Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January: Books I Read

I have been wanting to read more, so at the beginning of the year I set a Goodreads goal of 24 books in 2017. That’s two books per month, in case you had trouble doing the math ;). So far I have finished four, so I am two books ahead of schedule! I really like using Goodreads to track books that I have read, books that I want to read, and also to track how far along I am in each book. It is so satisfying to me to check in each time I read and see my progress increase as I inch closer to my goal.

I like to read a mixture of genres, and I find different times of the day are better suited to different genres as well as different formats. I really like borrowing audiobooks from my local library through the OverDrive app for my walk to and from work (about 35 minutes round trip each day) and I find I do better with autobiographies when I am listening – I especially like when the author reads it as well. Before bed, however, I like a real book that I can turn the pages on. This is when I like to read fiction, my favourites being either the classics or chick lit. I like switching between a more dense, more involved classic novel and a mindless, light-hearted chick lit novel. I also like to have other books on the go that fall into either professional development, spiritual, lifestyle, or health/wellness. Sometimes I have a lot of these on the go, and sometimes just one. It kind of depends on what extra time I have. Right now I am taking two night classes, so the only reading I can really get in is right before bed and while I walk.

So, on to the books that I read this month!

I Heart Paris – Linsdey Kelk
This was the first book that I finished in 2017. I had actually started it at some point in 2016 (I have a lot that I started in 2016 and never finished). I first found Lindsey Kelk when I read The Single Girl’s To-Do List and I enjoyed it so much that I sought out other novels written by her. I came across the I Heart series and quickly became hooked on the adventures of Angela with her best friend Jenny, her boyfriend Alex, and her friends and family back home in England. As the title suggests, the majority of this book took place in Paris, which I really enjoyed. Lindsey Kelk has a major talent for describing the setting and each story speaks to the wanderlust in my heart. This is the third book in the series, following behind I Heart New York and I Heart Hollywood.

I Heart Vegas – Lindsey Kelk
The fourth in the series above, I enjoyed this book too and flipped through it pretty quickly. I have actually already read the fifth book in the series first; it was pretty hard to get actual print copies of these books when I was looking, and I got my hands on the fifth one first. Even with reading the book that came after, I Heart Vegas as well as I Heart Paris we still great and the story wasn’t ruined by knowing what came next (Angela still got into mishaps and kept me on my toes!). I highly recommend this series if you enjoy light-hearted reads.

Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
I had started this book long, long ago. Long before the movie was even a thought. For some reason, I got half-way through her time in India and I just never picked it up again. I haven’t let myself watch the movie all this time, because I wanted to finish the book first. So, when we moved in to our place after getting married and I started walking to work, I knew which book to choose to listen to while I walked. I enjoyed this book, as much as I enjoy any book that involves travel and other countries. I really liked how Elizabeth Gilbert was reading her work too – it always seems better when the author can read it because he or she can place emphasis in the same places that they would have when thinking and creating the work. I think this book had some good messages about not letting life control you and taking the time to slow down and find peace. I do think, however, that you would want to find your own Truth before reading or listening to this book, because someone who is searching could really be swayed.

I picked up this book on the recommendation of my friend Brandi. This book is a really aesthetically pleasing discussion on and guide to simple living. I know that minimalism and simple living has really almost become a fad lately, but this book goes beyond that. (And, honestly, it’s becoming a fad because so many people are recognizing the value in it). Erin Boyle talks about her approach to possessions, space, and even time. This book is something I know I will read over and over again and refer back to through different times in my life. I find her words both inspiring and calming – her approach being so peaceful that reading what she has to say almost provides a tranquility that I’m sure would be heightened by following some of her methods.

There you have it! The four books that I read this month. I hope to come back next month with a few more books to share. Until then, do you have any recommendations for me? Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think? What else did you read this month?

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Monday, January 30, 2017

We Were Wed

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On a lovely, not quite snowy enough day in December, Daniel and I stood before our friends and family. We held each other's hands, said our vows, took part in the Wedding Mass and joined many others before us in taking that integral step towards loving each other for the rest of our lives.

It was a beautiful day, with so many loving people.

Since then we have moved into our first home together, traveled for our honeymoon, celebrated my birthday, celebrated Christmas with our families, celebrated the New Year, I went back to work after a month off, I began a new semester of university night classes, we have meal planned, we have disregarded meal plans, we have been present at the baptism of our niece (and goddaughter), we have celebrated Daniel's birthday, we have traveled for a family wedding, we have visited Daniel's brother and his family, and we have done all of this while trying to figure out this marriage thing.

I always knew that marriage wasn't some magical switch where everything became perfect once we were wed. We knew that there would be some struggles, old and new. Maybe some things were easier, like not having to drive home at the end of the evening, and being able to be together while getting necessary things done around the house. But then there were the hard things. Things we anticipated, and things that we didn't. It has already been a beautifully hard and refining journey, and we're only about two months in.

The sacrament of marriage brings grace. The grace that is necessary in order to love the person before you. We have absolutely failed in many regards, but we have grown and succeeded too. Here's to a lifetime of loving one another <3.
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