New Blog

I've decided to move over to wordpress and sort of start a new blog.

You can find my new stuff here: https://montepilgrimage.wordpress.com

I'll most likely copy all my old posts over there so if you are the kind of person who reads old things you don't have to go to two places. But I won't be posting any new things here. I of course love your readership (all like 5 of you) and would love to still have you on the journey with me in the new blog!


All the Books (of 2016)

Each year I decide to read a certain number of books throughout the year. Everything from theology to fiction to children's books to books of the bible to graphic novels. I did this in 2014 reading a total of 32 books and 7,982 pages. Then again in 2015 where I read 52 books and a total of 6,816 pages (lots of books of the bible are less than 30 pages each).

So here I am again to share with you the new (and some old) books I am reading this year. Click the link to head to the goodreads profile where I've rated (and sometimes reviewed) them. Onto the reading adventure!

Total Pages: 619 pages
  1. The Middle of Somewhere by Sonja Yoerg (336 pages)
  2. Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return by Marjane Satrapi (187 pages) 
  3. Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Disney by Diane Muldrow (96 pages) 


Sam the Wise

I am working on Urbana reflections. Like any conference there is much to process. But since Urbana tends to be full of more than I expect and physically exhausting it is usually difficult to process anything in a timely manner. And then writing about seemed doubly hard.

So I watched Lord of the Rings instead. I was reminded of how much I love the character Sam. Sam reminds me of my best friend Sol. They are always there for those who need them, no matter the cost. Even as Sam watches what the ring is doing to Frodo, even as Frodo turns from Sam, even as others don't believe in him, he stays by Frodo's side until the very end.

It's because he believes in something worth holding onto.

Frodo: I can't do this, Sam.
Sam: I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.

2015 had a lot of rough moments for me and for our world. There were a lot of times when we just couldn't see the good in the world. But Sam here reminds me that there is a reason to not give and keep going - that there is good in the world worth fighting for.

I hope that in 2016 it is marked by a year of holding onto the good - holding onto the goodness of Jesus and fighting for it. There are many places in our world who don't see it or feel void of it. It's not a call to avoid those places but to go into them and bring hope and God's goodness into them. It's difficult and as Sam says there are a lot of chances to turn back but we don't because we hold onto that God is good throughout it all.


May the Course Be With You

Ran my second Run Disney race today. Once again I was privileged to run with Team AFSP (American Foundation from Suicide Prevention). It was Star Wars which I loved! It's my favorite movie franchise (I have seen The Force Awakens five times in theaters). I even dressed up as a X-Wing Fighter pilot for the race. It was just fun to see everyone dressed up and the Star Wars music playing throughout the park.

So glad I decided to do a 10k instead of the Half-Marathon (6.2 miles compared to 13.1 - oh yeah much better decision). Running is great and I love it but I'm not sure how much I love it to do a second half marathon. I think I'm done with "marathons" unless they are preceded by the word "Netflix."

But here are some photos of the race:

At the Health and Fitness Expo - playing with lightsabers.

Team AFSP 10k runners

Watched the sunrise since we were up so early for the race. 

Running through the park and saw some storm troopers.

My cheer squad.

My awesome medal.


Books! Books! Books! (of 2015)

When I turned 26 I started working on a 30 Before 30 List. And of course being a former lit major reading books was a high priority. So my goal was to read 30,000 pages before I turned 30. I read a total of 7,982 pages in 2014 which ended up being a total of 32 books. This year I've added reading the whole bible to my list. Should I get it done, it will add 66 books to my list (instead of just one).

So here is the list of books I've read in 2015. Here's to a great year of new reading, new stories, and characters. It's quite an adventure.

Total page count: 6,816 pages
  1. The Maze Runner by James Dashner (374 pages) 
  2. You Have to F***ing Eat by Mansbach (32 pages) 
  3. Allegiant by Veronica Roth (526 pages) 
  4. Genesis of the Bible (54 pages)
  5. Tell Me by Joan Bauer (272 pages)
  6. Exodus of the Bible (43 pages)
  7. Leviticus of the Bible (30 pages)
  8. Numbers of the Bible (43 page) 
  9. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein (176 pages) 
  10. The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells (192 pages) 
  11. Deuteronomy of the Bible (37 pages) 
  12. When God Lets You Down: Trusting Again After Pain and Loss by Alex Gee (128 pages)
  13. Joshua of the Bible (25 pages) 
  14. Judges of the Bible (25 pages) 
  15. Ruth of the Bible (4 pages) 
  16. The Help by Kathryn Stockett (451 pages) 
  17. I Samuel of the Bible (33 pages) 
  18. II Samuel of the Bible (30 pages)
  19. I Kings of the Bible (33 pages)
  20. II Kings of the Bible (32 pages)
  21. Deepening the Soul for Justice by Bethany H. Hoang (48 pages) 
  22. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (110 pages) 
  23. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell (296 pages)
  24. I Chronicles of the bible (36 pages) 
  25. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (387 pages) 
  26. Like My Father Always Said by Erin McHugh (144 pages) 
  27. Unicorn Being a Jerk by C.W. Moss (120 pages) 
  28. II Chronicles of the Bible (37 pages) 
  29. Ezra of the Bible (13 pages) 
  30. Nehemiah of the Bible (15 pages) 
  31. Esther of the Bible (8 pages) 
  32. The Flute Player by Michael Lacapa (48 pages) 
  33. The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett (357 pages) 
  34. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (361 pages)
  35. Job of the Bible (36 pages)
  36. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (278 pages) 
  37. Darth Vader #1 (Comic Series) by Kieron Gillen (48 pages) 
  38. Darth Vader #2 (Comic Series) by Kieron Gillen (23 pages) 
  39. The Bullet by Mary Louise Kelly (368 pages) 
  40. Darth Vader #3 (Comic Series) by Kieron Gillen (21 pages)
  41. Darth Vader #4 (Comic Series) by Kieron Gillen (21 pages) 
  42. War Dances by Sherman Alexie (209 pages) 
  43. The Martian by Andy Weir (369 pages)
  44. Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace by Anne Lamott (286 pages)
  45. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (64 pages)
  46. The Death Cure by James Dasher (325 pages)
  47. Quidditch Through the Ages by Kenilworthy Whisp (64 pages)
  48. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (26 pages) 
  49. Psalms of the Bible (95 pages) 
  50. Darth Vader #5 by Kieron Gillen (21 pages) 
  51. Darth Vader #6 by Kieron Gillen (21 pages) 
  52. Darth Vader #7 by Kieron Gillen (21 pages) 


Advent Week 4

Advent Week 4

Love (Day 20) 
For Christ loved us too much to leave us in darkness. 

Wonder (Day 21)
I often wonder what the Lord is doing in my life. But how often do I look at him with wonder and awe?

Community (Day 22) 
There have been many influential communities in my life and these represent a few of the many.

Gift (Day 23) 
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! - Matthew‬ ‭7:11

Birth (Day 24)
We wait. We wait for the birth of a savior. Of Immanuel. Of light. We wait for the birth of something new.

Light (Day 25) 
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. -John‬ ‭1:4-5‬ ‭


Advent Week 3

Advent Week 3

Joy (Day 13) 
I have loved this season ever since I was a child. Christmas is magic to me. It fills me with a deep sense of joy. The lights. The decorations. The cookies.

Ponder (Day 14) 
Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them. - Psalm‬ ‭111:2

Sign (Day 15) 
This sign took us to some amazing adventures in Yosemite.

Praise (Day 16) 
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Release (Day 17) 
Yes I did an advent day about Star Wars because it is the release of the Force Awakens and Jesus does care about our loves and passions.

Promise (Day 18) 
He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations - Psalm‬ ‭105:8‬

Faith (Day 19)
He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" - Mark‬ ‭4:40‬