Hey guys! So, I had posted about my new site *just footnotes* the other day, and then there were some technical glitches. You may need to re-subscribe over there now that everything is fixed and running. Fingers crossed, everything should be up and running now!! Hope you’ll join me!!
I’ve finally done it!
I have decided to get my own domain name, and I have moved my blog to www.justfootnotes.com. Don’t worry, all of my book reviews are already there, and a few other posts as well. I have been contemplating this for a little while now. My goal is that through moving, my blog and I will be able to mature a little. Also, there are some crazy changes in store in the next few months, and I’d love to be able to better share them withyou in a better way. I’d be honored if you would go on over and sign up on my new mailing list (or sign up and follow me on bloglovin’!)
Although this may be one of the last posts on klizbarker – I’d like to share some pretty awesome bloggers that I’ve been following that have inspired me to pursue my own domain name. I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed if you start following them as well! (click pictures to visit)
Randy Singer, a lawyer-pastor-author, always finds a way to weave intrigue and mystery into a gripping legal thriller. I have read two of his other books, including The Last Plea Bargain. I love the knowledge that he is able to incorporate into his books, because I leave feeling like not only have I enjoyed a great story, but I have also learned something about the legal system that I hadn’t known before. So, I was definitely excited to jump into this novel when I heard it was coming out.
Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales is an intriguing story about a football player criminal who gets a second chance given to him when he passes his interview after law school that let him become a practicing lawyer. Until then, he didn’t know if his dreams of changing the world by becoming a lawyer were going to come true. He changed while he was in prison. Somehow, when the Gospel was presented to him there, it made sense, and he decided that it was his mission was to instill hope in those who had been accused and felt like they had no where else to go. He decided the law was his avenue for doing this.
If being approved by the Character and Fitness Committee wasn’t enough of a second chance, after a month or so of searching desperately for a job, Landon got handed a great job with a top lawyer in a chance meeting at the courthouse. He was ecstatic; things were finally starting to fall into place. His news-casting wife and he were both doing what they loved, what they felt passionate about, and their family was starting to match their dreams. But all of that was going to change in an extremely short amount of time.
When lines start getting mixed and crossed both at home and at the office, Landon and Kerri start wondering if everything is actually as it should be. Landon gets mixed up in a case that leaves his office in a tailspin of horror and confusion when their best lawyer is murdered while working on a high profile case, and Kerri finds herself torn between supporting Landon and possibly being offered a journalists dream working for a secretive and controversial firm in Washington, D.C. Landon battles between fear and the need to care for his family and a sense of loyalty and devotion to the man that offered him his first job out of the kindness of his heart. Things continue to escalate, people start to disappear, until . . . well, this isn’t a spoiler post. Read it for yourself! Here, I’ll get you started with the first chapter . . .
Now, for a review. As usual, I loved Singer’s fast pace and exciting story line. He is a master of weaving together a story of intrigue, and it is always backed with extremely good information, since he is writing from real experience. This fact has served him well in all of his books and lends a good measure of integrity to his writing. On top of all of this, he knows how to create and interact with characters on a very real and human level while still maintaining deep truths and ideas about faith and life.
I have only a few critiques of this book, and most of them are because I have already read his others, and so perhaps had higher expectations. The other two books that I have read: The Last Plea Bargain and The Justice Game both dealt with highly controversial issues. Though Singer doesn’t tell you what to think, he lays both sides out on the table and gives you just enough to force you to think through the issue on your own. I was really excited to see what issue he was going to deal with in Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales, but sadly it wasn’t there. There are definitely issues still, perhaps he was dealing with second chances or grace, but certainly there was no overarching issue like gun control or the death penalty as the previous books have had.
Another issue that I had with the book was that, the last few chapters try to weave in the Gospel. There are very small mentions of faith at different points of the book, but I was disappointed that the faith did not seem extremely real. It felt like it was an addition, rather than what faith truly is, a way of life. I appreciate Randy Singer writing from a Christian worldview, and I also appreciate him wanting to include the Gospel in his novel, but I feel that if it is not given priority and a high level of importance, than in reality we are just doing the Gospel a disservice. Faith is not an addition to life, it is life, and I felt that that wasn’t clearly portrayed through this story. (Please watch this, because although that was my own perception, that is not Singer’s goal at all!)
My final criticism was that I felt at times that there were a few too many threads going on in the story, that perhaps it was a bit busy: too many affairs, too many angry characters, too much conflict. I know, how can I criticize a thriller for having too much action and conflict, right?! But, in my mind, each action needs to feed the story, the plot. If the affair or the conflict is extraneous, then it is weakening the important ones. But, that was just my personal opinion while reading the story.
I definitely recommend this book. If you like thrillers and legal fiction, you will definitely like this story! But before you start, I encourage you to check out a little bit more about Randy Singer. Read this Q&A to get a little bit of an idea of where he was coming from, what his goals for this book were, and how he hopes it will impact his readers.
Now . . . if I haven’t persuaded you to buy the book yet, check out these other great bloggers who have also read it:
I received this book for free from Tyndale House Publishers for the purpose of reviewing. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I was messing around the other night and developed a new recipe that I wanted to share with you all. Before I start, please don’t hate me, but I’m one of those ‘eye it’ people. I’m not very precise on measurements, especially since I am in a metric country! Also, sorry, but I don’t have a photo of my burgers, mostly because we were really hungry.
This recipe came about because I am a huge fan of BLT, Jeremy is a huge fan of anything with bacon, and we don’t have bacon here. We do, however, still have a bag of the salad topping bacon bits that we have been using sparingly for the last six months. Also, I am not sure where the prices currently are in America, but here meat is about more than three times as expensive as chicken. So, I recently discovered that I could grind chicken in my food processor (they won’t do it at the butcher, but by cutting the chicken into smaller pieces and putting them in with the blade attachment of the food processor, you can easily grind your own.) With that revelation, I knew that I had to try to make a chicken burger, so I did. And it was beautiful.
BLT Chicken Burgers
Ingredients: (again, these are not super precise)
1 kilo ground chicken (2.2 pounds)
2-3 tablespoons McCormick Grill Mates Molasses Bacon spice (I might add a bit more of this next time, because it wasn’t overly strong.)
about 2 cups crushed crackers/breadcrumbs
1 1/2 cups bacon bits
1/2 a large onion, chopped
I took all of the above ingredients and mixed them thoroughly (mostly using my hands.) Then, I shaped the chicken into burgers, mine were quite big because I had anticipated them shrinking some as they cooked, but they didn’t. I had 7 huge burgers, but if I did it again, I would probably decrease the size quite a bit and get more like 12 from this much chicken. Once I had shaped the burgers, I stuck them in the oven on 240° C/450 °F for about 10 minutes to start the cooking process. Then, I removed them from the oven and fried them on the stove top in a small amount of oil. Cook until the outsides are browned.
Then, of course, to make it a true BLT Chicken Burger you should pair with onions, lettuce, and fresh tomatoes on a bun with ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard . . . the perfect combination for summer!!
The best side dishes for this meal: sunchips and cucumber salad.
This month’s theme is travel!! I’m really excited about writing and sharing ideas and stories from traveling, and I hope that you’ll leave me some comments and stories yourself! What is your favorite place you have traveled to, and what made it your favorite? I don’t know if I can narrow mine down right now, so I guess you’ll have to wait until I post about favorite trips!!
I hope you enjoy this desktop calendar, and happy March!!
Empty glasses and parched lips,
My nearly empty bottle’s got
Barely any sips.
His hands are cold,
Wrinkled and old,
But the five in my pocket could warm them
Misinformed taxi and no local phone,
At least we were close to home,
Breakfast and google.
His problems were far beyond any capacity of
Mine to aid.
Thankful for a lap, a smile, and time.
Questions I can answer,
Dreams we can both share,
Morning coffee and new friends.
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
How can you love like Jesus today?
You should have known that this would come up, right? I mean, I am an Applied Linguistics student who is teaching a language, working hard to master a language, and overall, I think that there are major benefits for EVERYONE to learn a language (psychologically, culturally, socially . . .) But, this post isn’t from me. I did an interview with my friend Aaron over at the Everyday Language Learner. (By the way, his last post was really great, especially for any of you out there working on language number 3 or more!!) Aaron is now living in the States, but had been in Turkey for the last several years, so we’ve been able to connect over a shared love of Turkish and languages in general. If you are working on studying a language, I highly recommend checking out Aaron’s website and resources.
But now, onto the interview!! (And hopefully this will inspire any of you monolinguals out there to get working on a language!!)
1. How many languages have you studied?
I studied German for a year in university but it was futile. I learned very little because at the time I put forth little effort. Four months after graduating from university though, I took a trip to Mexico with some friends. We decided to move to Tijuana in order to work with the urban poor alongside a church there. That started my journey into Spanish. I am largely self taught though I did take one week long course about seven years into learning Spanish. I am now trying to resurrect my Spanish. It went into hibernation when my family and I moved to Turkey and I began learning Turkish. So German, Spanish and Turkish. I speak Turkish the best.
2. What has been your motivation for learning the languages that you have studied?
My main motivation has always been the fact that I was moving to the country where the language is spoken. I had to learn Spanish and Turkish. That is perhaps the main reason that German didn’t work out – I needed to graduate but had no plans to use it.
3. What is your favorite thing about learning a language?
Getting to know people in their language is my favorite thing. Most of the relationships I have with Turks are ones that would not exist if I had not learned Turkish. So for me, it’s all about the relationships. Of course language are fascinating in and of themselves and I love that there are words in Spanish and Turkish that express ideas in ways that just can’t be expressed in English.
4. Would you advise people who are living in their native country to learn a second language, even if they might not use it much? Why or why not?
Absolutely. There are countless reasons to learn another language and vast opportunities to use a language. We live in a super connected world where borders are becoming more and more meaningless. People are moving around like never before and learning another person’s heart language is perhaps one of the greatest acts of kindness anyone could do. I suppose I write that mostly to monolinguals in North America.
5. What do you think is the most important thing to do at the on-start of learning a second language?
Find or create a reason to learn the language. Everyone I know thinks learning another language is a good idea, but unless there is a specific, tactile, present reason for learning it, most of us will quit. Nobody works hard for a “good idea”. It’s an abstraction. You need to understand why you want and need to learn the language. If the desired outcome is clear, the rest will fall into place.
6. What are your three favorite resources to help in language learning?
The Internet has completely changed the playing field for language learners. Ten years ago you needed a teacher to learn another language if only because the teacher could provide you with resources. But with the Internet, nearly every language on the face of the earth is available to learn. So the first resource is the Internet and sites like Livemocha, LingQ,Duolingo, Rhinospike and Lang-8.
The second resource I love are what I call password phrases. These are phrases that you get translated into your target language that allow you to investigate the language, to ask questions, to become an independent language learner out in the community of native speakers. You can read my post about these here.
Another favorite resource is the use of handcrafted audio. The basic idea is that the learner write regularly – stories, journals, retellings of events. With a native speaker, the learner then gets all of his or her writing corrected to make sure it is all grammatically correct and makes sense. Then the native speaker would read the writing while the learner records it for later listening. When I create handcrafted audio, I try to pack in all the new words, expressions and grammar forms I am learning. By writing and recording several of these every week, a learner can begin to build up a library of listening material that has samples of everything that he or she has learned. It’s a great resource for increasing both depth and breadth of learning.
7. Do you think that anyone can learn a language? What characteristics or disciplines do people need to develop in order to successfully learn a language?
Everyone can learn another language. Two thirds of the world are multilingual – if everyone else is doing it, it is because it is a natural, God-given ability. No excuses about “not being good at learning languages” allowed. The main characteristic needed is perseverance – you just have to stick with it.
8. What encouragement or advice do you have for people who have gotten down the basics, but feel stuck at making further progress in their language journey?
Increase your level of need. Everyone learns a language to just above the level they actually need to survive. In order to move forward, you need to increase the need. Put yourself in new situations. Sign up to give a speech. Sign up for a class at the local university. Wanting to get better is rarely enough. Put yourself in situations that require you to improve.
9. What are your future language learning goals?
Right now I am working to resurrect my Spanish. I’ve been solely in Turkish for the last five years. Spanish is in there – I still understand a lot – but whenever I try to speak, Turkish comes out. So I am trying some things to see what it takes to get my conversational Spanish back to where it was and at the same time, I continue to work on my Turkish.
10. What are three small steps that people can take this year towards their language learning goals?
First I like to encourage everyone to create a list of five to ten time sensitive, convenient activities that they can do in five minutes or less to engage with the language. Everyone is busy so you need to manipulate the system in your favor and take advantage of the small chunks of time that present themselves throughout your day.
Second would be to begin to build a learning environment that works in your favor. If you drive to work everyday, let the only CD’s in your car be of music or books or podcasts in the target language. Surround yourself with the language so that it’s easy for you to get into it.
Finally, I’d say make a plan. A goal without a plan is just wishful thinking. Make a plan to learn the language. Think daily, weekly and monthly.
Aaron, thanks so much for your thoughts and ideas!! This post has been encouraging for me, personally, and I hope it is encouraging to others out there. Again, if you are hoping to start working on learning a language, you have to check out Aaron’s resources at everydaylanguagelearner.com. You won’t be disappointed!
I’m tired! It’s been a bit of craziness around here. This is the last week of school – which is actually extremely saddening when I think of the fact that some of these kids, if not all of them, I will never see again after 4 days. I love them so much!! But, at the same time, who isn’t excited for summer? So . . . I have a feeling this will be one of those weeks where my heart gets stretched in all directions and I don’t really know what to do. But . . . the end will come and go, and new beginnings will start, and there’s not a whole lot I can do other than just enjoy the ride!
This last week was quite exciting in several different ways. We had company on Thursday night – the first night in months that our power decided to go out. Thank heavens for candles and a big street window!
Saturday was, quite thankfully, a relaxing day. I worked on plans for our summer English camp in Senegal that is approaching VERY QUICKLY, went on a walk with my awesome husband, got an ice cream cone, and then another because there was some kind of deal going on – so proceeded to walk around the park eating one and having one melt in my other hand. (They were packaged, so I did take it home and put it in the freezer. And I withheld it from Jeremy because he is allergic to milk. So take back all of those bad thoughts, please!) We also had some pretty good pizza calzones for dinner and watched Sherlock Holmes 2. Perhaps I’ll do a write up about it soon, but it’ll suffice for now to say – I really liked it. It was way better than the first Sherlock Holmes!!
Sunday was busy, but good. We had our end of the year program for the Kindergarten at school. The Kindergarten has about 94 students or so, so it was a big deal. All of the students sang songs, participated in folk dance, modern dance, or ballet, and were part of an English skit and dance from some country in the world. My kids were from South Africa. 1. They were adorable. 2. They did awesome! I was so proud of them. I just stood behind the curtain with my stomach turning and my face smiling as I watched them perform their lines beautifully and then do their dance. It was great! I was so happy for them. Then, we also went to church on Sunday, but left fairly quickly to get home for our apartment complex “Say Hello to Summer” party. It was a great family party with food, games, clowns, live music, and fireworks. There was a particularly moving dance between one of the clowns and a security guard, and I couldn’t help but laugh when Jeremy’s friends pulled him into the middle of the dancing! Haha. It was great. It was super fun to just go out and see all of the other people who live near us, and we know a few of them from either school or sports.
It was a good start to summer – but one more week of school to go until that is official! Hope you’re all enjoying your start to summer! Let me know what your biggest plans are! Ours are Africa – PA – NC – SC – OH – CO – Istanbul, in roughly that order. 🙂 Have a wonderful week! Try to enjoy both the ends and the beginnings, and don’t forget to be where you are right now!!
I just finished this on Saturday morning.
Comment #1: I do not recommend this book.
Comment #2: I had to read this book for class.
Admittedly, I was engaged and enjoyed the story of this book, but there was a lot of language to wade around. I was shocked at how crude the book was, being written as a teacher’s memoir and all. So, I will not dwell long on this post as a critique of the book, because up front I advise you not to read it unless it is assigned.
So, why did I enjoy it? The book is the memoir of an unlikely teacher, and one whose success is surprising at times. The way that he describes his classroom management and activities never struck me as the teacher that I would most aspire to be, but the way that he connected with his students and inspired them and believed in them was another story.
I enjoyed this book because it took a normal man with new ideas and a belief in his students and showed how that looked and worked for him in the classroom. I definitely found myself brainstorming adaptations to his activities while I was reading, or laughing out loud with the ways that he carried out activities in the classroom. Sometimes, as a teacher, it is easy to get these outrageous ideas in your head of what a truly great teacher looks like and what they ought to do, but that just isn’t the case. Each teacher is different, and has a different personality. If a teacher can inspire their kids to pursue their dreams and can give them the tools they need to be successful, then that is a good teacher.
I want to be the kind of teacher that kids look back on and remember happily, and not just because they liked me but because I gave them something that they didn’t have before they met me. Maybe that’s a dream, maybe hope, or ability, or tools, or resources, or just someone to listen. But, one thing I know for sure, I want to make a difference in my students’ lives.