Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Getting caught up on books...

Since after 4 years I was little behind the pace on the number of books I've read, I'm making an effort to get caught up a little bit. My problem is that I keep reading books that aren't on my list. : )

#32 read 1776 by David McCullough
This was a really interesting read on the Revolutionary War. He provides you with such extensive information from all of the research he did, but he still makes it an enjoyable read that really focuses on the historical figures and their roles throughout the war. You get so much insight into the people, military strategy, and other details because of the vast number of letters that were written by people back then. The book (obviously) focuses on the year 1776, but then quickly summarizes the rest of the war in a few pages. The book ended unexpectedly because the last 70 or so pages are just his source notes and bibliography! My dad said he needed to find out how the war ended so he bought another book (which will probably get added to my list). It was one that McCullough said that he drew a lot of information from.

#113 read Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell
I went into reading this book thinking that afterwards I would really want to cook my way through Joy of Cooking like she does in this story. Dead wrong. Those recipes sounded ridiculously time-consuming and complicated and it made me tired just reading about how late her meals were finished most nights. I didn't love this book, but it did make me want to go watch the movie again. And just read more about Julia Child. That's probably why I didn't like the book as well- Julie Powell is really not that endearing as a lead character (to which she would frankly say she doesn't care what I think) and it was kind of depressing to read online about what her life and second book were like (to which she would once again tell me she doesn't care what I think...and then probably cuss me out). But Julia Child is awesome. And Meryl Streep as Julia Child is also awesome.

#143 go to a Fever game
Aunts are creepy. But we are tons of fun! This was a belated Christmas present for Lily and it was the first Fever game that I've been to. I was bummed that Tamika Catchings wasn't playing since it's her last season before she retires, but you are now looking at...

#262 set a world record
a world record holder!!! This ended up being a nice easy way to set a world record. The crowd set the record for the most people lighting glow sticks simultaneously. Side note: seriously, how was this record so low before? You can read about all of the excitement here or check out the official info on the Guinness site here. Sorry, I did not spend the $25 to purchase an official certificate to post on my blog.

#249 bury something
I thought about taking guesses from people about what I'm burying. But there are about 15 of you that read this blog and several of you already know the answer. It's a treasure chest. Obviously. Holly and I (emphasis on Holly) planned a scavenger hunt for our friend Liz's golden birthday (she turned 30 on the 30th of June). There were 30 different clues with various tasks or puzzles that she had to complete. Lots of fun little prizes and food throughout, four square and basketball competitions, a dance routine created, mystery guests, a giant homemade slip & slide, a pulled hamstring by my older brother as he sprinted across the yard for what was going to be a legendary attempt on said slip & slide, and lots of other fun things. The final clue was a treasure map that led Liz to a tub full of awesome stuff that was buried in my parents' backyard. It was pretty epic and we are very open to being hired out to plan one for you!

#100 read Hood by Stephen R. Lawhead
#101 read Tuck by Stephen R. Lawhead
#102 read Scarlet by Stephen R. Lawhead
The King Raven trilogy is one that that my friend Josh had recommended and I really enjoyed it. If you're looking for the Robin Hood story to be told in exactly the same way that you've heard it before, you're going to be disappointed. The author explains that in his research, this is what he believes is more true to the actual events. The story takes place mainly in Wales and the characters and background also vary. King Richard & Prince John, Nottingham- these all came about from the story being tweaked by traveling minstrels to fit the characters and location to what the audience was familiar with. It was a pretty quick read and good action throughout.

#170 play paintball
Sorry, forgot to take a picture. I had played paintball once before, but it had been over a decade ago. We had a family camp with our church down at Camp Challenge. Their course was a lot of fun for the 10 or so of us that played. Plus it's a whole lot of fun to give other people (especially my high school kids!) welts and bruises. I escaped mainly unscathed, although I had a slight scare when I ducked around a barrier and found a wasp's nest right in front of my face. Needless to say I ducked right back out from there in a hurry! The bum knees make it hard to kneel or squat for any length of time, but I had a blast.

#229 buy stock
I was not planning on investing in a whole pile of stock, so I thought I'd just make it kind of random and fun. So I took my love of sports, and the Colts in particular, and found something that was kind of neat. Apparently there is a thing where you can actually buy stock in a handful of athletes...including Jack Mewhort, offensive lineman for the Colts! Maybe not the soundest investment, but I thought it was kind of cool. Check it out here on Fantex.

See you in another 3-4ish months!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

4 Years Finished!!

Four years have really flown by! Except of course when I have to blog...then the days drag on and on until I finally get it done. Here's what I've been up to:

#86 read Radical by David Platt
I don't even know where to begin with this book. I could write pages and pages about all of the challenging, convicting things he has to say about "taking back your faith from the American Dream."

"For the sake of more than a billion people today who have yet to even hear the gospel, I want to risk it all. For the sake of twenty-six thousand children who will die today of starvation or a preventable disease, I want to risk it all. For the sake of an increasingly marginalized and relatively ineffective church in our culture, I want to risk it all. For the sake of my life, my family, and the people who surround me, I want to risk it all."

And that is my desire. My desire is for this to not just be another challenging, convicting book. My desire is for it to actually have a lasting impact on my heart and mind. My desire is to recognize my deep need for God, realize my responsibility to share my God and his message with the world, and to let him completely infiltrate my actions and entire being.

So what does all of this mean for me practically? I don't completely know, but in his book David Platt puts forth his Radical Challenge:

So my challenge to you is to use one year of your life to radically alter the remainder of your life.
  • pray for the entire world ( has a daily guide with specific information for each country)
  • read through the entire Word (I had already started this)
  • sacrifice your money for a specific purpose (see #231 create a new budget)
  • spend your time in another context (praying about where/what this will look like for me)
  • commit your life to a multiplying community (continuing to pour into (and be poured into by) my small group and the high school ministry)
#123 take a spontaneous road trip
This blog post basically wrote itself since this day was so ridiculous. I was off for President's Day (yay for government holidays!) and my roommate Sarah had taken the day off so we could go visit the Indy art museum before they started charging admission. Luckily (or perhaps not), she checked ahead of time before we drove downtown and found out that they were closed because of the holiday. As a backup, we decided to spontaneously drive to Cincinnati to visit the aquarium. Sounds great, huh? Well...turns out they were having a bit (read: several inches) of snow. And they apparently don't plow their roads. Still we made it there in pretty good time despite some blowing and sliding around on the highway. And then we saw this:
Needless to say it was after noon. Ridiculous. So we trudged on in our adventure so our road trip would not be a complete waste. After a delicious Thai dinner and trips to IKEA and Jungle Jim's, we were ready to celebrate saving our trip. However, we still had to drive home in crappy weather. After multiple slides and scary close calls, we finally got out of the snow and within 45 minutes of which point we hit some black ice on a bridge, spun around, and hit headfirst into a guardrail. Yeesh. Thankfully, people stopped to help us, the sheriff's deputy was really nice and helpful, the car was still driveable, and aside from some whiplash for me, we were both fine. In the end, all it took was 11 hours out of my life to get this one crossed off of my list. From here on out though, when asked if I want to do something spontaneous, the answer is no. I will stay home and read a book instead.

#231 create a new budget
As part of the Radical Challenge, I also created a new budget. I've always kept track of my income and expenses, but I was never too detailed in the breakdown of what I was spending my money on since I'm pretty cheap and don't go on any wild spending binges. But I looked at ways that I could cut back my spending even more in order to give sacrificially for a specific purpose. Instead of just adding additional ministries I'm supporting on a monthly basis, I've actually been giving to different ones each month. It's been fun researching different organizations, as well as being open to the causes and people that have crossed my path.

#140 go to 10 Pacers game (4 done)
Great night watching the Pacers play and pretty impressive season for them considering all of the injuries they had. Love my small group and our adopted older sister, Emily Sutherland!!

#62 read The Giver by Lois Lowry
#63 read Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
#64 read Messenger by Lois Lowry
#66 read Son by Lois Lowry
These books were a nice change of pace since they are kids' books that you can get through really quickly. The Giver was a winner of the Newbery Medal and was made into a movie as well. Basic premise: people are living in a society where there is no color, no love, no pain...basically an attempt at creating a Utopian society. The Giver has all of the memories of these things and is entrusted with passing them on to the main character Jonas in order to continue protecting the people from having to experience the "bad" in the world from the past. I won't go into too much more detail because you should just read them for yourself. The books are all connected to each other, but you don't really know that as you go from The Giver to Gathering Blue. Also, the movie is quite a bit different from the book. I understand why some of the changes were made (not enough action, too much internal stuff), but I felt like things weren't as developed as I would have liked.

#219 build a sandcastle
I may have built a sandcastle when I was younger, but I don't actually remember. So when Ashleyne and I went to visit Kristen in Orlando, this was an easy one to accomplish while we were at the beach. All of this was accomplished with a Frisbee as our only tool. I cannot take credit for the design (having absolutely no creativity or artistic ability), but I am responsible for the little shell carriage and horses heading toward the drawbridge. Impressive, I know.

#134 visit the Florida relatives
My Uncle Larry and Aunt Pat live about an hour from Kristen so I was excited to get to spend a day with them before we left. I got to see the senior citizen mobile home/RV community that they live in...complete with little gators in the canal that runs beside it. It was so nice to catch up with them and see the various sites around Lakeland- their church, lakes they walk around (and all of the birds and wildlife they're always on the lookout for), a farmer's market, etc. We used to spend a lot of time with them when we were growing up and they lived in Michigan, but I hardly ever get to see them anymore. There will forever be reminders of me down there though- she still has a bell that I bought for her collection that I brought back from the Bahamas while I was in college. And this picture is now the wallpaper on their computer. : )

To be on pace after four years, I should have read 48 books and completed 120 total items. The current tally is only 45 books, but I've done 132 things overall. So yay I'm keeping on pace pretty well! We'll see what this next year brings as I try and knock more out...but only in strictly planned settings and not by being spontaneous in any way.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Wrapping up 2014

In another blog shocker, I did not get my last update done before the end of the year...partially due to the holidays and partially due to trying to finish up some books off of the list before I updated.

#295 go to a drive-in movie
I somehow missed this on the last post. I hadn't been to a drive-in since college, so this was a lot of fun. We had a big picnic and then watched How to Train Your Dragon 2 & X-Men: Days of Future Past. Helpful tips for the future: take your glasses so that you can take out your contacts and have a lot of caffeine so that you're actually awake to see the second movie.

#3 read Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Last of the Jane Austen books on my list and my critique is about the same as the others: liked the book, like all versions of the movie I've seen, and the movies follow pretty closely with the book. Yep, that's all I've got. : )

#292 teach Lily the books of the Bible songs
Okay so she's actually known these pretty well since she was about 4, but I never took the time to record her singing them once she had them completely nailed down. Video is here. Smarty pants and adorable!

#246 be in a game show or TV audience
I can honestly say this is one of the more enjoyable things I've done off my list. My buddy Kim and I went to The Price is Right Live Show up at Hoosier Park Casino in Anderson. There was some seriously good people-watching that went on that night. Even though the stage show is a toned-down version of the actual TV version, they still had a lot of the same games & sets, as well as lots of clips from the show over the years, and prize giveaways throughout the night. We knew that we didn't have a good chance on getting to come on down, but it was still exciting to be a part of the audience. The host for the show was George Gray (hosted The Weakest Link after the British lady) who is the MC on the TV show. Sadly, Holly wasn't going to count him as my famous person, otherwise I would have taken the time to meet him instead of him just looking over and smiling for a picture.

#141 go to 10 Colts games- 10 done!
Knocked these out in the first 4 years of the blog, but hopefully there will be many more to go to still. Big thanks to my mom for giving up her ticket, as well as my dad who has made this a great bonding experience for almost my entire life. And of course a big thanks to the Jaguars for being terrible and making the game even more enjoyable.

#9 read The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
#10 read The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
#11 read The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
#12 read The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
This was a big undertaking, which is why I held off updating for a bit longer. I thought the books were good, but I have to say that in this instance I actually liked the movies better. I found myself reading them and just really wanting to watch the movies because there's so much more action in them. The books did move faster though the farther I got into them. And even though I'm not a huge poetry fan, I attempted to make myself read all (there's so many!) of the poems and songs throughout the books. While the movies definitely took some liberties with characters and storylines, for the most part I thought they added to the overall experience.

#168 play racquetball
This was last year's Christmas present from Ashleyne that we finally went and did before her gym membership expired. While she and Liz were much more skilled at it than I was, I really enjoyed my first time and wish that I could play more often. I just need to find a way not to breathe so heavily so that my goggles aren't fogged up the whole time and I can actually see clearly!

#137 visit Meg at the Indianapolis Zoo
Meg is a dear friend that I have known for 15+ years from when we went on missions trips to Mexico together a couple of summers while we were in high school. She is the Special Events & Advertising Manager at the zoo and we met up with her during Christmas at the Zoo. There aren't as many animals out and about at night in the cold, but there are Christmas lights everywhere so it looks beautiful. Hols, Liz, Ashleyne, Sarah, and I also participated in a scavenger hunt (free pencils for completing it!), saw a reindeer, and ran into a bunch of people that we knew while we were there.

So as 2014 has drawn to a close, I've been able to look back and see how many great things I've gotten to do with so many wonderful friends. I'm looking forward to 2015 to see where my adventures will take me next. I hope some of you will be joining me!