Catching Up On My Newberrys 

At the start of this year I signed up for the 2016 Newberry Reading Challenge with  goal of reaching the L’ Engle level. That is a measly 15-29 points that is gained by reading Newberry Medal books (for 3 points), Newberry Honor books (for 2 points), and Caldecott Medal books (for 1 point). Eight months into the year and I have ZERO points to my name. 🙁

I didn’t want to end up in the exact same place as when I signed up for the challenge last year (with zero points), and because I needed some cheering up distraction from all the things happening in my beloved country I stopped by the bookstore this afternoon after my errands to look for a Newberry Medal book to bring home and read. The plan was one book, but see the picture up there? One ended up becoming three. 🙂 But it was almost no Newberry book because I was holding grown-up novels at one point. And then it was a Newberry and 2 novels, then 2 Newberrys and a novel, them back to 3 novels…you get the picture. I love books! And being inside a bookstore is happiness! I was walking between shelves and came upon some teenagers seated on the floor browsing books and with pained expressions on their faces knowing they could only buy one book, but how do you choose from so many treasures!? I know that expression too well. 🙂

In the end I walked out with these three books, two Newberry Medals and a Newberry Honor. I can’t wait to get started!

Do you have any suggestions on other Newberry books I should read? 🙂

Half-Empty or Half-Full?

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And just like that, half the year is gone. Or I guess we can see it as half the year still ahead. Time to pause and take stock of the promises we made to ourselves at the start of the year.

When my 2016 started I chose a word to live out. That word is SOAR. I admit that’s not how I would describe how things are in my life at this point but I can say I have gotten off the ground. 🙂

Here’s to the next six months of flight.

How has your year been so far? 🙂

Ready Player One

Ready Player One

This was my first book read for 2016 but I never really got around to writing about it. This book was nostalgic! A blast from the past! In a world of suffering and chaos set in the future it looked back on the 80s with its songs, movies, and video games and somehow made that decade seem like one of the best times ever. And I wouldn’t disagree completely. But then in the 80s I was in elementary school and life was simple.

Ready Player One also told of a life where people did everything online. From the time they got up to the time they went to bed they were hooked to headgear that made them do everything online. It didn’t feel like such a preposterous idea. Kids these days know how to operate gadgets before they know the alphabet, and in some countries they are recognizing a phenomenon of young adults not even leaving their rooms anymore because they’re glued to screens.

I enjoyed this book and read it in just a few days. But it was also a reminder that there is a world out there that we should interact with. Oh, and that time moves forward. The 80s might have been fun, but I wouldn’t want to relive it. 🙂

Have you read READY PLAYER ONE? What did you think of it?

Last Year’s Book Challenges…and This Year’s Goals

I love, love, love reading books. Life just gets in the way of my cuddling in a corner and losing myself in pages for an entire day.

Last year I (officially) started my Century of Books challenge from Stuck In A Book. Started, but that doesn’t mean I’ve gotten anything written down. It’s actually easy to read a book, it’s the writing about it that gets me stuck and that’s another thing that I’m challenging myself to do…to write. So as last year ended I had 0 books in the bag for this challenge. But! This is a long-term thing and I’m just rolling it over to 2016. This year I hope to read – and write about! – 10 books for this challenge. 🙂

I also joined the Newberry Reading Challenge 2015 but wasn’t able to read any of the books on the Newberry Medal and Honor Roll list. And you should know me by now, I don’t give up, I just keep trying. This yearI’m trying again and I’m signing up again for the Newberry Reading Challenge 2016. I’m still only aiming for the L’Engle level…but you never know. 😉

Smiling Shelves

Do you have any suggestions of books for me to read? And what books are you planning on reading this year?

This year I will SOAR

For 3 years now I’ve stopped listing New Year’s Resolutions and instead simplified this tradition by focusing on just one word. This came about when I chanced upon One Word 365 from one of the blogs that I used to follow. The idea is to choose a word and reflect/meditate on that for the rest of the year. Live the whole year with intention, focusing on what that one word means for you.

In the last weeks of 2015 I have been praying on what my one word for this year should be. The words I had previously chosen were MOVE and FORWARD. Was I able to live the past years according to the words I had chosen? Honestly? Not entirely. 🙁 I chalk that up to forgetting about the part where I commit to living out my year with intention and focus on the word I’ve chosen. And I commit to making this year different. The word I choose is going to be my commitment to my God and to myself. Which is why I was cautious in making a choice for my ONE WORD.

And yet, no matter how I wanted to proceed with caution and choose a safe word (like joy or hope or faith) it was a different word that resonated with me.

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Hmmm…Lord, SOAR? Are you sure this is what you want for me in 2016? I mean, I can barely run a 5k and you want me to soar?

My Father God believes in me more than I believe in myself, apparently. And I believe in Him. So SOAR it is. I can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store for me.

How about you, friend? Do you have a one word for 2016? 🙂

Have a blessed and abundant year ahead. 🙂

Always with Integrity

I’ve started (and deleted) a number of blogs since 2005 but since 2009 I have always carried this badge…

BlogWithIntegrity.com

What does this mean? That I will be respectful of everyone I engage with when I blog.

This is how the pledge goes:

By displaying the Blog with Integrity badge or signing the pledge, I assert that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is important to me.

I treat others respectfully, attacking ideas and not people. I also welcome respectful disagreement with my own ideas.

I believe in intellectual property rights, providing links, citing sources, and crediting inspiration where appropriate.

I disclose my material relationships, policies and business practices. My readers will know the difference between editorial, advertorial, and advertising, should I choose to have it. If I do sponsored or paid posts, they are clearly marked.

When collaborating with marketers and PR professionals, I handle myself professionally and abide by basic journalistic standards.

I always present my honest opinions to the best of my ability.

I own my words. Even if I occasionally have to eat them.

It’s almost the weekend! Enjoy the days ahead. 🙂

On the Mat at Home

So a few months ago I decided to join D in yoga classes after she sent me the schedule and fees for the studio near our place of work. It was great! I was getting stretched in places that I didn’t know could be stretched and I was working up a sweat. I also noticed that I became more mindful of how I was breathing which led to my working on slowing it down during the day. (Apparently I have been breathing shallow, panting breaths.)

Unfortunately, when the girls started school I had a difficult time fitting the classes into my day. Too bad. But I wasn’t quite ready to give up my practice so it was off to the internet to find an alternative solution and lo-and-behold I find Do You Yoga, an online community that had online classes! And they have free classes too!

I’m currently doing the FREE 30-Day Yoga Challenge and it feels great! Although the challenge can be done by beginners, just in case you’re intimidated at the thought, you can start with their Yoga for Beginners. I have to admit though that nothing beats practicing at a studio with a teacher but for now this will do.

See you on the mat? 🙂

Upward Falling Me

I was about 8 or 9 years old when my parents brought me to my first Life in the Spirit Seminar with a Catholic Charismatic Community. There were other seminars and communities that followed over the course of the years. It’s been about 30 years since I became part of the renewal movement but it has never been easy. Jesus wasn’t kidding when he said that in following him we would have to pick up our cross. Mine isn’t light and it only gets heavier over the years.

The past few years have been challenging, to say the least. And there have been times when I’ve thought about putting down that cross and just living life the easiest way possible. But no matter how hard things get, there is still comfort in knowing that I have a loving God who will wrap me in his embrace and who will provide me with all that I need even before I know I need it.

Last week I was supposed to serve at a prayer gathering (I wasn’t able to but that’s another story) and this song was part of the line-up. I haven’t stopped listening to it since. It’s on a loop on my Spotify account. I’m sharing below the YouTube video of Touch The Sky sung at Lakewood Church.

And this is the story behind the song…

...I found my life when I laid it down…I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground…everything I am reaching out to surrender…

Really, that’s been His message for me all this time. Surrender. Surrender not as giving up but acknowledging that He is in control. Even if most of the time it doesn’t feel that way.

It’s only a Tuesday! The week is still ahead of us and whether you have it all planned out or are dreading the tons of things you have to get done just have a great week. God has you covered. 😉

Reading Challenge for 2015

For 2014, about half of the year through, I decided I was going to join two reading challenges. There was the Reading Bingo Challenge by Retreat by Random House and A Century of Books by Stuck in a Book, the first was somewhat manageable (or so I thought) and the second was a long-haul challenge so I thought I would be able to manage. Well, after 6 months I wasn’t able to get anything done. 🙁

But that’s okay! I am going to pick myself up and shake off the dust from this year’s reading challenge failure and move on to a challenge for 2015! (Because I can be very stubborn that way…)

I’m still going to work through the challenge of reading A Century of Books but I wanted to do one that had to be finished within a year. So I did a search of all the challenges being posted and I came across one that I think is just perfect for me as a mom of a 10 year-old reader (and two other soon-to-be-readers…I hope). When 2015 rolls around in a few days I am going to join…

2015 Newbery Reading Challenge

A Newberry Medal is awarded to authors with distinguished contributions to American Literature for Children. The Newberry Honor books, for lack of a clearer explanation, are the runners-up, but they are really good reads just the same. 🙂

Also, because No. 100 of my 101 in 1001 is to read a Newberry Medal or Honor Book for every year since it’s debut in 1922, this challenge is me hitting two birds with one stone. Oh, and I’m aiming for the L’Engle level on this one. Yes, the lowest level, but I’m being realistic for now. 😉

Any suggestions on what books to start with? 🙂