a bench with a view

a bench with a view

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Jeremiah Project Part 1 - a book review

 
 

For BookLook Bloggers, I chose to read The Jeremiah Project Part One by A.J. Foltz. For agreeing to read the book in its entirety and posting a review of it on my blog and a commercial site, I was given a free ebook copy of the book.

Little background info here before I do the book review. God entered into a covenant with the Israelites when he brought them out of the land of Egypt where they had been slaves for 400 years. Moses led them out of Egypt to the land promised to Abraham and his descendants more than 400 years previously. Why God chose Abraham and why he chose to make him the father of the nation of Israel, I don't know, but that was God's plan. Israel is God's chosen people. Always has been so, always will be.

When God and the Israelites entered into the covenant, both sides agreed what they would do. God basically would give them the land he had promised, a land of milk and honey. He would provide for them and protect them. Israel was to basically obey God and his commands, to love God only, worship no other goods. Deuteronomy 28 lists the covenant and the penalties if broken.

Israel did get into the promised land, but wanted to be like the other nations around it. It started following other nations' gods, wanted a king like other nations, and made idols out of wood and stone. God gave them a king, but clearly did tell them what the king would make them do.

Through the years there was just a handful of good kings, i.e. those that followed God, obeyed his commands. David was the best of them in doing so. After his son's, Solomon's death the kingdom of Israel that had consisted of 12 tribes split, 10 became Israel and 2 became Judah. Over the next 400 years or so, there would never be a good king in Israel, Judah had just a few.

God would send prophets again and again to warn the people not to worship idols or other gods, but the people would halfheartedly obey or not obey altogether. Israel eventually went into exile, having been overthrown by the Assyrians. Judah remained free for a period of time. One of the punishments if Israel did not obey the covenant was exile. Finally after years of disobeying God despite warnings by prophets not to do so, God had reached his limit and Judah was overthrown by Babylon and taken into exile.

The book of Jeremiah tells the story and why Judah found herself at that point in her history to have her city Jerusalem destroyed and the temple made by Solomon completely destroyed.

Now on to the book review.

Mr. Foltz, the author of the Jeremiah Project Part 1, was on a search of Jesus through the Old Testament. As part of his search, he decided to write in his own handwriting word by word each of the prophet books located in the Old Testament. He started with the shorter books and worked his way up to the book of Jeremiah . He hadn't "found" Jesus a lot in the books he was researching this way, so when he got to Jeremiah he decided to change course and make it as a form of a Bible study with questions and answers and by doing so, he started finding Jesus through snapshots of words in the pages of Jeremiah that described who Jesus is.

His goal is for us who believe in Jesus to become avid believers who are effective for Christian mission.

The Jeremiah Project Part 1 is of the first 10 chapters of the book of Jeremiah and it is basically a Bible study. Each chapter is divided into 4 sections. He describes these as a specialty sandwich:

Prelude - introduction of chapter, described as first piece of bread for sandwich.

Chapter Study - going through each chapter verse by verse with questions aimed at those verses, described as meat, cheese, relishes for a sandwich.

Tag-Along - something to think about, described as bread on top of sandwich.

Scrapbook - a picture of Jesus in the form of words; described as fancy toothpick in sandwich.

It was his hope that by spending time in this study it would help people to understand why God doesn't stop all the "bad stuff" from happening in the world and by the end of the study, one would be able to come to a conclusion of why God does allow what he allows to happen in this world.

I absolutely loved this study, mainly because I find this particularly time in the Bible fascinating. Last year around this time I had on my own did a study of the different kings in Israel and Judah and had listed how long they reigned and whether they were good kings or not (good defined as those that followed God's commands). I also spent time reading the prophets that were prophesying during particular times of kings' reigns. So when I saw this book was available for review, of course it interested me to get it.

It was a very thorough study of the first 10 chapters of Jeremiah and included other books of the Bible as we studied this particular time as well as what brought Judah to the point where it was to be put into exile. Each chapter had multiple questions to answer from the verses.

I started the study the first part of June, working on it during the time I spend most days reading the Bible and praying. Because it was so conclusive of so much information, it took me about 7 weeks to finish the whole study. I think going at a pace of a chapter a week would be good, but I wanted to try to finish it in a timely manner since it was a book I was reviewing, but at the same time I wanted to take the time to do the study in a thorough manner.

I would highly recommend this book for someone who is interested in doing such a study . I would not recommend it for a small group to study unless people were committed to doing the work it required to get through a chapter a week, which I would think would be about 30-45 minutes daily devoted to the study on a weekly basis for the 10 chapters of the book. And definitely if someone is interested in this part of Israel's history, it is a good study with lots of questions answered and information given.




Saturday, July 12, 2014

it was just one of those days

You know what kind of days I might be talking about, everything just seems to flow, it all seems to go well, have you had one of those days?

I took today off.  I accumulate so many hours of PTO per pay day.  I'm capped at 210 hours so if I don't use them, I don't gain any more. It used to be 240 hours, somehow I missed the memo that was sent out that they reduced it to 210 hours and there were several months I didn't gain any PTO. So now I'm careful.  If I am close to reaching 210 hours, I take a day here, a day there.  I try to keep my bank close to 200 hours of PTO which is equivalent to about a month's salary.  I work in an industry that doesn't guarantee steady employment. There have been lay offs.  I could be one of them down the road.  I would like to have a month's salary available before unemployment kicks in.  I have no money to go on vacation for a week or so and really we don't want to board Koda at this stage of the game so we stay put.

So I had the day off. 

Hubby and me went out to breakfast this morning at this great family restaurant.  I thought I ordered small, sausage scrambled with eggs, potatoes, pancakes since the restaurant is known for their pancakes. My platter of eggs and sausage and potatoes could feed a family of four for a week, I kid you not. Three huge pancakes accompanied the order.  I ate less than a third of the eggs, sausage and potatoes, two of the pancakes, and the rest came home.  Son had some of my leftovers and hubby's leftovers for lunch and there is still enough for another meal. And the prices weren't that bad.  Great restaurant. I'll recommend it if you are in the area.

Hubby then did a presentation at the studio he works for 28 kids part of a summer day camp. He talked of music and played some songs. 75% of the kids listened. I call it a success. He may get a student or two or maybe not, but that's okay, it still was a fun time.

Then we came home, gave Koda that car ride he still enjoys and son joined us for lunch.

He's sort of employed now, but not employed now. He's on the payroll but not working a lot lately.  Politics play a part here.  Could go into explanations but it would take a long time to explain it all. A lot his fault, some his employer's fault. He knows the writing is on the wall.  He's gradually being eliminated so he is looking for something else.

So hubby is on his computer doing whatever he's looking at.

I'm on Craigslist looking at jobs for son, sending potential things his way.

Son's laptop is dying (dead but we don't want to admit it) so he's on his tablet, applying for this, applying for that.  Koda is moving among us, by hubby, by son, by me, in the kitchen where he likes to sleep.

We're connected though we aren't talking.

We're all working on technology.

It just seems to flow.

And I like it.

All together.

We won't always be.

Son will get another job.

I won't have a Friday off.

Koda will choose to sleep down the hall in the bathroom.

But we were all relatively together.

And it was good.

Just one of those days.

We got sandwiches for dinner.

We watched Non-Stop (good movie).

We said good night.

And we move on to tomorrow, whatever it brings.

But today was just one of those days.

And it was a good one.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

he's a classy guy


Most of you guys know my husband is a professional guitarist, so occasionally he plays music at home (okay maybe more than occasionally).  He plays both, electric and classical guitar.

Hubby just told me the other day Koda prefers the classical guitar to the electric.  He tends to stick more close to hubby while he's playing classical and will be in a whole entirely different part of the house when he's playing electric. 

Must be soothing to his ears.

What about you? What kind of music do you like?



Monday, June 30, 2014

accommodations


One of the special things that Koda and my husband shared were their popcorn eating times.  Hubby would make a bag of microwave popcorn, put it in a bowl and go over to where he sat and Koda would follow rapidly behind him, sitting, waiting for the nibble thrown to him.  I wrote about his determination in catching the popcorn before.  At his best, he was 99.99% accurate in catching the popcorn thrown to him. He had excellent eye-mouth coordination.

Then he started losing his vision and hubby tried to accommodate for it and at times he was 95%.  Hubby always felt bad the times he missed it and Koda would scramble around looking for the popcorn (he always found it, corgis are food driven, they will do whatever they can to get that food).

Then he went blind and he was missing 100% of the popcorn thrown to him. It was sad to see that and for him to search around until he found it. 

But the ever resourceful man that my husband is, he found a way to let Koda have success in finding the popcorn and still enjoy that treat with him.

He would put popcorn in a plastic container as illustrated above (not the best picture, but Koda kept moving with eating as I was trying to snap pictures).  Hubby would drop the popcorn in there, making a sound that Koda got used to listening to and he would then eat the popcorn.  He caught on pretty darn quick to it and they still could share a favorite treat together.

Hubby accommodated.

We're doing a lot of accommodating these days. I think finally this week Koda completely lost his vision.  He bumps into walls.  He kind of knows where he is, sometimes get a bit confused and totally disoriented. Tentative at times, confident at other times.

He's not the pup that used to wait at the front door when he heard hubby come home and then run to the back door barking with excitement that his buddy was home.

He barks at the other dogs he hears in the neighborhood and the cats, but he doesn't go to the back door to try to find them.

He would bark at motorcycles or buses or trucks when we took him for car rides, now he rarely does unless he can hear their engines.

We continue to accommodate. Walk him still because he does enjoy it though he sometimes gets confused and will just stop and not want to move on until coaxed. We keep where we walk him to one central place he's familiar with and he's doing better with the walking.  We keep a pretty close eye on him as we can.

We always crated him when we would go places (never longer than 5-6 hours) and now am grateful that he got used to being crated since right now it is safer for him to be contained than roaming free in the house.

It got me thinking.  I do miss that little spunky dog we had.  But he is aging, he had this disability happen to him. Just like can happen to anyone in their life. An auto accident that leaves someone paralyzed, a cancer diagnosis, dementia that robs a family member of their memory, etc.

And we accommodate. 

Carol accommodated her husband's Alzheimer's diagnosis and had to make some hard decisions about hospice and end of life issues and said goodbye to her husband at a memorial service this past Saturday.

Paula is accommodating her husband's failing health, also on hospice, trying to respect his wishes and keep him comfortable.

Its part of the cycle of life.  As much as we don't like to do it, we accommodate the best we can.

One day we will have to make that hard decision about Koda.

One day I might have to make that decision about hubby, or hubby for me.

One day we might have to accommodate and put aside what we knew before and accept our new "normal" whether we might like it or not.

But we'll do the best we can with what we have to work with.

And that's where we are at with Koda.

As hard as it is.

We will accommodate........

Thursday, June 19, 2014

maybe I should blog?

Forgive me, its been a little over 2 weeks since my last post.  Unless I'm involved in the A/Z challenge, I usually don't like to post more than once a week, so its not unheard to go a bit without blogging, but I guess its time for an update.

Not that I have much to say.  Yet I'm sure I'll find a way to say a lot.

I always do.  You know me.  I can't write short posts for the life of me.

What am I up to? Absolutely nothing.  The usual.  Work, morning walks, evening walks with Koda, vegging out reading blogs and playing games in the evening.

Is the weather great? Yep, it is. Mid 70s, light breezes, very pleasant.

Is Koda well?  Yes, but he is blind. We might not want to say it, we might want to say he's losing his sight, but the reality is, he hardly has any left.  He misses popcorn thrown to him by hubby that he used to grab mid air.  He bumps into things. He goes into the room smelling for who is in there.  Is he still full of life? Yes.  He has spunk, he is adapting, he still loves food.  So we adapt and work around him.

I froze a few weeks ago giving him his twice a day insulin shots. I had done it faithfully, missing a few, for over 3 years, but had a time a few weeks ago when I didn't do the technique right and he yelped; several shots in a row. I would have the occasional one that he would yelp, but never that many in sequence.  I could absolutely not do another shot.  So we switched. I hold, hubby shoots, the shot gets done.  I find myself less stressful.

I absolutely love reading books on son's tablet. Found a site where I can even download free books to read.  I'm encouraging him when he goes out of town in next week to Las Vegas to leave the tablet home. I might even bribe him.  But you didn't hear that from me.

I've been writing letters several times a week to a dear friend's family member who got a very long sentence in prison for something they did. Were they guilty? Yes, I think so. Does that still negate the feeling that their families love them and am devastated about what happened? No.  Can I write a letter a few times a week and perhaps bring a smile on their face?  Yes. Can I pray? Always.  Its hard to write a letter to someone in jail. I've written letters to senior citizens. I've written letters to soldiers.  But never in this circumstance.  I just go with what God puts onto my heart daily.  I'm also glad Koda still provides silly stories.

So this is me.  What I'm doing, where I'm at.  So much more, but that's okay, that's enough for now.

And you?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Voting Day

Today (Tuesday) was voting day in California for the primary election, general in November. 

Our voting place is an elementary school about five blocks from where we live.  It is also part of the route hubby and me walk 3-4 days a week close to the time the polls open at 7 a.m., so we just adjusted our time a bit to be down there around 7 a.m. to cast our vote and then continue the walk.

We got down there at 6:58, so obviously we waited.  Hubby checked his cell phone a short bit later and it was 6:59, then again he looked at it the same time one of the poll workers did with her cell phone and the time was now 7 a.m. 

She called out "Here ye, here ye, the polls are now opened."  This is the first time I had been voting that early and never knew how they officially opened the polls or if they even did.  It was kind of exciting to hear that; I got a bit of chills realizing what a great privilege we have to live in a country that we can vote and vote for who we want, rather than be mandated to vote for someone.

I happened to be the first one in a line of three to vote so when I got finished casting my ballot, I had to verify with the poll worker that the box where the ballots was placed in was empty.  It was.  It was neat to see the check and balances in our system, trying to keep it fair and honest.

The news people were saying they expected low voter turnout, about 15%.  While this was a primary, there were still several key propositions that were going to be voted in today.  They were predicting that the reason why it would be so low was voter fatigue.  Fatigued to vote???  Their reasoning was, especially in the City of San Diego that had some special elections this year to fill vacate seats created by the scandal of San Diego's previous mayor, Bob Filner, that voters were basically, in my words, tired of voting, the whole election process.

It made me sad.  I am not actually in the San Diego City area, but a suburb you may call it very close to it so I didn't have the special elections they were talking about, but regardless, like I said above, voting is a privilege and men/women have died protecting our freedom to be able to vote among all the other freedoms we have. I think we need to honor their sacrifice by getting out there and exercising this right.  I have voted in pretty much all elections I've been eligible to vote for.  Most of the time my candidate doesn't win, but at least I have casted my vote.

People in other countries who are denied the vote would probably be appalled to hear the term voter fatigue.  It saddens me to think more people are not interested in at least doing something denied to so many others. 

So now onto November.  I wonder what that voter turnout will be.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sarah's Choice; a book review

Before I get to the actual review of the book, this is the first book I've read on a tablet.  I had thought the Nook, Kindle, etc., were interesting, wasn't sure if I would enjoy reading a book in that type of format.  Then we downsized and budgeting became an issue so that kind of put on hold me getting such a device until son got a tablet and I saw I could read books on it so I made him a deal to help pay some of the expense of it and get to use it for book reading/review.  It seems most of the book reviewing companies are doing Ebooks these days rather than sending a hardcover book out, cheaper I'm sure, so if I wanted to continue to do book reviews, I needed to jump on board.  Of course, as in the Smart Phone, I'm the last to do anything and I know a lot of you have readers similar and enjoy them immensely.

I did find I really enjoyed reading the book on the tablet and after I figured out how to download it, it was so easy to run.  I'm sure I'll use it a lot to review other books down the line. 



Now on to the review I am reviewing for BookLookBloggers.  The last time I did a review for them, about a year ago, they were known as BookSneeze. 

I'm reviewing the book Sarah's Choice for BookLookBloggers written by Rebecca St. James and Nancy Rue.  As part of agreeing to read the book in its entirety and writing a review about it on my blog as well as a commercial site, I was given a free copy of the book.

Sarah's Choice, briefly, tells the story of Sarah Collins who is struggling to make her name in the advertising business and is up for a promotion along with another fellow employee in the company.  She is ambitious and really wants the promotion, knowing that it will help her with some of the money problems she has inherited, having taken on the responsibility of paying for her dad's medical bills with his cancer treatment, although he has subsequently passed on several years prior.  She is always trying to avoid the manager of her apartment building because she is always late in rent.

Sarah finds herself pregnant and unmarried and faces that age old dilemma of what to do in such a situation. Does she keep the baby, put it up for adoption, or have the unspeakable action that her mother will never forgive her if she does. 

Throughout the course of the book, she struggles with this decision.  She visits a clinic to find out options and on the way out is handed a Christmas card (the story happens shortly before Christmas) where there are 3 wise men on the card. The lady who hands her the card says she will have 3 visions. 

She does have these 3 visions over the course of the story in which at least two of them she has a vision of herself raising the child she is pregnant with.  I don't want to give away too much of the story to go deeper into the nature of the visions.

She is also befriended by a lady at work who is 9 months pregnant, about to go out on maternity leave, whose job she is up for the promotion.  She helps Sarah in sorting out her feelings.

In the end, Sarah makes the best choice for herself with the help of her boyfriend as well as her turning back to God, someone she had turned away from when her dad had died 3 years earlier.

I kind of enjoyed the story.  I felt it kind of dragged in certain parts of the book, like within the first few paragraphs, we know she's pregnant, but she doesn't realize she's pregnant for a few more chapters down the road.  It would have been nicer if less was focused upon that and the reality of her predicament was made earlier than later. 

Parts were stilted and didn't flow well and seemed not to keep with the theme of the story. 

I also thought too with the 3 visions it was like taking the theme from Its a Wonderful Life and applying it to her circumstances, similar to what Its a Wonderful Life took from Scrooge. 

The story was pretty much predictable with no unusual twists.

I'd say if you had some free time and was interested in a story like this, it would be an okay read.