Thursday, February 22, 2007

I just finished reading Freedom of Simplicity by Richard Foster. It was a thought-provoking book about the spiritual discipline of simplicity; I recommend it highly. It is very well-written, and I feel like he does a good job of giving concrete suggestions for living more simply without making it seem like "10 Steps to a More Simple Life."

I've been thinking and struggling with the idea of simplicity a lot lately. My life is filled with so many things, and so much of my time is spent acquiring them. It makes me sad to think of how many hours of my life I spend shopping for and buying things. I go to Wal-Mart at least three times a week every week. But even though it is distasteful to me, it is hard for me to give that up. I enjoy buying things, even groceries. Although the idea of a simple lifestyle is appealing, it is difficult to implement the changes that would make that possible. I'm trying to make small changes and praying that God will free me from materialism and selfishness.

One interesting point Foster made in his book is that North Americans should not strive to raise everyone's standard of living to our own. If we were successful, our world would be depleted of natural resources. Part of helping the poor is drastically lowering our standard of living so that there can be a more equitable distribution of resources. Obviously, I knew that giving to the poor requires financial sacrifice, but I never thought of it requiring a drastic lifestyle shift. It is so much easier to just give money away rather than seriously evaluate our own consumption habits. This book really got me thinking. Now, I just have to do the acting, which is much more difficult.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

I know, I know...I'm one day late. I have always loved Valentine's Day, mainly because my favorite color is pink. It's just such a happy, pink day. Yesterday was no exception.

I got to work in the morning and Pam, our receptionist, had put Valentine's candy on everyone's desks. She pretended Cupid had done it...too cute! Last night, I made pancakes and eggs for Darby. I wanted to make heart-shaped pancakes, but I didn't have a heart cookie cutter :( We also exchanged gifts. He gave me a gift card to JCPenney because he knows I haven't had money for clothes lately. Plus, a box of Thin Mints! Yum! He's very thoughtful; I can't wait to use my gift card. We're having our actual Valentine's celebration on Friday because we had church last night. We're going to go see Music and Lyrics, and I'm going to make us chocolate fondue. Yay for stretching out holidays!

Friday, February 02, 2007

More books!

Yay! Another book quiz. This one I found at a new blog I stumbled across. It is devoted to books. Woo-hoo!

Amazon or brick and mortar? I love going to an actual bookstore to browse, but if I know exactly what I want, I usually order from Amazon, especially gifts. It's just nice to have it all taken care of. Plus, then I can justify buying another book to qualify for "Free Super-Saver Shipping"

Barnes & Noble or Borders? Unfortunately, Abilene has neither. Boo, Books-A-Million! In Waco, I love going to Barnes and Noble. Books and Starbucks coffee! Can life get any better?

Bookmark or dogear? Definitely bookmark. I hate dogeared pages.

Alphabetize by author or alphabetize by title or random? I try to group them by category (American fiction, British fiction, nonfiction, etc). But usually they just end up stuffed on the shelf however they will fit.

Keep, throw away, or sell? Keep! I would NEVER throw away a book. Occasionally I sell books that I know I will not read again and that I don't think anyone would want to borrow.

Keep dustjacket or toss it? Keep.

Read with dustjacket or remove it? Read with, because I'm afraid I'll lose it otherwise.

Short story or novel? Novel. I just can't seem to get into very many short stories. Not enough character development.

Collection (short stories by same author) or anthology (short stories by different authors)? Anthology. I have ADD. I rarely listen to a full CD by the same artist. Likewise, I usually don't read stories by the same author in one sitting.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket? Harry Potter. Lemony Snicket is clever, but his books cannot compete with Harry. I don't get emotionally invested in his characters like I do Harry, Hermione, and Ron.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks? I usually try to make it to a chapter break, but if a book has really long chapters, I have no problem stopping in the middle of a page.

“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”? Once upon a time, definitely.

Buy or Borrow? If it's a classic or one that I know I will re-read (i.e. Harry Potter), buy. I'm trying to build up a library, so that my children will have access to any book they could ever want or need to read. If it's just a fluff book, I don't mind borrowing.

New or used? Gently used. I won't buy books if they have significant damage, but if they are in good condition, I love saving money.

Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation or browse? All. Darby got me a subscription to the magazine Bookmarks, which has tons of book reviews, so I often go off of that.

Tidy ending or cliffhanger? In between. I like books that end with uncertainty but point to hope.

Morning reading, afternoon reading or nighttime reading? Saturday morning is prime reading time, but any time is great.

Standalone or series? Depends on the series. I enjoy reading series, but I usually don't read them one after another. I break it up with other books.

Favorite series? Harry Potter, Ender series by Orson Scott Card, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series.

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard? Hmmm...I don't really read books no one else has heard of. I like to know that at least one other person liked the book before I spend time reading it. I guess most people haven't heard of Breaking the Tongue by Vyvyane Loh, and I loved that book. I read it for a class, though, so obviously some people have heard of it.

Favorite books read last year? The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Favorite books of all time? Jane Eyre, The Time Traveler's Wife, Little Women

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Thank You, J.K. Rowling!

The 7th Harry Potter book is coming out July 21!!!!! I had heard rumors that it was going to be 7/7/07, which made me very depressed. How could I read when I had to get ready for my wedding? And who would want to stop reading to come to the wedding? Then, when I found out the fifth movie was coming out in July, I figured it wouldn't be July at all. Brittany and I were bracing ourselves for it to be as late as December. But July 21 is perfect. I will have been back from my honeymoon for a week, plenty of time to get settled in. And I can do some re-reading of books 5 and 6 on the plane. Woo-hoo! I know I am a total nerd, but I am so excited!