sophiesperspective - Reviews

1 to 20 of 142 - Page:
24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life
24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life
Author: Matthew Sleeth
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 9/18/2013


This could be revolutionary

"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy."

It's the only commandment that beings with the word remember - almost as if God knew we would forget.

Well, guess what?

We did.

So says Dr. Matthew Sleeth on his book 24/6: A prescription for a healthier, happier life. And he's right.

I knew I agreed with the premise of his book before I picked it up. I've actually been trying to more actively keep the Sabbath - to set aside one whole day a week and rest (some weeks that is Saturday, some weeks that is Sunday, but I try to make one of those days happen a week). Total break. No doing housework or anything like that. Even hobby stuff is taboo if its going to be tiring.

When God created the world, he "created [everything] out of nothing, but on the morning of the seventh day, God makes nothing out of something. Rest is brought into being." (pg 23)

I'd never thought of that.

"Who spoke the light into shining and the earth into spinning and the creeping, crawling things into crawling? God! How? That's not the point. Imagine an infinite God creating for six infinitely glorious days, and then on the seventh day he rests. We don't know the details. ...

The point is that something very important about the character of God is revealed on the seventh day: God stops.

Stopping is a problem for humans. We get a comfortable house, and then we want a bigger one. We get enough to eat and then we want more.

God doesn't need to rest after creating the universe because he's tired. He rests because he is holy, and everything that God does is holy. God rests. God is holy. Therefore, rest is holy. It's simple math.

Rest shows us who God is. He has restraint. Restraint is refraining from doing everything that one has the power to do. We must never mistake God's restraint for weakness. The opposite is true. God shows restraint; therefore, restraint is holy." (pg 32-33)

Resting. Restraint from work. Holy. It's true, but I'd never thought of that before.

"When I began to take one day off every week, I was not a follower of Christ. Yet I found a spiritual benefit. I wanted to share the wonderful aspects of the day with the people I worked with in the hospital. I found that we were great about listening to one another's tales of woe, over-work, purchases, action-packed vacations, and failing marriages, but we didn't have the language to talk about quiet, relaxation, love, and rest. The church often shies away from these topics as well." (pg 165)

You know, it's true - when was the last time we asked someone else what they did to relax that weekend? But look - even there "what did you DO to relax" - we're wired to constantly think in the active state. What about were you able to relax? Are we comfortable even thinking about just resting?

"Many people describe a feeling of dread and anxiety when they think about spending time in quiet or alone. ... they experience boredom. ...

I believe the negative emotions and feelings we experience when we come to a stop are a barometer of our comfort with God. Are we truly bored by being alone with God in the midst of his glorious creation? Perhaps it is not God, the times, or the world that are boring. Maybe it is us." (pg 167)

Maybe never resting makes us boring - makes us unable to appreciate the interesting world we live in. We are made to be intimate with God, and the Sabbath helps to facilitate that. God set the example for us to rest and told us to follow that example. I believe this is something we should try and reclaim. Not to be legalistic about it as the Pharisees were, but to get back to what God said about the Sabbath, and not what man thinks...or is currently popular.

I don't agree with everything Dr. Sleeth says in his book, but I think the heart of the book is spot on, and he does make some excellent points.

I also really enjoyed his stories from his time in the OR and ER (don't worry, they're not gross). I found them very relatable and kept relating them back to stories my sister tells (she's an OR nurse). If you don't know that kindof background, though, his stories stand illustratively on their own.

I think this is a book that many need to read. If people take it heart, it could honestly revolutionize our culture.


The 4 Seasons of Marriage: Secrets to a Lasting Marriage
The 4 Seasons of Marriage: Secrets to a Lasting Marriage
Author: Gary Chapman
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 9/18/2013


Great book for any season

I'm not a person to read marriage books, and besides, I'm newly happily married. However, I decided to read it anyway. I enjoyed Chapman's 5 love languages book and figured there would be helpful information I could glean from him in this book as well.

In his easy, conversational tone, Chapman walks you through what different seasons of marriage can look like. He then gives you practical advice on how to bring your marriage seeing a difficult time into a time of new life - these suggestions are certainly not limited to folks having a hard time though! Many were good reminders to me to not let complacency set in, but to stay actively engaged and communicate with my husband so that we don't get between a rock and hard place.

I hope to add this book to my collection one day.


AAAARGH!!! (TJ and the Time Stumblers)
AAAARGH!!! (TJ and the Time Stumblers)
Author: Bill Myers
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 9/18/2013


Just alright

The book is crazy-over-the-top. If you like the craziness of Myer's "My Life as ..." Series, you should love this. I never got into that series, and find a similar lack of connection here. No doubt it would appeal to some children (it's intended audience) but probably not if your child is more into the classics (like I was). I did appreciate the lesson the book had about cheating. At least there is a point to the story =)


The Abolition of Man
The Abolition of Man
Author: C. S. Lewis
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 20
Review Date: 1/28/2013


C.S. Lewis' Abolition of Man was an interesting read. I actually didn't know what the book was about when I started - it's basically Lewis' refutation of a section of a textbook. Very interesting. And I admire how Lewis keeps the book anonymous. The only thing is I know want to know the name of book. Oh well. I'm sure I could find out if I looked hard enough.

I'm going to quote from the book now:




But you cannot go on "explaining away" for ever: you will find that you have explained explanation itself away. You cannot go on "seeing through" things for ever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it. It is good that the window should be transparent, because the street of garden beyond it is opaque. How if you saw through the garden too? It is no use trying to "see through" first principles. If you see through everything, then everything is transparent. But a wholly transparent world is an invisible world. To "see through" all things is the same as not to see.




The book is logical. I like it, and I think you should read it.

(originally published: http://sophiesmindset.blogspot.com/2007/07/huxley-lewis-and-austen.html)


Abraham: One Nomad's Amazing Journey of Faith
Abraham: One Nomad's Amazing Journey of Faith
Author: Charles R. Swindoll
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 8/7/2014


Not really a biography

This work is marketed as a biography of Abraham. I went into the book asking "Why do we need a biography of Abraham? All we know about him is found in the Bible....that's his "biography" (if you will)." Turns out, the book is mismarketed - it *isn't* a biography ... at least in the usual sense. It's more like an exposition on the life of Abraham, naturally relying heavily on Scripture for information on his life. The beginning and end of each chapter, however, often has nothing to do directly with Abraham. Indeed, each chapter is essentially a sermon of sorts, beginning with the hook to bring you in, and ending with the points for you to take away. Unfortunately, the ending points are rarely drawn from the Scripture itself and are instead helpful life tips that Swindoll shares - now that doesn't mean that these aren't useful, but when you want to make points relating from the Scripture you've been covering I find it more compelling when those takeaways are rooted in the studied Scripture.

If the book was marketed differently I'd probably give another star, but as is it doesn't meet the expectations set forth. There is useful information here that I believe will minister to many people. Just because I gave it 3 stars doesn't mean it's an awful book, just that it fell short of marketed expectations.


Adopted Jane
Adopted Jane
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 11/24/2014


Lovely story!

I picked this up for real cheap because it seemed like a cute story & I've rarely been disappointed with books from SBS. I'm so glad I "risked" my dime! This is a simple, touching story from a bygone age that bring the wonder back to life. Jane is so conscientious, sensible, imaginative, respectful, and honest (with delightful naivety) you love her from the start. This is definitely a book to hold on to if you come across it!


The Advocate
The Advocate
Author: Randy Singer
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 7/7/2014


Exceeded expectations

I've only read one other Singer book, and, to be honest, I wasn't that thrilled with it. It wasn't a bad book, but it wasn't *great*. That experience almost kept me from reading The Advocate, and I'm glad I gave Singer another chance.

The Advocate drew me in and kept me interested - nothing hokey in it either. Everything in this book could have happened (and some of it did). This is storytelling near its best.

I appreciate that Singer includes a list in the front of the book letting you know which characters are fictional, which ones are historical (but about whom little is known), which are based on a historical figure whose name is unknown, and which ones are solid historical figures.

The book isn't preachy, which is a feat when dealing with the beginnings of Christianity. No trite prayers - just lives realistically portrayed ... whether or not those people are believers in Jesus.

Excellent read. Highly recommend.


All for a Story
All for a Story
Author: Allison Pittman
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 7/17/2014


A poor excuse for Christian fiction

A terribly disappointing story. This book claims to be "Religious", "Christian fiction", "Inspirational." It is none of those. While the writing itself is decent, the story felt like Christianity was an after thought, something included to get particular people to read it. In theory, the book is about trying to make a tabloid a place for inspiration for a good life, but the truth is the novel glamorizes what it claims to condemn. In fact, the story would probably be more compelling outside of the Christian genre, because then the poor choices made fit into the worldview instead of knowingly making bad choices -  and receiving good as a consequence. Because of these glaring inconsistencies I cannot recommend this book. 


All-of-a-Kind Family
All-of-a-Kind Family
Author: Sydney Taylor
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 5/15/2014


A delightful book that all ages will enjoy. There is nothing inappropriate - just wholesome vignettes of a hard working Jewish family living in East Side. I look forward to reading the other All-of-a-Kind Family books!


Anatole
Anatole
Author: Eve Titus
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 11/24/2014


Magnifique!

I stumbled across this little book & thought it looked, so I picked it up. I am so glad I did! What a charming story about an honorable mouse living outside Paris. A book to delight children & adults. Highly recommend you get a copy too!


Attack at the Arena (AIO Imagination Station, Bk 2)
Attack at the Arena (AIO Imagination Station, Bk 2)
Author: Paul McCusker, Marianne Hering
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 8/12/2014


Another good installment of the newest Imagination Station series

Good book for young elementary school children. The book teaches good lessons, is fast paced, and uses simple language. Recommended.


The Auschwitz Escape
The Auschwitz Escape
Author: Joel C. Rosenberg
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 15
Review Date: 7/7/2014
Helpful Score: 1


Rosenberg's first historical fiction hits a home run

While there are naysayers claiming that the Holocaust never happened, Rosenberg read, researched, and traveled to the remains of Auschwitz to gather information. The result is a story about what one of the better experiences at Auschwitz might have looked like. The book does contain a lot of information about Jews and their customs - but new words or phrases are used contextually so no one should be left scratching their head. In spite of the natural focus on the Jews, Rosenberg doesn't leave out the Righteous Gentiles, political prisoners, and others the Nazis hated. With each chapter only being a few pages, the book doesn't seem as thick when reading compared to the thickness of the binding.

Rosenberg contains a list of recommended reading for further understanding about what actually happened, and he includes a note to let the reader know when he tweaked the historical timeline for his book.

This is first class historical fiction. Definitely recommended reading.


Baby's First Nativity (First Bible Collection)
Baby's First Nativity (First Bible Collection)
Author: Singer Muff
Book Type: Board book
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 1/14/2015


Surprisingly accurate

The story isn't precisely accurate, but well done considering its for children in rhyme - Im impressed they (accurately) have the wise men coming later & not at the stable. The cutout pages are only for the first few (not the whole book). There are "activities" on the bottom of the pages for your child to do, but nothing most parents probably wouldn't think of anyway (eg pretend to pack, pretend to look for a star, etc)

All in all this is a great book & introduction to the nativity story for children. Recommend.


Bambi: A Life in the Woods
Bambi: A Life in the Woods
Author: Felix Salten
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 5/21/2014
Helpful Score: 1


The style of writing is enjoyable enough, but the pervading anti-man sentiment is tiring. Not surprisingly, the story has more depth than I remember in the Disney movie. Overall, just alright.


Because of Winn-Dixie
Because of Winn-Dixie
Author: Kate DiCamillo
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 203
Review Date: 11/24/2014


A realistic, well told story

This short book has nice margins & larger than usual, easy to read font. Each chapter is short & has a nice breaking point. No cliffhangers dragging you from chapter to chapter, just a love for 10 year old Opal and her dog, Winn-Dixie.

Opal tells you her story in a simple, but charming way. There no climatic happy ending, its realistic. Opal learned a lot the summer the book takes place. She grows, makes friends, and still has her sorrows -but she learns to be happy and content even they're very real.

Word to parents: Opals mom left when she was young, and she had a drinking problem. Another woman Opal meets used to as well. The guy Opal works for did jail time (for a minor offense). One of the girl's brother died at age 5. I mention this only so you know some of the content so you have a better idea for deciding if your child is ready to handle the story or not.


Bleak House
Bleak House
Author: Charles Dickens
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 15
Review Date: 7/9/2014


Long but worthwhile read

A lengthy book (what by Dickens isn't?), but worth the read...if you can get past the slow start. Dickens does a good job of keeping the reader on his toes and turning the pages. For a thick book like this, it is certainly more convenient to read & carry around on an ereader than the print copy (especially when your print copy is over 100 years old, like mine is, and you're scared of messing it up)!


The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven: A Remarkable Account of Miracles, Angels, and Life beyond This World
Review Date: 7/7/2014


A story of God's faithfulness and provision

With a title like "A boy who came back from heaven" I expected something like "Heaven was really cool." "The streets were gold." "I got to talk to Moses - he was really old." Standard, hokey, fake. In other words, I went in entirely skeptical. And, let's face it, the authors having the last name of Malarkey didn't bolster confidence. Sorry.

I believe in Jesus and the Bible 100%. I also know that near death, out of body, and resurrection experiences sometimes do happen. In those cases, though, the burden of proof is entirely on the person. I don't go in expecting to believe them.

Instead of the story I expected to read, I found that the focus of the book actually wasn't the heaven experience (a relief), but instead an account of God's faithfulness to the Malarkey family.

I read the book waiting to pounce on any statement that contradicted Scripture - the ultimate litmus test. What I found was that while I might have phrased a few things differently, there was nothing that jumped off the page screaming that it contradicted God's word.

Two things that impressed me most with this story as it relates to Alex (the boy who came back from heaven) are
1) he remains silent on many things that he saw or gained knowledge of while in heaven - because God told him not to tell. This is very consistent with the Bible.
2) Alex doesn't want the story to be about him, he wants people's focus to be on God. He says that he isn't a special Christian because of what happened, he just had a special experience. Alex's father also notes that Alex gets very uncomfortable when people make the story about him, and ignore God. Alex always redirects to God. Again, this is very Biblical - the Spirit always draws attention to Jesus, not to self.
These two things, are huge points in favor of an accurate story.

Another point in that favor is that Alex was six when all of this happened - according to his parents and friends, his story has never wavered. As he relearned how to talk, a few details were added in, but the substance of the story never wavered. If he was making all of this up, he would've been sure to start contradicting himself. Also, some of what he talks about he had to way of knowing because he was dead/in a coma. Yet he relayed that information accurately.

Some people have said that Kevin (the father, and the book's main author) complains too much about finances in the book. Those people miss the points that Kevin is making - whenever he mentions money it is to praise the Lord for his provision.

Kevin also doesn't try to sugar coat the shortcomings of him and his family. This also provides another ring of truth to the story - if he said that there were never any times of short tempers or bumpy roads I wouldn't believe him. That's not how life works.

Some have also criticized the parts of the story in Alex's words saying that the vocabulary isn't that of a six year old. That's true, it's not, but is consistent with the vocabulary of a twelve year old (his age when this book was published).

I think that this book can serve as an illustration of God's provision and faithfulness, but no one should ever let it stand above the Bible. Kevin Malarkey even makes that point in the book - that everything Alex portrays is and should be compared against Scripture. They haven't found where his story doesn't meet that test. In fact, the older Alex grows and the more he learns about the Bible, the most excited he gets. He loves finding out that something he saw is mentioned in the Bible.

Do I recommend this book for others? Yes, I do. I didn't expect to when I started reading it. But only with the qualifier that this work should never take the place of the Bible - either in your life or in your outreach to others. The Malarkey's cannot save anyone. Jesus can.


Bright Baby Touch & Feel Slipcase: On the Farm, Baby Animals, At the Zoo and Perfect Pets (Bright Baby Touch and Feel)
Review Date: 1/19/2015


I love the simplicity of these books. A bold color provides the background for each set of pages with no more than two pictures between each page pair. The accompanying rhyme for each animal flows naturally & rhythmically - of the four books,only one rhyme in one book has an approximate rhyme! The rest are perfect.

Two points to quibble over: in the book "perfect pets" the first rhyme talks about a "naughty pup" - not what I would call a perfect pet! ;-)

The bigger issue is that, as others have mentioned, some animals are repeated from book to book. The pictures & rhymes are different from book to book, however, so this isn't a big deal for me.

Here is a list of the animals covered in each book in this set:

At the Zoo:
Lioness
Green lizard
Panda
Elephant
Zebra

Perfect Pets:
Dog
Goldfish
Rabbits
Parrot
Kittens

Baby Animals:
Bunny
Puppies
Goslings
Lambs
Tiger cub

On the Farm:
Ducklings
Sheep
Horse
Cow
Piglet

These are all books I'm asked to read over and over and over again. I love that pictures of actual animals are used & the tactile element of getting to "pet" each one. Of course the feel is not exact, but its often close. All of the animals have a cut out with the fur/scales/etc on the animals body - except for the panda. I was momentarily perplexed when on that page for the first time! The ears are the tactile element & its blends in quite well. I started my children on these books young enough I helped them "pet" the animals so I showed them where to go on that page. This may be confusing to some children, I'm not sure, it may take them a minute but I am sure they will figure out to touch the panda's ears!

Nit pick over the quibbles I mentioned, drops the rating a half star to 4.5, but it truly is nit picking.

Highly recommend.


C. S. Lewis - A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet
C. S. Lewis - A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet
Author: Alister McGrath
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 9/18/2013


Readable, but not gripping

I was concerned that this biography of Lewis would be too technical and border on unintelligible for the average reader. I was wrong, but neither is it a gripping biography (few are). The book methodically covers Lewis' life in detail, but unfortunately McGrath lacks Lewis' knack for being a master story-teller. A good resource for Lewis' life, but nothing extraordinary in the telling thereof.


Captive in Iran: A Remarkable True Story of Hope Amid the Horror of Tehran's Brutal Evin Prison
Review Date: 7/7/2014


A simple, factual, non-emotional book

This is a hard book for me to review. The tagline says it is "a remarkable true story of hope and triumph amid the horror of Tehran's brutal Evin Prison." But that doesn't seem to be the appropriate tagline. Honestly, it's not (or shouldn't be) that remarkable. I cannot say what I would do in the circumstances of these two ladies, but I hope that I would respond as they did: full of confidence and hope in Jesus without wavering in the faith. This is what ought to be the response of any Christian, which is why I feel it is not quite "remarkable".

While the story is largely told from alternating perspectives, it doesn't draw you in emotionally. That's fine, I don't necessarily need to spend a lot of tears and invest emotional energy into something that has already happened to someone else. So that could be a plus ... however, I felt neither hope nor horror in what I read. It was all simply fact. I really cannot decide if this book should have pulled emotional strings, or if the removed nature of it is more beneficial.

Also, the story is about how Jesus moved and his protection and about drawing people to him - but that's not all the book is about. It is also about the injustice of the Iranian "justice" system, and the problems of Islam. These ladies, who grew up in Muslim families, pull no punches and make sure you know that Islam is NOT a religion of peace - anyone doubting that should definitely read this book.

My hope is that this book encourages people to draw near to God and that it builds faith. The sheer number of people they've unashamedly talked to about Jesus puts me to shame. They were intentional and prolific in an environment where it could have cost them their lives. I live in the land of free, shouldn't I share with even more people? Live for Christ, share Christ, don't deny Christ. That's the message of the book. "If we live, it is for the Lord. If we die, it is for the Lord. And so, whether we live or die we are the Lord's."


1 to 20 of 142 - Page: