Monday, April 7, 2014

My Life Re-examined...Again!


My bookgroup read 7 by Jen Hatmaker in March. This was my second reading of that book. Each time read got me to thinking more about the excess in my life, something I've been working on for the last five years or so.

I've decided to take each of her 7 categories of excess and work on each one for a month. So this is what my schedule looks like.

March-Food
April-Clothes (a good time as I'll be changing out my winter clothes for summer ones)
May-Possessions (major decluttering)
June-Media (mostly eliminating the over 400 e-mails hanging around in my inbox and getting my photos organized)
July-Waste (we have too much trash)
August-Stress (school will be starting again. Nuf said)
September-Shopping (I spend more from Sept.-Dec. than any other months)

I'm really excited to get rid of anything excessive in my life. I know my children will thank me one day after I've departed this life and they don't have to go through it all!

Here's how March went:
I've tried on and off to lose weight for the last ten years without much success. Never having had a weight problem before, it's vexing to have one now. I'm not grossly overweight. I've just become kind of square in shape, even though I have an hourglass figure. There's just too much sand in the hourglass!

I've learned a lot from my oldest daughter about Paleo, Whole30, and clean eating. So after reading the Food chapter in 7, something just clicked and I was ready. I borrowed It Starts With Food by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig and started reading. I picked a day to begin and eliminated dairy, wheat, sugar(mostly),legumes, and all grains.

The purpose of Whole30 is to eliminate all foods from your diet that are known to cause inflammation and bad digestion. It really wasn't hard at all for me. I didn't have the flu-like symptoms a lot of people do, I think because I normally eat pretty well anyway. I just have sugar binges on occasion.

Well, at the end of the 30 days, I was definitely happier. My children commented on that. It affected my mental/emotional state more than anything. Oh, and I lost ten pounds! That alone was amazing, since it's been such a struggle for so long. Also gone was my depression and feelings of being overwhelmed and hopeless. And my stomach isn't bloated nearly as much.

After the 30 days are past, you are supposed to slowly add back in each of the food groups to see how they affect you and whether you want to add them back into your diet. Well, I didn't do very well on this part, so I'm starting another round, maybe 3 weeks this time, and THIS time I'll do the reintroduction right.

I do know that I'm never going to go back to my old habits of eating even if they were better than most peoples. It just doesn't work for me anymore. I want to find out what foods are causing the persistent cough I've had for over 25 years. I'm tired of feeling like an old woman when I know I can feel better. I already do!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Let Books Be Your Friends

If you cannot read all your books...fondle them---peer into them, let them fall open where they will, read from the first sentence that arrests the eye, set them back on the shelves with your own hands, arrange them on your own plan so that you at least know where they are. Let them be your friends; let them, at any rate, be your acquaintances. Winston Churchill


Thanks,Gretchen, for this quote. You can find Gretchen's blog here:http://gretchenjoanna.blogspot.com

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2013 Reading Challenges Revisited



Last year I set for myself two reading challenges; one was Victorian Literature and the other was Elizabeth Goudge. I managed to read eight in each category; not the twelve I had intended, but probably, no definitely, more than I would have read if I hadn't made the challenges.

Here's the lists of the ones I read.

VICTORIAN

1. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-Robert Louis Stevenson
2. The Way of All Flesh-Samuel Butler
3. The Woman in White-Wilkie Collins
4. The Soul of Man-Oscar Wilde
5. Lady Audley's Secret-M.E. Braddon
6. The Story of the Amulet-E. Nesbit
7. At the Back of the North Wind-George MacDonald
8. Lady Windermere's Fan-Oscar Wilde

ELIZABETH GOUDGE

1. The Castle on the HIll
2. The Dean's Watch
3. Pilgrim's Inn
4. The Scent of Water
5. Linnets and Valerians
6. The Lost Angel
7. Gentian Hill
8. A City of Bells

My favorite Victorian read was Lady Audley's Secret. There's also a movie that sticks pretty close to the book and was enjoyable. I also liked Lady Windermere's Fan. As usual, Wilde is funny with everyone planning and plotting to have things their own way while getting tripped up in all the twists and turns of their actions.

My favorite Goudge book is so hard to say as I loved all of them. I'm continuing the challenge into this year as I'm planning on reading ALL her works as well as owning them all before I'm finished with the challenge. I guess if I had to pick, it would be a tie between A City of Bells and The Dean's Watch. She can't be read quickly. You don't just read her words but savor them as you would the memory of a dinner party with close family or friends. You know that good feeling of love and camaraderie you have during and after such an event. Add in a mystical wonderment to that feeling and you have the essence of a Goudge novel.

There are a few more Victorian novels I plan on reading this year that didn't get read in 2013. They are: Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell and The Cloister and the Hearth by Charles Reade. I was going to add The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope, but he's getting his own separate challenge.

So the two main challenges for 2014 are Elizabeth Goudge and Anthony Trollope. I read 86 books last year. Each new year I usually try and beat the number of the previous year, but I'm not doing that this year. I think I've been reading too much in place of other creative projects I want to be doing. It's just easier. All I have to do is pick up a book and plop down on the couch. Beginning and completing a project is much harder but much more satisfying when it's finished.

So...I'll hopefully be reading two books a month for my challenges, one for my bookgroup, one spiritual/creative, and any other ones I can squeeze in that are new fiction from the library or something from my own stacks. One year I need to have a challenge to read what I already have in my own library!

How do you read? Do you set challenges or just fly by the seat of your pants/skirt?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Empty Heart of Paradox



"FIND THE REAL WORLD, GIVE IT ENDLESSLY AWAY, GROW RICH FLINGING GOLD TO ALL WHO ASK. LIVE AT THE EMPTY HEART OF PARADOX. I'LL DANCE THERE WITH YOU-CHEEK TO CHEEK." Rumi


As we pass through these golden days of autumn, I hope to fling more gold to anyone who may ask. I have so far to go before I'm living at the empty heart of paradox.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Cotton in Georgia


The light was so pretty late yesterday afternoon in the cotton field behind our house, that I just had to go try and capture it. Golden and soft, my favorite kind. I'll go back out today and try again. Time is short. Harvest is coming soon.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Places Where Things Happened



"NO PLACE IS A PLACE UNLESS SOMETHING HAPPENED THERE...A PLACE YOU COME BACK TO TIME AND AGAIN AND STAY LONG ENOUGH TO LEARN FROM IT...A PLACE THAT EVENTUALLY FORCES NOSTALGIA ON YOU." WENDELL BERRY

I'm nostalgic about both of these places; one is where I spent the first eighteen years of my life, and the other is where we've raised our own five children and made a life for the last twenty-three years. The remaining sixteen years were spent in other houses and places, but these two hold the most meaning for me.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Keeping Dreams Alive


Never again, she vowed, would she live a noisy life that killed her dreams. They were her reason for living, the only thing that she had to give to the world, and she must live in the way that suited them best.
From A CITY OF BELLS by Elizabeth Goudge