Self-Help

04/04/2012 - 3:31am

“Simple living is about living your life with a purpose that aligns with your values. It’s about enjoying the things you love and care about and not stressing over the things that don’t matter.”

I love reading about new systems for meal planning, housekeeping, and productivity….but when it comes time to implement them, I often get lost in the details and quickly return to my previous, imperfect system.  Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living by Tsh Oxenreider goes beyond the checklists: “…at the foundation of this book is the idea of redefining simplicity…I want to help you find what simple living looks like for you.” Oxenreider does this by gently guiding the reader through several reflective steps, like creating a family mission statement, evaluating your family’s current commitments, and making a plan to get and stay out of debt. Then she provides concrete, action steps for decluttering, cleaning, and organizing your physical space.

03/30/2012 - 8:39am
Cultivating Community: Web Resources

"Cultivating Community" is a community-wide program designed to share information in the Fredericksburg region about farm-to-table and sustainable food communities. These web sites support those goals by exploring how you can assess the sustainability of your community and your home, finding locally grown foods or growing your own, cooking, and sustainable gardening.

Community Sustainability Assessment: gen.ecovillage.org/activities/csa/English
A comprehensive checklist that anyone can complete to get a basic idea of how sustainable their community is. While it requires good knowledge of the life-styles, practices and features of the community, it does not require research, calculation and detailed quantification. This assessment takes about three hours for an individual to complete, or a series of sessions if done as a group experience by community members.

02/15/2012 - 8:39am
What Should I Do with My Life? by Po Bronson

To explain my reasoning for choosing to read What Should I Do with My Life? by Po Bronson, I must first explain a little about myself. I'm a senior in college and in the process of applying for graduate school. One day, while frantically exploring graduate programs at various schools across the U.S. and abroad, I started to worry: Will I choose the right program? What if I wasted my college years studying the wrong subjects? What am I suppose to do with my life? Well, during my craze I jokingly typed in Google, "What Should I Do with My Life?" Po Bronson's book was the first thing to pop up in my browser. I immediately searched the library's catalog to find out whether I could borrow the book, and I drove up to Porter branch that night to check it out. I never set out to review it since it was simply a pleasure read, but I feel as though others may benefit from some of the events portrayed in this book as well.

01/30/2012 - 12:39pm
book cover image of It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh

Last year, I made a New Year’s resolution to clean up my house. In reality, I just needed to attack the horrific mess that used to be my garage. I needed to be able to walk the length of it and get out the other end, unscathed. This grand task sounded great on paper, but unfortunately I had made this promise many times before. From reading countless articles about New Year’s resolutions, this time I knew how to make it happen. I needed an outline of specific steps. I needed to let others know about my goal. And I needed to set aside time to make it happen.

As we all know, life has a habit of getting in the way. There are bills to be paid, grocery shopping to do, meals to be made, and appointments to keep. Let’s not forget about work, house repair, yard work, and general cleaning! All of these unfortunately take precedence over organization and sorting through clutter. But I was determined to make it happen. I took one day this summer to clean out the garage, giving my husband the baby and playing “invisible” for a day. We ended up with a much neater looking space and a generous truckload of items off to Goodwill and various recycling entities. But a few months later – yup, you guessed it – the piles were back and the garage was nearly impassable again.

12/27/2011 - 3:30am
The Five Love Languages: The Secret to a Love that Lasts by Dr. Gary Chapman

Do you know what your “love language” is? If you adore it when your husband takes out the trash and he enjoys going out to dinner with you more than anything, your love language may be “Acts of Service” while his may be “Quality Time.” In The Five Love Languages: The Secret to a Love that Lasts, Dr. Gary Chapman asserts that every person speaks one of these “primary” love languages: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Physical Touch, Quality Time, or Gifts. People can also speak a secondary language, but the primary language is the most important. Although the focus of this book is on romantic relationships (primarily marriage), Chapman also has applied this concept to relationships with children, teens, and co-workers in other books.

08/02/2011 - 5:26pm
Image of laptop computer

Did you just get a laptop and are not sure on how to use it? Then this is the class for you. We will go over laptop basics, how to connect to Public Wi-fi, conduct simple Google searches and create an e-mail account. Limited to 15 participants. Please call Reference Desk at 540-372-1144 ext 232 to reserve a spot.

Location: Headquarters Library, Rm 2

When: Thursday, August 11, 2011 -  2:00 PM-3:30 PM

05/27/2011 - 11:58am
Once a warrior, always a warrior : navigating the transition from combat to home

For many of us Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer.  Pools and amusement parks open to a regular schedule, children bring out their water toys, picnics are planned, and moms start dreading the increased loads of laundry.

Amidst all this excitement, we should always pause and take a few moments to honor the service members who have served and given their lives for this country. 

One way to honor these brave men and women is to provide resources that can assist their family members and also all the surviving veterans and military members.

07/06/2011 - 10:27am
Debt-Free U book cover image

If there was one thing that people across the country could agree on right now, it would be the ridiculously high cost of today’s college education. Most parents assume that student loans are a fact of life, and most students assume that student loan debt is a necessary and even positive thing. If you want to get a good job, it’s commonly thought that going to a good college (chosen in part by U.S. News and World Report rankings) and getting a good name on your diploma simply costs money and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Enter Zac Bissonnette. Twenty-one, college student, and an art history major. So what knowledge does he have that the rest of us--and many other experts--do not? Well, as the subtitle of Debt-Free U suggests, Zac paid for his college education, “without loans, scholarships, or mooching off [his] parents.” And you can, too. Because, as it turns out, Zac might know what he’s talking about. He is a writer and editor with AOL Money & Finance, has written for the Boston Globe, appeared on CNN, and has the financial savvy and banking portfolio of someone several times his age.
09/14/2010 - 10:02am

I am a loving (and interfering) mother of a 20-year-old son so I thought I would read What I Wish I Knew When I was 20: A Crash Course on Making Your Place in the World and pass it on to him. I admit to sending him emails about Erik Erikson’s Stages of Development and what he should be doing as a young adult: intimacy versus isolation (Son, pick the correct side of the equation!) so I thought this book would give him a head’s up.

The author, Tina Seelig, also a mother of a 20 year old son, teaches courses on entrepreneurship at Stanford University and is a voice for creative thinking and problem solving. I especially like her examples in this book of innovative ways to come up with solutions. She gives her students an item – paper clips or rubber bands, for example – and challenges them to create as much value as possible with the item. 

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