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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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One More Book



Thanks for following my blog this past year, I hope the new year brings many new exciting posts and interesting observations. But for now I want to share my thoughts on my latest read. With the holiday time off, I was hoping to get some reading done and yesterday I finally had a good few hours of quiet to just sit and read. My book of choice was “Two From Galilee” by Marjorie Holmes. My grandmother had given me 3 of Holmes’s books several years ago and I finally read “The Messiah” and loved it. So when I saw that “Two From Galilee” was about Joseph and Mary’s love story and probably involved the First Christmas, I thought, what better time of year to read it?

So I just finished this morning and it was great! I love Holmes’s writing style, she describes things so well and really captures all of the internal struggles and conflicting emotions that these real people probably went through. It brought a new life to the old stories I’ve read hundreds of times and got me excited about what would happen next. Even though I knew what should happen, her characters were so lifelike and easy to relate to that I found myself caught up in their predicament. And it was so cool to see what Mary and Joseph’s families might have been like and what they thought about this strange event. I’m not sure if the way Holmes portrays the biblical events is completely accurate, but it’s pretty close.

So if you’ve never read any of Marjorie Holmes’s books, I highly suggest this one for a first read. It would come first chronologically for the story of Christ and some of her other books hint back to what has happened previously. I may even start the next book “Three From Galilee” today.

Well that’s it for 2015. Happy New Year!!!

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Poem in Honor of Blood of Olympus


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I’m really excited about the last book in the Heroes of Olympus Series by Rick Riordan. I will probably start reading it today. So in honor of it’s release, I’ll post a poem I wrote about how reading a good book can be like a marathon.

The Marathon

A novel is tricky.
It looks so calm,
lying there on the table,
teasing you with the thought
that by reading
you can relax.

Once the covers open,
the race begins, and if you’re
not careful, you might get caught
in the plot, heart beating faster,
unable to stop the action,
trapped in the quick pace.
One more chapter, one more mile;
the characters push you forward.
Anxious to discover the truth
or finish before your friends;
you keep running.
Chapters fly by, through
forests, castles, entire lives.
You cannot stop until
the last line,
the finish line.

Better stay in shape though.
The sequel will be out soon.

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A week without the Internet

No Internet

So, not that many of you would notice, because I fairly regularly go a week or more without posting, but I have had no working internet at my home for the past week and a half. Today it was finally fixed, and I think it’s an appropriate topic for a blog post.

I have a feeling that most people who lose their internet feel like they lose their life. How can you manage without e-mail, Facebook, Youtube, and Google to answer all your questions? And in one sense I have to agree, it’s a hard thing to get used to. I’ve been on trips where I wasn’t able to use my phone, or the internet but I always had something to do. This time, I was at home, and trying to go through my daily routine without the internet to help me.

I found that I could go to a local wifi hotspot to check e-mails, and luckily I have 3G on my phone so I can still use Google Maps when driving. But a large part of my life was changed. I couldn’t watch Netflix, or Youtube, I couldn’t print papers or update my Facebook status. Life changed… but actually I’m quite thankful for it.

During this time of year, I don’t have a lot going on, so I wasn’t stressed. Instead, not being online forced me to find other ways to fill my time. I can hardly believe how much reading I got done in this past week, just because I couldn’t watch silly videos on Youtube. I even started working on my second novel today. I hadn’t done that in months. Not having the internet, freed me to do other things.

Also during the Holiday weekend when I got to spend time with my family, we had to do so without the internet. We didn’t sit on our phones, each engaged in our devices and ignoring each other. Instead we talked, really talked. And let me tell you, that’s a lot more meaningful than a two minute video of a cat playing with a laser pointer.

In fact, I enjoyed this time enough, that I think I will make it a weekly habit, and not use the internet for one day out of the week. I can take the time to keep reading one of the many books I’ve started, or catch up with an old friend. And I would encourage you to give it a try too.

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