Archive for the ‘Review’ Category

An Easter Poem 2014

April 19, 2014 Leave a comment

I found this terrific new band (married couple…don’t know if you call that a band or what) called The Gray Havens. They have a song out just in time for Easter called “Stone.” #1 You should check them out; their lyrics are crazy good. #2 You should listen to this song in particular. #3 This poem got its start by listening to that song about 1 bajillion times. I hope you like my Easter Poem 2014. It’s titled “Secret.”


The stone held the dead within itself
All was motionless, quiet – a broken person within
The stone heard the first breath of life
Out of silence, the intake
The stone felt the brush of unraveled grave clothes land upon its insides
In darkness began to feel something of life stirring
The stone animated, shook, moved
When commanded to life obeying the Animator
The stone blinked open in the brightness of glory
Light burning a picture of resurrection on its edges
The stone heard the woman’s cry, “There’s none inside the grave!”
And knew a secret
The stone felt the warmth of the angel’s presence
Was strengthened and glowed within
The stone heard the Breather speak a name and become recognized
And the curse it cradled was broken
The stone turned to flesh
Mouth agape declaring the glory of its secret

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The Monster in the Hollows

May 26, 2011 5 comments

348 pages of captivating

I hereby review the best book of the year for anyone who likes the Neat, the Strange, and/or the Yummy.  Andrew Peterson has written the third in his Wingfeather Saga, The Monster in the Hollows, and I have no problem declaring it terrific.  It lands in the “sweet spot” of books for me.

It can be difficult to find novels that intentionally place themselves within the larger story God is telling, especially difficult to find ones that are great – or even good for that matter.  Too often a Christian writes a book for other Christians and spoon feeds them empty calories, but not Peterson.  He writes this story for young adults and old adults whether they are followers of Christ or just thoughtful humans. 

Do I have to read the first two in order to understand and appreciate the third one? You may ask.  To that I would say, kind of.  Peterson does a good job of gently reprising when necessary, but, like all good and longish stories it takes more than one book to get it across well.  So I would encourage you to read all three if possible.  If not possible, you could go it alone.

I’ve loved his music for over a decade so when his first novel came out I was uber excited to read it because I expected to find the quick pay-off I enjoy in his music.  When it was slow in coming with the first in the Wingfeather Saga, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, I was a little disappointed – mainly because I like instant gratification.  Then, the second in the Saga came out, North! or Be Eaten, which won a Christy Award in 2010, and I found the pay-off I’d been looking for.

As The Monster in the Hollows came out I knew what might be coming.  Turns out I did and I didn’t.  I was right about the story going even deeper and more meaningful than the first two.  I was wrong about what the “monster” in the hollows was.  The tale Peterson is weaving is on its way to greatness.

All the aspects of our reconciled story in Christ is found within the pages (or promises to be by the end of the Saga).  Community, Trinitarian themes, forgiveness, redemption, and a beautiful story of strength despite the threat of a coffin are all found within. 

Warning: Cliche on its way.  “If you read one book this summer, make it The Monster in the Hollows.”  If you read two other books this summer before you read The Monster in the Hollows, make them On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (book 1), and North! or Be Eaten (book 2).  You can pick up a copy at the Rabbit Room store.

Penultimate Name Competition Posting

May 26, 2011 3 comments

I’ve gotten some great feedback on the name of my new blog that will be specifically about church planting.  Far and away the winner of the competition between the two names I put out there was “Ushering the Kingdom.” 


Most people hated both, and this was the less weak of the two.  Ok.  I hear you, people.  Good feedback.  I won’t go with either.

It helped a lot.  I got to hear from you and you were good and honest and gave me some things to think on.  I should have done this way earlier with even lamer names so that you would speak up the first time I asked.  Isn’t that the way things usually work?  When a pastor asks for feedback and gives no specific choices they get very little help, or if people like the options they see they won’t say anything.  But, hey, give them two options they don’t like and you will seriously hear about it. 

So…cool.  It worked.  I got good feedback and now you will just have to wait for the reveal of the new blog name.  I’ve chosen it, and I think you’ll be pleased.

                                                                                                    Penultimate: second to last

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Vacation Package Review

March 12, 2011 Leave a comment

OK, occasionally I do a review (a book, movie, place to walk in the woods, etc.).  I’m not going to review Disney, but I am going to review the agent we worked with and the idea of getting a vacation package verses doing all yourself.

Now, we’ve put together small vacations on our own before.  It’s kind of exciting.  But you have to think of stuff and pay attention to details.  Plus, what if you think of the wrong stuff and pay attention to the wrong details.  We decided to do Disney with the help of someone who has been there (multiple parks and cruises) literally dozens of times. 

His name is Brett, and he bleeds pixey dust.  I mean this guy and his family love Disney and go there frequently.  You would really like him: he’s fun and funny, his family is lively and creative.  But, he’s already married, so I’ll stop trying to get you to go on a date with him.  He went to high school with Dana in Rock Rapids, IA and now lives in Nebraska (original home of Arbor Day).  He has a day job, but on the side as a hobby and passion he helps other people enjoy Disney.

He has the inside scoop on when Disney gives out particular deals and when is a good or bad time to go.  So, apparently, if you know how and when to get signed up you can get a deal where there’s free food.  That’s what we did.  Saved us easily over a thousand dollars.  He knew how to get us in on it.  Plus, did you know that there are a bunch of great restaurants at Disney, but you can only get in if you have a reservation…and they go in a matter of hours from the moment the opportunity opens.  Brett knew which ones to get us into (perfect for our family) and when to do it.

We stayed at the right resort for us (any more formal would have been stressful.  There were great pools and a cafeteria for quick meals when we needed them.  He asked us if we wanted him to set up an itinerary for us so we could get the most out of our trip.  We said, “heck yah!”.  And he did.  He lined up a meal the very first night where we got to meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Pluto and more.  Then the First morning we ate breakfast at the big castle and met all the main princesses.  This way we had met all the main people and didn’t have to wait in line for HOURS to meet them. 

He gave us tips on all the parks and which lines to get into right away because they fill up fast.  He was available via email, phone, and text throughout the trip and we utilized him a couple of times when we had questions.  I could swear the guy knew everything.  The only thing I wish we would have done (which Brett told us was a good option) was to get a “park hopper” pass that allows you to go to multiple parks during the same day. 

Three summations:

1. Brett made our trip completely enjoyable and easy…we didn’t have to think about anything.

2. A trip for our family for 6 nights including all our food and entrances to 4 parks on various days cost us less than $3,000 (including airfare)!

3. We did this whole thing with another family and had adjoining rooms – so this can work for your family reunion or larger group.

OK, this was kind of a commercial for Disney, but that’s not my intention.  I wanted to review the idea of having someone help you plan your trip, and since this was my first time doing that, and since it was a totally great experience, I wanted to tell you about it.

If you’d like to contact Brett, you can do so at this email address: