Saturday, June 27, 2015

Something Weighing Heavy on My Heart

Just Because

Just because I agree with the preservation of history does not make me a racist. 

Just because I disagree with a lifestyle does not make me hateful. 

Just because I'm a Christian does not make me judgmental. 

Just because I don't understand, I have to ask this one question. 

Why do the same people who criticize and ridicule me for my beliefs expect me to be tolerant of theirs?

Because I am a Christian, I pray. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Because I am a Christian, I love. (1 John 4:8)

Because I am a Christian, I do not judge. (Like 6:37)

Because I am a human, I will make mistakes. (Romans 3:23)

Just because of all these things, God loves me. 

Just because He can. 



Monday, June 22, 2015

May & June Books (And a SPECIAL book review!)



Maybe I should change my icon to "Semi-Monthly Book Review with Rebeckann..."!  Either way, here I am!  I'm on summer break, and I finished a great book last night.  Even though, June is not over yet, I figured that I'd go ahead and write about all of my May & June books just to cover my bases.  

So as a reminder, it is my goal to read 30 books in 2015.  According to my reading challenge on Goodreads.com, I have read 16 books, so I am past 50% of my goal!  

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Cress  by Marissa Meyer

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Cress is the third book in the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer.  I read the first book, Cinder, in January, and the second book, Scarlett, in February.  Truthfully, the only reason I didn't finish this one until May was simply lack of time!  The character Cress is a Rapunzel character who has been imprisoned in a satellite since childhood.  She has become an excellent hacker thanks to her time alone in space.  She ends up joining with Cinder and Scarlett on their journey to save the world from the Lunar Queen, Levana.  

I did enjoy this book, and I may have given it 5 stars if I hadn't had so much time in between readings, but I am excited to get my hands on a copy of the fourth book, Winter.

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The Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

I listened to this book on Audible in about 10 days!  I really got sucked in by this story.  The books begins with this opening: My name is Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith, and my age is three hundred and eighty-four years. Each new settlement asks for a new journal, and so this Book of Shadows begins.  After this, the book goes between the present-day and the past to tell Elizabeth's story.  I particularly enjoyed the historical aspects of this book, from the 1600s to 1800s and 1900s, we find that Elizabeth has found ways to live in each time period.  Yet each time things become good for her, she has to flee.

I really don't want to give too much of this away, so let's just suffice it to say that I loved it, and it's certainly worth a read (or listen)!

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The River by Gary Paulsen

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

I will confess this first: this book is a reread.  One of my reading classes was reading The River, and it had been awhile since I had read the book.  I decided to read it while they were working on it.  The River is the first sequel to Hatchet.  In this book, Brian Robeson returns to the wild with a psychologist named Derek to show him how to survive in the wild.  The idea is that Derek will share this information to help teach survival courses.  Things start out well...too good, Brian thinks.  Shortly after telling Derek that the situation lacks tension, Derek is struck by lightning, and Brian must figure out a way to help him survive.

This is a pretty good sequel to Hatchet.  While, neither of these books are my first-choice in personal literature, my students really love them, and they're good books.  This one is also relatively short, and so are the chapters, which my students really love!

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Flipped by Doug Pagitt

My Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

This was a book I received from Blogging for Books.  I did already wrote an entire post for this review, which you can read here.  (Or you can click on my rating link to see my review on Goodreads.com.)







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City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

My rating: 1 of 5 stars


Saying I finished this is a lie, but I didn't want to just delete it completely. I wanted to like this, I really did, but I just couldn't get into this book at all. With numerous other books to read and reread on my list, I decided to make better use of my time. I'm pretty sure that this is the first book I have ever quit reading. I promptly listed this and the three following books I have on Amazon. I think it is safe to say that the best thing about this book will be the money I make from selling it! 


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Riffs of Regret  by Micah K. Chaplin

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Back in October, I was paired with Micah from Unabashedly Me for The Great Pumpkin Swap that Kristin and I hosted.  As it turns out, Micah is also an author!  After reading one of her blog posts, she had copies of her book to be given out to review, and I jumped at the chance!  I finally had time to sit down and read her book, Riffs of Regret, and I really loved it.  In fact, I was up until almost 3 AM last night finishing it!  While I don't know Micah very well, from what I do know about her, I saw a lot of her in the main character, Cori.  The four main characters, Cori, Whitney, Sam, and Luke begin their adventure by attending a music festival together in Texas.  Whitney and Sam had been dating and decided to try to set up their two best friends.  The book has ups and downs, twists and turns, and you really find yourself falling in love with these characters and rooting for the best for them.  I loved the evolution of the characters from the beginning to end of the story.  It was so interesting to watch them change and grow, even though the story only takes place over the span of a year.  To be technical, there were a few typos in the story, an omitted word here and there, but I totally knew what Micah was trying to convey.  I really enjoyed this, and as you may be able to tell from the fact that I was up very late reading it, I couldn't wait to find out what happened to the characters in the end.  I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of this book! :)

And a special thank you to Micah for giving me a copy to read and review!  I will say, I was nervous after I agreed to do it.  What happened if I didn't like it!?  But I'm so glad that I did! 


Friday, May 15, 2015

Blogging for Books: Flipped by Doug Pagitt

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I chose this book because it basically lies outside of genres that I would normally gravitate to.  While I can't say that I hated the book, I can say that I disagreed fundamentally with mostly everything that Doug Pagitt had to say.  


There are a couple of main problems I have with this book:
1. I consider myself to be a fairly intelligent person, but there were times during my reading where I was left pondering, "Uh. What?"  I just didn't "get" some of the points that Pagitt was trying to make.


2. This man stated that he was a pastor.  Maybe it's not very open-minded of me, but I feel that this pastor has missed the main point of the Gospel and what Jesus was trying to say.


I understand that Pagitt's point is to "flip" the traditional thinking of God and religion, and depending on your belief system this book may be wonderful or horrible to you.  There were some ideas that I did agree with.  I do feel that we should not be trying to hide or live with "If/Then" thinking.  God does not want us to simply do good in the hope that he will do something good for us.  That's not the point.  Bad things still happen to good people, and it's not necessarily God "punishing" them for their choices.  Sometimes bad things happen from bad choices.  Sometimes bad things just happen.  But I do completely disagree that we should just do whatever we want where ever we want with whomever we want.  We SHOULD be trying to live Godly lives based on Jesus' example, knowing that we will NOT ever be perfect because we're human.  We WILL make mistakes, and that's why we have a God who offers forgiveness when we mess up.  


While Pagitt didn't directly say anything like this, if we are ALL in God, does that mean it's okay to murder others, or live a life of addiction, or abuse your spouse or children?  It just makes me question his point.  Shouldn't those people be ashamed of their actions?  Shouldn't they want to repent?  
Overall, I felt that Pagitt wrote well, but I just can't get on board with this flip.



Sunday, May 3, 2015

Influenster Vox Boxes

I've recently received two VoxBoxes from Influenster.  While it's always cool to get free products to try, these last ones have featured one product each, and frankly, they've been a little weird.

First, I was selected to try Carefree Acti-Fresh pantiliners.  I'm sorry, Influenster, but making a big deal on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media about pantiliners is just too much for me.  I mean, for goodness sake!  My DAD has Facebook.  I don't know, maybe at thirty-two-years-old talking about feminine hygiene products for the whole world to see shouldn't bother me.  But it does.  No one needs to know my business about my business.

The next VoxBox I received from Influenster featured Purina One Cat food.


I received a small bag of Purina One Smart Blend cat food: Chicken & Turkey flavor.  I also got some information about the food and a coupon for a free bag.  

Now, I find this VoxBox a little weird, because I am not a cat.  I am also not a pet psychic, so I'm not sure how well I can rate this product.  The idea is that you gradually incorporate this bag of cat food with your current cat food and make the #OneSwitch.  I did do this, but the problem is that I have two cats.  By the time I could use the entire bag, there still wasn't enough to fill their bowl, and I'm a busy person who hasn't had time to get the other bag yet!


So this is the best that I can do.  I was filling up Allie and Abbie's water and food bowls on the kitchen counter like I always do.  Immediately after I poured some of the Purina One into the bowl with the other food, Allie was into it.  Was she hungry?  Or was it just that irresistible?  I don't know.  But it does seem like both of them gobbled up the food much more quickly than usual throughout the week.

Now, will I make the complete #OneSwitch?  I don't know for sure.  My cats are pretty happy with most food that I give to them.  Brand name cat foods tend to be very expensive, and while I love my fur babies, if generic is good enough for me, it's good enough for them.  You know?

But I will certainly be willing to use my coupon and let them have another try!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

March & April Books


This year is really flying by!  I'm glad that I was ahead  of schedule for my Reading Challenge for the first two months because I didn't manage to get much reading done this month!

Water for ElephantsWater for Elephants by Sara Gruen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I LOVED this book! I listened to this one on Audible, and I loved the narrators. They had two different narrators: one for Jacob at "90 or 93" and one for Jacob at 23.

I enjoyed that the story shifted between Jacob's present and his past. The narrator's voice for Jacob at "90 or 93" reminded me of my grandfather at times....so much so at times, that it brought tears to my eyes!

It was fascinating to learn about circus life as Jacob himself does. And I loved the parts with Rosie, the elephant, since elephants are my favorite animal!

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Seriously, I'm Kidding by Ellen Degeneres

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Thank goodness for Audible, or I would never get to "read" these days.  The best thing about this book is that Ellen narrates it herself.  It just wouldn't be right if she didn't.  It was a pretty quick listen, and it was fun!







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 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

I finished this on the last day of March.  I have really started to enjoy listening to fiction on Audible.  I have a tendency to pick books that I judge would be heavier reads.  They're fascinating to listen to.

This book was really amazing.  As a teacher, I cross paths with students who have all different types of needs, and this book was striking to me.  It was interesting to follow the point-of-view and logic of this 15-year-old boy.



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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

This is my only book for April.  I have been so insanely busy.  Again, if it weren't for Audible, I'd have nothing to say here.

I LOVED this book.  I mean, I get that it's the trendy book and all, but I really did love it.  I hadn't really heard anything about the plot or seen the movie prior to reading the book.  I was actually genuinely shocked by the twists and turns of the plot, and now I really need to see the movie.  (And the fact that it stars Ben Affleck doesn't hurt....I'd probably still watch it even if I hated the book.  But anyway....)

So there you have it.  My most recent "reads."

I apologize that I have been missing from Blogland lately.  Not so much that I haven't written, but I literally haven't even had time to keep up with all of YOUR blogs!  This is the first Saturday I've had free in a while, and I figured that I had better get something done in this blog space.

I have lots more books on my to-read list including TWO that I need to read and review: one from Blogging for Books, and one from Micah at Unabashedly Me!  Hopefully, I'll find some free time soon!


Sunday, February 22, 2015

February Books

I'm going to attempt to write this post on my iPad for a couple reasons:
1. I don't feel like getting off of the couch to get the computer
2. We switched our internet provider, and now, I can't get our printer to wirelessly connect with the computer. So the computer is currently upstairs attached to the printer with a USB. See #1.

I'm so confused with how I feel about blogging these days. I miss it, but not enough to find a way to work time to write into my schedule. I try to make time to read my favorite bloggers on the weekends, which doesn't allow me much time to write....

Anyway, this post is about the books I've read in February. I managed to get 3 more books in this month, too!  You can read about my January books here.


I would like to note that at this point, I abandoned writing this post on my iPad before I threw it across the room.  Perhaps, if I had stuck to just typing and added the pictures later, I would've had more success.  lol

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The Life of Pi by Yann Martel 
This was my Audible purchase from the month of January.  I get my Audible credit on the 24th of each month, so the books always take me into the next month.  It seems to be helping me with my reading schedule!  Anyway, this is the first book that I have listened to that was not a comedy book or nonfiction.  The book started off a little slow for me at first, and I was wondering if I was even going to like it.  The more I listened, the more the story drew me in.  I gave it 4 stars, and now I want to see the movie version.

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Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
This is the second book in The Lunar Chronicles series.  After being a bit unsure about the first book, Cinder, (which I read in January) when I began reading it, I was enthralled in the story by the end and ready to read the next book.  Scarlet is better known in the fairy tale world as Little Red Riding hood.  She meets a street fighter named Wolf, and they embark on a journey to find Scarlet's missing grandmother.  Along the way, they catch up with Cinder, and more of the tale unfolds.  I enjoyed this one from start to finish, and I now I'm eagerly awaiting the third book, Cress.  (I'm so glad I'm a teacher.  Thank God for Scholastic book orders!!).  I gave this one 5 stars.

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The Thirteenth Gift by Joanne Huist Smith
This month, I was excited to receive my first Blogging for Books book!  I had read a review of this one on Kristin's blog, and I decided to try it out for myself.  Overall, the story has a great message.  It is a beautiful story of a Christmas miracle that begins to heal a family's pain from the loss of their husband and father.  Unfortunately, the writing of this book didn't feel natural to me.  The story could have been told as a short story or article, rather than in an entire book.  I think the impact of the story would've been the same without being an entire book.  I wasn't thrilled with the ending that abruptly shifted from the 12th gift to the 13th gift as more of an epilogue than part of the story.  The author also doesn't directly state what exactly the 13th gift.  It seems to be left to the reader to determine.  My inference is that the 13th gift is the tradition of giving and bringing healing to families who have experienced loss.  I would recommend this book...especially for Christmastime.  It is a quick read.  It's just not one that I will be reading again.  I gave it 3 stars.

So what have you been reading lately??


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

How It's Going...2015 Goals

I thought it would be good to try to take time each month and reflect how I'm doing with my goals for this year.  It should help to keep me on track and see where I need to step up!



Health & Fitness
~Continue to work out at least 3x a week. I'm giving this a positive.  Last week, I had to miss my Tuesday Zumba workout because we decided to change our internet provider and they were coming to install that day.  I would've gone if I didn't have to be home.
~Find online videos to do yoga or pilates at least 2x a month (on weekends or non-gym days).
I have found some resources.  I just haven't actually done anything about it yet.
~Add healthier foods to lunch 2x a week.  I bought some baby carrots and even some low-cal mozzarella cheese sticks for my lunches.  I also found these really yummy granola bars by Kashi that are low-calorie with a good bit of protein, and they're really good.  So that makes my between school and the gym snack much healthier!
~MEAL PLAN! I'm going in between here.  I'm getting better.  It is SO nice to come home and either already have dinner ready (crock pot or bean pot recipes) or to know what I'm going to make.  I usually pick up what I need on the weekend or on Mondays.  I just want to keep working on this until it's a full-blown habit.
~Complete an obstacle race.
~Run a 5k.
I'm ok with these last two being completed.  These are goals for later this year.  For starters, it's winter here.  It's cold, and there's nothing really going on in our area anyway.  In addition, I have specific races in mind which aren't held until later.

Reading
~I set a reading goal of 30 books for 2015.
A work in progress, that I also don't expect to be done.  If you read yesterday's post, I'm at 3 books for the year.

Blogging
~Blog at least 2x a month.  Big fail on this one.  I set this goal on January 2nd, and sat down to write some posts for this week on February 1st.  Whoops.  Ultimately, it doesn't upset me.  I need to prioritize, and as much as I enjoy blogging and reading others' blogs, it just doesn't fit on my top priorities right now.  However, I WILL achieve this for February because I've already written two posts when this one is finished!

Overall, I'm happy with my progress on my goals so far!

How are you doing with your goals for 2015?

 
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