Friday, January 8, 2016

Word of the Year

So it is the beginning of 2016 and I'm feeling like my mojo is slowly returning: I'm running again (even logging my miles back on daily mile), I'm wanting to write again, and I'm just feeling overall motivated to make 2016 a great year. 





So when Liz Lamoreux re-posted a blog post about "word of the year" 
(http://www.lizlamoreux.com/be-present-be-here/a-word-of-the-year-a-practice.html) .  It got me thinking about figuring out my "word of the year".  Despite thinking it was a great idea I was struggling with what the "word" would be.  I just couldn't come up with it and thought here we go again another crazy "chattynatty" idea that isn't going anywhere. 

But then my friend gave me a daily devotional for Christmas and the first day I sat down to read it a word kept on hitting me "PEACE".  This devotional written by Ann Spangler starts on Jan 1 talking about what steps are involved in creating something/anything.  The first step is to "envision exactly what it is you want to create, and second involves making sure that your life is aligned with that vision so that every day you can do something toward achieving your goal."  She later in the page writes "if you want to live a life of greater peace, you need to begin by envisioning what that life will look like". 

Now at first glance I really didn't think "PEACE" was my word of the year, because honestly I'm not a very peaceful person.  I'm a person who is easily agitated, some would call loud, emotional/sensitive, irritable, and constantly moving in multiple directions.  None of these descriptors really are in line with what I think "PEACE" is.  So I didn't really think twice about "PEACE", but then I received an email from First Day Press and they again struck me with having the same main theme of their post "PEACE".  Maybe this was my word. 

I went back to thinking about what Liz said in her post from 2013: "how do you want to feel"- Well I know how I don't want to feel: tired, easily irritated, angry, agitated, stressed, did I say angry (also known as hangry= hungry+ angry). 

At the beginning of this year I felt really irritable and then I felt unhappy because of how agitated and irritated I felt. I was coming off the holiday highs and starting to feel the New Year's blues. Maybe PEACE can help me lose these feelings or at least downgrade their presence in my life.  Now what to do...

In "This is My Year" package Liz has for sale on her website- and no I'm not getting any commission from her just really like this blogger and her shop.  (http://www.soulmantras.com/myyear/this-is-my-year-package) She talks about asking yourself these questions: How do I live in a way that is true to who I really am? What shadows are you living under?  How can you be more true to yourself? 

So I was feeling "PEACE" as my word, but then solidification came two days later when I read devotional on Jan 3 and it talked about "No matter what happens whether life is hard or easy, each of us will enjoy more peace if we can learn to lean into the relationship we have with God our father". 

Further solidified, by finding another blog post  by Little Bits of Granola when looking for meal planning ideas.  One of her highlighted posts was, you guessed it, a post on her "word of the year".  (http://www.littlebitsofgranola.com/2016/01/01/2016-word-of-the-year-intention/).  Side note- guess I am out of it, because unaware of so many people who practiced some form of "word of the year".  This blogger gave the following suggestions in regard to what to do with that "word of the year". 
-"it helps you make decision and act as a reminder of what you want to do and what you want to accomplish"
- she suggested doing a "mind map" adding branches for each area of life you want the "word of the year" to touch
-also to think about how to bring that "word" into each branch of life/area that you want to improve
-then work on creating action steps to make this happen

I plan to do this "mind mapping" exercise in the next few days and hopefully this will give me ideas and direction for my "word of the year" ----PEACE.

If you decide or already have a "word of the year" I'd love to hear it. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Dec Reads and My Books of 2015

So it is already 3 days into 2016.  Enclosed is a synopsis of the December books I read and a quick overview from 2015.

December books:
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (#5) by J.K. Rowling

I really enjoyed this one.  It was darker than the last and I've been forewarned by my favorite Harry Potter fan (oldest child) that it will get darker.  I was also kind of whining of about the length of the book and he said, "wait till you get to book 7".  I find the stories easy to read, but I swear that I think I read a lot of the book and look and feel like I haven't even made a dent into it.  Last night I watched the movie with my son and was disappointed that there was so much of the book left out of the movie, but I guess the movie would be like 4 hours+ if they tried to put everything in it.  I'm gearing up to read book 6- think it might be a January read.

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
This is one of our book club reads for January Book Club.  The goal is to read both To Kill a Mockingbird and this one.  I decided to read this one first.  I have too much of the movie- To Kill a Mockingbird embedded in my head- so wanted to come to Go Set a Watchman with a clean slate.  I liked the book.  I was surprised with the switch, if you want to call it that, of Atticus Finch's character's views on African Americans.  I thought the book painted an accurate picture of how change occurs, be it segregation or other major cultural discussions: women's rights, current LBGQT, etc.  I thought the writing was very clean and precise and I thought well written.

At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen
This book was a book that stayed with me for awhile.  You know the kind of book that you think about days after you are done reading it.  I think that is a sign of a good book.  This one takes place mid 1940s- during the heart of WWII.  Three friends, two being husband and wife, travel to find the Lochness Monster.  When I read this story line I thought WHAT- who would go sight seeing for the Lochness Monster during the war- well as you read you discover the answer.  This book was well written and I felt like the character development was excellent.  I highly recommend this read!

Now onto the Best and Worst of 2015...

My favorite nonfiction book from 2015 is...
Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton.  I loved this book so much I read it and then I listened to it as an audiobook.  Glennon's voice was so genuine, honest, real and I just really took a lot from listening and reading this book. I liked her view on failure, religion, and being human. Highly Recommend It!

My favorite read with the kids in 2015 is...
One Dog and His Boy by Eva Ibottson  This was a plus for both my kids: oldest likes mystery and it had that, youngest likes animals and specifically rescuing animals and it had that too.  Well written and enjoyable to read.

My favorite read with my husband in 2015 is...
10% Happier by Dan Harris.  This book sparked some good discussion and also some trial of implementing some mindfulness and meditation into our lives.

My favorite book club read of 2015 is...
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman, with a close 2nd and 3rd: Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion and Descent by Tim Johnston.  All of these books very different.  The Light Between Oceans is a beautiful at times very sad love story.  I  compared other books to it throughout the book club year (particularly All the Light You Can Not See- which many people loved, but I just liked and said aloud "its not as good as The Light Between Oceans").  Rosie Project hilarious and I had somewhat forgotten that I planned to read the other two books in the trilogy- will do in 2016.  Descent was a gripping story, it wasn't my favorite because I struggled with Johnston's writing style in the beginning of the book, but then soon forgot or wasn't bothered by this style anymore because the story was go good.

Looking back at 2015 my least favorite book was For the Love by Jen Hatmaker.  I was so thoroughly disappointed with this book.  She has great blog posts, and I thought she was going to be similar to Glennon Doyle and hence her book would be like "Carry On, Warrior", but it wasn't.  It just didn't give me anything. 

I have many books on my "to read list" and many more not on my list, but on my bookshelves in the "reading room" at my home.  Looking forward to some plentiful reading in 2016. Would love to hear what your favorites were this past year.