Tag Archives: mental-health

Desert Island Books

Desert_Island_(8685053723)This idea is not new to me.  I find, though, that you can learn alot about a person by finding out about the books that they would take if they knew that they would be stranded on a desert island.  Here’s my top ten:

1.  Hamlet by William Shakespeare.  Quite simply the greatest artistic creation in the history of the universe.  I billed it this way to my eleventh grade English students and it managed to live up to this billing.  Ol’ Will really hit one out of the park with this one!  Can’t say enough great things about it.  My favorite book to teach, by far!

2.  Homer’s Iliad.  Still possibly the greatest epic in human history.  Homer is especially unsurpassed for his descriptive powers of blood, guts, and the reality of the battlefield.  This always makes me wonder if he is glorying in the heroic ideal, or showing us the futility of the heroic ideal.

3.  War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.  At least I’d have time to finish the darn thing.  On several occasions, I’ve gotten about 400 pages into it and found it to be a great story, well written.  It’s reputation for being more useful as a doorstop than a book is thoroughly undeserved.  I’ve always gotten distracted and never kept the momentum going to finish it.

4.  The Abolition of Man by C. S. Lewis.  My favorite book by Lewis.  I reread it probably once a year to remind myself of why I’m a teacher and what my core values as a teacher are.

5.  Summa Theologica  by St. Thomas Aquinas.  Lest I become conceited or no longer think that I need to be challenged in doctrine and devotion, learning and piety.  Possibly the greatest mind who has ever lived, and surely one of the most holy.  I’m counting the Summa as one book.  You may not think that’s fair, but it’s my post.  Again, I’d at least have time to read the whole thing.

6.  Calvin’s Institutes. Gotta have at least one book from my own tradition.  Same criteria as the Summa.

7.  The Book of Common Prayer.  Beautiful, well composed, Scripture-saturated prayers.  A great resource to remind me of both the transcendence and the immanence of God.  Thomas Cranmer makes the English language sing in the service of worship and prayer to our Lord.  Wouldn’t want to be without this one.

8.  Something by Charles Dickens but I can’t decide which one  Maybe Hard Times, Bleak House, or Tale of Two Cities.

9.  Bible.  I’m a convinced Protestant so this might seem like an odd edition.  If I was going away for a while, I’d want to read the Apocrypha.  The RSV is not a bad translation either.  I’d either go with that, the ESV (which is descended from the RSV), or the Authorized Version.

10.  Can I take my Kindle?

What books would you want to take if you were going to be stranded somewhere?

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Feeling Rebellious! In A Good Way!

Wow!  It feels quite rebellious to take a 2 hour nap AND run 7 miles AND spend extra time writing all in one day.  Not quite sure how I managed to do all of that !  Rebellious?  Doesn’t exactly sound like the word most people would use.  However, I’m not used to taking that much time to focus on what I want to do.  My wife and I lead a nonprofit educational organization, which is pretty much like running a family business.  My sister lives with us, who is disabled and needs some help with daily living tasks.  And two of our children are home from college.  So, it did feel rather delightfully rebellious and irresponsible!

The 7 miles is the longest run I’ve gone on in about a month or more.  Lately, with the holiday weight gain, it’s been a struggle just to get out and shuffle 4 miles or so.  But today, the miles just clicked off!  It was a beautiful day, temps in the mid 60’s, with a northeast breeze about 10-15 mph.  Started out south on the beach and headed back into the wind — but on the road.  Felt great physically and made me remember why I continue to persevere in this activity.

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Ultra Running and Future Plans

I’ve put December 31 as the day to decide on which ultras to enter for 2015.  I wish it were so easy.  But in reality, I’ll decide later than that.

I really enjoy the sport.  I see each event as a day away from the cares of normal life.  Each event is a new adventure.  The course, the other participants, the travel, the atmosphere, battling fatigue, and pushing myself to new limits all make for an epic challenge.  However, I’m taking some medications that have the unpleasant side effect of weight gain.  So, I’m almost at my peak in terms of weight.  What this does is that it presents the spectacle of a 230 lb. man trying to run 30-plus miles.  Plus, the downside of each event is what it takes away mentally, physically, and emotionally for days to come.  I’m not sure I have those reserves to draw on.

While nearly every day I look at ultrasignup, I’m postponing any decision making until I get healthier and I can train consistently.

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