Monday, September 4, 2017

Books, Books, Books

Since I haven't done much this quarter other than read books, I guess I will have to talk about them a little more than I did in the last update. But it's a holiday weekend, so I can't promise that this will be my best work.

#43 read Shaken by Tim Tebow 
Shaken was a nice encouraging and uplifting book where Tim talks about how you respond to difficult times in life. It was filled with stories from his playing days in the NFL, as well as some really inspirational moments involving his various charities and work around the world. I know he may not be universally admired (why would we encourage a positive attitude, strong work ethic, and reaching for your dreams??), but I love the impact he's having on some many people through so many different avenues.

#108 read A Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer
My dad has a lot of Jeffrey Archer books, but I hadn't read one in years. I really enjoyed this one! It wasn't quite a modern retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo, but it made reference to it and followed the same themes of wrongful imprisonment, escape, and seeking vengeance.

#138 go to the Art Museum
I finally went to the Indianapolis Museum of Art! As you may recall, my roomie and I had previously intended to go a couple of years ago, but it was closed...which led to my "go on a spontaneous roadtrip"...which led to her car being wrecked. Good times. I really enjoyed going with Ash and seeing the wide variety of art. As not much of a connoisseur, I can't really tell you what I like and don't like. Although I probably tend to lean more toward realistic looking pieces, I basically would have to just walk through there with you and tell you if I like something as I walk by it.

#81 read More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell
Josh McDowell was a skeptic who set out to disprove Christianity but ended up being convinced by all of the evidence that Jesus really was who he claimed to be. While I definitely felt like he could have gone more in-depth in his proofs for some of his arguments, this is a good overview of some topics. He touches on how Jesus would have to be Lord, liar, or lunatic; how science fits into the argument for Christianity; the reliability of Biblical records; and the transformation of people that have been changed by the presence of Christ in their lives.

#76 read The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson 
My friend Julie gave me this book for Christmas and I finally got around to reading it. As the subtitle says, this book is about "praying circles around your biggest dreams and greatest fears." He encourages you to Dream Big, Pray Hard, and Think Long. As someone who's not super goal-oriented or a big dreamer, this was just another nudge to continue to trust God for big things in life. (Our sermon at church this week was also about the fact that I am probably setting my sights too low for what God wants to do with my passions...I may need to keep getting hit over the head with that for it to sink it completely.) Here are a few nuggets from the book:

"Nothing honors God more than a big dream that is way beyond our ability to accomplish. Why? Because there is no way we can take credit for it. And nothing is better for our spiritual development than a big dream because it keeps us on our knees in raw dependence on God."

"One bold prayer can accomplish more than a thousand well-laid plans. So go ahead and plan, but make sure you circle your plans in prayer."

"God will keep putting you in situations that stretch your faith, and as your faith stretches, so do your dreams. If you pass the test, you graduate to bigger and bigger dreams. And it won't get easier; it'll get harder. It won't get less complicated; it'll get more complicated. But complications are evidence of God's blessing. And if it's from God, then it's a holy complication."

#54 read Home: A Memoir of My Early Years by Julie Andrews 
I have always loved Julie Andrews, but didn't know that much about her background or family life. She did not have the easiest upbringing (mother left her father for her performing partner, later told Julie that another man was actually her father, felt like she had to protect her siblings from all of the family drama, growing up during war-torn Britain), but allowed all of it to shape her and not hinder her. There were interesting technical aspects as she described her process in learning to sing and perform, as well as a backstage look at some of the shows she was in. She is fascinating and lovely!!

#121 visit Gina in the Bahamas
This was a wonderful trip visiting my dear friend Gina. Gina and I lived on the same floor at Taylor, but I hadn't seen her since her wedding almost 8 years ago. It was a great week filled with delicious food, time spent with her awesome family, and relaxing at various beaches. I also loved getting to have dinner with my other Taylor friends, Jared & Alicia. They live in Dallas and he's from another island, but they were in Nassau for his brother's wedding. It was so much fun catching up with them!

#5 read The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
#6 read Twenty Years After by Alexandre Dumas
#7 read The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas
I knocked out some lengthy classics from the list finally, although my attempt to read 2 books from my list each month (see: Holly Binder) required me to read 350 pages on the last day of August. Yeesh. I really enjoy Dumas' writing though (The Count of Monte Cristo is my favorite book if I haven't mentioned that before), and these books didn't disappoint. They are not much like the movies- The Man in the Iron Mask in particular- but I definitely was still picturing Chris O'Donnell, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen, and Oliver Platt as the musketeers the entire time. : )

Hope everyone is enjoying their Labor Day!