What I Read This Winter

Where I share the books I’ve read from December 2021 through February 2022.

I’ve been doing much better reading the books Ant and I own during these past three months. I also started creating an Excel spreadsheet to catalogue our library. It’s a slow project, but I’m excited to see it through.

My reading goal was to complete 54 books. Thanks to my month off in December I came very close to achieving my goal, but due to our Bermuda Triangle week and spending more time with Monica, watching Netflix movies (Love Hard and tick tick…BOOM), Survivor, and playing board games, I fell just three books short—but I think it was the better option đŸ™‚

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I’m a Book Dragon! (Or, My TBR-shelf)

I shared this post on Facebook at the end of June via Book Riot, who shared it from Paper Fury, who has an incredible bookstagram!

I love books. I own too many. And that is the reason behind putting this list together, all the books my husband I own that I want to read. The more in-depth version is here. But I wanted to separate the backstory and The List to make it a less cluttered post.

The Key:

Bold: Purchased this year, ARC received, received as a gift, found in a Little Free Library

Title and Author + Date: Read this year. Woohoo!

The Deets:

Start date: January 1, 2020

Total Books on the List:

233

123

120

Completed books: 24

Number of Books I didn’t finish (by end of 2020):

Books purchased/ARC/received this year:

11 (as of 9-6-2020)

9 (as of July 2020).

8 (as of 4-12-2020).

3

And now, without further ado, I give you my To-Be-Read list:

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The Books We Own

The last Sunday in March, I spent like two hours trying to bring my vision for this page to life. I am not a technological human; I know The Basics. Managing this blog and the behind-the-scene layouts and customization . . . it is all very overwhelming.

BUT!

I finally prevailed and designed the new home page I didn’t really know I wanted, but I’m happy with it! It’s still a work-in-progress, but I’m proud of myself for sticking with it.

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Quarantine Day 33 // On Writing, Reading, and Doing the Work

Yallwest this year has been cancelled and they switched it to an online event called Y’all Stay Home, to support the quarantine. I spent a lot of time Sunday night looking at the panels and the special events and scrolling through the authors who are participating.

I can smell the ocean and the salt. I can see the bright Southern California sunshine and Downtown Los Angeles. I can see the overpasses and exchanges. To this day, it blows my mind that someone designed those and hundreds of people drive across them without them collapsing on the road below them. An architect of roads, I am not.

The author line-up page is this beautiful spread in alphabetical order and next to the author’s name is the cover of their most recent book. I browsed through the page, clicking on the author’s picture, visiting their website and reading about their books.

I miss browsing bookstores.

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Margin Notes: My Journey Through the Bible in 2020 // Weeks 2 + 3

margin notes week_2and3 a

This year one of my goals is to read my Bible everyday. I’ve always thought a chronological Bible would be cool to read and I’ve been curious to try the Christian Standard Bible (CSB version), so November-ish of last year, I bought one. For the beginning of 2020, I’m starting in EXODUS. And while, 16 days out of 25 isn’t perfect, it’s way better than I’ve done in past years.

Along those same lines though, I’ve wanted a way to record things I’ve learned along the way–fun, random, interesting, etc. The detailed-me is cringing that I didn’t think of this the very first day of 2020 (or when I first started reading this chronological Bible), but that’s okay! Another one of my goals is to write here more, so I’m going to start with Weeks 2 and 3.

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On This Is Us, Hoarding, and Story

11.22 (1)

**I feel like I should warn you. If you are not caught up on This Is Us, please don’t read this. I didn’t talk about what happens, but I allude to the something and please for the love of Story and Characters and because you care about yourself, just skip it. Or, skip to the third paragraph and you’ll be good. Thank you and you’re welcome.**

*****

I just finished watching Episode 9 of This Is Us (season 2). And it was brilliant. Gut-wrenching. But brilliant. It had me crying within the first five minutes and full-on sobbing during Rebecca’s little speech (pep talk?) to 17 year old Kate. Because it paralleled so perfectly what Teenage Kate would need to hear 20ish years later. Which of course the writers did on purpose because they’re brilliant. (which I’ve now used three times in 152 words. but it’s true so… *shrug emojii*.)

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Blog-tember Challenge // Day 5: A Memorable Birthday

I have enjoyed many memorable birthdays. For my 18th birthday, my parents and sister threw me a surprise party (my cousin wrote me a song!).

When I turned 19 (or 20), I was working at McDonalds and some of my church family from Rescue showed up at the end of my shift. (That was a surprise, too).

One year Kady, our cousin Kalani, and I went and saw How to Train Your Dragon.

During our engagement, Kady, Anthony, and I went shopping at thrift stores in Shingle Springs and then to Starbucks (where I reconnected with a friend from high school who reconnected me with my friend Monica from high school!).

During our first year of marriage when pocket money didn’t exist yet, we went to the Sunrise Mall for banana juliuses from Orange Julius and photo booth photos.

This year, though, has been my favorite so far. My birthday is at the end of March, but the story starts all the way back at the beginning of February.

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Real Life. True Love.

Today started off like any normal Saturday for me: I went to the laundromat and when I got home I balanced the check register and updated Everydollar. And then I did something kind of out of the ordinary: I looked up directions to The Bookseller, a local bookstore in Grass Valley so I could attend the YA Author Panel at 1pm.

12:13pm // I was so proud of myself because I left early enough to explore the bookstore a little bit before the event.

Because of my car accident at the beginning of June, I’ve been chauffeured around for the past two months. Since our new-to-us car purchase last week, I’ve been driving myself again and I feel like a new driver in some instances. Today, I felt really proud of myself for driving up Grass Valley Highway. (I’m a nervous driver to begin with. The accident didn’t help with that).

And then Garfield (our GPS) told me to take Exit 182A 174/Colfax. If you didn’t know–because I didn’t until today–this is an exit only lane. And it was crowded. And because I am overly cautious and nervous I did not force my way in. I tried–I slowed down a little and my blinker was on–but I decided to just pass it.

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Bob & God

Note: This post was supposed to roll out Monday evening. And naturally I would live up to every word in this blog post. Instead, Life happened like it likes to. Monday night I dealt with bugs and couldn’t concentrate. Tuesday I stayed an hour later for work. Last night was Bible Study. I came home last night just so grumpy and irritated, picking at Anthony and frustrated with myself. I cried because the only productive day it felt like I’ve had was all the way back at the beginning of this week: Sunday. It seems like a distant memory  now. Then last night I read Nicole Dianne‘s words: “…you have to be the one to take action. As with most things in life, hobbies and interests don’t just land in your lap…when you pursue creativity, it too will find you.” Amen. So, without further ado, I present you “Bob & God.” Happy Thursday, Friends! May you give yourself enough grace the rest of this week to pursue your dreams.

I’m currently reading Love Does by Bob Goff. On page 133 he writes this:

“I think God is more of a Half Dome traveler than a Hampton Inn traveler. Jesus doesn’t invite us on a business trip. Instead He says let’s go after those things that inspire and challenge you and let’s experience them together…”

Bob Goff is one of those people who just talks so relateably about Jesus and Life. The things that inspire and challenge me – writing, reading, church, devos and Bible studies, relationships, my attitude, health – I struggle with viewing those areas of life as God experiencing them with me. I’ve always viewed them as for God. There’s a difference. The latter implies sacrifice (which Bob talks about in Chapter 13) and working and not a loving relationship with a loving God, more like a relationship you have with a supervisor or manager. The former makes life a whole lot easier to look at, a lot less lonely, and more than just bearable – it’s fun! With God I’m not just not tired, I’m running. I’m soaring! (Isaiah 40:29-31).

“…You don’t need a lot of details or luggage or equipment, just a willingness to go into the storm with a Father who’s kicking footholds into the steep sides of our problems while we kick a couple in ourselves too…”

I love details. And lists. And plans. Routines. I love crossing things off. Which is why I’ve finally once again planned out a daily schedule for myself and given myself goals for this month. Two living, breathing, attainable goals. (“Intentionality, people!” – Dave Ramsey) But there comes a time when I’ve planned too much, made too many lists, taken too many notes, sat through too many classes, live events, and webinars. When life is overwhelming and everything runs around in my head, I tend to go to the extreme: Do Nothing. Goals don’t exist yet here. Dreams stay dreams. Chances are I will absorb some new/interesting/fun information related to my genre or readership or the craft of writing in general or about Christianity, attitude, living, or health, but what’s the point of absorbing information if I’m not giving myself the time and space to process any of it? If I could, I would be a Forever Student. Well, I am one because I’m always learning wherever I am. But I would really go back to school just to be in school, taking a whole bunch of random classes that add up to nothing except a major in Life and Fun and Learning. I love being a student. However, that’s not the point of college. A degree helps you specialize in one area. Which is why I don’t see myself going back to college anytime soon because 1) it’s not in the budget to send me to school for fun and 2) my focus right now is Writing.

I rarely see Life as the adventure it is, let alone an adventure with God. I NEED to be better at remembering- knowing – He is on the journey with me. He isn’t my supervisor or manager, who observes me working down here on earth or sits in His office. He is my Father. He is walking with me. He’s trying to lead. (Am I letting Him?) He is my peace (Ephesians 2:13-16) in the Half Dome-sized problems and seemingly insignificant ones, too.

I haven’t made much progress out of Dreamland since my epic river jump at the end of last summer. In 4 months and 11 days I accomplished things. Anthony and I saw Jim Butcher, author of The Codex Alera and The Dresden Files series, at a Copperfield’s book signing. (Now that was an adventure!) I attended Michael Hyatt’s online Influence and Impact Summit. I won a 1-year free membership to Platform University as a result of that Summit. I got like three colds. We learned our cat is allergic to a White Fir Christmas Tree. I did win NaNoWriMo with 51,000+ words – a HUGE step out of Dreamland, but the first draft still isn’t finished. I reblogged this post about infertility and scared my sister – and possibly confused others. (For personal reasons, but not quite in the same capacity, I relate to infertility posts. And I admire those who are so honest and vulnerable on the internet about their personal lives and struggles).

Getting out of Dreamland is hard. Some days it takes sheer determination and doesn’t always feel like an adventure.

“…He guides us into those footholds with His strong hands while we’re safely tethered to Him by a bright red rope of grace, which holds us securely…”

However Thursday, February 4th became my new January 1st. As previously mentioned, I now have a schedule of my daily life. Novel Writing is scheduled between 8 and 9 o’clock at night during the week. (While it’s a priority, it still comes after Anthony and I eating dinner and washing dishes). Somewhere between 3 and 4 hours of writing time will happen on the weekends. Home and Health – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual – are priorities this year as well.

I have a Bullet Journal in the works that I’m actually using (!!!).

February is Operation Finish Amy Story First Draft.

Also, God will be the start to my days! I know I am a much nicer, happier human after I’ve spent time with Him. And it will help give my whole heart and mind to my day job.

“…the terrain we navigate doesn’t seem as scary either, because when you’re on an adventure with God we’re too excited to be afraid and too engaged to be thinking of anything else.”

And thanks to Bob Goff I’m not just working for God, I’m living right alongside Him. He is holding my hand, asking me to continue to put my faith in Him. I’m still holding a piece of paper with my scribbled details and questions but I’m looking at it less often. Because I’m connected to Him.

So, until my novel’s complete first draft is resting peacefully in my desk, this may be the last post for awhile (which isn’t unusual for me at all). Look for me in March-ish: while Amy’s story naps, I will become a student of WordPress.

I know I’m a month behind, but I don’t want my lack of movement in January to dictate the next 11 months of 2016. I am dreaming Big Dreams this year and planning Baby Steps to accomplish them.

Fare thee well, Readers, God and I have a story to write!