Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 By the Books

Currently there are 8 library books sitting on my bedside table.  I just need a free weekend to catch up on my stack.

This year, a lot of non-fiction cycled through my hands.  The Remedy, The Meat Racket, Adrift, Dethroning the King, Everybody's Got Something....all come with my highest recommendations.

The star rankings are my own, I didn't get much book reviewing done this year but you can tell from the 1-5 scale how I felt about each book.

Which leads me to the natural question....Have you read any good books lately?

1. Pittacus Lore - The Rise of Nine *****
2. Cassandra Clare - City of Fallen Angels *****
3. Cassandra Clare - City of Lost Souls *****
4. Jeannette Walls - Silver Star *****
5. Ernest Hemingway - The Old Man and the Sea***
6. Cassandra Clare - Clockwork Angel ****
7. Veronica Roth - Divergent *****
8. Cassandra Clare - Clockwork Prince ****
9. Cassandra Clare - Clockwork Princess ****
10. Ron Rash - Serena *****
11. Orson Scott Card - Rebekah *****
12. JRR Tolkien - The Silmarillion Vol 1 ***
13. Diane Setterfield - The Thirteenth Tale *****
14. Robert Hicks - A Separate Country ****
15. Veronica Roth - Insurgent ***
16. Veronica Roth - Allegiant ***
17. Jeff Olson - The Slight Edge *****
18. Malcolm Gladwell - Outliers ****
19. Kirby Larson - Hattie Big Sky *****
20. JRR Tolkien - The Silmarillion Vol 2 ***
21. Ernest Hemingway - To Have and Have Not **
22. Daniel James Brown - The Boys in the Boat ***
23. Brunonia Barry - The Lace Reader *****
24. Ernest Hemingway - For Whom the Bell Tolls *
25. Matthew Quick - The Good Luck of Right Now **
26. Julie Macintosh - Dethroning the King *****
27. Daniel Gilbert - Stumbling on  Happiness ***
28. Robert Edsel - The Monuments Men ****
29. Robin Roberts - From the Heart *****
30. Alan Bradley - The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches *****
31. Ali Wentworth - Ali in Wonderland ***
32. Christopher Moore - The Stupidest Angel *
33. B. J. Novak - One More Thing *
34. Jim Gaffigan - Dad is Fat *****
35. Paulo Coelho - Manuscript found in Accra ****
36. Ruth Ozeki - A Tale for the Time Being *
37. Ransom Riggs - Mrs. Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children ****
38. Mary Karr - The Liars' Club **
39. Rob Lowe - Stories I only Tell My Friends **
40. Juliet Schor - The Overspent American ***
41. Napoleon Hill - Think and Grow Rich ***
42. Dave Bruno - The 100 Thing Challenge *****
43. Rachel Joyce - The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry *****
44. Shawn Achor - The Happiness Advantage *****
45. Elizabeth Smart - My Story *****
46. Helene Wecker - The Golem and the Jinni ***
47. Michael Morpurgo - War Horse ****
48. Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Love in the Time of Cholera ***
49. Leif Enger - Peace Like a River ****
50. Lauren Graham - Someday, Someday, Maybe ****
51. Ridley Pearson - Kingdom Keepers ***
52. Ben Haas - Look Away, Look Away ***
53. Maggie Stiefvater - Sinner *****
54. Justin Halpern - I Suck at Girls ****
55. Joe de Sena - Spartan Up *****
56. Tom Ryan - Following Atticus *****
57. Terry McMillan - Who Asked You? *****
58. Brian Jacques - Redwall ****
59. Solomon Northup - Twelve Years a Slave ****
60. Thomas Goetz - The Remedy *****
61. Thomas Stanley - The Millionaire Next Door *****
62. David Roberts - Alone on the Ice **
63. Lev Grossman - The Magicians ***
64. Tara Conklin - The House Girl ****
65. Cassandra Clare - City of Heavenly Fire ****
66. Amy Bloom - Lucky Us *****
67. E. Lockhart - We Were Liars *****
68. Steven Callahan - Adrift *****
69. Robin Roberts - Everybody's Got Something *****
70. Jacqueline Winspear - The Care and Management of Lies *****
71. Paulo Coelho - Adultery **
72. Robert Kurson - Shadow Divers *****
72. Adam Corolla - Not Taco Bell Material **
73. Lucinda Vardey - Mother Teresa A Simple Path *****
74. Nancy Horan - Under the Wide and Starry Sky *****
75. Jordan Belfort - Wolf of Wall Street **
76. Sue Monk Kidd - The Invention of Wings *****
77. Ben Sherwood - The Survivor's Club *****
78. Christopher Leonard - The Meat Racket *****
79. Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid's Tale ****
80. Beth Macy - Factory Man ****
81. Amy Poehler - Yes Please *****
82. Bill Nye - Undeniable **
83. James Herriot - Favorite Dog Stories *****
84. Ernest Hemingway - A Moveable Feast **

Last year's reading list

2014 Resolutions revisited

As 2014 winds down and we prepare ourselves for 2015, it's time to see how I did on my goals this year.

In short they were:

1. 2:05 half marathon

2. master double unders

3. work on my pistol form

How they worked out:
1. My fastest half marathon this year, 1:58:40.  Maybe I should retire from half marathons now.  I eeked out 493 miles on my running shoes this year and managed a sub 7 min mile.  I'm satisfied with these stats.

2. I don't know about master...but I have a great rope now and I'm up to 40 unbroken double unders.  It still might take me longer to finish a workout than if I was doing singles but I'm happy to not have to do singles anymore.

3. Wait...what?  I guess there's always next year for pistols.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

It's the cinnamon sticks

Cold then. A slow gritting lorry flashed its orange globe at me as I came here.  I see our parents have left a glass jar of pot-pourri with you-fir cones in it, cinnamon sticks.  A dried, golden pear.  I don't know what its scent is-spice, but also a musk, of some kind.  Frankincense?  Nor do I know very much of how love is shown, for I so rarely show it.  But these are the gestures people remember, or kneel at, I know that much.  It isn't the big declarations.  No brass bands playing.  It's cinnamon sticks, or a drawing of sleeping dog.  Or the gift of a stone moved with the sea for so many years that its rolled into a smooth round ball.

Advent is one of my very favorite seasons in the church year.  A time of preparing and getting ready for Christmas.  It has been fun each year to add something to our little family's advent traditions.

For several years now I have eyed my sister's advent calendar, with its perfect sized pockets for lindor chocolate balls.  She bought it at a craft fair many years ago and I haven't found anything like it in my own wanderings.

Oh I have scoured pinterest and it's advent boards and there are plenty of good ideas out there.  But alas, these hands of mine are not so crafty.  It always looks better in my head than it turns out in real life.

But I gave it a good go this year.  I made my own festive red and green paper bags, filled with two pieces of candy and a task inside to be completed by the family each night.  The outside has a bible verse to be read before opening the gift.  Why two toned bags?  Because I have two littles of course!  And I thought it would make it easier to remember who's turn it is.

(side note: I tried to mix the candy up a little so it would be a surprise.  Among other things there are strawberry candies, the lindor balls, andes mints, candy canes, butterscotch disks.  I didn't put too many of the lindor balls in because I wasn't sure how they would go over with the 8 and under crowd and lets face it...they are kind of pricey.  Just yesterday, Bobby asked me if I had any more of those little chocolate balls that melt in your mouth....I knew I loved that kid!  He has good taste.)

My goal for this advent season?  Less crazy stressing and more preparing.
Preparing our home.
Preparing our hearts.
Preparing the way for what matters most.

Now that I am somewhat happy with our Advent calendar, I have got my eye on this,
cradle to cross wreath (, it intrigues me, maybe next year.


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