One Word Blog Challenge 2015

I’ve honestly never been one to relish the New Year’s holiday, as it follows so closely after the holidays of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas.  By the New Year, I tend to find myself all “holiday-ed out.”  My New Year holiday tends to consist of watching both the New York Times Square ball drop and/or the Moon Pie drop in Alabama.  Big, fancy nights out with a new baby in tow:  Not so much.

However, after reading the inspirational “One Word Goal” challenges on the SNAP blog http://snapcreativity.com/category/blogging-tips/  I’ve decided that I would also like to partake in a one word goal challenge this year.  My one word goal for the year 2015 is HEALTH.  This word, as I address it as my goal, means not only physical health, but also reaching for optimal health in the areas of mental/mindfulness and spirituality.

First let’s start with the physical:  I plan to take better care of my body, because all bodies are sacred.  Bodies are the vessel of our soul which was given to us by G-d.  I have changed over to eating a 90% natural diet, free of most preservatives, artificial flavors, and artificial coloring.  I am trying desperately to give up all caffeine, but I realize that this may be the part of the goal that will actually be the most difficult.  I’ve trimmed caffeine usage to one cup of coffee or diet soda per day, but would like to soon ditch the stimulant and bid its unhealthy fizzy friends goodbye.  I’ve also turned into a regular H2O freak, guzzling bottles of water to try to stay as hydrated as possible, as well as to help my kidneys function at maximum capacity.  In addition to changes in my eating and drinking habits, I have begun to work out each and every day for an hour.  Right now, it’s mostly just a combination of swimming laps, walking the track, and participating in an occasional gentle yoga class.  However, as I continue to work at my fitness goals, I plan to increase the rigor of my fitness activities.  I’m looking into investing into a digital fitness tracker with my sights set on either the Garmin Vivofit2 or fitbit Plus to provide that extra push.  After all, it’s the dopamine-reward system center of our brain that causes us to reach and push for more as a reward to our self, and, ultimately, a feeling of achievement.  Lastly, I’ve signed up with a work partner for our “Commit to Get Fit” coordinated school health initiative at work.  I’m looking forward to watching those numbers on the scale decrease, as my health and energy levels increase.

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Mental/mindfulness/spiritual health:  I now realize the importance of a hyper-scheduled day.  Don’t get me wrong, a day with relaxation and as little stress as possible is always a good thing.  For me, those times should be scheduled into my day to create an environment that is as peaceful and predictable as possible.  I’ve begun the practice of having a more goal-directed, mindful environment in terms of practices I put forth.  I have started a journal to my son to record all of the small, meaningful moments and thoughts that, without being recorded, will likely escape us like the sands of time.  I hope to be able to preserve these memories so we can look back when he is much older, and, we will be able to smile sweetly at the preciousness of a simpler time when he greeted me with smiles and tiny baby giggles in the morning.  In addition to these writings, I’ve also begun to keep a goal journal with what I call “landmarks” along the way.  Each “landmark” is a special place that I would like to get to one my journey.  These “landmarks” will help me know that I’m on the right track, or, conversely, that I need to reassess where I am currently at and take a different direction to get to my goal.  Lastly, I plan to meditate and pray more often.  This should most likely have been mentioned first, however, I would like it to be something that I eventually incorporate into my morning routines upon waking, and my evening routines before going to bed.  The Shema always brings me comfort, as well as the verse from Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your G-d will be with you wherever you go.”  I am currently working on a painting of this verse to be hung on the wall in my office as a constant reminder that fear and discouragement have no place in a life well-lived and full of HEALTH.

Librarian Blogger Questionnaire

As a join the realm of librarian bloggers on Twitter, many of them seem to feature the same questionnaire (as seen below) on their blog.  I did a little research, and, as it turns out, librarian bloggers tend to put out some information on their reading habits after their first few blog posts.  So, in the spirit of a new tradition, here it goes:

Do you snack while you read? If so, what’s your favorite reading snack?

I tend not to snack while I read, but, if I do, it’s on Skinny Pop Popcorn or Yoplait Greek Yogurt Bars.  Both are healthy and delicious snacks.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of
writing in books horrify you?

If I’m studying what I’m reading and I own the book, then I tend to highlight passages.  That way, I can come back later and reread what I found to be important or interesting.  I think marking in my books goes back to my days as an undergraduate English major.  However, I never mark in a library book or a book that is on loan to me.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears?

I always use a bookmark, although it’s usually nothing fancy.  Junk mail flyers make excellent bookmarks.

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?

I’m definitely more of a nonfiction reader, but modern authors like Libba Bray and Neil Gaiman hold my attention as fictional writers.  I also have an undying passion for children’s literature, regardless of whether or not it’s nonfiction.

Hard copy or Kindle?

I tried a Kindle.  My family bought it for me over the holidays one year and gave it a beautiful leather cover.  However, no matter how hard I tried, I just could not get into the whole digital book concept.  I prefer a real book in my hands.  I guess I’m old-school like that.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you
able to put a book down at any point?

I find chapters to be a good stopping point in a book.  I tend to pace myself by chapter when reading a book.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?

Sometimes?  It depends on the word and the level to which my curiosity is piqued.

What are you currently reading?

The Way Into Jewish Prayer by Lawrence A. Hoffman.  It’s a very deep book that delves into the liturgical history of Judaism.

What is the last book you bought?

The Way Into Torah by Rabbi Norman J. Cohen.  It’s the next book on my reading list.

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can
you read more than one at a time?

I usually have several books going at once, but have recently decided to focus my studies on one book at a time.

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?

In the evening, I prefer to read on the chase lounge part of our sofa at home.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have our little Chihuahua Hercules cuddled up next to me.

Do you prefer series books or stand-alone books?

I’ve recently started getting into series books, but, generally speaking, I prefer stand alone books.

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?

I’ve always loved the writings of George Orwell.  He was a powerful writer.

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)

At home, it’s how they fit on the bookshelf by height.

And there you have it:  A Librarian Blogger Questionnaire on my reading habits.