Summer Reading

{source}

Laying out by a pool with a book

{not necessarily a good one},

is my favorite way to relax during the summer.

Luckily, this summer, I have some really good books set aside for those spare solitary moments I can sneak in between trips to the park and the grocery store.

I haven’t done any book reviews in a long time, so I figured now is as good a time as any to update you all on what I’ve got stacked up on my bedside table…

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Yesterday I finished the latest book by Mary DeMuth: The Muir House. This was one of those books I stayed up till the wee hours of the morning to finish; I needed to know how it all turned out. Set in Rockwall, Texas, Mary tells the tale of a young woman searching for the missing pieces to her past, and explores how our search for truth doesn’t always yield the results we anticipate. What I enjoyed about the book was Mary’s ability to share spiritual truths while still maintaining a great story. I was slightly distracted by what I saw as product placement ads {which I’m not sure she got paid for, but felt unnecessary}, but obviously I was too caught up in what was unfolding to let it distract me for long.

::

Recently I went out to dinner with my best friend from high school, and was ecstatic at her suggestion that we check out the local used book store after our meal. There’s something about the smell of old books that assures me we will never completely be able to let go of print publications; although I do love my Kindle. As we explored the stacks, shadowed by one of the shop’s two cats, we decided to have our own little book club. After briefly considering the Notebook {joke}, we decided on Ayn Rand‘s Atlas Shrugged. This book has been on my “must read” list since I worked at Borders in 2000, and she had purchased a copy last summer without yet reading it. I’m really looking forward to not only crossing off a book on my “to read” list, but also that I’m reading it with a friend!

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Speaking of my Kindle, I was recently able to download Jon Acuff’s books “Quitter” and “Stuff Christians Like.” SCL was on one of those random sales that Amazon.com frequently does, and I’ve heard a lot of great things about Quitter. I always enjoy Jon Acuff’s blogs {both SCL, and his writing blog}, and so I’m eager to jump into these books. I’m going to have to stick my Kindle in my purse for park trips.

What books are you reading this summer?

Share your own reading list here, or over on my Facebook page!

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I’m Trying to Become a Writer

I’m trying to become a writer.

For the last few months I have done all within my power to learn more about the craft of writing. Stephen King told me in On Writing to “not come lightly to the page.” Anne Lamott showed me that the act of writing turns out to be its own reward; that publication shouldn’t be my end goal. Her book, Bird by Bird, revealed to me the ideas of short assignments and {cough} “poor” first drafts. According to Steven Pressfield, art is war and resistance is the enemy within. He encouraged me by saying, “If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), ‘Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?’ chances are you are.” Because I ask myself that question all the time.

I soon discovered that learning about writing didn’t make me a writer…Click here to find out what I discovered it takes to actually become a writer, an artist, a leader and even a Christian.

::

Today I have the privilege of guest posting at author, Mary DeMuth’s blog! I was able to sit down with Mary at the writer’s conference I attended in April, and she is as encouraging and friendly as she seems in her writing.

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{On Losing}

You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you might just find you get what you need. {The Rolling Stones}

It was in the back of my mind all weekend. I’m not going to lie: I wanted to win and I thought I had a pretty good chance.

Silas woke me up at 5:30 this morning. I resisted the urge to turn on the laptop before I fed him; I must have some priorities. After getting him milk-drunk and back to sleep, I nervously typed in the web address.

http://www.incourage.me

The post was live: And the 8 Relevant 2011 Sponsorships Go To…

As I scrolled through the post I willed my name to be there. It wasn’t.

Immediately my thoughts turned to encouraging the winners. Be happy for them. It has no impact on my merit as a writer. 

What is it within me that won’t let me be disappointed? It wasn’t until 10 minutes later when I was heading back to bed that I allowed myself to admit: I wish it had been me. A trip to Relevant 11, buoyed by the support of a great group of women like those found at (In)Courage, would have made me really happy. To meet face-to-face with so many I’ve met online {sigh}.

Where does it say in the Bible that we can’t feel disappointment? It must be in that same chapter that tells us we can’t accept compliments. Does rejoicing with others mean we minimize our sadness?

I didn’t get what I wanted, but I think I still got what I needed.

::

My main take-away from the conference this weekend was that I need to quit striving, and also quit holding myself back. That’s oxymoronic, right?

I’m desperate…

…for approval

…for recognition

…for success

That desperation creates a crazy monster inside of me that strives and grasps and envies and stinks. He wants me to claw my way to the top, take no prisoners, all’s fair in love and war. Everything is done out of selfish ambition and vain conceit, considering others as less than myself, and solely looking out for my own interests.

{That needs to stop}

Did I mention that my monster is lazy? For all his posturing, he doesn’t really do anything. It’s all attitude. His Achilles heel is FEAR; the fear inside of me that resists opportunities when they present themselves. I need to quit holding myself back. Which is exactly where this contest was good for me. I finally went for something.

::

I tried. I lost. But at least I tried.

And I’ll try again next time, all in the spirit that God is in control of the timing, and that the process itself is necessary.

“Write in obscurity. Take time. Don’t jump over the things you need to walk through slowly.” {Mary DeMuth}

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