Wednesday, December 25, 2013

2013 Reading Wrap Up

  1. How many books did you read and did you meet or beat your own personal goal? 
I read 66 books. I beat my personal goal of 52.

2.What are your top 5 (or more) favorite stories?  Top 5 least favorites? 

TOP 12 (or 15 if you count the trilogy)
15. Of Virgins and Martyrs: Women and Sexuality in Global Conflict (ER)
19: Booked:Literature in the Soul of Me
26. Waiting for God (ITC)
38. Call the Midwife (all three in the trilogy)
40. The Reading Promise
54. This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral and Valet Parking
56. Heidi
58. Silence, Solitude, and Simplicity
60. Persuasion (second time but loved it all over again)
64. Divine Conspiracy (third time finally did it!)
65. Searching for God Knows What
66. Behind the Beautiful Forevers

2. Dandelion Wine (SBC)
5. A Year of Biblical Womanhood (SBC)
16. Warrior: Fighting for Your Faith, Family, etc (ER)
28. The Twilight of the Idols (ITC)

3. One book you thought you would never read and was pleasantly surprised you liked it? 

If I can say "one book I thought I would never REread and was pleasantly surprised," I would say The Divine Conspiracy. Willard is so intellectual he makes my head hurt, but I was surprised at how much more I grasped this time around and understood his heart. 

4. Most thrilling unputdownable book? 

It was not "thrilling," but I loved Silence, Solitude, and Simplicity because it was right where I was at. I read it while on a prayer retreat, and I ate it up. So wise and profound. 

5. Did you come across a story that you enjoyed it so much, you turned around and read it again or plan on  rereading it again in 2014? 

I could see my self rereading Silence, Solitude, and Simplicity on a yearly basis.

6. One book you thought you would love, but didn't? 

A Year of Biblical Womanhood

7. Which book or books had the greatest impact on you this year? 

Silence, Solitude, and Simplicity
Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me
Divine Conspiracy
Searching for God Knows Wha

8. Do you have a favorite cover or quote from a story you'd like to share? 

9. What book would you recommend everyone read?  

Silence, Solitude, and Simpicty and Divine Conspiracy or Searching for God Knows What - Divine Conspiracy is really hard for some people. 

10. What was your most favorite part of the challenge? Did you do any of the mini challenges? 

The discipline of writing a review for every book. No, did not do any mini-challenges.

Here is the whole List:

1. Les Miserables - Radio Family Theatre (ER)
2. Dandelion Wine (SBC)
3. Pensees by Pascal (ITC)
4. Pocket Your Dollars (ER)
5. A Year of Biblical Womanhood (SBC)
6. The Flying Creatures of Fra Angelico (ER)
7. Institutes of the Christian Religion: Book I (ITC)
8. Keeping Christ in Ministry (ER)
9. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
10. Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey
11. The Catcher in the Rye (BD)
12. Institutes of the Christian Religion: Book II (ITC)
13. Practicing God's Presence 24/7
14. Getting Out of Bed in the Morning (ER)
15. Of Virgins and Martyrs: Women and Sexuality in Global Conflict (ER)
16. Warrior: Fighting for Your Faith, Family, etc (ER)
17. Institutes of the Christian Religion: Book III (ITC)
18. Institutes of the Christian Religion: Book IV (ITC)
19: Booked:Literature in the Soul of Me
20. Apologia Pro Vita Sua (ITC)
21. The Second Shepherds' Play (ITC)
22. The Federalist (ITC)
24. I am Nujood: Age 10 and Divorced
25. Four Quartets (ITC)
26. Waiting for God (ITC)
27. Life of Johnson (ITC)
28. The Twilight of the Idols (ITC)
29. My Foot is Too Big for the Glass Slipper
30. Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia (ITC)
32. The Temple (ITC)
34. Fear and Trembling (ITC)
35. Go Down, Moses (ITC)
36. Selected Essays of Samuel Johnson (ITC)
37. Watership Down (BD)
38. Call the Midwife
39. Happier at Home
40. The Reading Promise
41. Swann's Way (abridged audio)
42. Swann in Love (abridged audio)
43. Forty Days with the Messiah
44. Handel's Messiah: Comfort for God's People
45. Out of the Silent Planet
46. Call the Midwife: Shadow of the Workhouse
47. Till We All Have Faces
48. Perelandra
49. The Fifth Season: A Daughter-in-law's Memoir of Caregiving (ER)
50. Call the Midwife: Farewell to the East End
51. That Hideous Strength
52. Be Myself (Warren Wiersbe Autobio)
53. Forgotten God
54. This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral and Valet Parking
55. The Great Gatsby
56. Heidi
57. Walden on Wheels
58. Silence, Solitude, and Simplicity
59. Three Men in a Boat
60. Persuasion
61. The King Jesus Gospel
62. The Daughter's Walk
63. The Christ of the Indian Road
64. Divine Conspiracy
65. Searching for God Knows What
66. Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Merry Christmas Chai Recipe!

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

66. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo

Behind the Beautiful Forevers Cover
"One of the most powerful indictments of economic inequality I've ever read." Barbara Ehrenreich

This may seem like a very unusual book to be reading at Christmas Time, especially since I only read Christmas books last December (I had a backlog of free audiobooks, "gift" books, and an early review book that had been given to me - most of them pretty boring and some downright BAD!). But this book is a perfect for this time of year because it opens your eyes to what is happening to people in underdeveloped countries.  This won the 2012 National Book Award.

This is a profound read that reads more like a novel than non-fiction. I will let the video speak for itself. 

See her website for more informaation:

65. Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller

I am not sure how I missed this one. I think I like it better than his more famous, Blue Like Jazz! I read it after reading an article that he wrote in a magazine. I knew that this must have come from a book he was writing, and somehow I stumbled across this. Donald is intellectual but more accessible than Dallas Willard in that he does not make your head hurt. He makes a compelling case for the Gospel being more more about relationship than "systematic theology." 

“I think Jesus is saying, Look, you guys are running around like monkeys trying to get people to clap, but people are fallen, they are separated from God, so they have no idea what is good or bad, worthy to be judged or set free, beautiful or ugly to begin with. Why not get your glory from God? Why not accept your feelings of redemption because of His pleasure in you, not the fickle and empty favor of man? And only then will you know who you are, and only then will you have true, uninhibited relationships with others.” ― Donald MillerSearching for God Knows What

I don't necessarily agree with some of his preachy political conclusions though. He should have left politics out of the book.

64. Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God by Dallas Willard

This is my third time reading this book. The first time made me head hurt, the second time I grasped a little more, the third time was when I realized that Willard was a genius. While I was blessed to be involved in intentional discipleship through the ministry of the Navigators, I know that most have not had this kind of blessing. That is why I think The Divine Conspiracy is an important read for believers today. 

This is a beautiful book about being intentional about becoming a follower of Jesus Christ, not just someone who has made a decision and never done anything since. The culmination of the book is the "Curriculum for Christlikeness."  We have led three groups through this book, and we have every write one and submit it to others for accountability.

 Here is mine:

Carol’s Curriculum for Christlikeness 2013-14

Life Mission
To Abide in Christ so I can overflow as I encourage women toward abiding fruitfulness in Christ through relational evangelizing, establishing, and equipping.

I.            Enthralling My Mind and Heart with God Through
A.   His Creation
1.     Walk out and worship in creation at least three times a week
2.    Look at pictures of God’s creation when the weather is bad
3.    Look at pictures of peoples whom God created, especially those from other cultures
B.    His Word
1.     Spend daily time in Old Testament with Bible Book Club
2.    Focus on Jesus’ life through daily Jesus Story/Gospel reading
C.     Experience of Jesus
1.     Daily Jesus Story/Gospel reading
2.    Listen to His voice 24/7/365
3.    Theophostic prayer
4.    Read God Guides

II.         Acquiring the Habits of Goodness through the disciplines of . . . 
A.   Solitude and Silence
1.     Daily prayer before everyone gets up
2.    Day of prayer Labor Day, New Year’s Eve, Spring Break, Memorial Day, and mid-Summer with one-two overnighter at St. Benedict Lodge/Shalom Prayer Center/Abbey Retreat Center/Trappist Abbey/The Upper Room
B.    Study and Worship
1.     Daily Creation to Christ Meditation with daily “I wills”
2.    Romans (Knowing the cross) with Rachel and Stephanie every other week
3.    Worship Walks as above
4.    Worship through music by singing and dancing

5.    Worship through the Psalms 

 I love what he says about the Bible, and I could not agree more:
Its purpose is practical, not academic. An intelligent, careful, intensive but straightforward reading—that is, one not governed by obscure and faddish theories or by a mindless orthodoxy—is what it requires to direct us into life in God’s kingdom. Any other approach to the Bible, I believe, conflicts with the picture of the God that, all agree, emerges from Jesus and his tradition.
Willard, Dallas (2009-02-06). The Divine Conspiracy . Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

This is precisely why I started the BIBLE BOOK CLUB in 2007. If anyone reads this post and wants to come along, feel free. It just involved reading the 1-2 chapters of the Bible over a three year period. The people who have finished the previous two cycles have been richly blessed, and maybe you will be too! We start a new cycle on January 1!

63. The Christ of the Indian Road

This was a reread for our ministry. This time, our leader assigned certain chapters, but I think he left out the better ones! I was sorry that the people new to the book didn't get the whole thing!

I love this book. E. Stanley Jones was often called the "Billy Graham of India" and was ahead of his time when it came to having open inter-faith dialogue and understanding the cultural context in which to have that dialogue. He introduced "indigenization" in India. 

Jones was an American missionary to India from 1907-1973. He was a close confidant to FDR in the months leading up to December 7, 1941, trying to avert war with Japan. As a result, he was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.  His biography on Wikipedia is fascinating. You can read it HERE.  

Also, the book can be viewed in a PDF HERE.

Christmas Eve Freewrite

It has been so long since I have done a freewrite. I haven't been able to sit for as long as I usually do in the mornings, but my back is pretty much free of pain now. I have had repeated visits to Paul (3) and Dr. Myers (5), but the one that turned everything around was with Margaret Bartlett, a PT who does the same thing as OMT. She found something at the base of my skull on the right side that was the cause of much of the problem. She moved all the way down my sciatica to my toes, and I started to get feeling there too. She also gave me exercises to do for my head and for the sciatica down my leg. 

Now I am back to doing Pilates with no problem and have even lifted light weights once. YAY! I am trying not to sit as long, and it really helps for me to get out and walk and workout in the morning to limber up my entire body. It is a good plan and perfectly timed since I am only doing editing for Messiah right now. 

The last two weeks have been fairly intense, but it seems like fall has had a "theme" in that is MARRIAGE. We have been talking with two couples who are not doing well in their marriages, and we have also been doing premarital counseling for a couple who we think it going to do really well. It makes us realize how healthy our marriage really is. We do not want to brag, but it is a blessing to have such peace at home where others have strife. I took a prayer walk yesterday and prayed some "impossible" prayers for one of the couples. The other couple is doing much better, and we are so glad!

We are having Christmas Eve dinner with the Stewarts. I already made a Christmas Tree appetizer out of broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, and starfruit; and the pot of Malaysian Chicken Goulash is all ready to just warm up. We will round it out with roti canai and Christmas rice. Then Lisa will bring a green salad, dessert, and drinks. It should be fun and low-key. 

Our Christmas, in general, has been pretty low-key. I don't usually get stressed out about getting gifts, and I like to get things that people will like. I have tried to find what Kellie asked for, but she never responded to my requests for more details about what to get. So, I am giving her a gift card. Lisa was very specific. I got all of my relatives Moonstruck Chocolate that was already wrapped and with a bow. I love that Amazon has free two day shipping so everything got there in time (at least I assume so since I ordered mine a day later, and it came yesterday). One gift that was supposed to come after Christmas even came, and I didn't order it with fast shipping! So, I am excited about that!

2013 has been a very good year. The only "pit" has been the back thing, but most of the year was really great with my back with a "peak" being getting to the Temple Divide in the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho without even being winded until the very last part. I was in excellent shape for the trek!  Another "peak" was losing 30 pounds and keeping it off. I have had a bit of fluctuation with not being able to be active with my back, but I think I am OK! I am a bit afraid to weigh myself during this Christmas season, but I know that my capris are still loose on me, and that is a very good sign! Another "pit" was the low-low income for George's OSU job and running out of funding, but the "peak" was the great job at TriQuint!

Well, I think that my time is running out.  So I will sign off and say . . . 

Merry Christmas!!!!!

Tuesday Ten Minute Freewrite

I am going to go great guns for 10 minutes on this freewrite. I am meeting with a person (not sure if she wants direction - she just wanted ...