Audra Krell

On Purpose

Archive for the category “Books”

The Closer Mariano Rivera

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You don’t have to enjoy baseball to love Wayne Coffey’s “The Closer”. You don’t even have to have a son named Keegan who asked if we could go to court to legally change his name to “Keegan Jeter Krell.” Heck you don’t even have to like the Yankees.

What you should like is the story of a man from humble beginnings, full of life and humility, who knows exactly WHO puts the heat on his fastball. Rivera thanks the Lord consistently for all he’s been given. He also professes his awareness that he’s known for a long time that “He is using me for His own purposes,” referring to the Lord.

And in other news, the Yankees drafted his son, Mariano Rivera III, a couple of days ago. I think that’s really neat. And if mama thinks it’s cool…..well you know the rest.

I do heartily recommend The Closer for the informative, but especially inspiring true story, Coffey tells so well.

About the Author

Mariano Rivera was a New York Yankee for nineteen seasons. He is Major League Baseball’s all-time saves and ERA leader, a thirteen-time All-Star, and a five-time World Champion. He and his wife, Clara, have three sons and live in New York.
Wayne Coffey is one of the country’s most acclaimed sports journalists. A writer for the New York Daily News, he co`wrote R. A. Dickey’s bestselling Wherever I Wind Up and is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Boys of Winter, among other books. He lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife and children.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to give a positive review.

David and Goliath New Book Review

David and Goliath New Book Review

Absolutely loved Malcolm Gladwell’s new book David and Goliath. It opens with the original Underdog vs. Giant battle from 3000 years ago in Palestine. Quickly, the stories explode and bridge to present battles we all face on a daily basis. Whether it be sibling rivalry, surviving culture and/or running a business, David and Goliath brings an offering, a gift which gives the ability to see life in a different way.
One of the best quotes is from a man with Dyslexia. “Dyslexia…forces you to develop skills that otherwise might have lain dormant. It also forces you to do things you might otherwise never have considered…”
I ask you this Christmas, what is your Dyslexia? What (or who) is it in your life that you consider to be a great hinderance? A God-given something that may never change? But most importantly, how can you consider your greatest thorn in a new light?
Read David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell to find out.
*Thank you to The B & B Media Group for providing this book to review. All opinions are my own and I was not required to give a favorable review.*

A Cell By Any Other Name

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What is it in us that wants to rewrite history? I suspect some of it is money driven.

In my teen and early adult years, I was a bit of a hoarder. I was hoarding before hoarding was cool. I saved my college text books. All of them. They were heavy and hard to lug around. In the fall, my mom drove my textbooks down from storage in Colorado. Our oldest son Keegan is taking an Africana Studies class this semester and needed a book called Incidents in the Life of A Slave Girl. Can you imagine my joy when I pulled out that old book and gleefully presented it to my son? Over the top I tell you. Me and the Mister were gonna save $17.46 on a text book, clearly paying for all those years of carting the books back and forth between AZ and CO.

But just like that it was over. My book, wasn’t the right edition and was therefore not allowed to be used. The authors even added 140 pages to my edition. What? Slavery in the 1800’s has changed so much in the past 20 years that a third of the book was added? Well I’ll be. I had no idea history was so different. Makes me wonder what all I don’t know.

Now there is the matter of me going back to school for nursing. Some of the schools won’t accept my science classes because they say I took them too long ago. Seriously? Biology has changed so much that I need to retake it? Cells don’t divide the same way anymore? Meiosis and Mitosis are thing of the late 1980’s?

I know the picture above looks like a lozenge or a filled in lifesaver candy, but I’m pretty sure a blood cell is still a blood cell.

Well I just can’t wait. Tell me all about how chromosomes and ribosomes and nucleus’ have changed.

Or could you just want me to write another check?

I’ll let you know after I take the classes. You should probably hold your breath.

History is apparently not what we thought it was.

Even so, I shall look with joy to the future.

Author Susan Cottrell On Men

Today I have Susan Cottrell weighing in with an excerpt from her upcoming book. I’ve written before about how men need to have their heart question answered and Susan agrees. I’m grateful she has taken the time to share her thoughts and I highly recommend her new book.

Susan Cottrell is a writer, speaker and teacher. Married 25 years, she and Rob have five (nearly) grown children. Susan homeschooled for some twenty years… until she ran out of energy! She is set to release her newly expanded book: How Not to Lose Your Teen: Raising Kids who Love God and You Too. Her second book, The Marriage Renovation, is soon to be published. She loves to lead retreats and seminars, teaching women, couples and teens about the freedom for which Christ has set them free (Galatians 5:1). She loves to travel, watch old movies and eat chocolate. Contact her directly at FreedHearts.org.

The following excerpt is from Susan’s upcoming book: How Not to Lose Your Teen: Raising Kids who Love God and You Too.

Men and Boys

Men are more vulnerable than we realize, and I believe that inside every man is a little boy who needs to know he’s enough. Boys need to hear, regularly and authentically, that they have what it takes to be a man. Whether your son is an athlete, a pianist, a writer or anything else, he needs constant affirmation that God has equipped him fully as a man, and God will faithfully complete the good work He began in him (Philippians 1:6). Dads especially need to engage with their sons – affirming, including and accepting them as the person God designed them to be.

Mom’s job is to let their boys grow up, let them separate, encourage them to take risks and trust them to become men. Tell them you know they can do it. Hold the crown above their head and let them grow into it.

I failed at this when my family was at a rock-climbing wall at the fair. Our David, barely four, wanted to climb. I immediately decided $5 was too much to pay for him to climb two feet and then quit. I foolishly told Rob that Dave was too little and could not do it. He said, “I can do it, Mom.” Rob paid the money and David did climb – all the way to the top. And when he got down, he said, “See Mom? I knew I could do it.” Risking my son’s view of his manhood is not worth $5.

Not only do our boys need to believe they have what it takes to be men and to succeed, they also need to understand that their job is to love and protect the women in their lives – mothers, wives, sisters, daughters. They need to esteem girls, encourage them, treat them with dignity, and not use them for their own pleasure. If boys would treat the girls in their lives as they hope their future wives are being treated, what a sweet impact that would make in our culture. Dads can lead their boys this way, by their own example of kindness and respect.

I learned disdain for men growing up, from my father who was constantly disappointed in my brothers for not reaching his impossible standards. God had to break that old paradigm so His love could prevail. I had to surrender to Him, to let Him do His great healing work in me. But He did. It’s what He does best!

Thank you again Susan. These short paragraphs are packed with great thoughts on what every man needs.

Question: What have you done lately to help the men in your life believe they have what it takes?

The Blood Sugar Solution

I recently read and am trying the healthy ideas in this book: The Blood Sugar Solution. The concepts are very interesting in that Dr. Hyman isn’t prescribing radical procedures and medication, rather he makes simple sense of complex health issues. I’ve never been one for medications and surgeries, so his research on healthy food, exercise and natural supplements are of great interest to me. Metabolic imbalance, or diabesity is something most of us suffer from, to one degree or another. This book covers the gamut, there are best practices presented for everyone.

Right now, the five of us are really cleaning up our act eating, this is being led by our 19 year old and his younger brothers are right in line. My husband and I have made significant changes in lifestyle and are seeing immediate results, as are our teen boys. This book is a great way to jump start your family goals for healthy living. I highly recommend it.   — Audra

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:
and the book:
 Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (February 28, 2012)
***Special thanks to Rick Roberson The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

An internationally respected physician, researcher, educator, activist, and five-time New York Times best-selling author, including The Blood Sugar Solution (also a PBS special), The UltraMind Solution (also a PBS special), The UltraSimple Diet, UltraMetabolism, and UltraPrevention (winner of the Books for a Better Life Award), Dr. Hyman has dedicated his life and career to ensuring optimal health – UltraWellness – for all individuals. His new book and PBS special, The Blood Sugar Solution, will be released March 2012 to address the global epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular and other related diseases.

His revolutionary “secret” to achieving UltraWellness? Dr. Hyman is the world’s leading pioneer and practitioner of a ground-breaking and emerging approach to medicine that treats our system, not our symptoms. This new health paradigm is a systems-based, patient-centered method (called Functional Medicine) to preventing and treating disease and promoting health that works on two intertwined platforms: identifying and addressing the underlying causes of disease instead of just managing and masking symptoms and employing emerging trends in science and medicine, and integrative medicine.
Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


In the new #1 New York Times bestseller, The Blood Sugar Solution (Little, Brown and Company February, 2012), Dr. Mark Hyman – Chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine and founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center – reveals the secret to losing weight and preventing diabesity. According to Dr. Hyman, a staggering one in two Americans suffers from diabesity, the condition of metabolic imbalance and disease that ranges from mild blood sugar imbalance to full-blown diabetes. Diabesity is one of the leading causes of chronic disease in the 21st century, including heart disease, stroke, dementia, and cancer, and the numbers of sick people keep growing. One in three children born today will have diabetes. We are now raising the first generation of Americans to live sicker and die younger than their parents.
Genre: Health & Fitness

Product Details:

List Price: $27.99

Hardcover: 448 pages

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (February 28, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 031612737X

ISBN-13: 978-0316127370

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Introduction
Diabesity: What You Don’t Know May Kill You
What’s in a name: insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, syndrome X, obesity, pre-diabetes, adult-onset diabetes, type 2 diabetes. These are all essentially one problem; some vary by severity but all can have deadly consequences. The diagnosis and treatment of the underlying causes that drive all these conditions are actually the same.
Diabesity is a more comprehensive term to describe the continuum from optimal blood sugar balance toward insulin resistance and full-blown diabetes. If you answered yes to any of the questions in the quiz on page xxi, you may already have diabesity.
Nearly all people who are overweight (over 70 percent of adult Americans) already have “pre-diabetes” and have significant risks of disease and death. They just don’t know it. Even worse, while the word “diabesity” is made up of the concepts of obesity and diabetes, even those who aren’t overweight can have this problem. These are the “skinny fat” people. They are “underlean” (not enough muscle) instead of “overweight” and have a little extra weight around the middle, or “belly fat.” Currently there are no national screening recommendations, no treatment guidelines, no approved medications, and no reimbursement to health care providers for diagnosing and treating anything other than full-blown diabetes. Think about that. Doctors are not expected, trained, or paid to diagnose and treat the single biggest chronic disease in America, which, along with smoking, causes nearly all the major health care burdens of the twenty-first century, including heart disease, stroke, dementia, and even cancer. But here is the good news–there is a scientifically proven solution that I have mapped out for you in this book.
Our current medical practice has not caught up with our knowledge. In 2008, the American College of Endocrinology and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists gathered twenty-two experts and reviewed all the scientific data on pre-diabetes and diabetes. They heralded a wake-up clarion call for individuals, the health care community, and governments around the world.Their conclusions were as follows:
The diagnosis of pre-diabetes and diabetes is arbitrary. A fasting blood sugar over 100 mg/dl is considered pre-diabetes, and a blood sugar over 126 mg/dl is considered diabetes. However, they found these cutoffs don’t reflect the whole spectrum of risk– including heart disease, cancer, dementia, stroke, and even kidneyand nervedamage–whichstartsat much lower numbers, numbers most people consider normal.
The DECODE study of 22,000 peopleexamined the continuum of risk measured not by fasting blood sugar, but by blood sugar after a big sugar drink (the best way to diagnose the problem). The study found that even starting at blood sugar levels that were perfectly normal (95 mg/dl), there was a steady and significant risk of heart disease and complications well below the accepted abnormal of less than 140 mg/dl for pre-diabetes and long before people reached the diabetic cutoff of 200 mg/dl.
Bottom line: Even if you have perfectly normal blood sugar, you may be sitting on a hidden time bomb of disease called diabesity, which prevents you from losing weight and living a long healthy life. Insulin resistance is the major cause of aging and death in the developed and most of the developing world. This book will help you identify and reverse this explosive situation for yourself. It also lays out a comprehensive action plan for greater collective action to solve this problem individually and collectively by getting healthy together.
Part I
Understanding The Modern Plague
For this we must make automatic and habitual, as early as possible, as many useful actions as we can, and guard against the growing into ways that are likely to be disadvantageous to us, as we should guard against the plague.
— William James,
“The Laws of Habit,” The Popular Science Monthly (February 1887)
It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.
— Mark Twain
1
a Hidden epidemic: The United States of Diabetes
Diabesity, the continuum of health problems ranging from mild insulin resistance and overweight to obesity and diabetesis the single biggest global health epidemic of our time. It is one of the leading causes of heart disease, dementia, cancer, and premature death in the world and is almost entirely caused by environmental and lifestyle factors. This means that it is almost 100 percent preventable and curable.
Diabesity affects over 1.7 billion people worldwide. Scientists conservatively estimate it will affect 1 in 2 Americans by 2020, 90 percent of whom will not be diagnosed. I believe it already affects more than 1 in 2 Americans and up to 70-80 percent of some populations.
Obesity (almost always related to diabesity) is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and around the world. Gaining just 11-16 pounds doubles the risk of type 2 diabetes, while gaining 17-24 pounds triples the risk. Despite this, there are no national recommendations from government or key organizations advising screening or treatment for pre-diabetes. We are becoming the United States of Diabetes.
The prevalence of type 2 diabetes in America has tripled since the 1980s. In 2010 there were 27 million Americans with diabetes (25 percent of whom were not diagnosed) and 67 million with pre-diabetes (90 percent of whom were not diagnosed). African-Americans, Latin Americans, and Asians have dramatically higher rates of diabesity than Caucasians do.By 2015, 2.3 billion people worldwide will be overweight and 700 million will be obese. The number of diabetics will increase from 1 in 10 Americans today to 1 in 3 by the middle of this century.
A Childhood Problem
Perhaps most disturbing, our children are increasingly affected by this epidemic. We are raising the first generation of Americans to live sicker and die younger than their parents. Life expectancy is actually declining for the first time in human history.
Here are some startling statistics:
One in three children is overweight in America.
Childhood obesity has tripled from 1980 to 2010.
There are now more than 2 million morbidly obese children above the 99th percentile in weight.
In New York City, 40 percent of the children are overweight or obese.
One in three children born today will have diabetes in their lifetime.
Childhood obesity will have more impact on the life expectancy of children than all childhood cancers combined.
A Global Problem
Diabetes is just as widespread in other parts of the world: In 2007, it was estimated that 240 million people worldwide had diabetes. It is projected to affect 380 million by the year 2030, about 10 times the number of people affected by HIV/AIDS.Sadly this is a gross underestimate. Estimates in 2011 put the worldwide total at 350 million. In China alone, rates of diabetes were almost zero 25 years ago. In 2007, there were 24 million diabetics in China, and scientists projected that by 2030 there would be 42 million diabetics in China. However, by 2010, there were 93 million diabetics and 148 million pre-diabetics in China,
Special Note: Childhood Obesity and Diabetes –The Blood Sugar Solution for Children
The biggest tragedy is the global spread of childhood obesity and “adult”onset or type 2 diabetes in little children. We are now seeing eight-year-old children with diabetes, fifteen-year-olds with strokes, and twenty-five-yearolds who need cardiac bypass. While The Blood Sugar Solution is a program mostly for adults, it is also powerful and effective for children. The whole family must be part of the solution, and we have to make our homes, communities, and schools safe for our children.
The Blood Sugar Solution includes many child-friendly recipes. And when it comes to supplements, there is something for everyone, even infants and children. In fact, any child over twelve years of age with diabesity can follow the basic Blood Sugar Solution plan. Children younger than twelve or those who qualify for the Advanced Plan should work with an experienced functional medicine practitioner. See www.bloodsugarsolution.com for how best to support your children’s health if they are overweight or have type 2 diabetes.
almost all of whom were previously undiagnosed. Imagine if we had 148 million new cases of AIDS overnight in one country.
Sixty percent of the world’s diabetics will eventually come from Asia because it is the world’s most populous region. The number of individuals with impaired glucose tolerance or pre-diabetes will increase substantially because of increased genetic susceptibility to the harmful effects of sugar and processed foods. Interestingly, people in this Asian population (who are uniquely susceptible to diabetes even though they may not be obese) are increasingly affected as they adopt a more Western diet. Weaker environmental laws and regulations also expose them to increasing levels of toxins, which, as we will see later, are a significant cause of diabesity.3
Ponder this: From 1983 to 2008, the number of people in the world with diabetes increased sevenfold, from 35 to 240 million. In just three years, from 2008 to 2011, we added another 110 million diabetics to our global population. Shouldn’t the main question we ask be why is this happening? instead of what new drug can we find to treat it? Our approach must be novel, innovative, and widely applicable at low cost across all borders. Billions and billions have been wasted trying to find the “drug cure,” while the solution lies right under our nose. This is a lifestyle and environmental disease and won’t be cured by a medication.
Diabesity: The major cause of chronic disease and decreased life expectancy.
Diabesity is one of the leading causes of chronic disease in the twenty-first century, including heart disease, stroke, dementia, and cancer.4
Consider the following:
One-third of all diabetics have documented heart disease.5
It is estimated that nearly everyone else with type 2 diabetes has undiagnosed cardiovascular disease.
People with diabetes are four times more likely to die from heart disease, and the rate of stroke is three to four times higher in this population.
Those with pre-diabetes are also four times more likely to die of heart disease.So having pre-diabetes isn’t really “pre” anything in terms of risk.
There is a fourfold increased risk for dementia in diabetics.And pre-diabetes is a leading cause of “pre-dementia,” also known as mild cognitive impairment.
The link between obesity and cancer is well documented and is driven by insulin resistance.8
Diabesity is the leading cause of high blood pressure in our society. Seventy-five percent of those with diabetes have high blood pressure.
Diabesity is also the leading cause of liver failure from NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis), also known as fatty liver. It affects 30 percent of our general population (about 90 million) and 70-90 percent of those who have diabesity. Those with fatty liver are at much greater risk of heart attack and death.9
Diabesity is an important cause of depression and mood disorders. Women with diabetes are 29 percent more likely to develop depression, and women who took insulin are 53 percent more likely to develop depression.10
Nervous system damage affects 60-70 percent of people with diabetes, leading to a loss of sensation in the hands and feet, slow digestion, carpal tunnel syndrome, sexual dysfunction, and other problems. Almost 30 percent of people age forty or older with diabetes have impaired sensation in their feet, and this frequently leads to amputations.
Diabesity is also the leading cause of blindness among people ages twenty to seventy-four.
Diabesity is the leading cause of kidney failure –accounting for 44 percent of new cases each year.
People with poorly controlled diabetes are three times more likely to have periodontal or severe gum disease.
A recent remarkable study published in the New England Journal of Medicine examining 123,205 deaths in 820,900 people found that diabetics died an average of six years earlier than nondiabetics and 40 percent of those did not die from heart disease or the usual diabetes-related causes.11 They died from other complications not obviously related to diabetes, complications most wouldn’t necessarily correlate with the disease. Yet it makes perfect sense given that diabesity is the underlying cause that drives most chronic illnesses.
Diabesity: A major global threat to economic development.
Direct health care costs in the United States over the next decade attributable to diabetes and pre-diabetes will be $3.4 trillion, or one in every ten health care dollars spent. Obese citizens cost the U.S. health care system 40 percent more than normal-weight citizens. In a sample of 10 million commercial health plan members, those without diabetes cost $4,000 a year compared to $11,700 for those with diabetes, and $20,700 for those with complications from diabetes.
Diabesity places a large economic burden on our society. The direct and indirect costs of diabetes in America in 2007 amounted to $174 billion. The cost of obesity is also significant, and amounts to $113 billion every year. From 2000 to 2010, these two conditions have already cost us a total of $3 trillion. That’s three times the estimated cost of fixing our entire health care system!12
Are we getting our money’s worth? Is our current approach winning the battle against these completely preventable and curable diseases? Clearly the answer is no!
The Impact of Diabesity on Developing Nations
Diabetes is not just a problem for rich countries with too much food; it is also a disease of poverty13 that is increasing in developing countries as well.14 In India, diabetes carries a greater risk of death than infectious disease. In the Middle East, nearly 20-25 percent of the population is diabetic. When I helped in Haiti (the poorest country in the Western hemisphere) after the earthquake in 2010, I asked the director of Haiti’s main public hospital what the major medical problems were prior to the earthquake. His answer surprised me: heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes–all caused by diabesity.
By 2020, there will be fewer than 20 million deaths worldwide from infectious disease, but more than 50 million deaths from chronic preventable lifestyle diseases–heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. These are all fueled by the same preventable risk factors: high blood pressure, overweight, physical inactivity, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and smoking. But strikingly, 95 percent of private and public efforts and funding focus almost exclusively on combating communicable or infectious disease.15
The Solution: Take Back Our Health
There is a solution available, one that is accessible and scalable, one that is available to everyone and prevents, treats, and reverses diabesity at a fraction of the cost. This book provides that solution for individuals, communities, and nations. It will require significant change at all levels, but each of us has the power to transform this problem.
In addition to curing diabesity on an individual level, we need a movement. I call it Take Back Our Health, and in Part V, I explain how we can all join this movement so we can get healthy together. It starts with the individual, but moves into families, communities, workplaces, schools, and faith-based organizations and filters through us to government and corporations.
In the next chapter, we will look at the true causes of diabesity, and why current treatments aren’t working.

Shifty Grades of Prey

 This is perfect for one of the covers of the 50 Shades of Grey Trilogy. So symbolic of the masks we manipulate to project our false selves.

My 16-year-old son and I sat in a small California airport last Friday night, waiting to catch a plane. He told me to look across from us, to my right and then behind me. Three women were reading 50 Shades of Grey. When we boarded, another woman was engrossed in her copy. That’s four women out of 60, plus those reading it on their e-reader. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen; that kind of math never happened with Potter, Hunger or Twilight.

As a writer and avid life-long learner, I read a lot of different things. This book was highly recommended by someone dear to me, I had no idea what it was, so I read it. The writing is repetitive, amateurish and won’t be up for literary awards. The content is mature, often erotic and mindless. In this case, none of those words are synonyms for entertaining.

Notice I did not put “shocking” on my descriptive list. Not because I’m experienced in the BDSM lifestyle, but because there is nothing new under the sun. A lifetime ago, while studying English Literature, I took a course called Principles of Obscenity. We read all the big ones, Story of O, Story of the Eye and shorter works by D.H. Lawrence. They were shocking to my 21 -year -old mind and unguarded heart. I learned, that really there are no principles to obscenity. Rather it’s the absence of principle that makes these fictional accounts a literary genre.

I find Fifty Shades simply the latest culture crusher to stand firm against. Next week a new magazine, book, essay, speech, movie, song, album, picture or other entertainment medium will prey on us and take it’s place in the number one spot.

Tomorrow we will still have to stand tall against the message that our marriage isn’t enough, your spouse isn’t everything you deserve, you’re not thin enough, we’re not pretty enough, you don’t think right, do things right, believe right, you’re too far right and you’re weak. All in all, the sun will probably rise tomorrow and with it the message that you aren’t enough and never will be.

The most troubling issue regarding 50 Shades, is the term “Mommy Porn.” Why is this okay? If one in six of our men were sitting in the airport reading a little “Daddy Porn” women would go crazy. It’s believed that pornography damages the image of women in the name of a cheap thrill.

50 Shades portrays the female character being degraded and emotionally damaged. Our culture embraces it by giving it a name and touting it on a national talk show. Why aren’t our men asking if they can have their porn featured on a talk show? It would never happen and the uprising would be like none other if  it did.

Even some feminists have praised the book. What? Women dedicate their lives to fighting for equal rights and then embrace a series of books that are in direct opposition to what they stand for.

People however, don’t need our judgement for reading this book or even for liking it. We need to see it for what it is, a gale wind in the storm of life. It’s an opportunity to stand right next to God’s people, shore them up and pray against cultural norm.

It’s not the first time the wind has howled and it won’t be the last.

Take the high road, ride your high horse if you must, but I won’t stop praying for you.

I hope you’ll do the same.

What has been your personal reaction to 50 Shades of Grey ideology and hype? Do the themes and content seem new?

Breakfast Club on Jazz

We attended closing night of the Phoenix Film Festival and saw Blue Like Jazz. The film opens nationwide on April 13.

Let me first say that I loved the book. God used it to change my life. Donald Miller gets abandonment. It was one of the first times I felt understood in my struggle with parental abandonment. Miller helped me to see that even though I didn’t feel worthy of people sticking around, I have a Father who has never left me.

In my ongoing heartbreak with subsequent familial abandonment, I return time and again to the truths I finally understood through Miller’s writing. God’s love lasts much longer than the stabs of current rejection. His love is the only thing that is eternal.

Now on to the movie. It’s not advertised for, nor is it appropriate for children or young teens. We took our 13 and 16 year old sons. I was embarrassed, and as mom to three teen boys, it takes some doing to make me blush. I also was uncomfortable with the mocking of Christianity. I get that for free every day out in the world, through all social media and especially on TV. My son lives it everyday at the University he attends, the other boys at their middle and high schools.

Some reviewers say the movie is a great conversation starter for Christian families and helps them transition their young adults to the next stage of life. I wonder where they think we live? Do they really believe all Christians live out in the country where the most violent act we witness is a calf being born? Where our biggest problem is what dress to wear to church on Sunday? No, Christians face the exact things the world does, on the same moment- by -moment basis. When I attend a film, I want to be taken away from the world, not forced to relive my college days in all their lewd glory.

Reviewers said the movie was going to have a hard time and comments like the one below tend to polarize viewers:

A challenging book to turn into a film due to its stream of consciousness narration, director Steve Taylor and crew have for the most part succeeded in turning out a generally entertaining film, but one that will probably be too centered on Christianity for those averse to religion and too “edgy” for those of the Christian faith who like their films Kirk Cameronesque. -Linc Leifeste, Smells Like Screen Spirit 

I agree, it was too difficult to turn Blue Like Jazz into a film. As a person of faith, an avid movie goer and someone who respects Kirk Cameron, I don’t prefer my films to be Kirk Cameronesque. I further don’t consider mocking Christianity for 95% of the film to be edgy in any way. It’s an effort to reach the masses with an attempt to entertain. Mocking anything is usually good for a sure laugh.

The central message of Blue Like Jazz the movie, is that every flawed creature is worthy of respect, which we know is the gospel truth. The film had the chance to go deep with that and ended up a glorified, modern day version of the Breakfast Club with a jazz soundtrack. Basically an “accept all sin now, just be certain to ask forgiveness later.”

I highly recommend the book, it’s a completely different experience.

Blue Like Jazz the Book

Easter Gift for Kids

One sure way to find out who you are and what your purpose is, is to read the Bible. I highly recommend these two new Bibles for  boys and girls ages 8-12.

FaithGirlz is perfect for showing our girls how unique and special they are. The Bible includes quizzes on getting to know yourself, imagination exercises and answers to Bible questions. When a girl receives this Bible, she won’t just be reading, but will journey closer to God.

I so wish this version of the NIV Boys Bible had been out when my three teen boys were younger. It’s full of funny facts, inspiring people and gross and gory stuff. This helpful Bible will pull every boy in and they will be off on the adventure of a lifetime, as they journey closer to God.

What a great idea for Easter! You can get yours here.

Thank you to B & B Media for providing me with review copies of both Bibles. Nothing was given in exchange for the books and I am not required to write a positive review.

Zondervan Faithgirlz Bible

Where to Solve Your Health Problem

ImageWe’re a quarter of the way through 2012. How are those New Year’s resolutions working out? Are they the pillars of your life, set in stone? Or do you even remember what you decided to do this year?

For some, it’s impossible to forget, as lingering health problems haven’t gone away or are getting worse. In our quest to discover who we are and where we’re going, we’re held back by aches and pains, and even worse, emotional pain like guilt for not doing what we know we should.

But there is a place that holds many answers to your problems. It’s not a naturopath, shrink, counselor or church.

It’s your local library.

If you’ve resolved to support yourself better this year, consider your library as the building block to all you want to accomplish and as a symbol of a new way of living.

Because you need more exercise, walk to your library. But that’s over 3 miles you say. Walk one way and arrange for a family member or friend to pick you up.

At the library, check out a book on exercise and weight loss. You’ll feel great knowing you already got started on your new exercise regime because you walked there.

Because you want to eat healthier and save money by eating at home, check out a cookbook. Make a small goal of trying one or two new recipes.

If you wanted to be more charitable this year, volunteer at the library. You could read out loud, teach a class, help sort books or offer to do whatever the library staff needs. Maybe they need reviewers and people to write recommendations. Get creative. Science has proven that when you’re creative, you’re more positive. When you’re more positive, your general health improves.

If you’ve been diagnosed with a medical condition or suspect you have one, check out a book on the subject. Knowledge is power. Knowing treatment options and that you’re not alone, brings hope. Hope is another factor for better health.

If you are able to walk back home, don’t forget to bring your reusable bags for toting your books. Every other block, do a few bicep curls with your book bag.

The library is a beautiful place which holds much power for better living. Simply by walking to the library, you’ve improved your health, enjoyed fresh air, not taxed the environment, educated yourself and supported a local resource.

I don’t know too many places that hold as many benefits. Do you?

What free resource do you use that makes your life better?

Nothing Closer

Pen Quill and Parchment

“It seems that some creatives will only

know glory at a distance; yet they experience nothing closer

than the very presence of God.”

-Audra Krell

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