Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Summer Reading Update

Instead of reading my way through last week, I spent it helping my son clean out and re-organize his bedroom. I also started a review book from a publisher that I just didn't care for. I wanted to give it a few chapters try, but since I didn't like it from the start, I wasn't jumping at the chance to read when I got a break. I finally gave up on it. So, only three books this week, and I am considerably behind my goal of 50 for July (only at 38). We'll see how this week goes....

July 22
Jump Shot

July 23
Frosting and Friendship

July 24
Drop Dead Chocolate (Donut Shop Mystery Series #7)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Who Am I that You Are Mindful of Me?

Who am I that You are mindful of me?
     I am a mess
     I am broken
     I may seem confident on the outside but You and I know the truth.
     Fear lurks beneath the surface. Anxiety churns.
          Desperate to figure it all out, to get it all right,
          yet failing time and time again because
          what I seek is never going to be found in me.

Yet knowing all this, despite all this, You still speak to me. You show me me.
     You challenge my facade with the truth we both know is there.
     And You draw out what is better.

Who am I that You are mindful of me?
     That You would take the time to show me truth and encourage growth
          that will come at a snail's pace,
          teaching lessons that will have to be taught
          again and again?

How is it that I am not so hopeless for You,
     Creator of the Universe,
     to even bother with me?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Holiness Is Hard

A friend on Facebook was asking for recommendations on a devotional recently. I was interested in the responses because I was hoping to kick start my own devotional time after slacking off this spring. (I always assume I need new material when I slack, rather than putting the blame squarely on my own shoulders.)

One suggestion she got was SOLO: An Uncommon Devotional by Eugene Peterson/The Message. So I picked up the New Testament version to supplement my NIV/Message Bible reading.

Day one focused on Matthew 5:27-29, 33-37. The last section, especially, spoke about how we can say things and not follow through, or say things with no intention of following through, or throw religious-sounding sentiments on our words to sound awesome and spiritual - but instead, we make our words a lie.

As part of the devotional, the reader is supposed to read and think and pray - listening as well as talking. And as I listened, I felt like Jesus was saying, "You need me. If you want true holiness - in your thoughts as well as your words, you need me. Holiness is hard."

I know this to be true. I know the things that are in my mind and heart, and they don't always honor God like they should. I feel as though if I were to focus on this idea alone - consistency and holiness in thoughts as well as words - for the rest of my devotional and prayer life, I would still be working, still be needing Jesus' help, until the end.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Summer Reading Update

I'm still working towards my 50 book goal for July - and I need to kick it into gear because I am off my pace! Here's what I read over the last week:

July 14
The Silver Six
The Silver Six


July 16
Killer Crullers (Donut Shop Mystery Series #6)
Killer Crullers

July 18
Hen of the Baskervilles (Meg Langslow Series #15)
Hen of the Baskervilles

July 20
Rules of Murder
Rules of Murder

That takes me to 35 books, out of 50. I'll be doing a lot of reading this week!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The End of 52 Lists?

There hasn't been a new list prompt on Morea Seal's blog in quite some time. I'm not sure if the project just lost steam for her, or if there is something more serious distracting her from it. Whatever the reason, I wish her the best. I enjoyed the project while it lasted. So here is my final list - List #20

List Your Summer Goals

1. Take most of June and all of July off from school work.
2. Set up the teacher resource area in the library (once I head back in August)
3. Review some professional development books and sample lesson plans to help with planning for the new year
4. When school starts, I want my son and I to feel like we got to do fun things this summer - days at the pool, bowling, Lego days, craft projects, etc.
5. Finish the Lego mini-figure project we have been planning
6. Clean out the office so I have crafting space for the future
7. Clean out my son's room so you can see the floor.
8. Clean off a significant portion of my To Be Read book shelves.

[Yes, I know these aren't very specific goals - the summer is almost over. I'll just have to do the best I can with these vague goals for now!]

What are your summer goals?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

And the Baton Is Passed

When I got pregnant, I was completely convinced I was going to go right back to work after my son was born. And I did. But I was miserable. I had no idea how much I would adore that needy little bundle. I wanted him all to myself. So I left my job and worked various jobs from home so that I could be home with my son. We have been pals for years - singing songs, snuggling, reading books together, regular trips to Barnes and Noble. Even though I am working again, we still have our summers together for bowling and the pool and just hanging out at home.

I've noticed a shift in the last year, though. Lately there have been a lot more "guys days" at our house. My husband and my son have gone to movies together or golfing or the children's museum. On our vacation, while I was at a conference, the boys went to various museums and other sites. And as I am typing this, they are at a weekend Father/Son camp together.

And I couldn't be happier. I love that they are getting to spend this time together. I love that they are interested in the same things. I love that they WANT to be together.

This is how it is supposed to be. This is the natural progression as my son gets older. I hope he continues to have a great relationship with his father as we move into his teen years.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Summer Reading Progress

Last week I was able to do a lot of reading while my son had swim lessons and other activities.  Here's the list for the week of July 8th (the ones with * were my favorites for the week, and I'll review all the ones I liked on my book blog):

The Day the Crayons Quit
The Day the Crayons Quit

Arnie the Doughnut
Arnie, the Doughnut

Galaxy Zack: The Journey to Juno
Journey to Juno (Galaxy Zack Series #2)

Ellie McDoodle: New Kid in School*
Ellie McDoodle: New Kid in School

Ivy and Bean: What's the Big Idea?
Ivy and Bean What's the Big Idea? (Ivy and Bean Series #7)

123 verses ABC
123 versus ABC

Cinderella Smith*
Cinderella Smith

Agent Amelia: Ghost Diamond
Ghost Diamond!

The Mysterious Manuscript
(graphic novel - photo not available)

Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Blue Gem
Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Blue Gem



Bird and Squirrel On the Run!*
Bird & Squirrel on the Run

Young Sherlock Holmes
The Young Sherlock Holmes Adventures V1 TP (NOOK Comics with Zoom View)

Summer Camp Science Mysteries: Nighttime Cabin Thief
The Nighttime Cabin Thief: A Mystery about Light

Tommysaurus Rex*
Tommysaurus Rex

Arnie the Doughnut: Bowling Alley Bandit
Bowling Alley Bandit

That takes me to 30 books towards my 50 book goal for July in the #SummerThrowdown.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

52 Lists - List the Things You Want to Be Known For

Inspiring people - especially kids - to read and to love reading and writing
Treating others with respect/honor/kindness
Being firm but fair - students/staff knew I loved them
Having a ready smile - being of good cheer
Helping people - encouraging, getting things done that helped people, understanding others
A strong marriage/family
being my son's mom and my husband's wife - in all the best ways, of course

Thursday, July 11, 2013

ALA Observations and Notes

We had a great time at the annual meeting of the American Library Association this past month.  The whole family enjoyed touring various sites in Chicago, and we all got to meet favorite authors and learn about new books. It was a great time.

No matter how tired I was each day (and trust me, I was tired), I tried to jot down notes of the things I did and the people I met. When the conference was all done, I tried to write down all the little observations and notes I had made to myself mentally. As this was my first trip to ALA, I wanted to remember these for next time (which probably won't be in 2014 as they are heading to Vegas which isn't a great family vacation spot). Here are my notes, in no particular order:

*On the last day, talk to booth staff about how they are breaking down their booths. Some publishers gave everything away. Others sold their stock and still others packed everything back up and took it home.
*Some Advance Reader Copies, or ARCs, are not put out for the participants to grab as they walk by, but you can get them if you ask. Some authors were tweeting that their ARCs were available. Other times I scored a great book because I listened to the folks around me. Still other times, I talked to the booth staff about books I liked or asked them what their favorites were and scored some great titles that way, too.
*Be appreciative and courteous. Some vendors said their display copies walked off - things they weren't planning to give away! Even if it is an ARC, if it's not displayed at the front of the booth, don't assume it is there for the taking. If there wasn't a sign or a crowd grabbing copies, I erred on the side of asking. And always say thank you! This costs publishers something and in this economy, I think they are very generous. They could easily move to all electronic ARCs or just stick with the most prominent review sources or libraries. The fact that I could get access to some of these awesome titles as a librarian from a small private school was a big deal.
*Bring cash. Not every vendor (or cab driver) could easily manage credit.
*Make a list. I had a list of signings and events I wanted to attend each day along with the booth number (the publishers name would have been a good addition). I also noted the ARCs I wanted most and where I could find them so I could focus my attention there and not get caught up in the chaos of grabbing every ARC available.
*Rolling bags might be bulky, but they would have been less abusive to my shoulder muscles than all the bags I carried every day.
*At signings, only have books personalized that you want to keep forever. Otherwise, a general signature works better to put the book in the library or to pass the ARC on to someone else.
*Know your priorities and follow them. Saturday morning I was tempted to follow the crowd of folks I was near because they were heading for a booth that was giving away a bag of "something." I decided to skip that (I knew the bags would be long gone by the time I got there) and go straight to the top author signing of my whole trip. Even heading straight to that booth, I was number 19 in a line that quickly started to spiral in on itself 30 minutes before the event was to start.
*Be kind - talk to folks around you. One person in a signing line pointed me to a vendor to talk about a problem I am having with my encyclopedias. On the shuttle buses, move to the seat by the window and put your stuff on the floor or in your lap. One day I got on a bus and no less than 6 people sat in the aisle seat with their bags on the other seat and an arm flung protectively over it.
*Don't bother bringing reading material unless you need something for the voyage there. I brought a stack of books to read plus personal books I wanted to get signed. The books for signing would have been sufficient because there were a couple that were brand new and unread.

So, those are my notes from my first trip to the American Library Association's annual meeting. It was an amazing experience and I'm so fortunate to have been able to experience it.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Summer Reading Update

Well, we are back from our vacation, which included a trip to the American Library Association's annual meeting. To say I am in book heaven would be an understatement. In fact, I think we have moved into "too much of a good thing" territory as I have books I have bought for myself, books I brought back from ALA and books from school stacked around the house waiting for my attention. And my attention is often elsewhere with other projects I want to get done before school starts back up in a few short weeks.

As June came to an end, I moved from the #bookaday challenge into #SummerThrowdown. Summer Throwdown used to be a teachers vs. librarians reading contest, but to keep things friendly, this year we are all setting personal goals and working to reach them together. My goal for the month of July is 50 books. As of right now, I have read 13. Here is the list of what I have read since the last time (and I will blog about most of these as the summer goes on):

#bookaday June 28th - Tragic Toppings
Tragic Toppings (Donut Shop Mystery Series #5)

#bookaday June 30th - WARP: The Reluctant Assassin
The Reluctant Assassin

Summer Throwdown
Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad?
Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad?

Lion vs. Rabbit
Lion vs. Rabbit

Penguin's Hidden Talent
Penguin's Hidden Talent

Being Frank (Advanced Reader Copy or ARC provided by publishers to bloggers, reviewers, librarians, etc.) - this has been one of my favorite books so far this month
Being Frank

Secret Pizza Party (ARC)
Secret Pizza Party

Year of the Jungle (ARC) - this has been my other favorite. And yes, the author is the same person who wrote The Hunger Games
Year of the Jungle

Thomas Jefferson's Feast (ALA Sampler)
Thomas Jefferson's Feast

The Snatchabook (ARC)

Brick City
Brick City: Global Icons to Make from LEGO

Sea of Monsters Graphic Novel
The Sea of Monsters: The Graphic Novel

Star Wars Jedi Academy (ARC)
Star Wars: Jedi Academy

Spy Academy: Mission Twinpossible
[no picture available - this was a prize for the library summer reading program - from Scholastic]

3-2-3 Detective Agency
3-2-3 Detective Agency: The Disappearance of Dave Warthog

I have NO idea what I am going to read next. I have a mystery that I take here and there so I have something to read if I have to wait, but lately I haven't been waiting much (or I have been chatting instead of sitting). Hopefully I'll get to dig into some new material this weekend. I do have a box from Amazon coming tomorrow....

Saturday, July 6, 2013

52 Lists - List Ways You Are Energized

Chatting with friends - especially if we are really digging into something that matters in our lives
Talking back and forth with students about books
Analyzing data that is interesting to me
Reading and talking about books, publishing, authors, etc.
Finishing things