watching, reading, and writing stories

2016 and Reading

A lot happened this past year. And since it’s the last day I thought I should write a post about it. I know there have been a lot of political and world issues that occurred. Several of my friends on social media have commented on how bad this year was. Lots of people died, many things did not work out the way people thought they would. And yet, life continues and 2017 approaches. I’ve also been lucky enough to have some friends comment about the good things that happened in 2016. I think it’s good to remember there will always be positive things to focus on, even if there is a lot of negative stuff going on in the world.

That to say, my post isn’t going to be about all those political things. Instead I’m going to celebrate something that I got to do this year and also encourage others to do the same. So at the beginning of 2016 I noticed that a friend of mine had a goal to read 50 books in 2016. I thought that sounded like a cool idea. I already love reading, but having a goal would help me get through some of those books I had on my shelf that I’ve been meaning to read but just hadn’t gotten around to. So I joined in the challenge and also tried to read 50 books this year. It took some planning and I had to be intentional with my time, but I just finished my 50th book this afternoon! Yay! I didn’t read all of the books I thought I would and there are some I ended up reading that I didn’t even know existed at the beginning of the year. But overall, I’m glad I did it.

I saw an article the other day that said most adults once they are out of school, no longer read books. And it made me sad. I know that education forces people to read, but I had hoped that most people would still read just to enjoy and learn, not because a teacher requires them to. In fact that’s a big reason why I write. I want kids, when they are young to see reading as a fun thing, not just another school subject. Stories are powerful things and whether you’re reading or writing them, they stir your imagination and can help you look at the world in new ways.

So my little encouragement to you is to read something this next year. Maybe it’s not even a book, maybe there are newspapers, online articles, or magazines that you prefer. But take some time to read in 2017.

And as a Christian, I’ve found that reading other Christian’s books can really help me grow in my faith and maturity. A large portion of the books I read this year were written by Christians and helped me see God in new ways or get a better understanding of how I can live for Him now.

In case you want to read but you just need some recommendations (that’s usually how I end up reading a new book) here are a few books I read this past year that I would highly recommend.

Image result

Image Source

1. “Heaven” or “Happiness” both by Randy Alcorn
These books really helped change my perspective on how God wants us to live and what we can expect for our future.

Image result

Image 2 Source

2. “The Gideon Trilogy” by Linda Buckley-Archer
This is a fun book series for younger readers that involves time travel, great characters and an awesome story. I really enjoyed reading this series and I highly recommend it.

Image result

Image 3 Source

3. “The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical” by Shane Claiborne
This book was very good to read and inspired me a lot, but it was also hard. I’m still wrestling through how God wants me to live differently in light of what this man has written. It was a very thought provoking book and I highly encourage any Christian to read it.

Related image

Image 4 Source

4. “Keeper of the Lost Cities Series” by Shannon Messenger
I had not even heard of these books until this year and the series isn’t even finished. But boy are they fun to read. The action never stops in these high paced, interesting, and funny books. I’m sure they were written for middle school or even high school students, but I love these books. They are so engaging and I just can’t put them down.

Image result

Image 5 Source

5. “The Cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
This is a classic for Christian reading, and I really enjoyed getting to finally read this book. I would recommend it to any Christian. Though it may challenge you, it will be good for you.

Leave a comment »

Star Trek Beyond and Jason Bourne

Image Source

Image Source 2

This weekend I got to see two movies that I’d really been looking forward to, so I thought I’d review both of them in one post. It was odd seeing Star Trek Beyond and Jason Bourne so close to each other. I normally watch kid movies and the types of previews that come before these sort of films are not very uplifting. There were so many shooters, assassins, and thriller commercials that it got to be a bit too much for me. With all that’s been happening in our real world, seeing more violence in these previews was not at all appealing to me. It reminded me why I usually go for the more family focused films.

But despite Star Trek and Jason Bourne being more adult films and having plenty of action and violence, I still enjoyed myself. Star Trek was very similar to the last 2 films and Jason Bourne was very similar to the original trilogy. They both had cool action scenes, with flying spaceships and explosions in one, and fistfights and car chases in the other.

I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride in Star Trek, partly because I was in the front row and could barely see the whole screen with my peripheral vision. But the shaky cam in Jason Bourne did just as good a job of sucking me into the action. (Though it could make it difficult to know what was happening).

So if you like action films, check out either of these two films, and you won’t be disappointed.

Now on to a deeper level, I noticed that Star Trek and Jason Bourne have fundamentally different set ups. Star Trek is about a crew, almost a family, having to solve problems, work together, and use their varying skills and talents to overcome huge obstacles. No matter what they face, they stick together and don’t give up on each other. The villain in this movie, as in countless other movies, says this is what makes them weak. But the crew firmly believes that it is a strength to have each other.

Jason Bourne, on the other hand, is a protagonist that we’re rooting for but he doesn’t rely on others very much. He’s not on a team, he’s by himself. And though he occasionally works with others or shows care for others, it usually ends up being just him against insurmountable odds. But because he’s Jason Bourne, he always comes out on top.

Thinking of this in my own life, I would rather be in a Star Trek type situation rather than a Jason Bourne one. I like having a team of people around me that support and encourage me rather than being able to handle everything on my own. There is some discomfort in not being able to take care of myself all on my own, but there is such a sweet bond that people share when they help each other and depend on each other. And I’d rather have that than the ability to do it alone. It also reminds me of the Body of Christ and how we aren’t good at everything, but by working together we build each other up in love and glorify God. He designed us to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and to help others but also receive help from others.

Well anyway, those are a few of my random thoughts after seeing the movies. I hope you enjoy one or both of these films.

Leave a comment »