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Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus through the Spiritual Disciplines
Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus through the Spiritual Disciplines
by David Mathis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $11.46
64 used & new from $7.47

4.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational book to those of us lacking or unsatisfied with our own habits of grace, May 22, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: While there isn't really anything particularly innovative about what this book offers, what it offers is done in a highly consumable manner that may well resonate with you or your intended reader. It resonated with me. Recommended!

BACKGROUND: I am not a highly disciplined person. My areas of discipline ebb and flow like the sea. At times, I'm very disciplined, but at other times, I lack discipline. It's always a struggle to stay disciplined, much like it's hard to stay on a diet and then, later, maintain your ideal weight indefinitely. I find that I need a regular dose of inspiration to stay on track in life, and this book was helpful in distilling Christian disciplines into just a few, basic forms: reading God's Word, praying and meditating, and fellowship are among them.

Sometimes you just need to read something in a book and, although the idea is neither new or particularly innovative, it can strike you in a new way and lead to an "Ah-hah!" kind of moment. Take fasting. Most Christians don't fast. Maintaining your ideal weight is hard enough, much less skip meals for a day or longer. But why not just skip a single meal in the week? Just one meal. Just use one meal a week -- or even a month -- to forestall satiating your earthly desire so you can devote yourself to your heavenly desire instead. Then, as that becomes easy to you, fast longer, make fasting harder to do, make the sacrifice more challenging -- and more rewarding. Is this idea really a new or innovative thought? I don't think so, but reading this idea in this book was inspirational to me to do just that.

While the book is a good and easy read, and profitable, I am often inspired by the real-life stories of people who have overcome the challenges that I now face. I would have preferred more personal accounts (from the author or from others) interwoven into this easy-to-read book.

CONCLUSION: If you struggle with starting or maintaining spiritual disciplines which you know in your heart are important in your faith-walk, consider this book as a way to bring new inspiration into your faith journey.


Roundup PRO 190410 2-Gallon Sprayer for Applying Fertilizers, Weed Killers, and Herbicides
Roundup PRO 190410 2-Gallon Sprayer for Applying Fertilizers, Weed Killers, and Herbicides
Price: $54.15
5 used & new from $52.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice build quality, but too hard to read the gallon measurements on the tank's side, May 22, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: Premium-feel sprayer works really well in spraying Roundup in a broadcast fashion. But really, why can't the gallon measurement be readable on the tank's side?

BACKGROUND: I've used the cheap Roundup tanks that you purchase for about $20 at Home Depot for many years. But this product is noticeably nicer in quality build than those $20 sprayers. The hose has a nice, thick, sturdy feel to it, and the wand itself has a nice feel, too. The different nozzles you can attach to the sprayer wand allows you to choose the fitting that fits the job best.

When I used this tank to spray Roundup onto weeds on my side yard in a broadcast fashion, the fine mist that the brass fitting makes was noticeably superior to the $20 sprayer I'm used to. And I like, too, that the wand has a hook and cup at the tank's base to make it easy to stow the tank when not in use.

Finally, I like the pressure-release valve on the tank, and in just a few pumps, the tank is sufficiently pressurized to use.

WHAT COULD BE BETTER:

- The extra fittings to be used on the tank would be better stowed somewhere in a side pocket affixed to this sprayer, rather than being left in my garage where the chances that those fittings will get lost or misplaced is very high
- My biggest gripe is that I find it to hard to read the raised numbers on the tank indicating gallon measurements. If I'm trying to fill the tank, say, to the 1.5 gallon level, I find it terribly hard to locate the raised numbers molded out of the same material in which the tank is constructed. Really, can't they create some solution where the gallon measurement have high-contrast to the light color of the tank?

CONCLUSION: Seems like a bump up in build quality from the $20 Roundup tanks you get at Home Depot. I like the different fittings that let me fit the sprayer to the job I have to do. Just wish the gallon measurements on the tank had high-contrast so they would be easier to read.


Akai Professional MPX16 Sample Recorder and Player with SD Card Slot
Akai Professional MPX16 Sample Recorder and Player with SD Card Slot
Price: $199.99
84 used & new from $199.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Feature rich, but fatally flawed, April 3, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: We used this to connect a gaming computer and use the button macro functionality to automate certain tasks/keystrokes. We're not musicians, so

WHAT WE LIKED:

- Excellent user manual, explains each of the functions of the board, and what the sample adjustments like velocity and decay do to the sample
- Responsive buttons
- Elaborate feature-set, allowing for a significant amount of customization for each button and sample
- Straightforward layout
- Choke groups are very useful
- MIDI signals can be sent via USB to a computer, which is useful for many things aside from just sampling.

WHAT WE DID NOT LIKE:

- Despite the fact that the firmware version that came on the board (1.0.19) is newer than any listed on Akai's website (1.0.18 is the latest online), it still has the bug other reviewers have encountered: corrupting the SD card while interacting with stored samples. We attempted to duplicate a sample so that we could alter the copy, and the board obliterated our SD card's data. Everything we had stored on the card (including other folders and files not related to the samples) was ruined. This seems like a pretty catastrophic issue to go unfixed!

- The software that converts audio files into samples is also awful. Sample names are limited, the converter doesn't play nice with all file formats, and there are bugs in it. (For example, we had several samples that were going to be renamed to the same thing, so we were asked whether we wanted to skip or overwrite. Since we knew that this issue would happen again, we chose to skip, and checked the box to do that action to all the files in future. Instead of skipping all the problem files, the software skipped ALL the files in the conversion queue, even the ones that wouldn't have been problems at all. That is not good software design.)

CONCLUSION: This has the potential to be an audio producer's best friend, or a live musician's accomplice. However, a few glaring issues detract significantly from its usability, and as such I cannot recommend it for music. However, for the purpose we wanted to use it for (creating a load of macros for my PC, each bound to a different MIDI button), it does perfectly. Each key has a distinct MIDI note (that can be changed if desired), and so it was a breeze to use Autohotkey to create actions based on button presses.


Rhodium Plated Sterling Silver Cubic Zirconia Hoop Earrings (0.85 cttw)
Rhodium Plated Sterling Silver Cubic Zirconia Hoop Earrings (0.85 cttw)
Price: $32.23

5.0 out of 5 stars Light, sparkly, teenage daughter-approved, March 7, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: Teen daughter says she loves these.

So, I gave these earrings to one of my teen daughters and she says she loves these earrings. That said, I think she uses the word "love" a little too loosely. But I went with it, and gave these 5-stars anyway. What does she love about them, though:

WHAT SHE LOVES:

- They're light
- They look pretty
- They look sparkly (in a way that the product photo can't display)

WHAT COULD BE BETTER:

- They're fragile and bend easily. Upside? If you bend them accidentally, you can bend them back into shape easily, too!

CONCLUSION: If you're looking for sparkly cubic zirconia hoop earrings, these seem to be a good choice.


PNY Anarchy 8GB Kit (2x4GB) DDR3 2133MHz (PC3-17000) CL10 Desktop Memory (BLUE) - MD8GK2D3213310AB-Z
PNY Anarchy 8GB Kit (2x4GB) DDR3 2133MHz (PC3-17000) CL10 Desktop Memory (BLUE) - MD8GK2D3213310AB-Z
Price: $31.99
5 used & new from $31.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars F-A-S-T RAM sticks workgreat in a gaming PC!, March 7, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: FAST RAM sticks!

BACKGROUND: We installed these in our home's gaming PC, and used a utility to test their performance.

WHAT WE LIKED:

- The RAM is much much faster than standard 1600 MHz (in benchmarks, these performed almost 3GB/s faster than our 1600 MHz sticks)
- These have two XMP profiles built-in
- There's headroom for overclockability (we bumped them to 2200MHz and benched them with Mem86 for 3 tests, with zero errors)
- The heatsinks are subtle, and match the gray/blue motherboard exquisitely

WHAT COULD BE BETTER:

- The hard-plastic packaging requires scissors to open

NOTES: When you first install these sticks in your system, ensure that their frequency is set to actually be 2133 MHz. In our first test, the sticks had been automatically downclocked, leading to some head-scratching about the initial benchmarks.

CONCLUSION: Assuming that there's no long-term issues with quality, the out-of-the-box experience with these RAM sticks was great. Recommended!


HAMSWAN Professional 2.4Ghz Optical Wireless Stereo Gaming Headset for Xbox 360 Xbox One PS4 PS3 PC Mac TV with Detachable Microphone USB 2.0 Jack 2.5-3.5 mm Also Compatible with Xbox One (If you have an adaptor of Microsoft)
HAMSWAN Professional 2.4Ghz Optical Wireless Stereo Gaming Headset for Xbox 360 Xbox One PS4 PS3 PC Mac TV with Detachable Microphone USB 2.0 Jack 2.5-3.5 mm Also Compatible with Xbox One (If you have an adaptor of Microsoft)
Offered by HAMSWAN
Price: $125.99
4 used & new from $50.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Firmware update is a must!, March 7, 2016
QUICK SUMMARY: Plan on updating the firmware if you can't get these headphones to work properly out-of-the-box. Once the firmware is updated, though, you should be generally pleased with these headphones.

BACKGROUND: We used these with a gaming PC, not with any gaming consoles.

WHAT WE LIKE:

- Good clarity, good sound
- Surprisingly good noise isolation
- Long battery life
- Clear microphone sound (others said they could hear us clearly)
- Comes with every cable you need
- Automatic driver install with Windows 10, no download required

WHAT COULD BE BETTER:

- Headphones don't fit around ears, instead they squish the ears
- Uncomfortable to use while wearing glasses
- Out of the box, the connection between headphones and transmitter broke every 5 seconds, resulting in audio cut outs. The firmware update that fixes the issue is not mentioned anywhere, and is very difficult to find on the vendor's website.
- The firmware update process is convoluted, unintuitive, and potentially dangerous to your system if you don't do it right (see the comments to find a URL where to get the firmware). Hint: Watch the video contained in the zip with the firmware download, it is the easiest way to understand how to update.
- This could by the fault of our gaming PC, but when our computer is asleep, the transmitter doesn't turn off, but instead keeps blinking its light in search of the headset
- Vibration and separate chat volume knob seem to be console exclusive features, as the chat knob didn't do anything while using Steam voice chat, and the vibration has never triggered
- The product's images show that it has a small piece of foam on the mic, but the headset we received did not have any foam (and the foam tip was not on the box images)

CONCLUSION: When the headset works, it works very well. However, getting it to that point is a hassle, and not intuitive at all. If you want easy, look elsewhere. (Vendor supplied free item in exchange for an unbiased product review).
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 9, 2016 5:52 PM PDT


Dilanco 18K Rose Gold Plated Multi-Gemstone Hollow Bangle Bracelets for Women
Dilanco 18K Rose Gold Plated Multi-Gemstone Hollow Bangle Bracelets for Women
Offered by Hanfeier
Price: $68.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Good for the snarky teen daughter in your home, March 7, 2016
QUICK SUMMARY: This item was a hit with one of my teen daughters!

I have several females in my home (wife, teen daughters). The one teen daughter who tends to gravitate towards jewelry more than anyone else says she loves this item, and intends on wearing it frequently.

I asked her whether there was anything she disliked about it; she said, "No." I asked whether she liked how it fit on her wrists; she said, "Yes." I asked whether she thought the locking/unlocking mechanism worked well; she said, "Stop asking me so many questions, Dad."

So, near as I can tell, this is a suitable item for a snarky teenager who will give you up to two yes/no answers to questions you might ask before she tells you to buzz off. (Vendor supplied free product in exchange for unbiased review).


Dilanco 18K Yellow Gold-Plated Swarovski Elements Crystal Pink Opal Pendant Necklace,18"+2.5" Extender
Dilanco 18K Yellow Gold-Plated Swarovski Elements Crystal Pink Opal Pendant Necklace,18"+2.5" Extender
Offered by Hanfeier
Price: $79.88

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much bling for my girls, March 7, 2016
QUICK SUMMARY: The collective opinion of the women in my home (wife, teen daughters) was that this pendant tries to do too much, and in so trying, doesn't do anything particularly well.

The girls in my home have varied tastes in jewelry, but none of them go for particularly ostentatious items. With this pendant, they all like the sparkly nature of the pink crystal. But the flower design has a lot different pedals that give this piece a cluttered appearance. And the item was surprisingly large, too. One teen daughter said that it looks like something you'd see in a dollar store, and the other females in my home all agreed with that assessment. Since receiving this item, no one has tried wearing it more than once.

The item's appearance is very much like what you see in the picture, except the item has much better sparkle than what a webpage can show (both the crystal and the gold-plating). So before you buy this item, consider carefully whether you like the asymmetrical styling, and whether you might better prefer something smaller, less busy. (Vendor supplied free product in exchange for unbiased review).


Codream® Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons set of 6 for Measuring Liquid and Dry Ingredients Accurate Quality for Baking and Cooking
Codream® Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons set of 6 for Measuring Liquid and Dry Ingredients Accurate Quality for Baking and Cooking
Offered by CodreamDirect
Price: $9.99
2 used & new from $9.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sturdy, stainless steel measuring spoons with deep wells, March 7, 2016
QUICK SUMMARY: Surprisingly sturdy measuring spoons made of stainless steel with deep wells and an easy lock/unlock ring to keep them all together. If that's what you're in the market for, these seem like a good buy. Recommended!

Perhaps the first thing you'll notice when you open the package and take these measuring spoons out is that they weigh a lot more than any other measuring spoons you've used before. If quality can be measured in weight, these are quality spoons (that said, I haven't used these long enough to know whether the stainless steel used to make these spoons is really high quality stainless steel that resist corrosion like a stainless steel kitchen sink). I have four sets of measuring spoons. In order, here's how much each set of measuring spoons weigh:

- chintzy aluminum spoons (18 grams)
- plastic spoons (21 grams)
- zinc-plated spoons (44 grams)
- these stainless steel spoons (130 grams)

So, be prepared for spoons that weigh up to six times more than any others you've used. This attribute really isn't a plus or a con, it just is an attribute to know about before you buy them.

I like the deep wells of these spoons. There is less spoon edge from which liquids can spill over. But if you're using these to pour medicines into, and then try to drink directly from these spoons, they are an awkward design to drink liquids from, and your lips won't seal well around these measuring spoons.

The jointed ring that keeps all these measuring spoons together is easy to lock together, and to unlock. My wife said that she'll probably unhinge the ring and take out whatever spoons she needs, rather than try to use them collectively like you often do with measuring spoons.

CONCLUSION: Hopefully the stainless steel material will withstand years of heavy dishwasher use. For now, these are a very nice set of measuring spoons you won't likely do any damage to. (Vendor supplied free product in exchange for unbiased review).


Sterling Silver Oxidized Tiny Celtic Stud Earrings
Sterling Silver Oxidized Tiny Celtic Stud Earrings
Price: $12.08

5.0 out of 5 stars My teen daughter loves these, February 29, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: My teen daughter loves 'em. What more can you say?

BACKGROUND: One of my teen daughters had the privilege of wearing these earrings in order that I could review this item. She loves these earrings!

WHAT SHE LIKES:

- Small, tasteful, with a celtic design.
- The sterling silver didn't bother her ears as some other, inexpensive costume jewelry does.
- The box that the earrings came in was nice albeit much to big for a pair of stud earrings

WHAT COULD BE BETTER:

- Sometimes the cross design starts to twist around, so it's hard to maintain a proper, vertical position on one's earlobe.

CONCLUSION: Great choice if this matches your pocketbook and taste.


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