Links, books, and other things I love – February 2016

1 SECOND EVERYDAY – January edition

[click here if you can’t see the video]

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7 Ways to Fight Distraction During Prayer
I can easily wander off in my mind when I intend to be in a one-on-one conversation with God.

• Even Facebook Can’t Help You Have More than 150 Friends
Can the internet help us maintain more friendships? Interesting article.

How to Decide What to Blog About
Amy Lynn Andrews has a way of simplifying things. These 5 tips help us think about what others might want to read on our blogs.

Self-Compassion Quiz
My February focus for my One Word “Welcome” is self-compassion. Here’s a quiz to measure how self-compassionate you are.

• Be Kind to Yourself
Dolly shared this song with me when I was being hard on myself last month. It’s beautiful. Hope you enjoy it too.

[click here if you can’t see the video]

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14 Signs You Were Born to Be a Reader
I relate to several of these, especially #7.

I used to think CliffsNotes and SparkNotes were just for students writing term papers who didn’t want to read the book. But I find myself turning to them again and again as an adult reader to help me understand books that have complicated plots or characters. It helps me enjoy the stories so much more.

Books I recommend from January reading


Currently reading:

  1. The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, #2) (J.R.R. Tolkien)
  2. How to Love (Thich Nhat Hanh)
  3. Walden (Henry David Thoreau)
  4. Christianity After Religion (Diana Butler Bass)
  5. A Return to Love (Marianne Williamson)
  6. The Path of Centering Prayer (David Frenette)

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• A surprise gift!
I had no idea this was coming—Jenna and her boyfriend Trey took my One Word for 2016, “Welcome,” and created this amazing sign that I’ve put on my wall. I love everything about it, including their font choices, how they oriented the words, and that they included my exact phrasing.


My nose is red and eyes are watery from crying—this gift caught me totally off-guard

• Seeing Morgan 2 weekends in a row!
Our oldest daughter came down to help vacuum and wash dishes and keep me company the day after my gall bladder surgery two weeks ago. Then the next week we got to see her again when she returned for a funeral. I love any moments we can get with her.

• My baby girl Jenna turns 21


Trey and Jenna on her birthday eve

• Fresh flowers


A perk of having surgery, thanks to Fran and friends from Manna House

• This is how to eat a cake


Our godson enjoying his 1-yr-old birthday party

• Centering Prayer Retreat
Last year I attended an introductory silent Centering Prayer retreat at a nearby monastery. So this year I signed up for the intensive weekend. I expect it to be challenging, but I’m looking forward to my time alone with God.

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What are you looking forward to in February? Please share in the comments.

Linking at Leigh Kramer’s
My previous posts

18 thoughts on “Links, books, and other things I love – February 2016

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, “interesting” is an apt description for how things have been. 🙂 And not just for me, but Jeff had to be dragged along into it as well by helping take care of things a little more lately since I’ve been hurting. But hopefully a new dawn is rising and we can get back to normal, whatever normal is. Amen about the chocolate—it definitely makes for a fuller effect in every way. ha.

  1. Lyli

    Hope you are recovering well from your surgery, Lisa. Are you familar with Andrew Peterson’s song “Dancing in the Minefields?” It’s one of my favorite songs about marriage.

    Thanks for pointing us to that post about prayer. I am sharing it with my online prayer group — I recently had someone ask me that question, so it was right on time.

    That retreat sounds lovely! Enjoy 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, Lyli, the surgery recovery has gone very well. Just still having good days/bad days with the original abdominal pain. But hopefully one day it will disappear.

      I’m not familiar with that song but I’m going to listen to it right now (I do love YouTube!). Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Betty Draper

    This post was chuck full of good stuff. I will read that post on prayer for it is going to be our next study in my bible study. And the pictures of the little boy eating cake..precious, I am assuming he is a grandson. You are a blessing to read Lisa.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m sure your next bible study will be an amazing time of growth for the participants, Betty. The more we pray, the more we open ourselves up for change. God is good.

      No, little Isaak is not my grandson, just one of our godsons. No grandkids yet for us! I’m patiently waiting my turn for that to happen. 🙂

  3. Sharon

    Lisa, this post was packed with so much good stuff! I’ve enjoyed linking and reading some of the articles you mentioned. For the record, and no big surprise, yes, I was born to be a reader!! I remember my mom taking us to a local toy store. I immediately ran to the area where they had Nancy Drew books. Mom would usually buy me one, and sometimes two, and then chuckle in pseudo-frustration that I’d read them in a couple of days!!

    I have boxes of books in storage, double-stacked bookshelves, and piles of unread books just waiting for my little eyes to devour. I’ve considered getting a reading device, but I just love the feel and smell of the actual pages. Yup, bookworm thy name is ME!!

    What a neat sign that Jenna and Trey made for you! Honestly, I want one for my word!! Such a good reminder for this year, and for years to come, what God laid upon your heart. I will have to find a way to *memorialize* my word – GRATEFUL.

    Hope you’re mending well from the surgery.


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I can picture you running to the Nancy Drew books, Sharon. 🙂 When I’d go with my mom to the grocery store, I’d go straight to the magazine racks so I could read while she shopped. And the bookmobile was heaven on wheels! I read every Nancy Drew book they had, over and over.

      Hope you find a way to memorialize your word Grateful! I feel incredibly blessed by my sign. Yes, it’s such a tangible reminder that I can keep, long after this year is over, and be reminded to Welcome life. Recovery from surgery itself has gone well; I’m grateful for that part at least.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks for your prayers about the retreat, Jean. I’m really looking forward to the time! Trying to have no expectations except that the Lord will be with me, and that will be enough.

  4. floyd

    Great post. Even learned a new word today… “nefelibata”…. my computer says I spelled it wrong. Could be.

    What a great gift from your baby! And gift of getting to see your oldest! Can’t believe Jenna’s gonna be twenty one… Sheeesh.

    What a blessing. Great post!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I know…where did we go wrong on letting our babies grow up? 🙂 No choice in the matter. But I suppose we’d choose to let them grow up, even if we did have a choice. It just brings on more adventures seeing what they choose to do with their own lives. Glad we’ve been friends out here for a long while, Floyd, to watch each other’s kids grow up and leave the nest.

  5. Barbara H.

    I had not heard that song of Andrew’s before – it’s great!. I LOVE his “Dancing in the Mine Field” and “You’ll Find Your Way” (the latter about his teenager – tissues recommended. 🙂 ).

    I can identify with several of the signs you were born to be a reader.

    I like to use SparkNotes particularly for classics – it’s easy to get a little lost in them and the site helps me see things I missed or keep the story’s arc fresh. There is another one I’ve used when SparkNotes doesn’t have the book I am interested in called Shmoop. It’s a little…snarkier and not as detailed but it is a help as well.

    What a sweet gift from your daughter and her boyfriend. They look so cute in their photo.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Andrew’s song was new to me too, but now it’s one of my favorites. It’s funny how sometimes a song can stick so quickly.

      Thanks for the tip about Shmoop. I’ve never heard of it, so I’m glad to have another option to use. I’m currently reading The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and as silly as it may seem to some, I’m using SparkNotes for that. ha. I really only planned to muddle through the first book since I’ve never been a fan, but after reading the first one, I discovered I didn’t want to stop. So now I’m on book 2. We never know, I guess! 🙂

  6. Sarah Caldwell

    SO MUCH GOODNESS in this post! Found it through Leigh’s linkup. Love your post about your silent retreat – that quote by Richard Rohr is fantastic and thought provoking. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Isn’t Richard Rohr amazing? I subscribe to his daily email newsletter and am always so challenged and encouraged by his take on God and love and grace. Thanks for stopping by, Sarah!

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