Before I Turn Fifty

I turned 49 today.  Not a bad day at all, and I’m totally not bothered by my age.  I’m alive.  I’m in good health.  I have a job that I was born to do, a great husband, a wonderful family, dear friends far and near, a slightly messy house, and 3 perfect cats.  When people talk about living the dream, I kind of am.  And I’m so thankful to God.

But next year is kind of a milestone, and I want to mark it with a series of accomplishments and the establishment of good habits that I have been negligent about in the past.  Some will be small, and many of them not particularly noteworthy, but they will be mine.  So friends, family, loved ones, random people who might read my blog, I’m making myself accountable to you.  I appreciate any encouragement you can give and will be receptive to any (metaphorical!) kicks in the butt I might need.

I’ve got a plan for how I will track these things, but I haven’t got it set up yet.  When I do, I’ll let you know.

Oh, and I’ll post the list tomorrow.

Wish me luck.


Book review: Grace Filled Marriage

Early this year (but not early enough for it to count as a resolution or anything), I decided that 2013 would be my year of grace.  I decided to purposely extend grace to others, regardless of whether I knew them, or whether we had had a bad relationship or encounter in the past, or even if I was in an everyday relationship with them.  Let me tell you – that part about extending grace in your everyday life is hard.  My husband, who is a good man, is still human (or so I’ve been led to believe), and, as such, is entirely capable of driving me out of my mind.  Sometimes, I grit my teeth when I talk to him because I am furious  or impatient and that doesn’t really make him happy or feel warmly towards me.  (Wonder why that is?)  Also, I work in public service in a library (perhaps you guessed that from my blog name).  People ask the same questions over and over (different people, but still…).  The printers stop working.  The book that was supposed to be on the shelf isn’t.  There is someone who is trying to fill out an online application and they have never used a computer before and on top of that, the mouse doesn’t work properly so even if they are trying their hardest, it is difficult to be patient and kind.  (See, this grace stuff is hard!)

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I was given an opportunity to review a pre-pub copy of Tim (and Darcy) Kimmel’s Grace Filled Marriage.  It was awesome (you can see my review on Amazon here).  (Yes, I know it was already published, but this is my year of grace, not necessarily promptness, although I am working on that as well and hope that the nice folks at Worthy Publishing will extend some grace and let me review more of their pre-pub books.)

So, back to the review:  Really good book.  Really well written.  Practical.  And marriage is good, even when it isn’t perfect.  For all its (and our) flaws, it contributes to financial stability on a personal level and to the greater economic good.  It is a place of stability for children.  It creates safety nets that allow adults to explore careers and further their education.  So if you are in a marriage, even if you are not a believer, don’t you want to be in the best marriage possible?

Grace Filled Marriage gives you practical tools to extend grace to your spouse.  Even if they never read the book.  Even if they don’t get it.  Even if they never extend grace to you.

In practicing grace this year (and goodness gracious, I fail at this attempt in some way just about every day!), I’ve learned what a powerful force grace is.  No one can force you to offer something that you are extending freely.  You have the power to choose to be kind.  You have the power to choose to forgive.  You have the power to choose to let go of hurt and grudges.  You can make the choice to rejoice in the kindness you show.  Grace is a gentle assault; one that persuades your opponent to lay down their weapons because they need not fear being hurt.

As I said in my Amazon review, every married believer should have this book on their nightstand.  I stand by that, but amend it to say that if they can afford it, they should buy 2 copies, one for each side of the bed (and a third to go in the bathroom, if that is where they read).  Also, this is a great wedding gift, even for people who aren’t believers.  Even if you think they don’t have a snowball’s chance.

Book review: Handmade books for everyday adventures

I have to say, I love this little book by Erin Zamrzia.  It is engaging and beautifully photographed.  She writes as one who knows each reader personally.  The illustrations and directions are easy to follow, and the project ideas are terrific.   I definitely plan to make at least one book necklace, and who doesn’t need a waterproof book (or two)?  Belongs on the bookshelf of every crafter.


Jeremiah 29:11

New International Version (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

No matter what happens.  No matter what.

Books I want to own – The concise guide to self-sufficiency

Rarely does a book live up to its title, but this one does. Everything from soil preparation from canning and freezing. Includes waste management and heating and cooling and how to set up a workshop that is durable but inexpensive. It even has recipes for chicken mash! Lots of illustrations and very clear instructions. The font is a little small (either that, or I’m getting old!), but the book is small. It can easily be carried in a largish purse, and the binding is sewn perfectly, which means that it will stay open on a table so that you can use both hands to do what you need to do. It also has a good, reliable index.

The concise guide to self-sufficiency by John Seymour. It’s probably out of print, but definitely worth hunting down (one of the few things it doesn’t tell you how to do!) and getting.

Books I want to own – Make your place

I’ve checked this book out half a dozen times, even lost it once and had to pay for it.  And I still haven’t got my refund!   Make your place: affordable, sustainable nesting skills has a wheelbarrow-load of great recipes for non-toxic household cleaners that generally smell nice.  It also has good advice for starting and tending a garden.  Plus, it has a certain homegrown, handcrafted charm.  And it will fit in your purse, so that you can look up the recipes while you are at the store, or fascinate your friends with the many uses of vinegar and baking soda.    
















Books I need to return to the library – The compassionate carnivore

Whatever. Okay. I get it. Factory-farmed meat is bad for the environment and for our health. It is also unkind to animals and bad for small farmers.  Hey! – that is something I can buy into – I like the idea of saving small farm.  But don’t the small farmers sell beef and milk and chickens to the big conglomerates? And if I boycott the conglomerates, will the small farmers go out of business even faster, leaving us with no choice but to eat frankenmeat? Because even if it hasn’t technically been genetically modified, there is every indication that the diet of these animals is not the one that was intended by their Creator.    


   There are several pages that are dedicated to the work of Temple Grandin.  And if you read pages 150-156, it will give you pause.  Okay.  I’m not giving    up meat.  But I am going to be way more conscious of where it comes from.  We all die, and if an animal dies so that I can eat, that’s okay, but I would        really prefer that it wasn’t tortured in the process.  

   I may have to wait a couple of weeks to return this one.  Not a fun read, but a necessary one, perhaps. 

The author is Catherine Friend, by the way.      

Books I need to return to the library – On the origin of tepees

I can’t help but be reminded of the old joke about the fella who went to the psychiatrist, saying, “I’m a tepee, I’m a wigwam, I’m a tepee, I’m a wigwam.” And the psychiatrist says, “I know what’s wrong with you – you’re two tents.”

Anyhow. On the origin of tepees: the evolution of ideas (and ourselves) by Jonnie Hughes is, according to the book jacket: “Adopting the role of a cultural Charles Darwin, Hughes heads off…across the Midwest to observe the natural history of ideas.”

It actually looks like a really interesting book; I just have 3 days off and the weather is getting cooler and I don’t want to commit my brain.  Maybe later.

What I’m listening to now: Time to Say Goodbye – Andrea Bocelli. Yes. I know it’s opera lite, but it is beautiful.

Books I need to return to the library – Dreaming of Dior

Dreaming of Dior (by Charlotte Smith and lavishly illustrated by Grant Cowan) is a girly girl’s delight. Gorgeous dresses against period (not shark week periods!!!) line drawings and/or starkly contrasting backgrounds. An absolute genius work of art!  And so pretty – on your bookshelf or in your boudoir.

If I weren’t trying to minimize my belongings, I would pop right out and buy this. Love, love, love!

Books I need to return to the library – Grow Great Grub

Grow great grub: organic food from small spaces – Gayla Trail


I really like this book – lots of detail about various plants and how much each one produces and the ideal growing environment.

Also, lots of cute ideas for crafts and planting herbs in cans, plus recipes.

Dang!  I like this book.  I may end up putting this in my books I want to own list.

Maybe I’ll return it later.



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