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Copyright by Pegg Thomas 2009-2015

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Sep 26, 2012

After acceptance as a resident dorm advisor during my second year of college, I attended a class on empathy training. The class was taught by senior RAs in bell-bottom jeans with perhaps an entire year of authority under their hip hugging belts. We sat cross-legged on the grass and contemplated how we’d use our new empathy skills to further world peace.

A common phrase we collegiate sages tossed around back then was, “What does this mean to you?” It was a handy tool for helping those struggling to “find themselves” on campus. 

Screaming that same phrase at a drunk and belligerent hockey player bent on gaining access to the girl’s dorm by beating down a locked steel door. . .accomplished very little. He had already found himself.

Meanings of things are interpreted by the personal filters we view them through. A warm and fuzzy kitten means comfort and love for one person, while the same kitten represents sneezing and watery eyes to another. A chocolate malt with whipped cream is comfort food for some, and seen only as a hip widener to others. The same tow-headed little boy is viewed as a surrogate grandson by one neighbor and a potential window breaker by the next.

But the Bible is very clear that no prophecy of Scripture is ever open to personal interpretation. We don’t have to worry about what it means to us because the meaning is immovable. We can beat on that door all day and it won’t change a thing. Rock solid. Take-it-to-the-bank reliable. Praise God for His unchanging truth in a world full of variables. . .and reoccurring fashions.
Sep 21, 2012
The Baker's WifeThe Baker's Wife by Erin Healy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book is outside my normal genres but it intrigued me.  I almost put it down because the opening chapters seemed disjointed and I had a hard time getting hooked into the story.  But I hung on and was so glad I did! 

The story blossomed into a wonderful read full of "real" people dealing with "real" issues and facing them in "real" ways.  This isn't a happily-ever-after or feel-good story.  This story has grit and truth and it'll snag your heart.  If not for the slow start, I'd give it a 5 star rating. 

My thing about this book is that it shows Christians as they really are - the good, the bad, and the ugly.  But it also shows what they can be... when they open their hearts.  Everything doesn't come out perfect in the end, but everything works out as best it can in this sinful world. 

No spoiler here, you'll have to read it yourself, and you won't regret it.  Best suited for mid-teens on up, due to some graphic descriptions of a crime scene and an abortion discussed non-graphically in the story.

Sep 19, 2012

At a recent wedding ceremony, the bride’s aunt read from a portion of scripture. In front of family and friends gathered behind the young couple, she stated, “God is not for immortality.” Oops. I had to elbow my chuckling husband, who swallowed a laugh that resulted in a rather loud snort. The type that echoes in a chapel filled with wooden pews. I can’t take that man anywhere.
                
The difference on paper between immortality and immorality may be one single letter, but the difference in meaning is enormous.
                 
I almost fell off my chair one Sunday when the pastor starting talking about David’s continence.  The first time he said it, it was shocking. People in the congregation looked at each other, half grinned and shrugged. The second time it was funny and people smothered their grins behind hastily clasped tissues. The third time I had to elbow my college age son who was noisily holding back laughter to the point of needing oxygen. He gets that from his father. The fourth time the pastor said continence I almost needed resuscitating myself.
                 
Continence and countenance may look a lot alike, but you just don’t talk about the former from the pulpit on a Sunday morning. Not unless you want to hear to your congregation strangling on suppressed laughter. 
                
 God tells the Israelites in Deuteronomy 4:2, “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” He’s not talking about the linguistic gymnastics of the English language, but rather the purposeful twisting of the scriptures. God’s commands are crystal clear. After all. . .what part of “thou shalt not” is open to interpretation?
Sep 16, 2012
Small-Town HeartsSmall-Town Hearts by Ruth Logan Herne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A nice romance set in small-town U.S.A. It's along the lines of the movies "The Shop Around the Corner" and "You've Got Mail."  Danny is the heir to a large chain of candy stores and Megan struggles to make ends meet in her little candy shop.  When he decides to scope a new location for his grandmother's business and meets feisty Megan, he gets more than he bargained for.  It's a fun romp and my favorite part?!  The fudge recipe at the end!  I haven't made it yet... but I will!

Sep 12, 2012

Nothing demonstrates wholehearted devotion to duty like a Border Collie. Born to work, a Border Collie without a job will create one of its own. Generally speaking, these dog generated “jobs” involve things unpalatable to humans; such as chasing off cars, barking at marauding butterflies, and digging emergency evacuation routes under the fence. Given a constructive job to do, the Border Collie will tirelessly stay on task until removed from the scene.

Tam, our Border Collie, is now deaf and no longer actively helps with the sheep. Even so, she runs the fenceline continuously, keeping her eye on the flock grazing the other side. In her world, she’s on the clock and working.

The exact opposite in the canine world is our St. Bernard, Buck. His only chosen occupation is to hold down our deck and watch the world go by. Buck starts out excited when released from the dog pen each morning. He runs with Tam to the fence to make sure the sheep are where they belong. Unlike her, he is immediately distracted by a smell or a sound and wanders off to investigate. Within minutes, Buck has found his way to his customary spot on the deck and converted himself into a large, hairy welcome mat.

 As Christians, we can dig unnecessary escape routes, or we can lie on the deck and watch the world go by. God has given us free will, after all. But how much better to use our lives for a constructive purpose. . .the one God has in mind for us. Caleb followed the Lord fully and waited forty-five years for his reward. His faithfulness and devotion was indeed well rewarded, for his strength never wavered.
Sep 5, 2012

The severity of a child’s crime is directly linked to the number of syllables used by their mother when she uncovers their misdeed. Every child instinctively understands this. It’s an integral component of the human DNA.
When Chris becomes Christopher, he knows he’s got some explaining to do. His mind kicks into overdrive. He’s got a 50/50 chance to convince his Mom of his innocence.
When Christopher becomes Christopher Ryan, a mild panic sets in. Sweat beads his brow and his shoulders hunch. Eyes dart between the nearest exits as several dire scenarios scramble around his head. He may briefly consider throwing himself on the mercy of Dad.
When Christopher Ryan becomes Christopher Ryan Jameson. . .he bolts out the back door.
Mothers hold the power of our names in this world. As a child, we learn to dread the sound of our full name. They use that power to shape and mold us into men and woman of character. No matter how often we resist.
Jesus holds the power of our names for eternity. Through Him – if we have accepted Him as our Savior – we gain entrance to the kingdom of God.  He is the one who will speak our names to God the Father on that appointed day. Revelation 3:5 gives us this promise. “I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” 
On that day there will be no dread. Our names will ring like music in our ears. Our joy will know no bounds. We won’t be bolting out the back door!
Sep 2, 2012
Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the IditarodWinterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod by Gary Paulsen

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Dog sledding, and particularly the Iditarod, have interested me for years.  I find the whole idea of moving across vast areas of frozen nature behind the bushy tails of sled dogs fascinating.  This book proves that out.  I'd still like to try it some day!

Parts of this book had me laughing out loud.  If you appreciate dogs in any capacity, you'll enjoy that aspect of "Winterdance."  Gary Paulsen does a great job of showing us what it really means to work and live with the dogs.  He gives us a wonderful view of their personalities.  He also brings the Alaskan wilderness to life in a personal way.

I didn't like the ending.  The whole story is one man's experiences - which by nature are going to be self-centered - but the ending was a total wallow in self absorption.  He didn't end with the Iditarod, or the dogs, or the thrill of accomplishment.  He ended with his failing health and it adding absolutely nothing to the story. 

There is a lot of foul language throughout the book.  I'm sure it's all authentic, it's how the mushers talk, etc.  But it wasn't necessary to get the feel and flavor of the Iditarod and it makes the book completely unsuitable for younger readers.

I'd like to give this one 2 1/2 stars, because I can recommend it to some people, but not others.