Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Book Review: Meals from Mars

Hi everyone! Today I have another book review: "Meals from Mars" by Ben Sciacca.

First off, I must say that I got this book in high hopes that it would be a inspiring book and not just another polarizing or sympathetic read. The front cover itself called the book "a parable of prejudice and providence." However, in some ways it didn't quite live up to my expectations.

The book begins toward the end of the story, then backtracks twenty hours before the end, telling the story of a well-to-do white guy from the suburbs and a black teen from the inner city. Through a twist of fate, they end up stuck in an icy storm at night in the country together. Neither cares much for the other, and the well-to-do man, Jim, argues about how Malik, the inner city teen, could be something better than he is if he "moved on" or "got a job" while Malik argues about how bad things are and how nothing ever matters and how much he dislikes false sympathy. This arguing (which seemed like whining) continues through the night, and there is little to no resolve between the two men.

I won't spoil the ending (which was a bit predictable, in my opinion), but when I finally turned the last page, I felt that there were more arguments and sympathy than mutual understanding and relief of prejudicial tension between the two characters. I do, however, appreciate that the author wrote the book in such a way that I was given two sides of the story and was not told what to think. Also the book is written with interesting imagery, humor and some relatability. The characters were polar opposites (one has a great, well-paying job, great house, good family life, etc, and the other lives in the bad side of town, is dirt-poor, gets into trouble, speaks very stereotypically, etc), but seemed real enough to be believable. While the book was well-written, I still wish there had been at least some sort of real resolve instead of the sudden, almost unreal ending.

(I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.)


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Book Review: Bible Promises for Parents of Children with Special Needs



Today's book review is from my Mom, Amy from Raising Arrows.

Bible Promises for Parents of Children with Special Needs  -     By: Amy Mason


A book like Bible Promises for Parents of Children with Special Needs would be a perfect gift for a mom with a baby in NICU, or a mom with a child who has a condition that makes normal feel like a foreign word.  

As a mom who has a daughter with a syndrome that will affect the rest of her life, I appreciate being able to flip through by topic and find Scriptural answers to exactly what I am feeling.  Everything from finances to accepting the diagnosis to dealing with the loneliness of being a mom with a child who isn't quite "normal" is addressed in this small purse-sized book.

It answers the hard questions of raising a special needs child with grace, mercy, and God's Word.  It is exactly what every mom walking this road needs in her arsenal of encouragement.

(I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.)

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Book Review: Different



Hi, everyone! Today I'm reviewing a great book called Different.

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Although I love to read, there aren't many books that leave me feeling the way this book did. After I finished the very last page, I wished there was more. I felt encouraged and empowered.

As some of you may know faith does not always come easily to me. I've always had a lot of questions about a lot of things, including faith. Part of that is because I have something called Aspergers, which means I'm basically high-functioning autistic. I've never felt degraded by Aspergers, but that doesn't mean it's easy being an Aspie. I deal with things like being socially awkward and having sensory processing issues, and I also have a hard time understanding faith. I tend to feel disconnected during worship, and sermons can be difficult for me to wrap my mind around.

But this book has helped me with some of that.

Different is written by Sally and Nathan Clarkson. Nathan has OCD and a few other diagnoses that make him, well, different. He sees the world in his own unique way - which sometimes makes him misunderstood by others. However, through all the highs and lows, he and his mom have believed that his differences are all a part of what could build him up.

What I like most about Different:

1.  It's easy to read. There's no 'Christianese' (I've never been able to understand those types of phrases) or long chapters. Each chapter is divided into a section written by Nathan and a section written by Sally. It's a super quick read (so quick it left me wishing there was more).

2. It's not about how to "fix" a person who is "different." It doesn't talk about all the things that are wrong about OCD or ADD or ADHD. Rather, this books is a compilation of personal stories (and pencil sketches drawn by Nathan) that share what it's like to be different and how Nathan and Sally have grown closer to God because of it.

3. This book does not condone hiding behind a diagnosis. It's not about making excuses for mistakes you've made or the way you live your life just because you have a "problem." Nathan and Sally encourage you to believe in your (or your child's) potential. They have a calling to be a hero in their own way.

I am beyond elated that I came across this book. Different has not only inspired me in ways I'd never felt before - it has also taught me that being different is 

If you or your child is out-of-the-box, and you want to be encouraged and uplifted, read this book! You won't regret it! No matter how different you are, you can still dare to make your story a great one.

(I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Book Review: Hidden In My Heart Scripture Memory Bible

Hi, everyone! I'm back with another awesome book to review!

Recently, I had the chance to review the Hidden In My Heart Scripture Memory Bible, and it is amazing! It's not your usual Scripture memory Bible - it's better!



With this Bible, you get access to free songs that use memory verses as the lyrics. Studies have shown that music aids in memorization (which is why you'll never forget the Kit Kat song or Jesus Loves Me), and memory verse songs are a fun way to encourage memorization.

The text is very easy to read, and memory verses are highlighted in special sections. Each section contains a memory verse in 3 translations (NLT, KJV and NIV) for various ways of memorizing them.

My favorite part of the Memory Bible is the thematic memory verse plans. This section provides a list of verses to guide you in memorizing verses based on a theme, such as peace, joy, and hope.

The only disappointment I have with it? Most of the memory songs do not have the contemporary sound I like. They're more written for children ages 6-10. If they were a bit more like the contemporary worship music I listen to, I would definitely be more prompted to memorize the verses that way.

All in all, this Scripture Memory Bible is perfect for any age, and is a wonderful prompt for easy Bible verse memorization. I would definitely recommend this Memory Bible!

(I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.)

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas 2016

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas! Mine was absolutely spectacular! My family and I opened presents and stockings, watched some shows together (Mission Impossible and Star Trek...yes, very non-traditional things to watch on Christmas day. 😉), played Twister, tried out all our new gifts, put together Christmas supper, and in all, spent a great day with each other. It wasn't a white Christmas unfortunately...but it did rain, so I guess that was okay. Better than nothing at all (and you ought to know how much I love rain). 🙂

Aside from telling y'all about my Christmas, I wanted to share a little something. On Christmas Eve, my family and I went to a Christmas Eve service at the Church. The place was all decorated up with wreaths and garlands, and everyone received a candle which was lit at the end of the service. Towards the end of the service, the pastor showed a short video - rather, a commercial - about an event during World War I where the British and Germans stopped the fighting to celebrate Christmas together. The video was quite awe-inspiring, and so I want to share it with you. You can watch it below. December 25 may be over this year, but I hope the joy and love and peace that comes with the Christmas season never ends.



May your days be merry and bright, everyone!

à la prochaine,

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Time

Wow. It's a bit hard to believe my last post was over a month ago. A lot of things have happened since then, and now Christmas is coming and so is New Years and...all I can say is wow. I wish time went slower than it does. Moments seem to be here one minute and gone the next.

Life is calming down somewhat here after a busy month in our household. We've geared up for the Christmas season. We have our Christmas tree by the front window - something I've wanted for ages! I love seeing Christmas trees in the windows of people's houses as we drive by to look at the lights. :)

I've been making presents for my family too. Mostly sewing projects - toys and such. I'm hoping to crochet a teddy bear for some family friends who are expecting a baby really soon. I'm also crocheting little baskets for a Tea Party my Grandma is having this Spring. They're so cute! We chose Spring colors, so the baskets are yellow, pink, green and blue.

My family and I have been watching a lot of Studio C since a friend introduced us to it a while ago. My younger sister loves it so much - she gets to laughing so hard! :D

Not too long ago, my best friend, Paprika, and her family came to visit for a day. It was awesome. Paprika and I went to the coffee shop three times (I live so close to it - why not?). At one point, we tried some of each other's drinks, and the "friend" part of me was all for it, but the sensory part of me was like "no, don't do it!" Paprika could tell part of me wasn't very willing (I'll bet it wasn't too hard to notice), and remarked, "This is killing you, isn't it?" But we shared anyway, which is something I wouldn't do with many people. Guess that's why she's my best friend though. ;)

While she was here, we spoke with British accents for quite a while - although I did eventually switch to Scottish because I like it slightly better. We pretended to be cousins during the 1400s too. She actually taught me how to play pretend. I didn't really pretend with anyone before I met her. And now whenever we get together, we're in a Nancy Drew mystery or making up our own adventure. :)

A very special event is coming up for me soon. I'm super excited and a little bit sad. There is an ornament on our tree that my Mom made for me before I was born. It is a clear glass ball filled with heart-shaped confetti and one note rolled up into a scroll. All my life I have waited to read that small note (and I've come pretty close to it...but that was when I was an impatient little six-year-old who tried to open it in secret. ;) ), and now this December I will finally read it. I am counting down the days. The reason why I'm sad is because I can't help but think, Wow, I've waited all this time and now the waiting is almost over. It's a bit hard to believe I will get to open the ornament and read the note inside. Believe me, I am super curious to know what it says!

My special ornament

On another note, my newest sibling was born! And now we have an equal ratio of boys to girls! It's kind of been we girls' "competition" to finally "catch up" with the boys again. And, well, we finally did. ;) So, yes, that is very exciting. After some waiting and doctor visits, Baby Ten is doing very well.

Well, this is as good a place as any to sign off. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

à la prochaine,

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

November

Happy November! Seems like time is going so fast!

I think Fall is having a bit of trouble. It's been surprisingly warm for the time of year. I just hope that cold weather will arrive with the coming of November. :)

I went to see a ballet with a family friend earlier this week. I've always found it so amazing how dancing can tell a story without words.

Matt Smith, the (awesome) actor who plays the Eleventh regeneration in Doctor Who, had his 34th birthday this past week, so I crocheted up a pair of bow tie boot cuffs. I got the inspiration from a boot cuff pattern from Crafty Tuts. Eleven is my second favorite regeneration (and if you're curious, my favorite is Tom Baker...he is the Doctor.), so I was super excited to crochet something "Bowties are cool" related. ;)

Funny thing is, once I finally finished the baby blanket I started forever ago, I thought I'd take a nice break from crochet. Not so - after a couple days, I was back to crocheting. I've completed three projects since then, with a fourth one half-done.


Aside from feverishly crocheting things, I've also been writing short stories and poems to put in a book. So far, I have about five. I'm hoping to have twenty at the very least. Let's hope inspiration comes over me. ;)

Aaaand I went to the library for the first time in months! I love books. I've read nearly every book in our home library, and whenever I can get to the city library I have the time of my life. I usually check out a couple books I've read before...usually good books on how to write stories. This time, I also picked up some Tea Shop Mysteries (I've loved those books since my Grandma accidentally left one when she visited our house...I found it and read it cover to cover in a matter of two days), a Sherlock Holmes mystery, and a few books full of famous short stories and poems. Fiction is hard to come by at my house...our bookshelves are mostly non-fiction, save for Boxcar Children, Nancy Drew, and some novels by my Mom's friends. So when I can get my hands on decent novels, I delve into them.

I think I hear a library book calling my name, so I'll sign off here. :)

à la prochaine,