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Archive for January, 2012

Whispering Breezes

This weekend, in my continuing effort to declutter and simplify, I decided to tackle the clutter in a drawer of my nightstand. Since this nightstand is no longer used as a nightstand and merely as a table to hold a lamp in the corner of our bedroom, this drawer became a catch-all. If I didn’t know where to put something, it went here. There were things in there that I haven’t seen in years. And, it got to the point that I could barely open (or close) the drawer.

For many years, on and off, I used to subscribe to O, The Oprah Magazine. For those of you who know me well, it’s probably hard to believe that I would subscribe to a women’s magazine. I don’t like to fuss with my hair. I’m not into fashion and style. And, I don’t wear makeup unless I’m going to a wedding. But, although this women’s magazine is chock full of these things, it also has self-help and inspirational articles. That’s what attracted me to it in the first place and what kept me subscribing over the years. Early on, the magazine would have tear out sheets with inspirational quotes on them. Sometimes these were just little notes to post somewhere. Sometimes they were post cards that we were supposed to send to a friend or loved one. Sometimes they were bookmarks. I have a feeling over the years, I saved every one of these things.

As I was going through these piles of inspirational quotes, I came across this quote by novelist James Carroll:

We spend most of our time and energy in a kind of horizontal thinking. We move along the surface of things…[but] there are times when we stop. We sit still. We lose ourselves in a pile of leaves or its memory. We listen and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper.

Wishing all of us more moments in our lives when we can stop, be still, and listen to those whispering breezes!

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What Do You Read?

UPDATED February, 2012

The Goodreads Widget turned out to be pretty buggy and most of the time showed simply a blank screen. So, I decided to take it down. My reading list appears in the tab above entitled Reading List.

ORIGINAL POST:
About a decade ago someone once asked me what kind of books do I read. I hesitated, not knowing what to answer. You’d think that such a simple question would have a simple answer. I think I was reading a mystery at the time, so I said “mysteries.” But, I knew that wasn’t quite right. Seems to me I should know what kind of books I read and since obviously my memory is short-lived I decided to make a list of the books that I read year by year. As soon as I finished reading a book, I’d put it on the list.

I’m now going on my 11th year doing this. No one has since asked me what kind of books I read even though now I can tell them. A variety. This listmaking has taught me a few things. First, that I read more books a year than I thought. I average one a month. And, second, as I said before, I read a variety of books. From biographies to romances to science fiction. Now, I’m not saying that I like all the books that I read, but a variety of books interest me. So, that’s the real reason I was stumped so long ago when that person asked me that question. I didn’t know what kind of books I read because there wasn’t just one kind of book that I read.

A couple of years ago I set up a profile on LinkedIn and have been using Amazon’s Reading List to track my book list, this time with reviews. Unfortunately, there’s no Amazon Reading List widget for WordPress. There is a WordPress widget for Goodreads, however. Recently I set up an account there and added that widget to this blog as you can see at the right. Now my readers can see what kind of books I read, and what sort of reviews I give them. Now, having two electronic book lists is going against my 2012 mantra to “simplify, simplify, simplify,” but I thought it a good idea anyway, since this blog and my LinkedIn profile both present a bit of what interests me to the general public.

I’m hoping, though, that some time in the future these lists can be consolidated…

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Burdens

A couple of weeks before 2012 began I stopped playing Farmville and resolved to do the following with all the free time I was going to have:

1. Relearn to crochet
2. Start and finish sewing projects
3. Read all the unread books on my bookshelf
4. Start writing again

These goals are part of a larger picture. Feeling burdened by all the stuff in my life I decided to reassess things, both physical and psychological. First reassessment came with Farmville. In the beginning it was a fun diversion. But, more recently, the more I played, the more I realized it was just something to kill time and not something that I was truly enjoying. And, the more I thought about it, the time spent doing this something that I was not truly enjoying was taking time away from things that I did, at least at one time, enjoy. So, I made the decision to stop playing. But, now what?

Again, feeling burdened by the stuff in my life, I decided to be mindful of what I had and mindful of what I bring into this house. I have to ask myself: Do I have a spot in my life (the life I want) for this? If not, it gets donated, or tossed in the garbage or recycling bin. And in the case of new things, not get bought at all.

An ongoing project this. Perhaps throughout the year, I’ll stop again and re-evaluate my progress. Hopefully a year from now my burdens will be lightened and I will have made room for the truly enjoyable.

As of this writing, I have already made progress:

1. Organized my address book and vowed NOT to save address labels from friends and relatives. I will now, upon opening a letter or card, double-check to see whether I have the most up-to-date address in my address book. If so, the address label gets tossed. If not, I will enter the new address immediately, then toss the label out.

2. I started crocheting a sampler blanket. So far I’ve relearned the chain stitch, the single crochet and the half-double crochet stitches.

3. Almost finished reading We Were the Mulvaneys, by Joyce Carol Oates. This book is definitely NOT a keeper. It goes in the donate pile.

4. Organized two drawers in my office closet. Now the envelopes are actually in the drawer marked “Envelopes”. In the process I found some mementos from long ago. Some that no longer have meaning were tossed, others will be donated. And, in among them was a beloved pendant that was my mother’s. For years I thought that maybe it somehow got accidentally donated or tossed away. I was very thankful to learn that it did not!

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