What books have you been reading?

 

What have you been reading lately?

 

 

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As those people who follow my blog may remember, when I wrote my last 101 Things to do in 1001 days, one of my goals was to read at least 35 books during this time. Even though I have not neglected my reading, I am a little behind where I should be at this point. But I have been reading and/or listening to several books.

One of the methods I have used to get my grandson to “read” and be able to

Audible App

test on chosen books, is to use the Audible app through Amazon. The app itself is free.

As you can already assess, Dylan is my reluctant reader, so this app has been a life saver for us. He is able to chose a book which is on his AR (Acclerated Reader) list, and I have purchased the audible version of the book and it is downloaded into the app on my phone and ipad. Every morning on the way to school, I played the book, so both him and I “read” the book together. After we finished the book I was able to look up a set of questions for the book which we were able to use for review before he tested. This has been a real lifesaver.

Even though the audible app itself is free, there is a monthly free for this program.  You can download one free book with a 30 day free trial.                      After that, the subscription is $16.99 a month and receive one credit per month to use on a book of your choice.

So I am counting the two books we listened to as two of my approximately 35 books required to meet my goal.

Book One: The Heroes of Olympus, Book One: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

The Lost Hero

Rick Riordan is the author of the Percy Jackson series. In the Lost Heroes series he continues where things in the last series left off.

The book opens to find teenagers on a school bus heading toward the Skywalk that goes out over the Grand Canyon.

The book centers around a boy named Jason who has had his memory stolen from him and two of the kids who befriend him.

During their quest, these three meet monsters, Greek and Roman gods, and a vast variety of creatures. They also learn a lot about themselves during the confrontations they encounter along their journey.

Although Percy Jackson is not in this book, he is mentioned many times during the reading. We have not seen the last of Percy Jackson.

This was a very long, involved book for younger reluctant readers. However, both Dylan and I enjoyed the book very much and he chose to read the next book in the series for his next assignment.

I was happy he did. I  thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Book Two: The Heroes of Olympus, Book Two: Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

Son of Neptune

As with book one, this book opens with the introduction of a teenage boy who has lost his memory. Do you see a pattern here? Have you figured it out? I’m not telling; you’ll have to read the book.

Again, this book also introduces and has us traveling with three young people who also have to complete a quest so their kind can survive.  They learn their own strengths and weaknesses as they not only fight for their own survival, but also the survival of their home camp.

I became more interested in these books than my grandson has. When it was time for him to get out of the car, many times I would be tempted to just let the book play so I could continue to listen until I got to work.

We both were really excited at the end of the book, but it has left us hanging until we begin the third book of the series. The downside is we will not be listening to the next installment until the beginning of the next school year.

If anyone is interested in Greek and/or Roman mythology, this series of books would be an excellent way to learn more on this topic.

Book Three: Living Well, Spending Less by Ruth Soukup

Living Well, S;pending Less

I also listened to this book on audio. I think I’m finally beginning to feel comfortable with audio instead of reading an actual book.

In her book, Ruth has broken down the steps for living well and spending less.  The book goes through 12 steps to achieve this goal.

Most of the book was written through her own life examples of how she achieved each step in order to live her ultimate goal which is the title of the book.

I have read several negative reviews which center around her using her own experiences as a way to explain each step. My response would be how are we supposed to learn and teach if we have not experienced these things ourselves? I would ultimately rather learn from someone who has been there.

Also, there were several negative comments about her use of religious beliefs and her addressing these beliefs in her book. This is how many people manage their lives. I live all areas of my life with values instilled in me through my spiritual foundation. This is who I am; so all my writings and activities will and should let people know where I stand religiously.

This was a easy and quick book to read. I recommend it  to those who follow Ruth Soukup and her blog. It gives you insight into the how and why of who she is and what she does.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Book 4:  The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People  by Steven Covey

This is the last book that I finished on my audible app.  After I would drop Dylan off at school and turn off his book, I would play this book on my way to work.

In this book, Steven Covey says there are seven habits of highly effective people, hence the title.

The first habit is that highly effective people are proactive.  As a classroom teacher for 20+ years, I would 100% agree with this. In being proactive and anticipating certain possible behaviors, I have been able to maintain a structured and productive environment for my students.

We as effective people have to look ahead in able to make the best decisions now. By deciding now, we are able to know how to respond to outside stimulus.

Habit 2 is to begin with the end in mind. How often do we start a project not knowing how it will end? How do we want this to finish? What kind of responses do we want from our project? Look toward the end to know what to do in the beginning and middle.

Habit 3 is to put first things first. Prioritize. When I was in college one the first day of classes, the students were given  a syllabus of required assignments. By the end of those first days, I would always feel overwhelmed, wondering how I was going to manage to get everything completed. I would prioritize by due dates and the depth of individual assignments. I always managed to complete all assignments this way.

Habit 4 involves maintaining a win-win situations in your interactions with other people. Compromise so that those on both sides of the coin feel like they have not given up everything to complete or move forward.

Habit 5 tells us to seek first to understand, they to be understood. Let’s start taking more time to try to empathize with those around us instead of demanding they follow our lead without question. I often see people do this when they stereotype other races or those of different social and/or economic backgrounds.

Habit 6 says synergize. In other words, step out of your box. Try somethings new. Let’s expand our horizons; only then can we understand the world around us.

Habit 7 is about sharpening the saw.  We all need to take time to rejuvenate ourselves, to learn new things. Take care of  yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually. Only then can you lead an effective life.

At times, I found this a hard book to listen to and to keep focused on. Covey writes in such a way  it made it hard to understand all he was trying to teach his readers.  He has went on to add to the original book and has written the 8th Habit of Effective People. At this time I am undecided whether or not I will be reading it.

Those are the books I have finished reading lately. I would love to hear what have you been reading.

My life verse

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Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

 

I am trying to use up some of the things in my freezer before grocery shopping this weekend. I knew I had a some tilapia so I went in search of a recipe that I already had the ingredients on hand. I found this recipe through Pinterest. It was posted by Deborah at Taste and Tell.

Everyone liked this dish. I plan on making it again.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I just used some that I already had in the refrigerator.)
  • 2 t. paprika
  • 1 T. chopped parsley
  • 1/4 t. salt (optional)
  • 1 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tilapia filets (about 8 oz. each)
  • lemon, cut into wedges (I didn’t have any lemons so this was left out.)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with foil.

In a shallow bowl, mix together the Parmesan, paprika, parsley and salt. Drizzle the tilapia with olive oil, then dredge in the cheese mixture, coating it well. Place on the baking sheet.

Bake until the fish is opaque in the thickest part, 10-12 minutes. Serve with the lemon slices.

My life verse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Ultimate Steps to living a Contented Life

 

How to live a contented life.

 

How many of us are contented with our lives and possessions we have now? Or like many of us, are you always striving for more? There is really nothing wrong with working to better your situation in life as long as you don’t let your drive become an obsession that takes over every aspect of your life. Ask yourself if you are working toward goals that will make you feel better about yourself or are you working towards things that you think you have to possess or own in order to be happy? Do you find yourself thinking “If only I …. then I would be content with my life.”

more, more, more

Oftentimes we strive to have what we see others have or do what others are doing in their lives. It makes us unsatisfied with our own lives. It makes us feel that we are not working as hard as we should be and we feel lazy in our own endeavors to have a happy, contented life. How often do you look at your neighbors and think if only my house were as big as theirs, if only my car was a new as theirs, if only my children would behave as well as theirs, and so on? With this type of mind frame we are setting ourselves up for discontentment and failure in our own eyes. This mindset is known as keeping up with the Jones.

“When you are discontent, you always want more,
more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied.
But when you practice contentment, you can say
to yourself, ‘Oh yes-I already have everything
that I really need.'” Dalai Lama

Now you need to ask yourself how do I practice contentment when I am so unhappy with my life.

TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR CONTENTMENT!
NO ONE ELSE CAN GIVE IT TO YOU!

contentment

PRACTICE GRATITUDE

First you must change the way you look at your life. Be grateful for the things that you have in your life, whether it be money, possessions, or people.

Turn being grateful into a verb. Practice being grateful. Keep a gratitude journal. Find a pretty one that makes you happy just to look at it. Write in it daily or weekly. Focus on the good things that have happened not the bad. Do not go more than a week before sitting down and listing the good things. Make your gratitude journal your friend.

SIMPLIFY

Begin simplifying your life. You don’t have to say yes to everything that is asked of you. Many times we agree to take on more than we can manage just so we can tell people how busy we are. But in reality it doesn’t make us content with our lives.

Before saying yes to another project ask yourself these questions:
1. Do I really want to do this?
2. Do I have the time to commit to this project?
3. What will happen if I say no?

Don’t just simplify you activities, simplify your home. Is your home full of things that are not used or appreciated? Is your home always cluttered and disorganized? Do you know that a cluttered home causes anxiety and discontentment?

1. Find new homes for those items that you no longer need or use. Do you really want that little ceramic lizard from your trip to Florida 10 years ago?
2. If you’re like me, there is a lot of paperwork that needs to be filed away or just thrown away. What are we waiting for?
3. At lease twice a year, go through your closets and discard any clothes you longer wear. Either donate it, pass it on to other family members, or sell it.
4. Finally, declutter your finances. Start paying off those little credit cards that require so much of your money. It also takes more time when working on a budget. Don’t those little $15, $20 payments irritate you? What could you be doing with that money?

Luke 12:15 NIV  Then he said to them, “Watch out!
Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life
does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

TIME    

If our lives are continually cluttered with projects, activities, and things, it leaves little time to enjoy life. If we can’t enjoy life, how can we be contented with our lives?

It is not selfish to focus on ourselves. Before we can perform at our premium level. We have focus on ourselves to be contented with our lives.

Now that we have decluttered various areas of our lives,  we will have more time to devote not only to others, but also to ourselves. How are we going to do that?

1. How do you relax? Take a bubble bath with scented
candles, read a book, take a walk, or something else.
It’s alright to want to find some alone time. If you
don’t want to be alone with yourself, how to you
expect anyone else to want to be around you? Find
something that relaxes you. Get away from the busyness and demands of life occasionally.
2. I am a big believer that everyone needs some sort of hobby, something they like doing. I enjoy sewing,
photography, reading, crafting, and writing. I
recently joined a local writer’s guild. I can focus on
what I like to do and socialize with others who enjoy
the same things. Find something you like to do and do it. Make time for things you enjoy. It will make you
more contented with your life. Pursue your passion!
Find a purpose for your life.


3. Learn how to organize! Don’t organize just your home, but your activities also. I have 3 calendars and am getting ready to add a fourth. I keep one in my phone. (I am thankful for smart phones. To read the rest of this gratitude post click here.) I have my notebook sized calendar that has a various sections for things like blogging , expenses, plus more, and I have my work desk calendar. The fourth calendar I’m planning on adding is a magnetic one to hang on the refrigerator so the adults can all see the various kids’ activities. Sometimes it’s difficult to remember for one of us to remember to tell the other of upcoming dates.

GOALS  

Set some short term and long term goals. What do you want to accomplish within the next year, the next month, the next week, or today? Write them down. Just remember, these are goals to work toward, to help you stay focused. Sometimes life gets in the way of these goals, but just start over. I set my monthly goals and I have goals set for the next 1001 days (read 101 things to accomplish in 1001 days). I have daily things I want to accomplish, but sometimes they just don’t get done. When they do though, it makes me happy and that leads to my contentment with my life. I don’t beat myself up over it.

LOVE 

Finally, LOVE YOURSELF! There is no one like you. God created you in His image and God does not make mistakes. We do. Accept that and learn from your mistakes. Learn to laugh at your mistakes. Enjoy your mistakes, they are how you learn and grow. Stop demeaning yourself. Without mistakes you wouldn’t learn how to do it right. Stop trying to be perfect, because that is an impossible task. How can you be content if you are always trying to be perfect, something you nor I can ever be?

 

That doesn’t mean give up. Keep working toward getting it right, for you.

“The world is full of people looking for spectacular
happiness while they snub contentment.” Doug Larson

By applying these principles to your life, you will find the happiness and contentment that you are continually searching for.

“Eventually, we reach the point where we start to realize that we are not going to find peace, contentment, happiness, strength, fearlessness – all of the things that in our heart of hearts we wish we had – outside of us.” Guy Finley

My life verse.

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