Jim Henson The Guy Who Played With Puppets
Posted by rainy at 9:52 am in Picture Books

This children’s picture book does a wonderful job of describing a young man’s desire to turn his hobby into a career that would ultimately change the world through a combination of entertainment and education using the media tool of television.  Puppetry is known to be a behind the scenes type of job.  What I truly enjoyed about this book was the story of Jim Henson’s life as he evolved as a person and a trail blazer in the world of puppetry. Read the rest of this entry…

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Wow!  Can I just tell you what a joy it was to read, Man Shoes-The Journey To Becoming A Better Man, Husband & Father?  It is my privilege to review this book; I believe that the author, Tom Watson, has some real valuable wisdom to offer his readers.   Tom  was born to parents ill prepared to raise a child in a healthy & life affirming way.  He was placed into 13 different foster homes…some of which were little more than a systemic form of a physical & psychological torture chamber. 

Tom was placed into foster care because his Aunt Donna & Uncle Roy found the courage to report the erratic parental care that infant Tom was experiencing.  His parents would drop him off here and there and neglect to pick him up at the times that they agreed to.  At one year of age, he became a foster child because his aunt and uncle found the strength of character to endure family censure by reporting the situation to the proper authorities.  Tom expresses his gratefulness to them for doing so…even though he suffered greatly in multiple foster homes until he came to the place where his body and soul were nurtured.  His life story actually proceeds with joy and gratefulness. Read the rest of this entry…

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The Missouri River Murders
Posted by rainy at 2:06 pm in Fiction

The Missouri River Murders is an interesting story of Captain Culpepper, a steamboat captain and his colorful passengers who travel the Missouri river navigating the treacherous river while living their lives of intrique and mystery.  Travel from one area of the country during the time immediately following the Civil War was challenging and dangerous.  Individuals were carving out adventures and a means of supporting themselves; joining partnerships with strangers that could result in connecting with some unsavory people.

The Missouri river had to be carefully navigated because of the shallowness in some places and because of the debris in the water in other areas…this was not the only danger.  Steamboats themselves had the potential for fires and explosions…not to mention, gamboling and violence by those very passengers who had little to do while they traveled.   You had to be prepared to make many stops to find wood sellers who could keep the steamships supplied in enough wood to keep the boilers operating or the steamers would become disabled on the river.  Today, we take travel for granted…but to those who had limited choices in getting to their points of destination…traveling the Missouri river was a necessity.

Murders that took place both before the steamship took off, and once the trip was underway, needed to be solved for the well-being of those said passengers.  How did Captain Culpepper and his crew protect the passengers and get to the bottom of the crimes that were taking place?  This is a story that David E. Unruh tells with style and grace, weaving into the plot little tidbits about steamboat travel; and a time, in our nation, when law and order were still being defined.  This book was copyrighted in 2011 and published by Avalon Books.

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One Call Away
Posted by rainy at 11:09 am in Inspirational books, Memoir, Religious

One Call Away is a memoir written by Brenda Warner, wife of NFL football player Kurt Warner.  She has written a book of remembrances of her life’s challenges that she tries to face with what she calls an unshakable faith.  Brenda is a Christian who has had more than her share of trials and tribulations.  She was married to a fellow marine who developed some seizures.  He was unable to work after he was released from the marine corps.  After they were married…they decided to have a baby.  When their son was born, Brenda went back to work.  While in the care of his father, her son was dropped in the bathtub and suffered a head injury and breathing problems.  Apparently, the father feeling scared and confused only said that their son was breathing funny to both Brenda and the medical staff who began to care for their son when they rushed him to the hospital.

What happened to their son because of the delay in getting the truth of the injury is not only horrific…but can be considered criminal in some cases.  In fact, protective services does get involved.  In the meantime, throughout the story…both the mother and father are questioned several times over by protective service workers as well as medical staff; as their son lay in the intensive care unit with a quickly swelling brain.  There is severe damage done to the young child while the doctors are trying to figure out what is wrong with the four month old child.  When Brenda finds out the horrible truth that the father dropped the child on accident…but discovers that the father didn’t tell the whole truth…she is devastated.

She is praying constantly for her child.  If only they had known…they may have been able to intervene sooner to prevent some of the damage caused by the swelling brain.  They son and their whole family is affected forever.  Eventually, their marriage does not stand strong in the face of this tragedy and many other challenges that they faced.  They divorce only after having a second child.  Brenda becomes a single mother of one special needs child and one healthy child.  She becomes a proactive advocate for her special needs child in the area of his education and medical care.

She goes back to school after having to leave the Marine Corps that she had committed herself to.  She becomes a registered nurse, caring for her patients, her children and struggling financially.  She has the support of her family…but must move a ways away from them to find a job to support her children.  Eventually she meets a young man who is, at that time, considered a ladies man and a good time joe football player.  Kurt Warner has big dreams of playing for the NFL.  They start a relationship.  They are at somewhat differently places spiritually…and that impacts the growth of their relationship as Brenda feels that a big part of the failure of her first marriage is because she was alone in her faith.

Together, they find their way through the deaths of Brenda’s beloved parents to a severe tornado, through financial difficulties, through long hours of schooling and long distance relationship issues.  Eventually, we learn of the challenges of a sudden change in circumstances due to Kurt being accepted into the NFL and the financial freedom that this brings.  The learning of having to put up boundaries for those who would make demands on them because of their wealth or their status.

Underneath it all is Brenda’s desire to give back to single mothers who are struggling.  The media picks at Brenda’s looks and actions as an NFL wife; this can be hard on a person’s self esteem.  Throughout it all…Brenda and Kurt’s faith is growing…changes are being made internally and externally.  Eventually, they become the parents of 7 children…and the book makes for an interesting read.   The message comes through loud and clear, human beings can let you down…but God is there in your life through the good times and the bad…waiting to help you meet those challenges and bring you closer to him.  Brenda and Kurt discover that living by God’s rules makes life gets better and more productive.  They were intimate before marriage and once they face the fact that God doesn’t endorse premarital sex…they stop having a sexual relationship to honor that until after they wed.  The book is inspirational for young single mothers, fathers trying to do right by their families and for everyone who has ever felt that they were going through life’s challenges alone.

The book was copyrighted in 2011 and published by Thomas Nelson Publishers.  Just to be fair…I need to let you know that i received a copy of this book from:   Booksneeze .   Receiving the review copy of the book in no way guaranteed a positive review.   Thanks for visiting!

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Quinn
Posted by rainy at 10:40 pm in Mystery

Iris Johansen has written another novel in the triology of books about her beloved characters, Eve, Bonnie and Quinn.  Quinn gives us a little more window into where the author is intending to go with this series.  Bonnie is Eve’s deceased daughter…Eve has been looking for her for years.  Quinn is the love of her life…a former FBI agent who loves her more than life itself and he has made it his mission in life to help Eve Duncan find the remains of her daughter Bonnie who is believed to have been murdered by a serial killer.

We the readers have followed this journey…with each book believing that we are going to finally learn what really happened to Bonnie.  Iris got me with this novel, Quinn.  I believed as I made progress in the book that I would learn the truth of the story.  In the end…I will have to read the final novel in the triology, Bonnie.  I certainly hope we get answers by the end of that book.  After all…I have invested years into the history of Eve & Quinn and young Bonnie and all of the other cast of characters.

Iris Johansen does a wonderful job of portraying the never ending grieving that takes place when a child goes missing in a family.  What hooks you about this storyline is that all along…Eve is determined to find her daughter.  She helps others along the way in her quest to the final truth and resting place of her beloved Bonnie.  It is not that Eve doesn’t connect with others…but her focus never wavers.   Her answers have been delayed for years but she has faith that she will know someday where Bonnie is and exactly what happened to her child.

Quinn was copyrighted in 2011 and published by Johansen Publishing LLLP.  For information contact:    St. Martins

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Who Is My Shelter
Posted by rainy at 10:19 pm in Fiction

Who Is My Shelter is a very engaging novel about people who are on the road of discovery when it comes to finding out who is their shelter in the midst of the storms in their lives.  The central characters are a family that have been torn apart due to separation and a impending divorce.  The husband is a corporate business man who is focused on his financial success and lifestyle.  Due to some stresses and some disagreements about a few life changes such as her new job and the care of her mother…he kicks his wife out of their penthouse home…takes their sons out of state without her permission to visit his parents.  She is homeless and alone.

Gabby Fairbanks starts rebuilding her life at work and by establishing a new home for her sons.  Her husband gets addicted to gamboling and starts loosing…owing money to some very unsavory characters who threaten him and eventually cause him bodily harm.  Phillip the husband has backed himself into a corner financially by borrowing money from his business without his partners knowledge.  He owes the loan sharks, his mother…and his business alot of money that he can not pay back.   As he is severely injured from an encounter from the loan sharks enforcers…he can’t work, he can’t take care of himself and he has no one to depend on …but his wife.  The same wife that he showed no mercy to months ago when he kicked her out of their home.  Gabby the wife is a Christian…one who is conflicted about her role as a soon to be ex-wife…but one who is struggling with compassion for her husband and a desire to continue to rebuild her life.

She works with homeless women in a shelter and has discovered a passion for helping women get back on their feet.  She has a decent home with her sons…but she feels compelled to help her husband.  Her friends and co-workers get involved as well as some of the women she has helped along the way.  The book really is about God’s power to give restoration to those who seek it in their lives.  Although the plot is a bit predictable in one area…it really does a very fine job of depicting the struggles that a Christian feels in finding their way through the word of God, encouragement from their church family and friends and the power of prayer.  Learning to trust God in times of challenge is the real story behind all of the back story in this novel…Gabby, her husband Phillip and even many of Gabby’s friends learn that God cares about what they are going through…and he even has them covered.

I enjoyed this book very much.  It was written by Neta Jackson and is a Yada Yada House Of Hope novel.  It was published by the Thomas Nelson publishers and copy written in 2011.

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Ronnie Wilson’s Gift
Posted by rainy at 11:34 am in inspirational books, Picture Books, Uncategorized

Ronnie Wilson’s Gift is a delightful children’s picture book written by Francis Chan.  This book is a great way to reinforce faith building in families with young children.  Ronnie Wilson becomes aware of the gift of eternal life that Jesus has given to each one of us.  Once Ronnie understands what Jesus sacrificed for him (and for everyone), he wants to do something to honor him…he wants to give something to Jesus in return.

This desire to honor Jesus with a gift starts a whole chain reaction of gifts that Ronnie bestows on others simply by taking action.  I love the fact that Francis Chan has written a book illustrating the fact that God can use each of us to achieve powerful, and helpful things; no matter our age.  This is not a lesson that the world teaches our children.  The world says take all that you can get and whine for more, Christian teachings says give, bless others and communicate the love of God.

Francis Chan is a pastor and a speaker who is known nationally and internationally.  He lives what he preaches by serving those that God calls us to serve…those who are hurting, those who are poor and those who do have not learned of Jesus and his sacrifice.  By writing this book, Francis Chan has brought that message to the children of the world.  He has done that in a way that speaks to their hearts and their minds and encourages them to think of ways to serve others that they find in need.  This opens their eyes to those people with hurts and needs in their everyday life…people they know and the random people that God puts in their path.

This particular children’s book was illustrated by Jim Madsen.  His illustrated drawings are colorful and help to evoke a perfect emotional response to the words telling the story.   The colors are beautiful and the character’s body language and facial expressions add layers of meaning to the story of giving and receiving.  Combining the artistic visuals that Jim Madsen provides, along with the teaching that Francis Chan instills with the story of Ronnie Wilson’s Gift was a perfect pairing of talents.

Both children and their parents will enjoy this book.  The values that it encourages, the teaching of the foundational idea of us being the hands and feet of Jesus here on Earth and the realistic character of Ronnie is a good way to open dialogue between children and their caregivers about how best to serve the Lord in their daily life.

It is easy to recommend this book to my readers.  I think that this book would make a wonderful gift for those children in your life that you have the privilege of teaching and inspiring to acts of giving and helping others to understand the love of God.

I have to say that I won this particular book as one of 5 winners on a giveaway here:  Parent Life Online thanks to the publisher David C. Cook .   I was not obligated to give a review or to say that the book was great…EVEN though it IS great.  Thank you to Parent Life Online and to David C.  Cook for the opportunity to win this book and read a book that shines a light on such a wonderful book of faith building, for children and their families.

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Why God Won’t Go Away
Posted by rainy at 1:48 pm in Religious

  Why God Won’t Go Away is an interesting dive into the conversation between those who hold varying degrees of belief or disbelief into the question of weather God exists.  It was written by Alister McGrath who is a professor at Oxford University in the area of theology, ministry and education.  He is a former atheist who as such is able to shed light into the point of view taken by atheists or people associated with New Atheism.

This movement called New Atheism is much more aggressive in their attempts to discredit the belief in God or those who live a life of faith; according to Alister McGrath.   He has debated some of the most well known atheists in society and has somewhat of an insiders view as to their approach to make their views known to the masses.

I found his chapters on violence, reason and science to be very interesting.  It would seem that, as in most organizations or movements, there are fractions of mindsets in how to move forward promoting their ideas and goals of creating awareness of their position as atheists.  Different approaches bring about different results when it comes to swaying public opinion.   It would seem that some approve the more militant approach through social media, online forums and through legal channels.   How successful those attempts are seem to be in dispute.  Alister McGrath notes that the changes and public perceptions of those known as atheists in the past are very different from those of the New Atheism.  He refers to a trend of a more confrontational style of debate in the New Atheism movement.

The idea of science as proof of an absence of God is not new…however, Alister McGrath and many others who are well versed in the subject feel that with many new scientific discovers in recent years…that there is room for science on both sides of the issue of whether God exists or not.   A belief in the value of science does not preclude a denial of the existence of God.

I found the book interesting…and yet, I struggled at times with understanding some of the information.  I think it is very interesting to read about differing points of views.  I think it takes a skilled person to debate the whole subject and while this book is basically what I would consider an overview…it does offer a window into the subject.   The book does not offer the end all of topics to win each and every discussion for either side of the conversation about whether God exists or not…but it does help to put the shoe on the foot of someone who has a different position than I may have.  It is a book that is fairly short…but requires quite a bit of focus and concentration to absorb in my opinion.  Definitely worth reading, but not an easy sit down, read, and pick back up where you left off kind of book.

Just to be fair…I need to let you know that i received a copy of this book from:   Booksneeze.   Receiving the review copy of the book in no way guaranteed a positive review.   Thanks for visiting!

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