Friday, December 31, 2010

Almost end of year recap: Day 351

The complete a book challenge is almost coming to an end. Day 1: this post started it all. I have a few books to report finished (and I must take a moment to apologize for my long silence - I've had major family issues to attend to - but a day hasn't gone by that I haven't longed to read and write!).
What you missed - I've finished:
Return (Redemption) -- Third book in the Redemption series, and I need to give a major shout to Karen Kingsbury for her artistry in this one! The twists and turns in the characters' lives are amazing. She is truly a gifted author.
Choosing to SEE: A Journey of Struggle and Hope -- Mary Beth Chapman (yes, Steven Curtis Chapman's wife) wrote a memoirs of sort. Starting with her childhood, she takes the reader through not only her pain and loss of their beloved daughter Maria, but it is also her personal journey through life ranging from damaging house fires to deep depressions. She is honest and funny, and you'll definitely feel like a friend of the family in the end.
NKJV The Woman's Study Bible: Second Edition -- The BIBLE!!! I'm so excited to report that I've finished reading through the Bible this year. I've never done this before, and the reward was the challenge. I am blessed to have God's Word, to read it, and to hide it in my heart. I plan on reading it again in 2011, but this year I'll be reading: ESV Study Bible (TruTone, Natural Brown) - I got this for Christmas and I've already been pouring over it! This is an amazing study Bible if you're truly curious about what everything means - this Bible is the b-e-s-t.
So...did I meet my goal? Did I finish the challenge?
Honestly, I hope so. I still have 14 days to go!! I need to read 4 books in 2 weeks. Can I do it? I sure hope so. I'm half way through 6 books right now...(which if you recall in my first post, linked above, this was my original problem = not finishing books!) but even if I don't finish all of these in the next 14 days - I will. I know I will finish. This challenge has changed my life, it did accomplish the intended purpose. I am much more disciplined now than I was 11 months and 2 weeks ago. My life has changed in so many chart-able ways for the better.
One thing that must be said is, I know Jesus better. I know His Spirit's movement in my life. I have been led into walking closer with Him. Every morning I woke up rain or shine and read His word and from their I just kept reading and doing, and seeing small steps of completion through one book after another was enough of a motivator to keep going, to keep pressing on. It helps that I have a love for knowledge and my heart longs for wisdom - those two desires helped me dig through some of the more challenging books of the year. Turning the TV off and opening up a good fiction book actually helped to relax my mind. 
As a recap, what may have been a very lonely year was actually a very profitable year for me personally. I invested in my mind and grew in integrity and in discipline. It may be appropriate to also say that I couldn't have done any of this without Jesus. He has been tested and found faithful to me, and He is the reason I can do anything - His grace is completely sufficient. I am so grateful for the things learned this past year. 
Soon I will post the new challenge for 2011 - I hope you didn't think this blog was for this year only - please keep reading, and commenting, and challenging yourself! Let's make 2011 a year where we share even more! 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NOOMA Story | Amy

Please watch this. Please. It's worth it. It's radical, real, and right.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day 274

Finished book 1 for October, and because of this book I have started a new one-year challenge. This blog was inspired because of a challenge to do something valuable - finish the things that I start, namely books. This new one-year challenge is "My Radical Experiment." Let me explain:
I finished Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt. The emphasis of this book is understanding and obeying the gospel and the commands of Jesus. The author draws the attention of the reader to how our Christian culture is in danger of making me the object. Am I really the object of the gospel? Can I sing "Jesus Loves Me" to my children and leave their understanding of God at that? No, I would have to say I cannot. Jesus does love me and my children, but the gospel is about God - His ways, His salvation, His glory, and His greatness.
Platt also draws to the readers attention the major mistake of thinking that some portions of Jesus' commands are only for those who are "called" to missions.  
But where in the Bible is missions ever identified as an optional program in the church? We have just seen that we were all created by God, saved from our sins, and blessed by God to make his glory known in all the world. Indeed, Jesus himself has not merely called us to go to all nations; he has created us and commanded us to go to all nations. We have taken this command, though, and reduced it to a calling - something that only a few people receive...Now we know that each of us has different gifts, different skills, different passions, and different callings from God...Peter and Paul had different callings (Platt 72-73).
Later in the book Platt presents the "My Radical Experiment" where he asks each reader to test the claims of the gospel for one year. Before you think that he is charging each reader to go into full-time foreign missions, let me say that having read it cover to cover - he does not. He does however challenge each believer in Jesus to begin thinking globally, pray for all nations, pray for laborers to go, and be involved however possible with sacrificing for other people in nations without the gospel. He proposes that we spend 2% of our year in another context. Get out of your comfortable surroundings for 2% of the year just may change how you spend your time and resources in the other 98% of your time at "home."
Please take a minute and read this blog about living radically: THINKonline: getting-too-radical
And then tell me what you think - please - I crave some other thoughts on this.
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Who doesn't like free?

Elvis Takes a Backseat

Free Book Download!
"First-class entertainment."
Celebrating the release of Leanna Ellis's new novel, Facelift, her earlier hit Elvis Takes a Back Seat is a FREE download at Amazon through Sept. 30, 2010

Through Amazon you can download Kindle-for-PC for free and it takes only 2 minutes or so, I was reading this book in less than 3 minutes!
Let me know if you try it!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 258

Love Comes Softly (Love Comes Softly Series, Book 1)I'm elated to report that I have finished another book! September has been a rockin' month for reading at my house! But before I tell what book I finished and before some of you roll your eyes, I must say that I was compelled to read this book because it was made into a movie. I saw the movie first and just wanted to know more. Come to find out the book was almost completely different! Most of the names were not the same, lots of new characters in the book, some of the characters were drastically different ages, and needless to say most of the details were changed. So, you must be wondering what it is that I read? Love Comes Softly (Love Comes Softly Series, Book 1) by Janette Oke. I read the original though copyright 1979, and I just saw that on my link here to the book it has a different copyright date and different number of pages! Hmm... I may have to pick up that book too and look for differences.
I can't tell you how much I was touched by the similarities in the last two books I've read. Look back one post about When Life Is Hard. I found myself looking at the face of "Marty" the woman in Love Comes Softly and thinking "she's learning James 1, 1 Peter 4, 2 Corinthians 12, and Hebrews 12"! She had to face her impossible situation, her grief, her hatred and pain, her responsibilities (a 2 year old and pregnancy), and her marriage to a man she just met and learn to live WITH it all and not run from it, criticize it, fold under it, or complain about it. In Love Comes Softly you get to see the inner struggle she faces and ultimately the blessing God provides her - even though he never takes any of her problems away! 
This book was deeply touching, and I hope you read it. Or if you already have, please tell me what was your favorite part. :) 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 253

When Life Is Hard Finished book #4 for September! I think I shall reward my make-up efforts with a latte today. Seriously though, the book I finished was When Life Is Hard by James MacDonald. Please check out I've been listening to Dr. James for a long time now on Moody radio from Walk In the Word. I was actually able to attend one of his services from the bus tour he was on last year in Tampa, Florida. For me, Dr. James is a no-nonsense preacher. He doesn't give lame messages or make you feel good about being a christian. He preaches the Word of God. He digs into the facts of his own life and experience and puts it all out there - he doesn't hold back. Because of his real life and real Truth style, I've come to trust him and I am so thankful for this written copy of When Life Is Hard because it's actually the written form of some sermons he preached not too long ago while in California undergoing cancer treatments. In this book, he gives real life (his life) examples of trials, thorns, and hard circumstances. He uses four different passages of Scripture that deal with hard life purposes. He has written a "Prayer of Commitment" at the end of each chapter and a "Glimpse of Gold" at the beginning. There are "Mining for Gold" at the end too - questions or statements that dig deeper into the personal application. 
I needed this book for many reasons. I'm sure everyone has hard life stuff that we never bring to light or deal with. I found that even the hard life stuff in my life that I knew about paled in comparison to the thorn I recognized. I pray that I will continue to submit to God and His work in my life and that I will always trust His promises.  

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Free Download: Jeremiah's Eat Pray Love; One Woman's Search for Everything Across Israel, Egypt and Exile.

Beth Moore: Free Download: Jeremiah's Eat, Pray, Love

I'm currently listening to this - I had read Gilbert's book and thought Moore's perspective would be more suitable for me. Let me know what you think and if the link works!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Day 247

Never Let You GoFinished the 3rd book for September! I think I'm on a roll. This one was the faithpoint book club selection for this month. I just love having books selected for me that are so different and quality. Like last months book club selection The Heart Mender: A Story of Second Chances, this months selection Never Let You Go was amazing and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Never Let You Go now takes first place on my list of favorite faithpoint fiction for this year - I like it even better than Crossing Oceans.
Classified as "fiction/Christian/Suspense" I would also call it a thriller. I read so often that I usually don't have those moments where "I just can't put it down" either because I have to because a child is in trouble or because I know I'll just pick it back up in the morning; this book, however, I could not put down last night. I kept Rob up and made him listen as I told him all about it last night.
From the back of the book:
A rare novel that will satisfy a wide range of readers, Never Let You Go explores the high-stakes decisions played out in the thin spaces between heaven and earth. As the enemy's grip tightens around Lexi, she will have to decide what's truly worth holding on to.
Here's another hint at the quality of this book (from the discussion guide in the book pg. 340 #9)
Angelo tells Lexi on more than one occasion to "listen to love." What does this advise mean to her at the beginning of her journey? How does it compare to her understanding of the wisdom at the end? How does Molly listen to love as a child compared to how Lexi must listen to it as an adult?
For me, this story of powerful forgiveness and love (the 1 Corinthians 13 kind) had the feeling of an allegory like The Pilgram's Progress. It still has me thinking of the reality of the unseen world and the truth: 1 John 4:4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

If you read it, let me know what you think!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 240

Finished the second book of September and the second book in a series: Remember by Karen Kingsbury and Gary Smalley. It's amazing reading these books because I am truly edified by reading them - even though they are fiction! The back of this book says:
Novelist Karen Kingsbury and relationship expert Gary Smalley have teamed up to bring you and inspiring series of stories that explore the relationship principles Gary has been teaching for more than thirty years.
I simply love that about these books - the fiction is creative, the characters are engaging, and the life principles are right there in application form for the reader and the character alike.

Remember (Redemption)
    Book One was:

Friday, September 3, 2010

Day 233

Just finished another book! Some might say, "great way to start September - finishing your first book for the month!" But I know that it is actually - bad way to end August...on the 3rd of September. Oh well. I'm still I think 2 or 3 books behind my goal, but with at least 4 other books started I'm sure I can crank out 3 books a month for 3 months.

What I read: The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews. This was Books-a-Million's August Faithpoint book club choice. It is a "blend of historical fact and engaging fiction" labeled as "self-help/motivational/inspirational" for the sake of the real people behind the story. Knowing that this story, although some of the details were of the author's imagination, was indeed true caused me to pause and realize that I cannot understand what life was like during WWII. I can't believe so many amazing life stories are hidden under blue hair!! :)

Read it!! Tell me what you think!
The Heart Mender: A Story of Second Chances

Saturday, August 28, 2010

First Book Received

So far so good with the Paper Book Swap! Here's my first book received today, I requested it on Monday! I hope to update it more tonight and come up with a reading plan and wish list for the rest of the year. Any suggestions? Please leave a comment and let me know what books have impacted your thinking lately.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Day 220

Finished another book. Not quite so important as the last one I blogged, yet important and distinct none the less. As I read this book, I was challenged by the author's drive to seek devotion, to seek healing, and to seek balance. Although I was challenged by the author, I was not inspired to copy or follow her. Instead I contemplated the author's journey making note of the things she did well, the things that are similar to my own, and the things that she gained through different disciplines, and now I am ready to articulate for the world my own journey. As I read, I was motivated to learn myself, giving attention to the areas of my mind and heart that I so often ignore for the sake of "making it through the day." Also, I was motivated to be more disciplined in my pursuit of God, to take on new activities of devotion to Him, and to write about it.
Let me be the first to introduce you to a new amateur author - myself. I've started writing something real and I'm going to go for it. I hope to interview this author someday, and tell her about my saving faith. But for now, I'm okay with praying for her.
So, the book was Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Do you think I should go see the movie? Hmm...

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia