"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December Books

Honeymoon with My Brother by Franz Wisner -- I've had this one for awhile, but never took the time to read it.  Pretty neat book. Two brothers - one left at the altar - travel around the world and record their experiences. I tend to enjoy these types of books and this was no exception.

Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man
by Fannie Flagg  -- A fiction book I got at a book exchange. Rather cute and fun and easy for when you want something light to read.

Jesus, The Middle Eastern Storyteller by Gary M. Burge -- I got this last Christmas, and had it in my "to-be-read" pile. I picked it up before Christmas this year and finished it today.  I enjoyed reading this short book and thinking of Jesus' parables in their cultural context.  The author discusses honor and shame in a community and how people would uphold it.  He talked about the story of the lost sheep, coin and son.  He discussed extending grace, and compassion.  I may have to read this one again soon!

Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women by Sarah Bessey  -- I saw Rachel Held Evans mention this as one of her favorite books of 2013.  Since it was near Christmas, I added it to my Amazon Wishlist and although it was out of stock when I put it on there, it must have come back in stock 'cause I got it for Christmas.  I received seven new books for Christmas, and decided to read this one first.  It's really not at all like I thought it would be.  Maybe I thought it would be more snarky, have more fightin' words...not sure. But I found a lady who adores Jesus, and His compassion and grace oozes from her words!  I read this book and found encouragement, hope, purpose, love and a desire to serve others more.  I found a lady who didn't yell at all those people trying to keep her (and other women) down, but one who loves anyway. One who seeks to follow Christ, do her part, but allow HIM to right wrongs.  I found a sense of unity that is rare in my divisive world.  What a wonderful book to finish right before a new year.  She leaves me much on which to reflect.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 Meme

Some years I don't post this until January, but I've been working on this off and on since November 13, and I have it ready before 2014!

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?

went to the top of the Eiffel Tower at night

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn't make any that I recall. I decided just the other day (December 26) to keep a gratitude/service journal of sorts.  I want to be less negative in 2014 by focusing on all the good things in life.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


4. Did anyone close to you die?

I wasn't super-close to her, but a blogger friend died in late May. I'd been following her blog for a few years.

5. What countries did you visit?

France and Belgium

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

less negativity, more serving others

7. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

April 19/20 -- it was this day that Samer's mom died (it was the 20th in Dubai, but due to the time difference I was online on the afternoon of the 19th when he told me via Gmail chat)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I can't think of any achievement

9. What was your biggest failure?

doing little to make the world better

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I got the stomach virus going around my family (and community) the other week, but thankfully I just vomited once and immediately felt much better, and have had no other problems.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

plane tickets

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Andrew's - he's most always a cheerful, helpful guy

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Syrian regime, Egyptian harassers, the US gov't, mine at times

14. Where did most of your money go?

health insurance

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Have I ever mentioned that I am not a "really, really, really excited about" type of person?  But I really enjoyed our trips (mostly to the NC mountains and beach).

16. What song(s) will always remind you of 2013?

the made-up "Zachariah Mordecai-yuh" song that Zach and I sing in my car; the other version is "Zacharooshka Mooshkatooshka Zah kuh roosh kuh....kuh, kuh, kuh"

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. Happier or sadder?

ii. same

iii. Thinner of fatter?

iv. fatter

v. richer or poorer?

vi. richer

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

helping the poor; making a difference

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

I spent it with my inlaws for lunch, and my family in the evening at Mema's apartment.  We played Taboo and Apples to Apples with my family.

21. How many one-night stands?

22. What was your favorite TV program?

The Amazing Race  -- I love seeing other parts of the world, their cultures and the people  -- sometimes I see a place I've actually been (like Vienna in the last season)

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?


24. What was the best book you read?

This is always a tough one for me because how can I pick the best out of dozens of books?  Among my favorites were

Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes by E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O'Brien

Coming Home to Jerusalem by Wendy Orange

Stolen Years: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail by Malika Oufkir and Michele Fitoussi

Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions by Rachel Held Evans

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls -- I'm not sure why I liked this book so much, but my sister just finished it and said she enjoyed it as well. It's amazing what some kids endure!

Look Me In the Eye: My Life with Asperger's by John Elder Robison  -- This wasn't the most interesting book ever, but I learned quite a lot from this book so I feel it was among my most worthwhile reads of this year.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

26. What did you want and get?

books, memory cards, trips to the mountains and beach, many things!

27. What was your favorite film of this year?

The Help

28. What did you do on your birthday?

I took Zach and Michael to the local children's museum

29. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?

practical, comfortable

30. What kept you sane?
several short trips just to get away and enjoy nature

31. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Vladimir Putin, the savior of the world...  nah, kidding.  Ummmmm....I'm not much for celebrities.   *thinks* Grumpy Cat?

32. What political issue stirred you the most?

Syria especially when Obama was talking about getting rid of the chemical weapons

33. Who did you miss?  

34. Who was the best new person you met?

David - a Korean guy we met at our hostel in Paris. He spent our first day with us.

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.

be quick to extend grace and mercy

* kidding! just seeing if you were paying attention!  I find that a silly question.