Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales, by Randy Singer (Tyndale)

deadSome books take a good 20 pages to set the stage before actually telling the story. That’s not Singer. With him there’s no dillydallying; he pulls you right into the story in the very first page. I like that.

By the same logic, I would have liked to seen the lawyers die a bit sooner. Instead it happens much later, about half way through the book. The title told me they were going to die, so I wanted that pivotal point to show up earlier :)

The story itself is well woven and well told—simple and void of overreaching prose. The storyline holds the reader captive and the ending is well worth the wait. Some may find the sub plots somewhat far-fetched and distracting, but I didn’t. I felt they added to the development of the characters.

Although a pastor, Singer does not unnecessarily pepper his story with random Bible verses or biblical principles. Instead the characters tastefully reflect Singer’s pastoral persona: there are steps taken in faith, grace expressed in second chances, and contentment in living every day—no matter that might look like.

(I received this book free from Tyndale. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)




Humble Orthodoxy, by Joshua Harris (Multnomah)

humbleNo matter how good a book is, first impressions do matter. In this respect, the book fails: Humble Orthodoxy is the size of my hand and the thickness of my phone, retailing at  $9.99—that’s 16 cents per tiny page of the 61-paged primary section of the book.

On the other hand, the premise of the book is totally worth the price. On the cover, the subtitle of the book is “holding the truth without putting people down.” in the first few pages is this: “We need to be courageous in our stand for biblical truth. But we also need to be gracious in our words and interaction with other people.”

This is probably the shortest book I’ve ever read on the need for authentic Christianity, yet between every few lines is a home run. This little book is the slap of rude awakening many of us Christians need right now. Here are a few of these zingers, each of them worthy of the hashtags #humbleorthodoxy and #livelikeChrist.

  • “Truth matters . . . but so does out attitude.”
  • “One of the mistakes Christians often make is that we learn to rebuke like Jesus but not love like Jesus.”
  • “All of us should be less concerned with whether others are being faithful to God’s truth than with whether we are being faithful to God.”
  • “The truth is not our truth; it comes from God. And the ability to uphold it with loving humility comes from him too.”
  • “Orthodoxy shouldn’t be a club to attack someone else. It should be a double-edged sword that starts by piercing our hearts, laying them bare before God so that we say, ‘Forgive us, Lord!’”
  • “Are we giving as much energy to obeying and being reformed by God’s Word personally we are to criticizing its detractors?”

True to its premise, the book includes excellent study guides with applicative exercises.

All in all, this is a small yet powerful book that’s relevant to Christian living.

(I received this book free from Multnomah. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

budgie smugglers

Like junk mail, tedious epistolic family newsletters that arrive in my mailbox in pretty fat envelopes are immediately discarded. I love my family and friends, but don’t really want to know about their vacations, illnesses, and or the extra thimble added to their vast collection.

But, there is one exception–the Archer epistles. While they are probably the longest I receive, they are sprinkled with the wit and perspective that’s uniquely Julian Archer. As a bonus, I usually learn a new phrase or two. Today, it’s “budgie smugglers.” (I can just see where my American friends are going with this phrase.)

Got a three-page, single-spaced letter today–the latest in a series about the Archer family’s road trip across Europe. It begins:

“Greetings from a haggis-throw north of London. After months of meandering through the halls of castles, the gilded extravagance of cathedrals and the pomp and stuffiness of royal courts, it was SO refreshing to see this coat of arms above a doorway in Copenhagen. I have no idea what it represents, but the two blokes in the budgie smugglers are just wonderfully casual on this very formal continent.”

Julian's Email 13 May 2013

my one-a-day’s

Oh, to have all of these every day!

  • One oatmeal raisin cookie
  • One 15-minute (or longer) massage
  • One hour alone
  • One glass of almost-frozen diet Pepsi
  • One tropical fruit (anything but the ordinary banana)
  • One hour in a jacuzzi (this hour may not be combined with the hour alone)
  • One good hearty laugh
  • One bar of dark chocolate
  • One 20-minute nap

taking abuse over azaleas

3:10 p.m.
Husband emails this picture to kids and me. Subject line reads:
Azaleas in Front of House


3:37 p.m.–Daughter responds:
Over or under two years before Mom murders them?

3:38 p.m.–Son pipes in:
Under. For sure.

3:39 p.m.–Husband joins the harassment:
Over. Mom’s only allowed to look.

4:01 p.m.–I think to myself:
I’m too good a person to participate in this conversation. I think I’ll just calmly burn those Azalea bushes down to a crisp.

it’s hotter than?

A couple of weeks ago on an exceptionally hot spring day, I posted on Facebook: “It’s hotter than . . . (Tell me and keep it clean)”

Here are the responses I got. (Below that are my comments)

It’s hotter than . . .

  • Delhi in July–Nora
  • The president at an NRA convention–Eugene
  • Ryan Gosling–Joseph
  • Ingesting habjeneros while sunbathing in Puerto Vallerta.–Meline
  • All the forecasters’ predictions. They got it wrong AGAIN–Ricardo
  • Australia* (No, nothing could be as hot as that)–Elisabeth
  • Beach sand in August–Lyndelle
  • Mt. St. Helena when it explored.–Cathy
  • The rack my hand hits inside the oven every time I think I can cook–Nicole (Richey)**
  • Can I say hell?***–Grace
  • Thailand*–Alvina
  • Right now (after being hot this afternoon, it’s cold and windy)–Beverly
  • Satan in a sauna–Don
  • An elevator--Mini
  • Roy****--Elisabeth
  • Chillies–Sheri
  • My boney-ass ugly neighbor. (Ohh … not ugly at all (nor boney). Sorry. It sounded okay inside my head)–Balu

* They live there
** I really know her–the Nicole Richey
*** Obviously she just said it :)
**** She’s obviously met Roy, my husband