bibliography | book review | book reviews

Reading: December 2017

By on January 2, 2018

I did this a little bit backwards – introducing my new book list for 2018, before compiling my last post of 2017. I honestly didn’t finish that many books this past month and I was just to excited to plan for the next year! Here’s a brief look at December and a quick highlight of my favorite books of 2017.

Currently

A Touch of the Infinite: Studies in Music Appreciation with Charlotte Mason – I’m honestly sort of pre-reading this to see if I want to buy it. It’s on loan from a friend and so far I’m thinking it would be a super helpful addition to my growing library.

A Wind in the Door – my daughter and I started this last night. It’s the second in the quartet of L’Engle’s time books. I’m quickly becoming a huge fan of her writing and I’m excited to read this one and hopefully work through the whole set this year.

Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life – This was a Christmas gift and one that had been on my list for a while. I’m attempting to read it super slowly and really sit with each chapter and journal through it. It’s so good though that I want to just keep reading.

Seaman: The Dog Who Explored the West with Lewis & Clark – this is one I’m reading along with my daughter this term

The Princess & the Goblin – another book I’m reading along with my daughter for school this term. It’s been on my to-read list for years, so I’m excited to finally be working through it.

The Mill and the Floss – this is a carry over from last year’s list and it’s a doozy so hopefully I can mange to get through it on top of all the other reading I need to do.

Pride & Prejudice – this is February’s book club book so I need to get started on it. It will be a re-read for me, but it’s been a million years since I read it

Finished

Ready, Player One – this one had been on my to-read list forever and since the movie is coming out, my son is interested in reading and seeing it. I liked it and enjoyed all the 80s references. I’m not a huge gamer, nor have I ever, so I wasn’t totally into all the video game stuff. It was a little bit scary to read after reading The Shallows and what the internet is doing to us for sure. I was frustrated by all the sexual parts they threw in there, because it really almost felt like the author was just trying to be edgy – even with the language too. I’m mostly fine with language in a book if it fits with the character and I just didn’t feel like it fit with the main character all that much. Overall it was pretty good.

The Moth Presents All These Wonders: True Stories about Facing the Unknown – I’m not one to read short stories, but I do appreciate The Moth Podcast so this was interesting. I’m not sure there are any of the stories that were life changing or I’ll remember. But it was a good before bed read.

An Echo of Murder by Anne Perry – I’m a longtime fan of Anne Perry and the last book of hers I read I really didn’t like. This one was much improved. Still not as good as she was years ago, but I guess when you’ve written like a million mystery books at some point you become pretty predictable.

Favorites of 2017

For Non-Fiction: I really loved The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains just for all the things it prompted me to consider in my life as I use the internet and as I live with a family of people who love it too. I also really enjoyed The Seamstress by Sarah Bernstein. It was a hard story to read, as it is a World War II story of concentration camps, but it was a portion of that history that was new to me.

For Fiction: I really enjoyed Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers for all the things I learned about Van Gogh and just how crazy he was. I also enjoyed
The Ocean at the End of the Lane as my first forray into Neil Gaiman. I’m excited to try and read more of his work this year if I can. I also really loved Swallows and Amazons – it reminded me a lot of all the running around my neighborhood I did as a child and really wished my kids had the same memories, but the world has just changed so much.

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bibliography | book review | book reviews

Reading: 2018 Book List

By on January 1, 2018

Last year I made an attempt to make a master to-read list and challenged myself to write every month about the books I was working through. I am super excited that I think I hit every month! My master list from last year is here and you can find all the posts for the year here. I’m also active on Goodreads so you can follow me there and see exactly what I’m reading.

Believe it or not, it’s the first day of 2018, so it’s time for a new list and this year I have a feeling is going to be a bigger challenge. I’m actually involved in a couple of book clubs, I’ve got gobs of pre-reading to keep up with for homeschooling and tons of personal reading I want to do too. Somehow I am going to have to figure out how to make more hours in the day appear. You might notice that some of these will be a carry over from 2017 and the books I’m reading for book clubs are marked with a *. Here’s my list for 2018.

Fiction

The Mill on the Floss
This Must Be the Place
Half a Yellow Sun
America’s First Daughter
Station Eleven*
Lilac Girls
Jaybar Crow
Our Souls at Night
Pride and Prejudice*
Alias Grace*
The Book of Three*
David Copperfield*
The Good Earth*
God’s Smuggler*
Brave New World*
The Man Who Invented Christmas*

Non Fiction

In the Heart of the Sea*
The Hiding Place*
The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams by Zaleski
First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies by KA Brower
12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You*
Paradox of Choice
Great Possessions
Out of the Ashes by Esolen
Reading People by A. Bogel
The Story of Happy Marriage

Personal Growth

On the Shoulders of Hobbits
You Learn by Living by E. Roosevelt
Bandersnatch
Tending the Heart of Virtue
The Writing Life by A. Dillard
Beate Not the Poore Desk
Different: The Story of an Outside-the-Box Kid and the Mom Who Loved Him
Home Education by C. Mason

Spiritual Growth

The Great Divorce*
Attentive Life by L. Ford
In the Name of Jesus and/or Love Henri, Letters on the Spiritual Life by H. Nouwen
Again by L. Tankersley
Orthodoxy by Chesterton
Liturgy of the Ordinary
The Lifegiving Table: Nurturing Faith through Feasting, One Meal at a Time

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aconstantpursuit | intentions | journal

A New Year

By on

O Lord,
Length of days does not profit me except the days are passed in thy presence, in thy service, to thy glory.
Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides, sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour, that I may not be one moment apart from thee,
but rely on thy Spirit to supply every thought,
speak in every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote o faith,
and give me a desire to show forth thy praise, testify thy love, advance thy kingdom.
I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year, with thee, O Father, as my harbour,
thee, O Son at my helm,
thee, O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.
Guide me to heaven with my loins girt, my lamp burning, my ear open to thy calls, my heart full of love, my soul free.
Give me thy grace to sanctify me, thy comforts to cheer,
thy wisdom to teach, thy right hand to guide,
thy counsel to instruct, thy law to judge,
thy presence to stabilize.
May thy fear by my awe,
thy triumphs my joy.

~ from The Valley of Vision

**photo credit Will Davis

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year in review

2017 Year in Review

By on December 29, 2017

If I think back over some goals I had set for myself years ago, this year would have been the banner year for meeting those. From published articles to Etsy orders to Instagram and even reading – there were so many goals I set for myself and I have to admit I’m a little proud (and amazed and humbled) at this year.

Etsy

I sold almost 50 pdf patterns this year. And for someone whose been longing to develop that part of her shop for a while, it was a huge boost. I’ve been working to redraft all my patterns over the past couple of years and I think I’ve updated almost all of them; including restitching the ones I hadn’t made for a while. By far my most popular patterns are my Christmas ones.
I didn’t do as much custom embroidery has I have in years past. I stitched about half a dozen custom family portraits and did just a few custom typography type orders. Here’s a few of my top favs from this year:

Custom Wedding Vows
Untitled

UntitledUntitled

This was the first full year I officially hung up my shoe embroidery business and I honestly I wasn’t sad to see it go. I had a great run for a few years and it’s crazy how many shoes I had my hands in!

One huge goal I have for next year is to start making dolls. I’m not sure where this is headed, but it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. This first little pocket doll (prompted by my little pocket mermaid) made me super proud and I’m excited to develop this even more.

Untitled

Published!

This year I had the joy of having two magazine articles – one for the December/January issue of Sew News and one for the August issue of One Thimble. Both were a great experience and projects I really am proud of and enjoyed making.

Sew News Dec/Jan 2017

One Thimble August 2017

I also worked with the DMC Designer Program for most of the year and was a part of the Buttons Galore and More Team for the last half of the year. Both of those experiences were definitely stretching and good in many ways. The Buttons Galore team is finished and I’m hoping to be able to do more with DMC, but we shall see where that goes as they had a change in leadership of the program about half way through the year.

Books Read:

A lot! I read nearly 50 that I recorded on Goodreads and that probably doesn’t count the ones I forget to record that I’m prereading or reading along with for homeschooling. 2018 will be a little different in regards to books, because I’m holding myself to joining a book club that reads a new book for every month. I also have a HUGE stack of books that I want to read this year and I know that the only way that will happen is by spending less time online. Check back for a bookish post in the next week or so.

Getting Social:

I closed up my daisyeyes facebook page. I honestly didn’t use it and I’ve come to rely on facebook pretty much for getting info from the groups I’m part of. Instagram on the other hand got a little out of hand. I love it (although the way it’s all curated now is totally annoying – as in when they dropped the chronological feed it really destroyed the beauty of the app) and I can get lost looking at it all day long. I love posting pictures and I garnered more followers than I could imagine (although I’m sure most of them are bots). I decided to take a break over Advent and through Epiphany and it’s been such a great idea. It has been nice to just enjoy life and making without always having or feeling like I need to post something. I’m toying with the idea of doing a better job of taking photos and just playing around with having more of a focused feed rather than just random snippets of life. We will see.

In my Sewing World:

I am officially hanging up my “sewing teacher” badge in 2018. I am trying to sell my class machines and hoping to clear out some supplies etc in the studio. I realized that it was a season and I’m kind of relieved that it’s over. I did 3 camps this past summer and I think that they are great camps to go out on. I finally did a fashion camp, and it was actually successful! And my beginner camps were overfilled and super fun.
I’m slowly becoming more of a quilter and I can definitely see how it can be super addicting. I took a break from garment sewing, but I’m hoping to sew up a few in the coming year. I need to slow down and take my time on it and just work on re-honing my skills.

Other Goals:

I survived my first semester of homeschooling both children and honestly I really enjoyed it. I’ve really loved having both of them home and while the pace of life didn’t slow down as much as I had hoped, it definitely slowed some. I’m really wanting to start writing again and I’m trying to figure out how to work that into my life. I’m doing better, but it has still been hard. It’s like the part of me that has been buried and asleep and I’m still trying to wake it up.

That was pretty much my 2017.

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journal

Journal: Edenic Moments

By on December 22, 2017

I heard a word yesterday in a podcast: “Edenic”. It distracted me so much that I couldn’t really focus for the rest of the time listening.

Edenic relates to those moments in our lives that are just perfect. Where you are sitting in a moment of sincere peace and happiness. We all have those moments in our lives, where you feel in essence that you are fulfilling that original calling; that you are sitting in the midst of Eden.

In the beginning, when God created the world and the Garden and put people in it; it was perfection. There was a comfort and peace and a central core of happiness that they were doing and being exactly what God had created them to be. But after the Fall, that central core was crushed and we would spend the rest of our lives struggling to find that sense of contentment again. In this life, living east of Eden, we are all constantly striving to be happy again.

This podcast reminded me that God gives us those moments where we get a taste of what it was like – what it is supposed to be like. An Edenic moment.

Not long after we moved into our current house, I was on my way home after walking both my children to school. I came walking down the sidewalk on our street and looking down I saw all the trees with their leaves glowing in their Fall splendor. Yellows, reds, greens just glowing. The sky was a clear, crisp blue. The park spread out over to my right, this house standing in front of me, that was everything we had wanted for so long, was ours and I was just amazed. It was a true Edenic moment.

I know that I’ve felt that way throughout my life – getting married, the birth of my children, sitting on the couch with friends sharing memories. All these moments are there to point us back to Him. As a reminder that there is redemption coming. Just like in those tiny moments that point us back to that person we are meant to be, God uses these to remind us that while we aren’t there yet, we will be.

Christmas is a time to remember that incarnation. That one moment of perfection with God came down. He came down into dirty and noisy and into a world that was crushing under the weight of it’s sin. But into that, He came. To deliver us and remind us that perfection is coming again. We will all be what he has given us glimpses of.

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