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What's Growing? January 7th

We always start our year planning the gardening. That means that my spreadsheet is what is growing this time of year (and all my scratch paper). I use spreadsheets for most things these days. I had already started a file with all the preferred seeds and vendors from the last year. I tend to forget details from the last year, so writing things down helps me. My most helpful file from last year was a spreadsheet that was my journal and included gardening notes, rain amounts, along with my reading and other events. A spreadsheet journal works way better for me than any other kind. *I got the idea from an article I read on a tech website, but I can't remember where. First, I narrowed down the list of plants to just what I wanted to grow. This was a hard but freeing exercise this year. Usually, we add more plants and more varieties. We cut away at things that are hard to grow or that aren't worth the effort this year. For example, our kids don't care for my homegrown carrots bec

OPEN: My Goals for 2023

 Here are my goals for 2023: I plan on posting updates on my progress. Health Workout 200 Times (This is 16x a month) Do 5 pull-ups and 3 roll-outs (I've been working on roll-outs for 2 years. They are hard.) Learn Learn to make Chicken Biryani (Last year was Tikka Masala.) Read 36 books (6 audiobooks) Personal Finish edits on my Family Dictionary of Theology (This is the 3rd round of edits.) Draft 2 other book ideas Write 26 times on blog Have 20 fires in firepit with my family (This is so that I slow down and enjoy time at home without a to-do list.) Visit 5 historic sites with my family in our area

Podcast Discussion of Our Top Reads

 If you are reading my blog and care about reading recommendations, you might like my discussion with Emma about what we read last year. We've done video and audio versions of this for at least 5 years now.  Enjoy: https://anchor.fm/raiseemrad/episodes/Our-2022-Reading-Recap-e1svo0f

My Favorite Books of 2022

These are my favorite books of the year. I tried to narrow it to 5 but couldn't get past 6. The Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones , Iain Murray The Reason for God , Tim Keller Gregor the Overlander , Suzanne Collins All Things Bright and Beautiful , James Herriot The Case of the Missing Servant , Tarquin Hall Mansfield Park , Jane Austen I reread The Reason for God and The Case of the Missing Servant . This year, I decided that if a book is really good, then maybe it will be just as good the second time. Both of these were.  I planned on reading more literature and more biographies. Austen and Murray were my favorites.  Gregor  was such a surprise, but I fell in love with it from the first time I picked it up while we were on vacation. Some lines from the book are family favorites now.

The best way to deal with weeds!

 A friend asked me, "what is the best way to deal with weeds?" I've tried lots of different things. Newspaper, mulch, raised beds, in-ground beds, tilling, hoeing, etc. My advice was pretty short: Make the garden small enough that you can weed it. If the garden is too large, then I have not found a way to weed it back. Once the garden gets out of control, it will stay out of control. You can use methods like a thick layer of mulch on top of cardboard (that works!), hoeing weekly (that works too!), and raised beds (that really works!). Gardens have weeds though. There is no way around it. All you can do is manage your planning and have a garden that is the right size for your life. If you have a job, kids, dog, hobbies, or health issues, then you have to plan for what you can manage. Last year, I grew my in-ground garden where I grow watermelon, corn, okra, dry beans, pumpkins, and squash. I only had enough time to weed one half of it. That half stayed clear. Every time, I

How many goals should you hit?

 I heard an interview recently where the hosts and guest talked about goals (The podcast was My First Million . I don't know anything about them. I was curious about the thoughts of interviewee Steph Smith).  One of their throw away lines was that you shouldn't hit all your goals every year; if you do, then they were too low. I'm going to hit about half my goals for 2022. Health issues came up twice to interrupt my physical goals, but I made really good progress on them. I met my reading goal and half of my cooking and writing goals. 8 Pull-ups/3 Kneeling Roll-outs Define 250 terms for book Publish 4 Articles Republish Book Read 36 Books (Finish Jane Austen's 6 books) Learn to cook Butter Chicken , Chicken Biryani , and Tikki Masala Try Sushi I'm not going to feel bad about not hitting all my goals. I'll probably make them higher than otherwise too.

How to read more in 2023?

  How can you read more in 2023? Maybe you admire those who read 1 book per day like D.A. Carson and Al Mohler. Maybe you have a stack of books that you want to read and it never gets shorter. Maybe you just want to go from reading 10 books a year to 25. How can you read more without just pure effort? Here’s my strategy: Pick 4-6 books and read 25-50 pages per day between them all. You might read 3-5 pages in some books and 20 in another. If your schedule allows, find different times of day to read in each. One book you might read along with your devotions. Another couple you might read before bed for fun. This makes the reading load lighter. If you read 50 pages per day, you will finish around 4-5 books a month and 60 in a year. If you read 25 pages per day, you will finish 30 books in a year. (This is different from skim reading that some people do to stay up on all the latest books. This strategy is for slower reading for knowledge and pleasure.) Here are some of the advantages I’ve