Monday, October 7, 2013

City on Fire Book Review

City on Fire by Tracy Higley was a fascinating read.  I have long been a historical fiction fan.  This novel of Pompeii is set in 79 A.D. in the period before and during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that buried Pompeii.

Quintus Cato, his mother, and younger sister had recently moved to Pompeii from Rome, at the urging of Cato’s married sister.  Cato was involved in politics in Rome, but as a man of integrity, he was unable to turn the tide of corruption there.  His hope was to settle down, be a good businessman, and leave politics behind.  However, he soon discovered that a ruthless, arrogant, corrupt man named Maius ran the city of Pompeii.  Soon Cato was approached about running against Maius for the leading office.  As soon as Maius knew a man of integrity hoped to unseat him, he began attacking Cato, trying to destroy his livelihood by fire, his sister’s marriage and reputation, and even hired thugs to assault him.

A gladiator troop came to Pompeii.  Most of the citizens found violence very entertaining.  Some of the fare of the arena included lions killing Christians.  A young Jewish girl, who had joined the gladiator troop to escape slavery to a wicked master in Rome, lived disguised as a male gladiator.  Ariella was in danger of losing her life in the arena when Cato rescued her.

Both of them became involved with a Christian group who was instrumental in leading them to faith in Jesus as Messiah.

Higley visited Pompeii twice.  Her research has enabled her to portray the society of Pompeii as well as the Christian sect as they likely interacted in history.  As depraved as that society was, the Christians show that through God’s grace, God’s people can live godly lives in the midst of a fallen generation.  That fact should give hope to Christians in our day.

One-fifth of the book deals with the volcano eruption, its stages, and the effects on the townspeople—in slow motion.  I was gratified by the way the Christians responded with compassion and grace even toward those who had imprisoned them for their faith in Christ.

I felt Higley handled adult situations very carefully, but because some of the gods and goddesses worship is alluded to, I would not want my juvenile readers exposed to it.  The Word List at the start of the book was very helpful and I referred to it frequently.

I received this book for free from Book Sneeze in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Baptismal Service 9-8-13

 September 8 was a beautiful day for the baptismal service.  The next day all the rains started that caused flooding in Colorado.  We were blessed to have this beautiful day before the storm!
 Jonathan giving a wave!
 Randy helped with the baptism of Joy and Katie.
 Steve was teaching Quil and Micah how to make a reed whistle.
Micah trying the whistle.
We had some scripture and a few songs, led by Rev. Marvin Mosley.
 There was no rain, thankfully, but the sun was bright, and umbrellas were handy.
 Janet, Beth, and Jonathan enjoying the shade of the umbrella.
 Three of the Lucas children were baptized:  Sammy, Carrie, and Crystal
 Our daughter-in-law, Joy was baptized.
 The Lucas children after being baptized
Rowen's cousin, Katie, being baptized
 Several older ones preferred the pouring method of baptism.
 Rowen, Katie, and Joy
 Afterwards, we were invited to the Lucas home for food and a time of sharing music and testimonies.
 It was a wonderful day of the Lord's blessings!

Emily getting braces!

On September 5, Emily got her braces!

Our favorite orthodontist, Dr. Richter, (who did Jeffrey's braces), had a Facebook contest in July for someone to get free braces.  Our friend nominated Emily, and many, many people "voted" for her.  She won the contest!  So on September 5, Nicole is attaching the braces to her teeth.
Dr. Richter came to check Nicole's work, and put a few of the brackets on.  It is called the Damen System, and only requires visits and wire changes every two months.  The wire has a memory, and is always trying to get back to its original shape.  In this way, the teeth move.  Every wire change will be to a heavier gauge wire until the end when a different wire is used for "tweaking".  The brackets are different from the old method, because they have little doors that are opened for wire changes, then shut.  No more colored bands to hold the wires on the brackets!  Emily is required to wear a rubber band on one side, which is supposed to be correcting her midline.
 Emily was very brave, even though she felt like she was gagging continually!
 A picture of Emily and Nicole after the job was complete.  We are very thankful for this opportunity for Emily to have braces for free!  God is good!