Thursday, December 29, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

12 Spiritual Book List

After canvassing many people for their most life-changing spiritual works, I've developed a tentative list. I have selected 12, one to reach each month, though I have a feeling this list will change. Some of these I found on my parents bookshelf. I harassed my brother and sister for others.

1. The Practice of the Presence of God with Spiritual Maxims, Brother Lawrence.

2. The Westminster Standards: The Confession of Faith, the Larger and Shorter Catechisms.

3. Crazy Love, Francis Chan with Danae Yankoski

4. The Key to Personal Peace, Billy Graham.

5. The Mark of the Christian, Francis A. Schaeffer

6. The Spirit of the Disciplines, Dallas Willard

7. The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer

8. The Weight of Glory, C. S. Lewis

9. Confessions, St. Augustine.

10. The Diary of David Brainerd and 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God', Jonathan Edwards

11. The Freedom of a Christian, Martin Luther

12. The Resurrection of the Son of God, N.T. Wright

The Back Up List:

- The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis
- Abide in Christ, Andrew Murray
- Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton
-Summas, Thomas Aquinas
- The Secret Providence of God, John Calvin
-Knowing God, J I Packer
- The Biography of H. Gabrielsson, S. L. Gabriel

Do you have any must-read books that have changed your life in a spiritual way? Any recommendations or alterations?

New Years Resolutions

After twenty four years of accumulating idiosyncrasies and fears, I've finally decided to not let them fester anymore, but attempt to thoughtfully (re)consider them. Each of them responds to a specific fear and while I'll expound on each in more detail, here's a rough list.

1. Read 12 Christian books. Solid affirming tenements and bulwarks of the Christian faith and doctrine.

2. Learn to drive a stick shift.

3. Get my UK driver's license.

4. Paint 3 pictures, one using oils, one acrylics, and one waters.

5. Form successful working habits for my doctorate and become proud of my work.

6. Write two short stories.

7. Read 3 works of poetry.

8. Develop firmer habits of self-reflection.

9. Languages: better my Latin and begin French.

10. Watch all the James Bond films

11. Read 60 books

12. Climb Arthur's seat every day for a week; and then once a week for a month

13. Form lovely handwriting

14. Go to Iceland

15. Attend my first conference

16. Give an academic paper.

17. Form habits regarding back care: especially yoga.

18. Dance. Dance classes.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

On Life with a Smart Phone

Before getting a smart phone, I had several perceptions of it. I thought I would be on my email or facebook all the time. I thought it would suck my soul out constantly dinging that I had a new text. I thought reading anything on it would be excruciating.

Here's the reality. I don't like computers in general and tend to dislike having one open in front of me all day. Before my phone, I would save all my emails until one part of the day and do it all at once. However, one thing would lead to another and very rarely did I get it all done within an hour. Facebook, blogs, and the news would take their toll. Since having a smart phone, I check my email less. I spend less time on the computer itself. I check facebook maybe once every two days from my smartphone and my gmail once or twice. I take care of things I want and don't get overwhelmed by feeling to have to do it "all at once". I'm less reliant on a computer itself, and less likely to spend hours surfing the internet. It doesn't notify me every time I have a text, email, or fb message. It only does that if I ask it to. That way I feel less demanded of me through my phone.

On reading books, especially the Bible. The printed word on ink and paper will always hold priority on how I prefer to read books. It seems more real, more tangible, like the things I'm reading about aren't imaginary. Reading things from a screen makes things less real for me, a third barrier between me and the printed word. That said, I'm a pretty poor time manager and sometimes I have to get started on my day without reading my Bible. I've found the 'ESV' app to be wonderfully helpful. Twice since I've been home, I've been able to read it in the car while others are driving. I also like that it scrolls and I can't see how much I have left to read. When I read, I'm incredibly goal orientated, almost to the extent, I don't absorb the words in front of me. By having a small screen and being forced to scroll, I pay more attention to the words immediately present.

Finally, it helps me de-stress. I'm one of those people who feel guilty about not always doing something productive. I have a hard time intentionally relaxing. As I'm not a good time manager, I feel like I ought to be working because I didn't work when I was supposed to.. and it just snowballs. However, the games on my phone have helped me relax, to take my mind off things weighing down on me at present, re-energize me and help me to focus more.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Times A Coming

I've made it home with plenty of time to to spare for Christmas! It's been wonderful seeing everyone, eating real food, sitting by fires, walking with the dog, making cookies, wrapping presents, decorating the tree, and getting my family to watch James Bond with me. We've been listening to our Christmas music and this will probably rank as an all time favorite. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Bunnies: Babysitter

Over Christmas, the bunnies are staying with my gorgeous flat-mate Louise. Louise lives in the Borders of Scotland and her family very kindly offered to watch them over the Christmas holidays. I can't begin to express how unbelievably grateful I am to her as I know the bunnies are having a wonderful vacation.

This is Louise with the bunnies taking them home on a snowy Saturday in December

This is the bunnies in the cozy Gladstone conservatory. This photo captures the bunnies' personalities perfectly: Indy the adventurer and Felix happy at home.

Now let's just hope the bunnies behave and don't drive the Gladstones mad. Apparently, Felix has reached manhood and has been giving Indy no peace. First order of business in the New Year will be to get Felix fixed.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dear Hannah

Dear Hannah Bonner, you wanted to see a photo of my new piercing. I wonder if you could see it if you were't looking for it? I miss you in my life. You are so good for my soul. Love,

Nat xxxx