February 8 2018

January Reads

Here are the books I read or listened to in January 2018. Check back for more lists of books about once a month.

These are the codes for how I read each book:
(A) = Audio Book
(E) = Ebook
(P) = Paper Book
1 to 5 *s rating system

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1) Stronger by Jeff Bauman (A) ****

2) Reach by Andy Molinsky, Ph.D. (A) ***

3) The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau (A) ***

4) Written in Stone [Books by the Bay Mystery #4] by Ellery Adams (A) ****

5) Poisoned Prose [Books by the Bay Mystery #5] by Ellery Adams (A) ****

6) Lethal Letters [Books by the Bay Mystery #6] by Ellery Adams (A) ****

7) Writing All Wrongs [Books by the Bay Mystery #7] by Ellery Adams (A) ****

8) Killer Characters [Books by the Bay Mystery #8] by Ellery Adams (A) ****

9) The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life by Chris Guillebeau (A) ****

10) Confidence: Overcoming Low Self-Esteem, Insecurity, and Self-Doubt by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic (A) ***

11) The Case for Hope by Lee Strobel (A) *****

12) God Speaks Your Love Language: How to Feel and Reflect God’s Love by Gary Chapman (A) *****

13) The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep Is Broken and How to Fix It by W. Chris Winter (A) ****

14) If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence, and Spirit by Brenda Ueland (A) ***

15) The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau (A) ****

16) Love in Every Stitch: Stories of Knitting and Healing by Lee Gant (A) ****

17) Selected Shorts: For Better and For Worse (Selected Shorts) by Symphony Space, Shahrnush Parsipur, Luis Alberto Urrea (Goodreads Author), Ethan Canin, Sherman Alexie, Ursula K. Le Guin, Karen E. Bender, Kamran Talattof (Narrator), Jocelyn Sharlet (Narrator), Robert Sean Leonard (Narrator), Harold Gould (Narrator), Keir Dullea (Narrator), Joanna Gleason (Narrator), Joanne Woodward (Narrator) (A) ***

18) The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level by Gay Hendricks (A) *****

All of these books were checked out from my local library and downloaded as audiobooks to my phone. I can listen to them in my car while driving to and from work or on errands. I listened to them while getting dressed in the morning, eating my breakfast, and packing my lunch. If I am home alone, I am usually listening to a book while doing other things such as folding laundry and crocheting hats for charity. I was shocked by how much more reading I could get done by listening to the books instead of reading them either electronically or in the actual paper form.

As you might imagine, buying all of these books would be quite expensive, especially as quickly as I go through books. This is only one of the many reasons I LOVE my local library. I did read from paper books or eBooks, but those were the ones I carried along to read in restaurants while we waited to be seated or for our food to arrive. They are not on the list because I have yet to finish them. I find that I really enjoy listening to books. Maybe it helps me remember the times when I sat on or near my mother while she read from storybooks to me as a child? Who knows?

Why the library you ask? Well, other than the obvious money saving aspect of it, there is the fact that I have no intention of reading books more than once with a few exceptions, so I don’t feel the need to own them. If I own a book, I must find a place for it in our house and must on occasion dust it and all the others along with it. Life is too short to read the same books twice, so it is certainly too short to spend time dusting books or finding room for them. That is time I could better spend reading more books!

What is your preferred format? Do you read certain books in one format or another? What determines which format you choose?

I like to see what the front cover looks like, so you can see all of them below.

I actually read the first 3 books in this series in December 2017. This is a great series that I found when looking for writing books and I actually read the Writing All Wrongs book first and loved it so much I started the series and read it (listened to it) all the way through. I had apparently read the first book in the series years ago and never got around to getting the rest from the library.

February 3 2018

Agree (Five Minute Friday)

I have been pressured for a long time (several years) to agree to bring another pet into our home. More specifically, a cat. Hubby and adult daughter have been unrelenting lately. I keep saying, “No!”, and they beg and plead like a couple of kids wanting their first puppy.

I feel like I am being ganged up on. I tell adult daughter I already gave in on the hamster when she was in high school and even the pet rabbit, Bruce, also when she was in high school. I finally on the bunny when they called me from the state fair and asked again because I was told the life expectancy of the rabbit was just three to five years. We have had Bruce the Bunny for about six and a half years now and he doesn’t seem to be aging. I knew I was hoodwinked when just a week or two after they brought Bruce home from the Indiana State Fair because adult daughter’s friend’s bunny died. When I asked daughter how old the bunny was, she said fourteen years old. What? “I thought you said bunnies only lived three to five years!” Apparently, the lady who sold hubby and adult daughter the bunny for only $10 at the fair told them three to five years and they took her at her word. I, in turn, believed hubby and adult daughter when they told me they would both take care of the bunny, it would only live three to five years and it would be no trouble at all. He was to live in a cage and only be out of the said cage to exercise two hours a day. Umm…yeah. Bruce the Bunny has taken down any number of electrical appliances (aquarium filter system, lamps, televisions, the entire house network, the cable and internet service for the house) and currently has free reign over hubby’s entire office. Oh, did I mention he also bites unsuspecting sleeping people in their beds on occasion? I must say as long as he isn’t getting into trouble he is a very quiet pet. He never barks or meows.

I have come to appreciate the peace and quiet in our home with pets that are contained and don’t talk all the time like cats always do. I also appreciate not having cat hair everywhere, having the house smell like cat pee all the time, waking up to surprise hairballs on my bed, or stepping in cat puke in the middle of the night on the way to the bathroom. I like the freedom of not having to get anyone to come in and pet-sit for us when we want to go away for the weekend. I like NOT having cats on the table and counters, knocking over cups and vases, chewing on houseplants, and having to do cat checks to make sure they aren’t locked up where they shouldn’t be while we are away from home all day. (The other two don’t appreciate this because I am usually the last one out of the house and thus the one the cat check falls on.) I am also the one around the house more often and thus would be the one pestered for attention. We had cats for many, many years. It has been several years since we have had any as permanent residents of our home. We have had temporary cat guests (Moxie and Pope) for a week or two at a time and I have given in on that because I knew they would go back to their owners in a short while and I hoped it might lessen the nagging for us to get a cat. I would also like to say that adult daughter is rarely ever at home unless she is sleeping and hubby works long hours and has more volunteer commitments and meetings than anyone should so he is rarely home either.

When our family commits to a pet, we commit “until death do us part”, like it or not. We have never returned a pet, given one away, or even turned one loose on society. Darling daughter is constantly trying to get us to do just that with Gilligan the snapping turtle. I reminded her that is not how we do things in our family and that we made a commitment to take care of him for life, just like all the fish in our tanks, Sophie the hamster, Bruce the bunny and all the cats (Sammy, Morgan, Pumpkin, Smokey, and Goldie).

The latest tactic to try to force cats on me again is the recent death of my mother-in-law. Apparently, since we haven’t had cats for a few years, the whole darned family assumes we will take at least one maybe even two of the cats my mother-in-law had. I’m sorry if my mother-in-law was under the mistaken assumption that hubby would take a certain cat if anything ever happened to her, she didn’t ask my opinion, but she DID know how I felt about it. My stance is that ours is currently the only cat-free house and thus all the other families and houses are already used to having cats and another one or two wouldn’t make that much difference. There are only four or five cats to find homes for so it shouldn’t be a problem as there are at least five other houses here in the city where her cats could find good homes with various other family members.

I feel I have agreed to my share of pets and wish the rest of the family, immediate and otherwise, would respect my feelings and drop the subject for good. I feel like we are at the stage in our lives where we have the chance to travel more often and I don’t want the commitment and responsibility of more pets to tie us down. As long as we are mobile enough to travel, and have Bruce and Gilligan and the fish to deal with, I don’t want to get any more pets. I will not agree to allow any more pets into my home for the foreseeable future. Stop looking for loopholes, please. Subject closed.

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!
The prompt this week is: Agree
The assignment: Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.

February 1 2018

Fun at COSI

On November 18, 2017, while our family was in Ohio for the weekend to see the Bluejackets and Rangers play around with a puck, we took a few hours to visit COSI (Center of Science and Industry). My family has always gone to science and children’s museums on family vacations. The photos and videos below are some of the things we saw and did while we were there. As a parent, I enjoyed this trip more than any other we took to such places in the past because my kids are now 24 and 26 years old and as such could be trusted to behave and not get hurt, lost or kidnapped. It’s really amazing how that can change the dynamic of the trip.

Son and Hubby trying to figure out the right combination required to light up the whole neighborhood.

Hubby in front of an engine.

The COSI Foucault Pendulum Clock. I actually managed to film it knocking the ball off and playing the wooden blocks!

Daughter pulls her body weight up and down.

Daughter plays music with her feet.

Hubby, Son, and Daughter work together to make the car go.

Pumpkin Patch Science (long video)

Tornado Tube.

Tesla Coil Demonstration.

Water feature (above and below).

Daughter went down first then Son decided to join her in the submarine.

I don’t think Daughter knew what she was getting herself into!

Hubby and Son try to figure out how to make the ball shoot up and hit the ceiling.

We weren’t the only ones who couldn’t quite make it happen, but we did see others who were successful. You can hear my two science nerds discussing it.

When rats play basketball!

We highly recommend this great museum, so if you ever find yourself with a day to spend in Columbus, Ohio, go check it out!

January 26 2018

Surrender (Five Minute Friday)

Surrender Kate Motaung says. Not knowing what to write, I looked it up in the dictionary. The definition of surrender according to Merriam Webster, “to give up after a struggle”. The obvious one we struggle with, in this case, would be God. So I look up Bible verses because none immediately come to mind. Why is it that my mind blanks when I see these words sometimes? I struggle to figure out what to write more than half of the time and sometimes the very times when I am having the most trouble I write some of my best work.

It is difficult to really and truly surrender to anyone, even God.

Surrender yourself to the Lord, and wait patiently for him. Psalm 37:7-9 GOD’S WORD Translation

I have done that, so many years ago I lost count. I know it was before I had kids. I know it came about because I was reading inspirational fiction. A group of us were consuming the text written by the author, Janette Oke. More than likely, it was one of the first books in her “Love Comes Softly” series, since that was my introduction to inspirational fiction books. It was probably about this same time that I realized what a huge impact reading a book could have on a person.

I didn’t know it then, but that was probably the first time I found myself wishing I could write like that and change lives, move readers to tears, spur them into action. I was so grateful to a wonderful little lady I worked with named Barb who was a school teacher by day and a clerk in a fabric store by night to make ends meet. She had the whole series of books and loaned them to us all willingly. We would come to work having finished a book and asking who had the next one in the series because we were hooked. We wanted to know what happened to the characters next. We wanted to read more of the verses scattered through the books at just the right places and times. These books didn’t cram religion down our throats, they didn’t preach. They merely showed us how a life with God could be so much better than one without Him.

So I surrendered to Him and because I know I have a hard time truly giving up every last worry in my head, I have surrendered various parts of my life over and over through the years. The song “Jesus Take The Wheel” popped into my head just now and I thought, yes, it is just like that. Sometimes I want to shout out for God to take away all my worries and my doubts and my confusion. Take it so I can be relieved of the burden of it all.

So I find myself at that point again where I surrender, my writing this time. I have felt driven to write for the past five or six years. I just know I am meant to write a book. I am uncertain what sort of book or genre it is supposed to be, but the feeling never waivers. I try to do my part, reading craft books, taking classes to learn to write better so someday when I understand what it is I am meant to write, I will have the skills needed to do a decent job of it and glorify God in the process. I started blogging more seriously as a way to turn my November writing habit into a year-round writing habit and I have done that. I surrender my writing to God. If I am meant to write a book then it will come to me and I will write it when it does. Until then, I must trust in God to lead me to the right resources and teachers and have the confidence that the ability will be there when I need it.

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!
The prompt this week is: Surrender
The assignment: Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.

January 25 2018

2017 Crochet Wrapup

You may remember that my goal was to crochet and donate 26 hats to charity in 2017. Above is the tracker in my bullet journal showing the approximate color schemes of the 52 hats I crocheted. Quite a few of these hats were actually infant hats. The last 8 were 8 or the 10 hats I made for the American Heart Association’s Little Hats Big Hearts Project. See those hats shown below. I am so over solid red hats for the time being. These are all packed up and ready to drop off.

I made these 15 hats using as many bright colors as I could and donated to the church hat tree to be given to students in need at local schools.

I made the star ornament below to test a pattern for the YarnSlingers group.

It took 10 minutes to make the first star, but only 8 minutes to make the second one.


Here are some of the other hats I made in 2017

All but a couple of the hats I made were donated to various charities to either help children or the homeless. I love crocheting when I know it will help others. It helps me to de-stress. I almost never actually crochet at home. The secret is to find groups to meet and crochet with. I have three such groups I meet with once a month and I can make a hat during each two-hour meeting. I occasionally miss a meeting but only if I am sick or out of town. I also crochet while we are on our trips. It helps to focus on my hat making while hubby drives and it is a great way to relax on vacation.

I finally got around to packing up the 14 baby hats shown below that I made in 2015 for Click for Babies and getting those mailed off. The requirement for these hats was that they had to be at least 50% purple of any shade. They seemed to be in need of hats for boys which is why I chose to pair the purple yarns with black and gray. They were some of the first hats I made as you can tell by the fact that they are made entirely of single crochet stitch.

Do you set goals for charity crafting? What do you make? Let us know in the comments below.