Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My Ever-growing Reading List

While packing for my move from NJ to PA last March, I realized how far behind I am on my reading...TONS of books! Fortunately, I've had opportunity to read a few over the past 6 months; but, my reading list has also grown during that time since a friend at work and I have begun to recommend books to each other and have begun a little book exchange between the two of us.

I love to read, even if I'm not the fastest reader so, in an effort to keep myself reading, I decided to post my reading list (or at least a portion of it). And, I thought I'd post little "book reports" as I finish the books, since I know how I hate to pick up a book without it first being recommended. Maybe the 3 or 4 people who read my blog could benefit from the books reports. So, here's the list (in no particular order):
  1. Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul by John & Stasi Eldredge (I'm actually about 1/2 way through this one)
  2. The Color Purple by Alice Walker (I think I'll start this one next)
  3. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
  4. Fair Game by Valerie Plame Wilson
  5. Patty Jane's House of Curl by Lorna Landvik
  6. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
  7. Emma by Jane Austen
  8. The Flight of the Romanovs by John Curtis Perry & Constantine Pleshakov
  9. Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
  10. Me: Stories of My Life by Katherine Hepburn
  11. The Dive from Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer
  12. Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
  13. The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Klaus
  14. Shindler's List by Thomas Keneally
  15. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah (I'm actually about 1/2 way through this one, but will need to backtrack a couple chapters...it's been awhile since I picked it up)

Well, that's my starter list...there are others in my pile at home, but I thought I'd limit to 15 so I don't get too overwhelmed. I don't have any particular timeframe to complete these...that would drive me crazy...just want to have a method to stay on track.

Hey, and if you have any suggestions for books that I should add to my list, please share. I don't mind adding to the list...like I stated earlier, I LOVE to read:)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Beauty in the Storm

I've been thinking of writing this blog for several weeks, but life has gotten in the way. After events in my life in the past couple weeks, I can put this off no longer.

Several weeks ago, "B" and I were enjoying a quiet evening and I looked outside and saw this:
Probably one of the most beautiful storms I've ever seen...to attempt to show the sheer size of these clouds:These pictures barely begin to capture how beautiful the sky was that evening, but I knew there was a blog post in my future. When I started to think of what the blog might be titled, I came up with the title you see above. Then my mind started working overtime, thinking in the abstract of the other types of storms we experience in life.
I've been through my fair share of "storms"...the past couple of weeks haven't been the biggest storms, but I feel like I've gone through a storm nonetheless. Our household has faced what felt like the plague (in actuality, a REALLY bad flu/cough thingy), I had a rash which turned out to be an allergy to a lotion, we've had little things breaking left and right around the house, normal daily stress, and the worst of all...our dog got away at the park and has been lost for over a week now. Again, small compared to the storms that some people face in life but added all together, these things wear you down.
So you might ask what "Beauty in the Storm" has to do with this? I'm a true believer that God has a plan for all things, even the "storms" we go through in life, meaning that all things happen for a reason. What that reason might be varies greatly, whether we ever see the reason for going through life's storms is not always certain, who benefits from God's plan for those storms is not always the individual going through the storm. But as I look through the storms I've been through in life, I nearly always can see the beauty...just like that storm several weeks ago that took my breath away. The difference is that the beauty we can see in life's storms (and, yes, it IS there) is the lessons we learn, growing closer to God, growing closer to friends and family, teaching others about God, learning more about ourselves, etc.
Oh, it's easy to sink into a pity party (at one time over the past couple weeks I told "B" that it felt like someone had a voodoo doll of me) but, even now, coming out of these rough couple weeks, I'm starting to see hints of the reason(s) why I've gone through this.
I'll leave you with this thought...there IS beauty in EVERY one of life's storms. The beauty can be found in any number of ways, but it is most certainly there, many people just often choose not to look and see. It's like the person who complains about the pouring rain, but forgets of the beautiful flowers that are the result. Or the person who can't stand the cold weather in the winter, but doesn't realize that we need the cold to reduce the bugs the next year. EVERYTHING happens for a reason, we just need to weather the storm and then look for the beauty on the other side (and sometimes even as you go through the storm). The beauty is not always obvious, sometimes needing to be found. So, the next time you are going through a life storm, I encourage you to look for the beauty. You might be surprised about what you find and oh how wonderful to know that there is a purpose to all the craziness!!!