DO HARD THINGS, by Alex and Brett Harris

(First published at Qassia)

Do Hard Things is a book written by teenaged twin brothers Alex and Brett Harris. It is about their rebellion against the low expectations that are placed on teens by our culture. They were unsatisfied to think of their adolescence as a vacation from responsibility until they reached adulthood and out of their own experiences there has grown a “Rebelution” among young people around the world, but especially here in the U.S.A.
At 16, after some years of speech and debate competition, the boys began to research some of the great things that had been done by young people. They were inspired to undertake some hard things themselves, as well as to inspire others of their generation to Do Hard Things.

They established a website, TheRebelution.com, which drew interest from many young people, rebelutionaries, who were convicted that they were wasting a lot of time and energy. The book tells of the experiences of not only the Harris twins, but of many of those with whom they have come in contact.

The book is inspirational. Every teen should be given a copy and challenged to a new vision for themselves and their future world!

Scents From Above!

On this Valentine’s Day, I think back to the times I would buy cheap perfume from the dime store for my mom, thinking she would really be pleased. She always thanked me, but I doubt she wore any of those fragrances on special occasions!

When I got a bit older I would buy the current popular perfume for my girl friend on Valentine’s Day, like Tigress or Tabu.

But when I grew to truly appreciate the love of my life, I started seeking among designer perfume fragrances for the ones that really projected the class and dignity of my lady. I do not like the wild scents, but enjoy the delicate and classic ones.

HOUSE, by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker

I love to read, but the horror genre has been off limits ever since I saw the original Psycho in 1960 and was scared to walk the three blocks to my home. I was 12 and I decided then that I did not want anything to do with such movies, stories, books, or even “fun” houses at the fair!

So I was surprised to receive a novel for Christmas, House, by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker. My daughter, who gave me the book, knew that I loved This Present Darkness, also by Peretti, so she thought that I would like this one too. She said it was “Christian Horror.” I never knew there was such a thing!

I want to review the book here, and I hate to give away any of the drama in the book, but I am not sure how to give a good review without describing some of the key elements, so if you think you might want to read the book, maybe you ought not read any further in this post.

I entered the book with trepidation. I met Jack and Stephanie as they were on their way to a counseling session to try to salvage their marriage. Things had not gone well for them following the drowning of their daughter a year earlier.
Their trip took a detour that led to their being drawn to an isolated house that looked like an old Southern inn when they arrived. But it turned out to be anything but a place of cordial hospitality. Another couple, Randy and Leslie, also found themselves in the place that night. The four shared a night of unmitigated terror.

As the evening unfolded, the house seemed to be alive, with a mind of its own. It seemed to know the hearts of the four trapped inside by the machinations of the house itself and the villain, Barsidious White.

The story moves at a good pace and helps the reader to get a growing awareness that the personal guilt of the individuals was contributing to the animosity of the house toward the victims. I must admit that I can think of few things that are more horrifying and painful than having to come face to face with one’s hidden sinfulness.

The story allows for redemption and a victory of good over evil only if those trapped inside would indeed acknowledge the sins they had been covering up, while blaming others for their plight in life. Though the word is never used in the book, repentance is an absolute necessity if the sinner wanted to live another day.

Good does win out for some of the four, and though it appears the story is over, we leave the book with an awareness that the evil perpetrators were far from finished with their “game”.

The book has been recently made into a movie, released last November. I promise, I will not go see it. And I hope I do not have images appear in my mind in the night!

Free Book Summary!

It always makes me happy when I am able to find a way to generate something useful or productive, or especially profitable out of the things I do for pleasure. I love hearing stories about others who have such successes as well. I have found such a story at Free-Book-Summary.com.

The web site creator has a passion for books , a passion I also hold. She has found a way to elevate the books she loves by writing summaries of them and posting them on the site for all the world to see, for free . Students that would like to get a complete plot summary for a book report on which they are working should check out the site. Or is you are looking for and Executive summary of the latest business book, you may be very pleased to find just what you are looking for Free-Book-Summary.com.

Callaghen by Louis L'Amour

I just re-read Callaghen, by Louis L'Amour. It is in some ways a typical L'Amour tale, with the individual courage and cunning of the hero pitted against the forces of evil. One of the things that I love about L'Amour is that he uses the setting of the story as one of the characters, so descriptive and so important to the furthering of the tale. The thing that caught my attention this time through is that Callaghen had served in faraway lands, but this time I was more aware of the places he had been because they have been a part of our history so much in recent years, especially Afghanistan! That added to my enjoyment of this visit with Callaghen.

The Lives of Christopher Chant

This book is the second in the Chrestomanci series by Diana Wynn Jones, but it is actually a prequel to the first book, set some 25 years before. This volume tells how Christopher came to be Chrestomanci and how he learned to respect the little things in the magic of life. It is a fun book to read!

The Making of a Legend

I just read an article in the Houston Chronicle called, "The Making of a Legend". It is part of a week long series of articles about Hakeem Olajuwan that has run in the paper in honor of the basketball star's induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame tonight. I have know some of the story of the career of Olajuwan at the University of Houston and the Houston Rockets, but this account by sportswriter Fran Blinebury is a tribute as well as an account of an hightly unlikely story.

Hakeem grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. He was a soccer and team handball player. At age seventeen a basketball caoch took notice of the seven foot tall youngster and persuaded him to give basketball a try. He had only played for three months when he was encouraged to got to the United States to play basketball in college. His arrival in Houston and his mentoring by UH Coach Guy Lewis is now mythical in proportions. If you want to get a good look at the story, read the article on the front page of the sports section of today's Houston Chronicle.

Bringing Up Boys, by James Dobson

When my wife and I were young parents of three girls we asked a lot of questions of those we thought to be successful parents and we read a lot of books on the subject of parenting. James Dobson was one of our frequent and favorite authors on the subject.

Now that we are raising two grade school age grandsons, we are finding out that boys are different from girls. There developmental process is much different than was our daughters'. So we recently checked out a copy of Dobson's book, Bringing Up Boys from the library. It was well worth the time.

Dobson points out several elements of distinction between the development of the genders. We believe we were benefitted in the confirmation of many things we are doing for the boys, and given some new ideas that we want to incorporate for the benefit of the guys. If you are raising little boys, you should give this volume a look.

1776, by David McCullough

Reading 1776, Pulitzer Prize winning author David McCullough, made me realize just how close we Americans came to continuing as a British colony for a long time.

McCullough did a masterful job in compiling and presenting the records and papers of important men and bodies on both the British and American sides of the matter of independence. The descriptions of both the noble traits and the frailties of the key player in the pivotal year were very enlightening. I had always held George Washington to be a man of almost superhuman strengths. To read of his indecisions and misjudgments, as well as the intrigue on the part of some of his staff, made the story of our independence even more a thing to be cherished as a gift!

I highly recommend this book for your enjoyment!

1 Kings 13 & 14--Jonathan's Valiance

I have just been reading the Bible story in the last part of 1 Samuel 13 and into chapter 14. The situation has the Israelite army surrounded by the Philistines. The Israelites were vastly outnumbered and without proper weapons. Many of the army had already deserted. Things must have looked pretty bleak.

But in the story, King Saul’s son, Jonathan, decided it was time to do something, believing that God would provide what was needed. So he and his armor bearer determined to approach the enemy stronghold, seeking a chance for something seemingly impossible to happen. His valiant effort led he and his servant to slay 20 of the overconfident Philistines. An earthquake shook the ground and panic set in on the Philistine troops who fled. The Israelite army took heart and chased the Philistines out of the region.

The story made me reflect on the lack of hope and confidence that I perceive is prevalent these days. It may be seen in small ways in families that are pressed by busy schedules and jobs that demand so much, or financial woes, or dysfunction in the home. It can be seen in the local congregation that sees its task of sharing the Good News of the Gospel as an overwhelming task for the Christians; and as unwelcome by non-Christians. It can be seen in a country that would like to have all the war over, not to mention all the political venom put away.

The natural tendency seems to be to shrink back into the background and let the tide wash us away. Have we lost the will to present ourselves for service to our neighbors, our church, our country in the hope that Divine Providence can and will use our service to make a difference? And perhaps inspire others around to rally to the possibility of victorious living?