Self-Awareness, Gifts, and Calling

My PhD program has a strong emphasis not just on the theoretical, but also on the practical.  We are encouraged to learn more about our own leadership style and gifts.  These are a sample of the books I have acquired on self-awareness, gifting, and calling throughout my life – not including the grad school books.  I realized recently that this is a topic I’ve been interested in for most of my adult life.  Recently a prof used the term ‘quiet leadership’ and that resonated with me.  I’ve been writing about and pondering serenity these last two years; I know that it is a gift and I’m thankful that I’ve been given this gift.  Trying to determine if that is the direction I might be going with my dissertation topic.


Currently Reading …

Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do
fascinating stuff about the impact of water on our mental and emotional lives

Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice and Leadership

and numerous research/stats books for my classes …

and if I ever have any spare time, a Lee Childs book I picked up at the Library book sale.

On Writing Well

Tom Lake,  a writer for Sports Illustrated and an alum of my alma mater, Gordon College says, “We’re seeing this hunger among readers for long stories that really dig into something to find answers rather than just sticking to the surface—and they’re reading them on their iPhones.”  I for one love to read the alumni magazines of several institutions that I support including Wheaton College, Gordon, and Seattle Pacific University because they have well-written and interesting stories.  And the articles are somewhat long.  But I enjoy the intellectual stimulation.  Good photography and graphics and visually interesting layout are important, but alone they do not provide enough to hold my attention.  These magazines provide an opportunity for institutions of Christian Higher Education to tell their story, to celebrate their impact on students and the world at large, to promote their vision.

Beginner Drawings

I’m going to go out on a limb here and post some of my early drawings.  These were both made after about a month of drawing and shading simple shapes and practicing basic exercises.  I still have a long way to go, but in the spirit of “ship something” (a la Seth Godin) and the inspiration of the Early to Rise challenge, I’m going to share these two drawings with the world.  They are by no means ‘good’ or perfect, but I am pleased with how they came out, and more importantly, how much I am learning.


Book Review: Take This Bread

This was quite a challenging read, mostly because I did not always agree with the author or her logic.  But the book stretched me in good ways; it made me less judgmental and gave me insights into new points of view.

The descriptions of her church in San Francisco are fascinating – made me want to visit!

This author takes us through her personal spiritual journey of discovery, helping us understand her background and the experiences that shaped her.

I’ve had many great conversations about the concepts in the book, including the notion of “open communion.”  Miles’ description of feeling accepted and welcome at the communion table were very powerful.  She associates food with family and love and considers the communion a somewhat mystical experience.

One of the best things about this book, is that Miles takes action – she opens a food pantry in her church and goes on to feed many throughout her neighborhood and city.  She puts her faith into action, caring for the needs of others.

Book Review

Fascinating historical account of the Chicago World’s Fair in the 1890s.  This author did thorough research and follows 2 characters through the building and running of the fair, one an architect and the other a serial killer.  The descriptions of the buildings, landscape, and exhibits of the fair are fascinating.  The drama of the murders set against the determination of others to showcase the best of this great city provides an interesting contrast.

The book provides a great deal of background knowledge of the development of cities, structural aspects of building, and landscape architecture.  At the same time, it provides a glimpse of life in another era.

Larson was meticulous in his research and manages to provide a good read at the same time.

Great Read!

I was inspired to read this after I saw that it received rave reviews from two (former) Gordon professors that I remembered and admired. 
“All of O’Brien’s large and human soul is in this book as in none of his shorter ones: father, Catholic, Russophile, Canadian, personalist, artist, storyteller, romantic. There is not one boring or superfluous page. When you finish The Father’s Tale you will say of it what Tolkien said of The Lord of the Rings: it has one fault: it is too short. A thousand pages of Michael O’Brien is like a thousand sunrises: who’s complaining?” —Peter Kreeft, Ph.D.
This is an epic story of a prodigal and the depth of his father’s love.  The father makes a long and arduous journey in search of his son.  The story spans several continents and explores the horizons of foreign lands and the horizons of the soul.  The father, an introvert, who loves books and solitude, finds his faith stretched and tried as he seeks to find that which he lost.

Be Still

An excerpt from my journal on 5/7: 

Psalm 46:10
BE still and know that I am God
Be STILL and know that I am God
Be still AND know that I am God
Be still and KNOW that I am God
Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know that I AM God
Be still and know that I am GOD!!

Lord, help me to take some time each day to just BE. Still my mind and heart, Lord to focus on you. Lord, help me to really know that you are in control. You are the Lord; help me to remember that it’s not about me. Help me to contemplate who you are each day.

What I’m Reading

I am an avid reader and always looking for great books … novels or how-to books, historical fiction or theology, adventure or christian living, contemporary thought or mystery.    I read at least one book a week, reading in the evenings, on my lunch break and on my exercise bike.  A new author that i’ve discovered and i like, Margaret Feinberg recently had a challenge on her blog to inspire people to read more.  Here’s what i’m currently reading: