Tag Archives: book recommendation

Friday Favourites 13

This week I’m passing on a few things I found through FaceBook. Which reminds me, Canada is now phasing out the penny (thanks for the scoop Eric). What did we do without FB?

FaceBook is a complicated issue. I love it. I hate it. I connect with my friends and family where I used to drift apart. It sucks away my time. It makes me laugh and inspires me. It reminds me of the quote below.


“One reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with other people’s highlight reel.” Grace Marshall


King David is one of my favourite bible characters. Not because of his great triumphs, but because he is so messy and brilliant and screwed up and REAL. I love writers who embody that earthy realness, yet inspire me to rise above it. Tamara Out Loud is one the best examples of this. I used to be jealous of this lady I’d never met, because my husband raved about her brilliant writing, insight and humour. Then I started reading myself and was hooked.

This may not be for everyone, so heed the advice on her “Be Warned” page:

“If any of the words in the following sentence  offend you,

consider turning back now:

This blog sometimes gets all Jesus-y and shit.”

YouTube Clip

I’m a sucker for a “don’t judge the book by its cover” story. It’s cliché. It’s been done. And it gets me every time.

Jonathan and Charlotte

TV Show

I wasn’t going to watch this. I mean, the movie was okay, but it didn’t really seem like a great set up for an ongoing show. But as I was sitting on the couch with my sexy roommate (aka hubby) I couldn’t help but overhear. And now I’m hooked. The ongoing plot is twist-y and complex, but each episode can stand alone. Do-gooder lawyer who goes above and beyond the system to make things right.

Eat your heart out Tom Cruise!


My kindle broke on the final page of this book during our holiday. Game of Thrones has become a huge hit – the book, the graphic novel, the t.v. series… I talked to a few people who liked it. Knights and ladies, strange creatures and ancient kingdoms, plus there’s a map at the beginning. I love books that start with a map. I’m kind of a nerd that way.

It drew me in. It is well written and interesting, but brutal. If you are looking for something sweet and romantic, read something else. The characters here are complex and often disturbing. There are no good guys and bad guys, only bad and less bad; which makes the moments of nobility shine brighter.

The real downside – I uploaded all 4 books onto my kindle, so I’m left hanging. Grrrr.

So here’s me, with a blank kindle and a dead microwave. Technology, you’ve really let me down this week!

Friday Favourites 9: Couples Edition

This post is for grown ups, the married kind…

Last Christmas I was having trouble figuring out gifts for my husband. Like me, Glen is a book lover AND a big fan of sex, so when I found an ornate copy of the Kama Sutra in a dusty old bookstore I scooped it up. It brought us hours of fun, but not in the way you’re thinking.

We giggled our way through some very weird and often disturbing ancient sex advice. For instance, men are advised to keep a rag by the bed so that they can mop the sweat from their pits during love making. A sensitive lover also must do their best not to spit on the floor during the act, but instead should provide their own spittoon.

Now you know.

As a follow up to the big V-day, here are a few of my favourite “couple-y” things.


To hear many religious people talk, one would think God created the torso, head, legs and arms, but the devil slapped on the genitals. ~Don Schrader

Runner Up: Sex on television can’t hurt you, unless you fall off. -Author Unknown

iPhone/iPad App

Although the book was a bust, the app worked out a lot better. The iKamaSutra is $0.99 of inspiring ideas, even those that inspire the question “what the…?” and “why?” It is password protected, so you don’t have to worry about the kids trying to play your new “game”. The illustrations and explanations are tasteful – instructive and not at all like creepy porn.


I often feel caught between one culture that sees sex as a cheap thrill and another culture that sees it as a dirty, forbidden subject. It’s neither. ErynFaye.com is a great place to poke around for thoughtful advice and ideas.


Once upon a time, we worked for FamilyLife developing marriage conferences and study materials. So we have read A LOT of marriage books, from the lame to the utterly bizarre (such as the one which suggests sitting naked, hands together and saying “the god in me salutes the god in you”). Of all of these, Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas remains a favourite.

It is not another exhaustive list of things “to do”, but an exploration of all the things marriage can and should teach us. Although it grapples with some profound and difficult subjects, it is surprisingly easy to read.


Okay, I’ll admit, as I was picking a movie off of Shaw VOD last night my finger hovered over Twilight: Breaking Dawn (which, yes, I’ve already seen), but I am so glad that I kept scrolling down and decided to try In Time. I was skeptical – that boy band kid and the chick from Veronica Mars… but dystopian sci-fi with romance to boot, sounds like my kind of thing. Turns out, it was.

Bonnie and Clyde with a Robin Hood flair in a world where time (as in, time to remain alive) is a currency. It puts that whole being the 1% thing in chilling perspective. Also, it kind of makes me want to rob a bank on our next date night.

Marriage Advice

Date night. Do it.

Marriage isn’t always easy, but you can get through almost anything if you’re still friends.

So here’s me, cuddling up on the couch with my friend to watch Modern Family re-runs. Yes, at this stage in life that totally counts as a date. PJs optional.

Friday Favourites 8

Insert witty and/or interesting comment here. Then segue into random list of favourite things.

Or, lie on the couch and fight off stomach bug. Blergh. Good enough.


I do my thing, and you do your thing.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
You are you and I am I
And if by chance we meet, it’s beautiful.
If not, it can’t be helped.
– Fritz Perls

Music Video

That’s right, the song you’ve been waiting your whole life for: “Smells Like Teen Spirit” as a cello duet. Every bit as weird and compelling you are imagining.

Totally rethinking my choice of clarinet for grade 6 band.


Ever flip through a catalog (or wander through Ikea) and wonder WHO lives like this. Wonder no more… Catalog Living is “a glimpse into the exciting world of the people living in your catalogs.” Meet Gary and Elaine from Anytown, USA and the hilarious commentary on their “catalog life”.

Now available in book format: Decorating Takes (Wicker) Balls by Molly Erdman

Take a peek, you won’t regret it!

iPhone/iPad App

The most I’ve ever paid for an app at $4.99, but worth every penny. Insta-paper lets me click “read later” whenever I come across an interesting article or blog post.

I don’t have time to sit down and read everything I stumble across while surfing the web or scrolling through my twitter feed. When I do find the time (say, a day spent lying on the couch sipping ginger ale…) I can read my personal “newspaper” of articles at my leisure.


I’m doing a project for my Psych class on adolescent deliquency, which has awoken the need to re-read an old favourite: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. The movie was okay (hard to go wrong with that much star-power), but as usual, I’m going to vote for the book all the way. Maybe it’s just fond memories of childhood or because I totally had a crush on Ponyboy Curtis when I was 13, but I’ve always loved it.

So here’s me, ignoring piles of homework so that I can cry over a bunch of greasers. Be cool, Sodapop.

Friday Favourites 6: Happily Ever After

That cute guy I sleep next to every night just got his dream job!

He already had a perfectly good (read: better paying, working from home) job, but this one offers a level of fulfillment that we couldn’t pass up. Not only will he be doing work he enjoys, but supporting a cause very near, and dear, to our hearts… and our thoughts… and cuddled in our laps… and messing up our house.

Glen is the new Director of Marketing and Development for the Down Syndrome Research Foundation.


“It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day-to-day basis” Margaret Bonnano


When I think of living happily ever after one ordinary day at a time, I think of blogger Emerging Mummy. She finds poetry in the everday. Her writing is beautiful, challenging and inspiring. It’s not something to skim quickly on my way out the door. You’ll need to sit down with a knife and fork and really chew through it.

She will not settle for the idea that women exist to be footnotes in the world of men. Nor did God design us to be merely ornamental. Or MERELY anything at all.


Which brings me to one of my favourite books. It pushes the envelope. It is bold and unexpected. It breaks down the barriers of the fairy tale genre.

If you refuse to accept that women are merely damsels in distress, Paper Bag Princess is a must read. Plus, it has one of the best closing lines ever!

“Ronald, YOU are a bum!”


I have to confess, my girls used to have a bubble gum pink bedroom with Disney Princess posters on the walls. For years we lived a love-hate affair with these fluffy characters. Neither strong or smart enough to be real heroes, but oh, so well marketed.

We spent a lot of time talking about what we do and do not like about the Disney gals. Which is probably why I like this little video so much. Despite the title, it is intended for the grown ups (language warning).

Also available: Belle on abusive relationships and Ariel on cosmetic surgery.


As usual, I’m late to the party when it comes to T.V. shows, but I have recently discovered Once Upon a Time. Living in small town America, the characters are unaware that they are actually fairy tale heroes under a terrible curse. They are not only stuck in time, but denied their happily ever after (yep, sounds like small town living to me).

I’m not going to lie, I thought it all sounded pretty lame. Turns out I like both the modern and fairy tale storylines. Plus, the evil queen is satisfyingly hateable and Rumplestiltskin is deeply CRE-E-EPY. Good villains can really make the show.

What story character are you? 

So here’s me, The Old Lady who Lived in the Shoe. Because my happily ever after still includes stomach bugs, snow storms, tears, blood tests, book reports, tears, sleepovers, budget worries, more tears, snuggles, chores and Dr Seuss stories.

Friday Favourites: Rachel Held Evans, LaDiDa, Post-Apocalyptic Fiction and more

I have a lot of favourite things! Enough to keep me going on these lists for a while. Here are some random favourites.

FYI, I am Canadian, so YES this is the correct way to spell “Favourite”. If you disagree, the first entry is for you.

Favourite Quote: “The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off.” Gloria Steinem

Favourite Blog: This was the first blog I started reading regularly. Rachel Held Evans explores deep topics with enough humour to make it entertaining, and the eloquence to make you really think. I also love her book Evolving in Monkey Town and not just because I’m a sucker for a clever title (Rachel grew up in Dayton, Ohio – site of the famous Scopes Monkey trial). If you are intelligent, open-minded and appreciate dry wit, you will love this blog.

Favourite waste of time on YouTube: “Because two minutes in heaven is better than one minute in heaven.” Thanks to my pastor for sharing this classic with us. Not in church, mind you; that’s what staff parties are for.

Warning – do not call your children to gather ’round to watch Business Time by Flight of the Conchords. It is for married people. I don’t mean that in the x-rated sense… exactly. Calm down mom. Never mind, you’ll see.

Favourite iPhone App: When my nephew was born a few months ago all the girls gathered round the iPhone to sing him Happy Birthday. With the LaDiDa app you simply sing a song and it will add a beat and accompaniment to your voice. Then you wow the masses (a.k.a. the grandparents) via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. They call it reverse karaoke. We prefer “rhythm synth pop” style, but “tasty breaks rap” is cool too. Only $2.99, but worth the hours of fun my girls have had playing around with it, especially since we discovered it will also create a video of you singing.

Favourite movie about/for teenage boys: I have nothing against teenage girls. I was one. I plan to have 3 myself, buuut… the boys crack me up. It’s one of my favourite genres. In the grand tradition of Stand By Me and the Goonies, I thoroughly enjoyed stinky teenage boys punching and insulting each other while trying to save the world (and get the girl) in Super 8.

Favourite post-apocalyptic book series: This is definitely my favourite “read for fun” book genre these days. There is something fascinating about society remade.

About this time last year I started reading Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. It is a dark and disturbing world where children are enlisted to fight to the death to both entertain and appease a corrupt ruling class. Not for the faint of heart, but very intriguing.

Also, an honorable mention to The Uglies by Scott Westerfield about a tightly controlled world where everyone is forced to undergo drastic plastic surgery at age 16.

So here’s me, wondering which post-apocalyptic world is more horrifying.

Friday Favourites: Christmas at our House

So, the main problem a lot of people have with Christmas is that it starts WAY too early and consumes everything in its wake. Capitalist profiteers grab onto it like its the last cigarette at an AA meeting. It is in your face everywhere you turn: the decorations, the events, the sales, the music… everywhere you go, that same cheesy music echoes in your ears.

Well, I totally drank the koolaid this year. So brace yourself for an all festive favourites post today. Sorry cynics, you’ll have to look elsewhere for your holiday rant. But be sure to check back in the new year, I have very ambivilant feelings about Valentine’s Day.

Favourite Christmas Quote: “Teach us to give and not to count the cost.” — St. Ignatius of Loyola. Coincidentally, this is my husband’s LEAST favourite Christmas quote. But I’m pretty sure the saint was talking about a generosity that goes beyond fuzzy socks and santa claus pez dispensers.

Favourite Christmas Book: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. Not the most politically correct book of all time, but it has a heart of pure gold. Plus, I remember my mom reading it to me, so extra points for nostalgia. It starts with “The Herdmans were absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world.”

Favourite Christmas Movie: definitely It’s a Wonderful Life! I MUST watch this at least once every year, preferably on Christmas Eve. If you don’t like this movie, you have no heart. You are cold and cynical. And you may be married to me.

Favourite Christmas Tradition: We shamelessly stole this idea from our friends Mark and Lanette (you know what they say about sincerity and flattery and all that good stuff). One night in December we invite another family to join us for Grinch Night (a different family every year; be nice, and next year we might invite you!). Everyone dresses in green; this may or may not include green streaks in your hair and green face paint. We eat all green food and watch “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” and “Shrek the Halls”. Green caramel popcorn is the best – looks snotty, tastes delicious!

Favourite Gift Giving Ritual: Like most concerned (read: neurotic and guilt ridden) parents in the modern age, we are always looking for ways to teach our kids the real “reason for the season”. Ya, I said it. I just threw up in my mouth a little bit, it’s so cheesy, but truly, I want more for them than just mindless consumption. We found the idea of Three Wise Gifts in a parenting magazine years ago and it brings a little more meaning to Christmas morning. Before opening gifts we read about the Kings who came to worship Jesus (an undetermined number of magi who came years after Jesus was born with 3 gifts). Each year we buy our children gifts in these three categories – frankincense: for worship (usually a cd or meaningful book); myhrr: for the body (clothes or good smelling stuff); and gold: something precious (this is the “big” item and is often shared by all three). Not only does it keep the gifts reasonable, but each one represents a different side of Jesus – God, Saviour and King.

Favourite Christmas Character: Mary, the mother of God. A scared, confused teenager facing an unplanned pregnancy and the censure of her whole community. Birth-days are not cupcakes and party favours. On the actual day of birth there is pain, exhaustion, blood, sweat and tears. It is a messy, overwhelming, and completely amazing experience for every mother. Throw in a few miracles, angelic visitors, political upheavel, uninvited guests… it’s hardly the serene image we see on Christmas cards. But even more powerful, because that’s kind of God’s thing – showing up in the middle of chaos and upheaval.

A great place to find thought provoking and beautifully written articles called Deeper Story had a great post about Mary, definitely worth a read: Incarnation.

So here’s me, celebrating Christmas in the middle of chaos.

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