Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Survivor: Winners at War: Edge of Paranoia

Wednesdays. Before all this, they were the welcome break to the work week. Mid-week church followed by dinner with a friend. We had to skip a couple before all of this, so it's been six weeks since we've been out of routine. I really could have used that time today.

Instead, my computer kept freaking at a certain point of an email I was trying to send out and had to re-do it three times. Finally got it out and was trying to get ready to watch Survivor on time. Meanwhile, I burned my pizza to a crisp. It was a think crust and I could pick up the entire thing without it bending or anything falling off. I'm eating it anyway.

And starting Survivor twenty-six minutes late.

Here we go!
Night 21 on Koru. Michele is ticked at the blindside of Wendell. She wanted him out, and was on board with that, but she was uniformed and on the wrong side of the vote.

Nick is going to pitch a fit because he didn't know. He thinks he's next and is ready for revenge. Tony tries to talk him down.

Adam thought he was going home. However, he has a theory that there is an immunity idol behind Jeff's podium at tribal. I don't know how he thinks he's going to do it.

Out on Extinction, Natalie, Parvati and Amber are getting their yoga on.
Yul finds a message to be read when they are all together. The box contains a scroll for each of them. Part of the clue says history repeats itself, so they set out the various trails to the top of the mountain. They start looking for fire tokens.

Danni and Parvati start thinking it's not about this season, but when Aubrey found an idol on her season.

Parvati finds it. It's a 50/50 coin flipped for immunity. They have to sell it to someone though. The two of them decide maybe they should sell it to Michelle and in turn buy food.

They end up telling some of the others that they trust in a plan to split food.

It's challenge time! This time it's for reward. 

They will split into two teams of five. They will swim out to collect wooden fish. They will bring it back and work a puzzle. The prize is Chinese take-out.

Honestly, even if I were really hungry, I would be disappointed.

Kim and Jeremy were drawn to be the captains to pick teams. They divide out with different jobs. With an odd number, Denise is not chosen for a team.

The blue team is Ben, Sarah and Kim in the water with Sophie and Michele on the puzzle.

The red team is Tony, Tyson and Adam in the water with Jeremy and Nick on the puzzle.

Blue gets back to the shore first.

They have to disconnect the fish from the net, hang them on a poll and carry the pole to the puzzle mat.

Blue makes it to the puzzle mat first, followed quickly by red.

Red seems to be making progress, but is a piece away. Blue gains ground though and pulls off the reward.

Sarah asks if she can give her reward to someone. Jeff says, "Sure." She gives it to Nick because it's his birthday.

Jeff asks why he would do that. Adam thinks she made a mistake. Last time she played by blindsiding friends, and he doesn't trust her as far as he can throw her which isn't far.

Back at camp, in her interview, Sarah says she did it because Nick got blind-sided on his birthday (yesterday) and he didn't get to celebrate with his fiance, etc. She thinks you need to be human.

Tony berates her saying people are going to say she has to go for giving up a reward. Jeremy thinks it's going to bite her in the butt too. (He's been there done that.)

Nick doesn't trust Sarah, and he doesn't think he owes her anything.

As they eat their feast, everyone is checking the containers and fortune cookies for clues.

When they get back, Michelle notices something in her bag. She sneaks off to read it. This advantage costs her four fire tokens, all that she has left. She takes the advice of her fortune cookies and decides to buy the advantage.

And now for the immunity challenge...

Each must balance on a floating pyramid. They start with the bottom rung for five minutes. There's barely a hold for their toes. Michele falls quickly. Denise follows.
After 5 minutes, they get a break and can sit before the next round. They have to move one perch higher. They'll be here for 10 minutes. Tyson drops quickly. Jeremy looks like he is surfing and falls in.

As the wind picks up, Tony falls.

Six remain at the end of the 10 minutes. For the final stage, they move to the top. Basically, they have to stand on a 2x4 on top of a pyramid. Jeff counts them down, and Adam is out because he can't stand up. Nick and Sophie are right behind. Sarah goes and almost knocks Kim off.

It's between Kim and Ben. Ben loses it, and Kim wins immunity.

Tony is scared because this is what he expected. The lower profile players (the hyenas) are going to pick off the higher profile players.

As groupings start gathering, Kim is leading a group and suggests splitting between Adam and Nick. Another group wants to go Sophie. A different combo wants to go Sarah.

Tyson suspects Adam is more dangerous, so goes around trying to convince everyone Adam. He tries to start raising enough confusion to draw attention elsewhere. Sarah gets made when she finds out her name has been thrown out, so she's all about getting rid of Adam.

Adam finds out people are saying him, and goes to Ben. Ben doesn't want to talk to him.

Then everyone starts talking to everyone else again. Sarah? Nick? Adam? Plans are amok.

Adam decides he needs to go for the fleur de lis decoration he thinks is an idol at tribal council.

Time for tribal council!

Sarah talks about everyone's name coming up. Tyson confirms. Jeremy, the fireman, gives a fire analogy. Denise says she aged a few years today. Jeff asks Nick, "Why today, on day 23?"

Nick says he is ready to fight, so whispering starts among the crowd. Adam says he's just trying to pay attention. The whispers go around to everyone. People asking if they are still good or if they are changing... Nick is SCRAMBLING.

Adam and Ben argue as everyone else is whispering.

The jury is trying to figure out what is going on. They are entertained.

Tony doesn't know what is going on. You can just tell. Adam finally shuts up to ask what all the whispering is and who they are voting for. Tony asks if they should forget the paper and just vote out loud. Adam and Nick were on the same page two minutes ago, and now dam thinks Nick is voting for him. It goes literal cricket chirping silent.

Finally, it's time to vote. Adam eyes that fleur de lis again.

(Rob thinks someone is going to need a lot of therapy on Extinction.)

Jeff goes to tally the votes. "If anyone has an immunity idol..." Adam stands up, walks to the podium, grabs the fleur off the front, but it won't come off. Everyone looks at him like he's crazy.

When Adam sits back down, he said, "Guess it's not." Jeff asks, "Are you sure?" Adam says he wants to play it. "This?"
Jeff says that if it is an idol, that'd be the first time an idol was ever hidden at tribal, and it is NOT.

It's time to read the votes.

Sarah
Adam
Nick
Adam
Nick
Adam
Adam
Adam
Adam

Two votes go unread.

I feel sorry for everyone on Extinction to now deal with Adam. Adam gives his one token to Denise.


Sunday, April 5, 2020

Hosanna

We tried to sing this a couple of weeks ago when we did Zoom class, but there was a lag issue and we sure didn't sing in unison. For now, it's throwbacks. The boy on the left? He's like 6 foot tall now in the 7th grade.




Hosannna
by Carl Tuttle

Hosanna, Hosanna,
Hosanna in the highest
Hosanna, Hosanna,
Hosanna in the highest

Lord we lift up Your Name,
With hearts full of praise,
Be exalted Oh Lord my God,
Hosanna in the highest.

Glory, Glory,
Glory to the King of Kings
Glory, Glory,
Glory to the King of Kings

Lord we lift up Your Name,
With hearts full of praise,
Be exalted Oh Lord my God,
Hosanna in the highest.



Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Survivor: Winners at War: The Merge

It is Wednesday. It is Survivor night. I've been messed up on what day of the week it is all week. Ever since we've been told to stay in, I've worked six days a week, and I don't know one day from the other anymore.

On Day 19 at Edge of Extinction, the castaways receive information that the time has come to spend their fire tokens and get ready to fight to re-enter the game.

Natalie is going to buy an idol. Amber gives Rob her token so he can buy a challenge advantage and an idol. He is convinced he can win the game if he can win this challenge.

They head to the boat to go to a challenge.

The tribes assemble on the beach and are told to drop their buffs. It's time for the merge. There are 11 of them now, but there are about to be 12. The voted off players from Extinction arrive.

Jeff talks to the voted off members and asks them about enduring extinction. Tyson talks about how tough it has been. He misses his daughters. Jeff asks Rob and Amber if there was anything romantic about getting back to their Survivor roots. Rob says not on extinction. He also points out how the people who voted off Amber are all there and maybe did it to get at him.
It's time for a mega obstacle course for the eight members trying to get back in the game. Those who worked for fire tokens to get an advantage are Natalie, Danni, Ethan, Tyson and Rob. They don't have to dig at one of the stations. Pavarti, Amber and Yul will.

Everyone else sits on the Sandra bench to watch.

On a net ladder, they have to untie three bags. Tyson and Rob finish the first part before the others. Some have to dig for the bag of string in the sand.

Next, they have to tie sticks together to reach out and get a key. Rob gets his key and unlocks his door first. Tyson and Natalie follow.

Rob is the first to get his ball and try to navigate it up a snake track. Rob drops. Tyson drops. Natalie had progress, but dropped. Everyone gets through to the ball portion except Amber whose stick breaks.

Tyson gets a lead. Yul was getting close, but drops. It's up to Rob and Tyson. They are dead even as they get to the final inches. Tyson wins by a hair.

And I'm practically heartbroken.

The rest of them head back to Extinction where they will have one final chance to get back in. They will also start going to Tribal Council as the first seven members of the jury.

The tribes merge on the Sele beach. When they arrive at the beach, the menu of items they can buy with tokens has gone up. 

As they sit down to eat, Sarah muses that it's like a bowl of spaghetti trying to figure out all the connections. Sarah asks what happens with Sandra. Denise tells how it all went down, that she was the mastermind.

Tyson is quiet. He's the only old school player here. He played three times before any of these others did. He's going to find a crack though and grow some roots.

Wendell and Jeremy talk about who they might want to work with. Jeremy wants to get rid of Nick to be Wendell's right hand man.

Ben says he is glad Tyson is back. They talk about big targets. Ben goes talking to Tony and Jeremy talking about picking some people off. Get rid of the low profile players or sleepers.

The tribe now known is Koru must endure a heavy rain. It's bad. "How long until someone talks about buying a tarp?" Tyson asks.

It's raining, and there are teeth chattering as they had to their immunity challenge. Sophie is SHAKING from the cold.
This challenge is the classic hug the pole challenge. There are two immunity idols up for grabs - one man and one woman.

The pole is wet and they start sliding early.

Michelle falls from high up and takes a hard landing.

Tyson has one this challenge in the past, but comes way down the pole early, but he's still in for now

Adam drops.

Sarah drops.

Tyson gives it up.

Wendell goes out.

Tony is out.

Sophie chooses to come out.

Denise was doing really well. She starts sliding way down, but Kim beats her to the bottom. Denise gets the idol for the women.

Ben drops leaving Jeremy and Nick fighting for the men. Jeremy is able to pull it off.

Each of the winners also gets a fire token.

Jeremy wants to get rid of Nick, but he doesn't want anyone know he's trying to drive something. 

Nick roams camp trying to listen in on everyone's conversations. It gets under Ben's skin.

Nick leads the "Let's Vote Out Adam Club." Sophie prefers getting Wendell out. Sophie also sees that Jeremy is taking the lead.

I don't know who made Sophie the new queen, but since she's leaning Wendell, opinion starts to sway. Since Wendell and Nick want Adam, Jeremy starts to lean that way. Tony and Michele are willing to go that way.

Denise says she can go with Adam, even though they have been together from day one.

Adam starts freaking out.
It's time for tribal...

Jeff asks if there was any talk of getting Tyson off his first vote back. Tony said the dynamics of the game have changed since he was voted off the first time, so he's not on the chopping block.

The chatter goes on a bit. Everyone seems to be going with the tide, but no one knows where that's going, at least that is how Jeff describes it.

Time to vote.

We see that Nick votes Adam. Adam votes Wendell.

No idols to be played.

Adam
Wendell
Adam
Adam
Wendell
Wendell
Wendell
Wendell
Wendell
Wendell

With seven votes, that's enough. Two votes are left unread.

Nick and Michele compares notes that neither knew. Those are the two that Wendell bequeaths his fire tokens to.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Hip, Hip, Hippopotamus

I'm going back a few year's for today's song post. Since we've had suspend worship assemblies thanks to COVID-19, I haven't been able to record new videos in a couple of weeks. Instead, I've been teaching Sunday class to whatever kids want to join via Zoom on Sundays. We can't sing together that way because of lag. I tried it last week, and it was worse than singing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" in rounds.


Hippopotamus Song

In the beginning, God made the sea
And the forest filled with trees
He made the mountains up so high
And on the top he placed the sky

God’s fingerprints are everywhere
Just to show how much He cares
But in between He had loads of fun
He made a hippo who weighs a ton.

Chorus
Hip-hip-hip-hippopotamus!
Hip-hip-hooray! God made all of us.
Hip-hip-hip-hippopotamus!
Hip-hip-hooray! God made all of us.

Creation sings of His praise,
The sparrow and the tiny babe.
We can sing and say, “well done.”
But some things He just made for fun!

Chorus

In the end He had lots of fun.
He made a kangaroo that jumps and runs.
Kanga-kanga-kangaroo.
Hip-hip-hurray God made me and you.
Kanga-kanga-kangaroo.
Hip-hip-hurray God made me and you.

In the end He had lots of fun.
He made a manatee just for fun.
Mana-mana-manatee.
Hip-hip-hurray God made you and me.
Mana-mana-manatee.

Hip-hip-hurray God made you and me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Survivor: Winners at War: It's a Young Person's Game

Is it just me or are the people on Extinction way more interesting than the people left on any tribe?

Seriously, who remembers Sophie, Adam or Nick when they won their seasons? Do I just not pay attention anymore when I watch (a possibility while scrolling on my phone or something) or do I have some form of dementia and only remember 15 or more years ago?

We start at night 16 on Extinction where Parvati tells the crew how no one would work with her anymore. Then, Sandra shows up. (They were just both voted off on the same night.) This gives Parvati a small feeling of consolation.

When Sandra tells what happened, Rob asked why she ever gave that much power to Denise. Her answer was that she was human. She let feelings get to her and she felt a little something for Denise.

They talk a little bit about the food situation. Sandra knows this island is not for her. She's not going to be out there 23 days to do one challenge to try to get back in the game. She isn't good at challenges (and everyone knows that), so she's done. You have to be in a challenge, to be good at a challenge, but... She says she will always remain queen as she raises the flag, goes off in the boat.

I say she's the biggest quitter. C'mon! It's Winners at War and you just rang the bell. Loser.

Night 16 at Parvati's old camp. Yul goes to Wendell to talk about how tribal went down. Yul thinks the talk goes fine and respectful. The next morning, Michele goes to Wendell. He gets confrontational. Michele, like an idiot even gave him one of Parvati's fire tokens to make nice, and that didn't work. That was dumb on her part. She doesn't want to work with him anymore. 

Day 17: Back to Extinction. Ethan feels depressed and defeated. He needs to find some hope. Parvati asks if he is going to pull the flag. He refuses to give up, but he has a much different perspective than most.
Ethan later finds a box that must be opened together. Each gets a scroll. There are four hidden fire tokens at the end of trails. There's no limit how many one person can get. They all sprint off and leave the rice on the fire. Rob takes off. Tyson thinks that Rob is portly and he can catch up at some point.

Tyson goes up the first trail and finds one on the ground. They all gather again and everyone swears to not have anything and they start frisking one another. What no one knows is that Rob has already found all of the other three.


On Sandra's old tribe, they just think they are bored. There's four of them, and they aren't social distancing. Tony is running around and entertaining the tribe.

Tony thinks Denise is growing as a threat, but Jeremy thinks Tony is still the threat. Kim and Jeremy think they need a plan for the merge. She could be convinced to go with this group of four than going back to any of her previous tribe mates. Denise talks to Kim about the two of them with Jeremy being tight going forward.

On the other tribe, they are enjoying what's left of the peanut butter. Ben and Adam are asking each other about where the immunity idol might be. Little do they know Sophie is in possession. Adam thinks between Ben and Sarah, one of them has it.

The men go out looking. Adam finds Ben annoying though. Adam is convinced Sarah has it and lies to him. Sophie shares what Adam talks about with the others so they don't think she's in cahoots with him. Sarah and Ben offer to dump out their bags to prove they don't have it. Adam is annoying all of them.

Maybe there's something to be said about being home alone. Ten days and counting.

Day 18: Challenge time

The teams have to big "saucers" through an obstacle course to fill with water. They have to get enough water back to the well to fill up a well back at the other end. When the well is filled, the puzzle pieces will drop. The first two teams go faster than the third, meaning they have to go back again. Yara takes FOREVER while the other teams almost lap them. It pays off. Slow and steady strategy means they only have to make one run.

Dakal and Sele quickly catch up and get their puzzle pieces.

Ben and Sophie had the head start on the puzzle and pull off the first immunity spot. It's neck and neck. Jeremy and Denise get theirs before Wendell and Michele put their last piece in.

Nick did this challenge in his season and lost. He lost again. Yul, Michele, Wendell and Nick are going to tribal tonight. Yul thinks Wendell is a showboat and trying to get Jeff's attention instead of concentrating on the puzzle dug his grave.

Back at camp, Michele apologizes to the rest of the tribe. Nick blames Wendell for the same reasons as Yul. Yul and Nick agree on Wendell while Michele and Wendell wash their shoes at the beach.

Michele agrees to go with Wendell. He thinks Nick is going to be on his side too.

Yul talks to Michele and she agrees to vote with them and assures her there's nothing to worry about.

Yul comes up with a plan to try to get Wendell's fire tokens. This strategy play scares Nick. Maybe he and Michele should go the other way.

So everyone talks and there's lots of back and forth. Yul, Wendell, Yul, Wendell.

It's tribal time. Jeff starts asking Wendell what's up, telling he's ready to say something. Wendell basically just says it's been a tough day. Jeff calls on Yul next, the last old school player left. Yul talks about how it's so much more complicated and he's had to lie a lot. He talks about trying to convince people with fire tokens.

Conversations move to pre-existing conversations. Michele and Wendell yammer on about ifs and buts.

Yul makes a final plea to work with them and not be blind-sided. They've been together this whole time, but now someone has to go.

Wendell votes Yul.

Yul votes Wendell.

We know that from watching. When the votes are read:

Yul
Wendell
Yul
Yul

He's the 9th person voted out. Where will his fire tokens go? He has two. One to Sophie and one to Sarah.

The tribes are starting to look an awful lot like the cast of The Bachelor or something. It's all the young people and I feel old again.

Next week: The merge!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

If Your Kids Have Questions, You Want Them to Come to You for Answers



If Your Kids Have Questions,
You Want Them to Come to You for Answers
Honest Answers equips parents to explore God questions with their tweens

Who would have thought two weeks ago that we would be facing so much fear and uncertainty? There are so many unknowns, so many questions, and if we have them, we know our kids have them too. And they are going to be asking a lot of them in the coming weeks, including questions about God’s goodness and if prayer works. Are we prepared to answer their questions concerning faith? Janelle Alberts and Ingrid Faro set out to help parents confidently have these hard conversations with their new release, Honest Answers: Exploring God Questions with Your Tween (Kregel Publications/March 24, 2020/ISBN: 9780825446443/$15.99).


Honest Answers is designed to help parents tackle the God questions that make them sweat. The authors know that when tweens start asking questions, they’re already old enough to understand the answers. Alberts and Faro are determined to equip parents with the language, theology, permission, and confidence to join in the discussion—and to learn how to offer deeply doctrinal answers in a way that connects with their children.

Honest Answers is divided into four parts, each with three chapters, addressing some of the biggest faith questions that come up:
  • The Bible: How it was put together, how history supports it, and the points of view of the writers.
  • Prayer:  How to pray, when we don’t get the answers we are wanting, and sticking with God regardless.
  • Faith and science: Why the two sides don’t always agree, and how to handle situations that come up in school when what kids learn there doesn’t line up with what they learn at church.
  • The church: How it is set up, why there are different denominations, and its past, present, and future.

Each chapter begins with a “parent’s primer” on a specific topic that tweens often ask questions about. The primer introduces the topic and provides further background information to share in later conversations with the kids. Next, an “honest answers Q&A” section is the part of the chapter to be read as a family. Each Q&A section begins with a brief introduction followed by six to eight multiple choice questions to explore together.

“Our kids want and deserve discussion about God and the Bible and don’t accept simply being told what to think or believe,” Faro shares. “We can enter conversations providing solid and substantive responses to tough questions without jargon, fluff, or pat answers and don’t need to be afraid of questions our kids may have.”

“As parents, we want to feel confident enough to say to our kids, ‘Let’s talk about that,’ right at their point of interest,” Alberts adds. “However, that is not an easy thing to do. These core tenets of our faith have been debated over centuries and have involved councils, creeds, Bible translations, extraordinary feats of faith, and also terrible behavior. But we’re the parents. These kids want to know what there is to know from us. If our kids see a pattern that when they come to us, they get honest, forthright discussion even if we do not know every answer, that will keep them coming to us as a resource as they mature in their faith.”

The tween years present an incredible opportunity to build trust with kids and to keep them coming back to their parents for answers rather than finding other sources. With the tools and conversational tips here, moms and dads can engage in a hopeful conversation and help their children build a Christian faith to hold them steady their whole lives.


Advance Praise

Young teens and their parents have honest questions that deserve thoughtful, gracious engagement. This book provides accessible background for parents, caregivers, and teachers to the kinds of faith questions maturing young people ask, and thought-provoking conversation starters to spur curiosity and instruct through discussion. Brimming with both instruction and invitation to know and to grow, Honest Answers is an excellent teaching tool for families and faith communities looking for fresh ways to talk about God with the next generation.”
~ Michelle Van Loon, author of Born to Wander

“Too many of the previous generation were taught to think the Bible is a magical, mysterious, absolutely different kind of book, only to experience a sudden dissolution of their faith when they realized God’s Word came into being in a real world with real authors speaking to real situations. What I like about Honest Answers is that it gives our children a Bible that is magical yet utterly trustworthy, while at the same time it is a collection of authors speaking God’s word to God’s people over time. God bless the moms and dads and teachers who make use of this fine book.”
~ Dr. Scot McKnight, professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary


About the Authors

Janelle Alberts spent her early career in PR departments for Microsoft and UPS, boiling down logical, clear corporate messaging. She now attempts the same for parents who love Scripture, often featuring bits we’ve never heard but wish we had.

Alberts wrote her first faith column for the Akron Beacon Journal in 2010 and has since been a regular contributor to various online sites including Christianity Today’s Gifted for Leadership, RELEVANT magazine, and others. Honest Answers is her first book.

Alberts and her family make their home in Ohio.

Visit her on Facebook (@AuthorJanelleAlberts).


Ingrid Faro is dean of academic affairs and associate professor of Old Testament at Northern Seminary. She is also associate professor of Old Testament at the Scandinavian School of Theology in Sweden. She has an MDiv and PhD from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

Faro is an international speaker at conferences and churches and writes on topics that include navigating evil and suffering, abuse and power dynamics, women in the Bible, forgiveness, the goodness of God, identity in Christ, discipleship, and leadership. Her motivation is to encourage people, help them navigate the pain and sufferings of this world, and grow in thriving relationship with God and others. She is the coauthor of Honest Answers.

Faro has two married children and three grandchildren. She lives in Illinois.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Creation Song

We try... and sometimes that's what counts, especially on Wednesday nights.


Creation Song

Day one, day one
God made light when there was none,
Day one, day one
God made light when there was none.

Day two, day two
God made clouds and skies of blue
Day two, day two
God made clouds and skies of blue

Day three, day three
God made grass and flowers and trees
Day three, day three
God made grass and flowers and trees

Day four, day four
God made sun, moon and stars galore
Day four, day four
God made sun, moon and stars galore

Day five, day five
God made birds and fish alive
Day five, day five
God made birds and fish alive

Sixth day, sixth day
God made animals and man that day,
Sixth day, sixth day
God made animals and man that day.

Day seven, day seven
God rested in His heaven
Day seven, day seven
God rested in His heaven



Friday, March 20, 2020

Calling all Comparison Girls!



New tour announcement!

Join the review team for Shannon Popkin's upcoming release Comparison Girl.

The dates will be May 19-June 2. I'll be sending out emails about who made the tour on April 3.

When I send out all the details ahead of the tour, I'll have a Q&A you can use, we'll be doing a book giveaway and will provide you with all the tour materials you will need. I'll also have a form for you to submit your tour links.
 

About the Book

From Measuring Up to Pouring Out

Shannon Popkin leads women away from a life
of comparison toward a mind-set of serving

I wish I were tall like her. If only my kids got along the way her kids do. Why does she always seem to have it all together? Women compare themselves constantly. On social media, in their neighborhood, at church, at work, even in the school drop-off lane, they glance sideways and ask, “How do I measure up?” Behind all this comparison is an enemy gaining tactical advantage.

In her new Bible study, Comparison Girl: Lessons from Jesus on Me-Free Living in a Measure-Up World (Kregel Publications/May 19, 2020/ISBN: 9780825446214/ $16.99), author and speaker Shannon Popkin invites women to leave measure-up comparison behind and connect with those around them by choosing Jesus’s me-free way of living. It’s a real chance to break free from the shackles of comparison.

Popkin confesses her own struggle with comparison literally goes as far back as she can remember and suspects her readers can relate. Her earliest memory is of her four-year-old self holding her songbook upside down in church. When a woman from the pew behind reached forward to turn the book right side up, Popkin felt embarrassed and exposed—clearly the watching world now knew she could not read. It may seem silly in retrospect, but Popkin admits the same could be said of many of her current struggles. “Why do I worry about being exposed as a less-than-perfect mom? Or a middle-aged woman who struggles with her weight? Or a Christian who still sins? My heart, since childhood, has been bent on perfectionism, pride, and measuring up—which has not led to great freedom and joy. Instead, it’s led to a great fear of what people think and a great dread of being found lacking.”

Comparison follows women through every stage of life, leading either to a sense of superiority (pride, perfectionism, arrogance, or judgmental criticism) or inferiority (insecurity, shame, jealousy, and self-consciousness). Satan loves to perpetuate comparison-driven bondage and isolation, but Jesus wants to set women free.

Equating our lives to a measuring cup, Popkin invites readers to live by the spout, not by the lines. “Picture yourself holding a glass measuring cup with red lines on the side. Mingled in your cup are all the things which set you apart—your gifts, aptitudes, and talents. Your personality is mixed in, along with your family background. This cup holds your life’s potential, measured out by God. Satan wants you to focus on the lines—holding your cup next to this person’s and that one’s. He says that to make something of yourself, you have to measure up—then he shames you when you don’t,” she explains. “Jesus, however, turns your attention to your measuring cup’s spout, saying that you were designed, not to measure up, but to pour yourself out. And he shows you how it’s done. He lived by the spout, emptying himself of status and pouring his life out on the cross, giving his life as a ransom for many.”

Suited for both individual and group study, Comparison Girl is a six-week Bible study that guides readers to examine conversations Jesus had and parables he shared with disciples, tax collectors, and Pharisees, who also were comparing. Each chapter is divided into lessons, allowing women on a time budget to read a Bible passage, engage in a complete train of thought related to the topic, and then make the content personal—all in one sitting. Rather than feeling preached to, women will engage with Popkin’s informal teaching tone as if they’re meeting with a trusted friend.

Readers of Popkin’s best-selling release Control Girl may find themselves in Comparison Girl as well. “I wrestle daily with comparison, and I’ve noticed that my struggles with control and comparison are related. As I look to the side, measuring myself against others, I’m often laser-focused on things that are out of my control,” she admits. Yet, there is hope. “You are different from other people by God’s intentional design. Anything in your measuring cup is a gift from Him. As you tip your cup and pour into others, the measuring stops. The more you pour, the more God fills your cup with freedom, confidence, and joy.”


Advance Praise

“If you struggle with measuring up, if you’re worried about what people think, if you dread someone seeing you in a less-than-ideal situation, then you’re human. We all struggle with comparing ourselves to others in some way. That means we all need Shannon’s honest and wise words on the pages of this book. I know I did, and I’m betting you do too!”
~ Jill Savage, author of No More Perfect Moms, No More Perfect Kids, and No More Perfect Marriages

“Shannon Popkin has done it again! She has masterfully written another must-read to speak to the struggles of our soul. Like a dear friend she comes, sits with us, and soothes us with the truth of how purposefully we were created, how intentionally we have been gifted, and how infinitely we are loved. Inviting us to look up, listen to the tender truths of God, and learn to silence the lies of the enemy against us, Shannon shows us how to finally live freely in a culture of continual comparison. For every woman who has an area of her life where she wonders if she is truly enough—here is your answer.”
~ Erica Wiggenhorn, author of Unexplainable Jesus: Rediscovering the God You Thought You Knew

About the Author

Shannon Popkin is a writer, speaker, and Bible teacher who loves pointing others to the truth of God’s Word. She combines her gifts for humor and storytelling with her passion for Jesus. She regularly speaks at Christian women’s events and retreats, encouraging women of all ages to put their hope in God.

Popkin is also a regular contributor for the Revive Our Hearts True Woman and Leader Connection blogs. Her articles have been published by Family Fun, Focus on the Family Magazine, MOMsense and others. She is the author of several books, including Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the Bible, Influence: Building a Platform That Elevates Jesus (Not Me), and Comparison Girl: Lessons from Jesus on Me-Free Living in a Measure-Up World.

Popkin and her husband, Ken, have been married for more than twenty years and live in West Michigan. They have three children—one in high school and two in college.

Connect with Shannon Popkin by visiting www.shannonpopkin.com, following her on Facebook (shanpopkin), Instagram (shannonpopkin), or Twitter (@ShannonPopkin).