Books of 2016

What I Read and What I Learned

It’s here! The 2016 Book List. I didn’t read as many books as I wanted this past year. For some reason I fell off the wagon sometime in August. I didn’t finish a single book during the last four months of the year. But, there are some outstanding books in this list. There is also one stinker.

I lean heavy on Presidential Biographies when I stray from traditional non-fiction/life improvement type of books. This year I read three such biographies and one more of a man who probably would have been President in MLK.

Scroll down to read my review/opinion on a few. Let me know your opinions in the comments. Let me know which of these you’ve read. And yes, those are affiliate links. (Affiliate earnings allow me to purchase more books!) The author links bring you to the Amazon Author Page for each author, if available.

  1. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
    Author: Jon Meacham

    Reading about the Founding Fathers is always a great time for me.
  2. Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush
    Author: Jon Meacham

    Jon Meacham provides a great review of the incredible life of a great man who dedicated most of his life to the service of his country. George H.W. Bush is a national treasure.
  3. The Last of the President’s Men
    Author: Bob Woodward

    This book can be described with one word: Horrible.
    My copy is now serving a better purpose helping to hold up my wobbly desk. Mr. Woodward may have been a great journalist in the 70’s, but this effort is not worthy of any recommendation. Please avoid it.
  4. The Echo Factor: Living a Life That Resonates Freedom
    Author: Kinda Wilson

    I’m proud to say the author of this great book is a personal friend. Kinda creates a great read combining psychology, story telling, and travel to bring the reader on an adventure that will help you look at yourself and life in general in a different way.
  5. Quarter-Life Calling: Pursuing Your God-Given Purpose In Your Twenties
    Author: Paul Sohn

    If you click the link for this book, you’ll notice it isn’t available until April 4. How is that possible? In self-publishing such an incredible book at the start of 2016, Paul Sohn attracted the attention of agents and publishing houses. This great book will be revised and re-released this coming Spring. Don’t miss out on this one. Pre-order it now.
  6. I’m Proud of You: My Friendship with Fred Rogers
    Author: Tim Madigan

    A great book about the incredible Mr. Rogers.
  7. Gerald R. Ford: An Honorable Life
    Author: James Cannon and Scott Cannon

    President Ford is a hometown boy for me. This biography is well done and worth the read for anyone interested in Presidential history.
  8. Seven Women: And the Secret of Their Greatness
    Author: Eric Metaxas

    Another well written book by one of my favorite biographers.
  9. Breaking Busy: How to Find Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy
    Author: Alli Worthington

    I liked this book so much I included it in a blog post. Read more about it HERE.
  10. The Alchemist
    Author: Paulo Coelho

    The Alchemist has sold over 150 million copies world-wide. That alone makes it worth the time to put it on your “To Read” list. I read it for the first time this past year, and it will definitely be on my list again in the near future.
  11. Walking on Water: Reading, Writing, and Revolution
    Author: Derrick Jensen

    This book was not on my radar at all this year. My oldest son read it for one of his college classes and asked me to read it as well. Jensen provides an interesting perspective on the profession and practice of writing. While not at the top of my list for books to read on writing, I would still recommend it.
  12. More Than Rivals: A Championship Game and a Friendship That Moved a Town Beyond Black and White
    Author: Ken Abraham

    This is hands down the best book I read in 2016. Ken Abraham weaves an incredibly important story into a wonderful read. 5 Stars all around. Truly a great story, shared well. Special thanks to my friend, Anna Floit, for bringing this one to my attention.
  13. Let the Trumpet Sound: A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.
    Author: Stephen B. Oates

    Widely considered the preeminent biography of one of the greatest men to ever live in this world. I learned a lot of new information reading this biography. It has also encouraged me to branch out from our Presidents in my search of biographies of great Americans.
  14. I’m Fascinated by Sacrifice Flies: Inside the Game We All Love
    Author: Tim Kurkjian

    It’s baseball. It’s Tim Kurkjian. What more could you want?

There you have it. The whole (short) list.
Later this week I’ll publish my “What I want to read in 2017” list.

Holy Anticipation

The time is near. In a few days we will celebrate Christmas. But until then, we wait in Holy Anticipation. We’ve been waiting for weeks. Specifically, we’ve been waiting the last four Sundays.

Advent.

Advent is defined as “coming.” For Christians around the world, advent means Jesus, the Messiah, is coming. And while we continually wait for the final return of the Messiah, during the season of Advent we focus on his first arrival.

The last four Sundays have been about hope, love, joy, and peace.

We’ve read liturgies. We’ve lit candles. We’ve sung about the coming of the Messiah.

And we’ve waited.

As we’ve been waiting, an anticipation has been growing in us. We look with Holy Anticipation to Christmas morning when we can together, with all of Christendom, shout and sing,

“HALLELUJAH! THE CHRIST IS BORN!”

I Was Listening This Time

I Was Listening This Time!

This time, when God spoke to me about my job, I was listening.

This is something different for me.

It didn’t take a shocking dismissal, and a boot to my rear, to understand what God wanted for me this time.

In 2013 when I was fired from my job, it was God firmly placing his boot on my rear and moving me swiftly out the door. I like this new approach much better.

I’m still a bit in shock at the speed this new opportunity arrived, but I’m not shocked that I was ready to hear him telling me what to do.

Why? This time I was praying.

I was in conversation with God about his plans for me. I had heeded my own words of encouragement. I had been listening for his words.

He spoke to me. He directed me to this opportunity.

-Do not despisethese small beginnings,for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin.-

I’m thankful my relationship with God is a bit more conversational now than it has been in the past. I can’t say I listen to him as intently as I’d like, but improvement is certainly happening. It’s a day-to-day, week-to-week, kind of growth.

The closer relationship I have with God is evident to me through my prayer life. It is a more frequent conversation I’m having with him.

I had been talking with him for a few weeks about my income. The discussion was mostly along the lines of me asking for a big breakthrough with the voice acting I’ve been doing. Something was right around the corner. I could feel it. I also felt my writing was about to provide fruit through the freelance jobs I had been seeking. But he had a different plan.

Isn’t that like him? We ask for something, thinking about how it will come about, and he answers it in a different manner.

That’s what I get for listening.

And I’m grateful for it.

____________________________________________________________________________

A CHALLENGE FROM ME TO YOU

Do you want to learn more about listening to God? Do you want to have a better, more frequent, conversation with him?

Starting September 1, 2016, I’ll be leading a group through an online reading/discussion/study of Mark Batterson’s book “Draw The Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge”. This 40 day study is based on Mark’s incredible book, “The Circle Maker”.

I previously led this study during Lent in 2015. It was transforming for many people, including me. The group is forming on Facebook. This is your invite to join us. Here’s a link to the group: 40 Day Prayer Challenge Facebook Group

If you have ANY questions about it, please don’t hesitate to contact me by email, phone, Facebook Messenger, etc.

I’m excited to begin!

Email: rick@ricktheule.com

Draw the Circle