Archive for December, 2012

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Kindle Fire or Kindle Paperwhite?

Our anniversary and my birthday are less than a week apart, with Christmas in between. Sometimes that means one larger gift that covers all the occasions. I guess I wasn’t very subtle about what was on my wish list this year for Christiversaday–a replacement for the Kindle I couldn’t find when I returned home from a trip a while back.

I’d played around a few minutes with a friend’s Kindle Fire 7Kindle Fire and was impressed by the colors and apps. So that’s what I was crossing my fingers for. And that’s what my husband blessed me with on our anniversary. We enjoyed getting acquainted with it together.

Though the apps and games would be fun, my main use of a Kindle is for reading. So my heart sank when I realized that reading on the Kindle Fire is missing the same 2 important features that are lacking on the Kindle app for various devices (iphone, android, iPad, PC, Mac, Blackberry,Windows Phone 7)  –features that were a normal part of my earlier Kindle experience:

  • Unbroken continuation of a highlight from one page to the next.
  • The ability to organize my books into Collections.

Highlighting. On my earlier Kindle, to continue a highlight to the next page, I just kept the cursor moving to the bottom corner of the screen and the page automatically turned and the highlight continued. By contrast, when I’m highlighting in the Kindle app on my phone or on an iPad, I can’t drag the highlight beyond the bottom of the screen. That means if the passage continues on the next page, I have to start a new highlight on the next page. So when I go later to my notes and highlights, I find it saved as if it were two highlights rather than as one passage. That’s the way the Kindle Fire does it too.

Collections. Some people keep only a few books at a time on their Kindles and store the rest in “the cloud” until they want them (I know that’s an accepted term and shouldn’t need quotation marks, but it sounds like a nebulous–pun intended–metaphor to me.). But I keep pretty much everything in my device. So I want a way to organize my books and not have to page through several hundred hoping to find the one I want. The Collection feature on my earlier Kindle let me create categories that are most useful to me–fiction, Christian living, China, biography, etc. That feature is not available in Kindle apps or in the Kindle Fire.

I had made the big mistake of assuming that every new Kindle product was an upgrade–keeping the great features and making them better. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. It was too subtle for me that the Getting Acquainted with Kindle page was showing a Kindle Fire Family of devices and a Kindle E-reader Family. I thought Kindle meant Kindle.

Kindle Paperwhite, 6I returned the Kindle Fire and ordered instead a Kindle Paperwhite E-reader. Now that has what I wanted and more.

What I wanted:

  • Collections.
  • Highlighting that continues to next page.

And more:

  • Noticeably smaller size and lighter weight than the Kindle Fire and earlier Kindle e-readers.
  • Touch screen.
  • On-screen keyboard that pops up as needed.
  • Higher resolution (62% more pixels)
  • Adjustable built-in light that is not a backlight  (page down here for a more technical description).

When it comes to reading, the Kindle Fire is in competition with iPad, not with Kindle e-readers. If you want color and don’t care as much about the reading features, a Kindle Fire is probably what you want.

But if you’re like me and want the possibility of 1000 books in one 7.5-ounce device you can drop in your pocket, purse, or carry-on, go for a Kindle e-reader (Kindle E-reader Family on this page). My choice is the Kindle Paperwhite.


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Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Dear traveler

If you love a traveler or love to travel, you might want to take a look at the gift ideas at Tell Me When to Pack.

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Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Advent: Looking backward and forward

Last Sunday, I asked, “What is Advent?”  But that answer was only half the answer. I quoted this passage, which looks back to all God’s people who were waiting for God’s salvation, which came to us through Jesus, born at Christmas:

Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. (1 Peter 1:10-12)

But if we keep reading, the very next verses turn our eyes forward in Advent, looking toward the return of Jesus–his second coming.

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  14 As obedient children,  do not be conformed to the passions  of your former ignorance,  15 but  as he who called you is holy, you also be holy  in all your conduct,  16 since it is written,  “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”  (1 Peter 1:13-16)

There will be another advent of Christ; he will come again.

Advent is a season for introspection. Peter gives us God’s high standard as we contemplate our standing with him: “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). This is a time to ask ourselves questions like:

  • Am I clear-thinking and sober-minded, or are my concerns mainly trivial? (verse 13)
  • Is my hope set fully on the grace I will receive from Jesus at his Second Coming, or do I cringe at the thought of leaving behind the life I love? (verse 13)
  • Am I an obedient child of my Father, or am I still shaped by the passions that drove me before? (verse 14)

If regular personal devotions are not part of our lives, this would be a time tailor-made to begin. We remember that God charged the adults in Deuteronomy 11 to “lay up these words in your heart and in your soul” (verse 18), and that he expects us to “love the LORD [our] God” (verse 1). The living water in our own hearts is the fountain from which we shower Christ on our family. Our time with God and his preparation of us is a necessary foundation. Without it our Christmas activities will degenerate into hoopla.

But however much we want a significant Christmas celebration for our families, that is not the primary reason for our contemplation and self-examination. Our deeper motivation is the strengthening of our ultimate hope in Jesus, “so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming” (1 John 2:28).

May this time be a reflection of what our lives are—gratitude for the promises that were fulfilled when God gave us the gift of his son and anticipation of and preparation for Christ’s coming again.

Treasuring God in Our TraditionsAdapted from Treasuring God in Our Traditions

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Saturday, December 1st, 2012

Lots more books for boys (and girls too)

After my list of books for boys a few days ago, here are a few more I thought of:

The Wheel on the School   Treasure Island (Sterling Illustrated Classics) sKidnapped   The Call of the Wild, White Fang & To Build a Fire (Modern Library Classics)

The Swiss Family Robinson   J.R.R. Tolkien 4-Book Boxed Set: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (Movie Tie-in): The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King   Cross and the Switchblade, The, 45th ann. ed.   The Swamp Fox of the Revolution (Sterling Point Books)

James Herriot, 3 Volumes Boxed Set Includes: Bruchko: The Astonishing True Story of a 19-Year-Old American, His Capture by the Motilone Indians and His Adventures in Christianizing the Stone Age Tribe   Peace Child: An Unforgettable Story of Primitive Jungle Treachery in the 20th Century   The Adventures of Tintin, Vol. 1 (Tintin in America / Cigars of the Pharaoh / The Blue Lotus)


Then wow! Thank you so much for your many, many  suggestions. Let’s start with books actually written by a couple of you:


Tahosa TreasureBy Hannah McKay and her father, Jeff Roth

To be released in January — 1st in a series

All they wanted was a little adventure. What they got was the adventure of a lifetime.School is out for the summer and Jack, Ben, and Jeb can’t wait to go exploring. Packing their knapsacks and saddling their horses, the trio sets out. But when they stumble across a hidden cave, they also discover the remains of an old Spanish soldier. And a valuable treasure they never could have imagined! But soon they are being followed by a stranger who wants the treasure. In the chase, the brothers end up trapped in an underground river bed, fighting for their lives. They must find their way out before they perish like the Spanish soldier. The boys have trusted the Lord to help them in the past, but will they trust Him now? Join Jack, Ben, and Jeb as they fight for their lives and learn to trust God in Tahosa Treasure! (Amazon Description)

Rescue Me!: What Superheroes Can Teach Us About the Power of FaithBy Bryce Morgan and Mitch Martin

Rescue Me! is a comic book that helps kids connect classic superhero themes with the amazing message of the Bible. This is not what some might think of as a Christian comic book! This is a classic comic book hero in a classic (family friendly) comic book story, interspersed with lessons connecting themes in the story to the timeless truths of the gospel. Kids of all ages won’t be able to put it down! (learn more at (Amazon description)


Here are a bunch you’ve told us about, many of which I haven’t read, but some of you like them and so I pass them on:


The Mad Scientists' Club Complete Collection by Bertrand R. Brinley published by Purple House Press (2010) [Paperback]   The Count of Monte Cristo   Where the Red Fern Grows   My Side of the Mountain (Puffin Modern Classics)

The Bronze Bow   The Sign of the Beaver   Encyclopedia Brown Box Set (4 Books)The Complete Adventures of the Borrowers

Ginger Pye (Young Classic)  The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Classic Starts)   Hatchet


Each of the following image links represents either a series or one of several books by the same author:

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness: Adventure Peril, Lost Jewels, and the Fearsome Toothy Cows of Skree (The Wingfeather Saga)     The Bark Of The Bog Owl (The Wilderking Trilogy)   Kingdom's Hope (Kingdom, Book 2)   Redwall (Redwall, Book 1)

Three Tales of My Father's Dragon   The Dragon and The Raven (Works of G. A. Henty)   Duncan's War (Crown and Covenant #1)   Guns of Thunder (Faith and Freedom)

Tournament Crisis (Chip Hilton Sports Series, Vol 14)   The Fall (Seventh Tower #1)   The Swamp Robber (Sugar Creek Gang, Book 1)   My Name Is America: The Journal Of Joshua Loper, A Black Cowboy

The Dry Divide   The Volcano of Doom (The Accidental Detectives Series #1)Wings of an Angel (Winds of Light Series) by Brouwer, Sigmund published by Chariot Victor Pub PaperbackThe Ranger's Apprentice Collection (3 Books)

Castaways of the Flying Dutchman   The Worlds of Lois Lowry 3-Copy Boxed Set (The Giver, Messenger, Gathering Blue)The Overland Escape (An American Adventures Series, Book 1)

Now I’m picturing hundreds of boys hidden away in their secret reading nooks–the space between bed and wall, a loft corner, up a tree in clubhouse or on a wide branch, behind the sofa or garage . . . Too bad for you if you were hoping they’d take out the trash or dry the dishes.

Please keep those suggestions coming!


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