Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Review of December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World by Craig Shirley

When I was first saw that I had an opportunity to read and review December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World by Craig Shirley, I jumped at the chance. One of my majors in college was history, and I grew up loving history so I hope you will understand my excitement at this chance. However, after reading Mr. Shirley's book, I was very disappointed, not only with factual errors I found during reading, but also for the various typos and misspellings in his book.

The premise of Mr. Shirley's book is to describe life in America during the month of December 1941, showing America as is struggled to maintain a neutral stance in the current war, then the shock of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and other points in the Pacific, then how America began to come together as a unified people after the attacks. Mr. Shirley does this by taking each day in December and presenting them as individual chapters. In each chapter Mr. Shirley then attempts to show the reader life during this crucial month in American history by using various articles from newspapers and magazines found during that time period.

It is an interesting way to present the information to the reader; however, the information presented appears to me to have no structure to it whatsoever. The reader may be presented with life in Hollywood, then be switched to life in rural Alabama, only to read a few lines later about the war in Europe! I personally believe that Mr. Shirley should have broken the chapters down further into the various aspects of life he wished to present to the reader, instead of the jumbled array of information Mr. Shirley did present.

One of the key aspects of any book that touts itself as a history book, or a book dealing with history of any sort is facts and one of my main disappointments was error in facts presented in Mr. Shirley's book. One of the biggest or these errors, in my opinion was one I found on page 390. On that page, the reader is told that FDR directed Douglas MacArthur to rid Washington DC of the Bonus Marchers. The problem with that "fact" is that it is not a fact. FDR was not president during this moment in time: Hoover was. A glaring mistake like this should not happen in a book touted as a book on history. Another issue I had occurred on page 46. Quoting directly from Mr. Shirley's book: "It was raking in millions each week, mostly for the top four studios: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Bros." Mr. Shirley says the top four studios yet only three are mentioned by name. Again, these are only two examples of what I noticed as I read Mr. Shirley's book.
To simply sum up my review of Mr. Shirley's book, after reading his book, and with the mistakes found with supposed facts, typos and misspellings, I cannot recommend his book and give it only one star.

(Disclosure:  I did receive an advanced copy of this book from Thomas Nelson to review and made no promises as to the nature of my review.  The posted review is mine and mine alone.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Counting Down Christmas One Video At A Time -- Joy To the World as sung by the Mississippi Mass Choir

Let the world know that Joy has come to the it through Jesus Christ!  Joy to the World is a simple Christmas carol, but one that simply tells the truth.  Joy! to the world, the Lord has come!  What more should be said. What more could be said?

Enjoy this carol as sung by the Mississippi Mass Choir.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Counting Down Christmas One Video at a Time -- White Christmas

One of the things I like to do at Christmas is watch the old Christmas movies.  Movies that meant something, movies that the whole family could enjoy without fear of wondering if it was appropriate for children or not.

One of the movies I love is White Christmas with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye and the title song is today's video in my Christmas Video Countdown.  Enjoy!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Counting Down Christmas One Video At A Time -- Joseph's Lullaby

This is one of the newer songs written for the Christmas season, written and performed by Mercy Me and I really don't know how popular it is, but this song has personal meaning to me.  Sometimes Joseph is called the patron saint of step fathers, for even though Jesus was God's only Son, and wasn't Joseph's son, I can imagine Joseph taking Jesus in his arms and knowing that while Jesus was on earth and Joseph was alive, Joseph would take care of Jesus, as if Jesus were his first born son.  And that's how I feel too.  No matter if I wasn't there for the conception or the birth of my first born daughter, she is and will always be my first born child.  So this one is for you and for her as well.  Enjoy.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Counting Down Christmas One Video At A Time -- Cantique De Noel (O Holy Night)

One of my all time favorite Christmas carols is Cantique De Noel (O Holy Night).  And one of the best performances of this was done by the late great Luciano Pavarotti, singing alongside Placido Domingo.  Close your eyes and let their interpretation bless you.

Merry Christmas!

Counting Down Christmas One Video At A Time -- Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth

This is not one of my favorite carols per se, but it is one of my favorite collaborations of all time.  David Bowie and Bing Crosby, singing together for Christmas was one of the most anticipated parts of the special they appeared in.  I actually remember this special and thought it was great then and it is great now.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Counting Down Christmas -- One Video At A Time -- Silent Night

Today's posting is actually a twofer!  Silent Night is one of my all time favorite Christmas Carols and the two videos shown below are two of the most unique and all time best examples.  I hope you enjoy.

                                                                  Merry Christmas!

                                                                      Stevie Nicks

                                                                   The Temptations

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Counting Down Christmas -- One Video At A Time -- Christmas Canon by Trans-Siberian Orchestra

This is my favorite time of the year.  The music, decorations, cheer and the giving.  Of course, with my faith, this is a celebration for me and my family as well. With that said, until the day of Christmas, I would like to post videos of some of my favorite Christmas music for you to enjoy.  Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas At Work

I absolutely love where I work!  Employee owned, every monthly and quarterly meeting is started out with a prayer and they love to have fun!  Now I don't really do the Halloween decorating thing, but I do like decorating for Christmas, so I decided to decorate my cube this year.  It's not complete as I still need to tidy up the lights some, and hang icicle lights from the ceiling above my cube, but here is where it is at right now. 

As you can tell, I have a certain theme: The University of Texas.  Tell me what you think.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Upcoming Prison Ministry Event -- Prayer Request

Bill Glass' Champions for Life will be partnering up with the I Am Second Locked Up student ministry to have an opportunity to present the Gospel to the inmates at the Dawson State Jail this coming January 15th and we need your prayer support for this.

For those who follow my blog, or visit from time to time, you may have read of my last trip to the Dawson State Jail in Dallas, Texas back in November; this partnership with the I Am Second Locked Up student ministry has allowed me the opportunity to go back again to help spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to those behind the razor wire.

This will be a smaller event that we had last time, with only a total of 80 teammates attending from the Bill Glass Ministry.  I am looking forward to this, believe me, but we do need your help.  Not financially, but spiritually.  We need prayer cover for this.  The Dawson State Jail is a very dark place spiritually; you can literally feel it when you walk in.  Your prayers are are one of the biggest helps we can have.  Pray specifically for those on the inside to have their hearts softened and receptive to the Gospel message.  Pray for those who are our brothers and sisters in Christ to be praying and studying, and living a life that glorifies God, even on the inside.  Especially on the inside.

Pray for those of us who are going in.  Pray specifically that we are prepared to speak as the Holy Spirit directs us to.  Pray for our protection, physically and spiritually.  But most of all PRAY!  That is the biggest weapon we have; the prayers of the saints.

I am looking forward to this.  Thank you for your prayers.


Thursday, December 08, 2011

A Fantastic Giveaway From Tyndale!

I haven't blogged about giveaways in a long time, but this one excites me enough to tell you about it.
Starting on November 29th until December 24th at the New Living Translation Facebook page page Tyndale is giving away lots of great prizes and something free for you, the reader, just for singing up.
By visiting the giveaway entry page (located on the NLT Facebook page, the link is under the profile picture) and entering your name and e-mail address you'll be entered to win the following prizes:
  • One random person each day will win a Life Application Study Bible Family Pack (Guys Life Application Study Bible hc, Girls Life Application Study Bible hc, Student's Life Application Study Bible hc, Life Application Study Bible hc, Life Application Study Bible Large Print hc).
  • One Random person each week will win an Apple iPad 2!
Everyone that signs up gets a free download copy of the Life Application Bible Study – Book of Luke!

So do yourself a favor and head over to the New Living Translation Facebook page and check it out!


Wednesday, December 07, 2011

A Review of The 21-Day Dad's Challenge: Three Weeks To A Better Relationship With Your Kids Edited by Carey Casey

As the dad of two girls, I am always looking for good advice on how to deal with the ins and outs of how to be a better dad than I had in my life.  Besides the Bible, this is one of the best books I have ever read on this subject, and that is not something I say lightly.

The 21-Day Dad's Challenge : Three Weeks To A Better Relationship With Your Kids offers the reader 21 articles written by dads such as Carey Casey, Tony Dungy, Jim Daly, Randy Alcorn, Chip Ingram, Josh McDowell, Shaun Alexander just to name a few.  With chapter titles such as "What's in a Name", "I'm Sorry, I Was Wrong!", "No Experience Required" and "Where's Daddy?" the reader is presented not with nuggets of wisdom, but an entire avalanche of fatherly advice for those dads wanting or needing it.

The book itself is an easy read at 128 pages, but it is designed to not just be read, but one designed to be acted upon.  Each article contains a challenge relevant to the article as well as a place to help plan out the reader's actions to accomplish the challenge. To help the reader the book also utilizes QR Barcodes, readable by any QR barcode reader downloadable on most smartphones.  For those readers who do not have a QR Barcode reader, links are provided for the reader to type into any web browser.  Each of the barcodes take the reader to an online video for more information about the current challenge.

As an example, here is the QR Barcode for the introduction of the book.

I am highly recommending this book to everyone who is a dad, dad to be, or planning on being a dad.  Don't just read this book, but act upon this book.  Use it.  Your kids will thank you for it in ways you never dreamed of.

Five out of five stars!

(Disclosure:  I did receive an advanced copy of this book from Tyndale to review and made no promises as to the nature of my review.  The posted review is mine and mine alone.)

Thursday, December 01, 2011

A Review of Awakening - A New Approach to Faith, Fasting, and Spiritual Freedom by Stovall Weems

One of the subjects I am interested in as a Follower of Christ is fasting.  Fasting is something that I do not do very often, so when I saw I had a chance to read and review Stovall Weems' book Awakening - A New Approach to Faith, Fasting, and Spiritual Freedom, I decided to opt for this book and see what I might be missing.

What I was missing was the feeling that I was reading the script for a 30 minute infomercial on Mr. Weems' approach to being closer to God. 

After reading through this book, and in some cases, re-reading parts of it, I am still not sure what Mr. Weems is trying to convey here.  I do not doubt Mr. Weems' faith, nor his beliefs, but there are many places I disagree with him.  I do not know if he believes in the so called "prosperity gospel" that is preached by people such as Kenneth Copeland or Creflo Dollar, but one section in particular of his book, on providing more room for God to fill in areas of your life dealt with tithing , and the prosperity message seemed to come out loud and clear.

Another aspect seemed to be weight loss.  Even though Mr. Weems stated in his book that fasting is not about weight loss, he wrote more than once about how much weight was lost after fasting.  I am not sure I can equivocate  getting closer to God with losing weight, but this is part of what I received from reading the book.

Mr. Weems does attempt to back up his writing by quoting scripture, however, anyone who actually does study the Bible will tell you that anyone can take a single scripture and make it fit their need.  It is when you read the scripture in context to the ones around it that you derive the real meaning of the quoted scripture.  I believe that Mr. Weems has taken some, not all but some scripture out of context for his book.  I am not saying that there is not any meat in this book, indeed there are some very good morsels to find, but they are few and far in between. 

I am giving this book two out of five stars, and sadly, this is one book that I am not recommending to my friends and colleagues.

Please note that this book was presented to me by Waterbrook Press for the purpose of reviewing the book.  I did not promise, nor in any way indicate a positive or negative review to the publisher.  The review as presented is mine and mine alone.