Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"A Time to Dance" by Karen Kingsbury

A Time to Dance

John and Abby Reynolds are the shining example of a long-lasting marriage to all their family and friends, or at least that's what everyone thinks.  Little do they know the broken hearts that John and Abby hide behind a facade. 

What started out as a beautiful romance and a promise of forever, now is falling apart after 21 years, and they have to break it to their kids.  The problem is that their daughter announces her engagement to a wonderful, Christian man, and they decide to put off their plan for divorce until after the wedding in order to keep from ruining the festivities.  Thus begins John and Abby's own mental, emotional and spiritual battles, wrestling with the big question of what went wrong.

I am new to Kingsbury's books, this book being the second one I've ever read.  I appreciate a few things about her writing.  First, I love a story that is driven by dialog, and Kingsbury does this well, in my opinion.  Second, she provides us with the ongoing dialog between her characters and God.  I appreciate hearing that "inside" conversation.  The third element I appreciate is that her characters are at varying degrees of spiritual maturity.  Some demonstrate great faith, and others have gone by the wayside but are being drawn back by the Lord.

Kingsbury knows how to make me feel what the characters are feeling, drawing me into the story within the first pages.  I certainly feel like I know these characters by the end of the book, as if they are real people.

With that said, I must admit that I became weary of the book for awhile.  About halfway through I was getting tired of the arguing and characters' negative self-talk, and it made me want to take a break from the book for a day.  It's possible that the author was desiring to evoke that emotion in the reader, so as to identify with the weariness of the characters.  If so, she managed to accomplish that feeling in me.

One other point worth noting is that there are a couple scenes that were somewhat sensual, at least to my standards.  For that reason I would not feel comfortable recommending this book to a teen reader.

Overall I would say I liked the book, but I didn't love the book.  I look forward to more of Karen Kingsbury's books.  You can find my review of Unlocked at this link.

I wish to thank BookSneeze.com for providing me with a review copy of this book.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions stated here are my own.

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He Is!

Nanga Parbat (Killer Mountain)photo © 2006 Faisal Saeed | more info (via: Wylio)

I just needed to take this moment to put down in writing that my God is good.  I am praying for a mountain to be moved in my life, and He is doing special things to accomplish that.

He is my Rock.

He is my Shield.

He is my Helper.

He is my Strength.

I will keep trusting.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Classics Bookclub: The Screwtape Letters

Screwtape LettersI haven't read a classic since I was in college back in the 90's, and I've been wanting to culturize myself for many months now.  The problem is I knew it was going to be work to read a classic. 

Joining in the Classics Bookclub at 5 Minutes For Books for the first time, I chose The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis to begin my venture back into the world of classic literature.  I chose it because it is a shorter book, and I thought I might really "get" C.S. Lewis.

This story is told in the form of letters written by a seasoned demon named Screwtape, addressed to a demon-in-training.  Screwtape's job is to teach his trainee in the ways of deception.  Each demon has his own "patient", as the humans are called, and it is their job to keep them from believing in The Enemy.  Of course, The Enemy they refer to is God.

It was fascinating to think about how the demonic realm works to oppress men.  I could relate to the way the demon talked about deceiving men with their feelings and influencing their thinking about God in order to turn men away from Him.  The things Screwtape recommended to his trainee were ways I know I have personally been deceived.  It made me think about how real the spiritual realm is and how much I need to depend upon the Holy Spirit for guidance.  Satan and his hoards are crafty.Classics-Bookclub-150

Can I be honest here, though?  I had a hard time reading the book.  It was easy to read quickly because of the short chapters, but I had to wade through the language to comprehend.  I've been away from reading classics for too long, and I've lost my training.  Obviously, I need to begin honing these skills again.  I'll have to pick another classic for the next quarter and participate in the Classics Bookclub again.

Although I had difficulty, I will still recommend the book.  It's an eye-opener.  Just don't expect light reading.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday: Buy a Kindle!

TN2-turing-R-column-02._V192549127_ I wanted to give all my book-loving friends a heads up about a Black Friday deal you might want to take advantage of.

Today at Amazon.com they are offering a lightning deal this afternoon at 12:00 PM (ET).  Get a 6" Kindle - 2nd Generation at a reduced price for a limited time.  Be sure to check it out!

*Affiliate links are used in this post.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Book Review: Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury

Unlocked Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury is a touching story that gives the reader a glimpse into the challenges a family faces when their child is suddenly "locked up" in the prison of Autism. 

Tracy Harris fights the daily challenges with her son Holden, relying on nothing more than her faith since her husband and friends abandoned her when faced with all the questions and uncertainties that came with the diagnosis of Autism.

As Tracy prays for God to bring about a means to unlock Holden from his private world, God is working behind the scenes to bring healing and miracles through the power of music and love, and in ways she never would have dreamed possible. 

I have never read any of Karen Kingsbury's books, but if the others are as good as this one, I will be looking up her other titles.  The story caught me up right away and drew me in.  I loved the characters and could feel Tracy's love and longing for her son, to be able to reach him.  They felt like real people to me.

I would recommend this book because the story is moving and unforgettable.  I don't think I've ever gotten goosebumps while reading a book, but I had them as I turned page after page of this one.  I look forward to reading more from this author.

I wish to thank Zondervan for providing me with a review copy of this book.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions stated here are my own.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday's Fave Five

                            FFF fall background

Sharing my five favorite blessings from the week...

1.  God gave me direction concerning something I had been seeking His wisdom about.

2.  I received hugs from nieces and nephews that I don't get to see as often as I used to.

3.  I ran into Mandy of From the Trenches of Motherhood at PaperbackSwap just by coincidence.  I had been browsing a member's list for a book and didn't realize until afterward that I was browsing Mandy's list.  It made me giggle when I realized whose list I was looking at.

4.  I finished Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury this week and loved it.  It gave me a glimpse into the world of autism and what families experience when they have a child with this disorder.  It was both enlightening and inspirational.  (My review of the book is coming shortly.)

5.  My parents took me out for lunch with my grandma the other day, AND we got to eat at one of my favorite Chinese restaurants.  Getting to eat shrimp with garlic sauce is a terrific blessing!

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Thursday, November 18, 2010


I’m getting older. Yeah. I know that’s no surprise to you. You’re getting older too. Ha!

I just turned 38, and… I’m not kidding… my body is already changing. It’s responding differently now than it did before.

I’ve noticed in the past two weeks that my eyes are not focusing well, especially when I’m playing piano at church. I have to use my bifocals to see the notes more clearly. I’ve also noticed if people stand too close to me, their faces are fuzzy, and it hurts my head to try to focus.

And let’s not forget the new aches and pains that pop up at various times for no apparent reason.

But the one thing that has been a total surprise to me is something no one warned me about.

For several weeks I’ve been fighting the war of what I thought to be chapped lips because it’s turned colder here in Indiana. I kept applying Vaseline in the morning, in the afternoon, and at bedtime. Still… dry lips. I feel like I have an extra layer of skin that needs to be scraped off.

Uncertain why I wasn’t winning the fight, I finally asked my mother the other day, “As you age, is it possible to get dry lips?” She smiled at me and said, “Yes!”

Um… hello? Why is this the first I’m hearing of this? And why, oh why, is this starting at 38? I’m comparably young to… you know… OLD people, but my lips are already becoming defunct?

I don’t think I can handle this reality.

I hate grooming maintenance. Seriously. If I thought I could get away without brushing my teeth, I would. And now I’m being forced to look into lip treatments and moisturizers.

I guess I’ll have to work that in right after my lip tweezing.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Feeling Thankful

Open Bible with pen Antique Grayscalephoto © 2010 Ryk Neethling | more info (via: Wylio)

Some things I'm thinking about today....

I'm thankful that God is truth and His Word is truth. 

I'm thankful that no matter what temptation is in front of me, He can and will give me the power to resist it if I humble myself before Him. 

I'm thankful that He has promised to finish the work He has begun in me.

I'm thankful that He's changing me. 

I'm thankful that all of these are not solely dependent on my ability, but rather dependent on God and His grace.

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Scripture

The trees are on fire!photo © 2008 Tambako The Jaguar | more info (via: Wylio)

      So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!  And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.  From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.

James 3:5-10 (ESV)

Dear Lord, set a guard over my mouth that I might not start fires with my unruly, poisonous, cursing tongue.

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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Helpful Blogging Tool

Opie thought he would find a kewl looking girl cat on the computerphoto © 2007 Nancy ~ | more info(via: Wylio)

Lately I've been wracking my brain trying to think of blog topics now that I'm past last week's vlogs.  I'm starting to think I might have to pay this guy to start writing blogs for me.  He looks fairly capable.

By the way, that's not my cat.

Over the weekend I did find this cool service that I didn't know was available for bloggers, but I think it's a handy little tool. 

If you need a photo for your blog, you just visit Wylio.com.  Search for the type of photo you're looking for, and there are tons that will come up in the results.  You resize the photo right there on the site, choose the alignment you desire, and then it gives you the code to insert directly into your blog post.  It will include the photo copyright info and credit automatically under the picture.  It's very easy.

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Monday, November 08, 2010

My New Buddy

Shortly after we put Bailey to sleep four weeks ago, the dynamic in our home changed.  Suddenly, it seems I have a new buddy.


Teddy used to hardly give me the time of day, but now he is coming to me to cuddle up in my lap.  He wants to take naps with me.  He hides under the bed in the morning, so he can come bug me while I'm having my devotions.  It's like I got a new pet.

Guess who's jealous.... Dixie dog... and possibly my husband.  (Shhhh... don't tell him I told you.)

It's an odd thing that Teddy wants to hang out with me more.  He's always gravitated toward Rich, but now he's splitting his affections between us.  And of course, anytime he leaves Rich's lap to come and snuggle up in my lap I do a little "happy dance" inside. 

Because you know if I did it on the outside, that would just be rude.

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Sunday, November 07, 2010

Sunday Scripture

1st Fall picturephoto © 2008 DaDaAce | more info(via: Wylio)

Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.  "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!" The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Lamentations 3:22-26 (NKJV)

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Saturday, November 06, 2010

Love These Links

HTTP image The article that Paula Hendricks wrote for the True Woman blog this week, My Mom's Courage-Infusing Words, was a challenge to me.  She talked about how we should give courage to others around us.  She shared an example about how her mom does that for her in emails, like when she responded to some anxiety Paula had expressed.  I need to work on being a courage-giver.

Stop Treasuring the Trivial at *Precious Adornment really made me stop and think.  It felt like I got hit between the eyes with the words she quotes from John Piper.  How much of what I do with my day makes it appear to others that I treasure Christ?  Not enough, that's for sure.

I am a new reader of Ann Voskamp's.  I saw her name floating around out there on Twitter, and I thought I'd check out her blog A Holy Experience.  It's a lovely spot on the web, both in pictures and in words.  This week she wrote about gaining a passion for scripture memory on her post titled Returning to Your First Love Bible Memorization: Make a Commitment Booklet.  It made me want to amp up my scripture memorization.

Now, along a completely different vein...

If you're looking to save yourself some money as well as putting something a little healthier into your body, you might want to read The Cheese Wars: Block vs. Pre-Shredded over at Comfy in the Kitchen.  I really need to utilize her suggestion, but I'm definitely gonna need to get a large shredder or else use my food processor.

Be sure to check out these links.  Have a great weekend!

*I have edited this after posting the original because I realized I had mistakenly called the blog Precious Adornment by another name.  I apologize for the incorrect information.

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Friday, November 05, 2010

Chat Pack Vlog... or Not

It's Friday, the last day of my Chat Pack week.  I don't think the Chat Pack vlogging has gone very well this week.  I missed a day, then had trouble creating videos yesterday and answering questions.  I must say, today's should be more interesting, though. 

Thanks for hanging in there with me.

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Thursday, November 04, 2010

Chat Pack Vlog: We Need to Talk


                              Chat Pack 

Vlogging these answers is not as easy as it looks.  Seriously.



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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Finding Freedom in Prison

I'm sorry there's no Chat Pack vlog today.  I ran out of time, and I'm not about to whip out the Flip Video at this point in the day. 

Instead, I have something of higher quality for you to view today.  I'd like you to watch this video from Revive Our Hearts, which was something they showed us at the True Woman Conference.  God is using this prison ministry to change women's lives, bringing them freedom even in imprisonment.  It's very moving.

Stacey Smith, who you will see in this video, was one of the workshop speakers at the conference.  I wish you could hear her whole story.  She is a trophy of God's grace. 

You will see the women performing a song in sign language, and that's one of the ways Stacey worships the Lord now.  She said that she had used and abused her body to do so much evil that she wanted to use her body in a way that brought glory to God.  She decided she could learn sign language to minister in music.

I hope this uplifts your spirit and causes you to glory in the Lord because of his healing power.

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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Chat Pack Vlog: Emotional Impact

                              Chat Pack

Hi.  It's Chat Pack week here on my blog.  That means I'm vlogging every day using my Chat Pack question box, and it's totally random.  I never know what question I'll pull out of the box.

What big screen movie had the greatest emotional impact on you?

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