Books on Faith

A few months ago, I was talking with a friend about relationships and faith. She recommended a book, Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul. 

I ordered it and then it sat on my bookshelf for a while. One night I felt ready to be open to new ideas and tried to read it. It fell flat for me after just a couple of chapters. While I know this was a best selling book, it wasn't the right book for me. I couldn't relate to what a middle aged woman, who met the love of her life before her 21st birthday, could give me advice-wise on relationships. I felt like I was listening to my Mom. I love my Mom, but she married really young, never really dated before my Dad, and her dating advice to me (while well intentioned) doesn't always resonate. I also felt the author had some issues with her father, who apparently warned her in her teenage years to watch what she would eat if she wanted to find a husband, because a man would not marry a non-skinny woman, which really turned me off. My Dad and I have a great relationship and I couldn't imagine him ever saying that to me. Like I said, not the right book for me.

So I know quite a few of my lovely readers are women of faith. So I'm asking if you could offer me some recommendations on books on faith and exploring God. I'm not looking for advanced stuff here. Some good starting points. It doesn't have to be a book on relationships or marriage. Keep in mind I'm not not looking for anything too preachy at the moment, as I'm taking very small baby steps right now.

Thanks in advance. 

Wednesday Thoughts

The last two months I have been taking a lot of personal time to reflect on life. This has included being more open to faith and God, going out less, and taking time to do things that make me better inside and out. The below quote has really resonated with me, so much so that I have it as the background on my phone.

That being said, it wasn't until a little over a week ago that I decided to get off the pity party express and make some more big changes. Whining is really unattractive and I have been whining up a storm of late.

So I decided I had enough of doctors and chemicals medication, and stopped cold turkey taking all medication I had been prescribed this summer. It took a few days for my hormones and body to get straight, but I feel like a new person. Mother nature has a way of fixing things herself and after a summer of frustration, tests, and more frustration, I am just taking a step back and seeing if eating better and exercise will make a difference. The next step is to find a more holistic doctor, but I am not quite ready to do that yet.

Then I joined Synergy Fitness and I have to say, it has made a difference as well. I'm still the slowest person in the class when we run laps (I struggle with running), but I am sticking with it. I've been making sure to pack my gym bag at night and go straight to the boot camp after work. And while I'm not following their diet guidelines 100%, I've made major changes to my diet. I eat scrambled egg whites and steel cut oats most mornings for breakfast. Lunch is usually a lean meat, broccoli, and sweet potato. And my post-workout dinner is now a big salad of spinach, chicken, and avocado at night. The first week I didn't see the scale move at all. But this week, it's moving every morning. As of this morning I am down 8 pounds. And I swear my shorts felt less tight this weekend, which means something.

I've also been also spending more time in at home. I started doing this back in August and its made a big difference in my overall mood. I've learned its OK to say no to social functions, that leaving a party early and coming home is nice, and have basically said farewell to nightlife downtown. The whole meeting friends at 10pm on a Saturday night for cocktails and dancing no longer holds any appeal. In fact, the whole lets drink lots of cocktails and pretend we are still in our 20s has pretty much lost all appeal in general. Now I'm far from being a tea toiler, I still enjoy a couple or three glasses of wine at home watching a movie-- because a good bottle of wine is one of my simple pleasures in life. And there is nothing like a perfectly made Old Fashioned cocktail at a restaurant while waiting for the first course to arrive. But the days of vodka sodas, Fireball shots, and Sunday morning headaches have lost all appeal. I want to be able to enjoy my weekends and precious spare time, and losing a whole day nursing a hangover is just lame.

Overall, I just feel more at peace. I'm learning to let things go, not sweat the small stuff, and attempting to accept the things I cannot change. The one area I wish I could commit more to involves going to church. I found a church I think would work for me. And I find myself thinking about church and God and religion, and have been doing a lot of reflection on faith. But I still find myself choosing to stay in my pajamas and watch movies on Sunday, instead of going to church. I am going to continue to work on this, because I have feeling deep down inside that the time has come in my life where I am ready to explore my faith and see where it takes me. It's scary and yet calming all at the same time.

You'll notice I didn't mention dating or relationships above. Right now with everything else going on in life, I'm taking a break from worrying about this. I'm trying to stay positive and believe that if the right guy is meant to come into my life, it will happen. Which means, my profiles on the dating sites are no more.

I've never really fully embraced online dating, and have always felt pressured to stay on there and "put myself out there" from friends. But at the end of the day, I'm more a meet a guy at a gathering, by chance at a coffee shop, or through mutual friends. Online dating always feels impersonal to me and after my scary experience on there just haven't felt safe with it. I've always felt online dating sites were just a montage of perfectly cropped photos, where people who are able to write a witty personal statement excel-- which leaves those us of us who are on there reluctantly to never come across as we really are in life. I tend to see a lot of narcissism, arrogance, and shameless booty calling on there. Or complete lack of effort and laziness. Not to mention the same people over and over again on multiple sites. Not my cup of tea y'all.

Anyways, that's whats going on in my world this week.

Progress on my Place

Right now my apartment is 90% done. And by done I mean almost completely furnished and decorated. I moved in July and have taken my time picking out new items, because I find rushing and decorating usually don't mix. My style continues to evolves and when I shop now for pieces, I try to think long term and not short term (ie less trends more timeless).

That being said, I do have a weird habit of gravitating towards deer themed items of late.

Moving along.

Last Thursday, my dresser came for my bedroom and after adding a mirror and some personal touches, I love it.

On Wednesday, the last piece of furniture is being delivered, which is a console cabinet for my living room. Which means my decorating to-do list is all about walls now. See below.

- Two blank walls in my bathroom. I find decorating bathrooms to be weird and am not a fan of putting up bathroom prints or word art (relax, wash, rinse, etc) on a bathroom wall. So they sit blank.

- Two walls in my bedroom. One of which may or may not have two butterfly prints I would love to say goodbye to. This is what I mean by decorating with trends. I have no idea what I was thinking a few years ago.

- And the problem wall in my living room. There is this one wall, which is long, wide and off white. And it drives me insane, because I can't find anything to put on it. So I finally decided to tell my OCD to chill out and attempt a wall collage. 

The first step was calculating how big I should make the collage. So I used the 4/7 rule. Basically just multiple the width of the wall area you want to fill by 4/7 (.571429) and that is the length the covered space should be. This works on any wall you are trying to hang art. After figuring out the measurements, I used a level and painters tape to create a guideline of where to fill with frames and art. Somehow the right side was not totally straight. It's probably because my level is six inches long and I had to keep moving it as I pressed the tape into the wall.

It looks rather lonely, no? Did you notice the deer pillow? Like I said, a deer collecting problem. Anyways, on Sunday I went shopping and found two pieces I really liked. I'm super picky when it comes to buying prints and art, so I know its going to take me a little while to fill up the whole space. My goal is to have it completed by Thanksgiving, since I am hosting a group of friends. Below is the progress I made as of Sunday. That's a real horseshoe in the frame, and well, another deer print. Hush. I'm thinking of maybe adding a couple of seasonal items to the mix, which I could change out throughout the year. I also plan on adding some circle frames and mixing materials so it looks less forced. The one area my OCD is going to have the final word, is spacing everything 2 inches apart.

Am I the only one who finds decorating to be a labor of love and time consuming? I enjoy it, but my goodness, making a home feel like home is not a quick process.