A Pastor's pleasure and pastoral pleasures

“The Family Audio Bible”

read by Dick Cavett, Marsha Mason, Andrew McCarthy, Martha Plimpton and Tom Wopat

What’s your favorite part of school?

Some kids say recess is most awesome. Others like math or science or history. Maybe you love to be creative with art class.

Most kids would agree, though, that story time is one of the best parts of the school day. Your teacher might read aloud a tale about other kids in other lands. Maybe the stories make you laugh and maybe they’re really exciting.

Perhaps that’s why you love Sunday School: because of the stories. In the new audio book, “The Family Audio Bible,” read by different celebrities your mom and dad would know, you’ll hear many great tales from the Good Book.

For the last few weeks, you’ve probably been hearing the story about how Jesus was born in a manger. You know that shepherds came to Bethlehem with their sheep and Wise Men followed a star and brought the new baby some gifts.

Perhaps you’ve heard the story of the Good Samaritan, which teaches you to be kind to others. Maybe you know all about what happened to the Prodigal Son or Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. These are stories you’re probably familiar with, but you love to hear them, anyhow.

Maybe you’ve heard about the many miracles that Jesus performed. Once, on a hill, he fed five thousand people with a few fish and a few pieces of bread! Another time, he walked on water to calm the Disciples when they were afraid. In this audio book, you’ll hear two wonderful stories about how Jesus gave people the gift of life.

Do you know the tale of Joseph and his beautiful coat, and the jealousy of his many brothers? You’ll hear that in this audio book, as well as the story of the Ten Commandments, the tale of brave Daniel and his faith in the lion’s den, the baptism of Jesus, a happy wedding feast in Cana and many more favorite (and soon-to-be-favorite) Bible stories.

“The Family Audio Bible” is well-done. It’s read by celebrities such as Dick Cavett, Marsha Mason, Tom Wopat and others. It’s quick to enjoy and filled with stories from both the Old and New Testaments. But, it’s not for everybody.

The cover of this audio book looks like it would be perfect for the nursery school crowd. There’s a sweet picture of Noah’s Ark on the front, and the back says it “will delight and inspire children before bedtime or on the go.”

The problem is; yes, this is The Bible, but these stories might not be the happy (and carefully kid-friendly) Sunday School lessons that preschoolers are used to hearing. Taken directly from the New Revised Standard Version of The Bible, they speak bluntly of death, violence, sacrifice and a host of other things that may scare the daylights out of smaller kids, who are more accustomed to gentler Bible verses.

With that in mind, I think “The Family Audio Bible” is perfect for children ages 7 and up, or even for time-strapped adults. For them, this audio book will quickly become an epic favorite.

“Made from Scratch” by Jenna Woginrich

Eggs have gone up in price.

So have fruit, milk and cheese. Vegetables, too; in fact, everything you put on your table costs more these days than it ever did before. You try to bargain shop and get the best deals, but budgeting is a sure challenge.

And clothes? Don’t even mention clothes. Every lost mitten or cap and every outgrown pair of jeans means a needed replacement, and replacements aren’t exactly free.

Another trip to the store gets you thinking. Maybe you could start a garden somewhere. You could learn to sew. Or, if the timing is good, you could shuck the city and move to a homestead, where you’d live like a pioneer. It might be cheaper, right?

Cheaper, maybe not, but definitely more satisfying, as you’ll read in the new book, “Made from Scratch,” by Jenna Woginrich.

After moving from Tennessee to Idaho for the sake of a job, Woginrich began to think about self-sustainability. Tired of processed bread and big-box stores, the idea of homesteading appealed to her. She imagined what it would be like to bake bread, make her own clothes and live on a little farm with gentle cows, fluffy sheep and a few hens scratching in the dirt.

Woginrich found a like-minded mentor at, of all places, her “day job.” Diana and her husband, owners of Floating Leaf Farm, invited Woginrich to enjoy the drama in their barnyard (“Farm TV,” as they called it) and dream of her own homestead. It was there that Woginrich decided she wanted chickens first.

The baby Silkies (a type of chicken) came to the post office, peeping among fifty other fluffballs in Diana’s shipment of chicks. Woginrich whisked her babies home, but alas, her Husky dogs found them, and there were no more chicks.

Undaunted, Woginrich borrowed older chickens and was delighted by the different-colored eggs. She then tried gardening; hand-hoeing first, then learning to grow food on raised-bed plots. Her backyard soon hummed with Italian honeybees and Angora rabbits followed, not long after. Woginrich also learned the hard lesson that being a steward of live creatures isn’t always easy.

In her zeal to get back to a simpler life, Woginrich learned to sew and bake, using antique kitchen tools. Finally, she learned to put more excitement into winter by using her Huskies to mush in the slush.

When the world is going in a direction that many people don’t like, it’s appealing to think about turning back the clock. “Made from Scratch” makes the yearning a little keener.

The author is charmingly naïve, but eager to learn in each chapter, and readers will cheer as she stumbles through her projects. At the end of the chapters are hints and tips for city-dwellers and farm newbies. That makes this book of no real help for experienced farmers, but Woginrich’s enthusiasm is still too fun to miss.

No matter whether you’re a farmer or a farmer wannabe, plant yourself in a chair and grab this book. “Made from Scratch” is something you’ll be itching to read.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books.

© 2009 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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