Thursday, November 01, 2018

Book Review: Once Upon a Farm by Rory Feek


Once Upon a Farm is written by Rory Feek and published by W Publishing Group.

When I began reading Once Upon a Farm, I didn't know whether this book of remembrances and thoughts would be a tear-jerker or not. In some ways it is not, but at other times, when something hits me just so, it is. I have read every word with anticipation of what Rory Feek was going to say next. And sometimes I braced myself before delving into the next chapter.

The book contains many memories and bits of wisdom gleaned from happy, sometimes sad, and always meaningful times. The memories of Joey, his late wife, are especially poignant and make me feel sad. Sad because she was taken much too early. Yet, somehow, I feel joy too. Joy, because she is in the presence of God. She believed and loved Jesus and is now with Him. That makes me feel very good.

Rory Feek is not kidding when he says that his gift lies in telling stories. He has written numerous "stories" in song as well as in book form. He knows how to be real and yet keep you wanting to hear more. His stories touch the heart. Once Upon a Farm is no different.

The book contains a section in the middle of pictures of the Feek family and the family farm.

I really enjoyed reading Once Upon a Farm. Rory is a great author.

*I received a copy of Once Upon a Farm in exchange for my honest review. My thoughts are my own.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Lessons from Robinson Crusoe

Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel DeFoe, is a classic. That is, it has stood the test of time and is one that folks keep reading. As I find it to be rather dull and difficult to really "get into", I have to wonder how it ever made the classics list.

In order to understand books like Robinson Crusoe, the reader really needs to look deeply at what the writer is trying to say. DeFoe wrote Crusoe during the enlightenment period of literature. In art, the movement was called neoclassical. The enlightenment period followed on the heels of the renaissance, which included authors such as Shakespeare and Edmund Spenser. Great writing and classical works formed the renaissance. Authors such as DeFoe and Jonathan Swift turned the tide with works that challenged the reader with reasoning, often with religion as the base, and the social and political issues of the time.

In Robinson Crusoe, the reader must read through the eyes of a person living in 18th century England. Slavery was legal and the buying and selling of slaves was a regular thing. The middle class was also a real thing, distinct from both the poor and the rich.

Robinson Crusoe, DeFoe's main character, was a middle class lad who decided to rebel against his father and travel aboard ship. In the first half of the book, Crusoe has adventures that only get him into trouble. He is made a slave in Africa - hmmm, Africa from which the British captured their slaves. He later escapes and winds up in Brazil, where he has a sugar plantation. Is he now rich? Then, the infamous shipwreck happens and he lands on a, so he thinks, deserted island.

Bad things happen to Crusoe - bang, bang, bang. Every time something good happens, Crusoe sins and then something bad happens. Then, he repents and the good happens once again. It becomes a cycle, much like the sin and repent cycle of the early Israelites of the Bible. They sinned and God brought disaster upon them in order to bring them back to Him. Once they repented, things went well. But they would forget God's goodness and again sin. And the cycle continued.

Robinson Crusoe follows this pattern and Daniel DeFoe wrote that pattern in his book on purpose. The book fits right with the enlightenment. DeFoe wanted to illuminate sin and repentance. The slavery issue was in there, but was not really the issue that DeFoe wanted to use to enlighten the reader. Salvation was.

As the novel reaches the climax - the point when Crusoe realizes he isn't living on that island alone after all and meets Friday - he has learned something. He has found repentance and forgiveness. His life has changed with this new spiritual awakening. Like the Prodigal Son of the Bible, Crusoe returns home. He brings Friday with him and becomes rich off of his sugar plantations. There is a happy ending, yet the book ends with the promise of a sequel.

So, the difficult to read story has a very deep, and pertinent meaning buried inside of the sometimes boring narrative. It was Daniel DeFoe's plan to bring the news of Christ and salvation to those readers in his day. Little did he know that Robinson Crusoe would still be read today and be considered a great classic.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Book Review - The Orphan's Wish by Melanie Dickerson


The Orphan's Wish is written by Melanie Dickerson and is published by Thomas Nelson.

Melanie Dickerson is one of my favorite authors. The Orphan's Wish did not disappoint me. The story starts right out with a very young Aladdin. It's not hard to tell which fairy tale Dickerson is using this time around, is it? Aladdin is an Arab orphan living far away in his native land. There, he has learned to steal to get by. It isn't long before he is whisked away to Hagenheim and finds himself in an orphanage. That is where he meets Lady Kirstyn.

As they grow up, Kirstyn and Aladdin grow up together and develop a strong bond. Aladdin would like to marry Kirstyn, but he must first impress her father with a fortune. Aladdin moves away and finally has enough, but Lady Kirstyn gets kidnapped. Everything is thrown out of whack. Do Kirstyn and Aladdin eventually marry? You'll have to read for yourself.

I flew through this novel rather quickly because I had trouble putting it down. The story is captivating and I loved the bit of danger presented. The characters are actually believable. Loved it all.

*I received a copy of The Orphan's Wish in exchange for my honest opinion. My thoughts are my own.*

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Book Review - Send Down the Rain by Charles Martin


Send Down the Rain is written by Charles Martin and is published by Thomas Nelson. This is the gripping story belonging to Allie and Joseph, who find each other again after a long, rain filled absence.

After spending some time in the military, Joseph has spent years trying to fill a gap in his life. Allie, after losing her beloved restaurant, has done much the same. They have both known joy and heartache.

Joseph brings a young family to Florida, not knowing that he would reunite with his long lost love. He also doesn't realize that the past is too muddied to make things easy.

This story has some mystery about it and I found it fascinating to read. The characters are believable in their own sort of way. The only thing that left me scratching my head was nobody in the book claimed to be Christian or know God. I found that strange seeing as it is published by Thomas Nelson and also that Charles Martin is a Christian author. However, I do know that some of his books have not been overtly "Christian". That said, I could pick out some Christian principles and symbols in Send Down the Rain

*I received a copy of Send Down the Rain in exchange for my honest opinion. My thoughts are my own.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Menu Plan Monday - June 25



Summer has finally arrived in northern Michigan. We have our hot days and we have our normal rather cool days. Today it has struggled to reach 70 degrees F., but that's okay.The sun is shining and I'm happy.

The menu plan this week reflects using what we have on hand. I have already over-spent at the grocery store. Our freezer is becoming bare and I can't wait for the harvesting of our garden. Right now, we are only getting a light cutting of lettuce and some radishes. As for the cantaloupe for tonight, we only use whole melons that we cut ourselves. Currently in Michigan, we are advised to not purchase cantaloupe already cut and packaged because of the listeria problem that has caused a massive recall.

Monday

Fish Sticks
Baked Potatoes
Cantaloupe

Tuesday

Marinated Chicken Thighs (crock-pot)
Mashed Potatoes
Peas

Wednesday

Left-overs

Thursday

Hamburgers on the grill
Potato Chips
Tossed Salads

Friday

Taco Salads

Saturday

Pizza & Pop

Sunday

On Your Own

Monday, June 04, 2018

Menu Plan Monday - June 4


Happy first Monday in June! I would like to say that we have beautiful summer-like weather here up north, but that would be a lie. It struggles to get into the sixties (Fahrenheit) right now. For me, that is frustrating.

My husband has the week off of work, so he is helping to make some of the suppers. Since he makes a mess when he cooks, I'm not sure if that is a blessing or not. I will let you know.

I don't have a vegan plan for you this week. To be honest, I have jumped off of the vegan ship for a bit. My digestive system was way out of whack because of all of the carbohydrates I was getting that I needed to get more variety. I am feeling better and will slowly add more carbs back in. That said, I will let you know that I am still whole foods, mostly plant based, just not eating starchy carbs at the moment.

Here's the plan:

Monday

Meat Loaf
Mashed Potatoes
Broccoli

Tuesday

BBQ Chicken Thighs
Roasted Root Vegetables

Wednesday

Taco Salad

Thursday

Left-overs

Friday

Pizza & Pop

Saturday

Cheeseburger Bowls

Sunday

On Your Own

Friday, May 18, 2018

Book Review: I Can Only Imagine by Bart Millard



I Can Only Imagine is written by Bart Millard, with Robert Noland, and is published by Thomas Nelson.

I have not watched the movie, I Can Only Imagine, yet. I wanted to wait and read the book first. I am glad I waited because I think this book adds more back-story to the movie. Of course it would, because a movie is only two hours or so long. How can you fit many years into that?

Having now read the book, I can tell you that the story is a compelling one. Bart Millard went through some very challenging times with his father. Some of the things that this man used to do to his son are beyond words. Given that background, I am surprised that Bart and his brother both grew up to be well-adjusted people. That took time and the Holy Spirit, however.

By the time I had finished reading I Can Only Imagine, I could only sit back and say, "Wow."

This book itself is sort of different to read. It seems like the time periods get tossed around. It is more like a book broken down into different life experience sections rather than a book following a logical progression of time. There are some photos that are fun to look at and help the reader to visualize some of the people involved.

Overall, I enjoyed reading I Can Only Imagine, and I look forward to now watching the movie of the same title.

*I received a copy of I Can Only Imagine in exchange for my honest opinion. My thoughts are my own.*