52 Books in A Year, Or Am I Crazy?

I have set the same reading goal for 2017, 2018, and now 2019. I want to read 52 books in a calendar year. One book a week. When I was a teenager, I could read multiple books in a week. Chapter books.

Things tend to change when you become an adult and have actual responsibilities like other lives depending on you for things like making them food and forcing them to shower. Superfluous things like leisurely reading tend to fall by the wayside. Then as those other lives do things like make their own plans and have hobbies and activities that you have to drive them to, you lose the time for even the helpful reading (like books that teach you how to not screw up those other lives).

What am I blathering on about? Basically, I haven’t read enough books as an adult and it is all my kids’ fault. Well, not really. As I said in last week’s post, I haven’t always handled things well. When you are struggling to keep up with household work, you need to put aside reading for that season. It’s a choice I made, even if by default.

Enough chitchat. Today’s post is a list of the books I am currently reading and from my Want to Read list that I am most excited about reading this year. These are the top priority books for me.

Currently Reading Books

These are the books I’m wanting to finish first in January. Most of these I started in 2018 so I’m a good way’s through them.


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I have about four more books sitting on my Goodreads “Currently Reading” shelf, but I’m not actively reading those right now. I’ll tell you about those when I am.

Books I Am Most Excited to Read in 2019

These aren’t necessarily new books, they are just the ones that I’m most excited about this year, in no particular order. Also, I have over 300 books on my “Want to Read” shelf on Goodreads. I have plenty to choose from. 😬





 

  • Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick – I’m a sucker for memoirs, love them. I just hope this doesn’t go the way of my last “celebrity” memoir. I’m looking at you, Anna Faris
  • A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro – It’s a twist on Sherlock Holmes. I also like retellings.
  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas – This is one author I haven’t read, but my oldest is asking to read some of her series so I’m checking her our first. I don’t always do this, but I’ve heard that this author’s works are better suited for older teens and I’d like to find out why before letting my daughter loose with her books.
  • Word-Filled Women’s Ministry: Loving and Serving the Church by Gloria Furhman – Just another “on my mind” topic.

Through the making of this post, I have come to realize that I need to cull my “Want to Read” shelf. I’m not so interested in some of the titles on that list anymore. This actually excites me since that list has kind of had me feeling even more “behind” with my reading. It will be nice to shed some of the weight off my mind.

But since I am a glutton for punishment in that I love to add books to my huge “Want to Read” list, tell me about the books you are most excited about this year!

Blogging, Goals, and How the Things Change

When I first started blogging (back in the mid-2000’s…well over 10 years ago 😱), it was to share bits of my life and to rediscover writing after the baby years. Eventually I learned that there were some crazies actually making money doing this thing and so I figured that should include me. After all, I am a blogger and I just might be crazy. Along the way, I tried a variety of topics trying to find my passion because all the blogging experts were telling me that’s what I needed to do. Focus, Vicki, focus!

Here’s the thing. I’m not really good with focus. I’ve always been a daydreamer and as an adult, I’ve always been good at anxiety and worry. Those two things usually leave my mind constantly trying to figure out what I’ve done wrong in this moment and how I’m pretty sure I’m screwing things up overall. This leads to me chasing squirrels and overplanning just about everything. Because if you fail to plan, you plan to fail, amiright?

Then the panic attacks happened, relationships in my life went haywire, and I sort of mentally imploded and stopped everything. Except buying washi tape and books, let’s not get crazy here. I walked away from a position in my church, blogging, and anything else that was causing stress to our family. Let me say this, the problem I was having was me and how I was handling things, not necessarily the things I walked away from. Other people handle these good things just fine. I just wasn’t one of those people at that point. When I get overwhelmed, I shut down. This rarely helps things.

Time went on as it does and my life got busier in other ways. I taught several classes at our homeschool co-op (including a two hour kindergarten class last year 😬). Our kids joined activities and had the audacity to develop social lives outside of our home. I took on a cleaning job with my oldest daughter so the kids could have the chance to earn some money (and I would have a bit for books…). My husband jumped jobs a few times, took on an assistant pastorship, started leading worship in a church plant, and generally got busier in addition to his full time job.

I’d like to tell you that I handled it all much better than I previously handled the busy, but I’m not certain that is the truth. In some ways, I did handle it better and my family was able to do the things they wanted and needed to do without much added stress from me (at least I think so, ha). The bad thing is, I basically alternated between internalizing it all or ignoring how overwhelmed I was feeling. Which brings me to now.

Where am I now?

To be honest, I’m not even sure. I know this time of year usually brings me to a place of reflection and this year has been no different in that regard. But what I am finding different is the kinds of goals I am setting and how I am going about it. In times past, my goals have looked a lot like tasks to check off my never ending to do lists. There are a few of those, but this year, my goals for 2019 overall are a bit different.

A couple months ago, God really started opening my eyes to some things and the recurring theme has been habits. So when I sat down to write my goals for this year (well, the first time, it took me a couple weeks to actually get them settled), I knew I had my One Word for the year. I didn’t bother with it the last couple years, but this year it was an obvious choice.

2019: The Year of Habit

It’s really simple, the goal is to break some bad habits and make some better habits. But I can’t just leave it there because that isn’t really quantifiable and I need quantifiable to be able to track myself. So here is my master list of habit goals for 2019 (and beyond):

  • improve my bible reading habit
  • establish a planner habit that actually works for me
  • establish a workout habit
  • improve my reading habit
  • decrease my phone habit
  • increase my writing habit
  • improve my sleep habits
  • improve my housework habits
  • improve my money habits
  • improve my food habits

It feels like for the first time, I actually have goals that makes creating to do lists, prioritizing, and getting things done actually possible. From this list, I went to on to start a “Habits I Would Like to Build” list. This list is not conclusive. I hope to add to it as I start conquering things. My current list:

  • making my bed first thing – to tell my brain that we are done sleeping for the day
  • getting dressed first thing – to better define my days, build more structure, so a day of rest is earned and valued
  • a set laundry cycle/schedule
  • get back to consistently meal planning and cooking dinner at home – planning ahead and using my slow cooker for more of those busy days
  • one on one time with each kid at least 1-2x’s/week – help my older ones learn to set up goals, make plans, and to hold them accountable
  • a morning time routine 3-4x’s/week – build a family culture to give my kids a more intentional foundation
  • a regular exercise habit

I stopped myself there because I have SO many habits I know I should have, but I am really trying to not overwhelm myself…again.

Armed with my prioritized habits list, I set a few goals for specifically for January. There are couple “themed” goals that will make an appearance on my goal list each month this year. For example, I’d like to read through the New Testament in addition to our bible study readings this year. So I will pick a book or books to read for that each month. I’m wanting to write out more scripture, so that is there. I’m also trying to stick with the habit tracker in my goal planner, I want to work up to using that daily so I’m starting with a small step.

  1. Read New Testament – Matthew
  2. Write Scripture – James
  3. Good Habits – Hit 40% of the days for my habit tracker
  4. Finish 10 Books
  5. Finish 4 Projects
  6. Maintain use of my planners – specifically my small daily and my goal planner

I set a goal to read 52 books for 2019 over on Goodreads. However, I didn’t make last year’s goal (same) and I have several books already in progress. I want to finish those and read a couple new ones before the year gets really busy.

The four projects is from a master list of things that need to be done at our house. They range from small (reorganize the junk drawer) to big (repainting the wainscotting), but there is enough on the list that finding four that I can complete in January should be pretty easy.

So what does blogging have to do with all this? Well, I’m going back to my roots. I’m sharing my journey. Occasionally you will get some other resources, but mostly I look for this year to be a bunch of sharing my planners, my new routines, my broken bad habits, and lots of books. Oh how I’m hoping for lots of books!

If you have stuck with me this long, bless you. Seriously. BLESS YOU. If you want to here more about these things, you can sign up for the email list and I will try my best to let you know when there is new content to be read. Or you can use a feed reader, which may be the better option for staying on top of things, to be honest.

Next up, a list of the books I’m most looking forward to reading this year!

Photo by chill’in on Unsplash

The Biggest Thing I Struggle With as a Mother

If you sign up for my email list, you will get a welcome email where I ask the question “what is the biggest thing you struggle with as a mom?” I ask because if I can help, I want to. It’s what we moms do. We help each other, am I right?

I thought it was only fair that I answer the question myself because I value transparency and honesty and all that jazz.

The biggest thing I struggle with as a mom is follow through. I am a dreamer, a planner, and a goal setter. I love the big picture and ALL THE POSSIBILITY!! IT’S SO MUCH FUN! The follow through? Yeah, not usually as much fun.

I’ve grown a lot in this area over the years and am currently in another season of really working on it. Another word for it is self-discipline. It happens to be a fruit of the Spirit (temperance) and the one that I seem most resistant to God’s will for. But He is faithful and hasn’t left me in my mess, for which I am so thankful.

Right now I am working on having a consistent time of bible reading with my kids. We call it our 8:30 appointment for no secret reasons. We all gather on the couches with our bibles at 8:30. We read a chapter or two of the bible and then pray. It’s simple and that is the reason I am cautiously optimistic about long-term success.

Another area of my mom life that was such a struggle for me in regards to follow through has always been laundry. IT NEVER ENDS. I used to get so frustrated by this, but eventually (as in earlier this year because I’m basically perfect…), I stopped. Now it just needs to be done and I find odd satisfaction in seeing the laundry baskets under control most of the time.

So that has been my biggest struggle as a mom. Follow through. Or self-discipline. Whatevs.

What is your biggest mom struggle?