By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Walden, Josephus, Etc.

I have been reading Henry David Thoreau's Walden. I haven't read it since college (which, of course, was only the other day), but I enjoy his writings and also Ralph Waldo Emerson's. I like that feeling of quiet contemplation. I find that the first chapter in Walden, called "Economy," does wonders for motivating me to unclutter my life! While each person has to find his own way, and Thoreau's way wouldn't be right for everyone, it is good to read his writings and contemplate what would be good in the way of setting priorities and simplifying life--concentrating on what is truly important to one.

I have always, by the way, pronounced the name as Tha-ROW. I once had an instructor in college who said it was pronounced THOR-oh, or something like that. Does anyone know the absolute correct way to pronounce his name? I am so used to the first way that the second way seems incredibly awkward.

Poor Josephus. I have been neglecting his life and his history something fierce. I will get back to it soon and post a few summarizing notes, in case anyone is interested. And even if you aren't, this blog makes a wonderful place to keep track of things I have learned.

Eusebius has slid even further down my list of things to do. Work, work, work! It takes too much time. I think that is one thing I really envied Thoreau for--he had streamlined his life so that he didn't have to work much for the money he needed and he had lots of free time to read, study, contemplate, etc.

I took time to read all of Martha Grimes's Richard Jury novels. They are mysteries of the "cozy" sort. There is some travel and a number of characters, but they have that quiet contemplative feel. There was one book I didn't have and it is out of print. I figured I could find it online, but I went to a used bookstore and there it was--the only one of Martha Grimes's novels they had was the one I needed! Sometimes life is just too good!

I enjoy reading thought-provoking material, but I also enjoy taking a break from it to read mysteries or other fiction. I think switching around keeps one's mind fresh and ready to tackle whatever arises.

You have about a day and a half to write your New Year's Resolutions. Good luck.


Monday, December 26, 2005

Readin' and 'Ritin' (No 'Rithmatic This Time)

I have added some new blog links to my sidebar. At the moment, I am too lazy to put links in this post also, although I may come back and do it later. (I know--I'm bad!)

First, under "Bloggernacle Links," there are three new ones: Messenger and Advocate (which I discovered through Guy's Blog--Guy Murray also posts on M and A), Prophetize (It has a longer name at the blog itself, but this was easier to link. I found this one mentioned at A Soft Answer.), and Mormon with an Opinion (also discovered at A Soft Answer). They all look interesting and informative.

Next are some links about books and writing (hence the title of this post). You will find them under "Assorted Links" in the section that starts with "Trekking." The ones I've added are: Book Nut, pages turned, Scholar's Blog, The Writing Life, and Writing Fiction. The first two I found on Amira's blog, The Golden Road to Samarqand (Thoughtful Spot). The next three I found by searching blogs with the Google search on Blogspot.

I can't begin to tell you how enamored I am of writing and of reading. I suspect most of you understand, though, because of the frequent reading and writing comments in the Bloggernacle and the blogosphere. These new (to me) blogs look interesting and informative, although I've only skimmed them so far.

If you know of any really good blogs about reading and/or writing, would you be so kind as to tell us about them in the Comments? Thanks much!


Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Here's wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May you always remember Him and look to Him for guidance and love and peace. And may you share that with your family and friends.

Much love radiates out from Oklahoma to all my readers and fellow bloggers!


Thursday, December 22, 2005

Another Year, Another Life Evaluation

It's hard to believe that 3 days from now will be Christmas Day. And just one week after that will be New Year's Day. Time flies whether you're having fun or not.

Every December and January, I find myself evaluating My Life So Far. This isn't always a negative experience. It is useful to acknowledge what I'm doing right, what I'm accomplishing. It is also useful to acknowledge where I can improve.

Some years I write out resolutions, but not always. The lists are more or less the same every year, and sometimes I make some progress and sometimes I don't. What seems most useful is to think in terms of what kind of person I would like to become and what direction I need to move in to accomplish that. Then I can set some short-, medium-, and long-range goals that will take me where I want to go.

Writing down specific goals and the steps necessary to reach them is a good thing to do because it focuses one's efforts and helps set priorities. Let's face it--we usually can't do all the things we would like to in life. Some things we have to give up entirely, other things can be done, but not to the extent we would like or at the time we would like. Instead of being a concert pianist, we play for our friends and family and perhaps at church. But we still get the joy of playing the piano and enjoying the music. We still get the discipline of lessons and practice.

Adjustment to life is a good thing. We recognize what is important and necessary and do those things first, then fit in as much as we can of the other things that interest us. Maybe we can't be a scientist, but we can study scientific material and observe the phenomena around us. This is not the same as "settling for less." It is doing the best you can to develop yourself in the circumstances in which you find yourself. It is recognizing talents and abilities and doing what you can to develop them. It is setting a good example for friends and family to improve themselves in their own ways. It is encouraging our children to learn to manage their resources in a way that will be fulfilling to them.

We can also learn, in this process of self-improvement, to overcome the desire for instant gratification. We learn to enjoy the process of becoming, the time spent working toward our goals. We learn that when we put effort into something, we feel that we have truly done something worthwhile, whether the project is ultimately a success or not. We have learned some discipline and we have gained some knowledge.

I do not find self-improvement plans and goals discouraging. Well, most of the time--I'll grant that there are times when I frustrate me, when I don't manage as well as I ought to. Still, for me this time of year is full of hope and determination to do better, to be better.

I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. And may 2006 be delightful--full of discovery and learning and love. And may we focus the most time and effort on our task of greatest importance--becoming like our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, and our Heavenly Father. May we allow our gift of the Holy Ghost to help us in this effort.


Monday, December 05, 2005

December Days

It is very, very cold here this morning. 19° F. In Oklahoma. Mercy. 'Course I probably sound wimpy to those of you who live in Alaska or Canada or the Northern USA. Fine. I'm a wimp.

I got so dang tired of hot weather. I hate being sticky and sweaty and melty. But I also hate being blue and shivering. I feel like a smurf.

I have survived a November of colds, flu, and allergies. I also survived Thanksgiving and my birthday. Now I am looking forward to a relatively peaceful December. I'm not doing a lot for Christmas, but I will be trying to concentrate on what it's all about - the birth of Jesus Christ. I will visit my brother and his family and get them presents, but not a lot else.

Maybe it is just because November made me weary, but I don't have any great desire to run around doing lots of Christmas stuff.

I wish all of you a very happy Christmas Season and hope you enjoy it all.