empty shelf challenge – Sycamore Row

9780385366472_p0_v5_s260x420At the beginning of the year I started the empty shelf challenge where I was going to be reading books to fill a bookshelf this year.  As I read, I like to read a variety of things.  While I am usually in some sort of non fiction book, usually by Christian authors to help in personal spiritual growth or ministry/leadership, I also try to read some fiction at the same time.

In the summer of 2001, I discovered John Grisham books.  Someone had given me a couple of his books to read and I was staying on campus at Moody all summer long.  So with lots of down time I did lots of reading that summer and began to read those Grisham books.  One of my favorite books that I read was “A Time to Kill.”  So earlier this year when I found out that Mr. Grisham had came out with a sequel to that book, I had to read it.

Over the past few weeks on and off I began to read, “Sycamore Row” the sequel to “A Time to Kill.”  The story is set three years after the first book and focuses once again on lawyer Jake Brigance.  In this book, there is no big murder trial but a trial over a holographic will that was mailed to Jake.  The basic premise of the book is that an older white man dying of cancer decides right before his death to leave his secret fortune to his African-American maid/nurse who took care of him during his battle with cancer.  not only does he leave most of his estate to her, but he cuts his kids out of the will all together. What follows in the book is lots of drama both in and out of the court room as both sides battle over the estate and a shocking secret is revealed as to why the maid is supposed to inherit.

Many of the characters that were so memorable in “A Time to Kill” and several other Grisham books make appearances in “Sycamore Row.”  It was sort of like getting to look in on these characters you had built relationships with earlier and see how their lives turned out.  I also loved how this book got you on the first page and was one of those books you just didn’t want to put down.  This was a  bad thing for me though as I often read in bed and before I would know what time it was, I had read much longer into the night than intended.

If you are  a fan of John Grisham, court/law drama, or just good stories, I highly recommend you get a copy of “Sycamore Row!”

Advertisements

note taking in the new year…

note takingOver the past couple of weeks I have shared with you some of my goals and self challenges for 2014.  I am challenging myself to drop a minimum of 40 lbs. in 90 day.  Also, I am challenging myself with the book shelf challenge where I am trying to fill up an empty book shelf with all the books I am going to read this year.  Both of those challenges have gotten off to a great start.  That being said, I have also challenged myself with another resolution this year.  The resolution/challenge to e a better note taker.  I have attended church my whole life, and sad to say, unless note sheets were handed out, I have always struggled to take notes in the service.  Don’t get me wrong, I pay close attention and have grown much through the various pastors and speakers that I have heard over the years.  However, writing down notes  and listening at the same time have been a struggle.  As a result I know I have forgotten many things that would have been a huge help in my walk with Christ.  I want 2014 to be different for me, I want to become a note taker.  I began this challenge by going to the store and finding a nice note book that I could keep with my Bible to take with me to church, seminars, conferences, or wherever I might find myself sitting under Biblical teaching.  Like my other two challenges I have gotten off to a great start and have found myself reusing my notes in personal studies and my devotions for my FCA students.  I am excited to see how this can help me grow closer to my Lord and Savior.  Challenger #3 be a better note taker is in full swing!

Week 1 Update – 90 Day Body By Vi Challenge

blackvichallengeThe first week of my new Body By Vi Challenge has passed and I am excited to share that I am doing awesome with my progress!!!  Last week I really got back into the swing of being dedicated to taking my Vi-Shakes and getting some great frozen fruit and berries to make some awesome Vi-Shake smoothies.  I do have a confession though, while this past week I really got into my Visalus plan again, I have been really calorie counting with My Fitness Pal and dieting since the day after Christmas.  I am happy to report that I am down 11 lbs. in just three weeks!  That means only 29 lbs. more to reach my 40 lbs. goal!  Lots more work and dedication to go, but I am excited to be seeing this progress so early.  I am still looking for people to join me on this weight loss and get fit journey, so what about you?  Contact me today if you are interested in doing a 90 Day Challenge!

getting in shape with another 90 Day Challenge…

BodyByVi90daychallengeLogoIt’s that time of year again…a new year, new resolutions, and especially new weight loss goals.  I began my new Body By Vi 90 Day Challenge on January 1st with the goal of losing 40 lbs.  So far I have been very dedicated in sticking with my Vi Shakes and diligently counting my calories using MyFitnessPal app on my phone.  In just over a week of hard work I am already down 8 pounds from my starting weight.  I know I have posted many times before about my challenges and weight loss goals.  In those previous challenges I have done well at losing weight, but not at reaching the goals that I had set for myself.  In finishing poorly, I often ended discouraged and put weight back on soon after the challenge.  After a fall of various health concerns for myself and other family members, I was really convicted about getting healthy for myself and my family’s sake.  So, I am getting tough, and cutting back in an effort to make progress.  If you would like to join me through a 90 Day Body By Vi Challenge please let me know, I would love to have some accountability!

Empty Shelf Challenge…

empty shelfSince the New Year 2014 kicked in I have been seeing several people posting about taking an “Empty Bookshelf Challenge.”  This being clearing a bookshelf in your house as the start of the new year and then being purposeful in your reading to make sure by the end of the year.  With the busyness of life, kids, ministry, and lots of other things, I am not the voracious reader that I used to be.  So when I read about authors I like, like Jon Acuff and other men I respect like my pastor taking this challenged, I figured I would give it a try.  So down in my basement I cleared a book shelf that I intend on filling with lots of reading over the coming year.  To start off, I am finishing some reading that I began last year and put aside do to busyness.  For starters I will be finishing “Not a Fan” and “Band of Brothers.”  From there I have several more that I will be sharing with you.  So like other challenges I have been on, I encourage you to join me.  Let’s get reading together!

2013 FCA Leadership Camp Update – Final 2 Days…

IMG_1188

The Lee County FCA Leadership Team

It’s hard to believe that we are already back from another year of FCA Leadership Camp.  God truly blessed us this year as we saw Him work in the lives of many students.

The biggest highlight of the weekend once again came on Saturday afternoon as our students were sent out on a Faith Trip.  On the faith trip the students are sent out in small groups of five or six with a leader to go through the neighborhoods of Campbellsville, KY.  They went door to door taking the tools that they had been given during Leadership Camp, and shared the Gospel with complete strangers.  The exciting thing is seeing the nerves and fears that build up in our students before they go out, transform into excitement and joy when they return telling about their experiences.  Almost all of them came back saying that the Faith Trip was either their favorite part of camp or one of their favorite parts.  Myself and our teacher sponsor, Jessica Napier, debriefed the students about their experiences and encouraged them to pray that the seeds of the Gospel they planted will come to fruition.  And to pray for each individual they spoke to, even pray for those who were Christians that they would have impacted them so that they will be bold and share their faith too!

IMG_1161Maeven and Judah both enjoyed the kids camp that was held for the children of the FCA Staff, coaches, teachers, chaperones, and other camp volunteers.  Judah was too young to really attend, but loved when Erin and I would take him into the gym where the other kids met and he could run around and play on the big soft gymnastic mats.  Maeven, truly enjoyed the company of the other kids and loved going to her “classroom”.  Before we left camp she even went all around hugging her little friends that she had made over the week.  The biggest highlight for her and for us though came on Sunday morning.  Maeven’s “Classroom” got up in front of over 500 people and sang.  We didn’t think she would get up in that crowd, but there she was clapping her hands, singing, and wearing her cute little sunglasses!

Before the students left on Sunday, they had one last chapel service, where the speaker once again challenged them to be “Relentless.”  This time not only did he challenge them to be “Relentless” for Christ, but also to be “Relentless” in their hatred of sin, not just their hatred of other peoples sin, but all the sin issues in our own lives. He told the students how can we love the one who died for our sins, but still love those sins if we are to be “Relentless” for Christ!  It was a challenge that really resonated with the teens.

As we return home now, please keep praying for our students that they will take the teaching, challenges, fellowship, and everything else they learned to be bold in sharing their faith with family, friends, and anyone else they have an opportunity to share the love of Christ with.  Pray that they will truly become the leaders for Christ that we know they can be.  God is going to do some great things and we can’t wait to see how he works!

 

time to get back to it…

bodybyviWell, I have been slacking the past month and a half.  Ever since my last 90 Day Body By Vi challenge ended I have been week and not dedicated to my weight loss goal.  It’s time to get back up and get to being a healthier me.  Yesterday I began my next 90 Day challenge and did really well at sticking too the plan.  I will keep myself accountable to you all each week with a weekly update.  Encouragement is much needed and appreciated.  If you would like to join me on this challenge by Visalus I would love to share with you all about it and have you join.  Hope to hear from you soon and wish me luck!