my top tv shows and movies of 2017

I felt pretty exhausted, and that led to watching a lot of tv and movies. We got cable again at the end of the year which was awesome, and meant more sports. We also got a couple free months of hulu… Here are the tv shows and movies i enjoyed…

Top Tv shows of 2017

  1. Brooklyn 99
    Enjoyed every episode. Far and away my favorite show this year

  2. Around the horn
  3. Voltron
  4. Fresh off the boat
  5. Blackish
    losing some on me, but still hits big issues and i am still like Dre
  6. Community
    wish I could have watched more. Very interesting gathering of diverse people, Quirky and funny.

  7. New girl
    quirky, fun, but at times annoying.
  8. Stranger things
    not as good as season one, but still entertaining. Got better as the season went on
  9. Veep
  10. Friends
    still makes me laugh, still a go to

  11. Master of None
    not as good as season one. but i give love to my doppleganger

  12. The good place
    only watched a few episodes. It got a lot of acclaim, it got better as i kept watching, and I imagine it will get better, but my nbetflix subscription ran out
  13. Sherlock
    Not as bad as everyone made it out to be, but still a bit disappointing


Best Movies i saw for the first time in 2017

The movie i most wanted to see this year was Thor 3 Ragnorak – and I didn’t get to see it.

I didn’t like the new star wars movie- not for the reasons everyone else hated it- it was just too cheesy, not enough good fight scenes, and overly political.

I really like kid movies now.

  1. Moana 9.5/10
    All about identity, great music. Halle loves it
  2. Trolls 9.4/10
    Halle says she likes this more, but she barely watches it. It was actually quite good
  3. La La Land 9.3/10
    Took Soo to see this for her birthday last year. i think i was the only guy there. still, incredibly sad movie and incredibly well done, Probably deserved all the awards it got and didn’t
  4. Hidden Figures 9.3/10
    So informative, so good.
  5. Sing 8.5/10
    Kids love this one. Fun, but not as deep or as entertaining
  6. Masterminds 8/10
  7. Imitation Game 8/10
  8. Secret life of pets 7.5/10
  9. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 7/10
  10. The Big Sick 7/10
    I wanted to like this more. Ray Romana is great, and so is the lead girl…

My best books of 2016 list

Best books of 2016

I read a lot of books in 2016. That happens when you take time off campus, injure yourself and have a sabbatical…some of the books were short, some about average length. Some were books i finished that i started before. In all, i read  33 books, a couple short of my goal of 35. Many were on my kindle, but i really do prefer reading an actual book.

I read a decent amount of books by female authors. Almost all were Christian books. Some were about writing, some about adoption, some marriage related. And some kids books i included because they were long or important.

Some books i read were very disappointing like visual theology by Tim Challies and The biggest story by Kevin DeYoung.
There were a few books that had some good stuff in it, but were kinda blah. If you want to see my full books i read, check out my good reads. I don’t put too much in for reviews however, so feel free to ask me if you have questions.

One book i didn’t finish but wish i had because it was pretty influential that parts i did read was the Next Evangelicalism by Soong Chan Rah. It made me wonder how many books have i read by non-white males?

Here are my top ten

  1. Thinking, Loving, Doing     7.7/10

Nothing super memorable, but i did enjoy reading it

  1. None like Him by Jen Wilkin     8/10

Made nearly all the best of 2016 lists, so i read my wife’s book. It is short and easy to read. I probably could have spent more time on the questions. She says she wrote it for women, but it reads much different than other books written for women.  Pretty good

  1. Miracles by Eric Mextaxes     8/10

I don’t want to like stuff by Mextaxes after his endorsement for Trump, but this was still a very good book. He tells a number of stories of miracles which are encouraging.
Mostly however i enjoyed some of the challenging statements he makes regarding miracles. There were a number of amazing quotes in it that grew my faith

  1. Encounters with Jesus by Tim Keller     8/10

It’s a Tim Keller book so you know it was good. Wasn’t everything i expected it to be, but it was still Keller, so still good

  1. Quiet by Susan Cain     8.3/10

A great book for an an introvert. Sometimes it got tedious and long, but it was very helpful for me in understanding myself and thinking about how to leverage my personality

  1. Rest of God by Mark Buchannan     8.7/10

The frist few chapters were amazing! I read it during my sabbatical so it was approrpriate. Certainly recommeneded to all to read

  1. With by Skye Jethani     9/10

I loved this book. His premise is there are 4 postures we tend to take: life over God, life under God, life from God and life for God. But the life we should choose and want and that God wants is: life with God. Challenging, encouraging, thought-provoking. Drags towards the end but i still like it

  1. God’s promise of happiness by Randy Alcorn     9.5/10

He wrote a much longer one on happiness, in fact this may just be a chapter or a section of the book – but this part was amazing! Very enjoyable, i practically highlighted the whole thing!

  1. A loving life by Paul Miller     9.9/10

Paul Miller is becoming one of my favorite authors. Once again combining personal stories, authentic raw real life application and deep insight from the Bible, this book is amazing. He takes you through the book of Ruth, exploring it and explaining it in ways i had never heard before. It is a fairly short book, short chapters, easy read, quick read, and so deep, good, enjoyable and applicable. It will help you enjoy & know God more and think about how to love others better

  1. How and when to talk to your kids about sex     10/10

One of the best books i ever read. Yes, it is primarily about how to talk about sex, but really gives a primer on parenting in general. This is such an important book for parents to read. It scares me a bit, but more was encouraging and inspiring. Talking about sex feels uncomfortable for most parents, and thus kids don’t want to talk to their parents about it. But they need to. This book instructs parents on how to make a safe environment for your kids to talk with you. It gives some good advice, gives Biblical perspectives and really brings reality to light. A must read for any parent of kids of any age.


My weekly Review Week 1 2016

Reflection on 2016 week 1

10 things i am thankful for

  1. my beautiful wife and her 35 years of life
  2. gift of time – no appointments, nothing pressing, no meetings – time to write, read a bit, be with my family a lot
  3. good Christian books… though i didn’t love them
  4. Your Word- which was much more powerful in itself
  5. Gift of singing! i have loved having a song in my head and on my lips every day, in response to what i was reading or whatever… singing a lot of praise!
  6. warmth – hot showers, blankets, fireplace, and nice weather
  7. my kids- even if they drove me crazy a lot. They also warmed my heart a ton
  8. The Holowells- for watching our kids, but also for their friendship!
  9. free food and drinks (chik-fil-A, coffee)
  10. beautiful snow- even if it makes driving crazy


  1. Halle sitting in my lap, watching football
  2. no conflict with Soo
  3. writing a lot
  4. beginning the new year with worship, and singing a lot
  5. playing with kids
  6. doing pretty well with most of my goals
    1. not snacking after 8 (though i made a sandwich last night)
    2. praying with Soo
    3. reading daily devos (not each every day, but pretty close)
    4. devos, praying with kids
    5. reading a good amount
    6. getting some time with the Lord for the most part
    7. writing
  7. reading
  8. lots of time w Soo
  9. watching Master of None
  10. celebrating Soo, ice-skating
  11. watching a few minutes of football

Themes of the week

  1. reading & praying with the family
  2. singing praise
  3. enjoying freedom
  4. celebrating Soo – or trying to
  5. writing
  6. beginnings of working on mpd
  7. Victory over the grave, over death, over sin

songs of the week

  1. Sinking Deep
  2. Good good Father
  3. Forever
  4. I will follow
  5. Christ is enough
  6. This is amazing Grace
  7. Great are You lord
  8. Holy Spirit
  9. I surrender all
  10. love ran red
  11. Everlasting God
  12. Same power


What did God teach me, speak to me about Himself, myself

  1. death, grave, sin – they cannot overcome me
  2. The Lord is a refuge and shield around me
  3. His divine power has given me everything
  4. i am defensive and rationalize sin
  5. i seek, pursue fame


My best of 2015 lists

i love lists… God, Soo, Halle & Josiah, chocolate, sports, lists

And there’s not much better than a best of list!

This is my list of what i read and what i saw this year. You can read the best of best of list if you want to know what other experts think.

Top Ten books i read in 2015

10. life is a vapor (John Piper)
9. Taking God at His Word (DeYoung)
8. Generous Justice (Keller)
7. Unquenchable Worshipper (Matt Redman)
6. Every body matters (Gary Thomas)
5. boundaries with kids (Cloud)
4. Blind-sided by God (Peter Chin)
3. Praying life (Paul Miller)
2. faith is not a feeling (Ney Bailey)
1. Seeking Allah, finding Jesus (Nabel Quereshi)

i didn’t really read many books in 2015, especially considering i read 4 of those in one month in EA, and 2 others during the flights when i went back in December… in all i think i finished 15-16 books, but 8 were really good.

We did finally finish “starting your marriage out right,” it just took us 6 years to finish! didn’t include it in this list, though it was good.

The top 4 all would fit into all-time favorites, but picking the best out of the top 2 was incredibly difficult

I almost chose faith is not a feeling, because God used it so much in my life. I had been looking for the book for a couple years, and finally found it for 75c at the used bookstore right before leaving  for EA. I read it, Soo read it, and then what 3-4 more people read it over the summer.

It’s a pretty simple book, but perhaps that is what made it sooooo good. Real life stories, just faith. Moving beyond feeling, choosing faith, choosing to trust God.
AND it’s short, short chapters, quick read, easy. i loved the book, and recommend everyone read it.

In the end, i had to go with Seeking Allah, finding Jesus because it was such a compelling read. i really couldn’t put it down. Every time i would read part of it, i would exclaim to  Soo “This book is so fascinating!”
i read it in less than a week, lent it to another guy who read it 4 days, and another guy- a non-reader, who read it in 2!
The book reads like a story, but gives so much info.
It is a great training tool to understand the mind of a Muslim, get a better grip on Islam, instruct on how to love well, as well as how to share the Gospel.
And in the end, tell a powerful story of God’s love, grace and power.

Faith is not a feeling may have been more life-changing, more helpful. Seeking Allah finding Jesus is more memorable and more unique.

The next few books were good too. Blind-sided by God was also captivating, and hit on the theme of faith in the midst of trials. i loved the book. It hit all the feels, was challenging and encouraging at the same time.

boundaries with kids was convicting- b/c though it was talking about kids, i felt like it was talking about me!

Every body matters tackled a topic that you rarely if ever hear about at church, and Generous justice gave compelling arguments for how we interact with the poor and how we live.

i could say so much more about any of those top 8 books

I’d love to hear your recommendations!

Top Ten movies i saw in 2015

i wound up watching a lot of movies in 2015, which shocked me, but then i realized i watched about 11 on planes this year… The movies i saw were mostly disappointments. Some had their moments. But i rather enjoyed trailers, but didn’t care for movies. Actually none of the trailers made me think they would be that good either… in any rate…

10.  Star Wars episode VII
9. Chef
8. Avengers 2, Ant-man, Thor 2
7. Wreck it Ralph
6. Inside-out
5. Insurgent
4. Theory of everything
3. Mission Impossible: Ghost protocol
2. Perks of being a wallflower
1. Birdman

The only movie i really liked was Birdman. It was well done. But not one i really want to see again. The wallflower one was pretty good, though Soo didn’t like it. Inside-out had it’s moments, but it wasn’t everything everyone was saying it was.
i did like the Marvel movies. Thor 2 was actually a good story… but man, the original Iron man was great, and the stories just get kinda more ridiculous… Chef wasn’t that great, but it was like the only feel-good movie i saw during the year… and star wars? Well, it felt like just watching episode IV all over again, and more like the long-awaited sequel to space balls… but i am hopeful the story improves once we get the rest of the story…

Top 10 Tv shows
Didn’t watch much, but there was one show that was amazing!
10. Jimmy Kimmel
9. Brooklyn 99
8. master chef
7. How I met your mother
6. Wild Krats
5. friends
4. seinfeld
3. Jimmy Fallon
2. fresh off the boat
1. black~ish
If you’re not watching blackish, you need to, it is amazing… maybe i just relate to the main guy so much, or maybe i like how it tackles real issues, but mostly i like it because i think it is hilarious.
Wild krats is the best kids show out there… Jimmy Fallon & Jimmy Kimmel i just watch on youtube

Top 15 songs of 2015
15. First ~ Lauren Daigle
14. sinking deep (just from the last week)
13. Uptown funk (a much as i don’t want to like this song)
12. Dynamite
11. Everything is Awesome (still awesome)
10. fight song ~ Rachel Platten
9. Good Good Father ~ Chris Tomlin
8. Same power ~ Jeremy Camp
7. Thrive ~ Casting Crowns
6. T Swift songs  (style, blank space, shake it off)
5. bat blood ( T swift parody video) that my kids love (and me too).
4. Great are you Lord ~ all sons & daughters
3. Love ran red ~ Chris Tomlin
2. Holy Spirit ~ Francesca Batastelli/ Kari jobe
1. How can it Be? ~ Lauren Daigle

i tried to find some old lists, but i guess i haven’t blogged in a long time!
2010 2009 top songs 2009

Purdue won a bowl game finally – take that Andy Brandt!
A 3 pt win over CMU isn’t much to brag about, but seeing as they did what they always do in bowl games: blow a huge lead, and come back… except this time, they didn’t blow it… they actually won the game.

We tried watching the championship game… before the game started the picture was clear, but 2 minutes into the game apparently everyone got online… ironically enough the streaming got better during commericals- which were fun to watch as well…

Here are my final rankings on the season

  1. LSU                  5 i have to give it to them
  2. USC                 3 so, they lost to Stanford, was tempted to rank them #1 still
  3. Georgia            6 if there was a playoff, they prolly win it all
  4. WV                   12 how do they lose to Pit? I thought OU may be the best team in the nation, and then WV goes out and kill’s em!
  5. OSU                 4 may be ranked too high, but subtract a stupid penalty, and add a dropped TD…
  6. OU                   2 i can’t rank them lower than Missou who they beat twice
  7. Missouri           8 a good finish
  8. Kansas              15 proved me wrong i guess, but then again, was VT any good?
  9. Oregon             23 a healthy Dixon and they are national champs, glad they were able to regroup and win their bowl game
  10. Aub                  21 probably ranked way too high
  11. Tenn                 22 10 win season
  12. Texas               19 big win over ASU
  13. Cincy                13 quietly had a great season
  14. BC                    16 about where i had them in the preseason
  15. VaTech             9 not that spectacular, but they made Kansas look good
  16. Illini                 11  got absolutely killed by USC
  17. Penn st             NR they get some respect from me, maybe more than they deserve
  18. Oregon St        NR came on strong at the end, maybe underrated
  19. Hawaii              1 sure Georgia was the only good team they played and they got killed, but any team would have got killed, still, 1 loss knocks em down a lot
  20. UF                    7 erik tells me they’re not that good, getting beat by Michigan proves it
  21. TTech              NR  beat OU, beat Virg in the bowl game
  22. ASU                 10 horrible finish
  23. Clemson            17 pretty good season
  24. USF                 14 dissapointing end to a season that seemed too good to be true at the beginning
  25. Virg                  24 can’t tell if the ACC is a good conference or not