February

February is quite possibly one of my favorite months of the year. This is mostly because it is my birthday month and Valentine’s Day is a favorite holiday of mine. Just those two events call for a lot of celebration because what is better to celebrate than love and life?

Here are the mini celebrations of love and life from February:

My nephew’s fourth birthday party and the place parents love to hate, Chuck E. Cheese. My niece’s baby dedication. Valentine exchange with friends at homeschool co-op. Our annual family Valentine’s Day meal where each of us take charge of a course and work in teams:

Menu
Appetizer – Tossed Salad and Sparkling Grape Juice (Jessica and Jeffery)
Entree – Beef Wellington, Potato Mash (Dad and Joey), Sauteed Garlic Beans (Mom and Jerrod)
Dessert – Fresh Strawberry Pie (Mom and Jerrod)

A lovely cake and gifts from my family the Sunday before my birthday. On my birthday, my husband’s brother and his wife visited for pizza. We cashed in a gift card from Christmas for a lovely Honey Baked Ham for one Sunday dinner we couldn’t visit family. (They are much cheaper in February than December or at Easter!) A fun breakfast date with my husband and shopping for new appliances due to our old ones’ refusal to cooperate any longer – our coffee pot and microwave are now smarter than we are. Playing at the park for some uncharacteristically warm days for a February in our part of the world.

Now, for my habits progress:

HEALTH

I continued my exercise habit without missing a day except for Sundays. I consistently kept at 30 minutes a day. My total of uninterrupted exercise days at the end of February was 159. I tried to limit sugar somewhat, but that didn’t work well with all of the celebrations. I have some new habit ideas for health in the month of March.

ARTICLES

I suppose I should change this category to just Art. Since I cannot draw a straight line or paint in the traditional sense of art, I have accepted that music and writing are my arts. I have a new 100 day challenge for writing in March, but for this month I just wrote some Sunday School lessons for an assignment.

BOOKS

To reach my 100 books goal, I need to read about 8 books a month. I’ve posted my Reading List for you to follow along on my progress. So far I’m at 6 for January and 6 for February, so I’ll need to read extra to reach the 100. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am counting those I scanned without reading in their entirety. I never wholeheartedly recommend any book but the Bible. However, I’ll tell you a little bit about the ones I read this month:

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
I’ve seen this novel recommended over and over, so I was quite disappointed to find it much different than I expected. The writing was good and I loved the emphasis on literature. Beyond that, there was little redeeming about it. There was bad language and some offensive scenes I had to skip over. I would NOT recommend this book. However, I will take a small soapbox moment about those two trends in modern writing I find disturbing:

  1. The acceptance of bad language as good writing – No! I refuse to accept that modernity calls for dumbing down to the point where titles and content of fiction and non-fiction works alike use swearing and dirty language in regular conversation. We are better than that, and intelligent writing should use uplifting words.
  2. The absence of romance – I’m not saying every fiction title must have romance, although a part of me loves the handsome prince rescues the princess in distress model – in moderation. I’m talking about something a bit more disturbing, and it showed up in this book. Our literature only reflects the lives we live, and it seems that so many have forgotten about that sweet and tender first kiss and skipped romance all together in search of lust. This is not the Biblical model, and I will not accept that.

I Know How She Does It by Laura Vanderkam
This book had some interesting points to it. I enjoyed Laura’s book, 168 Hours, and was hoping this one would expand with more practical help on time management. She interviewed mothers of children making a salary of at least six figures a year. While even she pointed out that this a minority of women, it was interesting to see how high wage earners don’t work nearly as much as one would think. It was helpful to see actual time logs of their schedules and how they fit in work, life and parenting. Some of the ideas were even practical for work-at-home moms like me who homeschool.

Lean In by Sheryl Sandburg
This would not have been a book I chose, but it was given to me in a book exchange. I was hopeful when I saw it was written for women by the COO of Facebook. I thought it might give practical information on juggling home, parenting and career schedules that I could apply to my own situation. I ended up just scanning the book, because it was a waste of time for me. Most of it felt like a feminist manifesto. I know I am not in the situation to see it on a daily basis, having chosen home-based entrepreneurship over a corporate career. However, I find it hard to believe in the abundance of America in 2017 that women are really as oppressed as we say we are. My opinion is if we would quit complaining and work hard, we would be able to reach the heights to which we aspire. (But I digress to my soapbox again.) Most importantly, I think this book ignored the fact that many women enjoy creating their own schedules at home, free of a corporate rule, and that not everyone measures success in dollar signs. One reason we may see fewer women in the work force is because some of us have simply made the choice not to be there.

Teaching from Rest by Sarah MacKenzie
This is another book I have heard about for years and just now got around to reading. Oh my! It was the complete opposite of my other disappointment. I wish I would have had this book years ago. It will go in my list of Top 5 (or less) for the Homeschool Mom. Such a beautiful, Biblical way of looking at the education of our children. I got more book ideas from her resources section and watched the entire video series she recommended on the Circe Institute website of Andrew Kern speaking on “Teaching from a State of Rest” while I exercised. He was over my head for a lot of the talk, but much of what he said touched my heart

The Blue Zones Solution by Dan Buettner
I found this book very interesting. Dan Buettner has studied populations of long-living people for decades in conjunction with the National Geographic. He explores the practical reasons for their longevity in this book. It goes beyond food to lifestyle, and I was not surprised how much faith and relationships played a part. The foods these people eat were also fascinating, and maybe not what we would expect. I copied down and tried a few of the recipes, and hope to use even more of them.

10 Steps to Your Faith Inspired Transformation by Kim Dolan Leto
I scanned this book since I have read it before. I wanted to go over a few of the principles of God-centered healthy living. There are also some recipes and meal ideas in this book. I don’t support all of Kim’s accomplishments in the fitness arena, but her writing in this book centers around pleasing God rather than man and worshiping him rather than physical beauty. I use this as a reference book often when studying Biblical health and looking for healthy options.

It is hard to believe we are looking towards spring already! My habits and reading for March are already underway. I’m excited to see what God can help me accomplish in the coming month. What about you? What are you hoping to accomplish in March?

 

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