Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chop Chop

I read a statistic yesterday that I've read many times in the past, but it never ceases to blow me away:
In China alone, 25 million trees are made into chopsticks every year.

Below is the Ideal Bite article to read. Definitely check out the links. I was intrigued by the Kwytza Recycled Chopstick Art page -- great products for yourself or others!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself!

Once again, I couldn't have said it better myself. Please enjoy this New York Times article by Thomas L. Friedman, "Real Men Tax Gas":

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Yesterday was the International Day of Peace as designated by the United Nations. While this day centers around ending war and human atrocities, I'd like to remind everyone of the following wise words:

The most violent weapon on earth is the table fork. —Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, September 21, 2009

If God is Good

We have all asked the question and probably more than once, "If God is good, then why . . ." Why is there suffering? Why is there unfairness? Why is their illness? Why is there death? Job loss? Divorce? Sexual abuse? War?

Many books have tried to answer this age old question. Some authors use this question to "prove" that God doesn't exist. Some say God does exist, but he doesn't have the power to work miracles in the face of free will. Some say God has the power to do anything, but isn't entirely benevolent and, therefore, allows evil to exist. Some say God created the world, but then lets it run on its own and doesn't get involved with the day-to-day workings.

In his new book If God Is Good, Randy Alcorn attempts to answer this question in a scholarly and comprehensive manner. His book is very lengthy, detailed and attempts to leave no scriptural stone unturned or facet of the question unanswered. This book is an excellent resource for counselors, pastors, caregivers, and anyone who wants to help someone who's hurting. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it for someone in the midst of turmoil unless that person is the type who needs to process grief through intellectual undertaking. Because the book is so detailed and long, I can't imagine someone in the throes of trauma having the wherewithal to cull through it. However, since we all go through difficult times at one point or another, it's an excellent book to read so that your faith and understanding are more fleshed out when the time comes for you to undergo a situation that raises the question, "If God is good, then why . . . ?"

Unfortunately, I don't have a free copy of this book to give away. However, you can buy it here:


Every one of us will experience suffering. Many of us are experiencing it now. As we have seen in recent years, evil is real in our world, present and close to each one of us.

In such difficult times, suffering and evil beg questions about God--Why would an all-good and all-powerful God create a world full of evil and suffering? And then, how can there be a God if suffering and evil exist?

These are ancient questions, but also modern ones as well. Atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and even former believers like Bart Ehrman answer the question simply: The existence of suffering and evil proves there is no God.

In this captivating new book, best-selling author Randy Alcorn challenges the logic of disbelief, and brings a fresh, realistic, and thoroughly biblical insight to the issues these important questions raise.

Alcorn offers insights from his conversations with men and women whose lives have been torn apart by suffering, and yet whose faith in God burns brighter than ever. He reveals the big picture of who God is and what God is doing in the world–now and forever. And he equips you to share your faith more clearly and genuinely in this world of pain and fear.

As he did in his best-selling book, Heaven, Randy Alcorn delves deep into a profound subject, and through compelling stories, provocative questions and answers, and keen biblical understanding, he brings assurance and hope to all.

Book Giveaway Winners

Congratulations to Julie of Norfolk, Virginia, and Eliana of Madison, Wisconsin, our winners of Kiss Me Again by Barbara Wilson. Thanks to everyone who entered.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Book Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Wanda of Winnipeg, Manitoba, our winner of Bruce Wilkinson's new book, You Were Born for This.

Remember, there's still time to enter the drawing for Kiss Me Again by Barbara Wilson; the winner will be announced Monday.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Book Review

Kiss Me Again by Barbara Wilson is for women who have lost the intimacy in their marriage due to the baggage of their sexual history. I think this book can be very helpful to a lot of women; however, I don't believe that sexual history is the only reason women lose intimacy in marriage.

By the time most women come to marriage, they have had one or more previous romantic experience, sexual or not, and those bonds, hurts, experiences, perhaps sexual sins, etc., can have a cummulative effect on a woman's marriage and the intimacy of marriage. I admit that I've often told my husband I wish I would have met him before I was hurt multiple times -- I would have been less jaded, more giving, less protective, more hopeful, and, generally, a better wife. So I can certainly see how many women's romantic and sexual histories would have a negative effect on intimacy in their marriages.

Barbara Wilson gives step by step instructions for healing the wounds caused by sexual and romantic history and uses a lot of examples (many personal) demonstrating her points. Her book is easy to understand and engaging. I can certainly see how her book would heal a lot of marriages and would recommend it.

GIVE AWAY: I have two copies of Kiss Me Again by Barbara Wilson to give away. To enter the random drawing, e-mail your name and mailing address to The winner will be drawn Monday, September 21st. Good luck!

To buy the book, go to or your favorite bookseller.


Do you ever wonder why marriage can seem like the end of intimacy and sexual desire instead of the beginning?

Ever wonder why it was so hard to resist sex before marriage—and so easy to resist it now? If so, you’re not alone! Many married women genuinely want to feel more desire toward their husbands…and can’t figure out what went wrong. But there’s good news. In Kiss Me Again, Barbara Wilson shows how powerful “invisible bonds” from past relationships can cause heartache, disappointment, and distance for couples in the present. Then—with sensitivity, honesty, and hope—Barbara walks you step by step toward healing…and a rekindling of the closeness and passion with your husband that you really want.

You don’t have to live any longer with confusion, disappointment, resentment, or shame. You can rediscover desire. You can say Wow! again.

With assessment tools, write-in exercises, and gentle guidance, Kiss Me Again offers a biblical plan for rekindling the closeness and passion women long for in marriage. Because no past is beyond the reach of God’s healing touch.

In Kiss Me Again, Wilson:

· Shares her own story of healing and renewed desire

· Helps women forgive themselves and their husbands for past choices

· Shows readers how to break free from “invisible bonds”

· Explains God’s plan for helping a husband and wife to re-bond

· Includes conversation helps for both wives and their husbands

· Helps couples reignite the passion that they thought was lost

Author Bio:

Barbara Wilson is the author of The Invisible Bond and former director of sexual health education for the Alternatives Pregnancy Resource Center in Sacramento. She speaks nationwide to youth and adults with her message of sexual healing, and she teaches frequently in the women’s ministry at the multi-campus Bayside Church in Northern California. Barbara and her husband, Eric, have been married for twenty-eight years.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Book Review

You Were Born for This by Bruce Wilkinson is a book most believers need to read. Many believers I know pray without expecting answers from God and actually seem shocked in the event He answers. This is not what God intends. Further, I wonder how we ever got to the point where we stopped expecting God to do miracles in our lives.

Bruce Wilkinson tackles this head on in You Were Born for This. He discusses in clear and practical terms how we can live every day ready to be God's agent for performing miracles, and expect them in our own lives as well. I found this book to be somewhat similar, in concept at least, to Henry Blackaby's Experiencing God series -- that God desires to accomplish His will and perform miracles, He chooses to use people to accomplish His will, and if we will be willing to listen and obey, God can and will habitually deliver miracles through us. If all believers would start to practice the principles taught in You Were Born for This, I think revival would come to the world because miracles would be widespread.

GIVE AWAY: I have one copy of You Were Born for This by Bruce Wilkinson to give away. To enter the random drawing, please e-mail your name and mailing address to me at The winner will be chosen Friday, September 18th.

To buy the book, click on the link below:


His New York Times phenomenon The Prayer of Jabez changed how millions pray. Now Bruce Wilkinson wants to change what they do next.

Anyone can do a good deed, but some good works can only happen by a direct intervention from God. Around the world these acts are called miracles—not that even religious people expect to see one any time soon. But what would happen if millions of ordinary people walked out each morning expecting God to deliver a miracle through them to a person in need? You Were Born for This starts with the dramatic premise that everyone at all times is in need of a miracle, and that God is ready to meet those needs supernaturally through ordinary people who are willing to learn how Heaven works.

In the straightforward, story-driven, highly motivating style for which he is known, Wilkinson describes how anyone can help others experience miracles in such universally significant arenas of life as finances, practical help, relationships, purpose, and spiritual growth.

You Were Born for This
will change how readers see their world, and what they expect God can do through them to meet real needs. They will master seven simple tools of service, and come to say with confidence, “I want to deliver a supernatural gift from God to someone in need today—and now I know how!”

Author Bios:

One of the world’s foremost Christian teachers, Bruce Wilkinson is best known as the author of the New York Times #1 bestseller The Prayer of Jabez. He is also the author of numerous other bestsellers, including A Life God Rewards, Secrets of the Vine, and The Dream Giver. Over the past three decades, Wilkinson has founded several global initiatives, including organizations that recruited and trained thousands of Americans to address hunger, AIDS, and poverty in Africa. Bruce and his wife, Darlene, have three children and six grandchildren. They live outside Atlanta.

David Kopp has collaborated with Bruce Wilkinson on over a dozen bestselling books, including The Prayer of Jabez. He is an editor and writer living in Colorado.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Book Giveaway Winners

Congratulationns to Jen of Dallas, TX, and Lori of Pensacola, FL, our winners of Charlene Ann Baumbich's new book Stray Affections. Check back Monday for more reviews and giveaways.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

There's No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

We all have limited time (24 hours a day) and limited money (even Bill Gates has a limit -- a high limit, but a limit nonetheless). In fact, I can't really think of anything that doesn't have a limit. So why -- WHY do we think the earth's resources are unlimited?! GRRRR.

To read what has me in a huff, click here:

Reminder: Book Giveaway: I have TWO copies of Stray Affections by Charlene Ann Baumbich to give away tomorrow, September 11th. To enter the random drawing, please send your mailing address to

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Burden of Communication

I think I've mentioned in the past that my husband is not originally from the United States. One of the biggest cultural differences that affect our marriages is communication. Obviously, communication is essential to a marriage!

In America, we put the burden of communication on the speaker -- it is the speaker's role to communicate his or her point well. If the audience doesn't understand, it is the speaker's job to communicate the point differently/better. In my husband's country, good communication is the burden of the listener. If you don't understand, it's your job to figure out what the speaker was trying to convey. (My obnoxious American attitude is to say, "Yeah, and how do I do that without making the speaker explain it better?!") Incidentally, these cultural differences are not just my opinion and observation, but supported by Malcolm Gladwell in his fascinating book, Blink.

Anyway, I read a quote about communication many, many weeks ago that I can't stop pondering:

"Human nature is such that if two people listen, each feels only half responsible for understanding, and if ten people are listening each feels responsible to be but one tenth." Yasutani Roshi, The Lectures from The Three Pillars of Zen.

HMMM. If that's true (and I feel it is based on careful observation), what does that say for any lecture, sermon, homily, class, etc.?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Stray Affections

This week's book is Stray Affections by Charlene Ann Baumbich. I have to confess, I didn't finish this book. Not because it wasn't good, but because I'm too soft hearted (or soft headed) to read it. The main character of the book talks in detail about her rescue dogs that were strays . . . even though there is a happy ending and it's fiction, I just could handle "stray dog" details. But, the book intrigued me and what I read of it I enjoyed (minus the dog details). I'm sure my blog readers are stronger stock and would enjoy this book immensely.

Here is a video of the author talking about her book:


In Stray Affections, the last thing that Cassandra expects out of her Sunday is to be mesmerized at a collectors’ convention by a snowglobe. She’s enjoying some shopping time, with husband Ken at home tending their brood of four young boys, when she’s utterly charmed by the one-of-a kind globe containing figures of three dogs and a little girl with hair the color of her own. She can’t resist taking the unique globe home—even if means wrestling another shopper for it!

The beautiful snowglobe sparks long-dormant memories for Cassie, of her beloved Grandpa Wonky, the stray she rescued as a child and the painful roots of her combative relationship with her mother, “Bad Betty” Kamrowski. Life in Wanonishaw, Minnesota is never dull, though, and Cassie keeps the recollections at bay, busy balancing her boys, her home daycare operation, and being a good friend to best pal Margret. But after a strange—flurrious, as Cassie deems it—moment happens with the remarkable snowglobe, Cassie and the people she loves are swirled into a tumultuous, yet grace-filled, and life-changing journey.

“As a believer, I know the power of forgiveness and new beginnings, and of a God, and family and friends, who love me the way I am,” Charlene Ann Baumbich says. “The heartbeat of change flows through those wonderful gifts.”
With the quirky, close-knit Midwestern small-town feel that made Charlene Ann Baumbich’s acclaimed Dearest Dorothy novels so popular, Stray Affections invites readers to experience the laughter and the healing of second chances.

You can purchase the book here:

GIVE AWAY: I have two copies of Stray Affections to give away. To enter the random drawing, please send your name and mailing address to The winners will be drawn Friday, September 11th. Good luck!

Charlene Ann Baumbich is a popular author and speaker and an award-winning journalist. In addition to her Dearest Dorothy series of novels, she has written seven nonfiction books of humor and inspiration. A bungee-jumping, once motorcycle-owning grandma and unabashed dog lover, Charlene lives with her husband and rescued dog Kornflake in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. She loves telling stories, laughing whenever possible, and considers herself a Wild Child of God.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I'm Back . . . I Think

I know I've been absent from the blogosphere for awhile. I could try to tell you what my life's been like lately, but I wonder if anyone would believe it! Anyway, I think I'm back and, in fact, will have a book review and giveaway tomorrow.

I've been missing the Change the World Challenges, but just wanted to comment on this week's challenge from Reduce Footprints. This week's challenge is to forego all manner of styrofoam containers. This reminds me of an episode of the TV sitcom, Murphy Brown. Murphy does a story on the environment that's so moving, everyone on the show vows not to do anything "ungreen" for a week. This was a progressive message in the late '80s and early '90s. Anyway, one night Murphy works late and is starving. She orders a sandwich delivered from the local bar, Phil's, and is dismayed when it's delivered in a styrofoam box. She struggles with the decision for several minutes, before refusing delivery of the sandwich.

That episode really stuck with me (obviously). So much so that a couple of months ago, I couldn't take the guilt that accompanied my doggie bag from a restaurant. Although I don't believe in wasting food, I also couldn't "stomach" the styrofoam take out container. The solution? I keep a bag of reusable Rubbermaid containers in my car (with my cloth grocery bags). Whenever I need a "to go" box from a restaurant, I get one out of my car and scrape my food into it.

The first time I used my containers, I was a little self conscious. When the waiter saw what I was doing, he informed me he and his wife have been doing the same thing when they go out for the last year! I felt like such a Johnny-come-lately. So now I'm not even remotely self-conscious about it. It just provides me with another opportunity to be an "ambassador for environmentalism". It gives me a chance to talk to the waitstaff, my dining companions or other patrons of the restaurant about green living in a non-judgmental way. Non-judgmental? Oh yeah, did I mention the Rubbermaid containers I use are bright pink with Hello Kitty on them ($1 for 2 at Target)? This not only attracts attention and starts conversations, but allows me to use humor and make fun of myself while getting the message out! ;-)