Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Book of Man by William J. Bennett

Bennett has compiled another rich collection of stories in this volume.  This time his focus is on what makes a man a man.  This 517 page book contains hundreds of stories, vignettes, quotes, prayers. . .that adult readers will find interesting as they reflect on the qualities that make great men.

There are writings about men in ancient times as well as modern and each entry gives the reader food for thought as he contemplates what it means to be a man.  Men of various political persuasions, religions, and professions are told about - all with equal admiration from the writer.

Rather than choose a chronological order, Bennett chose to organize the readings according to the following divisions:  Man in War;  Man at Work; Man in Play, Sports and Leisure; Man in the Polis; Man With Woman and Children; and Man in Prayer and Reflection.

This somewhat lose organization allows the reader to pick up the book and begin reading in whatever category he may be interested in at that moment.

I can imagine a person using this book as source of material for inspirational talks in a variety of situations.  This is a book for adults and it will, no doubt, be a book picked up and gleaned from for years by the adults who own it.  I consider it a keeper.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Why God Won't Go Away by Alister McGrath

Subtitled:  Is the New Atheism Running on Empty?

I found Alister McGrath to be refreshing and engaging as he took on the “New Atheist” in this book, Why God Won’t Go Away.

Of course there is nothing “new under the sun”, but McGrath explains who the current high-stakes players are in this newest installment of the atheist movement and what their tactics entail (namely ridicule and dismissal, but with militant zeal) which, of course, only serves to shut down conversation, not keep it going.

In contrast, McGrath entertains many questions asked by “new atheists” and gives reasonable responses. In reading this book (and I also recommend watching a debate or two between Alister McGrath and Richard Dawkins and/or Christopher Hitchins – such debates can be found online), one cannot help but see the difference between McGrath’s sensible (even humble) handling of a challenging subject and the defensive and insulting manner in which the “new atheist” tends to handle it.

A truly reasonable person should be able to rise above defensive and insulting posturing, not succumb to it as a main tactic in winning an argument. Insult and dismissal are not the tactics of those who honestly desire to have reasonable and rational discussion. Regardless of what side of the divide you may be on, I suggest giving Alister McGrath a read. The contrast in style between McGrath and the “new atheist” is stark indeed.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Ten-minute no-sew recycled t-shirt bag!

Here is a very cool craft.   Cool because it's simple, makes use of something everyone has hanging the house, AND the end product is a very useful item.  Kids will love to make their own special T-Shirt Bag.  And I'm thinking this might even be a fun actvitiy for a moms' night out.  I can't wait to suggest it.

Lee Meredith at has a great tutorial that will walk you through making your own bags.  Here are my first attempts at making my own cool t-shirt bags:

I can't wait to make some more!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

UNSINKABLE by Abby Sunderland and Lynn Vincent

Unsinkable is a story co-authored by Abby Sunderland and Lynn Vincent about Abby's attempt to be the youngest female to sail solo around the world.  The attempt failed, but success was measured in other ways.

Unsinkable gives the reader an inside glimpse into the Sunderland family starting with the earliest days when the family (which included the four oldest Sunderland children) sailed for three years in and out of exotic places - living and learning about worlds few of us even have the opportunity to read about. This background, as well as Lawrence Sunderland's background as a seasoned sailor and shipwright, is essential to understanding how and why setting a goal of doing a solo sail around the world would even occur to his16 year-old daughter.

I will admit, this land-lover had a hard time comprehending how any modern 16 year-old could be capable (physically, mentally and emotionally) of making such goal a reality, but before I was half-way through the book I began to understand that this was no average 16 year-old - no average modern-day girl, for that matter. And the Sunderlands are no average family. On the other hand, I have a feeling they are very comfortable people and, in a sense, just every day folk that I'd enjoy getting to know.

Unsinkable is an engaging book filled with adventure and information about the sailing world as well as answers to why Lawrence and Marianne Sunderland not only allowed, but made provision for their daughter to attempt her goal of sailing solo around the world. While knowing nothing of sailing and the kind of life the Sunderlands lead, I came away from my reading of this book with an appreciation of their lifestyle, certainly; and at least a modicum of understanding how and why Abby entertained such a dream.

I wholeheartedly recommend Unsinkable to anyone who is curious about this story.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Graduation Time!

One Open House and Two Graduations in one week!    Whew! 

Middle Son graduated from high school in a lovely ceremony planned by fellow homeschool moms and the graduates. 

Oldest son graduated from college with honors from Taylor University.

Where has the time gone?

It seems like just yesterday they were little boys.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Story of the Bible by Larry Stone

Do not be deceived into thinking this 96-page book is lightweight - in size or content.   This beautiful oversized hardback book gives a broad, if not deep, overview of the history of the Bible.

The first part of the book is devoted to the history of the ancient manuscripts that supported the Hebrew scriptures in the time of Christ and explain why the authenticity of our current scriptures can be trusted.  The author does an admirable job of attempting to explain all of this to the lay reader, but going into much depth is, quite honestly, impossible in such a cursory overview. And I'll admit, it got confusing at times.

Next, the book covers the early church and the narrative tone flows more naturally.   It offers a chronological telling of many important persons and events and the impact scriptures had from early Christendom through the Reformation, all the way into the 20th Century. Again, coverage was not extremely deep, but it is an interesting read and admirable in its breadth. 

A wonderful component of this book is the additional 23 pull-out pages that are stored in strong vellum pockets throughout.  These  loose pages provide many examples of ancient Bibles and manuscripts.  As a home-educator, I can see that these would be a great aid to the student in seeing how painstaking it was to reproduce Bibles and manuscripts in long ago times.  These illustrations also provide beautiful examples of illuminated manuscripts.  The fact that these illustrations are loose and can be used separate from the book makes them a great resource that can be used for a variety of purposes.

A serious student of this subject will need something more academic and thorough to adequately cover the subject of the history of the Bible, but this is a lovely book to have available to read and browse at one's leisure.  It is a great resource to share with students if one is covering this topic or any of the time periods discussed in the book and wanting to discuss the relevancy of scripture to what was going on in the world at that time.  If this is one's first exposure to the history of the Bible, one will likely come away curious for more in-depth study; and that alone makes this a worthwhile read.

The Story of the Bible is not a difficult read, but it is not simple either.  How could it be simple to cover such a topic that spans several millennia and innumerable political upheavals and world events?  I recommend the book as a resource for educators of religious studies and also for someone wanting a cursory overview of the subject of the Bible and early church history in an attractive coffee-table type book.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Just button it up, why don't cha?

I made several of these scarves at Christmas time (two just like the one pictured - made out of a wool yarn, and one out of a soft acrylic, and another out of an acrylic and alpaca blend). They were easy to make and were hits with their intended recipients, though no one in my immediate family will wear one for some reason (outside of modeling it, anyway).

Don't quite understand my guys' aversion to it as this is the most comfortable and stay-where-you-put-it scarf I've ever seen. I don't think they understand how cool these scarves are and how cool they'd be wearing them.  

They are so cool, I've been wishing I had made one for myself while I was at it.  Hmmmm....maybe it's the fact that I think they are cool is why they don't

Life is cruel that way.

I'd start one for myself, but I have a feeling winter's about over around here.  

Hey, can't blame a girl for hoping can ya'?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Book Lovers Love Books

How's that for stating the obvious?  Whether the books belong to her or someone else, a book lover just can't seem to get her fill when browsing another's bookshelves.  And homeschoolers are, by and large, book lovers and book collectors; and almost without fail what a homeschooler's eyes are drawn to when visiting a new friend are their books!  Maybe we want to get new ideas.  Maybe we want to see if we have common tastes.  Or maybe (and I almost hate to suggest this, but....) maybe we're just afflicted

I don't know why it's such a compulsion to peruse another book lover's bookshelves, but I know that it is.  So I invite you to browse a sampling of the many books we've collected over the years.  Clicking on a picture will enlarge it (because I know you want to read the titles).

A sampling of the books in the family room

Nature and Science books

Art books

Religion, Philosophy, History and Geography

These are the ones not in boxes.  I store history books by period in a storage room and rotate them out as we're studying a particular time period because we don't have enough shelves to hold them all at once.

Teacher Resources

Way too many cookbooks 

A glass front bookcase houses a few of Greg's WWII books:

The little bookcase below has always been my "woman's shelf".  Early on it was a new mom's bookshelf.  Then it became loaded with homeschooling books, and a sprinkling of spiritual helps.  At the moment, it's undergoing a metamorphosis as I begin contemplating the transition from homeschooling to.....who knows?!?   It may simply remain an eclectic collection of what interests me at the moment.

And then there is music, poetry, nursery rhymes 
and all sorts of miscellany in the living room & dining room:

And as hard as it is to believe, I didn't even get pictures of the books in the boys' rooms, several other shelves of teacher helps, Bible study resources, Greg's Landmark book collection, books of music scores, and some wonderful children's literature I hope to someday share with grandchildren.  And, well...I'll admit I intentionally didn't snap any pictures of the collections that are growing on my dresser (my Mitford, Miss Julia, and The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books - books I've only recently discovered are wonderful, fun reads).

Yes, I suppose it is an affliction. 
But a lovely affliction it is.