Happy New Year!
I love this time of year. Not the weather so much. - 20℃ is never pleasant for a person who, as my Beloved says, is allergic to the cold. It's pretty much true--I'm allergic. I have Raynaud's disease where my fingers and toes lose circulation and become very, very, very cold when it's chilly outside. It makes being outdoors uncomfortable. Coming inside doesn't feel much better for a little while as the warming up of the fingers and toes can be quite painful. Anyway, I digress.
I love this TIME of year for a few reasons. The house gets tidy after the clutter of the Christmas decorations get put away, schedules go back to normal after a month of Adventing, Christmasing and New Year's Eveing and we get to think about New Year's resolutions.
Some people don't appreciate resolutions. Too much pressure, too much potential for failure, too much to keep up with, too much, too much. It's easy to get caught up in thinking you can change this and you can change that just like that, after a lifetime of living into the very habits you might be trying to change. Our brains can also trick us at this time of year into believing we can just add something more into our schedule that's already jam-packed full.
Over the years I've made New Year's resolutions that have failed to materialized into being. And some years I've been quite successful in tweaking something here or adding in something there. Last year I shared with all of you that I was striving, in 2017, to read a book a week. And I shared that my Beloved thought I was being slightly too ambitious. Let's be honest. He thought I was being overly ambitious. He worries how I might feel if (when) I fail to accomplish some grand plan. He frets that my spirit might get bruised or broken a bit if I fall down in trying to achieve my grand schemes. I appreciate his concern. It's kept one or two of my more wild ideas in check over the years. However, for the most part, I note his concern and carry on.
So, last year, he was pretty certain that reading 52 books during the calendar year would be impossible. I secretly agreed with him but I set the resolution anyway. And invited y'all along on the journey. As committed list-maker, I kept track of what I was reading and when I read it. I did really well for the first five months of the year. And then disaster hit. We put ourselves through a significant home renovation and the enemies of planning entered my life in a major way - stress, moving not once but twice, packing, uncertainty and did I mention stress? Never mind celebrating a high school graduation in the midst of all of it.
I got back on track during my two weeks at the lake when reading was high priority in the mornings and then when I was in Zambia - the time in the bus seemed endless some days. I took a few books with me that I could give away after I finished with them. But, upon my return from Zambia and the beginning of fall programming, I felt like life was a race against time and reading was not really a priority.
The long and short of it, I managed to read 26 books in 2017. Exactly half of my goal. And, I'm happy with that. I certainly would not have read even a fraction of that number if I had not put that goal in front of myself. These are the books I read:
- Insurrection - Peter Rollins
- Help, Thanks, Wow - Anne Lamott
- A New Take on an Ancient Story - Clair Woodbury
- Jesus for President - Shane Claiborne
- The Girlfriends' Clergy Companion - Melissa DeRosia
- Stitches - Anne Lamott
- Why Christianity Must Change or Die - John Shelby Spong
- Wings Like Eagles - Claire Woodbury
- Standing Naked Before God - Molly Phinney Basket
- Preaching the Big Questions - Catherine McLean
- Rewritng: How to Do Things with Texts - John Harris
- Bullseye - Jamie Holtman, Debbie Johnson
- Economy of Love - Shane Claiborne
- God & Empire - John Crossan
- A New Life - Awakening to Your Life's Purpose - Eckhart Tolle
- In the Beauty of the Lillies - John Updike
- The Happiness Project - Gretchen Rubin
- An Altar in the World - Barbara Brown Taylor
- Transforming Congregational Culture - Anthony Robinson
- Follow Me to Freedom - Shane Claiborne, John Perkins
- When Spiritual But Not Religious is Not Enough - Lillian Daniel
- Purpose Driven Church - Rick Warren
- Bird by Bird - Anne Lamott
- With or Without God - Greta Vosper
- The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical - Shane Claiborne
- Theological Worlds - Paul Jones
And so, you might be wondering what resolution/goal I have set for myself this year? Well, just because I didn't read all 52 books last year doesn't mean I'm not interested in reading. So, this year, I plan on reading another 26 books. That's just over two books a month. As I compiled my 2017 book list from the books I already owned and were being neglected on my bookshelf and I didn't dare buy new books as I trying to make my way through the pile, I had most of my 2017 book allowance still left in December. Please don't talk to me about the inconsistency of buying books when I still had half of my 2017 books to read. As I explained in another blog post - I'm a bit of hoarder when it comes to books. Let's face it, there are worse addictions in this world. Anyway, I spent a fun day in December spending my 2017 book allowance and when the books arrived at the church, it was like early Christmas.
Here are the books that I have selected for 2018:
I'm nearly finished my first book. I will write about it next week.
**If you're interested - I've got Brene Brown's Braving the Wilderness in the pile. I will be leading a book study on it. The study begins February 4th. If you'd like to join in, send me an email by January 15th and I will order you a copy. Details of the book study can be found on the Symons Valley UC website.