Saturday, May 31, 2008

Not My Cup of Tea

I finally finished Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. Although this book is a New York Times Bestseller, I found it tedious. I didn't come away as inspired as I anticipated.

This true story is about Greg Mortenson dream to bring education and a school to Pakistan. I admired his grit, determination, and sacrifice. However, I found written story moved slowly. It was a challenge finish reading this book and toward the end I sped read.

No pun intended, but this book just wasn't my cup of tea.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Shack--Revisited

The USA Today featured a story on The Shack a book that I previously wrote about on this blog. The Shack is fast becoming a book phenomenon. . It is a self-published book, which has over 1,000,000 copies in print, much controversy, and New York publishers scrambling to get their hands on it.

However, there is now a strong backlash against it. Below are two quotes that were printed in the USA Today (5/28/08).

Albert Mohler, a leading theologian of the Southern Baptist Convention, which takes the Bible literally, trashes The Shack in his weekly radio show, calling it "deeply subversive," "scripturally incorrect" and downright "dangerous."

Says Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle: "If you haven't read The Shack, don't!"

Here’s my take on the controversy. Make your own opinion. Read it yourself, because it is hot topic in our culture. How can you discuss it with friends if you haven’t even read it? It is a water cooler discussion and a blog topic—be informed! A couple a years ago, I attended Jerry Jenkin’s “Write for the Soul Writers’ Conference”. I sat in a workshop with 75-100 other Christian writers. The instructor asked, “How many of you have read The DaVinci Code? No one raised a hand. (Of course, maybe they didn’t want to admit it.) The instructor scowled and said, “Shame on all of you! How can you write with relevance on the Christian world view, if you are not aware of what people are reading and discussing around the water cooler.”

Hmmm . . . I believe he is right.

Personally, I liked The Shack. As I stated in my previous blog, it is a fiction book. It is not a theological treatise. Did I agree with everything written within the pages? No. Do I think the book has value? Yes. It has value because the book has gone mainstream. It speaks of God’s love and our worth. To me that is great starting point in any conversation where we might share our faith in Jesus.

Read it yourself! I would love to hear your opinion.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Stinkiest

I could never finish reading C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity. I found it boring--a real snoozer. However, a friend recommended that I listen to it on my I-pod. I did and enjoyed it immensely. In fact, I plan on listening to it again. I liked the narrator's tone and British accent. It made feel as if I was sitting in the "Eagle and the Child" chatting with C.S. Lewis, eating fish and chips, and discussing the truth of faith in Jesus Christ.

It's a small book, but packed with information.

Mere Christianity once refreshed my memory on much of basic Christian theology. It teaches on God's love and human sin--especially pride. Pride is at the root of all sin. It's the stinkiest. It all began in the garden of Eden and still plagues every human being. Pride creeps in quietly. It justifies itself. It feels good.

For myself, I find it starts in my thoughts and progresses into actions. It stinks. My friend, Micca Campbell, once said, "You are never more like Satan than when you are seeking your own glory." C.S. Lewis agrees.

Here's my take away from listening to the audio book of Mere Christianity. Christianity is easy. Jesus made it easy. However, resisting our own pride is difficult. I recommend Mere Chrisianity as a reminder and a excellent resource on how to battle the stinkiest sin of pride.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Thought Provoking

Over this long weekend I read A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. He is the author of The Kite Runner, also. Both books are excellent. I doubted I would like A Thousand Splendid Suns as well as the The Kite Runner. However, to my surprise and delight—I liked it even better. Both books are set in Afghanistan and are very thought provoking. Although fictional these books give insight into a world that is foreign to us.

I could not put A Thousand Splendid Suns down. One night I stayed up to 2:00 AM, so that I could finish it. I highly recommend this book. It will spark compassion to pray for women who are locked into any type of repressive culture.

After finishing A Thousand Splendid Suns, I started reading Three Cups of Tea. It is a true story of a man whose goal in life is to bring education to girls who live in the Middle East that have little or no education. Again, I wasn’t sure if I would care for this book. However, I am finding it fascinating. I will let you know after I finish it, whether it is a thumbs up or a thumbs down.

But if you want a thought provoking read, run to the library and check out A Thousand Splendid Suns, it will only take a three or four suns to read it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Prince Caspian

All right, I didn’t read it—I listened. A while back, I purchased the complete dramatic Narnia series from Focus on the Family. So, I decided to listen to Prince Caspian before I see it in the theater. It was a complete delight.

I highly recommend purchasing this set of CD’s for a great summer listen. The whole set of CD’s runs about $45.00 and makes for 22 hours of entertainment. They include all seven of books in the Narnia series, including The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. If you are planning a road trip this summer, the miles will slip by. If you are flying, download them onto your MP3 player and enjoy the flight.

Focus on the Family did an amazing job with C.S. Lewis’s stories. They are dramatized, so the characters come to life. These unique stories will mesmerize your kids. And you will experience the magic of childhood yourself—what a way to begin the summer!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Blogger Summer Book Club

Book Addiction

After blogging about the book The Shack, I got to thinking about other great books that I have read recently. Then, I thought, “I bet there are a lot of fabulous books out there that others could share about with me.”

So, here my thoughts for the next couple of weeks. I am going to share with my thoughts on some the books that I have read recently. And you can share with me! For the next two weeks lets share about fiction books that we have adored, hated, or just didn’t understand. The do not have to be Christian books.

One of my all time favorite books is The Kite Runner. It is a sad intense book, but so moving. It’s a book set in Afghanistan about two boys and their friendship. It reveals the brutality of the human heart in so many ways, but it also shows that love does win out in the end. I have not seen the movie, but everyone told me it doesn’t hold a candle to the book.

So summer is just days away. What books are out there that will make for a great summer read?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Shack

As I wrote in my previous blog the book, The Shack, impacted me a great deal. I feel jump-started to start writing my own book again. Let me quote a snippet from the back cover.

“In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant The Shack wrestles with the timeless question, “Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?””

Author Eugene Peterson endorsed the book by saying, “This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s Pilgrim Progress did for his. It’s that good!” Those are strong words from one of the great Christian theologians of our time.

The Shack is not a theological treatise. It is a fiction book, with a fresh telling of God’s love for us—a love and compassion that we cannot ever fully understand this side of heaven. I thank God for granting artists, musicians, and authors the gifts and talents to reveal afresh the goodness of God.

To prepare God's people for works of service,
so that the body of Christ may be built up.”

Ephesians 4:12 (NIV)


Now I Understand

Now I Understand . . .

By nature I am not a procrastinator. Well, until I signed a contract in January to write my next book.. The book’s working title is “Dancing with Abba” and it is about developing intimacy with God. My life message is “Learning to trust God” by examining His nature and characteristics—His intrinsic goodness.

It just sometimes life circumstances seems to dictate otherwise. I know that “all things work to good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” I believe that with my whole heart, soul and mind.

But in 2007, I watched as two of my friends dealt with horrific tragedy in their lives. I was stunned by the enormity of sadness in my own heart. Thoughts of how unfair life is hung in my as gray clouds above my me. I dealt with a feelings of inadequacy as I struggled to find ways and words to comfort my beloved friends. Cancer plagued one friend. My other friend endured the discovery of the murder of her oldest child.

These two incidents created in me a major writers’ block. I held no desire to write. I had friends praying for me. A dear friend in Nebraska, who helps me with editing, finally emailed me and said, “We’ll just have to see what God is up to in your life.” So I sat and waited as my manuscript deadline crept closer.

Suddenly last week, I felt an urge to write again. Thoughts popped into my head that needed to be jotted down. Feelings, anecdotes, and Scripture verses were scribbled on index cards, so I wouldn’t forget them. However, I couldn’t find the time to actually sit down to write. Last week was busy with company, weddings, etc.

Then . . .

I went to church on Sunday and a friend showed me a book. “Have you read it yet?”

“No, but I have it at home. My mom told me to read it about a month ago. I just haven’t had time.”

“Read it,” she said. “We have to discuss it.”

So, I read The Shack. Amazing! Now I know that God wanted me to read The Shack before I began in earnest the writing of my own book. This book allowed me to get past the shock and pain of what happened in my friend’s lives. The Shack is a fiction book, but it reveals the story of God’s love like no other book, other than the Bible, that I have read.

Please find a copy and read it. You can buy it at or your local bookstore. I would love to hear your comments on the book.

But beware--it's unlike anything that you've read before.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Life in Las Vegas--Continued

Recently I read one of my favorite bloggers, Tony Woodlief. He wrote a blog about Las Vegas and titled it “The City Where No One Smiles.” The link is It was an excellent commentary about the tourists who visit the Strip and the emptiness in their hearts. He wrote of the people sitting in the casinos, “All had flown to Las Vegas, the sleepless city; the city that knows how to keep a secret, the city of lights and fortunes, and every blessed one of them looked liked someone waiting execution.” He goes on to say they are trying to fill the “great Empty.”

Unfortunately, what Mr. Woodlief says is quite true. Fortunately, Las Vegas does have hundreds of thousands of people who smile, because they have found the great Fulfillment—Jesus Christ. Although this is a dark city of sin, we also have the some of the brightest lights in the world—our Christian churches. Our churches love God and love people.

For those people who are empty, they just might discover the smile of their soul. Because when the empty hearts step into the light of World, smiles illuminate their souls even in Las Vegas.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Life In Las Vegas

I spent last week in chilly Minnesota. Spring time is just beginning and the trees were just starting to green up.

Last night I flew home to Las Vegas. As we were flying across the Nevada desert I looked at my husband and said, “Tell me again why we live in Vegas?” (My husband is a native Las Vegan and his entire family live here.)

But it’s all in person’s perspective. As we left the plane, everyone began talking on the cell phones. I heard a man say, “This city is unbelievable. It’s great.” His perspective of flying over the city was one of wonder. The glittery neon lights were not even on yet. It only late afternoon, but the Las Vegas wowed him.

Actually, I don’t mind living in Las Vegas. (I do wish it was greener. But hey, I can fly to Minnesota.) When you live in Vegas it is just like any other community. OK, we do have slot machines in the grocery stores. I live 25 miles from the Strip. The only time my husband and I go down there is when we have visitors who insist on seeing “Vegas”.

More than thirty years ago, I moved to Las Vegas. I remember thinking to myself, “This is the most God forsaken place I have ever seen. But, I was in for a surprise. God has not forsaken the people of Las Vegas. His Light shines bright here.

There is that saying, “Bloom where you are planted.” Underneath the Light of Jesus, I have bloomed in the Nevada desert. I raised my children here and they bloomed, too. Would I choose to live in Las Vegas? Hmmmm . . . No. But I want to be where God wills for me to be. And for right now, it’s to live in Vegas. That’s why we live here.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Another Day in Computer life

OK, so I get my emailed problems resolved, then I receive a notice that the "higher powers" have locked my blog because it looks like suspicious spam. Now my question is why would they pick me out of a bizillion people who blog? Or why can't they block the real spammers who send me unwanted stuff everyday?

Wait, I feel my indignant self climbing on a soap box. I'll stop and just say, "I am back." As of this moment, I think I can email, blog, etc. We can only hope . . . as I said, "Computers you can't live with them and you can't live without them."