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4.30.2012

Book Review: Healing is a Choice


Book Review: Healing is a Choice by Stephen Arterburn

One phone call from his wife ended normalcy forever for Stephen Arterburn. He knows emotional pain, and he accepts no excuses when it comes to spiritual (emotional) healing. Whether it's his own emotional pain, or that of the reader, he proposes that God has given us the ability to heal, but we often impair the process. In this book he gives examples from his own life, sharing the story of his own divorce, the subject of that phone call from his wife. As a Christian in ministry who taught about relationships, the last thing he expected was the demise of his own marriage. But it happened.

In Healing is a Choice, Arterburn outlines ten choices that lead to healing. Each choice is also paired with a lie, or a myth, such as "There is no hope for me," or "Time heals all wounds." Each chapter concludes with workbook questions and an extensive application section for the material. This is an updated version of a previous printing and both the book and workbook are combined into one.

Although it could be used in a small group, the questions and application are introspective and personal, so many people would be more comfortable with it as a journaling exercise.

I thought Arterburn did an excellent job of presenting the material in a conversational style. He writes as though having a conversation with the reader. He's also very transparent about his own struggles and he gets real with the reader. He gives solid Biblical support for his ideas which makes this more than just a pop-psych self-help book. 

The one drawback is that the application material in the "workbook" section that follows every chapter is very long. Some readers will find it too extensive. Arterburn says in the intro that he doesn't recommend skipping over parts of that, but I'm afraid that some readers will. This workbook includes more teaching from the author, exercises (and questions for reflection or journaling) that get the reader thinking about his or her own life, then more teaching, more exercises, then a Bible study with many verses to look up and exercises that correlate. Then more teaching, and journaling. I think the workbook is as long as the chapter. On the positive side, it's thorough and readers really work through their pain.

I highly recommend this book for anyone dealing with wounds that keep them from moving forward.

I received an e-book copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest and objective review.

4.05.2012

Mmm....Bread! Best White Bread Recipe

I haven't posted something practical in a long time. And, I've had many requests for my bread recipe, so why not post it? I baked rolls for our Easter dinner today with this recipe.

I got this recipe from someone special, and I love it because it's so budget friendly. I used my grandma's recipe for a while, but it takes milk and eggs, and this one is just water, flour and oil, basically. The trick to good bread, is in the kneading and it making sure it isn't too sticky or too stiff. I haven't purchased a load of white bread in so long!

In order to give me her recipe, Elfreda had to measure it out one time when she was baking. She had made this recipe for so many years that she hadn't really ever measured ingredients.

I purchase my yeast, oil, and bread flour in bulk at Sam's Club, and I figured that I can make about 25-30 loaves of bread from one 25# bag of unbleached flour. I bake 5 loaves at a time and freeze them. 

Elfreda’s White Bread
2 1/2 Cups Warm Water (about 125 degrees)
2 packages of yeast (or granular equivalent to it if you buy in bulk)
1 T. Salt
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 cup canola or olive oil
7-8 cups Bread Flour
Blend all ingredients. Knead 10 minutes. I use my Kitchen Aid with a dough hook and don’t knead quite that long. Knead in extra flour as needed so dough is not sticky. Let rest on counter coated with flour. Cover loosely with towel. Let rise until double in size. Sometimes I form it into loaves now, and other times, I punch in down and let it rise a little longer. It depends on how light you like your bread. It will be more airy if you do the second rising.
Form into loaves to be baked in loaf pans. Or into long loaves to be baked on a cookie sheet or a stone.  Let rise until double. Bake at 350 degrees for around 20-25 minutes, depending on your oven temp, until golden brown. Cool on a rack. This recipe will make 3 small loaves in pans, or two large French loaves. It also works for dinner rolls, hoagies, and cinnamon rolls.
If you try it, stop back and tell us how it turned out.  

Mmm...I can smell the bread right through my screen. Oh wait. That's the bread in the oven. Gotta go check it!

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