Sunday, November 15, 2015

Moving to Wordpress

In starting the Solid Food Ministries blog, I've found that I prefer Wordpress for blogging rather than Blogger. There are a few more features I can do with Blogger, but overall I like the look and feel of Wordpress instead. I certainly don't want to make things difficult for my readers, but I've exported this blog over to Wordpress and will soon begin blogging over there instead. To make things easy, the blog address is basically the same but instead of it is instead:

Or click here.

I also have started a blog specifically geared towards books and reading - you can find this blog at Journey Through the To-Be-Read Mountain. I will likely move my book reviews to the Journey Through the To-Be-Read Mountain blog.

The nice thing with Wordpress is that you can click the "Follow" button in order to get the blog in your emails without having to go through Feedburner or Feedblitz. Or you can continue to subscribe through a feed reader such as Feedly or whatever blog reader you use.

I appreciate the friendships that I have found through blogging and that continue through Facebook and Twitter. The Facebook page for this blog has been updated with the new website.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Let's Study Galatians by Derek Thomas

GalatiansGalatians by Derek W.H. Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have enjoyed every "Let's Study" book I have read so far. These books are very readable commentaries. They include the text of the Scripture and then explanation and expositing on the text. Each one I have read so far has been a different author, so the style of writing is different, but they have all been meaty treatises on the Bible. Yet not so deep that they are beyond the reach of the average person. If you are intimidated by commentaries, these are a great place to start in digging into a book of the Bible. They also include a group study guide at the back to use in a small group or Bible study setting.
In this book, Let's Study Galatians, the author takes us through some background behind why Paul is writing this book. There is some debate over when the book of Galatians was written and how that might have affected what Paul wrote regarding the whole Gentiles and Jews controversy and the need for keeping the law to be a Christian. The author really brings out the tone of Galatians and Paul's directness to the Galatians in his rebuke towards them. I really enjoy how he gives the background and how the other apostles might have been affected by these issues, particularly as Paul talks about his confrontation with Peter in the book of Galatians.
For help in understanding the background of Galatians and the issues that it addresses, this is a readable and useful commentary. The author does a good job of explaining some difficult passages. Again another winner in the Let's Study series (which, by the way, is on sale at Banner of Truth through the end of December).

*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher Banner of Truth in exchange for my review.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Women and Theology

There have been several posts lately about women's ministry and women blogging, particularly regarding the voices of older women and their lack in the blogging world.

Lisa, part 1
Lisa, part 2

Aimee, part 1
Aimee, part 2



As I'm now in my early 40's, I'm part of the group of women they are referring to. Part of the concern is the need for the mature voice, for the discussion on the deeper things of theology, for the input of women who have raised children. As someone who doesn't have kids, I find that I sometimes feel like I don't particularly fit the mold for women my age. Yet I have been a Christian for many years and have especially grown in the last several years in my knowledge of theology and how to study the Bible. And I have a passion for others to know the Bible, to study it for themselves, and to understand theology and what it is that they believe and why. Part of this passion has spilled over into the ministry I've started of Solid Food Ministries. The desire behind that ministry is for believers to grow from milk to the meat of the Word.

I'm really glad these women are talking about this and I'm happy to see that there are others out there who share my love for theology and the deeper things. Oftentimes we get so busy in our daily lives, wrapped up in our current issues and problems, we forget that there are others out there who share our passions. And it's good to evaluate what is needed - the mature, older women speaking out about truth and building into the lives of the younger women. With age comes maturity (usually!) and wisdom that can then be passed on to others to help them in their growth. As I've become interested in teaching the Bible to women in these last couple of years, and have had the time to pursue training in it, I'm thankful that I'm older now as I delve into this pursuit. I don't think I was mature enough in my faith at 30 to be an effective teacher. Not that I have all the answers now, but I'm further along in my knowledge and understanding than I was at 30. And I continue to learn and grow in this area.

I am eager to see what comes of these conversations and how us older women can use our gifts and knowledge to help grow the body of Christ together.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Every Crooked Path by Steven James

Every Crooked Path (The Bowers Files #8)Every Crooked Path by Steven James
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another suspenseful page-turner by Steven James! This is another book in the Patrick Bowers series taking place after the book Opening Moves but before The Pawn. I typically give a caveat in recommending these books as they are not for the squeamish and are suspense thrillers dealing with murder. For this book I would add an additional caution for the subject matter is heavy and dark, dealing with the issue of child molestation and human trafficking and the dark underworld of child p*rn. The author does a good job of not getting too graphic or detailed but it still could be a trigger for some to read so I would caution readers for which this could be an issue.
The plot moves along quickly and the book is fast-paced and easily read in a day or two. Steven James is an excellent author and does a good job with his characters, making them realistic and relatable. For those who like fast-paced thrillers and have enjoyed other books by Steven James and the character of FBI agent Patrick Bowers, this is another good read. I wasn't sure at first with the subject matter if I would be able to keep reading, but he does a good job of balancing in the book and not taking the reader too far down the wrong path. It was hard to put down.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my review.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Our Journey through Eastern Europe, Part 4: Macedonia

Part 1 here
Part 2 here
Part 3 here

October 13 - Skopje, Macedonia
Side story: When I went through security in Wroclaw, Poland, I was using the black bag on wheels as a carry-on with my backpack inside it. I had foodstuffs for Dave and Anora but didn’t think much of it. When it went through the x-ray they pulled me over to examine it. He starts going through the bag. He pulls out the Kindle in red case and I said, “it’s a kindle.” A little later, he pulls out the other Kindle, and I said, “that’s another Kindle,” and then “I like to read.” He smiled. Finished checking and let me go. Thought it was funny regarding the 2 kindles.

October 13 - Skopje, Macedonia
We arrived today in Skopje and it was nice and sunny. Philip picked us up and drove us into town, where we parked and walked to meet his wife Lynn and a lady visiting on a vision trip- Julianne (who also happens to be the sister of a lady I’ve scrapbooked with - Andrea). He gave us some history and there were statues of Alexander the Great and his father Philip. We walked on a stone bridge from the 7th century.
7th century stone bridge

Macedonian lunch
They took us to lunch in Old Town and had a typical Macedonian meal - sausage (called kebab) and bread with spicy peppers. And salad that was different but very good. Tomatoes, cucumbers and a white cheese (Bulgarian goat cheese) - called shopska. Then Philip took us over to another missionary’s home where Jono talked with the mom and her 3 kids (15, 12, and 10) about Internet safety. He did a great job! Then she took us to our hotel where we are hanging out until Philip comes to talk us to their place for dinner.

October 14 - Skopje, Macedonia
Enjoyed dinner at the Jacksons last night. Lynn’s parents were there. They were missionaries in Costa Rica for many years.
Dinner with Jacksons and Buttemeres

Today we had breakfast with Cindy Y and tried to help with her husband’s computer (he was sick and couldn’t be there). Then Philip picked us up and we headed over to his house to help with some computer issues there. Then he dropped us off downtown and we walked around Old Town and got some souvenirs and ate lunch. That is, we ordered lunch but by the time it came we had to leave to meet back up with Philip, so we had them wrap it, paid and walked at a quick pace back to where we’d arranged to meet Philip (did not have a phone to call him).
Old Town

Philip took us and Julianne up the mountain (Vodno) to where we rode a cable car to the top - with a spectacular view overlooking Skopje. On the other side was more of Macedonia. We took a few minutes to pray for the city.  Then rode back down the cable car and then drove a very winding, narrow road down the mountain and then over to a canyon Matka. Gorgeous canyon with a river (lake). We walked through taking pictures and then on the way back to the car we stopped for some coffee. There was a church there - St. Andrews (after the apostle) from 1389. Orthodox is the religion of Macedonians (nominal). There are also Albanians in Macedonia who are Muslim - the two groups do not like each other. A third group is the Roma (gypsy), which nobody likes.

On Mount Vodno overlooking Skopje
Philip then dropped us off near the restaurant Enricko for dinner. We had probably the best pizza I’ve had in my life! Then we looked for a taxi and not finding one we went into a gas station and asked them to call one. He took us back to the hotel and we are taking a breath before heading back out to a Macedonian Bible study.

Canyon Matka

October 15 - Skopje, Macedonia
Bible Study in Skopje
The Bible study last night was great! Everyone there spoke some English, so Jono gave his testimony without a translator. Then the leader did the study in Macedonian and Philip translated. It was great to meet some of the believers in Macedonia.
SEND missionaries
Jono helping Riddells
This morning at the breakfast in the hotel, Cindy came down (they are currently also at the hotel) and Michael was feeling better, so came and met us. Then Philip and Lynn came by to say goodbye and the Riddells came too. We chatted a bit then prayed and said goodbye. We walked back to Ron and Lisa Riddell’s with them. Jono was then able to help with several questions that Ron had.  We then went to Enricko for lunch with them and had some more of the delicious pizza. Also had shopska (the salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, and sirenje cheese). They also got us desserts that were crepes with chocolate, nuts and whipped cream. Very good! They then took us back to our hotel, showing us a restaurant within walking distance. Now we relax, eat dinner, go to bed and get up at 1:30 am to head to the airport for our 3-leg journey home.

What an amazing trip!

October 16 - Airplane in Frankfurt, Germany
Well, we never made it out to the restaurant last night. I was too sleepy and neither of us was hungry after our big lunch. We went to bed around 5 pm. I slept fairly well, though Jono had a hard time.
The hotel got a taxi for us that arrived at 2:30 am and took us to the airport. We made our connection in Vienna (only an hour layover) and also our connection in Frankfurt. Now sitting on the plane ready to leave for Detroit.

Heading home

October 17 - Home: Southfield, MI
We made it back home with all our luggage. What an amazing trip!

One story I forgot to write down that happened in Slovenia:

We were walking through Ljubljana and Chris mentioned down a street was a Bengali restaurant. A man on a bike was passing and said that he was the chef for that restaurant. So I spoke some Bengali (Apnar nom ke - or something like that). He responded in Bengali but more than I understood. So I told him I only knew very little - a couple phrases. It was so neat to have that encounter! Perhaps the Jones will be able to follow-up and develop a relationship there.
Bangladesh Coffee Bar in Slovenia

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Our Journey through Eastern Europe, Part 3: Slovenia

Part 1 here
Part 2 here

October 11 - Ljubljana, Slovenia
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Our flight arrived early yesterday so Chris was able to pick us up at the curb. After getting back to Jones we had lunch and then went walking through Ljubljana. 

Ljubljana, Slovenia
What a beautiful city! I kept taking pictures of the buildings. It was chilly with the wind blowing but we stopped for some hot chocolate/coffee. We walked through the tourist area and got some souvenirs. It was a lot of fun and a lot of walking.

Then we went back to Jones and had dinner. We slept quite well. Today we go with them to a church and perhaps out to eat. What we do will depend on the weather.
Anniversary dessert
For dessert, because of our anniversary they gave us a Slovenian dessert Kremsnite with a candle in it. It was delicious!

Today we had church - recorded a couple videos of Slovene singing. An Australian missionary translated for us. We had a great talk with him afterwards, about the needs in Slovenia - a need to go back to God’s Word (same as America). Then a pizza place for lunch.
Slovene church
After lunch we ended up playing some games and then went out to visit Ljubljana Castle as it had stopped raining. On the drive up the hill we saw a rainbow over the city - it was huge and beautiful!

Rainbow over Ljubljana

Looking out over Ljubljana

At the castle you can look out over the city - it is beautiful. On one side the mountains are off in the distance (though today mostly covered by clouds). Terrific views.

October 13 - Ljubljana, Slovenia
Yesterday we headed out to visit Bohinj and Bled. At Bohinj we climbed up a hill to see a beautiful waterfall in the mountains. Legs were burning after all the walking we’ve been doing and the climb in Poland. It was a great view of the valley and a waterfall.
After hiking back down and getting a couple souvenirs, we headed back toward Bled. We stopped to take some pictures. We got a glimpse of the mountains through a break in the clouds. We ended up going back to Ljubljana for lunch due to cost.
Lake Bled
After lunch, Daniela took the car to pick up the kids from school and we walked back to the house. We hung out for the evening and learned Monopoly Deal. Now we head to Macedonia today.

Part 4, Macedonia, coming soon!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Our Journey through Eastern Europe, Part 2: Hungary

For Part 1, see here.

October 7 - Diosd, Hungary
Yesterday we landed in Budapest around 12:30, and got some pizza while waiting to be picked up. When Dave picked us up, we went back with him to ICSB and he gave us a tour of the school. Saw E and Z during the tour.
International Christian School of Budapest
When T and Z were done with school, we headed back to their house. We went with Dave to drop off bikes to be fixed and then picked up E from soccer. Dinner with the Totmans.

Today we have some down time while others are in school. Jono is getting some work done and working on trouble-shooting E’s tablet. I was able to do an email update and post some pics on Facebook. Later after school we’ll go out and do some sight-seeing and out to eat.
Bridge over Danube

Went into Budapest and saw the Danube.

We then walked through the covered market, which had a bunch of tourist shops. Able to get some souvenirs.

Then we ate at Burger King :-) and headed back home. To go into Budapest we took the Metro (subway). Felt like being in NYC. 

Riding the Metro

October 9 - Diosd, Hungary
Yesterday one of the SEND missionaries, Evan Parks, picked Jono up around 10 to go help him with his computer. Then his wife Carrie picked me up around noon and took me over for lunch. We had a nice time of sharing, finding out about what they do and talking about MKs and transition.

Going with the flow - no dryer, no problem!
Back at Totmans, did a load of laundry and then hung up on a drying rack by their fireplace since it was raining outside (they currently can’t use their dryer).

After dinner we skyped with Mom and Dad (for the grandkids) then took family pics.

We went over to another SEND missionary’s house about 8 for dessert - Linc and Kaye Myers.

Had a nice time chatting and Larry Milks (with SEND) stopped in as well. Good to learn about what they do here in Hungary (and other countries with SHARE).

Today is relaxing, then more sight-seeing in late afternoon/evening.

October 10 - Vienna, Austria (Airport)
Budapest Timewheel
Last night after Dave and the kids got home we went back to Budapest. This time when we rode the Metro, we had to switch lines a couple times. We went to see the timewheel, which unfortunately was broken (glass on one side broken). Then on walking to a castle we discovered a festival going on and had some Polish sausage with mustard and potatoes.

Then walked back to Heroes Square, where T gave a history lesson regarding some of the figures.

Heroes Square in Budapest

Street signs are tacked on buildings
Then we rode the Metro to find Mester Utca. That was not the best part of town! after getting a picture (for Michael Mester) we continued home.

We were only able to print our boarding passes from Budapest to Vienna. When we checked in this morning, they couldn’t check us in either and said we’d have to do it in Vienna. They did check our bags through to Ljubljana. In Vienna, we had to go out through customs, check in and print our boarding passes and go back through security. Fortunately it was a 2 hour layover, so we had time.

Part 3, Slovenia coming next.