Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Beginning Reader's Bible

This is a rather large children’s Bible designed for young children with a selection of stories from both the Old and New Testaments. I like that it uses an easy translation of the Bible to tell the stories rather than paraphrasing or simply retelling the story. Although, using scripture makes it more difficult for those children wanting to read it for themselves. The illustrations are nice but not the best I have seen.

There is a good representation of the most popular and significant stories from both the old and new testaments, beginning with creation and ending with a simple depiction of Heaven from Revelation. The Bible also has several other features typically found in the newer children’s Bibles, such as memory verses and simple projects to apply the lesson. Another feature I like is “Pray God’s Word”. With each story, they have a scripture to be used to pray pertaining to the lesson of the story. I think many Christians today have difficulty praying God’s word and so I think this feature is a gem! In the back of the book are lyrics for several songs, several famous passages from the Bible (like the 23 Psalm) and several lists, like the tribes of Israel, and the ten commandments. It also has a reading checklist and a memory verse list. It also includes a prayer of salvation.

One major flaw is the lack of page numbers. It has a table of contents including page numbers, but none of the actual pages have a number, so one must count as they turn the pages. I find this rather comical and annoying. I think this Bible has a limited life, it is too large and easy to tear for the real young, too big and bulky to be taken to church, and too simple for a child that is beyond a beginning reader. I would want a complete Bible for my child once he is old enough to understand the Word and read beyond the beginning level. The Bible is good for what I was looking for: a Bible for my 5-6 year old that he could look at and enjoy till he is ready for a real Bible. He may even be able to read it soon.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Graz, Austria

We have been here in Austria now for about 8 weeks. I anticipated culture shock and thought it might even be worse than our initial culture shock when we came to Germany. I haven't found the culture shock that bad, less than I expected, but I have noted quite a few cultural differences. Since I am not much of a writer, I think I will list them rather than wax eloquent. So here goes:

1. Shopping:
a. There is a better selection of water drinks, but much fewer yogurt options.
b. Stores are only open till 7 or 7:30 pm ( a few) on weeknights and 6 pm on
Saturdays. Everything is closed on Sundays (like Germany).
c. I can find some things here that I could only get in Prague and I can't find some
things I could easily find in Dresden. We will be doing without several things we
had grown to enjoy.
d. There are only two prepaid cell phone options here and they aren't particularly
cheap. I had MANY options in Dresden.
e. Everything tends to be more expensive here.
2. The accent and dialect Austrians use is difficult for me to understand sometimes.
I had just trained my ear to the Saxon dialect and accent and now I am rather clueless.
3. The food here is better. Graz is the culinary capital of Austria. German food comes from
the Austrian and they use pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil here and it is delicious!
This area is also known for their apple dishes, much to Jason's delight.
4. Austria is a Catholic country and we lived in the "Lutheran" area of Germany so the
many crucifixes and small chapels and memorials everywhere is strange to us. The
boys also go to a Catholic school, so they must attend Chapel weekly and the Priest
blessed each child today on their way out of the Church after the 1st grade program.

That is all I can think of at this moment. I hope to be able to write more often with thoughts and observations.

Friday, April 15, 2011

More things to Love about Dresden

Dresden is a growing city. This is unusual for eastern Germany. For 2 decades now, people have been "fleeing" eastern Germany for the west, where they can find jobs. Despite Dresden's high unemployment, they have been experiencing a baby boom and growth. I find this exciting for many reasons. (I will expound on this but with no particular order.)
First, more German families are having 2-3 kids and I know a family that is expecting their fourth! This helps our family to blend in better (I hate to standout!).

Second, it means that there are more potential friends for us, our kids and more people with whom to share the Good News. It also means new members to the church and potential co-laborers.

Thirdly, and certainly not the most important, growth also gives us shopping! Last year, our previously strip mall style shopping area with an Ikea and Toys R Us remodeled to make it larger and is now a traditional American style mall. Then, last October, a new mall opened up with a Starbucks, KFC and a great store with everything, Mueller. Then another Starbucks opened on the Old Town square. Now, a new section to the main downtown mall has added on an additional 98 stores including an Apple store and this store:

I have never really enjoyed shopping in Europe for many reasons but as we get new stores and I discover more gems, I have begun to enjoy it more. With all these new stores and malls, I am going to really miss Dresden this next year. And, now there are fewer reasons to need to shop on our stateside trips.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Greater Love by Robert Whitlow

GreaterLove tells the story of Tami, a recent law school graduate trying to decide where she wants to begin her aspiring law career. Should she join a well established firm or venture out with two other graduates and begin a new practice. To add to her confusion, she has two suiters her are pursuing her. After her decision, she is assigned a case that both challenges her faith and puts her life in danger. This is the third book in a series called Tides of Truth.

I haven’t read the first two books in this series, but have previously read books by Whitlow. I liked both of the books I had read, but this one left something to be desired. I am not sure if i am just cynical or not in touch with today’s Christian (I do live in a secular country) but I found Tami’s character and her family to be somewhat unbelievable. Do most mid-twenty -somethings depend so much on their parents to help them make every decision? The first person story telling also bothered me but I am not sure why.

Overall, the book is a light read, as in light on content, light on likability. I don’t know if Tami is in the previous books and therefore a known entity but I could never really like her. I don’t dislike her, just couldn’t really relate to her. I also don’t live in the south (Texas isn’t the south is it?) and so that may also complicate my ability to relate. If I were to give the book a rating from 0-5 with 5 being the best, I would give it a 2.