Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Week that Was

First, I have to give a shout out to the Knight family's multipurpose, utility infielder of an aunt, Dianna Dufek.  Over the course of the last few years, she has served as friend, babysitter, shopping companion, dinner companion, holiday co-celebrator, au pair (AKA the third adult on a Florida vacation with 3 kids 5 and under), and most recently, gardener.  She and Trisha have spent the last couple of weekends removing all the bushes from our front planter area and moving them to the side of the house.  Now our landscaped area is larger and varied.

Yesterday marked the end of the school year for four of the five Knights.  Cami and Griffin had a program (Christian cowboy-themed) and an end-of-the-year picnic.  Lexi had an awards ceremony, field day, and a few tears because she will miss her friends and teacher.  I just sighed deeply because I excited to be finished with this trying year.  Oh, and the dance rocked, even though we were missing about 1/3 of the 8th grade due to the "cool kids" having a party at the same time.  Cami and Lexi even danced with some of the girls and had a blast.  Griffin did the standard "stand by the wall and hope nobody notices" that most 8th grade boys master.  Apparently, he is pretty advanced for his age.

Now, the plan is to finally relax over the Memorial Day weekend.  I guess there is some big race in town, but I can't watch it on tv because it's blacked out locally.  I guess that's supposed to make me want to buy tickets, sit outside in the hot sun with drunk fans for 8-10 hours and hope to see a few crashes and some good racing.  I'd rather sit at home and watch NASCAR for free.

Have a great holiday!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Vote for New Review

If you have the time, I'd appreciate your votes for my review of Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris.


Book Review - Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris

Dug Down Deep is a book about theology.  That is a heavy and complicated subject no matter who you are, and one I wasn't sure I wanted to tackle.  Fortunately, Harris writes with a style that made this subject easier (not easy) to understand.  The bulk of the book attempts to Biblically answer the truth about the following subjects: God, Scripture, Jesus, the Cross, salvation, sanctification, the Holy Spirit, and the church (from the introduction).  Harris tackles each of these topics using personal anecdotes, Bible references (the ultimate authority), and references to other noteworthy books on theology, doctrine, and orthodoxy.  It was a very interesting and challenging read.  I learned about the Amish ritual of Rumspringa (look it up, you'll be amazed); I discovered that Harris is the actual author of an email story called "The Room", which is based on a dream he had (it's very moving; google it with his name); and gained a deeper understanding of the theology I base my life and faith on.  My favorite chapter dealt with Harris's father's conversion to Christianity.  The chapter about the Holy Spirit deals with some charismatic issues that I wasn't real clear on previously.  The final chapter is called Humble Orthodoxy and calls Christians to be firm but loving, and to live the truth.  Harris states , "But I'll tell you what deflates my arrogance and self-righteousness faster than anything else: trying to live whatever truth I have."  What a great challenge.

This version of the book contains a Reflection and Discussion Guide, notes, and a recommended reading list for further study.

I learned more about theology and doctrine from reading Dug Down Deep.  It is well worth the read, whether you are a new Christian, have been saved for a long time, or somewhere in-between.

I received this book from the publisher as part of WaterBrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books review program.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Book Review - MacArthur: America's General

This is a book review of MacArthur: America's General by Mitchell Yockelson.  I was very interested to read this book, as I know very little about General Douglas MacArthur.  Unfortunately, after trying to read it two separate times, I had to give up.  I found out a little information about MacArthur, but I could not force myself to read the whole thing.  As interesting a subject for a biography that General MacArthur is, this is a poorly written book.  I kept being distracted and thrown out of the narrative by the writing.  Rather than a researched biography, this book seems like its been cobbled together with quotes from other sources.  It reminds me of a research paper from one of my students, where the quotes are simply used because they are a requirement and do not flow with the writing.  If this was an occasional thing it would be okay, but it is constant.  In addition, it often seems like many sections were written independently from one another because information can be presented as new in one paragraph that follows a previous paragraph where the same information was just presented.  I'm sure that MacArthur is a fascinating subject and that the information contained in the book is accurate, but because of the writing I will not be reading, nor recommending, this particular book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: 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. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Weekly Wrap Up

This has been a hodge-podge of a week for the Knights.  Cami and Griffin played their last soccer game, with each scoring one goal (Cami's was a center kick from mid-field).  That gave Griffin at least one goal in each game, which is pretty cool.  Trisha is co-leading a book study at church, and also organized the MOPS Messy Day activity (it was a rousing success).  Lexi and I wrapped up our second consecutive six-day school week and we only have five days left, thankfully.  Saturday night, one of my former players got married, so we able to attend and see not only the new groom, but quite a few other former players as well.  Highlights for the upcoming week include the preschool program, elementary school awards, eighth grade graduation, and the 3rd annual 8th-grade-only graduation danced with music by DJ Scott Knight and MC Scott Smith (our social studies teacher and fellow coach).  I have to admit we rock the party, plus we threaten all 80's music if the kids don't burn some cd's of their favorite songs for us.  And, I will rap the seminal Vanilla Ice classic "Knight, Knight, Baby".  Good times.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Book Review - iShine Bible

The iShine Bible is a Bible targeted at tweens (7-12 year olds).  It is a New Living Translation. Because I have a daughter who is seven, I thought this would be a great product.  To my eyes, it's simply average.  I was expecting a Bible with a lot of neat little articles about being a tween interspersed with the Bible verses.  There is a section at the beginning with topics and verses that might be relevant to tweens/teens. There are also a handful of pages that address what Tyndale calls V.I.P. "V = You have Value in God's eyes.  I = Your Identity is found only in Jesus Christ - and wow does that mean a lot.  P = Because of the V and the I, you have a special Purpose in the world."  These sections have QR codes that will give you a special message if you access them with your phone.  For those without a phone, there is also a website to visit.  The website contains topics pertinent to tweens and music by teen/tween Christian musicians.  The Bible is about the size of a paperback book, comes with a "leatherlike" cover, and comes in Lip Sync Pink/Rockin' Ruby or Backstage Blue.

My daughter really likes the pink cover and the fact that it is made for girls.  She can read the text but does not understand a lot of it.  The extras are also kind of lost on her right now.  Hopefully as she gets older, she will grow into it.

Overall, I think this is an average Bible.  I can't speak to how relevant it is to tweens, not being a tween myself, but it has potential.  I also think it's a nice transition, because my daughter's previous Bible is designed for littler children, even though it has the full text.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Soccer Update

In their second-to-last game of the season, Griffin and Cami played well (or so I'm told; I got to enjoy a snow make-up day at school).  Cami scored another goal.  Griffin wanted to score five goals; instead, he scored seven.  I believe he is currently being courted by MLS (no American soccer league for us), but is holding out for the English Premier League.  His daddy wants him to be an Arsenal Gunner, so he can put it to Manchester United (I hate those guys.  If you don't know them, do a Google search).  My athletic endeavor today was in the area of basketball.  We played our annual Faculty vs. Seniors charity basketball game during last period today.  We won on a free throw in sudden-death overtime (the bell was going to ring, and the teachers are getting old).  I contributed 2 pts, 1 block/jump ball, some rebounds, a missed lay-up, and some tired legs and heavy breathing.  Trisha brought the kids to watch, which might be the first time they've ever seen me play any sports.  Anyway, I'll be spending the night in my oxygen tent, trying to recover.  Also, never eat a ham sandwich two hours before playing in a basketball game.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


So, with everyone beginning to vote, my review for Average Joe has jumped up to number 13 for the month of May.  I'm list with 8 votes for 38 points, with one vote pending (that can lift me into the top 6, I think).  There is still time to vote if you haven't already, and a big, hearty thanks to those of you who have.  If you have friends/family who you think might enjoy my blog, please pass along the address to them:
To vote:

Thanks for all the support!

P.S. Jim Walker, I did receive your email, but I thought I might wait 6 months before replying.  I figure if we cut it down a little every time, by the we're retired old men, we should be speaking/emailing nearly every day :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Thanks for the Votes!

In just a couple of days, my review for Average Joe has jumped up to number 60 on the Wall of Fame at Waterbrook Multnomah.  It has a total of 4 reviews for 19 points.  I get 1 point for every star the review gets ranked.  The leader on the Wall has 1 votes for 60 points.  That's a great goal!  The review for Little Star is ranked lower, with 3 votes for 15 points.  Remember, if you haven't voted yet, I'd appreciate it if you connect to the link below.  You have to enter your email once, then you can vote for any book(s).  You will receive a confirmation email to verify your address as real; you have to click the verification link.  Once you do that, your votes will show up.  Thanks for the help, and the votes.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I Need Your Help

One of the publishers I review books for, Waterbrook Multnomah, has restricted access to reviewable books to its bloggers with high ranks for their reviews.  You could really help me out if you would rank my reviews by clicking on the link below.  The first time, you will be prompted for a valid email address so they can guard against reviewers voting for their own reviews multiple times.  After that, you should be fine.  Thanks for your help.