Friday, January 7, 2011

Words For a New Year

I am the LORD, and there is no other;
There is no God besides Me.
I will gird you, though you have not known Me,

That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting
That there is none besides Me.
I am the LORD, and there is no other;

I form the light and create darkness,
I make peace and create calamity;
I, the LORD, do all these things.

Isaiah 45: 5-7

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

How to Fail to Develop Your New Habit

If there is something I'm really great at it's failure.

Aren't we all?

It's only after repeated efforts that we learn what works better than other things, what matches our personality and learning style, what seems to be the right path to success. And while I'm still navigating I thought I'd share a few things that I know just don't work when you're trying to make changes.

1. Take on too much.

Isn't it easy to let that resolution list grow into 20 things you *should* do this year? I have been guilty of it in the past- I divide it all up over 12 months, take a deep breath and pronounce it "do-able". Is it really though?


Not at all. And why set myself up for failure like that?

One of the changes for me this year is to continue a few goals that I was successful in last year (continuing to document the reading I do, and some knitting progress for example) and to focus my time and energy in developing just three habits over the year. Do-able? Much more, I think.

2. Wing it.

Who needs a plan?

Well, we all do- at least a small one. It usually takes a few steps to get where we're going with a new habit, but stepping closer to establish that habit without knowing where the actual steps are is, well . . . difficult at best. A great habit to develop is memorizing Scripture, but then it begs more questions. Which passage(s)? How are you going to go about it? What do you need to do each day and when are you going to do it?

Remember- the habit isn't in what you do, it's in the way you do it.

3. Center the habit in your desires instead of God.

A sure way to fail is to focus your habit on how much it will help you, how healthy it will make you, how happy it will make your children . . .

While those might be great side benefits, the real focus must be God. Is this something that God would have you pursue? Have you prayed? Have you asked Him?

4. Keep your new habit to yourself.

If you want to fail mightily, keep your new habit to yourself. Don't ask a sister, your husband or a friend to help you be accountable. Don't ask for help in any way as you take a step forward.

I know there is fear there, or at least there is for me. Failure is hard enough to deal with, but to fail in front of someone you care for? Sometimes it seems like there could be nothing more mortifying than that thought. But remember, two are better than one, three together better still. Is there someone who can keep you honestly accountable as you work to establish a new habit? Someone to pray with on the days you stumble, someone to praise God with you on the days you succeed?


Ann Voskamp invites us to write about habit building this week. You can visit her at A Holy Experience.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2010 in books

I used these questions to sum up my 2009 reading last year, and I *loved* taking a walk back through the year's books. Link in comments if you'd like to join me!

What was the best new (to you) author you discovered this year? Wow- I really didn't branch out this year, only 3 new-to-me authors on my list and I greatly disliked one... so Obert Skye for Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo. Brian and I really enjoyed that book.

What was your favorite new (to you) series? I read two series last year- A great many of the Lemony Snicket books, and the Percy Jackson books. Lemony Snicket's style becomes endearing about 3 books in, but the Percy Jackson books are a better story. It's a shame they aren't better written.

Book that made you cry? Naamah's Curse, only because I knew it would be another 2ish years before Jacqueline Carey would release another book! I love her work.

Book that made you laugh out loud? Leven Thumps again. The descriptions are so very bright and beautiful that if gave me a very precise portrait of it's characters, some quite hysterically.

Book that totally changed your perspective on something? Is it bad if I list a knitting book here? Wendy Johnson's toe-up sock books have entirely convinced me that toe-up socks are the way to go.

Best homeschooling book? The most influential homeschooling book I read this year is The Core which I've read in the past few months. It's weaving its way into my brain and I think there are some pieces I'd like to incorporate as the boys get older. I still hold that Real Learning is the best homeschooling book I've ever read and I do re-read it at least once a year.

Worst book that you managed to finish? The Lightening Thief. I'm glad I did. The subsequent books were far better written (but still not wonderful) and their plots were better written as well. Lightening Thief rambled a lot and there was a lot of convenient turns to help the plot along.

Most disappointing Book? The Host. It was kind of boring which was a shame since it was such an interesting concept.

Best book-that-was-better-than-the-movie? The Lemony Snicket books. Best movie better than the book? The Lightening Thief (though a warning- they totally changed the plot in the movie, and that is why it is better!)

Most over-hyped book of the year? Graceling. I heard from so many people about this great YA book that was "just your style" and bleh. It was kind of preachy about women being independent and not needing a man for anything and it got to the point that I felt like this fiction book was written JUST to prove that point. *So* not what I'm looking for.

Best feel-good book of the year? Is it bad that I don't read "feel-good" books? Does it count that I *loved* the new Rachel Caine book and that I felt good reading it even though it so doesn't fit this category?

Best young adult book of the year? Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson. I'm a sucker for historical fiction right now, but I also really like Anderson's work in general. This book really fit.

Book You’ve been meaning to read for years and finally got to? I actually had nothing old on my list this year. The closest thing I have is the Lemony Snicket books and I only read the first 5 or so, just because I was in a reading slump and I knew they'd be quick reads to get me going again. I must do better at this one in 2011.

Read aloud that the family enjoyed the most? Ender would say The Story of Dr. Dolittle, and Ezra would say Alice in Wonderland.

Best non-fiction? I did a terrible job documenting my non-fic reading this year, but I really enjoyed Sweater Quest.

Best religion/theology/doctrine/philosophy? Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper.

All-around best story of the year? I really enjoyed the storylines in Chains and Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson.

Book that you feel is so integral to your library, you’d even pay full price for it? Real Learning by Elizabeth Foss and 3 R's by Dr. Ruth Beechick. These are pulled out about once a month as I think about the next month's school goals.

My 2010 Fiction List:

Goal: 24 fiction books

1. The Host by Stephenie Meyer (January)

2. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (January)

3. The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan (February)

4. The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan (February)

5. The White Queen by Philippa Greggory (March)

6. The Battle of the Labrynth by Rick Riordan (March)

7. The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan (March)

8. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (April)

9. Graceling by Kristin Cashore (June)

10. Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo by Obert Skye (June)

11. Naamah's Curse by Jacqueline Carey (July)

12. Total Eclipse by Rachel Caine (August)

13. The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket (August)

14. The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket (August)

15. The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket (September)

16. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan (November)

17. Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson (November)

18. Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson (December)

19. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (December)

Be sure to share in comments if you decide to write your own 2010 book list!

Monday, January 3, 2011

First Daybook of 2011

Outside my window... The last few weeks have been defined by being cold and gray. We've only had the tiniest dusting of snow so far this season, and nothing on the ground right now.

I am listening to... Chris Tomlin's Awakening. The title song was included in the worship set we played at church yesterday and I can't get it out of my mind. I got to play the most gorgeous violin line . . .

I am wearing... a long red linen skirt, black long sleeve t-shirt, and knee socks. Trying to stay warm!

I am thankful for...

A return to regular days after the busy-ness of the season.

One of the most blessed Advent seasons we have enjoyed as a family.

starting the year with a clean and functional entry closet (and bedroom closets as well!)

Ezra, who makes me see life through the eyes of a 3-year-old
Ender, who really needs to start his day with lots of cuddles
My husband, who is back to work full time today after a few months of contracting!

I am thinking... about goals for this year- tasks to conquer, habits to learn, education and habit-training goals for the boys, new projects to attempt . . . my brain is very full.

I am reading... The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, The Capture with the boys, and getting ready to start a new-to-me John Piper but haven't decided which one yet.
I am creating... essays. Lots of writing going on over here. I am knitting still of course, but it's a little slower going. Current projects include the Poet's Pullover with mods [Rav link], and vanilla socks for Brian.

Always learning... Today is our first day of "back to normal"- basics always, but we'll finish up our reading about Antarctica and get to work on Europe next week.

Around the house... Maintenance is the codeword around here. After two weeks of both of us being off work the house is in fine shape- now to keep it that way...

I am planning... the rest of this semester. Almost done!

Towards a growing faith... Brian and I are continuing our reading in the New Testament in the beginning of Mark now. My own reading is in I Thessalonians.

I am praying... for my husband's cousin, who lost her sister to a stroke at the very young age of 42 on New Year's Eve.

One of my favorite things... Ezra sneaking into our bed for cuddles at 5 a.m.

A few plans for the next week... Getting back into the usual routine (but with a few tweaks), a trip to the library, hopefully finishing up those socks for my husband.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...