Posted in What I'm Learning

What I’m Trying

Often when I write a “What Works for Me” or “What I Do” post, it really should fit into another category. Because, in all honesty, I haven’t done it long enough to definitely say it works for me. I try to communicate that as I write, but the truth is I am constantly trying.

A friend of mine wrote a post recently about continuously trying, and it made me stop and think. I’m not as adventurous as she is. I would often rather keep doing what I am doing than try something new. I have never been one to take a dare. I have never been one to tackle something just because it was put in front of me. I need a reason, or at least an interest or a sense that I just might be good at it. Even so, the idea presented in her post definitely resonated with me. I, too, am constantly trying. I don’t tend jump at things put in front of me like she does (although sometimes I’d really love to be that kind of person!), but I am always wanting to improve.

I want to challenge myself. Not because I crave it or enjoy it, but because I want to grow, and I know that is the only way to grow.

So, I, like my friend, am continuously trying. I’m trying to be a more aware and supportive wife. I’m trying to be a more engaged mom. I’m trying to improve my writing skills and increase my writing content. I’m trying to challenge my brain and increase its sharpness by reading nonfiction and learning languages. (Yes, languages…plural. Because I’m beyond crazy.)

But, in order to effectively try, I have to break these things down. They can’t just be general resolutions to be better at ______________. I have to have specific actions. So, I’m creating a new writing category: What I’m Trying.

I doubt it truly matters to you, my readers, how I categorize each and every post on my blog. But this new category will help me. It will encourage me to mentally distinguish between What I Do (the responsibilities that truly drive each day and week’s focus), What Works for Me (those things that are tried and true and really have proven to have long term effectiveness in my life), and What I’m Trying (those things that have come to mind when I have prayed for a solution to some issue in life – things that need to be tested and tried before I categorize them as temporary guidance, stepping stones to improvement, or What Works for Me solutions).

I think we all need a way to categorize those concepts in our heads. Why? Because we often get complacent in what we do and the things that work for us, and we don’t challenge ourselves to try new things – to better ourselves. It’s just easier to maintain the status quo. I’d love for you to join me and share what you’re trying so we can encourage and motivate one another.

So, my friend, please do share…what new thing are you trying?

Posted in What I'm Learning

Reading

Anyone who knows us knows that we are a family of readers. I’m probably the least well-read member of my family, partially because of other obligations, but also because I often just don’t take the time to read. But, I do have a huge stack of books I really want to conquer.

Last Year

Last year, I decided to become more aggressive about conquering that stack, determining to always have two books going. The first would be something fiction, primarily because that is my number one way to relax. For years, I limited my fiction reading to slow times. But, I’m learning that rest does not come by waiting until after everything is done or life is slow. (When does that really happen, anyway?) It comes by trusting God to take care of the needs while I obey and take moments or days of rest. One of my active steps toward rest has been to intentionally keep a novel going. It might be just a chapter at night before I go to bed two or three nights a week, followed by a little more reading time on Fridays. But, it’s always progress.

The second book would always be a nonfiction title. I’m not a strong nonfiction reader, and it is very easy to not ever get around to that stack. But, the more I read nonfiction, the easier it becomes. So, while intentionally reading fiction was about rest, being intentional about nonfiction was an effort to stretch myself and grow. Last year, I chose titles I could read in short bursts during my morning Bible and prayer time. Again, it wasn’t much each day – typically only a section from a chapter, rather than even an entire chapter. But, I saw more progress through nonfiction than I have seen in a long time! Through the course of the year, I read several great books that way, including Aimee Byrd’s Housewife Theologian, Ken Shigematsu’s God in My Everything, and The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan.

What’s New

This year, I’m continuing the trend, but I’m adding a third reading slot to the schedule. I have a list of “want to read” titles that don’t really fit in my morning Bible reading and devotional time. These titles are aimed to help me with my writing goals, show me a little bit of what it means to adopt a child, or strengthen my ability to teach. So, on “normal” days, one work break will be a fifteen minute time slot set aside for reading one of those books.

Right now, I actually have six books going, which is incredibly odd for a gal who is typically a “one book at a time” kind of reader. But, that’s temporary. I just had some time-sensitive reads that needed to be tackled – including some school titles that I need to read alongside my high schooler. I’ve got a good rotation schedule going, and I’m enjoying every single book!

Right Now

Here are the titles I’m currently enjoying:

  • Catalyst – a Star Wars novel, prequel to Rogue One. The rest of the family has already read it, and considered it a fast read (a few hours). That means I’ll hopefully have it done in about a week!
  • The Heart of Revelation by J. Scott Duvall
  • Words That Change Everything by Karen Jordan
  • Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot
  • Can You Drink This Cup? by Henri Nouwen
  • Self-Promotion for Introverts by Nancy Ancowitz

Meanwhile, I am finally making use of the Goodreads account I’ve had for a while, entering upcoming titles so I’ll be able to just glance at my list to pick my next read.

What about you?

Are you a reader? Do you make time to read, or do you just read when you can? What are some of your favorite – or current – reads?