Monday, October 21, 2013

Orphan Justice - Johnny Carr, Laura Captari

Orphan Justice

As I sat peering out the window on an airplane flying over Dallas, I looked down at the bustling city and thought about just how many people live there.

Population of Dallas, Texas: 1.24 million people.  

Number of orphans in the world:  132 million children who have lost 1 or both of their parents.  18 million who are double-orphaned (both parents lost).

 Not all of those children need adoptive homes, but almost all of the FAMILIES and communities those children live in could use some sort of help...even if it's just someone to care and pray for them.

Every chapter starts with addressing an issue and includes facts and statistics, and ends with a list of how people can help.   While everyone can't adopt a child, this book gives tasks that ANYONE CAN DO!  Each chapter ends with how everyone can help, some can help, and few can help.

This books takes a look at a number of subjects related to orphans including...
  • HIV/AIDs epidemic - How does this affect children worldwide?
  • Orphanages - How orphanages fail children...and why the family is a better place to raise children.  The book acknowledges that orphanages are not evil, but they just aren't the best place for children to grow up.
  • Poverty- This chapter changed the way I view government aid like WIC, welfare, and medicaid.
  • Foster care - As a foster mom, I cried like a baby during this chapter.  Most people in this country don't realize there are foster children in almost every city.  So many children are in the foster-care system, there is a great need for loving, Christ-following families to take these children into their homes.  Some of these kids simply long for a place to safely live...a warm bed to sleep in...a quiet corner to read a book...a FAMILY TO LOVE THEM.  You really don't have to be a perfect parent or have a perfect home to make a difference in a foster child's life.
  • Racism, abortion, and the call of the church to care for orphans.

My Favorite Part:

This book is a quick and dirty call to action.  It challenges us to make a difference in the lives of orphans and at-risk children.  The application section of each chapter gives ways that ANYONE can help.   For example in the foster care section:
  • ANYONE - find a foster family in your church or community and ask how you can help them.  Maybe just bring them a meal one day.  
  • MANY - You might consider doing respite care for a foster family.
  • FEW- Become a foster family.  (see my other blog about what this looks like).

This book is a challenging glimpse into the plight of orphans worldwide, and a call-to-action for Christians to step up to the plate.

At the time I wrote this post, Barnes & Noble and Amazon had this book for sale (digital editions) for just $2.99.   It's worth it! 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The How of Happiness - Foreword

The How of Happiness; A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want by Sonja Lyubomirsky

I’ve decided to blog about this book a little differently than previous books and blog as I read.  We could all use a little more happiness in our lives.  It’s one of the most common pursuits of mankind.  But what is happiness?  How does one go about increasing her level of happiness?  Why are some people happier than others in a similar situation.   As a scientist, I am fascinated by the concept of this book as a scientific, research based look at happiness.  While I consider myself a very happy person (most of the time), I want to be a positive influence on those around me.  Maybe in this book I’ll find some insights into happiness and how I can make the world around me a better place.     According to the Foreword of this book, 40% of your happiness is in your hands.  How fascinating!  She goes on to discuss why she believes empirical research is important for understanding happiness and implementing strategies to increase happiness.  I can’t wait to really delve into this book as I believe it will challenge my thinking and compel me to examine my own thoughts.  Look forward to more installments as I read through the chapters of this book!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day


Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day
Hertzberg and Francois

Chase and I got this as a wedding present a couple of years ago.  The last couple of weeks I've been baking up a storm.  The recipes are fun and easy to make...the directions easy to follow.   I have one of the early editions of the book which has quite a bit of errata, but that should be fixed in the newer editions.  Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in providing fresh bread to their family.
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Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Life You Crave

With my little dog, Ruby, wedged between me and the couch cushion, I've been reading this wonderful little book about discernment.  If you're like me, sometimes the strain of everyday living can drain the joy out of life.    I find myself do I live my life with joy, energy, peace?  How do I live a God honoring life as a fallen human being in a fallen world? 

In this book, Jerusha Clark explains that in order to life the soul-satisfying life you crave, you need discernment.   She offers a broad overview of what it means to be discerning in multiple categories:   sorting through emotions, appreciating your body the way God created it, controlling sarcasm/gossip/etc, using your time and resources in a God-honoring way, finding your life calling, engaging in relationships both in and out of the church body.  Each chapter has insights that challenge you to evaluate your words, actions, and motives.  Each chapter ends with questions for discussion, thoughts for personal meditation, and prayer.  

Jerusha Clark's writing style is easy to read and lacks excessive jargon.  She draws from her personal experience as well as the bible and numerous other notable Christian writers.  Overall, I have enjoyed reading this book, and it has challenged me to evaluate many facets of my life.   I highly recommended if you are a young woman,.  This book is suitable for group discussion.