the corners of my mind..." Those misty, water-color memories flood my mind of days gone by.

Don't just try to pile up memories one day out of the year--do it every day. Family is important!

                                                   A WONDERFUL MOTHER

                                       God made a wonderful mother,
                                       A mother who never grows old;
                                       He made her smile of the sunshine,
                                       And He molded her heart of pure gold;
                                       In her eyes he placed bright shining stars,
                                       In her cheeks, fair roses you see;
                                       God made a wonderful mother,
                                       And He gave that dear mother to me.
                                                                         Pat O'Reilly


Thursday, May 06, 2010

APPARENT DANGER--The Pastor of America's First Megachurch And The Texas Murder Trial Of The Decade in the 1920'S
By David Stokes

OVERVIEW: The Reverend Doctor J. Frank Norris was many things: a pastor who led the nation's first megachurch, a provocative publisher, and a pioneer broadcaster. At his apex during the Roaring Twenties, Norris preached for a congregation of 10,000 at First Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. With the flair of a great showman, he railed against vice and injustice. Rev. Norris was also a killer. In 1926 he shot an unarmed critic to death. The killing and subsequent trial became a national media sensation. Author, David Stokes skillfully explores the events leading up to one of the most intriguing--yet least known--true crime dramas in America's legal history.

AUTHOR: David Stokes is a minister, broadcaster, and columnist. he has served as Senior Pastor of Fair Oaks Church in Fairfax, Virginia, since August of 1998. Prior to this, he led congregations in New York, Illinois, Ohio, and Texas during his 33-year ministry. Along with his early ministry education in theology and divinity, he holds degrees in history and political science.

MY REVIEW: My book shelves are over stocked with books about preachers and preaching. Being a minister for forty-seven years I have a great interest in knowing all about preachers and the lives they live. J. Frank Norris was possibly one of the most colorful and influential ministers in American history. He was high-strung, temperamental, creative and cunning. I was immediately caught up in this exciting story about a man who preached to thousands about right and wrong, murdered an unarmed man, went through a fascinating trial and was declared innocent. This is a fascinating book about a fascinating man. I have never believed any man should be called Reverend and I certainly do not think J. Frank Norris was Reverend. But he was fascinating!

I recommend this book. It is a well-written, entertaining and informative true crime tale.

(I received this book compliments of Kathy Carlton Willis Communications)


Wednesday, May 05, 2010

It was written a long time ago but it describes our world today.

Woe to those who call evil good
  and good evil,
who put darkness for light
  and light for darkness,
who put put bitter for sweet
  and sweet for bitter.
                              Isaiah 5:20


Tuesday, May 04, 2010


Why do people all across the United States expect the police in Arizona to break the law instead of enforcing it?

The law clearly states that there is not to be any racial profiling.

The law is clear that people are to be asked to prove they are citizens only if they have been stopped for violating a law.

And yet people are "screaming" that our police will be stopping people and demanding to see their papers just because they have dark skin. Many of these "screaming" people do not even live in Arizona.

This kind of thinking "blows my mind." Especially when it comes from our own Mayor of Phoenix. How stupid can you get?

We are not concerned about those who break the law by coming into our country illegally, many whom commit all kinds of other crimes, but we are worried that those who are suppose to enforce the law will break it.

We trust these men and women to enforce all of our other laws in a proper and legal manner. Why do we just assume they will  screw up on this one?


Today the Mayor of New York City is honoring the police of that good city.

Why is the Mayor of Phoenix questioning the integrity of our good police officers?



Monday, May 03, 2010

It's a beautiful morning in Scottsdale.

I drove along with the sun roof open, enjoying the warm sunshine and the fresh air. I drove up the familiar streets leading to the pool supply/repair store. I have been there many times.

Much to my surprise, it is no longer there.

The big red letters on the front of the building read: MASSAGE.

I would absolutely love to have a massage and it was tempting.I am seventy-five and I have never had a massage. Oh yes, Charlotte has reluctantly  rubbed my back a few times but she hates to do it. I'm talkin' professional MASSAGE here in capitol letters.

But I needed to get my pool vac. repaired so I drove over to another pool store. I have also been to this one many times. It is still there

When I parked in front of the pool store I glanced at the building next door. The big red letters on the front of the building read: MASSAGE.

What's up with that? Does everybody needing something for their pool also need a massage? Or does everybody needing a massage also have a pool?

My repair bill came to $168.37. My back suddenly started to ache.

After I put the pool vac. back in the pool I picked up the chlorine tab holder to add more tabs and the top of it crumbled in my hands. So I'm headin' back to the pool store. Now my back is really hurting.

Yes, I am thinking about getting that MASSAGE but now I can't afford it!


Saturday, May 01, 2010

When World War ll ended, an inscription was discovered on the wall of a cellar in Cologne, Germany, where Jews had hidden from the Nazis. The inscription read:

I believe in the sun even when it is not shining.

I believe in love even when feeling it not.

I believe in God even when He is silent.

No matter how dark the night, how dense the clouds, or how total the eclipse, the sun is still at the center of our solar system, shining. So is God. Even though we can't see evidence of him through a miraculous sign or hear guidance from him through a prophetic voice, he is still there, in the center of all things. And he is still shining!

(These words were taken from Ken Gire's excellent book, The North Face of God)