Tuesday, May 31, 2016

{book report} My Latest Reads // May


As my part of my Learn goals for 2016, I'm reading a variety of styles and genres of books in the attempt to discover new ideas and expand my horizons.  My goal is to read at least 25 this year, of which I'm keeping track on Goodreads.  Are you over there?  Let's connect!

Feeling nauseous for most of the month led itself to a lot of reading on the couch.  It was a good distraction from the yuck and helped me stay awake when all I really wanted to do was snooze!  Not too many notes on each this month - I'll do better in June.

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
Even at over 500 pages, this book was a page turner!  A haunting mystery with lots of intersecting story lines.  I enjoyed it.

Running: A Love Story by Jen A. Miller
Not exactly the book I thought it would be, but I blew through it in two days anyway.  Lots of pain and poor relationship choices had me cringing for the author, but I definitely could relate to and appreciated her love for running.  It also had me considering a full marathon someday.

When I Found You by Catherine Ryan Hyde
This one was part of our book club picks for May.  I felt like it moved slowly, but now I'm thinking that it may have felt that way coming off my previous two reads.  Just okay for me.
  
My Year of Running Dangerously: A Dad, a Daughter, and a Ridiculous Plan by Tom Foreman
I LOVED this book.  Obviously, I'm living vicariously through other runners since pregnancy has put me on the sidelines again.  I'm missing a half marathon in July and these running memoirs both help and put a little salt in the wound.  Anyway, my own father influenced me to start running and this book brought all those feelings back again.  I loved the play by play of training and racing...as I'm sure only runners can understand.  I'm SO excited to get back out there after this baby's born and maybe go for the full marathon someday too.

Bakhita: From Slave to Saint by Roberto Italo Zanini
I had read about 75% of this a few months ago and for whatever reason, set it down unfinished.  Knocked out those last few pages and now feel like I have a special new saint in my corner.  Her story is beautiful.

Bloodroot by Amy Greene
A new genre for me this year: Appalachian fiction.  While it started slowly, I really enjoyed the writing, even if the plot involved a lot of poverty and family violence.  Haunting.

The Martian by Andy Weir
This book was recommended from all over, so I thought I would give it a try.  At first, I thought it was WAY too nerdy and science class for me...I definitely kept telling Mark, "THIS is what everyone's raving about?!"  But by the end, I could see the appeal.  Hoping we can rent the movie next. 


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My Reading in Numbers

Books Read this Month: 7
Total Books Read this Year: 18
Books Read for the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2016 Challenge: 4
A book published this year
A book you've been meaning to read
A book chosen for me by my spouse
A book you can finish in a day

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

{learn goals} What I Learned in April & May

{via}


(1) IT'S OKAY TO TAKE SOME TIME TO COAST.
I put a lot of pressure on myself to live every day to the fullest.  Be on top of things, knock out those to-do lists, live that full and exciting life.  But sometimes that mentality just isn't realistic and I've learned that's it totally okay to let myself off the "seize the day" hook for a little while.  Slow down, enjoy my kids by just being together, remove all the extras and just breathe for awhile.

(2) SOMETIMES SELF CARE MEANS LIGHTENING YOUR LOAD A BIT.
I'm an out of control busybody and I love a full plate.  But due to some physical and emotional health issues, I forced myself to take a step back from many much-loved activities.  I eased up on this blog, passed the torch for #5Faves, worked less on Big White Farmhouse and even stepped back from actively participating in my book club.  I love each of those things SO much and they bring me a lot of joy, but I also knew it would be beneficial to not do all.the.things.  In the process, I gained a lot of head space (my brain not constantly swirling with ideas and tasks), slept better and even had a smaller to-do list.  I hope to reintroduce those activities back into my life, but not at the expense of my health.   

(3) MY SON MAY HAVE A LEARNING DISABILITY, BUT IT CERTAINLY DOESN'T DEFINE HIM.
After months of personal research, we are finally getting him officially assessed for dyslexia and hoping it provides an avenue for extra help.  We have made HUGE strides this year at home, but I can still see doubt and frustration come through when he struggles.  BUT.  We just got his standardized testing scores back (mandatory for homeschoolers in our state) and he scored above average. Above average!  I sobbed and sobbed in thanksgiving that what I know in my heart is true - it may take him longer than others, but he is such a smart little boy.  Now if I can continue to tell him so he starts to believe it too.

(4) I HAVE A LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE INTERNET.
This is probably ironic being that I have an online business and love to write this blog.  But sometimes too much is too much.  Too much negativity, too much stimulation....I needed to shut it all off and look at life around me with clear eyes.  I think the reset is so helpful to re-evaluate why/how I use the Internet, rid myself of bad habits (scroll, scroll, scrolling....) and re-prioritize the people/things that may have been pushed aside.  I'm still full of questions: how much is too much sharing when it comes to my kids?  Is this a waste of time?  Do readers doubt my sincerity or think I'm a sell-out based on what I share?  Do I even care?  Is it time to just shut the whole thing down?  No real answers yet, but the struggle is real.        

(5) YOU MAY HAVE SEEN THIS COMING, BUT I SURE DIDN'T.



Remember all those feelings of something being off?  Laugh along with me, friends.  This was a bit of a shock and surprise, but after letting the news sink in a bit, we're happy and excited to add to our crazy crew.  Baby #6 due in December.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

{five favorites} #5Faves is Now Over at The Koala Mom!

Hey there, friends.
There have been a lot of changes happening (with big decisions to make) around here, both with my sweet little family and this Big White Farmhouse blog.  I've been praying earnestly for direction for months and getting crickets in return...or so I thought.  God definitely works in mysterious ways.  I'll probably share some of my family's news, but that's a story for another day.  Today's all about this blog.  

I have been writing in this space for almost five years now and it's seen its share of ebb and flow.  For the past 18 months, I really revved up the frequency, posting at least three times a week.  Truth be told, I've loved it!  This blog has been a journal, a memory keeper and a safe place to grow into myself.  But I'm feeling the nudge to step back a bit.  I think I'll still pop in, but won't be holding myself to any schedule or plan.  I'm not sure if the Big White Farmhouse has run its course, but it's definitely something I'm praying about.    

SO.  I've passed on the baton for the Five Favorites linkup.  It's been a fun six months and I have met so many sweet ladies.  I am so, so thankful for the ones who have returned week after week!  Starting this week, the linkup will be hosted by Bonnie at The Koala Mom.  Be sure to hop on over and say hello!

xo,
Ashley
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