52 Books in 52 Weeks Reading Wrap Up for 2015

I have participated in the "52 Books in 52 Weeks" Reading Challenge for several years now. There is always a "wrap up" for the year. My list is at the end of this post with links to all my reviews. 

  • How many books did you read this year and did you meet or beat your own personal goal?

I read 53. My goal was 52, and I was so busy writing my own books (until May) and studying for other things (Pilates and Personal Training Certifications) that I really thought I would not meet it, but I did! 

  • Share your top 5 (or more) favorite books.

1. Living in Christ's Presence by Willard

2. A Guide to Listening and Inner Healing Prayer by Rustenbach

3. You've Got Libya by Livingstone

4. National Academy of Sports Medicine Essentials of Personal Fitness Training

5. Oliver Twist by Dickens

6. A Christmas Carol by Dickens

(The above list reflects my true passions: Jesus/Spiritual Transformation/Discipleship! (1), prayer and healing (2), missions (3), fitness (4), and classical literature/reading (5-6)!) 

I know several of the books on my list are ones that I wrote, and I loved all of them too! LOL! :) 

  • Which books or authors you thought you'd never read and were pleasantly surprised to like them?

It isn't that I did not think I would like her or never read her, but my former nanny, N.E. Casady, wrote her first novel, Time Assignment. So, I expected it might have many plot holes, but it was a well-crafted story! So proud of this woman! I have read some first time novels that have made it in big time publishing houses that were really bad, but this is not one of them! :) 

I had the book A Guide to Listening and Inner Healing Prayer on my shelf for the better part of a year. I wanted to believe that the author "walked his talk" and that prayer had truly transformed the person I knew 33 years ago. After having him in my home in May and visiting him in Colorado in August, I can heartily say that he most certainly "walks his talk"!!! That was a pleasant surprise! 

  • One book that touched you - made you laugh, cry, sing, or dance! 

Living in Christ's Presence was so moving as it is a transcript of a conference that Dallas Willard gave 77 days before he died. He knew he was sliding into heaven, and it is the wise words of one who was ready to meet his Maker. It made me bawl like a baby. I will read it over and over again.

Messiah Meditations made me do all of the above! I know I wrote it, but I love listening to and learning about this amazing piece of music even if I am the source of the information (or at least the one who compiled the information)!

You've Got Libya by Greg Livingstone made me both laugh out loud and cry at times, but that is because I know Greg so it might not hit others as it did me. 

  • Share your most favorite character, covers and/or quotes.

Favorite characters: Oliver Twist and Scrooge and all the characters in these two fantastic Dickens novels! 

Cover (colors are great!):

Favorite Quote from Living in Christ's Presence:

Spiritual transformation is not about behavior modification. It is about changing the sources of behavior, so the behavior will take care of itself. When the mind is right and the heart is right and the body and the soul and the relationships that we have in our social world are right, the whole person simply steps into the way of Christ and lives there with joy and strength. It is not a struggle. One of the lies about the spiritual life is that it is hard. No, no. It is not hard. It is the easy way.
Willard, Dallas; Ortberg, John (2013-12-26). Living in Christ's Presence: Final Words on Heaven and the Kingdom of God (p. 14). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition. 

From A Christmas Carol:
“But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,' faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself. 
Business!' cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. "Mankind was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The deals of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

 “There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,' returned the nephew. 'Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round—apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that—as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!” 

  • One book you thought you'd love but didn't:

Contagious Disciplemaking by David L. and Paul D. Watson

I have been using their Discovery Bible Studies for years, but I like the book about David's work, Miraculous Movements, much better. The chapters on prayer and church were what makes me recommend the book though. 

  • What countries or centuries did you explore:

Countries: Great Britain and Afghanistan

Centuries: I went to Dickens' Victorian era, pre and post 9/11 Afghanistan/Pakistan, and the Sahara Desert. 

  • What books would you recommend everybody read?
Living in Christ's Presence by Dallas Willard. 

All the Bible Book Club books! :) It is a huge commitment, but you will come out of it with a better understanding of God and what life is all about. 
  • What was your favorite part of the challenge?
Having a goal to reach that I felt held accountable for. I also like that fact that I had to reflect on the book by writing a review. 

2015 List: 

1. Living in Christ's Presence

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