Monday, March 31, 2014

Goal: Complete! (Well, sort of...)

Back in January, I posted about how I hate goals.
And how I was...
...part of a wonderful group of ladies who is setting goals for 3 months - Jan-Mar 2014 to stick by. Many of us are setting goals for the year, but knowing that the accountability is to see it through to March. ...we are all on the same page....

We have all had ups and downs. But I can hardly believe it's been 3 months! Today I congratulated us all on making it - and doing well in our challenges. I know this couldn't have happened without each other. One of the girls even said that this was really encouraging to her (she did it last year alone, and invited us to join her this year).

On Day 30, I posted an update to our group - goals #2 & #3 were vague as ever and it was super frustrating. Thanks for the (continued) lesson on patience, God. I think. Anyway, it was not less than I expected, but not what I hoped for either. However, on my #1 goal, I had made progress (yay!) but needed to make an adjustment so I wouldn't quit because I felt like I'd failed already.I decided (through prayer and conversation) that it would be best to not make a daily reading goal, but a weekly one. I made my goal 75 minutes per week, and moved forward with that, to great encouragement from the girls.

Today is the last day of our 3 month challenge. While I didn't always hit my 75 minute goal, my #1 Goal has been met - my time spent Bible reading is more consistent - though (of course) I still have things to tweak. I am more in the Word than I have been in the last year, and I can already see the effects of His changing hand in my outlook and my attitude (not to say I still don't have bad days!). I have also seen a decline in how much time I've spent on media as well - sometimes with my Bible, sometimes with a lesser book, but I'd say seeing that down without it being an express goal is kinda cool. 

As far as goal #2, I have found peace and lost the guilt that was hanging over me regarding things past and even things current. God has given me the gift of grace and peace in that situation - and I could not be more grateful! I know that only God knows what will come in the future, but God is so good, and I am excited to see how He uses me in that situation, rather than fearing htat I'm failing Him.

Goal #3 still needs some work, and is still adding to the stress in my life. But. I know now that I need to find a way to change the situation - and I am praying more diligently and more directly for a clear, direct answer from God. It involves some change, which may terrify me, but I can't just let it go on this one. And the bonus is, I know I have a group of ladies praying for me still!

I LOVED being part of this group this past 3 months. Even on days or weeks I didn't have much to contribute, just keeping up with and encouraging and praying for them was hugely beneficial and encouraging to me. I thank God for the opportunity He gave me to "meet" them and connect with them.

Here's to the next 9 months!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Books and Lists

I have been in love with books for my entire life (thanks Mom & Dad). 

In 2010, on recommendation from a friend, I decided to join Goodreads. I was thrilled to find that it was, as she described, a site that is one (small) part social, one part lists and list making, and one part sharing the love of reading and books. In 2011 I began tracking my reading, and have been doing so off and on ever since. I love being able to see when I last read a book - and knowing that it is, indeed, time to pick it up again.

I added books to my "read" list only if it was current enough that I could give you several more details than you'd want on the plot and the characters. Otherwise, I'd add it to "to read" and give it a rating based on what I did remember (if anything). There are several I've read since that I simply haven't kept track of on there.

One of the things I love is going through my friends' lists, and the other lists Goodreads has made available such as books-turned-into-movies, and so forth. There are online book clubs, discussion groups, honest reviews (mostly - much better than most sites including Barnes & Noble and Amazon). Many books have been added to my "to read" list from browsing others. When I am finding myself running out of things to read, or bored with what I have on my shelves at home, I can easily look at my "to read" list and get them at the library (or put a hold on them to pick up when they're back in). It is a wonderous thing. :)

I have also been in love with lists since before I can remember. 

I think it has to do with school and liking organization. Anyway.

In light of this, I thought it would be fun (if for no one else, that's ok) to have some lists of books I've read on this blog. So today I spent some time putting pages on this blog starting in 2011 that have the lists of books I know I read each year according to my Goodreads profile. Last year I tracked pretty good, and this year I've started to keep better track. I'm excited to see how many books I'll read this year - and how many will be repeats and how many new gems I'll discover.

One note I feel I must make: the yearly lists don't say if I like these books or not - you can check what rating I gave them on Goodreads if you like. Also, a friendly reminder that just because I like it doesn't mean you will (of course)! 

Join me on the journey - and if you read something, let me know! I'm always looking for more titles.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Hope and Praise

All will turn to silver glass. 
a light on the water, all souls pass into the west. 
hope fades...

I know this is a song, from a movie, from a novel. But. It struck me today. Hope never fades until there's no reason for hope anymore - which is to say, when Christ returns and the world is truly over, and the new is now and we are in the beyond we cannot yet fathom to imagine.

Because of this, I choose to cling in the midst of this world, at the end of this crazy busy week to Psalm 112:7-8a,
"He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady..."
and Romans 8:28 & 31,
"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.... What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" 

My God is bigger, the biggest, the strongest - because He is REAL. He IS truth.
And that means He is really and truly ALL I need.

To the praise of His glorious grace. All praise to His wonderful name.

Monday, March 10, 2014


I went to bed at 10p tonight with the intention of being asleep by 10:30/11p. I finished checking my social media sites for the night (hadn't seen much this weekend - busy!) and snuggled in. Obviously, my plan didn't pan out. It's now nearly 3:30a as I type this, and I'm so tired but awake. I figured I'd get out some of my thoughts and try for sleep again. 6:30a is coming REALLY soon.

The thing is, I can't figure out what my issue is. I am a night owl, but usually by 12:30a at the latest, I'm done in - I can't keep my eyes open. So, I started to wonder if this is beginning stages of insomnia (does that even exist?) or if it's just a bad sleep pattern. I began thinking through my weekend.

I was up late Friday with a friend, but not ridiculously so. Saturday was a busy day. Then, I was up late Saturday because I couldn't sleep, despite going to bed at a pretty normal hour. I got 4 hours of sleep before waking up (late) for work. I ran around all morning, but had a relaxing afternoon and evening. And I'm still awake.

Is it just a weird weekend? Is it the time change? Is it stress? I have tons going on at work, but this week will likely be actually manageable, and less stressful than normal, but certainly not more stressful. So I can't imagine that's it. Is it residual effects of the stress that is happening now that there's the tiniest of lulls?

I suppose it could also be partly just needing more fresh air. This winter has been a long one, and I can't rightly express to you how glad I am that the high tomorrow (today) is 53 degrees. Even if I'll be in my windowless office for most of it. It could just be spring fever. I rearranged my desk space at work last Friday because I needed a manageable change - and have no real space/way to do that at home right now.

Whatever it is, I can't think of anymore options. And since I really do have to be up in 3 hours, I'm gonna let that be it (unfinished as it is... let's hope that doesn't keep me awake) and try to get some sleep so I can make it through tomorrow.