Monthly Archives: March 2017

What I’m Reading March 2017

Although we did have snow accumulate this week, the weather in general continues mild.

White barns figure prominently in my life lately as I’ve been pondering why I’m severely directionally challenged.  I’m happy to say I’ve made strides in my navigational ability in the past two weeks.

Still reading from the Best of 16 Lists, so lots of good reads and my life is happy.

Linking up with Modern Mrs Darcy’s Quick Lit for March.

(Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a portion of your purchase will go to support this site.)

The Revenge of Analog by David Sax

Sax looks at the growing interest in vinyl records, board games, paper, printed books, watches with springs and gears and retails stores.

One of the most interesting observations in the digital versus analog debate is the idea that there exists a greater need to engage all of the senses.  Digital captalizes on the visual.  Holding a book in your hand and physically turning pages is a different experience than reading on a screen.

Revenge held a special interest to me since we own a bookstore. We tried to get into ebook sales several years ago, but that didn’t pan out. Some report that ebook sales have plateaued and are possibly now declining.

I think ebooks will settle into a niche.  The great thing about ebooks is they can lower the barrier for readers.  They can be shorter.  They can be cheaper.  There’s no pressure to recoup the cost of printing.

It’s interesting to me to see the way trends develop.  The rise and fall of trains, for instance, and the disappearance of phone booths and eight tracks.

Persuasion by Jane Austen

I abandoned Persuasion after trying over and over again to get into it.  I read at least 100 pages, but  just could not get engaged.  I really wanted to like it.  I love Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility.  Even though I haven’t read Emma, I liked the story in the movie version.

So, I’m still a little puzzled why this Austen didn’t work for me. I felt the plot moved too slowly and I didn’t find the characters relatable.

If you’re a fan of Persuasion, I’d love to hear why.

Wildflowers From Winter by Katie Ganshert

I was surprised that I enjoyed this book, even though it had a somewhat predictable plot.  There was enough mystery to keep the pages turning and enough resolution to feel satisfying.

The story focuses on an architect from Chicago who is forced to confront her past in small town, Iowa.

Simple, sweet story.

Do It Well. Make It Fun. by Ronald P. Culberson

I stumbled on this book randomly at the library.  Wanting to improve the quality of my work has been on my mind for a long time, so naturally, the title caught my attention.  There’s so many things in my life I don’t do well.  There’s so many things I let slide for shear survival.  How do you do it well?

Fun tends to be an illusive element in my life, as well.

I enjoyed Culbertson’s humor and anecdotes.  However, looking back, there wasn’t any advice that was memorable enough to stick with me.

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham 

Good story.  In the tradition of Johnny Tremain, except based on an historical person.

Nat Bowditch was very smart, but he wasn’t able to go to Harvard because he was indentured at age 12 to work as a bookkeeper.  Because his family had fallen on hard times, it was necessary for him to work to earn his keep.

The story is inspires kids to persevere in the face of difficult circumstances.

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi

What a great book!

Every Christian should read this as well as every Muslim.  I learned so much more about the context that Muslims live, learn and think in.  Nabeel made reference to the shame-honor cultures, in contrast to the guilt-innocence culture that we live in.  So much of what he accepted to be true was in the context of the person in authority teaching him the truth.

First, he sought to understand and disprove Christianity.  He had been given a lot of coaching answers for arguments with Christians.  For those of his friends who didn’t know their faith well enough, he was able to counter their arguments.  In college, he finally had a Christian friends who had a deep enough understanding to show him where his arguments were coming up short.

What he eventually found was that the sacred writings of his religion did not match up with what he had been taught his whole life.

It was a painful conversion.  He sacrificed much to finally embrace Christianity.  The chapters on his personal dreams and visions were fascinating.

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood

I listened to the author interview on Read Aloud Revival and was intrigued enough to check out the books.

Lots of fun elements, although the characters of the children aren’t developed, like in the Penderwick series.

But, there’s some mystery.

Lots of great principles for kids to live by.

Penelope is a likable charachter.

The time period and the setting are fun.  What is it about British children’s stories that opens the door to possibilities?

Plus, I just have to say I love the word incorrigible.

Genius

Interesting movie for book lovers.  Great cast. Follows the life of Thomas Wolfe.

It’s a slow moving story, but a fascinating behind the scenes look at historical book publishing.

I conclude that editors are the unsung heroes of the industry.

What have you read this month?

 

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3 Things I Learned, Winter 2017

 

Winter has been screwy this year.

Three years ago, the view from my kitchen window looked like Winter.

This year, not so much.

It’s been a great season for learning new things, though.  I love learning!

  1. Routine can be an idol

“Don’t make an idol of routine” has been echoing in my head since I read it in Jesus Calling a couple of days ago.  Boy, has that been a problem lately.

Today we had a breakfast meeting.  That throws all my morning routines into chaos, unless I am able to get up earlier than normal and get them all in.  Today I wasn’t able to.  So, I skipped most of them.

Even though habits help me so much, I  have a problem being consistent.  I fall off the bandwagon over and over and over.  Right now, I’m not exercising.  I’m hit and miss doing my 3 minute mail purge every morning, even though those two things are good for me.

We haven’t had family night for the past three weeks.  This sends me into a tail spin.  I didn’t realize how much I depended on having one relaxing night every week.

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So, have I made an idol of routine?  Even when I’m not good at keeping up with habits that are good for me?  When I’m trying to accept and deal with unforeseen circumstances? Or unavoidable scheduling issues that prevent me from following through on routines?  I don’t know.  It’s hard to let go.  It’s also hard to push myself to be consistent.  So, I don’t really know where I stand on this.  But, I do know it’s a struggle for me and one that causes me stress.

Also, just like money can be an idol, whether you have it or not, routine can be an idol whether you have it or not.  Brand new thought for me.

2. Writing 500 words a day is good for my emotional health

Last Fall, I took on the challenge to write 500 words a day.  This method of writing intersperses all my random thoughts, pre-writing and self-talk along with some deeper, more profound thoughts. You have to sort through the fluff to get to the nuggets.

Focused writing is good for blog posts.  But, getting down all the random thoughts is good for my emotional health.

Another thing I learned was the importance of separating  my writing (drafting) time from my blogging (editing, formatting, pictures and promoting) time.  I need time for both every day.

Even more of a breakdown than that.  Journaling is a different activity than drafting blog posts, though they do tend to overlap and influence each other.

Also, brainstorming is a completely different activity. I need time for that, too, but it’s not necessarily something I need every day.  It could happen once a week.

3. The definition of grit

Grit= passion + perseverance

This definition comes from Angela Duckworth’s book Grit: the Power of Passion and Perseverence .

I checked this book out as an ebook from the library.  I was maybe a third of the way through when the book came due and disappeared from my Kindle.  But, the definition of grit stay with me.

The author proposes that grit is a better predictor of success than IQ.  I see her point.  I need to check it out again and finish the book.

There’s scads of things I’m learning right now, but I’m having a harder than usual time synthesizing and articulating them.

So, I’ll leave it there for now.

Linking up with Emily Freeman and other bloggers sharing what we’ve learned.

What have you learned? 

(Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase goes to support this site.)

 

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