These are a Few of My Favorite Things

My Favorites includes dark chocolate.

We all favor something. Some favor certain foods over others. Most of us have favorite types of music or musicians. We can have favorite hobbies, beverages, and places. This morning, for the second day in a row, I woke up about 2 AM. There was no going back to sleep, so I did some reading of things pending in my email in box. One of the posts I read was a John Piper list of his favorites from a January 2, 2023, Desiring God post.

He talked about his favorite movies, novels, Bible app, poet and poem, soft drinks, dinner, restaurant, hobbies, breakfast, Christian and Non-Christian songs and composers. I could relate to many of the things he said.

John Piper’s Favorite Things

Piper said something I agree with: ““I like to pull grass out of sidewalk crevices. I hate grass growing in sidewalks. And I like straight borders. I like it when the sidewalks are smooth. I don’t like weeds growing around the boxwoods. I get a deep satisfaction from making things look Edenic or eschatological, whichever way you want to look at it.” When it comes to music, he struck a chord when he said, “maybe ‘Bridge over Troubled Waters’ by Simon & Garfunkel. ‘Bridge over Troubled Waters’ is a song I would default to.” I listened to Simon & Garfunkel all the time when I was a teen.

One of the ways we get to know someone is by spending time with them. When we do that, if we ask good questions and listen carefully, we can learn much about another person. For example, I know many of the things that are Cindie’s favorites, our son’s and daughter’s favorites, and our grandchildren’s favorites. I can remember things that were my father’s and mother’s favorites. You can start the conversation. Rather than asking, “How was your week?” or “How are you today?”, let me suggest asking a question like, “What was your favorite part of the past week?”

Wayne’s Favorite Things This Week

If you were to ask me that question about the past week, I would have a long list. I enjoyed spending time with a young man who came to me for some mentoring because he has a desire for spiritual growth. I enjoyed blowing snow from the driveway. I had fun trading calls and put options using Fidelity’s Active Trader Pro. I enjoyed playing my Taylor guitar, baking some gluten free oatmeal raisin muffins, and reading a book. I had a good Zoom call with a friend, lunch with our pastor and a new guest who is coming to our church, and dinner with two friends in our home. It was also nice to go to Perkins Restaurant with Cindie for lunch.

Favorite Foods

Food is so good that I have to remember that too much of something good is not good. I certainly like dark chocolate. As a result, I like chocolate frozen custard, chocolate covered raisins, chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies, and even Oreos.

Rhubarb pie without strawberries!

I like Sugar River Pizza (Verona, Wisconsin), Italian food, Mexican food, Indian food, Chinese food, Thai food, seafood, prime rib, garlic mashed potatoes, Culver’s Deluxe Double Burgers, and Zuppa Toscana at Benvenuto’s Restaurant in Fitchburg, Wisconsin.

But if I had to pick a favorite of all of my favorites, it would be rhubarb pie. Not strawberry rhubarb, mind you, but real, honest-to-goodness rhubarb pie. And certainly not pie à la mode. (You know that à la mode is French for a dessert topped with ice cream.) Wikipedia says “Pie à la Mode” literally means “pie in the current fashion” or “fashionable pie.” So fashionable rhubarb pie, for me, is pie without any modes.

Favorite Movies

Cindie and I have watched “The Princess Bride” several times. I love the memorable lines, as does John Piper. Things like “inconceivable!”, and “you killed my father, prepare to die”, and “mostly dead” come to mind. I also like war movies like Saving Private Ryan, Kelly’s Heroes, and Tora, Tora, Tora. For comedies, I enjoy watching Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean), Adam Sandler, Steve Martin, Jim Carrey, Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams, and Peter Sellers. I also appreciate the work and creativity of The Chosen.

Favorite Places

This is a tough one. Most of the time my favorite places are places Cindie and I have gone to during our many years of marriage. Dehradun India comes to mind. Hawaii certainly is near the top of the list. But there are places most of my readers have never seen that are also favorites, like Amite, Louisiana. The places we have seen in West Virginia, Missouri, Tennessee, Florida, Colorado, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Wisconsin, and Canada all come to mind. I think my favorite would have to be the island of Kauai of all of the Hawaiian Islands.

Bible App

I am with John Piper on this one. I like Logos. I don’t use it much on my iPhone, but I do like the software on my laptop. I appreciate being able to study a book and have all of the resources available on my desktop, including various versions of the scriptures (ESV, NIV, NASB, KJV, NKJV) and many helpful commentaries. This makes sermon and lesson preparation so much easier.

Favorite Author(s)

This is a tough call. It depends on the nature of the book. I have found great benefit in reading C.S. Lewis, John Piper, and R.C. Sproul. I’d have a hard time picking just one. I have a complete collection of Calvin and Hobbes, an American comic strip created by cartoonist Bill Watterson. My favorite investment-focused book is “Investing at Level 3” by James B. Cloonan.

I would be remiss if I neglected to mention the Apostle John and the Apostle Paul. If I had to pick a favorite Old Testament book, it would be Proverbs (or perhaps Ecclesiastes). For the New Testament I am torn between the Gospel According to John, John’s first epistle, or Paul’s letter to the Romans.

Soft Drinks

I agree with John Piper: Dr. Pepper and Coke. But I like the unique flavor of Vernor’s Ginger Ale. I don’t drink many soft drinks anymore, as I think they just have too much sugar and I dislike the taste of artificial sweeteners.

Hobbies or Activities

This is really tough for me. There are just so many things that I find enjoyable. The top five have to include raising tropical fish and live plants in my aquariums, fishing, playing the guitar, writing in this blog, and traveling to visit friends and family.

Songs – Christian and Non-Christian

I agree with John Piper: “Bridge over Troubled Waters” by Simon & Garfunkel. Sadly, much of what the world writes leaves me with a lack of satisfaction. So I prefer to listen to Southern Gospel and songs like “His Mercy is More” by Matt Boswell and Matt Papa. Just about anything by Keith and Kristyn Getty makes the cut as well. “In Christ Alone” is my personal favorite, written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, both songwriters of Christian hymns and contemporary worship music in the United Kingdom.

Favorite Grandchild

Shame on me! I cannot share this on the internet. I love all six of our grandchildren. The reality is that each of them is a favorite for a different reason. But just like Jacob, there is one who is especially dear to me. Therefore, I have the same weakness that Jacob had regarding his son Joseph.

Joseph was Jacob’s twelfth child and Rachel’s first. Here is what is said in Genesis chapter 37:

“Jacob lived in the land of his father’s sojournings, in the land of Canaan. These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was pasturing the flock with his brothers. He was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives. And Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him.” Genesis 37:1-4

Do You Have Any Favorites?

Today, as you go about your day, hopefully you will spend time worshipping God. If you do, you will be in good company with other followers of Jesus. Perhaps, rather than asking, “How are you?” you might ask “What was the best part of your past week?” Start a conversation and get to know someone on a deeper level. You can share in the comments of this blog post as well. I’d like to know you better too! What was the best part of your past week?

All scripture passages are from the English Standard Version except as otherwise noted.