Forever My Girl

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I am old. At least, I feel like I am old when it comes to the idea of courtship in this modern culture. To give a fair assessment, I am only thirty-one; however, I have been with Leighann (my wife of eight years) for nearly fourteen of those thirty-one. To say that I am out of touch with the dating scene would be an understatement, but I do think I have some wisdom to share. In fact, I am going to take a few minutes and do just that. So, sit back and listen to me ramble from my proverbial rocker.

Social media has made a courtship (or dating if you prefer the term) relationship much more complex than it ought to be. The relationship I have with Leighann has a foundation laid before the rise of social media and has managed to thrive through it all. I still remember chatting with her on my dial-up internet during the days of MSN Messenger (I am not going to be offended if you have to Google that). In fact, I had a Facebook account before she did as I was able to establish one when it was opened to my college in my freshman year. Yes, I am one of the ones that still remember it as “The Facebook” and when it was actually practical and allowed you to see other classmates so you could connect for actual educational purposes. There is one takeaway I cannot stress enough when it comes to navigating the courting waters in the days of constant social media:

Establish Boundaries

That’s it. Establish boundaries prior to accepting someone’s friend request. Establish boundaries for what is acceptable for your significant other to tag you in on their feed. (Do you really need another animated, glittering rose to express your undying love for someone you started dating earlier this week?) Establish boundaries of how much of your story you will share on social media.

There will be times that you do not need to share how this person has made you feel because, honestly, it stinks right now. There are things that are better communicated outside of your last Facebook post where your entire friends list can read your life like a newspaper. There are hilarious photos that do not need to be uploaded and your significant other tagged in! (I learned that the hard way with a photo of Leighann stuffing a muffin in her mouth in a hotel room in Manhattan before we were to head out for the day. I did not do myself any favors by adding the caption “Doing what she does best.” Yes, it stayed up for all of fifteen minutes before I was required to take it down. What was done in jest turned into a life lesson that I will never repeat.)

If you are going to be in a relationship (any at this point, but dating specifically) you need to establish boundaries on social media. It is a good habit to start and you may as well start early. In some ways, the cultivating of true, deep relationships can be missed by constantly focusing on social media. Instead of enjoying the presence of the other we can be consumed with making sure we take the right photos to make our dessert on date look great. We can lose site of the fact that relationships change and people change by trying to groom the other into becoming a picturesque version of the thing we saw on our favorite sitcom last week. We must fight against the desire to overshare and over glamorize our lives. We do this by establishing boundaries prior to entering into this relationship. I want a life that will outlive Instagram and Snapchat. I want to be known deeply by one who accepts me, flaws and all. I want someone that is willing to sacrifice the perfect for the pursuit of presence.

Forever My Girl tells the story of music super-star Liam Page (Alex Roe) who left his bride, Josie (Jessica Rothe), at the altar choosing fame and fortune instead. However, Liam never got over Josie, his one true love, nor did he ever forget his Southern roots in the small community where he was born and raised. When he unexpectedly returns to his hometown for the funeral of his high school best friend, Liam is suddenly faced with the consequences of all that he left behind. Forever My Girl is an uplifting romantic film about second chances. It releases in theaters on January 19.

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Review: The Apologetics Study Bible (CSB Version)

The more I read from the CSB translation of the Bible, the more it is becoming my go-to translation. Combine that with my desire to always have an Apologetics Study Bible and this is a no-brainer for me to own. After having spent some time in it, I am grateful for Holman publishing this version.

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If you are getting this Bible expecting a lot of footnotes, you will be let down. Sure, there are some at the bottom of nearly every page, but they are most like a copy or slight update to a previous version. It does not mean that they are bad, but if you are looking for one with a lot of notes, you may want to look elsewhere.

Where the footnotes lack, the “articles” in this Bible are where things shine. This is the strong, selling point of the Bible in my opinion. Each article is impressive. The thoughts are nicely condensed and not over your head. Sure, the thoughts may need time to digest, but is that not the point of reading Scripture?

The page layout is also one of the better ones I have seen. The text columns are a little wider than normal and yet the pages have plenty of blank space for jotting down your own notes. The pages flip quite nicely and it lays flat for my purposes.

All in all, it’s a great Bible for an introduction to apologetics. Those who expect a full seminary equivalence in a condensed Study Bible format will be let down. However, for the bulk of Christ followers, this would be a lovely companion to their other Bibles to have handy for when the time is right.

I received this for free from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. The words above are my own and have not been influenced in any way other than the finished product I received.

Book Review – The Air I Breathe

Louie Giglio is leaving an impact on modern Christianity far beyond anyone’s greatest imagination. What initially started as a gathering of college students has birthed what is known as what could be best described as a movement. Passion has taken hold in the lives of millions of people across this globe, but enough about the movement. The Air I Breathe has recently been rereleased with a new cover. This is, from what I can tell, the very same book.

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One thing I must mention is that I am glad Giglio included discussion questions in the back after the main portion of the book. This will help lead small groups and individuals to actually ponder the thoughts he poses. Overall the book is a quick, easy to read overview of worship and how it truly is a way of life and not something that happens only when we gather with other Christians.

The main point of the book is that we are worshipping regardless of whether we think we are or not and our focus ought to be directed towards God for what he has done and is doing. This worship is to be lived out and not just spoken. While this is not an in-depth dive into the theology of worship, this is a practical book that reiterates the basic premises. It would be an excellent book for a young Christian wanting to understand a little bit more about worship.

As a side note, I can definitely tell Giglio’s writing style has changed throughout the years since this original publication. I, for one, am alright with that change.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. The words above are my own and have not been influenced in any manner by the author or publisher aside from the manuscript and content of the book.

Paddington 2 – Upcoming Movie

I admit, I was hesitant to see the first Paddington movie. I mean, can you imagine a grown man and wife wandering into a theater to see it? Now that I have a toddler, I am excited to see the sequel. My daughter is at an age where, although she may love Paddington 2, she will greatly enjoy it. Paddington 2 releases to theaters on January 12, 2018.

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Synopsis: Following the worldwide hit “Paddington,” one of the most successful family films of all time, this much-anticipated sequel finds Paddington (Ben Whishaw) happily settled with the Brown family in London, where he has become a popular member of the local community, spreading joy and marmalade wherever he goes.

While searching for the perfect present for his beloved Aunt Lucy’s hundredth birthday, Paddington sees a unique pop-up book in Mr. Gruber’s antique shop, and embarks upon a series of odd jobs to buy it. But when the book is stolen, it’s up to Paddington and the Browns to unmask the thief.

Paddington 2 stars: Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), Hugh Grant (Four Weddings and a Funeral), Sally Hawkins (Jayne Eyre), Brendan Gleeson (Into the Storm), Julie Walters (Mamma Mia) and Ben Whishaw (The Hollow Crown) as the voice of Paddington.

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You’ve Got Dreams

You have dreams. You have goals. I know this because you are reading this. I do not count the robots from Google reading this, but thanks. What we (and I say we because I count myself in this category quite often) lack is the ability to follow through on these. For whatever excuse we use, most of us will not ever complete the task we dream of doing. Michael Hyatt is out to fix that issue.

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Sure, he may not be able to make the effort and work easier, but he can help us hit our goals. In his new book Your Best Year Ever, Hyatt guides us in proven steps to help us accomplish our goals. This book is relatively short and is an easy read, but the contents are worth more than what you pay. You could easily read this in one day if you sat down with your morning cup of coffee, but it should not be read that way. Instead, to grasp the full extent of the content, one must chew on it and digest it. Trust me when I say chew. It will be better that way.

Now is the perfect opportunity to pick this book up and do some planning for the next year. As we are still at the beginning of January, there is a lot of time left in the year to accomplish things. If we not only dream big, but make a smart plan, we can do a lot. Michael’s plan is a great way to fulfill those dreams.

I would recommend this book to people that are serious about tackling their careers, relationships, and taking control of their life. As a business major, I had heard of SMART goals, but Michael expands on this and uses SMARTER goals. That is just one of the things you can expect to read about to put into action to make your life succeed.

As a side note, I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The words above are my own and have not been influenced in any way by the author or publisher outside of the written manuscript.

Book Review: The Satisfied Soul by John Piper

At first glance, The Satisfied Soul by John Piper looks to be a devotional. On the front cover is the notice that there are 120 daily meditations. This is true, but the daily meditations are not actually devotional material. Instead, they are what best could be described as articles.

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That is the best word I know to describe them. It is almost like they were destined for a newspaper or blog site and then got compiled into a book. I suppose when you are Piper, this is your natural way of writing. Regardless, the topics that are covered are quite broad. They range from racism to depression to self-control to pray. Throughout the book, Piper’s goal is to show the supremacy of God in all of life.

After reading the book, I can definitely say that he accomplished his goal. There is no one who has done more for the thought process of the global church in the last few decades than John Piper and this collection is no shortage. While there are other books that take a deeper look at the topics, this brief compilation is a good addition to any library. The writings are long enough to get the point across without boring someone to sleep.

I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to any Christian looking to take a glance at how God rules over everything. If we say we believe something to be true, we should have the ability to back that claim up when confronted. This book simply makes that task easier.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. The words above are my own and have not been influenced in any way by the author or publisher outside of the book’s manuscript.

Book Review: I’d Like You More If You Were More Like Me by John Ortberg

If there was an award for the longest title of a book that I had read in 2017, this would be it. I admit, I’d Like You More If You Were More Like Me took me longer to finish than I would have liked. Ideally, this would have been finished at least six weeks ago; however, this obviously was not the case. Even though I did not finish it as fast as I wanted to, does not mean that it was not a good read. For that matter, it was an excellent read.

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John Ortberg is a well-known author and pastor and has written numerous books. His newest one deals with the intimacy. Truthfully, the title is a little odd for the subject matter. Nonetheless, it is a true statement. I have found myself thinking this quite often over my short time here on earth.

I like the way Ortberg keeps the reader engaged and encourages them to pursue intimacy and closeness without making them feel guilty for needing help. While you could easily argue that we all need help, Ortberg assumes nothing and gives step-by-step advice in dealing with these situations. While the book talks about spousal relationships quite often, one could easily applies these same principles to any sort of relationship. Ortberg’s guiding could be applied by any person alive at this time regardless of their views on Jesus Christ. While I would be quick to argue that this makes the best foundation to base your relationships on, I cannot see tossing the baby out with the proverbial bathwater if you do not believe in Jesus and want to deepen your relationships.

The one downside to this book is I feel like you get the cliche humor that most pastors utilize. It does not mean that it is out of line or that it is not applicable to the point that Ortberg is trying to make, it just does not have the zing that I would like. I feel like a lot of the words are placed in there for no real reason. This same gripe could be made about dozens of other books by Christian authors. That is no flaw on the content, it is simply a personal preference.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone looking to deepen their relationships. As 2017 draws to a close, this book would be an excellent starting point for kicking off 2018. A new year is always an opportunity to reframe the relationships that we have in place and work towards cultivating greater intimacy so they grow stronger.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. The words above are my own and have not been influenced in any manner by the author or publisher outside of the book’s manuscript.