Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Joanne Kathleen Rowling

I went to the library recently and was searching for missionary biographies. While I was browsing through the young adult biographies (because let's face it -- who has time to read 600 pages about someone -- gotta love young adult literature!), I found this book:

It was a super quick read and insightful into the mastermind behind HP. It's an unauthorized biography, but since I do not really know much about her anyway, any information about her would be new to me.

I devoured the HP series after graduating college. I was sick of reading books about ministry and welcomed the escape to Hogwarts... and I get a little skeptical of books that HUGE HITS right off the bat. I wasn't too impressed with Twilight.

But anyway, Rowling's story is worth telling. Her love of children certainly comes through... and I love that she placed HP in the awkward, not always appreciated jr. high stage of life.

Reading her story connected with mine in a lot of ways:

I was quiet, freckly, short-sighted, and rubbish at sports (35). Hmm... I was so sure that she was talking about ME!

Getting dressed up and presenting herself at job interviews was not something the young woman liked doing. It seemed like a silly, unnecessary game. It made her feel totally inadequate and very much like a little girl again. Besides, this was not what she really wanted to do, which was to write fabulous stories, see them published, and be able to keep writing, and live happily ever after. But since she was not willing to take the risks necessary to reach that pinnacle, Joanne would have to contend with the real world. (45)

Joanne was feeling confident in what she had jotted down and began seriously contemplating writing the novel. But she was torn between living out her dream of a life dedicated to writing and the guilt she was feeling at not being like everyone else (53-54). Torn between living the dream and comparing herself to others... I can relate.

I thought it was funny because this book came out in 2000 and they mentioned a possible title for the sixth HP book: Harry Potter and the Green Flame Torch (159).

I would definitely be interested in reading about biography on Rowling.

The Power of Whisper: Hearing God and Having the Guts to Respond

I know that it may seem like all I do is read, but I AM actually looking for a job, too... But I am enjoying the time I have to read a bunch of stuff -- and I'm open to suggestions (I'm currently looking for books about the life/ministry/church planting/missionary journeys of Paul).

The Power of a Whisper is the first book I read by Hybels -- and I plan to read more! 

God keeps reminding me of Isaiah 55.8: 

God’s ways and thoughts are rarely my own. I need to listen for God’s promptings in my life.

This was the first book I read completely on my Kindle! I plan to order the book because it was THAT good! You’ll have to excuse this post… I do not know where in the book the quotes are (and I'm not exactly sure how to quote something on a kindle)!

“My entire journey comes down to a series of unplanned promptings from heaven that have charted a course for my life even I never could have foreseen”.

“If there is a pattern in Scripture regarding whispers, it is that we serve a communicating God – a God of words. He created with a word, he healed with a word, he encouraged with a word, he rebuked with a word, he guided with a word, he prophesied with a word, he assured with a word, he loved with a word, he served with a word and he comforted with a word. Throughout all of history, God has communicated, and he still is at it today. The issue isn’t whether or not God is speaking; it’s whether we will have ears to hear what he says.”

This reminds me of Hebrews 1.1-4... and this Acappella song

“There is tremendous benefit to be gained from going slowly and systematically through the Word of God, asking him with every turn of events, ‘What were you up to here, God? Why did you pour favor on that woman or man?...’

“Whenever you find yourself on the receiving end of God’s prompting, be sure to obey – no matter the cost. Don’t let fear or doubt rob you of one bit of what God has in store for you. Whenever you hear from God, do precisely what he asks for you to do.”

“It’s one thing to say to God, ‘I want to obey the input I hear from heaven. I want to follow your whispers every step of the way.’ But it’s quite another thing to actually follow through.”

I was not expecting to be so saddened by the end of this book. But when you hear about how God is working in someone’s life, you find yourself not wanting their story to end. It was a good to time for me to reflect on how God's whispers have shaped my life.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Blogging for Books: Soul Print

SOUL PRINT: Mark Batterson (Soul Print comes out on January 18)

The only book I took with me to Italy was Mark Batterson’s Wild Goose Chase. I devoured it. So it’s no surprise to me that I devoured his new book Soul Print in just a few days.

Your soulprint is “who God has destined you to become from the inside out” (7). This includes your true identity: who you were, who you are, and who you will be.

A theme throughout the book was the reminder of becoming who God meant us to be. “When it comes to the will of God, we tend to focus on what and where. But what you are doing or where you are going are secondary issues. God’s primary concern is who you’re becoming (12).

Batterson really knows how to speak to people in their 20’s – something that is a real gift – but the book applies to anyone willing to read it. He challenges us to really evaluate and get to know ourselves better. This was a great read, especially since 2010 was a year of self-discovery for me. Reading Soul Print encouraged me to continue learning how God has created me.

A few good reminders for me:

“So you may not like your present circumstances, but they may be the key to your character development. And character development is the key to your future” (32).

“Integrity isn’t sexy…. Without it in your life, everything falls apart. And that includes your destiny. You’ll never fulfill your God-given destiny without integrity” (79).

“The only perfect mirror is Scripture. And the more you read it, the more you will reflect God. Why? Because the Bible is where God is revealed…. [The Bible] is not only the best cure for identity problems. It’s also the best prevention” (135).

“The reason so many of us are strangers to ourselves is because we don’t sit before the Lord. If you want to discover your destiny, you’ve got to spend time in the presence of God” (144).

I firmly believe in reading books at certain points in life. I am so glad that my circumstances of looking for a job and being at an “in-between” time coincided with reading this book. It was a great reminder of where I get my true identity.

I reviewed this book for Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers Blogging for Books. I received this book for free in exchange for a review of the book.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Best Book Ever...

Books can be dangerous.  The best ones should be labeled "This could change your life."  ~Helen Exley

Do you want to know the best Book ever?
It's full of adventure and romance.
War and betrayal.
Love and forgiveness.
Fit for men, women, and children.

What am I talking about?

The Bible, of course.

I'm reviewing it on here because in 2010 I went through it chronologically with the help of a plan from

I have failed EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I have tried to do the "chapter-a-day" type plan. I get frustrated with myself because I am a perfectionist... I get so far behind that I give up. But 2010 was different. It was a plan that went through chapters a day. And I LOVED IT! I remember reading the story of Joseph and LOVING that I got to read his whole life story in a day.

My journey was inspired by Dayna Smith, one of my MCC students. She read the Bible as her CIY Challenge 2009-2010. I'm so proud of her! I started my journey on January 11, 2010 and finished December 26, 2010. I found that I couldn't stop reading!

My favorite story continues to be Ruth. What a bold, hard-working woman. She was faithful to her mother-in-law (Thank GOD for this story that not all in-law relationships have to be bad!). She was faithful to God.

After nine months in the Old Testament I was SO EXCITED for Jesus to come. How fitting that it took nine months to read the OT... and what a wonderful thing to read about Jesus coming, His Life and the impact it had and continues to have! And people wonder why I love Christmas so much!

In 2011, I am hoping to study Paul's life and missionary journeys. Having been to Rome, I am interested in his travels, his method of church planting, and his overall life. I would also like to read missionary biographies and  study the book of Philippians.

A truly good book teaches me better than to read it.  I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint.... What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.  ~Henry David Thoreau

I must finish by acting....

Friday, January 7, 2011

Matthew 1: A Lineage of Grace

Lately I've been reading these five novellas:

Tamar: a woman of hope.
Rahab: a woman of faith.
Ruth: a woman of love.
Bathsheba: a woman who received unlimited grace.
Mary: a woman of obedience.

Rivers bases her historical fiction works on biblical characters and how things might have looked.  

While I was reading Bathsheba's story, I kept thinking to myself about The Bachelor.
If the Bachelor were placed in the Bible, I'm pretty sure it'd be King David.
I can't imagine the Bachelor house being real life... and even harder for David -- those women were his WIVES!
Add to that chaos sons who wanted the throne.... Whoa.

In our culture of instant gratification and not thinking about the consequences of our action, it is sobering to read the story of David and Bathsheba. One choice, one decision was enough for Bathsheba’s name to be connected with adultery even thousands of years later. 

What kind of legacy will you be leaving? What word will be attached to your name?

At the end of the book, Bathsheba tells her sons: 
“When you marry…. Choose a wife carefully from among the maidens of Israel. Find a young woman who fears the Lord, a girl who is trustworthy, who works with her hands and has joy in it, who can manage a household wisely and with compassion, a girl who cares for the poor. Let her be physically strong, so she will be able to give you healthy sons and raise them up to be men after God’s own heart.  But don’t go after a woman simply because she’s beautiful.”  (170 – Unspoken by Francine Rivers)

How many of us are women worth finding? Are you sulking over ice cream that you'll be single again this Valentine's Day or getting off your butt and exercising? Are you doing retail therapy and racking up a credit card debt or working toward removing your debt to be financially free? Even if it is just you, you are managing your household. Think about your actions. Be a woman worth finding.