Category Archives: reading

What I’m Into: February 2016

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Where is the year going?  It feels like everything is rushing by while I try to keep up with relationships and teaching and college ministry and church and housework. I have been brainstorming for some upcoming posts, so stay tuned while I try to find time to post more than once a month every couple months.

 

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Spotlight: 31 Days to a Better Understanding of Football

31 Days Series Spotlight

31 Days to a Better Understanding of Football

Kirsten – of My Cracked Conclusion – is writing a fun, well-thought-out look at the nuts and bolts of football for her 31 Days series. In addition, there are plenty of diagrams and graphics to demonstrate and add to the written explanations.

What I Have Learned

High school and college footballs have a white stripe across each end and pro footballs do not. Jersey numbers traditionally reflect the player’s position.

Favorite Post(s) So Far

The Running and Passing and Receiving posts are both full of explanations and diagrams of running and passing plays. Someone new to football would do well to bookmark these two for reference while watching a game (or study them ahead of time).

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Who Would Enjoy This Series

Kristen’s series is especially for people with little to no practical understanding of football. Her practical, easy-to-read explanations will not have readers drowning in jargon.

31 Days Blog Cheerleader

Disclaimer

In my self-designated role of unofficial 31 Days cheerleader, I am spotlighting some of my favorite series. The opinions shared are entirely my own and do not represent the bloggers I highlight. Also, I only know what the bloggers have posted thus far and am not responsible if the series takes a strange or unseemly turn. I am doing this series merely to encourage bloggers who are working hard to keep up with the challenge of posting every day in October.

 

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Spotlight: 31 Days of Growing Up in Malaysia

 

31 Days Series Spotlight

31 Days of Growing Up in Malaysia

Rachel – of The Random Writings of Rachel – is sharing delightfully funny stories about growing up in Malaysia for her 31 Days series.

Favorite Post(s) So Far

“Can I Have Your Number?” and “Breaking and Entering” posts have made me laugh the most.

 Cola_Fascinating Stories

Who Would Enjoy This Series

Rachel’s stories are short, entertaining reads for anyone who likes a good story. Check out all the posts in 31 Days of Growing Up in Malaysia and let me know which is your favorite.

31 Days Blog Cheerleader

Disclaimer

In my self-designated role of unofficial 31 Days cheerleader, I am spotlighting some of my favorite series. The opinions shared are entirely my own and do not represent the bloggers I highlight. Also, I only know what the bloggers have posted thus far and am not responsible if the series takes a strange or unseemly turn. I am doing this series merely to encourage bloggers who are working hard to keep up with the challenge of posting every day in October.

 

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Blog Cheerleader Update

31 Days Blog Cheerleader

Cheerleading at Warp Speed

I have been loving the 31 Days series I am following and, wow, is it hard to keep up with my optimistically-overloaded RSS feed! I am doing my best to click over to blogs, read, and comment. If you want to remind me about yours or invite me to visit for the first time, please leave a comment.

Lessons Learned

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I’m a 31 Days Rule-Breaker

31 Days Blog Cheerleader

Happy October!

Every year since 2011, I have seen my blog feed and social media explode on October 1 with the beautiful, crazy, sometimes-messy 31 Days kickoff. This year, I am breaking the rules of participation and not setting out to blog every day with all the other lovely, dedicated bloggers.

Instead, my goal is to be an ardent cheerleader, reading and commenting on the posts that others are working so diligently on. Both times I have participated in 31 Days, I wished I had more time for reading posts and leaving encouraging comments. This year, that is exactly what I am going to do. You won’t see daily posts here, but I do hope to share links to some of my favorite 31 Days series so that you can follow some of these amazing people, too.

Help Wanted

If you want me to check out your 31 Days series or want to rave about another blogger’s series, leave me a comment and I will check it out!

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What I’m Into: March 2015

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Techie
OverDrive was one of my new iOS apps this month. It was my first audiobook app and I am loving it. With OverDrive, I can check out free audiobooks and ebooks from my local library with my library card. When I check out an ebook, I can select the Kindle format and download the library book right from the Amazon website. I really, really like libraries and technology so this has been a highlight of my month!

Travel
During the second half of spring break, Brian and I traveled to visit his parents and mine for a couple days each. While we were in his hometown, we caught up with his sister and two cousins over delicious homemade tacos. In my hometown, we joined my parents’ Friday night college study and helped out with behind-the-scenes work for the wedding of a couple former students. It was a busy end to the week, but lots of fun!

Products
I tried Tazo Sweet Cinnamon Spice Tea from my mom’s collection while we were visiting and it is delightfully cinnamon-y and very sweet. To my surprise, some of our college students tried and raved about it, too!

Since I caught a rare sale on Tazo teas at my grocery store, I tried Tazo Wild Sweet Orange Tea. It tastes like an herbal version of Tang when it is hot, but I have enjoyed it most when I make it iced. (1 tea bag + 2 cups hot water for 10-15 minutes, then remove tea bag and pour over ice. Delicious!)

Entertainment
On Netflix: On the one-year anniversary of the series finale of Psych, I rewatched the last two episodes. That finale is one of my favorite series finales ever!

Around the House
Over spring break, Brian and I built Cola a sandbox. I jokingly called it “a life-sized Zen garden” because the more she digs there, the more “Zen” the rest of our yard will be.
 Our Life-sized Zen Garden

Reading 
I liked The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith because it supports and expands on the homemaking philosophy I try to cultivate: I am a perfectionist and my home is never perfect and I am not a perfect hostess. I have to make a conscious effort to not strive for perfection in my home or my “entertaining” because “perfect” does not feel welcoming or comfortable. Trying for “perfect” also really stresses me out.

I know, I know, how have I never read The Giver (Lois Lowry) before this month? I have known about it for decades and always intended to read it someday. When I first began trying out Overdrive, I saw the audiobook available for check-out and jumped at the chance. I liked the imaginative, detailed story of an unusual boy growing up in a dystopian, homogeneous society. My favorite part was the way the story unfolds primarily from the boy’s point of view, even though an adult reader can read between the lines and guess what may be coming.

I also used Overdrive to check out the eBook of Nowhere to Hide by Sigmund Brouwer. This is an engaging young adult mystery starring three teenaged boys whose cleverness gets them into and out of crisis after crisis. A prevailing question from the main character, King, “When is it okay to lie?” is also the theme of the plot. If you read it, keep in mind that almost every character lies at some point in the story.

Blog
I posted my opinion of Trello Gold after using it for almost a month.

What are you into this month?

I am linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I’ve been into lately.

Disclosure: Affiliate links are included in this post. If you click through, any purchase you make supports this site.

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What I’m Into: November 2014

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The #FireworkPeople community has brought an uplifting, supportive tone to my Facebook and Twitter feeds. I have enjoyed meeting the other ladies as we participate in Twitter parties where we share how we would answer various discussion questions. Not one to miss out on an opportunity to encourage others, my mom has joined the group, too. I think this is more activity than her Twitter account has ever seen!

I know I have mentioned DesignLoveFest’s free wallpapers before, but these are new ones and I am into them this month! Naturally, my favorite is “But First, Coffee.” Which ones do you like?

Food

If you have not noticed, I am very much a hot drinks kind of girl! In November, I have been sipping almond milk hot chocolate with homemade chocolate syrup and sometimes candy cane syrup, too. I still make powdered hot chocolate for everyone else, so this dairy-free version is just for me.

Random Fun

Idina Menzel and Michael Buble’s duet of “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” made much less creepy by changing the lyrics and having two adorable child actors lip sync them.

Entertainment

On Netflix: I got hooked on Bletchley Circle and then found out the show ended after only seven episodes! It is a smart mystery drama about four women who worked in code-breaking during WWII and, in post-war Britain, they stumble into solving mysteries that stump law enforcement.

Speaking of Idina, her Christmas album Holiday Wishes has been a fun treat, but I have only been listening for the past few days!

Reading

I finished the predictable but sweet Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay. Now I am reading Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell and Along Came a Wolf (The Yellow Hoods, #1) by Adam Dreece.

What are you into this month?

I am linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I’ve been into lately.

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Lows & Highs: Meaning of Life

Welcome to Lows & Highs, a Stories from the Stairs weekly-ish feature! Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs from the week in the comments or by posting a link to your own lows and highs blog post.
Low: On Monday, I woke up with a headache that lasted all day and did not respond to any of my normal natural or over-the-counter remedies.
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High: We wrapped up our summer Bible study this week. Brian and I have been studying the book of Ecclesiastes with a small group of college girls. It may seem like an odd study for college students but they said they really enjoyed it. Brian and I enjoyed the whole process of reading and discussing with them. From their wide-eyed reaction to the first two chapters to their summaries of the whole book, the process of reading and discussing has been enjoyable and enlightening.

“Life sucks but God is good.” – Lindsey’s summary of Ecclesiastes
I like Ecclesiastes because it is a philosophical book written by a wise king – Solomon – who got everything he wanted and discovered that it was not fulfilling and not the point of life. Solomon summarizes the meaning of life in the last two verses, “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
What are your lows and highs this week?

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Plans change… so I have a word of the year

Until today, I did not think I would have a particular word of focus for 2014 even though I have for the past three or so years. It was not an entirely intentional decision, but nothing seemed to jump out at me as “undaunted” and “enjoy” did for 2012 and 2013. I was fine with that and chose not to force it or make a big deal about it. As I wrote recently, traditions change and that can be a good thing.

I have recently been noticing and paying special attention to the abundance and fullness of God – both who He is and what He provides – in every day life. I considered “enough” but it did not quite communicate what I have been seeing. Instead, my word for 2014 is “plenty,” which comes from the Latin word for “fullness.”

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Won’t it be exciting to focus on God’s abundance and fullness for a year?!

Do you have a word or theme that you are paying attention to or studying? I’d love to hear about it in the comments or you can post a link if you’ve written about it somewhere else.

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2013 Theme Word – Enjoy

My theme word for 2013 is enjoy. It means to take joy, “to experience with joy; take pleasure in… to find or experience pleasure for (oneself).”
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Philippians 4:4 and 1 Peter 1:6 both encourage and command joy. Since joy is commanded, it must be a choice and not a feeling or a mere product of circumstance.
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! – Philippians 4:4 (NLT)
So be truly glad.There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. – 1 Peter 1:6 (NLT)

I am sure 2013, like years before it, holds times of all sorts: celebration, sadness, hilarity, stress, change, adventure. There will be mundane days and milestones. There will be events I have planned for and ones that may catch me off-guard. In all these circumstances and any others that come along, I will practice purposely experiencing them with joy and enjoying who God is and what He does.

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