Ten Resolutions for 2013

I’ve been making New Year’s Resolutions for the last three years. And after last year’s didn’t go so well, I’ve decided I need to make this year’s public. And I need to put them where I’ll see them often. So I’m sharing them with you and posting them on the fridge.

Without further ado, here are my goals and resolutions for 2013:

1.That’s only two books a month—what a sad number. With working full time, freelance editing jobs, blogging, and having a life, it’s tough to fit reading in, but I still want to make sure I’m doing it. Two books I want to get to this year are Don Quixote and Les Miserables. And maybe Mere Christianity, since that was on my list of resolutions last year and I bought it but never read it. Oops. But right now, I’m going back to an old favorite: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

2.With all the dental work I’ve had in the last two months to make up for a childhood of poor dental hygiene, this is a big one for me.

3.Ideally, this will be running on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturday or Sunday, and two days of yoga.

4.Not gonna lie—this one scares me. But I really want to get there just because I think I can’t.

5.Jonathan and I read together most nights, but I want to make more of a concentrated effort to spend time in the Word on my own. I haven’t really gotten started yet, but I’m planning to use a reading plan from Canvas Church’s website. If you’re interested in joining me, you can find the reading plan here.

6.Last year, I wanted to journal every day. It didn’t happen. Not even close. So this year, I’m shooting a little lower and broadening the possibilities—it can be journaling, a blog post, or something else. And unless I’m having a bad week, stuff I write for work won’t count.

7.We eat out way too much. Especially when we don’t have leftovers for lunches and we eat out then, too.

8.I made this a goal for myself two years ago, and it was a great challenge. I love finding and trying new recipes. Especially when they turn out great. I think I’ll start with one (or both!) of these . . .
Sun-dried Tomato Spread
Man-Pleasing Chicken

9.I’ve written about this before, but I fell out of the habit. It made life much easier when I didn’t procrastinate in the small things.

10.Earlier would be even better, but as it’s been, I’ve been getting up at 7:45ish, only about 20 minutes before I have to leave for work. No bueno. Things have got to change. And if they do, I might even have time to get my run in or do my quiet time before I go to work. That sounds like a recipe for a much better day.

What are you goals/resolutions for 2013?

Lately I’m . . .

Preparing for our trip to Michigan. I’ve been saving vacation time all year, and we’re heading “home” on Saturday. All my family is in Michigan and we try to make it back once or twice a year. And on the way, we’re going to stop and see my college roommate. We’ve been wrapping up stuff at work (poor Jonathan has to prepare two papers in one week!), shopping for snacks (Vitamin Water and beef jerky are our non-negotiables), and doing ridiculous amounts of cleaning.

Here are a few pictures of us with my siblings from the last time we went home for Christmas : )gingerbread house 2 gingerbread house 1Getting into the habit of running on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturday or Sunday. A week and a half after starting the schedule, it’s still going. AND I’m even planning to run next week when we’re in Michigan. I’m glad my aunt has a treadmill—otherwise, I’d be skipping the runs. No way am I ready to run outside. In the cold. Up and down hills. No thank you.

Watching Ashley and JP’s wedding. Yes, I’m talking about The Bachelorette. I don’t usually watch TV (we find a show we like and get it on DVD), but when Ashley was on The Bachelorette, I got hooked. I fell in love with her and JP as a couple (my husband is rolling his eyes right now), and I got super excited when I found out they were actually getting married. As I write this, I’m watching the parts of the wedding I missed on Sunday when it actually aired. If you’re like my husband and you think it’s stupid, you’ll be happy to know I haven’t let myself watch the show since.

Going to the dentist. Two weeks ago. This week. And two more times in January. I’ll spare you the details, but when I have kids I am making sure they get proper dental care. I didn’t, and now I’m making up for it. Dental work is not fun, folks.

Signing up to do book reviews for Tyndale and Thomas Nelson. For the past year and a half, I’ve only reviewed books for Bethany House Publishers, but I’m switching things up in 2013. Check out the links in the sidebar for more information and stay tuned!

Brainstorming my 2013 goals. I work best when I set goals for myself and make them public. Last year did not go so well. I’ve been brainstorming goals for about a month now, and I think I have some good ones. In the next few weeks, I’ll post a list. Maybe accountability will make them happen this year.

Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden

When Lydia Pallas, a translator for the US Navy, meets Alexander Banebridge, her neat, orderly life gets disrupted in ways she never expected. Before meeting “Bane,” Lydia is wrapped up in making money so she can purchase and stay in her home. After meeting him, she gets caught up in fighting for a cause and consequently, for her life.

When I started Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it, but before I knew it, I got sucked into the story. The characters are realistic, full of the little quirks that make you love them. Camden does a great job of revealing their personalities and helping you understand the whys behind their words and actions.

The plot of Against the Tide was surprisingly similar to Unending Devotion, the Jody Hedlund book I reviewed last week. Though I enjoyed them both, I felt this one had a more satisfying ending, perhaps because there was more at stake for Lydia and Bane. That said, I’d recommend either book if you’re looking for a page-turner.

*I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my review. My opinion of this book is my own and was not influenced by the publisher or the author.

Unending Devotion by Jody Hedlund

https://i2.wp.com/assets.bakerpublishinggroup.com/processed/books/covers/listing/9780764208348.jpgLily Young arrives in Harrison, Michigan, in 1883, determined to find her sister no matter the cost. But on her first night in town, she bumps into Connell McCormick, the son of a local lumber baron, and her life takes a turn she never expected.

Unending Devotion was my second Jody Hedlund book, and it was even better than the first. (You can read my review of The Doctor’s Lady here.) Now that I’ve read two of her books, I can easily say that the greatest part of her stories are the characters. They’re so complex. So relatable. So human. So often, Christian fiction is full of characters that don’t seem quite right. They’re not realistic and you can’t quite figure out what makes them tick. But Hedlund creates believable characters. She’s honest about their flaws. And they become better versions of themselves by the end of her stories.

That said, you’ll fall in love with Lily, Connell, and the other characters in Unending Devotion. As a Michigander (at heart, if not by location), it made me sad to read about the history of my state as it relates to the lumber industry, but it made a great backdrop for Lily’s story and stubborn perseverance and passion to do what’s right.

I highly recommend this book. It’s one of the best historical Christian novels I’ve read this year. Hedlund is now right up there next to Julie Klassen on my list of must-read authors. (It doesn’t hurt her case that she’s a fellow Michigander who graduated from my alma mater . . . kinda.)

If you’re into writing fiction, she has a great blog full of tips and ideas.

*I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my review. My opinion of this book is my own and was not influenced by the publisher or the author.

What I’m Reading

Happy Labor Day! (I admit to looking this up to make sure Labor Day is about what it sounds like it’s about. It’s not a holiday you spend much time talking about in elementary school.)

To celebrate this glorious three-day weekend, I’m enjoying a grande iced chai latte (possibly my last until next year, now that salted caramel mochas are back on the menu at Starbucks) and catching up on a few of my favorite blogs.

claudiamair.com
I met Claudia Mair briefly when she came to Taylor to talk about writing. I love her outside-the-box personality, and her writing reflects that. To my shame, I’ve only read one of her books (Zora and Nicky), but I’ve never forgotten how much I loved it. It was not fluffy, make-you-feel-good Christian fiction. But it did have a powerful message. When I found out she was starting a blog, I got super excited. She’s only got a few posts up, but I can’t wait to see more.

The Small Things Blog
From My Grey Desk
I’m putting these two together because the bloggers are sisters. The Small Things blog is written by a hairstylist (I have serious hair envy! I even took her picture with me last time I got a cut.) I’d describe them both as fashion blogs, and I’m addicted. I can’t get enough of fashion blogs lately. (Sorry to all my male readers—you can probably just skip over these. Unless, of course, you want really great gift ideas).

Goins, Writer
This is the second time I’ve posted about Jeff’s blog. I’ve since decided he’s not as much like Seth Godin as I thought. But he does use some of the same language and he totally challenges my writing. I love him because he’s one of those writers who writes because he loves it, not necessarily just because he has something to say. And I’ve discovered that is the perfect recipe for quality writing.

No doubt I’ll also get around to working on a few of the books on my list before the day’s over.

What Your Childhood Memories Say About You by Dr. Kevin Leman
This is one of those free books that’s been sitting on my Kindle since before I had one (I started collecting books about a year before I got it). It’s not a page-turner, but I’m finding it to be pretty interesting so far. I think it’s the psychology geek in me—had someone bothered to explain the concept of a minor to this girl who came from a family that knew nothing about college, I probably would have been a psychology minor.

Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day by Garry R. Morgan
This is the review book I’m working on right now. I’ve always had an interest in other religions and so far, it’s super interesting. Check back in a few weeks for a full review.

John
I’ve been trying really hard to get into the habit of spending time reading the Bible on a daily basis. I started with the reading plan in Unstuck just to get in the habit of doing it every day. Now that I’m done with that, I’ve moved on to using the SOAP method to read through a reading plan my bosses came up with for the youth group this year. Tonight’s reading is John 6.

This seems like such a tiny list because, really, I have a reading addiction. Or, maybe I’m just addicted to reading materials. Every week I have to sort through all the free books I’ve downloaded and put them into the appropriate folders–contemporary fiction, historical fiction, nonfiction, writing, etc. I may or may not have over 70 books just in the contemporary fiction folder . . . And blogs? Every time I think I’m going to clean out my reader and delete the ones I skip over, I add more. Without fail.

If only there were a few extra hours built into the day designed just for reading. My lunch hour and an hour or so each evening (if it’s a good day) are just not enough! What about you—what would you use those few extra hours for?

Lately I’m . . .

. . . Loving the Kindle Jonathan got me for my birthday, which was about a month ago. Right now I’m swamped with review books, so I haven’t gotten to use it much, but I can’t wait to take advantage of the more than 200 free books I’ve collected on it over the past year and a half.

. . . Excited to start reading Wrecked by Jeff Goins. I’ve been following Jeff’s blog for several months now and he’s done a great job hyping up this book. For awhile, he was offering a bunch of free stuff if you bought a copy of the book, so I did. Luckily, one of the free gifts was the Kindle edition of the book—the hardcopy is in high demand and will take a little while to get here. If you’re interested, I think it’s on sale for $0.99!

. . . Attending the Global Leadership Summit. Our church is a host site and I get to attend as part of the staff. Jonathan took the two days off work so he could come too. Today’s sessions were great, and I can’t wait for tomorrow. I’ll post highlights next week.

. . . Watching the Olympics. I think we’ve watched every night. Gymnastics is always my favorite, but I’ve enjoyed the other events too. Except maybe volleyball. I just can’t get excited about it. I’d rather watch cycling.

. . . Packing to go up north for the weekend. Right after the Summit ends tomorrow, we’re heading up to Jonathan’s grandparents’ lake home. We’ll get to relax, ride the skidoo, and eat way too much food. Sounds perfect, especially if I can get some reading in.

Lately I’m . . .

Seeing life in hi-def. Okay, not really. But I got new glasses yesterday and everything seems way sharper. Nothing like having crappy vision to make you appreciate the finer things in life (okay, pun intended—sorry). Though I’m still not sure if I like them.

Planning our trip to Yellowstone. ROAD TRIP! I can’t believe we leave in less than two weeks. We’ll be staying in a different place almost every night, but we’ve got reservations for KOA cabins so we don’t have to haul a tent all over the place. I can’t want to see Mt. Rushmore, the Tetons, and Grand Prismatic Springs again. A few years ago, I visited the area with some of my family, but Jonathan has never been west of Minnesota. Seriously.

So we didn’t actually see this moose in Yellowstone (it was in the river next to the place we stayed), but close enough. This year my goal is to see a bear. From a safe distance.

Rethinking my wardrobe. I’m so tired of waking up every morning, rifling through my dresser, and coming up empty. I feel like I hate every article of clothing I own. But really, the problem is more that I hate the way I look in the clothes I own. I’ve been seeing a lot of blog posts about the 30 x 30 challenge, and it’s helped me realize I need to stop buying clothes and work with what I have. ‘Cause I have A LOT. And, in case you’re wondering—no, I do not have enough self-confidence to post pictures of said clothes like Kendi does. This pile of clean laundry is all you get.

Staying inside. It’s freakin’ hot here. And humid. Today’s heat index was 104. And we’re under air quality (thank you, Colorado wildfires) and heat warnings.  Having grown up in a house with no AC, I am SO grateful for ours. And I am taking full advantage of it.

Editing a book. My friend Kristie (Jeff’s wife) is turning a Bible study she wrote into a self-published book, and I get the honor of copy editing for her. Sometimes I wish I could do things like this full time, but for now, I’m enjoying where I am.

Reviewing like six books. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but I’m pretty sure I’m reviewing at least four this summer. I have one review due Friday (watch for the post!), another due at the end of the month, and two more books on the way. So much for a slow, easy summer ; )

Preparing for my little sister’s visit in August. I haven’t seen her since Thanksgiving, and 8/16 can’t come soon enough. I’m making all sorts of lists and mental notes of things we need to do. Like walk through Uptown, visit the Stone Arch Bridge (I’m pretty sure she’s never seen the Mississippi), take pictures in the sculpture garden, and go to a concert at Lake Harriet . . . And that doesn’t even include the list of restaurants I want to hit while she’s here!