What I’ve Read in 2016

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When I was a child, yes, before the internet, one of my favorite things to do was a trip to the library.  The best day at school was when the class was taken to the library to check out a book.  During the summers my group of friends would get dressed up and go to the library.   And, of course, there were those special days when the bookmobile bus would drive into the neighborhood, park on a designated street and wait for me to climb those 3 or 4 steps in to search for a book.  I felt rich as I wandered the rows of books looking for my next adventure, reading about places I had never been and opening my heart and mind to the power of another’s story.  Oh how grateful I am to my family and teachers who taught me how to read. 

Reading causes me to slow down, to stretch myself, to be a treasure hunter and often fact find if what I’m  reading is true and learn from others.  Reading brings me comfort, laughter, leads me to a new idea and often is a restful place to land from my own life.

Because of recently downsizing our home, my commute to work has become an hour longer each day but you know what – it has been a blessing.  Because of the internet and Audible.com, I can now download a book on my iPhone and play it through my car radio.  The little girl in me is delighted for this new library that is so easily available.  The commute flies by.  My coworker and friend, Amy and I started listening to books on our commute years ago.  It is a great way to remind us that the workday hasn’t started yet in the morning and ended in the afternoon.  We have been known to sit in front of her house because we have 15 minutes left and then broke out in applause at the ending while listening to The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  I am sure we were quite a sight to those outside the car.

Don’t get me wrong – I also read on Kindle; and I still treasure holding a book in my hands, turning the pages with my highlighter and pen in hand in case something catches my attention. 

This year I set a goal to read 40 books, as well as my bible.  I have met 3/4 of this goal and I am currently reading the kindle version of  Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow and listen to Among the Gods by Lynn Austin (which is the 5th in the series Chronicles of the Kings – I will be sad to finish this series).  The books of 2016 are a snapshot of my year – learning about people who settled our country,  the kings of the Old Testament, maneuvering the grief of a loved one, many areas of our history – Chicago World Fair and the women who stepped in to work the shipyards during WW2, downsizing a house and discovering there is a freedom in having less stuff, learning to cook more with organics and non-GMO ingredients as well as becoming very attached to a kitchen appliance I’d been scared of – the pressure cooker.  

I have been wanting to document and share my reading list for sometime and with Christmas less than 3 months away, I thought this might be a resource to all my fellow readers.

The Justice by Angela Hunt

The Keeper of the Ring Series by Angela Hunt

The Last of the Mohicans by James Cooper

A Good Yarn (Book 2) by Debbie Macomber

Susannah’s Garden by Debbie Macomber

The Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

Brides for Brothers by Debbie Macomber

A Woman’s Place by Lynn Austin

A Proper Pursuit by Lynn Austin

Faith of My Fathers (Chronicles of the Kings #4) by Lynn Austin

Gods and Kings (Chronicles of the Kings #1)  by Lynn Austin

Song of Redemption (Chronicles of the Kings #2) by Lynn Austin

Strength of His Hand (Chronicles of the Kings #3) by Lynn Austin

The Next Place by Warren Hanson

Remind Me by LN Croak

Magdalene by Angela Hunt

Getting Through the Tough Stuff by Chuck Swindoll

Moving On by Linda Hetzer/Janet Hulstrand

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

Where I Am by Billy Graham

The Elimination Diet:  Discover the foods that are making you sick and tired and feel better fast by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malters

The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst

One Simple Act:  Discovering the Art of Generosity by Debbie Macomb

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

First Easter by Peter Marshall

Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E Frankel

Unbroken by Laura Hollenbrand

Rightsize, Right Now.. by Regina Leads

The Paleo Kitchen by Julie Bauer and George Bryant

I’d love to hear what you are reading or listening to.

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Happy Page Turning…

 

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Makeover – Part 2 – The Front Yard

So I’m going to tease you with a wedding picture of my beautiful new daughter-in-law at the end of this post that was taken in the area pictured below.

Funny how sometimes the areas you’ve worked so hard on are the very areas the experts tell you needs to be replaced.  The areas in question may have been beautiful at one time and even what was popular but today that are “outdated.”  One of the areas we got this advice on was our front porch area (okay – it’s not a true front porch) but it’s my front sitting area so I’m calling it a porch. 

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Years ago my husband, Jeff, worked so hard placing tile in this area.  But it was time for it to go.  In order to save some money we decided to demo this area ourselves.  How hard could it be right?  It was pretty hard and we ended up renting a tool to help break it up.  Our thanks to Josh, our son-in-law, for helping Jeff with this project.

Here were a few things I learned during this process:

Lesson One – we often have to remove something to make way for something new and better. 

Lesson Two – we will be living in a mess for awhile and wonder more than once what did we just do?

Lesson Three – next time we might want to get a quote from the experts who have the tools and see if the money being saved was worth the effort we expended?i

Note – there is a bench in the corner of this picture – promise it will mean more later in the post.

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Another block wall – ugg! – this wall also began to show it’s wear and I wasn’t sad when we decided to remove it entirely.

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I took this picture because this was a project that was important to Jeff.  We had a yellow plant on the other side of the garage and he wanted it to match on both sides.  So he moved rock, found a way to get water to the area, brought dirt in and after several hours we had a yellow plant on this side of the garage also.  As you can see it was a bit of a wrestling match – Jeff won.

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Our new front yard.

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Photo – Aaron Kes Photography

Our daughter-in-law sitting on the bench but now with rustic bricks under her pretty toes.  This area was used in several of Evan and Rhiannon’s wedding photos.  

If you missed Part 1 of the Makeover Series (Getting Ready for the Wedding) you can find it HERE

Next week we’ll be returning to the back yard.

During the time the front was getting made over I felt a a bit like the the tile being broken up as I learned a new way to exercise consistently and provide daily nutrition that was a benefit to my body.  I remember how proud I was when I finished 42 days of the program and could see my own changes happening.  

IMG_6627Deliciously Inspired offers support and tools to help you build a healthier you.   Leave a comment or email directly for more info. 

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Makeover – Part 1 – The Wall

House M-0 - Block Fence Before

When I look at this picture I see so many things…I see the yard my children’s birthday parties occurred in when they were growing up – Evan’s 4-year-old Winnie the Pooh Blustery Day Picnic;  Tamara’s 8-year-old western sleepover.  I remember when we first moved in over 20 years ago and the ash tree was a starter tree.  We have watched it grow year after year drop seeds in the summer that catch the wind and look like little whirly gigs spinning to the earth as we floated in the pool.  Then the season changes to fall and the leaves of the tree seem to endlessly drop in large batches until the lawn is covered in a quilt of yellow, orange and brown.  We would often wonder as we raked those leaves if they would ever stop dropping  but then one day you notice the branches are as bare as a newborn’s behind and you await new growth  that comes in the spring to bring shade back to the summer days ahead. We have celebrated anniversaries, bridal showers, holidays  and a few weeks ago we watched our son (yes, that same child who had his 4-year-old birthday party) and his sweetheart exchange their wedding vows.   

It was in February of this year that both our yard and I began to be refurbished a bit.  We were both a bit worn out.  For several years every time I saw the wall outside, it reminded me of how I felt on certain days.  It wasn’t that effort was being put into keeping us up and running but what was being tried wasn’t effective.   In the next few weeks I’ll be sharing lessons I’ve learned through this experience, share progress as we worked on getting the yard ready for the special day and a little of my continuing progress in regards to my health  journey.

Lesson 1 – Bring in the experts or at least someone who knows more than you do and knows what tools to use.

 As I said we had tried to take care of that wall by ourselves with a brush, a sprayer,  etc but nothing lasted, nothing blended well and we couldn’t patch the holes that were beginning to appear.  Looking back I wonder how many hours and dollars we spent trying to do it on our own.   What a difference when we paid someone who had a skill set we didn’t.  It felt like a miracle that in only a few days time we went from the picture above to this.  Old plants had been removed, tree roots had been shaved and oh the wall was smooth – no holes and ready for a coat of paint that would stick.

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We did paint the wall ourselves – so much blue painter tape before the sprayer could be used but worth it.

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Lesson 2 – Invest in what you want to accomplish.  My dad has a saying about having a choice to either “Work hard or Work SMART.”   When we find the right tools for the right job, it stops being so hard.  That doesn’t mean there isn’t effort but we have a plan to meet the goals on hand.  I know this proved especially true for me when it came to implementing consistent nutrition and exercise.  Purchasing a $60.00 at-home program became the catalyst of change with an on-line coach and group support.  I found the right tools for the right season.  I didn’t have to design a program; my job was to follow it to the best of my ability.  The picture on the left was taken in September and the picture on the right was when I got started on February 16th.

I am happy to say that both the wall and I are in a much better place.

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