Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ten Terrific Goal-Boosting Books for 2013

Happy New Year everyone! I suppose this is about the last socially acceptable time to wish it for 2013. I promised myself I'd post my book goals for 2013 in January and since it's the last day I can't procrastinate any longer.

Every year I set a goal of reading 50 books and last year was the first year where I named specific books as part of my 50. It worked out so well I've decided to do it again, but this year with ten books. So, I'm publicly committing to read a total of 50 books, ten of which will be the books below. I've selected these particular books to help me in either my main goals for 2013 or my main lifetime goals. Still, I think there's something there for most people. If you're looking to get healthy, organized, happy, decluttered, godly or slim, there's something for you. The books have a decidedly Christian slant (not surprising, given that I love Jesus and am a born again Christian) but there are some secular books and I think two were written by Buddhists. I'm not listing the books in any particular order. If you have read or plan to read any of them, I'd love your opinion.
  1. A Praying Life by Paul Miller. This book was recommended to me by my pastor brother and Christian musician, Joshua Otte, as the best book on prayer "ever." So of course I had to add it. It should help me with my goal of growing closer to God and, by being able to discuss it with my brother it should be a relationship builder (godliness and harmonious relationships are among my lifetime goals).
  2. The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin. I love her columns in Good Housekeeping magazine so I thought I'd read her first book. I figure this will also contribute to harmonious relationships as my husband seems happier when I am happy.
  3. SoulSpace: Creating a Home that is Free of Clutter, Full of Beauty and Inspired by You by Xorin Balbes. I read a book review (maybe in Real Simple magazine?) that made me want to read this book and as getting clutter free is one of my main goals for 2013 I had to add it to my list.
  4. ReFocus: Living a Life That Reflects God's Heart by Jim Daly. The desire of my heart is to be a woman after God's heart and I expect that this book will help me grow in that direction.
  5. 8 Minute Organizer by Regina Leeds. I started reading this one last year but it was due back before I could finish it but I was intrigued and inspired by the little bit I'd started to read. I suspect the tasks will take me more than 8 minutes each but I like that they're broken down into manageable chunks.
  6. Affordable Remodel: How to Get Custom Results on Any Budget by Fernando Pages Ruiz. Years ago I flipped through this book and decided that if I were ever to do a remodel I would want to read this first. Hopefully there is either a move or a remodel in my not so far future so I want to be sure to read this book this year, just in case.
  7. Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food by Lysa TerKeurst. I had planned to take this Bible Study last year but God had other plans and I ended up facilitating another one so this year I plan to read this book. It should help me with two goals (eating mindfully and loving God more). 
  8. The End of Diabetes: The Eat to Live Plan to Prevent and Reverse Diabetes by Joel Fuhrman, M.D. I love Dr. Fuhrman and am easing my way into following his eating plan so of course I want to read his latest book on healthy eating. Additionally, I have family members and friends with diabetes so being able to help them is a great bonus. 
  9. The Heart of A Woman Who Prays: Drawing Near to the God Who Loves You by Elizabeth George. I love Elizabeth George and many of her books have greatly blessed me so when I found one I hadn't read yet I had to add it to my list.  
  10. A Season for Tending: Amish Vines and Orchards, Book 1 by Cindy Woodsmall. My mother sent me this book after she read it and she raved about how great it was so, for the first time, a fiction book has made my list. Not only do I expect to be encouraged in my Christian walk, but the shared reading experience should be a relationship builder with my mom. 
So there's my list for 2013. What are you planning to read this year? May God bless you and keep you!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Jug Bay Wetland Photos

My husband and I recently visited Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary in Lothian, Maryland for the first time and enjoyed a quiet winter walk there. I suspect that it will be even nicer in spring and summer and we plan to go back to see their butterfly garden and hopefully spot some young eagles next time.

Above is a different view of the Jug Bay Wetlands. It sounded like there were some little birds nesting in the marsh grass.

The Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary's office had several bird feeders outside and I snapped this upside down feeding bird at the front feeder. If you look closely you can see the seed the bird just grabbed sticking out of its beak.

On the day we visited Jug Bay the moon was out in mid day. That was yet another reminder of God's amazing creative power. I hope you enjoyed my photos and pray that God will bless you and keep you!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Free Christian Living Resources from Elizabeth and Jim George

I love Elizabeth George. I haven't met her in person but I've read a lot of her books and she writes in such a way that you feel as though you're her friend, which I also love. Today I decided to check out her blog. This led me to make the paint image above and I thought I'd share it with you. Her website also has a nice group of free resources so I just had to share that link with you too. May God bless Elizabeth and Jim George, their ministries, and may He bless you too!

For those who might not be able to read the text on the image above, here it is:

God's Purpose for the Lives of Christian Women
"Titus 2:3-5, con­tains these essentials on which to focus our time and energies:
  • Be godly in your behavior.
  • Be truthful and kind in your speech.
  • Be disciplined and self-controlled.
  • Be devoted to your husband.
  • Be devoted to your children.
  • Be discreet and wise in your actions.
  • Be chaste and pure inside and out.
  • Be focused on your home.
  • Be kind and good to all.
  • Be a teacher/encourager of good things."
Disclaimer note: I have no material connection with Elizabeth or Jim George and wasn't asked or paid to write this post. 

Source for quote:  


Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Brown-Brooks Project

Donated yarn and thankful puppy
Photograph by Kim Brown Brooks
The Brown-Brooks Project was started by my friend Kim Brown Brooks in honor of her warm-hearted late brother, Billy Brown and other loved ones who have passed. It's a relatively new grass roots effort to provide warm scarves, hats and afghans for her local population of an often neglected group of youth and lonely nursing home residents. For more information visit or email Kim at

Donations of yarn or hand crafted hats, scarves or afghans (or even granny squares to be pieced into afghans) are welcomed by the Brown-Brooks Project. According to its Facebook page, "The Brown-Brooks Project is committed to renewing a spirit of love, giving and caring in our community through action. Though donations are welcome, we ask for items such as yarn, afghans, etc in place of money for the donor's peace of mind."

Volunteers will turn your donated yarn into warm hats, scarves and afghans for people who need them
Photograph by Kim Brown Brooks
Disclaimer note: I have no material connection with Kim Brown Brooks or the Brown-Brooks Project and wasn't asked or paid to write this post.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Cute and Squeaky River Otter Family

Photo by Jessie Cohen, NZP photographer
Today my husband and I enjoyed a fun trip to the Smithsonian's National Zoo and while there were many wonderful animals to see, the river otter family was the highlight of the trip because they were making such cute and happy squeaky noises so I took this little video clip to share with you. I hope you've already made time to do something fun and enjoy God's wonderful creation in this new year. May God bless you!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year Haiku and Blessing

Photo by Ronnieb
Happy New Year to you and your loved ones! Here's a little haiku poem I wrote in honor of the occasion.

New Year Haiku
Happy New Year, friends!
May this be your best year yet,
filled with all that's good.

May God bless you, keep you, be with you in this new year and always. May you be filled with even more love, blessings and joy than you give to others. And, as I think an old Irish blessing goes, may your blessings be many and your troubles be few!