Guest Post and Friday

Today’s Friday Favorite is from my friend, Adam.  If you like to read or if you own a Kindle, you’ll want to subscribe to Adam’s blog contains great book reviews AND links to free or incredibly cheap books for the Kindle.  Because of Adam, I own a Kindle AND of the 450 books it holds…I only paid for 10 of them. 

Adam was kind enough to write today’s post about reading.  Check it out:

I love to read! I read a lot, I read quickly and I read fairly widely.  But over the past two years since I started my blog ( I have realized that there is something very different from reading for reading’s sake and reading because I wanted to gain wisdom. 

This week I stumbled on Russell Ackoff‘s DIKW model.  Ackoff suggests that we move from Data (simple description) to Information (answers basic questions like who, what, where, when) to Knowledge (information that has been owned and processed so a person can interact with other types of information) and finally to Wisdom (the application of knowledge, life experience to make good decisions).  Data and information are about the accumulation.  Knowledge is about the comparisons.  And wisdom is about the application. 

I realized (without Ackoff’s DIKW language) that often my reading is really just skimming and if I want to learn and gain from it I need to slow down.  Slowing down is hard for me; so about 18 months ago I started intentionally Reading Again.  This is not revolutionary; I have re-read books all my life.  But I have tried to be systematic about it.  I am picking the best books that I read and then read them again in a different format. 

About 1/3 of my reading is audiobooks (I do a lot of fairly mindless data entry for work and this is a great time for audiobooks).  About 1/3 is paper books (primarily books I know I am going to give to someone or books someone has given to me). And the final 1/3 is Kindle formatted ebooks.  So when possible, on a second reading I shift formats.  The biggest change is when I shift between audio and print formats.  But even shifting from kindle to paper, I can feel a slight difference.

More than format issues, reading a book a second (or third or fourth) time encourages you to think again about the ideas and issues so that you can move from accumulation of ideas to a more deeply ingrained wisdom.  And wisdom in Ackoff’s model is all about the action that comes as a result.

I think this is the model that we should use to read scripture.  Looking for areas where scripture can shape us, not just adding bits of information about scripture to our brains.  As a deliberate attempt at changing the way I read, I am working my way through Eugene Peterson’s Message: Solo.  It is a Lectio Divina model (Latin for spiritual reading).  You read the same passage four times.  Initially, just reading it.  The second time you reflect on the same (with the help of some questions).  The third time, you read prayerfully (praying back to God your thoughts or using the passage as a prayer).  The final reading is a contemplation/action reading.  How are you allowing your life to be influenced by the text.  If this sounds interesting, you can do Lectio Divina on your own, but I have found Peterson’s book as good training wheels to help me move into a more deliberate model of reading scripture.

Lars and The Real Girl-Friday Favorite

Lars and the Real Girl is definitely in my Top 10 of favorite movies.

I had never heard of this film starring Ryan Gosling until Rick and I went to Hollywood on a mission trip with our church.

Yeah, you read that correctly, but that’s a post for another time.

Lars was not only the first atypical movie I had ever seen but it changed how I viewed movies.  If you read the back of the DVD cover, the movie is described as a story about a sweet, quirky guy who thinks he’s found the girl of his dreams in a life-sized doll named “Bianca”. Which is true, but that’s really not what the story is about.

After I watched the movie for the first time, a friend (who’s also a screenwriter and director) asked me to sum up what the movie was about and gave me a clue, “You’re told what it’s about in the first scene.”

I was stumped. Clearly, there was more than meets the eye. 

So we watched the opening scene again which takes place in a church during a service. The camera pans over to Lars and we hear the pastor’s voice off screen teaching “love your neighbor as yourself.”

And that’s what Lars is about. Everyone in Lars’ life is loving him through all aspects of his life, even when he can’t see it or allow himself to receive it. They don’t understand him. They get angry. They try to fix him but at the end of the day, they just love him. 

And that is what makes the difference. 

I watch this movie every year when I need to restore my hope in humanity.

And it’s time for another viewing.

Friday Favorite-Paper Escape and…a giveaway!!!!!

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a Friday Favorite but I’ve got one today and this one is special.

This is my friend, Michelle.

She and I have been friends since 8th grade, which was….a long time ago.  Michelle has always been very creative and artsy/craftsy. Her handmade cards are just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.  Hiding away from the world for awhile and creating is her way of unplugging from the everyday stresses and doing something that feeds her soul.  A few months ago, Michelle showed me her latest project: handmade glass magnets.

I fell in love with her magnets and purchased a few sets.

Then I purchased a few more.  They’re cute, look great and they work! They’re also usually the first thing people notice when they’re in my kitchen.

Michelle is making a great product and I’d like to help get her name out as much as I can.  She’s launched her own business called “Paper Escape”.  You can find her on Facebook and on Etsy. Check out her ever growing supply and show her some love.

Now…the part I’m really excited about.  Michelle is giving away a set of her magnets! If you want to win a set of your choice, here’s what you need to do:

  • “Like” Paper Escape on Facebook here
  • Subscribe to Michelle’s blog located here
  • Subscribe to my blog
  • Leave a comment on Michelle’s blog on which set from her Etsy store you’d like to win. The Etsy link is here.
  • Leave a comment on my blog on what you like to do to “escape” from the world  for a while.  Something that really “feeds” you.
  • Forgive us for making you jump through some hoops. 🙂

Michelle will pick a winner at random on Friday, March 25th.  The winner will be announced on both blogs.

Good luck!

Friday Favorite-Paperback Swap

It took me a bit of time to come up with another Friday Favorite and then it hit me when I checked the mailbox earlier this week.

I have a deep love of books.  My husband would call it an obsession but this is my blog, not his.

Ever since I was old enough to read on my own, I have loved losing myself into a story.  My parents tell of multiple occasions in my childhood when they stood outside my closed bedroom door and YELLED for me to come to dinner, help with the dishes, etc. and I was so wrapped up in how the Ingalls were going to survive “The Long Winter” or crying during Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe’s wedding, that I never heard a word they said.

My favorite childhood past time during the summer was to ride two miles to the library on my 10-speed bike with an empty backpack, fill it up with as many books as it would hold and pedal (slowly) back home, devour the books and come back the next day to do it all again.

When I met my husband’s mother for the first time, I was in awe with their home.  Every wall has book shelves from floor to ceiling.  My father-in-law had built bookshelves in every room, down the hallway, around door frames and windows which are jam packed with books in English and German. I was in love (with Rick and the books, in that order).

16 years later, I have books in every room of the house…minus the bathroom.

As you can imagine, books aren’t cheap and since I live in a smaller community, the library doesn’t always have what I’m looking for and then….I found Paperback Swap.

Dude, you have GOT to check this out.  Paperback Swap is exactly what is sounds like.  Post a book on their website for FREE.  When someone requests the book, you’ll get an email notification.  Tell the requestor when you can mail the book, print out a shipping label and mail it by media mail (under $3).  When the book arrives, the recipient will log on that they got the book and then you get a credit to request a book from someone else.

I’ve used Paperback Swap to read fairly new books, stock my library with the classics, beef up my kids reading shelves and I’ve even been able to get reference books from my kids school supply lists.

  • Membership is free.
  • Post 10 books and you automatically get two free book credits.
  • Paperback Swap generates both the mailing label AND the package wrapper from your printer (using your standard 8 1/2 x 11 paper) which works for almost all paperback books.

If you love to read but don’t want to spend a fortune, click here and check them out.

(As with all my Friday Favorite posts, I just write about something that’s my favorite. No one has solicited me to write about them, their website or their products. No compensation has been sought or received)

Friday Favorite-Stuff Christians Like

(This is my third Friday Favorite post. On Fridays, I post something that’s…well…my favorite! 🙂 These posts are merely my opinion, and nothing more. No compensation was solicited, offered, or received.)

I don’t remember how I first came across Jon Acuff’s blog, Stuff Christians Like, but I was hooked immediately.  As a church-goer and as a church staff member, his observations about the things Christians like are hilarious and accurate without a hint of snark.

Jon Acuff has the gift of humor without being mean.  He’s also pretty insightful on Serious Wednesday.

A book of his most popular blog posts was recently published and if my facts are accurate, I believe it’s in it’s 12th printing.

If you’re a church goer, Acuff really is a must read. He honestly keeps me from taking everything so seriously.  Seeing the humor in life and in ourselves is something that Christians need to improve on.  If church isn’t your thing, give him a try. In a world where Christians don’t always put the Church in the best light, Acuff will make you laugh and reconsider Church.

Friday Favorite – A Spoonful Of Sugar

I had the all too brief pleasure of working with Annie and her husband, Aaron, at my church a couple of years ago.  Aaron scared the snot out of me EVERY Thursday night but that’s a post for another time.

Annie is someone I wish I would have gotten to know on a deeper level before she moved to Oregon.  She’s a sweet gal, a deep thinker, an encourager, and an awesome baker/blogger.  She also believes that most of life’s situations can be tied to a Seinfeld episode.

I believe her.

Annie’s blog, A Spoonful of Sugar, is a great blend of life observations and humor, accompanied with photos and recipes of Annie’s latest culinary adventures.  Successes (many) and failures (few).

Check out Annie’s recipes, cooking tips and photos of her latest creations.

Like her Pumpkin Bread. It’s gluten free and you can find the recipe here.

Friday Favorite-Charlene’s Button Box

Every Friday, I’ll share something with you that’s a favorite of mine (hence the alliteration in the title of this post).

For my first “Friday Favorite”, I want to give a shout out to “Charlene’s Handmade Clay Buttons”.

If you like to scrapbook and want fun, creative, unique embellishments for your layouts, Charlene has got what you need. All of her buttons are handmade, baked and glazed. She even mixes her own colors to get just the right look.

There are over 200 buttons featured at her Etsy store, but I wanted you to see a few of my favorites: