books read in 2013

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I think I read (or listened) to more fiction this year than I ever have in my life, which was actually a goal. I’ve discovered that I really like fiction (but I’ll always lean toward non-fiction–there’s too much to learn in the world not to). A lot of what I read I would not recommend unless I could sit down with you and completely explain my thoughts, so I will not feature those here. Like life, some books, (for me) need my opinions and thoughts and emotions voiced one on one. What surprised me about reading (or listening) to fiction is how much I did learn. I was opened up to eras of time that I realized are a lot like my own. I now think fiction is very helpful in being able to understand people. A lot of shocking things in the books that would have put me off had I known from the start were things I ended up understanding, or saw myself doing had my life turned different courses in different places. It was a good reminder that everyone is an actual person with a history and a reason for things they do. It helped me learn sympathy and helped me think through situations and possible better alternatives to choices made or better ways to think through things.

Something I started doing last year was keeping a Google Docs spreadsheet of any book that I come across that interests me. I have about 200 books on that list. It is multiplying like bunnies, but that is okay. I always know something I want to read. If I pick it up and it doesn’t capture my interest after the first 10 pages or chapter, it is most likely returned to the library and deleted from my list. 2013 made me realize how much time I waste reading books I don’t care about or that grow me in some way. I read 34 books in 2013 and I’m sad to say I remember so few and I wasted my time on several books because I kept expecting it to get better or to find what I was hoping to learn. I hope to be better this year and to maybe do quarterly recommendations so I can remember what I actually liked. Here are the few I recommend, there would probably be others, if only I could remember if I like them:

Life Together-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit-Bruce Ware

The Writer Who Stayed-William Zinsser

The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert-Rosaria Butterfield

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart-J.D. Greear

Risky Gospel-Owen Strachan

Dinner: a Love Story: Jenny Rosenstarch

p.s. has anyone seen this list? wow, might need to slowly tackle a few of those.

p.p.s. one of the best things I learned this year is how to listen to books. this took a lot of training, but now if I’m folding laundry or knitting or spending a lazy weeknight with Andy I am listening to a book. I now believe strongly in the importance of hearing words, not only reading them. if you’re how I used to be and cannot stand to listen to audio books I highly recommend giving it a try a few times. It changed my life so much I could write a whole post about this passion, but I’ll restrain myself, at least for now. xo

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i love

Camelbak glass water bottle (this never leaves my side. it’s true what they say…I drink so much more water now. I tried to return it at first because I can’t stand to bite down on things, but Andy rigged mine to be a normal straw. Camelbak you should have different mouth pieces for people with teeth phobias!)

Crowder Radio on Pandora (more instrumental version of all your favorites.)

Dr. Bronner’s pure-castile soap (this is my face wash, dish washing soap, fruit and veggie wash, all-purpose cleaner, and if my hair will ever cooperate, shampoo. [I just use bar soap for body wash to reduce plastic consumption.] for tips on dilutions and different uses I like Lisa Bronner’s website.)

Charlie’s Soap (this is the only thing in my laundry room. I don’t have to use fabric softener, there’s no harsh perfume smell, and my clothes are clean. I get mine at  our local Amazing Green Planet because you can use your old container to buy in bulk and save on money and waste.)

The Jesus Storybook Bible (if you don’t have this you need to go to your book store and purchase it. I’m talking to you, adults. ;))

NIV Dramatized Audio Bible (this is my favorite audio Bible. Do you know how much you can read when you listen to something throughout the day–a lot! Plus, it is free online!)

Trader Joe’s pound-plus bittersweet dark chocolate with almonds (it satisfies our chocolate cravings for almost a month! If you are near a Trader Joe’s I highly recommend if you like dark chocolate. Anyone happen to know any good dark chocolate that is even “darker?”)

Bare Minerals makeup (I am still a new user, but so far it has what I want–very little ingredients, light, but buildable coverage, and very little time spent putting it on.)

Most of these are my essentials, but would also make great last-minute holiday gifts (or am I the only one that would love soap and dark chocolate for Christmas?). Do you have any favorite essentials?

autumn dreams

+have a celebrating Autumn party
+take a sunday drive to see the changing leaves
+bake pumpkin something
+make apple crisp
+find a good fall skirt (or, you know, ten)
+bike ride down tree-lined park streets
+hit the tree swing
+drink apple cider
+have a sleepover and stay up all night giggling

summer (to do)

It’s summer. Really, it’s been summer for a month. Andy has been out of school. The weather has been pretty nice. Life is slowing down. Since we’ve been married summer has really started to become my favorite season. Long days. Leisurely walks. Everything relaxes. Last month I didn’t feel like we were able to enjoy the first glimpses of summer because we had several time-consuming surprises come up. Now we’re getting rid of the stress and embracing summer. Let the magic begin.

1. spend as many moments as possible with Andy
2. blueberry picking
3. trail running
4. park exploring
5. visit cave hill cemetery
6. plenty of farmer’s marketing
7. go to a waterfront concert
8. WORLD FEST
9. eat good food
10. make our new house a home
11. share it with others
12. long late night walks
13. visit a new city
14. read a book with Andy
15. quit sugar (except for dark chocolate)
16. dance under the stars
17. sit outside on a porch at night
18. write more
19. buy a bicycle
20. go on a million bike rides
21. really keep a dinner diary
22. finish watching Call the Midwife (current favorite show)
23. run 3 miles
24. grow a plant
25. find the perfect elephant for our new place
26. put money back in savings
27. wear my summer little black dress
28. go see a summer movie

25 before 25

1. walk the city more, completely explore Frankfort, Bardstown, & Shelbyville
2. visit Bardstown, KY
3. visit the Smoky Mountains
4. visit Santa Claus, IN
5. journal
6. more kisses, dances, & random adventures
7. less stuff, more memories, cards, & homemade/meaningful gifts
8. create more family traditions
9. have more creative date nights
10. make a loaf of bread and homemade pizza
11. make three pumpkin recipes
12. have a vegan Thanksgiving
13. be sugar free
14. run a 5k in 25 minutes or less
15. read fifty books, at least five of them fiction
16. play more piano-just for fun
17. grow an herb
18. save 1/4 way for Disney World vacation we went to Disney World!
19. save money for real camera
20. visit sixteen new restaurants
21. do five craft projects
22. celebrate Andy’s 25th
23. organize more, make a home management binder, & make our home more homey
24. go to Southern’s Fall Festival
25. attend more campus conferences and events

I love having new goals each birthday. Most of these are easily attainable, a few are to stretch me. Here is to a wonderful new year (actually two) filled with much thankfulness, growing, and learning.