Books of 2016!

I set a lofty goal for 2016 – to finish 25 books.

I didn’t make it.

But I DID read 20 books. Over 8,000 pages. Not too shabby!  (I track my reading using Goodreads which syncs to my Kindle).

Here are my 20 books of 2016:

books

 

My least favorites of the bunch?

  • The Paying Guests (too long, not particularly compelling, and I just didn’t care about the characters very much)
  • Shrill (I wanted to like it, but I felt like it was billed as something new, brash and fresh, and it just wasn’t)

My favorites of the bunch?

Goals for 2017?

  • Read 25 books (I just finished my first book of 2017 – The Muse)
  • Finish the Harry Potter series (I am planning to read these to my children, and wanted to read them all myself, first)
  • Finally read The Goldfinch (it has been on my nightstand for 2 years)
  • Read at least 3 non-fiction titles. I’m thinking Between the World and Me, When Breath Becomes Air and Born to Run will make the cut. Speaking of…
  • Listen to Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography Born To Run on audio book (an awesome Christmas present from my dad!) I was going to read it in hardcover, but Bruce reads the audio book version himself. I’m a big fan (I’ve been to 50 shows!) and the book is poetry, so I’m going to dedicate my commute to listening. And yes, I’m counting it in my 2017 total.

Do you have any reading goals for 2017? Suggestions for books you think I’d love? Books to avoid?  Please let me know!  And connect with me on Goodreads, too!

Happy reading!

To My Child

To My Child

I hope you learn that life isn’t fair.  But that that doesn’t mean it is all bad.

I hope you smile at people, even strangers, and look people in the eye.

I hope you chew with your mouth closed.

I hope you learn how to listen – really listen – to others when they need to be heard, and to the quiet beat of your own heart.

Headed down the path together.

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I hope you learn to win and lose with grace.

I hope you love and appreciate the beautiful, intricate, amazing body you’re in.

I hope you can be silly for the joy of it, and can laugh at yourself and with others kindly.

I hope you have good manners and know when to use them (almost always) and when to relax them.

I hope you trust. In others, and in yourself.

I hope you know how to make something with your own brain and hands – a song, food, a painting, a stone wall.

I hope you learn, without too many tough consequences, that attempts to escape problems, hurt, and heartbreak never really work for long.

Flying!

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I hope you pick up after yourself.

I hope you decide that it is wise and healthy to get enough sleep.

I hope you learn how to advocate for yourself without demanding, complaining or whining.

I hope you understand that stuff is just stuff.

I hope you learn you can expect goodness, but not perfection, from other people. Or from yourself.

I hope you learn how to own up to your own misdeeds, mistakes and slights without excuses, blame or deflection.

I hope you keep learning, about the world, about other people, and about yourself.

I hope you work in any small or large way to make your community, corner, city, world, a tiny bit more just and beautiful.

And I hope you know that when in doubt, you should just put stuff in the trash, and not the garbage disposal.

2014 – A Recap

2014 – A Recap

Babies birthed – 1
Uninterrupted nights of sleep – 3 (dear God, can that be right?!)
Trips to the ER – 3
Boxes of mac & cheese prepared – 50 +/-
Diapers changed – ??? (math too complicated)
Children potty-trained – 1

Of course, there is a lot of good stuff that happened in 2014 that can’t be quantified: giggles, moments watching sleeping babies, personal and professional successes, hard work, quiet times, growth.

And there’s some not-as-good stuff to remember, too: tears, weariness, worry, frustration, sadness.

“No resolutions beyond the ones I make every morning: to be kinder and calmer and less demanding of happiness. To listen better. To be curious. To show my love for the person lying next to me. To be grateful for every messy second of this glorious life.” – Armistead Maupin

That about sums it up for me. I’m not much of a resolver (see my 2012 resolutions where I resolved not to eat monkfish liver or get a face tattoo, or my 2011 resolutions where I resolve to use up bath products). It’s pretty clear that I like to set the bar low. But I am a reflector, and the New Year, in its cold, dark stillness, seems to be a good time for that, winter ice like a mirror.

I can do better.
I can be less grumpy.
I can strive to feel less harried.
I can work towards letting go of things that create a sort of self-inflicted overwhelmedness.
I can accept help.
I can strive for more patience.
I can work on tenderness.
I can try to save my kindest words for those I love most and for myself.
I can embrace stillness when I find it.
I can try to emulate my small children’s wonder.
I can learn to give without compromising myself.
I can strive to have a generous heart and spirit.
I can read more books.

I can also avoid monkfish liver and face tattoos for at least another year.

Wishing you all peace, grace and love, now and always.

-ST

Happy New Year