Welcome 2010, it’s going to be a good year.

Last year I began an exercise regimen that successfully stopped the horrific weight gain (20 pounds!) that plagued me during 2008. Although I was able to stop the trend, I’m still sporting the extra pounds. Other accomplishments of note include surviving the 1st year of employment in a start-up working for my old employer and, even better, writing a novel. I also read the Bible in its entirety.

I only have a couple of resolutions for this year: Exercise more, eat less, read more, write more. And by that, I intend to do a bit of each of those 4 activities every day.

On the exercise front: we’ve acquired the Wii Fit Plus and we’re 4 days in. My DH and I have completed 30 minutes per day and we plan to continue the trend. I also have an exercise ball and a heart rate monitor. I’m all in. 30 minutes a day, minimum. Walking, Wii-ing or a tryst with Richard Simmons – it doesn’t matter which. My goal is to “Work it, baby!”

On the eating less front… well, yeah, I’ve got room for improvement there. I’ve never been good at counting calories. The best I can hope for is some amount of self control. Eating smaller portions, taking smaller bites, eating more slowly. I’m imagining things that are yet to be achieved. But I’ve got time to work on it. I’d like for dinner to start taking 20 minutes to eat instead of 2 minutes.
On reading and writing, here are the stack of books I currently have queued up, ready to read:
Under the Dome, by Stephen King
The Principle of the Path, by Andy Stanley
Same Kind of Different as Me, by Ron Hall and Denver Moore
When Bad Things Happen to Good People, by Harold S. Kushner
The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
A Man For All Seasons, by Robert Bolt
Obstacles Welcome, by Ralph de la Vega
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, by John Berendt
How Not to Write a Novel, by Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman
The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White
On Writing Well, by William Zinsser
A Twist at the End, by Steven Saylor
Reading Like a Writer, by Francine Prose
The Good, The Bad and the Lovely, by Fran Hart
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, by Renni Browne & Dave King
The Chronological Study Bible (NKJV)
The Complete C.S.Lewis (Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Abolition of Man, The Great Divorce, The Problem of Pain, Miracles, A Grief Observed), by C.S.Lewis
Adventuring Through the Bible, by Ray Stedman
The Marketing of Evil, by David Kupelian
Ten Things I Wish Jesus Never Said, by Victor Kuligin
The Eduction of Little Tree, by Forrest Carter
The Gospel According to Judas, by Benjamin Iscariot
Reading Judas, by Elain Pagels & Karen L. King
See Jane Lead, by Lois P. Frankel, PhD
The Christian Moral Life, by Timothy F. Sedgwick
Cure for the Common Life, by Max Lucado
If You Want to Walk on Water You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat, by John Ortberg
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror (short stories)
bird by bird, by Anne Lamott
Writing Mysteries, a handbook by the Mystery Writers of America
And the books I won at the Women of Faith conference:
Guys Are Waffles, Girls Are Spaghetti by Chad Eastham
Redefining Beautiful by Jenna Lucado
Take Your Best Shot by AustinGutwein
Knockout Entrepreneur by George Foreman
Beautiful Mess The Story of Diamond Rio

So, I’m wondering….if it’s in my stack am I obliged to read it? I think not. My goal is to hone my writing skills. To read like a writer. To write like a reader. To do both like a critic. I plan to write reviews as often as possible (or reasonable).
On writing, I intend to finish “God the Father: What I’ve Learned about Parenting from God and about God from Parenting” and I plan to complete 4 more drafts of my first novel (and then find a publisher). And I will write my 2nd novel. And, God willing, I’ll write a book about my travels to Asia.
Yes, 2010. I’m glad to meet you. It’s going to be a good year.

Bo’s Cafe – a Book Review

Bo’s Cafe is a novel by John Lynch, Bill Thrall and Bruce McNicol. The story tells of a man’s journey through the most challenging part of anyone’s life – overcoming the demons from the past that threaten the future. Steven, the main character, has unresolved issues which are creating problems for him in his home and in his office. A stranger enters his life, leading him to a place where he can learn to be himself as he’s meant to be.

Bo’s Cafe is like Cheers – it’s a place where problems can be aired and resolved in the company of friends. The patrons come together regularly for loving support. We all need this kind of support. I’m blessed because I’m already part of a group that meets regularly in a similar fashion (Wednesday mornings at an Einstein Bros. Bagels). I can personally attest to the blessing of this in my life. There is a tremendous freedom in being able to talk about anything and everything that’s on my mind (work, husband, kids, etc.) and knowing that I’ll get honest feedback and loving encouragement. This is God’s grace.
Although Bo’s Cafe is fiction, the story it tells is all too common. So many of us fall into the trap of trying to rely on our own inner strength, which results in things falling apart all around us. Steven’s tale is the sharing of good Christian counseling. I strongly recommend this book – read it and share it with others.
I won my copy and I’ll be passing on a copy. Go here to visit Bo’s virtual Cafe, to learn more about the book and share in the experience.

Fearless, by Max Lucado

From the first pages of Max Lucado’s Fearless I was intrigued and eager for more. He lays the foundation by asking, “Why are we afraid?” and outlining the many forms that fear takes. He makes such points as “fear doesn’t share our hearts with happiness” and “fear never saved a marriage”. Each chapter opens with scripture and is steeped in Biblical references. He puts scripture in context, ties in history, personal anecdotes and examples for immediate application.

I was especially taken by the fifth chapter, “My Child is in Danger.” The opening scripture is Luke 8:50. Max expands on the story of Jairus’ daughter who died before Christ arrived to heal her. Although other examples of parental love and faith are highlighted, Jairus’ tale is a shining reflection of Jesus valuing family and rewarding parents’ faith. Max reminds us that before our children are “ours” they are His.

“Pour out your heart like water before the face of the LORD. Lift your hands toward Him for the life of your young children.” (Lamentations 2:19) We’re encouraged by Max’s exhortations “Parents, we can do this. We can be loyal advocates, stubborn intercessors.” He creates a view of the grim alternatives if we don’t. How do we find balance, avoiding the extremes? By prayer! Pray for them and pray with them.

This hit close to my heart. I hope other parents embrace the prayerful parenting style. I trusted God with so much of my life but hoarded the burden of parenting, letting fear dominate.

Whether your weakness is fear for your children, your retirement, your own mortality or any of the other scenarios presented, there is surely something here for you. I often thought of people who might benefit from Max’s scripture-based lessons. There is a helpful section in the back for group or individual reflection on how fear can affect our lives and what we can do about it. I will be picking up extra copies of Fearless to share with some of the folks I love.

I am a member of Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger program: http://brb.thomasnelson.com/