Ever since I was a little girl, I have wanted to stay that way. A little girl. See the scene in your mind: a little girl is running across a green field filled with cute little daisies. A crown of flowers...
Pride and Prejudice
Lori I cannot even begin to tell you how splendidly magnificent Jane Austen’s works are. They have a beautiful intensity that is kept in bounds by her witty observations of the world her characters spend their...
Jeff There have been a number of books that have had the world talking. Books like ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’, ‘The Purpose Driven Life and ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ comes to mind. The Bible has already accomplished...
Captivating Your Heart | Posted August-08-2009
Ever since I was a little girl, I have wanted to stay that way. A little girl. See the scene in your mind: a little girl is running across a green field filled with cute little daisies. A crown of flowers is on her head and an innocently, shy smile spreads across her face. The sun shines contentedly across her face and she is present and beautifully at one with the setting the Creator has placed her in…
Idealistic, I realize, but I continue to think that just that will be the ‘life in abundance’ that is spoken about in John. Through the years of maturing, decisions are made for and against vulnerability as well as the extreme opposite, toughness. The result is a girl that depends on others too much in some aspects, and too little in others. ‘Captivating’ is one of the sources that has lead me on to become the little girl in the first paragraph again.
This is not a step-by-step guide, but it takes an ‘all-aspect’ approach to the subjects of femininity, what a woman is meant to be, relationships and most anything essential to a woman’s heart. It is an easy read filled with references to the most chic tales ever (Pride and Prejudice, The Last of the Mohicans, Fried Green Tomatoes etc.) which remains a superb favorite of mine in this book. Poets and writers are also quoted to introduce every chapter which creates an atmosphere of interest and a sense of ease to indulge into the topic.
Stasi and John take a Biblical perspective in all their opinions and prayer plays an essential role in the entire ‘process’. Some areas may be defined as sentimental, but I’d rather define the book as sweet and honest in a ‘girly’ way. I love the way Stasi combines her own experiences and those of others to create a ‘story-line’ affect that guides one through the main thoughts of the chapter.
I also enjoyed the way in which the book not only repeated already well-known concepts, but dug deeper into the holistic woman’s heart, mind and soul to expose any lies and replace it with the truth.
This is a book for all females: put on a pretty dress, lock open your heart and let God speak to you…You’ll be beautifully surprised at His love.
To end this review, I’d like to quote some Bethany Dillon:
‘You make me beautiful,
You make me stand in awe,
You look inside my heart
And I am amazed.
I want to hear You say
Who I am is quite enough
You make me worthy of love
Stories to Tell...Through Music | Posted July-02-2009
Hipin, hopin, grooving, rockin old school and then some. That’s KJ for you. I still remember ‘5tweezy’ winning a Dove for best hip hp song (it was hip hop, right?). A fav radio presenter of my sis and I, Tony K, grooved it on his Dove Awards program and we ‘rocked the party till the break of dawn’.
‘Behind the Music’ contains a rather wide variety of hip hop. From pure, to old school and a touch of rock, if you’re into hip hop then this cd will keep you mesmerized. A fact often seen on these type of cds are guest artists-a fact KJ stays true to. People like Brynn Sanchez, Jon Micah Sumrall (from Kutless) and Rebecca St. James (not someone I associated with hip hop) features on this album making it a high-quality arrangement of awesome tunes.
The lyrics are rather deep for a rap album and they are written and co-written by KJ. The idea of this cd is to tell the story of KJ52, or Jonah Sorrentino (his real name). These stories are honest, raw and thought-provoking and sometimes really makes you teary-eyed. To me the message behind the cd is one of hope and one inspiring the listener to be real for Jesus (listen to ‘Are You Real’ with J. M. Sumrall).
This cd (similar to tobyMac’s ‘Momentum’) has breathers between the songs in which Jonah (feels weird to call him by that name) talks to his parents about a variety of special moments in his life which enhances the ‘story-telling’ feel present in the songs. Even the booklet is a picture-book of KJ52’s life.
A funky cd with a sweet (in the rap type definition of the word) style that will either make you chill on the grooving melodies or rock on the stellar guitar riffs.
Thought-Provoking and Real | Posted July-02-2009
There have been a number of books that have had the world talking. Books like ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’, ‘The Purpose Driven Life and ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ comes to mind. The Bible has already accomplished this for centuries. Another book that comes to mind is ‘The Shack’ by William P. Young. Many an enthusiastic (reading) audience has likened this book to the new generation’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ – a statement with which I must agree.
Though not as ‘fantasy’-based as Bunyan’s novel, (and with fantasy, I refer to completely imaginative from start to end) ‘The Shack’ remains spell bounding and gripping. The third person point of view (which tells Mack’s story) creates an atmosphere of sitting in on a conversation where Mack is speaking a foreign language and his friend is translating (with a few random, personal inserts here and there). Interesting, well- (and enthusiastically-) told as well as realistic enough in its inventive imaginativeness (a mouth full, but yes, this is all possible in one book).
The story takes us on a journey with Mark – a man with a painful past and an even more tormenting future – when he receives a note from God in his mailbox to meet him in the shack in which his daughter was murdered. In the weekend that follows, Mack discovers God (or rather, God reveals Himself to Mack), the Trinity and has the opportunity to discuss forgiveness, grace, love and other concepts that affect God’s children with God (the Father), Jesus and the Spirit.
Many people has noted this book to be sacrilegious and blasphemous in some instances, but, remembering that this is only Young’s interpretation of certain spiritual concepts to explain pain to his children and close friends, we, as readers, can draw some deep truths and lessons from the book, even if we only learn to have our beliefs challenged, but still remain standing firmly in the truths of God’s Word.
I do not agree with some of the statements made in ‘The Shack’, but it has taught me to measure all that I read according to God’s Word and create definite lines according to which I believe and to which I can return for reference when my beliefs are challenged. Being able to be flexible and open (but allowing this to cause growth in your spiritual walk and not teach you ungodly concepts) is and aspect of freedom of reading (in comparison to freedom of speech, or in this case, writing).
I enjoyed this book. It may, though, not appeal to the more conservative reader. If you decide to read this book, read it once as a story, then read it again to understand it completely and finally read it a third time in order to study, research and compare its statements to Biblical truths. It is relatively easy reading, continually compelling and heartfelt in its honesty to all the questions asked. All these aspects make this a brilliant book to read.
An All Time Fav Classical!!! | Posted July-02-2009
I cannot even begin to tell you how splendidly magnificent Jane Austen’s works are. They have a beautiful intensity that is kept in bounds by her witty observations of the world her characters spend their time in. There exists enough realism so that the reader can understand the character’s reactions, emotions and thoughts, while day-dream inspiring enough to make you lie awake at night and imagine yourself meeting your Mr. Darcy…
Pride and Prejudice is particularly brilliant, but it’s probably because I am well, being a slight bit prejudice since it was my first work of Jane Austen’s. Another factor influencing my exceptional awe of this book is how universal it is. Not only does one hear references of the Bennet’s or the ever-handsome Darcy quite often, but many a girl can relate to what occurs in the story.
For all those that are only now discovering this gem of a book, the story journeys with the girls (or ladies, rather) of the Bennet family. More specifically it’s about Elizabeth Bennet (the eldest sister) and the stir of emotion within her when the dream-inspiring Mr. Darcy makes his appearance. This is a very short summary, but I’d rather say that the value of the book exists in the conversations and thoughts of the characters instead of the story itself.
Jane Austen had the ability to create a gentle satire within a passionate romance (maybe you don’t understand that I call this passionate, but I believe that emotions so overwhelming, but kept under control until the truth and reliability of the love can be determined, are so much more passionate than the infatuation, jittery-type passion so popular in books nowadays) while keeping the story-line interesting, yet simple.
This is one of the ground works that I have based so much of my personality and dreams on. Elizabeth is an innocent, sweet girl combined with a witty, contemplative woman. Mr. Darcy is difficult to understand, but he receives the ‘deep-charm’ award (from the committee of Teague). This just means that he is expressive, without saying anything; mature, without being old and handsome without having an ego. In other words, the perfect man (yes, he is shy and irritatingly stubborn and I’m sure he has a few other ‘quirks’, but this is as perfect as they come).
The remainder of the characters are treated with enough interest and care that the story remains varied, resulting in an even more splendid novel.
This is a must-read:
Classic literature has never been better!
Makes You Come Alive!!! | Posted June-04-2009
This review is dedicated to the Zoegirls and the songs they sung, the message they brought and the love in their hearts. Thank you for being ‘Good Girls’. Your passion has made us ‘Dead Serious’ about the truth. Love you guys!
Who of us doesn’t remember their first three cd’s? (Please don’t answer that, I really only remember my first two). Since there was an enormous (well is, since I still have the cd’s) difference in the style of the two cd’s, I was excitedly expecting the arrival of Zoegirl’s ‘Life’ (a.k.a. my second cd).
Since I had not been overly exposed to ‘modern’ Christian music before that, except for the three tapes, (yeah tapes ), my cousin gave to my sis and me for Christmas (all because of you, Elzette!) I was not sure what to expect of this all-girl group and I was pleasantly surprised (ok, more like enthusiastically stoked!!!). Pure pop, pop, pop (I know it actually goes snap! crackle! and pop!:-) got my heart bouncing, feet grooving and neighbors complaining (just joking, we never had surround sound back then!).
True, at times, excessive pop can become a slight bore, but the variations in Zoegirl’s songs are such that the beat, rhythm (or is that the same as beat?), lyrics and melodies remain ‘alive’ and funky. All the songs, though, are not pop, and a few truly beautiful ballads, such as ‘Forever 17’ and ‘Plain’ pull at the heartstrings while my first fav in the cd ‘Here and Now’ adds a bit of rock. The hip hop vibes in ‘Nick of Time’ (which was on the heels of ‘Here and Now’) and ‘Are You Sure About That?’ adds another groovy dimension to the tunes on ‘Life’.
The topics covered range from praises to God, disappointment in broken relationships (Dismissed), encouragement and calling the listener to surrender to God’s arms. I enjoyed the last message that they added at the end of the final song, ‘The ABC’s of Christianity’ I could call it. It was nice to see that they co-wrote some of the songs and the sweetness of their personalities are radiated throughout the album.
This is a grooving album-fun, but with a deep message that is perfect for coloring your day in shades of happiness.
WoW, WoW, WoW!!! | Posted June-04-2009
A few years ago my mom and I were spending a beautiful Friday morning enjoying the sunshine with soup and crackers when we heard Mr. Groban’s song ‘To Where You Are’ on the radio. It was (and still is, for that fact) stunning. The way he effortlessly uses his voice to create depth and emotion pulls one into peaceful admiration of such a superb art form while stirring the thoughts of a person’s soul that live on romance, beauty and love.
That afternoon we went in search of one of his cd’s and discovered ‘Awake’. The following morning we spent our time listening to the cd…and loved it. Brilliantly sculpted songs constructed with strong, yet simplistic lyrics, contrasting melodies that consist of gentle, piano-driven moments that evolve into powerful, full (but once again simplistic) orchestra experiences and a presence of emotion throughout the album.
The songs are arranged in such an order that there are an approximately equal amount of English songs combined with an arrangement of songs in the so-called love languages (I think its French, Italian and some Latin, but I’m not sure). Since this cd was used in a promotional effort to prepare South Africa for Groban’s performance here, an extra cd was added with three more of his songs that included ‘Smile’ (the sweetest version of the song that I have heard) and the title track ‘Awake’.
Josh’s talents continues to stun when one reads the credits and realizes that he plays a variety of instruments used on the cd including the drums and the piano. He has also either written or co-written most of the songs.
My favorite songs include ‘Mai’, ‘So She Dances’, ‘In Her Eyes’, ‘L’ultima Notte’ and ‘Un Giorno Per Noi’. The songs performed with the local group, Lady Black Mambazo deserves a loud WOW. ‘Lullaby’ was done without excessive instruments, giving me goosebumps and ‘Weeping’ is a moving tale reminiscent of South Africa’s apartheid era. To be honest, I completely adore every song on the album (with various degrees of strength, but adore, nonetheless) except ‘Machine’ (which I like, but sometimes it confuses me a bit).
His Got Momentum! | Posted June-04-2009
I remember my first tobyMac song. Through the years I still believe its one of his best. 'Whoopsi Daisy' (is that the right spelling?) was the song my sister and I rocked to on Friday afternoons. For almost a year it featured on the local youth radio program's (C.O.O.L. = Christ our only Leader) countdown and we quickly became hard-core fans. We were even the first to request it on the weekday request program (which mostly featured more contemporary artists) giving the nation a chance to rock as well!!!
Even though this song is not included on his album 'Momentum' we still loved it from the first listen. Raw lyrics in the information-overload rap style that broadcasts a loud, honest and gritty message of truth and hope while questioning the morals of his listeners and inspiring his audience to raise their lives up higher to God's glory while looking for answers on life's questions.
Not a second of boredom ensues the moment you place this cd in your player. Rock (sometimes sort of metal) and hard to mellow, guitar -driven hip hop creates a funky, yet earnest mood. Mac's creative personality introduces an easy cross over from song to song while guest artists (such as Kirk Franklin) cause the album to be even more diverse.
'Momentum’ starts with the strong, loud sounds of ‘Get This Party Started’ that acts as an intro that asks God to bless the album and let His will be done through it. The songs that follow question our judgment on people who are less ‘perfect’ than we expect them to be, the choices we make throughout our lives and inspire the listener to be radical concerning their faith.
The album is very well produced with a few ‘personal notes’ or ‘breathers’ between every couple of songs, revealing more of T. Mac’s character to the listener. It is also jam-packed with a total of 18 songs (12 songs and 6 the above-mentioned ‘breathers’) that entertains in a punk and funky manner that disguises the depth of the questions asked.
Definitely recommended to fans and others alike-just as long as you’re a fan of hard rock and hip-hop.
'Everybody Wants to go to Heaven, but Nobody Wants to Die' | Posted January-24-2009
Imagine sitting in a overcrowded lounge on a bright red couch, balancing a cup of scalding hot espresso in one hand and a caramel-crunchie doughnut in the other staring into superb nothingness, all the while listening to two indie, twentysomethingish dudes sharing their thoughts on death, the history of discovery, salvation and how all this connects to bluegrass music.
Now, stop dreaming, grab a dictionary and head into the world of deep thought and quirky humor. Crowder and Hogan both seem to have an interest in doing something thoroughly and this book is clear evidence of this fact. The journey is initiated with a personal introduction to the two authors, David Crowder and Mike Hogan as well as to their mission, in an introspective, one-on-one fashion.
The remainder of this book is a fantasy intertwined with fact, fiction, truth and reality. It takes a scientific approach in some instances, discussing (in an almost cold and factual manner) the theories of death and burial traditions that has evolved throughout the ages. At other times the humor is striking, as they manipulate the situations and footnotes to capture an idea that leaves you smiling for days to come.
The comparison and association between death and bluegrass music creates an exceptional background to introduce and discuss God's grace and love for humans. Throughout the book, there exists another, more storylike narrative of these characteristics of God. This narrative was the cause for my need for Kleenex in the final pages of the book-something I had certainly not expected.
A rich source of personal experiences from the authors as well as their random (and slightly abstract) 'Instant Messages' throughout this text confirms the idea of chatting with the authors and the reader is set at ease by the conversational style of writing produced by this fact.
A deeply interesting and captivating read that received more emotion from me than the superficially sentimental books overcrowding the market these days.
'Make Some Noise' | Posted January-23-2009
When I first started to listen to Krystal Meyer's music, I enjoyed her bold messages which were obviously personal and very authentic as well as her loud punk sound with edgy guitar riffs.
Two cds later and Krystal enters an entirely new realm of music:pop. I was introduced to 'Make Some Noise' slowly, through the titletrack and was immedicalty hooked.
Whether this is a sign of Meyer's newfound maturity after a self-confessed period of 'desert-time' with God, or just a welcome evolution to more dancy rythms, Krystal's new style sure does captivate the senses.
The major type of songs on the album is pop including 'Shine', 'Make Some Noise', 'Love it Away'etc. etc. These mostly subtly return to the topic of anticonformity, while others discuss God's love and a Christian's relationship with Him. 'Beautiful Tonight' continues the message in 'The Situation' from Dying for a Heart in an interesting new perspective on purety.
The other type of songs is the slower, sometimes guitar driven (and at times, more punk) melodies of (amongst others) 'Up to You', 'S. O. S' and 'My Freedom'. These are mostly heartfelt songs calling out to God to 'Save Our Souls'.
The only drawbacks in this album is that the similar styles can sometimes become a bit tedious and that the message of some songs, such as 'Up to You' is somewhat unclear and sounds excessivley secular, but an overall stellar album that grips the mind.
If this album was eatable, I'd compare it with a rasberry fizz lollipop with sherbet. Fresh, sweet and interesting, but yet with more depth than realised at the first listen that grows on you with time.