Tag Archives: Donald Miller

2 + 2: Two Books, Two Blog Posts

I like reading. Whether it’s reading a book or reading a blog, I eat up words the way I drink coffee. I don’t really know what I meant by that, but it makes sense to me. I love coffee.

That being said, let me tell you about two books that I’ve read recently.

1) Through Painted Deserts by Donald Miller

Donald Miller’s one of my favorite authors. He’s the New York Times bestselling author of Blue Like Jazz. Until this day, I still can’t decide which one of his books is my favorite (I’ve read Blue Like Jazz, Searching for God Knows What, and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years). So when I came across this book, getting it was a no-brainer for me. It’s a republished and retitled version of his first book, Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance.

It starts out a little slow for my taste, but then it’s a road trip memoir, so the pace ends up making sense, at least for me. In this book, Miller writes about a monumental interstate road trip that he takes with his friend Paul–a trip that takes them over mountains, down the Grand Canyon, and under their beat-up Volkswagen van (the latter, many times over).

I always wanted to go on an interstate road trip, and Miller does a great job of making the journey real to me. While it started out slow, I’m glad that I opted to keep reading as the story kept getting better and better. By the last couple of chapters, I was reading ever-so-slowly and taking down notes, as some lines went straight to my heart.

There are so many good parts and I’m not going to spoil it for you, but I will leave you with some of my favorite quotes from the book:

“I could not have known that everybody, every person, has to leave, has to change like seasons; they have to or they die. The seasons remind me that I must keep changing, and I want to change because it’s God’s way.” / “Everybody has to change or they expire. Everybody has to leave, everybody has to leave their home and come back so they can love it again for all new reasons. I want to keep my soul fertile for the changes so things keep getting born in me, so things keep dying when it is time for things to die. I want to keep walking away from the person I was a moment ago, because a mind was made to figure things out, not read the same page recurrently.” – Donald Miller, Through Painted Deserts

2) The Voice New Testament

Thanks to BookSneeze, I get to review books for free from time to time, and this was the latest one that I chose to review. The Voice is a new, contemporary translation of the New Testament. But more than just a translation, I consider it a repackaged version of the Bible. Instead of the usual paragraphs of text, the conversations are told in screenplay form. Innovative? Yes. Illuminating? Sometimes. Confusing? Unfortunately. The screenplay format and the commentaries within the text make my head spin.

I think that one of the best parts about reading the Word is you get to have a relationship with it. It becomes personal because you’ve invested time soaking in it, trying to understand it, reading between the lines, and even putting yourself in the shoes of the people in the stories. You get to use your imagination, you get to picture the scene and the emotions that are in the air. And sometimes I struggle with what I read, sometimes I wonder if I’m understanding it correctly and I wonder what it all really means. When that happens, I get to take the questions to God, and in my prayers I ask Him, “Why would that person do that?” or “Why would Jesus say that?” or “What do You mean?” And a conversation forms, and it’s a conversation that never ends.

That being said, when I hear too many voices (or read too many for that matter), I don’t get to truly hear what God is saying to me. So while this is a creative translation and effort, it won’t be taking the place of my Bible any time soon. Do I recommend it? Well, I like reading through several translations from time to time (I like the ESV, TNIV, NLT, and The Message translations), so having this one comes in handy. If you’re like me, go ahead and get yourself a copy, but I won’t suggest using it as your main source of scripture.

If you’re not into long blocks of text and would rather read some blogs, here are some blog posts that have touched me deeply this past week:

1) WHAT I THOUGHT I WANTED, WHAT I GOT INSTEAD by Grant Jenkins.

2) RELATIONSHIPS AND DIRECTIONS by Bianca Juarez

I don’t want to spoil these great reads, so you’ll just have to click on the links to read more. By the way, I just started reading Bianca’s blog a couple of weeks ago and it’s already one of my favorites.

So that’s it from me for now! How about you, what have you been reading lately? :)

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Bits and pieces from Boston.

People always tell me, “Wow, you’re on vacation, you’re so lucky!” Truth be told, it hasn’t been the easiest journey. It’s been filled with twists and turns; some have been good, but some have been pretty challenging. In the midst of all the challenges, I am reminded of one my favorite quotes from A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, a book by Donald Miller: “Somehow we realize that great stories are told in conflict but we are unwilling to embrace the potential greatness of the story we are actually in. We think God is unjust rather than a master storyteller.”

When we look at it that way, I’m truly grateful for the adventure. :)

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Last night, one of my dreams came true. I had the chance to watch famed film scorer and composer, John Williams, together with the Boston Pops. Since I’m a huge fan of film scores, this was definitely one of the happiest moments of my life. The show, entitled “Hooray for Hollywood”, was a feast of some of Williams’ beloved scores from Star Wars, Superman, Harry Potter, E.T., Indiana Jones, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and more. I think the Boston Pops are awesome. I’ve always admired how they blend together orchestral music with contemporary tunes. If you ever come to Boston, try to check out one of their performances! For more info on the Pops, check http://www.bostonpops.org.

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Watch this and be inspired: beautiful spoken word by Amena Brown:

She performed this at the opening of the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast. And speaking of the Leadercast, here are some free resources that you can download. Go for it!

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

I don’t know about you, but when I was kid, I wanted my life to be a fairy tale. I think most boys wanted to their lives to be an action-adventure movie. Bottom line is that I think we all just wanted to be living great stories. However, as we grew up, some of us found ourselves living horror stories…or just horribly boring ones. If anything I said resonated with you, then you will love Donald Miller‘s new book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.

millionmilesOne of my favorite books that I’ve read the last couple of years was Miller’s bestselling book/memoir, Blue Like Jazz (if you haven’t read it, I highly encourage you to do so). As an author, Miller is easy-to-read, witty, and his thoughts and insights always make me go, “Woah.” That being said, I was eager to read his new book, and I definitely wasn’t disappointed.

Basically, some movie producers approach him with the idea of turning his bestselling book (Blue Like Jazz) into a movie, but in the course of pre-production, they more or less tell him that the story (i.e. his life) needs to be tweaked a bit, because it wasn’t as exciting as it should be (i.e. it was missing the good stuff that movies are made of). So this new book is all about what he learns along the way as he sets off to “edit” his life. Beautiful stuff.

“The truth is, if what we choose to do with our lives won’t make a story meaningful, it won’t make a life meaningful either.” – Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

It’s one of those books that I’m going to want to read again and again. It’s thought-provoking, poignant, and inspiring. I like it so much that I’m giving away one copy of the book so that someone else would be blessed by it.

Yes, you read it right! I am giving someone a chance to win this book! So here’s how this goes: if you want to join, you have to a) be a resident of Metro Manila, Philippines (sorry to the international folks!), and b) leave a comment on this post and tell me what you would be doing with your life if you didn’t have to worry about time, money, and resources? It’s just a random question, but I love asking it!

On Thursday , October 29 at 12 noon, I’ll randomly choose (i.e. I will close my eyes, scroll up and down, stop, and click) a winner, and I’ll send you a message to let you know you’ve won. Got it? And if you don’t win, I’m sorry, but I still encourage you to read this book. I think you’ll love it, too. :) You can start by reading an excerpt here. Enjoy!