Thursday, July 12, 2012

What now? by Ann Patchett

Rarely does one find a book so good in such a random fashion.  I was at my local library perusing the biographies when I literally stumbled upon this gem.  This book is a written version of a commencement speech given by the author at her alma mater.  It is truly one of the best books that I've ever read.  Her stories sprinkle in little words of wisdom without seeming preachy or self-righteous.  I read this book in a day, actually I finished it in about an hour.  It's only 97 pages so it's quite a quick read.  I highly recommend this book for anyone who has found themselves answering the ever present question, What now?

Monday, July 2, 2012

2012 Summer Break

Let me begin by saying that I don’t have any earth shattering news.  Instead, I just wanted to share what I’ve been up to this summer.  I’m at the halfway mark and feel a need to reflect on what I’ve done and what I would like to do with the remaining days of my 2012 Summer Break.  Note how I chose to use the word, break and not vacation.  I like to think that a vacation means you are actually relaxing and not spending your days checking things off your summer to-do list.  Okay, so here’s what I’ve been up to this summer (just in case you were wondering).   Please excuse this crazy formatting...I have no idea why it looks this way but I have got to get on with my it shall remain "unfixed"
  •  Perfecting my motherhood skills

         I am quite proud of the fact that due to budgetary contraints that the summer camp fund is rather low  
         and so my son has been home with me since my break started.  We have really had a good time 
         playing games, watching movies, completing summer workbooks (he actually likes this because he gets   
         to set a goal and receive a reward if he reaches his goal) and finally, we’ve just been talking.  He is 
         really one of the coolest kids I know and believe me I know A LOT of kids.
  • Reading, reading, reading

         I love, love, love to read and boy have I gotten to do that this summer.  I think I’ve already read 5 
         books this break.  I just finished The Power of Now (which I had been reading for’s not a 
         quick read because you really do have to digest the content).  I also just finished a book for school, 
         The Great Wall of Lucy Wu.  It’s about a Chinese-American girl struggling to fit in.  While YA isn’t  
         necessarily my favorite genre, I do enjoy it every now and then.  I am now reading Words of Dust 
         about a girl in Afghanistan who has major self-esteem issues due to society’s view on beauty.  I am 
         also reading The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell.  I love his books.  Finally, I’m also reading 
         Invisible which is about a 70-something widow who becomes a detective after her best friend dies.  So 
         as you can see I’ve been busy with the books this summer.
  •  Exercising

         I have been getting up at least three days a week to do Pilates, Yoga or Zumba.  Two of my friends 
         (Erica and Tracey) are quite committed to working out and have inspired me this summer.  I must 
         admit that I really do feel better after working out.
  • Watching Movies
        I am so glad that I've had a chance to watch soooo many movies this break.  At the cinema, I've seen 
        Brave, Madagascar 3, Prometheus, Avengers and Snow White and the Huntsman.  While on DVD, 
        courtesy of Redbox, I've seen The Darkest Hour, Underworld-Awakening, and Man on a Ledge.
  • Social Networking

        Omgoodness, I love Twitter.  I like Facebook but I really love Twitter.  Don’t quite know why but I 
        am really enjoying tweeting and reading other people’s tweets.  People have some really insightful things 
         to say.
  • Conducted a teacher training

         I always enjoy making a few extra bucks over the summer so I conducted a technology training for 
         some local teachers.  It’s always a good feeling to interact with other educators and learn some new 
  • Helped plan and attended my 20th High School Reunion

        I’m actually being a bit modest when I use the word, helped.  It almost implies that I was a part of 
        a committee.  Well, actually, I didn’t have any role in the initial planning of the event but then it seemed 
        to hit a wall and I offered my assistance.  That’s when it became my baby and my part-time job.  Me 
        and my alter-ego, Lola planned a weekend of events beginning with a happy hour, then a luncheon, and 
        lastly a family day at our local amusement park.  Based on the feedback, Lola and I did a great job.
  •  Reconnecting with God

       I’ve been making a conscious effort to focus on my relationship with God.  I’m not journaling as much 
       but I find myself in constant chats (i.e. prayers) with God.  I really want Him to be #1 in my life and I 
       realize that if I’m not careful other things with distract me (like Facebook and Twitter) and He will slip 
       down to # 3 or # 4.  I’ve been reading The Bible In a Year which I’m really liking.  It consists of 4 
       readings for each day of the year: Old Testament, New Testament, Psalm and Proverbs.  I’ve also kept 
       up my habit of watching at least one television or internet sermon a week.  I haven’t been to church as 
       regularly but I’m blaming that on the heat.  It was like 105 degrees yesterday so I tuned in to Joel 
      Osteen’s sermon about honor.

As I reflect on what I’ve been up to this summer, I am happy.  I feel like I’ve been productive as well as provided myself with many opportunities to recharge my battery.  In the remaining weeks of my break, these are the things that I hope to accomplish:
  • ·      Finish Words of Dust
  •            It will make my school year so much easier if I’ve read a few of the reading bowl books prior to   
  •            the start of the school year.
  • ·         Create a 20th Reunion Scrapbook

              I originally typed scrapbook but then decided that I need to be more specific.  So I really want to 
              have my album complete by the end of the summer.  It will be my first digital scrapbook so I’m 
  • ·         Help my mom enjoy her 70th birthday

             Not quite sure what this will entail but I’m guessing it will probably involve a slot machine and a road 
             trip J
  • ·         Summer Camp for my son

            While I know that he has enjoyed being home with me, I also know that as an only child he would 
             like to play with kids his own age.  So for this month, he will participate in zoo camp, vacation bible 
             school and a day camp.

Wow, this is really a long post but I guess that’s to be expected since I haven’t posted anything in months.  As usual I will end with a question and even if no one responds to it  (although I sure hope someone does), I hope that you will answer it for yourself.  What are you doing to recharge your battery this summer?