Thursday, April 17, 2014

Book Review: For Such a Time by Kate Breslin

For Such a Time by Kate Breslin retells the story of Esther with the role of Esther being played by Hadassah/Stella and the role of King Xerxes played by Aric, the Nazi Commandant of a concentration camp.  Hadassah is half-Jewish, but she looks Aryan, and she has forged papers using the name Stella.  When she is rescued from one concentration camp by Aric, he takes her to the one of which he has command, for her to be his secretary.  Of course, love ensues and all the Jews are saved...well, not all, but that's a plot spoiler.

I had such high hopes for this book, especially since it started off so well.  But as it continued, the story felt more and more contrived, and it just didn't feel realistic at all.  The way Breslin brought circumstances together felt forced, like she was trying to follow a certain storyline regardless of how it fit her story.  I guess she was, and it didn't work.

Another thing that wasn't right was how Breslin made no difference between Jewish faith and Christian faith.  Faith in God was all that mattered, and I don't think Jesus was even mentioned.  There is a difference, and it's very important.  Both Hadassah and Aric come to faith, but what their faith is in isn't clear.  It seems like Hadassah's faith is in the Bible which she opens randomly to discover what she needs.  And Aric's faith seems to be in Hadassah.  This story could have done so much more in this area.

I want to thank Bethany House for my review copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Rachel's Appointment Yesterday

We received more good news on Rachel yesterday at her doctor's appointment.  You can read about it here.

Monday, April 14, 2014


Part of this post was originally published two years ago on this date.

Today is my birthday.  Since you're not supposed to ask a lady her age, I don't have to tell you.  But I will say that 40 keeps getting closer and closer...but I'm not there yet!

A few years ago, I mentioned to my father that I was born on a bad day. Abraham Lincoln was shot on my birthday (although he actually died on the 15th), and the Titanic struck the iceberg on my birthday (sinking on the 15th). Trying to prove me wrong, that April 14th is not a bad day, my father looked it up on the internet. And we found more bad things: Black Sunday, the worst dust storm of the Dust Bowl; and a massive explosion in Bombay harbor killed 300 people. So much for that!

However, if you believe that God is sovereign, you cannot conclude that April 14th is a "bad" day because only the things that He allowed and caused happened that day, things that would bring Him glory. God can use "bad" things for good. So we have to see Lincoln's assasination and the sinking of the Titanic as good things since God allowed (or even caused) them to happen.

Anyway, today is my birthday, and I hope that we have a nice, quiet day of celebrating.

What kinds of things happened on your birthday? If you don't know, this site is a good one to check.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Helpful Advice from Unexpected Places

I've been having problems with Sarah Beth in school.  Not disciplinary problems, but a hole in her learning that I wasn't sure how to fill.  I've asked a couple of veteran homeschooling mothers about what to do, but their suggestions just didn't fit the situation.  So we continued stumbling along, doing out best.

One day, I complained about discussed this problem with some homeschooling friends, and one of them had an excellent suggestion, one that is helping to fill in the "hole."

In my arrogance, I would not have asked for her advice because this is her first year of homeschooling while this is my third.  But she threw out a suggestion which proved to be extremely helpful.

My point with this story is that you never know where you'll get the best advice...and you never know if the advice you give will be exactly what the other person needs to hear.  If my friend had kept her mouth shut because of her relative lack of experience compared to my relative amount of experience (three years isn't much more than one, really), I would still have my quandary.  But she spoke up, I listened, and my problem now has a solution.

The next time someone brings up a problem that you have a possible solution for, speak up!  And the next time someone tries to offer you advice for a problem you're relating to them, listen up!  You never know how the advice might help the other person.

(Of course, you have to take all advice with a grain of salt, taking into account who is giving the advice and whether they're really someone you want to learn from.)

Have you been in a situation like this?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Last Week's Adventures

Last week started out with a bang...literally.  I started a load of laundry Monday morning before breakfast, and while we were eating, the washing machine exploded.  Apparently, this isn't an uncommon thing for LG washers, but we had no idea.

Since my parents were coming Tuesday, we scrambled madly to find a new washing machine before they they could have clean sheets!  (They wouldn't have minded too much, though, if they'd had to sleep on not-quite-clean sheets.)

While my parents were here, we took a trip to the Houston zoo.  It was loads of fun.

And I finally remembered to take some pictures of my mother with my children...

and my father.

I even took one "posed" picture although they weren't thrilled about it.

My children are already asking when their grandparents are coming back.  

Thursday, April 3, 2014

March Update of 2014 Goals

Along with my yearly goals, I tackled another big project this month:  potty training Mary.  She was the easiest of my four children, and while she's still not completely accident-free, she's doing great!

Personal Goals:
  • Read through my book list.  I will read many other books, as well, I'm sure.  I read one book from my reading list, and several others.
  • Continue walking on the treadmill three times a week for twenty minutes.  I think I did this every week in March.  
  • Look for a job...assuming I passed the law test.  I'm still stalled at my resume.
  • Go through every room in the house, one a month, to clean out unwanted and unneeded items.  I'm sick of the clutter!  I worked some in my closet which was a huge mess, but I got sidetracked while potty training Mary.  I forgot how much extra work that is:  cleaning up accidents and lots of extra laundry.
  • Write one letter or note a month.  Fail.
Goals as a Mother:
  • Do something (like a playdate) with someone (and her children) once a month, whether it's having someone over for lunch, going to someone else's house, or heading out for a field trip together.  We saw a real, live play with some friends and had lunch together afterwards.
  • Continue having one fun day in school a month.  We celebrated St. Patrick's Day with green pancakes, reading a book about Saint Patrick, and watching a short video about him.  We finished the day with green Rice Krispy treats.
  • Continue taking my children on one field trip a month.  There is so much to do in the Houston area!  As I said above, we went to a play.
  • Do a service project with my children every month.  Fail.
  • Teach my children to do more around the house, like mopping and folding clothes.  What a great way to build their self-esteem.  We're still working on laundry.
Goals as a Wife:
  • Continue monthly date nights for John and me.  Fail...but I don't feel so bad since John was the one who didn't want to.  (I think it was the cost of the babysitter.)
  • Do something weekly to make John feel special.  (I got this goal from Tracey at Girls to Grow.)  Hit and miss....again.
Goals as a Family:
  • Continue having another family over for supper once a month.  Fail.
  • Start having Game Night once a month.  Fail.
  • Continue our family devotional time.  Hit and miss.
I didn't do as well this month as I would have liked, but that just inspires me to do better next month.

How are you doing with your goals for the year?

Monday, March 31, 2014

March's Book Reading

I read five books this month which I think is a good amount.  Walking on the treadmill really helps because it gives me more time to read.  The first one is from this year's reading list.
  • What Did You Expect? by Paul David Tripp.  To sum this book up, we are sinners married to sinners living in a fallen world, something that gets forgotten in our dating/courtship days.  Tripp reminds us of this truth and shows how we should live in light of this truth.
  • Prophet by R.J. Larson.  A Christian fantasy based on the Old Testament world, I enjoyed this book which is free on your kindle.
  • Judge by R.J. Larson.  The sequel to Prophet, and I enjoyed this one, too. 
  • Tending the Heart of Virtue:  How Classic Stories Awaken a Child's Moral Imagination by Vigen Guroian.  One of my friends recommended this book, and I found it fascinating.  While the author is not (apparently) a Christian since he talks about Biblical "myths," I liked his idea of using fairy tales to encourage my children's morality since so many of the stories have definite morals.  Some of the "fairy tales" he exegetes are The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and The Princess and the Goblin.  This book should be read with a grain of salt, but it's worth reading.  You can read more of my thoughts here.
  • A Draw of Kings by Patrick Carr.  What a fun and exciting conclusion to The Staff and the Sword trilogy.  I can't wait for Carr to write more books!
What have you been reading lately?