random thoughts

~ A peeve: internet recipes with a 1,000 word essay and 75 pictures BEFORE the ingredients and instructions are revealed. I *might* want to go through all of that AFTER I determine if the recipe looks like something I can (or want to) manage and if the ingredients are readily available and don’t contain something nasty like curry powder.

~ Thank you, Jesus, for Tylenol PM.

~ When I started knitting about two years ago, my reading life suffered. This summer, our move disrupted my knitting, but my reading life prospered. Now I’ve picked up the needles again and am hoping for some balance.

~ I recently got an Amazon Dash button. It’s pretty cool.

~ A line from A Three Dog Life that has me thinking: “What are you doing?” Paul asks. “I’m taking a poll,” I say. “What is the one thing that stays stable in your life?”

What is the one thing that stays stable in your life?

~ I cannot wait until this election cycle is over. Campaign signs have taken over Tallahassee, and they’re an eyesore.

~ Sometimes I think I might sound like an old lady.

~ That could be because I’m in a season of poor sleep. Last night I took the aforementioned Tylenol PM because I had a terrible headache that would not let up. But then a big thunderstorm rolled through after midnight and kept me awake for a while. And then just a few minutes later, it was time to get up.

Off to work now. Feel free to share your random thoughts in the comments.🙂

“Change occurs among other people…”

habitFrom The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg:

When people join groups where change seems possible, the potential for that change to occur becomes more real. For most people who overhaul their lives, there are no seminal moments or life-altering disasters. There are simply communities–sometimes of just one other person–who make change believable…

“Change occurs among other people,” one of the psychologists involved in the study, Todd Heatherton, told me. “It seems real when we can see it in other people’s eyes.”

…Belief is easier when it occurs within a community.

“…living as if you are in charge of the world…”

From Heart of the Matter: Daily Reflections for Changing Hearts and Lives

Ephesians 2:1–10

What’s behind all of your wrong anger? Whether you are angry about something trivial or something serious, your wrong reaction reveals that you are living as if you are in charge of the world. You believe you have the right to judge the people around you and the way God is running the world. Think about when you get angry. Aren’t you insisting, “My will be done; my kingdom come”? Anger is merciless. Anger sees, punishes, and gets rid of all offenders. But God has chosen to be merciful to wrongdoers, including someone like you, who struggles with taking God’s place in the world (Ephesians 2:1–5). God’s mercy brings life to you. If you struggle with bitterness, if you grumble, if you yell and argue, then you need God’s mercy. You will receive mercy and help when you confess to God your struggle with trying to control everything, with wanting to be God, and with judging those around you. God’s just anger toward sinners like you was poured out on his Son on the cross. Because Jesus died, you can be forgiven and have a whole new life. When you honestly confess your sins to God and ask him to forgive you for Jesus’ sake, you will receive forgiveness and the gift of God’s Spirit. The Spirit will give you the power to express your anger not your way, but God’s way.

~ David Powlison

monday miscellany

From around the net:

~ If it makes you happy:

But what is the problem with being happy? Isn’t happiness a good thing? Doesn’t God want me to be happy? Again, it depends on what we mean by our use of the word “happy.” Happiness must be rightly ordered. Our happiness must be subject to our holiness. God does not want you to be happy when it is at odds with you being holy. When these become disordered we fall into the same problem as the nation of Israel at the end of Judges. The result of that tailspin was, “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). Happiness unchecked will always lead to doing what is right in your own eyes. And when we understand that the “heart is deceitful above all things” (Jer. 17:9), we can quickly understand the problem with doing what is right in our own eyes.

Instead, Christians should acknowledge that love is the answer but should labor to define that term as the Bible defines it. Happiness falls far short of love. Happiness is an emotion or state of mind. Love is something so much more.

~ A brief history of the Hawaiian shirt.

~ A free Bible study on how to change the way you think, act, and experience life.

~ Lean in on Sunday morning.

~ Don’t have time to read books? Try this one weird trick.

Happy Monday!

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saturday

Today has been a perfectly lovely day:

~ Paul’s brother and his wife are in town and stopped by for a visit. I can’t believe I didn’t think to get a photo of the brothers!

~ Paul and headed up to Thomasville for lunch and a couple of errands:

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gear

George & Louie’s for lunch:

gandl

~ A stop at my favorite yarn shop. I just love this place! I love that when I walk in Cadence calls out, “Hi, Anne!”

lys

~ A stop for an Icee on the way home (I know, I know… it’s not Whole30. But I felt like we were on a little vacation, so I indulged. It’ll be okay.)

iceestop

ic

drive

I hope you’re having a good Saturday, too!

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“do what you’re good at.”

Earlier this week I linked to a thought-provoking post — You’re not meant to do what you love. You’re meant to do what you’re good at. A friend shared it on Facebook, and there was a bit of pushback in the comments. That got me thinking deeper about the subject — which is exactly why blog posts and Facebook are useful. The disagreement in the comments was of the “you shouldn’t crush anyone’s dream” variety. But I think the original blog post was a pushback against just that mentality. Our culture is functionally narcissistic — what makes me happy? what do *I* want to do? And hell hath no fury like a person who has been told he’s not good at something.

The more I think about the original post, the more I agree. We should be pointing our children in the direction of serving with their gifts and abilities (and helping them to find out what those are) instead of encouraging them to follow their hearts. See the difference there? One of those directions is others-focused and the other is self-focused. Yes, occasionally these two worlds collide, but not always.

I was raised to work hard and to aim for excellence at whatever job I held. And I’ve learned that I’m the kind of person who can make herself like just about any job. I’ve never held a mind-numbingly boring job, but some of the jobs I’ve had may well be mind-numbing to others. Sure, there are jobs I really don’t think I’d want, but if I had to to it, I think I could jedi-mindtrick myself into seeing the worth of it and digging in. I’m very grateful that the job I’m in now is challenging and interesting and never boring. But I never grew up thinking that my passion was balancing numbers or solving daily mysteries or replying to emails. As it turns out, however, that’s where God used my gifts and abilities and circumstances to put me to serve right now. It wasn’t my dream, but I’m glad about how it’s turned out. It’s satisfying to know that I’m where I’m supposed to be, even if that’s a different place than I thought I’d be.

I often counseled my children to find what they loved and to figure out how to get paid for it. There’s truth in that to be sure. But if I had it to do over again, I’d add the part about finding what you’re actually good at.

Just thinking a little this Friday morning…

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“It’s called my back is killing me.”

threedogFrom A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas:

This is my first experience with a dog in heat but the back pain arrived thirty years ago when I bent to pick a canned peach off the kitchen floor and couldn’t straighten up. My second husband seemed familiar with the problem. “My god, what is this called?” I cried as he tried to help. “It’s called my back is killing me,” he said. This version of my back is killing me comes from wearing a pair of stylish new red shoes that pinch my left foot and make me walk lopsided. I don’t know why I keep putting them on except they show off my ankles. At age sixty-three, ankles are my best feature unless you count cake.

read for your life!

I’m skeptical about most studies I see reported because so often the conclusions can be reached by using plain old garden variety common sense, without spending millions of dollars. And others have such a small sample size that any conclusion must be held loosely. While this one may be one of those, it works in my favor so I’ll share it:

The study, which is published in the September issue of the journal Social Science & Medicine, looked at the reading patterns of 3,635 people who were 50 or older. On average, book readers were found to live for almost two years longer than non-readers…

…“When readers were compared to non-readers at 80% mortality (the time it takes 20% of a group to die), non-book readers lived 85 months (7.08 years), whereas book readers lived 108 months (9.00 years) after baseline,” write the researchers. “Thus, reading books provided a 23-month survival advantage.”

Bavishi said that the more that respondents read, the longer they lived, but that “as little as 30 minutes a day was still beneficial in terms of survival”.

The paper also specifically links the reading of books, rather than periodicals, to a longer life.

That’s really the best news I’ve heard all day!

And speaking of reading, I finished a fun book last night — The Swans of Fifth Avenue: A Novel by Melanie Benjamin. Set in the Mad Men era of (mostly) Manhattan, it tells the story of Truman Capote and his “swans” — high society ladies who confided in him only to see him betray them by publishing their secrets. While it’s frivolous reading in some ways — the fashion, wealth, yachts, and gossipy stories — the author offers some keen insights into human nature and behavior. I really enjoyed the writing and will be reading more by Benjamin and adding some of Capote’s works to my to-be-read list.

Now I’m reading A Three Dog Life, a memoir which Stephen King says is his favorite. That, along with the $2.99 price for the Kindle version, made it a must-read.

It’s for my health, y’all!

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monday miscellany

Links from ’round the webs:

~ You’re not meant to do what you love. You’re meant to do what you’re good at:

If everybody did what they thought they loved, the important things wouldn’t get done. To function as a society, there are labors that are necessary. Someone has to do them. Is that person robbed of a life of passion, because they had to choose a life of skill and purpose? No, of course not.

You can choose what you love to do, simply by how you think of it and what you focus on. Everything is work. Everything is work. Everything is work. There are few jobs that are fundamentally “easier” than others, whether by virtue of manual labor or brain-power. There is only finding a job that suits you enough that the work doesn’t feel excruciating. There is only finding what you are skilled at, and then learning to be thankful.

Read the whole thing.

~ What you read matters more than you might think.

~ Sounds like the Navy finally wised up about those ridiculous blue cammies. To modify a meme I’ve seen floating around Facebook, if you’re afraid to speak up at a meeting, just remember someone once piped up, “Let’s put sailors in blue camouflage.”

~ I’m currently reading John Bunyan’s Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, so I found this post on his arrest and post-pluralism persecution in America interesting.

~ 7 Ways to deal with doubt. I especially love #6.

~ An open letter to someone having an affair.

~ The immaturity of addiction:

This rule of thumb makes sense under closer observation. When someone begins to abuse substances repeatedly, they are often exchanging responsibility for pleasure. Many addicts enter this lifestyle to escape hard circumstances, trials, or truths about themselves they do not want to face. Consequently, the lessons they would have learned in meeting these situations, dealing with them constructively, and growing in maturity through them are lost opportunities. If you ever wonder why a thirty year old drug user makes a really dumb choice even when he is not high, it is not just the effect of the drugs on his reasoning abilities. He simply has never learned any better.

2016 Reading Challenge

As I’ve mentioned, I plan to work through Challies 2016 Reading Challenge. I’ll update my list here as I complete each categoryI’m not working through the challenge in any kind of order, and I’m modifying some of the categories.

bestillA book about Christian living:  Be Still, My Soul (25 Classic and Contemporary Readings on the Problem of Pain). I started this one last year and finished it on New Year’s Day.

I recommend this collection of essays from noted theologians like J.I. Packer, Joni Eareckson Tada, Martin Luther, and John Piper. My favorite essay was from D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

fierceA biography: Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More, Poet, Abolitionist, Reformer by Karen Swallows Prior

This is a fascinating read that I will be thinking about long after today. I hope to share more soon.

energyA self-improvement book: The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy by Jon Gordon

We’re going through this book at work. It’s a quick read, so I finished it in just a few days.

 

A classic novel: Lord of the Flies by William Golding flies

How in the world did I miss this book all these years? It was a page-turner, and I loved its depths. I’ll be thinking about it for a long time. If you haven’t read it yet, don’t wait!

domoreA book about productivity: Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity by Tim Challies

This was another good read. I’m planning to set aside some time this coming weekend to set up the system he recommends. I appreciated how he reminds the reader why we should strive to be productive.

 

wowA book about theology: Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds by Jen Wilkin

This is a really good resource for women who want to know God’s Word better. It is both practical and encouraging, and I’ll be referring to it again, I’m sure.

happinessA book about joy or happiness: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

I didn’t love this one. Part of the problem may have been the format; I listened to the book on my commute via Audible, and I don’t think it’s a book that works that way. The author read it, and I found her voice distracting. Also, she would periodically read excerpts from emails or blog comments, and I had trouble distinguishing when she was referring to herself or reading something someone else wrote. I suspect I would have taken more away from the book if I’d actually read it. There are a few ideas that have stuck with me, however. One was an idea she repeated: being heavy is easy, but being light-hearted is hard. It takes effort.  Also, she talked about the idea of enthusiasm as a form of social courage. I’ve thought about that one a good bit, too. If you’re looking for a book on happiness, I think Happiness Is a Serious Problem by Dennis Prager is a better choice.

bonhoefferA book that won a ECPA Christian Book award: Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

I’ve owned this one on Kindle for a long time, and countless people have recommended it to me but for some reason I’ve only just now gotten to it. It’s very good. I really appreciate good biographies as a way to learn more history, and although I’d heard and read a bit about Bonhoeffer through the years, I’d never known the full story in the context of Nazi Germany. I wish I’d been able to read this before I visited Berlin a few years ago. Anyway, if you haven’t read it yet, I recommend it.

feed

A book with a one-word title: Feed by M.T. Anderson

Yuck. I really, really didn’t like this book, but I have this compulsion to see a book all the way through, hoping that surely it gets better. It didn’t.

gossipgospelA book with the word “gospel” in the title or subtitle: Gossip and the Gospel: Understanding the Harmful Effects of Gossip in the Church – Timothy Williams

I was disappointed in this one. There’s some good stuff here – some painful conviction and some guidance on handling gossip, slander, etc. But there are also verses out of context and some condemnation that lacks the Gospel.

santini

A memoir:  The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son by Pat Conroy

I’ve wanted to read this one for a while now, but it moved up in the queue upon the author’s recent passing. Pat Conroy was a master of the English language, and as a southerner I especially appreciate his love of the south. Even though he made peace with his father, his story is still a very sad one. “In families, there are no crimes beyond forgiveness.”

guiltA mystery or detective novel: The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly

I enjoy Connelly’s stories, but this one wasn’t my favorite. It got better about 3/4 of the way in, but just wasn’t a stand out.

severeA book you own but have never read:  A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken

This one has been on my shelf for years, and many folks have recommended it. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations after all of the rave reviews.

signatureofA book by a female author: The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

I really cannot recommend this one at all. I really enjoyed the first part, but then it took a strange, slow, ultimately boring turn. I didn’t like any of the characters, either. Very disappointing.

cellistA novel set in a country that is not your own: The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway

This one is good. I visited Sarajevo a few years ago, so I could picture the scenes as I read. I’ve put more of his books on my to-read list.

bloodA book with an ugly cover: Blood Defense (Samantha Brinkmann Book 1) by Marcia Clark

This one was free on Kindle recently, so I gave it a try. It was a decent thriller, and I read the whole thing hearing Maria Clark’s voice as the narrator.

 

I can’t find a proper category for this one, so I’ve made up my own — A science fiction book that Anne didn’t hate:  The Martian by Andy Weir martian

Although too science-y at times, this story moved along. The main character is hilarious. Now, I can finally watch the movie.

parisbookA book about a country or city:   Paris by Edward Rutherford

I love Rutherford’s novels. He weaves stories with history and makes a place come alive in a most compelling way. This one was no exception. Now I really want to return to Paris.

A book about relationships or friendship: The Friendship Factor by Alan Loy friendshipMcGinnis

I wish I could remember where I saw this book recommended so I could give proper credit, but alas, I cannot. It was a fairly quick read with some helpful encouragement. Kindle isn’t the best format for reading books like this, however. It would be nice to have a paper copy to flip back through.

prayingA book about prayer: Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus’ Name by Bryan Chapell

It took me a ridiculously long time to finish this book, and I think I would have liked it more if I’d read it more diligently. He makes some good points, but if you’re looking for a good book on prayer, I’d recommend Paul Miller’s A Praying Life.

A book with 100 pages or fewer: Found: God’s Peace — Experience True Freedom from Anxiety in Everything by John MacArthur anxiety

This is a quick read, and honestly I found it too simplistic. If you’re truly struggling with anxiety, get thee to the Psalms (which, to be fair, MacArthur does recommend). Books like this frustrate me because they make a complicated problem sound so easy to solve.

hammerA Christian novel: The Hammer of God by Bo Giertz

I was inspired to read this one by this article, which called this “the best Christian novel you’ve never heard of.”  That is probably overstating it, but I enjoyed it and will be thinking about some of the story lines for a while. I marked several beautiful lines and passages.

 

A book published in 2016: Everything We Keep: A Novel by Kerry Lonsdale everythingwekeep

I got this one for free via Amazon’s Kindle First deal. It was compelling enough to draw me in, but it had some weaknesses. There were some just plain unbelievable events and some things didn’t add up. It was a good beach read, even though I didn’t read it at the beach.

mightierI’m making up another category — A book that’s part of a series that I feel compelled to see through: Mightier Than the Sword: A Novel (Clifton Chronicles Book 5) by Jeffrey Archer

I couldn’t pass this one up when the Kindle version was marked down several months ago. I usually enjoy Archer’s fiction, but this series has too many coincidences. Each book ends with a cliffhanger, however, that necessitates purchasing the next book.

A book with at least 400 pages: Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave brave

This one is just lovely — beautifully written, at once sorrowful and hopeful. Set in London in World War II, the story isn’t fast-paced, but the characters and prose are compelling.

swansA book based on a true story: The Swans of Fifth Avenue: A Novel by Melanie Benjamin

This one is one of the most fun books I’ve read this year. Based on the story of how Truman Capote betrayed his “swans” — high society ladies who lunch — by writing about the stories they’d confided in him, it’s tragic but well written.

A memoir: A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas threedog

This one came with high praise — it’s Stephen King’s favorite memoir. I can’t say that I “enjoyed” it because it’s sad, but she is a good writer.

A book someone tells you “changed my life”:

A book your pastor recommends:

A book more than 100 years old:

A book for children:

A book about a current issue:

A book written by a Puritan:

A book recommended by a family member:

A book by or about a missionary:

A novel that won the Pulitzer Prize:

A book written by an Anglican:

A book by C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien:

A book that has a fruit of the Spirit in the title:

A book with a great cover:

A book on the current New York Times list of best sellers:

A book from a theological viewpoint you disagree with:

A book written by an author with initials in his/her name:

A book about worldview:

A humorous book:

A book written by Jane Austen:

A book by or about Martin Luther:

A book about money or finance:

A book whose title comes from a Bible verse:

A book you have started but never finished:

A book by David McCullough:

A book targeted at the other gender:

A book by a speaker at a conference you have attended:

A book written by someone of a different ethnicity:

 

**Full disclosure: When you click on any of the book links here at georgianne and then make a purchase, Amazon tosses a few pennies my way. Thanks for supporting my book habit!