2017 Books Read

2017 Books Read

  1. Hillbilly Elegy (audio) 5/5
  2. Before the Fall (kindle) 4/5
  3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (audio) 5/5*
  4. Before We Visit the Goddess(audio) 4/5
  5. Outlander (kindle) 3/5*
  6. Grapes of Wrath (audio) 5/5*
  7. Homegoing (kindle) 4/5*
  8. The Painted Veil (kindle) 3/5
  9. None Like Him (Scribd) 5/5
  10. A Gentleman in Moscow(Paper) 5/5
  11. A Piece of the World (audio) 4/5
  12. Sula (audio) 4/5
  13. Signals (Paper) 5/5
  14. Harry Potter Book 1 (Audio) 4/5*
  15. Mrs. Kimble (Paper) 4/5*
  16. Still Life (audio) 4/5
  17. A Fatal Grace (audio) 4/5
  18. We Have Always Lived in the Castle (Paper) 5/5
  19. Sun Shine Down (Kindle) 5/5 
  20. The Geography of Memory(Paper) 5/5*
  21. Flee, Be Silent, Pray (Kindle) 5/5
  22. Plight of Man and the Power of God (Kindle) 5/5
  23. Emily Alone (Paper) 5/5
  24. Splitting an Order (Paper) 5/5
  25. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant (Paper) 4/5
  26. The Cruelest Month (audio) 4/5
  27. Dementia: Living in the Memories of God (audio) 5.5
  28. The Examined Life (audio) 4/4
  29. Brooklyn (audio) 4/5
  30. The Gift of Being Yourself(Paper) 5/5

*2017 Challenge books

In the Shallows - Brief Weekly Examen

Below are the seven categories from my daily journal (Sacred Orginary Days). These are also the categories that I am working on writing goals for 2018. I thought a weekly check-in of some type on each category would be a good exercise for me here. I do this on Sundays in my journal on the "Weekly Examen" pages but I thought I'd take a little different slant here.... a shallow dive with a brief highlight in each area that I'd like to remember from week to week. 

SOUL - what's feeding me? 

Poetry - This book given to me by Buddy S with a door opening to so many lovely poets! For example - Louise Gluck!! Her line from "Twilight" in A Village Life

Living - living takes you away from sitting
— Louise Gluck - A Village LIfe

Poetry is candy for my soul and I will try to be more deliberate in feasting on it daily in 2018. 

Also feeding me is this book. I've been thinking on Bruegel the Elder's Census at Bethlehem..... all the busyness of daily life obscures the presence of Christ. Do you see Him here?

Census at Bethlehem by Bruegel the Elder

Census at Bethlehem by Bruegel the Elder

If we are not present to the now, we can never be present to the God who was revealed to Moses as “I AM” - the eternal One who is with us in the present moment. We cannot remember how God has met us in the past and we can wait with hope for how we trust God will meet us in the future, but we can only actually meet God in the present moment.
— Juliet Benner in Contemplative Vision

BODY - what's moving me? Not a whole lot!! This week's focus: Limit sugar, hydrate, cook from new cookbook, find smoothie recipes for new Ninja, pick this back up (The Telomere Effect) be outdoors, and WALK. 

MIND - what's growing me? Making a temperature blanket, writing 2018 goals, pre-reading (The Unseen World) for next Knox class, reading (News of the World) and listening (The Barrowfields) for fun! 

HOME - what's comforting me? A clean garage and a lovely new master bedroom. Next project? Laundry room, maybe. Today is the day after Epiphany so all the Christmas decorations must come down and be boxed up and put away. New mantel decorations will be put up with "simplicity" as the theme. Lots of cleaning and organizing needed this week!

OTHERS - what's stretching me? How to turn these eyes of mine outward to others? Date night with Hubs this week? Make B-Box for grand girls in SC. Intentional time with A & T. Package to Mary. E's birthday is Thursday! Texting with mom. Time with Buddy S to talk about goals. Prepping for new Life Group season!  

WORK - what's motivating me? Trying to keep emotional boundaries and not get caught up in what could potentially be a dramatic season with changes going on. Remembering to keep a servant attitude. Signed up with Hubs for Work as Worship Retreat. Organized and focused while at work. Caring about the people there. Reading this again (Deep Work). 

STEWARD - what's stressing me? New year, new tracking spreadsheet. Just do it! 

Christmas Wreath


Just piddling this morning.... a quiet, sleeping house. May print this and frame as gifts for a few friends. A little more work with hand lettering and could use for Christmas cards, maybe? Drawing based on Ryan Frank wreath. Love her work! Scanned in and painted in illustrator using color pallet "Old Botanical Prints" from COLOURlovers. Shorelines font from dafont. Anyway! Good to be drawing! 

Wagon Tracks 1

Historic Oregon Trail wagon ruts in Baker City, Oregon

Historic Oregon Trail wagon ruts in Baker City, Oregon

Your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.
— Psalm 65:11b

This verse - no, this half of a verse, just six words - has become a rudder for me in this particular season of life. God's Word is funny (no strike that) awesome like that. He places His Words in front of you at just the right moment to give you the life and breath that you need to sink further into His Love, His Truth. These words have been life for me for the past couple of months. I've researched them and meditated on them and prayed them. Here are some things I've found and am still mulling over in the grist mill of my mind and heart.

We are not the authors of our own stories. Our calling is to learn how to read and interpret the story of God faithfully and well....”
— John Swinton in Dementia
As we live out our lives of faith, we are not called to carve our own path. We are not called to set the direction, or to blaze the trail. Rather, we follow the pathway that Christ sets for us - knowing that as we step in his tracks there will be for us heavenly resources far beyond our own comprehension. The wagon tracks of God are the places where we are encouraged and invited to walk with Jesus in our lives. It is a place of promise, providence, and power.
— Kyle Norman (blog post)

From this verse and these words I came across from John Swinton and Kyle Norman, I've partitioned off some areas to pray and seek the Lord about in my life. This has been stewing for weeks and I don't want to lose my thinking and the direction I feel God pointing me. At this age (ahem.... almost 49!) I feel like there's a transition going on in my life that needs some focused attention. I so want to glorify the Lord and finish well in this life.... to walk out this plan He has for me in humility and trust. I feel more and more that i have to be deliberate and purposeful..... every moment He has given is holy.   

Here are my compartments I'm working on and have been fleshing out in my journal each week. I hope to capture each one more fully in a post here. But for now here's the guts of what I believe God is showing me - 

  • Be part of His story (Community and Mission)
  • Follow the pathways Christ has set for me (Obedience and Contentment)
  • Use the heavenly resources available on the trail (Prayer, Scripture, & wisdom from those who have gone before)
  • Know His power, providence and promise (Faith and Trust)

Two weeks ago a work trip took me to Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. (How beautiful are the high deserts! I fell in love with the majesty and beauty of those bare, velvety, golden mountains. Truly breathtaking!) My co-worker and I were told about a museum our travels would take us past and were recommended to stop in if we could. Luckily, my travel partner is pretty much game for anything and was more than willing to stop. The museum was the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City, Oregon. Now, being rooted deeply in the South, I can't say I knew much about the Oregon Trail. It was a wonderful museum and very well done, perched on top of a lovely hill with views of the historic ruts of the actual Oregon Trail. As I looked out of a huge picture window at the remnants of those wagon tracks, I finally (yep, I'm slow) thought, "Hey!!! Wagon tracks!!!!" I am so very slow!

God placed this verse in my heart to start turning it over and over on August 1st through the daily readings in my Sacred Ordinary Days journal.... As I've tried to faithfully seek Him with these words, asking Him for guidance, He brought me to this place in Oregon on September 18th so I could look out and see and eventually even walk on, what is for our country some pretty famous wagon tracks. The symbolism was hard to miss. I was blessed to feel His presence and love in a deeper way than I have in a long time. I am so grateful. The photo above is one I took as we left the museum and made a final stop to actually go walk out on the remnants of the trail. My heart continues to be full from this little tap on the shoulder God has given me. I feel like He whispered in my ear, "I'm here. You are loved. Keep going. Keep walking. I've marked out a path for you and I've put plenty of help along the way. Don't stop. Rest when you need to but know I am with you." 

Thank you, Lord.