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Blog on the Move!

12 Aug

A Sharper Focus Blog is now at:

That’s right, I’m moving! Last fall I took a web design class so that I could customize my blog more and expand my web capabilities. After a summer of working on the new blog, I’ve moved the blog from a site to a site and am ready for you to join me. Come on over and don’t forget to press the Follow button on the bottom right to stay connected!

Recent Reading: Kisses from Katie

4 Nov

I read this book this past summer and have been meaning to share it with you. During November I am mindful for that which I am thankful. I am so thankful for this book! Do you see that exclamation point? I don’t use it flippantly here, because Katie’s book was such an eye-opening blessing to me.

Katie Davis went to Uganda to teach preschool for a year after she finished high school, and is still there to this day doing a great work to love and aid the Ugandan people. She is open and transparent describing her joys and struggles through the first years starting up her ministry. This might sound weird, but it was reassuring to read of her trials. Katie demonstrates great faith through her hardships, and it’s encouraging to see how she gets through immense challenges with such grace. She pours out her heart to the Ugandan people, especially the children, in such desperate need. I hope you pick up this book this November. It won’t take long to read, but it will forever leave an impression on your heart.

This video gives you a taste of what Katie and the Amazima Ministry is about.

You can also read Katie’s blog here. Even after reading her book she continues to inspire and challenge me in my own walk.

Summer Reading: The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict

14 Aug

So, I guess I should get this out now, as you will probably figure it out on your own if I keep doing book reviews. I really like juvenile fiction. There, I said it. I know I’m well past the age demographic for this genre, but I have found some really fun and entertaining books in the juvenile section of my library. So if you too enjoy this genre you are not alone!

On that note, have you read any of The Mysterious Benedict Society series by Trenton Lee Stewart? I read the three part series two summers ago and loved them! The stories revolve around four children that are each gifted in their own way who work together, solving puzzles and mysteries to save their world from an evil villain. I realize that sounds like a pretty generic summary, but I really don’t want to give too much away. It’s a really fun series.

The reason I thought about the Benedict Society series is because this past year Stewart came out with a prequel to the series that I also thoroughly enjoyed. The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict. This novel delves into the childhood of the main adult character of the Benedict Society series and can easily stand alone if you haven’t read the other books, or give some interesting insight to the character if you have read the fore mentioned series. Stewart does a great job capturing childlike hope in his characters, even through great adversity.

Maybe this is one of the reasons I am drawn to juvenile fiction. I like to be reminded that the good guys can still overcome evil. Also, on another note I really like Carson Ellis’ illustrations for these books.

Summer Vacation – Last Little Bit

13 Aug

Here are the rest of the photos from our vacations to Gulfshores, Alabama, although these photos were taken two totally different places!

We went to Fairhope, just north of Gulf Shores, for an afternoon and found this fun place called Dr. Music. I had taken a picture of the outside of the store a few years back, but had never gone inside.

To my surprise it wasn’t just records and music as I had thought! They also had used books, and vintage suitcases, typewriters, radios, and more things I can’t remember.

Definitely a fun place to look around and next door there is a yarn store with this cute cat chilling in the window.

On the way home from Alabama, Sean and I decided to stop in Covington, Louisiana, to visit the final resting place of Walker Percy. This might sound a little morbid, but Percy is one of Sean’s favorite authors.

Percy is buried at Saint Joseph Abbey cemetery. The abbey and grounds are beautiful, with many large old oak trees.

It was a wonderful end to our vacation.

Summer Reading: The Chronicles of Harris Burdick

23 Jul

I have had the great pleasure of getting to read quite a bit this summer. Something I don’t always have the to luxury of doing for long stretches of time during the school year. Sean and I also got Library cards! It’s so nice to get to choose books and not be afraid you’re not going to like it after paying a pretty penny for it.

If you are looking for some excellent and fun summer reading of your own I would highly recommend The Chronicles of Harris Burdick. This is a compilation of 14 short stories by a pretty impressive list of well known authors all focusing around Chris Van Allsburg’s illustrations. If you’re not familiar with Chris Van Allsburg, he’s the author/illustrator of Jumanji and The Polar Express. Ring a bell? His drawings are magical, and this book truly capitalizes on the mystery of his illustrations with the quirky and captivating stories that accompany each one.

Do you have a favorite Chris Van Allsburg book or favorite summer read? I’d love to hear about it!

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