5M4B disclosure

citizenRob Peabody was just a normal American Christian, albeit of the professional variety. The lead campus pastor of a mega-church in the south, he was part of a growing church and excited to see many people coming every Sunday, and yet sensed that there was more out there, that he was somehow missing out. He realized his church and his faith had little connection with the world around him. And so he began to re-examine his Bible and Jesus’ teachings, began to reach out and connect with a Title I school just around the corner from his large church, and ultimately, ended up in London, England, where he’s helped start a new missional movement called “Awaken.”

Citizen: Your role in the alternative kingdom traces his personal journey but it’s much more–it’s a wake-up call to the church that being saved was never supposed to just be a Get Out of Hell Free card (his term, which I enjoyed) but is instead meant to result in transformed lives which lead to transformed communities. The medieval monks had it wrong–we’re not supposed to just live in Christian bubbles where we’re good moral people, but instead we should be making a difference in the world around us. I’m paraphrasing here, but this book grounds itself both theologically and historically, and it spoke to my heart.

Moving between narratives that give clear examples as well as looking at the historical context of the gospel and how it’s been traditionally interpreted, Peabody has created a book with a very clear message. We’re citizens of heaven, and that makes a difference to how we live while we’re still residents on earth, whether that be in America, England, or wherever. We may say, “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” but how many of us really believe and live that beyond perhaps voting a certain way (ironically enough, since the Bible doesn’t concern itself with political parties) and making a weekly Sunday morning trek?

I have to say this really resonated with me. Every since returning to the States after living overseas, I’ve been grieved to see so many people living lives that seem trivial, concerned with nothing more lasting than a child’s soccer game or lost luggage after a Hawaiian vacation, when all around us there is real suffering and real issues of life. Rob’s tone isn’t condescending or judgmental but he’s in earnest and I think he’s right. I give Citizen my highest recommendation.

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Wow! I liked Paddington #PaddingtonMovie

I received a gift card so that I could take my family to see the movie. I was also given the opportunity to interview Nicole Kidman. As always, my opinions are my own. Yes, that’s a “wow” of surprise. I’m not totally a movie snob. I enjoy children’s movies in general, but I wasn’t particularly looking forward to seeing Paddington. My 10-year-old son Kyle wanted to see it, and it opened last weekend, but it was a busy weekend, and it wasn’t a top priority for me. But then I had a last-minute opportunity to do a phone interview with Nicole Kidman, one of the movie’s stars, and so even though I couldn’t see it before I interviewed her, I made plans to take Kyle
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Saving Grace

Grace Chapman appears to live a charmed life – married to a successful novelist, living in a beautiful home in the New York City suburbs, volunteering at a women’s shelter where she teaches the residents to cook. But looks can be deceiving and only a few of her closest friends and family know how volatile her husband, Ted, can be. Grace walks on eggshells, never knowing what Ted’s mood will be like. And only Ellen, their assistant of 15 years, can handle his temper. But Ellen has left her position to take care of her ailing mother and Grace is floundering without her. So when Grace meets Beth, a woman who seems perfect to take over for Ellen, it’s a dream come true, and Beth seamlessly
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World’s Worst Mom, Lenore Skenazy Comes to TV {Books on Screen}

Way back in 2008, Lenore Skenazy let her then 9-year-old son ride the subway alone, and her story prompted a fair level of public outrage. Her name became associated with the label “America’s Worst Mom,” but Lenore didn’t tuck her tail and fade away. Instead, she stuck with her gut and continued to pursue the idea that children are more capable than many imagine. The parental decision that her son was prepared and experienced enough to make a solo subway ride paved the way for a movement in modern parenting. The blog Free-Range Kids was born shortly after, and Skenazy’s 2009 book, Free-Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry) presented the main thesis of her viewpoint– kids need to be kids, but
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Enter to win Free-Range Kids, one of Jennifer’s and Dawn’s 5-Star Reads

Back in July 2009, Dawn and I each read and reviewed Free-Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry by Lenore Skenazy. Our back and forth Q&A style review remains one of my favorites, not only because I am still recommending this book 5 1/2 years later, but because it continues to inform my parenting choices. Dawn had the opportunity to preview Lenore Skenazy’s new TV show (link is now live). Please check out her thoughts on World’s Worst Mom on TLC as well as a post at 5 Minutes for Mom featuring her interview with Skenazy: Have your parenting choices been questioned? I noticed that the paperback version (pictured above) has a slightly changed title which I like: Free-Range Kids, How
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The Beautiful and The Wicked

Ten years ago, in the year 2008, Lila Day’s sister Ava was a guest on the boat of software billionaire Jack Warren. Her being there was controversial, in her position of Jack’s mistress, as his wife and daughter were also aboard. On the night of his fiftieth birthday, Jack disappeared but his blood was found spattered all over a certain deck–and a gun was found with Ava’s fingerprints on it. It seems pretty obvious she killed him, but she’s been missing ever since and most people think she’s also dead. Lila, however, is positive she’s not–not guilty and not dead either, just hiding. In the intervening years, she trained as a police detective and was a very good one, especially with cold cases. And she
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Peanut Butter and Naan

Jennifer Hillman-Magnuson was raising her 5 kids in Nashville, where they lived a comfortable existence in a large house, and her days were filled with car-pooling and kids’ activities. She was worried that her kids were getting spoiled by excess, so when her husband’s company offered them the chance to move for India for just under a year, she leaped at it. The result is Peanut Butter and Naan, a book of travel essays that manages to be both laugh-out-loud funny and heart-warming at the same time. Jennifer’s kids ranged in age from teens to toddlers, and their life in Chennai plunges all of them into the colourful chaos of life in a crowded, hot Indian city. Jennifer finds a good friend in their landlady,
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Paddington in the Pages

Are your kids excited about the new Paddington movie? Judging from the previews, it veers from the book significantly, but I think it opens up the door to share some of the classic — or new — stories with them. Harper Collins sent me some new books with an obvious tie-in with the movie, some reprints and others all new, that are specially targeted to toddlers, preschoolers, and independent readers: Paddington Bear All Day Board Book and Paddington Bear Goes to Market Board Book are classic stories by Michael Bond reprinted for the first time as board books. They are slim books and a great 6 x 6 size, which would be perfect to slip into your purse or diaper bag. The stories are sweet
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It Was Me All Along, a 5-Star Read

If you are a fan of memoir, I highly recommend this book. It is described as a “weight-loss memoir,” and yes, that’s her primary struggle, but it has all the structure and flow of any really great memoir. Andie Mitchell is descriptive (yet never shares TMI), honest, insightful and funny. Though her primary challenge is her obesity and her relationship with food, she shares about growing up with a mother who was loving, but absent, since she had to work so much to support the family, and an alcoholic father who was dangerous in the way that alcoholics can be. It Was Me All Along takes us from her childhood through post-college, and I could relate to all those times in her life as she
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Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah

When nonfiction reads like a story, children can get lost in the story. In the case of Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson and illustrated by Sean Qualls, I found I even needed to remind myself that this lyrically told, incredible story was in fact a true one. Children and adults alike, prepare to be amazed. Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah was born with a significant physical deformity in his right leg. In his community in Ghana, there was little, if any, respect for people with disabilities. Though his father left, his mother had faith in his ability to overcome his disability and live a “normal” life. He learned to adapt- crawling and hopping to get around, shining shoes for money, and
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I Survived the Destruction of Pompeii, AD 79

I Survived the Destruction of Pompeii, AD 79 is the latest edition in the I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis. Each of the books takes the reader into a historical disaster and shares many details of what happened and how people may have escaped. Tarshis does a huge amount of historical research to get as much detail into the situation as possible. It’s amazing how much you can get from a quick 112 page book. In this iteration, two Roman slaves have been brought to Pompeii after their kind and learned master dies. Marcus and his father Tata are separated, with Marcus staying with his old master’s brutal nephew and Tata being sold to gladiators. Times are brutal for any not of the ruling class, and
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Hello From the Gillespies

We receive dozens of Christmas cards every year, and I like to tape them to a piece of ribbon, then hang them in our living room.  This year I even had a sort of theme to each ribbon. I love receiving cards from family we never see, old friends of my parents, and college friends, and of course with the cards often comes the Christmas letter – loved by some, dreaded by others. I confess to having written a letter myself once or twice, though it’s not something I’ve continued. Angela Gillespie, on the other hand, has written a Christmas letter every year for the past 33 years, detailing life with her husband, Nick, on their sheep station on the edge of the Outback, the activities of their
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