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Review: Conspiracy of Silence

Rarely do I list a review for a book that I don't recommend people get.  BUT I said I would write a review for this company, ergo I shall.

Conspiracy of Silence is the first book in The Tox Files.

Tox is a military man, who fights the battles no one else really wants to take on.   A top-notch battle hardened man.

The book started off with a bible story that had accurate details but then added a twist of added darkness.... that just left me with a really bad feeling of run away don't touch this book.

I persisted through the first two chapters... way more violence than what I would prefer.  Stopped and put it away for a good while.. then thought let's see what the end of the book is like.

The darkness rolling off the bad guys was palpable.  The violence steady.  And then a twist of darkness happened and I dropped the book and said "DONE" this book is simply a no go.  

I hate doing this.
I dislike finding books that I can't find a compelling reason to read.

So I'm searching my mind for people who might like this type of book.
1. The book has a lot of suspense,  I tend to like suspense, but the darkness in this one stopped me.
2. Those who like reading action based Military reads.
3. Those who don't mind a lot of violence in their books
4. Those who don't mind palpable evil being portrayed in their reading.  It's a good writing to be able to give off that sense, but was just WAY too much for me.

So if you are that kind of person, but this book would work for you.  If not.  Steer clear.


Forgetting the Holiness Of God

 We continue our study in Ezekiel, the last time we met was about You will know that I am the Lord. You can read more in my Ezekiel Studies here and here.

The Lord was SO not pleased with his people.
They were a people who defiled the land that God gave, sorta like the messiness you can get with your menstrual cycle.   So God cast them out of the land.   He needed to punish them, but the people simply didn't get it. 

Art Series: Earth-Space Coloring Book

 Imagine a book where you could combine a love of learning, with a love of colouring.   Right now my son is big into astronomy...he's having fun doing experiments, reading and listening, watching youtube videos...and now he can see pictures of what he is learning about in a softcover colouring book AND if he were so inclined...try to replicate what he sees.

Allow me to introduce to you a  new colouring book.   Earth-Space.  This lovely book is put together by Chronicle Books.

This book is beautiful.   The images of space that are photographs taken from the Archives of NASA.  They are breathtakingly beautiful.

Each picture is labelled so we know just what we are looking at.   We see earth from space, corona australis, the orion nebula, stellar snowflake cluster and so much more.

Some of the images are so close you could almost reach out and touch them, while others really point out the grandeur of God to me...that he could make something so interesting to look at, like the Caterpillar of dust and gas.

Each page opens into two page, the first page of the natural phenomena, the second with it broken down into simple lines.   This breaks the natural beauty seem more attainable to colour.  I have to admit though, I felt intimidated by the idea of trying to replicate the variety of colours presented.  BUT since each image is broken down simple lines, it is easier diverge... take for instance the image of rings of Saturn seen below...the colouring page does not depict ALL the rings, so you can use the colours you have at hand, or if desired...you could completely change it up.  It's a colouring book... do what you want eh?

As you can see, each colouring page is done with simple lines.  Allowing each area to be coloured in sections, or swirls or whatever you wish.   These lines give you connecting points to the real picture so you can build off that.
Just a fascinating colouring book, that at first (to me looked intimidating) but as I continued to look through and think about it, I just found it fascinating as it's different then other colouring books, it's more free form with the lines just providing a grounding to base one's work off of.  Mix colours, don't be constrained by lines, and just have fun recreating.

I can EASILY see this being used in an astronomy class with students as well.  Even just to look at the pictures to show the beauty that can be found in the galaxy above us.  :)

Earth Space Coloring book: Photographs from the Archives of NASA.

Published by Chronicle Books.
Pages: 80
Size 8.63 x 11

Reviewed for: Raincoast Books

Book series: The Excellent Wife - A Wife's Understanding of God

This chapter's focus on on what a wife understands about God, talking about who God is, and what God wants for them in their lives and work.

First off, What wives need to know about God.
1. God has planned a ministry for you.
2. God is gracious, righteous and compassionate.
3. God's strength and understanding are unlimited.
4. God is purposefully working in your life.
5. God wants you to be a joyful and fulfilled wife.

What wives need to know about their works and themselves.
1. God has prepared good works for the Christian wife to do.
2. The Christian wife's good works have eternal worth.
3. The Christian wife does not have to be afraid.
4. The focus of the Christian wife is to be on God rather than herself.
5. A Christian wife does not have to sin... which means we are putting ourselves under God's protective authority.  

Why does the wife need protection?
1. The influence the world has on her.
2. The Devil
3. Women are often more easily deceived.

The study guide questions:
I won't go through them all as some are true/false questions or just asking to rehash the lessons of the chapter.

5. Does the husband ever have absolute authority over his wife?
  ... you know.. before reading this chapter the answer could easily have been yes...but really he doesn't.  God does give him authority over his household, but this doesn't mean he can ask us to do something that is against God or God's ways (aka to sin).

6. Why does a wife need protection from the influence of the world?  Examples?
....one of the things that I am grateful to is my husbands ability to figure out what it is about something that I am uncertain about.   I can say.. something about this feels wrong but I can't figure out why... and he'll be able to put his finger on it, if not immediately (though often that's the case), then quickly.  It gives me a sense of security to know that my radar is working even if it's not always correct.  :)

Sunday Sermon: God's emerging future: becoming the church for others

This sermon is the the Christian Reformed Church.  Still learning this ministers style so note taking is still a work in progress with him.

Here I am to worship
Jesus be the Centre
Have thine own way Lord
Spirit of the living God
Jesus, all for Jesus

Nehemiah 5

Sermon Notes:

As a church we need to keep moving towards God's emergent future.
But what seems like the future (default) seems to be the way to go.
So there is conflict between the two.

In chapter 5 you can see this conflict, the selfishness of the people pushing towards their default future rather than God's emergent future

The Israelites had broken down into a bunch of selfish folks...looking out to their own interests.

. A famine and people weren't sharing with each other
. Government was over taxing them
. An influx of workers is straining their resources
. They were charging interest to each other

This selfishness brought the community to a standstill.

They sought their own needs, not the needs of the people.

How does this passage apply to us today?
. How are we sharing our finances with the church?
. How are we using our money for God?
. Are we remembering who we are the church for?


Nehemiah was angry.  He didn't react immediately.  He stopped and thought.
He told them to stop what they were doing.  Stop being self-centered.

Go back to being what they were, make it right, correct the situation.  Restore the healthy community.

Make an oath.  Promise this solemnly.  Be accountable.

The people said amen...so be it.  They praised God.

The Israelites, called to be a holy nation, walking in the fear of the Lord.

This church is to be a testament of God to the people around us.
What is more important to us?   This testimony or our own needs.

Be challenged
Be encouraging
Be generous

Do this all on account of Jesus.

Be part of a missional church.

Recipe: Chicken Heart Casserole

I'm calling this a casserole though it isn't really....

This is something I make frequently and I change it all time time.  Most of the time I take some rice, seasonings, and chicken bouillon and toss it in a casserole dish in the oven.  I am the ONLY one who eats it in this house and I make it when I feel stressy in my head.

Today I reworked it a bit to see if it would appeal to others in the house, and it was a bit hit and miss. 

Take your crock pot.
Add 900 ml of chicken bouillon.
Add some brown rice (2 cups) and some leftover soup mix (with lentils, brown rice etc in it).

Add a small flat package of chicken hearts (about a pound or so).

Put in some seasonings
  • Costco no salt seasoning
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • garlic powder
Cover and set on low, making a point of stirring it off and on throughout the day.

It's done in about 7 hours.
Pop the lid off.   At this point it is done if you want it to be.  :)

I decided to play around with it a bit though.
I heated up some cream soup in a large fry pan I have.  Then put the chicken/rice mix into the soup (removing the bay leaves).   Added a whack of fine grated cheddar cheese and some more salt and pepper.   Mixed it all together and heat through.

My son's opinion: I like it better this way mom.  :)

So.. WOOT WOOT.. success.  :)

Devotion: Ezekiel 36:1-15 You will know that I am the Lord

We continue our study in Ezekiel, the last time we met was about Set your Face against Mount Seir. You can read more in my Ezekiel Studies here and here.

Today the Lord God has a word against the mountains of Israel, and I have to admit, upon first reading I am quite confused.   Normally when God speaks out to someone or some region it is a word of judgement upon them.

But God seems to do a flip here. 

Saying to them... because the nations around you have spoken out against, therefore I will heap dismay upon their heads. 

 Therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel, and say to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I have spoken in my jealous wrath, because you have suffered the reproach of the nations. Therefore thus says the Lord God: I swear that the nations that are all around you shall themselves suffer reproach.

The Lord's word to Israel is that he wants them to be fruitful and multiply.  That he will be an aid to them. 
“But you, O mountains of Israel, shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to my people Israel, for they will soon come home. For behold, I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown. 10 And I will multiply people on you, the whole house of Israel, all of it. The cities shall be inhabited and the waste places rebuilt. 11 And I will multiply on you man and beast, and they shall multiply and be fruitful. 

Just as he aids them though, they need to know that he will allow them to walked on, to be a land inhabited by others, to be a land and people possessed by others. 
And I will cause you to be inhabited as in your former times, and will do more good to you than ever before. Then you will know that I am the Lord. 12 I will let people walk on you, even my people Israel. And they shall possess you, and you shall be their inheritance, and you shall no longer bereave them of children. 13 Thus says the Lord God: Because they say to you, ‘You devour people, and you bereave your nation of children,’ 14 therefore you shall no longer devour people and no longer bereave your nation of children, declares the Lord God. 15 And I will not let you hear anymore the reproach of the nations, and you shall no longer bear the disgrace of the peoples and no longer cause your nation to stumble, declares the Lord God.”

I admittedly find these verses hard to follow.   Perhaps I am missing something in them.
It's like on one hand God is lifting them up, and on the other he is disciplining them.   What do you see reader?  Cause seriously I feel like I am totally missing something here.

In the end God will not let his people be a reproach to the nations and they will know that HE is God. HE is the Lord.   That's what I get out of this passage.  YOU?


Alphabet Blogging: F is for Frogs

My son has a love affair with frogs and toads for as far back as I can remember.  He is particularly fond of toads, but is totally loving it that our small pond out back is host to 4 different frogs.   Ergo when I was contemplating what to do for the letter f...I automatically thought about frogs.

I thought about talking about the common frogs we have in the backyard... and was fully intending to research the life out of them...until I ran into this one small fact... 

Frogs, frogs, frogs, Canada has frogs.   LOTS AND LOTS OF FROGS.

Including this funny fact.  We are host to two small populations of TAILED frogs.   Can you believe it?  A frog that has a tail.. and CANADA has TWO populations of slightly different types of them.

I was stoked!!   I just LOVE learning new things... don't you?

Anyways, on to this amazing little critter.  

The Tailed Frog is a remarkable little frog, unique to B.C. in Canada. It is a small frog, 2.5 to 3 centimetres from nose to rump.....Tailed Frogs have vertical pupils, no external tympanum (the round "ear" visible on other frogs), and are voiceless. (source)

Originally this little frog was simple called the tailed frog, but in the year 2000, it was split into two species. The first, the coastal species is called the Pacific Tailed Frog(Ascaphus truei).  The second is called the Rocky Mountain Tailed Frog (Ascaphus montanus). 

Both of these frogs live in very small areas of British Columbia, as well as in select area of the United States.  They live in fast flowing streams.  Their population densities are low and believed to be declining since so few of the rivers in the areas they reside are suitable for reproduction.

These two frogs are very close in colouration and needs, they can't handle temperatures above 20 Celsius. Cold fast flowing, small streaming with an abundance of small micro-climates are just what these frogs need. 

They are a long lived frog, juveniles staying close to home but 4-7 year old frogs dispersing widely from their point of birth.  A long incubation period for the eggs, combined with reproducing every other year, and the loss of old growth forests is contributing to their decline. 

Both sub-species are protected under the British Columbia Wildlife act, making it illegal to own, trap or kill any member of the species. 

Where did I find my information?
Canadian BioDiversity.
Sararegistry for Rocky tailed.
Sararegistry for coastal.
British Columbia Frogwatch.

Now just so you know.. Canada has a WHOLE whack of other frogs.  From Spadefoots, spring peepers, tree frogs, bullfrogs, leopard and green frogs, pickerel frogs, cricket and chorus frogs, and so many more.  Check them out eh?  It's a fascinating wet world to explore.  :)

You can find out more here

A Net In Time
So Now that you know MY "F" word for the week, what is yours?  Want to join us?

Rules for linking up:
1.       Your post must be family friendly

2.       Your post must relate to the letter of the week, specifically focusing on the letter.

3.       Your post must be published during the week of the link up.  Unless you receive permission from us.

4.       Your post must include a link back to either me or Amanda at Hopkins Homeschool. Heck, we even have fun little buttons you can grab as you can see above.

5.       Please, please, please share the love! Visit a few of the other posts, share or comment on them. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!

6.     Use the hashtag #abcblogging when you share the love!
If you do not follow these rules, we have the right to remove your link from the link up. We want this to be fun for everyone!

Hymn Study: Have thine Own Way Lord

1 Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after thy will,
while I am waiting, yielded and still.

2 Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
as in thy presence humbly I bow.

3 Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

4 Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Hold o'er my being absolute sway.
Fill with thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

United Methodist Hymnal, 1989

Written by Adelaide A. Pollard, a woman who wrote hymns, but we can't be sure how many as she seldom signed them.   Her devotion was to furthering the cause of God, not to seeking recognition for her own work. 

This particular hymn was inspired by the prayer of an elderly woman who asked God to simply “Just have your own way with us”. 

"As Adelaide left the prayer meeting that night the phrase from that prayer, “Have Thine own way”, rang in her mind. On the way home she formed the lyrics in her mind and before going to bed that night, she wrote the words on paper." (source)

The tanbible includes this tidbit "Upon returning home that evening, Miss Pollard mediated on the story of the potter, found in Jeremiah 18:3-4.
       Then I went to the potter’s house, and behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it."

Some hymnals have altered verse two to say 
 2 Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Search me and try me, Savior today!
Wash me just now, Lord, wash me just now,
as in thy presence humbly I bow. 
The reason for that change being found here.   Personally I think she's meaning how our hearts are changed from being dark with sin to be being white with the light of being cleansed by God's work in our lives.  

Set your face against Mount Seir

We continue our study in Ezekiel, the last time we met was about Showers of Blessing. You can read more in my Ezekiel Studies here and here.

Today the Lord has a word against Mount Seir. 

I wondered where this was so thought I would do a bit of research on it.  This image comes from right here

Mount Seir was located in the mountainous region for the descendants of Esau. Genesis 36:8 tells us this is where Esau made his home.

The descendants of Esau were called Edomites.

"The name Edom is a Hebrew baby name. In Hebrew the meaning of the name Edom is: An alternative name of the Old Testament character Esau. Red, a reference to either the red skin or the red earth of Eden from which the Old Testament Adam was created in Genesis 2."  (source)

God is speaking out against The Edomites today.
  •  cherished perpetual enmity 
  •  gave over the people of Israel to the power of the sword at the time of their calamity
I read that word cherished and it made me quake inside.
I watched a show the other day and the bad person in the show was one who cherished the pain and destruction of others.   LOVED watched it,this character did.  All over a small wrong done to them a long time ago.

Cherishing such hatred.  I don't understand it.  
Why couldn't they just let it go?

Kicking a man when he is down.  That is basically what the Edomites (those who dwelled on Mount Seir) did.   They saw the Israel had been punished, and instead of being satisfied by that, allowed the sword to be brought against them.   Whether they attacked them or allowed them to be attacked isn't immediately apparent to me in this passage. 

Therefore, since they like bloodshed so much, God is going to prepare them for a time of bloodshed.     

As he says: I will make Mount Seir a waste and a desolation, and I will cut off from it all who come and go. And I will fill its mountains with the slain. On your hills and in your valleys and in all your ravines those slain with the sword shall fall. 

God end purpose?  Then you will know that I am the Lord.

Isn't that always his purpose though?   For people to know that HE is the Lord.

The people of Mount Seir knew that Israel belonged to the Lord and none the less said "These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will take possession of them’—although the Lord was there—"

Their envy and jealousy will be their downfall, they will learn the folly of putting themselves above the Lord, wanting to claim his people and their land for their own.  They will "know that I am the Lord" says God. 

God heard it all you know, their reviling of the people, their reviling of him, that joy at Israel's destruction.  He saw how they magnified themselves (built themselves up).   It caused the Lord's displeasure.

And so God will make them a desolate place, all of Mount Seir and Edom.
For the purpose of teaching that God is the Lord. 

It makes me wonder you know, how long the Lord will withhold his judgement on so many people in the world today.   All those who see themselves above the Lord and above the Lord's people.  

It also makes me feel small.  There are so many times that I can (and do) elevate myself, seeing the results of my actions, and putting it out that I DID THIS.  When in actuality, it was the Lord doing it, just using me in the process.    I need to remember that more often.