Context or new perspective

So it’s that time of year again… new bible reading plan hunting time! lol!

So when we last recapped, I was behind enough that I was ending last April.

So where this puts me now is about 2/3 of the way through a plan that I’m not real gung ho about, and not sure if I want to keep.

The plan that I’ve been using has been the one based on the tyndale one year bible, that has a section each from OT, NT, psalms and proverbs… because I had the one year bible in real life book form originally.

I’ve since decided that I don’t really like the book form, for about three main reasons.

  1. It’s set by dates, so when you get off track, it’s hard to keep where you are.
  2. It’s far less portable on the go than a youversion plan that I can read from my phone or the web
  3. It’s pretty useless as a bible for any other circumstances. Because it’s in order for the readings… it’s majorly hard to find anything, or read along with anything that might be split between days.. and I’d really rather have my highlights and such made during daily reading in the same bible/app that I’d be using for any other reading.

As far as the plan itself, I have three more main things that sometimes get to me.

  1. I don’t like the short half chapters of psalms and 2 or 3 verses of proverbs being so short and tagged on at the end… because it seems like it gives them less attention and the short end of the stick. But the time I hit them, I’ve changed sections twice, and regrouping
  2. I don’t like that it sometimes seems out of context and divided in the middle of a story. I find myself clicking back to previous days to remember where we were, or just reading ahead for several days of just the OT or NT part to finish the story, then coming back the next days and just reading the remaining sections.

So my first thought for this year has been to actually start two plans… one that just covers OT including psalms and proverbs in their normal course of things, and one that just covers NT.

The point of this would we that I could go back and forth… read several days worth of one till it got to a logical place, then flip to the other one, and back and forth.

But the more I thought about this, the more I realized that basically, this is just the virtual version of putting two bookmarks in a hard copy bible and reading along. Which means it probably runs into the same issues that I have with that strategy… namely, that it still requires my motivation and organization. I’m probably pretty likely to skip lots more days entirely without following the daily set sections, and then make up for it with reading through a ton too rapidly and missing the depth… and will probably get stuck somewhere about 1/3 to 1/2 way through the OT one and lack the motivation to push through the less interesting parts when I have nothing to keep me on pace with it.

I’m always amazed when I scan through the different plans availible on youversion of how many there are, and how different.

I don’t even want to try the ones that cram into 90 days right now. Way too crazy with my life.

Nor do I want ones that loop back through the gospels 4 times during the year, or the one that includes 12 different times of reading proverbs.

Nor do I really want commentary to have more to read. I’m fine with seeking out commentary on my own just on parts that catch my attention.

I’ve basically come down to a few that I’m still considering at the moment and trying to decide my gameplan.

One is a pretty basic plan… it has one reading a day each from OT and NT. The catch is, it puts the books in what seems to be a random order. It starts with Genesis and Romans. Another example it gives is that while you are in Isiah, you are also in Mark. Which, granted, will make some sections of the OT a bit better by splitting some of the similar spells apart maybe instead of being back to back… and maybe give a bit more focus onto the gospels by not having them read right after each other. Mix things up a bit.

Option 2 is more similar to the tyndale version. It does fix the psalms and proverbs issue by removing those daily sections, and replacing them with one daily “wisdom book” reading that covers those books and others. It also splits the NT reading into two daily sections, one that goes through just the gospels, and the other section covering the rest… so that the gospels as spread throughout, instead of being over by about march. The other OT section is pretty normal.

Option 3 is actually a variation of the two plans used as one idea mentioned earlier…. but they both have slight twists. The OT plan splits the daily OT readings into three sections… one each from the historical books, the poetry, and the prophetic books… so no more getting stuck in pure history seemingly forever.
The NT plan I’m looking at to go with it has the books rearranged by who the author was… which actually sounds pretty cool to me. Seems like it would make for an interesting flow to keep with the similar voice.

Another option just seriously made me laugh the first time I opened it. It’s a plan that goes by reading 10 chapters a day, regardless of length of those chapters… but there’s another twist.
You aren’t reading Genesis 1-10 on day one. Oh no.
You are reading Genesis 1, Matthew 1, Romans 1, 1 Thes 1, Job 1, Psalms 1, Proverbs 1, Joshua 1, Isaiah 1, and Acts 1.
Day 2 is chapter 2 of all of those same books. Etc Etc.
Remember how I said that I was flipping back to try and reconnect with context from previous days? Yeah, this plan would have absolutely none of that! lol!
The reason it sort of tempts me to try it is that I’m sort of drawn by that same separated nature. With reading from 10 different books in 1 day, they are going to be split apart from their context… and that may actually be a good thing in breaking out of the predictability. I mean, eventually, you kind of get to where sometimes you know what’s happening next, and so you stop really paying as much attention to it. Forcing each chapter out on its own might help it be able to take the spotlight more for what is there, not just where it fits in the big picture.
But I’m sort of thinking it really might drive me bonkers long before the end. (it’s actually only 8 months… so would give leeway for missed days.)

Now just to hurry up and decide… if I’m wanting to start on Jan 1 I need to pick tomorrow. lol

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Penelope

For some super strange reason, the name Penelope has been on my mind lately. Like past couple weeks.

I don’t know from where… I don’t think I even know anyone named Penelope.

But it keeps coming to mind. Out of the blue.

I’m sort of starting to wonder if someone is just going to turn up somewhere and introduce themselves as Penelope.

I actually went as far as to run a search through my email, my feed reader, and my facebook to see if I’d just seen a Penelope mentioned somewhere so I could find a reason to say hello to them.

All it turned up was a old vague mention of a movie a few years back named Penelope.. but I’d never seen the movie or even enough about the movie to know what it was about, and even the mention was old.

Who is Penelope?? Why does her name keep coming into my thoughts??

Bear outcome

So I gave Boo the bear with her Christmas presents.

It didn’t get the warm happy reception, but nor did it get ignored. She just said its ears were so big that if you just saw the head you would think it was a mouse.

And I already realized that the ears were bigger than her other bear. But that was really the only thing she pointed out as she moved on to other packages.

No big fanfare for the bear, but no upset over the lost bear, so I considered it to have gone ok.

But, I noticed Christmas night that the bear had made it into bed with her, and was tucked under her arm. A big position with her stuffed animals.

The next night, the bear made the trip down to grandma’s with her to spend the night.

But then tonight… we were getting ready to go across town to make one of two exchanges from her gifts from other people. And the bear got loaded into the car with us to go along.

Even though she’s 10… almost 11 now.

I think it’s safe to say the bear has officially been accepted. 🙂

Taco shoe library.

I woke up this morning, by nothing in particular, from a pretty vivid dream.

In this dream, I had a job manning a small vendor booth at some sort of outdoor area. State fair, something like that… outdoors and crowded with a mix of different people.

But I kept making small mistakes on literally every single order. Nothing huge, but nothing was exactly right.

I was the only person working the booth at this time, even though it was really busy… so it’s not like there was a supervisor yelling at me.. and for that matter even the customers were polite.

But I just kept getting more and more hopeless feeling every single time that someone pointed out what was wrong with their order. And more and more discouraged. And more and more hard on myself as I would think that at last I had this order right, only to find out it had something wrong and be crushed again.

Now, I should probably try to explain what I was doing.

You see, this booth had three different types of customers.

The most straightforward were the people who wanted tacos. But there was some sort of special on very large numbers of them, and they had absolutely no wrapping or plates to put them on… so I was handing these people big handfuls of tacoshells… and so the tacos weren’t cooperating.

Second, this booth was a library. But not just any library… it was some sort of connected cooperative library to where different books could be handed to different people who had cards from that particular library… each with its own different policies and procedures to check them out, and I kept confusing the different ones with each other.

Third, it was operating some sort of a shoe trade in. Sort of along the lines of bowling shoe counters where the shoes are loose, but then, people also had to turn in a pair of other shoes before they could buy a new pair.

So, none of these were very simple processes… and I probably could have done any of them fairly well anyway if that were the only thing I had to do… but all three at once, I was pulling it off mostly but kept making these simple mistakes. Like miscounting tacos and giving someone 29 instead of 30.

I woke up… and I had to laugh.

Because that’s totally about how my life is!

I’m juggling different, somewhat complicated, mostly unrelated roles… and then getting frustrated at myself over pretty basic non-critical mistakes that I probably wouldn’t make nearly as frequently if I had my whole life focused on just fulfilling that particular role.

But then, maybe that’s everyone’s life. Very few people only do one single thing. Even if it’s just juggling family vs friends… or the role of sister vs the role of daughter…

Maybe I just need to remind myself… it’s just a taco. They get messy, they get miscounted, and they sometimes don’t have everything on them that they should. That’s expected of tacos.

And of taco-serving shoe-trading librarians.

Define fun

It sort of baffles me this time of year how many things are expected to produce certain feelings.

Actually, more so, it baffles me how many people seem almost offended if your feelings don’t match those that are expected.

We were making christmas sugar cookies. They were not going well at all. Kid was in fit mode before the first pan was in the oven because the dough was sticking…. and it got much worse over the fact that the cookies swell up some, and so some of the obscure shapes like santa’s boot didn’t have enough detail to be easily identifiable. We literally ended up giving up after about 3 round cookie sheets, and rolled the rest of the dough into balls to just be made into simple round cookies. We didn’t even use the batches of gingerbread dough yet.

This was not being fun… for either of us… at all. I was rather glad when it was over…. and she’d already left the kitchen to go do other things long before that point.

The topic came up later with someone… a loaded question “you made sugar cookies? oh, that must have been a lot of fun…”. Not really wasn’t quite the answer she was looking for.

What’s with this pretending like everything holiday related is always going to be fun and magical?

Hanging lights outdoors sucks most years around here. Actually, lights even on trees frequently are a frustrating test of patience.

Family gatherings are sometimes more tense and fight-filled than joyous.

Kitchen adventures can go poorly just as easily as they can go wonderfully.

And shopping… well… shopping is sometimes a total disaster.

I sometimes wonder whether I’m just off, and whether the whole rest of the planet just enters this christmas bliss euphoria that makes all the rough edges magically disappear.

Because sometimes… the amount of real life responses people seem to expect runs right about the real they want in a tree. All the pretty, but don’t admit that the pine needles are all over the carpet…. maybe we’ll just go all plastic after all.

Sometimes things aren’t fun.

Even in late december.

If your month is perpetually filled with a soft glow from the tree and the fire that makes everything else turn into nothing but joyful bliss, I want some of whatever you are putting in your eggnog.

Actually, I probably don’t. Can you hand me that blob-shaped cookie over there? We’ll be fine over here in reality… because it tastes the same in the end.

Christmas Stories by Max Lucado

Christmas Stories by Max Lucado is the most recent ebook that I’ve received from Thomas Nelson for reviewing.

It’s a fairly short book of short stories by Max, and as you could probably guess by that title, they relate to Christmas. Most (or maybe even all) of them are listed as being taken from other books by Max, and are basically being grouped together in this themed book instead of being spread across many books.

The book actually has two main sections. The first one is pretty much exactly what I expected from a fiction book by Max. They are stories of different people in different places and eras, all set around Christmas. They are sweet, maybe even a bit sappy at times if you don’t think too much about it to notice exactly how many involve dead parents, runaway or pregnant rebellious teens, or both.

The second part of the book changes from being stories about people to being more biblical focused. Some of them are a lot more like I would expect from one of Max’s non-fiction books… going into the origins of things, or offering a different view of Joseph or from the perspective of the angels. He does go a bit more into fiction in some parts of this section too though, such as an imagined battle between angels and demons trying to prevent baby Jesus from being born.

It’s a nice Christmas themed read… nothing too heavy… and pretty much just what you’d expect it to be if you are familiar with Max’s writing both in fiction and non-fiction.

Thomas Nelson page for the book
Amazon page for the book

Electronics from a parking lot.

As it has been the past few years, kiddo’s christmas list was almost entirely filled with electronics.

The new and expensive wii, a laptop, an ipad… those sorts of things.

One of the things she had included was a tv for her room.

Now, we don’t have cable, and very rarely watch tv around here.

Until she got the wii, the only tv in the house was the 19“ one in my room that I bought back in 1997… which is still the only tv that is set up to watch. The bigger one that my brother gave us to play the wii on won’t work with just the antenna and converter box.

And so, when she does want to watch tv, she’s in my room, which is also usually where I’m studying.

So I was thinking about actually getting her a tv. Of all the random electronic items, that one seemed the most reasonable and the cheapest.

I’d messed around with finances… and thought I might be able to pull off one of the random $175 walmart cheap ones… but… as time got closer and a couple of expected days of work got cut, it just wasn’t happening.

And so, I tried to come up with a better idea… and short of just buying random small items and going for quantity over quality, not much was coming up.

And so… I decided to check out the local tv repair shop that also sells used tvs. Figuring a tv is a tv, and doubting she would be too picky if it came to used tv over no tv. And the cheapest thing they had used was more than walmart’s cheapest new.

And so, I decided to check around at a couple of local pawn shops. And was amazed to find the same situation.

All that they had at all were the newer widescreen flat styles. And all medium to large sized. And all at least $200.

I suppose in a bad economy, pawn stores can be picky about what they buy to resell?

I prepared to check out craigslist… but decided to stop at one more pawn store, a tiny one, not really expecting to find a tv, but knowing that when they have wii games in, they tend to sell them for $1-$3.

And, surprisingly, in their selection of 8 tv’s, three of them were the older style, and less than $100.

Unfortunately, one of them was a really tiny travel sized thing… and the other two were really older to the point that they didn’t have the rca component jacks to hook things into it… and so would have required my buying another converter that runs about 35 by itself… and so was less than ideal.

But I was still considering them… and was talking a bit with the guy about what I was looking for.

When all of the sudden, one of the other guys working there pops up and asks a women who was looking at the movies section if she still wanted to get rid of her tv.

As it turns out, this woman… who looked like she was a bit younger than me… was moving out of state. She’d had a tv in her bedroom and one in the main room, but was moving in with a roommate, and so was putting her newer tv from the living room into her new bedroom.

She’d come in just before I did, and had been at the counter on the other side of the store… where the other staff member had bought a stereo she’d brought in and some tools, but had decided not to buy her tv, because it wasn’t the newer style and it ”wouldn’t sell“.

And so, she and I went out to her car… and the tv was perfect! Nice condition… recognizable brand.. about the same size as the one connected to the wii, but newer and less heavy… had component jacks… even had remote.

I asked her what she wanted for it, and she told me $10… because she didn’t want to move it, and nobody else wanted it. She’d just been trying to figure out exactly what she was going to do with it to get rid of it.

I almost never carry cash, and my first thought when we’d headed outside was that I was going to have to run down the street to the atm… but suddenly, I remembered I had $20 in my wallet from something the other day that I expected to need cash for but didn’t.

And so, I offered her double what she’d asked… because I totally would have paid more than 5 times what she’d asked had this tv been available to be bought inside.

You know it’s an interesting time in your life when you find yourself buying electronics from someone in a pawn shop parking lot for a christmas gift, and being totally thrilled about it!

And… with the circumstances being as they were… apparently this kid was just meant to get a tv this year. lol