A Book I Read

I'm happy to say I am now part of two book clubs! I have decided that book clubs are difficult to start and difficult to maintain. But very much worth it if you can keep it up and running. Maybe we should start an AdriLars book club here on the blog? Would anyone be interested in turning these posts into more of a discussion? Let me know.

So for one of the book clubs I'm in we read Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America by Firoozeh Dumas. I didn't know this book existed until Ash suggested it, which is actually the truth about most things I read. I may have been an English major and English teacher but I'm probably the worst-read English major and English teacher there ever was.

For full disclosure I will say that I didn't read the book with my eyeballs, I actually listened to it on Audible. I turn my subscription on and off all the time (which is probably not how they want you to use it, but oh well) because sometimes I like to listen but other times I really want to read the book so I can write notes in it and mark things. If you want to try it there is a link over on the sidebar right under the popular posts box.

This was one of the books I'm glad I listened to because Firoozeh reads it herself and it was so fun to hear her voice telling all the stories. So many hilarious things happened to her and her family living in America, I actually snort-laughed several times.

Some favorite quotes:
It's not what we eat or don't eat that makes us good people; it's how we treat one another. As you grow older, you'll find that people of every religion think they're the best, but that's not true. There are good and bad people in every religion. Just because someone is Muslim, Jewish, or Christian doesn't mean a thing. You have to look and see what's in their hearts. That's the only thing that matters, and that's the only detail God cares about.
I truly believe that everyone has a story and everyone's story counts.
Is that boy from your country?” she asked me. “Why, yes,” I wanted to tell her. “In my country, which I own, this is National Lose Your Child at Disneyland Day.” “No,” I told her. “He’s not from my country.

Firoozeh has such a sarcastic sense of humor, which speaks to my wannabe-comedian heart. On a more serious note the book addresses the racism and discrimination that she and her family and thousands and thousands of other immigrants have faced living in America.

It made me question myself. It has added to a list of events, texts, and experiences that have made me think about my own racist tendencies, how I think of others and how I treat others. I asked myself if I had ever treated people the way that people treated Firoozeh and her family. And the answer, unfortunately, was yes. I feel I have a long way to go in order to be the accepting, kind, Christ-like person I want to be. I'm learning that it is important to question myself constantly and make efforts to change.

Has anyone else read this book? I would love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to post them here, comment or DM me on instagram or email me directly as well.

I definitely recommend reading this book if any of the above strikes a chord with you. Here is the link to the book on Amazon. Turns out it is also on sale!

A Book I Read

I thought very little about how I would like to review books here on my blog. Therefore, the highlights of my reading will be shared, do with them what you will.

I watched the movie on an international flight and spent the other 18 hours wishing I hadn't watched it, because I wanted to read the book instead.

"Most of humanity, he said, have eyes that are so caked shut with the dust of deception they will never see the truth..." (155)

"Devotion is diligence without assurance. The decision to consent to any notion of divinity is a mighty jump from the rational over to the unknowable, and I don't care how diligently scholars of every religion will try to sit you down with their stacks of books and prove to you through scripture that their faith is indeed rational; it isn't. If faith were rational, it wouldn't be--by definition--faith. Faith is belief in what you cannot see or prove or touch. Faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark. If we truly knew all the answers in advance as to the meaning of life and the nature of God and the destiny of our souls, our belief would not be a leap of faith and it would not be a courageous act of humanity; it would just be...a prudent insurance policy." (175)

"It's not much use to send prayers out to the universe that are lazy...ultimately you're more likely to get more out of the experience if you can take some action on your end. Half the benefit of prayer is in the asking itself, in the offering of a clearly posed and well-considered intention." (176-177)
"This is what rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma, so that we don't have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down. We all need such places of ritual safekeeping. And I do believe that if your culture or tradition doesn't have the specific ritual you're craving, then you are absolutely permitted to make up a ceremony of your own devising, fixing your own broken-down emotional systems with all the do-it-yourself resourcefulness of a generous plumber/poet. If you bring the right earnestness to your homemade ceremony, God will provide the grace. And that is why we need God." (187)

"The hub of calmness--that's your heart. That's where God lives within you. So stop looking for answers in the world. Just keep coming back to that center and you'll always find peace." (207)

"Mario told me that he is only happy when he can maintain himself--mentally and spiritually--at the intersection between a vertical line and horizontal one, in a state of perfect balance. For this, he needs to know exactly where he is located at every moment, both in his relationship to the divine and to his family here on earth. If he loses that balance, he loses his power." (227)

"...people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you're fortunate enough. But that's not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don't, you will leak away your innate contentment. It's easy enough to pray when you're in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments." (260)

"The search for contentment is, therefore, not merely a self-preserving and self-benefiting act, but also a generous gift to the world. Clearing out all your misery gets you out of the way. You cease being an obstacle, not only to yourself but to anyone else. Only then are you free to serve and enjoy other people." (261)

"Am I centered enough now to be the center of somebody else's life?" (311)

"In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it's wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices." (334)
Here is a link to buy the book on Amazon.
The TED video in this post is her as well. Enjoy.

The worst of 2011

In January I was surprisingly dumped by someone who I was actually not dating. Which is actually a difficult task so kudos to me.

In February speed dating came into my life and was quickly sent back out of my life after the longest 34 minutes of my dating years.

March was the month of a monstrous mistake that may have marred part of my near future for more than a brief moment. Also sally likes seashells that sing by the seashore.

In April I finished my first semester after coming home which made me dislike BYU for the time being. Also during these months the BYU basketball team made a little bit of history or a lot bit of history.

May was a month of unemployment which lead to an abundance of domesticity and running, which as you can imagine was incredibly unhealthy and mundane.

In June I ran 13.1 miles in less than 2 hours and was finally hired by a skincare company. Jessica and I attended an incredibly mediocre yoga/writing group. We were also locked inside of a Catholic church for an extended period of time.

In July and the surrounding months many happy events occurred but this is a "worst of" list not a "best of" list. I'll just leave you with some statistics: 3 rodeos, 3 outdoor movies, the end of Harry Potter (for real), 2 pro soccer games, and 1 nickelcade.

In August we trekked out to Oregon for the joining of families through the unyielding and infamous bond of marriage and love. Okay I would say something awful but that trip was awesome. Oh except that Jordan lost his golf clubs and shoes.

September/October were months of death by the lack of sleep and the copious amount of hours spent awake. Also I came the closest I have ever been to death in the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

November was epic. 11/11/11.

In December came the realization that this year was not a waste. Clearly some bad things happened but I've had worse.