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Friday, May 31, 2013

May Resolutions Recap


My spiritual resolution for the month of May was to focus on the Fruit of the Spirit Meekness.  While it is tempting to give in to anger and pride, life is sweeter when we have a mild and humble attitude.

My mental resolution for the month was to finish Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain, and Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.  Unfortunately, I had to return Ender's Game before I could finish it.  Luckily, I have already read it and the movie does not come out until November.  I am excited to see if they stuck to the original plot, how the director translates the battles scenes from the movie, and how they include the fantasy simulation game.  At first I was skeptical of the actor they chose to play Ender, but after seeing the trailer I am stoked!

Jurassic Park was incredible, much better than the movie.  It was a fast read for me and left me craving more.

Quiet by Susan Cain is amazing.  Her work is brilliant and she has a TED Talk.  I highly recommend them to anyone who believe themselves to be an introvert or even to extroverts who want to understand the introverts in their life. She explains how American society embraces the extroverted, from childhood into adulthood.  When I shared some excerpts from the book with my mom (an introvert herself), she mentioned the challenges of raising an introvert when society pushes extroversion.  Many people judge introverts because they choose to be silent and observe, before interacting with others.  This is seen as a negative attribute.

Susan Cain's research opened my eyes to the plight of introverts in our current work environment.  Introversion is looked down upon and extroverts are favored more for promotions.  Many jobs require individuals to be "all types at all times", meaning introverts are expected to speak in large groups and be "social" from 9-5, while extroverts are required to spend time at a desk alone from 9-5 and sell to one person.  I put the word social in quotes, because this is an erroneous belief about introverts, that we are merely anti-social and shy.  Introversion and extroversion are ways to describe desired energy sources.  Introverts are recharged by being alone and crave interaction one on one or in small groups.  Extroverts are energized by spending time with others (a lot of others). Whereas an introvert never feels truly alone unless they are by themselves, extroverts can feel alone with one other person present, not a bad thing!

My emotional resolution was to practice gratitude.  Being thankful brings peace and clarity to life.  While I did forget a few nights to set aside time to pray my gratitude, I did wake up in the middle of the night and remember.  Throughout the day, I would do my best to adopt a thankful attitude and did see an improvement in my mood.

My physical resolution was to walk and take a hike.  My family and I went for a walk on Memorial Day to Cohoes Falls.  I forgot my camera, which is too bad, because the falls were beautiful.  It had rained pretty heavily the days before, so the Falls were full, haha. Also, I've been doing Just Dance 3 a lot.  My daily movement has increased.

My Bonus Resolution was to stick to a grocery budget, which is easier said than done. This is going to be a continued work in progress.

I'm excited to begin June's resolutions!  The idea for monthly resolutions comes from Kelli. She writes a blog called She Learns As She Goes.  She is also a member of the Youtube channel Blimey Cow.  Visit her site and watch Blimey Cow's videos.  They bring humor to truth.

This is their latest video:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Relay for Life


Dear Readers,

This year I am participating in Relay for Life with The American Cancer Society.  There are many people in my life who have had cancer, some made it to remission, some lost the battle, and some are still fighting.

My goal is to raise $100 by June 15th, 2013, the day of the Relay.  Please help me reach my goal.  Your donation is tax deductible.

There is a page dedicated to my Relay for Life site at the top of my blog.

I will also link the site here:

http://main.acsevents.org/goto/switchthosefeet

Your donation goes toward research in early detection and finding cures.  Your donation goes toward free housing, transportation, and support groups for those with cancer.

For more information on where your money goes, here are links from Relay for Life and The American Cancer Society:

http://www.relayforlife.org/learn/whywefundraise/index?__utma=2443503.1357620644.1367846794.1369503260.1369753736.13&__utmb=2443503.27.9.1369754104060&__utmc=2443503&__utmx=-&__utmz=2443503.1369753736.13.12.utmcsr=switchthosefeet.blogspot.com|utmccn=(referral)|utmcmd=referral|utmcct=/&__utmv=-&__utmk=144435766

http://www.cancer.org/aboutus/index

Thank you for time and if you donated, thanks for your donation!

*The above photograph is not my own, it is from a collection I purchased the rights to use.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Caturday!

The squirrels at our apartment complex are bold.  BOLD.  This little guy created such a ruckus, I had to film a little of it.






...and then he went on his merry way.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Soulmates


"You are the call and I am the answer.  You are the wish, and I the fulfillment.  You are the night, and I the day.  What else?  It is perfect enough.  It is perfectly complete.  You and I." - D. H. Lawrence

Plato believed humans had four arms, four legs, and two heads.  He believed humans were split in two by Zeus.  He believed humans longed for their other half and when they found each other, their soulmate, they would be complete.

In Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte wrote about the tragic story of Heathcliff and Cathy.  In my mind, Wuthering Heights is one of the most romantic stories ever written.  It truly caters to the idealistic mindset of a soulmate.  There are many emotionally stirring quotes throughout the book, including:

"He's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same;"

"If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it."

"Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you—haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murderers, I believe. I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!"

"The entire world is a dreadful collection of memoranda that she did exist, and that I have lost her!"

Wuthering Heights is Emily Bronte's only novel and it gets to me every time I read it, even though I know the whole story.

What examples in literature do you believe embody the idea of soulmates

*The above photograph is not my own, it is from a collection I purchased the rights to use.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Thoughts on Motherhood


Happy Mother's Day!

Yesterday my dad pointed out a question, "Where would Jesus be without his mother?" We can tend to focus on Jesus as the Son of God, but what about Jesus as the son of Mary?  Mary was an amazing woman who was chosen by God for a purpose.  She was highly favored of God and called blessed among women.  When Mary heard what the angels told the shepherds:

"Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." - Luke 2:10-14

She "kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart." - Luke 2:19

Again, when Jesus was older, he stayed behind in Jerusalem after a feast.  His parents couldn't find him and freaked out (I am taking liberties with the text a little).  "And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.  And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.  And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.  And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?  And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.  And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart." - Luke 2:46-51

Being a mom is more than giving birth and no one knows that more than someone who is adopted.  My parents adopted me when I was about a month old.  My mom has always shown me love and has never made me feel like I am not her flesh and blood, even though I'm not biologically her own.  She is the one who changed my diapers and comforted me in the middle of the night.  She taught me how to read.  My mom chose to homeschool me.  Every child knows the sacrifices a mom makes for her children.  I love you mom! Thank you for raising me to be the woman I am today.

The above photograph is not my own, it is from a collection I purchased the rights to use.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Netflix Picks


Every week I will spotlight a movie or series on Netflix which I enjoy.  There may be spoilers, so please read with caution.

This week:

Bones.

I never got into the series when it premiered on television, probably because it was on during a show I watched on another network.  It is about a woman named Dr. Temperance Brennan (nicknamed Bones).  She is a forensic anthropologist who works with an FBI agent named Booth.  While the show can be graphic (dead bodies), I have chuckled at the humor in the show more than once per episode.  The show is based on the life of anthropologist Kathy Reichs.

The main character 'Bones' is very logical and intense.  She is not socially adept.  She is a genius and does not mind reminding people of this fact.

Booth is an FBI agent who was a sniper, but now works with 'Bones' solving cases throughout the country.

The main side characters at this time seem to be Angela, Hodgins, and Cam (don't forget Dr. Sweets!), but this could change as the series continues.  We are in season five right now.  While some shows stick to the same core cast, this show has proven it can surprise you.  One character Joe and I both loved was Zach.  We miss him.

The plot of each show is to solve a case and in that sense it reminds me of Law and Order, without the courtroom proceedings.  I like how the writers juxtapose Brennan and Booth's often conflicting decision making processes.  Dr. Temperance Brennan is clearly a rational thinker, while Booth relies on intuition and his feelings.  Both are needed to make good decisions.

This show is one of my favorite genres, but it is not for everyone.  If you decide to check out an episode or two, let me know what you think.

What are you watching on Netflix?

The above photograph is not my own, it is part of a collection I purchased the rights to use.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Questions about Reading


A few people in my subscription box have taken this quiz about their reading habits.

Do you snack while you read?

Sometimes.  If I am reading at my leisure, I do not usually eat while I read, but if I am at work, I will read while on my lunch hour.

What is your favorite drink while reading?

Water is my favorite drink, but I also drink tea.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?

The idea of writing in a book irks me.  If someone else wants to mark their book, so be it.  I like my books to remain clean.  I will have a notebook with me while I read some books, because I like to write down quotes or concepts I would like to explore.

How do you keep your place while reading a book?

Haha, whatever is handy.  Bookmarks are one of my favorite things...  Unfortunately, I am always grabbing a book to read and leaving the bookmarks behind.  This leads me to use receipts, napkins, scraps of paper or when worse comes to worse, I remember the page number, which leads me to the next question.

Are you the type of person who tends to read to the end of the chapter, or can you stop anywhere?

When I am reading on my own time, I like to finish the chapter, but if I am at work, then I have to stop where I am to clock back in on time.

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or onto the floor if the author irritates you?

There was one book that I did throw across the room, as a child.  I do not remember the title or even what made me so upset.  This did not happen again.  Books are precious.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you look it up right away?

While I am a good judge of a word by its context, it depends on the word.

What are you currently reading?

Jurassic Park

What is the last book you bought?

I bought some books for my mom at Barnes and Noble and cannot reveal my purchases in case she reads this post.

Do you have a favorite time/place to read?

My favorite time to read is when I am alone with no distractions.

Do you prefer series books or stand alones?

My favorite books have been stand alone, but I do enjoy a series now and again.  I loved the Graceling series by Kristen Cashore.  If a series continue too long, I do tend to lose interest.

Is there a specific book you find yourself recommending over and over?

Besides the Bible?  1984 by George Orwell.  The book changed my life.  He wrote the book in 1941 about a futuristic world with government surveillance and control.

How do you organize your books?

My bookshelf is usually divided into categories and from there by size and author.  It is a mess right now, because I am running out of room!

What is your all-time favorite book?

The Bible.

Thanks Kelli, for sharing this fun survey with us.

The above photo is not my own, it is from a collection I purchased the rights to use.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Gratitude


Man, I am grateful.  I am full of gratitude.  The definition of grateful is feeling thankful, appreciative, wanting to return a kindness.  When you think about that last definition it really is appropriate.  Some people may rebel when hearing someone's thanks, but most people will respond positively and feel comfortable expressing their gratefulness.  Feelings are contagious.

In another blog post, I mentioned how a friend of mine shared her heart about being grateful and stating thanks.  She pointed out the mind shift which happens when one purposefully focuses on what they have versus comparing what they do not possess.  The next day, I was watching the Shaytards on Youtube and Shaycarl challenged us to pray everyday and/or express thanks.  Watch here:  Challenge

Shay mentions different ways to profess gratitude:

Pray.

Write in a journal.

Tell someone to their face how thankful you are to have them in your life.

My personal challenge is to pray every night before I go to sleep and only focus on being thankful. I am not allowed to ask for material items.  Now I will continue to pray throughout the day, but at night I would like to  end the day being thankful, focusing on all God has graciously given me.  God is gracious, meaning He gives to us without us doing anything to deserve it.  He is also merciful, meaning He shows compassion and forgives us, instead of holding things against us.  I am thankful for you God!  (And Jesus, too.)

Shay mentioned going in a closet to pray where nobody can see, and it reminded me of this passage of Scripture,

"Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.  Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.  But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:  That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.  And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.  But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.  But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.  Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him." - Matthew 6:1-8

How I love God, He can see through to the heart of man.

The Greek word for thankful is eucharistos, meaning, mindful of favors, grateful, thankful, pleasing, agreeable, acceptable to others, winning, liberal, and beneficent.

Here are some other verses about thankfulness:

"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." - Philippians 4:6

"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." - I Thessalonians 5:18

"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;  For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;" - I Timothy 2:1-3

"And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful." - Colossians 3:15

The above verses are only a small sample, being thankful is an important truth.

Some things which I am thankful for are my relationship with Joe, all of our kitties, our jobs, our friends, and the basics, like water, food, and shelter.  I am thankful for music, sunny days, chocolate, and notebooks.  I am thankful for all of you who read and interact with this blog.

What are you grateful for?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Resolutions


Every month I join Kelli's link up at She Learns As She Goes, to share goals we set for ourselves each month.  Visit her blog!  She is a creative, fun, and caring individual.

My Spiritual Resolution for the month of May is to focus on the Fruit of the Spirit Meekness.  Being meek is not the same as being weak.  Meek in Greek means mild.  It reminds me of another verse in Scripture,

"He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city." - Proverbs 16:32

This will be my verse of the month.

My Mental Resolution for the month is to finish reading Jurassic Park and start reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain.  I'm waiting for The Alchemist and World War Z from the library.  I would also like to finish Ender's Game.  This still leaves me behind in my #50in52 club.  It would be nice for me to find some shorter books, but they have to be legitimate additions.

My Emotional Resolution for the month is to practice gratitude.  One of my friends mentioned to me how purposefully focusing on being grateful and expressing thanks have benefited her life.  Yesterday, I watched the Shaytards on Youtube and Shaycarl mentioned how his family prays every night and challenged us to pray and/or express gratitude.  I took it to heart and decided to accept the challenge.  While I pray everyday, I decided that my prayers before I go to bed will focus on being grateful only.  Other times in the day I can pray for requests and for myself.  At night, before bed, I will only express thanks.

My Physical Resolution of the month will be to take a walk once a week and plan one hike with friends and/or family.

Bonus Resolution:

Stick to a grocery budget each week.  Take a portion from each dinner and set aside for lunch the next day.

Do you know of any short classic books or stories? Please share them below.

April Resolutions Progress Report


The Day of Reckoning!

This past month's resolutions went pretty well.  My finances have been monitored.  The biggest change I see which needs to be made is to rein in the food spending.  May will give me a chance to try a food budget each week.  One idea I had is to set aside portions of food from dinner for the next day's lunch.  This will also help me cut back on my portion sizes.

My Spiritual Resolution for the month of April was to focus on the Fruit of the Spirit Faith. Faith is not blind hope to me, but a reliance on truth.  Life has it ups and downs, but God is.  He is just, He is righteous, He is love.  He forgives.  He is faithful, loyal, and true.  I have faith in God as a loving Father.  I have faith in His Son Jesus Christ as my Savior.  I have faith in the Bible as the Word of God.  I have faith in heaven and everlasting life.

My Mental Resolution for the month was to finish my two books.  While I did finish The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, I did not finish Ender's Game.  It is has been difficult for me to re-read a book.  Usually when I love a book, I can re-read it many times, but Ender's Game has proven a little difficult.  Sometimes when I read a book for the second time, I see things I might have missed the first time.  So far, this has not happened.  I am expecting each step in the plot.  I know there is a deep meaningful message father into the book, so I still want to to finish it.  Plus, the movie comes out this year and I want to properly be able to compare it.

My Emotional Resolution for April was to spend more quality time with my loved ones. While I still feel this area of my life needs to be strengthened, I have reached out more this month.  My friend and I saw Oblivion in the theatre.  I went thrift store shopping twice with my family.  Joe and I played strategy games and watched Bones on Netflix quite a few nights in a row.  I had a few phone dates with some of my closest friends.

My Physical Resolution for the month was the least successful area.  Maintaining physical exercise has always been difficult for me.  The weather is getting nice so I would like to plan some hikes and nature walks for May.

Overall, I think the month was a success.  Kelli from She Learns As She Goes, inspired me to start monthly resolutions.  Give her blog a peek, she is a wonderful lady with great ideas.

How did your April Resolutions go this month?
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