Category Archives: Purple Crayon

Stop wishing you read more: one simple key to reading more books

Every year, almost 5 million people google how to read more as part of their research for New Year’s Resolutions.

It comes in behind exercising and eating right, but it’s on the list of things people want to do to improve their lives.

I remember wishing I read more.  I didn’t google it and I didn’t make it a New Year’s Resolution, but I was feeling it intensely.

I still wish it sometimes, but not as often and not a strongly, since I discovered the simple key to reading more.

 

The key to reading more is to surround yourself with irresistible books.

Goals and challenges can help.

Accountability and support systems are good.

But, achievement will be almost effortless if you are surrounded by irresistible books.

The challenge will no longer be, how can I make time to read? But, how will I get my cleaning done, how do I get a full night’s sleep every night? How can I get my work done?

Not just great books, not just bestsellers, not just books that are famous, but books that are irresistible to YOU.

Finding them and getting access to them is your challenge.

How do you find them, the irresistible books?

First of all, you have to answer the question Why am I reading?

Am I reading to be educated or entertained? Do I want to learn or escape? These are the two main reasons people read.

The exceptional writers are the ones who can entertain while teaching or instruct while entertaining.

So, you mainly want to escape and be entertained? Where do you find great books? The plethora of books available makes finding ones you love a daunting task.

You could go by bestseller lists, by GoodReads or Amazon reviews, what your friends are reading, book clubs or bloggers. There’s so many great resources on the internet now to find books you love. Pinterest, instagram, twitter.

So, you’re interesting in learning? To scale up your business, to take up a new hobby, to rocket your side hustle. Or to improve your spiritual, emotional or relational life. To understand what’s happening in the world or in politics. To understand a cause or join the conversation.

This is the best time in history to connect with people with the same interests as you. You can find them online. You can find out what they’re reading and what they’re writing.

Surrounding yourself with irresistible books has never been easier.

Even with the disappearance of bookstores. Even if you’re not close to a library, the possibilities are greater than ever. There’s audio books. There’s ebooks. There’s used books–sometimes cheap online, sometimes not. There’s free books from people building their businesses.

Some people don’t consider the time that they’re exercising or commuting or cleaning the kitchen as a good time to read. But, if you add audio books into the mix, all of a sudden windows of time for reading open up.

 

Find books you love.

When you are surrounded by books you love, then it’s no longer a problem of finding time to read, it will be a problem of finding time to clean or mow the lawn or sleep.  It won’t be a matter of finding time to read.

I think this is the key. I really do. I owe a lot to Modern Mrs Darcy for helping me to find books that I love. Not that everything I’ve heard on podcast or read about in her blog have been winners, but I found out about a lot of books that I wouldn’t have otherwise. It gave this fiction snob a reason to believe that there are novels out there that I like. I had about given up hope. It felt like all the wholesome novels were not well-written and the well-written novels were not wholesome.

“Throw your phone in the ocean.”

Even with print books and ebooks, there’s the time you spend waiting, there’s the time you spend on your phone or watching tv or engaging with social media.

Austin Kleon’s number one rule for reading more is “Throw your phone in the ocean.” Nuff said.

 

 

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Real Artists Don’t Starve

 

This book is a game changer.

It challenges long held beliefs and deconstructs myths.

Real Artists Don’t Starve doesn’t just refer to painters and sculptors, but writers, poets, and creatives of all types.

The twelve principles that emerged from Jeff studying creatives are supported by success stories from today and throughout history.

I love lots of them, but my favorite is about C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien and the literary group they belonged to, the Inklings.  They shaped each other’s art.  It debunks the myth of the lone genius and highlights the need to work in collaboration.

This message is important for young people who have been told to put their dreams on hold in favor of a steady income.

It’s also important for older people who have not pursued their dreams believing in the inability of artists to make a living.

It’s time for a paradigm shift and Jeff Goins is leading the way

.  Buy now from Amazon

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Five Minute Friday: Future

It’s Friday.  Time for another link up with Kate Motaung.

Today’s prompt is: future.

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I live in the future.

That is where my daydream fantasies are always perfect.

Where things go my way and even my craziest ideas work out and are brilliantly successful.

All this as opposed to the here and now.

Where things are messy. And I screw up.

AND I CAN’T WRITE FOR FIVE MINUTES WITHOUT BEING INTERRUPTED!!

There’s just lots of irritations in the present.

The perfect, fantasy, daydream future is so enticing.  No wonder I want to live there instead of here.

I have to fight it.

I have to be present in the here and now.  With the mess.  With the interruptions.  With people who don’t agree with all my brilliant ideas, who point out the flaws and see the drawbacks that I don’t see.

I need to be present.  Here.  Today.

And not only present, but grateful.  Grateful for what is.  Grateful for the mess.  Grateful for the people who see the drawbacks and my imperfections and walk along with me anyway.

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3 Things I’ve Learned, Spring 2017

This season our lives have taken some unexpected twists:  car accident, theft, a good friend losing ground to cancer.  I’m re-evaluating God’s sovereignty and maybe trusting it more than I used to.

Linking up with Emily P. Freeman to share what we’ve learned.

Family Christian bookstores has closed all 240 locations nationwide.

These closings are of particular interest to me because we own a bookstore.

I’ve been following the story of Family Christian for a few years.  They became a non-profit several years ago.  Then they filed for bankruptcy.  Their creditors sued them after the original bankruptcy proposal.  So they re-organized and filed again.  Their second proposal was accepted.  That lasted two years.  Now they are shutting their doors for good.

Of course, Amazon and online purchasing is to blame.  Just like the big box bookstores that didn’t survive and many independent bookstores that have gone under.

I tend to think there are other factors in play as well. I think the quality of Christian products has influenced sales.  There are some notable exceptions, but there are a lot of poor quality products with a Christian stamp on them that ruins the reputation for all Christian sales.  Most notable are CDs and Movies, but I believe it to be true across the board.

I also think the climate Christianity in this country is reflected.  I don’t want to detract from good things going on, but there’s a lot of lukewarmness and apathy as well.

How to listen to podcasts on my phone

I’m a slow learner and not techy at all, but I was able to install the Stichter app to my phone and subscribe to my favorite podcasts.

I usually listen to the podcasts in the car to and from work or doing errands around town.

The Dave Ramsey Show is the one I listen to the most.  What Should I Read Next is one I don’t miss, although I’ve become a little wary of some of her top picks.

Speaking about not being techy:  I’m learning how to use MailChimp again.  I used it a decade ago to create a newsletter for a school.  But, it’s evolved since then and I have a terrible memory.   So, it’s an uphill learning curve.

I like the intellectual challenge of Five Minute Friday.  

Writing for five minutes based on a one word prompt has stretched my creativity in all the best ways.

I’ve learned the importance of limits: knowing when to start and when to stop.  Knowing when to stop is critical.  When you don’t know when to stop, it’s hard to get started.

My mind so quickly drifts to the theoretical and philosophical.  It’s my favorite type of thinking.  Practical execution, actually pulling it off?  Therein lies the rub.

What have you learned this Spring?

 

 

 

 

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Five Minute Friday: Visit

Linking up with Kate Motaung and Five Minute Friday.

This week’s prompt is: visit.

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Visit makes me think of temporary versus permanent.

As in, it’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

I’ve read a couple of of blog posts this week about Third Culture Kids transitioning and dealing with life.  I can relate to the itchy feet of wanting to move on, but also to the desire to put down some roots.

What are the elements that make up home?

I want to read Tsh Oxenrider’s book At Home in the World, because I think she deals with some of those same issues.

They say home is where the heart is, but what if your heart is stretched across continents?

The very word home carries a lot of meanings– a haven for some, but not for others.

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I love exploring the global nomad issues, especially when the light bulb comes on.  That happened  when I realized that our family tree was grafted.

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Who’s In Charge?

Who’s in charge?

The question has been echoing in my brain ever since my five year old niece asked me last month.

It was the first day of her parents’ 11 day absence.  I was filling in as caregiver, but I was the newbie.  She and her three sisters were getting me up to speed with how the system worked.  My biggest advantage was that I had the driver’s license.

So, I picked Charlotte up after school on the first day and she asked me flat out,  “Who’s charge?”  As if to say, let’s get the ground rules straight here:  where does the power lie? I was so stunned by the question, I don’t remember if I gave her a definitive answer.  I hope I did because it’s pretty important to win that battle up front.

But, it got me thinking.

I love, love, love setting goals.  I love new systems and “the answer to all life’s problems” and the new way of doing things that’s going to make All. The. Difference.

But, it often doesn’t work out.

I lose enthusiasm.  I drop the ball.  I don’t hit my goals.  I start over or give up.  I face insurmountable obstacles and get discouraged.  Life happens and things don’t work out.

And then I wonder again, “Who’s in charge?”

Is God in charge of my life or am I?  Am I the captain of ship or not?  Why bother to set goals if there’s a Higher Power moving the chess pieces?  How can I set goals that align with His agenda?

These are my questions.

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Coming Soon:  The Summer Reading Guide for All Ages.

Stay tuned.

 

 

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Five Minute Friday: Should

Linking up again with Kate Motaung and Five Minute Friday.  This might become a habit.

This week’s prompt is should.

Should feels like a heavy weight, crushing and debilitating.

It restricts freedom.

It’s the weight of expectations that are too much to bear.

Sometimes, should serves a useful purpose.  It gives us the kick in the hind quarters to move into action and accomplish what is good and right.

Sometimes, though, it paralyzes with regret and shame.

Where is there room for grace?

How can we leverage the helpful side of should without being smashed by the weight?

 

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50 Things I’ve Learned Since 1967

  1. Life is Difficult.
  2. People are complex.
  3. God is in control.
  4. Don’t get into a power struggle with a five year old.
  5. Make peace with routine.
  6. When you’re locked out of the house in your bathrobe, it’s okay to break the window.
  7. Writing 500 words a day is good for your emotional health.
  8. Sleep when the baby sleeps.
  9. There are seasons in life.  Some are harder than others.
  10. Gratitude is a habit you can cultivate.
  11. Guardian angels exist.  Toddlers make them work overtime.
  12. Introverts need to recharge alone.
  13. Eat frogs first thing in the morning.  Everything else will be downhill.
  14. Writing letters is a great antidote for loneliness.
  15. Music feeds the soul.
  16. Solitude is critical.
  17. Every decision is easier when you get on the same page first.
  18. Teamwork is hard.  Good teamwork is rare.
  19. Don’t forget to say “Thank you.”
  20. Put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others.
  21. It’s great to have your Mom there when the new baby comes.                                                                             
  22. Give gifts to the older kids when the new baby comes.
  23. Going to childbirth class helps, but it won’t solve all the problems.
  24. There’s nothing that highlights your own selfishness like marriage.
  25. Many problems can be solved by research, trial and error, and asking the experts.
  26. Take it to the Lord in prayer.
  27. The power to forgive is supernatural.
  28. Invest in friendships.
  29. Pay attention.  Especially if there’s not many other people waiting for your flight.
  30. Plan for down time in your schedule.  It’s essential for your mental health.
  31. A library card is your golden ticket.
  32. Reading solves scads of problems, either by learning something that helps or escaping into a story.
  33. Hold children on your lap when you read to them.
  34. Leadership gives you a bigger audience for your mistakes.
  35. Staff to your weaknesses.
  36. Invite people over who can’t reciprocate.
  37. Celebrate small wins.
  38. Sometimes the hardest person to extend grace to is yourself.  Do it anyway.
  39. Sometimes you have to do it badly.
  40. There are worse vices than chocolate.
  41. There’s hope for the directionally challenged.
  42. As much as it depends on you, be at peace with everyone.
  43. You can’t do more than you can do.
  44. Ask for help.
  45. You can’t go anywhere with one foot on the gas and one foot on the brake.
  46. You can’t steer a parked car.
  47. If you’re the mother of the groom, wear comfortable shoes.
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Five Minute Friday: More

Trying something new today.

Linking up with Kate Motaung and Five Minute Friday.

The prompt today is “more”.

Dave Ramsey had a great answer for a listener who wanted to know what the difference was between ambition and discontentment.

It’s something I’ve wondered about, too.

Dave made the point that selfish ambition is wrong, but ambition that isn’t selfish and doesn’t stem from discontentment is not wrong.

It’s possible to be ambitious for the right reasons and still be content.

Our desire for “more” can get us into trouble.

I guess, just like most of life’s challenges, it all comes back to heart issues.

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Hope for the Directionally Challenged

I have a severe directional disability.

I’ve had some bad experiences lately.  On one occasion, my gas tank was empty, my bladder was full and I was lost.  Not a good combination.  I can hardly describe the relief I felt after making a pit stop to take care of the urgent needs, then turning onto a familiar road that would take me home.

It’s causing me so much stress in my life, I’ve decided to analyze it, to see if I can figure out why I have so many problems and make some improvements.

Some relevant factors:

I don’t know which way is North and South.

I don’t know East and West if it’s night or mid-day.

I often confuse my Right and Left.

I get disoriented easily.

I have massive short term memory failure.

Brain fog.  Yes, that’s a thing.  It’s also a symptom of thyroid disease, so I’ll blame it on that.

I’m a slow learner.

I’m technically challenged.

I need to use reading glasses, which are not always close at hand.

I’m not used to my phone and don’t know how to operate it well.

I have trouble making decisions under pressure.

I drive a stick shift.

I don’t have a bird’s eye view of geography.

I don’t know which direction cities and towns are.

I don’t know where I live in relation to other cities and towns.

I don’t carry a map in the car.

I often forget to charge my phone.

When I print directions I forget to look up a return route.

I’m not used to using google maps on my phone.

After missing a turn or getting lost, turning around can be stressful.

I day dream a lot, especially in the car– riding or driving.

I’m not detail oriented.

I’m not observant.  (Maybe one reason I love Sherlock so much.)

I have trouble with focus and concentration.  My mind wanders faster than a two year old.

This is my life and it isn’t pretty.

Having broken down the components of the necessary skills, there’s some areas I can work on and improve.

Here’s what helps:

1. Doing my homework before I set out.  This is key.  Life is busy.  It’s tempting to think “I’ll figure it out on the way.”  Plus I’m preoccupied with what to wear, what snacks to throw in, what else do I need to bring, who do I need to communicate with and what’s the weather going to be like.   (I do live in Indiana, after all.)

But, if I don’t take enough time to actually study and understand the directions before I leave, I’m setting myself up for a bad experience.

Also, it helps me to take a minute to be mindful about which direction different cities lie  and which direction I’m heading.

I also need to plan a return route.  When you’re severely directionally challenged, you can’t just re-trace your steps.

2. Two sets of directions.  One printed from Maquest, plus Google Maps on my phone.

3. Make a cheat sheet. For me, this means a condensed version of the directions, with all the critical info written in large type.

4. Recharge the phone in the car.  Easy fix.

5. Focus and concentrate at the critical junctures.  During a one hour trip, for insistence, there might be only twenty minutes when concentration is necessary and 40 minutes of smooth sailing.  It’s not necessary to be on hyper alert the whole time.

If you never have a problem getting where you need to go, more power to you!

And three cheers for any analysis that makes life better.

 

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