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Showing posts from 2017
"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea." ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPERY

34. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by Thurber

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It is short and sweet and gets inside the head of someone who escapes in his thoughts. I am not one to do that, but I hear other people are, and it fascinates me! Interesting story.

33. Know Why You Believe by Paul E. Little

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I downloaded this in April as a Free Book of the Month from Christianaudio.com. (Great company, by the way, and they have their big half-yearly sale going on right now with 7.49 for most books. I am not paid to say that either!) I am waiting for some audiobook holds from the library, and it is a short book. I think I read this in college. I am not a big apologetics person, but I love how this book is chock-full of Scripture. Lloyd James is a very pleasant narrator too. This will give you the basics of Christianity. The nurse during my acupuncture appointment said she has the whole set of his books, but she has never read them. I think I inspired her!

32. The Making of a Leader by J. Robert Clinton

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This is my third time reading through this book as I discuss it with a woman I have been meeting with for several years. I really love it, and reading through it this time, I realize how much of the principles in the book are so deeply ingrained in me that I forgot that I learned them from this book. I think I read it back in the 90s. It is probably my favorite book on leadership development. I use his "time lines" when I take people through the SHAPE process (Spiritual Gifts, Heart Passions, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences), as it is very helpful for people to see patterns and life stages of their own development. I highly recommend this book.

31. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

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I had never read anything by an African author so this was very educational. I found it was very slow in parts, but I think that was because of the narrator more than anything else. So, I put it up to 1.25 speed, and it went much better for me! 

I thought it was much more interesting once I got to the part about the missionaries coming and being super culturally insensitive to the people and their customs and way of life. When Western imperialism was added, it became a very interesting conclusion to the story because things fell apart! 

This is usually on lists of classic books to read. So I am glad that I read it for with my Book Dames group. I will add more once we discuss it in mid-July.

30. The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi

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Words cannot expressed how much I loved this book. The writing is very engaging, and it is hard to believe that this book is the first novel by this author.

This story is about a woman in the modern day, and her great-great grandmother in the early 1900's. It is about women, and the things they go through in this patriarchal culture.
I have dear friends from Afghanistan. I hope they can read, and we can discuss it!
I am so surprised that librarything.com predicted with "high confidence" that I probably would not like this book. This could not be farther than the truth.
Here is a really interesting radio interview with the author:
http://nadiahashimi.com/news-media/

29. A Man Called Ove by Frerik Backman

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This is an absolutely dear book. I loved it. It makes you laugh out loud and cry. I love his evolution. You learn why he is the way he is, and you learn about love.  Beautiful story in every way. I highly recommend it. The narrator on this version is also excellent.
This is the rare occasion where I saw the movie before I read the book. I noticed it was on Amazon Prime, and we had a free evening. The movie was nominated for an Academy Award and is a faithful rendering of the book. You will enjoy that also. :)

Here is the trailer:


28. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

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This is an eye-opening and informative book, important for Americans to read. We need to rethink incarceration in this country. He brought out some key points about the disproportionate number of black people in prison, being put there without proper legal representation. This book was hard to get through because some of the stories made me, literally, sick to my stomach!  
Bryan Stevenson is a hero and a person of faith who exemplifies that faith without works is dead (James 2:26). I found this article about him informative on this point:
http://www.evangelicalsforsocialaction.org/compassion-and-justice/connecting-with-the-struggle/
The only criticism about this book would be that he sometimes ventures too far into the legal minutiae of many court cases, but it is a great book, and I stayed up late to finish it. It makes me want to do something about this terrible problem we have in this country. But what? How?


27. In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

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I was a bit confused listening to this audiobook at first, but once the actual story commenced it was much more interesting. What a doomed mission! It hurt my heart to see them go off into the Polar unknown based on misinformation. It is hard to believe there was a time when you could not communicate with the developed world when you would go off on an expedition.

The last hour of the book was excruciating painful to listen to.

From now on are spoilers. So quit reading if you don't want to
find out what happened.

Many of the men survived as they were separated into three separate parties. One of the parties, including the captain, did not survive.  It was so sad, but it was very interesting.

Thursday Thirteen Freewrite

Life has been so full that I have not even had time to do a freewrite. I looked at my calendar today, and after a totally packed Wednesday, I had all day free. Hopefully, I will not fritter it away. But I have been up since about 4:30, and I have not done the best job at focusing. So, I am focusing by writing out my thoughts.

Nothing particular is on my mind. I had a hard beginning of last week, but I chose to "rejoice and be glad" as Psalm 96 directs. It was a choice. I took pictures of beautiful things and looked for Your goodness everywhere. Then I got to work and Dee said, "I am not using my classroom today if you want to use it." And I DID! I "had a ball" in my Pilates I class instead of having to drag all the balls across the gym.  Many other things happened that day that showed me that I didn't need to be down in the dumps.
You see, I discern things in other people. And while I am very grateful for being given lots of empathy for my fellow person…

26. On the Incarnation by Athanasius

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This book was part of my Renovaré Book Club ("a guided journey through four soul-shaping books")  reading. It is the last book of four we have been reading from October to June.

Who knew how much I would enjoy this book! Oh my! A man named Christopher Hall (click on the link to read his bio) has guided us through it with an introductory podcast and study guides for each week of reading. They are excellent and have really helped me appreciate this book.

My mind is being expanded in new ways. Since LEARNER is my #1 Clifton StrengthsFinder, this is making my heart soar. It might not be everyone's cup of tea though. Even if it isn't your cup of tea, it is very short so shouldn't be too painful and would expand your world!

25. Two Paths: America Divided or United by John Kasich

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This was the man that I wanted to be president. It was good to read about his background, and his vision for America. He ran a very clean campaign and did not get swallowed up in the negativity. He is the real deal.
One big thing I learned was how to pronounce his last name. I rhymes with "basic"!

23. The Pearl by John Steinbeck

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I think things are better the second time around, and they are also better when discussed with friends. I have been part of the Book Dames since 2005. It was started when five of us from a contemporary book club that started in 2001 decided to discuss the classics. I am the only original member left. So many of the books are ones I already read, including this one, but discussing it was so meaningful and rich. This group is deep and loves to visit long and lingeringly on a Saturday morning whereas the other "Book Babes" reads much easier books and is in and out of there in very little time. I think I like the long and lingering type better.

This is a cautionary tale pregnant with symbolism. It is very well written and Hector Elizondo's narration is perfect pitch.

24. Poldark's Cornwall by Winston Graham

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If you are a fan of the Poldark Series on Masterpiece Theatre and/or the books by Winston Graham, you will love this book of gorgeous photographs of the Cornish Coast with text  by Graham originally published in 1983 and updated in 2016. It is a visual treat, and you will learn more about how Graham came to write these wonderful novels.

22. The Benedict Option by Rod Dreher

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This book had some good points about our post-Christian era. I was so excited to read this after I saw him interviewed on the news and when I realized he is the same person who wrote Crunchy Cons.

He makes some salient points about the degree to which Christians can realistically change the political trajectory of today. (In his mind, that ship has already sailed.) He advocates pulling in and strengthening the church, giving your kids a classical education (something we did with our kids and do not regret, but it is NOT for everyone), and protecting your kids from this oversexualized society. These are all things I agree with, but he got a bit preachy. It also dragged through some of the "preachy" chapters.

21. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

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Wow! This is my favorite book of the year so far. It is so imaginative (the author was inspired by The Chronicles of Narnia). It gives you a different perspective on refugees from all over the world. I loved it. (It does have some language and sexuality that some readers might not like.) Hamid's writing is absolutely beautiful.

Here is the PBS Newshour interview that inspired me to read the book:






20. Lilac Girls

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I learned a lot through this book, but I have to admit it was really, really slow in the beginning. I felt like I was reading a harlequin romance, and I almost abandoned it on page 92. But, I did something I have never done before: I read the last chapter, and the author's notes, and it made me curious!

It is interesting because in the author's notes, I read that one of the storylines is not based on anything that happened, and you can tell! It was sort of a stupid storyline, and that is what I almost abandoned on page 92.
It was a SLOG until about page 132. Then, it started moving forward. I learned about something I had never read about: The Rabbits of Ravensbruck.

They were Polish women who had gruesome experiments done on them while they were in Ravensbruck Concentration Camp during World War II.

In the end, I was glad I finished it. I learned quite a bit.

19. Myth Making and Religious Extremism and Their Roots in Crisis

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The information was fascinating in parts, but it droned on with more and more information without much analysis in other parts. I was hoping the author would give analysis about how all of this affect terrorism, but it never seemed to get to this. I kept on saying to the author, "And your point is . . .?" I learned some new facts though, and for that I am grateful. It had no profound conclusions.

It had quite a few typos in the "Terrorism" chapter but not others, and the authors must be atheists because they tend to lump all Christians into one big pot. This will alienate many people who believe that creation is not a myth.

18. Jonathan Swift: The Reluctant Rebel by John Stubbs

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I received this audiobook for free from the publisher in exchanged for a unbiased review.
When I first saw that it was 31 hours and 25 CD's (equivalent to 752 pages in the print version), I was a bit overwhelmed, but once I started listening to the excellent narration by Derek Perkins, I knew I was in good hands. WOW! I have listened to many audiobooks by British narrators, and sometimes, especially on academic subjects, they can come across with a "haughty" tone. This is NOT so with Derek Perkins. His narration is all British sophistication without the stuffiness. Excellent choice for a narrator.

The same holds true for the author, John Stubbs. This is a very scholarly biography, but it is not stuffy. It is quite readable (or easy to listen to in my case). I learned many details about British history and found it fascinating, especially since I just went to England last summer, and spent time at Blenheim Palace and many of the spots in London described in the book.

I am …

17. Spiritual Multiplication in the Real World by McNabb

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I just read this in October to see if I would use it in my Kingdom Community Curriculum, and I am so glad I included it. They LOVED it and all bought it for themselves. SO it was a good call to have them read it. I reread it when they read it because I had read it on my Kindle and wanted an underlined book because it is so hard to lead a book discussion with a Kindle!

Here is my prior review:

http://carolhomeschool2.blogspot.com/2016/10/38-spiritual-multiplication-in-real.html

Liturgy Audit

I have this from my Renovare Book Club and from the book Liturgy of the Ordinary


What activities and practices are you regularly immersed in each week? How much time is spent doing different sorts of activities? (Name 3-4 things you do in a week and time spent doing them).   • If you have children, how do they spend their time?  (Name 3-4 things they do in a week and time spent doing them).
M/W Teach two Pilates classes at OSU T Teach Kingdom Community Training M-S Daily Time in Bible Reading and prayer M-S Daily reading to enrich my mind
What do you do with the first 2 hours of your day? 
Time with God - reflection on Scripture and praying responsively
How does that shape the rest of your day?How does this routine shape you? 
It sets my feet to be intentional about living to glorify Him as I live and move and have my being.

What do you do with the last 2 hours of your day?
Watch the news or a program on TV. I watch Survivor and Amazing Race. Not really into any dramas. Sometimes I will watch …

What Matters

"What matters is to listen attentively to the Spirit and to go obediently where we are being led, whether to a joyful or a painful place." Henri Nouwen in Making All Things New

Freewrite

I have attempted to do this so many times by doing a "Prayerful Review of my Day," but it has not happened. So, I am just going to write freely in a freewrite for the next fifteen. It seems like it has been a while since I did that.

The last couple of weeks have been really lovely. Something is changing in me that is really encouraging. For instance, we had taken our taxes to an accountant, and we had signed everything on the dotted line last Friday and thought they were going to the IRS. Tuesday afternoon (tax day) brought in a flurry of texts and emails. Long story short, there was a mistake on our tax form, and we would not be getting the big refund that we thought, and we had to pay more for our Oregon tax. I had looked forward to getting a break on Tuesday afternoon. We had all day Sunday with guests for Easter, all day Monday with teaching at the University and then visiting for about five hours with different internationals, and then getting ready to lead my Kingdom Co…

16. Crucial Conversations by Patterson

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This is my third time reading through this book, and it is always so challenging. I sometimes forget to apply these principles, but when I do, it is amazing how much easier crucial conversations become!

Here is my previous review:
http://carolhomeschool2.blogspot.com/2014/01/5-crucial-conversationstools-for.html


15. The Story of Jesus by Reader's Digest Association, Inc

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This is third in the books that I have been reading since Christmas. I love this book! It is in full color (and I purchased it at a used book store for only $10).  It starts at the beginning of the Gospel account and adds literature, poetry, and art from all over the world. It is a lovely book. It ends in the book of Acts where the Apostles spread Jesus to the world.

14. Jesus: A Gospel by Henri Nouwen

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I have had this book sitting on my coffee table for quite a while, and I thought I would read it along with the Harmony of the Gospels. I have recently been on a Henri Nouwen extravaganza so it fit to read a compilation of his quotes related to Jesus' life! On top of all that, there are illustration by Rembrandt! YUMMY!

I love Nouwen's insights. Here is one of my favorites:


As you see more clearly that your vocation is to be a witness to God's love in this world, as you become more determined to live out that vocation, the attacks of the enemy will increase. You will hear voices saying, "You are worthless, you have nothing to offer, you are unattractive, undesirable, unlovable." Do not be afraid. The more you are called to speak for God's love, the more you will need to deepen the knowledge of that love in your own heart. The farther the outward journey takes you, the deeper the inner journey must be.
AMEN!

13. The Harmony of the Gospels by Thomas and Gundry

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Here is a previous review:

http://carolhomeschool2.blogspot.com/2012/11/52-in-52-week-46-harmony-of-gospels-new.html

He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

It is Easter Sunday 2017, and this year, I read through the life of Jesus in "harmony" from December 21st until today.  This is such nice way to walk with Jesus chronologically.

I couldn't wait to get up at dawn this morning and read about His resurrection. It is going to be a blessed day.

(I also read two other books along with this, and the reviews for them will be coming soon!)



12. Ross Poldark by Winston Graham

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I have been asked over the years what my favorite Masterpiece Theatre series is, and I have always said POLDARK! My husband and I have been fans of Poldark since the early 90's when we watched the 70's version on VHS. We have watched it more than once, and we love Robin Ellis as Ross:



Then came the equally wonderful NEW Poldark series! I like both actors as Ross and both series are equally amazing. Aiden Turner is a mesmerizing Ross:


So, I was curious to know what the Poldark books were like. My husband had read this first one many years ago, and when the new series came out he commented that the new one is much closer to the books, and I have to agree. As I have read up on things, Winston Graham was disappointed at how they changed things in the 70's version, but I think he would definitely like this new version.

I just have to say that if you love the TV series, and you love to read great literature, you will love this book. I thought his writing was SUPERB, and it really…

Prayerful Review of the Week: April 2-11

What made me feel most alive and in tune with God's plan:


Starting another term of teaching Pilates I and II - I was born to teach movements and health. I love young people. I love empowering them to develop lifelong habits that will prevent physical pain when they get to be my age. Desiring to be salt and lightKingdom Disciplemaking Team (DMT) - leading a discussion of Spiritual Multiplication in the Real World and having the light bulbs go on and people feeling a gentle nudge from God to grow in this area. His kindness leads us to respond in action. So sweet. Riding my bike to and from work.Fourteen years of volunteering on Wednesday and going to the appreciation banquet on Friday. Having it work out the I could deliver all the books to our Kingdom DMT because one of my volunteer book deliveries was right across the street from Rebekah's!Listening to J & M's heart after a return from overseas.Seeing EIGHT rainbows on the way from J & M's and claiming them as p…

11. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

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One word: WOW! This is my favorite book of the year. It is carefully researched and made so personal by the stories of the people involved from Woodrow Wilson's heart-broken over his wife's death to Charles Emelius Lauriat, Jr. who was crossing the Atlantic with a Charles Dickens's personal copy of A Christmas Carol.(I won't tell you what happens to the copy, but that is why I couldn't put it down. I had to know!) The book kept my attention the whole time with no "dead spots" in Dead Wake. I highly recommend this book, but it may convince you to never take an ocean voyage!

Bible Book Club: April in Leviticus/Numbers

Bible Book Club: April in Leviticus/Numbers: APRIL 1.        Leviticus 23&24 2.       Leviticus 25 3.       Leviticus 26&27 4.       Leviticus 26&27 5.       ...

10. The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman

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I thought this was a fiction book, but it was actually a true account the zookeeper of the Warsaw Zoo who sheltered Jews during World War II. What bravery! I applaud them. I think there could have been nips and tucks in the story to keep it moving, but overall, I was enriched by reading this book. I just prayed for Poland today on prayercast.com. So it was nice to have Warsaw so vividly described by the author. Any stories that continue to remind us of the atrocities during World War II are valuable for future generations.

9. The Greatest Thing in the World by Henry Drummond

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I found this in a "Files" app on my iPhone. I have no idea where I got it from. It was lovely for a walk to the gym and workout in the morning. I actually own this little book.

Update: I found that I had downloaded it from Learnoutloud.com as their free book of the month in February 2012, but I have no idea how it got in a "files" app instead of in my iTunes. I had even already listened to it and wrote a review. So, I had read it before! Call it a "Post Menopause Moment"!

Here is my previous detailed review:
http://carolhomeschool2.blogspot.com/2012/12/52-in-52-week-52-greatest-thing-in-world.html

It is an analysis of 1 Corinthians 13.

Please Sign the Raymond Koh Abducted Pastor Petition

We went to this wonderful Pastor's church when we lived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in the late 90's. He is a gentle man who was just helping the poor. Some people did not like him doing that and have threatened his life over the past 13 years. They finally took action and abducted him on February 13. PLEASE SIGN THIS! There is also a White House Petition that I will post soon. Let's get him home to his family!

8. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

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What a great story! I am finishing it about 15 minutes before I am going off to see the movie. My girlfriend and I have been trying to go together for about six weeks, but I am so glad we did not go because I was waiting for it from the library and got it in time to read it before I went.

The narrator is very good in this. I enjoyed the history so much!

7. The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard

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According to my records, I have read this five times since 2009. It took me four months to read it the first time. Now, I seem to fly through it.

It is interesting to read what I wrote about this book while reviewing Summa Theologicain 2012:

"I am not big on theology. As I told my friends who were gathered around a picnic table hotly debating theology one summer afternoon in 2001, "I just don't 'think' about God." This was followed by uproarious laughter because they all knew I had been studying and leading Bible studies  for over 30 years (www.3yearbiblebookclub.blogspot.com). I don't think about God just as I don't "think" about my husband, I LOVE him. I ADORE him. I want to KNOW him. I don't want to THINK ABOUT him!  So that is where I get hung up on theology.BUT I believe this is how some people's brains work. So, I have slowly and painfully tried to read theology in order to become "all things to all men." I like Piper…

6. No Knives in the Kitchens of This City by Khaled Khalifa

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This book was not an easy book to read because the disintegration of a society is hard to read about. It is a very sad book, but it is beautifully written and helped me get a glimpse into the city of Aleppo after Assad rose to power. I am glad I read it. It is my first book of Arabic fiction. I love expanding my horizons.

















Good review:


http://www.csmonitor.com/Books/Book-Reviews/2017/0224/No-Knives-in-the-Kitchen-of-this-City-tells-the-heartbreaking-story-of-Aleppo

Freewrite on Tuesday Afternoon

It has been a while so here goes. I am a little "low ebb" this afternoon. I am too tuckered out to go and work out. Plus, it can be a rest day as I have exercised many days in a row, and I think I am due a rest day. I am frustrated because other than Thursday at my mother in laws, I have been SO GOOD with my eating, but the scale does not show it. I am 2.2 pounds away from my goal, and I am STUCK and have been stuck since February 13. Even on the Thursday at my mother-in-law's house, I did OVEREAT. I just ate more than I have on previous days that week. Sigh.

Am I getting sick? Maybe so. I hope not though. I have a full day tomorrow. SO, it is probably best to rest right now.

I am putting the final touches on our Kingdom Community Curriculum today, and we had a lovely group meeting this morning. I am going to miss these women. We are over the halfway point of our journey, and it has been a very good year. They have been an excellent group. The last two weeks, I have reall…

Wellness of Body Freewrite

This is a Wellness Blog. I been reporting spiritual (Prayerful Reviews) and emotional (Prayerful Reviews) and mind (book reviews) wellness, but it has been a while since I did some physical stuff.

Well, my lifelong effort to maintain my weight really has gone well over the years. I pretty much have not been overweight since January of 2013. So I have kept myself in my weight range for over four years now!

WOOOHOO!

But, I do like to be at the middle of that range rather than the top. I was pressing toward the top of that range in December 2016 (five pounds away from the top but still too close for comfort). So, I decided to get down to the middle when I stepped on the scale on December 12 after eating for five days at an "all-inclusive" resort for my niece, Jenna's, destination wedding in Mexico.

I know weighing the day after I got back was probably really stupid. I quickly lost weight that first week.

I am now in my little range of four pound fluctuation that I want to stay…

5. Wilderness Time: A Guide for Spiritual Retreat by Emilie Griffin

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I have been doing Spiritual Retreats since I was 21 years old (1980). I love this book because it will be nice to give to someone who is doing it for the first time. It has the Renovare philosophy of life behind it, and I love that! I don't know how I missed it when it came out. There was an excerpt from it on the Renovare website, and I had to have it!


I also give people this little handout when they go to spend time with God:
How to Spend a Day in Prayer
They are both wonderful resources!

4. Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

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This was an enjoyable, quick read. I love behind-the-scene information. She is a delightful and funny person. Loved her writing voice. If you are a Gilmore Girls fan, you will definitely enjoy this book.

Prayer Review from Last Saturday to Today

What made me feel most alive and in tune with God's plan:


Resting at home all weekend and not going to any of the prayer events. Listening to my God about taking care of my body.Eating healthyTeaching Pilates at OSU and dropping SNAP Fitness PilatesRiding my bike to and from work in the crisp winter airListening to the end of Genesis and the story of JOSEPH! (still my favorite person in the Bible behind God and Jesus!) Prayer - sweet hours of prayer. Especially with Kingdom Community.Prayer and meeting with this stellar group of Kingdom Community people this year - Heather, Rebekah, Nancy, and Sharon. So life-giving to me on so many levels. They liked reading The Divine Conspiracy. Go figure! Reading Divine Conspiracy and finding it continues to touch my SOUL.Discussing Divine Conspiracy with Kingdom Community.Amy asking me to mentor her. I love to mentor women! That is so life-giving for me and so in tune with God's design for me. Serving at Southside for the 9th school year! …