GrowingForChrist

Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

"Trivium Mastery: The Intersection of Three Roads" by Diane B. Lockman


As a non-classical home educator I enjoy reading about how Classical homeschoolers differ from those of us who are Eclectic and this book provided that insight.  I think as parents, we have evaluate what will work for each of our children (and ourselves), and whether we choose to use Classical, Eclectic, etc we have to do what works.  I can definitely tell that the author is very much supportive of the Classical approach to home education and that is great.

I loved how things were split up so if you have young children she discusses what Classical education would encompass for the young child, middle aged child and the high school child.  With case studies of families with differing amounts of children and educational viewpoints the reader gets a glimpse of how each family uses the Classical method, which can be a benefit to those who are wanting to make the switch from some other approach to Classical.

There is so much information in this book that at times it seems almost overwhelming however keeping at it and digesting it is very worth while.  While I can’t say that I would switch to full time Classical homeschooling, I definitely can see myself adding elements to our schooling that fits each child.  The one thing that I think would have benefitted the book is the addition of an index, say if I wanted to just read something on grammar, math or phonics however that isn’t an option. 

I can say this is going to be a main stay on my bookshelf for reference through out my homeschooling endeavors.  If you’d like to get your own copy please visit Classical Scholar.

**I was provided a copy of this

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"Ask Me About Mary Kay: The true story behind the bumper sticker on the pink Cadillac" by Jackie Brown (review)


 

This book is different from others I usually read, but I’m glad I grabbed at the chance to review it because it really was a great book.  That said, I don’t wear make-up but I do remember my Grandma’s using Mary Kay make-up.  I remember hearing about the infamous pink Caddy and how you could get rick quick through the marketing schemes.

The book begins with the country in the grip of mourning over the assassination of John F. Kennedy and everyone looking for how to better themselves.  Author, Jackie Brown, grabbed at the chance and answered an add where she quickly became one of the top seller and recruiters for Mary Kay.  The true story of what happens when two women go up against each other and how faith can overcome even the most heartbreaking trials.

Like I said, this isn’t a book that I would normally read but I devoured this and finished all 384 pages in just 2 1/2 days!  The book kept me entertained, whether is was with happiness, sadness or grief over the loss of a friend this book had it all in being able to keep my attention.  You can purchase your own copy by visiting Strategic Book Group’s site and see for yourself what happens on the inside of a top grossing cosmetic company.

**I was provided a copy of this book from Bostick Communications in exchange for my honest review, no other compensation was given.

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Food!!!


Okay, this post isn’t really going to be about food but rather my response to food.  I’ve always struggled with my weight, I love sugar and I really, really enjoy bread products!  I’ve never been one to be active, I’d much rather sit on the couch and read all day because hard workouts trigger migraines (don’t ask how I made it through boot camp).  I became a mom and with my first pregnancy was never told I was borderline gestational diabetic and then being full blown GD with my next two pregnancies I knew things had to change.  I lost 40 pounds during my second pregnancy, I counted carbs like a maniac and had almost no sugar.  I felt and looked great and my dr was happy – my numbers were excellent too.  My third pregnancy I was on insulin injections as I became GD at only 4 weeks pregnant!  I wasn’t nearly as good at controlling things as I was with my second, but things were still going smoothly.

I was later diagnosed as Type 2 diabetic.  I’ve been blessed that I have no effects of diabetes like foot neuropathy or macular degeneration – which my drs are always surprised at.  Have I watched what I eat?  Not so much and this is terrible.   It’s obvious the Lord has been watching over and protecting me from my own stupidity.

I decided at the end of 2010 that I was done.

Done being overweight.

Done being on high cholesterol medication.

Done being on diabetic medication.  No insulin, praise the Lord!

I’m done feeling bad and tired all day, everyday.

My first step in reaching this goal was to cut out soda.  January 4 was my last day without soda.  Hard?  Yes.  Paying off?  Definitely.  As of today, the 27th, I’ve gone 22 days without soda.  I don’t miss it.  My husband will bring some home and I don’t miss it – would I still like a glass of ice cold Coca Cola with pizza, sure (more of an emotional reaction than any desire physically to have it).  I know though in an hour I’ll be sluggish and it’ll put some weight back on.  I have made it a habit to drink at least 64 ounces of water everyday, some days I may get only 60 and others I’ve gotten 70.  I have a water bottle I refill using my Brita filter in the fridge.  Since getting my iPod for Christmas I’m using the Waterlogged and the MyFitnessPal app which is helping.

I’m not drinking only water though, that would get boring.  I still have my cup of morning coffee with 2 to 4 tablespoons of creamer but no sugar – you’ll see why I mention the tbsp. later one.  I drink one 8 oz. cup of milk in the mornings sometimes with my fiber therapy and one 8 oz cup of milk in the evening.  I may be adding tea as I’ve had some recommended to me and I may try them – it’s hard to buy tea because I usually end up not liking it then my husband has wasted that money.

My next step was to start watching my calories and carbs and adding in exercise.  This is what this week has been, adding in these addtions to my life.  I’ve been using the EA Active for Wii and it’s been giving me a great work out – my thighs, calves and biceps all have some amount of ache in them.  I’ve alloted myself 2,060 calories a day in order to loose 1 pound a week and I haven’t been using them all!  I usually end up with 250 to 500 calories left over at the end of the day with the exception of Sunday the 23rd where I went -100 as I didn’t realize how many calories were in buffalo chicken wings!!! 

I’ve had my A1C and cholesterol checked yesterday and while I know it’s too soon to see any big results I’m hoping that maybe my A1C has dropped again.  I’ve been adding steal cut oatmeal, olive oil and coconut oil instead of butter, canola oil, veggie oil, etc.  I’ve even been adding coconut oil to pasta dishes we eat and to the children’s macaroni and cheese instead of using butter and margarine and they like it!  I’ve even been eating fish!  I pan fry it in olive oil and use a little garlic, oregano and salt – just enough to flavor it.

I’m measuring everything and paying strict attention to serving sizes.  If the package says 1/2 cup of pasta then that is what I eat unless I have enough calories left but then I also know if I eat one cup then there is no snack before bed.  I try to eat something before bed so as not to awake hungry or with low blood sugar in the night.  Thankfully my husband knows my goals and is very supportive, even though me measuring everything is creating more dirty dishes (we don’t have a dishwasher) he knows that I’m striving to get healthy.

I’m getting the children involved with this as well.  When we go shopping if we buy crackers I immediately am checking the serving size and counting them out into baggies.  Myself and the children are eating small meals every two hours – a great thing for diabetics or those who are predisposed to it – this regulates blood sugar and controls calories especially if you’re paying attention to serving sizes.  If something says 16 crackers that’s what is in the bag. 

So with the Lord’s guidance and support as well as my family’s I hope to be a healthier me – it’s not so much weight loss as it is being off medication that isn’t needed, but weight loss can also be a good way for me to reach my goals and get fit so I can one day hopefully be blessed to see my grandchildren and great grandchildren.

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"Constant Christianity" by Jenny Sidri (review)


Book Description from iUniverse:

In her inspirational book, Jenny Sidri offers a practical perspective to the teachings of Jesus that recall his direct words to us: Be perfect, even as the Father is perfect.

The author shares her recovery from illness through a 3-step approach that employs daily meditation, thought training, and a personal inventory to increase self-understanding. Using the Master’s words and universal truths, this volume lights the path to discovering a new sense of well-being and spiritual living.

The busy and burdened lives of today’s population can benefit by using this intensely practical approach for relief of stress and re-energized purpose in each moment. The author encourages spiritual seekers to develop conscious self awareness, using the highest ideals to guide daily choices. The result is positive and productive living that engenders new joy and enthusiasm.

Although this book is religious in nature, its precepts can be applied by all, for the methods speak to the universal side of everyone.

The guidance offered in Constant Christianity will help readers recognize the beauty of developing sterling character, ultimately realizing a balanced and universal life of joy and fulfillment.

My Opinion:

 This was a book that  indeed can be enjoyed by all, however some things are going to need to be evaluated in light of Scripture.  I got the feeling that the book was trying to say that the reason I have this or this issue is because I’m not meditating (praying) or training my thoughts.  This is definitely written from a Catholic perspective, not that I agree or disagree with that if it’s based on Scripture.  The use of the seven Cardinal Sins is one drawback for me in that I believe all sin is sin no matter what it is and God did not design a system of this sin is worse than this sin and so on.  I did appreciate reading about Benjamin Franklin’s list of 13 virtues where he strives to live a more Christian and God centered life.

Overall, this book was a good and short read but as I said above I would read it and approach it with a Bible and a concordance in hand so as to make sure your finding Scriptural references in there truest sense.  There is a lot of Scripture used and referenced in this book , which I appreciate and as with any book we need to ensure that it’s being used as God intended.  I did enjoy it even if I didn’t agree with everything it did give me some insight into things I can improve on, even though I’ll never be perfect.

You can find out more information about purchasing from iUniverse’s site.  There is a e-book and a bounded edition available.

** I was provided a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion, no other compensation was given.

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Book Review: "Infinite Playlists: How to have Conversations [Not Conflict] with Your Kids About Music" by Todd Stocker with notes by Nathan Stocker


Description from the Kregel site:

With the easy availability and abundance of downloadable music and MP3 players, almost every teenager knows exactly how to find their favorite bands and songs online. Recent studies show that more than 50 percent of teens own their own iPod and even more search for music on iTunes. A world of influence is at their fingertips, so how and when should Christian parents monitor the music their children are listening to without creating undue conflict and argument? For author Todd Stocker, the day his son asked his preference between Van Halen and Def Leppard was the day he realized he and his son needed to have the “music talk.”

Infinite Playlistsis a handy guide to healthy conversation between parents and kids. Writing as both father and music-lover, Stocker calls parents to recognize music as a gift from God so they can help their kids determine the emotional, physical, and spiritual influences of their song choices. He offers a balanced look at the difference between Christian and secular music, and gives practical guidelines parents and kids can follow to choose appropriate music—together.

Competing titles may try to convince parents to hate or reject secular music or, alternately, convince them that Christian music is the only way to go. Infinite Playlists does neither, seeking first to provide parents with an understanding of God’s purpose for music, then to provide biblical and respectful guidelines to aid responsible music choices. Ultimately, the goal is healthy conversation—not conflict—between parents and children so everyone can see and appreciate what music can teach us about life, about God, about others, about relationships, and about the world.

My Opinion:

At first I wasn’t sure what to expect, even though I asked to review this book but as I started reading I realized just how much I was enjoying (and agreeing) with the author.  As a mom who does desire to serve and honor the Lord I strive to make sure what goes into my children’s ears and eyes are pleasing and that is hard in today’s world.  My children see their mom with her iPod and they have a wide range of musical tastes.

Most music is fine, such as Classical and musicals however with secular music and even some labeled as Christian we have to be much more careful in regards to lyrics and even how the performers live and act as our children will emulate what they are exposed to.  Since I do listen to secular music (I’m a closet Cash, Presley, Wynatt and Judd fan) I have become more aware of what I’m listening to and what I then let my children listen to.  There is disagreement in our house, however this book has given me some pointers in even dealing with the differences of opinion my husband and I have.

The author does not ban all secular music but there are ground rules that he has laid out regarding what his children are allowed to listen to and he says that has gone a long way in assuring his children, even as adults, still take care of what goes into their ears.  While this book is geared towards helping parents in dealing with the access to music 24/7 it can also help parents in their own discernment about what they listen to.

You can find more about purchasing this book at Kregel

**I was given a copy of this book through Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest review, no other compensation was given.

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FIRST tour: "Jesus in the Present Tense: The I AM statements of Christ" by Warren Wiersbe


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

 

Warren Wiersbe

 

and the book:

Jesus in the Present Tense: The I AM Statements of Christ

David C. Cook (January 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Karen Davis, Assistant Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dr. Warren Wiersbe is an internationally known Bible teacher and the former pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago. For ten years he was associated with the Back to the Bible radio broadcast, first as Bible teacher and then as general director. Dr. Wiersbe has written more than 160 books, including the popular “Be” series of Bible commentaries, which has sold more than four million copies. He and his wife, Betty, live in Lincoln, NE.

SHORT BOOK DISCRIPTION:

As Warren Wiersbe writes, “My past may discourage me and my future may frighten me, but ‘the life I now live’ today can be enriching and encouraging because ‘Christ lives in me.’” In Jesus in the Present Tense, Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe explores the “I AM” statements of God—from His burning bush conversation with Moses, to His powerful reassurances to the Israelites, to Jesus’ startling claim to be the Light of the World. Jesus in the Present Tense offers a fresh exploration of God—the I AM.

God doesn’t want us to ignore the past, but the past should be a rudder to guide us and not an anchor to hold us back. Nor does He want us to neglect planning for the future, so long as we say, “If it is the Lord’s will” (James 4:13-17). The better we understand our Lord’s I AM statements, and by faith apply them, the more our strength will equal our days (Deut. 33:25), and we will “run and not grow weary [and]…walk and not be faint” (Isa. 40:31). We will abide in Christ and bear fruit for His glory today—now.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (January 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0781404878
ISBN-13: 978-0781404877

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Moses Asks a Question

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

—Exodus 3:13

When Helen Keller was nineteen months old, she contracted an illness that left her blind and deaf for life. It was not until she was ten years old that she began to have meaningful communication with those around her. It occurred when her gifted teacher Anne Sullivan taught her to say “water” as Anne spelled “water” on the palm of her hand. From that pivotal experience, Helen Keller entered the wonderful world of words and names, and it transformed her life. Once Helen was accustomed to this new system of communication with others, her parents arranged for her to receive religious instruction from the eminent Boston clergyman Phillips Brooks. One day during her lesson, Helen said these remarkable words to Brooks: “I knew about God before you told me, only I didn’t know His name.”1

The Greek philosophers wrestled with the problem of knowing and naming God. “But the father and maker of all this universe is past finding out,” Plato wrote in his Timaeus dialogue, “and if we found him, to tell of him to all men would be impossible.” He said that God was “a geometrician,” and Aristotle called God “The Prime Mover.” No wonder the apostle Paul found an altar in Athens dedicated to “The Unknown God” (see Acts 17:22–23). The Greek philosophers of his day were “without hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12). But thinkers in recent centuries haven’t fared much better. The German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Hegel called God “the Absolute,” and Herbert Spencer named Him “the Unknowable.” Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychiatry, wrote in chapter 4 of his book Totem and Taboo (1913), “The personalized God is psychologically nothing other than a magnified father.” God is a father figure but not a personal heavenly Father. British biologist Julian Huxley wrote in chapter 3 of his book Religion without Revelation (1957), “Operationally, God is beginning to resemble not a ruler but the last fading smile of a cosmic Cheshire cat.” The fantasies described in Alice in Wonderland were more real to Huxley than was God Almighty!

But God wants us to know Him, because knowing God is the most important thing in life!

Salvation

To begin with, knowing God personally is the only way we sinners can be saved. Jesus said, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). After healing a blind beggar, Jesus later searched for him and found him in the temple, and the following conversation took place: “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” asked Jesus. The man said, “Who is he, sir? Tell me so that I may believe in him.”

Jesus replied, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you” (John 9:35–38). The man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he fell on his knees before Jesus. Not only was the beggar given physical sight, but his spiritual eyes were also opened (Eph. 1:18) and he received eternal life. His first response was to worship Jesus publicly where everybody could see him.

This introduces a second reason why we must know who God is and what His name is: We were created to worship and glorify Him. After all, only little joy or encouragement can come from worshipping an “unknown God.” We were created in God’s image that we might have fellowship with Him now and “enjoy Him forever,” as the catechism says. Millions of people attend religious services faithfully each week and participate in the prescribed liturgy, but not all of them enjoy personal fellowship with God. Unlike that beggar, they have never submitted to Jesus and said, “Lord, I believe.” To them, God is a distant stranger, not a loving Father. Their religious lives are a routine, not a living reality.

But there is a third reason for knowing God. Because we possess eternal life and practice biblical worship, we can experience the blessing of a transformed life. After describing the folly of idol worship, the psalmist added, “Those who make them [idols] will be like them, and so will all who trust in them” (see Ps. 115:1–8). We become like the gods that we worship! Worshipping a god we don’t know is the equivalent of worshipping an idol, and we can have idols in our minds and imaginations as well as on our shelves.

Our heavenly Father’s loving purpose for His children is that they might be “conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom. 8:29). “And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man [Adam], so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man [Jesus]” (1 Cor. 15:49). However, we should not wait until we see Jesus for this transformation to begin, because God’s Holy Spirit can start changing us today. As we pray, meditate on the Word of God, experience suffering and joy, and as we witness, worship, fellowship with God’s people, and serve the Lord with our spiritual gifts, the Spirit quietly works within us and transforms us to become more like our Lord Jesus Christ.

The conclusion is obvious: The better we know the Lord, the more we will love Him, and the more we love Him, the more we will worship and obey Him. As a result, we will become more like Him and experience what the apostle Peter called growing “in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Paul took an incident out of the life of Moses (Ex. 34:29–35) and described it this way: “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18). Moses didn’t realize that his face was radiant, but others saw it! He was being transformed.

God commands us to know Him and worship Him because He wants to give us the joyful privilege of serving and glorifying Him. Commanding us to worship isn’t God’s way of going on a heavenly ego trip, because we can supply God with nothing. “If I were hungry,” says the Lord, “I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it” (Ps. 50:12). He commands worship because we need to worship Him! To humble ourselves before Him, to show reverence and gratitude, and to praise Him in the Spirit are essential to balanced growth in a normal Christian life. Heaven is a place of worship (Rev. 4—5), and we ought to begin to worship Him correctly right now. But unless we are growing in our knowledge of God and in our experience of His incredible grace, our worship and service will amount to very little.

Salvation, worship, personal transformation and loving service are all part of living in the present tense and depending on our Lord and Savior. “And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3).

Preparation

Moses spent forty years in Egypt “being educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians” (Acts 7:22). Then he fled for his life to Midian, where he spent the next forty years serving as a shepherd. Imagine a brilliant PhD earning a living by taking care of dumb animals! But the Lord had to humble Moses before He could exalt him and make him the deliverer of Israel. Like the church today, the nation of Israel was only a flock of sheep (Ps. 77:20; 78:52; Acts 20:28), and what the nation needed was a loving shepherd who followed the Lord and cared for His people. The Lord spent eighty years preparing Moses for forty years of faithful service. God isn’t in a hurry.

The call of Moses started with the curiosity of Moses. He saw a bush that was burning but not burning up, and he paused to investigate. “Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect,” said British essayist Samuel Johnson, and Moses certainly qualified. He saw something he couldn’t explain and discovered that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was dwelling in that burning bush (Deut. 33:16). The Lord God had come to visit him.

What did that remarkable burning bush signify to Moses, and what does it signify to us? For one thing, it revealed the holiness of God; because throughout Scripture, fire is associated with the dynamic holy character of the Lord. Isaiah called God “the consuming fire” and the “everlasting burning” (Isa. 33:14; see also Heb. 12:29). Note that Moses saw this burning bush on Mount Horeb, which is Mount Sinai (Ex. 3:1); and when God gave Moses the law on Sinai, the mountain burned with fire (Ex. 24:15–18; Acts 7:30–34). How should we respond to the holy character of God? By humbling ourselves and obeying what He commands. (See Isa. 6.) Theodore Epp wrote, “Moses was soon to discover that the essential qualifications for serving God are unshod feet and a hidden face.”2 How different a description from that of “celebrities” today, who wear expensive clothes and make sure their names and faces are kept before their adoring public. God wasn’t impressed with Moses’ Egyptian learning, for “the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight” (1 Cor. 3:19). God’s command to us is, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter 5:6). When the prodigal son repented and came to his father, the father put shoes on his feet (Luke 15:22); but spiritually speaking, when believers humbly surrender to the Lord, they must remove their sandals and become bondservants of Jesus Christ.

The burning bush also reveals the grace of God, for the Lord had come down to announce the good news of Israel’s salvation. He knew Moses’ name and spoke to him personally (Ex. 3:4; John 10:3). He assured Moses that He saw the misery of the Jewish people in Egypt and heard their cries of pain and their prayers for help. “I am concerned about their suffering,” He said. “So I have come down to rescue them” (Ex. 3:7–8). The Lord remembered and honored His covenant promises with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the time had come to deliver His people.

It was by grace that God chose Moses to be His servant. The Lord wasn’t disturbed by Moses’ past failures in Egypt, including the fact that even his own people had rejected his leadership (Ex. 2:11–15). Moses was now an old man who had been away from Egypt for forty years, but this didn’t hinder God from using him effectively. The Lord knows how to use the weak, foolish, and despised things of the world to humiliate the wise and the strong and ultimately to defeat the mighty (1 Cor. 1:26–31). God would receive great glory as Moses magnified His name in Egypt.

Identification

If Moses was going to accomplish anything in Egypt, he needed to know the name of the Lord, because the Israelites would surely ask, “Who gave you the authority to tell us and Pharaoh what to do?” God’s reply to Moses’ question was, “I AM WHO I AM.” Moses told the Israelites, “I AM has sent me to you” (Ex. 3:14). The name I AM comes from the Hebrew word YHWH. To pronounce this holy name, the Jews used the vowels from the name Adonai (Lord) and turned YHWH into Yahweh (LORD in our English translations). The name conveys the concept of absolute being, the One who is and whose dynamic presence works on our behalf. It conveys the meanings of “I am who and what I am, and I do not change. I am here with you and for you.”

The name Yahweh (Jehovah, LORD) was known in the time of Seth (Gen. 4:26), Abraham (14:22; 15:1), Isaac (25:21–22), and Jacob (28:13; 49:18). However, the fullness of its meaning had not yet been revealed. The Law of Moses warned the Jews, “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name” (Ex. 20:7; see also Deut. 28:58). Their fear of divine judgment caused the Jewish people to avoid using the holy name Yahweh and to substitute Adonai (Lord) instead.

In nine places in the Old Testament, the Lord “filled out” or “completed” the name I AM to reveal more fully His divine nature and His gracious ministry to His people.

• Yahweh-Jireh: The LORD will provide or see to it (Gen. 22:14)

• Yahweh-Rophe: The LORD who heals (Ex. 15:26)

• Yahweh-Nissi: The LORD our banner (Ex. 17:15)

• Yahweh-M’Kaddesh: The LORD who sanctifies (Lev. 20:8)

• Yahweh-Shalom: The LORD our peace (Judg. 6:24)

• Yahweh-Rohi: The LORD my shepherd (Ps. 23:1)

• Yahweh-Sabaoth: The LORD of hosts (Ps. 46:7)

• Yahweh-Tsidkenu: The LORD our righteousness (Jer. 23:6)

• Yahweh-Shammah: The LORD is there (Ezek. 48:35)

Of course, all of these names refer to our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Because He is Yahweh-Jireh, He can supply all our needs and we need not worry (Matt. 6:25–34; Phil. 4:19). As Yahweh-Rophe, He is able to heal us; and as Yahweh-Nissi, He will help us fight our battles and defeat our enemies. We belong to Yahweh-M’Kaddesh because He has set us apart for Himself (1 Cor. 6:11); and Yahweh-Shalom gives us peace in the midst of the storms of life (Isa. 26:3; Phil. 4:9). All the promises of God find their fulfillment in Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 1:20). Yahweh-Rohi takes us to Psalm 23 and John 10, encouraging us to follow the Shepherd. The armies of heaven and earth are under the command of Yahweh-Sabaoth, and we need not panic (Josh. 5:13–15; Rev. 19:11–21). Because we have trusted Yahweh-Tsidkenu, we have His very righteousness put to our account (2 Cor. 5:21), and our sins and iniquities are remembered no more (Heb. 10:17). Jesus is Yahweh-Shammah, “God with us” (Matt. 1:23), and He will be with us always, even to the very end of the age (Matt. 28:20). “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” is still His guarantee (Heb. 13:5). In His incarnation, Jesus came down to earth, not as a burning bush but as “a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground” (Isa. 53:1–2; see also Phil. 2:5–11). He became a human, a man, for us (John 1:14); He became obedient unto death for us and became sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21). Jesus became a curse for us and on the cross bore the curse of the law for us who have broken God’s law (Gal. 3:13–14). And one day “we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2)!

What is God’s name? His name is I AM—and that is also the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord!

 

My Opinion:

I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing Warren Wiersbe’s books before, such as his “BE” Studies and while this book is totally different in that it’s about Christ.  Delving into Scripture and studying Christ’s I AM statements was refreshing and something I don’t really understand or have felt the need to understand before.  Having read this book I am now going to be clinging to the I AM statements of  Yahweh-Rophe (The Lord who heals).

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Looking Ahead…


I’ve been looking ahead to what our next school year will bring – what works, what doesn’t, etc.  If you’ve read my blog you’ll know I’m very, very eclectic in our schooling approach.  I’m wanting to simplify things for next year and be a bit more streamlined in what I teach.  You can see what I had planned to use this year by reading my Curriculum post.  I only used about half, if that, of what I had originally planned to use.  The McGuffey readers didn’t get touched at all 😦 nor did our Portraits of American Girlhood or The Prairie Primer.  I don’t like knowing that but I had grand plans that both my 1st grader and 3rd grader would be working together on EVERYTHING!!!  Yes, you can laugh.

Suffice to say I’m pairing it down this year.  If we use the PP or PoAG then great, if not we’ll do it sometime but I’m not going to include it on my outline that I submit to the school district.  So for this upcoming year our curriculum will look something like this:

Bible and Character Studies

  • The Holy Bible
  • devotional aids
  • Proverbs for Parenting
  • and biographies and autobios of missionaries and church history (this is one thing I was remiss in doing this year as well)

Language Arts

  • Alphabet Island level 2 (if B doesn’t finish it before then)
  • copy work pages (both girls)
  • various literature works from the library and our home (both girls)
  • Natural Speller (both girls)
  • Saxon Grammar (for H, this is a grammar curriculum that starts in the 5th grade but she is very gifted in this area and I want to begin her on it this year)

History and Geography

  • Mystery of History Vol. I (both girls if we don’t finish it before)
  • Mystery of History Vol.2 (both girls)
  • A Child’s Geography: Explore the Holy Land Vol. 2
  • various books, movies and music on famous people and places, etc from the library
  • parks and rec department programs

Mathematics

  • Saxon Math 2  (after B finishes 1)
  • Saxon Math 5/4 (I wanted another curriculum but comparing prices this was the most affordable this year)
  • computer programs
  • Times Tales

Science/Health

  • Exploring Creation w/ Astronomy (should be finished before the start of school)
  • Exploring Creation w/ Botany
  • 4-H
  • AiG The World of Animals
  • Beautiful Girlhood
  • additional books and resources from the library
  • co-op classes

Physical Education

  • AWANA
  • 4H
  • Wii Sports, etc
  • outdoor play and walks
  • community and church sports teams

Fine Arts

  • art class at co-op
  • classical music CD’s
  • ARTistic Pursuits Book One (again contingent upon whether we complete it this year, H may but B may not)
  • ARTistic Pursuits Book Two
  • Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Composers
  • Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists

First Aid, Safety, and Fire Prevention

  • Lessons for Responsibilities for Girls
  • resources available from police and fire stations and the fair
  • first aid
  • water, bike, and traffic safety
  • home and kitchen safety
  • personal and family fire prevention

I start thinking ahead so if I find something I need used I can do so and be prepared or if not have time to order it before we actually need it.  Thankfully between reviews and other moms allowing others to borrow it cuts down on the cost and most of the time I just need to buy the consumable workbooks.  I haven’t listed my son but I’ll be working with him this coming year as I’ll be having to notify for him in the 2012-2013 and I need to get him started on some kind of schedule.

Of course we’ll still be fitting in our occasional unit study and lapbooking/notebooking so lots of hands on stuff that will get done to make our school fun and make learning optimal.

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FIRST Tour: "The Daniel Fast Made Delicious: The simple fruit and vegetable fast that will nourish you" by John and Ann Marie Cavazos


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card authors are:

 

John and Ann Marie Cavazos

 

and the book:

The Daniel Fast Made Delicious: The simple fruit and vegetable fast that will nourish you

Siloam (January 4, 2011)

***Special thanks to Anna Coelho Silva | Publicity Coordinator, Book Group | Strang Communications for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

John and Ann Marie Cavazos created these recipes while serving on the staff of their Central Florida church when they realized that people were simply starving on carrot sticks every time the church held a Daniel Fast, instead of enjoying the variety of delicious, healthy foods that were originally intended to be part of this ancient eating plan.

SHORT BOOK DISCRIPTION:

A cookbook on the topic of fasting may sound like an oxymoron, but this eating plan modeled in the biblical account of the life of Daniel, often called a Daniel Fast, is actually loaded with fresh, delicious, health-promoting foods. The Daniel Fast Made Delicious includes more than 175 recipes, many of which are 100 percent gluten free and dairy free. Filled with easy instructions, simple steps, spiritual inspirations, and interesting food facts and figures, these Daniel Fast recipes are as nourishing to the soul as they are to the body.

Product Details:

List Price: $17.99
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Siloam (January 4, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616381809
ISBN-13: 978-1616381806

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Introduction

Dear fellow Daniel Fasters:

This recipe book is not like anything else you’ve seen before. A recipe book for a fast—seems like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? I mean, isn’t the point of a fast not to eat? Well, in this case the Daniel fast is about what you can eat. The Daniel fast is a unique fast—taken from the biblical account in Daniel 1:8–21 where Daniel and his three Hebrew friends ate only vegetables and drank water for ten days. Our favorite part is verse 8, which reads, “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies…” This is indicative of the kind of man Daniel was—a man of purpose!

Our goal here is not to talk about fasting, per se, or give you tons of supporting scriptures. If you have prepared and purposed to fast, then you probably already know these things or have read about them in books far more poignant than ours. Rather, this book seeks to give you options, and more of them, as you embark on this unique fast known as the Daniel fast.

The incarnation of this recipe book began in response to our congregation complaining that they didn’t know what else to eat besides lettuce and carrots when embarking on a Daniel fast. This told us that, number one, people didn’t know much about vegetables, and number two, they probably didn’t eat many vegetables! In addition, we found them spending more time bored with the lack of variety of food and less time focusing on why they were fasting. We decided to present recipes that would help them spend less time concerning themselves with what they shouldn’t eat and more time deciding what they could prepare for their families. Thus, The Daniel Fast Made Delicious was birthed!

Back in 2004, during one of our Daniel fasts, we felt frustrated because we really wanted to see people enjoy the fast and benefit from eating fruits and vegetables. We were walking around a lake near our home when the Lord popped an idea into Ann Marie’s spirit. She heard the word “Pumpkin Lasagna.” She had no idea what that was, but the Lord told her He would show her how to prepare that and other healthy dishes using only vegetables and fruits.

A journey of learning began where we educated ourselves about vegetables— we shopped and prepared and ate things we never dreamed we would eat. We did a lot of experimenting—sometimes hit, sometimes miss—and we loved it, our kids loved it, and what’s more, our family and friends loved it! We began preparing healthy dishes made only with vegetables and inviting our family and friends over to share in the fun. It quickly became apparent our signature dish would be Annie’s Pumpkin Lasagna (chapter 2), since everyone loved it. The rest is history!

Now, the idea is not for you to eat more—you’re on a fast, so you’re supposed to eat less. Use these recipes to make the most of the food you are eating during your fast, but turn your plate down for one or two meals as you feel God leads—

and only if your health permits. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet.

The idea behind this recipe book is simply to educate you and to give you more healthy choices for you and your family as you embark on the Daniel fast. Those of you with spouses or family members who are not joining you on the fast will find this book invaluable. For those of you with children who are not fasting or who are picky eaters, there are some wonderful recipes in this book that will allow you to keep to the fast and also feed your family and not skip a beat when it comes to flavor! All of the Daniel fast recipes in Section 1 are wheat, gluten, and dairy free as well as vegan! In addition, the ingredients used in all of these recipes are organic—we encourage you to use organic whenever possible. If this is not possible, we encourage you to use a fruit and vegetable

wash on all nonporous fruits and vegetables. Additionally, with all of these recipes we use cold pressed extra-virgin olive oil because studies have shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL (bad) cholesterol levels while raising HDL (good) levels. For further information, see www .healingdaily.com/detoxification-diet/olive-oil.htm. Why cold pressed? Cold-pressed oil is produced with the use of a low heat technique, which keeps the flavor, nutritional value, and color of the oil. Although it is more expensive it is also of higher quality. For further information, see http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is -cold-pressed-oil.htm. One last comment: we like a lot of garlic and cilantro in our food, and our recipes reflect this. Feel free to adjust the amount of garlic or cilantro in any of the recipes in this book to suit your family’s tastes.

People tend to think that to eat healthy means to eat yucky—not so. The secret is in how you season and prepare your food. These healthy recipes will not only show you different kinds of foods you might not have thought about before, but they also give you some great ideas on how to season and prepare your meals. It’s all about choices, and the more informed you are, the more choices you’ll have. After the fast is over, don’t run out and get fast food! In Section 2 we have included dozens of healthy recipes so you can transition from the Daniel fast to making healthy eating a lifestyle! In addition, the pasta dishes are wheat and gluten free.

Medical studies now confirm that a large percentage of the health problems in America are digestive related. According to the website Digestive System Disorders, digestive issues for the most part cause a number of diseases, such as colon, rectal, and stomach cancer; diarrhea; diverticular disease; digestive tract gas; heartburn; hepatitis; inflammatory bowel disease; irritable bowel syndrome; lactose intolerance; and stomach and duodenal ulcers. According to a recent article written on digestive disorders:

The function of the digestive system is to take the food and liquids that we put into our mouths and then either turn these foods and liquids into nutrients or energy needed by the cells of our body, or alternatively turn them into waste products that are then expelled

by our body as bowel movements. When something goes wrong with this everyday process and some part of the process doesn’t work properly, the end result is one kind or another of a digestive system disorder. There are many common digestive system disorders.

In fact, almost any natural health practitioner will tell you that food, good or bad, plays a definitive part in your health. The Daniel fast is a wonderful way to begin a life of good eating and good health. When we started doing the Daniel fast many years ago in our church, we started at the beginning of the year, around January 7, and for the next twenty-one days we consumed vegetables, fruit, and water—only! We did the fast for a number of reasons. First of all, turning your plate down and using that time to spend with the Lord is always a good thing. Second, after the holidays, most of us had abused food so much with all the celebrating we had done that we actually looked forward to the fast. Third, after a few years, a number of our members began to experience the benefit of the fast, because not only did we lose weight but also we felt better. Symptoms our bodies had manifested—such as heartburn, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome—began to disappear. (NOTE: These recipes should never be used in place of physician-prescribed medications or medical procedures prescribed by your doctor for any and all medical conditions.)

Back in 1999, after we had moved from New York to Florida, our girls, who were six and eight at the time, seemed to always be getting colds, runny noses, ear infections—something anyone with children knows something about. I grew tired of taking them to the doctor every so often just to have the doctor give them another antibiotic. I was sharing my frustrations about this with our dear friend Ruth Chironna. She asked me if I gave our girls cow’s milk. “Of course,” I replied. “What else is there to give them?” She told me to get them off of it and introduce them to rice milk. I immediately began introducing a little bit of rice milk mixed in with cow’s milk until I had weaned them off of dairy altogether. That was over a decade ago, and I can count on one hand the number of times in the last decade when they’ve been really sick or had really bad colds—and they never had another ear infection. They are now eighteen and twenty and are for the most part extremely healthy! This extended into our food, and before we knew it, we were eating better and going to the doctor a lot less. Do we ever cheat and have that slice of pizza or a burger? Sure! But everything in moderation! Changing our diet to include more vegetables, fruit, no sodas, and more water has significantly altered our lives. We trust that as you employ these changes, starting with the Daniel fast recipes, you will experience the kind of health that God intended for us to enjoy!

Whether you begin the Daniel fast at the beginning of the New Year or want to start it right now, we believe that The Daniel Fast Made Delicious is going to change the way you look at food, the way you prepare food, and the way you feel about food. Get started today! You’re going to love these recipes!

What more can we say but…

Bon appétit!

Buen provecho!

Guten appetit!

 

My Opinion:

I haven’t had a chance to try out the recipes but they are mouth watering!  I’m not big on fruits and veggies but I know that I need them even though I still enjoy my breads and pastas!  The recipes in the book are dairy and gluten free as well as vegan – so if you’re looking for some new recipes and you’re on these diets then you’ll be pleasantly surprised.  The one recipe I really, really want to try is the homemade Essene Bread and the wheat and gluten free Macaroni and cheese (not dairy free though as it does call for mozzarella cheese) – I told you I’m big on the breads and pastas.  So with the illustrations and inspiration along with over 200 recipes (many that are dairy and gluten free) this is one cookbook you’ll enjoy.

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TOS Crew Review: Maestro Classics


Product: Peter and the Wolf

Price:  $16.98

Company: Maestro Classics

To Purchase: Click ‘buy now’ on the Maestro Classics website

Age Range:  ages 4 and up and their families

Other Products:  The Tortoise and the Hare, The Story of Swan Lake, Juantia the Spanish Lobster (English and Spanish versions) and more!

It can be hard to fit in the study of instruments and classical music when as a parent and home educator there are so many other ‘things’ you need to teach.  However, studies have shown that children and adults can learn more if they study music and listen to classical pieces.   While playing an instrument can be instrumental (no pun intended!) in increasing what a child learns – they don’t have to, even listening to classical pieces can help too.

Maestro Classics helps in that area of teaching about classical pieces and music as well as composers and improves listening skills.  Most children today are used to having the images put in front of them and not using their brain to bring up images.  Not only do children build their brain development while listening to classical music being played out in a story can increase their imagination and also increase their attention span as they listen and get caught up in the story.

With Peter and the Wolf the CD running time is 68 minutes 16 seconds and all of it is well worth listening to.  The music is performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Stephen Simon, narrated by Yadu and the elucidator is Bonnie Ward Simon.  The children are introduced to the story then with narrator the children and their parents get to listen to a beautiful rendition of Peter and the Wolf.  There are 8 tracks on the CD with different information or other music to accompany the other tracks.

Also along with the CD you’ll get a 24 page program book that has activities such as match the instrument, Cyrillic Script (how Russian is written) deciphering, a crossword puzzle and others.  Along with the activities are informative information about the composer, Sergei Prokofiev as well as the conductor and other musician’s who helped to make this CD.  Maestro Classics will definitely make introducing and teaching classical music easier to do both at home and on the go.

**This is a TOS Crew Review.  I was provided a sample of the above CD from Maestro Classics in exchange for my honest review, no other compensation was given.

1 Comment »

FIRST Tour: "Havah" by Tosca Lee


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

 

Tosca Lee

 

and the book:

Havah

B&H Books; 2 edition (August 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Julie Gwinn, Trade Book Marketing, B&H Publishing Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tosca Lee is author of the critically acclaimed and extensively-awarded novels Demon: A Memoir and Havah: The Story of Eve. A sought-after speaker and former Mrs. Nebraska, she continues to work for local charities and as a senior consultant for a global consulting firm. Tosca holds a degree in English and International Relations from Smith College and also studied at Oxford University. She enjoys travel, cooking, history, and theology, and lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Visit the author’s website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: B&H Books; 2 edition (August 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1433668793
ISBN-13: 978-1433668791

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

A whisper in my ear: Wake!

Blue. A sea awash with nothing but a drifting bit of down, flotsam on an invisible current. I closed my eyes. Light illuminated the thin tissues of my eyelids.

A bird trilled. Near my ear: the percussive buzz of an insect. Overhead, tree boughs stirred in the warming air.

I lay on a soft bed of herbs and grass that tickled my cheek, my shoulders, and the arch of my foot, whispering sibilant secrets up to the trees.

From here I felt the thrum of the sap in the stem—the pulsing veins of the vine, the beat of my heart in harmony with hundreds more around me, the movement of the earth a thousand miles beneath.

I sighed as one returning to sleep, to retreat to the place I had been before, the realm of silence and bliss—wherever that is.

Wake!

I opened my eyes again upon the milling blue, saw it spliced by the flight of a bird, chevron in the sky.

This time, the voice came not to my ear, but directly to my stirring mind: Wake!

There was amusement in it.

I knew nothing of where or what I was, did not understand the polyphony around me or the wide expanse like a blue eternity before me.

But I woke and knew I was alive.

A rustle, a groan practically in my ear. I twitched at a stir-ring against my hip. A moment later, a touch drifted across a belly I did not yet know I owned, soft as a leaf skittering along the ground.

A face obscured my vision. I screamed. Not with fear—I had no acquaintance with fear—nor with startlement because I had been aware of the presence already, but because it was the only statement that came to lips as artless as mine.

The face disappeared and returned, blinking into my own, the blue above captured in twin pools. Then, like a gush of water from a rock, gladness thrilled my heart. But its source was not me.

At last! It came, unspoken—a different source than the voice before—and then the words thrust jubilantly to the sky: “At last!”

He was up on legs like the trunks of sturdy saplings, beating at the earth with his feet. He thumped his chest and shouted to the sun and clapped his hands. “At last!” He cried, his laughter like warm clay between the toes. He shook his shoulders and stomped the grass, slapping his chest as he shouted again and again. Though I did not understand the utterance, I knew its meaning at once: joy and exultation at something longed for suddenly found.

I tried to mimic his sound; it came out as a squawk and then a panting laugh. Overhead, a lark chattered an extravagant address. I squeaked a shrill reply. The face lowered to mine and the man’s arms wrapped, wombtight, around me.

“Flesh of my flesh,” he whispered, his breath warm against my ear. His fingers drifted from my hair to my body, roaming like the goat on the hills of the sacred mount. I sighed, expelling the last remnants of that first air from my lungs—the last of the breath in them not drawn by me alone.

He was high cheeked, this adam, his lower lip dipping down like a folded leaf that drops sweet water to thirsty mouths. His brow was a hawk, soaring above the high cliffs, his eyes blue lusters beneath the fan of his lashes. But it was his mouth that I always came back to, where my eyes liked best to fasten after taking in the shock of those eyes. Shadow ran along his jaw, like obsidian dust clinging to the curve of it, drawing my eye to the plush flesh of his lips, again, again, again.

He touched my face and traced my mouth. I bit his finger. He gathered my hands and studied them, turning them over and back. He smelled my hair and lingered at my neck and gazed curiously at the rest of me. When he was finished, he began all over again, tasting my cheek and the salt of my neck, tracing the instep of my foot with a fingertip.

Finally, he gathered me up, and my vision tilted to involve an altogether new realm: the earth and my brown legs upon it. I clutched at him. I seemed a giant, towering above the earth—a giant as tall as he. My first steps stuttered across the ground as the deer in the hour of its birth, but then I pushed his hands away. My legs, coltish and lean, found their vigor as he urged me, walking far too fast, to keep up. He made for the orchard, and I bolted after him with a surge of strength and another of my squawking sounds. Then we were running—through grasses and over fledgling sloes, the dark wool of my hair flying behind me.

We raced across the valley floor and my new world blurred around me: hyssop and poppy, anemone, narcissus, and lily. Roses grew on the foothills amid the caper and myrtle.

A flash beside me: the long-bodied great cat. I slowed, distracted by her fluidity, the smooth curve of her head as she tilted it to my outstretched hand. I fell to the ground, twining my arms around her, fingers sliding along her coat. Her tongue was rough—unlike the adam’s—and she rumbled as she rolled against me.

Far ahead, the adam called. Overhead, a hawk circled for a closer look. The fallow deer at a nearby stream lifted her head.

The adam called again, wordlessly, longing and exuberant. I got up and began to run, the lioness at my heels. I was fast—nearly as fast as she. Exhilaration rose from my lungs in quick pants in laughter. Then, with a burst, she was beyond me.

She was gone by the time the adam caught me up in his arms. His hands stroked my back, my hips, my shoulder. I marveled at his skin. How smooth, how very warm it was.

“You are magnificent,” he said, burying his face against my neck. “Ah, Isha—woman, taken from man!”

I said nothing; although I understood his meaning, I did not know his words. I knew with certainty and no notion of conceit, though, that he was right.

At the river he showed me how he cupped his hands to drink and then cupped them again for me. I lowered my head and drank as a carp peered baldy from the shallows up at me.

We entered the water. I gasped as it tickled the backs of my knees and hot hairs under my arms, swirling about my waist as though around a staunch rock as our toes skimmed a multitude of pebbles. I wrapped my arms around his shoulders.

“All of this: water.” He grunted a little bit as he swam toward the middle of the river where it widened into a broad swath across the valley floor. “Here—the current.”

“Water.” I understood, in the moment I spoke it, the element in all its forms—from the lake fed by the river to the high springs that flow from the abyss of the mount. I felt the pull of it as though it had a gravity all its own, as though it could sweep me out to the cold depths of the lake and lull me by the tides of the moon.

From the river I could see the high walls of our cradle: the great southern mount rising to heaven and, to the north, the foothills that became the long spine of a range that arched toward the great lake to the west.

I knew even then that this was a place set apart from the unseen lands to the north, the alluvial plain to the south, the great waters to the east and far to the west.

It was set apart solely because we dwelt in it.

But we were not alone. I could see them after a time, even as we left the river and lay upon its banks. I saw them in sidelong glances when I looked at something else: a sunspot caught in the eye, a ripple in the air, a shock of light where there should be only shadow. And so I knew there were other beings, too.

The adam, who studied me, said nothing. We did not know their names.

The first voice I heard urging me to wake had not been the man’s. Now I felt the presence of it near me, closer than the air, than even the adam’s arms around me.

I returned the man’s strange amazement, taken by his smooth, dark skin, the narrowness of his hips, his strange sex. He was warmer than I, as though he had absorbed the heat of the sun, and I laid my cheek against his flat breasts and listened to the changeling beat of his heart. My limbs, so fresh to me, grew heavy. As languor overtook me, I retreated from the sight of my lovely, alien world.

Perhaps in closing my eyes, I would return to the place I had been before.

For the first time since waking, I hoped not.

I slept to the familiar thrum of his heart as insects made sounds like sleepy twitches through the waning day.

When I woke, his cheek was resting against the top of my head. Emotion streamed from his heart, though his lips were silent.

Gratitude.

I am the treasure mined from the rock, the gem prized from the mount.

He stirred only when I did and released me with great reluctance. By then the sun had moved along the length of our valley. My stomach murmured.

He led me to the orchard and fed me the firm flesh of plums, biting carefully around the pits and feeding the pieces to me until juice ran down our chins and bees came to sample it. He kissed my fingers and hands and laid his cheek against my palms.

That evening we lay in a bower of hyssop and rushes—a bower, I realized, that he must have made on a day before this one.

A day before I existed.

We observed together the changing sky as it cooled gold and russet and purple, finally anointing the clay earth red.

Taken from me. Flesh of my flesh. At last. I heard the timbre of his voice in my head in my last waking moment. Marvel and wonder were upon his lips as he kissed my closing eyes.

I knew then he would do anything for me.

That night I dreamed of blackness. Black, greater than the depths of the river or the great abyss beneath the lake.

From within that nothingness came a voice that was not a voice, that was neither sound nor word but volition and command and genesis. And from the voice, a word that was no word but the language of power and fruition.

There! A mote spark—a light first so small as the tip of a pine needle. It exploded past the periphery of my dreaming vision, obliterating the dark. The heavens were vast in an instant, stretching without cease to the edges of eternity.

I careened past new bodies that tugged me in every direction; even the tiniest particles possessed their own gravity. From each of them came the same concert, that symphony of energy and light.

I came to stand upon the earth. It was a great welter of water, the surface of it ablaze with the refracted light of heavens upon heavens. It shook my every fiber, like a string that is plucked and allowed to resonate forever.

I was galvanized, made anew, thrumming that inaugural sound: the yawning of eternity.

Amidst it all came the unmistakable command:

Wake!

 My Opinion:

This was a much different read than I am used to in regards to Christian fiction and Biblical focused stories.  I must say I made it half way through the book but I couldn’t get further than that.  As a conservative Christian who believes in the literal Creation story it seems that the author has taken liberties with it that struck me as odd.  While I know that Adam and Eve probably did in all likelihood enjoy a physical relationship as man and wife there is nothing in the Bible that would suggest it until after they were banned from Eden.  I felt some of the descriptions while trying to be discreet were blatant in the suggestive nature.

I know the author means well and the reader can tell she put forth much effort but I just couldn’t finish this book however well written it was.  I will say that it did keep the attention even if I couldn’t finish it this book is one that can easily draw the reader in.

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