Sunday, February 19, 2012


"You're so grounded and sure in the faith, sometimes I just need to talk to you and get your perspective."

I actually started laughing when a friend of mine surprised me by telling me this during a phone conversation Saturday. It was a beautiful and unexpected compliment, all the more so because I rarely feel like I have it all together faith-wise. More often than not, I feel like I'm just keeping my head above water, fumbling about and praying as I go. I told my friend that so often, I wished I knew the answers or understood what God wants me to do and when, but just keep plugging along.

Especially lately. Although I've been in my new place for three weeks now, I still don't feel settled just yet. There are still plenty of things to sort through and find a place for. I've been so busy. And I've barely found time for prayer, which, I have no doubt, has surely contributed to the somewhat scattered feeling I've been experiencing of late.

That's why I'm so looking forward to Lent starting Wednesday. I need and am longing for that focus (that grounding, if you will) Lent brings; So many people see Lent as a time of denial, and it is. Of course it is, and for good purpose. But it is also a time of joy and time for us to learn and grow more towards God. And here, in the waning hours of my 33rd year, I know there's still more growing for me to accomplish. I don't think, and I hope, that growth will never end. I have several books picked out for Lenten reading (one, a book by Fulton Sheen -- "Way to Inner Peace" -- that I found at a used bookstore for a quarter a while ago but only turned up again when packing to move) and have decided to pray a Rosary daily -- one of my New Year's resolutions was to pray it more frequently, and as I haven't quite followed through with that one, making it a Lenten sacrifice seems like a good plan.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The great book count of 2012

So, while I was packing to move, a number of people asked me how many books I owned. I had no idea, as I'd never counted before. A few friends wondered if I had 1,000. A girl I work with has 2,400-plus. I knew I wasn't to that level, but I figured a few hundred wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility.

Now, when I moved into my old apartment six-odd years ago, I came in with 14 boxes of books. And over those six years, I accumulated more. Some of them I knew I'd be able to part with: books I read but couldn't recall what they were about when I picked them up, several books I found I actually owned a duplicate of (somehow I'd managed to acquire two copies of Alison Weir's "The Life of Elizabeth I") or random thrillers my dad had passed along to me that really aren't my speed. Ultimately, I donated 165 of them.

Some of the first things I packed were books: they're easy to toss into a box and you don't have to worry about adding any kind of packing materials to make sure nothing is damaged. In the week before I moved all the big stuff, I brought several car loads over to my new place and stowed them in the garage. My roommate, Pam, kept asking how many more there were, although, a reader herself, she was excited to have some more reading options at her disposal. Ultimately, the majority of boxes I picked up at local liquor stores wound up filled with books. In fact, by the time I was done, I had 26 boxes of books that came with me to my new place.

I make no secret of the fact that I daydream/long for a home with built-in bookshelves, or an entire room turned into a library, preferably. I do have one smaller book case next to my desk, but it's only three-shelved and two feet wide. There's a legal sized bookcase in the living room and that small plastic bin filled with to-be-reads currently lounging under my bed. But I needed a place to store lots, so last weekend, with the help of several (awesome) friends, six pine shelves were installed on one of my bedroom walls. This weekend, I stained them a lovely darker color. Today, I filled them. And they are things of beauty. I just keep looking over at them and grinning like a Cheshire cat, hoping, too, that gravity and the weight of my books won't somehow send them crashing down. They are truly loaded with books, 467 all told (counting those on a "shelf" I created on the floor beneath the shelf lowest to the ground).

Anyway, since all my books are now shelved. I counted everything. Grand total: 758, including cookbooks and my school yearbooks. If I hadn't parted with those 165, I'd have had 923, so still under 1K, but it's a completely respectable number, I think. And that doesn't mean that I won't eventually acquire more. There is still a little bit of space on the top shelf for additions. :)