Parenting exercises


There’s always a lot of talk around the water cooler, on social media, and among friends about what kind of exercise programs we are all “doing”.  My Facebook newsfeed is typically peppered with an array of cut biceps, flat abs, Beachbody ads, post-workout selfies, and inspiring weight-loss transformations.  When someone is doing something and getting great results, it makes the rest of us want to try it too, right?

But our bodies are not the only things that need exercising.  In fact, if you want to be really good at anything, you need to practice it.  In order to get good results, you have to work for them!  I do not have flat abs or cut biceps.  And my “after” picture looks suspiciously unchanged from my “before” picture, so I am unlikely to be an inspiration to you in the physical arena.  However, I am really invested in being the best mom possible.  I know that these kids o’ mine are a gift entrusted to me, and I have a huge responsibility in raising them.  To that end, I have developed some parenting exercises that really work for me.  Just like there are different categories of physical exercises–strength, cardio, flexibility, agility, and speed, there are several distinct types of parenting exercises.  I will share some very effective examples in each category, but would love to hear what others are doing as well!   If I can help or inspire just one person, it will all be worth it.  My methods are not yet patented, but I am considering it for the future.

Exercises in futility:

-Try to clean the house while your children are at home.  Go ahead, try it.  It’s about as effective as brushing your teeth while eating Oreos.  For those of you looking for an advanced version of this exercise, make sure your child is playing with or has full access to one or more of the following: Play-Doh, Moon-Sand, a Lego set containing a million tiny pieces, non-washable markers or paints, or glitter.

-Channel your inner June Cleaver and make homemade applesauce on a crisp fall day.  This is an exercise that can fill a whole day with futile activity if you wish, starting with a trip to the orchard to pick the apples, continuing with preparing the luscious, comforting applesauce in your kitchen and savoring the fragrance that fills your home, and ending with your children declaring that they don’t like this applesauce.  Can they have that kind that comes from the store instead?  You know mom, like in those little pouches?  For a less time-consuming variation on this exercise, try making homemade chicken fingers or macaroni and cheese, so the kids can tell you they like the stuff from a box better.

-Read a parenting book!  We all have something to learn when it comes to guiding our precious ones through the ups-and-downs of childhood.  There are a ton of resources out there, whether you want to become a more consistent and effective disciplinarian, help your child to self-regulate their emotions, or learn how to get your child to sleep through the night.  All you have to do is read the book, take careful notes, and spend the next few months carefully and consistently implementing all of the suggestions with the support of your partner.  Then, leave a review on Amazon telling everyone about how THAT BOOK WAS CRAP because your kids still don’t eat their vegetables/sleep through the night/do their homework without whining/play nice with their siblings, etc.  Just read a good novel next time.  At least you won’t feel like a failure after you’re done.

You don’t have to devote a ton a time or be an expert to do these  kinds of exercises.  Personally I find it quite easy to fit in my exercises in futility throughout my day, whether it is asking my kids to pick up their socks, trying to read a book undisturbed, or attacking the never-ending laundry pile.  Basically, anything you do over and over with no hope of meaningful or lasting change counts in this category. 

Exercises in humility:

-Attend your child’s parent-teacher conference.  This exercise is particularly fruitful with your firstborn’s first-ever parent-teacher conference, in which you naively assume that the teacher will spend the whole time talking about how sweet and perfect and smart and wonderful your little cherub is.  Like most first time exercises, you will be sore the next day.  The good news:  it gets easier every time you do it.

-Invite some old friends over for dinner. Make a nice dinner and wear actual pants in an effort to make a good impression.  Watch helplessly as your children slowly and systematically embarrass you in front of your company by repeatedly engaging in inordinate amounts of potty humor, partial nudity, horrible table manners, and tantrums.  In other words, they act like themselves, and you decide that you will no longer host dinner parties.

Exercises in frustration:

-Go do the grocery shopping.  Discover to your dismay that the grocery store moved the coffee aisle again in order to accommodate the Valentine’s day display, which was put up one whole day after Christmas.  Wander aimlessly about trying to track down everything on your list, taking 1.5 hours instead of your usual 1 hour secondary to the new floor plan.  Get home and realize you forgot the milk.  Repeat weekly.  Forget a different item on your list each time, to keep things interesting.

-Eat dinner with your family every night.  Prod you child repeatedly to eat her food, despite her insistence that she is not hungry.  Warn her there will be no dessert and no snacks after dinner if she does not eat, and listen to her comply willingly.  Then, sit back and wait for her to start whining 5 minutes after dinner that she is soooooo huuuuuungry, plllleeeease can I have a yogurt?

Exercises in anger management:

-start planning for your children’s summer break in March.  Plan a variety of camps throughout the summer, peppered with a few carefully placed weeks for down-time and family vacation.  Spend several hundred to several thousand dollars on this exercise, depending on your budget.  Then stifle your hysteria like a pro as your child comes home in September with their essay about their summer break, which reads, “My summer was pretty boring.  I didn’t do very much.  It was soooo boring.  I’m so glad school started so I don’t have to be bored anymore.”

-Plan family time!  It doesn’t matter whether you want to stay home with board games, movies and popcorn, or go out and explore all of the fun things your community has to offer.  I am sure that if you put enough time into it, you can plan something that will cause at least one member of your family to pout, whine, complain, or declare extreme boredom or their desire to go home.  What better way to practice shoving your anger deep, deep down?

The beauty of these exercises is that you get to do them all the time whether you want to or not!!  You don’t even need an accountability group.  Your exercises will be available to you all day, and often at random frustrating intervals throughout the night.  All for free.  No need to wait for motivation to strike, since opportunity is always knocking!  Now, let’s see some before and after pictures of THAT!

My epic fail, turned “Ulta”-mate win

The dawning of a New Year often brings with it a sudden need to GET ORGANIZED.  This urge struck me last Friday at work as I pawed through the never-ending abyss that is my purse, where whatever I need to find is always at the bottom.  When the digging and pawing become futile, I start taking things out, one by one.  The object that I am trying to find is always, ALWAYS, the last thing I pull out.  I just needed to find a hair elastic, for Pete’s sake, without emptying my purse all over my office.  I decided at that moment that this was the day I would clean out my purse, and I was going to do it on my lunch break before I got distracted or lost motivation.

So off I went at lunch, in search of some purse accessories.  I landed at Ulta, and found a cute set of 3 cosmetic pouches in varying sizes.  The two smaller ones were just the right size to organize some makeup and medicines I carry with me, and I had one left over which I figured would be handy for travel.  In the parking lot outside of Ulta, I proceeded to purge my purse of old receipts, expired coupons, used-up gift cards, garbage, and all the other randomness that got there somehow.  It felt really good.  I was heading into the New Year with an organized purse, fully knowing where to find my hair elastics, chapstick, and Dick’s Sporting Goods store rewards card.  I was completely in control of my life.  I gathered up all the trash and discarded items and put them in the bright pink Ulta bag, which I then threw away in my office trash can as I headed in to start my afternoon.

The next day was New Year’s Eve.  Am I the only one that hates New Year’s Eve?  I am inherently resentful of any “holiday” that demands that I must stay up past my bedtime in order to partake in its festivities.  Inevitably, my kids wake up at the same time as usual on New Year’s Day because they “can’t sleep in”, and they’re whiny, and I’m tired so I can’t handle their whining, and then the whole day is a big whiny, weepy disaster.  Anyhow, New Year’s Eve day was a Saturday, and we had things to do.  I had one kid sick with a fever, and the other had just gotten a prescription for eyeglasses, which we hadn’t yet had a chance to shop for due to the holidays.  I left the feverish one at home with daddy and set out to the optical store.

We picked out some frames, and then met with the optician who asked me for the prescription, which I had carefully stowed in a zip pouch in my purse that I use to store coupons, gift cards, and the like.  I reached in to retrieve it, but found it wasn’t where I left it. I started going through all my new pouches, my anxiety mounting with each zip and unzip.  I knew I had that yesterday! Where did I put it?  Also missing–a money order that my parents had given me as a Christmas gift.  A feeling of dread washed over me.  I must have thrown them in the trash when I cleaned out my purse yesterday!

My anxiety turned to full on panic.  I’m sure I looked like a crazy woman as I hastily shoved the frames we had chosen back on the display and ran out of the store bumbling my self-depreciating stream of consciousness, dragging Leah behind me, who was now crying because now she wasn’t getting her glasses as anticipated.  I raced home to drop her off and then drove the 25-minute commute, sans rush-hour traffic, to my office.  I cursed myself the whole way.  How could I be so stupid?  Seriously, does this stuff happen to other people?  I try to get organized and end up shooting myself in the foot.  Also, there goes my productive morning–I’m driving to work on a Saturday in my sweats to try to retrieve something from a trash can.  What has happened to me??

What were the chances that the cleaning crew didn’t empty my trash can last night?  It was a holiday weekend, maybe they didn’t come at the usual time?  Maybe they didn’t empty the trash can in my office where I remember throwing everything out, that happened sometimes.  A little seed of hope sprouted up in me as I let myself in the back door of the building.  My hope quickly deflated, though, as I rushed through the back hallways and observed the pristine condition of the office.  The floors were neatly vacuumed, and all the trash cans had new liners in them.  I got to my office and hung my head.  The garbage can was empty.  Empty!  OK, maybe he emptied the trash into that big yellow roll-y can I see him pushing around.  I wonder where he keeps that?  Do we have a cleaning closet here?  I’ve been working here almost 4 years–why don’t I know that?  I circled around the maze of hallways, searching for clues.  There was one room where I know we keep the paper shredding stuff, but it was locked.  Could it be in there?  It would make sense to have garbage and paper shredding in the same room.  I grabbed a paperclip and tried to jimmy the lock.  This did not work the way it does in the movies, in that it did not work at all.  I couldn’t think of anywhere else to look.  Except….the dumpster.

I had never noticed whether our office had a dumpster or not (because I never needed to notice), but with an office this size, there must be one close by.  I rushed outside and scanned the parking lot.  There it was, tucked in the back, unassumingly bricked in behind a little wall.  It would make sense for the cleaning crew to take the trash right out the the dumpster.  It was my last hope.

I swung open the steel door that hid the dumpster from the parking lot, and climbed up.  There were about 4 bags in there, and some random loose trash littering the bottom.  I had already committed to this when I drove down here.  I wasn’t about to give up now.  I am a lot of things, but I am no quitter.

I hung my head and arms into the dumpster, perching my waist on the edge, grabbed the bag closest to me, and ripped it open like a racoon.  I looked for signs of familiarity, but found only generic-looking medical office cast-offs.  Nothing gross, but nothing familiar either.  I grabbed the second bag.  This one looked more promising.  There was a ton of crumpled up Christmas gift wrap, which looked like it could have been from our office decorating contest.  A few lunch remains, and some coffee filters.  But it looked like our coffee.  The hope rose up again as I grabbed the third bag and ripped it open.

I saw a box from Leo’s bakery.  Wait–we had donuts from there yesterday!!  Some stale cookies leftover from that cookie exchange day!  I recognize those!  And then, then—I saw it.  The bright pink Ulta bag.  I grabbed it, trembling, and peeked inside.  There, admidst the old receipts and customer loyalty cards that I never used, was the money order from my parents and the eyeglass prescription.  I cheered–take that 2016!!  I am going out victorious!!

Let me pause here for a moment to address a few questions I know you may be asking yourself.  “Tracy, why didn’t you just call your parents and have them stop payment on that money order, and then call the doctor and have them write you a new eyeglass prescription?  Wouldn’t that have been much easier than digging through a dumpster?”  Those are excellent questions, and indeed I pondered doing just that, but decided against it for the following reasons:

a) Leah had already waited more than a week for us to find a time when the optical store hours overlapped with my “free time”, and if I had to wait until the doctor’s office opened after the holiday, it would have pushed the whole affair into the following weekend, during which time she is still unable to see and this task continued to languish on my never-ending to-do list.

b) I wasn’t sure if it was as easy to stop payment on a money order as it is on a check, but I felt it was potentially more dangerous if that item in particular fell into the wrong hands.

c)  If it was possible, and I did go the route of asking my parents to cancel that money order, I would have had to call my dad and tell him that I literally threw money in the garbage.  No thank you.  Tony has been accusing me of throwing money away, figuratively, my whole life.  I would never live that down.

d)  I can’t sleep at night thinking there was money in the garbage and it was my fault.

e)  I’m and adult, and I solve my own problems, dammit.  Sometimes I do so in the least glamorous way, because I’m me.

By the way, Jeff just asked me, “what are you blogging about today?”  I told him, “My epic fail”.  He says, “Which one?”  Perhaps this should be the start of a special series, in which I tell you of all my epic fails.  That could take a while.

 

I look like crap in this picture. But this is the makeup-less, un-showered face of a WINNER.

All the books I read in my sweats in 2016

It’s no secret:  I love reading.  If there was a way for me to sit on my couch in my comfy pants and read all the books I wanted to read and get paid for it–with health care, vision, dental, and a 401 K–well, can you say dream job?  Alas, I have yet to find a professional opportunity that meets that description.  I would have really made an excellent librarian though, can’t believe I didn’t think of that at the tender age of 18 when committing myself to a lifelong profession even though I hardly knew anything about myself then and yet I had to make all these ridiculously important choices that would permanently alter the course of my life and shape me forever.  ANYWAY.  Since I don’t want to go back to school to be a librarian, and nobody seems to want to pay me to read books in my sweats, I have to do it on my own time, for free.  So, I thought it would be fun to share all the books I read (in my sweats) in 2016:

Go Set a Watchman–Harper Lee ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I am embarrassed to say that I never read To Kill a Mockingbird until last year.  I know most people read this book in high school, but for some reason, it was never on my reading list.   I didn’t have much of an interest in picking it up as an adult because it was a “school book”, which sounded like it wouldn’t be much fun.   When I finally did read it last year, I discovered why it is a timeless classic.  Truth be told, I don’t know if I would have fully appreciated such a work as a high school student.  I probably would have rushed through it and missed all of the nuances of the book.  So, after falling in love with TKAM, I was quite excited to read Ms. Lee’s long-awaited sequel.

Her writing is beautiful and thought-provoking, with our favorite characters from TKAM all grown up.  I do love Scout, so feisty and idealistic, ready to take on the world and unwilling to conform to the expectations of her small-town upbringing.  It is so interesting (and infuriating) to me that the issues of race and white supremacy are still as relevant today as when she  published TKAM in 1960.

The buzz when this book came out was that it portrayed Atticus as a racist, which turns out to not be entirely true.  Atticus, like all of us, is a mix of dark and light, good and bad, redeeming and unredeeming qualities.  We see him trying to live out his moral convictions in a very broken society that does not share his views and is fiercely trying to maintain the status quo.  As the story unfolds, we see Scout’s perception of Atticus change, as it does for all of us when we grow up and find out that our parents are just people, with flaws and faults, and the pedestal we had placed them on starts to topple.

Overall, I loved the book, mostly because of my preexisting relationship with the characters.  I found the plot less compelling than TKAM, but still a good follow-up to this classic.

 

How to be here: A guide to creating a life worth living–Rob Bell  ⭐️⭐️

Rob Bell just seems like he is everywhere these days, so I needed to check out at least one of his books.  I still want to read some of his other offerings, but this one left me feeling a little flat.  It was a pretty quick read with short, manageable chapters and upbeat, encouraging language for all you optimists out there.  His main point is that we are all part of the ongoing work of creation, and therefore all work is creative work.  We need to find our “ikigai” (a Japanese word meaning our “reason for being”), which is constantly evolving, and learn about our own selves and our gifts so that we can offer the world the fullest expression of ourselves.  Overall, I found the content…forgettable.  And maybe just a little too shiny-happy-people-holding-hands for my taste.  Which makes me wonder if I missed the point of the book.  Full disclosure, I did read this book when I was very sick with a sinus infection and hopped up on cold medicine, so it is possible I did not absorb HTBH it to its fullest extent.
When Helping Hurts–Steve Corbett  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I read this book in preparation for my short-term missions experience in April, and it rocked my world.  As a Christian, I have been socialized to go out in the world and help others, show mercy through action, and to do good in His name.  Those of us who live in privileged Western societies sometimes look beyond our borders and see our brothers and sisters in third-world countries suffering hunger, thirst, war, and oppression and we feel the natural desire to help.  Often, our efforts toward poverty alleviation are directed closer to home.  This book explores how our efforts both at home and abroad, though well-intentioned, can actually cause harm to those we set out to serve by reinforcing dependence, robbing people of their dignity, setting up an unequal relationship that fosters a “God-complex”, and even suppressing the local economy through donations and relief aid.  There are many excellent stories and examples in the book, along with practical strategies for those who wish to be involved in poverty alleviation.  I plan to read this one again, as the content is rich and I will need to refresh my memory on the concepts in this book.

 

Reconstructing Amelia–Kimberley McCreight  ⭐️⭐️⭐️

This one was a serious page turner, and I was excited to read it, since some had lauded it as “the next Gone Girl“.  I read this shortly after my birthday in my new hammock, and finished it in a week.  The plot is a modern day mystery, with a teenage girl found dead after falling off the roof at school.  Her mother is unable to accept the school’s explanation that her daughter Amelia committed suicide, and sets to work piecing together clues to find out what happened to her daughter.  The story was compelling and kept me reading, but I was unsatisfied with the ending.  I think it was a decent read, especially if you are looking for a “summer beach read”.  However, it was far too one-dimensional to be “the next Gone Girl“, which, in my opinion, was brilliantly crafted.

 

All the light we cannot see–Anthony Doerr ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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This is a beautiful work of historical fiction, set in occupied France during World War II.  This book was highly acclaimed and the winner of a Pulitzer Prize, and I agree that the writing is beautiful and the plot very interesting.  However, there were several times I got a little weighed down by the descriptive prose, and the story sometimes moved a little too slow for my taste.  That aside, I am sure this much-loved novel will become a classic.

 

 
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear–Elizabeth Gilbert ⭐️⭐️⭐️

This one I enjoyed as an audio book on our way to the Adirondacks for our summer vacation.  It was pretty interesting to listen to, and had some good advice for artists and non-artists alike about how to let go of fear and embrace your inner creativity.  There are some good stories and anecdotes, and the book is well written.  While it is interesting to get a peek into Ms. Gilbert’s creative process, I found this book very…self-promoting (I had similar feelings about Eat, Pray, Love).  She talks about herself a lot.  It reads more like a memoir, though it is not advertised in that genre.  Generally speaking I find her, as a person, quite insightful.  I follow her on Facebook and usually find her to be encouraging, brave, and authentic.  Did I feel inspired to tap into my creative side by the time I completed the book?  Yes.  Was I also tired of hearing Liz G. talk about herself?  Yes.  P.S.-Don’t tell Liz I said that about her book, I really want her to like me.
Homegoing–Yaa Gyasi ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

If I had to describe this book in one word:  WOW.  Blew me away.  This brilliant story chronicles the lives of two half-sisters in Ghana in the 18th century.  One sister is sold into slavery and travels from the Gold Coast of Africa to America, and the other sister is married off to a slave trader and remains in Ghana.  The story then follows the family lines of both sisters over the ensuing centuries, exploring the contrasting cultural, racial, socioeconomic, and family issues that arise on both sides.  Historical fiction is my absolute favorite genre!  I learned so much about the African slave trade while highly engaged in this compelling story.

 

 

The Book of Negroes–Lawrence Hill ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Listen up.  You need to read this book.  I am officially bestowing unto The Book of Negroes the award for my favorite book out of all the books I read this year in the category of fiction.  That is a big deal, people.  Extra points because the author is Canadian!  Way to represent the homeland Mr. Hill.  This book just broke my heart over and over and left me spent and exhausted and emotionally drained in the absolute best way by the end.  Doesn’t that sound fun?  A light read it is not, but I am not a big fan of those “fluffy” beach reads.  This here is something you can sink your teeth into.  I can’t even tell you anything about the plot because I don’t want to spoil it.  Just read it for yourself.

 

 

Love Warrior: A Memoir–Glennon Doyle Melton ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This book was so highly anticipated for me because I am a Glennon Doyle Melton fangirl.  I loved her first book, Carry On Warrior, and I am an avid follower of her blog, Momastery.  And yes, I took a short trip Atlanta to see her when she was on her book tour, and it was awesome.  And now I sound like a groupie.  Or a stalker.  Anyhow, what I love about her writing is her honest, authentic voice.  There is no facade here, no putting her best face forward so that what people see and hear is some cropped and perfected and photo-shopped version of her.  In Love Warrior, Glennon gives us the gift of her pain, and what she learned about herself from it.  She doesn’t sugar-coat her journey or tie it up all neat with a bow by the end, or give you 10 simple steps to work through it.  Her story is both nothing and everything like my own journey.  This one wins the award for my favorite book out of all the books I read this year, in the category of non-fiction.
Haiti: The God of tough places, the Lord of burnt men–Richard Frechette ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This is a sweet little book full of essays by Father Rick Frechette, who is both a Catholic priest and a medical doctor.  He is the medical director for NPH Haiti and St. Damien’s Pediatric Hospital in Port-au-Prince.  I had the privilege of  hearing Father Rick speak at an event at a local church and it was so interesting and beautiful to hear from this humble, godly man and to witness his devotion to this country and its people.  Thanks to my good friend Kris for loaning me her copy, which is still on my nightstand needing to be returned!  I guess Kris and I should have lunch sometime soon so I can get that back to her!

 

Mudbound–Hillary Jordan ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I was actually really surprised by how much I loved this book.  It ended up being one of my top 5 favorites this year.  I downloaded it on my Kindle because it was available at the library and I wanted something to read that week, and it turned out to be a real standout.  Set in 1946 on the Mississippi Delta, the author explores the issues of racism, white supremacy, and racial violence in the Jim Crow south, telling us the story of two war heroes (one black, one white) who returned to their families at the end of WWII.  The character development in this book was top-notch.  I can’t wait to read what she writes next.

 

 

Wild: From lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail–Cheryl Strayed ⭐️⭐️⭐️

This well-publicized memoir was a good read, but I saw the movie before I read the book so I think I probably spoiled if for myself.  I liked reading about the author’s personal journey through grief and addiction toward wholeness, but some of the details in the book became repetitive after a while.  (Spoiler alert:  lots of hiking with unpredictable weather, and her feet were sore a lot!)  Overall, a well-written book by an author whose 20’s were way more eventful than mine.

 

 

 

Changing our MindDavid P. Gushee ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be:  IMPORTANT.  This book explores the issues of homosexuality and homosexual marriage in the modern Christian church, and argues for full inclusion and acceptance of LBGTQ people in the church.  As an evangelical Christian, I have struggled over the years with how to reconcile what I have always been taught in the church about homosexuality and gay marriage with my own personal beliefs and the changing political landscape of our day.  This book addresses the issues from a biblical perspective, as the author takes us on his personal theological journey from one side of the coin (against homosexual relationships and gay marriage in the Christian church) to the other (in support of inclusion and homosexual marriage).  This book contains a lot of wisdom, and I think it would be helpful for anyone wrestling with questions about this issue, whether or not you come to the same conclusion as the author by the end of the book.
Mountains beyond mountains: The quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a man who would cure the worldTracy Kidder  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This book is a biography of Paul Farmer, an American physician who started working in Haiti very early in his career as a medical student and ended up co-founding Partners In Health, a non-profit organization currently operating in some of the world’s poorest countries with the goal of bringing modern medicine to the world’s poorest communities by providing a “preferential option for the poor”.  This was a fascinating read about a very quirky, driven, idealistic man with big dreams and a lot of tenacity.  The writing was excellent.  I tried to read one of the books that Farmer himself wrote earlier this year and wasn’t able to get through it due to the boredom quotient, but this one kept me reading.

 

The road back to you: An Enneagram Journey to self-discovery–Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I heard about this book on another blog I follow, and I loved it!  The Enneagram sounds very New Age, but it is really an ancient wisdom tradition that provides a model of looking at the human personality and behavior.  For those of you who are familiar with other personality theories, such as the Meyers-Briggs model, this is similar, though also in a category of its own.  The Enneagram divides personality into nine types, and this book describes each in detail with the goal of discovering more about your own type to lead you into greater self-understanding and self-compassion.  I discovered that I am a classic “One” on the Enneagram, and was able to understand more about the other types as well (and also identify the “numbers” of many of my loved ones and friends!).  I definitely want to read another book on this topic next year.  This was more of an overview, for those who are new to the concept.

 

So, what’s on my reading list for next year?  So far I plan to read:

I know why the caged bird sings: Maya Angelou  I am half-way through this one, but didn’t finish it in time to put it on my 2016 list!  My first Maya Angelou book.  I am late to the party.

Falling Upward: Richard Rohr  Waiting for me at the library right now!  Can’t wait!

The Silent Sister: Diane Chamberlain  Also waiting at the library!

The Nightingale: Kristin Hannah  My sister loaned me this one at Christmas.  Both my mom and my sister gave this top marks.  It will have to wait a month or so until after I finish the library books.

The Other Boleyan Girl: Phillipa Gregory  Also on loan from my sister, who has great taste in books.

The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective: Richard Rohr  As a follow-up to The Road Back to You.  I recently learned about Richard Rohr and I am becoming a junkie.

The Underground Railroad: Colson Whitehead  So excited to read this one after hearing rave reviews about this award-winner.

Breath, Eyes, Memory: Edwidge Danticat  This was published almost 20 years ago, but after finding out that the author is Haitian, and the story is set in Haiti, I definitely want to read it.

So, talk to me!  What did you read this year?  What do you hope to read next year?  I gotta go, I have a lot of reading to catch up on!!  So many books, so little time!