Sunday, January 31, 2016

January's Books

I've always loved to read but seem to be really sporadic in deciding to take time to actually do it. Typically I crawl into bed at the end of the day, open my tablet, pull up my book...and fall asleep within five minutes. I read the first few books of the Song of Ice and Fire series two or three pages at a time and it took me most of the last year because of the slow pace.

I made the goal of reading more in 2016 and set a minimum of two finished books a month in order to challenge myself to stay persistent. I've found that I can sneak in a few minutes of reading here and there through-out the day, but mostly, I'm still reading before bed. However, I've made the habit of going to bed an hour earlier so I can get settled and read for a good half hour before falling asleep. It's been a perfect arrangement for sneaking in a few good books. Here's what I read this month:

Alice Clayton

I haven't read any romance novels in a very long time. I read 'Nuts' as part of a book club and enjoyed it, but it wasn't over the top in any way. There are some steamy sex scenes and lots of good humor and I did appreciate the more modern-day feel since I haven't read anything 'romantic' since I was a teen. A good and easy overall read.

Let it Snow
Maureen Johnson, John Green & Lauren Myracle

I am a lover of all things John Green which is why I read this book. Overall, it was okay. It was a super simple, easy read and didn't have a whole, whole lot of substance. I did enjoy all of the stories pulling together as one big picture, and I'm sure it took a lot of collaboration in order to pull it off so smoothly. I think this would be an excellent read for pre-teens.

Fat Girl Walking
Brittany Gibbons

Fun and witty, Brittany is hilarious in this book. I absolutely adore her raw honesty in the book and could appreciate her outlook from one fat girl to the next. She is brave and brave women is something the world definitely needs more of!

The Secret Life of Bees
Sue Monk Kidd

Absolutely wonderful read. Not only does it allow you to historically glimpse into a time-period in which our country was beginning to raise out of equality injustice, but it dives into so many different lessons and facts of life: abuse, neglect, pain, bravery, independence, death, joy...

I highly recommend this one and it was definitely my favorite in the month of January.

Tina Fey

Perhaps I just don't get Tina Fey's humor (which is funny because I enjoy her on SNL) but I had to force myself to finish this book. I will say it got progressively better, but overall, it just wasn't for me. Maybe if I hadn't just finished Brittany's book and didn't enjoy it MUCH better, it would have seemed just a little better but it was definitely my least favorite of the month.


I'm pretty proud to say that I read FIVE books out of the twenty-four that I want to finish this year. On the 'to read' list this month so far is 'Call the Midwife' and 'The Martian'. Do you have a reading goal this year? Do you have any suggestions for what I should add to my 'must read' list?

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Tuesday, January 05, 2016

2016 Goals

I've thought long and hard about what goals I want to set for this year. Why is so difficult to actual cultivate my thoughts and make a list? I know this list will change, but so far, this is what I got:
1) Ride my bike as many miles that is equal to my age.
That would be 28 miles. No biggie really considering 28 miles in a year is VERY doable. I'm excited to take this one on and get Henry and Jeremy involved too.
2) Read more books.
I'm thinking 2 a month is more than doable, especially considering that I've already finished two books this YEAR. Yeah...five days in and I've read that much already. I've been sick, the free time is typically not this plentiful. I have the Lord of the Rings books and Harry Potter on my list since these  are two series I have always said I was going to read but never actually accomplished.
3) Be healthier.
Isn't this a goal every single year? We started a 90 day health/fitness challenge at work so the first three months should be easier to keep up because I have a bunch of people help motivate me. More than anything I want to focus on finding activities to keep me moving year long and focus on loving for me for me no matter what others may think of me.
4) Declutter and be organized.
This pertains to more than just my home. I want to declutter my brain, my attitude; get back to the basics. But yeah, it pertains to my home too. I started this goal by writing out a weekly schedule that I posted to the refrigerator that includes daily chores, a Bible verse for the week, and time to focus daily on myself.
5) Be a light.
Okay, so this is a very personal goal to me. There's been some real negativity surrounding me in my life lately and it's dragging me down. One of my biggest goals is to keep my mouth shut. As in, quit the gossip, especially when it comes to work. It's not like I go around chatting all the time about people's business, but my goal is that if I have nothing nice to say then I just won't say anything at all. Easier said then done, right? Also, I want to be a light in a world of darkness. Smile more, frown less. Look up instead of down. Cup half full rather than half empty. Most people would tell you that this is me now, but I want to make it my legacy. That's my goal: make my life a legacy of light.
6) Dig deeper into God's will.
She Reads Truth is my bff right now. I love that their daily devotionals come straight to my inbox. My goal is to read them, reflect on them, pray over them, and write about them daily. I also want to find a church to be a home and make new friends who share my compassion for living in God's light (so we can be a light). These are first steps. I can't wait to see where God leads us in 2016.

2015 Year in Review

  • We visited the Newport Aquarium in Cincinnati, ate some wonderfully delicious food at two of our favorite restaurants in the 'nati, and spent the night swimming and hanging out as a family at a local hotel.

  • At the end of October I finally received my special order copy of Looking for Alaska and I spent the entire day in my recliner reading it cover to cover. Not a big deal to most, but I am a member of the nerdfighter club through and through and it was one of only a handful of books that I actually finished in 2015. I read the first 3 books of A Song of Ice & Fire too, although the 4th book has sat open in my Kindle app for a good 3 months now. I'll get through it eventually.
  • Jeremy and I went on a REAL DATE NIGHT. I should calm down, I know, but we haven't really had many of those in the past...5 years? We painted and had dinner and it was perfect.

  • We dragged my brother to a Beatles tribute band that I think he swore he didn't enjoy but then secretly listened to their album for a month straight. It was a blast...and we were the youngest people there.
  • I bought a new guitar with the intention of learning to play.... perhaps that should be a resolution for 2016?
  • Ruthie went the vet to be fixed. Sorry baby girl, no puppies for you.
  • God called a saint and good friend of ours home to be with Him. RIP Bill, we will always remember you.
  • Henry and I visited the aquarium again with a good friend as we said goodbye before they moved to Colorado. Kathy, if you read this, we still miss you.
  • We bought my first, official 'new' car that I named Oliver Queen, aka, The Green Arrow. I still love my Honda.
  • Jeremy convinced Henry that riding a dirt bike was a good idea. He's going to be an expensive boy to raise and I'm going to pull this blog post up and remind my husband that HE is the one to blame. ;)
  • We bought bikes and rode them here and there throughout the summer. Another goal for 2016: ride those suckers MORE!
  • Dirt car races at Eldora, aka: sunglasses at night and dirt in your teeth, hair, and everywhere.
  • We went to our usual vacation spot in Florida but shook things up a bit and did a few things differently. We are going to miss the sunshine state this year but I think our hearts are set going a different direction. We shall see!
  • I had my very first car accident in my very new car... just a fender bender and everyone was okay, thank God.
  • Henry turned FOUR and we had a fun, buggy party to celebrate. He had a blast and I STILL can't believe my baby is growing up so fast.
  • Paper Towns movie was released. Again, the nerdfighter in me is strong.
  • We made a day trip to the Ohio Caverns and explored and a weekend trip to Maggie Valley which was both super relaxing and one of the worst mistakes ever because EVERYTHING was booked solid.
  • We finally (FINALLY) put the shutters on the house and they look AMAZING.
  • Fair month! We love fairs.
  • We celebrated another wonderful year with my grandmother and I let Henry pick out her gift. She now is the proud owner of a fish named 'Slowly'.
  • My husband lost his good friend, Shadi, to a motorcycle accident, reminding us all that life is short and unpredictable.
  • We laid in the yard and watched the supermoon eclipse.
  • We celebrated my mother-in-law's 60th birthday with a huge party.
  • Henry started preschool. Wait, let me repeat that: HENRY STARTED PRESCHOOL.
  • My friend Beth invited Henry and I to go to the circus with herself and her son. Henry slept through it; HUGE failure.
  • I helped plan our annual safety day at work which, unlike the circus, was a huge success. I'm already excited for this year's.
  • Jeremy and I both celebrated birthdays and we celebrated mine with a trip to Cincinnati and Virginia to see family.
  • Henry was an elephant for Halloween and we also attended a Halloween party with our family.
  • We visited the Columbus zoo and had an absolute blast. Henry even got to feed a giraffe. 
  • Jeremy accepted a new job at our local community college that will eventually morph into a teaching position.
  • We hosted Thanksgiving and had a blast while enjoying lots and lots of yummy food, including our first turkey that was absolutely the BOMB.
  • We finally upgraded from a 20" tv....
  • Jeremy finished fencing in the yard, a project that took a whole lot of time and money but was totally worth it. 
  • I accepted a new job at Lowe's that will allow me to have weekends and evenings off. Yay for family time!
  • We hosted our annual cooking baking party and made a huge mess but had a ton of fun.
  • We celebrated Christmas and New Year's with family and counted our blessings because they are many!

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