Tuesday, April 30, 2013

‘Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around The Table with Recipes’ by Shauna Niequist – Book Review

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When I receive emails offering books to review, I often gravitate to books that include recipes. This is rather ironic, as I consider myself more of a can opener than a gourmet chef! I am grateful that God blessed me with my husband, Fred, who regularly comes up with amazing concoctions in the kitchen! The latest book in this ilk is ‘Bread & Wine: A Love Letter toLife Around The Table with Recipes’ by Shauna Niequist. 

Here is the synopsis of this book:

My prayer is that you’ll read these pages first curled up on your couch or in bed or in the bathtub, and then after that you’ll bring it in the kitchen with you, turning corners of pages, breaking the spine, spilling red wine on it and splashing vinegar across the pages, that it will become battered and stained as you cook and chop and play, music loud and kitchen messy.
And more than anything, I hope that when you put this book down, you’ll gather the people you love around your table to eat and drink, to tell stories, to be heard and fed and nourished on every level.

Here is the biography of this author:

Shauna Niequist is the author of Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life and Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way. She lives outside Chicago with her husband, Aaron, and their sons, Henry and Mac. At www.shaunaniequist.com, Shauna writes about family, friendship, faith, and life around the table.

Here is a video introduction of this book:

Yummy sounding recipes are sprinkled throughout the book. Some of the recipes that sound especially luscious to me are Farmers Market Potato Salad, Goat Cheese Scrambled Eggs, Dark Chocolate Sea Salted Toffee, Mango Chicken Curry, and Magical White Bean Salad. 

Here is Shauna’s introduction to the Goat Cheese Scrambled Eggs; sounds like she’s playing my tune!:

I am a very low-key, rules-averse, non-exact cook, but I have strong feelings about scrambled eggs. It’s one of the only things I’m truly high-maintenance about. If we’re talking about cold, rubbery eggs, I’d rather just have toast. But few things make me happier than a pan of rich, just barely cooked-through, perfectly loose and luscious eggs. What I’ve learned along the way is that it’s all about a cold pan and low heat. When a friend of ours was teaching his wife to drive their boat, he said this is all you need to know. Slow is cheap. And the same is true with scrambled eggs. The only way you can mess them up, really, is by trying to go too fast, and by cooking them at too high a temp. (p. 189)

So that explains what I’ve been doing wrong all along (too high a temp)!

The Appendix includes a section addressed to ‘Dear Becky’ that offers ‘Best Entertaining Tips, with Sample Recipes.’ Here are the tips:

1.    Find a way to entertain that works for you.
2.    When the doorbell rings, have your music on, something to eat, something to drink.
3.    Be prepared and make a detailed plan.
4.    Develop a repertoire and make only one last-minute dish per meal.
5.    Accept help. Let people bring things, help you cook, clean up – again, it’s not a performance.
6.    Assorted Other Thoughts (pp. 273-277)

I am not much of an entertainer, so I found these tips to be especially helpful – and relatively stress-free!

I obviously do not know Shauna, but she writes in such a style that she is
easily relatable and someone that you would like to know personally. I look forward to reading her next book, and highly recommend this one right now! And I also look forward to preparing some of these wonderful recipes, and making some great memories!

You can place your order for this book here

The Advance Reading Copy of this book was published by Zondervan and provided by Handlebar Marketing for review purposes. The pages included in this review may not match the pages in the finished product.

‘Kregel Charts of the Bible: Charts on the Life, Letters, and Theology of Paul’ by Lars Kierspel – Book Review

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Once again, I have the great good fortune to review a book that will be valuable in my studies as a Master of Theological Studies (New Testament
emphasis) student. The latest book on my list is ‘Kregel Charts of the Bible: Charts on the Life,Letters, and Theology of Paul’ by Lars Kierspel.

Here is the synopsis of this valuable resource:

These 111 charts go a long way in capturing in visual form the priorities of Paul’s ministry and the depths of his theological understanding. They cover a wide range of topics and are organized in four sections:

1. Paul’s Background and Context (9 charts)
2. Paul’s Life and Ministry (25 charts)
3. Paul’s Letters (43 charts)
4. Paul’s Theological Concepts (34 charts)

The author includes charts such as Paul’s quotations of the Old Testament, key words from Paul’s epistles, a timetable of Paul’s life, parallels between Acts and Paul’s epistles, overviews of each epistle, and the similarities of Ephesians and Colossians. He also includes trends in Pauline study such as the New Perspective. In addition, Kierspel provides insightful and useful comments regarding each chart. He concludes the volume with an extensive bibliography. All in all, the volume makes an excellent contribution to the teaching and preaching of Paul’s rich life and thought.

Here is the biography of this author:

Lars Kierspel is former department chair of biblical studies at Trinity College and Theological Seminary, Newburgh, Indiana. Before that, he taught at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville.

In the Preface, Dr. Kierspel explains the purpose for his book:

Paul made ample use of lists on a variety of subjects such as sin (e.g., Rom. 1:29-31), sufferings (e.g., 2 Cor. 11:23-27), salvation (e.g., Rom. 8:28-30), and spiritual gifts (e.g., 1 Cor. 12:8-10, 28-30). Maybe that is why preparing these charts often helped me discover the apostle on his own turf. The different angles reflected here constantly highlighted new aspects and offered unexpected insights. Given the nature of the apostle’s life and letters, this book is not for the lazy reader. While the charts ease access to information, they demand every ounce of intellectual and creative energy to avoid consuming them as biographical and theological fragments. Needless to say, Paul’s life is richer than these charts are able to reflect; and studies of Paul ask and answer more questions than I was able to review, understand, and display. My limits in book, space, time, and abilities forced me to make selections. (p. 9)

I actually made use of this book for a theological exposition paper on Galatians 5:16-24 in the Systematic Theology 2 class recently completed. I specifically used Chart 91 – The “Already” and “Not Yet” (p. 173) and Chart 97 – ‘The Imperative in Paul’s Letters’ (p. 183). I will also be taking a class in the summer entitled ‘Teaching with Skill and Influence,’ and I am quite sure that this book will come in handy for that class, as well.

The ‘Paul’s Letters’ section of the book is of particular value. There is a separate chart for each book attributed to Paul, as well as such interesting charts as Chart 40:  ‘Paul’s Letters: Total Number of Words and Vocabulary’ and Chart 56: ‘Key Words in 1-2 Corinthians.’ The ‘Key Words’ will be very useful when I start taking my Greek language classes in the fall.
The Bibliography in the back has also been useful, and it will continue to be, when I need access to important scholarly books.

I really enjoyed the depth of this resource, and have proudly added it to my textbook bookshelf! If you are interested in going deeper into Paul’s writings and teaching, I highly recommend this wonderful resource!

You can order your copy here.

This book was published by Kregel Academic, and provided by them for review purposes.

Friday, April 26, 2013

‘Rescuing Hope: A Story of Sex Trafficking in America’ by Susan Norris – Book Review

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One of the saddest and most surprising evils that one human can perpetuate on another is to take advantage of other people and use them as sex slaves. Susan Norris has written a book 
entitled ‘Rescuing Hope: A Story of Sex Trafficking in America’ that is a real eye opener.

Here is the synopsis of this powerful book:

Every two minutes, evil strips innocence from a child and sells her into slavery for sex. Not in a
third-world country, but in the United States of America. Before you take another breath, the next victim will be tricked or taken from her family by a profit-hungry criminal.
She could be a neighbor. A friend. Your sister. Your daughter. You.
At fourteen, Hope Ellis is the all-American girl with a good life – until the day she tries to help her mom with their cross-country move by supervising the movers. When they finish, one of the men returns to the house and rapes her. Held silent by the threats, darkness begins to engulf her. But the rape proves to be the least of Hope’s troubles. In a gasping attempt at normalcy, she succumbs to the attention of a smooth-talking man on the subway. He promises acceptance. He declares his love. He lures her out from under the shelter of her suburban life.
Hope’s disappearance sets a community in motion. She’s one of their own. They determine to find Hope, whatever the cost, before she’s lost forever.

Here is the biography of the author:

A powerful voice for hope, international speaker Susan Norris www.susannorris.org helps teens and women find freedom in the areas of purity and spiritual identity. With a master’s of education from UNC-Greensboro, this former teacher now networks for organizations such as Resolution Hope and Not for Sale and raises her voice for victims of sex trafficking across the nation. Susan serves as a catalyst for action among her peers and walks alongside rescued girls as they piece together their shattered lives. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and children and considers them to be her highest calling.

Here is Ms. Norris talking about her book:

In the Acknowledgements, Ms. Norris thanks her readers:

To my readers, thank you for taking the time to read about a difficult subject, when it would be easy to turn away. I pray Rescuing Hope stirs something inside you to propel you into action. Find your place in the fight against the commercial sexual exploitation of children. There’s room for everyone in this battle. We need your voice, your gifts, your talents. What part will you play in becoming a voice for hope? (p. x)

This book is written for a young adult audience. Ms. Norris explains the contents of the book at its beginning:

What you are about to read is fiction. However, the events in this book are based on interviews with survivors of human sex trafficking, their families, detectives, people from religious and rescue organizations on the frontlines, and a former pimp. Some of the content is mature, and though we have strived for a PG-13 treatment of it, this book should be read with adult supervision.
We encourage you to take any questions to an adult you trust.

I was truly quite stunned by this book. Ms. Norris tells a true-to-life story of a young teen who was taken in by a pimp and used to earn lots of money for himself. I was fairly familiar with the problem of human trafficking, but had never thought about it from the perspective of the young victim. Ms. Norris opened my eyes to the truth of the evil. It is unfathomable to me that this is happening in the United States, and in such great numbers. Here Detective Johnson gives some statistics to Hope’s mother:

“It happens all over the world, even in America. Even in Atlanta. It’s hard to get a handle on, because these guys are smart and they don’t leave any trails behind. They keep minors locked away somewhere, so we don’t see them out on the streets very often like adult prostitutes. With today’s technology, pimps use the Internet and cell phones to advertise girls. The johns, the guys who pay for sex with minors, go to the girls, instead of the other way around. It’s hard to catch them, but we’re not giving up.” (p. 154)

At the back of the book, Ms. Norris included ‘Discussion Starters.’ This book is in the Young Adult
category. I think it would be valuable for parents to work through this book with their teens – both male and female – to educate them on the tactics of these predators, so that they can guard against and protect themselves from them. Here is an example of one of the questions:

·         T gained information from Hope quickly and almost effortlessly. What steps do you take to protect yourself when talking with people you’ve just met? What about online? (p. 191)

Ms. Norris also shared some organizations with which you can get involved – to give of your voice, gifts, and talents in this fight for freedom and awareness. Some of the listed groups are Wellspring Living and Out of Darkness. It is good to know that there are numerous organizations that are trying to help eradicate this evil.

Despite the disturbing subject matter, I am glad I read this book. It enlightened me to a difficult topic, and I appreciate that Ms. Norris took the time to share this valuable information with her reading audience.

This book is published by iUniverse Book and was provided by Glass Road Public Relations for review purposes.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Guest Blog Post – ‘Going Higher’ by Jayme Hull

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Picnic time is just around the corner. Everyone has a favorite cookout smell that brings back good times and memories. One of my Dad’s favorite sandwiches is a good ol’ American hot dog.

Last year, while Dad was visiting, we planned a special picnic get-together. When I went to the grocery store I had forgotten how large a selection of hot dogs we have to pick from! One brand caught my eye in particular, the “Hebrew National.”  Even more profound than their brand name was their slogan:

“We answer to a higher authority.”

I chuckled, “Hey, so do I!” Of course, my curiosity converted me into a consumer—I bought the dogs. I have to admit the hot dogs were juicy and delicious.

So, here is today’s question: “What is your slogan?”

Do you answer to a higher authority?

If Christian women of today would live like we answer to a higher authority,
our lives and families would look different. This is what mentoring is all about. Helping woman realize they are blessed and privileged to answer to a higher authority.

You may be asking:

·         How do I mentor others?
·         What does mentoring look like?

Here is an example:

Young Woman: I just don’t understand how to hear God’s voice.

Mentor: No worries, this is a common question. I can give you an example. I
am married and I spend all my time with my husband. I communicate with him and I know what he thinks and how he lives his life. When my husband calls me on the phone, he doesn't have to say, “Hi honey. This is your husband.”

You see, the minute he says my name I know who he is because I know his voice. I have spent quality time with him and know him inside and out.

As you spend more time in God’s Word you begin to learn His character. You will recognize His commands and His love.

Before I end my time mentoring I always pray over the young believer and encourage her to seek and answer to the higher authority in Jesus Christ.

Even more exciting—as a mentor, you will walk away renewed in your own faith. Scripture says as you refresh others, you yourself will be refreshed. Be encouraged as you mentor the next generation of believers. God will bless you as you pour your life into others.

Jayme Hull Bio:

Jayme’s ministry is focused on mentoring others with a clear and strong
biblical foundation. She is a graduate of New York University, and currently a Bible Study teacher, piano teacher and mentor to numerous women of all ages. She and her husband, John, currently live in Nashville, TN.
Visit Jayme at: www.jaymeleehull.com/.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Guest Blog Post – ‘Three Reasons to Listen to the Enemy’ by Lynn Hare

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Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
– James 4:7 (ESV)

Pay attention to the enemy of your soul. He’s got something you need.

Following a car accident in February, I was laid up with leg, back, neck, and facial injuries. By March, I was still in so much pain, I couldn't even get comfortable in bed.
I told my husband, “This morning I didn't want to get out of bed. The pain is winning.” My head dropped to my chest.

But I listened for Jesus’ voice. I heard Him whisper, “Those thoughts are not yours. The enemy is in your head.”

How do we wage war? By listening to the enemy. Here are three reasons:

1.) The enemy will show you where on the battlefield to fight.

When we hear, “I’m not making any progress,” we need to look for growth.
When I said, “I’m not getting better,” I frowned at the bald-faced lie. “Hey,” I said, “No
wonder I’m under attack. I’m about to improve!” Determined, I rode my exercise bike and stretched my leg muscles. I was rewarded with a surge of energy. The next day, instead of two crutches, I was on one.

2. Like negatives from a camera, the enemy shows you the reverse of the truth.

Like photos developed in a dark room, black becomes white. Red turns green. Yellow is soon purple. When the enemy shows us an image, we need to declare its precise opposite.

I caught myself saying, “I feel lonely and isolated.” But then I glanced at the stack of get-well-soon cards and meals friends had dropped off. “NO!” I said aloud. “I have lots of friends!”

I determined to write two letters of encouragement each night.

3.) The enemy unwittingly drops hints that point to our future.

When I looked in the mirror, I thought, “Look at the swelling over my eye. What a loser!”

But instead, I looked ahead to what God was shaping me to become. I said aloud, “I’m a winner!” I doubled my words of encouragement to others. Several told me they were uplifted and strengthened.

And now the enemy was no longer in my head. I grinned, leaned forward and asked, “What else have you got?” He scowled and backed away. “Forget it.”

What lies from the enemy are pointing you to the Truth?

Lynn Hare Bio:

Author, speaker, and certified teacher Lynn Hare enthusiastically provides grace-filled
messages about encouragement, prayer, and practicing the presence of the Holy Spirit. A member of Oregon Christian Writers, she lives in Portland with her husband of thirty-two years, Tim. Her inspirational pieces appear in numerous Christian periodicals. You can ‘meet’ her at her website: www.lynnhare.com

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Guest Blog Post – ‘A Reading Tale’ by Kathy Carlton Willis

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April is Library Snapshot Month. Please enjoy this guest post from Kathy Carlton Willis.

I've always been a lover of books—the opportunity to visit a new world, a new time, a new way of life. What’s your rite-of-passage reading story? I’ll start with mine.

As soon as I started school, Mother encouraged me to learn to read. She was a voracious reader, eager for me to develop the same love of books. This Chatty Kathy enjoyed every form of communications since my first spoken word. The written word was no different—I took to it like gravy goes with biscuits. Remember those Weekly Reader magazines (oh, the delicious smell of the ink and paper!)? The SRA Reading Lab inspired me to read not just for speed, but for retention.

When I received my first public library card around age 6, Mom walked us to the library several times a month. Yes, it seemed like it was two miles uphill
both ways, but it was worth it! Our little town of four thousand was blessed with a Carnegie library (built in 1905) full of well-loved books. Mom taught me how to follow my favorite authors—I read all their titles. I knew how to thumb through a card catalog and recite the Dewey decimal system. By the time I outgrew the children’s section, I had read every book and graduated to the “grown-up” shelves.

Most avid readers say their idea of a time-out from stress and life involves curling up with a good book—claw-foot tub or blazing fireplace optional.

My favorite reading tip is this: Don’t waste time on a mediocre book. When reading for recreation, remember that you aren’t in school anymore. You aren’t being graded for reading every word. So if a book doesn’t appeal to you, put it down! Grab a different one. We have only so much time in life—definitely not enough time to get bogged down with a boring book or confusing storyline.

Just because a book earned rave reviews doesn’t mean it’s the right book for you, any more than gorgeous size 7 shoes will fit size 10 feet!

Think about your own reading tale. What was it like when you learned to read? When did you discover your local library? Do you recall the favorite authors of your early years? Who inspired you to read more? What challenges you today in your reading? We all have a story—even a reading story!

Kathy Carlton Willis Bio:

Kathy Carlton Willis gets jazzed speaking for women’s events and writers
conferences across the country. She’s known for her practical and often humorous messages. Kathy enjoys fiddling with words as a writer and also coaches others. When not reading or writing books, she serves as a happy pastor’s wife. You can visit her at her website: http://www.kathycarltonwillis.com.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Q & A with Rick Hamlin on Prayer

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Your career at Guideposts magazine has spanned almost three decades. How has your position at Guideposts as executive editor impacted your outlook on prayer?

When you see me in my office, surrounded by a sea of yellow post-it notes filled with prayer requests from people around the world, you get a quick snapshot of all the
ways I've been blessed. Praying for others and encouraging them in prayer has taken me on a wonderful journey, an exhilarating adventure. I like to memorize their requests and who they are so I can think about them when I’m not at my desk. I’ve learned to “go out on a limb” when I pray for others, to take a risk, to be passionate – the way Paul is in his prayers. In my work here, I’ve also been expected to ask boldly, sometimes brazenly, about other people’s prayer lives and that has blessed me and helped me grow in my Christian faith. Hearing their stories, their challenges, and their victories refreshes and encourages me every day.   

You give your readers a new perspective on the definition of prayer—what constitutes prayer, what it is, what it’s not. Can you expand upon this, helping readers understand your view of “praying without ceasing”?

Talking to God can happen in a lot of different ways. Certainly, it can be quiet and contemplative, but it can also be a conversation as you would talk to a friend. Pour out your soul, say what’s on your mind, don’t censor yourself. He’s listening and knows exactly what you’re going through. Also, reading Scripture, especially the Psalms, captures our thoughts, speaks to our souls and, in fact, constitutes prayer. A prayer can inspire an act, but the act itself can also be a prayer. It can be bold and action-packed like a hug, a song, a scripture verse, a service, writing someone a note or letter or doing an out-of-the-blue favor; all these connect us with our Maker. When we say “Yes” to God and then go on to act on His nudgings, on the promptings of the Holy Spirit, then we’re on our way to “praying without ceasing” throughout our lives.  

You exhort readers not to get stuck in “prayer paralysis.” Could you further discuss the “cure” for this malady?

Sometimes in your prayer life it can be hard to translate a good feeling into an action.
  You know what God wants you do to but you’re not sure you can do it.  You get stuck.  Well, as someone once said, “Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.”  When you say “Hi!” to God, God will say “Hi!” right back to you.  Step out in faith and you will be helped in more ways than you know.  Prayer is a tool to make you stronger, braver, bigger, lovelier – in a word.  Prayer simply expands your world. You learn to care about people you would never have known otherwise, and you find out what makes them tick. You grow in your ability to love. This “prayer in action” cures your “prayer paralysis” quickly! 

In your new book, you speak on many different aspects of prayer. What is your view on acquiring a “prayer partner” or someone you can pray with regularly? 

Jesus says that “wherever two or three are gathered in My name,” He will be there—with bells on. We really do gain strength from one another in this world. We’re not
made to fly solo. With all that in mind, years ago, I worked up my courage to ask a
friend, Arthur Caliandro, a senior pastor who led a large, dynamic ministry, to come alongside me as a prayer partner. And it’s been a wonderful partnership! Arthur and I met together for 18 years, and he has taught me so much as “iron sharpens iron”, so Arthur has honed and challenged me in a vast number of ways. In fact, Arthur introduced me to The Jesus Prayer, a life-saving, soul-refreshing prayer that I talk about in the new book.

Tell us more about The Jesus Prayer.  

The Jesus Prayer is a tried-and-true classic. It’s really a prayer that I keep tucked in my
heart, so to speak—a prayer that I’ve memorized that I can call on if and when needed. In essence, it restores my focus to what’s really important, reminding me “Why am I
here?”  It begins “Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me, a miserable sinner . . . .” When I’m sitting in a meeting, going cross-eyed, it brings me back to all that’s true in life. I need Christ’s mercy, especially when my self-righteousness kicks in! The prayer continues with, “Make haste to help me. Rescue me and save me. Let Thy will be done in my life.” I find that this prayer takes away all the needless tasks and distractions. It’s asking God to be very present where we are - to become a creature of hope and love, not fear, to encourage and not condemn, to trust and not flee. And if you’re like me, you’ll find great value in this.       

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate yourself as a “prayer expert”?

Ah, a question with many answers. I love it! First, without God, I would rate myself a zero. He’s the one who created prayer, designed it and invented it, so without Him everything in life would add up to nothing! And that’s also why that with Him, we’re all “10’s.” Every person who comes to Him with a mustard seed of faith rates a “10.” You can’t fail at prayer. Just trying to pray is to pray. Practice is perfect. God makes each of His children with the need and capacity to connect intimately with Him.  We’re all amateurs in prayer in the true sense of the word in that amateurs do what they do out of love.

You offer 10 suggestions for ways to pray. Are there only 10?  

My 10 ways to pray are just to get you started. There are as many ways to pray as there are people in the world. Prayer is personal and heart-felt for each one of us. These 10 prayers “you can’t live without” really provide motivation to dive in and swim, to see the possibilities and fly. No prayer is wrong, and every prayer tried is the best 
one possible for that time and place. God will find you wherever you are, and He will never let you go. Sit with Him, stand with Him, cry with Him, laugh ‘til your sides ache. Pray, just pray. Ask Him to help you. You were made to pray!   


Thanks, Rick! Finally, please check out this video featuring Rick talking about his new book   

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Guest Blog Post - ‘No Housework Day’ by Robin Steinweg

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April 7 is International No Housework Day. In honor of that special day (!), please enjoy this guest blog post!

‘No Housework Day’ by Robin Steinweg

I used to be queen of procrastination. I abdicated that throne.

Now you can call me Sisyphus.

That’s right—the mythological Greek who was forced to roll a boulder uphill all day, then watch it plunge back down at night—only to start again the next morning. And the next, and the next.

Anyone whose responsibilities include the daily round of family meals, dishes, laundry or floor-care could relate to Sisyphus. A recurring nightmare might go like this:  a mountainous meatball lumbers down the stairs toward my kitchen, spraying a trail of spaghetti sauce, grated Parmesan and a few unruly noodles. It gains momentum. It lurches straight toward my freshly shined sink.


The meatball takes a deliberate turn. I hear its sneering tone as it threatens me, “I’ll roll over you. You’ll be flat as a sheet.” The meatball leans over me menacingly, looking strangely like my husband—

“Roll over, Honey. You’re dreaming. And you've got the flat sheet all to yourself.”

The average American woman scrubs her house for at least seventeen hours a week*. That means if she lives to be eighty years old, she’ll have spent over eight years of her life cleaning house!

I’d like to slice a sliver out of that perennial pie. April 7 is International No Housework Day.

Put down your mop
Hang the broom
Watch dust bunnies gather in every room
Don’t let your youth just fade away
Take time to celebrate No Housework Day

Put off till later what needs to be done
Cooking and housework aren’t much fun
Take the day off. Augment your sorrow—
Every mess, every job will be there tomorrow

Dishes will litter each horizontal space
Oatmeal will harden at an alarming pace
Slog through the clutter? You’ll be confounded
As tasks pile up with interest compounded

Hm. That didn’t go quite like I thought it would.

It could be that the statistics of the average woman’s housecleaning would change in the wrong direction. I’ve heard that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If I take a day off, how many extra hours—days—months—will it take me to catch up?  

Maybe I’ll be queen of procrastination one more time—

—and put off celebrating No Housework Day!

*According to a 2008 study by the University of Michigan.  

Robin Steinweg Bio:
Robin Steinweg finds life sweet in the middle of writing, teaching music
students, caring for aging parents, adjusting to having adult children, and nudging life and home to a state of order. She, her husband and sons live near Madison, Wisconsin.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Guest Blog Post – ‘Crazy Math’ By Deb DeArmond

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Marriage is a two-for.

You know what a two-for is, don’t you? You buy one, get one for free. When you marry your sweetheart, you actually get more than just one free. You get an entire additional family. What a bargain!

April is National Math Awareness Month. Apparently, some of us weren’t paying attention when that celebration rolled our way. Mama told me, “Marry the man, marry the family.”

But the marriage math doesn’t end there. “And the two shall become one flesh. Since they are no longer two, but one” (Mark 10:8 NIV). Do the Math Awareness people have that one figured out? I doubt it.

God planned this unique mathematical equation: 1+1=1. If it sounds impossible, it’s not. But it’s not simple, either. I’ve been married 37 years. When people ask how we’ve managed to stay together, happy all these years, I reply, “I travel a lot.” We joke that after all these years, Ron’s concluded it’s “cheaper to keep her.” A sense of humor probably doesn’t hurt either. We’ve agreed to take marriage seriously, and ourselves less so. It’s hard to stay mad when you’re laughing.

God knew it wouldn’t be easy for us to set aside our “me first” human nature and put things in biblical order. God expects to be first, and wants our spouse to be next in priority. Romans 12 reminds us, “in honor give preference to one another.” That puts me in spot number three in my life, running contrary to my selfish nature. But if I prefer my husband and he prefers me, we are each well cared for and the relationship is in order as together we submit to God. But if I get just one item out of order—my job, or friends, even my kids—the math equation begins to come apart.
The good news is that God is there when we forget how to add it up. And since He created marriage, He has provided the manual on how to care for it and how to repair it when needed.
So go to the author of the instruction manual on marriage. The one who believed it possible, if not easy, to create one from two. “Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together” (Matthew 19:6). Although this sounds like a warning against outside influences, it’s also a reminder to couples that even we do not have God’s approval to blow up our marriages when things get tough.
Marriage. Crazy math. Questions? Go to the great mathematician. He’s got it

Deb DeArmond Bio:

Deb DeArmond is an expert in the fields of communication, relationship and 
conflict resolution. A writer and professional speaker, Deb focuses on topics related to the family and women. Kregel publications will release her first book in early 2014, focused on relationships between women-in-law. Read
Deb at

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

‘Charts on the Books of Hebrews’ by Herbert W. Bateman IV – Book Review

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Being a seminary student, as well as a blogger, I am always on the lookout for review books that will help me in my studies. Such is the case with ‘Charts on the Book of Hebrews’ by Herbert W. Bateman IV, part of the Kregel Charts of the Bible series.

Here is the synopsis of this valuable resource:

The book of Hebrews presents interpretive challenges and theological comparisons unrivaled in the New Testament. Charts on the Book of Hebrews puts this demanding yet rewarding information in an accessible and useful format. The charts fall into four categories:

1. Introductory matters (e.g., authorship of Hebrews)
2. Influences in Hebrews (e.g. Second Temple messianic figures)
3. Theological issues (e.g. words of exhortation)
4. Exegetical concerns (e.g. figures of speech)

Students will find this an invaluable companion to classes on Hebrews. Pastors and teachers will benefit from these insightful charts to quickly clarify difficult concepts while teaching. And all visual learners will find that these charts make Hebrews more comprehensible.

Here is the biography of this author:

Herbert W. Bateman IV is Professor of New Testament at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and the author and editor of numerous books. He wrote, along with Darrell L. Bock and Gordon H. Johnson, Jesus the Messiah, the acclaimed book that traces, progressively and canonically, the theme of Messiah through all of Scripture.

In the Preface, Dr. Bateman explains the purpose for his book:

Charts on the Book of Hebrews provides information about Hebrews succinctly in visual format for today’s students and congregant. It is very user-friendly so that the charts may be used as both a foundational tool for study as well as a visual pedagogical and preaching tool. Ultimately it will benefit pastors, teachers, students, and anyone wanting to study as well as teach the Book of Hebrews. (p. 9)

I have always been interested in the Book of Hebrews. One of the main reasons for this fascination is that it is the only book in the New Testament where the author is unknown. I have my theory on who wrote this important book. One of the charts in this book list potential authors and the date they were proposed. The list includes Barnabas, Paul, Clement of Rome, Luke, Apollos, Silas, Peter, Philip, Priscilla and Aquila (Priscilla dominant), and Aristion. (p. 17). My choice is in that list (okay – I think it was Paul!)!

My favorite section of the book is Part 3: Theology in Hebrews. That section takes a closer look at how Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Covenant. One of the most valuable charts, in my opinion, is Chart 66, ‘Titles Ascribed to Jesus in Hebrews and Shared in the New Testament.’ These charts are important in that we can see the consistency and richness of the Bible.

Another interesting chart is Chart 103: ‘Alphabetical Listing of Greek Words Unique to Hebrews.’ I will be starting my Greek classes in the Fall semester. Although it’s ‘all Greek to me’ now, it won’t be for very long!  

Overall, I find this a very important resource that I will be going back to again and again. This is one in a series, and I plan on adding many to my library. I recommend you do the same if you are interested in digging deeper into God’s Word!

This book was published by Kregel Academic, and provided by them for review purposes.

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