You and Me Akin This World

Mark Schrader, captain of OceanWatch, and a team of scientists, a writer, teachers, sailors, and conservationists circumnavigated the Americas between 2009 and 2010 beginning in the northwest.  The purpose of their journey was to educate children, youth, and adults about the similarities of our living space and how our actions affect that space.  The team sailed around North and South America in the 64-foot vessel making stops for educational forums for school children.  In addition, Herb McCormick live-blogged the adventure and wrote One Island, One Ocean as a permanent memorial and academic medium.  The journey took thirteen months to complete beginning May 2009 and was timed to navigate through the Northwest Passage during the northern hemisphere’s spring/summer when the ice would be less of a danger and around the tip of Cape Horn during the southern hemisphere’s spring/summer when the winds and ice were less of a danger.

The message that the team wanted to broadcast is that the way we use and utilize our community and continent affects more than just one area.  It impacts those who live thousands of miles away because we share one ocean.  It impacts human, plant, and animal life.  Our actions are depleting the ice which impacts the continent in rippling effect.  Each action ripples and affects another aspect of the environment.  The photographer, David Thoreson, compiled a breathtaking array of photographs from the journey.  This book is a must-have for anyone’s library!

I received this book free for review in ebook format from netgalley.com.

Photographer’s Blog

Author’s Web Site

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Let Us Not Forget

I would love to say that it is rare that I climb up on my soapbox to preach a sermon, but that is not me.  I climb upon my soapbox every time something  breaks my heart or inspires my sense of justice and mercy.  Today I am not only on my soapbox, but I brought along my megaphone so that others will hear.  The authors of Daughters of Hope, Kay Marshall Strom and Michele Rickett have written a book that had me crying, angry, and hurting.  Forgotten Girls Stories of Hope and Courage is a book of short stories of girls and women who have been oppressed, held captive, raped, beaten, and forced into lifestyles that were not of their chosing.  Stories of girls from Nepal, Indonesia, North Korea, China, Senegal, Egypt, and the Sudan (to name a few of the countries of origin) who were sold into prostitution or forced marriages, were held either kidnapped or abandoned, were ostracized, and who felt unloved or unwanted.

In the introduction, the authors wrote, “Have you ever noticed how seldom something “life changing” really changes your life?  The term gets tossed around a lot – to describe watching the sun set in a gorgeous blaze of color, for instance, or to rave about an exciting adventure.  Consider the number of books with the phrase splashed across the front cover.  Good things, all.  Inspiring and helpful and memorable.  But life changing?  Yet truly life-changing events do occur.  Events that forever mark a divide between the then and now of life.  Between despair and hope.  Between ignorance and understanding.  Between death and life.”  I can tell you that this book IS life changing!

Living in the West, we can read about the horrors of war and dictatorships, but after a time we become immune to the stories or we learn to tune them out.  However that is not what Jesus called us to do.  Jesus called us to live as Micah described in verse 8, “No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”  To do what is right is to seek justice for those that are widowed, orphaned, captive, and oppressed.  Our hearts should be broken for the same reasons that Jesus’ heart was broken.  Strom and Rickett’s book will open your eyes, your heart, your sense of justice and mercy.

The Kidnapped Bride video

I read this book as part of the United Methodist Women’s Reading Program.

Sisters in Service
Reaching Out to the Unreached
News from the Frontlines of Persecution
Human Rights Watch
International Center for Research on Women
United Nations Children’s Fund
World Vision

Visionary Life Planning

A good business person begins with a plan. The business starts with a vision; then a purpose and goals are outlined. The same is true for someone who desires a life that filled with passion, purpose and definition. Craig Groeschel, author of Chazown Define Your Vision, Pursue Your Passion, Live Your Life on Purpose, has written a how-to of life planning. He has also explained the “why” and “what” behind the Hebrew word – Chazown. God created each of us with a purpose. However many of us live in a manner similar to bumper cars. We drive fast seemingly with a purpose in view and then someone else’s vision brings his/her path directly into ours resulting in a crash.

Groeschel begins the life plan by exploring your core values, spiritual gifts, and past experiences. He then moves on to naming your chazown and developing action steps in five spokes – your relationship with God, your relationship with people, your finances, your health and fitness, and your work. Chazown is an easy book to read with questions and activities to help you develop your chazown. In addition, there is a website that enhances your experience and journey.

I received this book free for review from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Chazown Web Site