Monday, April 30, 2012

Book Review

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznik
Synopsis: A boy in 1930's Paris lives among the clocks in the train station. He keeps them running and hopes no one will find him. In his spare time he tinkers with mechanical devices and learns about magic tricks and film, all while working on a secret project. Along the way he meets some interesting characters who will shape his future.
Readability: Super quick, but completely enthralling. This is essentially a children's (or juvenile) graphic novel, thought I'm not sure it fits the description perfectly...but who cares. The pictures are FANTASTIC! Anyway, it's a quick read because most of the book is pictures. When I first started reading, I had a hard time letting myself get into the pictures because I'm *such* a grown up, but once you get going, the flow is perfect.
Predictability: Well. I thought I had it all figured out. I kind of knew where we were going, until the last line, which completely floored me. Until I got to the end of the book, I kept thinking, "Ok, this is cute...what's the big deal?" And then I read the last line, which broke my heart open and crawled inside where it will stay forever and ever. It's not often that I love a book like this. Like I'll never forget it.
Couldn't Put it Down Factor: I read the whole thing in two hours. So there you have it.
Recommend it?: YES! Go get it right now. It won the Caldecott Medal and was turned into a movie for a reason. (Side note: did you know the movie Hugo was based on this novel? I had no idea until one of my co-workers asked me about it.)
Overall Rating: Five stars. LOVED IT.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Opposites Attract.

Erin: You need to relax. Stop being so Baptist.
Richard: I can't. I can't do it.
E: Think how much easier your life would be if you just let your inner David Lee Roth out.
R: I can't do it.
E: Come on. Just give me a little scream.
R: I can't do it.
E: Just one little scream. HEEEEEY YEAH!
R: I can't do it.
E: So I guess if you were in a band, you'd be the kind of guy who'd be the drummer--not really a "front man" kind of guy?
R: Um...maybe.
E: The bass player?
R: No. Too animated.
E: Backup guitar?
R: Yeah, maybe. I'm not sure, though.
E: Who, then?
R: The bus driver.
E: We are SO different.
R: Uh, YEAH.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Book Review

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
Synopsis: In post-WWII Russia, Leo discovers a string of murders, which he is compelled to solve without detection from his military superiors...because "crime doesn't exist" in Communist Russia.
Readability: Aside from the Russian names, it's not as if this one was at all difficult to follow. Much of the book was VERY difficult to read because of some pretty brutal violence. Other than that..the plot twists, the character development, the writing was all along the lines of a Nancy Drew novel.
Predictability: Ugh. I mean, seriously.
Couldn't Put it Down Factor: Well, here's the rub. The story was compelling enough that I wanted to know if it was going to work out the way I expected it to work out. Guess what: I was right.
Recommend it?: Gee whiz, what do you think? Don't bother. Disappointing at best. The story line was interesting enough. Like, interesting enough to make up a Law & Order episode, but violence for the sake of violence is so. bor. ing. And offensive.

Overall Rating: One star. For the fact that this guy managed to get it published. One star for effort.

Saturday, April 07, 2012


As we approach Easter, I find myself thinking about Peter and his denial of the Lord.
Luke 22:60-62 says: But Peter said, "Man, I do not know what you are talking about" And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, "Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times" And he went out and wept bitterly.
I'll bet he wept bitterly. Talk about an understatement. Can you imagine the weight carried in that look shared between Peter and Jesus? Poor, poor Peter. How humiliating. How disappointing. How crushing. They were friends, and Jesus even knew Peter would deny him, but Peter didn't believe it. Ye he denied the Lord any way.
Are we really so different?
My favorite thing about this story is the sweet forgiveness Peter receives later in John 21. Some of the disciples are out fishing when they realize Jesus is talking to them from the shore. Peter says, "It is the Lord!" and throws himself in the water to swim to meet Jesus standing on the shore 100 yards away. I love it. I LOVE that part. His denial didn't matter--all that mattered was the resurrected Lord waiting for him on the shore and he could. not. get. there. fast enough.
What kind of private conversation must they have had while they waited for the others to drag the net full of fish to shore? Did Peter beg for forgiveness? Did he throw himeslf at Jesus' feet? Did he embrace his friend? Did they weep? Did they laugh?
What kind of love is this, that Peter can deny the Lord and then be embraced by him as a friend a few days later?
And again, I ask, are we so different?
Will Jesus turn us away if we go running to him? Or will he wait for us--even though we have denied him in the face of his own humiliation?
Jesus said to [Thomas], "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him." (John 14:6-7)
Anyway...all this is to say: I bet Peter really gets down at the Resurrection celebration in heaven.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012


I've been thinking about hate lately. In fact, I asked God to deliver me from hating someone recently. I believe that he has and will, but I also hope I can let it go. So, while I'm thinking about it, I have to ask...
Who do you hate, gentle reader?
Who hates you?
Is there a difference?
(For me, there is no difference.)
Hate can spring up so quickly from something that seems so small...envy, anger, name it. Sometimes even the tiniest seed of irritation can grow into a giant cactus in the middle of our flower garden. Nothing pushes me closer to the brink of hatred like unloading the dishwasher after someone else has loaded it. I'm not kidding. Ask me about it--I'll tell you some time.
But here's the thing--and I hope this knocks your socks off, the way it did mine--we don't have the right to hate each other. God doesn't give us that right. The only one with the power to judge is the Lord. Not me. And who am I to hate someone God loves dearly as his own? Can I claim his love--to be loved as his beloved, chosen child while hating someone all the while? Surely hating while being God's beloved are incongruous. 1 John 4:10 says, "In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." We are loved. Loved. Loved. The Bible is very clear on this. This is just one example of God's love for us among MANY. If you don't believe me, go to and type in the word love.
Anyway, back to hate. Let me lay this one from Exodus 23:4 on ya, "If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall rescue it with him."
I believe what the metaphor is pointing at here is the idea that if someone who hates you is burdened or in jeopardy, you shall rescue them. If you are able to help, you may not turn away. In this way, we are bound to those we hate! Imagine that. We are already bound to them in our hearts...carrying around the burden of our hatred, but we are bound by Christ's love to help them.
What does it do to our hearts if we unburden the ones who hate us? Since, really, there is no difference between being hated and hating (at least for me. If you are able to make a distinction, you are a better man or woman than I), if we turn around and help those that we hate, what happens?
Now, I suppose there are circumstances where this won't happen or isn't possible. But I propose that there are situations where it IS possible. Where it can happen.
So, go for it. I encourage you to, "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you." Luke 6:27-28.
I'm going to give it my honest-to-goodness best shot, and with God's grace maybe I will be able to let go of my hate and become more like him in the process.
Let me know how it works out.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

I'll take what I can get.

On Thursday night, we headed to a bar in Minneapolis to celebrate my sister's golden birthday.Upon arrival I handed the bouncer my ID.
Erin: Oh, I should tell driver's license isn't completely accurate.
Bouncer [hesitant look of fear]: What? Why?
E: Well, I weigh less than what it says. I need to get a new one.
B: Really? How much less?
E: One pound.
B: Uh...congratulations?
E: THANK YOU!!!!! That's so nice of you to notice.