Monday, July 30, 2012

Dreams remembered thanks to the Bhaer's...

Despite my last post about my seemingly absent desire to read, I have read a lot this past month. A lot this past week is more like it. I read Louisa May Alcott's books regarding the March Family in a short 5, maybe 6 days. And that's no joke. I haven't had much else to do. So, I have lost myself in the world of Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy and Laurie. It was wonderful to say the least. And it made me think through some old, yet new thoughts. 



For the last few years of high school and all through college, I devoted myself to learning and studying about working with children who tend to be pushed to the outside. Children who tend to be forgotten or given up on by the ones in their lives who can make the most difference. Children who have been classified as at-risk. My degree was in missions and my focus was in children and family ministry. I took classes on child development, crisis intervention/counseling and ministry to children who are at-risk. I thought a lot about what I would want to do with my degree and how I would want to find my place of service in the world. I had a period of time where I seriously considered getting my Masters in Social Work and becoming a case worker. I had a period of time where I seriously considered getting another bachelors in education and becoming a teacher at an inner-city school. And I've always had the thought/desire of working in an orphanage overseas. None of those are really feasible at this point seeing as how I recently got married and moved with my husband to serve together in a church. But those thoughts are slowly starting to take over my thoughts again. Making me dream again. And thankfully, I have a husband who encourages my dreams and doesn't laugh at them or disregard them as nothing, which is a wonderful thing and part of why I love him so much. 

Anyway, with reading Little Men and Jo's Boys, my thoughts and dreams from college started coming back. In full force. I haven't been able to stop thinking about how Jo and Fritz worked for years to help the boys and girls who came to Plumfield. They took in children who were orphaned, unwanted by their parents, too unruly for their parents or just needing a different atmosphere to learn and grow in. They had their success stories (Nan, Nat and Dan) and they had their failures (Jack and Ned). They had adventures and trials. And through it all they did it with a strong sense of family and faith. That my friends is exactly how I want to be. I want to use what I learned in college and what I am passionate about, along with my personal beliefs, faith and love of family in order to influence the life of a child for the better. I want to give children and students the chance to turn things around, to know that they are valued and loved, to help them succeed in whatever they put their mind to. I want to make a difference the way Father and Mother Bhaer did, even if they are fictional characters. So, with that said... I am dreaming. I am even including those dreams as I continue to search for a job. Praying that GOD will provide just the right job at just the right time (but hopefully that time will be sooner rather than later). 

And with all of that said... here are my end of the month stats for July. Looking forward to taking a bit of a break from the classics again (3 in a row is quite a lot and a bit of a challenge at times). I am going to read a few ministry books. Including one specifically about reaching out to children and students who have been pushed to the side and forgotten.

The books I read in the month of July:
The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien 
Journals of Jim Elliot compiled by Elisabeth Elliot (1st half) 
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Little Men  by Louisa May Alcott
Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott 

The number of pages I read in the month of July: 
1,756

 
The number of pages read year-to-date (middle of December 2011 - end of July 2012): 
10,202

Number of Classics Club books read so far:  
9 of 70

Monday, July 23, 2012

Slow reading month....

So I know it's not the end of the month just yet and that I still have time to get some reading done. But I have done very little reading and I miss it, most of the time. Let me explain.

It's been a crazy month for me I feel like. I started off with celebrating the 4th with My Love and some friends from our new church. Then we went on a week long trip to Tennessee with our youth group for a huge church conference (when I say huge I mean there were 1500 high school students there to worship and study!). Then I got back and spent the week trying to settle back into our home with clean laundry and begin the job hunt with more focus (that's a whole set of frustrations on its own and not worth writing about here). But with all of that craziness in my life I haven't spent much time reading. And at times I have missed it. At other times I haven't.

When I say that at times I haven't missed reading I mean that I just haven't had any desire to read. I haven't thought about reading. I haven't wanted to crack open a book and hide away in my corner chair for hours. And yet, I still always have a book or my Nook sitting next to me. But I just don't want to read right now. It is just due to me being so incredibly restless. Not having a job is beginning to bother me. Mostly because I have had a job since I was 12 and feel guilty if I spend too much time just sitting around and not doing anything. Especially since My Love is working so hard at the church, I feel like I am not doing my part. Not to mention that student loan payments have now started and therefore I feel like I need and want to work in order to pay those off as fast as we possibly can so that we can have more freedom to do other things (like travel and adopt). And so reading and escaping into the world of written words isn't attractive to me right now.

But nonetheless, I am still reading. I actually have changed up my reading more than I usually do. Normally I read one book or series at a time. But not this month. After reading The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien at the beginning of July, I started reading a book of journal entries by one of my favorite missionaries. I've only read half of the book, but have put it back on the shelf for a little while and am now reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott on my Nook because I just had the overhwleming desire to read something familiar. Something I love. Now, to change things up in my reading that much is definitely not typical of me. Like I said, I normally just read one book or series at a time and then move on. But I just can't do it this time. I am too restless. I am too bored. I am too... I don't know.

I am hoping that soon this will change. That soon I will be able to love being swamped in a story again. That soon I will again love to just hide for hours no matter what cleaning needs to be done in my house or how late it gets. I do miss reading, even though at times I don't. And I hope that this restlessness will soon fade away to nothing but a memory. I will let you know how it goes. 

On the plus side, I am spending some "me time" at my favorite store today... Barnes and Noble... in an effort to defeat some of my boredom, restlessness and frustration. It's so relaxing here and I love the atmosphere, along with the smell and look of so many books. I am definitely in my little piece of heaven here. And it's definitely just what I need right now I think in my current mood and attitude towards reading. Now, if I can only remember that I only have $15 to spend. :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fellowship...

I am not actively participating in the "Putting the Blog in Balrog" Tolkien event. I am reading the posts they put up and reading the books on my own. But I am not commenting or posting like some of the other readers are. Mostly because I don't have reliable internet, but also because I am not one to write for lots of people to read and I write more just for myself. I have been that way for years and I have a box of journals to testify for me in that and a stack of college papers that people have asked to read but if they aren't one of my professors they don't get to see what I've written. But anyway. That's beside the point.

I have been a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien since the day I went to the theater to see the first Lord of the Rings movie with my dad at the age of 11 (maybe 12) as a reward for helping out with childcare at his weekly Bible study. After seeing the first movie and then waiting a year anxiously for the second, I took a chance and tackled the 3 books one right after the other. Somehow I did it. And have done it 4 or 5 times since then. I have read The Hobbit numerous times as well. When I read about the "Putting the Blog in Balrog" reading event I thought it was the perfect excuse I needed to start reading them again. I didn't re-read The Hobbit  which was read to kick off the event because I just read it last December while traveling home from Peru (yes, I read it in less than 36 hours... let me just said I had more than 15 hours sitting in airports). So, I just jumped in with reading The Fellowship of the Ring (the first book of the trilogy). And I read it in a short 4 days... being sick, not working and sitting at the DMV for three hours is definitely what helped me read it that fast.

I finished it and loved it as always. It's always been my favorite book while The Return of the King has always been my favorite movie. Weird, I know. But that's just me. I think my favorite thing about The Fellowship is the fact that the friendships are formed and tested right off the bat and yet they last. I love that. I try to be a loyal person once I get to know and love people. I may be shy and it may take a lot of work and fear and whatnot on my part to get to know and trust people. But once I do, I strive to be as loyal as possible. Sometimes I do well and sometimes I don't. But I work at it nonetheless. And the 9 in the Fellowship are the same way in my mind. My dad and I have always loved the character of Sam Gamgee because of the loyalty, love and friendship he showed Frodo from the very beginning.

I love the books and don't mind being seen as a weirdo or a geek when I carry my big 3 in 1 volume around. I have always loved the books and am sure I will for the rest of my life. I am taking a break from them though before tackling The Two Towers. I learned a few years ago that if I read them back to back to back I lose interest and then don't enjoy them as much. Plus, I've had this overwhelming longing to read some of the writings of one of my favorite missionaries. I have found myself missing my life in Peru and so am taking a break in order to feed and settle that longing. So, yeah. By the end of the summer I will finish the trilogy. No worries. I promise. :) 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The final update for June!

I am laying on my couch, wrapped up in a blanket despite it being over 100 degrees outside, with a pile of tissues sitting next to me. I have gotten sick. Not sure if it's just a cold or what. But I am miserable nonetheless. So, I am getting some reading in and by some sheer luck have just enough internet connection to get my blogs updated. So here is my final update of what I read in the month of June. I am now about half way through The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien for the "Putting the Blog in Balrog" read-a-long event. This is my fourth or fifth time reading through the Lord of the Rings trilogy. And I love it just as much as now as the first time I read it. I will write about it some this week and again once the group starts reading it (they are currently reading The Hobbit which I just read in December and decided not to re-read again so soon).   

The 5 books I read in the month of June:
Fields of the Fatherless by Tom Davis - 104
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - 558 
The Brotherhood by Jerry B. Jenkins - 247
Candide by Voltaire - 146
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett - 227 

The number of pages I read in the months of June: 
1,282
 
The number of pages read year-to-date (middle of December 2011 - end of June 2012): 
8,446
 
Number of Classics Club books read so far:  
6 of 70