Thursday, March 29, 2012

It doesn't rank up there with a trip to Disneyland or Universal Studios but if you are going to be in the L.A. area anyhow―you might enjoy a trip to Philippe's. They are famous for their French dipped sandwiches. When you look at the picture below you're going to say, "It's not a very impressive place, is it?" And you'll be right. It isn't. But it's a fun place. It's fun to be there. It's fun to eat there.

But back to the food. The food is good―but not great. I had my first French dipped sandwich at a little walk up, one man operated food stand on a street corner in El Monte, California. It was delicious! As I said, Philippe's is good but not great. They have all kinds of dipped sandwiches, chili, potato salad, slaw, boysenberry pie, banana cream pie and much, much more.

The atmosphere is the part that's fun. There is nothing fancy about the place in both food and furniture. It's a huge place. There's sawdust on the floor and it's always crowded. So what's it all about (Alfie)?
It's more a state of mind than anything else!

Going to L.A. anyhow? Drop by Philippe's. You'll be glad you did. It's on Alameda in the China Town district, close to Union Station.

But even if you do not want to eat there--go for the atmosphere. The place is history!


Monday, March 26, 2012

It is hard—and becoming harder to be known as a Christian.

In his new book UNASHAMED TO BEAR HIS NAME R. T. Kendall writes about embracing the stigma of being a Christian.

He says that instead of feeling embarrassment and rejection, Christians should turn those feelings into sources of unimaginable blessing. He offers the encouragement and guidance we need to embrace our faith fully—and the stigma that comes with it.

He believes that when we do this the Lord will unleash incalculable blessing into our lives.

Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, said, "Dr. R.T. Kendall's insightful teaching and writings have had a significant impact on my own thinking. I respect Dr. Kendall greatly and am honored to call him my friend."

Colin Dye, senior minister at Kensington Temple in London, England wrote, "Sobering words you will thank God for."

Dr. R.T. Kendall is a graduate of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Oxford University (D.Phil.). He is a protege of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. He was the senior minister of the historic Westminster chapel in London for 25 years. He is the author of numerous bestselling books and conducts conferences all over the world.

I have read several of Dr. Kendall's books and they have all been good. This may be his most important book. If Dr. Kendall is like most of us—and I think he is, he wants to be liked. It must have been difficult for him to write this book knowing that many will not like it. I like it. In fact, I like it a lot! But there are a few things  I do not agree with and others that I am still struggling with understanding. But the thing I appreciate is that Dr. Kendall wrote from his heart and his understanding of the truth knowing all the time that some of his dearest friends would not agree with him. However, he continued to write because he believes this is what God wants him to do.

He wrote: "I write this book basically for one reason: that you will be unashamed to accept the scandal that arises from following Jesus Christ. More than that, you should become willing to embrace that scandal, to take it with both hands and rejoice in the privilege that you are a part of the greatest enterprise on the planet—namely, to be associated with the name of Jesus Christ."

Think about this quote from James Runcie, son of the former Archbishop of Canterbury, "One of my friends said that about the most socially embarrassing thing you can be in contemporary Britain is a born-again Christian." It seems to me this may also be true in America.

Get the book. Get some extra copies for your friends. Don't be ashamed of Christ!

"I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me."
John 14:6 

(I received this book free from Chosen—A division of Baker Publishing Group. No other compensation was received and I gave no guarantee for a favorable review.)


Saturday, March 24, 2012

The sky was blue. The sun was bright. The grass was green.

There was the sound of laughter in the air.

It was show time at Rancho Solano school.

What a joy to see families having fun. Mother, father, son, daughter, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins―they all came.

Rancho Solano is just a few blocks from our home. It is a beautiful piece of property with beautiful buildings.

But the best part is the kids―lots of them.

Our friend and fellow blogger, Debbie Petras is one of the instructors there. Her class of three year olds was a part of the show under the big tent. They sang and danced their way through "In The Jungle."

After lunch we strolled back home walking past Horizon High School.

I couldn't help but think "What a wonderful country we live in."

No, it's not the same as it was when I was young. But it's still a good place to live.

I'm thankful to God that we live in a land where we are FREE!

May it always be!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Navigating Transitions to 
Make The Rest of Your Life Count
By H. Norman Wright

OVERVIEW: What's Next? is a book that will help you make transitions that enable you to embrace and enjoy everything God has given to you and designed for you. You'll discover more about
  • Parenting through the never ending seasons of "kids" at all age
  • Maximizing the second half of marriage or singleness 
  • Retiring, restructuring or redirecting your work life
  • Leaving the legacy you want to leave
    Navigating life's "last chapter."

Discussion questions are included for you and your spouse, a couple of close friends, or a small group.

AUTHOR: H. Norman Wright is a licensed marriage, family, and child therapist, as well as a certified trauma specialist. The bestselling author of more than eighty books, Wright is on the faculty of Talbot Graduate School of Theology and conducts seminars on many subjects, including marriage enrichment, parenting, and grief recovery. His current focus is on crisis and trauma counseling and critical incident debriefings within the wider community.

MY REVIEW: This is a much needed, timely and practical book about not "just letting life happen." Wright encourages us to ask, "What's next, Lord?" and then to step forward wholeheartedly. 

As I read this book I found myself reflecting back on my past, younger days and realizing that there was a time when I had asked God what He wanted me to do next and then tried to do it. But I also realized that now, in my retirement years, I have pretty much stopped asking that question or thinking about it. I know that I have traveled this far by the grace of God and I trust future grace to take me on "home." But in all honesty I must admit that I have not been expecting God to lead or guide me on any great adventures. Wright has caused me to start asking again, "What's next?" I suspect there are many others who need to ask for God's guidance regardless of where you are in life. We need God's help to make transitions that will enable us to embrace and enjoy everything God has given and designed for us. We need to be all we can be for God!

(This book was given to me by Bethany House Publishers for this review without any expectations. I was encouraged to read with an open mind and give my honest opinion.)


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Divine and Natural connection Between the Declaration and the Constitution and What
We Risk by Losing It
By Larry P. Arnn

OVERVIEW: Dr. Arnn, president of Hillsdale College, reveals the integral unity of the Declaration and the Constitution. Together, they form the pillars upon which the liberties and rights of the American people stand. United, they have guided history's first self-governing nation, forming our government under certain universal and eternal principles. To many, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are not relevant and little more than quaint reminders of a time past. Our government operates without regard for their content. Our academic elite educate young people to view these documents as transient and narrow. In their place, a government has been established that functions outside the controls of the Constitution and in contradiction to the principles of the Declaration. Dr. Arnn reveals the danger of the modern progressive movement and urges us to rediscover the genius born into our Founding. This rediscovery is vital to our liberty, for we must understand the causes of liberty if we wish to preserve it.

AUTHOR: Larry P. Arnn is the president of Hillsdale College. He received his B.A. from Arkansas State University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Government from the Claremont Graduate School. He has been published widely in newspapers and magazines on issues of public policy, history, and political theory, and he is the author of Liberty and Learning: The Evolution of American Education. Dr.Arnn and his wife, Penny, live in Hillsdale, Michigan, and have four children.

MY REVIEW: Somehow in my education, I missed learning about the importance of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Oh, I learned something about them--but not much. I was born in a conservative time in a conservative state and generally speaking, grew up in a conservation context. The Declaration and Constitution were regarded with great respect. I just don't remember being taught much about them.

Dr. Arnn's book has provided me with a great education about these important documents. I am thankful for his knowledge and wisdom and grateful to him for sharing what he knows with all of us. As citizens of this great country we need the information in this book. I will be recommending this book to many others.

As good as this book is, it is not easy reading. I found myself going back and re-reading many pages. But the knowledge gained about these important documents is well worth the extra effort in re-reading. The Declaration and Constitution form the pillars upon which the liberties and rights of the American people stand. This is an important book that I hope many will read.

(This book was given to me by Thomas Nelson Publishers for this review without any requirements for a positive review.)


Monday, March 12, 2012

Weight Loss Choices That
Will Work for YOU!
by Nancy B. Kennedy

OVERVIEW: In a world of endless weight loss plans that never seem to work, How We Did It presents personal stories of success that will inspire, inform, and encourage you to find the program that works for you! How We Did It includes chapters on such vital topics as childhood obesity and bariatric surgery. These uplifting profiles will connect you with others who repeatedly tried and failed to lose weight and keep it off, but finally found what suited their lifestyle, personality, spirituality, or internal values.

AUTHOR: Nancy B. Kennedy worked in newspapers for many years, including a stint with Dow Jones at the inception of its pioneering electronic financial news service. She has freelanced for numerous publications, including the New York Times and the online Wall Street Journal. She has authored four books, including the Miracles & Moments of Grace book series, and she writes articles and personal essays for books, magazines, and newspapers.

MY REVIEW: If you have been struggling with weight loss—this is the book for you. I agree with Gary Heavin, founder and CEO of Curves International, Inc. when he writes: "We're wrestling with an obesity crisis today, and the answer isn't as simple as eat less—move more... In these real stories of real success, you'll find ideas for making food and exercise choices, as well as the motivation to make these changes."

From personal experience I know that the exercise and diet you choose must fit your personality and be a plan you can follow. What works for one person doesn't always work for everyone. This books makes plain that weight loss is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.

I love stories and I think that most people do. The stories in this book are success stories. These stories are inspirational, educational and well-written. So if you want to be encouraged toward better health—this is a must read book.

(This book was given to me for this review by Leafwood Publishers with no expectations that the review would be only positive.)


Thursday, March 01, 2012

In the Heart of a Child, One Moment Can Last Forever
By Wess Stafford

OVERVIEW: Just A Minute  is a book filled with story after powerful story of lives changed because someone took just a minute to really connect in the life of a child.

Do you remember that one moment (or maybe there were several) that changed your life when you were a child—and shaped part of who you are today? Does it bring a smile to your face? Tears to your eyes? A wistful gaze back through time? We all have those stories and we can all, now, make those stories happen! All it takes is one moment out of your busy day, and you can be that someone in the life of the very next child who comes across your path. It may be your own son or daughter. Or perhaps it's the child down the street playing soccer. Or maybe it's the one having a meltdown in the grocery store.

Sixty-eight stories that will inspire you to bless a child's life.

AUTHOR: From a poor village in Africa's Ivory coast to President and Chief Executive Officer of Compassion International, Dr. Wesley K. Stafford has maintained one simple belief: Every child is precious. To that end, Wess leads Compassion's efforts to break the cycle of poverty for children everywhere. Wess, an internationally recognized advocate for children, joined the staff of Compassion International in 1977 and has worked with the ministry, both overseas and at headquarters, since that time. He has served as president since 1993. Wess lives on a small ranch near Colorado Springs, Colorado, with his wife, Donna, who was a Compassion sponsor even before she met Wess! They have two daughters, Jenny and Katie―the two children in the world for whom Wess is the greatest advocate of all.

MY REVIEW: Dr. Stafford said, "From the stories of others I have become convinced that if God stands a child before you, for even just a minute, it is a divine appointment. You have the chance to launch a life, if you will. You never know when you are making a memory." Wow! I believe this to be true. What a blessing and what a responsibility.

The stories in this book touched my heart and I believe they will touch yours. I would finish reading a story with tears in my eyes only to find that as soon as I read another story it started all over again. This book helped me to realize as never before that we have the power and opportunity to buildup—or tear down with as little as a single word. It can all happen in just a minute. "A life can be greatly influenced with a word, an uplifting moment, a well-timed hug, a tender prayer, a compliment, the holding of a frightened hand or the gentle wiping of a tear—all in just a minute!"

Wess Stafford has asked that all author royalties from the sale of this book be given to Compassion International to minister to children in poverty around the world.

(This book was given to me by C. Grant And Company with no expectations that the review would be only positive.)