Thursday, February 12, 2009

Prodigal God by Timothy Keller

Keller is the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. He takes a fresh look at the parable of the "prodigal son." While most concentrate on the younger son, Keller also draws our attention to the elder son. He was the one who had been good, had always done the right thing. He felt that now the father (God) "owed" him.
Sound familiar? Perhaps there are those of us who think we are pretty good. We are at church every time the doors are open... Could it be? Might it be that there are religious Christians (elder brothers) who are no more pleasing to the Father than the rebellious (younger brother)? At least the younger brother repented!
If you even think you might be doing good deeds for the Father so that He will be impressed with you and give you what you think you deserve, this book will shake you up!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What's Age Got to do With It? by Robin McGraw

Robin McGraw loves to do research and it shows. There is more information in this book than I ever wanted to know about exercise, weight loss, maintaining the skin, make-up and hair. There are very practical suggestions for taking care of your body, regardless of your age. The section on achieving the right body weight is great (including an eating plan from Dr. Phil’s book). The information on perimenopause and menopause is worth the price of the book.
Readers might be put off by the number of doctors Robin has used in her own experience and the number of treatments she has undergone (and undergoes) to maintain her appearance. One aspect of keeping her skin young looking is monthly treatments (“it isn’t too pricey”) that cost between $150 and $300 (depending where you live). That might be someone’s monthly grocery allowance, gone in 45 minutes of pulsating electrodes. One minute I am upset with her because of the expense she thinks her readers should go to in keeping up their appearance. The next minute I admire her for using a homemade exfoliating scrub made from oatmeal, almonds and honey. She does offer several alternatives to expensive skin care but I still get the impression you get what you pay for.
Robin is not put off by the expensive treatment she recommends. She says, “I suggest giving up whatever you need to afford it … even a costly birthday party for your kids.” In her view, “nothing is more important than your health.”
And then there is the time involved. It takes her about 20 minutes to prepare her face for going out in public. Just reading of her daily face washing, cleansing, moisturizing, etc. and all the products she uses is mind boggling.
We find towards the end of the book that Robin has high levels of the human growth hormone and testosterone. She says the high level of these hormones “is one thing that has kept my skin from wrinkling.” If that’s the case, do the rest of us with normal levels of hormones really have a chance to have skin like Robin’s, regardless of the treatments we pursue?
Robin says, “In a perfect world we would all be okay walking around with our blemishes or lines exposed, but that’s simply not realistic.” She adds, “I know the confidence boost you can get from making that one blemish a little less noticeable. In turn that confidence boost lifts your self esteem and mood, and then this good feeling permeates and improves everything in your life from your relationships to your work to how you carry yourself through this world.”
If someone were to meet me on the street and tell me I’m beautiful, I would rather it be from what they have seen on the inside of me, not the outside.
By the way, at the end of the book, and I mean at the very end after eight blank and unnumbered pages, is “IMPORTANT CAUTION – PLEASE READ THIS”. Why wasn’t that placed at the beginning of the book?

Whispers Through the Trees by Susan Plunkett & Krysteen Seelen

Living on an island in Puget Sound, it's difficult to find novels set in this area. A pleasant surprise, Whispers Through the Trees takes place on a fictitious island in the San Juan Islands. Successful East coast Abby comes back home to the island to help her sister Mary recuperate from an automobile accident in which Mary lost the use of her legs. Abby and Mary struggle with their relationship. Abby struggles with her successful career back east and a slower yet more rewarding opportunity on the island.
This book is a delightful read. There is nothing heavy or depressing. The readers learns the importance of embracing individuals, regardless of their appearance or abilities. One gets a sense of what island like is life (there is a different lifestyle and thinking process for islanders) in the Pacific Northwest. Perhaps that explains Abby hearing God whisper to her in the quiet o the island. I highly recommend the book for light and inspirational reading.