Tag Archives: wisdom

2019 Reading Challenge: My 5 Star Reviews, Part 1

I read 319 books in 2019 and quite a few turned out to be gems! Here are some of my favorites.

The Boy With Wings by Berta Ruck

Written in 1915, this novel contains multiple levels. At its most basic, it is the romance of a Welsh girl and her aviator boyfriend. At another level, it is the story of how war came to England from a woman’s perspective. And finally, at an even deeper level, it is a work that provided social identity to women in a rapidly changing era. I honestly think it should rank as a classic and I cannot believe there are only two reviews of it on Goodreads (and one is mine!) I did not necessarily like the story, but I am amazed by how it captures emotions I still feel–and don’t always know how to express–over a hundred years later. The writing’s very timelessness makes it beloved.

Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians by Martin Luther

Martin Luther writes about Paul as one writes about a mutual friend. It brought passages I thought I was pretty well familiar with to light in new ways. I found it a wonderful reminder of the power of justification by faith alone and the work overall uplifting, thought-provoking, and encouraging.

EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches by Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey is obviously a very familiar name in financial circles and in EntreLeadership he talks about what it takes to to succeed as a leader, manager, and entrepreneur. This is a pretty foundational read and full of relevant advice and experience. He comes across curmudgeonly at times and I personally would never want to work for him, but I sure enjoyed learning about how he structures incentive and such. This was particularly good as an audio book. 

Daring to Hope: Finding God’s Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful by Katie Davis Majors

I really love Katie’s first book Kisses from Kate and her second memoir did not disappoint. For those not familiar with her story, Katie did a ‘gap year’ in Uganda…and  ended up staying and adopting 13 orphan girls. Katie experiences more pain and suffering daily than I think most of us ever will fully know. But the point isn’t the magnitude of pain, but the commonality of wondering where God is amidst the pain. Katie opens up about her heartbreak. She writes of losing children and watching friends die, of unanswered prayers and unexpressed doubts. She writes of the gospel and the prophets and patriarchs and in doing so reveals the many cries of God’s people within the Bible. Although different in scope and nature, it reminded me of C.S. Lewis’s A Grief Observed. Powerful, strengthening, and inspiring.

On Fairy-Stories by J.R.R. Tolkien

“Very little about trees as trees can be got into a play.” A lovely essay about truth and fairy tales and creation and…oh, everything worth thinking about. I want to memorize every word. (Though admittedly, this is an area I’m interested in so I was predisposed to love it.) An excellent read following Letters to a Diminished Church by Dorothy L Sayers. The two works touch on the Christian’s role as creator, but in very different ways.

In Plain Sight: Impunity and Human Rights in Thailand by Tyrell Haberkorn

I recommend this book to anyone seriously interested in human rights violations and the way a nation can zealously uphold human rights in name while simultaneously violating them in reality. While this book centers on Thailand specifically, the author does an incredible job describing a universal reality. He describes the class attitudes that uphold the rights of some but not others. Interspersed with theory and facts, he tells compelling stories of human rights violations in Thailand. Throughout he holds that human rights violations did not appear and disappear with each coup d’etat, but rather existed consistently throughout them all. Besides containing a great combination of stories, data, and theory, In Plain Sight was very well written. I read it in one sitting. Great topic sentences! Engaging and well worth the time. 


Happy Birthday, Sam!

Once upon a time, I tried sending my brother to his room. He refused. I probably yelled. It was in the early days when I was 8 or so and Mom first let us stay home alone for short periods of time. 

I remember my Dad taking me aside afterwards and saying quite firmly, “Amy, as the oldest you are in charge. But Sam is your deputy. You don’t get to boss him around. You work with him.” 

I honestly don’t think Sam and I have had a fight since.

Happy Birthday to the best deputy a sister could ask for! I hope you have another incredible year. (And also, thanks for giving me the best nephew on the planet. More pictures of him always welcome. 😉 ) 


Transitioning from “Who” to “What”

 Throughout my teen years and well into college, I was obsessed with discovering ‘who I was.’ I didn’t think of it in those terms and if you had told me I was on some journey of self-discovery I would have laughed, but that is exactly what it was. I loved quizzes and personality tests. It didn’t matter if the test was encompassing like the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator, or something silly such as ‘Which Disney Princess Are You?’ What mattered was that I was learning more about me. I needed to know why I was an extrovert or what it meant to be a verbal processor or how my red hair made me like Ariel (I was never flattered by that comparison.) Every detail mattered. My love language, my spiritual gifts, my DISC results, and especially my identity as ENFP all worked together to create a profile of who I was and why I viewed the world the way I did. I needed to know so that I could understand myself. Even this need, I read, somehow tied back into my personality. It all circled around and I desperately wanted to understand that circle.

Now that I’ve been “adulting”* for a while, I find my need has shifted as I have matured. I no longer ask ‘who am I’ but rather ‘what am I.’ One of my wonderful friends, Tori, expresses it this way:

“In those earlier years we dwell on who we are in a self centered way, finding labels and applying them like “introvert” or “shy” or “driven.” But as we get older we realize that that isn’t so important, and the focus shifts more outward. We now ask ourselves “how am I going to use my personality? If I am driven what am I fighting for? If I am introverted, how will I use my time by myself?” We no longer ask who we are but what we are going to do with who we are.”

“…what we are going to do with who we are.” I love that line. I don’t have all the answers I once sought, but it doesn’t matter as much anymore. The angst is over! My “self” has been tested and and the testing has brought maturity. Maturity, in turn, has provided a sense of confidence. Confidence gives me the kick I need to get into more situations where I will be tested. This is a different circle than the one I originally sought to understand, but it is much more satisfying.

As Tori says, “as we get older…the focus shifts more outward.” This outward shift means I prioritize things differently. I see my work as a challenge and a joy that will develop me further. I see those around me differently because I don’t just want to analyze them to contrast them with me, but to further develop them. I’m free from wondering how I will act and able to focus on acting for others. My generation gives adulting such a bad rap, but I have to say, it is one of the most freeing things I’ve ever done.

A voice in the back of my head chimes in: “Well, you know, ENFPs tend to view people as untapped sources of potential so when you say all that you are really just living up to your type…” And you know what? Maybe I am. However, where once I would have been consumed by that why, I can now shrug and say, “so what am I going to do about that? Whose potential can I tap?”

 

 
*aka, graduated and working an adult job

Check out Tori’s blog at – https://isayitbetterinwriting.wordpress.com/


Anna’s Quotes

My sister Anna has a lovely collection of quotes that inspire her. She has kindly allowed me to take pictures of a few and share them as today’s post. I hope you enjoy their wisdom and fun as much as I do! 

(This is my 4th attempt to upload this post so I hope this works!)