Ponderings

the blog of Jason C. Stanley

Giveaway: The Plans I Have for You Devotional & Journal

The Plans I Have for You: Devotional, Amy Parker, Zonderkidz, 2015.

About the Devotional:

The devotional is an illustrated 90-day devotional written by bestselling children’s book author Amy Parker and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, teaching and inspiring kids to dream about their future, to focus on faith, love, and joy, and recognize that God has a plan and purpose for each and every one of us.

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Book Review: 7 Women

7WomenCover2057 Women and the Secret of their Greatness, Eric Metaxas, Thomas Nelson, 2015. 

When I think about all the people I have met who have made a difference to my faith, there is an endless list of women. Throughout history the great fathers of the faith have been given the most credit for shaping Christianity. But we cannot overlook the great mothers of the faith. Eric Metaxas attempts to give seven such women their due in his book 7 Women.

Careful to state that this is not a “sequel” to his earlier book 7 Men, Metaxas in his introduction states that too often women are compared to men. As if the greatness of women is only great when compared to the greatness of men. And while this gesture is appreciated, his approach to getting there is a bit long-winded in the wrong direction.

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Book Review: Sandcastle Kings

sandcastle kings coverI was never great at building sandcastles. It seemed that I could never get the right amount of sand and water mixed together to create the castle of my dreams. The sand buckets we used were always the basic round buckets, leaving little opportunities for anything other than round towers. And then there was the tide. It would always come in. It was never a question of “if,” but rather, “when.” When the tide came, the sandcastle never stayed.

Rich Wilkerson, Jr., in his book Sandcastle Kings, pulls on those memory strings as he discusses the spiritually bankrupt world that we are living in and the need/desire to meet Jesus. Using four stories from Luke 7 – the centurion’s faith, the resurrection of the widow’s son, Jesus’ message about John the Baptist, and the anointing by the woman with the alabaster jar – guides the reader into taking a closer look at the many ways we build sandcastles that will one day be wiped away by the storms that will come.

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A Letter to my Dad

dadMy father, Bruce C. Stanley, passed away on Sunday, April 15, 2001 – Easter Sunday. This time of year always proves to be hard at different moments. The joy is always accompanied by the sorrow. The bustle of family and friends visiting is now the companion of an emptiness of missing him. Continue reading

Comic Review: Batman/Superman Vol. 4 Siege

superman batmanBatman/Superman Vol. 4 is written b y Greg Pak and collects issues 16-20 of Batman/Superman, Batman/Superman Annual #2, and Batman/Superman: Futures End #1.

The Story (aka from the Publisher)

Someone is targeting the people closest to Superman—those who wear his sigil, those he cares most about, even innocents whose lives he’s saved. The attacks seem random, but Batman recognizes the pattern. A madman who hates you so much he strikes at the people around you…this is Superman’s Joker.
Worse, the method of the attacks is even more bizarre: the bullets leave no residue, no clues, then seem to disappear into nothingness. Even the World’s Greatest Detective is at a loss.

But when Batman hatches a plan to draw the killer out of hiding, a crucial clue is uncovered—one that reveals that the killer is more closely tied to Superman than they could have imagined! Can Superman, Batman and Supergirl defeat this threat from Superman’s past…or will Superman’s Joker prove to be his final undoing?

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Q&A with Author Andy Symonds

cover77101-mediumMy Father’s Son is Andy Symonds’ debut novel. Symonds has been writing ever since he was a child. In this novel, Nathan is a young man whose father, a decorated Navy SEAL, is killed in combat. Nathan becomes the man of the house, but has to rely on his father’s teammates and friends to teach and show him what it means to become a man. The struggles and challenges of adolescence are amplified by his father’s death.

Select bloggers were provided with a Q&A with Symonds.

Q: Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you do for fun?

A: Anything outdoors. I still play ice hockey weekly, and love to surf, snowboard, run and stay active. And of course reading.

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Q&A with Author Craig A. Steffen

23605078Author Craig A. Steffen’s book A Family Apart: Sleuthing the Mysteries of Abandonment, Adoption and DNA, is his story from being abandoned to being adopted to unraveling the mysteries of his life. It is unlike any memoir you have read before. Steffen employs creative writing skills in the best way to tell his story (review coming soon). Select bloggers were provided with a Q&A with Steffen.

Q: Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you do for fun?

A: I love to travel to beautiful, natural places with my wife Cindy and our German Shepherd, Cyon. We seek out remote spots that are still mostly unspoiled by the presence of humanity. My most recent travels took me to Alaska, Nova Scotia and the Manistee National Forest in Michigan. I’m also an avid Major League Baseball fan and follow the Baltimore Orioles closely. I played competitive baseball for the Dayton Ducks till I was 50. Baseball has played a significant role in my life.

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Comic Review: Side-Kicked

side-kicked-2The Story (aka from the publisher)

It should come as no surprise to learn that within the superhero “community,” egos run rampant. But how does all that free-flowing narcissism impact those just outside the spotlight? Chicago finds out when five of the city’s most loyal Sidekicks finally grow tired of being disrespected by both the prima donnas they work with and the citizenry they strive to protect. And it’s not like the Windy City needs yet another labor upheaval…..

“But You’re Replaceable”

Russell Brettholtz takes the classic superhero story and turns it on its head. While these superheroes in Chicago are given great praise for all that they do for the city, the sidekicks are often over looked. They have many of the same responsibilities, sometimes more, but they receive no recognition.

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Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983)

Mickeys_Christmas_CarolMickey’s Christmas Carol is one of my favorite Christmas specials for a number of years. It is the retelling of the Charles Dickens’ classic short novel, “A Christmas Carol.” It has a large number of cameos from various Disney characters. It is one of those rare animation specials where all these characters from different Disney-Verses show up in the same place. And, the animation is incredible. It is one of the last great animation specials with hand-drawn animation. It feels like a lost art today.

Obviously, Scrooge McDuck as Ebenezer Scrooge, is the main character. McDuck was actually based on Dickens’ Scrooge. Scrooge’s home was in the comics, but was in an animated film once prior to this one: 1967’s Scrooge McDuck and Money. Scrooge is a grouchy, old man who is more concerned about his money than he is the welfare of others.

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5 Books to Read This Advent

5 Advent BooksThe Advent season has started. It is the new year of the church calendar, where we anticipate not just the arrival of the Christ Child at Christmas, but the unknown day and time when Christ will return. Diane M. Houdek, one of the authors featured here, writes, “Advent challenges us to step away form the hectic activity of the world, even if only for a short time each day.”

Advent beckons us to slow down during what is likely the busiest time of the year. Advent calls us to seek a deeper relationship with the One born in the mundane of life. Each of the five books listed below are useful tools to a reader or a small group this Advent to slow down and assure that everything – all of us – are rooted deeply in the Christ Child.

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