Monday, December 31, 2012

The End of Another Year and Beginning of Another

Well, here we are at the end of another year. It's been a very full year with a lot happening. We have seen some devastating things in the world, but we've also seen hope. We've seen man's inhumanity to man, and we've seen people reach out and make a difference. And like every year, we've seen personal disappointments and setbacks mixed with happy occasions and moments of great joy.

What lies ahead is anybody's guess. We live in uncertain times, but with a God we can always count on. What will happen to the economy? What will happen politically? What tragedies and cataclysms are ahead? I have no idea. The good news is that I know Someone who knows all of those things, and He's not worried. He tells us to be anxious for nothing. Not the economy, or politics, or global unrest. Nothing. Because He has it all covered.

So, for the year ahead, I wish you and yours, peace, above all things. May you have a year filled with blessing and joy and grace and love. May you be healthy and well provided for. May you and yours have a healthy and productive year ahead. May you have great vision to carry you into the future. Above all, may the peace of God invade your home and your life, regardless of what's happening in the world, the country or your own backyard.

Be blessed and have a very Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Yikes! More Reading Challenges!

Just when I thought I was all done with reading challenges, I found some more. One of the ones I enjoyed last year started up again, and my daughter decided to host two herself.

14. 2013 Why Buy The Cow Reading Challenge (Jan 1 through Dec 31 2013)
   Free downloadable ebooks
       Coupon Clipper: 12 books

15. Clocks, Cogs and Mechanisms Reading Challenge 2013 (Jan 1 through Dec 31 2013)
   Steampunk novels
      Brass Gears: 1-3 books

16. What Would Jane Do? Reading Challenge (Jan 1 through Dec 31 2013)
   Books written by Jane Austin, derivative works and movies
      Jane's Wisdom: 3-5 books and 3-5 movies

I'm not going to say that's all, because as sure as I do, someone will post a fabulous challenge I can't resist! I will just say, that's all for now. :D

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Reading Challenges 2013

It's that time of year again! Of course I'm referring to time to sign up for new reading challenges. I promised myself, as I do every year that I wasn't going to go crazy and sign up for a bunch of challenges, but I looked over the new crop and just couldn't help myself. So here are the newest batch:

1. Embarrassment of Riches TBR Reading Challenge 2013 (Jan 1 through Dec 31 2013)
   Books you already own
      Copper:  Read 6 TBR books
2. Library Books Reading Challenge 2013 (Jan 1 through Dec 31 2013)
   Books checked out from the library 
      Board Book: 3 books
3. 2013 Mystery/Crime Reading Challenge (Jan 1 through Dec 31 2013)
   Mystery or crime novels or short stories
      5 books: Detective
4. New Year's Resolution Reading Challenge (Jan 1 through Jan 31 2013)
   Books to help with resolutions (mine is getting organized)
      Resolved: 1 book
5. Wishlist Challenge 2013 (Jan 1 through Dec 31 2013)
   Books from your online wishlist
      12 books (one per month)
6. 2013 Fairy Tales Retold Reading Challenge (Jan 1 through Dec 31 2013)
   Young adult or middle grade fairy tale retellings
      Cobbler: 1-3 books
7. 2013 Mount TBR Reading Challenge (Jan 1 through Dec 31 2013)
   Books from the TBR mountain
      Pike's Peak: 12 Books
8. Foodies Read 2013 Challenge (Jan 1 through Dec 31 2013)
   Any book, fiction or non-fiction about food, cooking or chefs
      Short-Order Cook: 1-3 books
9. Cruisin' Through the Cozies Reading Challenge 2013 (Jan 1 through Dec 31 2013)
   Cozy mysteries at defined by
   Level 1 Snoop: Read at least 6 books
10. Nerdy Non-fiction Reading Challenge 2013 (Jan 1 through Dec 31 2013)
   Any non-fiction books
      Geek: 4-6 books in at least 2-3 different categories
11. 2013 Operation Deepen Faith (Jan 1 through Dec 31 2013)
   I. Wonderful Words of Life: Read one book of the bible each day for 30 days
   II. Going Deep: Study one book for the year 
   VI. Christian Nonfiction: 4 books
12. Operation Actually Read the Bible (Jan 1 through Dec 31 2013)
   Read the bible all the way through--actually a perpetual challenge, but I'm putting it down for this year
13. 2013 Ebook Challenge (Jan 1 through Dec 31 2013)
   Any ebook of any length or genre
      Floppy disk: 5 ebooks

And last but not least...
This isn't really a reading challenge per say, but more a reflection of the ones I signed up for already.
Reading Challenge Addicts
   Hi, my name is Terri and I am a reading challenge addict. LOL
      In Flight: 13 reading challenges (so far!)

That's it. Or at least, that's it until I run across something else that looks like fun.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Reading Challenge Update

Just a quick update on the Christmas reading challenge. It's not going as well as I had hoped but it's not too bad either. So far I've read the following:

The Birds' Christmas Carol by Kate Douglas Wiggins
The Christmas Mystery: The Story of Three Wise Men by William John Locke
Touching Wonder: Recapturing the Awe of Christmas by John Blase
Too Much Holly, Not Enough Holy by Patricia Wilson

I'm in the process of reading The Purse Driven Christmas by Anita Renfroe

On the Christmas movie front, I've seen the following:

The Holiday
Borrowed Hearts
Christmas in Connecticut
Martin the Cobbler
Shop Around the Corner

We've also watched the following movies, that while not strictly traditional, do take place at Christmas or have large sections that take place at Christmas:

An Affair to Remember (the girls watch this before the older kids and adults watch the next movie)
Sleepless in Seattle (Horsecrazy loves the part where Annie is listening to the radio and Jingle Bells is playing and she's singing "horses, horses, horses, horses".)
Kate & Leopold
Die Hard

In case you're wondering, most the second batch were watched on our Clearplay DVD player. I don't like to have to deal with the foul language and nudity and graphic violence. If you don't like dealing with it either, or get aggravated when a cute movie is spoiled by one or two bad elements that prevent you from letting your kids watch it, this is a great option. For more information, click the (non-sponsored) link above or email me with questions.

Part of the challenge is reading Christmas stories to the kids too, so here's what we've done so far:

Emma's Christmas Wish by Sallyann J. Murphy
The 24 Days Before Christmas by Madeleine L'Engle

We are also in the midst of Advent, so I will have a couple of other books to add when that's over. We are currently reading:

Christmas Stories From the Heart compiled by Alice Gray
Bartholomew's Passage by Arnold Ytreeide

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season. I don't know about you, but in the midst of all the Christmas hustle and bustle, I can't help but think about the upcoming year. This has been a very challenging year on many fronts, but has also carried with it, its share of blessings. What will the year ahead hold? What do I want to do to improve my life. What left behind things do I want to pick back up and what new things do I want to add? What do I need to lay down or change? Hmm.

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Christmas Reading Challenge

This wasn't a good year for reading challenges and I blew most of the ones I signed up for. But when I saw this one, I couldn't let the year end on that note. I just discovered the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge 2012 over at The Christmas Spirit. It actually started Monday, November 19th, but it runs until January 6, 2013, so there's still plenty of time to get involved. The challenge is all about reading Christmas books. There are add-on's for Christmas movies and Christmas children's books as well. Be sure to check it out! I plan to do at least the Mistletoe level (2-4 books) plus Fa-La-La (movies--lots of them!) and Visions of Sugar Plums (reading Christmas stories to the kids).

While you're there signing up, be sure to take a look around the blog. If you are needing a good, strong dose of Christmas, you can definitely get it here!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

It's Been a Long, Long Time

It's been a long time since I last posted here, but I've thought of it numerous times. I've been waiting for a good time to start blogging again, and that time never presented itself. I finally decided it's like a lot of things. You have to make time for the important stuff, or it gets crowded out by the urgent. This year has been a tale of the tyranny of the urgent. But it's been an educational year. I'm learning as I go.

Right now, I'm in the midst of something else I really don't, on paper anyway, have time for, NaNoWriMo, It's been a struggle too. Last year, I breezed through with time to spare, finishing just over 50,000 words by November 18th. This year, I didn't even start until the 7th. I got caught up and then fell behind again, but I plan on doing a little writing tonight and getting caught back up.

This had been a year of things taking too long and being too hard. Even Thanksgiving, which I normally pull off with precision, went a bit awry and I ended up staying up all night cooking and it still didn't get finished until almost 2:00 PM. But we all had plenty to eat and everyone was here except the two that attend college out of state.

Anyway, I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are looking forward to a peaceful Christmas. I know I am.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Reading Challenge Update

Don't worry. I didn't join any more reading challenges, although I will admit I was tempted by a couple of late entries. However, I held fast and stuck with the already overwhelming number I had. Anyway, here's what I've read so far:

The Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family by Mary Ostyn
     This is a terrific book I had languishing on my bedside table waiting for me to get around to finishing it. Now I wish I'd read it a year ago when I bought it. I picked up so many great tips and got a ton of ideas that I will be using in the near future.

The Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
The Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
     This is my first foray into steampunk. These are the first and second books in the Infernal Devices series, a series of supernatural steampunk books aimed at young adults. I'm still trying to decide if I really like this genre, but these stories are very interesting.  I can't recommend them for young adults, because there is some profanity and a scene or two of sensuality (the one in the second book made me blush0. You have been warned. Oh, and one last warning: if you get sucked into this series, you should know that according to the website, book three isn't expected until September 2013.

The Disciplined Life by Calvin Miller
     This is one a of multitude of books I have downloaded for free since I got my Kindle several a few years ago. There are many such books available at various times. Check any of the multitude of Kindle blogs for listings of free books on Amazon. Many are free for a limited time, so if you see something that looks interesting, jump on it.
     I really liked this book and will probably re-read it before the year is out. There are lots of nuggets to chew on in this one.

Unfriend Yourself by Kyle Tennant
     Another free e-book. The author issues a challenge to unplug from social media for three days to consider the proper use of it and it's place in your life. Lots of food for thought here as well.

A Thousand Times More by W.S Gray
     Subtitled "A prayer plan to receive all that God wants for you." 'Nuff said.

The Best Gift by Wendy Markham
     I picked this one up last year at a library fundraiser sale. It's a book about a young lady that keeps time-traveling when she least expects it. It was an interesting story. My only real issue with it was that the plot presumes a belief in reincarnation.

That's it for now. Fortunately, some of these crossed over from one challenge to another and counted more than once. I'll post another update when I have another clump of books to report.

Oh, and while I didn't join any more reading challenges, I did get into a challenge with my eldest daughter to make 25 recipes and do 25 projects off of our Pinterest boards before the year is out. Yikes! I'll let you know how that goes.

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 Reading Challenges

Well, here we are at the beginning of a new year and the old familiar madness has set in. I'm speaking, of course, of the urge to sign up for reading challenges. I am cutting back this year, after last year got so out of hand. I'm attempting to limit myself(!) to the 15 challenges listed below:

1. Foodies Read 2
Short-Order Cook: 1 to 3 books
I'm one of those weird people who loves reading cookbooks and other books about food. This should be fun.

2. Greek Classics Challenge 2012
Sophocles: read 1-4 works
This is a little something to stretch the old brain cells.

3. What Would Jame Do Reading Challenge 2012
A Touch of Pride: Read 1-3 books
I'm not sure what all I'm reading for this one, but I'm pretty sure Mansfield Park is on the list.

4. The 2012 Graham Greene Reading Challenge
Dangling your toes: 1 book
I read The Comedians years ago, and haven't gotten around to reading anything else by this author.

5. Time Travel Reading Challenge 2012
Surprise Trip: 1 to 3 time travel books
I actually bought a time-travel book at the last library sale that I just found again the other day.

6. Fairy Tales Retold Challenge
3 books - Peasant
One of my daughters is a huge fan of fairy tale retellings. She has recommended some to me for this challenge.

7. All the Books of Pern Challenge 2012
Green– The original trilogy (or any 3)
I plan to read at least the original trilogy and if I have time, the Harper Hall trilogy. I was saddened my Anne McCaffrey's passing in November because I have many happy memories of reading her books in my younger years.

8. Clocks, Cogs and Mechanisms Challenge 2012
Brass Gears: Read 1-3 steampunk books
This is a new area for me. I'm usually a mystery buff, so steampunk is a little out of my usual purview. I'm looking forward to the challenge!

9. The 2012 Medieval Reading Challenge
Inferno – at least 4 books
More brain stretching going on here. The books have to be from 4 different genres and have to be written during the middle ages. Should be interesting.

10. The 2012 “Books I started but didn’t finish” Reading Challenge
4 books
1. The Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family
2. Bringing Up Geeks
3. Courageous for Women
4. Loving Our Kids on Purpose
These are all books I started last year and for one reason or another, never got around to finishing.

11. 2012 Operation Deepen Faith
II. Going Deep - I plan to read the book of James in 12 different translations as well as read 6 additional books written about the book of James (bible studies, commentaries, etc. In addition, I will be reading various study notes and additional resources on the book of James.
IV.Christian Nonfiction
10 books (in addition to the ones mentioned in the entry above)
I love this challenge. I have been meaning to take some time out and really study the book of James because it's my favorite.

12. Mount TBR Reading Challenge
Pike's Peak: Read 12 books from your TBR pile/s
My TBR piles are definitely in mountain range territory. I'll be posting my list of books I plan to read in a couple of days, if I can narrow down which ones I'm going to focus on. :D

13. Why Buy the Cow? Reading Challenge 2012
at least twelve (12) legally obtained FREE e-books
My Kindle is filling up fast with free books. I think I've purchased one book so far for it, but have managed to accumulate over a thousand books. I'd like to see how big a dent I can make in the mostly unread portion of them.

14. Wishlist Challenge 2012
12 books from your current wishlist
True confession time here. I have 56 Amazon wishlists. Hey, but only 48 of them are actually book lists. Sigh. Let's just say it's not going to be too much of a challenge to find 12 books to read off my wishlists.

15. 2012 Support Your Local Library Challenge
Level 1 - Read 12 library books
I'm a big fan of libraries and mine constantly amazes me with what pops up there. I'm signing up for the minimum level, but I suspect the final total will be much higher.

Well, that's the extent of the madness for this year. Um, that is unless someone does a Christmas reading challenge again or a Lenten one or a summer one or...