New Me Weeks 5 and 6

I missed posting last week, but I had good news to report.

The week of Jan 26-Jan 31 I was up around 5am and worked out 5 of the 6 days.

This past week, Feb 2-Feb 7 I was up around 5am and worked out all 6 days.

Eating hasn’t been as good. I’ve done pretty good when eating at home, but we ate out a few times and that was certainly not good. Pizza and fried foods a few times this past week. This week should be better!

It is still hard to get up in the morning and put in the effort to work out. I try not to think about it, just get up and start moving.

thenewmegraphic2

Posted in The New Me Challenge 2009 | Comments Off on New Me Weeks 5 and 6

Book Review: The Great Eight

I joined the Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers and the first book I requested to read and review was The Great Eight by Scott Hamilton. I have a love/hate relationship with celebrity self-help books and with lists of great ways to transform your life. I opted for this book because it promised to share more about Scott Hamilton’s life and the world of skating. I must admit, every 4 years I become a huge fan of ice skating. I also love to see what works for other people and wonder how they take the mess that is real life and get it to fit into a nice little round number like 8.

In the introduction, as he is describing his brain cancer diagnosis and treatment, he describes the lesson he quickly learned this way: “Facing death yet again, I realized I was no longer living to win. Rather, I was living to not lose.” (p xix) The rest of the book is this same practical and honest voice. He presents good advice, with good examples of how he learned the lesson and why each is an important step in being happy. He doesn’t mean a sappy, gooey happy. He aims for a real contentment and joy in life. His Christian message is present and incorporated in a very meaningful way. This is not a gospel tract, but a real story about real life and what has been important in his journey.

I enjoyed this book. It was great way to learn more about the man and his world view. It was also a good Christian book discussing some practical points for working on ourselves to be happy, while not ignoring the fact that a faith in God is a requirement.

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Bible reading status 2/8

questionoftheweekblogactuallyFirst, the question for this past week:

What do you do in the in-between times? Those times when you are in-between-Bibles or in-between-books of the Bible, or in-between Bible studies. Do you ever feel a bit lost, a bit unsure of where to go next? what to read or study next? It’s not that you don’t want to read–you do–it’s just you may be a bit indecisive OR you may be a bit overwhelmed with all the choices.

This year there is always something to read to keep up with the Wednesday night sessions working through the Bible. I even read Leviticus this week in preparation for that.

In general, I do have some time spent wondering where to go next. Do I jump into something big like Isaiah or go with a smaller (often neglected) prophet? Or do I want to be in the New Testament? Usually, something comes along (a verse mentioned by someone else, a Sunday School lesson, or other) that guides me to another book to read.

operationactuallyreadbible

Status in reading the Bible this week:

As mentioned, I read all of Leviticus (with very little skimming). A friend mentioned a sermon in a series on Leviticus that did a great job of introducing the sacrificial system and talking about what it means to us. That definitely helped give me some structure for my reading. It’s on this page. Go down to the 2/17/08 sermon.

That means Numbers is next. Plus some time in the Psalms.

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Oswald Chambers, Abandoned to God (review)

Over the past 3 weeks I have listened to the audio-book of a biography of Oswald Chambers. It was the free resource available at Christian Audio last month. Oswald Chambers: Abandoned to God: The Life Story of the Author of My Utmost for His Highest by David McCasland is an inspiring book and the reader was great. A slight British accent for the narration and a slight Scottish burr when quoting Oswald Chambers.

I find audio-books difficult, I lose focus and forget to pay attention. This book was a great audio-book, and it kept my attention. My argument this time is that I heard things I wanted to write down and meditate on but couldn’t given where I was and that the recording just kept going.

The book covers his birth, early years in Scotland, his time in London where he accepted Christ as his savior. Then the years when he struggled to understand what God would have him do. Oswald was 27 before he had a real purpose, but he was used by God even before that. I find this reassuring in a world where we should know what we want when we enter college at 18 and then do it well starting in our early 20’s. Oswald studied and worked but he spent much of his time and energy growing in his walk with God, seeking His will, and patiently waiting for guidance.

Here are some of the main points I did capture. One of Oswald’s sayings was that he wanted to spend and be spent only for God. His work wasn’t just a job, it was his life and God was present in everything he did. Related to this was his belief that he should give to whoever asks. He knew that people would take advantage of him, but that was God’s to handle. If Oswald gave when he was asked, then God would provide for Oswald. And this is how it worked every single time.

After he married (into his 30’s)  he and his wife often had no definite plan for the future, but they trusted that God would provide if they only followed His will. He preached around England and Scotland, then they opened a Bible College in London, and God always provided.

I learned quite a bit about his life, including his trips to the US and his time spent in Japan. Then when WWI broke out, he went to Egypt working with the YMCA providing places for the soldiers to eat, socialize, and (at Oswald’s camp at least) to pray and hear the Word spoken and preached.

One way he comforted coworkers and friends, especially while in Egypt during the war, was to not worry so about understanding God’s ways. To know that God is love, get deep in that love, and trust God. He felt is was important to know the character of God and work from there.

After Oswald’s death, the book continues with a very good description of the work his wife undertook to publish his talks and sermons from the Bible College, his traveling preaching time, and the time in Egypt. They were quite a couple and she continued his legacy even after he was gone.

I like a biography that covers the facts, the thoughts, the development of the person’s worldview, and how they lived out that worldview. This was a very satisfying biography about an inspiring man.

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Servant or greedy child?

God is working fast and furious on me. The lessons just keep coming. An attitude that I have been convicted of lately is my approach to home schooling Connor amidst my normal life. The ways I have been convicted are multiple.

Realizing the only things on my blog are exercise and reading challenge updates. It is a benefit that with the EMBA program I have free time, and reading is a good thing. But the issue during the EMBA program was that I had to do my own homework and didn’t have time to sit there patiently watching him do his. Now I do have that time.

Then there is the form of my complaints to Anthony when he suggests that if Connor doesn’t get his work done during the day then he just has to skip evening events to do it – but they are usually my events, not Connor’s so who is being punished?

I had a discussion with another home school mom this Sunday and was talking about the same thing, that I am the one who has to give up activities in order to spend the time sitting over Connor when he won’t do the work on his own. Yep, this isn’t fair but as I have told him many times, life isn’t fair. That isn’t what it’s about.

Then blog entries like this one about RESPECT and servanthood cut to the bone. She speaks straight to my issue, and I don’t have triplets, just one 14 year old who needs and deserves my love and care at this time of his life. He won’t be here forever.

Then last night a friend was asking how things are going with Connor and his schooling and I hesitated over my answer. The easy answer is that he’s a 14 year old boy (and these were friends who had boys so they really understand that). But the full answer is that I am still struggling with the sacrifices I need to make to do what needs to be done. My friend understood that, she didn’t excuse me or try to tell me I didn’t have to do all of this, she just nodded understanding that I had to deal with it.

So, I can sit here and whine, or stick my head in another book and ignore it, or I can decide that God’s glory is worth more than my petty needs and wants and I can suck it up and make the sacrifice. Connor is funny and smart and will one day be out of my house. I will never regret this decision.

When we first decided to have Connor come stay with us, my Mom’s concern was that I would miss out on things, that I was using some of the best years of my life to work with Connor rather than enjoy my life. I understood her concern but couldn’t live with what would be the result, to sacrifice Connor to worldly things for my life. I need to remember that and stand by it.

Posted in God is faithful | 1 Comment

Reading the Bible status

I started by reading all 4 gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) over the Christmas and New Year holidays. Matthew just before Christmas, Mark over the holiday, Luke done by 12/30, and John by Jan 2. Certainly not a devotional reading at that pace, but a good refresher of the entire story line all at once, like a good book or story would be read. And close enough to note the similarities and differences between them.

I listened to Max Maclean read Galatians on 1/3. I listened to the Book of Acts during the next week. I did a summary reading of Genesis on 1/21 (I read all of Genesis last year, so this was refresher before the Wednesday night service).

This week I read Exodus for 1/28 Wednesday night’s service.I read Amos on 1/23. I have been working on Job through January, I finished it Wednesday 1/28. I have also read a few Psalms (I’m working to memorize Psalm 103) this month.

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MMM Celebration

This will be a rather calm celebration as there hasn’t been a lot of progress here. At least, not in the memory department.

I did get the first stanza of Psalm 103 memorized, and now I have something to continue working on (unlike those projects where you finish and then you are all sad because it’s over and you have this big empty hole in your life). [That’s called positive spin, folks]

Here is Psalm 103, first stanza (v 1-5) (with corrections)

Bless the Lord, O My Soul,

and all that is within me,

bless His holy name.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

and forget not all his benefits,

who forgives all your iniquity,

who heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit,

who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

who satisfies you with good,

so that your youth is may be renewed like the eagle’s.

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Actually Read the Bible Questions

questionoftheweekblogactually

I had started this personal challenge over the Christmas holidays, but I found the blog today and I’m excited about it. One of the features is a weekly question about our Bible reading or related topics.

I will do a little catch up here.

Question 1: Are you a goal setter? Do you set goals for yourself? How often? Yearly? Monthly? Weekly? Daily? If you don’t meet your goals, do you beat yourself up about it? How do you stay motivated and on task? Do you have goals about your Bible reading? Why or why not?

I am a definite goal setter. I have learned to be flexible and evaluate how I react when I don’t meet a goal. I try to avoid being too flexible, though, and rendering the goal useless. I like lists and the usually work as a motivator for some goals, if I keep them visible.

My goal for my Bible reading this year is to do something every day, no matter how small. I prefer to read an entire book at a time, so I read a group of chapters at a time when possible and do that each day until I am finished.

Question 2: Last week it was all about goals. This week is slightly related to that. It’s about plans–Bible reading plans to be exact. Do you need a plan to stay on track? Do you find reading plans helpful? Or are they more of a hindrance to you? Do you have a plan B? In other words, do you have it worked out what you’re going to do when you fall behind, forget, get frustrated, get bored, etc.? (There are a dozen excuses why it might happen.) Do you see this as an all or nothing proposition?

I believe  Bible Reading plan is a good thing and I encourage their use. I usually advise people not to use one to do the entire Bible in a year, maybe 2 or 3 or even 4 years. Personally, I lose interest in the typical Bible reading plan and that doesn’t end well. I have learned that I do better to read one book in its entirety and then move on. This year, we are studying the Old Testament in our Wednesday night services so I will read those books along with the church.

Question 3: Which Bible character do you identify with most? Is there one that you can really relate to and understand? What is it about the story or character that gets to you?

It’s funny, as I read this question, Hannah came to mind. Then I read Becky’s answer and she started with Hannah. I love Hannah’s song and that usually leads me to Mary’s song – the implicit trust and faith is something I admire and strive for.

Question 4: Do you prefer reading Bibles in paperback, hardback, or leather? Do you prefer red letter or black letter? Do you have a favorite translation of the Bible? Why? What is it that you love? Do you prefer reading text-only Bibles? Or do you prefer reading study Bibles? Do you have a favorite study Bible?

I have used all of the above and I think they all have a good purpose and a time and a place. Currently I am reading a hardback ESV Reformation Study Bible. I have gotten better at ignoring the notes when I need to or want to just read the Bible. But the notes are there if something comes up. I am very comfortable with the NIV. I turn to the NASB and the Amplified at times because I like hearing the different ways things are put. The 23rd Psalm is memorized in KJV.

I have one red-letter but I tend not to read it often. I agree with Becky, that the red text can pull my eyes away from the other text. Sometimes I think that is a good way to approach the words, to realize that the whole Bible is inspired, but these are the Words of The Word.

Happy Reading!

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Christian Readers 09

christianreadershchallenge51

Here’s one more challenge that fits within all the others. This one has to be finished by April 30.

I’ll list some I’ve already done, some I’m currently reading, and the ones I plan to read by end of April.

  • Oswald Chambers: Abandoned to God by David McCasland – currently listening to in the mornings
  • George Muller of Bristol: His Life of Prayer and Faith by A. T. Pierson – on the Kindle waiting for free time
  • The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton – on the desk right now, will start it this week
  • Mere Christianity – just finished it this week
  • The 7 Hardest Things God Asks a Woman To Do by Kathie Reimer & Lisa Whittle – started, need to get back to it

I March we are going to the Ligonier National Conference and I expect to come back with a stack of books by Sproul, Lawson, Carson and others.

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Casual Classics

casualclassics5

With the 999 Challenge and the Chunkster Challenge, this one fits right in as a sure thing.

I’ll list 4 just to have them on here:

  • To Kill a Mockingbird (because I don’t remember anything except Boo behind the door from when I read it and watched it in junior high)
  • Jane Eyre (because again, I can’t remember what I read years ago)
  • Heart of Darkness (I just finished this last week, but certainly a classic)
  • The Trial by Franz Kafka
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