Book review: 7: an experimental mutiny against excess

Jen Hatmaker convinces her family and her closest friends to “pare down to what is necessary, what is noble.”  She undertook 7 months of fasting, with one fast per month.

Here was her order of fasting (and, incidentally, the order of the chapters):

  • Food
  • Clothes
  • Possessions
  • Media
  • Waste
  • Spending
  • Stress

She has small children, so they did not participate in the fasts of food or clothing.  As she said, “Some months of this project were simply not kid friendly.”  But some life events during the fasts were extremely kid friendly.  Did I mention that she adopted 2 orphans from Africa during the fast?  Without going over her budget?  Now, a friend paid for the second adoption, but taking on 2 strange (meaning unknown to you, not weird!) kids to live in your home and be part of your family, is not for the faint of heart.

Of necessity, this book is self-reflective.  But Jen is honest about what she sees.  And she admittedly cheats a little during a couple of the fasts.  And she obsesses a lot about what she can’t have.  But she also stresses the importance of the relationships she has with the friends and family who are participating with her, and how it helps her stay on track.  (Note to self:  If you ever decide to do this, don’t go it alone.)

I really liked this book, and plan to read it again soon, despite the uncomfortable proddings from the Holy Spirit about the excesses in my life.  Permit me to conclude with this passage from her conclusion:

We’re so conditioned to being a problem that we’ve forgotten we’re actually the answer.  God is not angry at you; how could He possibly be?  You are His daughter, His son; you’re on the team.  Don’t imagine He is sitting us all down for a lecture.  Rather, He’s staging a rally, gathering the troops.  The church is rising like a phoenix right now, collecting speed and power.

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True.  With justice he judges and wages war.  His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns.  He has a name written on him that no one know but he himself.  He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.  (Rev. 19:11-13)

Something marvelous and powerful is happening in the church.  The Bride is awakening and the Spirit is rushing.  it is everywhere.  This movement is not contained within a denomination or demographic, not limited to a region or country.  It’s sweeping up mothers and pastors and teenagers and whole congregations.  A stream became a current, and it is turning into a raging flood.  It is daily gathering conspirators and defectors from the American Dream.  It is cresting with the language of the gospel:  the weak made strong, the poor made rich, the proud made humble.

The body of Christ is mobilizing in unprecedented numbers.  Jesus is staging a massive movement to bind up the brokenhearted and proclaim freedom for captives.  The trumpet is blowing.  We are on the cusp, on the side of the Hero.  So while we’re mistakenly warring with ourselves, Jesus is waging war on injustice, and calling us to join Him.

Maybe we should listen.


Book review: Lace one-skein wonders

Judith Durant has written an awesome book for the intermediate knitter who wants to learn lace or bust some stash.

The projects start simply, with lace embellishments to simple hats, and increase in difficulty to include yummy lacy fingerless gloves.  I must confess a strong partiality to both the Trellis Mitts and the Travel-worthy Mitts.  Also, the I Heart You  Dress almost makes me want to have a kid.  Almost.  As for the scarves & the cowls, there’s not a bad one in the bunch.  None of them looks terribly difficult, but you won’t die of boredom, either.

The variety of projects means that you will have an appropriate gift for yourself or for anyone who has the exceptionally good taste to like handknits.

Projects include both written and charted instructions, which is particularly nice for those of us who are chart-phobic.  There are also projects that use thicker yarn, so you can practice lace-knitting skills while simultaneously making visible progress on your project.

I can’t wait to get my grubby little hands on a real copy of this book.  Highly recommended.

Book review: Handmade books for everyday adventures

I have to say, I love this little book by Erin Zamrzia.  It is engaging and beautifully photographed.  She writes as one who knows each reader personally.  The illustrations and directions are easy to follow, and the project ideas are terrific.   I definitely plan to make at least one book necklace, and who doesn’t need a waterproof book (or two)?  Belongs on the bookshelf of every crafter.

Books I want to own – The concise guide to self-sufficiency

Rarely does a book live up to its title, but this one does. Everything from soil preparation from canning and freezing. Includes waste management and heating and cooling and how to set up a workshop that is durable but inexpensive. It even has recipes for chicken mash! Lots of illustrations and very clear instructions. The font is a little small (either that, or I’m getting old!), but the book is small. It can easily be carried in a largish purse, and the binding is sewn perfectly, which means that it will stay open on a table so that you can use both hands to do what you need to do. It also has a good, reliable index.

The concise guide to self-sufficiency by John Seymour. It’s probably out of print, but definitely worth hunting down (one of the few things it doesn’t tell you how to do!) and getting.

Books I want to own – Starter vegetable gardens: 24 no-fail plans for small organic gardens

by Barbara Pleasant, co-author of The complete compost gardening guide (yes, another book  I want).

I love this book!

It has shopping lists for every year.  It has labeled (as opposed to keyed) diagrams.  It has plans for long hot summers and short cool summers.  Living in Florida, I might need the former more than I need the latter.  Although I hear that that broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts grow very well here in the winter.  It tells you when to plant stuff, and how to use vegetables as ornamentals.  Well-indexed, too.  I may have to dig some green stuff out of my wallet for this one.

Books I need to return to the library – Grow Great Grub

Grow great grub: organic food from small spaces – Gayla Trail


I really like this book – lots of detail about various plants and how much each one produces and the ideal growing environment.

Also, lots of cute ideas for crafts and planting herbs in cans, plus recipes.

Dang!  I like this book.  I may end up putting this in my books I want to own list.

Maybe I’ll return it later.