I'm just a wife and mother who earnestly desires to grow in my faith and it's demonstration. DISCLAIMER! I have absolutely no problem with women in the clergy. As a matter of fact, I have several female pastors who I consider friends. In my home, the pastor is a male so the pronouns I use to refer to a pastor tend to be male. This is not a statement of any kind. Just a reflection of my every day life!

Archive for the ‘2016 Reading Challenge’ Category

One Step At a Time

Been away for awhile.  Nothing major . . . it’s just multiple shows back to back and all the craziness a schedule like that imposes on life.

And it’s partly because I’ve been learning so much abut myself and a new approach to life and I’m not sure how to share it all! But here goes nothing.

I’ve begun a new workout regimen.  I know, I know.  Working out, trying to lose weight, . . . everyone tries, everyone fails.  Here’s the thing – I am 4 days into the SECOND WEEK of a workout program that I got through Beach Body (it’s called CIZE and if you have seen the infomercials, it is just as fun as it looks.  Maybe more!) and I’m loving it!  I don’t think I’ve ever made it four days in a row with ANY work out plan before, much less being four days into the second week!  Nothing crazy with my eating habits; I’ve just been watching my portion sizes and making smarter choices (fruit instead of junk food when I want something sweet, for example) and being very intentional about my water consumption.  Since it’s a Beach Body program, I have access to a coach online and my coach happens to run an accountability group on that site plus a Facebook page.

I’m still working on the reading challenge that I started earlier.  Turns out that taking 10 minutes a day to read is a FABULOUS form of self-care for yours truly!  I’ve read genres I don’t usually venture into and found some of them rather enjoyable.  A friend of mine created a group on Facebook for others doing the same challenge so I even have a group of people to help keep me on track.

Accountability.  It’s kind of becoming a theme for me lately.  From an intellectual perspective, I’ve understood the value of having others partner with you for various activities.  But the true worth of accountability?  For some reason, I never appreciated it or valued it much until now.  I don’t mean someone pointing their finger saying, “You had better . . . ” or “Don’t you dare. . . .”  I mean a person – or small group – that will be there to say “woo hoo” when you get it right, reach a goal, or finish a task OR that will help you brush yourself off and get back at it if you stumble.

We weren’t meant to do life alone.  If we are wise, we will seek out others who will serve as accountability partners for us.  I don’t mean sycophants who will tell us what they think we want to hear.  I’m talking about individuals who will cheer us on when we get it right or help to redirect us when needed.  These people need to use authentic praise where it is appropriate, words of encouragement when we’ve stumbled, and words of honest correction when we are out of line.

As important as it is to find people like this, I also want to learn how to a person like this.  Here’s to being more intentional about both.

Forbidden

Rather proud of the fact that I am still in the thick of the Reading Challenge I took on for the year.  I finished my “book from the library” by starting a series I’ve wanted to read.

“Forbidden” is the first book in a series called “The Mortals” and is written by two of my favorite authors – Ted Dekker (my absolute favorite author ever) and Tosca Lee.  It takes place 400+ years after the human race nearly destroys itself.  In an effort to bring the Chaos under control, alchemists developed a treatment they called “Legion”.  It was really more of a disease than a cure – it removed EVERY emotion except fear.  It was fear that those in power used to bring everyone under control.

Dekker is a man of deep faith and his writing always reflects that.  I’ve had the privilege of hearing him speak publicly and even got an autograph and my picture taken with him!  (Just keep scrolling and you’ll see it!)  One of the things I love about all of his books is the fact that each one is so much more than just a good story.  Yes, the writing is fabulous, the characters engaging, the storyline captivating . . . but the stories always make me think.  They push me to examine my own faith walk a little more deeply.  It’s rare to find an author that engages the imagination as well as prompting meaningful self-evaluation.

While the rest of the books in the series don’t really conform to ANY of the categories on my reading challenge list, I do intend to finish the series.

Actually . . . there WAS a sequel written called “The Keeper”.  So if I read that as well, the two books would count as “a book and it’s sequel” and I could check out book two as my “book from the library.”  Hmmmmmm.IMG_20131105_202156_425.jpg

YA Bestseller

When I started the 2016 Reading Challenge, there were some categories I was very excited to choose a title for.  For others, I didn’t have a clue where to start looking.  And for a few, I groaned inwardly at the thought of having to delve into that genre at all.  As a 47 year old woman, I am FAR from being a Young Adult so choosing a YA Bestseller just didn’t sound like fun.  But I dove in and figured that if I got it read early in the challenge, I could move on to other categories I like more!

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman.  True, the “teen angst” was there with lots of tortured teen romance thrown in for good measure.  But I believed the story.  I won’t spoil it for you but suffice it to say that the main character, Mia, is in a horrid car accident along with the rest of her family.  Her parents are killed instantly and her 7 year old little brother is taken to the hospital.  She is also taken to the hospital then taken by medical chopper to a hospital better equipped to deal with the severity of her injuries.  This happens fairly early in the book and most of Mia’s life, friendships, and love story are told in flashback.  Mia spend most of the story having an “out-of-body” type experience where she grapples with whether she should fight to stay without her family (**spoiler – little brother Teddy succumbs to his injuries) or if she should just let go and slip peacefully into . . . well, she doesn’t really know what she’ll find on the other side of death.  So which will she choose?

The writer did a beautiful job creating the inner conflict for Mia as well as making us care for those that care about Mia.  Empathy, compassion, hope . . . Forman evokes them all in the reader.  I thoroughly enjoyed the read.

Not Really Cheating

I started my 2016 Reading Challenge last night. 

I know, I know it isn’t 2016 yet so this may look like cheating. But I intend to be done by Christmas 2016 so I’m not really giving myself any extra time by starting now. And with the weirdness of my schedule, I need to take advantage of the stretches of time that aren’t crazy busy. 

I have crossed two off my list – 

A graphic novel – for this one I read Part I of “Maus – A Survivor Tale” by Art Spiegelman. It’s the real life story of Art’s conversations with his father, Vladek who survived the horrors of Auschwitz. Spiegelman depicts all the characters as animals – the Nazis are cats, the Jews living in Poland (Vladek’s native country) are mice, and those who are neither Jews nor Nazis are portrayed as pigs. When the mice try to disguise their ethnicity, they even put on pig masks. The story is personable and powerful. The author includes the conversations between him and his father and discusses, with an understandably tentative touch, his mother’s suicide. The author doesn’t hide the challenges in his relationship with his father nor the friction between Vladek and his second wife, Mala. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. I’ve read many books about Nazi Germany and World War II but personal stories like this always captivate me. If there is any criticism to be had, it’s that this book is catalogued as Juvenile Non-Fiction. Not Young Adult, Juvenile. It was in the “kid’s” section of the library. There is some language and while the depictions of violence are not extremely graphic, the book seems better suited to a young middle schooler – maybe as young as 5th grade. As for me, I’m glad I included it in my reading list!

“A book you can finish in a day” – Went to a favorite author for this one. Mostly because I have read some of her stuff in a day and was fairly certain I could do it again! “Sizzlin’ Sixteen” by Janet Evanovich. Truth be told, I need to get caught up on this series anyway and this challenge helped me move one step closer! I’ve been a fan of Evanovich’s writing and unforgettable characters for quite some time and this book did not disappoint. 

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