Mountains of Goals…

It’s another new year and in true ‘Me’ style, I’ve created as significant List… clearly I haven’t learnt!

I created the list, towards the end of last year, when I got rather frustrated with things in my life. Things that were causing mental stress and clutter. Yet, I still did little about it. I’ve discovered, I’m a procrastinator.

Procrastination has resulted in dishes not being washed.
Procrastination has resulted in the house building clutter.
Procrastination has resulted in us losing money as I’ve missed insurance claims deadlines.
Procrastination has resulted in me feeling like I’m constantly chasing my tail.

So I created a list of projects, of tasks that were causing me significant mental clutter.
From submitting the insurance claims that were still in date, to organising my paperwork, to creating ‘Memory pages’
They were to be called projects until a visit to the U.K….

A friend has given herself the challenge of a ‘Medal a Month’, where each month she plans to enter a race and earn a medal. I thought it was a great idea, but with my PF, I know that I cannot run or should I say contemplate running just yet.
But I could hike! And so the idea of ‘A Mountain a Month’ challenge was born.

Except that it grew to becoming a bit more than just one mountain:
: There is the actual physical mountain that I will hike up each month, with Mt Fuji being my ultimate goal in July.
: The mountain of weight ( 15kg), that I’ve gained since becoming an expat.
: The mountain of paperwork that only gets done when I have a deadline!
: The mountain of photographs I have on my hard drive.
: The mountain of incomplete creative projects that are cluttering our home.
: The mountain of books that are gathering dust on my bookshelf waiting for me to read.

And so, in 2017 I plan to conquer mountains! At least two a month- an actual mountain and one of my incomplete projects!

Fingers crossed!

PS- I plan to keep you posted on how I’m doing, in the hope the accountability will help drive the momentum.

My 2015 Goals Resource List

When I was devising my goals for 2015, I drew up a list of books and courses that I wanted to read/ do to assist me in growing. Based on my reading history, I’m loathed to call it my definitive reading list, but if I even manage a third of the books, I’ll be happy!

The list of resources is diverse from e-books, to kindle, paper ( ie books and magazines), blogs and audio.
I am also planning on doing a few courses this year on gardening and nutrition, which I’ve also included, as all of these should help me grow as a person this year.

Spiritual Reading 2015

Faith Resources:
: Cover to Cover, Through the Bible as it happened– Selwyn Hughes and Trevor J. Partridge
: Sons of Encouragement- Francine Rivers. (ok so it’s fiction, but the stories are based on Biblical fact and are aimed at encouraging us in growth)
: Paul for Everyone- Tom Wright
: Is Jesus enough?- Angus Buchan
: Prayer- Philip Yancey

Extra Resources for Faith
(These are books I would like to read but they aren’t high on the priority list.)
: Victory over the Darkness- Neil T. Anderson
: The Prayer of Jabez- Bruce Wilkinson
: Praying Circles around Your Children- Mark Batterson
: The Sounds of God- Michael Mitton

Health Resources :
: Nutrition course- I really like the look of this one, as it is more about living a healthy lifestyle than purely nutrition.
: Paleo Lifestyle websites- My favourite two websites are Mark’s Daily Apple and Paleo Mom
: Blue Zones- Dan Buettner
: Cooking courses/ recipes available- Notably Gordon Ramsey (I’m enjoying his two recent cooking shows- Ultimate Cookery Course and Ultimate Home Cooking) , Delia Smith, Jamie Oliver- particularly his 30 Minute meals cookbook, Your Lighter Side website as well as Paleo Mom’s recipes.
: A woman’s Guide to Running Magbook, published by Health and Fitness Magazine

Relationship Books

Relational Reading 2015
: 31 Days to Better Sex– Sheila Wray Gregoire.
: How to talk so your kids will listen & listen so your kids will talk– Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
: Character Matters- John and Susan Yates
: The Five Love Languages of Children- Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell
: Answering the 8 Cries of the Spirited Child- David and Claudia Arp

Mind Books:
: Think Outside the Classroom book- Kelly Crawford
: The Railway Man– Eric Lomax
: Long Walk to Freedom- Nelson Mandela
: Something about becoming more organised, running a home better or such like. I haven’t decided what yet. I will share it when I know what it is.

Mind Stimulating books 2015

Japan Further Study/ Resources:
: Research more about Japanese history
: Research more about geography of Japan.
:Fukushima– Mark Willacy

Hobbies Resources:
: High Elves– Mat Ward
: How to Paint Citadel Miniatures- Simon Adams et al.
: Book on scrapbooking (another that I’ve still to choose).
: Gardening course- I found an awesome course last year by the Royal Horticultural Society, but the link I saved is no longer valid.
I am planning to do this one instead.
: Jane’s Delicious Garden Jane Griffiths

So 19 books listed,+extras. It’s going to be a busy old year if I manage it, and that’s not including the fiction.
Hmmm I think some holidays to the beach, on my own, are in order!

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I read a book. A series on reading- part three

Recently I read a book. For some of you it’s no big deal, but if you have read part one and part two you will understand that despite me being a bookworm as a child, I now hardly ever read. So for me it is a big deal.

I started it on Saturday and I finished it on Sunday (well Monday morning to be precise). As I put it down I remembered why I don’t read….

 A couple of the blogs that I follow shared a list of the books they planned to read in 2013. I had a managed to read at the most 2 books in 2012, so I thought it would be a good idea to create a list of books to read (as explained in part two) and make it one of my goals for 2013.

I researched recommended various Top 100 books to read in your lifetime, and eventually created my own bucket list of Must Reads. From that I chose some, chose some non fiction I wanted to read (I’m a sucker for self-help books), left a few spaces for extra additions and gave myself the goal of reading 24 this year. (See part 4) Up until this particular weekend when I read this book- I had read 1 1/2 books. Definitely keeping up with this goal! NOT!

I’d moan to my reading friends about not having time to read with 3 children, how did they manage etc and the responses were typically straight forward…

‘Read a little every night before going to bed’

‘Don’t spend so much time on Facebook’

Ok- so I know all this stuff. But I still don’t read!

On the Friday, my Mum lent me the book. ‘It’s an interesting story. You’ll enjoy it. I just need to take it back with me when I leave.’ she said.

Fair enough. We were about to embark on a 2 hour train journey and so when J wanted to play on my iPad, I hauled out the book.

 And that’s when I remembered why I don’t read any more. When I read, I disappear into another world and lose all concept of time. Ten minutes of reading just never happens. Just one more chapter… One more paragraph….I just want to find out what happened next…

Well what happens next is that my children are late for a ballet lesson or are squabbling in the bath or it’s 2am and I know that J will be up at some unearthly hour…

 For me, right now, reading engaging books is something I will enjoy when my children are older. I don’t truely have the time to read an engaging novel. But when my darlings go and spend their annual summer holiday to Devon with their Grandparents, I will pay a visit to my local library and find myself a lovely Penny Vincenzi 1000 page novel, and indulge myself for the first couple of days! 

 Now thats worth waiting for!

My Bucket Book List: A series on reading part two.

As I explained in part one. I used to be a big reader but that has all changed. I can’t recall a single book that I completed in 2012, but surely I did read at least one book!. A dreadful thing to admit… Definitly modeling reading to my children (NOT!) and so unbelievable considering how as a child and teen, I used to devour a book in a few days.

So one of my resolutions for 2013 is to read more. Making it a SMART target- I am aiming for a book a month!

Initially, to help me with my goal, I looked at the  BBC Big Read’s List. Then (I’m sad like this) I gathered up another 5 lists, including The Guardians List and the Penguin’s Classics List and spent an evening sorting them into popularity. The total books at the end of the evening numbered 443. Ive added a few more that I have enjoyed and feel that should get more credit and have removed some that I know that I won’t read eg Lord of the Flies and so have created a massive Bucket Book List.

My thoughts are that I will choose some each year to read and therefore over the years I will get to read them. If God blesses me with another 45 years, I might just do it!

Below is the list of the top 125 books from the various book lists I raided.

Thanks to Mrs Hadden and my wondrous high school English lessons I have been able to tick off many classics and so having a fair starting point!

Full Marks: (These books featured on all 6 lists)

  1. Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
  2. Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
  3. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky
  4. Middlemarch – George Eliot
  5. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
  6. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
  7. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy


These books were found on 5 of the 6 lists:

  1. A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
  2. Charlotte’s Web – E. B. White
  3. Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
  4. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
  5. On the Road – Jack Kerouac
  6. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  7. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  8. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  9. Ulysses – James Joyce

 These books were found on 4 of the 6 lists:

  1. Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
  2. Animal Farm – George Orwell
  3. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
  4. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
  5. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
  6. Dracula – Bram Stoker
  7. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
  8. Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
  9. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
  10. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
  11. Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
  12. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
  13. Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
  14. Moby Dick – Herman Melville
  15. The Bible
  16. The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
  17. The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien
  18. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
  19. The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
  20. Watership Down – Richard Adams

These books were found on 3 of the 6 lists:

  1. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
  2. Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
  3. Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
  4. Bleak House – Charles Dickens
  5. Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
  6. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
  7. Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger
  8. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
  9. Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
  10. Education of a Wandering Man – Louis L’Amour
  11. Emma – Jane Austen
  12. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
  13. Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  14. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
  15. Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
  16. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
  17. Persuasion – Jane Austen
  18. Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
  19. Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
  20. The Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer
  21. The Color Purple – Alice Walker
  22. The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
  23. The Iliad – Homer
  24. The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery (I might reread it though, this time in English!)
  25. The Odyssey – Homer
  26. The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
  27. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  28. The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
  29. The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
  30. Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
  31. Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
  32. William Shakespeare- Complete Work

 These books were found on 2 of the 6 lists:

  1. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
  2. A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
  3. A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
  4. A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
  5. Absalom, Absalom! – William Faulkner
  6. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  7. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  8. Angels Everywhere by Debbie Macomber
  9. Atonement – Ian McEwan
  10. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
  11. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
  12. Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
  13. Don Quixote – Miguel De Cervantes
  14. Dune – Frank Herbert
  15. Facing Your Giants by Max Lucado
  16. Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
  17. Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
  18. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
  19. Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver
  20. His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
  21. How the West Was Won by Louis L’Amour
  22. In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
  23. Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
  24. Lady Chatterley’s Lover – D. H. Lawrence
  25. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  26. Life of Pi – Yann Martel
  27. Like Dandelion Dust by Karen Kingsbury
  28. McKettrick Men Series by Linda Lael Miller
  29. Paradise Lost – John Milton
  30. Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
  31. Pride Runs Deep by R. Cameron Cook
  32. Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe
  33. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
  34. Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
  35. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  36. The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
  37. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
  38. The Divide by Nicholas Evans
  39. The Divine Comedy – Dante
  40. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
  41. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  42. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  43. The Lonesome Gods by Louis L’Amour
  44. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien (I have read book 1 and half of 2. Frodo and Sam lost me in the The Dead Marshes)
  45. The Lost Valentine (The Last Valentine) by James Michael Pratt
  46. The Magus – John Fowles
  47. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
  48. The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett
  49. The Prince – Niccolo Machiavelli
  50. The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
  51. The Secret History – Donna Tartt
  52. The Shack by William Paul Young
  53. The Stranger – Albert Camus
  54. The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
  55. The Trial – Franz Kafka
  56. Winds of War by Herman Wouk
  57. Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne

Now that I look at this list again… I have a SERIOUS amount of reading to do! My book list for 2013 has 20 books on it and so far I have managed 5 and am halfway through another 2. Not exactly reaching my goal…

But why am I not reading?

Book Worm. A series on reading- part one

I love reading.

I love to be able to sit down with a good book and disappear into another world. Just heavenly!

As a child I was always a big reader. My favourite authors included Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton, Wilber Smith, K.M Peyton and Mary O’Hara. I have read most of their books (All of Wilber Smith’s and Mary O’Hara’s) and loved the adventures the characters went on.

I was what you would call a real book worm.

I read my way through high school. I found class reading slow and tedious so I would often read ahead or even my own book. I will never forget my English teacher Mrs Haddon’s comment when I had to discuss the books that I had read so far in an oral. 

“This is an amazing list of books. I didn’t take you for a reader.” (I guess I hid it well!) Looking back, she probably didn’t think that I had read them all- But I’m sure the ensuing discussion about them changed her mind.

But things have changed… I seldom read books (including ebooks) anymore. I read magazines sometimes… I read blogs LOTS of times and I read Facebook posts daily… But books?

Even to my children I don’t read. By the time its bed time, I’m shattered and so I leave them to read to themselves…

Things need to change… But that is for another post.