Friday, October 30, 2009

Two birds, one stone.

I don't even know how to introduce this because this makes me so happy!

I found a way to not hate exercising.

And to find time to read.

Oh, yeah baby!

I have to exercise a certain amount of minutes every week for my wellness class. I hate exercising. A lot.

This week I switched from doing my time on the elipticals to a bike. The time seemed to go much faster on the bike because it was less torturous.

Then yesterday, I took a book with me. My 20 minutes of cardio went by sooo fast that I didn't even have time to think about how miserable I was. I don't even think I needed endorphins because I was so happy I got time to read!

I did 4 1/2 miles on a bike and read 30 some pages of The Poisonwood Bible. This is multitasking at its finest!

I have enough minutes for this week, but since I don't have any huge Friday night plans, I may have to go work out and read some more!

See? Books are also fat-burning and good for your health! This is why literature matters!

Dana Goia

I had a really cool opportunity Wednesday night to attend a lecture by poet Dana Gioia on why literature matters. I really didn't want to go because it if required for a class for English majors that I have to take even though I'm not an English major. However, this lecture was pretty interesting and entertaining at times. I didn't take notes on the lecture, so my thoughts will be a bit scrambled, but I had to share them with you!

Gioia's main point on why literature matters is because it influences your own life. Your life is a story you are writing every day. Literature can be a part of that story. At the end of the Lecture, Gioia answered questions from the audience. One asked what books especially influenced him at certain points of his life. This hit me right on, because I have a handful of books I will always treasure because of the role they played in my own story.

Another question he asked was how he thinks people should interpret poetry. Can the reader get something different out of the poem than the poet intended them to? Gioia says absolutely! He compared poetry to a room. You can get in the room by the front door, a window, the back door...whatever. When you enter the room, it is only partially furnished. You have to furnish the rest yourself.

It was interesting to hear the background story behind a poem before he even read it aloud. Although some people in my class thought that took something away from the poem, I really liked it. I also liked how Gioia read some serious poems but also some hilarious ones, "Alley Cat Love Song" in particular. Here's the first part:

Come into the garden, Fred,
For the neighborhood tabby is gone.
Come into the garden, Fred.
I have nothing but my flea collar on,
And the scent of catnip has gone to my head.
I'll wait by the screen door till dawn.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

WAIT! It's today?!


Off to work out, shower, get hair cut, run errands, do homework, pack, and head up to camp instead.

I can't believe I forgot about the read-a-thon!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Review: Before You Hit the Wall by Danny Lehmann

Yes! I finished a book! I normally don't review my devotional readings, but this one is exceptional because it is the first book I finished since June and because I really liked it

This book offers practical advice on how to shape up spiritually, advice that you could actually apply to your own life. Lots of books go on and on, telling the readers why they need to get more serious in their relationship with God, but few offer good advice on how to do so. Lots of books just say, "read your Bible. Pray." but Danny Lehmann tells us the most beneficial ways to read your Bible and pray, among other things. Lehmann is able to offer such good advice because he has done what he is telling his readers to do in his own life. Lehmann practices what he preaches. The techniques in the book work, because he has applied them to his own life. He speaks from experience.

Here are some bits of his advice:

-Read the Bible, but also spend certain times studying it within its context. There are times for both. When in an in-depth study, still find ways to apply what you are learning to your life. Answer the question "What does this passage mean to me?"(In my own reading, I have decided to write a little blurb about how what I read affected me in my journal instead of just writing down what I read.)

-Fill up chunks of free time like exercising, random time on the computer, or cleaning by listening to sermons you downloaded for free on itunes.

-Memorize scripture that means something to you by repeating it over and over in your head and spending an intentional few minutes every day specifically for scripture memorization.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Sunday Salon: Where I try not to get discouraged

This week, I read five chapters of a devotional book.

This is five times more reading for pleasure than I've done for the past four or five months but that doesn't mean I am happy with it. I'm thinking I need to commit to an hour or uninterrupted reading two or three hours a week. I think I can manage that. At that rate I should be able to read one average sized novel each week. On Wednesday night I am going home, but I won't get much opportunities to read. It will be hard to read during the read-a-thon because every day at school is a read-a-thon! Still, I'm going to try to make good progress on one book this weekend. Maybe, if I am ambitious, I will finish this poetry book I've been working on since June and promised a review to the author, who I personally know. Come to think of it, that sounds like a pretty reasonable goal!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Climbing on my soapbox...

(from"soap was delivered to stores years ago in sturdy wooden crates, which were recycled for many purposes (e.g., the Soap Box Derby, where children once made racing cars by attaching wheels to the basic box. Nowadays of course, their parents fund fiberglass molds for body parts, etc.) But one of the best uses for a soap box was as a portable "stage" for an orator to stand on, to rise above a crowd and make speeches. It was democracy at its most basic: get on your soap box, and harangue the assembled listeners."

Ok, enough education.

For some reason lately, I've been really into fighting for a more positive female body image. I click on news stories involving models and celebrities more now so I can look to see if they say something about it.

Of course, we've got Oprah talking about it, Dove has this campaign for it, but it has never truly caught on. Yes, we may have more important things to worry about but this problem is so simple, anyone can have a part in solving it. You don't need to have a whole bunch of money or political power or friends.

Sometimes you just need a pack of post-its and a pen.
This is one thing I am kind of obsessed with right now. has totally changed how I spend my free time. Instead of just sitting around, I write encouraging post-its to hang up on bathroom mirrors across campus. I can't wait until fall break when I will be able to hang more notes up in places other than my school!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: Weeding

"We’re moving in a couple weeks (the first time since I was 9 years old), and I’ve been going through my library of 3000+ books, choosing the books that I could bear to part with and NOT have to pack to move. Which made me wonder…

When’s the last time you weeded out your library? Do you regularly keep it pared down to your reading essentials? Or does it blossom into something out of control the minute you turn your back, like a garden after a Spring rain?

Or do you simply not get rid of books? At all? (This would have described me for most of my life, by the way.)

And–when you DO weed out books from your collection (assuming that you do) …what do you do with them? Throw them away (gasp)? Donate them to a charity or used bookstore? SELL them to a used bookstore? Trade them on Paperback Book Swap or some other exchange program?"


Technically, I've moved three times since June. I moved to camp in June and I had to pack up everything because my family was planning on moving at the time. When I got back from camp, I had to unpack and repack some things again for college. Then, a few weeks ago, my family actually moved. I keep on forgetting my address. I had my camp address memorized pretty well and then my college address, but I can't seem to remember my new home address and phone number!

I never really weed through my book collection. I don't have all that many. When I notice I have a book that I never read or never will read, I get rid of it. When I notice the children's books I saved for sentimental value are no longer so sentimental to me, I get rid of those too. In that case, those go to my little sister.

My big dilemma was which books I should bring with me to college. Most of my friends didn't bring any with them. I chose to bring classics and books that have the most chance of being required reading for a class as well as my favorite books that I'd like to reread again.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Library Loot October 14-20 2009

Yes, I actually do have some library loot! It is oh-so dangerous having a library with over 250,000 books in it within walking distance of where I live. I don't believe in love at first sight, but the first time I laid eyes on the library here, I fell in love (remember this post?

Now you know why. I give campus tours to prospective students and I love taking them into the library. In the past few days, I've had the opportunity to show two prospective students the library for the first time.

So, even though I don't have much time to read, I have two projects that I'm working on that require us to use a number of print sources. I'm quickly realizing how great this library is. Even on some really obscure subjects, there are several books on the topic! They even have several shelves of journalism related books. I'm in heaven. I don't normally read nonfiction for fun, but I may have to start!

So here's my loot. Most are for school projects but they are still fun ones!

I'm doing one speech on gender roles in children's toys and another speech on media bias, so that's what the first four books are for. The books for my media speech are really interesting, but they make me so mad that the media is so corrupt today.

What I've been up to since June!

The covered bridge on campus.
I graduated from high school. I look like big bird, hence the position my arms are in.

This is the only picture I have of someone doing dishes at camp. We were always doing dishes. And singing while doing dishes.
...and dancing... Christmas music...

The girls I lived and worked with all summer. Miss them so much!

Where the girls lived. The guys who worked at camp lived in a house down the road in the camp. I'd trade my dorm room in for the Roudybush (the name of our cottage) any day!
Now I'm at school and working in Catering on campus. I write for the newspaper (of course!) and do a whole bunch of random other things. I'm always busy. This week for instance, I had to designate certain days where I wouldn't schedule anything so I could actually get some homework done! I have a feeling I'll have to start doing that to do some pleasure reading done! I'm excited though. Two out of my three favorite books are required reading in some of my classes this semester. I'm reading Hamlet now for my English class and we're going to be reading The Poisonwood Bible soon for my first year seminar class...that is if my prof doesn't redo the whole calendar again.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


What a way to start reading again with a read-a-thon coming up soon!

The good news is that I'm going to be at home for fall break during the read-a-thon, but I'll only be able to read for about 7 hours. I'm heading up to the camp I worked at this summer for their fall party for the staff. I'm so excited to see everyone there! What a great combination, read-a-thon and seeing my camp friends!

I'm going to try something new, something dangerous, something blasphemous is you're one of those people who starts planning their read-a-thon list right after the previous read-a-thon ended. I'm not going to make a booklist. I'm not even going to research books to read. I'm going to read whatever I feel like reading and whatever we have laying around the house. If I think of a good book to read, I'll get it from the library but I am not making a huge pile like I did last time!

I'm going with the flow!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wait, what? We thought a sea monster had gobbled her up!

Au contraire, I'm still alive. After a odd and confusing circle of events, I decided I'm going to try my hardest to start reading and blogging again. I haven't read anything for pleasure in many months because of my summer job at camp and now because I'm in college, taking 17 credits and am involved in too much for my own good!

I'll post on what I've been up to in a little while, but since I am back, I have to change some things to make this blog something worth coming back to. I have so much going on already and a lot of it is stuff I have to do. I don't want reading and blogging to feel like another homework assignment, which is the LAST thing I need! Instead of trying to read as many books as I can, I'm going to read more for the fun of it rather than the competition of it. I'll reread books if I feel like it. I won't spend hours planning what books I'm going to order from the library. I'm going to go with the flow.

I'm going to savor the experience of reading. If I get a free moment here, it is truly a gift. I won't try to rush through books. If I want to underline and dogear pages I'll do that because it means I'm making the most out of my reading experience.

If I want to read a classic and not even stop to think about what the "Deeper meaning" of it is, that's fine! I'll be overanalyzing enough literature in my English class for my own good already!

I'll treat books like a good piece of dark chocolate. Slowly eat it as a rare treat and enjoy the experience, not out of duty but out of enjoyment.

(pssssst....thanks Eva)