Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Looking Back over 2014

I never do feel quite right about beginning a new year without wrapping up the old one; and here on my blog, this end-of-the-year review post is one way I do just that.  I did it in 2011...and in 2012...and in of course I had to do it in 2014, too.  It's tradition!  :)

Blog Designs I Used

Books I Read

1. All Gone: a Memoir of My Mother's Dementia, with Refreshments - Alex Witchel
2. Gilead - Marilynne Robinson - This was sent to me by my well-read friend Margie, and I enjoyed it very much.
3. A Man Called Norman - Mike Adkins

4. Rose under Fire - Elizabeth Wein - Rebekah mentioned it in this blog post; and based on her good review, I immediately put it on reserve at my library and eagerly read it as soon as I got it.  This book, as well as the next one on my list, is rough and raw and uses bad words and is not something I would want my kids to read--yet.  But it is a powerful look into what World War II was like for many people; and for that reason, I would recommend it to mature readers.  Plus, I couldn't put it down.

5. Code Name Verity - Elizabeth Wein - So gripping that I had to stay up until 3:15 a.m. to finish it.  That happened to be the night before this Very Busy Day.  Probably not the greatest idea to do that, but I really had no choice.  It was that intense.  :)
6. The Terrible Wave - Marden Dahlstedt - One of the books that was part of our homeschool curriculum, but even without the homeschooling factor, it would have been interesting!
7. I Am Regina - Sally Keehn - I checked this out of the library for the boys, but then I ended up being the one to read it!
8. Summer of the Monkeys - Wilson Rawls - Aliesha recommended this for Josiah, who read it and loved it (and I loved hearing his laughter ring out multiple times as he was reading it!), so then I had to read it, too.  :)
9. Guest of Honor: Booker T. Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, and the White House Dinner that Shocked a Nation - Deborah Davis - Fascinating!  This made me wish I could go back to college and major in history.  :)

10. Man of the Family - Ralph Moody - One of the books I read aloud to the boys as part of our Sonlight curriculum this year was Little Britches by Ralph Moody.  (By the way, I don't count the books I read aloud to the family in this reading record for myself.)  Josiah loved Little Britches so much that he wanted to read the second book in the series, Man of the Family.  After reading that, he immediately asked me to put the third book in the series on reserve at our library, and he devoured that one, too.  He also told me I HAD to read them, too.  :)
11. The Home Ranch - Ralph Moody
12. The Fields of Home - Ralph Moody
13. Sleeping Preacher - Julia Kasdorf - One of my favorite volumes of poetry. It's so short, and I'm so familiar with the poems that it doesn't take me long to read through this; and every once in a while, I just have to reach for it and treat myself to the delight that these words, so skillfully arranged, bring to me.  In this case, I read it because I was choosing some of the poems from it to be in a poetry study that I'm doing with Josiah and David this school year.
14. Prayers for Homeschool Moms - Michele Howe

15. Shaking the Nickel Bush - Ralph Moody
16. The Duggars: 20 and Counting! - Michelle & Jim Bob Duggar - So much I could say about this!  One thing that stood out was something that Jinger Duggar, age 14 at the time, wrote, "...we are reminded to accept the ten unchangeable things about ourselves that make each person a unique individual: (1) the way God made us, (2) our parents, (3) our brothers and sisters, (4) our nationality, (5) our mental capacity, (6) our time in history, (7) our gender, (8) our birth order and placement in our family, (9) the fact that we grow older as the years pass, and (10) the fact that life is a race against time and the best way to use that time is to serve God and others."
17. 7 - Jen Hatmaker - This was perhaps the book that most affected me this year.  I wrote about it in several posts, so I won't say more here.
18. Home - Marilynne Robinson

19. Ice Bound - Dr. Jerri Nielsen - I got this for free during the Gleanings part of the Used Curriculum Sale at the HEAV convention, and read it during the SVCC tour.  I found this very interesting, which was not surprising to me because I almost always find real-life stories to be fascinating.
20. Ten P's in a Pod - Arnold Pent III - I laughed a lot while I read this, but was certainly challenged to grow in some areas, too!
21. Alzheimer's Disease: The Silent Epidemic - Julia Frank - I also got this for free during the Gleanings at the HEAV convention.  The most interesting part of this was the copyright date!  Written in 1985, it supplied ample proof that MUCH has changed in the understanding of and the fight against Alzheimer's in the past almost 30 years.  That was actually encouraging!  :)
22. Shane Comes Home - Rinker Buck - Another freebie from the Gleanings.

23. Cheaper by the Dozen - Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. & Ernestine Gilbreth Carey - I forget what originally inspired me to get on the Gilbreth reading kick this year; but as you'll see, I read quite a few of their books and enjoyed getting to know the real family rather than just the one the movie portrays.
24. You've Got to Be Kidding! - Pat & Ruth Williams - This couple has 19 children, many of whom were adopted; and they give helpful principles of parenting, as well as keeping it interesting by sharing personal stories.
25. Belles on Their Toes - Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. & Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

26. Time Out for Happiness - Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr. - I especially liked this quote from this book: "But someplace along the line--perhaps it was when she sold her jewelry to Tiffany's--Lillie [that's the mother of the family] had lost whatever little pleasure she might once have derived from the ownership of personal goods.  So except for her own modest wardrobe, the household expenses, and the needs and education of her children, she had no desire to make money simply for the making.  'Some people get great pleasure out of owning things, and that's very fine for them,' she used to say.  'But I find that owning things that are worth a lot of money doesn't bring me pleasure at all--just displeasure.  You worry for fear you'll be careless and lose them; you worry for fear you haven't locked them up properly and they'll be stolen; you have to go to the trouble of insuring them; and if you're not careful, people who don't have things as nice as yours will envy you.  It's not good to be envied.  But if you have to be envied, it's better to be envied for what you are than what you own'."  Yes and amen!!
27. I've Found My Keys, Now Where's My Car? - Florence Littauer - Another freebie from the Gleanings. I don't agree with all her theology, but enjoyed the stories from her life regardless
28. Summer of My German Soldier - Bette Greene
29. Noah - Ellen Gunderson Traylor
30. Doc Susie - Virginia Cornell

31. Chariots of Dawn - Kay Stewart
32. Women Will Be Doctors - Hannah Lees

33. The Blessing - Gary Smalley and John Trent - I've been familiar with this concept for quite a while and have seen its significance in my own life.  Now I want to be sure that my children are confident that they have my blessing, too!
34. This Present Darkness - Frank Peretti - This was one of the "12 Books for Josiah to Read While He's 12" list that I made for Josiah to read through this year.  It had been years since I had read it, and I enjoyed reading it again--and Josiah loved it, too!  I didn't agree with everything in this book (but I could probably say that about every other book that I finished this year, too!), but I especially appreciated the reminder of the incredible power of prayer.

35. The Cross and the Switchblade - David Wilkerson - Another book from Josiah's "12 Books" list, and another reminder of the power of prayer!
36. Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze - Elizabeth Foreman Lewis - Josiah read this for school (he's studying the Eastern Hemisphere using Sonlight curriculum), and he liked it so much that he recommended that I read it. I love when that happens :)  As a matter of fact, I wish I could read all of his school books; but he reads SO MUCH that there's no way I could keep up with him. But it IS special to have read the same books and have that connection
37. How Far to Bethlehem? - Norah Lofts

38. Decision Points - George W. Bush - Josiah came up with the idea to read a biography (or preferably, an autobiography) of each U.S. president, and he recruited me to join him in his ambitious project.  This was the first one we attempted; I'm not sure which president to tackle next!  One thing that stood out to me from this book was that, no matter how much I agree or disagree with a president, I should have a pretty high level of respect for that person, not just because the Bible tells me to submit to authority and pray for those in leadership (but of course that's the primary reason!), but also because anyone who manages to get elected as president is actually pretty brilliant.  You have to be, to be president.  You have to know SO MUCH about SO MANY things.  I know presidents have lots of advisers; but they can't wait to be told what to say by an adviser in every situation.  I hope I remember this in the future so that I will be slow to call a president a dimwit, even when I think he's acting like one!  ;-)

Apparently this was my year of Reading Books that I Won't Keep, because as I look back over this list, I realize that of all 38 that I read, only 8 remain on my shelves.  A number of the books were borrowed from the library (what a gift public libraries are!), and others were ones that I read and decided to get rid of.  Not that they were worthless, but maybe I got out of them what I could at this point in life, and maybe someone else can get something out of them if I let them go and don't keep them sitting on a shelf.  Jeff is probably thinking that's a great idea and there are about a hundred other books I should do that with!  ;-)

Blog Posts I {Especially} Loved

We Finally Found Something to Fight About  :)
Playing Hooky

Snow in NC+Man from PA=Happy Me in VA
Of Caves, and Gifts Too Precious to Use
The Other Half of My Two
savior {with a lower-case "s"}

Mental Jolts
Why I Don't Mind March Snows
Return to New Market

A Beautiful Branch of Our Family Tree
One Proud Mama
Because She Doesn't Have a Baby Book...

Moriah and the Lilacs {For the Third Time}
Let Me Count the Ways
Surprises on Mother's Day
Ordinary Day {At the Library}
Making a Day of It {Air & Space Museum}

First Trip to Riven Rock, This Year
Through All the Phases of Life
50 Things (Well, OK. 51.)  :)
Wordless Wednesday {A Few Favorites from the SVCC Choir} - and really, all the posts from this choir tour could count as favorites for me!  :)
Wordless Wednesday {Shelling Peas with Grandma}

Four Traditions for the Fourth
Two Artists and an Engineer
A Significant Turn on the Wheel of Life
Wordless Wednesday {The Kitchen Help Is CUTE!}  :)

Better than I EVER Imagined
If Prizes Were Awarded for Enthusiasm...
101 Years Ago {A Violin's Story}
The Day We Moved My Mom

My Big Wish before Her Big Move
I Was Missing My Mom So Much
It Was All Their Idea {Fisher Fall Performance}
A Little Tiny Rant about Church Music and Those Who Sing It

Church Dinners, and Those Who Prepare Them: A Blessing
Shattered Hearts, Strong Faith - it's not that I particularly LIKE this post (I wish I had never had to write it!), but it is a very meaningful one for me
"How Old Am I?" {Mother Turns 73}
I Wasn't Sure What to Do on Halloween

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday {We Came, We Saw, We Voted}
One of the Wonderful Things {Recital Week!}
16 Days Was Way Too Long...

A Big Change for Josiah
Jehovah Jireh, and a Little Red Christmas Dress
In the Summer of 2014...
The Most Wonderful Night of the Year

Wow!  Looking back through these posts reminds me of how full of happiness 2014 has been for well as how some sadnesses crept in.  Through it all, I feel God's hand of blessing, of protection, of mercy, of lovingkindness.  I am so very grateful.

And now as I look to the new year of 2015, I think of the verse from Proverbs 31 that says, "She can laugh at the days to come," or as The Message puts it, "She always faces tomorrow with a smile."

May it be so in my life!

No comments: