Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘review’

I think you’re all *probably* aware that last year I wrote a book. Over Christmas a couple more reviews appeared online – Mark Cresswell posted on his blog and E D Farr posted on Amazon

And my publisher, IVP, have a special offer on e-books which expires today. Books are priced from 99p, and The Ministry of a Messy House is going for £2.50. The e-books work on Kindles and other specialist readers, and on tablet apps, but you could also read it on your PC or laptop if you don’t have those gadgets. If you like, of course.

I’m now waiting with a little trepidation to see what unexpected things the Lord has in store for me in 2014. I already seem to be committed to a speaking engagement in March (and one in 2015 – nothing like planning ahead, eh?!). And now I have something new in January too. I will be travelling up to the UCB studios in Stoke on Trent to talk about mess and the Christian with Paul Hammond for his Life Issues programme. Not until the end of the month, so I have time to clear my head from the Christmas fuzziness that seems to have set in. I’m not sure when the programme will be broadcast, but I’ll let you know…

Read Full Post »

Blogging is a funny old thing. Sometimes I can focus myself and write something every day. Other times I can’t think of anything to say. And then time goes by and there seems to be too much to say. So today I’m just going to say a bunch of random things and am hoping that will clear the blogjam that I’ve been experiencing the last week or so.

  • My kitchen was full of smoke earlier because I had a sourdough loaf in a very hot oven. First time for sourdough in ages too – perhaps my blog has become sourdough-fueled and I hadn’t noticed?
  • I have just agreed to lead a seminar at the Proclamation Trust Ministers Wives conference I’m going to in March. I’m more of a writer than a speaker so if you have any top tips for speaking and seminaring I’d be very grateful to have them.
  • I have been debating with myself about how much self-publicity is appropriate for a Christian writer. I don’t want to be a blog bore about the book. But having said that I’ve had a couple of very kind reviews and wanted to tell people (they were from Eddie Arthur and Deb). The recent Christian New Media Conference, with its awards for Christian bloggers and tweeters and websites makes me wonder about this too. Should Christians promote themselves and award prizes to one another? How much self-promotion is appropriate? I am still thinking about this.
  • Our area has a very low breastfeeding rate (around 50% against national average of over 80%). It’s not in the new trial where mums are going to be paid to breastfeed, but a friend who is breastfeeding has found herself singled out for being odd at clinics. Not exactly an encouragement. Tchuh.
  • I am going on an outing with Year 5 on Friday. Wish me luck. Thankfully it does not involve going on any rides.
  • I have about a squillion books waiting to be reviewed on the blog. They are sitting in a pile on my desk, scowling at me. Sorry if it’s your book that’s waiting.
  • Someone from the BBC asked us if we’d like to have a documentary made about life in the Vicarage. We thought about it for a nanosecond or two. And declined, like sensible people who worry about cameramen tripping over the clutter in the hall and generally having too much to do already. Wonder if anyone else is brave enough to agree?
  • We had a great firework party last week with our youth group and a couple of other groups. The weather that day was terrible, but thankfully the rain held off whilst the bonfire was lit and then returned in a deluge just at the end, so that everyone left promptly.
Vicarage Fireworks

Vicarage Fireworks

That’s enough wittering. Perhaps some more coherant blogging will flow now.

Read Full Post »

I enjoyed my book signing at CLC in Birmingham very much last weekend. I met some lovely people in the shop – both staff and customers, and some of them even bought a copy of The Ministry of a Messy House. On Saturday I also appeared in the local paper after they’d sent a photographer round to take a pic. He spent a good while rearranging the mess in my kitchen to perfect his shot. Sadly, he didn’t rearrange any of it so that it was tidier…

MMH EandS

Our diocese also published online the article that appeared in the diocesan newspaper this month. The online version has a short video of me in my messy kitchen talking about the book and why we need to know God’s grace. The mess is slightly differently arranged – the icecream tub has moved a bit.

And this week, the first proper review of my book was published online. Eddie Arthur of Wycliffe BIble Translators liked my book and thought that men should read it too (he also blogged a bit of the book that had struck him earlier in the week). This made me happy. I am finding this bit of being an author slightly rollercoastery. Still fun and interesting and occasionally exhilerating. When I’m not feeling slightly nauseous, that is…

Read Full Post »

As I mentioned the other day, I have a large pile of books that I thought might be suitable for kids on our Pathfinder camp this summer. Being a diligent sort of bookstall person, I’m aiming to read them all. And today I whizzed through the first one, Deadly Emily by Kathy Lee.

Emily Smith is a Christian. She’s still at primary school (I’m guessing Year 5 or 6) and her parents have split up so she, her brother and her mum have moved to live with her gran. Moving to a new place, coping with a new school, dealing with bullies and trusting God when everything seems to be going wrong are all covered.

Kathy Lee’s story is well written with an exciting plot which would especially appeal to girls who enjoy school and adventure stories. I liked the way in which Emily’s Christian faith is portrayed realistically without becoming cheesy. Emily clings onto God’s word in tough times but doesn’t always choose the godly thing to do. She’s a normal Christian girl and I think this makes her very accessible for the readers I’m aiming at. It’s not too long (138 pages), has no illustrations and would not be too intimidating for competent primary school readers or younger secondary school pupils.

Who for: 8-13 year old girls
Genre: School/adventure
Recommended for Pathfinder camp: Yes

Read Full Post »

The Vicar and I had such a lovely lunch out today. An unexpected bonus after a breezy walk around the Clent Hills on the Vicar’s Day Off. I used my extensive Googling powers to find a pub near to where we would be walking and was extremely pleased to find a Good Pub Guide recommended place. And not just recommended, but the winner of 2010 National Pub of the Year: The Bell and Cross.

The pub's cosy Red Room

The pub seems to comprise about five small rooms, each about the size of an average living room and packed with dining tables and chairs. So it’s not the place to go with an enormous family party. We ate in the Red Room and were very cosy. The service was quick, polite and efficient. We didn’t want a large meal as the Engineer’s godmother is coming for dinner later. So we ordered from the Lunchtime Bites menu.

The Vicar very much enjoyed his Potted Farmhouse Chicken Rillette, Fruit Chutney, Leaves and Baguette. The potted rillette was very tasty, almost gamey and the chutney excellent. He could have done with a little more baguette, but we had cunningly ordered extra side orders of fries and green beans, so he ate some fries with rillette in a rather unorthodox manner.

My dish of Skewered King Prawns with a Catalan salad was fresh and zingy thanks to generous chunks of chorizo and a piquant dressing. Very tasty and light.

As we had an important Praise Assembly to attend (the Joker had an award for knowing his Spanish alphabet better than his form teacher), we didn’t stop for dessert. The price for the two of us, including a beer, a white wine and a single coffee: £28. Not exactly a weekly possibility on a clergy stipend, but a good price for an excellent meal. And only 20 minutes away from our inner city Vicarage. Just need to save up for next time…

Read Full Post »

No, this isn’t a review of the new movie, released in the UK today. The film has had a pretty mixed reaction and took a good while to reach this country after its US release. So I reckon you’re far better off just watching the Joker reciting the whole of the book, with dramatic actions (I particularly like ‘rolled their terrible eyes’) and a wavering Black Country accent. Some of you may have seen this before (all good bloggers recycle material, don’t they?).

Read Full Post »

Big Picture Story Bible

Great for Under 5s

An age ago, I thought I’d start reviewing kids’ bibles. We must have about twenty in the house and most of them have been test driven on three children, so we’ve had a good overview. And since it’s be the sort of time of year when you might be thinking of gift shopping, I thought I’d share a few of our favourites. Different ages and personalities prefer different books and there’s also the aspect of trying to ensure that our kids don’t just hear Christian platitudes even at a young age.

We are not very routine people here in our Vicarage. So our bible time routine with the kids varies with the weather and has changed as the kids have grown and grumped and had fads. We do try to have a bible time with each of them every night. This is not always possible. For instance, if the Vicar’s Wife is on the phone to her sister and the Vicar is buying tickets for the Eurotunnel trip to France next summer and somehow the Queen is still in front of the fire reading stories with Happy at an hour way past her bedtime, she might go to bed with just a quick prayer. That was last night anyway.

But in the grand scheme of things, our routine is story-bible-pray-bed. With teeth and toilet somewhere in the equation. If you change the bible (or the study notes for the older kids) it does seem if there is some variety though. And our children seem to like that, especially the older two. The Engineer is more of a stick-to-what-you-know sort.

His favourite bible for a good few months was The Big Picture Story Bible. Big and with bold colourful pictures, it does what it says on the cover. But more than that, it points to Jesus, and the big picture of God’s work in the whole of the bible, all the way through. The strapline on the back of the book is

The Bible is a big book, about a big God, who keeps a big promise!

Inside, succinct text sits with the double page pictures, telling the story of how God’s people blew hot and cold in their relationship with him throughout the Old Testament. It speaks about the promise of God’s forever king, as the story points forward to Christ.


As well as familiar New Testament stories of Jesus healing and teaching, the cross and resurrection are movingly told and Acts, the epistles and Revelation are all summarised, pointing to the time when:

God’s forever people will one day live in God’s forever place under God’s forever rule.

It’s a great book – highly recommended for preschool children and also those still in the infants who’ve not yet had a bible overview. A 5-7 year old who is beginning to read could help a grown up tell the stories.

Read Full Post »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,334 other followers

%d bloggers like this: