Top Five

That title is a bit misleading… it really should be Top Five of the Moment.  I have a love affair with books and my my top favorites are always rotating.  I very, very rarely re-read books – even my favorite ones.  I find that a bit odd.  I mean, if I love the book so much why wouldn’t I want to visit my literary friends again?  I actually do know why.  My mind never stops going – even when I’m reading.  Which means that when I’m re-reading something my brain is saying, “Oh, I remember this part… this is when XYZ happens and next ABC is going to happen.”  It’s like going to the movies with someone who has already seen the movie and they give you a play-by-play while you’re watching.  Annoying.

Here are my current Top Five (of the Moment) that I will probably never re-read.

1. The Dark Tower series by Stephen King
I don’t read much King any more.  In fact I don’t recall the last one that I read.  But back in the day… hoo-boy! he was my fave!  And the Tower Series??  King included so many other characters, places, story lines… even himself!  I loved it! 

2.  The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Do I really have to explain why this is a favorite?  She weaves a compelling story using beautiful, well-rounded characters.  And it’s just plain out fun to read.

3.  Modoc and Zamba both by Ralph Helfer
I love elephants and this is a true story about the greatest elephant that ever lived; Modoc.  Unbelievable story.  I wish I could have met her.  Zamba is the story of Ralph’s lion.  Amazing.  Again, I wish I could have met him.  Epic stories – both of them.

4.  Half Broke Horses: A True Life Story by Jeannette Walls
This story is a biographical story of Jeannette’s grandmother growing up in the West.  Most of it takes place in early Arizona; Flagstaff and Phoenix.  The opening chapter had me hooked… who was this girl that recognized impending doom and saved her brother and then at 14 got on her horse and rode from Texas to Arizona by herself?  Life was so different back then.  Jeannette’s first book Glass Castles is the biographical story of her mother and herself.  I found it to be depressing but still interesting.  I chose to read her books in chronological order rather than the order in which she wrote them.  It made more sense to me.

5.  I’m not quite sure at the moment.  I recently finished up a few books and while they were captivating I don’t know that they really qualify for the Top Five (of the moment) list.  So really this post should be titled Top Four (of the moment).  Sorry I lied.


Guilty Pleasures

Five of my guilty pleasures… in no particular order:

A venti coffee.  I lurve me some coffee but I almost always stick to a medium or small.  Every once in a while I will treat myself and splurge on a large.

Lucky Charms.  About once a year I get a craving for those mini marshmallows.  I’ll cave and buy a family size box of the cereal and then not share it with a single member of my family.  Sorry guys, I love you, but hands off.

A nap.  At 8 o’clock in the morning.  On a weekday.  I am a very light sleeper and it’s difficult to nap when the house is full of non-quiet people.  It is a glorious thing when I can drop the kids off at school and come home and climb back into bed for another hour or two.

Books.  Although I don’t feel guilty about this particular pleasure.  It is especially delicious when I get a book as a gift.  My secret santa at work gave me a book this year.  And she recommended another title; 800+ pages – and part of a series – BONUS!

Sherlock Holmes.  Again, I don’t feel guilty.  Well, maybe a little.  I only recently discovered S.H. on Netflix and very quickly finished all of the episodes.  The new series started this month in the UK and is supposed to be released to the US later this month.  And who knows how long before it hits Netflix.  I may or may not have found a way to watch it on BBC.


Ten

Ten things you should know about me:

1.  I am an introvert.  Being around people drains my batteries.

2.  I keep only a few very close friends.  (see #1)

3.  I love to read.  LOVE.  I am always looking for new books to read.  Just don’t recommend any schmoopy romance novels or far-out sci-fi.

4.  I am a C.  I am a C-H.  I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N.  That right there should tell you that I am a Christian who grew up in a church and that I probably still work in children’s ministry.  And I can probably sing that song faster than you.

5.  Coffee.  Yes, please.

6.  If I could live anywhere in the world it would be on the beach.  Which beach?  I don’t care.  Sand, waves, sun… I’m sold.

7.  I’m a daydreamer.

8.  I might be addicted to stupid Facebook games like Candy Crush.  But in my defense they help with #7 and #1.

9.  I’m wondering why I picked 10 things.  I should have just stopped at 8.

10.  My husband just called me musical.  I am now questioning if even knows me at all?!!!

11.  Bonus!  I love elephant jokes.  If you don’t, then we probably won’t get along.


Balance

Remember when birthdays were exciting?  Maybe you were finally turning a double digit.  Or one of the milestones; 16, 18, or 21.  At some point most people start dreading their birthdays.  They don’t want to be 30, 40, or 50.  And then it becomes exciting again… you made it to 89, 99, or maybe 109!

If I could pick one age to be I think it would be my early 40’s.  I’m not there yet but I’m looking forward to it.  Sure it’s fun being a kid but there’s so much that you can’t do yet.  Teen years weren’t all that they were cracked up to be – too many hormones and drama.  I felt like I had no idea what I was doing in my 20’s.  I didn’t go away for college and I had no idea what career I wanted to pursue.  I’m in my late 30’s now.  This decade has been difficult.  There’s been some good – some very, very good.  But most of it has been overshadowed in heavy stuff.

I’m hoping that my 40’s bring balance and contentment. I’m sure I’ll have my share of heartache and struggle but I pray it’s more balanced.  That’s what I’m looking for most of all… more balance in my life.  I know several popular bloggers that choose a word for their year… perhaps I should pick “balance” and spend the rest of my 30’s practicing so that my 40’s will, indeed, be more balanced.


Beautiful

Ah, beauty.  It’s so mysterious and so personal.  What I see as beauty may not be what you see.  And then of course, a beautiful person may not be pretty at all but have a beautiful soul that shines though their exterior.

I find beauty to be comfortable and confident.  Personally I feel comfortable when my clothes fit properly and the style reflects my personality.  I feel confident when my skin is flawless and my hair behaves.  That sounds so shallow but it’s the truth.  I am less confident when I have a blemish or when I’m wearing jeans that are a bit too tight or a top that feels frumpy.

The beauty that I see in others though is different.  I see beauty in different shapes, sizes, colors, genders.  I see beauty as someone being themselves.  Being strong.  Being brave.  Being ordinary.  When the light filters through their hair just so.  When something catches them unaware and they crack up laughing.  When they are quiet.

It is so hard to see the beauty in myself and so much easier to see it in others.  Perhaps that’s the way it should be or we would all be like the Greek god Narcissus.  I think we should tell people when we see their beauty.


Smile

Last year I started telling my kids to have a super duper alley-ooper day when I dropped them off at school.  I guess I said it enough because there came a point that I would say, “Have a super duper…” and they would respond, “alley-ooper day!”  I knew the tradition had become cemented when I forgot to say it one day and the kids just stayed in the car waiting for me to say it, “Mo-om… c’mon, say it….”

Now I have to do it twice every morning.  Once when I drop off my high school Chickie at the bus stop and again when I drop off the Boy and the Beans.  This morning it took Beans a little longer to get out of the car and get her backpack out of the trunk.  She walked around the car to the driver’s side window and pressed her sign language “I Love You” fingers up to the glass and waited for me to do the same so she could line up our fingers.  I love that she’s 10-years old but still loves to do little things like that.

I want to soak in these little things that put a smile on my face.  Who knows how much longer she will want to press her fingers to the glass to show me that she loves me?  There will come a day that she will roll her eyes and decide that’s too baby-ish.  But for now I’ll look past the fingerprint smudged glass to the smile on her face and soak it all in!


Impact

Do you remember the Richard Pryor movie from the 80’s called Brewster’s Millions?  Basically he’s set to inherit 300 million dollars but there’s a catch – first he must spend 30 million dollars in 30 days without telling anyone what he’s doing.  That really gets you thinking doesn’t it?  How would you spend that much money….  It’s easy to dream of vacations, shopping sprees, new house, new cars.  But how would you spend it if you wanted to make the best impact on society by donating it all to only one charity or cause?

I had a tough time answering that.  I think the first option I would explore would be to identify the 30 poorest counties in our nation.  Then put together a team to analyze how one million dollars would make the biggest impact in those communities.  Would it be best to spend it on education? Maybe finding ways to add local jobs?  Or improve living conditions? Or provide medical attention.  Do the food banks need fresh and healthy food?  What about foster care funding?  Is there a way to tie these things together?  If the money was invested to create a type of neighborhood co-op… creating jobs to garden and provide food, building community homes for foster families, community education classes for all ages. 

I would want to include my faith.  Not in a “let me thump you on the head with my Bible” type of door-to-door witnessing but the quiet kind of faith that is spread through loving on your neighbor.  I think if neighborhood co-ops were started by quiet Christians who truly love people, if they they walked along side of their neighbors, played with their kids, taught community cooking classes, organized a clothing swap, gave a ride to a job interview…. If they did these things without judgement, without holding their neighbors hostage with “let me tell you about Jesus” at their door, if they did these things because they loved them – not because they want to add one more number to their team… If they continued to love on their neighbors even after they said NO to the church invite… I think that would make an impact.