Posts filed under ‘goals’

Favorite Sunday Ritual

A ritual is a set of actions or words, or a ceremony, performed in a regular (customary) way. Rituals can be done mindfully or as a part of a rote habit.
Rituals can be spiritual or good for self-care. Spiritual rituals can include morning prayers,  forgiveness, or going to a religious service each week. Healthy living rituals include running each evening after work, having a smoothie for breakfast, or giving yourself a facial each Saturday night.
“I learned a few years ago that balance is the key to a happy and successful life, and a huge part of achieving that balance is to instill rituals into your everyday life – a nutritious balanced diet, daily exercise, time for yourself through meditation, reading, journaling, yoga, daily reflection, and setting goals.” Gretchen Bleiler

I’ve tried to institute various forms of Sunday rituals. They’ve included: prepare my meals for the week, clean out my purse, write a letter, go through my calendar and plan the week, and organize outfits for the coming work week. None of these have stuck long-term.

But I’ve discovered one Sunday ritual that is absolutely necessary for me to indulge in so I can have a great week. This ritual is free and doesn’t require a lot of energy or prep. It is an afternoon nap.

“Exercise, prayer, and meditation are examples of calming rituals. They have been shown to induce a happier mood and provide a positive pathway through life’s daily frustrations, ” Chuck Norris.

A 90-minute nap is best for me. It helps me to shed some of the past week’s weariness and gives me a bit of an energy-edge for the coming week. It feels luxurious and this bit of spoiling lifts my mood. This nap absolutely impacts the quality of the coming week.

Skip it and I pay the consequences. I won’t have as much stamina or happiness in the next seven days. When I don’t have a Sunday nap, I feel like I’ve cheated myself.

Your Turn . . .  What weekly ritual do you have that is indispensable in terms of good self-care? . . . What are some ideas you read here that you want to try this week?

Related Posts . . . 

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Whittling Down 100 Posts in 200 Days

Do you prefer to write by hand or with a keyboard? Explain. … When I have time, I prefer to write by hand. It is a comforting experience and I am more creative.

I currently have 306 drafts for this blog. Please tell me I am not the only one to have so many ideas and half-done posts.

By Wednesday, September 2, 200 days away, I want to write and/or delete 100 posts. In addition to working on draft posts, I’ll be writing Friday’s Fave Fives and sneaking in brand new posts, as well.

Now, if I am honest, I would like to say I’d whittle down 100 posts in 100 days. But, I seem to have over-achiever syndrome. While I could do 100 posts in 100 days, I most likely would resent the project after a week or so. This year, I want to enjoy what I am doing in all areas of my life. Therefore, I am giving myself grace and doing this in 200 days.

I want to have my drafts down to 206 by September 2nd. I am giving myself permission to delete posts that are inconsequential and no longer interesting to me. Yikes! That is a scary thought

I will do the following . . .

Friday’s Fave Five Posts – A weekly gratitude meme

  • 4 posts — March
  • 5 posts – May
  • 4 posts -June
  • 5 posts – July
  • 4 posts – August

Finish Up Drafts

  • Finish Kindness series
  • FInish Laughter series
  • Consider Broken Shoulder Series or delete
  • Consider a series about Chip or delete
  • Series on Diabetes Management (April)
  • Spring Bucket List
  • Posts on Lent and Easter

New Posts

  • National Holidays
  • Posts from file on “Writing Ideas”

Your Turn . . .  How many drafts do you have on your blog? Want to join me in this venture? If yes, comment with how many drafts you’ll take care of by September 2, 2020. 

Related Posts . . . 31 Days of Finishing: Table of Contents & What it is About

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5 Items to Include on Every Bucket List

A thankful outlook gives us freedom from negativity

I LOVE bucket lists. It’s fun to brainstorm about what to try, where to go, etc. Making such a list helps me to be more life-focused. And because my life is more focused on what I DO want, I am more thankful. Which means I am also less negative and aimless.

But as much fun and purpose-driven a bucket list is, I don’t want it to be all about ME and MY experiences even though it is MY bucket list.

I want my bucket list to be a force for good                                                 and to cause me to grow.

There are 5 things I think that should be on every bucket list.  The posts in this series are below. As the post goes live, I will hot-link the title.

  • Introduction
  • 5 Items to Include on Every Bucket List: More Gratitude
  • 5 Items to Include on Every Bucket List: Love God Better
  • 5 Items to Include on Every Bucket List: Love People Better
  • 5 Items to Include on Every Bucket List: Love Myself Better
  • 5 Items to Include on Every Bucket List: Love My Enemy Better

I will share a post each Sunday and Tuesday.

Your Turn . . . Do you include items on your bucket list that cause you to grow and/or are a force for good? Share some ideas.

Related Posts . . . 

See you on Sunday!

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7 Reasons to Eat Salad

Best ever taco Salad. There was delicious FLAVOUR in every bite. We didn’t miss the chips. You could eat this at every meal.

I don’t prefer salad. Left to my natural inclinations I will go for the junk food: Cheetos, ice cream and Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut Chocolate bars.  Or I will go for the easy food: oatmeal, microwave popcorn, and McDonald’s burgers.

BUT I have diabetes. And if I want to keep control of this awful disease, I NEED and WANT to eat differently. Therefore, I have ventured into the salad-making and salad eating world.

I’ve thought about “why” eat salad. Thinking about this why helps me to keep on making that a key focus in my food repertoire. I know that salads are full of fiber and good nutrients. In addition to those ideas, below is my why list.

  1. A salad is easy to put together. Most days I don’t want to spend a lot of time preparing meals. So I really need and want easy. I usually buy the bags of precut veggies. And sometimes I buy the bags of already prepared chopped salads. Buying these types of foods takes away any reluctance or time to chop. And thus it is an EASY meal to prepare.
  2. A salad is a complete meal. This also adds to the easy factor. I buy already cooked protein or prep it myself and toss it into the vegetable/lettuces mix. I frequently have raw nuts and hard-boiled eggs on hand for such purposes. Sometimes I add a few beans (garbanzo

    I love it when my fridge is filled with this kind of jarred goodies.

    is a fave). Avocado is a must. And I love adding either strawberries or blueberries.

  3. You can make a week’s worth by putting them in mason jars. When I am feeling energetic or have some programs to get caught up on, I’ll buy a bunch of salad foods and pep them while watching TV or listening to a TED talk. I don’t put dressing in mine because I have a bottle at work. Having these salads prepared in advance helps me save money and helps ensure I have at least one salad a day.
  4. There are TONS of recipes to try. I don’t have to get bored eating them. It is easy to find salad recipes that are healthy for me and that fit into the diabetic guidelines. My daughter visited last weekend and we tested three new (to me) salads: (1) Citrus Crab Salad  (2) The Breakfast Salad and a (3) Paleo Taco Salad.
  5. My blood sugar numbers always go down after eating one. This is a marvel to me. My body adores salad. Of course I make sure that I have healthy ingredients (no dried fruits, croutons, added sugar, etc) and that I don’t slobber the salad in dressing. The dressing is usually vinegar and oil.
  6. Salads are versatile. I can (and do) eat them for any meal. When I am at a restaurant for breakfast. I’ve been known to order a garden salad with two eggs “over easy” on top. I get stares. And I also get a good for me breakfast.
  7. Salads are crunchy. Now this may seem like a silly reason to eat salad. But to me, this is important! I can’t do many all liquid meals as I NEED to feel like I am actually chewing. And the crunchier the better. Chewing this type of food helps me feel satisfied and full for longer.

Your Turn …

  • What is your “why” for eating salad?
  • Do you have a fave recipe or two? If yes, share that recipe.

Related Posts . . .

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Musicals Bucket List – My 59th Year Challenge

In these last few years, I’ve often done a yearlong challenge that commemorates how old I am. And there is the added bonus that the challenge helps me remember how old I am.

  • One year I collected that number of Operation Christmas Child boxes.
  • Twice I read that number of books.
  • And this year, my 59th year, I am going to watch musicals. Between March 2017-March 2018, I will watch 59 musicals.

Yes, believe it or not, there are THAT many musicals. In fact there are 100’s of them. TRULY.

So just between these two sources there are about 100 musicals.

And stars such as Elvis Presley, Bing Crosby, Doris Day, and Fred Astaire (to name a few) have starred in many musicals as well.

I found several links that pointed me in the right direction:

And I asked my friends on Facebook to recommend their favorite musicals. They gave me 78 ideas.

I picked this challenge because I thought I hadn’t seen very many musicals. Boy was I wrong. On most lists I’ve seen about 50% of the titles. Yet, there are huge gaps in my viewing history. And there are more than 59 musicals I could see.

I made up a list of potentials musical dates. I will see what I can see through Amazon streaming videos, Netflix, the library, thrift store, friends’ collections, and the stage. Since I might not be able to find each one, this list will most likely change.

Which ones on my to-watch list have you seen?

  1. 1776
  2. 42nd Stree
  3. Across the Universe
  4. An American in Paris
  5. Anchors Aweigh
  6. Babes in Arms
  7. Babes in Toyland
  8. Barefoot in the Park
  9. Burlesque
  10. Calamity Jane
  11. Camelot
  12. Carousel
  13. Chicago
  14.  Chorus Line
  15. Christmas Carol with Kelsey Grammer
  16. Dreamgirls
  17. Duck Soup
  18. Easter Parade
  19. Evita
  20. Finian’s Rainbow
  21. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
  22. Gigi
  23. Guys and Dolls
  24. Gypsy
  25. Hair
  26. Hairspray
  27. Happy Go Lovely
  28. Hello Dolly
  29. High School Musical
  30. High Society
  31. How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
  32. Into the Woods
  33. Jersey Boys
  34. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
  35. The Last Five Years
  36. Little Shop of Horrors
  37. Lili
  38. Man of La Mancha
  39. Meet Me in St Louis
  40. The Mikado
  41. Moulin Rouge!
  42. Newsies
  43. Oliver!
  44. On a Clear Day You Can See Forever
  45. On The Town
  46. Otello
  47. The Pajama Game
  48. Princess and the Frog
  49. The Producers
  50. Rent!
  51. Robin and the 7 Hoods
  52. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
  53. Second Chorus
  54. Showboat
  55. A Star is Born
  56. State Fair 
  57. Sweeney Todd
  58. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
  59. Viva Las Vegas

Your Turn . . . 

  • Do you do anything special to commemorate your own birthday? If yes, what?
  • Do you do yearlong challenges? If yes, how has that gone and what do you do?
  • Are there any musicals I should add to my list?

Related Resources . . .

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Did I Read 58 Books Last Year? Summary of My 58th Year Challenge


I recently had a birthday, so it is time to evaluate how well I did on my birthday challenge.
I challenged myself to read 58 books because I was 58 years old last year. Did I meet that goal?

Turns out I was a reading fool! I read 111 books.

I’ve always loved books and last year I read differently.

  • I read series. In fact I read books from 8 series. The first series I’ve read to completion as an adult is The Mitford series by Jan Karon. Then I discovered Louise Penny, Shannon Stoker, Douglas Preston and James Patterson (to name a few). I don’t know why I went on a series binge, but it certainly was fun.
  • I finished some unfinished titles. I was able to read to completion four books that have been languishing in my to-finish pile. I am most proud of finishing Moby Dick. I really s-t-r-u-g-g-l-e-d with the first part of that book. Then when I picked it again last year, I LOVED reading it.  And I wondered why it took me so long to finish. The Imitation of Christ was such a deep read, I just couldn’t rush through it.
  • I discovered the Gilmore Girls reading list. I read 8 books from that diverse list last year. I plan on reading the 339 books that Rory read. So far I’ve read 82 books.
  • I am obsessed with yearlong quests. Several years ago I read Living Oprah: My One-Year Experiment to Live as TV’s Most Influential Guru Advises. And I was hooked on this genre. This year I read three such books. The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life was my FAVE book in this category. And it is one I will reread so I can re-immerse myself in its helpful ideas.  This link has 12 ideas and I plan on reading from this list this 59th year.

Read the rest of the post to see the 111 titles and other categories.

Assorted Titles

  1. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron – I read and did the assignments with my daughter.
  2. Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Gratitude: 101 Stories about How Being Thankful Can Change Your Life by Amy Newmark and Deborah Norville
  3. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
  4. Daughters of the Dragon by William Andrews – I read this as an e-book while traveling in Taiwan.
  5. The Einstein Prophecy by Robert Masello – New author to me which I enjoyed a lot.
  6. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
  7. The Good Life Lab: Radical experiments in Hands-On Living  by Wendy Tremayne
  8. Iscariot: A Novel of Judas by Tosca Lee – I want to read more books by this author.
  9. The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd-Jones – This book has beautiful pictures and words
  10. Long Way Gone by Charles Martin – This is a title for the reread list.
  11. Miss Julia Inherits a Mess by Ann B. Ross (published this year-2016)
  12. One Memory At A Time: Inspiration & Advice for Writing Your Famiy History by D.G. Fulford
  13. The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller
  14. The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty
  15. A Paris Apartment: A Novel by Michelle Gable – While reading this book I kept Googling historical events and people.
  16. Pure Heart, Enlightened Mind: The Life and Letters of an Irish Zen Saint by Maura O’Halloran
  17. Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation by Gabriele Oettingen
  18. The Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner
  19. The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher – This is also a must reread. 
  20. A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller – I confess, this is not the fist time I’ve read this book.
  21. A Spy’s Guide to Thinking by John Braddock
  22. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon
  23. Still Alice by Lisa Genova – Tears, and more tears as I read this book about Alice, a 50-year-old Harvard professor diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s.
  24. Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson
  25. Thinner in 30: small changes that add up to big weight loss in just 30 days by Jenna Wolfe
  26. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battle by Steven Pressfield

Audio – I am not usually one who listens to books on tape. And I enjoyed doing this while walking or driving.

  1. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
  2. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  3. Memoirs of a Geisha: A Novel by Arthur Golden
  4. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  5. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Spears

Austen in August – This is the second time I participated in this yearly internet challenge.

  1. Emma: a Modern Retelling by Alexander McCall Smith
  2. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen

Book to Movie – So far, I’ve only seen one of these books as a movie. If you’ve seen these movies, which one(s) do you recommend?

  1. The BFG by Roald Dahl
  2. The Circle by Dave Eggers
  3. The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins
  4. A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers
  5. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ramsom Riggs
  6. Silence by Shusaku Endo

Gilmore Girls Book List – There are 339 books on this list. I read 8 of them this past year. Now the total # I’ve read is 82.

  1. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
  2. Atonement by Ian McEwan
  3. Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
  4. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  5. Deenie by Judy Blume
  6. Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn
  7. S is for Silence by Sue Grafton
  8. Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals by Anne Collett

Recommended – I got these ideas from friends, blogs, and Facebook.

  1. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilber
  2. Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World by Anthony Doerr
  3. The Chocolate Snowman Murders: A Chocoholic Mystery by JoAnna Carl
  4. The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick
  5. Lying Awake by Mark Salzman ]
  6. Moloka’i by Alan Brennert
  7. The Nazi Officer’s Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust by Edith H. Beer and Susan Dworkin
  8. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
  9. We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson

SERIES – I read books in EIGHT series this year 

One. Alexander McCall Smith: Isabel Dalhousie Series – I plan on reading all the books in this series. I started reading this because I found books #57 & 58 at the dollar store and loved them.

  1. The Careful Use of Compliments (book 4/11)
  2. The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds (book 9/11)

Two. Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child: Gideon Crew Series – Completed the series.

  1. The Ice Limit
  2. Gideon’s Sword
  3. Gideon’s  Corpse
  4. The Lost Island
  5. Beyond the Ice Limit

Three. James Patterson: Women’s Murder Club (books 1-9) – I plan on reading all the books in this series.

  1. 1st to Die
  2. 2nd Chance
  3. 3rd Degree
  4. 4th of July
  5. The 5th Horseman
  6. 6th Target
  7. 7th Heaven
  8. 8th Confession
  9. 9th Judgement

Four. Jan Karon: The Mitford Series (books 3-10) – This is the first series I read to completion as an adult. There are only two book series I read when younger (and again as an adult): Chronicles of Narnia and Anne of Green Gables.

  1. These High, Green Hills
  2. Out to Canaan
  3. A New Song
  4. A Common Life: the Wedding Story
  5. In This Mountain
  6. Fluke Light from Heaven
  7. Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good
  8. Come Rain or Come Shine

Five. Joanne Fluke: Hannah Swenson Mysteries with Recipes

  1. Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (book 1/21)
  2. Strawberry Shortcake Murder (book 2/21)
  3. Blueberry Muffin Murder (book 3/21_
  4. Lemon Meringue Pie Murder (book 4/21)
  5. Blackberry Pie Murder (book 17/21)
  6. Double Fudge Brownie Murder (book 18/21)
  7. Wedding Cake Murder (book 19/21)
  8. Christmas Caramel Murder (book 20/21)

Six. Justin Cronin: The Passage Trilogy

  1. The Passage (1/3)

Seven. Louise Penny: Chief Inspector Gamache Novels (books 1-11) – Completed the series and I wish there were more!

  1. Still Life
  2. A Fatal Grace
  3. The Cruelest Month
  4. A Rule Against Murder
  5. The Brutal Telling
  6. Bury Your Dead
  7. The Hangman
  8. A Trick of the Light
  9. The Beautiful Mystery
  10. How the Light Gets In
  11. The Long Way Home
  12. The Nature of the Beast
  13. A Great Reckoning

Eight. Shannon Stoker: The Registry (books 2-3) – Completed the series.

  1. The Collection
  2. The Alliance

Unfinished: Books that took me several years to finish reading

  1. The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis
  2. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  3. The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
  4. Umapped Darkness: Finding God’s Path Through Suffering by Thomas Finch

Yearlong Theme – I am captivated by books in this genre

  1. The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life by Janice Kaplan
  2. My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife: a One-Year Experiment and Its Surprising Results by Sara Horn
  3. Learning to Breathe: My Yearlong quest to Bring Calm to My Life by Priscilla Warner

Your Turn . . . 

  • Did you make any reading goals last year? Did you meet them?
  • Did you read “differently” this year? If yes, how so?
  • Were any books a surprise?
  • Which one(s) would you recommend that I read?

Related Resources . . .

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My 2016 BINGO Reading Challenge

My 2016 Reading BINGO List. The first of many for this year.

My 2016 Reading BINGO List.

Are you competitive?

I am. I am even competitive in my reading. Therefore reading challenges spur me on to read more consistently. Last year my goal was to read 57 books.

Did I make that goal? YES! And I did so with 30 books to spare!!!

This year, (starting in my birth month) I want to read 58 books. I will use various “techniques” to get there. One such technique is using BINGO.

In past years I have used other people’s BINGO lists. This year I came up with one of my own. I picked categories because I like to read a bunch of books from the same author, from a series, etc. In other words, I LIKE to batch read from categories.

Below are the 5 categories I finally settled on

  • 5 Books by the Author Charles Dickens
  • 5 Books I’ve Never Finished
  • 5 Books from the Gilmore Girls Books List
  • 5 Books from the The Mitford Series by Jan Karon
  • 5 Books That Have Been Recommended
  • . My list of books is at the very end of this post.

You can go here to fill out and then print your own BINGO Reading List card.

Each time I make a BINGO, I will allow myself a treat. As I am not so good in the reward department, I am not sure what that will be. I would like it to be book related.

  •  I don’t want to buy another book as there are TONS of choices on my Kindle and bookshelves and from the library.
  • Maybe read a book not ON THE LIST?
  • Give me some ideas, please!
  • And when I get a BLACKOUT, at that time I will BUY a book from my Amazon Wish List. I have hundreds to choose from. Seriously.

Your Turn . . . 

  • Are you competitive – even in reading?
  • Do you ever do BINGO Reading Challenges? Why? And how do you reward yourself for completing a BINGO? A blackout?
  • Have you ever made up your own BINGO list? If yes, how about linking it?
  • If you were to design one similar to mine, what categories would you include?
  • How many of the books on my list have you already read? The list is at the end of this post.
  • It would be so fun if you’d read along with me. Let me know if you decide to.

Related Posts . . . 

Below are the books in each category. Of course I reserve the right to make changes at any time!

5 Dickens Books

  1. Oliver Twist
  2. The Old Curiosity Shop
  3. Our Mutual Friend
  4. David Copperfield
  5. The Pickwick Papers‎

5 Unfinished Books

  1. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  2. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy 
  3. Simply Christian by NT Wright
  4. The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis
  5. Unmapped Darkness by Thomas Finch

5 Gilmore Girls Books

  1. S is for Silence by Sue Grafton
  2. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
  3. Elle Minnow Pea by
  4. Atonement by Ian McEwan
  5. Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy

5 Mitford Books

  1. These High, Green Hills
  2. Out to Canaan
  3. A New Song
  4. A Common Life: the Wedding Story
  5. In This Mountain

5 Recommended Books

  1. The Passage by Justin Cronin (Barb)
  2. Chocolate Snowman Murders by Joanna Carl
  3. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (Elizabeth)
  4. Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World by Anthony Doerr
  5. The Lost Island by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (book 3/4)

 

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I Read 87 Books in 2015

My goal is to read and reread all the books I own. Then I will purge the shelves.

My goal is to read and reread all the books I own. Then I will purge the shelves.

One of my goals for my 57th year of life, was to read 57 books. To help me accomplish that goal I signed up for reading challenges. I am competitive and I even like to compete against myself!

I signed up for the following challenges . . .

The rest of the titles I read came from recommendations, gifts, and from my bookshelves.

I met my challenge of 57 books and raised it by 30!!!

Your Turn . . .

  • Did you make a reading goal for 2015? Did you meet it?
  • How do you motivate yourself to read?
  • What are some books you’d recommend that I read?
  • Have you read all 87 books on my list?

Below is the list of books I read in 2015.

  1. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
  2. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (audio)
  3. A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter by William Deresiewicz
  4. A Light in the Window (book 2) by Jan Karon
  5. A Man of Grit and Grace: Paul by Charles Swindoll
  6. A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
  7. A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken
  8. An Acceptable Time by Madeline L’Engle
  9. An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louise May Alcott
  10. At Home in Mitford (book 1) by Jan Karon
  11. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  12. Choosing Gratitude: Learning to Love the Life you Have by James A Autry
  13. Christmas Day in the Morning By Pearl S Buck
  14. Dawn’s Light by Terri Blackstock
  15. Emma by Jane Austen
  16. Franklin and Winston: A Christmas That Changed the World by Douglas Wood
  17. Get It Done: From Procrastination to Creative Genius in 15 Minutes a Day by Sam Bennett and Keegan-Michael Key
  18. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
  19. Heart of Darkness by Joseph ConraD
  20. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  21. I Know How She Does It by Laura Vanderkam
  22. I’m Glad I’m a Mom: Inspirational Stories of Love, Laughter, and Everyday Life by Hearts at Home
  23. Inspiration Sandwich by SARK
  24. Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding
  25. Laddie; a true blue story, by Gene Stratton Porter
  26. Last Light by Terri Blackstock
  27. Lay My Isaac Down by Carol Kent
  28. Let Magic Happen: Adventures in Healing with a Holistic Radiologist by Larry Burk
  29. Living Oprah by Robyn Okrant
  30. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  31. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
  32. Miss Julia Lays Down the Law by Ann B. Ross
  33. MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend by Rachel Bertsche
  34. Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
  35. Night by Elie Wiesel
  36. Night Light by Terri Blackstock
  37. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  38. On The Outside Looking Indian by Rupinder Gill
  39. One Thousand White Women: The Journals of Mary Todd by Jim Fergus
  40. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  41. Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter
  42. Prayer: Life’s Limitless Reach by Jack R Taylor
  43. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  44. R Is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton
  45. Seasons in Rome: on twins, insomnia, and the biggest funeral in the history of the world by Anthony Doer
  46. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  47. Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon
  48. Skipping Christmas: A Novel by John Grisham
  49. Still Alice by Lisa Genova
  50. Still Life by Louise Penny
  51. The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion: A Novel by Fannie Flagg
  52. The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance by John Trent & Gary Smalley
  53. The Christmas Pearl by Dorothea Benton Frank
  54. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson
  55. The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds by Rip Esselstyn
  56. The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
  57. The Great Divorce by CS Lewis
  58. The History of the Snowman by Bob Eckstein
  59. The Hope Quotient by Ray Johnson
  60. The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
  61. The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson
  62. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo
  63. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  64. The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate
  65. The Pursuit of God Paperback by A. W. Tozer
  66. The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe
  67. The Registry (Book 1/3) by Shannon Stoker
  68. The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie
  69. The Secrets of Mary Bowser by Lois Leveen
  70. The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge
  71. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
  72. The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope
  73. The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Grove at Home and Work by Christine Carter
  74. The Turn of the Screw and Other Short Fiction by Henry James
  75. The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill
  76. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  77. Thrush Green by Miss Read
  78. Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch
  79. Too Busy Not To Pray by Bill Hybels
  80. True Light by Terri Blackstock
  81. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
  82. Walking the Road to Bethlehem: Your Journey to Christmas by Adam Hamilton
  83. We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson
  84. What’s So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey
  85. Wide My World Narrow My Bed: Living & Loving the Single Life By Luci Swindoll
  86. Writing is My Drink by Theo Pauline Nestor
  87. Zero Belly Diet: Lose Up to 16 lbs. in 14 Days! By David Zinczenko

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Ideas from this Date Over the Years

A cool feature (I think) from Facebook is that you can see what you’ve posted in years past on the same date. On today’s date (November 4th) I posted (among other others) about my health, politics, and Christmas. One reason I post these things is so that I’ll remember them for future use.

Only thing is, I hardly ever go back and do anything with the posted ideas. Or even if I wanted to, I have a hard time refinding them. So I am going to share some of these ideas that I don’t want to lose track of a 2nd time.

Christmas – Because it’s never too early for Christmas ideas, Plus Christmas is only 7 weekends away.

Politics – A friend posted this and I had to steal. This is wise advice.

Wise politcal advice

Another “P” word – Poetry – I am not a natural poetry reader. I have read 5 poems (all from my school years) that I still remember.

  1. The Raven – I am not sure why this Edgar Allan Poe poem has stayed with me all these years. But I usually read it once a year around Halloween. It seems a fitting, eerie poem.
  2. The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere – The exciting pulse and rendering of a historical event kept my attention and imagination captive. This link takes you to the poem in music form.
  3. The Children’s Hour – which I had to memorize and recite in front of the class. This is also a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; the Paul Revere poem was, too. I wonder if I heard them the same year from the same teacher?
  4. If – I kept a cheesy scrapbook in high school. I put in the obvious photos but also things of an inspirational nature. This poem by Rudyard Kipling was one of them.
  5. The 23rd Psalm – I learned this as a child. And I remember teaching it to my sister when she was a child. (I am the much, much older sister as she would say). I didn’t understand all the theological implications then, but it brought me peace.

This post, How to Read Poetry, a Step-by-Step Guide, gives 20 ideas on, well, how to read poetry. Since I’d like to better educate myself in this area, I a going to try these ideas. And I will look for 5 new poems to chew on. Any suggestions?

Tiny House inspiration – Someday I’d like to live in a tiny house in a beautiful setting.

My Health.

  • A friend tagged me to share this post about what beneficial things can happen when you drink water on an empty stomach.
  • I wrote this post(which links to Twitter and FB) on 3 Ways to Get More Gratitude in Your Life. What would you add to this list?
  • On this date in 2008 I evidently didn’t feel well as someone wished me success in getting better soon. Oddly enough. TODAY I woke up with a COLD complete with the constant drip- like so drippy you put toilet paper in your nose. Oh, you don’t do that.

If you are on Facebook, what did you post in your years past? 

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Finding Laughter: The Habit of Cheerfulness (Day 27)

Finding Laughter 31 Days of writingHealthy laughter, especially regular and copious amounts of laughter, requires a cheerful heart. This bookI’d Rather Be Laughing: Finding Cheer in Every Circumstance by Marilyn Meberg, tells how to develop a cheerful heart.

I will list some of the points that Meberg makes about establishing a foundation of cheer. Be sure to read the book in order to get the back-stories and all of her ideas.

Recognize Life Is Not Meant To Be Perfect

“Of course we all know nothing is perfect-don’t we? Yet why do we continue to feel restless and on a quest for perfection? What makes us think it is attainable? And how can we find cheer when we’re muddling about looking for perfection?” ~ Marilyn Meberg

We look for this perfection in our marriages, children, and in fact in all relationships. We look for perfection in the service industry, in those we deal with at work (whether a co-worker, boss, client, or assistant). We look for perfection in ourselves: how we look, talk, and perform in all areas of life. We look for perfection from our machinery: cars, air conditioners, computers, and this list goes on and on. And when perfection is not attained we get depressed, angry, GROUCHY or feel picked upon.

But anyone can . . .

Develop A Habit Of Cheerfulness

By developing the HABIT of cheerfulness, we can live with an ATTITUDE of cheerfulness. We acquire certain behavior patterns [aka habits] by frequent repetition.”[1]   These frequent repetitions of behavior affect our thinking and feeling. [2] What do we need to repeat and repeat? Two things: what we think and recalling the past.

Make A Choice On How To Think

Our attitude is directly impacted by what we think. Taking a cue from Philippians 4:8, let’s think on these things throughout our days.

“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” (Philippians 4:8, MSG)

Until I read this version of the verse (The Message) I would have said I was fine, that I have gracious thoughts and words. But this past weekend I was complaining (cursing really but without bad words) about service that we received at a famous coffee shop. I really do want to concentrate more on praising and stop with the complaining.

So I want  to CHOOSE to think upon the “true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.

Bring Up The Past

“I am convinced that one of life’s most easily accessible sources of cheer is to remember some of the off-the-wall, crazy things that happen to us. . . The original cheerful feeling will always remain attached to that memory. . . . Seeing and reliving those good memories can give me a giggle as well as a break from the circumstances that threaten to overwhelm me during a difficult time.” ~ Marilyn Meberg

I have already started a laughter journal because of this #write31days commitment. I am writing down things that made me laugh from my childhood, but that has been HARD to remember that far back. I think I need to include more current things like I did laugh at Retreat a LOT:

  • A bathroom conversation where Bip misunderstood what I said
  • Mary told stories that were startling and so were FUNNY
  • Seeing LaRee so excited about singing Jabba the Hut

These are just a few things that will go into my journal. It is true, thinking about them now gives me a giggle.

There are more points from this book. I will share a couple more in a future post. But you’ll have to read the book to really know them. This book is WORTH the read.

Your Turn . . . Do you already have the habit of cheerfulness? . . . . Did you know another way we can develop this cheerful habit is by “indulging” in more fun. What do you do at home, work, or in the neighborhood that fosters the atmosphere of fun? I NEED ideas.

I am joining 100’s of others at #write31days to write every day in October on a single topic. My topic is 31 Days of Finding Laughter. I will spend time each day studying laughter to see if I can improve my laughter quotient.

Go here for the landing page which has all the posts in one spot.

Read, learn, and discover with me what this world of laughter is all about and is it all that it’s cracked up to be. And be sure to leave a comment. Talking together will make for a richer, interactive experience for all of us.

[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/habit

[2] http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/attitude

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Best Things To Do This Fall 2015 – My Fall Bucket List

Photo by Severin Winkler

Photo by Severin Winkler

Fall starts this year September 23 and ends December 21. I haven’t done a Fall Bucket List  in a while and so I am going to do one this year. This time I am going to put most of my list into one of the months. Maybe that way, I will get more done.

Why do I write Bucket Lists? I want to live more intentionally . . I want to spend more FUN time with friends and family. And sometimes my experiences take me out of my comfort zone which always cause me to grow!

September 23-30

  1. Watch a movie with friends. I will watch Les Mis with the PEP group from church. This movie is part of our 5th Tuesday Movie Night series.
  2. Fall Drink – Have a pumpkin spiced latte with a friend. Or make this one at home.
  3. Decorate – Put up one Fall decoration in my home or office. I normally only decorate for Christmas. But I am trying something new this year. Maybe this burlap wreath? This felt flower wreath is also cute.
  4. Create – Make Bed Treats for Women’s Retreat. I will do this with the Women’s Ministry team.
  5. Read –  As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

UPDATE – – – Fall Bucket List Update – September 2015

OCTOBER 1-31

  1. Plan my weekend with Sofia. Her parents are gone one weekend and I get to have her.
  2. Autumn Field Trip. See if anyone wants to go to a corn maze, cemetery tour, or pumpkin patch with me.
  3. Refresh – Go to Women’s Retreat at Zephyr Point
  4. Create – a pumpkin masterpiece (carve, paint, glitter, or use stickers for a subway art pumpkin). Maybe create this sunflower mural with our Sunday School classes.
  5. Watch a movie with friends: He Named Me Malala. Here is the Official Trailer. This will be advertised as a women’s event for our church. Have you read the book?
  6. Read  – a scary book: The Turn of the Screw and Other Short Fictionby Henry James or The ghost stories of Edith Wharton. Here is a list of more scary books. Have you read any of these?
  7. Participate in Nester’s 31 Days of Writing. I am studying and writing about laughter. There are 100’s who do this every year. Why don’t you join us?

UPDATE – – – 

NOVEMBER 1-30

  1. Read – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens before seeing the play.
  2. Field Trip – Go see A Christmas Carol: The Musical with the PEP group at Folsom Lake College.
  3. Another Bucket List – Write a Thanksgiving Bucket List and do at least a few of the items.
  4. Celebrate Thanksgiving in a new way – We probably won’t be going to the beach this year
  5. Make advent festive. Perhaps by making a grown up Advent calendar. See this online Advent calendar. Here is an advent chain to make. Advent November 29 (ends December 24).
  6. Donate something extra. Operation Christmas Child is always something I do. Here are some posts about Operation Christmas Child . . . Everyone Can Help One Child . . . Grateful I am Able to Help  . . . I Help Because I am a Parent, Auntie, and Missionary . . . Love in a Box . . . My Plan to Collect 55 OCC Boxes 

UPDATE – – – Fall Bucket List Update – November

DECEMBER 1-21

  1. Celebrate advent some more. Pick one/more of the following: wear purple, make a wreath, read an advent devotional, Read this. Or read this. This site has Advent ideas.
  2. Make snowman Christmas ornaments. I do this yearly with my nieces and daughter. Here are some past examples. Snowman Ornaments Made of Foam & Some Made with Eyeglasses . . . From Eyeglasses to Snowman Ornament (tutorial) . . .  4 Types of Home-Made Ornaments Using Decoupage, Dough, Clay, & Fabric
  3. Watch a movie with friends: The 33. Here is a trailer.
  4. More movies. I LOVE watching Christmas movies. Before Christmas, I want to watch 4 of them. Here are some posts I written about them. 3 Reasons to Watch Christmas Movies . . .  Christmas Movies I Watched in 2011 . . .  A Charlie Brown Christmas Quiz . . . The Nativity Filled Our Time and Minds

UPDATE – – – Didn’t write one.

Your Turn . . . What things would you put on your Fall Bucket list? . . . Will you do any of the above mentioned things these next 3 months? . . . What is something I could do this Fall that would take me out of my comfort zone?

Related Posts . . . 

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Friday’s Fave Five (July 31, 2015)

However many blessings we expect from God, His infinite liberality will always exceed all our wishes and our thoughts,” John Calvin. This week is FULL of blessings that exceeded my expectations. Here are 5 of them.

Elizabeth, Susan (me), and Mary: Mary has been a family friends for 30+ years.

Elizabeth, Susan (me), and Mary: Mary has been a family friend for 30+ years.

ONE. Unexpected meeting with a long time friend. Elizabeth and I were shopping for some last minute things for a potluck at church the next day. Then we happily came across Mary!

Mary was a dear friend of my mom’s. And we have many memories of these two. Mary and I made plans to meet up soon so she could share some more memories of my mom. I am soooo glad to have this updated photo of the 3 of us together.

Your Turn . . . Do you have a friend who has (some untold) memories of a dear departed family member? Mary is one such person for us. I want to journal what she tells me so I can include this information in our family history.

Marsha, Susan (me), and Giillian:We've been friends for years. But we;ve been birthday lunching for only several years.

Marsha, Susan (me), and Giillian: We’ve been friends for years. But we’ve been birthday lunching for only several years. I am looking forward to many more years together!

TWO. Birthday lunch group.

This time we celebrated Marsha. The birthday girl gets to pick the spot. We went to a restaurant that specializes in comfort foods: Dad’s Kitchen.

Marsha and Gillian are foodies and slowly I am learning a thing or two because of their conversation, time spent cooking with them,  and because of some of the places we have visited.

Your Turn . . .  Do you participate in a lunch group (birthday or otherwise)? If yes, why do y’all meet up? Are you a foodie?

My daughter and I sealed the can this week. We'll open it in July of 2018.

My daughter and I sealed the can this week. We’ll open it in July of 2018.

THREE. Sealed our memory can.

You could also call this memory can a time capsule. Completing a time capsule is something I had on my Birthday Bucket List for this year.

We brainstormed some questions that we’d love to know the answers to in three years. (I will be 60 in 3 years.)

  • Health
  • Prices of things
  • Dreams
  • Highs and lows of 2015 (so far)
  • Books read and projects completed in 2015 (so far)
  • Memorable photos

Your Turn . . . Have you ever made a memory can or time capsule? If yes, why and have you opened it yet? If you haven’t, is it a temptation to do so? Why or why not?

Next year my daughter and I wil do another one which we will open in 4 years because she will be 35 then. And I am hoping to get my son and his family involved in this. I can see myself becoming addicted to this activity!

Ken and Sydney hiked down Porcupine Trail.Although we didn't have a set meet up point, it worked out perfectly.

Ken and Sydney hiked down Porcupine Trail from Tuolomne Meadows to Yosemite Valley.

FOUR. Successful drop off and pick up at Yosemite.

Despite traffic congestion due to roadwork, Elizabeth (my daughter) made it to her orientation. After filling out paperwork and having a uniform fitting, I helped her move into temporary housing.

Elizabeth is now working at Tuolomne Meadows (TM) in Yosemite National Park. TM is the largest sub-alpine meadow system in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Ken and Sydney started at 8,600 feet and ended at 3,900 feet. We talked about us meeting (in the Valley) so that I had a place to stay for the night, I didn’t have to drive up the mountains (I was afraid it would be scary like Hwy 1), and so that they’d have a ride back up the mountains. Although we didn’t have a set meet up point or time (in Yosemite Valley), it worked out perfectly.

I KNOW that God helped us in this as we “just happened” to see each other at the same time. And it was crazy busy there; in fact I was told this year Yosemite has had record-setting visitations. So it still amazes me whenever I think about how “easy” it was to find each other without pre-arranged plans.

Your Turn . . . Share a recent miracle that you’ve witnessed.

Ken is a master of baking in a dutch oven, DELISH biscuits and blueberry muffins were on offer.

Ken explained that dutch oven cooking requires you to put coals on top of the oven as well as underneath. There are even dutch oven cook books. Who knew?!

FIVE. Common food in an unusual way. Ken is a master of baking in a dutch oven, DELISH biscuits and blueberry muffins were on offer. Add some butter and red raspberry jam and you have my version of ambrosia.

Outdoor cooking always seems to taste so much better. Even the humble hot dog or scrambled eggs taste so much better cooked on a grill.

Your Turn . . .  Have you ever used a dutch oven? Do you have a favourite camping food?

FFF springLink up your five fave moments from this past week at Susanne’s Living to Tell the Story.

Or leave a comment below sharing a blessing you had this past week.

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