Wednesday, January 16, 2019

2019 Reading Challenge and Goals

This year, once again, my main goal is to work on getting the multitude of books that are already swamping my closet read and pared down.  Last year's goal setting really helped this along.  So I'm going to keep the skeleton of that and maybe refine it even more.  So for 2019 here are my goals.  I will add in the titles as I finish them because it was nice to see that list.  Even though my numbers were less than usual my goals were pretty much reached minus the library list book I missed in November.

2019 Reading Goals:
(books that crossover the sections will be astericked)

At least 2 books per month from my own piles.

          ~The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton

6 non-fiction books (some of these will crossover with my own piles or library list)

At least 1 book per month from my library to read shelves 

6 review books

At least 2 rereads both for pleasure and to see if it's a book I still want to keep on my bookshelves

Book 3 in the Anne of Green Gables series

Friday, January 11, 2019

Friday's Fave Five #516

Welcome to Friday's Fave Five.  It's time to take a look at our week and find the blessings that entered our lives and pause and be grateful.  It's been a busy week here at the Living to Tell household so it's especially good for me to stop and take note because that busyness can be a real distraction so that blessings can slip right on by without me even pausing to take note of them.  Let's just jump right in.

~words of encouragement~  during this week, right at the most needed moments, words of encouragement came.  Whether they were through friends, family, someone in church, prayer with the ladies group or books there were words that lifted up, pointed in a direction or confirmed, gave hope.  I am so grateful that God knew just what I needed and those around me were so willing to give those words freely.

~getting back in the groove of healthier habits~ boy did I slip off the healthy wagon during Christmas.  Partly due to all the delicious celebrating with food and partly because the gym was closed or had shortened hours during the week after Christmas which made it really inconvenient.  While I enjoyed all the yumminess of the Christmas season and the break from hitting the gym, it is really great to start getting the routine back to normal.  It feels good to get moving again and eating more healthier without all the sweets and richness that Christmas foods bring.  

~great start to ladies study~ we had our first evening of study after the holiday break and it was really nice to see everyone and get caught up.  We started our new study which is the book "Unshakeable Hope" by Max Lucado.  It's a challenge doing a book study as compared to just watching a weekly video and answering questions but it is good to be challenged in our walk and our study of God's word.  I'm looking forward to put a bit more effort in and searching out scripture as we answer the questions.

~relaxing Sunday at home~ Sunday was a wonderfully relaxing day.  After a great service we had Mom over for lunch and then the rest of the day was just spent relaxing.   Sundays can tend to run almost as busy as any other day if I don't intentionally put the brakes on.  So nice to not have to run and do anymore shopping or cleaning.

~meeting new people~  this week there were several new people that I got to meet through different ways.  While sometimes meeting new folks and finding common ground to chat about things is sometimes difficult it is good to get challenged in this area.  And I find the more I do it the easier it becomes.  Now if I could just find a way to remember names better it would be awesome!  

What were your favorite blessings this week?

Friday, January 04, 2019

Friday's Fave Five #515

Happy New Year everyone.  Our first FFF of the year 2019.  As we start off this new year I hope you will continue to join me in cultivating gratefulness.  Being thankful and grateful helps us to be more in the moment and realize a blessing when it comes our way.  It takes us from just noticing the big, obvious blessings to taking note of those smaller, less obvious ones.  As we start to take note of these "smaller" blessings, we notice more of these smaller blessings, and our outlook changes even during those tougher times we all experience.  It is a change of mindset that changes the whole way we approach our days.  It helps us to be more present and joyful in our sometimes very mundane days or our days of being stretched to the max.  And as we notice these blessings we can't help but be grateful as we realize that God truly does want to bring blessing into our lives and to uplift us in times of sorrow and hardship.    Please join in for another year of purposefully looking for good tings and being grateful.

1.  Safe travels for my family.  My family all made it here for Christmas.  I was thankful for their safe travels both here and then back to their homes.  We've had some pretty insane wind storms here this past week so I'm very thankful that their travels were without incident.

2.  Peaceful New Years.  I have never been a huge New Year's Eve partier but this year with the wind and cold I just did not have it in me to do anything.  The kids were going to their respective friends places, so I spent the evening home.  Hubby stayed up as long as he could and then I spent a very peaceful couple of hours by myself reading and watching an astronaut documentary on Netflix.  No regrets.

3.  House back to normal.  I love the whole Christmas decor and usually leave it up until January 1st.  But this year because our furnace gave up the ghost a few days before Christmas, my storage room had to be half unloaded into my craft and playroom.  Then with the kids coming for holidays and all their suitcases and stuff everything just seemed so chaotic and closing in on me.  I couldn't pack back my storage room until yesterday because the furnace installers had to come back after holidays to finish up the job so everything was upturned for over almost 2 weeks.  So I was already starting to pack away things here and there before New Years Day.  One the 1st I only had the tree left and now everything is back to normal including the storage room as they finished up yesterday.  Feels so much better.

4.  Smooth transition back with the kids.  Sometimes an extended time away from childcare can throw little ones off and cause separation anxiety when it comes time to return.  I was happy for them, and me, that for the most part they all handled it well.  Only a few tears with one little guy, but I think that was more because mom stood chatting in the doorway a little too long.   Some early naps and extra hugs cured all.

5.  Soft sweaters.  Right after Christmas I found some great deals on some lovely soft sweaters so I splurged and bought about 3 of them.  As soon as I got home, out went the sweaters that I always complained about being itchy and uncomfortable but wore for years because I was too cheap to get other ones.  Now I wonder why I waited so long.  So much nicer being comfortable in the clothes I wear.  Thankful I was able to get them for a good price.

What were your favorite blessings in the first week of the year 2019?

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

 Redefining "success".   My goal focus for 2019!

Monday, December 31, 2018

Reading Challenge 2018 ~ A look back

On this last day of the year, I was taking a look back over my reading year and the challenge I made for myself back in January.  While looking at only numbers I have to admit this wasn't my greatest reading year ever.  I hit a few slumps this year which affected those numbers bringing them down.  A lot of books that turned out disappointing compared to the expectation I had of them put the skids on my pace of reading while also taking up time until I either finished them or even set them aside as happened with a couple of them (one at 120 pages and the other at 275 pages!).  Which irks me because I don't like to not finish a book thinking at some point it will get better, but at the same time I'm getting tired of wasting my time with books I am not enjoying.  And so goes the struggle trying to decide.  So in a numbers sense it was a failure compared to other years but if I look at the challenge I set for myself, I'd say it wasn't too bad at all.  I read more review books than I challenged myself with, I only missed one month of knocking off books out of my library to read shelves, and I read a fair number out of my own piles at home.  Here's how it broke down:

1 Anne of Green Gables book    - didn't happen

 1 book per month off my library TBR (listed as I go)

      -January- "The Reluctant Midwife" by Patricia Harman
      -February - "The Illusionist's Apprentice" by Kristy Cambron
      -March - "Promise Me This" by Cathy Gohlke
     -April - "Burial Rites" by Hannah Kent 
      -May - "A Time to Stand" by Robert Whitlow
      -June - "What Alice Forgot" by Liane Moriarty 
     -July - "No One Ever Asked" by Katie Genshert
      -August - "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry" Rachel Joyce 
      -September - "The Secret Keeper" by Kate Morton
      -October - "As Bright As Heaven" by Susan Meissner
      -November -
      -December - "The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls

 As many books as I can from my own pile at home (listed as I go) 

      "A Bridge Across the Ocean" by Susan Meissner
      "Left Neglected" by Lisa Genova
      "Full Disclosure" by Dee Henderson (DNF'd at 120 pgs)
      "The Abominable" by Dan Simmons
      "The Masterpiece" by Francine Rivers
      "The Girl in the Glass" by Susan Meissner
      "Summer of Joy" by Ann H. Gabhart
      "The Lost Art of Mixing" by Erica Bauermeister
      "Dangerous Crossing" by Rachel Rhys
      "The Little Old Lady Strikes Again" by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg
      "Under a Cloudless Sky" by Chris Fabry

 6 review books (at least one every other month) 

      "The View from Rainshadow Bay" by Colleen Coble
      "Hurricane Season" by Lauren K. Denton
      " Send Down the Rain" by Charles Martin
      "Where Hope Begins" by Catherine West
      "The House at Saltwater Point" by Colleen Coble
      "Becoming Mrs. Lewis" by Patti Callahan (set aside at pg 275/388)
      "Chosen People" by Robert Whitlow

 New Testament from Bibliotheca   - still working on it

 1 or 2 rereads   
      "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers

So there you have it.  My favorite read of the year was a tie between The Masterpiece, Send Down the Rain and Under A Clouldless Sky.  My least favorite was a toss up between The Abominable (though it had it's good parts that I enjoyed as a whole it was my least favorite), and Becoming Mrs. Lewis (described in my full review of the book why I didn't like it). 

If you want full reviews of the books you can find that by the search bar on this blog for individual reviews or going here to my book blog to find the complete list. 

What was your favorite read from 2018?

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls ~ Book Review

My last complete read for 2018.  Seems fitting as it was my oldest book on my library To Read Shelves.

Memoir of a young child who survived a hugely dysfunctional upbringing. This story evokes many emotions out of the reader as you read of her horrific childhood of neglect and abuse. An alcoholic father who yet, when he was sober, taught them many things, a mother who basically let them do whatever and left them to fend for themselves as she was into her artistic pursuits and shunned anything to do with household care or raising a family, constantly on the move, living in extreme poverty were the norm for this author. But in spite of it all she seems to have grown into a responsible, caring adult who in has managed to keep from being bitter and kept a relationship with her parents to the end. It's always interesting to take a peek into someone else's life, so different from my own. The book moved at a good pace, was absolutely heart breaking at times, maddening at times and makes you question how this family could ever have fallen through the cracks of the social system.

Rated this 8/10

Friday, December 28, 2018

Friday's Fave Five

Hi everyone.  So sorry.  With all the holidays and days off  and being off the computer for extended periods of time and all family at home I am totally mixed up in days and missed that it was Friday.  Oh dear.  The last FFF of 2018 and it slipped right by me.    Here's the link for those who still want to do one.

I want to wish every a very happy new year.  A brand new fresh start with the new calendar.  And I want to thank you all for joining me each week in this intentional looking for and being thankful the blessings in our lives.  You, everyone of you, are a blessing to me!  All the best for 2019!

  Happy New Year from my family to yours!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Friday's Fave Five #513

Hi everyone!  You all ready for Christmas?  Only 4 more sleeps, people!  I am soooo not ready.  I haven't baked a thing.  I have a couple more things to get and I have to grocery shop.  I've only wrapped a few gifts so far.  It's just come so fast.  I think the weather has me kind of in a funk of not realizing the time is upon us as it's been so nice.    Oh well, there is 4 more days right?  And it will be what it will be and I'm trying to relax with that.  So this is the perfect time to take a pause and remember the blessings of the week and share 5 of them with you.

~my daughter's birthday gift for me~  T is an esthetician for a local salon and she gave me a lovely manicure with gel polish for my birthday.  Now my birthday is not till the end of the month but I wanted my nails nice for Christmas.   My nails break so easy and so they never look nice and never get long but she did such a lovely job.  I just love them.

~ fun christmas crafts with the kids~ I do love December in dayhome because we get to do lots of fun crafts for Christmas.  We've been doing one or two and week and having lots of creative time.

~dance parties with the kids~ On netflix they have the Wiggles "Go Santa Go" and the kids just love it.  They dance away and try to do the actions and sing along.  Though I swear I fall asleep and wake up every morning with one or another of the songs off of there running through my head.  

~morning off~ though I love going to church on Sunday mornings this last Sunday I just needed a break.  I woke up feeling tired and off so just decided to listen to what my body was trying to tell me.  The last thing I want is to be sick for Christmas and with the dayhome kids showing up with sniffles and coughs I didn't need to be worn down.  It really was what I needed.  I slept in, sat around reading and relaxing.  Then just putzed around the house.  In the afternoon we visited my dad and then my mom and the day was done.  

~surprise lunch~ Hubby surprised me and came home with a yummy bento box of goodies for lunch.  It was a nice surprise on a work day and I love that he blesses me with this kind of thing once in awhile.  

Well those are my fave blessings this last week.  I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.  As you celebrate with family and friends may you remember how very much God loves you and His very precious gift to you in the birth of Jesus.  May you have many blessings of love, joy and peace surrounding your holidays.  

oops sorry here is the linky.