Bucket Lists, Books, and Random Thoughts

I've never really kept a bucket list, I think partly because I don't like being disappointed, and making a bucket list seemed too -- vulnerable?  too much like setting myself up for disappointment?  -- I don't know.  Too something.  But lately, my mind feels like a continual bucket list generator, constantly thinking of statements that start with I want...

I want to get a kitten.  (Grey.  Or black.  Probably because it's the most cuddly pet that is feasible right now.)
I want to go back to Israel.  (Preferably for a few years.)
I want to see my friends in China.
I want to get a tattoo.  (Of what?  I don't know.  An ichthus?  A cross?  Xaris [in Greek] and Shalom [in Hebrew]?  You see why I stick to sharpies.)
I want to get a PhD degree.
I want to get married and have kids.
I want to actually get the massive story that I've been working on with friends for the past few years into readable order.
I want to cook all the things. (Well, maybe not quite... but not so far off from the truth either.)
I want to be more disciplined.  (Because that just magically happens... right?)
I want to feel my dependence on God as deeply in America as I did in China.
I want to foster community in whatever place I am.
I want to read more books.  (This truly never changes.)
I want to ride an elephant again.  (This will probably also never get off the list...)
I want to meet my penpal Aura.  (She lives in Guatemala.)
I want to know that the kids who I've prayed for for years are going to be well in the end.
I want to work for NASA.  (I know, I chose the wrong major.)
I want to work in a coffee shop.
I want to work with international students.
I want to teach college students again.
I want to live in a house with a huge library and lots of trees where other people will be welcome.
I want abortion to not happen.
I want leaders who demonstrate both integrity and intelligence.
I want to always be made happy by a cheap box of mac and cheese.

I'm super blessed.  The fact that I'm living in a warm apartment with an awesome friend, that I get to see my family basically every month, that I have the freedom to write about whatever I want, that I know that my Redeemer lives -- all these and thousands of more things are overwhelming.  Is it selfish to still want so many (other) things?  Or is it good to have hopes and dreams, to be curious about different paths that life could take?  I suspect it depends on motivations.  I know that mine are very often extremely impatient and murky.

In any case, that's a bit of what I've been thinking...

Along with how incredibly grateful I am for this year of doing... random stuff.

"Honestly, I thought you'd be doing something more exciting," a friend of mine told me recently when I said I was working at Panera.  I told him that I agreed with the sentiment.


After... *counting on fingers* 17-ish years of being in school (okay, so one of those was teaching, but it's not all that different in some ways) it's freeing to have time without classes, to learn about other things, to pursue other interests (such as cooking) and to learn about being an adult in America.

Onto the Books part of this post.  A group of friends are doing a challenge called 52 in 52 -- reading 52 books in a year, starting in November.  (Maybe it isn't totally fair for me to participate?  I do read really quickly.  I also get a lot of opportunities to read, such as while waiting for the bus!  Oh well!)

Here's what I've read since the start of November and a few words of review:

1) Take a Thief, Mercedes Lackey [fantasy, enjoyed it]
2) Brightly Burning, Mercedes Lackey [fantasy, kind of depressing]
3) Ashenden, Elizabeth Wilhide [um...fictional documentary?  Interesting but kind of odd]
4) The Lost Gate, Orson Scott Card [urban sci-fi, interesting, not awesome.]
5) The Gate Thief, Orson Scott Card [ditto -- second in the series]
6) The Places In Between, Rory Stewart [journal of trip across Afghanistan.  Interesting.]
7) Star of the Morning, Lynn Kurland [Romantic fantasy -- really, really funny.]
8) Strange Stones, Peter Hessler  [Stories about both China and America.  SO GOOD.]
9)  Mafiaboy, Michael Calce [Autobiography of a hacker.  Educational, but eh...]
10) The Wizard of London, Mercedes Lackey [urban sci-fi... decent.]
11) The Gates of Sleep, Mercedes Lackey [urban sci-fi, decent.]
12) The Language of Sparrows, Rachel Phifer [Languages and life.  I really enjoyed this one.]
13) Son of Hamas, Mosab Hassan Yousef [Growing up in a Palestinian family.  Good.  Educational.]
14) Indigo, Catherine E. McKinley [Africa, textiles.  Educational... ehh...]
15) Which None Can Shut, Reema Goode [God working in the Middle East.  Pretty good!]
16) Tuf Voyaging, George R. R. Martin [Sci-fi.  Hilarious.  Pretty good.]

And that, folks, is all for now.


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