Thursday, January 26, 2012

What I'm Reading Lately

I love reading.  There is a book I read to my students where the kid spends the night in the library and he says "Surrounded by books I feel happy and rich."  I get that.  I love being able to escape into a book.  To find a world other than mine.  It inspires me to think, create and write.  It makes me feel relieved to be able to get lost in a book.  One of my goals on my list for 2012 is to read 50 books.  I originally was going to start with my standby old favorite To Kill a Mockingbird.  However it seems to have been misplaced since the move.  I had to revise the plan.  Here are my thoughts on the first three books I have read this year. 

 Image from Google
Book One:: The Christian Atheist by Craig Groeschel
Most of the books I read are fiction and in no way change or shape my thinking.  They are merely an escape or something to exercise my mind.  This one however is different.  This book was suggested to me by my pastor friend.  He could not have been more right when he said he thought I would find it helpful.  This books puts a lot of things into words that I think a lot of people already feel anyways.  A lot of the questions that he poses affect most of the people I know.  There was a chapter about when you believe in God, but don't believe that you can change or that God can help you change.  This chapter was intense for me.  I find myself falling into that pattern of thinking so much.  Saying well this is just the way I am.  It was challenging and made me think.  I am going to be processing this for a long time.

Book Two:: The Hunger Games and Book Three:: Catching Fire
I loved both of these books and highly recommend them.  I can't wait to read the third and last book.  They also made me think but in a totally different not life altering way.  :)  I find that almost everything can come down to the basic battle between good and evil.  These books (in case you haven't heard) are set in a futuristic society where life is controlled by The Capitol.  It is pretty much totally unfathomable to me to think that our world could ever be like that.  Both of these books are packed with action and unexpected things.  They leave you needing to read the next chapter and then when the book is over they leave you needing to read the next book.  As soon as my roomate gets done with Mocking Jay I will be reading it and adding it to my list. 

So, three books down.  47 more to go.  I will keep you updated and informed as I go.  Hope you can read some of these books too and then I will have someone to talk to about them!

Monday, January 2, 2012

To Begin Again

Clearly I'm not so great at this blogging thing.  I think of tons of things to write about but then I find reasons not to do it.  I guess one could say it's good because I'm keeping busy.  But it's a new year.  I have new goals.  I have several friends who think there is nothing special about the new year.  They see no reason to mark it as an occasion and find the celebrations simply ridiculous.  To some it is merely a passage of time.  I, however, find it important to mark that passage of time.  I like to remember where I have been and where I am headed.  I am thankful for the things I have learned and I anticipate the future.  Reflections come easy at this time of year.

I do much better with goals than with resolutions.  And they are not even huge goals.  It is actually just a list of things I want to accomplish or do in 2012.  Right now there are 8 things on my list...which is totally attainable.  I figure it's a good place to start.  Basically my list is about finding simplicity.  Continuing to extinguish my hoarder tendencies and squelch the desire to be lazy and complacent.  I have mentioned before that I want to learn to do things.  My mother sometimes says I was born in the wrong era because I want to bake bread and cook with cast iron and be "OLD FASHIONED".  Really I just want to have the knowledge and skill that will allow me to build the kind of life I want to have.  A life I can be happy in and can be proud of.  So here is my list...

1. Fit into my favorite jeans.  They are currently exactly two sizes too small.  It is a small goal compared to some health goals I have heard the past few days...but it is one that I am confident will be a great starting point.

2. Complete a Pinterest project.  I have pinned so many things and thought of so many ideas...but I have not done any of them.  So lame.  So on my list is to complete a project from Pinterest.  After completing one maybe I will be motivated to do more!!

3. Memorize 24 scriptures.  That equals an average of 2 a month.  I tried to do this once before and became too absorbed in the required time frame of it to allow myself freedom and flexibility.  So I am trying again.  And I already picked out my first scripture.  It's actually the one I taught in Sunday School yesterday...2 Corinthians 5:17.

4. Finish a 5k.  Walking it is my goal for now.  Who knows...maybe someday I will run part of it.  I mean, I have been training for this since it's only right it should be on my list.  It may take me hours to complete but I will finish!!

5. Make a t-shirt quilt.  This goes along with learning skills...I don't know how to use a sewing machine.  My Junior High and High School Home Economics teachers would be so disappointed to see that.  I just never really put forth the effort to learn that skill in a way that I would remember it and be good at it.  So I have watched one tutorial already and have found some more.  And Lord knows I have enough t-shirt to make a couple quilts!!

6. Bake bread.  From scratch.  Enough said.

7. Plant a garden.  If my landlord agrees I will do this in the yard of the new house I moved into a month or so ago.  (By the way for those who didn't know I moved!)  If not I will plant a garden at my parents' farm and just drive there to check on it every day!

8. Read 50 books.  That seems like a lot.  This is the goal I am not quite so sure about.  I think I can do it since I read a lot, but I have never stopped to think about how many books I have read in a year.  I am starting with a book I have read before which may be kind of cheating...but the other 49 will be new to me books.  On my list are the books of The Hunger Games series, The City of Embers series and Soul Cravings.  Maybe my friend Kate can teach me how to put a tracker thing on here so I can keep track with you the number of books I've read!  :)

So that's it.  My list so far.  I am sure I will add more things as I go.  But they will be carefully thought out things.  Things that didn't make "the list" but that I am also hoping for are blogging more, sending more mail to people "just because", cleaning out my storage building, having a garage sale, organizing my pictures and starting a scrapbook, doing something great for my parents' 40th anniversary, leading a Bible study, going back to Joplin and visiting more state capitals.

Today I will enjoy my last day of vacation.  My awesome parents are coming over for lunch.  I am reading.  I am watching a movie.  Tonight I will hang out with my great roomate.  And tomorrow I will go back to work keeping my goals in mind.  I will keep moving forward because going back is not an option.