The God File, A Novel by Frank Turner Hollon (no spoilers)

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A long time ago in a … wait a minute.  J/K; One summer I decided to get a job at Barnes and Noble. I loved reading (admittedly) and wanted to get more into reading all kinds of books, not the just the occasion recommendation.  At B&N, they have a section called “Discover: New Writers” where maybe local or new upcoming writers get their chances to show off their stuff.  That is how I came across one of my most beloved books: The God File.

The story is about a man thrown into prison for a crime he did not commit. He states from the beginning that his goal is to create evidence that God exists.  And not in the “happy ever after” stories where the man with a decent job gets cancer and has a huge support system that eventually helps him go into remission and become “cured.” No-Gabriel Black is going to search for God where he is–prison.  With the problems, enemies, the frustrations that come along with being placed in prisoner for something you did not do wrong.

My original copy is hardback, which I prefer in this case, because if gives you the feeling you have sheets of paper in a hard file, which is the way the book is set up. Chapters are short, there is a brief introduction in the beginning to give you the setting and each chapter is a description of Gabriel’s description of why that topic is included in his God File.  There are duplicates along with some “choice language (I would not let anyone under 14 read this) and a conclusion that, well, is interesting. (I try not to provide spoilers so you can read!)

I highly recommend this book. It’s short–only 147 pages give or take a page for publishing.  You can read it in a two hour flight.  It’s definitely deep and good to have on a reader’s shelf.

different cover now, but click to check out on amazon!
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Lanaguages and Children

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for Journal.
Teaching Your Child a New Language

 

image

During college, I had a huge desire to learn languages. (I still do.)  I also wanted to make a commitment in teaching my children a language young so they might be bi-lingual.  After years of school and study, I think I have decided I am going to teach my children German.  Here are the ups and downs of this endeavor.

 

UPS:

1)      I have started learning German myself.  I am taking the classes, am immersing myself in child-like songs and am registered for a college level class to learn how to speak, write & interact only in German.  I am even trying to work with my husband on this (he just started school himself so it may be more difficult.)  But I feel comfortable enough now I could teach my own child right now some information, like “Danke” for thank you and “bitte” for please/you’re welcome.

 

2)      I decided to pick a language that was fun & easy. I agree, German is not for everyone, but you should not pick a language you cannot enjoy yourself.  For example, despite the advantages of choosing Korean, I have extreme difficulty speaking any Asian language. This is why I did not choose to learn an Asian language up front. But I will gladly encourage any language knowledge my own child would explore…and maybe I’ll learn “hello” and “goodbye” in any language.

 

3)      I tried teaching my dogs their commands in German.  It’s easier than expected because the word “to sit” is setzen and since my dogs know hand and verbal commands (somewhat) I can use the same visual and use a similar word.  They get nein now and setzen and kommen (to come.)  And dogs are supposedly the same intelligence as a 2year human.  Good practice for teaching a new language to a non-speaking mammal.

 

 

DOWNS:

1)      I am not a native speaker. I am trying to resolve this by trying to think only in German and be around native speakers (my class and recordings are helping, but…)

2)      I am just starting this… so if I have children in the next few years, I may know some German, but nothing to communicate fully (well, trying to resolve as I said.)  I do know they offer children classes in the area, of which I would greatly appreciate.  Again, something to overcome.
 

I am curious—how many people out there have thought about teaching their children a second language?? If so, which language? My brother used sign language to communicate, I know of someone else using French… Please post your comments—I am welcome to suggestions and ideas of how to teach a child another language.

Word of the Week – Aug. 25th

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Every once and a while, I come across a word in the Bible (in Hebrew) that really touches me.  I almost think “dang, if we even came CLOSE to matching this word I would use it….” but many times English just does not. One of these words is “ruach” or “breathe, spirit.”

This word is the same word used in Genesis 1:2 to describe the spirit of God hovering over the blocky-chaotic water.  And yet, its the same word to describe the Holy Spirit of God. God’s spirit is like a breathe of fresh air, a wind.  Its unseen, a felt concept, and yet when it reacts with other things, both good and destruction can come from it.  The word just screams uniqueness.  Not only is it used in a very specific context in the Bible, but the underscore-looking item under the final letter chet actually is not common place in Hebrew.  Typically most Hebrew words are balanced between consonants & vowels. Rarely do you see two vowels next to each other.

As for the theological implications–the words relates to the breathe of life.  The Holy Spirit is meant to be God’s source in all life.  This is the word that describes God “breathing into ” humanity the breathe of life.  The imagery is just astounding.  And from my class w/ Dr. Tremper Longman last year, this image of God breathing is contrary to other Ancient Near Eastern stories, where gods live in the world, fighting, and create humans out of spite so they do not have to do anything. It’s an interesting perspective when you think of all the similarities from early creation stories to the Biblical story.

So next time you come across the term “Holy Spirit”, your meaning of God’ presence will grow deeper instead of thinking of white-sheeted floating people muddling “BOOOOoooo” in your face

Divergent by Veronica Roth (No Spoilers)

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Occasionally, for my book reviews I think I will search back into “completed” section of my bookshelf.  There are several good books I have read over the years with interesting story plots and much deeper than cover indicates meanings that I personally EVERYONE should read.  Yes, I will try & include books I normall would not choose…that might happened more when school starts or when I finally get back to the book group at church. (which I also recommend to anyone who reads…join a book group!)

Anyways, I was recommended this book from a friend at work.  I was reading through the Hunger Games books when she said if I liked those I should check out this new author.  So I picked up a copy.  And I could not put it down.  If  you like Hunger Games, enjoyed reading the Giver as a kid, honestly this is a book for you, at any age.

The book tells the story about a young girl coming of age. Yet, in her society, everyone is divided into factions and when they reach the appropriate age, you are placed in the faction that you will live in the rest of your life.  Each faction handles different aspects of society and you conform to that group’s duties.  Even if it is different from the group you grew up in.  Honestly, because I don’t want to reveal too much about the book, I will leave the plot summary to that.

In regards to the writing–it is fantastic.  Roth writes with clarity and definition–that you can picture exactly what she is trying to describe in every scene.  The book flows very well, jumps right into the story from the beginning and doesn’t leave you begging for interaction by the last chapter.  I do saw, it is part of the trilogy, so when you finish, you want to pick up the next book, for sure.

Overall: 5 stars, but must be a fiction reader and let your imagination take you where Roth writers!

click book to amazon link

A True Musing of an AfterThought

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I couldn’t name this a movie review, because its not. But honestly–movies get my mind thinking, and what better movie to talk about thinking differently than the man who taught us to Think Differently–Steve Jobs.

Monday night I saw Jobs … a movie about the innovator of Apple, Inc. And the movie portrays Jobs as a man who risked at nothing to have the unique, the amazing and the creative all come together.  And it got me thinking.  When I was in 6th grade I remember —  i didn’t want to grow up to be a doctor or a teacher. I wanted to invent something.  Something totally unique and original.  As I get older, original ideas become scarce.  People specialized, conformed and fit themselves into their little notch of society–which now includes the “crazies & misfits” of yesteryear.  See 21JumpStreet and any 30-40yr old will relate to the main character who realizes what he did in high school 10-15 years ago is now cool.  See how the store Hot Topic is more of a trend store than an out of the box idea.   And I have had several people tell me how I’m “well-rounded”, the epitamy of the modern renaissance woman, a utility player.  All things that are contradictory to what society tells us we must do as modern people.  I guess its good to know I’m half way there to my dream.

So I asked my husband these questions tonight– Where do you go when the uncool becomes cool? What do you when you want think or come up with something that no one else has? What happens when you’re told what you’re thinking is not possible?

Maybe someday God will land that unique, crazy original idea into my head.  Until then… I hope I continue to think differently.

Every Thing has their Own Story

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In my recent work to provide more book reviews, I have notice something I have in common with most, if not all my books.  They all have a story.  And I do not mean the one between the front and back cover.  I mean a story beyond the pages.  Then i began to think if someone were to come through my house, how many items have a story.  I used to tell people that I could always tell a person’s character by two items in their house: their kitchen and the bookshelves.  For the most part– i was right.  Here’s my example

Homemade Deodorant

1)The Kitchen– After my mother passed, i decided our/my house needed some color.  One of the first places I upgraded a little was the kitchen.  I got a new countertop (which is awesome!) and painted the walls “Ariel’s Song.”  The color made it feel like the beach (same color is in my living room.) There are some major things you can notice about our kitchen…. First, there are a lot of appliances. Most not plugged in, but definitely all in use.  We like to take risks in our cooking adventures, try out new things and have no excuse not to properly enjoy some food.  You can also see that by the utensils we keep.  And the mountain of snack items stacked on the counter.  And I will say—if you come over we make sure you don’t go hungry 😉

2) Bookshelves: in my house i have 4 wall shelves & 4 small bookshelves.  I have several books, mostly about theology, Christianity, some about dog training and linguistics, several old textbooks from my favorite classes.  That’s pretty much what you can tell about me.  Those topics are my number ones. And you can tell which shelves I use the most, because books have creases and tabs in them and some have bookmarks.  And I would argue any book would start a conversation 🙂 I could tell you the many places I got the books from.  Why I got the book originally (which will lead to another story I’m sure) and how much i’ve read/not read/ignored (if at all.)   Also, many of these books have walked with me–seen my travels.  Trust me, some of their conditions reflect so.

So just something to think about next time you get a book.  Or repaint your kitchen

Word of the Week!

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As promised, I’m trying to switch it up the languages in my Sunday “Word of the Week”

Today’s word:

lo/goß Logos

 


Language: Greek

Translation: word

This “word” in Greek has a plethora of meanings. Of course, its basic meaning can refer to an actual “word” or “element of speech.” However, in John 1:1-14, the term Logos has a much deeper meaning. John uses it to refer to what Strong’s accordance refers to as “The Divine Expression” or otherwise known as Christ. (Strong’e 3056-Electronic version)


Mostly recently, I read a book about Jewish expectations of the Messiah, and the importance of the word Logos in that context. A Rabbi indicated that “The Word” is a known concept in Judaism, referring to several Jewish texts and scriptures that connect the Hebrew equivalent devar to Logos represents Christ, the Messiah who is God. (return of the kosher pig , see my book reviews for book info.

Altogether, the term logos is filled with theological meaning as well as standardized meaning, giving it a unique character and value in any vocabulary.  Plus, its a fun word to use if you need a unique name for a Christian group 😉