Haphazard Hollingsworth

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Book Review: I, Robot

I, Robot
by Isaac Asimov

Asimov is a genius but I'd never read this book. The creativity of this story is incredible and it's well worth the read.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Book Review: The Tournament at Gorlan

The Tournament at Gorlan 
The Tournament at Gorlan 
by John Flanagan

Written as a prequel to The Ruins of Gorlan and The Burning Bridge, this book is another example of Flanagan's ability to tell a fun, engaging story. He continues to build his universe and find new ways to hook readers into caring about his characters.

I can't wait for the next one!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Book Review: The Son of Neptune

The Son of Neptune
by Rick Riordan

The Son of Neptune features the return of Percy Jackson and takes the baton from The Lost Hero as these two books set the stage for this new series.

Riordan continues his ability to engage readers in fast paced action with characters that are endearingly flawed. These books are fun and enjoyable reads. The third one is already on its way from the library for me.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Book Review: Living the Braveheart Life

 Living the Braveheart Life by Randall Wallace

I had really high hopes for this book and at times those hopes were realized. For much of the book, though, I was confused, lost and not at all sure what the point was. There was a severe lack of an understandable flow to the book and it just left me disappointed. Can't win 'em all, I guess.

It did leave me really wanting to watch Braveheart again, though, and so that can't be all bad, right?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Happy Birthday Ellie!

Happy Birthday, Beautiful!

It's been an incredible 9 years and I am amazed at the young lady that you have become. Kind, gentle, smart, fun, hard-working and hilarious are all words that describe you but they cannot encapsulate who you are and who God is making you to be.

I love you and count being your dad as one of the true pleasures of my life. Thank you for being a constant blessing in my life!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Book Review: North! or Be Eaten!

 North! or  Be Eaten
by Andrew Peterson

The second book in the Wingfeather Saga picks up right where On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness left off. Peterson has created a universe that is hilarious, believable and endearing. The last few pages of this book are some of the finest that I have ever read. I can't wait for the next book to get here!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Book Review: Bonhoeffer

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
by Eric Metaxas

Another book that I've heard about, seen and wanted to read for awhile but had just never gotten to. It tells the story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor and author, who became involved in the plot to kill Hitler.

A very extensive history of his life, his faith, his passions and his convictions. A fascinating read and insight into the life of a 20th Century Christian heavyweight.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Book Review: Coming Back Stronger

Coming Back Stronger: Unleashing the Hidden Power of Adversity

Coming Back Stronger: Unleashing the Hidden Power of Adversity
by Drew Brees

This book had been sitting on my Goodreads recommendation list for quite some time. I found the CD version at the library to listen to as I drove to and from work and was excited to finally hear the story of Drew Brees.

A strong, Christian man who has overcome incredible adversity in his life to become one of finest NFL players of all-time, Brees does a great job encouraging the reader to not become overwhelmed by life's hardships.

A great read for any sports fan!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Book Review: Cheney - One on One

Cheney One on One - A Candid Conversation with America's Most Controversial Statesman
by James Rosen

Cheney granted Rosen three days of oral interviews where they talked about a vast array of topics. This book is the transcript of their conversation. 

What I enjoyed about the book is that it was a straight transcript, not the author's interpretation of the conversation. This showed Cheney as who he really is and what his views on the last 40 years of public service were.

The conversation was fascinating and revealed insights that would otherwise have gone undeveloped.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Struggling with Joy

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."

2 Corinthians 4:4

The gods of this age (money, power, security, lust, comfort, prestige, etc.) have blinded unbelievers from knowing and reveling in the glory of Christ. Many of these gods have also kept me from fully experiencing deep joy in the way that God intended for me. As I seek after comfort, security and others, I find myself hesitant to fully dive into the eternal comfort and security that God has provided for me. I'm scared of being hurt or blindsided by the challenges in life and thus I spend a disproportionate amount of time analyzing and attempting to manipulate aspects of my life to protect myself. I fail at this miserably but I continue to do it.

It's something I'm working through and am anticipating God making huge strides over the next several months. Scary but exciting.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Book Review: The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner 
by James Dashner

This is a book that I've heard about for years but had never read. Having finally picked it up, I understand why it's so popular.

An interesting story about a group of children forced to live inside of a Maze while trying to find their way out. One day, a new boy is introduced to the group and everything changes. It's a fascinating study of group dynamics, courage and what it looks like to be in a situation in which there appears to be no escape.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Christmas Break


 It's been a fantastic Christmas Break! Two weeks of enjoying family, playing with LEGO's and just having a great time have been exactly what each of our family needed individually and as a collective group.

The days before Christmas were filled with wrapping presents, dessert with the Martin's at the CDA resort, time with Jolen and the girls 1st Christmas at Nana's (1st as in the first of 4 gift opening extravaganzas for the girls.).

We had Christmas morning here together and the girls did their 2nd Christmas. My mom and brother-in-law Ben came over for dinner and we all had fun just hanging out. Jolen and I have both labeled it as the best Christmas either of us can remember.

The day after Christmas, we drove to Great Falls to see Jolen's family and the girls had their 3rd Christmas.

My dad drove up on New Year's Eve and is leaving later this morning. The girls had a great time building LEGO's and spending time with him. They also enjoyed their 4th Christmas (I've taken to telling them that when I was a kid, it took my 4 years to have 4 Christmas' but they've taken to ignoring me).

It's time to get back to work and routine but we have lifelong memories from these past two weeks to think back on.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Book Review: The Lost Hero

 The Lost Hero
by Rick Riordan

It had been a long time since I'd read any of the Percy Jackson books but I returned to Riordan as an author when I found myself in between books and needing another series to grab my attention.

A new batch of characters is introduced while still using the same premise and backdrop of the Percy Jackson books. It helps to provide familiarity while also developing a new story arc. These books always make me want to learn more about mythology and being prompted to learn is a good thing, right?

Friday, January 1, 2016

Movie Review: Wall Street

If you need a friend, get a dog.

The 1980's were incredible. Few decades could be stereotyped so easily and even fewer hit the mark more consistently than the 80's. I had never seen this movie before but felt right at home knowing exactly what they were talking about and the cultural references they were making.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Book Review: Curse of the Spider King

Curse of the Spider King
by Wayne Thomas Batson

I've come to love Batson's work. The Door Within remains my favorite but his other work is all worth reading. He does a great job creating fantastic stories that are fun to read but have an underlying connection to Christ.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Book Review: Team of Rivals

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (Movie Tie-In Edition)
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Another reason why I've grown to love books on CD. To gain back 30-40 minutes of reading every day gives me the chance to listen to books like this that I just wouldn't have the chance to read otherwise.

A great example of leadership and putting the cause before yourself. Being able to put your own ego aside and surround yourself with people who might disagree with you but ultimately push the greater cause forward is true leadership.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Book Review: Johnny Tremain

Johnny Tremain
by Esther Forbes

This book was one of my absolute favorites when I was growing up. It's probably one of the reasons that I ended up majoring in history at Whitworth. I ended up reading it again because Ellie had asked about it and I needed to refresh my memory about whether it would be appropriate for her at her age.

This book is a timeless treasure.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Book Review: The Bridge to Never Land

 The Bridge to Never Land
The Bridge to Never Land
by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

5 books of creativity, fantastic writing and characters that you come to truly care about. To take a timeless character and seamlessly work your own creation into the lore that he inhabits is a true creation in its own right.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Book Review: The Marvelous Land of Oz

 The Marvelous Land of Oz
The Marvelous Land of Oz
by L. Frank Baum

Josie and I decided to pick right up and keep going with the Oz series. It was a little challenging keeping her interest without some of the characters from the first book but she soon came to love some of the new characters.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Book Review: Peter and the Sword of Mercy

Peter and the Sword of Mercy (Starcatchers Series #4)
Peter and the Sword of Mercy
by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

The series is definitely building towards it's finale and the authors have not lost any steam at all. They've taken a dearly loved literary character and given him fresh life. No small feat at all.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Book Review: 10% Happier

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works--A True Story

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works- A True Story
by Dan Harris

I listened to this book in the car on the way to and from work. It dissolved rather quickly into some spiritualism that I don't agree with but my take away was a charge to examine the voice in my head. While examining that voice, I've tried to learn how to be honest about whether what it's saying is true or not. Easier said than done.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Book Review: The Phantom Tollbooth

The Phantom Tollbooth
by Norton Juston

I had never heard of this book until one day it began showing up everywhere I looked. It was on book lists; I heard people talking about it; Jolen mentioned it multiple times. After reading it, for the life of me I can't figure out how it had never crossed my radar before.

The vocabulary is this book is unbelievable. The plot is fantastic. It's a children's classic that I desperately want all of my girls to read one day.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Book Review: The Castle in the Attic

The Castle in the Attic
by Elizabeth Winthrop

Another book that I remembered reading as a kid. Fun brain candy but again, another one that was good in isolation but didn't inspire me to read more in the series.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Movie Review: E.T.

"E.T. phone home"
 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

 Jolen and I rented this from the library one night. It had been close to 3 decades since I watched it. All throughout the movie, Jolen and I kept looking at each other in disbelief. For a movie that is more than 30 years old, the special effects were incredible. The story is classic of course but the technology that went into making it is mind boggling considering what limited resources were available when it was made.

A timeless classic!

E.T. is listed on the following AFI all-time lists:

#25  100 Years...100 Movies
#44  100 Years...100 Thrills
#6    100 Years...100 Cheers
#14  100 Years of Film Scores
#3    10 Top 10 - Science Fiction
#15  100 Years..100 Movie Quotes
#24  100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Book Review: Hope Unseen

Hope Unseen: The Story of the U.S. Army's First Blind Active-Duty Officer
by Scott Smiley

Smiley's honesty, openness and transparency when talking about the struggles and challenges he's faced since losing his sight in the war is humbling and inspiring. He doesn't sugar coat the moments where he felt like giving up. He doesn't paint himself as some kind of super human but rather as a broken man dependent on God's grace to wake up every morning.

One of the best books that I've read in a long time.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Book Review: The Return of the Indian


The Return of the Indian
by Lynne Reid Banks

After reading The Indian in the Cupboard, I moved onto the second book in the series. It's still a good book but nowhere near as good as the first. While an enjoyable read in it's own right, it's never inspired me to read the remaining books in the series.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Book Review: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness: Adventure, Peril, Lost Jewels, and the Fearsome Toothy Cows of Skree
On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness
by Andrew Peterson

I saw this book on Goodreads as something that someone I respect had read and thought I would give it a whirl.

A good chunk of the book is written as tongue in cheek with an extremely dry sense of humor that was right up my aisle. The story was fantastic and I'm bought into this series now.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Movie Review: The Terminator

"I'll be back"

I had never seen this movie before. After watching it, I understand why it's a cultural icon but it's not something that I really need to watch again. Good for some laughs about cultural dating but not something I'll watch enough to memorize every line.

The Terminator is listed on the following AFI all-time lists:

#42 100 Years...100 Thrills
#22 100 Years...100 Heroes & Villains - The Terminator (Villain)
#37 100 Years...100 Quotes - I'll be back

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Book Review: The Boys in the Boat

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
by Daniel James Brown

This was a book that I had heard about from a number of people that I trust and respect. I finally picked it up from the library and listened to it on the way to work.

An incredible story that had me excited to get back in my car every morning and then again at the end of the day. Even though you know how it ends, it doesn't lessen the connection that you feel with the characters.

I just hope that the movie doesn't ruin an amazing story.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Book Review: What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures

What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures
by Malcolm Gladwell

This book is a collection of Gladwell's articles. Somewhat easier to follow than some of his other books and probably my favorite after Outliers. It's another book that I listened to on the way to work and it was well worth the time. Interesting without the soap boxing.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Girls weekend

Last weekend, Jolen took Wendie and went back to Great Falls for her brother's birthday. This left me at home with Ellie, Josie and Maddie.

After the weekend, I had a new respect for single parents. Having to do everything on your own is challenging and often exhausting. I had a blast hanging out with my daughters but I was more than happy to have Jolen back. I love doing life with her!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Book Review: Song of War

Song of War (Lion of War, #3)
Song of War
by Cliff Graham

It's taking Graham a bit of time to write these books and thus it's become harder to remember where I'm at in the story whenever I pick a new one up. I'd love for Graham to finish the series and at that point, I'll read them all the way through. Until then, I might step away from the books. I'll be back, though.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Movie Review: The Karate Kid

"Wax on. Wax off"

Jolen wasn't feeling great one night and went to bed early. I wasn't tired and so I ended up flipping through our HULU account. I came across this movie and tried it out to see if it was as amazing now as it was when I was 8 years old. No worries, it was.

The Karate Kid is listed on the following AFI all-time lists

#98  100 Years...100 Movies

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Book Review: The Gold Standard

The Gold Standard: Building a World Class Team
by Mike Krzyzewski

This was a book that was talked about during my principal course. It's Duke men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski's account of building the 2008 US Olympic men's basketball team.

His leadership in building the team and demanding that they come together for a cause greater than themselves was impressive. Taking a group of highly paid professional athletes and convincing them that their goal is to play for their country rather than their own glory is no small feat but he accomplished it and then some.

A great read for sports fans or leaders of any kind.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Book Review: The Indian in the Cupboard

The Indian in the Cupboard
by Lynne Reid Banks

I'm not sure what made me think of this book again but it was one of my favorites growing up and so I wanted to read it again. It was everything that I remembered. A return to a childhood where I learned to love reading and the adventures that it could take you on.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Ellie at the Fair

A few years ago, Jolen entered a few hats at the fair. She needed a new hat for herself and with the fair coming up, she thought she would use entering again as motivation to make herself the hat she needed. While she was working on that, she mentioned to Ellie that she was old enough to make something. Ellie jumped at the chance.

My oldest daughter is a little entrepreneur. She is constantly trying to think of things she can make and sell. My challenge has been to encourage that spirit while trying to guard her from ideas that just won't work. I often don't get this balance correct.

She recently asked about sewing something that she could sell. Jolen wisely and graciously told her that if she wanted to sell something, then she needed to make the same thing 30 times before she could sell it. This would give her practice while also giving her something to work towards. She decided to make owl hand puppets in hopes of selling them someday.

In the midst of making the hand puppets, the fair idea came up and so Ellie entered. She got a 3rd place ribbon and was really proud to see something she had made be on display at the fair. We were really proud of her as well.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Other Side

I've often wondered what four boys would be like. As the father of 4 little girls, I'm pretty sure this mom nailed it!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Book Review: Elmer and the Dragon

Elmer and the Dragon
by Ruth Stiles Garnett

The 2nd book after My Father's Dragon was an excellent follow-up. It maintained the short chapters that held Josie's attention while still allowing her to feel like she was a big girl who was reading chapter books. This series is incredible for introducing children to longer books that require more than 7 minutes to read aloud.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Movie Review: The Wizard of Oz

There's no place like home

The girls had never watched this movie and that's a travesty if I ever heard one. After Josie and I had finished reading the book, we took a Family Fun Friday and watched this classic.

The girls were not thrilled that it started in black and white but quickly jumped on board once Dorothy walked out of her house. An all-time classic moment!

The Wizard of Oz is listed on the following AFI all-time lists

#6   100 Years...100 Movies
#43 100 Years...100 Thrills
#4   100 Years...100 Heroes & Villains - The Wicked Witch (Villain)
#1   100 Years...100 Songs - Over the Rainbow
#82 100 Years...100 Songs - Ding-Dong! The Witch is Dead
#4   100 Years...100 Movie Quotes - Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore
#23 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes - There's no place like home
#99 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes - I'll get you my pretty - and your little dog too!
#3   Top Musicals
#26 100 Years...100 Cheers
#10 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition)
#1   10 Top 10 - Fantasy

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Book Review: The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz
by L. Frank Baum

This wasn't the first book that Josie and I read together (My Father's Dragon) but it's the first one that required her attention for a lengthy period of time. Even with that, she was absolutely hooked. It was a lot of fun to introduce her to this story and to these characters through a book rather than through the movie. Almost every night, she was asking for more and couldn't wait to snuggle up and have some reading time with Dad.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Franklin Elementary

 It's not Sports Center by any means but I'm convinced that our district video guy is a wizard for being able to make me not look like a blithering idiot.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Book Review: Peter and the Secret of Rundoon

Peter and the Secret of Rundoon
by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

The third book in Barry and Pearson's Peter Pan series did not disappoint. The creativity and courage needed to take a classic character in literature and make him your own is staggering but these two have risen to the challenge.

This is the book for me where the story arc really established itself as needing several more books to resolve itself. The authors have hit their stride and it's fun to watch.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Book Review: A Season of Gifts

A Season of Gifts
by Richard Peck

This is the third book in the series which also includes A Year Down Yonder and A Long Way From Chicago. The grandmother in this series is one of the most fascinating and complex characters in children's literature. A really great series overall.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Movie Review: Stand By Me

You guys wanna go see a dead body? 
 Image result for stand by me quotes
I hadn't seen this movie in decades until one night Jolen and I stumbled across it on Netflix. It's still as amazing and timely and relevant as it always was. Growing up is hard, awkward, uncomfortable and so much easier when you're doing it with friends.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Book Review: The Giver

The Giver
by Lois Lowry

I read this years ago and picked it up again. After reading it, Jolen read it also since she was curious about it.

I had forgotten what a powerful insight this book is into human nature. There are often times that I would forgo emotion for the power of consistency and predictability but it is in emotion that we live life.

This is a book that I'll enjoy reading with Ellie someday soon.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Monthly Dinner

 Image result for tortellini soup

Allison made tortellini soup. Having never had tortellini soup before, I'm now finding myself why I've missed out on this amazing dish before. Allison knocked it out of the park.

Image result for bacon cauliflower 
Keytra made cauliflower with bacon and cheese. I went back for seconds. Going back for seconds of cauliflower should be enough evidence of how good it was. 

Image result for butterfinger lush

I made a desert called Butterfinger lush. It was pretty good.