Paradise by Lizzie Johnson – Excellent and Compelling Story About a Town’s Tragedy and its People

When I saw the book Paradise – One Town’s Struggle to Survive an American Wildfire by Lizzie Johnson, I wanted to read it.  As someone who lived over 40 years in California, wildfires were an unfortunate part of life.  When the strong winds start blowing in the fall, every Californian knows that there’s a chance of a wildfire starting.  I knew that this would be a hard book to read, but I am so glad I did. 

Lizzie Johnson did an excellent job in telling the story of the town of Paradise which is situated in northern California in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Butte County.  She captured the feel of the town and its citizens.  Anyone can write about facts and numbers, but Lizzie did a marvelous job making this grievous history personal. 

Through all the research that she did, the town’s people she got to know, and how she shared their stories you will better understand the Camp Fire, how it started and why, its devastation and toll, not just to buildings, but to people’s lives and homes.  The story is very gripping as she shares the stories of individuals whom she follows through this dreadful day.  Eighty-five people lost their lives in the most horrific circumstances.  The people that survived, and how they bear the scars from this devastating fire and are working to rebuild their lives. 

I appreciated how Lizzie Johnson told the stories of the people of Paradise.  She documented what happened, how the fire started, events and circumstances that made evacuating the town’s people safely problematic.  So glad the fire wasn’t the end of the story.  She tells about the people of Paradise in the months and years afterward. 

The ugly truth about PG&E’s criminal negligence and irresponsibility that started the fire is told, as well as decisions by the mayor and town’s council and how it impacted the evacuation of citizens.  There was one cause of the fire, but many factors that made the situation worse. 

Lizzie Johnson did an excellent job in telling this difficult and painful story in a way that made it personal, showing care and honor to the people impacted.  After reading Paradise, when I hear about the Camp Fire, I’m thinking about the people whose lives were impacted by this devastation.  I highly recommend this book.  It will give you a better understanding of the wildfires in the west that are increasingly common and their dreadful impact on people’s lives. 

I would like to thank Crown Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read a complimentary copy of Paradise by Lizzie Johnson.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 

Pure Flix – To Watch or Not to Watch

Recently, I learned that Pure Flix is encouraging people to take advantage of their offer to get the first month service free and share their thoughts about their experience.

As a Christian, having good programing that is family friendly and in keeping with our faith is important.  We are careful on what we watch, be it on regular TV or NetFlix.  I decided to give Pure Flix a try.  Below are some thoughts on what I experienced.

 I appreciated the fact that there is an option available that offers Christian movies, programs and TV shows that are family friendly.  Some of the content is Christian based with a gospel centered message.  An example is Dave Christiano’s 7th Street Theater and another is one of my favorite movies The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry. 

 There is also a large selection of movies and TV shows that are family friendly, with no profanity or sexual immorality, but they don’t have an overt gospel faith based message.  They remind me of movies available at our local Christian book store that have the “Dove Seal of Approval”.  After watching a number of them, I’ve come to realize, it means they are clean, not necessarily Christian.

 I was surprised to find that movies from one of my favorite movie makers, the Kendrick Brothers (Facing the Giants, War Room, Courageous, Fly Wheel and Fireproof) are not currently available on Pure Flix. 

 In addition to movies and TV shows, there is Christian teaching available on Pure Flix.  I was concerned about some of the pastors and teachers, because I believe their teaching is not biblically sound and doesn’t line up with Scripture.  Is that important?  Does it make a difference?  Yes, I believe it does. 

 When I raised that concern with Leah Hastings at Pure Flix she shared that Pure Flix works to impact the culture of Christ through their service.  However, they like to be as inclusive as possible with the content options they offer.

 Like I do with regular TV and radio, if I know someone’s teaching is not sound, I don’t listen to or watch them.  I would advise people to be smart, know their Bible and choose wisely what they watch. 

 Technology wise, I think Pure Flix has a ways to go.  I’m comparing it to my experience with NetFlix.  When I initially logged in to my account on the computer, I selected a number shows as favorites.  However, when I set up my account on the TV through Roku, the programs I selected as favorites on the computer didn’t show up.  I had to start over.

 Also, when I tried to add a show as a favorite, example Sue Thomas F.B. Eye, instead of adding the show/series, it added the episode.  To get to the next episode, I’d have to go back and add that.  It wasn’t user friendly.  Whereas with NetFlix it adds the whole series, not just an episode, and keeps track of where we are at with a series. 

 In summary, there are some pros and cons with Pure Flix.  I like a lot of the content that’s available.  If we had children, I would likely go with Pure Flix instead of NetFlix or other options.  I would want to control the content and material they would be exposed to.

 Some of the Christian movies and TV shows on Pure Flix are also available on other movie/TV streaming choices.  We probably won’t be keeping Pure Flix.  We already have NetFlix and like some of the content they have available and appreciate the ease of operation.

If you have children and are concerned about limiting the content they are exposed to or just want to carefully guard what comes into your home, you may want to consider Pure Flix.  They currently offer new viewers the ability to sign up and get the first month free.  Please see the link below. 


I would like to thank Leah for answering my questions and for telling me a little more about Pure Flix.  I appreciate the opportunity to try their service and perhaps in the future, we’ll revisit Pure Flix as an entertainment option.