I’LL HAVE A BLOODY MARY, A STEAK SANDWICH AAAND A STEAK SANDWICH

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Archive for Book Thoughts

I MISS MY PERSONAL BLOG

I see that the last time I posted was on May 12th, 2009.
Huh.
Today is June 2oth, 2009.
My silence is not from a lack of blog worthy life happenings… nope, I just need a scribe instead of me writing it all down.
I guess there’s a season for everything…and this last season was the one with no time to blog, I suppose.

Well, I guess I will just do bullets… that seems to be my way in almost all things these days.  So, in a stream of consciousness format, here goes:
-Bought an Expedit bookcase from ikea (on sale).  I’d been wanting to buy it for a couple years and just hadn’t gotten to it.  Half off got me to it.
-A cousin’s grad party in Merced.  Fun to see family… and my mom!  🙂
-A few days up at the Seelye’s house.  Rather, at the construction site.  ALWAYS good to see them
-Got 3 deals into escrow (with a couple other clients who got out bid…still searching)
-Barely keeping up with blogs, but trying.
-Joined Twitter… am still feeling my way around, but can see the benefits already!  And, a big thanx to Piper and that one mom and her blog.  🙂
-Have had communication (lunch/dinners/facebook, email) with peeps that I miss/dig: Lynda, Ona, Beth, the Chases, Joe, Amy, Kevin, Matt…
-Have taken my car in to the mechanic… a few times… not diggin that.  Don’t want to get a new car, but am pondering…
-Coordinated another wedding (or maybe a couple, I can’t remember)
-Have read some good books about New Zealand… have some library charges for overdue books too … it’s a trade off
-My Subway phase firmly ended in April.  Though, I now like Salt & Vinegar chips…which i never did before.
-An overnighter with the Harveys… ALWAYS a joy and a pleasure!  I miss living together.
-Went to the AVID banquet and marveled as some of our very first ICUers ‘graduated’
-Took a drive after church for a sabbath rest and ended up in quiet and cool places.  Mike is a good mellow travel buddy.
-Said goodbye to one of my Icelandic roomies.  She’s off to start the next chapter of her life… we’ll miss her
-Got an extension for a speeding ticket…am going to try to get night court…for obvious reasons
-Blogging for ‘Don’t Waste My Cancer’ .wordpress.com
-Went to TMS’ graduation pomp/circumstance in support of daren… had lots of thoughts whilst on the GCC campus
-Got my hair cut/colored . . . didn’t love the end product, but don’t really care either.  Too busy to care 🙂
-Said goodbye to a dear friend and worship team member, jeff l.  We miss him so much.  we sent him off with a ‘Carne Asada’ party.  duh.
-Had to cancel a bank account because one of my checks was stolen out of a recipient’s mailbox.  BIG drag.  Lots of subsequent drama.
-Afternoon/night hangout with Becka and Heidi…SO much fun!!!!!!
-Went to a celebration BBQ for Sarah Jane’s b-day . . . and visited her in the hospital after the birth of her 2nd child 🙂
-Love seeing Peter and Heather M … and met their cool son!
-Talked to my birthday buddy, Kate Spansel! Even though i called the day after our birthdays, it was still so great!
-took part in a series of meetings to be reconciled with someone… God’s cool!
-My camera broke… big bummer for so very many reasons…
-Went to the San Diego Zoo for an afternoon, then dinner with Scott & Mike… mellow.. much needed calm
-LOTS of emails, paperwork, etc for work
-canceled LA Fitness membership… it would be better if i could hire someone to workout FOR me…
-Had  my eyebrows done with Valeria … learned that her son has an incurable disease.  😦  much prayer for them to see the hand of God
-Have ‘seen’ lots of pay per view movies (aka: had them playing in the background whilst working): ones i remember are Marley & Me, the Great Outdoors, some Sundance flicks…oh, and saw ‘UP’ in the theatre
-Hung out here and there with the Powells and enjoyed Yogurberry a great deal
-Old school style…. spontaneous errand running with Ona!  Like the old days!!
-Changed brokerages.  LOVE my new brokerage!!!!  Wish i had done it so long ago!!!!    It was a lot of work ramping up to it and now have SO much to learn that Keller Williams VIP has to offer!
-Have switched my rings from one hand to the other and back again
-cool conversations with Brad and others…
-Work related cocktail parties
-welcomed David back to SCV!!
-Outdoor baptism! which was part of a 15 hour Worship Team day (including Planet Earth 🙂 )
-Shared the gospel with a beloved friend, again.  I continue to pray!
-people watched at the mall (while david drew people).  i was supposed to be reading.  Turns out reading people is WAY more fun
-Enjoyed my living room for the 1st time in almost a year
-Been thinking alot about God and some specifics (too much to write here)
-started listening to music again (mostly while i’m in the shower)
-Went to LA at night with Mike so he could do some night shoots (photo, not firearm) and ended up at Cole’s … GREAT pastrami/swiss auju sandwhich
-LOTS of internet research for work and other quests based on ambition/obedience
-Have spotted my 1st black widow of the summer (in my home)…the killing spree is about to resume 🙂
-took a walk …it included 2 college campuses and lots of stairs…calves & quads mentioned it in the days that followed
-Lots of fun ‘designing’ back/forth with Heidi for all my updated marketing (with new brokerage logos etc)
-Welcomed the 1st baby to be born by a CURRENT worship team member: Jacob Smith (born to greg, our drummer).  Now, Jacob is our mascot.  🙂 🙂 🙂
-got new sunglasses… I made my last ones last until the coating was peeling off in my hair (classy)
-and other stuff….

A LEADER IS OFT TIMES A READER

Soooo, as you know, I’ve been getting back in the reading saddle.
I have a big list (always) and little time.
BUT, I do have more time than the President of the United States and somehow he managed to run the most powerful country in the world (through 9/11 fallout, controversial war, a ‘recession’, immense criticism and scrutiny, a bajillion meetings scheduled down to the minute, married off a daughter, etc.) AND read 186 books in the past 3 years.  I think I read 10-15ish.  Wow.  I’m lame.
Here’s an article about the reading competition between old friends President George Bush and Karl Roves.
I am cheerfully warmed by President Bush’s spirit and kindness and have always loved the fact that, though people are unspeakably rude and malicious to him, he still continues with a smile, to do soul/mind enriching things… he seems to turn away from the option of bitterness.  And, I love that one way is to read…even in friendly competition.
Just my impression.  🙂

2008 IN BOOK REVIEW

Soooooo, when you’re in college you think, “When I’m done with college (or  my college culture job) I’ll do so much ‘free reading’ ”.
Huh.

Well, I am here to say that I’ve been out of that environment for 4 years now and have done very little of that ‘extra curricular’ reading I’d always longed for.  🙂

So, in an effort to be slightly less-lame, though not having a TON of time, I have tried harder in 2008 to do some reading.

I am only posting this as a form of accountability and iron on iron.  I am in NO way saying that I am proud of the number of books that I’ve read (or rather, not read).

I’ll break it down by categories:  books I finished, books I’m currently reading, books that are on the ‘to read’ list and your welcomed recommendations.  This list assumes the Bible.  🙂

BOOKS I FINISHED
1.  Under The Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer
2.  Mistaken Identity by Van Ryn, Cerak, Tabb
3.  Beyond the Band of Brothers by Major Dick Winters
4.  Stories In His Own Hand by Ronald Reagan
5.  The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam
6.  Open Water Diving Manual by PADI
7.  Girl Soldier by Faith J.H. McDonnell & Grace Akallo

BOOKS I’M CURRENTLY READING
1.  Do Hard Things by Alex & Brett Harris
2.  The Last of the Just by Andre Schwarz-Bart
3.  The Cross Centered Life by CJ Mahaney
4.  The Millionaire Real Estate Agent by Gary Keller
5.  Unpacking Forgiveness by Chris Braun
6.  A Faith Worth Sharing by C. John Miller (aka ‘Jack’)

BOOKS ON THE ‘TO READ’ LIST 🙂 (in no particular order)
1.  Why We’re Not Emergent By Two Guys Who Should Be by DeYoung & Kluck
2.  Relationships-A Mess Worth Making by Paul Tripp
3.  Into Thin Air by John Krakuer
4.  Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges
5.  When Sinners Say I Do by Dave Harvey
6.  PeaceMaker by Ken Sande (this would be a re-read)
7.  Chinatown’s Angry Angel: The Story of Donaldina Cameron
8.  The Good News About Injustice by Gary Haugen
9.  The Prodigal God by Tim Keller
10. The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis
11. Escape by Carolyn Jessup
12. Awearness by Kenneth Cole

BOOKS THAT YOU RECOMMEND (and Why)…
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
etc.

So, here’s to looking back on 2008 and looking forward to 2009, from a literary perspective, of course.

BEYOND THE BAND OF BROTHERS

I just finished this book last week.
 

Whoa.  It’s written from the perspective of Major Dick Winters, the man who led Easy Company 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment during WWII (the mini-series BAND OF BROTHERS is about Easy Company).  America’s victory during WWII is due largely to the intense sacrifice and honor that this small group of men offered up for America’s freedom.  The book is written from the man who led them through (FYI-he was in his early 20’s as he led this regiment of 18-25 year olds through brutal battles of war). 

As you know, I love America, but moreover I am humbled by the thousands of men/women who have sacrified to defend her (whether in death or in time away from family or whatever).  You also know that I have several family members who serve in several branches of government, so it’s personal (well, shouldn’t it be to every American?).  So, with that predisposition, I read this book and was amazed and grateful and blown away…the lifestyles of honor, bravery, dignity, justice…they moved me.  There are hundreds of quotables from this book, but here are a few of my favorites…

1) re: a night of leave in Paris “I certainly didn’t raise hell, never did, and had no intention of doing so in the future.  Why not? First and most important, I had my own conscience to answer to.  Next, I refused to dishonor my parents, and thirdly, because I was an officer in the U.S. army.  I was damn proud of it and with the rank and position I held.  I would not think of doing anything to bring discredit to my outfit, my paratroopers, my boots, my wings, my airborne patch, or to the army.”  Can you imagine if everyone nowadays cared this much about dishonor ?  Not just in the military, but EVERYONE?  Can you imagine if Christians cared this much about dishonoring God (myself included)?  Wow.

2) re: leadership, “As a commander, a leader must be prepared to give everything, including himself, to the people he leads.  Sound like a principle you’ve heard before?  like from the Bible?

3) re: coming upon their first concentration camp (near the end of the war) “By now the men and I were seasoned veterans, but the sights we witnessed when we arrived at the camp defied description.  The horror of what we observed remains with each paratrooper to this day.  You could not explain it; you could not describe it; and you could not exaggerate it.  It did not take long to realize the Nazis were intent on eliminating all of the Jews, the gypsies, and anyone who disagreed with Hitler’s regime.  The memory of starved, dazed men who dropped their eyes and heads when we looked at them through the chain-link fence, in the manner that a beaten, mistreated dog would cringe, left a mark on all of us forever.  Nor could you underestimate the barbarity of the Nazi regime, even during the latter stages of the war.. . . As I went through the war, it was natural to ask myself, Why am I here?  Why am I putting up with the freezing cold, the constant rain, and the loss of so many comrades? Does anybody care?  A soldier faces death on a daily basis and his life is one of misery and deprivation.  He is cold; he suffers from hunger, frequently bordering on starvation.  The impact of seeing those people behind that fence left me saying, if only to myself, ‘Now I know why I am here!  For the first time I understand what this war is all about.” 

It was a powerful read and I wish that every American under the age of 60 was required to watch the Band of Brothers mini-series and read books like this (yearly?).  I just wonder how differently people might view their freedom and maybe their abuse of freedom (mine included). 

 

WEEKS OF WHIRLWIND

Weeeeell, helloooooo there! 
It seems that a long time has passed since I last wrote. 

Here are the highlights of my time ‘away’
1.  I started subbing for a 7th & 8th grade set of classes (1-2 times a week).  They’re kind of considered ‘bad kids’, but we’ve found our groove (after a big up-front battle).  Today was my last day with them…I’ll be back to host the ‘winners’ party (we had a behavior based class competition).
2.  The Driscoll family welcomed our first great-grandchild into the world!!!
3. I went to Washington for a week to help my mom with a conference that she was running.  My mom is cool and funny and awesome and I was really thankful to get to hang out with her (and her people).  She also had some pretty funny quotables.  Whilst in WA, I also did the following:  hung out with Erin Jacobsen, Jai & Sten A, Dave & Emily V, the Musulmans, Janae L, 24 Hour Fitness & LA Fitness.  In 7 days, I enjoyed Mercer Island, Bellevue, Arlington, Olympia, Seattle, Kent, and Tukwila.
4.  I’ve shown lots of homes, navigated through one client’s loan approval saga (we persevered and he closes escrow this Friday!), put in an offer on a short pay last week, awaiting a few client’s timeframe for their offers. 
5.  Went to several graduation parties and was proud of the graduate’s hard work!
6.  Read these 2 books. Loved both, but REALLY loved Under The Banner of Heaven.  Wow.

In His Own Hand-The Everyday Wisodm of Ronald Reagan  

Under the Banner of Heaven is about religious fanaticism, particulalry in the fundementalist Mormon polygamist camps.  Incredibly FASCINATING and horrifying and humbling. 

7.  Met with a former RA, Courtney, who was in town for graduation..it was a delight and a blessing to share life with her.  Some people are just a breath of fresh air…like water to a weary traveler!
8.  Have been reconnected with lots of people from the past: Thanx, Facebook-you’re sweet.  aaand, I love your flair.

Ok, while there was more, that’s enough for now!  Because I am preparing to go to SF this weekend for my dear cousin, Michelle’s, graduation from UC Berkeley!  We’re SO proud of her!!!!  In addition to celebrating  with her on Friday, our big Irish family will also be attending the Scottish/Irish festival on Saturday in Livermore!  THEN, I will also be visiting the Seelyes and the Harvs!  Another whirlwind!

GOD IS INCREDIBLE! FOR REAL

I don’t want to give the impression that I have nothing but time.  I actually don’t have much time.

However, I just finished this book…and whoa… you should read it and pray that you and I, like the families in this real life account, will prove faithful to God when the hardest moments of our lives hit (or have).  INCREDIBLE.  this book made me so excited and pleased to be in ‘the body of Christ’!!!  i think throughout my read, I was brought to genuine tears of compassion, sorrow, joy, etc. at least 15 times. 

NEXT TOPIC:
AND, i saw the movie EXPELLED: no intellgience allowed.  Fantastic in many rights.  Do me a favor though, if you see it in the theatre, keep your comments to yourself.  When I went, the theatre was filled with almost all Christians…I could tell they were Christians by the constant verbal scoffing and sound effects everytime an evolutionist made a claim or made a point.  It was convicting, because I have been that person and it was a reminder to me how lame we Christians can be to the watching/listening world…even in the smallest ways like watching a movie about ‘Intelligent Design’. 
So, in contrast to the above comendation to the body of Christ, our testimony has impact in the ‘inconsequential’ moments and in the tragic life altering moments.  I just want to love God and love people…a MUCH higher calling than it sounds.  🙂

A BOOK I’M GLAD TO BE READING

517jg1ppv8l__bo2204203200_pisitb-dp-500-arrowtopright45-64_ou01_aa240_sh20_.jpgWho are the major preachers in our Western culture these days?  Bush? Oprah? Dr. Laura? H. Clinton? Paris? SNL? 

It seems like it’s good for Christians to be ‘up on’ what gospel these preachers are preaching.

One such icon/preacher is Bono.  I want to know what he’s about, since he’s one of the most powerful men around these days and he’s flexed his muscles in issues fighting for justice/mercy/compassion.  Ironically, it’s been rumored that he does actually do a lot of preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ…to feed the poor and needy, to protect the widows and the orphans, etc. in the name of Jesus Christ.   So, I wanted to read for myself what Bono preaches.  It’s been a GREAT book.  Fascinating.  Convicting.  Murky.  Transparent.  I’m glad I’m reading it:  I’m glad that it was recommended and I’m glad that someone gave me a gift card to Barnes and that they had it in stock.

I’m about 1/3 through the book and Bono’s not my new hero and so far, it seems he’s not really preaching the full gospel (sin, repentance, forgiveness, the cross, resurrection, etc, though he reads and studies Scripture faithfully), but I am grateful that he’s doing a lot of work in Africa that is paving the way for so many powerful things…it seems that the LORD uses any sinner He pleases:  you, me, Bono…  (I just want to make sure that I am fixed on and am preaching a salvific gospel rather than a social gospel.) 

I do wish that I could hang out with Bono (and Ellen Degeneres too…maybe at the same time) because it seems like it would be less than 10 minutes before we were into some really meaningful discussion about life, calling, influence, Christ, relativism, power, death, heaven/hell, salvation…etc.   He seems like a cool cat.