Bookshelf22 Aug 2014 04:09 pm

No More Dragons – Jim Burgen

I read this book a long while ago. It moved me then and still moves me today when I consider the sacrifice and choices involved.

There are no spoilers in this book – you know Adam is going to die from page one – but it doesn’t really make it easier to swallow. And it all came flooding back when I finally watched LONE SURVIVOR the other day – a movie that details a similar mission referenced in FEARLESS.

Let’s back up for a second, though. FEARLESS is the story of Adam Brown, a troubled young man who struggled to find his place in the world before cleaning up his act, becoming a Navy SEAL, and sacrificing everything for his country. Everything you could expect. Nothing like you would expect. Heartwarming and heart breaking. Stirs up feelings of admiration and pride. A story of redemption and many questions of why.

This is definitely a book worth reading that will help you understand the people who risk their lives for the safety of others (including us). It’s a pretty captivating read and will certainly change the way you look at life.

Bookshelf22 Aug 2014 04:06 pm

No More Dragons – Jim Burgen

This book sounded really cool. I mean, dragons, right? Who doesn’t like books about dragons?

And then, when I realized it was a reference to the Narnia series, I was even more excited to read what Burgen had to say. And Burgen has a way with words (he IS a pastor, after all). So the book starts out very engaging and it draws the reader into the message from the jump.

That message is one of restoration and hope in the midst of hopelessness. So, what about the dragons? In NO MORE DRAGONS, we are the dragons. The choices that we make affects who we become (this is a lesson I teach at my sons every day). Some of those choices weigh on us like the scales of a fiery reptile, hardening us from emotional responses and harden us to what God is doing in the world around us.

These scales may take the form of anger towards others for a perceived (or real) injustice. Or it may be depression or other emotional scars that form a thick skin to protect ourselves from further damage. Whatever it may be, it hinders us in life. It prevents us from fulfilling our potential. And there’s nothing we can do about it.

But there is something that can be done about it, as Burgen reveals. That solution is the complete package of grace and truth, which comes in the form of Jesus. Jesus can “un-dragon” us and free us from our metaphorical scaly skin. It’s a painful process, but it’s the only way to ensure that there are no more dragons.

If if sounds like I’ve given everything this book has to offer away, you’re not thinking of the enjoyable anecdotes that carry the reader through the message.

Bookshelf22 Aug 2014 04:03 pm

Sticking Points – Hayden Craft

Finally, a book that says what we’ve all been thinking:

The next generation workforce is a bunch of young whippersnappers who don’t know what they’re doing. They sleep in, slack off, and refuse to contribute in a meaningful way. They have no loyalty and only care about themselves. In fact, they don’t even look up from the screen of their device of choice to realize there are other, actual people around them. And they need to get off my lawn.

Okay, so, STICKING POINTS doesn’t exactly say all that, but this is a poignant look at the generational misunderstandings that occur each and every day in offices all around the world. People retire later in life. Young adults opt out of college more often. The workforce currently contains members of four generations for the first time in history. And, with each generation, comes a different set of motivations, work ethic, outlook, perspective, and more. This can make for a very confusing and, at times, aggravating workplace.

Or, it can make for a vibrant, productive experience that can lead to new products and technical advancements.

Craft does a good job of explaining some of the differences and challenges this generational mix can present, as well as some methods for thriving in such a diverse environment. What I took away from this book most, however, was the affirmation of a Biblical concept: each generation is a direct result and response to the generation before. Whatever we teach those following us – whether intentionally or by default – is what they carry into their lives as they define their generation.

reviews&television08 Aug 2014 03:45 pm

VeggieTales presents Celery Night Fever

My kids have never known a world that didn’t include the comic stylings of a certain tomato and cucumber duo. And I’ve seen these two characters endure many ups and downs and hardships and struggles that made it seem like they were headed to the juicer (so to speak). Fortunately, they’ve survived and continue to star in highly enjoyable films that find the funny bone of both young and old.

And though this particular episode deals with disco and an era that pre-dates my boys, the jokes and the quality of entertainment aren’t tied to the time period. So, the references that go over their heads are funny to me and the simultaneous antics are funny to them (and me). In short, Celery Night Fever is a story about relationships and exclusion, revenge and forgiveness. It’s poignant and offers a great illustration. Plus, it features the voice of Terry Crews, the Old Spice guy. Well, one of the Old Spice guys.

I keep hearing rumors of good things coming down the pike for the VeggieTales brand and this release is a prime example of why these veggies have stood the test of time. I can’t wait to see what else is in store going forward.

peace… love… bdg…

Bookshelf&general23 May 2014 11:49 am

According to GoodReads, I’m six books behind on my annual reading goal. I’m certainly far more behind on reviews and other writings. Well, I’m finally back behind the keyboard and ready to wrap up the Amazon 100 Books to read in a lifetime series. Of course, they’ve also released a 100 Mysteries and Thrillers to read in a lifetime list now, too. They are determined to keep us talking about their book selections.

I think I always start out behind, but hopefully I’ll catch up in due time. There’s always a lot going on but we always have time for what we want to have time for. Today, I want to have time for this. I’m in a room that’s warmer than I’d like, people are talking around me louder than they need too, and my stomach is more full than is probably good for it. Let’s see how that goes anyway.

music. The Man with the Iron Fists (Score)

I enjoy a good soundtrack every now and then. This, the score – not the soundtrack with explicit lyrics – is pretty calming and pleasantly inspiring.

[continue reading this post...]

Bookshelf&reviews21 Apr 2014 09:56 am

Merlin. One of the most written about characters of all time. He has to be. And why not?

Merlin is a compelling character, full of mystery, intrigue, and untold power. He’s been portrayed in many different ways by many different writers – there are even a few current series right now on the market dealing with various aspects of his life and legend. And it’s always been that way. It’s a bottomless well of resources for countless stories.

merlin

When I was younger, I admired the potential of these stories, but didn’t read that many for one reason or other. Often it was the pacing, sometimes it was the language, and then, of course, other times it was because I wasn’t allowed to dwell on wizards and mystical powers. I’m older now and I have more patience and control over what I read and, with Netflix offering the BBC series, my appetite was whetted for some ancient tales.

Today, I’m talking about The Merlin Spiral series written by Robert Treskillard, published by Blink, and focused on the origin story of Merlin, Arthur, and all the legends. [continue reading this post...]

general01 Apr 2014 05:35 pm

Remember when music was art by default? I know, it’s been a while. Much of music these days is little more than noise collections – well, at least if you believe what you hear on the radio. Well, leave it to the Wu Tang Clan to try to turn things around. And the bonus irony is that many critics blame the rise of hip-hop to the downfall of artistic music.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 22 years since Wu Tang first invited us into the 36 chambers of hip-hop glory. Granted, it’s not family friendly by any means, but the group left an indelible mark on hip hop as it continued to emerge as a viable genre. And then… they all but disappeared. And now… they’re back with a new album which is poised to go… paper? They only plan on selling one copy.

Their “tour” will consist of sending the double album around the world to museums where patrons will have the opportunity to engage with the two-hour long release through headphones after paying approximately $30-50 for admission and subjecting themselves to strict security protocols to ensure the music doesn’t leak. The goal, besides creating the music industry’s equivalent of an “Egyptian scepter” (their words), is to remind us that music is art. And, apparently, you can’t have it for yourself.
[continue reading this post...]

general20 Mar 2014 09:35 pm

Did you know there’s a plane missing out there? Here’s how I’ve processed this information thus far.

First question: How can you lose a plane in this day and age?
Second question: Is Lost coming back?
Third question: Seriously? They really lost a plane?
Fourth question: Why are the producers of Lost answering questions? Is Lost coming back?
Fifth question: Enough already, where is the plane?
Sixth question: Conspiracy? No… if this was a conspiracy, Edward Snowden would’ve been on that plane.
Seventh question: Courtney Love is still alive?
Eight question: How can you lose a plane in this day and age?
Ninth question: Really? No one on board took a selfie in an oxygen mask? “We’re going down, ROTFL. CrashTag: Malaysian Air”
Tenth question: Australia? Seriously, how do you lose a PLANE?

It’s kind of crazy and, if nothing else a distraction from other world events like war and stuff.

Speaking of distractions… [continue reading this post...]

general13 Mar 2014 01:37 pm

I grew up picking Sony over pretty much every other brand for all my electronics needs, I mean wants. As far as I was concerned, they were the bees knees. The best mesh of style and function. They were at the forefront of the industry for audio, portable devices, video games, and yes, even eReaders. I wanted a Sony eReader so badly for years before I finally broke down and, um, bought a Kindle because it offered a much better ecosystem, but that’s beside the point. The point is, Sony helped usher in the digital world of music and books which now has all but dwarfed the world of physical books and CDs. And now, in light of that success… Sony is closing their Reader Store this month.

For some reason, their business model includes keeping this in stock:

cdwalkman

But not this:

ereader
[continue reading this post...]

general25 Feb 2014 05:13 pm

So, the Olympics are over and everyone knows which countries got how many medals and everyone has an opinion on who got jilted. That’s the bottom line. However, there were a few side storylines that jumped out. The general lack of preparation. The dogs. Bob Costas’s pink eye outbreak. Oh yeah, and the new definition of “Alternative Lifestyle.”

Okay, let me first say that I totally understand what the writer was trying to do here. Honestly, to be happily married and have a 2-year old daughter at 23 is something of an anomaly these days. Especially as an X Games athlete, a career choice that carries with it the stigma (stereotype) of slacking off, tempting fate, and letting the world mature around you while you hold onto youth for dear life. I’m pretty sure that’s as far as Wilder intended to go. Chances are, he had nothing to do with writing the headline (and “alternative” doesn’t appear in the article). So, no reason to be upset with Skyler Wilder.

There is cause for concern, though, and I don’t have room here to fully delve into it, but I will absolutely introduce my thoughts and hopefully get back to them in the near future for a deeper dive. Stoke the fires of discussion so to speak. [continue reading this post...]

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