Thursday, August 26, 2010

Book Review: The Devil in Pew Number Seven

In this book Rebecca Nichols Alonzo relates the harrowing account of the terrorism she and her family encountered when her pastor father was targeted by a controlling church attendee who disliked the direction in which her father was guiding the church.  As Mr. Watts’s anger increased, he escalated his attacks on the Nichols family:  prank phone calls gave way to bombs and snipers.  Through all of the terrifying attacks, Rebecca’s parents, Robert and Ramona Nichols, held tightly to their faith in God and refused to compromise.  They even taught their children to pray for and forgive their attackers.  When an armed gunman entered the Nichols’s home, the family was shattered, and Rebecca, her brother and their extended family had to learn to rely on the forgiveness Rebecca's parents modeled.  
This is a remarkable book.  Alonzo openly and honestly describes the heartache and difficulties she experienced as she picked up the broken pieces of her life.  Her heart for the Lord and her spirit of forgiveness weave an amazing tapestry of beauty and strength out of immense suffering and loss.  Her testimony is powerfully instructive; this is a book I didn’t want to put down.

Thanks to Tyndale House for a review copy of this book.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The First Day and a Meal Plan

Well, today was a day of firsts: our middle son's first day of kindergarten and my first day of teaching a class of high school literature.  There is something tangibly exciting about the first day of a new school year; something that seems to promise a fresh start: a new routine, new knowledge, and new relationships.  I love the freshness of books waiting to be read and people waiting to be known.  It's very exciting.  My sweet little redhead enjoyed his first day of school and I survived mine.  NoBro, our third grader is a seasoned pro at school who tolerated his day with a laid back enthusiasm.  Tinkerbell jumped in with both feet, packing her lunch box and begging to be left at school with her brothers.  Even the weather cooperated with a break in the oppressive humidity we've had for weeks.  Yay for a fun summer and for the routine of fall.

Part of my revised routine is to jump back on the meal planning bandwagon.  Having a plan makes dinner so much less stressful around our house.  So, here it is, the back-to-school, let's-get-organized, weekly menu plan.  Enjoy!

Monday--Fresh Tomato Pasta
Tuesday--Turkey Breast Tenderloin
Wednesday--Stir fry
Thursday--Eating out
Friday--Tomato, Basil Pizza
Saturday--Grilled Chicken with Pine Nuts

This Fresh Tomato Pasta is excellent.  It comes from a Bible study I did this summer called Ruth: Loss, Love and Legacy by Kelly Minter.  I highly recommend both the recipes and the study!

Fresh Tomato Pasta
1 (12oz) package dried linguine
4 large tomatoes, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
6 big leaves of fresh basil, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 (2 1/2 oz.) can sliced ripe olives, drained  (We don't care for olives, so I omitted these.)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese

While pasta water is boiling, combine tomatoes and next 5 ingredients.  Salt the mixture and let the tomatoes soak up the salt for a few minutes, this will bring out the flavor of the tomatoes.  Drain pasta and place in a large bowl.  Top with tomato mixture, and sprinkle with olives and cheese.