Books I’m Reading in 2014

We are seven days into the new year, and already, I’ve read three books!  I should qualify this with three books that aren’t related to health, autism, and special needs. I’ve always been a bookworm, a bibliophile.  My house is full with thousands of books.  Yes, thousands.

This year, I’m taking more time to read. In years past, I’ve taken classes and gone out to do.  I’m just too tired to “do” much this year.  So I’m going to return to my roots and read more.


I swear my bookshelves (and Kindle app) have swelled in the past few years with all nonfiction I’ve consumed.

This year, I’m trying to only a.) thrift books or b.) read things in my shelves that I’ve been meaning to read or c.) beg, borrow, or steal from the library/friends/etc.

So, here’s a peek at what I’ve been up to reading.  It’s nothing earth-shattering.  I already read all the indie meta-fiction in my 20s, so I’m not going to impress you with my love of David Foster Wallace, or anything McSweeney’s.  I haven’t read a lick of fiction since Moose was diagnosed with autism in 2010.

So, here’s the reads so far:

1.) Malcom Gladwell’s Outliers.  I bought this at a thrift store for a quarter.  Could NOT put it down.  Gladwell is a master at page-turning, and crafting storylines.  Fantastic read for anyone who wants to really understand what makes “self-made” successes…truly successes.

2.) For Christmas, my brother bought me Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Work Week.  Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows I started an educational business with a friend, and frankly, this was another great read for those of your with an enterpreneurial spirit stuck in dead-end jobs.  There was a ton of great, immediate take-aways that I’m already incorporating into my work day, and frankly, my life.

I’d love for Tim Ferriss to write a book on parenting.  I don’t think he has kids yet…but that would be a read.

3.) Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover.  Yes, the Christian-get-out-of-debt radio host.  I borrowed this book from a friend a few years back.  It’s time to pay down all those lingering student loans from grad school and credit cards that ballooned from autism expenses over the past few years.  So, the estate begins the debt snowball in the middle of the polar vortex.


I seriously wonder if I will ever read fiction again.  There’s just so much to learn about everything else, that stories, seem to me, just well, escapist.

I should escape more.  I barely watch tv.  I am drawing and blogging often.

So, here’s my list so far for 2014.

I will update this as I go.


January 2014:

1.) Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers

2.) Tim Ferriss’s The 4 Hour Work Week

3.) Dave Ramsey: The Total Money Makeover.

4.) ?


Any non-fiction you suggest?  I’m ready for my next read!



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overstuffed? on becoming a minimalist


This past weekend, the unthinkable happened.

I spent over 24 hours of my life: purging my stuff, and then pawning said stuff on hungry yard sale gawkers.

It was years of kids’ clothes I kept in case of a third child.
It was hundreds of books from my former classrooms, in case I returned to teaching.
Plates and dishes that collected dust.
Toys that were never played with.
Items that were shuffled from room to room, in case I need it someday.

There comes a time when you need that negative space.
The space to grow.

Slowly, the stuff disappeared.
The women haggled.
The men cracked corny jokes.
Little kids stole a few toys.
My pockets filled with dollars.
During my lunch break at the longest yard sale ever, I walked around the other booths, truly overwhelmed by the amount of stuff.  Collectables. Jewelry. Rusty. Dusty. Crap.
Why do we consume so much?
Do I need twenty pairs of shoes?
1000s of books?
100s of DVDs?
Toys galore?
At what point, does the stuff overtake us, and life become more about managing the stuff, than actually living?
In my precious 1154 square feet, I’ve been on a cleaning rampage.  A local charity calls me weekly, asking, Mrs. Lennert, do you have a pick-up?
As I went through nearly 20 bins of baby clothes, it was hard to not be sentimental.  To hang on to. Because.  To remember when they were so small.
I reminded my bleeding nostalgic heart that this stuff takes up energy which, takes up space, which takes up time from the present.
A present that needs to be lived.
I want to get to a point where the amount of stuff is small.
Where the cleaning is dishes and laundry.
Not the high maintenance of things.
I priced it low.  Let it go.
And I became lighter.

{do note the irony of the post below}

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