To the woman who says she's not beautiful

I am on a journey. As a woman who has been on a diet her entire adult life (ie. been cheating on a diet my entire adult life), I now say I am done. I am done looking in the mirror and seeing what is wrong with my body and deciding to try dieting. Instead, I am going to look in the mirror at this amazing, beautiful body that God has given me, and decide to treat it right: healthy foods, activity, and respect.

I call this a journey because an entire lifetime of a certain way of thinking cannot be changed overnight. It is a journey of respecting myself, of being an example to my daughter, and of honoring my Lord God and Creator. He gave me this body, gave me my health, allowed me to carry babies, etc. etc. etc. The list could go on and on! And that is the list I want to focus on.

And yet, do you know when my resolve waivers along this journey? When I hear you, you lovely, beautiful, talented, smart, amazing woman, talk down about yourself. I start to think if this lovely, beautiful, talented smart, amazing woman thinks badly about herself, how much worse must I be? How much worse must she think of me? (Now I know you're not thinking worse of me, because everyone is hardest on themselves, but that is how I interpret your words.)

So please, let's just stop. I know... I do it, too. But for the sake of my journey, and even more importantly, for the sake of my daughter's young and pure journey, please stop the negative self-talk.

I could say when we have conversations, start telling me wonderful things about yourself. But let's face it, we're women... that's not going to happen. So instead, look at me and tell me something you admire. And I will do the same to you. I can pull up every woman that I know in my mind and think of dozens of positive things I could genuinely say about them.

You, woman who is reading this blog post, I promise you, I think you are beautiful.

So for my sake, for your sake, and for the sake of our daughters', stop talking negatively about yourselves, and truly believe that you are a beautiful creature of God.

Will you join me on this journey?

MOPs and Pinterest

About a year ago, I got it into my head that I'd like to join a MOPs group. But there wasn't a single group nearby! So I spoke to the leadership at my church about starting our own, and we did! We've been meeting once a month (with discussion and craft time), with a scattering of play groups and special events. I've enjoyed it so much, and love that it is a way that I can use my love for crafting! Pinterest has been a huge source of those crafts, but I also am very fortunate that I have a fully functioning pottery studio at my fingertips! So several of our meetings have offered pottery painting. We've also had a couple events at the pottery studio, where the moms can get in touch with their artistic side, while their children are cared for and lunch is provided afterwards.

Here are some of the other crafts we've tried:

Honey-Brown-Sugar-Scrub-Recipe

This was one of my favorites! We did these for our Easter meetings, and after the meeting, I made a bunch more to hang on my pussy willows.

Magnets - We did button magnets, but also picture frame magnets, Bible verse magnets, and more! Another fun, easy one.

Lip Gloss - we did this one with the scrub (the meeting was on self-care as a mom), and it was a good thing. I don't think it came out great, but it was fun to try!

We did bored jars and conversation starter jars.

This one is so cute! We had it on the wall for the Christmas season, and Audrey had fun with it for about a minute. But still worth it!

That's a few of them! And oh! I have so many more fun ideas! Thankfully, we will be doing our MOPs group for another year starting in September. If you're a mom in the area, come and join us!

I'm a Hobbit

OK, so that title was misleading, because now you think you're going to read yet another post on the Lord of the Rings (or some other type of fantasy fiction) from me, right?  Yesterday, I said to my husband, "You know what I've just learned about myself? I have a lot of hobbies. Way too many hobbies. So many hobbies that many of them get put on the back burner to make room for new hobbies, and then make a reappearance once in a while. In fact, I have a wish list of hobbies that I want to take up once I have the time and money."

And he, knowing my penchant for anything LOTR said, "So you're saying you're a hobbit?"

Isn't he witty? What a funny play on words.

Anyway, as any avid reader of my blog knows, I have a lot of hobbies, which means I have a lot of unfinished projects. But I've started to notice a pattern this year: I have made a concerted effort to finish things I've previously left undone.

You know that stack of books you have on your nightstand that you've been working your way through for years, but in the meantime you've read a whole bunch of more entertaining books? This year I've made significant progress on them.

And even today, I pulled out a blanket I had begun knitting over two years ago and put a couple hours work into it.

I think having a lot of hobbies is good. I pride myself on having a lot of interests, of doing a lot of reading, of trying new things, and having the ability to do a lot of things (notice I leave out the word "well"). But I think there's a lot of value in finishing what you started, as well. It's about commitment and perseverance and getting back up after you fall. It's something I want to teach Audrey, so it's something I want her to see in me as well.

OK, so finishing a boring book or an ugly little afghan doesn't sound like a big deal. But it is to me.

So before I take up any new hobbies (my latest fascination is cupcake decorating - hence all the new items on my Amazon wish list), I'm making big efforts to tie up old projects. And because any post of mine wouldn't be the same without a list, here is my list of current hobbies/projects:

  • crocheting (toys, blankets, gifts, slippers, etc)
  • knitting (not the same thing as crocheting, believe me)
  • sewing (just a few small blankets, maybe a couple dolls, oh, and a little purse or two)
  • painting (Paper app on iPad, pottery)
  • writing (this blog, other blogs)
  • reading (pile of boring books, the infamous Summer Reading List, WoT, and my wonderful new subscription to Audible.com)
  • other various crafty things (see my Pinterest boards!)
  • walking (not sure if this counts as a hobby, but I do it every day and I realized my list was sounding very sedentary...)

(I wish I could still count many other things, but my time is otherwise spoken for. But as I said, the above is a current list. I'll make another list next year and it will be drastically different!)

All in all, I think that list shows that my husband is right: I am a hobbit!

Books Read in 2011

List of books read in 2011. Unfortunately, I over-estimated how many I had read (since several are quite long), and I didn't get any of my Summer Reading books done! But at least I still met my goal. We'll Meet Again by Mary Higgins Clark Heading Home With Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality by Laura A Jana & Jennifer Shu The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan Teach Your Baby to Sign by Monica Beyer Your Pregnancy Week by Week by Dr. Glade B. Curtis & Judith Schuler What to Expect when you're expecting by Heidi Murkoff & Sharon Mazel The Proposal by Lori Wick The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan Twilight by Stephanie Meyer New Moon by Stephanie Meyer Home by Choice by Brenda Hunter

Add me as a friend on Goodreads if you are interested in my thoughts on any of these!

My Things-To-Do List

As you may know, I love lists.  I've written a lot about my lists: my Fear list, my Summer Reading list, my hot blog post lists, my books read lists, and a bunch of random lists!  And even that previous sentence was just a list of lists that I've posted on this blog...  So today I thought I'd write about my most used list: my Things-to-do list.  I'm sure we all have them, but mine is especially complex, and it's taken years to perfect, so that's why it deserves its own post. First of all, it is divided into two separate documents.  One is an overall list of repeating tasks, separated into daily, weekly, and monthly lists.  The second document is one that I re-write every week, and it is separated into daily, weekly, and general lists.  Every week, I copy over the daily and weekly lists from document 1 into document 2.  Then I choose one or two items from my monthly list and add them to my general list.

The second document (the one I write every week) is prioritized like so: The first priority of every day is my daughter and attending to her needs.  (I don't have to write that one down!)  The second priority is my daily list.  This includes dishes (they add up so fast otherwise!), my devotions, and making the bed (among other things).  If I can get all my daily chores done in a day, then I can feel good about that day.  The last priorities are the weekly chores and general tasks.  The general tasks are ones that do not need repeating, like making a doctor's appointment or painting the bathroom.  Each night before bed, I highlight what I'd like to get done the next day from my weekly and general lists.  If I can get all those things done, plus my daily list, then I can feel really good about that day!  (That's very rare, I tend to be overly optimistic about the amount of time and energy that I'll have.)

Have I sufficiently confused you?  Let me assure you, that if you love lists, and find yourself writing a new things-to-do list every night before bed, you need to start using this system!  I have found it highly effective, especially since my daughter was born and I found that on many days, it was hard to get anything done!

So that is my things-to-do list.  I'm sure I'll come up with more lists for future posts, but this one needed to be shared so you could be witness to how far my love of lists has come since my very first project post on this blog.

Books Read in 2010

As has become my tradition at the end of each year, here is my list of books read in 2010 (in chronological order).  I did not finish nearly as many as I would have liked, but I comfort myself in the knowledge that most adults average about two books per year (don't remember where that statistic is from, but I like it and  it makes me feel good about myself, so it must be true).  Also, some of these books were quite long and/or boring, so that makes the list all the more impressive!

  1. The Hawk and the Jewel - a fun "Christian spice" book by Lori Wick.  ("Christian spice" is a term I've adopted from a friend for a Christian romance novel.)
  2. Desert Rose - another "Christian spice", but this one was by Linda Chaikin.  She is one of my favorite Christian authors, because there is always a good mystery and a lot of adventure.  Usually the stories are set at some point in history, as well, so I feel like I'm learning a lot at the same time.
  3. A Clockwork Orange - a dystopia by Anthony Burgess that I only read because it was on my Summer Reading list.  I found it very disturbing and I'm not sure what I gained from it besides being able to cross it off my list and now understand references made to it.
  4. The Briton - another "Christian spice", this one by Catherine Palmer.  Normally, I would not read so many clumped together, but I remember feeling the need to read something uplifting after my previous one.
  5. The Shadow of your Smile - thriller by Mary Higgins Clark.  It was a good story, but I remember thinking it wasn't one of her greatest.
  6. There Goes the Bride - cute Agatha Raisin mystery by M.C. Beaton.
  7. Glory, Glory - romance novel by Linda Lael Miller.  Weirdly I did not even rank this one, so I can't even tell you if I enjoyed it or not!  But my recollection at this point is that I need to just stick to my "Christian spice".
  8. Freefall - I classified this novel by Kristen Heitzmann as "Christian fiction/adventure", so I'm not sure if that includes "spice" or not.  But I gave it an 8.5/10, so I obviously enjoyed it either way!
  9. Reaching for the Invisible God - excellent book by Philip Yancey.  I could probably read his books over and over again and always gain new insight.  I also referenced this book in a post.
  10. Unafraid (Mary) - historical fiction novel by Francine Rivers about the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus.  This book is part of a series of women in the Bible and they are all amazing.
  11. The Awakening - Christian novel by Angela Hunt.  This book was very different, but sweet once you realize what is going on.  It was the first Angela Hunt I'd read and I'd probably have to read one more to decide how I feel about her writing.
  12. A Stranger is Watching - another thriller by Mary Higgins Clark.  I have zero recollection of this one, so I could probably pick it up again in a couple years and never know I had read it before.  Thankfully, I keep this list!
  13. The Eye of the World - the first of the epic Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan.  I was completely hooked after reading this one.  The books average around 800 pages each, so they are no small task to finish!
  14. The Divine Mentor - a book we read in our church's small group by Wayne Cordeiro.  I appreciated its message, but felt like it used way too many words to get it across (ie, probably could have been in pamphlet form instead).
  15. Breastfeeding Made Simple - an excellent and informative guide on breastfeeding by Nancy Mohrbacher and Kathleen Kendall-tackett.  I really enjoyed this book, actually, and would recommend it to anyone who is planning on nursing.
  16. Madame Bovary - not sure why I decided to read this modern classic by Gustave Flaubert, except that it was on my bookshelf and unread.  I found it very sad, but I suppose that's what he was going for, in a sense.
  17. The Great Hunt - book two in the Wheel of Time series.  Made me so excited to start book three!
  18. Your Pregnancy & Birth - this book comes with an * because I did not read the section on complications.  I worry enough, so I figured it was for the best.
  19. Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief - this is a book for young adults by Rick Riordan, but that doesn't mean I enjoyed it any less.  It was an easy and entertaining read.
  20. A Merry Little Christmas: Unto Us a Child... / Christmas, Don't Be Late - two novellas in one book.  Cute Christmas stories, but they felt a little rushed in the novella form.
  21. Pride and Prejudice - I only read this classic by Jane Austen because it's on my Summer Reading list, but I am so glad I did!  I love the BBC mini-series, which was almost word for word the book, but the book explained so many of the emotions behind the meaningful looks in the movie.  It was incredibly sweet and romantic.

As always, if you have any questions regarding my list or would like further information about specific book, please feel free to email me or check out my “books I’ve read” spreadsheet for every book I’ve read since the summer of 2002 (when I first started it).

Books Read in 2009

The list below is all the books I read in 2009 in chronological order.  I will try to summarize my thoughts on each, but with some my memory is a bit hazy already.  The ones I remember are probably also the best literature (with some exceptions).

  1. The Tales of Beedle the Bard - Very cute book of short stories from the wizarding world, by J.K. Rowling.
  2. Asking for Murder - To be honest, I hardly remember this book by Roberta Isleib.  I gave it a 5.5/10, though, so take from that what you will.
  3. Preaching to the Corpse - Another by Roberta Isleib that I hardly remember.  It also received a 5.5/10.
  4. The Alchemist - A fable by Paulo Coelho that I did not really enjoy.
  5. High Marks for Murder - I was powering through these murder mysteries for a while.  This one is by Rebecca Kent and I gave it a 5.4/10.
  6. The Wind in the Willows - I actually wrote a review of this book by Kenneth Grahame.
  7. Eragon - I really enjoyed this book by Christopher Paolini.  My exact words from my "books I've read" spreadsheet are: "sooo good! can't wait to read the next 3 books; almost made me depressed at how good it is, because this guy was 15 when he wrote it! I wish so much that I could write a fantasy book like this. I love fantasy."
  8. Ringing in Murder - Another that I have no recollection of (how sad is that?), by Kate Kingsbury.  I gave it a 5.3/10.
  9. Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death - I do enjoy M.C. Beaton's books, both the "Agatha Raisin" series and the "Hamish MacBeth" series.  This was the first of all the Agatha books and I gave it a 7/10.
  10. The Last Sin Eater - This was an excellent book by Francine Rivers.  I didn't do a real review of it on the blog, but I did mention and quote from it.
  11. Kissing Christmas Goodbye - Another "Agatha Raisin" book by M.C. Beaton.  I gave this one a 7.5/10 (I have been enjoying her recent ones more than her earlier ones).
  12. Mrs. Pollifax Pursued - To quote from my spreadsheet, "Mrs. Pollifax just seems a rather flat character after reading so many Agatha Raisin books."  The book is by Dorothy Gilman and I gave it a 5/10.
  13. Port Royal - This is the first in "The Buccaneers" series by Linda Chaikin.  If you like Christian Spice (which I do), these books are for you.
  14. The Pirate and His Lady - The second in "The Buccaneers" series.  If you follow the link to the Amazon page, please ignore the cover art for these books.
  15. Jamaican Sunset - The last book in "The Buccaneers" series.  I gave these books a 9.1/10, 9.2/10, and 9/10, consecutively and I'm not ashamed to admit that.  I found them to be both entertaining and uplifting.  My comments from my spreadsheet: "loved this series; writing is very good, especially for a Christian author: she does her research very well as her settings are usually historical; also thumbs up for the bit of romance =)"
  16. The Bachelor's Bargain - Another Christian Spice book by Catherine Palmer.  I gave it a 8.9/10.
  17. Anna Karenina - It may look like I was reading a lot of Christian Spice there for a while, but I was taking breaks from reading Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy, which I found depressing.  I did, however, give it a 7/10 and my comments were: "Every time I read a classic, I realize again how inadequate my rating system is. Most of the time I rank on pure enjoyment, but I can't really say I enjoyed this book (except the parts with AK, who I identified with, and that scared me), and I know I would probably appreciate it more with the proper studying of it, but I think a 7 rating shows a combination of the enjoyment factor as well as good literature factor (see ratings for 1984 and Little Women)."
  18. The Secret Adversary - This is the first "Tommy and Tuppence" novel written by Agatha Christie.  It was a very good mystery.
  19. A Spoonful of Poison - Another "Agatha Raisin" novel, by M.C. Beaton, that I can't remember for the life of me.  I gave it a 7.8/10, though, so I must have enjoyed it.
  20. N or M? - Another good "Tommy and Tuppence" novel by Agatha Christie.
  21. Postern of Fate - The final "Tommy and Tuppence" novel by Agatha Christie, which was surprisingly boring.  I gave it a 4.2/10, as opposed to the 7's and 8's that the previous "Tommy and Tuppence" books received.
  22. Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist - Yet another M.C. Beaton book.  I gave this one a 7.6/10, although looking back I think that was probably too generous.
  23. The Skeleton in the Closet - Another M.C. Beaton... blah blah blah... 7.7/10.
  24. Silk - First book in "The Heart of India" series by Linda Chaikin.  Another excellent Christian Spice series.
  25. Under Eastern Stars - Second book in "The Heart of India" series.
  26. Kingscote - Final book in "The Heart of India" series.
  27. Eldest - Second book in the "Inheritance" series by Christopher Paolini.  I am really enjoying this series and gave this one a 9.2/10.  My comments from my spreadsheet: "only gave it lower rating than Eragon because I found the parts with Roran to be a bit boring at times. Otherwise excellent and highly engaging."

It was good for me to write this list because I realized how few books are on here that I am actually proud of finishing.  In fact, while many of these books were really good, entertaining, and/or worthwhile for other reasons, the only one I am proud of finishing is Anna Karenina.  Now I know I have to set my standards higher this year.  (That probably won't happen.)

If you have any questions regarding my list or would like further information about specific book, please feel free to email me or check out my "books I've read" spreadsheet for every book I've read since the summer of 2002 (when I first started it).

Random Project

I love having projects.  And I love writing about my projects.  In fact, I have a whole "Chocolate flavor" category on projects that I'm currently working on: unsweetened.  At any given time, I am working on a quilt or two, in the middle of a knitted scarf, learning a language, working through a book list, and a bunch of random projects (at one point I even built my own doll house!  I wish I had those pictures to share.). Yesterday's random project: designer sleep masks.  We have a plethora of sleep masks, due to our many recent international flights.  They are all plain blue, very boring.  But since we have several more long international flights in the next couple months, I thought I needed to spruce them up a bit.

Photo 285

I sewed on the material, embroidered a couple flowers, then sewed on the beads (from some earrings I no longer wear), and voila!  Perhaps I will make more, perhaps not (am I really going to wear this one on the plane, let alone a variety of them?).  I'll probably just move on to the next project.

Update: Month... whatever

The more I think about my resolutions, the more inadequate I think they are. There are so many other things  I should be working on instead, or in addition to. Therefore, I'm done with my resolutions and will now start a new list! (Is this perhaps just an excuse to write another list??) This is inspired by my friend, who just shared a very personal document with me on her life goals. So here we go (in no particular order):

Get down to 145 pounds Become fluent in Spanish Read/listen to the Bible daily Keep family & friends in my prayers Keep in touch with friends/family better Read more & different genres Get master's in English literature Post on blog(s) more regularly Learn to play the guitar Finish my quilt Keep house better

Update on ME!

Hello old friend! I have actually really missed writing on here, but know the reason I haven't is because things are still so up in the air in my life!  Ryan and I are waiting to hear about the job in India, and in the meantime, we've put our househunt on hold.  So we are in limbo, which is not a nice place to write from.  However, I realized that if my life is ever going to be in book-form (and who wouldn't want to read that book!?), I had better plug on through with my writing, even in the limbo periods.  So here I am.

My resolutions are going so/so, which I guess it to be expected with resolutions!  Tell me, are other people even thinking about resolutions at this point?  I think I should get points for even remembering them.

I am, however, happy to relate that I have brought my quilt back out.  This is one project that I must finish!  Mostly because I know how pretty it will look on my bed!

I have actually been reading more, and even have a half-written book review waiting to be finished and then published for you all to see.  I'm sure you are waiting with bated breath.  That's good, you should be, it's going to be fabulous.

Sadly, I have nothing further to update you on.  Wow, my book is going to be boring...

Update: Month 2

It's March already and time for an update on my resolutions.  So here it is, my update for the month of February, summed up in one word. Bad.

But a new month brings a strengthening of my resolve (hey! resolve and resolution sound similar... spooky...).

Update: Month 1

It's February, and not only does that mean an upsurge in my intake of chocolate, but it also means I'm looking at one month into my New Year's Resolutions.  So I'm going to take a moment to go through them, explain how I'm doing, and how I need to improve. 1. Lose some weight.  I go up and down with this one, which is to be expected, however I am happy to say that I am down approx. 6 pounds!  In order to continue, here's what I need to work on: I'm pretty good during the week with my diet and exercise, but I fall apart on the weekends.  I need to learn how to indulge in moderation.  Is that an oxymoron?

2. Couples devotions daily. Again, this one has gone in waves.  We do them several days in a row, then miss several days in a row.  Recently, we've been in a missing stage.  We need to pick this up again.

3. Listening to Bible on CD. Waves. Again. However, I did finish the first CD (most of Matthew) and I'm on the second.  I must admit though, that my mind tends to wander a lot while on my way home from work, so I'm hoping that I'm absorbing the Words through osmosis. 

4. Be a better mom. Let's see.  This is a tricky one.  I have been making more of an effort to keep the apartment clean and tidy.  I've been good about planning dinners.  But that's it.  I haven't been reading more.  I haven't cut down on my TV watching. 

So that about wraps it up.  I'm hoping that if I continue updating every month, I will continue to keep trying.  And what more can I do than try?

Resolutions version 2008

As has become my tradition, I would like to officially record my resolutions for this new year. I am proud of myself for being "ahead of schedule" as compared to last year, when I didn't write this post until January 23rd. This year, I've decided to examine why my resolutions from last year did not work, and what I can amend for this year. So first, I will reiterate last year's: 1. Lose 40 pounds. If you've seen me recently, you know this did not happen. And I think it's obvious why not. I was overly ambitious and even unrealistic. I am not a teenager anymore, so every pound will be a battle. I don't have it in me to fight 40 battles over the course of one year.

2. Get up in the morning to have daily devotions. This one is almost laughable. Not only did I NOT get up in the mornings, I was not faithful in my daily devotions either. I have come to the conclusion that saying "get up early in the morning" is not something I should promise anymore.

3. Post on this blog every week. Now, while I did not do this, I actually did manage to keep this blog alive, which is more than some people I could point out. In fact, many people...

So, onto my new resolutions. Ones that I hope are more plausible and manageable.

1. Lose some weight. The way I plan to do this is by eating around 1800 calories per day and trying to get in even the littlest bit of exercise daily, as well. I also am planning on giving up chocolate for big chunks of time. Now if these goals seem ambitious all over again, I feel I should disclose I have several people working with me on these and will help me keep accountable. In that regard, I count myself very lucky.

2. Couples devotions daily. Ryan and I have been good about this already and have come up with ways of trying to make sure when get this in during the day.

3. Listening to the Bible on CD. I figure this is a great way to incorporate Bible reading into my commute. Maybe it will help my driving too??

4. Be a better mom... This one may sound odd, as I don't have any children, but I do hope to in the coming years. That said, I feel I should start preparing to be the kind of mom I want to be. I want to take care of my home, plan good dinners, try to stay healthy, cut down on the TV, read more, try to be healthy. Talk about not being ambitious, right? However, I am just hoping with motherhood on the horizon, I will really take this resolution seriously.

Look for an update to these resolutions in one month's time.

A Tip for Other Bloggers

Ever wonder why you're not getting much traffic to your site?  Well, here is the secret:  Spend most of your time discussing the most popular topic of the time.  And what is bigger at this point than Harry Potter?  So if you want to get tons of traffic: Harry Potter

Harry Potter

Harry Potter

Harry Potter

Harry Potter

Harry Potter

Harry Potter

Harry Potter

That should do it...

My new project

What is it with me and projects?!  It's like my life isn't fulfilled unless I have around 20 half-completed projects, and around 674 unfinished projects that I've thrown by the wayside.  Anyway, here is my newest:

http://lotr.remotely.org/

As you will see if you visit the site, it is going to be an encyclopedia completely devoted to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, as well as The Hobbit.  If you're a fan of the books, keep checking back for new updates (and also to keep me on my toes!).  If you're not a fan, look at it anyway.  It's cool.  I'm the coolest. 

Once again...

Here it is July and I have no new posts!  I know what you're thinking: You hope that this lack of posting isn't a sign of the progress with my other resolutions.  Well, guess what? It is!  I, like most people, am failing on my resolutions.  On the up side, I'm probably one of the few people still trying to make my resolutions work.

Projects and Resolutions

I thought I'd officially write down my resolutions for the Year, even though most people have already given up on theirs.  Not to say that I have been faithful about mine, but I am writing them down in the hopes that I will be more committed.  Interestingly, they are completely different than the "Projects" I had set for myself when I first began this blog.  Does that mean I have finished my projects and have now set my sights on bigger and greater things?  Wouldn't that be something... but alas, no, I didn't accomplish even one of those projects, and while they are still on my horizon as things I'd like to do, they didn't make it into the List. 1. Lose 40 pounds.  OK, I know this is totally cliche, but I really want to do this.  If you think about it, that's less than a pound a week.  How great would that be?  Also, for those of you who don't know me, I don't think I look like I need to lose 40 pounds.  So please don't think that of me.  If you looked at me, you'd probably think I only needed to lose 38 or so.

2. Get up in the morning to have daily devotions.  I'd be happy with myself if I was faithful in daily devotions anyway... but adding "get up early" is another whole resolution in itself!  But after much thought, the morning really would be the best time for me to do this.

3.  Post on this blog every week.  This resolution is remarkably similar to "post on Venustas every day" under Projects.  And if you've visited Venustas lately (which I'm sure you haven't, because I've had zero hits for a while now), you'd see that I hadn't posted since August 3, 2006!  But since I have decided to become more lenient about what I post (ie. it doesn't have to be a novel), I am optimistic about this resolution.

 

OK,  now for a Resolution update! 

1.  So far I have met my first 2 goals, and missed my 3rd.  I'm hopeful for this coming weekend though (my weekly weigh-in is on Saturday morning) that I'll be able to meet my 4th and make up for missing my 3rd. 

2.  I am really getting there with this one!  On Sunday, I decided to actually set my alarm early so I'd be able to get up.  On Monday, I actually did wake up, and then fell back to sleep.  On Tuesday (today), I woke up, briefly spoke to Ryan, and fell back to sleep.  I really think I'm making progress.  Tomorrow I'll make myself sit up in bed, even if it means falling to sleep sitting up.  At least it's a step in the right direction.  OH!  I just had a great idea!  I have an alarm that will play CDs, and I have the Bible on CD!  Maybe I could just WAKE UP to the Bible!  I am going to have to give this a try and hope I will absorb it through osmosis.

3.  Well, I've posted twice in January.  This one will make three.  Wait, that's not right, I've posted once.  So this resolution isn't going so great.

Untitled - I wrote this years ago

By no means do I have all the answers. Sometimes I get so swallowed up in loneliness and my bed seems my only friend. Sometimes I feel used and hurt and even manipulated. Sometimes I wonder if God is there, and if He is, I wonder if He’s listening. Sometimes, my beliefs seem far from everything that I am, and sometimes I cling to them as if they are all that I am. I long to live life with joy, yet at every turn I find sorrow. The romantic ideas of “living” seem so far from the life that I lead. Deleted emails speak of children living life in a carefree way that adults forget about, famous sayings tell us to “stop and smell the roses”, and people often speak of having a life, but rarely ever living. This elusive ideal – “living” - makes me say “yeah, that’s what I want” but then a minute later I am in a bustle of activity that I don’t want to be doing, but it seems that there are no other options. I find that I get tired of activity and long for the next stage of my life, as I’m rolled through the mundane bustle of everyday activity. I get tired of other people complaining at how much they have to do. Many people say, “Life sucks, but you just have to learn to live with it.” I’m sorry, but I can’t live with that. I often wonder, what these people are going through that I’m not. Granted, my life is good. But I still cannot imagine circumstances in which I would proclaim that this life is so bad, and there’s nothing I can do about it. I am amazed at the difference perspective makes. I am convinced that even through sorrow and despair, that life can still be good. That there can be joy and hopefully at the end of life, it will have been a life well lived. ~ My grandmother was just diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer. She is one of the most amazing women I know. Anyone who has met her cannot leave without being touched by her wisdom and love. But her feistiness and spunkiness have also lent to the wonderful life that she has lead; one that has been full of laughter and sorrow, but is ending in great peace. I can’t imagine that’s she’s not scared. And it hurts me to think that she is. But when I talk to her, while I sob on one end, she speaks with comfort to me, full of peace and strength, and not least of all, hope. ~ Who am I to try to reconcile the idea of a loving and good God with the fact that there is pain, and hurt, and even injustice in the world today? I have only lived a relatively short life so far. I have only a little knowledge and even less wisdom. I fail in most of my attempts at self-discipline. (But there is one thing I know, and that I base my entire beliefs upon, indeed, even my very life. And that is that God is good.) Good does not seem to capture the hugeness and vastness of God. It does not seem to describe his infinite knowledge, his perfect capacity for love or even his mercy. But maybe our definition of good is too small. David says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Sometimes this is easy. We are so in love with God that it is almost as if we are tasting His goodness. Life, although it is in no way perfect, is easier somehow. God is in control and His presence is near and sweet. However, times like this are rare and it seems the older I get and the more people I come across, these times are only what children feel as they live their carefree lives. We even look at them enviously sometimes, longing for our childhood, when life was good and God was so clear. But then, if God is good, and life is a gift from Him, then shouldn’t life be good too? Why, then, do we so often feel that it is not? How can we live this life to the fullest and at the end of it, look back with an overwhelming peace, realizing that we did indeed really live?

Philip Yancey asked some of his respected Christian friends the following question: “If a seeking person came to you and asked how your life as a Christian differs from hers as a moral non-Christian, what would you tell her?” As I read through their answers, I began to wonder what I would say. “I feel so unqualified to answer this question. I have seen so little of life and have dealt with only a small amount of pain. Because of this (and hopefully in spite of this), I am tempted to say that with God there is joy. This I believe, however, it is something of which I cannot always personally attest. So, what I would say is that with God there is life, in all senses of the word. Without God, there is no life at all. He breathes it into all His creatures and without Him, there is none. But It goes deeper than that. He promises life to the fullest. In Him, we find satisfaction, fulfillment, and a sense of our own identity. Yes, there are some longings that this world cannot satisfy, but with God, we can enjoy the fullness that life with God can bring.”

There are no answers here. I can only pray that my faith will increase as much as and more so than the trials in life.

Project Update

As promised, I am letting my faithful readers (all two of you) know the progress of my self-imposed goals. 1.  I have not worked on my quilt at all.

2. I have not worked on my story or its illustrations at all.

3. I have not worked on Mimi's stories at all, or looked for the tape.

4. I have not worked on my novel at all.

5. I have not run at all.  But today is the first day of it!  Ryan and I are going after work.  Hmmm...  maybe I should have written this post after we ran - it would have looked like I'd already accomplished something.

6. I forgot to post on Venustas this weekend.  I did, however, post last night.

7. I have looked into reunion details and done some brainstorming.  I have a few ideas that might work and make it a fun event.  I still have to pick a place, time & date though. 

OK, so there are the bitter details.  I have not done much with my time, but I haven't been bored!  What have I been up to, you might be asking?  That's for another time and another post.