2017: more books, more love (and less of almost everything else).

15776829_936688387508_8343947032513406702_o

Something in me shies away from “New Years Resolutions”, I guess because I think it’s a little to only start something new on January 1st. If I want to be healthy, or start a new habit, etc, I’ll just do it at any time of the year. And I don’t want to make big promises that I’m not going to keep. My bonging goal, which has nothing to do with January, is continuing to simplify basically every aspect of my life and align my outward life with my inner priorities and values.

But… not too long ago a friend of mine shared that’s she was about to finish her 100th book of 2015- reaching a goal she’d set for herself in the beginning of the year. I was amazed and super inspired, because she is a mom of four and also a homeschooler. I thought, if she can read 100 in a year, surely I can shoot for at least a fraction of that.

I read 11 books this past year. Only 11. But I’m going to choose to see it as at least I read 11- even though I was navigating my first full year as a mom of three, with homeschooling and quite a bit of work and selling a house/moving to a new one. I read, but not nearly as much as I would have liked to or even could have. It’s easy to make excuses, but I would be ashamed to even try to calculate the hours I spend on Hulu and Netflix in the past year, or even just browsing social media. The point is, there is always time to read if I make it enough of a priority. So I decided to do just that.

I made a list of 24 books (and ended up adding a few more as fallbacks and because I just couldn’t leave them out) that I’ve been wanting to read, and I committed to reading at least two books a month on average for the next year. It feels like a doable goal- not too over the top, but requiring some level of focus an commitment. As an extra incentive, I am giving myself permission and budget to purchase the books on my list, in either Kindle or hard copy versions. I’m allowed to sub in other books if something comes up that I simply must read, but for the most part I want to stick to these titles. I canal so skip around on the list if I feel like it.

It’s December 28th and I’m about to finish Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle (an incredible and moving book, by the way), so I’m going to give myself a little head start.

Here’s my list:

  1. Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindburgh
  2. New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton
  3. Walking on Water by Madeline L’Engle
  4. Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton
  5. The Year of Living Like Jesus by Ed Dobson
  6. Upstream: Selected Essays by Mary Oliver
  7. Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman
  8. Caught Up in a Story by Sarah Clarkson
  9. Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt
  10. Essentialism by Greg Mkeown
  11. Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry
  12. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
  13. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  14. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  15. Emily of New Moon by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  16. Radical Growth by Havilah Cunnington
  17. Home Grown by Ben Hewitt
  18. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
  19. Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott
  20. Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist
  21. My Name is Memory by Anne Brashares
  22. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  23. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  24. Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit by Donna Farhi
  25. Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning
  26. Animal, Vegetable Miracle by Madeline L’Engle
  27. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
  28. Aleph by Paulo Coelho

I’ll keep you posted!

Continue Reading

What We’re Reading

reading-1

May 2016 will go down in our family history as the month that Seth fell in love with reading. Before, he saw it more as work and rarely chose to try it outside of our school time. But all of a sudden something clicked and he has been enjoying it, and therefore getting substantially more adept at it very quickly. As a lifelong lover of books, this brings me so much joy. He turned 7 in February. I have no idea what the expected timeline is for reading in public schools. I’ve made a point of not really paying attention to it, because I know that there is so much evidence that early reading in no way leads to any advantage later, and in fact is likely to lead to more academic problems and less interest in reading for pleasure in later years. I knew that he would start when he was truly ready, since I provided plenty of material and opportunity. Seeing that actually happen, and seeing him choose to sit down with a book in his own free time, makes me so proud of us both. He is my first homeschooler after all- sort of my guinea pig- so it’s so nice to see that what we’re doing is working in a tangible, academic sort of way.

I too have been reading much more than I used to. I’ve made a habit of reaching for a book instead of turning on Netflix during my evening “chill time”, and this not only feeding my mind and filling my thoughts with such great things that are affecting my life in wonderful ways, but it’s also been so good for my sleep patterns. I’d heard for years that screen use in the last hour or two before bed negatively affects your sleep, but actually experiencing it has been so interesting. Last night Manny and I watched Game of Thrones together, and I had trouble falling asleep for the first time all week.

Anyway, I thought I’d share the books we’ve been enjoying lately, because I know I always love hearing what others are reading.

me:

One thing that has always been true about me is that I can’t just read one book at a time. Maybe it’s some sort of reader ADD? There are just so many interesting books, that any trip to the library (or to Amazon.com) leads to multiple books at once. But each eventually gets its time in the spotlight.
My main squeeze over the past week has been The Way of the Happy Woman by Sara Avant Stover // This book has been so timely and so, so good for me. It’s about health, and connected living, and doing the things that are good for you and make you happiest and most balanced. Which is so necessary because it means more to give to those who need us. I’ll probably write a whole post about this book eventually.
And now I’m about halfway through Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert // Creativity beyond fear—need I say more. I love Elizabeth Gilbert.
And these, I’m gradually making my way through, picking them up here and there for short bouts of inspiration:
Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie
How to Be a Wildflower by Katie Daisy // lovely visual inspiration
The Parent’s Tao Te Ching by William Martin // I read a page or two at a time for some quick conscious parenting inspiration. It’s so full of widsom.
and
Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle // One of my favorite authors of all time, writing about faith and art. I’ve been reading this little by little as a devotional of sorts.

 

homeschool and family read alouds (for Seth, age 7 and Isaac, age 4):

Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman // a beautifully illustrated guide to nature
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White // our language arts and literature book at the moment, guided by Brave Writer
The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook by Clare Walker Leslie // a great month-by-month guide to observing nature
The Action of Subtraction by Brian P. Cleary // I love this “Math is Categorical” series for bringing math concepts and funny poetry together. Seth enjoys them and they make a great supplement to our math. We found them at the library.
Bedtime Math: A Fun Excuse to Stay Up Late by Laura Overdeck // Another way to add some fun to math, and encourage critical and mathematical thinking. We do one of the word problems together every week or so.
Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey // this was a childhood favorite of mine—I love McCloskey!
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
(countless other picture books get pulled from our shelves daily, but these are some recent favorites)

reading-2

seth (age 7):

Frog and Toad Together
by Arnold Lobel
The Solar System by Emily Bone
A Kiss for Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik
Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff
The Magic Tree House (book 4) by Mary Pope Osbourne

reading-3

 

What are you and your kids reading right now?

Continue Reading