my personal reading challenge

read

There was a time in my life when I was reading 2-3 books a week. For pleasure.

That didn’t include the reading I had to do for work or school, which was often pleasurable, but not necessarily.

And then something happened, and I quit reading for pleasure. Other things required my attention, and I still had to read for work, so I kind of let that go. I’m knocking that our right now. I still have a lot of reading to do for work, some of it is good and fun, but most is very dry and academic.

I’m reclaiming my love of literature!

Right here! Right now!

I plan to read 25 books in what remains of 2015. That’s about a book every couple of weeks or so. Very do-able. In fact, some of you might think I’m low-balling based on my previous habits. Nope. I’m setting a goal I can handle, but there’s a twist. I’m going to qualify the books.

1. A totally gratuitous and vapid book that I’ll forget the moment I set it down after finishing it.
2. A biography.
3. A history book. Preferably American history because I’m weak there.
4. A book about music.
5. A book about an artist.
6. A book of poetry.
7. A book about prayer.
8. A science-fiction novel.
9. A book about Catholic theology.
10. A book about writing.
11. A classic.
12. A New York Times best-seller.
13. A book in Spanish.
14. A romance.
15. A murder mystery.
16. A book about a Saint.
17. A book BY a Saint.
18. A book by a friend.
19. A book about photography.
20. A book about science.
21. A book with a pretty cover. Yes, I’m going to judge it.
22. A book with an ugly cover. I’ll stay open minded.
23. A banned book. Hey. It’s me we’re talking about here.
24. A book that’s been sitting on my bookshelf, unread, for years.
25. A book you recommend.

I’ll come back here and review the book, and cross off it off the list. Let’s see how far I can get. :-)

Don’t forget to leave me recommendations in the comments. And of course, you’re invited to play along with me!

It’s #GraceofYesDay!

Yes to my students!
Yes to my students!

Here I am with Fiat, the adorable little fish on the cover of Lisa Hendey’s book, The Grace of Yes. Today, folks all over the internet are posting pictures of themselves, tagging them #graceofyes, and being witnesses to saying YES to God’s will in their lives.

Here are mine:

  • yes to my darling husband — for our love, and all the yeses that spring from his support
  • yes to my kids —  they changed my life in a beautiful way
  • yes to my career in education — I’m not going to lie, it is the biggest pain in my neck ever, and a magnificent return on the power of this yes
  • yes to my involvement in the new evangelization, first through Rosary Army and then SQPN, and all the subsequent opportunities to write and share, teach … and learn about our Lord, Jesus Christ.

To think that one fiat given 2000 years ago would have grown into all the yeses expressed today, and how those yeses continue to convert into more and more.

You can say YES in a number of ways. Here are some suggestions at Ave Maria Press’ Grace of Yes Day:

What are some ways you can say yes to God?

  • Give to a charity.
  • Being extra generous with your time.
  • Help someone in need.
  • Sharing your creativity with others.
  • Saying no so you can say yes.

What is your Yes?

more bluebirds…everywhere!

bluebirdThis is the third day of my St. Therese of Lisieux novena, and instead of roses, I’m getting bluebirds.

Everywhere.

It’s amazing.

We live in a fairly quiet community that has a good bit of wildlife. All manner of birds. Deer. Raccoons. An occasional fox. Too many bunnies and chipmunks and squirrels.

And now: bluebirds.

We’ve seen them here and there over the years, but it seemed like they never came up the hill to our backyard. Maybe it was too dense up here — too many trees. But a couple of years ago we starting clearing the back yard and doing some landscaping, and B00M! — the bluebirds came.

It’s kinda neat. We’ve been sitting on the porch enjoying the late afternoon breeze, sharing our space with the hummingbirds and the rest of the Disney characters, and now, delightfully — the little bluebirds of happiness.

still can’t bi-locate

Enjoy my friend, Padre Pio, next to this creepy bobble head of none other than Mother Teresa. What a pair!
Enjoy my friend, Padre Pio, next to this creepy bobble head of none other than Mother Teresa. What a pair!

My dad was devoted to St. Pio of Pietrelcina, and St. Pio was devoted to prayer.

Today, on his feast day, I remember Pop, and offer you this brief prayer composed by Padre Pio:

May Jesus comfort you
in all your afflictions.
May He sustain you in dangers,
watch over you always with His grace,
and indicate the safe path
that leads to eternal salvation.
And may He render you
always dearer to His Divine Heart
and always more worthy of Paradise. Amen.