Tuesday, November 30, 2010

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID --- A Book Review

By Molly Noble Bull


I hadn’t visited the children’s book section of Barnes and Noble for a long time when I went there, searching for a gift for my grandson’s birthday, but I knew that finding an age appropriate book for this seven-year-old wouldn’t be a problem. The little boy is an excellent reader, and either my son or my daughter-in-law would read the book to the child if he couldn’t read it for himself. What I was concerned about was finding a book that was morally appropriate for a child of any age—that it didn’t contain offensive language or content my family might consider objectionable.

I don’t know why I bought Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. Maybe it was the appealing book cover.

Unlike most Americans, I’d never heard of the book or the movie by the same name. Therefore, I decided to read the book for myself before giving it as a gift.

I’d planned only to read the first chapter. But after reading only a few pages, I was hooked. I kept reading until I’d finished the entire book, laughing all the way.

And did I find anything in the book that a Christian parent might find distasteful?


I saw the movie, and it was okay, too. I certainly found nothing wrong with it. It just wasn’t as good as the book.

I give the novel, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, five stars.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Great Hymns Remain Forever

One of the benefits of growing up in a Baptist church is that you learn hymns, lots of hymns. When I was nine, I even won a Baptist Hymnal with my name engraved on it in gold letters, because I sang all three to five verses of fifty hymns. The memorization process was effortless because I already knew all the songs. No work required.

Modern church music is nothing like the old hymns. The new songs are catchy and simplistic, fun to sing and often melodious. But those old hymns combined both doctrine and melody, and once you’ve sung them for a few years, they are cemented in your heart and mind forever, along with the great thoughts they contain.

When I was shanghaied into taking piano lessons as a child, hymns were the only thing I would play, because I could understand them. As an extremely non-musical person, I had to know how it was supposed to sound before I could try and get there. I knew how the hymns were supposed to sound, and that was half the battle.

In fact, the old hymns are so much a part of so many lives, researchers are discovering that people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease may remember and sing the hymns when almost all else is gone, perhaps because music activates a different area of the brain.

In 1996, a local pastor named Shelton Simmons, who wrote a weekly column for his local newspaper, addressed this very subject and reported on the results of his personal research. In an article from The Hometown Press, “The Church’s Great Hymns Will Never Leave You . . .” he wrote:

“There is bliss in knowing that no matter what the future brings, there are vast, stored up resources within to remind us of God’s immeasurable love and grace.

“Even if the Bible itself should be forever taken from you, perhaps due to loss of sight, or partial loss of mind, what you already know about God’s love can never be lost.

“I sat alone in the sick room of my mother who died the death of ‘The Long Goodbye,’ Alzheimer’s disease. There in a Baton Rouge nursing home near the end, I asked her if it would be OK to read a few verses from the Bible. She responded slightly.

“To my amazement as I started reading the familiar Beatitudes from Matthew 5, that old faithful Sunday School teacher of yesteryear started quoting them from memory!

“Then I asked if I could sing. She responded by sitting up a little, and joining me in, ‘On a hill far away, Stood an old rugged cross . . .’ Then I believe we sang together ‘What A Friend We Have In Jesus.’

“Blessed Bible. Blessed hymnbook. Blessed Lord. Blessed Mother. We shall meet again.”

We have heard more than one report of similar events in cases of Alzheimer’s disease. The sick person may not know how to dress or recognize family members, but he or she can sing those old hymns.

Now, I intend to recall all the verses of all those fifty hymns I knew when I was nine years old and re-cement them in my heart and mind, just in case, because "what you already know of God's love can never be lost," especially if the knowledge is preserved in music.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I Knew I Wanted To Be A Writer When....

Photo courtesy of Vintage Little People.

When I was a kid, I used to play with the Fisher Price Little People with my sister. I'd think up a whole plot (kind of like a synopsis) and then I'd act the story out with the people. My sister loved playing with the Little People with me because she loved my stories!

When I was about ten years old, I wrote a book entitled Candyland. It was about a set of twins named Fred and Susan and they find this magical land where everything was made of big, yummy candy! I made my own book cover - a piece of paper colored with purple crayon and the words Candyland were colored with red crayon.

I used to tell people that I didn't realize that I wanted to be a writer until I was twenty-eight. However, as I look back on my life, there are certain things that I've done that indicate that I really should've discovered my writing passion way before my late twenties. I've always been an avid reader, too, which can sometimes indicate that one is a writer.

Are you a writer? If so, are there writer-type things that you've done throughout your life? Share your answers with us at Writers' Rest!

All of us at Writers' Rest would like to wish everybody a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Friday, November 19, 2010

What If...

Introducing What if…, a Pure Flix and Jenkins Entertainment film. Starring, Kevin Sorbo, Kristy Swanson, Debby Ryan, and John Ratzenberger.

What if…, from Jerry Jenkins, tells the story of Ben Walker (Kevin Sorbo), who fifteen years ago left his college sweetheart Wendy (Kristy Swanson), and his calling to be a preacher, in order to pursue a business opportunity. Now with a high-paying executive gig, a trophy fiancĂ©, and a new Mercedes, he hasn’t considered a family nor felt the need to set foot in a church in fifteen years.

But God has other plans. While on a thrill ride outside the city, his new car mysteriously breaks down, and he’s visited by a tow truck driver named Mike (John Ratzenberger) who claims to be an angel sent to show Ben what his life would look like had he followed his true calling. Suddenly Ben wakes up in the middle of domestic chaos as his wife Wendy and daughters (including Disney Channel’s Debby Ryan) are getting ready for church, where Ben is the new pastor.

Before he can get back to his old life, Ben must first embrace this reality and discover the value of faith and family, and perhaps restore his love for those who were heartbroken fifteen years ago: Wendy and God. In the tradition of It’s a Wonderful Life and The Family Man, What if… is a story of finding your true purpose in life.

View the trailer and spread the word about this powerful, inspiring movie.

It isn't likely I will see What if... in the small theaters here is southern Ohio. But the movie is currently playing in select cities. Follow the link on the What if... site to see if the movie is playing in your area or if you can be an integral part in bringing the movie to your city. Get your friends and church involved in spreading the word. This is a beautiful, warm, funny family movie that needs to get in front of as many audiences as possible.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


by Molly Noble Bull

Do you like science fiction movies? Maybe you like westerns better. How about both? Yep, Hollywood is coming out with a movie titled Cowboys and Aliens starring Harrison Ford that should please just about everybody.
COWBOYS AND ALIENS is coming to a theater near you this summer. Frankly, I can hardly wait to see it.
Click below to see a preview of the movie.
Read on to read about a really exciting book.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

666 And FAMILY

Molly Noble Bull 

JR Church certainly isn't number 666, but he knows a lot about him. Church has a Bible prophecy ministry, Prophecy in the News, located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and he has written an exciting new book titled Daniel Reveals the Bloodline of the Antichrist. I not only purchased the book, I have subscribed to the magazine for many years.
Until now, I have reported on mostly Christian novels that inspire. But J. R’s non-fiction books on Bible prophecy are inspiring as well as interesting. He will tell you about all his books, but first, I want to comment on my two favorites—Guardians of the Grail and his new book, Daniel Reveals the Bloodline of the Antichrist. I’m reading a copy of Bloodline now, but I read Guardians many times.
Guardians of the Grail and Dan Brown’s bestseller, The Da Vinci Code, cover the same topic but with a huge difference. Brown seems to hope readers will believe that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. JR reports the myth while proving via the Bible that the myth is untrue.
Welcome, JR. Tell us a little about yourself and all your books.
Over the years, I have written several books, including Hidden Prophecies in the Song of Moses; The Mystery of the Menorah and the Hebrew Alphabet; They Pierced the Veil and Saw the Future; On the Eve of Adam; Guardians of the Grail; and my latest book: Daniel Reveals the Bloodline of the Antichrist.
There are 12 chapters in the book of Daniel that set forth prophecies about the “times of the Gentiles” — Gentile world powers controlling Jerusalem. All of this will culminate some day in the rise of the Antichrist; the development of a world government and a single world currency. Also, in the book, I have included a 64-page chart of 6,000 years of human history showing Israel’s Sabbatical Years and Jubilees; the 243 years missing in the Jewish calendar; and the timing of the Seventy Weeks in Daniel’s ninth chapter.
Until recently, the Jews did not know how to calculate a Jubilee. But, in the 1960s Israeli archeologists discovered some letters in a cave overlooking the Dead Sea. One letter explained that Bar Kokhba rented his land to a Gentile for two years, so that he could reap the benefit of the crops, even though he, as a Jew, was not allowed to plant crops during the Sabbatical Year, or the Jubilee that follows the 49th year of the cycle. The Bar Kokhba letters are dated around AD 132/33, making it easy to determine all previous Jubilee dates, going back to Joshua and extending forward to the present generation.
My book entitled Guardians of the Grail, gives the story of European royalty and how they could provide the family roots of the coming Antichrist. Along with our study in Daniel’s prophecies, Guardians of the Grail helps to explain why European royalty descended from the same family tree; and why they relish the idea that one of their own could establish world government and rule from Jerusalem.
As I laid out the chart of 6,000 years, I noticed that the first day of Creation was on a Sunday. So, each day of Creation occurred in the very day of the week that followed the event. The second day would be Monday; the third day was on Tuesday; etc. When Adam was created on the sixth day, that day was on Friday. And the day in which God rested was on Saturday. The events of Creation Week fit the biblical scenario perfectly. By the way, you can order Guardians of the Grail and Daniel Reveals the Bloodline of the Antichrist from our website at http://www.pitn.tv/. The book on Daniel is a must-read, especially the chart. If you’ve ever wanted to calculate when in history certain events occurred, this is the book that will lay it out for you in an easy-to-understand format.
Thanks for stopping by, JR.
To find JR’s books in bookstores and online, write J.R. Church in the search slot. Or click onto his web address listed above.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Confession: A Book Review

John Grisham has written another best seller in The Confession. It is exactly the kind of taut, suspense-filled legal thriller we expect from him.

The Confession begins when Kansas Lutheran minister Keith Schroeder counsels newly released prisoner, Travis Boyette, in his church office and learns that Boyette is very likely the killer of a young cheerleader who vanished some 15 years ago. Worse, Donte Drumm, a young black man, is due to be excuted by the state of Texas within a couple of days for the crime.

Boyette has a brain tumor which he says will kill him within a year, and he sort of, maybe, might like to clear his conscience and confess to the crime. Moreover, he can prove what he says because he knows where the body is buried, and he is wearing the dead girl’s high school ring on a chain around his neck.

In the meantime, we meet all the various players in the drama: The driven defense lawyer who is fighting a losing battle to get a stay of execution for Donte Drumm, Donte’s strong mother and siblings, the former friend of Donte’s who lied on the witness stand, the drama-queen mother of the dead girl who is milking the media circus for all it’s worth, and assorted other people representing the state of Texas who are convinced Donte is guilty and don’t want another stay of execution.

Reverend Shroeder decides his duty in the matter is to break the law by driving Travis Boyette out of state to Slone, Texas, to confess to the crime and hopefully stop the execution of an innocent man. But Boyette disappears, the clock is ticking down for Donte Drumm, and the State of Texas manifests a deep dislike of being proven wrong in the conviction of Donte Drumm, especially when the town of Slone explodes with racial violence.

The novel is tense and suspenseful, with several nice twists, and Grisham does an excellent job of pointing out the dilemma inherent in the death penalty. What is really frightening is the possibility that a scenario similar to the one depicted by Grisham could happen, or may have already happened.

Assessment: John Grisham’s The Confession is an excellent way to spend a couple of evenings.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What Are Your Issues?

Photo courtesy of Gregory Szarkiewicz

Do you have issues that you’re dealing with in your life? Do you want to dig deeper, giving your stories more intense plots and emotional conflicts? If you want to give your stories more steam, propelling them forward, giving you the momentum to actually finish writing your book, then you need to bring those issues into your novel!

I often meet people online and at writers’ conferences who tell me that they’ve started writing a project, but can’t finish it. What’s usually helped me to finish a story is to write about something that sparks my interest, and that usually involves writing about issues and concerns that have affected my life and the lives of my loved ones.

Alcoholism is something that has been a part of a lot of my friends and family members’ lives, and, I noticed, that it was an issue that kept popping up in my books. When you place your issues into your own novels, you might find the steam and the gumption to keep going, to keep writing, until you type those magical words: THE END.

Another issue that I’ve included in my novels is financial dishonesty. I’ve noticed that due to my personal experiences, I get emotional when dealing with my finances and the finances of others. I dig as deep as I can and try to bring those emotions into the pages of my novel.

It’s good to start with emotional issues and then you can add more things that you enjoy while creating your story. I’ve always had a fondness for good-tasting food, and I’ve had a number of people tell me that reading my books makes them hungry!

So think about your life, your issues, and your interests. Layer them throughout your book and I can almost guarantee that you’ll want to finish that tale – and you’ll be passionate about your story, too!

What makes you happy, sad, angry, or upset? Figure it out, and throw those emotions into your writing!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

National Novel Writing Month

Ask almost anyone if they've ever dreamed of writing a novel. Chances are they'll say yes. Since my first book was released in 2004, I lost count of the would-be writers who tell me they always wanted to write a novel. They either don't know where to start, haven't made the time, or just haven't gotten around to it. Yet their story burns within them.

A man once told me he had a story idea rattling around in his head for twenty years. After he explained his idea in a sentence or two I asked how much more he had. He looked a little sheepish and said, "That's all I got."

NaNoWriMo--National Novel Writing Month--is designed to get those ideas out of your head and onto the page. Best part; it only takes 30 days.

Every November writers around the world sign up for the challenge to write the story on their hearts in 30 days. No editing, no second guessing, no whining to your mother that no one understands your genius. Just sitting in a chair and pounding out the words.

Word count is key at NaNoWriMo. Sometimes the hardest part of writing is getting past one's own doubts in one's abilities. NaNoWriMo takes the pressure off. It doesn't matter if you never took a creative writing course, don't have a third grader's grasp of basic grammar, or have never written as much as an email. All that matters is getting that story from your head to the page. The exercise is quite freeing, whether newbie or multi-published, award winning author.

Last summer my husband gave me an idea for a romance novel. I immediately recognized the novel potential in his idea, but was too busy with other projects to do anything with it. I wrote a quick 8 page synopsis and quickly forgot about it. But every now and then, the idea would come back to haunt me. As November crept closer with no other projects clogging my roster I thought I'd give his idea the attention it deserved. Three days into November and I have written about 10,000 words. I don't know if it's any good yet. That's not the point. I can worry about that in December. All that matters for one beautiful Autumn month is getting the words into my hard drive.

It isn't too late to sign up. Check out the website. Or do the challenge on your own, though I gotta tell you there's something to be said about accountability. How can you go wrong with a million other writers nagging and prodding and cheering you on?

Happy writing. I'll be back later in the month with an update on my progress. If you're part of the NaNoWriMo challenge, look me up and become my writing buddy. My username is teresaslack. If not, post your word count here. We can celebrate NaNoWriMo together.