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What’s Saving My Life :: Winter 2016 Edition

What's Saving My Life Right Now __ Winter 2016 EditionI adore that Anne of Modern Mrs. Darcy says this about the Saving My Life posts…

The idea comes from Barbara Brown Taylor’s wonderful memoir Leaving Church. In it, Taylor tells the story of when she was invited to speak at a gathering, and her host assigned the topic: “Tell us what is saving your life right now.”

This is one of those six-degrees-from-Kevin-Bacon moments. (Did you ever play that in high school?) Barbara Brown Taylor is a professor at a local college here, so I see her and read her writings in the way that frequent small towns do–without much recognition that greatness lives among us. I haven’t read her memoir, but I might add it to my #60in2016 Reading Challenge.

But anyway…

Saving my life right now doesn’t look much different from last year about this time when I penned a post for the same link up with the same theme. But this time last year I was drowning in fear over my daughter’s neurological diagnosis and every moment seemed a blessing in disguise.

This year I’m aiming for renewal–of my soul, my hope, my joy, my focus. Last year was hard on us emotionally and many times, the year was as crushing as it was uplifting. For all the strides I made publishing-wise I still found myself floundering for my purpose, wondering how I could really be called to much beyond these four little souls (who try my temper daily) and making sure everyday physical and spiritual needs are at least acknowledged.

But there’s a call to not just write but share. And I hope that’s what this little corner means to you–that it’s a place I share the real and just write life.

Saving My Life Right Now :: Winter 2016 Edition

  1. The Trampoline. Seriously best Christmas present ever. Keeps them all occupied with something that’s not digital for longer than 20 minutes. Netflix, you’ve been replaced.IMG_0964
  2. My Reading Challenge. I love this group that came about because so many of you said you wanted to read 60 books in 2016 with me. I’m six down: Gone Girl, Dear Mr. Knightley, Jane Eyre, Raising Grateful Kids, The Extroverted Writer, and Restless which leads me to…

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    On the nightstand for February.
  3. Scripture. Which, I know, is the point of believing the Bible is God-breathed, but when you’ve been a good church girl your whole life, like me, you run the risk of letting the familiar become… familiar. Which is why I read Restless and why I’m exploring some verse-mapping ala Kristy Cambron (and also I’m an author blog stalker). Also why this one is on my reading list. IMG_5278
  4. My Better Life Bag. An early birthday present (twenty days until I tip early-thirties and into late-thirties) from my patient husband who appreciates a specific request. And, you know, a list for him that’s been commissioned as a blog post.IMG_8875
  5. This boy and his trucks. He both saves me from days of uninterrupted computer time, which would undoubtably result in back spasms and poor eyesight, and drives me batty because we’re trying to sell the house and piles of dirt and rocks don’t exactly say curb appeal. But that grin? It’s kind of irresistible.

 

Tell me about you–what’s saving your life right now? And if you want in on #60in2016 let me know!

Books · resolutions · Uncategorized

Why (and How) I’m Reading 60 Books in 2016

This morning our normal routine finally resurfaced. Everyone went to school and this mom used her Starbucks gift card and holed up in a cold corner of the local Ingles. (If your grocery store does not have a Starbucks, I am very sorry.)

There was a man across the way, a big hulking biker looking man who is actually a really nice guy. I think he works in the meat department. Anyway, he was tucked away in the corner himself, on his break, reading.

Not on Facebook. Not mindlessly staring. Not talking too loudly on his cellphone. But reading a fantasy novel–as in actual paperback book–and  my writer’s heart sang.

Print’s not dead. Not by a long shot.

Of course print might mean Kindle or iBook and I won’t judge you if I see you scrolling on your phone (because I’ve got a big ‘ol finger pointing right back at me and my social media apps), but for me, there’s just something about a book I can hold in my hands. Which probably explains why I’m choosing a traditional publisher over self-publishing for my first novel.  This year will be a year of work and sweat and tears as I bleed again and again over that story (and the ones to come after), but this time next year? I’ll be able to hold a real book in my hands.

But in the meantime, as I pray and list and plan and wait for some revelation as to which project I should pour into next, I’m reading. A lot.

Sixty books in twelve months. Five in one month. More than one a week, my husband pointed out. Maybe you read more than that in a year? I’ve never tracked my consumption of novels and non-fiction, but this year I am. Because this year, I’m making intentional choices to do what I’ve always said I’m going to do.

And that includes reading books I’ve been saying I want to read.

There’s a shelf in my room that’s full because my mom retired and reads voraciously and then stacks books on my kitchen table with admonishments that I better love it. There’s a wish list on Amazon that frightens my husband with its one-clickability. There are author’s names that are becoming names of colleagues as I delve into publishing. There’s that number one tip for how to write better: READ more.

So I am. So I will. And wonder of wonders–I think you all want to as well. When I posted a picture on Instagram and Facebook of my stack stacking up, I received so many responses I started a group.

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60 in 2016.

That’s it. Nothing too catchy. Nothing too hard. Read whatever you want. The point is–read the story or the information or the opinion that’s found its way between two covers while you’re snuggled under yours.

My Monthly Five:

  1. A book I’ve been wanting to read. (Cannot wait to crack open Dear Mr. Knightly which I scored off the clearance shelf at a LifeWay bookstore in December.)
  2. A book I ‘should’ have already read. (Just finished Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.)
  3. A book that betters my heart and soul. (This month that’s Restless by Jeannie Allan–might bleed into February though because I’m also on the launch team for Kristen Welch’s Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World and it is SO good.)
  4. A book that develops my craft. (For me, that’s writing. Haven’t settled on this one just yet, but probably The Extroverted Writer by Amanda Luedeke.)
  5. A book that’s a current bestseller or new release. (This covers my book club’s choices, but since this month we chose Go Set a Watchman and I’ve already read that, I devoured Gone Girl. In three days.)

What are you reading and how much do you think you read in a year? Join the conversation and let me know if you want to take the #60booksin2016 challenge.