business&web08 May 2015 06:25 pm

I got an email yesterday from some movie theater chain that I must have signed up to receive rewards from at some point. The funny thing was, it was in Spanish and I know I didn’t sign up for the Spanish version. I chuckled at their mishap and figured that would be the silliest email I received, but I was wrong.

Shortly after that, I checked my inbox and found a Mother’s Day offer from a restaurant that I like a lot, but my wife isn’t the biggest fan. Naturally, I opened it – not for the offer per se, but to make myself have pleasant day dreams of smoked meats and spicy sides. What I found was a very confused offer.


Reading from top to bottom (as most of us do), I immediately assumed this was an offer for Mother’s Day, which is this Sunday, May 10th, by the way. A little further down, I see that it’s for “this weekend only” – which still includes Sunday, but makes it a Mother’s Day weekend thing. Okay, I’m following it so far, but then at the very bottom, we get actual dates: May 11 – June 14, which not only extends well beyond this weekend, it also excludes this weekend and Mother’s Day.

Double check your work people. Put as much care into your marketing as you do into those wondrous ribs. Now, onto day dreaming…

peace… love… bdg…

Bookshelf19 Mar 2015 04:05 pm

Hey… have you missed me? Well, here’s a couple book write-ups…

How to Make Friends and Monsters and How to Survive Middle School and Monster Bots – Ron Bates

howardbowardMiddle school is a pivotal time for most people, but it can be especially difficult if you don’t quite fit in. Unless of course, you are such a nerd you can create your own friends – even if they turn out to be monsters who try to take over you school and town. This series is an enjoyable look at the ups and downs of such a life.

In book one, Howard Boward is a nerd who, through no real fault of his own, creates a monster life-force to be his friend. Naturally, this doesn’t work out exactly as expected, although, it does make him popular… for a little while. When things start going awry, Howard learns a lot about life and identity and friendship and a little bit about having a moral compass. It’s a fulfilling and fun read, with plenty of illustrations to keep the pages turning.

Book two continues the saga and finds Howard struggling to remember some of the life lessons he gained previously. Also, he dabbles with robots and they try to take over the city. Again, we have a clever tale, written from a pertinent point of view and there are plenty of laughs, lessons, and mistakes from Howard’s experiments and experiences. This time, the undertone dives a little deeper into the realm of true friendship, loyalty, and teamwork. There’s also a bit of a redemptive call to action, but it’s not exactly heavy-handed. It’s another fine read and one that leaves you wondering what could possibly happen next.

These books are written in the style of Diary of a Wimpy Kid (visually, at least – I’ve never read those), Timmy Failure, and other half-graph novels. (I may have just coined that term… hope it sticks). They should appeal to middle schoolers, obviously, most likely boys, and the kid in all of us.

peace… love… bdg….

Bookshelf&business&leadership31 Dec 2014 12:25 pm

Game Changer – Kirk Cousins

So the season is over for the Washington Redskins and for Kirk Cousins, it was over a month or so early as he was pulled from action in lieu of Robert Griffin III and Colt McCoy. Oddly enough, I’ve read books about each of them in the past year or two also. But in reading GAME CHANGER, it is clear that Cousins is going to be okay, whether he’s benched or starting. He obviously strives to start and succeed in the NFL, but he lives with a purpose and vision beyond the gridiron lines, Gatorade showers, and screaming fans.

For such a young guy, he’s already experienced a lifetime of challenges, failures, and successes, as well as plenty of twists and turns along the way. However, through it all, Cousins keeps his focus on the bigger game plan. In GAME CHANGER, Cousins shares his journey, offers inspiration through his story, and passes along helpful advice for others, regardless of their current situation. This is a helpful book for younger readers – maybe 10-18 years old – looking for identity, success, and help along the way.

And hey, today is New Years Eve (as I write this), so what better time than the beginning of a new year to read through an inspiring tale to get you ready to tackle (pun intended) those resolutions in the coming months.

peace… love… bdg….

Movies&television&videos04 Dec 2014 11:14 am

I’ve mentioned at least once or twice that I like VeggieTales. And while the jury is still out on the new Veggies in the House Netflix series, one thing I can count on is the quality of products put out by the creator of Bob and Larry – and the voice of many vegetables among other characters. Case in point: What’s in the Bible, Phil Vischer’s latest project.

Imagine if you will, a variety show of sorts that strives to discuss the Bible – book-by-book – in a way that engages and entertains children. This series is even better than that. (You need a better imagination – just kidding, calm down). Puppets, animation, songs, speaking, and more characters than you can shake a stick at make this a show that’s quite fun to watch. Beyond that, it’s chock full of informative and interesting content that will actually enrich the lives of the viewer, be it a child or adult (for example, me).
Volume ten kicks off the New Testament and I simply love the general thought presented here that the Old Testament is a story without an ending and the New Testament is a story without a beginning, but when they’re taken together, it’s a wonderful and amazingly complete picture. Such a nice thought.

Now, my kids still show interest in this series even though they are probably out of the target audience, so I’d say it’s most appropriate for 10 and under, will hold the attention of maybe 14 and under, but will benefit all – even the barely paying attention overhearers. So, if you haven’t checked this series out and you have anyone near the target audience, do check it out. It looks like a lot of them are on sale right now, too.

peace… love… bdg…

general&Movies07 Oct 2014 02:40 pm

In case you were worrying… you can stop. Christmas is in good hands…

Saving Christmas

peace… love… bdg…

Bookshelf03 Oct 2014 04:04 pm

Smart Money, Smart Kids – Rachel Cruze, Dave Ramsey

Money. No one likes to talk about it or think about it, but, inevitably, it is one that we are confronted with many times a day. Unfortunately, by not talking about money, we aren’t thinking through the implications or consequences of our spending habits. This often leaves us without financial plans, savings strategies, or appropriate goals – much less the means to attain them. And, for those of us who are parents, these deficiencies are passed on to our children, placing them in a difficult position as they face their future.

Enter the Dave Ramsey and his daughter, Rachel Cruze. The Ramsey name is somewhat synonymous with giant scissors cutting up credit cards and phrases like, “cash is king,” “normal is broke,” and “debt is dumb.” His Financial Peace University program just crossed the twenty year mark and has been making a significant impact across the country. Having participated in the program a few times, I’ve learned one of the most common questions from attendees is, “how can I teach this to my kids?” Well, here you go. Rachel Cruze co-authors this book from the unique perspective of a “Ramsey kid” and explains the basic principles and practices she’s learned growing up with the FPU program.

Covered topics include the importance of giving, saving, and spending – in the right order – avoiding debt altogether, and paying for college, cars, and more. However, and most importantly, Cruze and Ramsey tackle the underlying issues of the growing problem: discontentment. SMART is a thorough guide to teaching kids common sense and practical money management. Absolutely recommend this to parents and kids.

peace… love… bdg…

Bookshelf22 Aug 2014 04:09 pm

Fearless – Eric Blehm

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…

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