Friday, June 24, 2011

Last Days in Portugal

As we near our departure date we are trying to experience as much of Portugal as we can (dependent upon time and finances, of course).

We wanted to take in "One Last Castle" before leaving; well, really it is more of a Palace.  This is the Quinta Regalius -- complete with turrets, caves and underground passages:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Washington: A Legacy of Leadership, by Paul Vickery and Stephen Mansfield

George Washington was a man that exemplified leadership.  He is remembered for being “first in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen.”  Furthermore, he was a man of character, perseverance, and faith.  Leaders today would do well to imitate him.

This book was interesting because it begins not with Washington the leader, but with Washington the boy.  As Washington grows in age, so does his wisdom, faith and leadership abilities. 

The book is arranged mostly chronologically culminating with his presidency and death.  The focus is not on his actions as President, but more on his experiences leading up to his becoming Commander in Chief of the military and ultimately his being unanimously chosen to serve as the nation’s first President.  Through his successes and failures we see the character of the man being shaped.

I found this to be an interesting, quick read.  I appreciated the many quotes from Washington, taken from written correspondence.  You could really feel a sense of “being there” as the Colonials tramped through the winter with their bare feet.  Especially I liked the role faith played in Washington’s life.  Through the many quotes you can tell that he was a man of deep faith and conviction.  I would recommend this book to anyone interested in leadership or history.

I received this book courtesy of Thomas Nelson Press in exchange for an honest review.
 The views expressed are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Final Summit, by Andy Andrews

The Final Summit, by Andy Andrews is a sequel to The Traveler's Gift.  I do not normally spend my time reading fiction, however, this book is a little different. The main character, David Ponder, meets and interacts with historical people (known as “Travelers”). As a history teacher, I felt drawn to the idea of famous characters of history coming to life to help out. These characters include Winston Churchill, Joan of Arc, George Washington Carver, and King David among others.

As in the first book, Ponder needs to apply certain “historically proven principles that have guided our greatest leaders” in order to save us from certain doom. Without giving the story away, this process of restoring these vital principles can save not only the world, but his own life.

I think the idea was pretty original and clever, but it could have been developed better. At times, the characters seem a bit contrived. Other times, the book seems a little like a “Self help” book. 

The biggest problem for me though, was that theologically the book is a little off.  Heaven contains people known to be pagan or atheist. The Arch Angel Gabriel acts a bit un-angelic, Jesus is only mentioned once and then for his carpentry skills. The fate of mankind is dependent upon David Ponder, when in reality it is our relationship with Jesus Christ that matters.

An interesting read, but read with caution.

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson Press in exchange for an honest review.
The views expressed are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

Book Review: Max on Life, by Max Lucado

Max Lucado’s latest book is entitled, “Max on Life: answers and insights to your most important questions.”  While I am not a big Lucado fan, I thought this one sounded intriguing.  After all, in over 25 years of ministry, Lucado must have heard thousands of questions. 

This book promised to speak “on topics ranging from hope to hurt, from home to the hereafter.  Max writes about the role of prayer, the purpose of pain, and the reason for our ultimate hope. He responds to the day-to-day questions—parenting quandaries, financial challenges, difficult relationships—as well as to the profound: Is God really listening?"

The chapters are divided into sections related to certain topics (“Hope”, “Hurt”, “Help”, etc.).  Within each topic, however, the questions seem rather random and are arranged about one per page.  While the brevity equates to a quick and simple answer, it also means that some deep, thoughtful questions are perhaps answered a bit too briefly.

I did not find any answers to be Biblically unsound, but I felt that many of the questions could have been answered with much more detail, including Bible support.  This would be a good book to find a quick, brief answer to a common question. For the deeper questions, though, you might want to look elsewhere.

This book was provided by Thomas Nelson Press in exchange for an honest review.
The views expressed are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Most have already heard this, but we have made the decision to return back to Okinawa, Japan.

As much as we like Portugal-- and there is a lot to like here, we have felt led by God to return to Oki.

We will both still be in Christian Education (at OCSI) and are looking forward to seeing friends and family that we already know, as well as the new folks we will meet.

We fly in at the end of June (29th, to be exact).  Please pray for 1) Housing, 2) Finances for the Summer, 3) The students that God is already preparing to place into our classrooms.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Emi Graduates

Yesterday was Emi's graduation.

I'm not sure why some schools have a graduation from Kindergarten, but I guess it is a milestone.

Emi also received an award for "Super Reader"; no surprise there as she loves to read books (like mother, like daughter!).

We are more happy with the other award though: being a "True Friend". Emi really does try to befriend everyone.  Congrats to Emi!