2012 Book List

This has become a new tradition – every year I post the books I read throughout that year. I got the idea from a friend of mine, who in turn got it from a friend of his. Unfortunately, I didn’t read too much for pleasure in 2012. Most of my reading time came from textbooks for school (and those aren’t listed.) I did, of course, read the Bible extensively.  Most of my reading comes from the Bible, and I hope anyone who considers themselves a Christian does the same.

  1. The Bible
  2. Reclaiming Youth at Risk – Brendtro, et al – A book about reaching out to at-risk youth. Any aspiring teacher should read this.
  3. 30 Minutes in Heaven – Don Piper – A man is in a car crash and medically dies for 30 minutes, experiences heaven, then is brought back to life. A true story, and a must-read.
  4. Radical – David Platt – Returning the nation back to radical Christianity – the way Jesus said it should be. 
  5. A Seminary in You – Ben Pierce – An introductory guide to how to properly study the Bible, as well as supplementary texts to enhance Christian studies. Highly informative. I recommend it to any Christian lay-person who hasn’t had a chance to go to seminary.
  6. Wherever I Wind Up – R.A. Dickey – An autobiography by Major League pitcher R.A. Dickey. He talks about life, baseball, and most notably, his Christian walk. A must-read for any baseball fan, and for Christians.
  7. Life of Pi – Yann Martel – Fiction. (The only fiction work on this list!) A boy gets shipwrecked with a tiger. An amazing story. Exceeded my expectations. Not what I thought it was. I highly recommend it.
  8. The Case for the Real Jesus – Lee Strobel – Christian Apologetics – A journalist investigates the truth behind the historical Jesus.

I hope to have a more extensive list for 2013!

2011 – Year in Review

A brief timeline of how the year went for me. I know I’m not usually very brief, but I’m going to be as brief as possible this time. I’ll go through each month and list the most interesting, important, or influential things that happened to me. I won’t go into details, I’ll just give a short description of what happened. (I might go back and reflect on some of these things later, and write a separate entry for them.)

January – Decided to get re-baptized. I had been baptized as a baby, but this was different. I chose to get baptized this time, and boy, has it been an amazing ride since then. God has done some incredible things in my life, and I’ve gotten to see him work in so many ways. This really set the tone for me for the whole year.

February – Helped with Disciple Now, a youth retreat with a neighboring church. A lot of fun, and a great experience. Also, attended the Gathering.

March – Went to the HIM conference, a Christian convention in Honolulu. It was a great time of learning and growth, and was a lot of fun.

April – Helped make this Easter video with a kid from my church:

May – Started working at an elementary school.

June – Summer school started, and I began leading 5th & 6th grade.

July – Went to Cambodia.

August – Came back from Cambodia / the regular school year started at work, and I began leading 2nd grade. Also, started playing sanshin at various bon dances.

September – Turned 25, and I started this blog. (Previously my postings were just posted on facebook or shown or emailed to various people. I decided it was time to get a more organized and consolidated place to post.)

October – Decided to start playing baseball again, and began work outs. Also, started leading Royal Ambassador’s at my church (a missions education group for boys in grades 1-6.)

November – Started teaching Children’s Sunday School at church as a substitute teacher.

December – Decided to go back to school, and registered for the next semester.

It was a lot of fun, but not everything that happened this year was spectacular. I was sick a lot. I had so many bouts of tonsillitis that I lost track. If we added up the total amount of time I was sick or recovering from a sickness, I’d say it was at least 1/4th of the year. My bouts of tonsillitis usually lasted about 2 weeks at a time, plus an additional 2 weeks to recover and get back up to full strength. It really sapped me of a lot of energy. But I know God used this to teach and grow me. Thankfully, it seems that he has healed me of this disease.

But overall, it was a great year, a year in which I really grew with God. I look forward to seeing what God has in store for me in 2012.

Book List 2011

Taking a cue from one of my friend’s blogs, I’m going to do a list of the books I read during 2011. Unfortunately, it’s a pretty small list. You would think that writers should be reading a lot, and generally they should. But I really don’t read that much. Or rather, I tend to start reading books, but I usually stop reading them fairly quickly. I guess I have a short attention span. For 2012 my goal is to increase the number of books I read to 15. Seems like a reasonable goal to me.

So here are the books I read in 2011. I think this is all of them. Not sure though. It’s possible I’m forgetting some. But oh well. I’ll also list how long each book is. (Short: 200 or fewer pages – Medium: 200-600 – Long: 600-999 – Epic: 1000+) Listed more-or-less in the order I finished them. Not included are children’s books, because they’re too short and I read a lot of them. (Mostly to kids. Mostly.)

  1. The Case For Christ (medium)
  2. Having a Mary Spirit (medium)
  3. The Red Pyramid (medium)
  4. Crazy Love (medium)
  5. Beauty From Ashes (medium)
  6. Heaven is For Real (medium)
  7. Japanese Children’s Stories (short) [I know it’s a children’s book, but it’s in a foreign language.]
  8. Obama’s Wars (medium)
  9. Family Practice (short) [A super long medical text book. But I only read the first few chapters.]
  10. The Bible (epic)

Here’s hoping I get more reading done in 2012.

2011 in Review – Top posts

2011 was the first full year I’ve kept a blog, and I found it to be a good experience. It’s not only a good way to hone and improve my writing skills, but it’s also helped me mature as a person. Not to mention, it’s fun, and I enjoy sharing things with you. Thank you so much for reading. I really appreciate knowing that people do read my blog, and I appreciate the feedback I’ve received.

Here’s what I consider to be my best posts from 2011. I chose this list (and the order) based on my own critical analysis of myself, and based on the feedback I’ve gotten. It’s a very unscientific list, and you are free to make your own judgements. I’ll also list the reasons why I chose them.

 

5. Even if we’re just dancing in the dark

I had to include at least one of my writings from the first half of the year, and this was one of them that received quite a bit of feedback. I considered all of the others that I wrote, but some I thought were too long, while others I thought I hadn’t written as well.

4. Cambodia Sharing

This was the transcript of the testimony I gave at church about my mission trip to Cambodia over the summer.

3. Praise of the Week

I couldn’t make a list without including a post about my kids from school. (And I also limited myself to one, because when it comes to posts about kids, I’m sorta biased.) I chose this post because it’s short and sweet, and kinda sums up my interaction with kids into one little post.

2. Ashlyn the Whack-a-Mole

Funny because you wouldn’t expect this type of behavior from a little kid, yet still innocent and sweet.

1. True Love

I chose this as my number one article of the year because I think it’s heartfelt and deep. Not too long, and not too short, I think it’s one of my more well-written posts of the year.

 

I guess the list is biased, since 4 out of 5 choices were written in the second half of the year. I tend to judge my earlier writings harsher than my more recent writings. One reason is because my earlier writings were lengthier, and recently I’ve been into writing shorter, more frequent posts. The other reason is I’m slightly afraid of going back and reading my earlier writings. I don’t know why. I guess I’m afraid they’ll be terrible, and I’ll be embarrassed for having written them. But I guess that’s part of the process, right? People grow and change. I may have written something at one point in my life, but that doesn’t mean I would have written it the same way at a later point. The same, I think, goes for everyone, in everything we do in life. Interesting to see growth and change, no?