Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Book Review: Every Woman's Battle


"Discovering God's Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment"

By Shannon Ethridge

I picked up this book thinking it would have little application in my life. This area is not one in which I have struggled all that much - not that I am stronger than others, but I've been blessed with an extra-sheltered upbringing. However, I was surprised at how much really hit home for me, and I found many helpful reminders and warnings within the pages. The author states clearly that "naivete is not a virtue" - yet she deals with the subject in a way that is both discrete and straightforward, always practical and hitting home.

Using stories from her own life as well as testimonies from other women, Ethridge does a masterful job accurately outlining the areas where women tend to struggle with their sexuality and purity. Clearly stating it's "not just a man's battle," she goes on to debunk "seven myths that intensify our struggle" and then calls us to "design a new defense" in the areas of our thoughts, emotions, words, and boundaries. Solid, Biblical truths are coupled with practical applications, and I found myself challenged to be aware of my own areas of vulnerability, taking God-honoring steps to remain pure and not allow the enemy any foothold in my life.

Also included in the edition I read is a lengthy "workbook" in the back, making this book a perfect companion for personal reflection as well as group studies. I would highly recommend it to any woman, married or single, and it would also be appropriate for teenagers to read along with a parent or mentor.

Blogging For Books

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange this honest review.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Capturing memories in a digital age

One of the drawbacks of homeschooling is that I don't have any highschool "yearbook" to commemorate those years. Yes, we do have some pictures, and I have my journals...but I wasn't into scrapbooking then and I know many memories and events from that time have been lost. My mom did a good job keeping her photo prints in sequential albums, but she didn't do any scrapbooking or journalling.

This is one reason I'm really excited about the yearbook photo books that Shutterfly is offering now. They look like a perfect alternative to scrapbooking, especially for busy families with lots of children, plenty of pictures, and no time to actually put photo pages together the old-fashioned way. These yearbooks would also be perfect for commemorating any other close-knit group - like a homeschool club, a church class, or an extended family reunion. Apparently they offer books for as little as $5 each, though I'm not sure how many you have to order to get this pricing.

From simple to elaborate, colorful to simple, there's a huge variety of design templates to choose from. With so much already done for you, no one is able to use the excuse that "I'm just not creative". ;) Just look at all these options: http://www.shutterfly.com/yearbook . Another advantage is that your book design is stored permanently on Shutterfly's site - so if your printed copy ever gets damaged it'll be easy to order a replacement.

Prices are reasonable, too, especially when you consider the time and expense that would be involved in a regular scrapbook or even in just an ordinary, plain photo album. Even though I thoroughly enjoy scrapbooking, I'm planning on out trying a photo book this year. I don't have time for scrapbooking these days, yet I want to get the memories recorded before they are all lost.

Check out the options here, and also follow Shutterfly on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. They have some really great deals from time to time, and new customers also get 50 FREE prints with your first order. Quality is great IMO - better than most cheap/free prints I've received elsewhere. We actually got most of our wedding pictures printed through Shutterfly and have been very happy with the quality.

Full disclosure: Shutterfly offered to give me a free photo book in exchange for posting about their new yearbooks. But I assure you that my opinions are honest and I really am excited about trying it out. :D

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Adventures of Joe and Abi: How Joe became a vegetarian

One of the things Joe and I enjoyed doing together during our long-distance courtship was playing Scrabble on Facebook - it's so much fun that we still play frequently that way, more often than playing a "real" game of Scrabble.

We both enjoy reading, writing, and word games...so it was a natural progression for us to combine all these things in our Scrabble games. We decided to write a story along with the Scrabble game: every word we played had to be worked into the story somehow, as we went along. The resulting stories have often been both goofy and downright hilarious. :D An obvious side benefit is that we have to look up the meaning of each word and use it properly - so we're learning lots of fun new words also (another thing we both enjoy).

I've saved the text from these stories, calling them "The Adventures of Joe and Abi." Would you like a peek at a chapter? :) The words in CAPS are the words played in the game.

The Adventures of Joe and Abi: How Joe Became a Vegetarian

One day Joe was feeling oddly hungry and decided to grill himself a nice piece of BEEF.

Unfortunately there was no beef to be found in his fridge, so he went out and bought some BICORN instead.

"No bicorns were HARMED in the making of this steak," Joe read from the label. He raised his eyebrows suspiciously.

He decided he'd better HURL the steak as far from himself as possible for the packaging's shameful lies.

Joe stepped out his door and, with a loud BELLOW, let the bicorn steak fly with a fast overhand throw to the east.

"I wonder if I can join that CLIQUE of meat connoisseurs that Abi belongs to?" he thought to himself.

"Or, maybe if I can't join, I can snag her LOGINS to the CLIQUE'S website and see what they say about bicorn steaks."

"Until then, perhaps I can be content with some GUAVA."

Grabbing his bottle of guava and a bag of GRATED cheese to munch on, Joe sat down at the computer to see if he could catch Abi on chat and convince her to tell him the passwords to the meat clique website.

While he waited for Abi to sign on, he decided to look for a sale on TOWELS.

Quickly becoming bored, Joe's eyes became heavy and he spent the next hour in a DOZE at his desk.

While sleeping, he dreamed of several CANTOS that he might use to win Abi's affection (as well as access to her logins).

Unfortunately his dreams then turned to scenes of being trapped in a ZEK, and he jolted awake with a groan.

He went to find some coffee, which always PACIFIED his waking fears.

"Why can't I ever find a clean mug when I need one?" Joe GRIPEd.

Suddenly it clicked in his mind. "I must be paying for all those times I skipped out on PE."

"Oy, GUV," he said to the butler. "Would you mind pouring me a cup o' coffee?"

"ER..." the butler hesitated. "I thought you were an EX-coffee drinker? Something about it having too much XI baryon and all that...?"

"Of course, that's IT," Joe agreed. He looked out the window. "Hey, look, that chicken is OVIPOSITing!"

Realizing he was getting distracted, Joe went back to the computer, turned it ON, and signed IN to see if NAN (his new nickname for Abi) was on yet. "Just so I don't end up chatting with her PA again..." Joe murmured.

Nan popped onto the video instant messaging program and was, for some strange reason, wearing a JIJAB.

"Oh, JO," she said sweetly, her voice muffled under the fabric of her headdress. "See this lovely URN I just painted?"

"It looks like an ordinary JAR with bruises," Joe thought to himself. This was not what he wanted to talk to Nan about.

"Do you know how to DARN socks?" he asked, hoping to ease into getting her logins.

"Oh, yes," she answered impatiently. "EM taught me how years ago. But I want you to look at the beautiful MATT finish on my urn. It was very difficult to get it just right."

"Wow, that's BEEFY!" Joe exclaimed, using the current slang of the youth.

Glad that she finally had Joe's ATT., Abi continued to talk about her urn and her hijab, and all her latest projects. Joe eventually gave up on the idea of trying to get her logins, and decided to become a vegetarian. And they both lived happily ever after.

The End.

Want to read more of Joe and Abi's adventures? Leave a comment and tell us if you think painted urns look like jars with bruises. And if you've ever dreamed of being trapped in a zek, we want to hear about it!