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.

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