Hello Friends and Hello Fall!
I've been reading more again lately, after finishing the first draft of a novel late this summer.
I love to read. (But if you've been hanging around here for long, you know that much about me.)
Here's a list of my current reads ... I've been on a Holocaust memoirs kick in the last few weeks, ignited when I stumbled over the book "Night" by Elie Wiesel on my dad's coffee table (we visited family in Kansas a few weeks ago) and my brother asked me if I'd read it. When I said no, he highly recommended I do so.
So, with no further ado, here's my list of recent reads:
The Map of Heaven by Eben Alexander
The Light Between Us by Laura Lynne Jackson
Inside the Other Side by Concetta Bertoldi
Love Does by Bob Goff
Deep & Simple by Bill Lozoff (highly recommended by Mr. Rogers himself)
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport (this was right up my alley)
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Half Bad by Sally Green (finished only about half of this book)
Night by Elie Wiesel
Open Heart by Elie Wiesel
Outcry: Holocost Memoirs by Manny Steinberg
Auschwitz #34,207: The Joe Rubinstein Story by Nancy Sprowell Geise
Auschwitz Escape: The Klara Wizel Story by Danny Naten & R.J. Gifford
I hope your November has started off well. Happy Thanksgiving to you Americans. And Happy Year End to the rest of you. We all have much to be thankful for this season. I can't believe only a few months remain in 2018.
I'll be in touch again soon!
It's refreshing to realize that I actually REALLY, REALLY, REALLY love what I do.
As I've gotten older, I've come to deeply appreciate the day in, day out routine of work and family.
I enjoy beach vacations, of course. But I've learned something about myself: I'm more content sitting at my computer crafting stories than I am most anywhere else in the world.
This used to be a problem, because with such a focused work ethic, I often felt I lacked the ability to appreciate the little things in life—the things I took time to notice only on vacation.
But then, slowly, over the course of many years, I learned that such an appreciation doesn't come by traveling to a distant location. It comes from being present right where I am, no matter where that is.
I've learned I can enjoy the beautiful sunsets while sitting in the park across the street from my house, just as much as I enjoy the sunsets on the beach 1200 miles away. I've learned I can harness the peace that the sunset brings—that I can really absorb it and let it impact me, right outside my front door.
I can enjoy a deep conversation with a friend right in the middle of a crazy book deadline, or embrace dinner with my family at the end of the busiest day of the month.
I challenge myself to focus on PRESENCE, everywhere I go, no matter what I'm engaged in at that moment. When I do this, joy from the daily routine starts to feel hauntingly similar to that delicious "vacation" feeling.
Does this mean I'm growing up? Perhaps growing wiser?
If so, then I guess growing up is a beautiful thing.
If my computer had human eyes (don't make me think about that too long—I might come up with another book premise), then my computer would be sick of my face, because I have been staring at it.
A whole, whole lot.
This is what I look like to my computer:
Or, would a computer's eyes be color blind?
It doesn't matter.
I am deep in the cave of a writing project.
I probably need to get back to work.
If you're on my email list, then I sent you a picture several months ago—a hint about my current work in progress. (A delicious YA fantasy.)
So back at it!
Hope your summer is full of sunshine!
Snapshot of my reading list over last handful of months ...
What are you reading these days???
Happy Summer!!! Is it summer?!? How is it summer already???
Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
Louder than Words by Todd Henry
In the Name of Jesus by Henri J.M. Nouwen
Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown
Leading from Within (an essay) by Parker Palmer
The Gift of Acabar by Og Mandino and Buddy Kaye
On Writing by Stephen King
A Guide to Confident Living by Norman Vincent Peale
The Five Second Rule by Mel Robbins
How to Be Here by Rob Bell
Indian Boyhood by Charles "Ohiyesa" Eastman
Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander (an awesome reread for me)
What is the Bible? by Rob Bell
Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr
Legends of the Fall by Jim Harrison
Quest for the Grail by Richard Rohr
Mrs. Perigrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Why Some Positive Thinkers Get Powerful Results by Norman Vincent Peale
Writing 21st Century Fiction by Donald Maass
A Song for Arbonne by Guy Gavriel Kay
Choose the Life You Want: The Mindful Way to Happiness by Tal Ben-Shahar
Finding God in the Waves: How I Lost My Faith and Found It Again Through Science by Mike McHargue
At a writer's retreat in TN this past week, I met a lovely English woman (who now lives in Texas), and her mum recently passed away. They held a funeral service for her mother, and it happened to be on this past Tuesday the 10th, the 4th anniversary of my own mother's passing.
All that to say, this lovely English lady emailed me a poem that was read at her mother's funeral, and I thought it was so, so good.
I thought some of you would appreciate it, if you have lost someone you love.
Let Us Be Contented, By Winston Churchill
Let us be contented with what has happened and be thankful for all that we have been spared.
Let us accept the natural order of things in which we move.
Let us reconcile ourselves to the mysterious rhythm of our destinies, such as they must be in this world of space and time.
Let us treasure our joys but not bewail our sorrows.
The glory of light cannot exist without its shadows.
Life is a whole, and good and ill must be accepted together.
The journey has been enjoyable and well worth making-----once.