2013 Reading Challenge

Here is the list of all the books I finished in 2013! The ones with an asterisk are books I have read before and chose to re-read just because I like ’em or because I read them aloud to my students. The rest of the books I read were all new to my soul.

  1. Stuff Christians Like – Jon Acuff
  2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe – Douglas Adams
  3. Life, the Universe, and Everything – Douglas Adams
  4. Mostly Harmless – Douglas Adams
  5. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe – Douglas Adams
  6. So Long and Thanks for All the Fish – Douglas Adams
  7. Young Zaphod Plays it Safe – Douglas Adams
  8. *Mr. Popper’s Penguins – Richard Atwater
  9. The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles – Julie Andrews Edwards
  10. *Emma – Jane Austen
  11. *Tuck Everlasting – Natalie Babbitt
  12. The Theology of the Book of Revelation – Richard Bauckham
  13. The Rules of the Road – Joan Bauer
  14. Peter and the Shadow Thieves – Dave Barry
  15. Peter and the Star Catchers – Dave Barry
  16. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
  17. To Sir, With Love – E.R. Braithwaite
  18. The Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan
  19. Little Lord Fauntelroy – Francis Hodgson Burnett
  20. The Secret Garden – Francis Hodgson Burnett
  21. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
  22. Frindle – Andrew Clements
  23. The School Story – Andrew Clements
  24. The Adventures of Pinnochio – Carlo Collodi
  25. Boy – Tales of Childhood – Roald Dahl
  26. George’s Marvelous Medicine – Roald Dahl
  27. Going Solo – Roald Dahl
  28. *James & the Giant Peach – Roald Dahl
  29. Matilda – Roald Dahl
  30. The Minpins – Roald Dahl
  31. The Twits – Roald Dahl
  32. The Book of Revelation – Matt Dorff
  33. Crime & Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  34. A Room With a View – E.M. Forster
  35. Who Calls Me Beautiful? – Regina Franklin
  36. An Abundance of Katherines – John Green
  37. Paper Towns – John Green
  38. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
  39. *Three Men in a Boat – Jerome K. Jerome
  40. The Fun of Being a Fat Man – William Johnston
  41. The Phantom Tollbooth – Norton Juster
  42. *The Gammage Cup – Carol Kendall
  43. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey
  44. If I Perish – Esther Kim
  45. One False Note (The 39 Clues #2) – Gordon Korman
  46. Into Thin Air – John Krakauer
  47. *To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  48. The Wind in the Door – Madeleine L’Engle
  49. The Sword Thief (The 39 Clues #3) – Peter Lerangis
  50. A Grief Observed – C.S. Lewis
  51. *The Horse and His Boy – C.S. Lewis
  52. Out of the Silent Planet – C.S. Lewis
  53. *The Last Battle – C.S. Lewis
  54. *The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
  55. *The Magician’s Nephew – C.S. Lewis
  56. *Prince Caspian – C.S. Lewis
  57. The Problem of Pain – C.S. Lewis
  58. The Screwtape Letters – C.S. Lewis
  59. Surprised by Joy – C.S. Lewis
  60. *The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – C.S. Lewis
  61. This is a Book – Demetri Martin
  62. The Toothpaste Millionaire – Jean Merrill
  63. *Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
  64. Anne #2 – L.M. Montgomery
  65. Anne #3 – L.M. Montgomery
  66. Anne #4 – L.M. Montgomery
  67. Anne #5 – L.M. Montgomery
  68. Anne #6 – L.M. Montgomery
  69. A Woman and Her God – Beth Moore
  70. Look! The Finished Work of Jesus – Mick Mooney
  71. Home – Toni Morrison
  72. Absolute Surrender – Andrew Murray
  73. Humility – Andrew Murray
  74. Animal Farm – George Orwell
  75. *Cry, the Beloved Country – Alan Paton
  76. Third Culture Kids – David C. Pollock
  77. *The Chosen – Chaim Potok
  78. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs
  79. The Maze of Bones (The 39 Clues #1)- Rick Riordan
  80. Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers – Mary Roach
  81. *The Chamber of Secrets – J.K. Rowling
  82. *The Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling
  83. The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  84. Affliction – Edith Schaeffer
  85. Pygmalion – George Bernard Shaw
  86. Fight – Preston Sprinkle
  87. *Of Mice & Men – John Steinbeck
  88. The Help – Kathryn Stockett
  89. The Hiding Place – Corrie ten Boom
  90. The Pilgrim’s Progress (Retold in Today’s English) – James H. Thomas
  91. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
  92. Banner in the Sky – James Ramsey Ullman
  93. *Around the World in Eighty Days – Jules Verne
  94. The Sound of Music – Maria von Trapp
  95. Every Drunken Cheerleader, Why Not Me? – Kristine Waits
  96. The Color Purple – Alice Walker
  97. The Invisible Man – H.G. Wells
  98. *The Importance of Being Earnest – Oscar Wilde
  99. In God’s Underground – Richard Wurmbrand
  100. Where is God When it Hurts – Philip Yancey

“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.” -Confucius 

holiday melancholia & choosing joy

Christmas hurts.

Scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, there’s a steady influx of holiday-related posts; baby’s first Christmas, new traditions, old traditions, fancy meals and dresses, a time to reminisce, and families long apart – together again. I never knew something to make my heart feel such joy and sorrow at the same time.

It’s my second Christmas away from home, yet the ache I feel far surpasses last time.

My parents are moving to America.

This is the last Christmas in my childhood home – and I’m not there for it.

I’m losing something that I didn’t know I needed to say goodbye to.

It’s not that I’m sad about missing Christmas day, or even the Christmas season; it has and always will be about the people. Christmas is the one time of year I get to fly home to ‘my country’ and be with ‘my people’. People who have scolded me, watched me grow from a wee tot into who I am today, in complete support of me in any endeavor I pursue. The people who were my adoptive aunties, uncles, and grandparents; people who most influenced my life.They know what part I play in my family dynamics, they saw me through my awkward, embarrassing years, they know my talents and weaknesses, they care to know what I’m learning, and they constantly tell me how proud they are of me… they cherish me unconditionally.

I’m far from home this year, experiencing the holiday season in a different continent than I have before. It’s been so fun to see how a different culture does Christmas and get to spend this season with an adoptive family, but we’ve been so busy that it wasn’t until I checked a calendar this morning that I even realised today was Christmas Eve.

I found myself swallowing a lump in my throat I didn’t even know was there.

I’m grieving a season in my life I know to be ending very soon. Not a literal season, but a season of international terminals in order to go home on holiday; of sleeping in my own bed – not the guest bedroom in a strange house in a new state; of using different currencies on break; of being with the people I consider to be my family, who value me; to see my childhood friends – grown TCKs who are scattered all over and whom I’d never see any other time.

We don’t get a lot of say in the direction God takes our lives, but mine is going somewhere I hoped it wouldn’t… and damn it, it hurts.

Life. Goes. On.

I think God, in His divine Love, knew this would be a hard pill for me to swallow, so He orchestrated a way for me to go home one last time before the move. In October, I strongly felt that I needed to go home after I return from Asia; as my place to rest and figure out my life. I moved to the Philippines directly after graduating college and I haven’t had the mental capacity since then to plan out a blueprint of my next year. I found an affordable flight that would give me 6 weeks with my family before I’d move back to California. It was a month later that it became clear my family would be moving to Michigan in June, in order for my parents to take on a new role in ministry.

In other words, God had planned out for me to go home before we knew the move would happen. Are you kidding?? It’s humbling to know that unbeknownst to me, God loves me so much that He’d prepare in advance a way for me to get the closure I need.

That being said…

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Knowing my Creator and recognizing His plan to be the best, I hereby choose to not wallow in self-pity over the upcoming changes in my life; but instead to face them head on with my eyes mostly open. I might scrunch my face a little, because I do that sometimes…but I will rely on my Saviour, taking it just one day at a time.

So for today, at least — I am choosing joy.

music to keep you warm

Although there is no shortage of warm weather where I live this holiday season, I know the climate to be quite ghastly this year for the majority of my readers – and I thought, what better way to combat the wintry blues than with some marvelous winter tunes?

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the days are cold; have a warm heart.

Christmas in Southeast Asia began in July and has built in a crescendo. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for listening to Christmas ditties year-round, it’s just been going on for so long in public, that I feel I’m committing an injustice if I play the same same tunes at home. For that reason, I’ve decided to steer mostly clear of traditional holiday tunes and instead share with you what I enjoy listening to on gloomy days.

{If for whatever reason it doesn’t work to view it on there, here is the set list}

  • Emmylou – First Aid Kit
  • Living in Colour – Frightened Rabbit
  • Lucky – Kat Edmonson
  • It Never Entered My Mind – Miles Davis
  • Winter Song – The Head & the Heart
  • I Put a Spell on You – Nina Simone
  • Live Forever – Drew Holcomb
  • White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes
  • Moon River – André Rieu
  • O Tannenbaum – Vince Guaraldi Trio
  • Winter Birds – Ray LaMontagne
  • Let’s Be Still – The Head & the Heart
  • Ghosts That We Knew – Mumford & Sons
  • Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Ingrid Michaelson
  • La Vie en Rose – Louis Armstrong
  • Pillow Talk – Wild Child
  • Fairytale of New York – Walk Off The Earth (pardon their butchering of the pronunciation of Galway)
  • Pretty Face – Sóley
  • High Hopes – Kodaline
  • What Are You Doing – Zooey Deschanel & Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Cheers!

Missionary Kid Envy

We spent a few hours this afternoon swimming in a spring located on a former SIL center about 10 km from our house. Not far for a quick escape on a hot day (yes, hot day on December 5th). As we were driving down the little dirt road that led to the property, visions of my childhood on our SIL center in Oaxaca creeped into mind. Then I found myself imagining what life would have been like had my parents chosen to be missionaries here, in Asia Pacific, rather than Latin America. After visiting this property, I’m telling you what — we, the missionary kids of Oaxaca, Mexico got GYPPED.

It was the most perfect MK stomping ground I’ve ever seen in my life. Orchards of fruit trees for the climbing, tall swing sets, rolling meadows of green goodness, and a clear, refreshing, and deep spring on the same property; complete with a diving board. All they were lacking was a rope swing! I am irrefutably jealous of the missionary kids who got to call this heavenly place home.

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This was my attempt at drowning the Moffit kids. I told them to stop moving so I could take a picture, but every time they’d stop moving, they’d sink. Muahaha.

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Neo’s new favourite face to make.

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Yes. This definitely ended how you'd think it would.

This definitely ended how you’d think it would. It hurts me to look at it very long.

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This picture pretty much encompasses the MK life. I love everything about it. All 4 kids passed out in the boot of the truck after swimming all afternoon.