#Challenge2020 – July Reading Challenge

I know I’ve talked about this before, but when I felt like my word for 2020 was “Challenge,” I was kinda bummed. But I went with it. I went on Pinterest and started saving challenges. I tried a few things in January and February. I won some, I lost some.

Then came March…

I had no idea what challenge to take on in March. I looked at lots of ideas and nothing jumped out at me. I decided to forgo March and set a challenge for Lent instead. Again, nothing sat right.

Then came Covid…

Okay, so maybe 2020 IS the challenge. For the last three and a half months I’ve worked (from home!) to expand my church’s and employers’ reach on social media. I’ve rebuilt and updated websites. I’ve blogged. I’ve learned Photoshop and found other tools and resources. I found ways to get groceries, cook/bake what we couldn’t buy, or go without. I attended (and hosted) church via streaming platforms. I decorated my windows with hearts, cleaned out closets, and used Zoom and social media to keep in touch with friends and family. It’s been a challenge, for all of us.

And here I sit, July first. I’m back at work – full-time in the office(s). My son has gone off to his summer job. I got my teeth cleaned last week, and restaurants are opening up. We’re back to having church in person. Cases are climbing, but things are settling back to what we consider normal.

And I have a new challenge on my heart…

Like many of you, my “To Be Read” (TBR) pile is HUGE. I’m halfway through several books at any given time, and I buy more and reread favorites even though the pile keeps growing! So my challenge for July is simple: read/finish three books. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but hear me out.

Book one is The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. As a direct result of the unrest and racial tensions in our nation, I decided to educate myself about the experiences of people who are different from me. I don’t have to agree with everything they think, do, or say, but I want to know their “why.” I want to know what I’m not aware of so I can form opinions that aren’t just based on my own experiences. I started listening to this book on audio last month, and it’s slow going. There are only six chapters (plus an introduction) but each of the seven sections is over two hours long and full of so much information that it’s time-consuming to digest.

Book two is in a completely different direction. I bought a copy of Growing up With Manos: the Hands of Fate over a year ago, and haven’t read it yet. The book was written by Jackey Neyman Jones, the child star of a really crappy movie. As a big Mystery Science Theater/Rifftrax fan, I’ve known Manos: The Hands of Fate for years, and learning that there was a book about the making of that crappy classic had my attention. This month I’ll finally give it a read.

Book three is another one off my Audible library. My Audible credits added up when I wasn’t commuting, and I currently have four unfinished books sitting in my account when I’m usually waiting for credits! Other than The New Jim Crow, my waiting books are We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, and Extraordinary, Ordinary People by Condoleezza Rice. At least one of them will be done by the end of July!

So that’s what I’m up to right now. I hope you and yours are all staying healthy, and that you’ve found ways to make the most of this crazy time.

Psalm 46:1-3: God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

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