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  • Amy K. Snetzler - Don't even consider the other chairs!This was the third chair we tried. It's awesome. It has fit every table we tried, including at restaurants and our island at home. It's quick to install and easy to clean. It also has an incredibly useful pocket in the back (store toys when going out) and a little carrying bag. It seems very sturdy and stable. Definitely recommended!
  • Jordipoo - Life savingIf you or anyone you know suffers from digestive issues this book is a must have!
    I was in as bad shape as one can be with ulcerative colitis and my doc wanted to do surgery, I am now healing without medicine or surgery thanks to the wisdom in this book.
  • EileenFH "nerdface" - THE BEST EVER!!WOW, where to begin. I first got this about half-way through freshman year of high school because I had really, REALLY bad skin. Like breakouts everywhere, it was a mess. So naturally I would try to cover it up with cakey and stickey and thick liquid or mousse foundations, which just made my skin worse. I was getting desperate because high school is hard enough without terrible skin so I finally splurged and switched to Bare Escentuals foundation, blush (for those special occations), and mineral veil. Since getting those three products I can honestly say that not only has my skin gotten better, with less breakouts, but the make-up itself works better than thicker formulas. Even though when I first got it I was skeptical, like this little powder will cover redness?? It REALLY WORKS, it has much better and better looking (radiant) coverage, although I never really believed that whole "you can even sleep in it!!" deal, I always take it off anyways. Please, just give this stuff a try at least once, you'll love it!
  • Jennifer L. Barker - Book Review: RadicalA few months ago the Lord told me that He wanted me to read through the Old Testament prophets. At first I thought that it was a crazy idea!! Those are difficult books to understand! (So disrespectful, I know.) But, like He always does, He kept talking to me about it and I finally gave in. Sometimes the things you fight the most are the ones you get the most blessings out of. So it is with the prophets. I'm taking it slowly, just one chapter a day. I want to be able to absorb what I'm reading.

    There seems to be one theme that is woven through these books: taking care of the poor. God makes it very clear; He hates it when the poor are neglected. In fact, this is one of the reasons He judged Israel. If I didn't know any better, I would say that God does have favorites and they are the poor people.

    Where does that leave us as Christians? This is where the book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream comes in. When I began reading this book, the information in it was like icing on the cake after all I'd read in the prophets.

    David Platt does not pull any punches when it comes to interpreting what it truly means to follow Jesus. It's not an easy thing. You know, just say a prayer and you're good to go. Do we need to acknowledge Him as Savior and Lord and confess Him with our mouth? Yes. But, if we are to truly understand what it means to be a Christian, we need to read what He said to His disciples about denying ourselves and turning our backs on the wealth of the world.

    It is so easy to be just like the rich young ruler that didn't want to sell what he had and give the funds to the poor. We may not have as much as someone else or even as much as the ruler in the story, but we are rich. We have enough to buy luxurious items, even if they are small. What does Jesus ask of us? He asks that we sacrifice our desires to give to those who are in need.

    I like what Platt states in that there is nothing inherently wrong with having wealth. There is nothing wrong with living in this land of plenty that we are so privileged to live in. The question is this: what are we doing with the excess money we make that is not needed for food, clothing, and shelter? Are we spending it on our wants or on what is important to Christ: the poor?

    This is what it means to be radical in our faith. If the desires of Christ's heart is important to you, then take the time to read Platt's book. It will change your thinking and your life.

    "Dr. David Platt is the pastor of the Church at Brook Hills, a four-thousand-member congregation in Birmingham, Alabama, comprised of world-impacting disciples who really believe that as a church they can shake the nations for God's glory...David has earned two undergraduate degrees from the University of Georgia and three advanced degrees, including a doctor of philosophy from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Prior to coming to Brook Hills, he served the seminary as dean of chapel and assistant professor of expository preaching and apologetics and was on staff at Edgewater Baptist Church in New Orleans."[1]

  • Justin Hodge - Masterfully written, engaging storytelling, and a thorough overviewIn Collision 2012, chief correspondent of the Washington Post Dan Balz examines the 2012 presidential election, its candidates, its would-be candidates, and its impact on future elections. Balz crafts an engaging narrative for the election by utilizing information from hundreds of interviews with the candidates, key campaign staff, and citizens. In addition to providing an extremely detailed look into the nuts and bolts of the campaigns, the book also depicts major world events that occurred throughout the campaign period and their impact on the candidates' strategies and the eventual outcome. Balz provides ample background information about all things election related, from Super PACs to Occupy Wall Street to rich biographical information about the candidates. Collision 2012 makes very few assumptions about the reader's prior knowledge, making the book easily understandable even for readers that may not be well-versed in politics or keep up with current events.

    Balz begins the book with brief snapshots of the election's key players, the President, the Challenger, and the People, that set the stage for the rest of the book. These snippets provide context by detailing the relevant facts affecting the election, such as the unemployment rate and voter frustration with the economy, giving the reader a window into the minds of the candidates and electorate at the time stamped on each passage. In addition to living up to its title, aptly named "Contrasts," by showing the clear differences between the candidates and the people, it also provides an excellent look at some of the key issues facing the nation and the candidates. Overall, this section served as an effective introduction to the book by framing the key questions at the core of the 2012 election and by providing a rich backdrop of information for the reader to be ready to jump right into the campaigning sections.

    Collision 2012 is broken down into three sections, referred to as Books, each with a different narrative focus. Book One: The Pivot acts as both an introduction to President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney by providing detailed biographical information on them, as well as detailing how Obama and his team transitioned from their victory in 2008 into preparing for the battle in 2012. Although Book One does provide some information on Romney, his team, and their activities, the tone and the construction of the narrative feel as if they are being told from the Obama team's perspective. Keeping in mind that the book was composed based on a collection of hundreds of interviews, this approach to conveying the information is very engaging as it gives the reader the impression that they are following a coherent story in which all of the events are tied together.

    Book One is the shortest of the three, weighing in at less than one fifth of the book. Given Obama's position as the incumbent and the outcome of the 2012 election, it is understandable that such a small part of the book would be devoted to him. Logistically, it would have been much more difficult to conduct interviews with the President and his staff compared to potential candidates and their teams. Moreover, since stories tend to be more compelling from the side of the challenger and because Balz aimed to create an engaging narrative, focusing disproportionately on Obama's side while the Republicans were divided amongst primary candidates would have taken the wind out of the story's climax. Keeping the background information on Obama's team brief can also be seen as a sign of respect for the reader's time, who may or may not have read Balz's previous book, The Battle for America 2008: The Story of an Extraordinary Election. However, that is not to say that Book One exists as an obligatory filler section just to have the President covered in some way. Chapter 2 in particular presents a discussion on Obama's worldview and differences in how he presents himself that is both stimulating and relevant throughout the rest of the book.

    While Book One tells the story from the Obama team's perspective, the narrative shifts in Book Two: The Republicans to center on the rise and fall of the Republican primary candidates. Rather than shifting the perspective between candidates, Balz establishes Romney as the protagonist from the beginning and even the chapters that focus on the other potential candidates are still are told from the perspective of him and his team. This section opens by giving the reader a highly detailed account of the Romney family's struggle to decide whether or not Mitt should run again. Romney's reluctance to run was an issue from the very beginning and was a recurring theme throughout the entire process. His experience in the 2008 election, belief that he was most qualified to take the Republican nomination, and belief that the country was going down the wrong path led him to go on to pursue a goal that he was not sure he truly wanted.

    Book Two is the heart of Collision 2012 both in terms of the nature of the content covered and its length, which is almost half of the book. Given his experience and the resources at his disposal, Romney was widely considered to be the frontrunner for the Republican nomination. As a result, Romney does not take center stage as an active player until the latter half of the section. The first half sets Romney up as a detached observer of the lesser known candidates vying for prominence, but the reader is still given the sense that the story is unfolding from the perspective of Romney and his team. Additionally, Balz does an exceptional job demonstrating the growth in scope of each of the Republican primary candidates' campaigns from the beginning to the final debates between the last remaining competitors. The reader is able to easily get a sense of the tough choices that the campaigns have to make, such as where, when and how much to advertise in certain areas and whether or not to devote resources to participating in straw polls. Book Two is also where Balz's storytelling shines the brightest, specifically in Chapter 10 in which he regales the reader with the tale of Chris Christie. While brief, Balz is able to capture both Christie's larger than life aura perceived by his supporters as well as his vulnerabilities seen by his family. Momentum builds throughout the chapter as Christie debates with himself about whether or not to run despite his reservations, and finally crescendos with his endorsement of Romney.

    Book Three: The Choice makes yet another shift in narrative style, this time to a perspective disconnected from both the Obama and Romney camps. It can be reasoned that the observer tone that Balz uses in this section is supposed to be representative of the People as to mirror the President, Challenger, People format utilized in the Contrasts section in the book's opening. That style was particularly useful in this final section as the focus shifts between Obama and Romney throughout the chapters and even back and forth within some of the latter chapters. With the primary battles complete, these final chapters detail the public opinion and impact of the major components of the presidential campaigns, including Romney's process of selecting a running mate, influential advertising, the debates, the conventions, and Romney's infamous 47 percent comment. Even though the reader begins Collision 2012 already knowing how it all ends, Balz's storytelling remains fresh and engaging to the very end, which is a testament to the quality and depth of the interviews at his disposal as well as his writing ability. Balz closes Book Three with an interview with Romney that provides insight into the reasoning behind some of the more questionable campaign choices that his team made as well as how changes in the political environment influenced their plans.

    Following Book Three, Balz brings Collision 2012 to a close with an epilogue that examines the impact of the election on the future. Balz argues that the election solved little and changed the minds of few Americans. Obama remained president, the Democrats continued to hold the Senate, and the Republicans continued to hold the House; this election cycle had been an expensive exercise in maintaining the status quo with billions spent and power still distributed along the same lines in Washington. The electorate remains as divided as before with partisan polarity growing ever stronger. Balz goes on to explain that as cultural trends continue to change throughout the country, such as opinions on same-sex marriage and immigration, if Republicans continue to alienate growing portions of the electorate and are unable to adapt as the Democrats have, the party will risk implosion. All of those points are clearly demonstrated throughout the book through the interviews; it does not even take a little prodding by Balz to drive his points home. All in all, Collision 2012 is a marvelous retelling of the 2012 election and provides a wealth of information about the candidates and the events that shaped the election. While constructed as a coherent and engaging narrative, Balz quite literally allows the key players to speak for themselves through the plethora of direct quotes and interviews used to create the book, allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions about the events that occurred.