Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January's Reading Challenge Review

This has been a good reading month. January normally is but I exceeded my expectations and my monthly average (7 books) and read 12 books. I finished three great non-fictions last night On Writing, Weird and Erasing Hell. I think I'll re-read On Writing in a few months, it was fun and insightful and there were a few sections I wanted to share with my writing group. The other two have filled my head. I tried to journal most of it but my mind is still swimming. I probably should write up a review. Weird was convicting in a positive way. Erasing Hell was a dark and challenging read but still good.

Other great reads this month were The Hunger Games and The Actor and the Housewife. I also enjoyed Goliath but more because it was a fair way to end the trilogy but it felt like something was missing, still a good book. Yay for good books! After all that reading, this is how the challenges look after January:

1. Name: 2012 Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge
Hosted by: Reading with Teguila
Goal: Level I - 5 books
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 1/5

2. Name: Finishing the Series 2012
Hosted by: Finishing the Series Reading Challenge Blog
Goal: Level 3 - finish three series
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Series Read: 2/3

3. Name: Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge 2012
Hosted by: Book Chick City
Goal: Level 1 -read 12 books
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 0/12 -but I've started reading 7th Heaven

4. Name: Mount TBR Reading Challenge
Hosted by: My Reader's Block
Goal: Pike's Peak -12 books from the TBR pile
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 1/12 -just started my next TBR pile

5. Name: 2012 Audio Book Challenge
Hosted by: Teresa's Reading Corner
Goal: Going Steady -listen to 12 audio books
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 1/12

6. Name: 2012 Dystopian Challenge
Hosted by: Book Journey
Goal: Intermediate Post World Trainee 4-6 books
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 1/4

7. Name: The Reading Challenge Addict Challenge
Hosted by: Reading Challenge Addict
Goal: Easy as Pie 1-5 Challenges completed
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Completed Challenges: 0/1

8. Name: Speculative Fiction Challenge
Hosted by: BaffledBooks 2.0
Goal: In Nirvana - 24 novels
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 7/24

*A Few More*
9. Name: 1st in a Series Challenge
Hosted by: A Few More Challenges
Goal: Series Lover -6 books
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 2/6

10. Name: 2nds Challenge
Hosted by: A Few More Challenges
Goal: Just a spoonful -3
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 2/3

11. Name: New Authors Challenge 2012
Hosted by: Literary Escapism
Goal: 15 New Authors
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
New Authors Discovered: 5/15

12. Name: Read the Bible 2012
Hosted by: Alysha DeShae
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 0/66 -using One Year Bible so far no books finished but keeping up with the daily reading

13. Name: 2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge
Hosted by: The Eclectic Bookshelf
Goal: The Mini YA Challenge -12 books
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 2/12

14. Name: What's In A Name 5
Hosted by: Beth Fish Reads
Goal: Read a title that fits all 6 categories
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 0/6

15. Name: All the Books of Pern Challenge 2012
Hosted by: West Virginia Red Reads
Goal: Blue - 6 books
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 2/6

16. Name: Game of Thrones Reading Challenge 2012
Hosted by: The Lit B
Goal: Read the series - 5 books
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 0/5 -Started reading Game of Thrones this week

17. Name: 2012 Women's Murder Club Reading Challenge
Hosted by: Darlene's Book Nook
Goal: Level 1 - 2 books
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 0/2 -Started reading 7th Heaven

18. Name: 2012 Chunkster Challenge
Hosted by: Chunkster Reading Challenge
Goal: The Chubby Chunkster - 4 books
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 2/4

19. Name: Tea & Books Reading Challenge
Hosted by: The Book Garden
Goal: Chamomile Lover - 2 books
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 0/2

20. Name: Outdo Yourself 2012
Hosted by: The Book Vixen
Goal: Breaking a sweat – Read 11–15 more books
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 0/11

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Simple Woman Daybook 94

FOR TODAY: January 28, 2012
You can find the more daybooks at Simple Woman's Daybook.

Outside my window...darkness.

I am thinking...that I am forgetting to do something but I am not sure what.

I am thankful for...hugs and friends especially when I am sick or crying.

I am wearing...jeans, a favourite tee, and my red coat.

I am creating...I was reminded I have a baby blanket to finish.

I am going...to Michael to pick up supplies for tomorrow then home.

I am reading...On Writing by Stephen King, 7th Heaven by James Patterson, and The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey.

I am wondering...if everything will work out.

I am hoping...to sleep through the night and that this flu ends soon.

I am looking forward to...tomorrow afternoon's water well celebration, the children's ministry is half way to their goal to build a well in India.

I am hearing...another group in the church.

Around the house...I feel a little more motivated this week.

One of my favorite things...reconnecting with good friends.

A few plans for the rest of the week: the party tomorrow, youth group, then volunteer training on Saturday.

Friday, January 27, 2012

January 27's Friday 5

Friday 5 site has not posted questions for this week so I visited The Friday Five, this was their five from last week: Life
  1. What event in the world has most shaped your worldview?
    I'm not sure if this is a current "in my life time" event or just any event. Any event would be the death and resurrection of Jesus (I feel cheesy giving a pat Sunday school answer but it's true). If it is current events -no idea, probably 9/11.
  2. What personal event in your life is the most noteworthy to you?
    These are all very hard to answer, both summers traveling on Evidence, my internship in Swaziland, or my year in Japan. All were big life changing times.
  3. What is something you hope to see in the future?
    The Camino de Santiago de Compostela
  4. What song reminds you of the happiest day of your life?
    I've had many happy days, not sure I can class one as the happiest. If I hear Disney music I think of the family vacation. Sunrise, Sunrise goes through my head when I remember climbing Mt. Fuji. I am sure there are other songs that trigger good memories but I can't think of any at the moment.
  5. What song reminds you of the saddest day of your life?
    The entire Pink! album "Misunderstood".

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thankful Thursday -Deana

I am thankful for...
Deana Beers
I chatted with my good friend Deana today for the first time in a long time. We traveled on a Bethany summer team in 2002, Wow has it really been ten years? That summer was amazing. It was difficult at times, challenging, emotional, and so full of good memories. I had so many things happen to me and just growing up. It is one of the closest times I've ever been to God and it was impart because of who I traveled with.

We were such a strange group but it worked. We were able to be silly with each other and still have serious times. We had this plastic giraffe for a mascot name Stephan (because of the dinosaur in the movie Clifford) and took pictures with it every where. We saw the Bad Lands, Mt. Rushmore, and lots of highways. I had my first ever July 4th which was strange cause I was the only Canadian on the team. Through it all Deana was my girl (which was good since the rest of the team was boys). We did these crazy work outs every night and cried to each other when our campers were mean. It was great.

Deana is a good friend. It was so good talking with her today even if it was only through messages. When post-college drift happens there are relationships that don't really end you're just not in contact any more. Life just happens. I didn't realize how much I missed her till today. Also appreciate the wisdom and questions she gave me about a situation I am working through. She was very helpful. It was good. This is why I am very thankful for her. Yay for Deana! I wish I could give her a hug but she's on the others side of the world.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Writing, Hope & Best Word

Sunday I knew what I was posting every day this week. Actual writing did not follow the plan. Monday I had no energy; the simplest activities drained me. I got dressed and needed a rest. Writing did not happen. Tuesday was similar, I made it to the church and work happened but everything took twice as long. Again, no writing. I missed posting, but I just couldn't. I woke this morning and realized I am sick. I don't like being sick...it kills my ability to write. So this is what I would have posted Monday (you'll have to wait till next for the next Talking With an Atheist, sorry).

Best Word is awesome. I love my writing group! My friends and fellow writers motivate me to actually write. Only some times I don't write. I get all excited with organizing the group, finding prompts, sharing tips, and connecting with people that I don't actually use my writing time to write creatively. The plan is to change that this year. Last week, we set out writing for 2012. These were my plans:
  • Each month the group has a reading night when we share what we are working on. I shared once last year. I would like to have a submission to read at 50% of these sharing nights (I read a piece at this months meeting so only five to go)
  • By December I want to be in the habit of writing daily. I can't add this to my life right now but my plan is that in April I start writing 250 words a day. In July I increase to 500 words and in October strive for 1000 words. My other hope is nanowrimo's 1667 daily word requirement won't be such a stretch.
  • I will participate in nanowrimo 2012. I already have the genre, characters, and title. I am really excited for this story.
  • I want to revisit two of my earlier nano novels worlds. I think there are some good parts to the stories but I don't actually know enough about the worlds to work on the next draft. I was to create a binder/scrapbook for each of the worlds to answer some of the basic questions.
  • This last goal I am most excited for (even happy danced when I told non-best word friends). It is actually a goal for the whole group. We are going to self-publish an anthology with submissions from everyone (who wants to) in the group. There are many details to still work out but we have a plan and a time table. It will be good. So excited.
I think they are all possible. I am okay if I don't reach them all. Any fiction writing outside of November will be an improvement on last year.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Simple Woman Daybook 93

FOR TODAY: January 22, 2011
You can find the more daybooks at Simple Woman's Daybook.

Outside my window...sunrise.

I am thinking...my feet are cold and that I love that Tim Horton changed their cup sizes. My large tea is closer to the old extra large size...yay for more tea.

I am thankful for...people who help without being asked. There was a movie and games night at the church last night and clean up felt like a daunting task but everyone helped and it was finished so fast. It would have taken me hours to set the room for Kidsworld (the children's ministry) by myself.

I am wearing...a running out fit complete with a Mario sweat band and I had a "racer's number" pinned on earlier (the Kidsworld theme is running the race: RUN? (Are you in).

I am creating...worked on my cirtron shawl Friday night other than that all projects are on hold till March.

I am going...to paint with Donna at the Clayground.

I am reading...On Writing by Stephen King, 7th Heaven by James Patterson, and The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey.

I am wondering...what I am going to edit so I can share it at writing group tomorrow.

I am hoping...to finish mission trip letter (so much procrastination)

I am looking forward to...lunch and writing group.

I am hearing...people arriving.

Around the house...ugh so much to do.

One of my favorite things...watch Lost with Tabi and Lucas. We've made it to season five.

A few plans for the rest of the week: painting today, writing group tomorrow night, games night Wednesday, youth group Thursday, and Gems girls club Friday. It's a full week.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Any Suggestions on How to Improve This Game?

What makes one game great and another game flop? I am continually searching for new games to try at youth group. Large group in the dark games are the best. In December we tested "Murder in the Dark" which I found on the Egad! game site.

It was good and people had fun but it wasn't great. We tried it again Thursday night. Again, it was fun but not great. I think the flaw is in questioning phase; it's just awkward. Both times the detective has struggled to ask yes/no questions. People not being asked questions get board and the detective has not been able to even narrow down the murder as a suspect. I would like to play the game again but without some improvements I don't think it will work with my group.

I am looking for any suggestions on how to tweak the game. These are the rules, with a few adjustments to the Egad submission:

Murder In The Dark

Purpose: discover who the murderer is.

Preparation: Prepare enough slips of paper for each person playing. On one of the slips you write murderer or simply put an X (I write M). On another slip you write the word detective (I write D). All other slips are blank.

After you hand them out, everyone gives them back to you or drops them in a bowl after looking at them. Whoever the detective is must make himself known. This is important because the detective cannot be murdered. There are three rounds altogether. Each round has two phases. The "dark phase" which ends when someone discovers a body and the "questioning phase" which ends when the detective makes an accusation.

Dark Phase: the lights are turned off. Everyone walks around in the dark (not in groups) until a dead body is found. The murderer walks around waiting for an opportune time to say "you're dead" to someone. When some is told that, they wait 5 seconds and then fall to the floor. The round continues until someone discovers the body and yells out "dead body." At this time everyone gathers around the body and the detective attempts to discover the murderer.

Questioning Phase: The detective can ask only yes or no questions from any one except the "dead body" (dead men tell no tales). Everyone has to tell the truth except for the murderer. The murderer can lie on any question except, "Are you the murderer?" When the detective makes an accusation, the round ends and the next round begins (unless of course the detective was right).

Exceptions: During dark phase of round 3 the murderer can kill as many people as he/she wants. After the questioning phase of round 3 the murderer must reveal their identity if the detective doesn't guess right.
The other youth leader and I are considering discussed these twists as possible improvements:
  • Adding a second detective or a Watson
  • Remove the detective's yes/no question limitation
  • Allow anyone to make an accusation and maybe even allow the accused defend themselves
  • Allow anyone to ask a question but only the detective to make an accusation

What do you think? Is this game redeemable? Would one of these changes improve the game? Would something else make the play better for everyone? It is hard to say if implementing a change will make the game better or worst. Do you any have any suggestions on how to tweak this game? Or maybe you know a game that is similar that I could try to compare the rules to this one. If so, please leave a comment.

Friday, January 20, 2012

January 20's Friday 5

Today's Friday 5 questions are connected to the phrase "A Stitch In Time":
  1. What was your first wristwatch like?
    Cheap plastic kiddy watch that I lost the day I got it playing in a playland ball pit.
  2. What lately seems to have been a thief of time?
    My mood
  3. What were yesterday’s quietest five minutes like?
    Nap time
  4. In what way have you lately been saving time?
    I am working on not trying to multitask rather allowing myself to be fulling focused on one thing so that task can be done quicker and better. I also have found a 15 minute timer and then a switch in tasks helps motivate chores that drive me crazy.
  5. We are often charged hourly rates for labor, but we never get to reciprocate in kind when promised completion times don’t match actual completion. If you could bill people for the time you spend waiting, what would be a reasonable amount?
    No idea...and as long as I have a book or knitting it really isn't time wasted.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thankful Thursday -Grandma

I am thankful for...
My Grandma Stewart
This is the Stewart clan at Christmas (minus my dad because he took the picture). I love my family. It was so good seeing everyone! It was a wonderful whirlwind visit but I was so thankful I could see everyone. My family stayed with my Grandma Stewart. It reminded me of the summers I would visit her and Grandpa for a few weeks.

I loved those holidays. I have such good memories of visiting the market with Grandma, walking to the marina with Grandpa in the afternoon, knitting and doing yarn crafts in the evening, and even all of us sitting and reading our own novels. Grandpa encouraged my love of fantasy and is why I'm reading through the Pern books. Grandma shared with me her love of mysteries by introducing me to The Cat Who.... series. I also must give Grandma credit for my love of knitting. I had learned the basics in Brownies but I didn't really get into it until high school. Grandma introduced me to a creative world of knitting possibles. I love to knit today because of my Grandma Stewart.

Those memories are very dear to me. I am so glad for every chance I get to see Grandma. I love her very much and for these reasons I am thankful for her. Happy dance for Grandma!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Rapture Insurance: Wish We'd All Been Ready

This is a joke.

This has to be a joke.

This must be a joke, right?

Those were my thoughts as I listened to the radio guest explain rapture insurance. I was wrong. It wasn't a joke. Eternal Earth-Bound Pets is serious about providing the next best thing to salvation for pets in a post-raptured world.

"We are a group of dedicated animal lovers, and atheists. Each Eternal Earth-Bound Pet representative is a confirmed atheist, and as such will still be here on Earth after you've received your reward. Our network of animal activists are committed to step in when you step up to Jesus."

So if there rapture were to happen and I am gone those left behind will rescue and care for my cats (picture above). Really? I still hope it is an April Fools day joke. Insurance for Christians, in case the rapture happens so that their pets are cared for.

I guess there would be families worried about their dear Rufus or other fuzzy, feathered, or scaled friends if Left Behind series were to become a reality. If people are willing to track the pending apocalypse with a Rapture Index, leave messages for the un-saved and add warning stickers to their car bumpers why not invest in pet care insurance. Ten years of pet-peace-of-mind only costs $135.00 (plus $20.00 for each additional pet) your pets are covered for after-rapture care. I found these details from the groups FAQs page:

Q: Is this a Joke?
A: No. This is a serious offer to our Christian friends who believe in the Second Coming and honestly care about the future of their pets after the Rapture occurs.

Q: Do YOU believe in the Rapture?
A: As atheists we do not hold beliefs in the supernatural or a divine being. Thus, we do not believe in the Rapture. However, we respect the beliefs of others and are open to the possibility that our perspective could possibly be wrong.

Q: How do you ensure your representatives won't be Raptured?
A: Actually, we don't ensure it, they do. Each of our representatives has stated to us in writing that they are atheists, do not believe in God / Jesus, and that they have blasphemed in accordance with Mark 3:29, negating any chance of salvation.

I will not be getting rapture insurance, and not because they are not in Canada. I am still working out my eschatologoical views (my beliefs about the end times) but I lean away from a pre-tribulation rapture but it is more than just that. I find the insurance/group schemey like a snake oil salesmen. I feel like they are taking advantage of those with a belief they don't share all most in a mocking way and make a profit. Maybe not but that was my feeling looking over the site.

For those who might be worried for my two earth bound kitties have no fear. FA were talking about while I was working on this post and he agreed that if the rapture happens and if he still lives close by he rescue and care for Inu and Kima. At least the pets are ready?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

TWA Wrap Up: The Magi Talk

I hope you enjoyed the first Talking with Atheist. I did and I found it a useful way to think through the question. Thank you to everyone who shared their thoughts with me either in person or by leaving a comment. This is a chance to wrap up the discussion.

Recap: The original question FA asked was, "Is it a contradiction to celebrate the magi who were practitioners of astrology, while at the same time condemning the use of astrology elsewhere in scripture?"

In answering, we Christians, showed that we are willing to accept that God put a sign in the sky be it a special star, a super nova, a comet, or an angel. We also seemed to fall into one of three camps about the actual question:

1) Doesn't Matter: Some answers focused on other facts of the story without answering the original question. Either the question got lost or doesn't matter. The sense I got was that this isn't an important question, the story isn't about what these men did but that God was bringing people to encounter Jesus.

2) Weren't Astrologers so there is no contradiction: Translators often interpret the Greek word magoi as "astrologers" but not all do. It's hard to say. There isn't enough about the wise men to actually know for sure. I think they were. Sciences as we know them today didn't exist at this time. Watching the starts and predicting the future were all wrapped into one. Examples I can think of are how both the Egyptian Pharaohs and Babylonian Kings had magians and wise men about them to give them insight, propheys, and even interpret dreams and visions. It seems that the Magi were probably these time of "wise men."

3) God's Grace: God knew who and what these men were and used them any way. It could be that God was preparing the way for Gentiles to be included in Jesus' mission. It could be that God was reminding us that he can use anyone even "sinning astrologists." Maybe God was reminding us that all have sinned but all can have new life when they encounter Jesus. I think Robin's answer was mine only worded better, "...could it be that God, in His grace, sometimes reveals Himself even to people of false religions...perhaps because they are sincerely seeking truth, not just blindly believing? Could it be He does this even through their own religions? Ultimately it led them to Jesus."

That is the conclusion I have; do you have something to add? Did I miss an response? Would you like to make a counter argument? Leave a comment below and check back later this week for another fun "Talking With an Atheist" post.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Golden Apple

It's a writing group night. I love my writing group. We try to meet twice a month. The first one is a workshop night with a theme, writing prompts, and fun exercises. The second meeting we share submissions and projects. There is a prize, an old book. The winner has a chapter to sign, add to, decorate, or almost anything they want. Last month, after a year of attempts, I finally won the book and the Golden Apple (a special nanowrimo trophie unique to our local nano chapter). Submissions need to have an apple with "magical powers." This was my submission (Farwin is my main character and a dragon):

Farwin landed in the middle of the Lost Desert. His wings needed a break from the heavy air. Really he needed water or was the need for cherry pie. Maybe he wasn’t thirty maybe He was just very hungry. The idea of yummy pie caused him to want to eat food NOW! He looked around for something to munch on.

There was sand. There were rocks. There was more sand, a few prickly cacti, and still more sand. The sand was like a sea of, Farwin paused to think of the right word, "the sand was like a sea of sand". Then he noticed a flicker of movement out of the corner of his eye. It was then Farwin realized the rock in front of him had moved. He lumbered closer. It was not the rock that had moved but the camouflaged iguana sitting on the rock. “Are you edible?” Farwin asked the little creature more as a rhetorical question to himself.

“I would'’t be tasty.” the tiny voice squeaked.

“AHHH! You speak!””

“What did you expect? You talked to me first. Stupid dragon.”

“Excuse me?!?””

“You heard me, you are dumb. "Look at me I’m a dragon I am dumb. I talk iguanas and freak out when they reply." Stupid dragon, doesn’t even know desert iguanas talk.” with that the desert creature launched a spitball at Farwin hitting him between the eyes.

"Hey Now," Farwin returned spit fire and a massive spitball fight ensued. Suddenly a small iguana army magically appeared from no where. All of them were mighty spitball warrior iguanas and all of them were aiming at Farwin. Out numbered Farwin lashed out with his only defense, “Stop it or I will eat you all.”

He opened his mouth wide and prepared for a big bite. Just as his jaw almost bit the closest iguana and they all disappeared as suddenly as they had appeared, all except the original lizard. The iguana began to plea for his life, “Please don’t eat me. Please don't eat me. If you promise not to eat me I'll give you a silver dollar or a magic apple that will take you anywhere you want to go just don’t eat me."

“A magic apple, interesting? Is the silver dollar magical?”

“No, no it is not. Just the apple is magic. Weren’t you listening?”

“Fine, I’ll take both”

“That’s not how this works. The deal was I give you one thing and you don’t eat me."

“Hmm, do you have cherry pie? Cause I would settle for cherry pie.”

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Simple Woman Daybook 92

FOR TODAY:January 15, 2011
You can find the more daybooks at Simple Woman's Daybook.

Outside my window...almost snowy fields. Nova Scotia weather can't decide if it's winter or spring.

I am thinking...this is an absolutely amazing day and kid's are hilarious. I asked the kids in the first service it they were Solomon and God promised them anything what they would ask for. My favourite response was "um all the video games...oh and that God gets all the glory and more video games".

I am thankful for...caffeine.

I am wearing...a running out fit complete with a Mario sweat band and I had a "racer's number" pinned on earlier (the Kidsworld theme is running the race: RUN? (Are you in).

I am creating...there are a lot of projects started but everything is hibernating.

I am going...to have a good week and finally send out my mission trip prayer letters.

I am reading...On Writing by Stephen King, The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale, and Goliath by Scott Westerfeld.

I am wondering...what I'm going to write about tomorrow.

I am hoping...to finish mission trip letter today (so much procrastination)

I am looking forward to...lunch and writing group.

I am hearing...Grimm (the show).

Around the house...I want to hang new curtains and maybe move the couch.

One of my favorite things...good books.

A few plans for the rest of the week: biggest things are writing group tomorrow night and youth group later this week. I'd like to go to the movies but I don't think it will work out.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Talking with an Atheist: The Magi Talk

One of my dearest friends is an atheist, in fact he is my Favourite Atheist (FA). He tries not to hold my faith in Jesus against me and I try to offer him the same courtesy. The friendship has lead to some interesting conversations and fun debates. Often he will ask me a question I've never even considered. In trying to attempt a response I feel completely out of my depth. I'll say something like "I don't know let me think about that" and I'll ponder, seek others thoughts, start researching. But normally the topic is too big and takes up to much time and energy. I never develop a response and sadly the topic is shelved for Future Liz to figure out.

Well, no more, no more hiding, putting off, or procrastinating. I am going to find answers for the Favourite Atheist...or at least blog about the questions and maybe find answers. Please join the discussion. Add your thoughts or counter arguments. My one request, which ever side of the debate you are play nice with the other children in the sand box. No throwing toy trucks, dirt, or names at each other -thank you.

This is one of our most recent discussions:

The Topic:
FA: I read an interesting article today about an apparent contradiction in your scriptures. I wonder if you've heard it before.

Me: Okay, what was it?

FA: The Bible condemns astrology, right?

Me: Yes

FA: The magi read the stars to find that the King of the Jews was born. They are credited as doing a good thing but charting the stars as signs about future leaders would be astrology -something the Hebrew Law is against.

Me: Interesting, I haven't heard this before. Let me think about it.

My "thinking" was me asking two friends how they would responded. My first friend is a pastor, I've already run this response by FA and will include the counter argument. The other friend is a prof at the divinity college. We just talked about this earlier tonight so the idea is new to me and FA is reading it for the first time (Hi Friend *waves*).

The Astronomers Argument:
The magi were astronomers not astrologers. These scientist were watching and carting the night sky when God put a star in the sky that would be a remarkable sign to them. They did research and decided to investigate (is there any know prophesy that says that a star would mark the birth of the Messiah?)

FA's Reaction: The science of astronomers at this time would have still be closely associated with magic and astrology. Even if God put a star in the sky for them to follow how they noticed it would have been a condemned magical act.

Celestial Being Thought:
In scripture the word used for "stars" or celestial bodies often (he might have said always but I don't want to put words in his mouth if he didn't) refer to angels. The example was the Lucifer was the "bright and morning star." An angel could have been sent to light the place Jesus was, been close the the earth, and stood in one place. If it was an angel it would have been a specific messenger to these wise men. I think this means that when the magi were saying "we saw his star in the east..." the word used for "star" could also mean "angel".

What do you think? Is there a flaw in either argument? Is there a better response? Or do you have a counter argument for either they were astronomers or it was an angel arguments?

For me the questions that the magi raise were: How did they know that this "star" or celestial being was a sign? Is there writings, oral teachings, or a prophecy that lead them to this conclusion?Who were these guys and what did they do? Where did they go after they met the toddler Jesus? Why didn't they stick around and see what would become of him? Those might not be connected to the current discussion.

Friday, January 13, 2012

January 13's Friday 5

Today's Friday 5 questions are connected to the word "Type":
  1. What’s a decorative font you really like?
    Lucida Calligraphy
  2. MS Word uses Times New Roman as the default plain font; Apple Pages uses Helvetica. Is there a plain font you like better?
    Calibri
  3. In words per minute, how fast do you type?
    44 wpm.
  4. Who in your life is just your type, but for some reason not romantically compatible with you?
    Pha Ha Ha Ha :)
  5. What’s your blood type??
    No idea

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tea & Books Reading Challenge

The Challenge:
This challenge was inspired by C.S. Lewis' famous words, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." and is hosted by The Book Garden. This is to read books with at least 700 pages.

The Rules:
  1. Anyone may join. Just leave a comment below with the following info:
  2. Name / Blog (if you have one) / Chosen Level
  3. I'll comprise a list with everyone and add it to this page!
  4. Updates on the challenge will be posted on a regular basis and you may then comment with your own progress.
  5. The challenge will take place between January 1st and December 31st 2012.
  6. You can join any time between now and early 2012.
  7. You have to pick a level, though you may "upgrade" to the next one at any time. In this case just drop me a line, so I can change your previous level.
  8. You don't need to list your books ahead of time, though I won't object if you do. I'm definitely curious about your book choices for these challenges.
  9. The books you choose may crossover into other challenges.
  10. Both physical and eBooks are allowed, though personally I feel that especially the Tea & Books Reading Challenge is more fun with real books.
  11. Reviews of the books read are not mandatory.
The Levels:
2 Books - Chamomile Lover
4 Books - Berry Tea Devotee
6 Books - Earl Grey Aficionado
8 or more Books - Sencha Connoisseur

My Goal:
Chamomile Lover - 2 books
1.
2.

Outdo Yourself 2012

The Challenge:
I'm going to attempt to Outdo Yourself again this year after not even coming close last year. It is being hosted by The Book Vixen.

The Rules:
  1. Runs January 1, 2012 – December 31, 2012 (books read prior to 1/1/12 do not count towards the challenge). You can join at anytime. Sign up on The Book Vixen’s blog.
  2. The goal is to outdo yourself by reading more books in 2012 than you did in 2011. See the different levels below and pick the one that works best for you. Nothing is set in stone; you can change levels at any time during the challenge.
  3. Books can be any format (bound, eBook, audio).
  4. Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are allowed.
  5. Grab the reading challenge button and post this reading challenge on your blog to track your progress. Please include a link back to this sign-up post so others can join the reading challenge too. You do not have to be a book blogger to participate; you could track your progress on Goodreads or LibraryThing.
The Levels:
Getting my heart rate up – Read 1–5 more books
Out of breath – Read 6–10 more books
Breaking a sweat – Read 11–15 more books
I’m on fire! – Read 16+ more books

My Goal:
Breaking a sweat – Read 11–15 more books. 11/11

2012 Chunkster Challenge

The Challenge:
To read longer books of 450 pages or more in size hosted by Chunkster Reading Challenge.

The Rules:
  1. No audio books. (There are exceptions to this rule.)
  2. No e-books allowed. This was discussed in much detail in the 2011 challenge. The short version: a chunkster isn’t a challenge if you’re reading it on an e-reader. (There are exceptions to this rule.)
  3. This year for the first time, essay, poetry, and short story collections will be allowed. Collections have to be read in their entirety to count. If you’ve needed a reason to finally pick up your copy of The Collected Works Of ____ now is the time.
  4. Books may crossover with other challenges.
  5. Anyone may join. (If you don’t have a blog, just leave a comment on this post with your challenge level and your progress throughout the challenge.)
  6. You don’t need to list your books ahead of time.
  7. Once you’ve picked a level, that’s it. You’re committed to it!
The Levels:
  • The Chubby Chunkster – this option is for the readers who want to dabble in large tomes, but really doesn't want to commit to much more than that. FOUR Chunksters is all you need to finish this challenge.
  • The Plump Primer - this option is for the slightly heavier reader who wants to commit to SIX Chunksters over the next twelve months.
  • Do These Books Make my Butt Look Big? - this option is for the reader who can't resist bigger and bigger books and wants to commit to SIX Chunksters from the following categories: 2 books which are between 450 - 550 pages in length; 2 books which are 551 - 750 pages in length; 2 books which are GREATER than 750 pages in length (for ideas, please refer to the book suggestions page for some books which fit into these categories).
  • Mor-book-ly Obese - This is for the truly out of control chunkster. For this level of challenge you must commit to EIGHT or more Chunksters of which three tomes MUST be 750 pages or more. You know you want to.....go on and give in to your cravings.
My Goal:
The Chubby Chunkster -4 books. 3/4

1. The Spellsong War –L. E. Modesitt
2. Goliath –Scott Westerfeld
3. City of Bones –Cassandra Clare
4.

2012 Women's Murder Club Reading Challenge

The Challenge:
Hosted by Darlene's Book Nook to read the James Patterson's Women's Murder Club series.

The Rules:
  1. This challenge will run from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012.
  2. You can join the challenge at any time, whether you haven't yet started the series or are already halfway through. All books read in 2012 count for the challenge, regardless of when you sign up.
  3. This challenge can cross-over to your other reading challenges.
  4. You do not need a blog to participate! If you are not a blogger, you can post your reviews at Goodreads, Shelfari, or LibraryThing and link them up here.
  5. All formats of books are acceptable: Bound copies, e-books, and audiobooks (as long as they are unabridged).
  6. When you write your sign-up post, you must choose your level. You can go up, but you cannot go down!
  7. There will be link-ups for your reviews on a quarterly basis, which will be posted on THIS page.
  8. There will be a link for your wrap-up post at the end of the year.
  9. Create a sign-up post and link back to this post. Sign up with Mister Linky below! Be sure to use the direct url to your sign-up post and not the url to your blog.
The Levels:
Level 1: Read 1-3 books in the series.
Level 2: Read 4-6 books in the series.
Level 3: Read 7-9 books in the series.
Level 4: Read 10-11 books in the series.

My Goal:
I've read up to The 6th Target. I'd like to finish the series but four books seems like too much. I'm going to aim for two books and stick with level one. 2/2

February 29:
Victory is Mine! Reading 2 books was easy enough so I'm going to try and finish the series moving me up to Level 2: 5/5 books

1. 7th Heaven –James Patterson
2. 8th Confession –James Patterson
3. 9th Judgment –James Patterson
4. 10th Anniversary –James Patterson
5. 11th Hour –James Patterson

Game of Thrones Reading Challenge 2012

The Challenge:
To read A Song of Ice and Fire Series hosted by The Lit B. I bought a box set of first four this time last year and it is still in the plastic. I'll be happy if I get through the first one.

The Rules:
  1. Timeline: 01 Jan 2012 – 31 Dec 2012 (SIGN UP ANYTIME BETWEEN NOW AND THEN!!)
  2. Rules – Read all FIVE (5) books in the Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire Series) (books titles below).
  3. The reading challenge may crossover into other challenges.
  4. You can start anywhere in the series, if you have read 1 book or 4 already it doesn’t matter just read the series
  5. You can join anytime between now and the later part of next year.
  6. Reviews are great but not required.
  7. You DO NOT have to have a blog to join in -just email me at thelitbitch@me.com and I will be sure to include you in the challenge/subscriptions– join the discussion and comments section to let us know when you’ve read a book and what you thought of it!
  8. Let your voice and opinions be heard! COMMENTS/DISCUSSION ARE APPRECIATED!
Books Read:
0/5

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

All the Books of Pern Challenge 2012

The Challenge:
Reading books from the original Pern trilogy and extended series hosted by West Virginia Red Reads.

The Rules:
  1. Runs January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012, join in anytime.
  2. You can join anytime but only count Pern books you have read this year.
  3. Books can be any format.
  4. Crossovers with other challenges are allowed.
  5. Track progress here, on your blog, on goodreads or LibraryThing. Anywhere really just let me know where you are posting.
  6. When you sign up remember your level of participation can go up but it can’t go down.
  7. We’ll be keeping track of progress and prizes, etc. on this page.
  8. Sign up using Mr Linky at the end of the post.
The Levels:
Green– The original trilogy (or any 3)
Blue- The original trilogy plus the Harper Hall trilogy (or any 6)
Brown– Everything with Ms. McCaffrey as sole author (17)
Bronze– Everything except the ones written by Todd alone (22)
Gold – The whole lot of them (24-25)

My Goal:
Blue -6 books. 6/6

1. DragonSinger –Ann Macaffery
2. DragonDrummer –Ann Macaffery
3. DragonQuest –Ann Macaffery
4. The White Dragon –Ann Macaffery
5. Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern –Ann Macaffery
6. Nerilka’s Story –Ann Macaffery

What's In A Name 5

The Challenge:
The What's In A Name is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is different from every other reading challenge I've signed up for this year. There are no levels. It is about reading a book that's title fits with the six categories.

How It Works:
Between January 1 and December 31, 2012, read one book in each of the following categories:

  1. A book with a topographical feature (land formation) in the title: Black Hills, Purgatory Ridge, Emily of Deep Valley
  2. A book with something you'd see in the sky in the title: Moon Called, Seeing Stars, Cloud Atlas
  3. A book with a creepy crawly in the title: Little Bee, Spider Bones, The Witches of Worm
  4. A book with a type of house in the title: The Glass Castle, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Ape House
  5. A book with something you'd carry in your pocket, purse, or backpack in the title: Sarah's Key, The Scarlet Letter, Devlin Diary
  6. A book with a something you'd find on a calendar in the title: Day of the Jackal, Elegy for April, Freaky Friday, Year of Magical Thinking
The book titles are just suggestions, you can read whatever book you want to fit the category.

The Rules:
  1. Books may be any form (audio, print, e-book).
  2. Books may overlap other challenges.
  3. Books may not overlap categories; you need a different book for each category.
  4. Creativity for matching the categories is not only allowed but encouraged.
  5. You do not have to make a list of books before hand.
  6. You do not have to read through the categories in any particular order.
Book Read:
2/6

1. Topographical feature:
2. Something you'd see in the sky: 7th Heaven –James Patterson
3. Creepy crawly:
4. Type of house:
5. Something you'd carry in your pocket, purse, or backpack:
6. Something you'd find on a calendar: Monday Mourning –Kathy Reichs

2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge

The Challenge:
Hosted by The Eclectic Bookshelf challenging readers of YA fiction.

The Rules:
  1. Run's January 1, 2012 - December 31, 2012.
  2. Anyone can join.
  3. You don't need a blog to participate.
  4. Non-Bloggers: Post your list of books in the comment section of the wrap-up post on Jamie's blog.
  5. Audio, eBooks, paper, re-reads all count.
  6. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.
The Levels:
The Mini YA Reading Challenge – Read 12 Young Adult novels.
The "Fun Size" YA Reading Challenge – Read 20 Young Adult novels.
The Jumbo Size YA Reading Challenge – Read 40 Young Adult novels.
The Mega size YA Reading Challenge – Read 50+ Young Adult novels.

My Goal:
The Mini YA -12 books. 25/12

1. The Hunger Games –Suzanne Collins
2. Goliath –Scott Westerfeld
3. The Gift –James Patterson
4. Catching Fire –Suzanne Collins
5. Shiver –Maggie Stiefvater
6. Anna and the French Kiss –Stephanie Perkins
7. The Fire–James Patterson
8. City of Bones –Cassandra Clare
9. Mocking Jay –Suzanne Collins
10. The Sweet Far Thing –Libba Bray
11. The Lost Hero –Rick Riordan
12. Final Warning –James Patterson
13. Linger –Maggie Stiefvater
14. Divergent –Veronica Roth
15. Out of Sight, Out of Time –Ally Carter
16. Uncommon Criminals –Ally Carter
17. The Son of Neptune –Rick Riordan
18. Inheritance –Christopher Paolini
19. The Red Pyramid –Rick Riordan
20. Beauty Queens –Libba Bray
21. The Throne of Fire –Rick Riordan
22. Forever –Maggie Stiefvater
23. The Serpent’s Shadow –Rick Riordan 24. Insurgent –Veronica Roth 25. Firewing –Kenneth Oppel

Read the Bible 2012

The Challenge:
Read the Bible in a year hosted by Alysha DeShae.

The Rules:
  1. You must read every book of the Bible – Old and New Testament.
  2. You are not required to read the supplemental additions included in most bibles.
  3. All reading must be done between January 1st, 2012 and December 31st, 2012.
  4. Keep track of your reading. A blog isn’t necessary, just keep track of it however you feel.
  5. If you want to participate, sign up with Mr. Linky found on the host site.
My Progress:
0/66

New Authors Challenge 2012

The Challenge:
Hosted by Literary Escapism to encourage book lovers to discover new authors.

The Rules:
  1. The challenge will run from January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012.
  2. Since this is an author challenge, there is no restriction on choosing your novels. They can definitely be from other challenges. However, the authors must be new to you and, preferably from novels. Anthologies are a great way to try someone new, but only a third of your new authors can be from anthologies.
  3. If you reach your goal halfway through the year, don’t stop.
  4. Any new author you try can be added to Mr. Linky. We all want to know about your new experience.
  5. After reading your new author, write your review and then come back here and add your link to Mr. Linky. Make sure you include your name and the author, but adding the title is completely up to you.
  6. Bloggers or Non-Bloggers alike are welcome. You don’t have to have a site to participate. You can link up via Facebook, GoodReads or even Amazon if you’d like.
The Levels:
I want this to be an easy challenge, so you can pick to do either 15, 25 or 50 new authors. It all depends on how fast you read and how adventurous you want to be.

My Goal:
15 New Authors 25/15

1. The Hunger Games –Suzanne Collins
2. The Door in Time –Michael Merryweather
3. Erasing Hell –Chan & Sprinkle
4. Weird –Craig Groeschel
5. On Writing –Stephen King
6. Seriously….I’m Kidding –Ellen Degeneres
7. Shiver –Maggie Stiefvater
8. Anna and the French Kiss –Stephanie Perkins
9. The Reluctant Outlaw –Karen Kirst
10. City of Bones –Cassandra Clare
11. Heaven is for Real –Todd Burpo w/Vincent
12. The Mark of a Christian –Francis A. Schaeffer
13. Red Sky at Night –Vernon Oickle
14. The Sweet Far Thing –Libba Bray
15. The Pursuit of God –A. W. Tozer
16. Water of Elephants –Sara Gruen
17. Feed –M.T. Anderson
18. In the Defense of Food –Michael Pollen
19. Divergent –Veronica Roth
20. Death comes to Pemberley –P. D. James
21. Mayhem in Miniature –Margaret Grace 22. A Brother’s Price –Wen Spencer 23. Set Apart Femininity –Leslie Ludy 24. Firewing –Kenneth Oppel 25. A Hero Born –Michael A Stackpole

2nds Challenge

The Challenge:
Hosted by A Few More Challenges the 2nds Challenge is for a "second helping" of an author or series you've only read once. To quote the challenge, "The great thing about this challenge is that it’s not just for your second in a series books, but the second time you’ve read an author as well."

The Rules:
  1. Anyone can join. You don’t need a blog to participate. If you’re not a blogger, you can post your reviews at a review site like Goodreads, LibraryThing, or Shelfari and link them up here
  2. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you. Any genre counts. Any book format counts.
  3. The challenge runs from January 1 through December 31, 2012.
  4. You can join anytime between now and December 31, 2012.
  5. A post will be created here where you can link-up your reviews and visit the reviews of other participants.
  6. If you’re a blogger, write up a sign-up post that includes the URL to this post so that others can join in. Feel free to use the button! You can grab the code you need from the box in the right sidebar.
The Levels:
Just a spoonful - Read 3 books that are 2nd in a series or the second time you’ve read the author.
A few more bites - Read 6 books that are 2nd in a series or the second time you’ve read the author.
A full plate - Read 12 books that are 2nd in a series or the second time you’ve read the author.
All you can eat - Read 20 books (or more) that are 2nd in a series or the second time you’ve read the author.

My Goal:
Just a spoonful - Read 3 books. 5/3 -Victory is Mine! So I'm going to up the challenge to A Full Plate -Read 12 books. 13/12

1. The Spellsong War –L. E. Modesitt
2. DragonSinger –Ann Macaffery
3. The Gift –James Patterson
4. Catching Fire –Suzanne Collins
5. DragonQuest –Ann Macaffery
6. Linger –Maggie Stiefvater
7. Uncommon Criminals –Ally Carter
8. Midnight in Austenland –Shannon Hale
9. The Son of Neptune –Rick Riordan
10. Naked Heat –Richard Castle
11. Beauty Queens –Libba Bray
12. The Throne of Fire –Rick Riordan
13. Insurgent –Veronica Roth

1st In a Series Challenge

The Challenge:
I found one of my favourite challenges, hosted this year at A Few More Challenges. It is all about starting new series.

The Rules:
  1. Anyone can join. You don’t need a blog to participate. If you’re not a blogger, you can post your reviews at a review site like Goodreads, LibraryThing, or Shelfari and link them up here.
  2. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you. Any genre counts. Any book format counts.
  3. The challenge runs from January 1 through December 31, 2012.
  4. You can join anytime between now and December 31, 2012.
  5. A post will be created here where you can link-up your reviews and visit the reviews of other participants.
  6. If you’re a blogger, write up a sign-up post that includes the URL to this post so that others can join in. Feel free to use the button! You can grab the code you need from the box in the right sidebar.
The Levels:
Series Novice: Read 3 books that are the first in any series.
Series Lover: Read 6 books that are the first in any series.
Series Expert: Read 12 books that are the first in any series.
Series Fanatic: Read 20 books that are the first in any series.

My Goal:
Series Lover - 6 books. 8/6

1. The Hunger Games –Suzanne Collins
2. The Door in Time –Michael Merryweather
3. Shiver –Maggie Stiefvater
4. City of Bones –Cassandra Clare
5. The Lost Hero –Rick Riordan
6. Divergent –Veronica Roth
7. The Red Pyramid –Rick Riordan
8. A Hero Born –Michael A Stackpole

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Best of Movies: 2011

I looked through my list movies over 2011 and pulled out my favourites. The first list, "Small Screen" are movies watched at home or with friends. Some were new releases other were re-watched favourites. The second list are movies I saw in the theater.

Small Screen
Kiki’s Delivery Service
Howl’s Moving Castle
Mulan
Lost in Austin (made for TV movie/mini-series that I rented)
Fifth Element
Gone in 60 Seconds
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (which I watched four times)
Casablanca (I want to see it again)

Big Screen
Tron Legacy
Cowboys and Aliens
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows part 2
The Muppet Movie

The worst movie I saw was Second Glace followed closely by Alien Apocalypse. I blame Patrick for both of those. What was the worst movie you suffered through last year? What was your best? Leave a comment below.

Speculative Fiction Challenge 2012!

The Challenge:
I thought I had found all my challenges, but I was wrong. Hosted this year by BaffledBooks 2.0, this challenge is to read speculative fiction, a list of what counts is included in the rules. This one is perfect for me because almost everything I choose to read for fun falls under one of the categories listed.

The Rules:
  1. Timeline is 01 Jan 2012 - 31 Dec 2012. You can sign up from now right up until 31 Nov 2012.
  2. There is no need to list your books now.
  3. Books can most definitely be counted towards other challenges.
  4. There will be a monthly link up for you to share your reviews.
  5. There are no prizes other that a sense of satisfaction at reaching your goal
  6. Any book format (ebook, print, audio) counts!
  7. And because it can sometimes get a bit confusing (from Carolyns original post), Genres:
  • Science Fiction: hard/soft SF, cyberpunk, time travel, alternative history, space opera
  • Fantasy Fiction: dark fantasy, urban fantasy, magic realism, quest, mythical fantasy, steampunk
  • Horror Fiction: paranormal, gothic literature, splatterpunk
  • Supernatural Fiction
  • Superhero Fiction
  • Utopian and Dystopian Fiction
  • Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
The Levels:
Nosey: 3 novels
Excited: 6 novels
Content: 12 novels
In Nirvana: 24 novels
Obsessed: 48 novels

My Goal:
In Nirvana - 24 novels. 34/24

1. The Spellsong War –L. E. Modesitt
2. If I Pay Thee Not With Gold –Piers Anthony and Mercedes Lackey
3. DragonSinger –Ann Macaffery
4. DragonDrummer –Ann Macaffery
5. The Hunger Games –Suzanne Collins
6. Goliath –Scott Westerfeld
7. The Door in Time –Michael Merryweather
8. The Gift –James Patterson
9. Catching Fire –Suzanne Collins
10. DragonQuest –Ann Macaffery
11. The White Dragon –Ann Macaffery
12. Shiver –Maggie Stiefvater
13. The Fire–James Patterson
14. City of Bones –Cassandra Clare
15. Mocking Jay –Suzanne Collins
16. The Sweet Far Thing –Libba Bray
17. The Lost Hero –Rick Riordan
18. Feed –M.T. Anderson
19. Final Warning –James Patterson
20. Linger –Maggie Stiefvater
21. Divergent –Veronica Roth
22. Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern –Ann Macaffery
23. Nerilka’s Story –Ann Macaffery
24. The Son of Neptune –Rick Riordan
25. Inheritance –Christopher Paolini
26. The Red Pyramid –Rick Riordan
27. The Throne of Fire –Rick Riordan
28. Forever –Maggie Stiefvater
29. The Serpent’s Shadow –Rick Riordan
30. Insurgent –Veronica Roth
31) A Brother’s Price –Wen Spencer
32) Well-tempered clavicle –Piers Anthony
33) Firewing –Kenneth Oppel
34) A Hero Born –Michael A Stackpole

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Movie Stats: 2011

It's time for the 2011 edition of "Liz's Movie Watching Habits." It's like last Wednesday's useless stats about my reading habits only this time its about movie watching habits. Here are the results:

Movies Watched:

2011 -60 movies
2010 -72 movies
2009 -90 movies
2008 -104 movies

Animated Movies:
2011 -10 movies
2010 -10 movies
2009 -15 movies
2008 -16 movies

Movies Watched With Youth Group:
2011 -1 movie
2010 -15 movies
2009 -11 movies

Highest Viewing Month
2011 -July: 12 movies
2010 -December: 14 movies
2009 -December: 19 movies

Lowest Viewing Month
2011 -February: 0 movies
2010 -November: 2 movies
2009 -November: 2 movies

Movie Goal from 2010:
I wanted to average about 7 movies a month for a total of 84 movies over the year.
I did better than I expected averaging just over 5 movies a month.

2012 Movie Goal:
I don't really have a goal for the 2012. I am happy with the amount of movies I watched. Most of which I watched with friends. Between church life, writing group, and friends I am not home alone often -meaning I am not renting movies to fill the apartment with sound. I think I would like to average 5 movies a month again. We'll see if it happens.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Reading Challenges 2012

I couldn't stay away from reading challenges. Sadly, some of my favourite reading challenges from last year did not continue this year. These were the ones I found that interested me (the last one makes me giggle):

1. Name: 2012 Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge VICTORY!
Hosted by: Reading with Teguila
Goal: Level I - 5 books
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 7/5

2. Name: Finishing the Series 2012 VICTORY!
Hosted by: Finishing the Series Reading Challenge Blog
Goal: Level 3 - finish three series
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Series Read: 11/3

3. Name: Mystery and Suspense Reading Challenge 2012 VICTORY!
Hosted by: Book Chick City
Goal: Level 1 -read 12 books
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 14/12

4. Name: Mount TBR Reading Challenge
Hosted by: My Reader's Block
Goal: Pike's Peak -12 books from the TBR pile
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 10/12

5. Name: 2012 Audio Book Challenge VICTORY!
Hosted by: Teresa's Reading Corner
Goal: Going Steady -listen to 12 audio books
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 17/12

6. Name: 2012 Dystopian Challenge VICTORY!
Hosted by: Book Journey
Goal: Intermediate Post World Trainee 4-6 books
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 8/4

7. Name: Speculative Fiction Challenge VICTORY!
Hosted by: BaffledBooks 2.0
Goal: In Nirvana - 24 novels
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 34/24

8. Name: 1st in a Series Challenge VICTORY!
Hosted by: A Few More Challenges
Goal: Series Lover -6 books
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 8/6

9. Name: 2nds Challenge VICTORY!
Hosted by: A Few More Challenges
Goal: A Full Plate -12 books
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 13/12

10. Name: New Authors Challenge 2012 VICTORY!
Hosted by: Literary Escapism
Goal: 15 New Authors
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
New Authors Discovered: 25/15

11. Name: Read the Bible 2012
Hosted by: Alysha DeShae
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 0/66 -using One Year Bible so far no books finished but keeping up with the daily reading

12. Name: 2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge VICTORY!
Hosted by: The Eclectic Bookshelf
Goal: The Mini YA Challenge -12 books
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 25/12

13. Name: What's In A Name 5
Hosted by: Beth Fish Reads
Goal: Read a title that fits all 6 categories
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 2/6

14. Name: All the Books of Pern Challenge 2012 VICTORY!
Hosted by: West Virginia Red Reads
Goal: Blue - 6 books
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 6/6

15. Name: Game of Thrones Reading Challenge 2012
Hosted by: The Lit B
Goal: Read the series - 5 books
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 0/5

16. Name: 2012 Women's Murder Club Reading Challenge VICTORY!
Hosted by: Darlene's Book Nook
Goal: Level 5 books
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 5/5

17. Name: 2012 Chunkster Challenge
Hosted by: Chunkster Reading Challenge
Goal: The Chubby Chunkster - 4 books
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 3/4

18. Name: Tea and Books Reading Challenge
Hosted by: The Book Garden
Goal: Chamomile Lover - 2 books
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 0/2

19. Name: Outdo Yourself 2012 VICTORY!
Hosted by: The Book Vixen
Goal: Breaking a sweat – Read 11–15 more books
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Books Read: 11/11

20. Name: The Reading Challenge Addict Challenge VICTORY!
Hosted by: Reading Challenge Addict
Goal: Easy as Pie 1-5 Challenges completed
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2012
Completed Challenges: 14/1-5

Are you participating in any reading challenge this year? Do you have a suggestion for one I could try? Please leave a comment below.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

The Simple Woman Daybook 91

FOR TODAY:January 8, 2011
You can find the more daybooks at Simple Woman's Daybook.

Outside my window...the sun's glare on my computer screen is just too much so the blinds are closed. I would imagine it is a bright winter day.

I am thinking..."why do some activities work with one group of children and not with another?" Or how the same game, idea, activity can work one time with a group but the next time it could flop then later it could be the best thing ever.

I am thankful for...volunteers.

I am wearing...a running out fit complete with sweat band and I had a "racer's number" pinned on earlier (the Kidsworld theme is running the race: RUN? (Are you in).

I am creating...a citron (knit shawl).

I am going...home to nap and read.

I am reading...On Writing by Stephen King

I am wondering...which reading challenges to attempt this year.

I am hoping...that I don't crash and nap all afternoon.

I am looking forward to...a nap

I am hearing...my computer hum.

Around the house...normal house cleaning stuff.

One of my favorite things...playing board games with friends which happen a lot this week which was very happy!

A few plans for the rest of the week: I'm going to have tea with the girls tomorrow. Writing group, Life Group, youth group and GEMS all start back up this week. I aslo think there will be more games nights.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Success and Failures: A Look the 2011 Reading Challenges

I went a little overboard with the reading challenges last year....10 in total plus my own going reading challenges the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge and the Alphabet Mystery Reading Challenge. Some might have questioned my sanity, no some did, they told me they did. It was a lot but challenges are fun. I was successful on a few (4), came close on one, and completely failed on others. Here are the results:

1. Name: The Gilmore Girl Reading Challenge 2011
Hosted by: Lisa at The Gilmore Girl Reading Challenge
Goal: Be 'Rory'-read a total of ten books from at least three different categories.
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2011
Books Read: 1/10
Result: FAILED!

2. Name: The James Patterson Reading Challenge II
Hosted by: Socrates Book Review Blog
Goal: "Loyal Fan" -read ten books by James Patterson
Time: Sept 1, 2010 - Aug 31, 2011
Books Read: 11/10
Result: SUCCESS! with an extra book

3. Name: Out Do Yourself Reading Challenge 2011
Hosted by: The Book Vixen
Goals: "Breaking a Sweat" -read 12 more than last year
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2011
Books Read: 0/12
Result: FAILED!

4. Name: 1st in the Series 2011
Hosted by: A Few More Pages
Goals: Series Lover -read 6 books that are the first in any series
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2011
Books Read: 8/6
Result: SUCCESS! with two extra books

5. Name: 2nd Challenge 2011
Hosted by: A Few More Pages
Goals: A few more bites -read 6 books that are 2nd in a series or the second time you've read the author.
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2011
Books Read: 2/6
Result: FAILED!

6. Name: The TwentyEleven Challenge
Hosted by: Bart's Bookshelf
Goals: its complicated so visit either link for the details and guidelines
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2011
Books Read: 18/20
Result: FAILED!

7. Name: Series Challenge Season 5
Hosted by: Secret Dreamworld of a Bookaholic
Goals: finish or catch up on series, min three three books
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2011
Books Read: 4/3 books
Result: SUCCESS! with an extra book

8. Name: 90 Day Bible Blast
Hosted by: Meditations of His Love
Goals: read the entire Bible in 90 days
Time: There doesn't seem to be a set start date, but I am giving myself a deadline of April 25, 2011
Books Read: 0/66 books of the Bible
Result: FAILED!

9. Name: Mystery & Suspense Challenge 2011!
Hosted by: Book Chick City
Goals: read 12 mystery or suspense novels
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2011
Books Read: 12/12 books
Result: SUCCESS!

10. Name: The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
Hosted by: Home Girl Book Blog
Goals: read 100 books or more
Time: Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2011
Books Read: 60/100 books
Result: FAILED! I did earn a "You are a reading machine." for surpassing 50 books read.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Best of Books 2011

Reading is one of my favourite ways to unwind and refresh. I love a page turner I can't put down. I appreciate when friends make book suggestions or participating in reading challenges because they introduce me to a whole new world. With that in mind, I looked over my list of books read over 2011. These are a few that stood out:

Non-Fiction
The Cheapskate Next Door –Jeff Yeager. He had a completely different way of thinking about money. It was good for me. It was a fun read full of real life examples, extremes, and practical suggestions.
Jesus for President –Claiborne & Haw. I found the concept challenging, enlightening, and refreshing. I read it too fast to fully engage with it but I am planning on re-reading it this year more slowly.
Against Medical Advice –James Patterson. I listened to this one as an audio book. It's the true story of a boy with Tourette's Syndrome and his family who struggled with medical establishment trying to help but often the "cure" was as debilitating and the symptoms.

Fiction
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn –Betty Smith. I just loved this story. It is a new read again Liz favourite.
The Soprano Sorceress –L. E. Modesitt. I started the first book of this fantasy series in December and am trying to find the third book. It was a neat world with a complex political and magical system and a great leading heroine.
The Princess Academy –Shannon Hale. It is a well told children's story with good characters, conflict, resolutions, and twists. I wish she would write more in this world. I like the author. I've read a few different things by her but only realized this year they were all by her...and actually re-read her chick lit. novel Austenland (which almost made this list) because I enjoy her style so much.
I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have To Kill You –Ally Carter. Another fun young adult series. I like everything she has written so far and I am looking forward to the next book in the Gallagher Academy to be released.
The Help –Kathryn Stockett. I signed this out of my library before it was announced that it would be a movie because one of the librarians recommended it. It was an interesting read. I remember enjoying it. The story is well told and the style was paced well. It was an interesting look at "the South".

So, those were some of my favourite books. What about you? Did you discover a new author or a favourite book last year? What were your best reads of 2011? Or do you have a book suggestion for me from further back? If so, please leave a comment, I love discovering new books.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Reading Challenge Addict Challenge

The Challenge:
This is the last of my reading challenges...I think. It is perfect for a Reading Challenge Addict.

The Rules:
  1. This challenge will begin on January 1, 2012 and end on December 31, 2012.
  2. Write a starting post joining the challenge and outlining your challenges.
  3. Track all of your challenge accomplishments - good & bad.
  4. Stop by to join us in the mini-challenges, updates & extra giveaways throughout the year.
The Levels:
Easy as Pie: 1-5 Challenges (Entered and Completed)
On the Roof: 6-10 Challenges (Entered and Completed)
In Flight: 11-15 Challenges (Entered and Completed)
Out of This World: 16+ Challenges (Entered and Completed)

My Goals:
Since I signed up for less challenges this year (I couldn't find some of my favorites) I am going to attempt Easy as Pie. 14/5

1. 2012 Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge
2. Finishing the Series 2012
3. 2012 Dystopian Challenge
4. New Authors Challenge 2012
5. 2012 Young Adult Reading Challenge
6. The Reading Challenge Addict Challenge (this challenge)
7. Speculative Fiction Challenge
8. 1st in a Series Challenge
9. All the Books of Pern 2012
10. Mystery and Suspense Reading Challenge 2012
11. 2012 Audio Book Challenge
12. 2nds Challenge
13. 2012 Women's Murder Club Reading Challenge
14. Outdo Yourself 2012
15.