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Monday, December 28, 2009

Reflections


So, how was your Christmas? Did you create any fun new memories and really enjoy the day? We had a good, albeit quiet sort of day. Christmas with little children in the home must just be the best and, gratefully, someone close to us reminded me of that this year. We are grateful and we are blessed. We enjoyed ourselves and had some really special times.

We were also able to spend the day remembering friends who were welcoming a new baby into their family on Christmas morning! And we were available to pray with my friend Sky regarding her brother, Bowe (see below for more info on that). Every year is different and frequently we don't know what any individual day might bring - let alone Christmas day! The greatest thing we can rest in, find our peace in and take any comfort and celebration in is the fact that God sent His son, Jesus, down to earth for US. Mind blowing! And worth some contemplation as our lives keep rolling along.

Now we find ourselves gearing up for the end of one year and the beginning of another. There is no sort of way to explain how excited we are about the arrival of 2010. For one thing, it marks the end of a very difficult year. For another, we're starting it out with a bang by welcoming in one of my best friends from law school for a visit! I absolutely cannot WAIT!

It's interesting to look back on one's life and question why you did what you did and when you did it. It's horrifying to think about "what ifs" and "well, maybes" even if you ARE only talking about books (which is the main point of this particular site, after all!). Another year of my life has gone by and what have I read!? Why did I read it!? Should I have? And, always the questions: "What can I do better next year?" And maybe you could even ask, "Why do you CARE (about books)?" I read, I think, I process. What I read changes who I am, fine tunes my thinking (if it doesn't just change it outright!) and motivates me in new directions. Books play a hugely important role in my human/spiritual walk and therefore I think they are worth talking, er, writing about. So I just keep plugging along around these parts and some of you keep reading and listening (for which I am grateful).

As I am wrapping up another year of reading there are definitely books I can look back on and wish that I hadn't wasted the time on. But we can't be all about regrets, can we? I AM definitely making different reading choices for the future though. I'm really thinking hard about reading through my own bookshelves and doing some culling and re-evaluating. My re-evaluation of what is worth my time is based on life, ever changing and transforming who we are and how we think.

** If you would like to see the complete list of books that I read this past year, visit The Master List (I keep this blog linked on my sidebar for easy referencing..mostly for myself when I'm trying to locate an old review I wrote!) I clocked in with 132 books fully read. I don't count ones that I skimmed or didn't give as much attention to as I might have otherwise liked. I spent quality time with 132. **

At the same time, while I read some books I wish I hadn't, I also did a lot RIGHT this past year. I learned and I grew through some amazing life circumstances. I thought and I enjoyed. I cried and I railed against my realities. I'm still learning about all that happened to our family this past year. We had some good times and some bad. Here is a brief run down of some particular highlights (for me, personally):

*Inkheart was made into a movie and we got to go and see it for a date night. (Waa hoo! Love this book.)



* I hosted the Lucy Maud Montgomery Challenge in January (and am absolutely planning to do that again so GET READY because it's right around the corner!). As part of my own personal reading during this challenge, I learned that Lucy Maud Montgomery committed suicide which was a horrible discovery.

* We went to Disneyland in February (first time for our family) and absolutely LOVED it!

* Strictest School in the World Series. Have you read it? Oh my word, dash out and buy it!!!

* My brother-in-law, Landon, died in April (unexpected to the extreme).

* Jonathan and I celebrated four years of marriage.

* My dad died in May of cancer.

* We went through a lot of life adjustment in a very short period of time!

* My good friend, Sky, was informed that her brother, Bowe Bergdahl, was captured by the Taliban on June 30th. We've been praying for his safety and release. (And I was none too happy that a video was released of him on Christmas day of all days. Nice political move there. And yes, I've said I wouldn't talk politics around here but this is my friend's brother.) If you'd join us in praying for Bowe, I know that Sky would appreciate it more than I (as would their whole family). You can view the prayer blog for Bowe Bergdahl HERE. Again, praying for Bowe isn't political. It's about a person who is in need of prayer.

* I really rather enjoyed The Big Steal, by Emyl Jenkins. That's probably one of my favorite fun book discoveries of this past year.

* I hosted the first Chronicles of Narnia Reading Challenge in July (and will host again this coming July so you can plan for that if you'd like!). The best books are meant to be read and re-read a million times over.

Chronicles of Narnia Reading Challenge

* The third book in the Mysterious Benedict Society released. And I still LOVE the series!!!

* I started the Reading My Library Challenge in which I am reading through all of the children's pictures books in my library, by author, from A to Z. My ability to progress in this challenge seems to be dependent on how many times I'm able to make it to the library. I hope to go again this week. So far, I've made it from Aa to As.

Reading My Library

My favorite children's book author that I have discovered so far is Jim Arnosky. He writes a lot of books about animals, including picture books on sea animals which we have just loved to pieces.

* Steven Curtis Chapman's new album, Beauty Will Rise released (and ministered to me greatly in processing grief).

* I wrote my STOP THE PRESSES post in which I (still) question the value of Christians copying the world in almost everything. I wish we (Christians) wouldn't do that. The sad thing is - we don't have to. We choose to.

Even on that note though, I've spent the month of December gobbling up some Christian fiction that I intend to talk more about come January. I read Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers within the past month for the first time and kinda feel like reexamining Christian writers. That said, I intend to critique. (Don't think I've gone soft or anything.) ;D haha. Well, we'll see. I'm thinking about this particular genre a lot these days.

* I made good friends with a dead man (Winston Churchill).

* We rejoiced in the goodness of God.

* I began to realize that I can Choose Gratitude (and need to do it!) and I have been thinking a lot about that.

This has definitely been a year of pain and sadness, as well as great happiness and joy. But you know, God can make all things new.

Out of all of the ashes, the regrets and pains and concerns we might have - beauty will rise. God makes all things new. He starts us on new days, with new dreams and new adventures. I can't wait to see what the future holds in books and in life - which remain strangely intertwined for me!



You make all things new
You make all things new
You redeem and You transform
You renew, You restore
You make all things new
You make all things new
And forever we will watch and worship You
You turn winter into spring
You take every living thing
And you breathe the breath of life into it over and over again


AMEN! I'll take that promise and run with it!

6 comments:

Susanne said...

I really liked this wrap up post for your year, Carrie. I didn't get know of your little blog until later in the year so it was nice to read little points from your year. I'm sorry for the hard parts of your year and rejoice with you in the good. Looking forward to the new year and what books you will read and write about.

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

Wow! What a year you've had! May 2010 be filled with much joy and nothing but GOOD books. :)

Sky said...

Reading this post made me really long for a sit down talk face to face with you... know that I love you and treasure your friendship and prayers. I look forward to reading your blogs to get a kick out of your sarcasm and laugh a long with you!
May 2010 definitely be filled with peace and joy for you and your dear ones! May God smile on you!

Anna said...

What a busy year. I will pray for Bowe.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Barbara H. said...

I've been working on a month-by-month review of blog posts that I'm planning to post Tues. or Wed., but I like how you laid this out. I hope you have a much better year in 2010 -- but God does teach us a lot through the difficult things as well.

I usually keep a running list of what I've read through the year, but somehow I didn't get started this year. I still might run through my "Books" category and do that. It's fun to look back over what I've read. I don't think it be anywhere near 132, though! :-)

I've been wanting to reread something of Montgomery's and Narnia again some time. Usually when the challenges come up I have a stack of new books that I want to get through, but I'll see about joining in this time around. You're right about the best books needing to be read over and over.

Annette said...

Something to think about...comment moderation on your old posts (I do it for all, but used to do older than two days so I would know if someone commented.) I suggest this since you often link back to yourself...like today when you informed me that Lucy committed suicide. I didn't know. That will take a bit to think about.

What a year you've had! I don't know of the personal stuff that has happened, but I know you've dealt with a lot over all.

Remember...In Christ Alone...

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