Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Intentional Variety

When I plan, whether it is meals for the week, my monthly reading, tasks around the house, or writing projects, I attempt to make them all intentional. Not random, or scattered or winged, but designed, aimed, focused. Varied.

The weekly menu plan, which I have made the same way for years, back when we had a houseful, and now when we eat at a smaller table together, is based on a variety of meals: two chicken based, two ground beef, one vegetarian, and one meat (usually for barbeque). This week, our meals are chicken ole, chicken pizza, tacos, penne casserole, bean burritos, and meatball soup. Some weeks we end up with more Italian type meals, other weeks more Mexican, some weeks stir-fry Chinese style. Depends on my mood or how hungry I am when I plan the meals and the shopping list.

Each month, I plan my reading in a similar way. My goal is five books a month: one novel, one home/decorating/organizational, one biography, one related to writing skills, one motivational book, or one new or different style. For example, in February, I read Ray Bradbury's Classic Stories 1. Since I am writing short stories, it seemed good to read one of the masters. Normally, science fiction doesn't interest me, but I remember reading and enjoying some of his writing years ago. The stories were fascinating. Written in the forties and fifties, some of his futuristic ideas have already been exceeded. Some are still awaiting on the fringe. I am attempting to finish up Education of a Wandering Man, a memoir by Louis L'Amour by the end of the month. The guys have loved reading his prolific western fictions. I was excited to find this memoir, written by the author himself, at a library book sale. I read The Shell Seekers, a favorite re-read by Rosamunde Pilcher. Another novel, Veil of Roses, by Laura Fitzgerald, was an interesting story of cultural challenges as an Iranian young woman attempted to integrate and adjust into the culture here in the United States. Creative Journal Writing, the art and heart of reflection, by Stephanie Dowrick was my writing skills book. I also started Living Organized, by Sandra Felton. Seems after all these years I would have organizing down pat, but I'm afraid I still have plenty to learn. I picked up a couple of storage idea books at the library, too, but those are more picture books than reading, for the times when I don't have the concentration or ability to focus on reading.

Also, Bible reading, Old Testament and New Testament chapters and a devotional type book, most mornings. The goal is every morning, early, but sometimes I get sidetracked with random reading and lose my intentional focus. Working on that one by not turning on my computer until I have read the Bible and devotional book and journal first.

A wide variety of foods is the healthiest. For reading, learning and personal growth, I also try for a wide variety, for mental health and growth. As I put great ideas into my mind, hopefully I'll be able to produce writing that is intelligent, helpful, challenging and encouraging for readers, and also profitable for me (not just in a monetary sense).

What books are you reading now?


  1. You sound very organized to me! Unfortunately, when it comes to menu planning and reading I am way too scattered. I planned when the kids were home, but have gotten lazy. For reading I've focused too much on heavy books - - I like your assortment of novels, decorating, etc. Thank you for the great tips! I also need to set writing goals. Too much flying by the seat of the pants produces too much confusion and unfinished projects!!

  2. I am planning my reading each month to corral the amount of books I start and never seem to finish. By reading - and finishing - five books a month, I am still ahead of what I used to be with eight or nine unfinished books in progress. Less frustration for me, and more actual accomplishment. Much less scattered. A way for me to travel lighter.