Sunday, October 14, 2012

Praising God in song, with Hillsong

I've been making an effort over the past six months or so to focus more on God throughout the day. By far the most impacting choice is to listen to Christian music. I turn it on when I'm home in the mornings or while I'm on the computer (like right now!). In the past, I've avoided extra noise, thinking I needed the quiet, but this has turned out to be so much more beneficial.

One of the new CDs** I've been listening to is Hillsong's newest: Cornerstone [Live]

One of my favorites is the first song, "Endless Light." It's inspiring and very singable. And that's important to me, because when music moves me, I want to sing along (be glad you can't hear me when I'm in my car!).

There are different styles, from upbeat to more contemplative, and different lead vocalists, so this collection will definitely have broad appeal. I also found out from the press release, when I was sent the CD to review, that Brooke Fraser wrote some of the songs. I LOVE her.

I have to admit (not that it's a horrible sinful act or anything), that I've only recently become a real fan of praise music. I think that older praise music, and some of contemporary music, sounds a bit like elevator muzak, so I'm happy to have singable praise choruses that are also in the more contemporary musical style that I appreciate.

**Yes, I mentioned that it was a CD. I'm totally old school and actually like to have real CDs to listen to in my car. At home I'll listen on my computer or via my TV sound system, or occasionally my ipod.

Do you listen to praise music? When and where and how?

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

My Kids LOVE to Read (and here's what they are reading)

My daughter (14) recently read a book I got for review (for both of us). I haven't read it yet, but she said it was REALLY GOOD (that's how she said it, I promise). The book is Pure by Julianna Baggott:

I don't think she's read any more of the Mortal Instruments series that she started this summer. She's number 91 on the library waitlist for the newest one in the series, so hopefully by the time she gets #4, she'll have moved up. However, on a recent trip to Half-Price books, I bought her Clockwork Prince, which is a prequel series, so she is currently reading (and enjoying) it.

Kyle (8) is so proud of the volume of reading he's done. I think he finished 4 books last week. Three of them are George Brown, Class Clown books, shorter chapter books. He had read one last year, and he came home from his school library with one last week. When he had already finished both library books (that one and the second book George Brown, Class Clown by Lisa Yee) by Wednesday, I got him 2 more George Brown books from the public library and he finished them.

He's now almost finished with Zoobreak which is a bona-fide full-on middle grade novel. I'm so excited for him to be making this transition (but have no problem with him still reading shorter/easier early middle grade novels). I just realized that this is a sequel to Swindle, which Amanda read when she was in elementary school, so I'll have to get that one from the library, because I think he'd be ready to read it, since it will feature the same characters.

You can find out more kid approved book picks over at 5 Minutes for Books.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Art is imitating my life

Sometimes reading a novel that mirrors my life is not the escape that I want it to be. However, as I said in my review of The Sweetness of Forgetting, the similarities between my life and the characters in this novel were so striking, and helped me connect with them right away, as one would with a new friend.
"This isn't up for debate, Annie," I say. "Do it now, or you're grounded." I hear the coldness in my voice. . . .For a minute, I hate myself, but I stare Annie down, unblinking. She looks away first, "Whatever!"
The Sweetness of Forgetting page 8
I have a teenage daughter, and though she doesn't often verbalize the "Whatever," I know she's thinking it. Annie is still in middle school, and I definitely remember those struggles with Amanda at that age. at 14, I do think that Amanda and I have more of a good understanding of each other (Is that just me, or did you find early adolescence to be more of a challenge?).
"Where is your mother?" Rose asked Hope politely. "Is she coming, dear?" "My mom -- Josephine -- died," Hope said gently. "Two years ago, Mamie. Don't you remember?"
The Sweetness of Forgetting, page 28
Unfortunately, this is a very familiar situation. My grandmother reverts to topics we generally cover: "How's your family? Have you talked to your sister? Have you seen your mother?" And since mom passed away two months ago, I have to remind her of the fact. Fortunately, my reminder jogs her memory, and she's not reliving it all over again (unlike her brother's funeral which she's been telling me was "yesterday," each time I've seen her over the last few weeks, when in fact it was many years ago). There were many more things that made The Sweetness of Forgetting a great read. Click through to read my full review, and there's even a giveaway.