Book Review: Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos

After the first chapter of “Imaginary Jesus” written by Matt Mikalatos, I was hooked. The often humorous, always poignant story of Matt’s quest to find the real Jesus amongst all of those imaginary Jesuses in the SSIJ (Secret Society of Imaginary Jesuses) is truly engaging. Some of the imaginary Jesuses are laugh out loud funny—King James Jesus, Testosterone Jesus and Meticulous Jesus.

The book encourages the reader to look into their own life and see the Jesus they have created in their lives that makes them comfortable and dares you to search for who the real Jesus is.

The book begins with the author sitting in a café with his imaginary Jesus when a man walks in and punches Jesus in the face. Jesus, in turn, runs away. What follows is a fast-paced, rollercoaster ride through the authors imagination.

As Mikalatos narrates the story, you learn about some of the personal experiences and struggles he and his family have endured through their lives which gives the book a personal touch that many will be able to relate to. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is struggling to understand who Jesus is and what that means in their life.

As a member of the Tyndale blog network, I was provided this book free of charge by the publisher.

Book Review: Christian Encounters Series: Jane Austen written by Peter Leithart

Christian Encounters: Jane Austen by Peter Leithart

As a fan of all things Jane Austen, I was excited to receive this book in the mail. I have read everyone of Austen’s books at least once (most of them I have read three or four times and I read “Pride & Prejudice” at least once a year). Therefore, I was eager to learn a little more about the author.

While it was interesting reading about the life of Jane Austen (referred to as Jenny through most of the book), there was so much information in this book that I had some difficultly absorbing it all. There were so many letters and references to relatives and friends it was tough to keep everything and everybody straight.

I did enjoy reading about a few of the people in Austen’s life who influenced her characters in her books. Also, the references to her immediate family and her relationship with Tom Lefroy (character in the movie “Becoming Jane”) gave some insight into the author’s life.

Over all, I would recommend this book for anyone doing research into Austen’s life but for a quick overview of her life, there are better options on the market.

As a member of Thomas Nelson’s reader review panel at booksneeze, I received my copy of this book free of charge from the publisher.

Are you an exercise-phob?

So, as I was working out today during my lunch hour, I was thinking about how easy it is for me to skip my needed exercise routine. Then I started thinking about the excuse I give for not exercising: I don’t have enough time, I don’t like any exercise, I don’t want to go to the gym and exercise in front of a bunch of strangers.

And the more I thought about it, the more I realize that those excuses are just that: EXCUSES. You can always make time to exercise. I have the advantage of a small workout room in my office building so I can go down there and workout during my lunch hour (plus we have an added advantage because they just replaced all of the 15 year old equipment with brand new stuff last month!!). I can also get up a little earlier and squeeze in 30 more minutes of exercise. I can take a “smoke break” and walk around the parking lot at the office for 15 minutes. And, now that the time changed and it’s lighter an hour later when I get off work, I could probably squeeze something in after work.

Ok, so much for the “I don’t have time” excuse. Now let’s tackle the “I don’t like any exercise” excuse. I am sure that when you were younger you preferred one activity over all others. I’ve always really enjoyed being in the water so swimming was always a lot of fun for me. About three years ago I also discovered triathlons and really love going out there with a bunch of other athletes and enjoy a swim, bike, run race (ok, I don’t enjoy the run so much but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the swim and the bike). And, while I won’t win any age group categories, it is a great thing to keep me motivated to exercise during the weeks leading up to the race as well. There are a ton of options out there as far as what to when it comes to exercising. In one of my weight watchers meetings, the leader had us do a very informative exercise: list at least one activity for every letter of the alphabet, from A to Z.

Finally, if you don’t like going to the gym, I have found a great alternative with exercise DVDs, there are so many choices on the market, you are sure to find one you like. My favorites include the Slim in 6 series done by beach body and any of the Jari Love DVDs (great strength training). Right now I’m doing the P90X DVDs (bought them on ebay and saved about $75). Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve got about 80 pounds to lose still and I am by NO means ripped and what I would call “fit” but I can do most of the P90X workouts. I am not as intense as the goofy trainer on the DVDs but at least I am moving. Another thing that I’ve found that I love, love, love is the EA sports active for the Wii. The Wii active lets you do some serious cardio and even gives you a pretty good estimate of how many calories you burn while doing the workout. Another added bonus is that you can set up your own workouts and time it for the amount of time you have.

So, get out there, get moving and find something that you enjoy!!

Saving money, a little at a time

Last year I learned about a local grocery store that has double and triple coupon sales about once a month and a friend of mine told me about a great website that showed you all kinds of local deals. So, at the beginning of 2010, I decided I was going to try and see how much money I could save between coupons and earning cash and prizes off of the internet. Well, it’s the beginning of March and, to date, I’ve saved $400.00. Pretty good considering the fact that I am single and really don’t do THAT much shopping.

So, I thought I’d share some of the ways you can save money. I will include links to everything at the bottom of this blog for you to use.

The first, and probably the biggest is using coupons at the grocery stores. A couple of the local stores will double coupons up to 50 cents and there are several website from which you can print coupons.  The website I use to get the best deals locally is www.faithfulprovisions.com. She does a great job of breaking down the sales at Publix, Kroger, Harris Teeter, CVS, Target, Walgreens and Walmart (and she gives you links to the other sites for even more deals).

Another way I have found to make a little money is using rebate sites online that pay you a percentage of cash back. If you do any shopping online, this is a great way to go because you earn a little money back every time you shop.

Finally, there are several websites online that either pay you or reward you for using their site to link to other sites, to read emails or to do internet searches. It takes a little bit of time but it all pays out in the end.

So, if you are looking for ways to earn and/or save a little money, those are just a few. Look around and you may find other deals.

Coupon links:

www.coupons.com

www.smartsource.com

www.redplum.com

Shopping rebate sites (also pays you for anyone who signs up through your referrals):

http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=6bG04P46CnVMuIDlUa0sig%3D%3D

http://www.shopathome.com/?IAFCG=QZoXL1+av5qvXjQHY64waA==

Online resources:

http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/nashpredsfan (win points to go towards rewards and get points for referrals)

http://us.beruby.com/promocode/u5OQYJ (earn every time you log onto the site and when you link to social networking sites as well as yahoo, gmail, etc and earn cash back for shopping).

http://www.inboxdollars.com/?r=ref4426883 (earn cash back for taking surveys, shopping online, completing offers and reading “paid emails”).

www.shop4freebies.com (check this site every day and sign up for free samples)

Happy Savings!!!!