Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring in Kansas

Spring has arrived in Northwest Kansas! I am happy about it even though it means tornado's are soon to follow. After growing up in the mountains, I have never been used to humidity so living in Kansas is a lot different. This will be the second spring that I have actually lived here. Right now the temperature is perfect, not too hot yet and the evenings cool off. I love how green everything is becoming and all of the flowers are started to pop up.

Here are a few pictures from my two hour walk the other day!

I love this picture. It reminds me of Colorado. 



This was actually not taken on my walk but was taken this past week at Chance's parents house. 

I have never seen daffodils so tiny before!



I just thought this was neat.

The rest of these were taken in a friend's front yard.



I love spring!

Monday, March 26, 2012

My Own Worst Enemy Book Review



My Own Worst Enemy:How to stop holding yourself back is by Janet Davis, a new author to me. Honestly I picked this book because I didn't like the other choices so I wasn't really excited about reading this one either. I figured it would be another "encouragement but no real help or info" type of book. I was pleasantly surprised.

I LOVE how this book is written, the format. Davis will start out the chapter with a poem or saying and then ask a question or tell the reader to consider something. This could easily be a type of Bible study.
Here is an example of her trying to engage the reader in the material, "Make a list of ten words or phrases that describe the essence of you. Do no t include roles you play, things you do, or character qualities you have honed through the years. Include that make you uniquely you."

After each "consider" she moves on to tell a true story about someone she met or a certain time in her life. I really like hearing other people's stories instead of someone just telling me everything will be ok, you need to do these things to be happier but where is the proof? And it is always nice to know that there are others who struggle with things just like I do.

Here is where it becomes interesting! Davis will stop her story telling in the middle and start talking about a woman in the Bible. This part I really was surprised about because often times the little verses authors add don't make sense to me, if I'm honest about it. So she weaves in this story about the life of a woman in the Bible. Many of the stories I had never heard of before or really thought about from their perspective. Sure I've thought about Ruth's perspective on life but what about Naomi?

After reading a thought provoking story she found in the Bible, Davis finishes her earlier story about her friend or herself. At the end of each chapter she includes something called "Your Story" which is just a bunch of questions to help engage you more in the book.

I really enjoyed this book and it would be a good Bible study material for groups or just yourself. She really gets to how women feel about themselves and how to overcome certain things that overcome women on a daily basis. I would recommend this book to any woman I know.

You can read the first chapter here.

"I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers for this review"

Movie Choices for Children: Where do you draw the line?

As stated in my previous post, we went to see the Hunger Games the other day. In this post I want to talk about parenting choices with movies. Granted I don't have any children of my own, this type of thing I still think of strongly and when I have my own kids I would hope I feel the same way.

The Hunger Games is graphic. Bloody. Killing. This is all very well known if anyone has done any research or read the books. There is a point in the book and movie where a girl is stung to death and it is really very gross in both. There are terrified screams as someone gets stabbed or eaten by man made dog. It's not like the Chronicles of Narnia where there are battle scenes and people get shot by an arrow, this is more vivid. It has to be because that is how the story goes.

I knew what the movie was about and I would never allow my younger children to watch something like the Hunger Games. While at the theater, there was a family who sat in front of us. They had three little girls age around 2, 5, and 9. Since I knew what the movie was about, I was really upset before it even began that those little girls were in that theater. It wouldn't matter if they had been little boys, they shouldn't be watching something like that. It was quite obvious that the girls had no idea what the movie was about except possibly the older girl. As the movie progressed, I got even more upset. The two year old was down at the end of the aisle curled up in another family members arms being comforted because of the scary parts in the movie. The five year old was sitting right in front of me and had her head turned into her dad's shoulder, scared, the majority of the movie. The nine year old was trying to comfort the younger sister and because of that didn't show she was scared. Why would you do this to your kids? The parents saw their children and didn't do anything. They grinned and kept watching the movie. Mind you I was paying attention because I was about to grab the girl and take her outside myself!

When I was a little my parents were pretty strict on what we watched. We watched Disney and movies that they knew about or had seen. If they thought it was appropriate and that we weren't going to have nightmares about, they let us watch. Movies have a powerful effect on a younger person's mind, not to say what they can do to older people!

I would love to hear feedback on this matter. My sister has a little boy who is five and she will not go see a movie that is graphic unless she has a babysitter or can watch it at home when he is asleep. Children are suppose to respect their parents but do the parents ever consider what it means to respect the child? These kids don't even know what they will be watching and don't have much of a choice when they are in a theater.

 Research the movie, no matter what the rating. Ratings are so fickle these days you never know what the movie will involve. Find a baby sitter. Watch something before the child does so you know what the movie is about. Be patient and wait until it's on DVD. If it is going to be a bit more graphic, talk to the child about it. For a Christian perspective there are many resources of people who review movies from this perspective. Plugged In is an example of a magazine that has music and movie reviews.

I understand that children will see these things eventually and that bad things happen in life. BUT younger children do not need to see these things and have nightmares about it. They won't forget stuff like that. How many of us remember that one movie that scared us so bad when we were little we still won't watch it today? Maybe it had been age appropriate but it still was kind of scary.

I would love to hear feedback from parents on this matter. It's just something to think about.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Hunger Games: Book and Movie Opinions



I'm sure everyone has heard about the Hunger Games by now. A few weeks ago I was trying to avoid all of the buzz. Usually fads like this get really old pretty fast. My friend kept telling me that the books were really good, so over my spring break, I decided to read and find out what everyone was talking about.

Yes, they were difficult to put down, simply because I needed to know the outcome. As for the main story, it is not something I would read again. Suzanne Collins, the author, has a fantastic imagination, which I think is great! But their is so much build up on the story that it becomes long and extremely drawn out throughout all of the books. After finishing the last book, I was not impressed. I felt like it was almost a waste because after the build up, which makes readers buy the books, the story just sort of ended. There was nothing fantastic about it. This is just my opinion though. I do love how Collins portrays a different world and I enjoyed the characters in the books a lot, they were very diverse and thought out.

Since I had read the books I was suspicious that I would not like the movie, but I was curious. My husband thought he would enjoy it even though he hadn't read the books. I like that the actors aren't very well known so there wasn't prior judgement of the acting in the audience. Overall the acting was good, a little too dramatic compared to the book, and they didn't follow the book in a few aspects. I was slightly disappointed on this but most people think they followed the book splendidly so to each their own. My husband was disappointed and didn't really enjoy the story. He thought it was too drawn out and it is a very long movie.

The movie is rather graphic, though not nearly as much as the book. There are many parts in the book that are really gross and in detail that they didn't add to the movie. Obviously the main plot involves a lot of killing and blood. The rating is PG-13 which I would say is fair, but I wouldn't advise younger children to watch it.



What makes a good book? One that you can't stop reading? Why can't you stop reading it in the first place? What makes a good author? Would many books be as popular without the movie excitement?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Song of My Heart Book Review

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Song of My Heart by Kim Vogel Sawyer is a historical fiction romance novel that is set in Goldtree, Kansas. The story is about Sadie Wagner who moves to Goldtree in 1895 to work at a mercantile. While in Goldtree she hopes to pursue her dream of singing at the opera house. Things don't turn out quite like she expected when Thad McKane shows up in town. Thad is the new sheriff in town and little does Sadie know she is right in the middle of something illegal.
This is a fairly predictable novel that is a tad difficult to get into. There isn't too much of a thrill in the storyline but I do like many of the characters names and opera house setting. I would recommend this book as an easy short read to pass the time.

"I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers for this review"

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms Book Review

    The Scent of Cherry Blossoms is a fictional story that captures the differences and hardships between Old Order Mennonite and Old Order Amish people. Annie Martin has grown up Old Order Mennonite and has a deep respect for the ways in which she was raised. After her family is torn apart, they start to lack the respect of the old ways they lived. After more complications at home, Annie is sent to stay with her Grandfather in Apple Ridge.
    The Old Order Mennonite and Amish have respect for each other, but no one is allowed to be romantically involved with someone from the opposite belief system. The punishment would be harsh and either person could be shunned and kicked out of the church. When a person from the family is shunned, it makes the entire family look bad, not just that one person. It ruins many of the families relationships and often times splits families apart.
    After Annie moves back to where she grew up she starts working at her Old Order Amish friend’s restaurant called Zook’s Diner. Annie starts to work with an old friend , Aden Zook, who is Amish and feelings start to grow as the two work together. I don't want to give the rest of the story away but it is interesting to read how difficult the decision is in the end!
    The reason  I read this book is because I never knew that there were barriers between Old Order Amish and Mennonite.I enjoy reading about different points of view on life and this book taught me something new.

Check out Cindy Woodsmall's website here.

Also read the first chapter at this site!

"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review."

Friday, March 16, 2012

Why Today is a Wonderful Day

Today the Daffodils bloomed!! This is a really big deal to me, I love daffodils and I have been waiting ALL winter for this day!! They don't last long and are so beautiful in their short sweet time. They are my mark that winter is over and hot days are ahead. 
We never had these types of flowers when I was growing up, usually because it is still freezing winter at this time in my hometown! My grandma would grow a couple daffodils but it was always really short lived. Since I have lived in Kansas I have discovered so many flowers and pretty things I never knew about, you can grow a lot more things here and I love it!

Just thought I would share this lovely news with you all!




A picture simply can't capture it. 


Friday, March 2, 2012

Winner!

Callie from http://www.throughcloudedglass.com/ won my book giveaway!! Congrats to her and hopefully I will be able to do another giveaway soon. Lucky for her she was the only one who commented! Hope everyone had a good Friday!
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