August 29, 2015

  • SERIOUSLY?????????????

    I have decided that I can't hold back any longer, I have to get these thoughts out of my head so that I can move on.

    I opened up my SIMPLE ABUNDANCE book again just to see what Sarah Ban Breathnach had to say.  Her essay is entitled IF NOT NOW, THEN WHEN?  She goes on to discuss how most of us think of Life as one long postponement.  What pleasures are you postponing?  How many times have you said to yourself...'"I'll do that just as soon as...."  "Oh, sorry, I don't have time to do that now!"  "I really want to but I can't figure out how to make a place for it in my life."   YES, ME TOO!

    Well, coincidentally, I was thinking today about what goals I wanted to make for the future.

    September is my favorite month.  Always has been.  I connect it with new beginnings because school used to start after Labor Day every year.  I always felt like I had a fresh start, a new chance to do well, to meet new friends or reconnect with the old friends I hadn't seen for some time.  So, today I was making a list of things that I want to do.  And here they are.

    1. I want to get back on my "diet" or new eating plan more seriously.  I've lost close to 25 lbs but I find myself slipping back into those bad habits.  So, I want to start fresh....as soon as I finish the bag of pretzels...and try to get my motivation and my metabolism going again.  Maybe I can lose another 25 lbs by this time next year!
    2. Last year, I tried not to spend much money.  I wasn't sure how my income was going to go for the first year after my husband had passed so I tried not to buy too much.  This summer, however, since I had lost weight, I had to buy some new clothes and soon it wasn't too difficult to let myself buy other things.  I'm going to try to stop that for the rest of the year as much as possible.
    3. I am determined to get back into reading.  I've never taken back so many unread books in my entire life.  I am ashamed of myself.  I miss reading.  I will not be reaching my goal of reading 125 books this year.  But, if I have to get off FaceBook to do this, I will.   I am going to read again.
    4. I will not buy any more coloring books until I completely fill up all the ones I have.  By then, there should be new ones available anyway.
    5. I'm sorry to say that I have a few rants on my mind too.
      1. Why do all the celebrities and tv and movie stars (especially the females) think they have to expose themselves all the time when they are in public?  I am so tired of seeing boobage on display and big fannies.  If they are really talented, they don't need to use this shock value to get attention.  It's really not attractive when you think about it.  Sure, most of them have gorgeous bodies but how much of that is from plastic surgery anyway?  The beauty should  come from within.  If they are doing a good job with their career/craft, they don't need to show all their privates parts.    And that goes for singers too.  Miley Cyrus is talented but she cheapens herself by walking onto television shows and stages with pasties on and making obscene gestures or talking nasty.  Her private life is her own.  She doesn't have to share it with me.
      2. And then there is politics.   Oh my, when will it end?  Even after the next election, we will hear about everything they said and did and what is wrong with them.  I really do think it  would be best to only allow 4 years in office....for all of them.  And the candidates.....I'm not going to name any of them but I have to say I was quite shocked this week when some friends told me that were seriously thinking of voting for a couple of the ones who are in the news all the  time.  I'm afraid of what is happening to our country.  I'm worried that our so-called leaders don't really lead at all...THEY JUST FOLLOW WHOMEVER GIVES THEM THE MOST MONEY OR FAVORS.   It's time for our country to take a step back and start taking care of our own.  Our bridges and roads are a disgrace.  We could do so much if we followed the things that worked in the past.  We could create many jobs by reconstructing our country.  Instead, money and time is wasted on fighting across the aisle in the government.  The parties should have different opinions but they should also be able to compromise.
      3. Which brings me to the world as a whole.  It appears to me that life as we knew it is gone.  I don't expect we will ever have a world that treats everyone well.  The disregard for life is frightening.  People killing others for any reason.  People beheading and kidnapping and hanging and burning and beating is probably not new but it sure seems to be more acceptable these days.

    So, I think I got most of that out of my system for now.  I hope you are still here reading.

    ***

    I did read a few books since my last post.

    18594409      4 of 5 stars ~ Read on August 12, 2015

    This book is a quick read. It is illustrated with comic-strip drawings. It tells the story of the author's last journey with her aging parents. They are both ill but neither will admit they need help. The author is kept very busy trying to anticipate their needs even though she lives in another city. As the parents decline, the daughter (author) has to figure out what to do and how to get their lives in a better place. As the parents are finally placed in a nursing home facility in the author's own town, the realization that they are never going to leave hits home. The daughter has to go to their apartment where they lived for most of their lives and figure out what to do with it all.
    I admit I did not read the final two chapters.  It brought back memories of my own mother as she was dying and I just didn't want to relive that .  This book can help you if you are responsible for aging parents or other members of your own family.
    Here's the jacket description....

    2014 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST

    In her first memoir, Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents, and a narrative as rife with laughs as it is with tears, Chast's memoir is both comfort and comic relief for anyone experiencing the life-altering loss of elderly parents.

    When it came to her elderly mother and father, Roz held to the practices of denial, avoidance, and distraction. But when Elizabeth Chast climbed a ladder to locate an old souvenir from the "crazy closet"--with predictable results--the tools that had served Roz well through her parents' seventies, eighties, and into their early nineties could no longer be deployed.

    While the particulars are Chast-ian in their idiosyncrasies--an anxious father who had relied heavily on his wife for stability as he slipped into dementia and a former assistant principal mother whose overbearing personality had sidelined Roz for decades--the themes are universal: adult children accepting a parental role; aging and unstable parents leaving a family home for an institution; dealing with uncomfortable physical intimacies; managing logistics; and hiring strangers to provide the most personal care.

    An amazing portrait of two lives at their end and an only child coping as best she can, Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant will show the full range of Roz Chast's talent as cartoonist and storyteller.

    And another reader's review...

    The painful realization that your father no longer knows who you are.

    The agony of having to explain over and over again to your mom that her husband is dead and watching her cry every single time.

    Getting those 3AM calls from the nursing home, and having to listen to your mother plead with you to let you come live at home with you, even though you know that's impossible - she's incontinent, never sleeps, and you're married with four children.

    Your heart breaking as you listen to your father pray for death and ask you "Why doesn't God take me?" every time you see him.

    Your parents aging and their minds and bodies failing and all the heartache that comes with it - Chast takes a cold, hard look at the reality while also managing to inject some humor into a devastating subject.

    This is a hard book to read - especially if you've experienced the subject matter firsthand - but it's an important book and definitely a great one.

     

     

    12799058      5 of 5 stars ~Read on August 16, 2015

     

    This novel starts out about 4 high school friends. After a terrible death in the group, the book goes on to show the reader how the ripple effect goes through many families in the small town. A mother loses her daughter, her twin son is badly hurt and the rest of his life may change. The other two teens suffer from survivor's guilt and many back stories are to be revealed. The reader will find themselves trying to figure out what the big secret was when all along there were so many other secrets being kept.    As always, the author writes a great story set on her beloved Nantucket Island. I can't wait to read the next novel by this author.
    Here's the jacket description...

    It's June 15th, the night of Nantucket High School graduation. Four juniors are driving home from a party when something goes horribly wrong and there is a crash. The driver of the car, Penny Alistair, is killed, and her twin brother, Hobby Alistair, is left in a coma. Penny's boyfriend, Jake Randolph, and Penny's friend Demeter Castle are unhurt--but suffer tremendous emotional damage. Jake and his family move to the other side of the globe--to the west coast of Australia--in order to escape the horrors of the accident. Demeter falls prey to alcohol abuse and other self-destructive behaviors that nearly lead to her destroying her own life.

    SUMMERLAND delves into the circumstances surrounding this accident, the roots of which lie deep in the past, with the first interactions between these four friends and their parents. It's a novel about how tragedy affects individuals, families, and the island community as a whole, and how healing can happen, in even the most devastating circumstances.

    And another reader's review...

    Summerland is a great read especially for the summertime. However, it's not SO mindless that you find yourself immediately forgetting the story you just read. This one did leave me with some lingering thoughts to ponder and several cliffhanger questions, which I rather enjoyed.

    Overall, I found the characters to be developed, intriguing, and relatable (i.e. I could identify the Zoe, Hobby, Ava, etc. in my own life). What really had me impressed with this book was that as I read, I kept thinking to myself, "None of this would ever happen, it's not believable, it's too dramatic, it's too simple, etc." But the actual truth of the matter is that it could happen and it does. I think the overarching theme of this book doesn't necessarily have to do with the fate of any specific character, but rather the vitality of Nantucket as a whole - that's why when Hilderbrand is switching perspectives between characters, sometimes it actually takes on the eyes of the Nantucket community. That town, as with any small "fish bowl" town, is  character. This concept was the most thought-provoking for me and I found it be an exceptional addition to the story.

     

    22609429      4 of 5 stars ~ Read in August, 2015

    Since I was married to a police officer, the jacket information was of interest to me. I read it as if the main character, Mike Anderson, was my own husband and felt the brotherhood of the policemen and the fear and dread of the wife myself. When Mike shoots and kills a young man, he is filled with regret, sorrow, misery and depression. As the story unfolds, the reader is pulled into the questions of what really happened? What about the gun? Will Mike lose his job, his marriage, his home and his children?

    There was a side story involving his sister-in-law and her work with zoo elephants that made no sense to me as far as being an important factor in this story. The information about the elephants was interesting but not in this suspenseful drama.

    However, this was a good book. There were some things that I am sure a policeman's wife would never do but it didn't take away from the main element of the story.

    Here's the jacket description...

    In this timely and provocative novel, internationally bestselling author Sarah Pekkanen takes us inside a family in crisis and a marriage on the brink after a tragic shooting.

    How far would you go to save your family?

    Every morning, as her husband Mike straps on his SIG Sauer and pulls on his heavy Magnum boots, Jamie Anderson tenses up. Then comes the call she has always dreaded: There's been a shooting at police headquarters. Mike isn't hurt, but his long-time partner is grievously injured. As weeks pass and her husband's insomnia and disconnectedness mount, Jamie realizes he is an invisible casualty of the attack. Then the phone rings again. Another shooting but this time Mike has pulled the trigger.

    But the shooting does more than just alter Jamie's world. It's about to change everything for two other women. Christie Simmons, Mike's flamboyant ex, sees the tragedy as an opportunity for a second chance with Mike. And Jamie's younger sister, Lou, must face her own losses to help the big sister who raised her. As the press descends and public cries of police brutality swell, Jamie tries desperately to hold together her family, no matter what it takes.

    In her characteristic exploration of true-to-life relationships, Sarah Pekkanen has written a complex, compelling, and openhearted novel ~ her best yet. 

    And another reader's review...

    They were a happy family, or so Jamie Anderson thought. She and her husband, Mike, have three children: Sam, 8; Emily, 6: and Eloise, 3. Mike's teenage son Henry is the result of a previous relationship with Christie Simmons. They are co-parenting, and the family seems successfully blended.

    But something happens that tilts their world on end. A shooting at police headquarters leaves Mike's friend and partner seriously injured, and Mike reeling from the after-effects that resemble a kind of PTSD. Which suddenly becomes a factor when another shooting takes place....and Mike has inadvertently killed a teenaged boy.

    Alternately narrated from the perspectives of Jamie, Christie, and Lou, Jamie's younger sister, the story unfolds over a summer in crisis, and each character is facing some kind of turning point. With Jamie, will it be her marriage that is lost in the aftermath? Will Christie turn the situation into something more, something that could bring her and Mike back together? And how will Lou find her own place within the family?

    Set in the Washington, D.C. area, primarily in Virginia, the characters in "Things You Won't Say: A Novel" reveal the very human failings that everyone encounters, especially in moments of crisis. I enjoyed watching each of them struggle with the everyday issues, while managing to find ways to do the right thing. I felt frustrated by each of them at one time or another, as they failed to share their thoughts and feelings, complicating everything that was happening. The ending felt very satisfying, however, as answers came at just the right moment to save them all.

    ****

    And finally, here are some of my most recent colored pencil pages

    Victorian children's clothing.

    Sisters and friends.

    Details.

    Victorian gowns.

    Colorful foliage.

           

August 9, 2015

  • ARE YOU HONORING YOUR PERSONAL GIFTS?

    Did you get that reference?     West Side Story and Here Come The Jets...... (I mean, Cats!)

     

    Hello again.  Yes, it's me!  It's been a few days but now I'm back again.     And as usual, I've been busy.   My youngest sister came to visit.  It was all planned out.  She was driving here from Dallas, Texas and would spend a few days with me.  Then we would drive back together to her home in Texas where I would spend a few days and then I would fly home on August 11th.  It all seemed so simple...  WRONG!!!

     

       She started out early on a Tuesday and was making good time and then......her car stopped running on a highway about 8 PM somewhere in Missouri.  She finally got through to her insurance company to get them to send a tow truck.  A nice State Trooper stopped to check on her and waited.  Finally the tow truck arrived, the car was towed to a repair shop in the next town.  She tried to cancel her motel reservation which was two hours away...they refused.  She couldn't find a motel where she was so she slept in the car behind the repair shop all night.  The next day, she was informed that the repairs would be $700 to $2000 IF the car was repairable.  So then she tried to find other transportation.  She couldn't rent a car because it would be one way to Indiana and would cost over $1000.  She rented a car just for the day to get to a motel, got  her possessions out of the DEAD car and started calling around.  She got a Greyhound bus ticket for the next day to Indiana.   The fun didn't stop there.

    The first Greyhound was crowded, filthy, smelly and TWO AND A HALF HOURS LATE!   So, of course, she missed her next connection in St. Louis, Missouri.  She checked on other buses but the next 3 were filled before she could even get on.  She checked on Amtrack and got a seat in the business class.  By now, she didn't have money left.  She took the Amtrack to Chicago but then couldn't get to South Bend.  Finally she got another Greyhound bus which was clean and not completely filled.  (If you are wondering why I didn't drive to Chicago to pick her up....it's because (1) I've never driven to Chicago, (2) if I had an accident, we would both be stranded and (3) she was able to get her Amtrack ticket money refunded by Greyhound and they changed her original ticket from Chicago to South Bend.)  I picked her up on Friday night at 8 PM.  She was exhausted, needed a shower and a clean bed to sleep in.  We had a good visit before she fell asleep on the couch.  The next day we went car shopping.  We found a great salesman and he had a car that seemed just perfect for her.  a 2012 Honda Civic with good gas mileage, plenty of room and reasonably priced.  She bought it, got a free tank of gas and we spent the next few days driving around town.

    I introduced her to the grown-up coloring books and she was addicted by the first night.  We looked for colored pencils and coloring books everywhere.  We spent our evenings watching TV and coloring.  She asked her daughter to priority mail the title for the DEAD car to my house so she could get the money the repair shop in Missouri offered her.  I suggested that she stay with me for a few extra days to relax.  I decided not to drive back with her because I would have to almost turn around and fly home.  I cancelled my ticket and hope to use the credit to fly out to Texas around the holidays when we will have more time to spend together.

    So we relaxed and talked and ate out once a day and colored to our hearts' content.  She left on Thursday and drove back to Missouri, gave them the title and got the check.  She then proceeded to drive home.

    Here's some of the colored pages....

    But Murphy's Law didn't stop there.  OH NO!   I called Travelocity to cancel my ticket.  I had purchased Protection Insurance.  I was informed that Travelocity would credit me back the purchase price but.......FIRST, Delta Airlines might fine me $200 for the cancellation!   I was told to contract the Protection Insurance Co.  They e-mailed me a claim form in which I have to prove I cancelled due to a medical problem within my immediate family.   So, my sister (she's having a root canal done)  is going to ask her dentist tomorrow if he will fill out the form saying she had a medical situation so that I couldn't use MY ticket!  I'm hoping it works out.  If not, $200 down the drain!

    Since my sister left, I have been doing laundry and cleaning per my usual weekly chores.  I've ordered more coloring books too!   I haven't read a book at all but I am partially through 2 books at the moment.

    Today, I opened up SIMPLE ABUNDANCE by Sarah Ban Breathnach.  The essay is entitled ~ HONORING OUR PERSONAL GIFTS.  The essay goes on to say that we have our own personal gifts.  "If we don't know what they are, it is difficult to be true to them.  The lesson of authenticity is often prefaced with the four most terrifying words known to the human race: THE WILL OF GOD.  Divine Will is frequently associated with suffering, so it's no wonder many of us choose ~ consciously or not ~ to slip into a spiritual abyss of unknowing.  Trust God?  Been there and done that.  Thanks, but no.  Prefer to go it alone." Sarah Ban Breathnach says.

    "But even in the black hole of doubt, we want to believe that a Force greater than our own power or understanding is with us.   AND IT IS.  The Force is with your authentic self.  As Obi Wan Kenobi tells Luke Skywalker in STAR WARS  "The Force is an energy field created by all living things.  It surrounds us.  It penetrates us.  It binds galaxies together."  The Force binds your dreams and desires with your personal gifts so they can find expression.  "Follow your feelings, trust your feelings." The Jedi knight urges us all because it is within the Force that we live and move and have our own being.

    THE FORCE IS LOVE.  

    Love wants, wishes and wills nothing less than  your unconditional happiness, harmony, and wholeness.  Commit to discovering, acknowledging, appreciating, owning and honoring your personal gifts.

    How many times have you had an idea but done nothing with it?  How many times have you said "I don't have time or desire or enough of something to figure this idea out?  And how many times has someone else done something creative which was very much like your idea and they have become successful?

    Sarah Ban Breathnach said  "You long to call forth your gifts, to explore your talents.  To discover and create.  The Creator's first gift to us is free will.  It's not the Will of God we need to fear as much as being left to our own deceits and devices.  We can always say no to the next creative idea.  "Sorry, find someone else."

    "And Spirit will....it will find someone else.  The Creator moves on until another willing artist with an open heart offers to become the creative conduit.  This goes a long way towards explaining why an idea you had is created and brought forth by someone else.  It doesn't mean someone ripped off your thoughts.  It means when a creative idea is within the life force ~ someone is going to take it and bring it to us.  It could be you....just as it could be someone else.  "Think of your mind as a satellite dish.  Creative celestial messages are continuously being transmitted.  The frequency is jammed ~ for your soul only ~ for an infinitesimal, proprietary moment.  Just long enough for you to lift up your heart, accept the assignment and be thankful.

     

    MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU.....

     

    I watched the Republican debate...

July 27, 2015

  • SOLITARY PLEASURES ~~ WHAT'S YOURS?

    I'm going to be away from my computer in a few days for about a week so I decided to post a blog now.   As usual, I opened up the SIMPLE PLEASURES DAYBOOK by Sarah Ban Breathnach.  Today's essay is entitled SOLITARY PLEASURES.

    "Remember a long time ago when we knew how to play?  Travel back to your childhood and look for clues.  Did you love to play alone?  What were your favorite extracurricular activities in high school or college?  Nothing in our past lives is wasted.  Nothing that made us feel happy and fulfilled is ever lost.  There's a golden thread that runs through each of our lives.  We just need to rediscover it before the joy of living is gone."

    Have a brainstorming session on paper.  Quickly list 10 pleasures you had or still have.  Don't give this a lot of thought but don't be surprised if it takes you a few minutes to think of ten.

    Here's some help.   What were your favorite childhood games?  What was your favorite sport?  What about your favorite movie?  And a favorite book?  Favorite singer or movie star?  What was the best time you had as a child?  Favorite vacation or meal or clothing?  If you could instantly acquire three skills, what would they be?  What about three outrageous things you would do if no one else could find out ~~  swimming naked, belly dancing, singing in the rain?  What about three daring things you have always wanted to try ~~ Sky diving, riding a motorcycle, stand-up comedy?  Do you like to work with your hands?  Have you tried needlecraft, crocheting, painting?

    "Get the idea?  There's a fabulous world out there just waiting to be explored.  We simple have to be willing to experiment.  A hobby affords us a marvelous opportunity to awaken our natural talents.  It does require a shake-up in our every day world and maybe...some bravery too.  Figure out what you might like to do and then carve out some time to try.  Alice James said "Truly nothing is to be expected but the unexpected. "   Search for and find a solitary pleasure that would make you jump out of bed every morning to pursue and then see what happens."

    I'm changing up my every day world this week.  One of my sisters is coming to visit for a few days.  Then I am riding back to her home in Texas for about a week.  I will be visiting another sister while I am there.  It's the first time I have left home since my husband passed away.  And the first time I am living my cats alone.  My son will be checking on them but they will be alone most of the time.

    This past week, I discovered my indoor cats had fleas.  OH NO!   I got some Advantage II serum for both of them and some flea collars and a flea comb.  I have been washing up all the places they have been sleeping and I just scrubbed the kitchen floor, vacuumed several times and so on.  The youngest cat seems to be doing well.  No flea or eggs in her fur this morning.  I couldn't find any on the bigger cat either but he continues to scratch and seems grouchier than usual.  I am going to give him another dose of the Advantage II today since it has been 8 days...(the instructions said I can).  I am hoping they both be flea free before I leave in a week.

             

    I'm still using colored pencils to color every evening as I watch TV.

         STEAMPUNK GIRLMANDALA OF FISH

    I also read a couple of books.

    22535513      I especially enjoyed this book. The main character is a nurse. She has come back home in the hopes that bringing the doctor she used to work with will give them a chance to live more comfortably. They have no money and it is in the early 1930's. Of course, once they arrive, nothing goes well. The doctor has been showing signs of dementia and the nurse is doing everything she can to care for him. She is asked by a midwife to assist in the area and tells stories about the various births she handles. She also finds work anywhere she can to get a few pennies to buy food. As she works, she takes the doctor who is mute most of the time with her and he slowly starts to come back to his former self.

    The descriptions of the times makes me realize how fortunate we are now. I can appreciate the hard work of our ancestors who did whatever they could to make a living.

    Here's the book description...The USA Today bestselling author of The Midwife of Hope River returns with a heartfelt sequel, a novel teeming with life and full of humor and warmth, one that celebrates the human spirit

    The Great Depression has hit West Virginia hard. Men are out of work; women struggle to feed hungry children. Luckily, Nurse Becky Myers has returned to care for them. While she can handle most situations, Becky is still uneasy helping women deliver their babies. For these mothers-to-be, she relies on an experienced midwife, her dear friend Patience Murphy.

    Though she is happy to be back in Hope River, time and experience have tempered Becky’s cheerfulness-as tragedy has destroyed the vibrant spirit of her former employer Dr Isaac Blum, who has accompanied her. Patience too has changed. Married and expecting a baby herself, she is relying on Becky to keep the mothers of Hope River safe.

    But becoming a midwife and ushering precious new life into the world is not Becky’s only challenge. Her skills and courage will be tested when a calamitous forest fire blazes through a Civilian Conservation Corps camp. And she must find a way to bring Isaac back to life and rediscover the hope they both need to go on.

    Full of humor and compassion, The Reluctant Midwife is a moving tribute to the power of optimism and love to overcome the most trying circumstances and times, and is sure to please fans of the poignant Call the Midwife series.

    And another reader's review...

    This is a book that once you turn the first page, you will not be able to put down. We are transported to the 1930’s in America, and back to West Virginia, the Great Depression. West Virginia is at 80% unemployment, and nurse Becky Meyers finds herself homeless and also the caretaker of her former boss Dr. Isaac Blum.
    I felt myself walking in Becky’s shoes, looking at the bread lines, and having feelings of doubt as a baby is about to come into the world. I was holding to tooth brush as we brushed Dr. Blum’s teeth. I had a lot of admiration for this woman, and what a hard lot in life she had been given, but she rolled with the punches, and came out a winner.
    We also walk in Dr. Blum’s shoes, and sometimes, we wish we didn’t, such pain he kept locked up in his silence. What a blessing Hestor is to him, and even if he is stoic he seems to respond silently to help.
    I feel blessed to have never lived during the Great Depression, but the author has painted a picture of that time that will linger a long time with you. This is a book not to be missed!

    15799339      I don't think the title goes with the book well but that isn't important in the long run. This story is about 3 grown children (2 women, 1 man) who return home because they can't seem to get their lives in order. The mother, "Weezy" Louise Coffey is very happy to have them all back home. She worries and frets about each one and does everything she can think to encourage them. The title refers to Weezy because HER parents always said she was the smart one and her sister was the pretty one. They expected her sister to do much better than Weezy ever would.
    As the story goes on, we learn who really was the smart one. Who married well. Who loved her children. Who knew what was important. And Weezy's children finally find their way and figure out what is best for them too.

    Here's the book description....

    With her best-selling debut, Girls in White Dresses, Jennifer Close captured friendship in those what-on-earth-am-I-going-to-do-with-my-life years of early adulthood. Now, with her sparkling new novel of parenthood and sibling rivalry, Close turns her gimlet eye to the only thing messier than friendship: family.

    Weezy Coffey’s parents had always told her she was the smart one, while her sister was the pretty one. “Maureen will marry well,” their mother said, but instead it was Weezy who married well, to a kind man and good father. Weezy often wonders if she did this on purpose—thwarting expectations just to prove her parents wrong.

    But now that Weezy’s own children are adults, they haven’t exactly been meeting her expectations either. Her oldest child, Martha, is thirty and living in her childhood bedroom after a spectacular career flameout. Martha now works at J.Crew, folding pants with whales embroidered on them and complaining bitterly about it. Weezy’s middle child, Claire, has broken up with her fiancé, canceled her wedding, and locked herself in her New York apartment—leaving Weezy to deal with the caterer and florist. And her youngest, Max, is dating a college classmate named Cleo, a girl so beautiful and confident she wears her swimsuit to family dinner, leaving other members of the Coffey household blushing and stammering into their plates.

    As the Coffey children’s various missteps drive them back to their childhood home, Weezy suddenly finds her empty nest crowded and her children in full-scale regression. Martha is moping like a teenager, Claire is stumbling home drunk in the wee hours, and Max and Cleo are skulking around the basement, guarding a secret of their own. With radiant style and a generous spirit, The Smart One is a story about the ways in which we never really grow up, and the place where we return when things go drastically awry: home.

    And another reader's review...

    The Smart One is a wonderful story about the Coffeys' (and, by extension, those connected to them: relatives, girlfriends, best friends, friends from high school, colleagues) and the ups and downs in their lives. Each chapter by each POV is absolutely wonderful, drawing the readers into the lives of this family and the perspective of each character in focus. The author does a fantastic job is really bring their perspectives to life, understand what it means to be a mother worrying for her children long after her children had left home, what it's like to be an absolute low psychologically. The book's also a gem because of its take on life.

    The Smart One is a lyrical and poignant novel about life, family and growing up. It's amusing, it's frustrating (like family can be at times), it's ultimately endearing; I was sad when I reached the last page of the novel because I wanted to continue hanging out with the Coffeys. I highly recommend this novel to anyone looking for something new to read.

      

July 18, 2015

  • HOW DO YOU FIND CONTENTMENT?

    Oh NO!   It's been a month since I wrote a blog!   I can't believe how quickly the summer is passing by.

    So, of course, I opened up the SIMPLE ABUNDANCE DAYBOOK by Sarah Ban Breathnach to see what words of wisdom she had for us.  She has an essay about carving out time for personal pursuits that bring contentment.  Very appropriate for today, I think.  She mentioned how many famous actors and writers and explorers often use other means besides their life's work  to find contentment.  Some writers like to cook while thinking of the next plot of their stories, some like to garden or knit or fill sketchbooks with beautiful drawings that bring them joy.

    "We are traditionally rather proud of ourselves for having slipped creative work in there between the domestic chores and obligations." writer Toni Morrison has observed.  "I'm not sure we deserve such a big A-plus for that."

    Sarah Ban Breathnach writes "But the house calls to us.  The children call to us.  The work calls to us. When, then, does the painting or the poem call to us?   It probably calls every day.  We are too busy listening to everybody else instead of our  authentic selves.  Maybe we have convinced ourselves that we really don't have the time for personal pursuits that bring us contentment if they take longer than 15 minutes.  Perhaps we don't hear the whispers of authentic longings because we don't want to hear.  If we do hear, we might have to acknowledge, even respond.  We're afraid to hear the promptings of the woman who wants to learn how to draw, dance, raise orchids, re-upholster furnitre or cook.  We might have to take a class or buy a book, a pad and pencil, a leotard, a plant, a fabric or special ingredients.   There's no time to be passionate, we have to be practical.  Essential, uncompromised longings will have to wait until there's more time: when the children are back in school, when our parents are feeling better, when things let up at work."

    "How about a different answer that we haven't heard before?  How about: My authentic passions will have to wait until I'm ready to admit that pursuing them is essential for my happiness?  How about: "I haven't learned yet how to put myself on the list of priorities?  You don't have to be the first on the list but you DO have to be ON the list."

    The Victorian writer Mary Ann Evans knew how to be practical about her passion for writing.  She assumed a man's pen name, George Eliot, so that her novels MIDDLEMARCH, SILAS MARNER, and THE MILL ON THE FLOSS would be published in an age that discounted the authentic longings of women.  This is what she said about master passions. "It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are thoroughly alive.  There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good and we MUST hunger after them."

    "Space and time to nurture our creativity may be one of our authentic hungers.  Perhaps we think that only food, drink, work, sex, shopping or pills can reduce the gnawing to a dull throb.  But maybe if we took an hour a day to paint, to write or to make something ~ we wouldn't be in pain ~ physical or psychic.   JUST MAYBE."

    I have been thinking about this essay since I read it this morning.  I know I have pursued some different passions for myself this summer.  My husband was the yard person.  He excelled in making our lawn look like a golf course.  He weeded and mowed and weed-whipped and manicured our lawn at the big house.  When we got here to the downsizer, he was already ill so he hired someone to cut the grass.  He didn't take much interest in how it looked at all.  For the past 2 summers, I have planted a few bulbs and plants.  This summer, they are starting to grow well.  I wanted to make the backyard look nice.  With the help of my neighbor, we dug out a flower garden.  I have been buying perennials and we have put down sheeting to keep the weeds down and mulched.  It really is looking nice.

    The next  two photos are before the mulch was added...

      

    Getting the backyard looking better has taken a lot of time and effort...but it has been worth it.

    Another interest I have been pursuing is coloring with colored pencils.  I seem to spend hours coloring in the evening.  Here's a few examples...

                 

    And I also managed to read two books.

    22535513    I especially enjoyed this book. The main character is a nurse. She has come back home in the hopes that bringing the doctor she used to work with will give them a chance to live more comfortably. They have no money and it is in the early 1930's. Of course, once they arrive, nothing goes well. The doctor has been showing signs of dementia and the nurse is doing everything she can to care for him. She is asked by a midwife to assist in the area and tells stories about the various births she handles. She also finds work anywhere she can to get a few pennies to buy food. As she works, she takes the doctor who is mute most of the time with her and he slowly starts to come back to his former self.

    The descriptions of the times makes me realize how fortunate we are now. I can appreciate the hard work of our ancestors who did whatever they could to make a living.

    Here's the book description....
    The USA Today bestselling author of The Midwife of Hope River returns with a heartfelt sequel, a novel teeming with life and full of humor and warmth, one that celebrates the human spiritThe Great Depression has hit West Virginia hard. Men are out of work; women struggle to feed hungry children. Luckily, Nurse Becky Myers has returned to care for them. While she can handle most situations, Becky is still uneasy helping women deliver their babies. For these mothers-to-be, she relies on an experienced midwife, her dear friend Patience Murphy.Though she is happy to be back in Hope River, time and experience have tempered Becky’s cheerfulness-as tragedy has destroyed the vibrant spirit of her former employer Dr Isaac Blum, who has accompanied her. Patience too has changed. Married and expecting a baby herself, she is relying on Becky to keep the mothers of Hope River safe.

    But becoming a midwife and ushering precious new life into the world is not Becky’s only challenge. Her skills and courage will be tested when a calamitous forest fire blazes through a Civilian Conservation Corps camp. And she must find a way to bring Isaac back to life and rediscover the hope they both need to go on.

    Full of humor and compassion, The Reluctant Midwife is a moving tribute to the power of optimism and love to overcome the most trying circumstances and times, and is sure to please fans of the poignant Call the Midwife series.

    and another readers's review...
     This is a book that once you turn the first page, you will not be able to put down. We are transported the 1930’s in America, and back to West Virginia, the Great Depression. West Virginia is at 80% unemployment, and nurse Becky Meyers finds herself homeless and also the caretaker of her former boss Dr. Isaac Blum. 
    I felt myself walking in Becky’s shoes, looking at the bread lines, and having feelings of doubt as a baby is about to come into the world. I was holding onto the tooth brush as we brushed Dr. Blum’s teeth. I had a lot of admiration for this woman, and what a hard lot in life she had been given, but she rolled with the punches, and came out a winner.
    We also walk in Dr. Blum’s shoes, and sometimes, we wish we didn’t ~ such pain he kept locked up in his silence. What a blessing Hestor is to him, and even if he is stoic he seems to respond silently to help. 
    I feel blessed to have never lived during the Great Depression, but the author has painted a picture of that time that will linger a long time with you. This is a book not to be missed!
    15818107    I really enjoyed this story based on the history of the orphan trains in our country. Between 1854 and 1929, trains filled with orphaned children traveled from the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, bringing children who needed homes. Some of them were quickly chosen...some to become farm hands or mother's helpers, some to be treated harshly and some were lucky enough to find a good home and people who loved them. In this book, a young Irish girl travels across the country. She is taken in to help a family with their children but she is not treated well. She is then given to another family or two until she finally finds a place where she feels welcome. After she has grown up and is in the latter stage of her life, she meets a young girl who is in trouble. Somehow they become friends and their individual stories are shared.
    Here's the book description...
    The author of Bird in Hand and The Way Life Should Be delivers her most ambitious and powerful novel to date: a captivating story of two very different women who build an unexpected friendship: a 91-year-old woman with a hidden past as an orphan-train rider and the teenage girl whose own troubled adolescence leads her to seek answers to questions no one has ever thought to ask.Nearly eighteen, Molly Ayer knows she has one last chance. Just months from "aging out" of the child welfare system, and close to being kicked out of her foster home, a community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping her out of juvie and worse.

    Vivian Daly has lived a quiet life on the coast of Maine. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past. As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly discovers that she and Vivian aren't as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

    The closer Molly grows to Vivian, the more she discovers parallels to her own life. A Penobscot Indian, she, too, is an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past. As her emotional barriers begin to crumble, Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life - answers that will ultimately free them both.

    Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of second chances, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

     

    And another reader's review...
    When I was 16 my Great Aunt Pauline told me the saddest true story. I asked her about her background, she was of Polish decent in a completely German town in Washington State. She told me that when her family came over from Poland her mother had pink eye, and was sent back to Poland to try again. She was pregnant and when she got back, she had a child that was not listed on the papers. She put the baby in a suitcase to keep the officials at Ellis Island from finding her and separating her again. That baby was Pauline. They went out west, and her mother died several years later in child birth. Pauline remembered being set out on the porch with her younger siblings, the babies in a laundry basket, and her father standing on the porch as people came by to pick out who they wanted. She was older and chosen last and by a couple with a different language and moved to this area she ended up in. She said, "They picked us out as if we were puppies in a basket. I am not a puppy in a basket." I am crying just remembering the pain in her voice when she told me this. She told me she didn't see any of her siblings until she was an adult, and that the couple trained her in how to be a good worker. What a childhood for one of the sweetest women I ever knew. I wish I had recorded her story, asked more questions, there is never enough time. This book told a similar tale, and I could not put it down. It rang so true. Read it! 
    SO HOW WILL YOU FIND CONTENTMENT....?
        

June 18, 2015

  • ARE YOU BLOSSOMING?

    You are correct...it's been several days since I last blogged.  Once again, time seems to be sucked out of my computer room once I am inside of it.  I have great intentions or is that...  GREAT EXPECTATIONS... of blogging and then days go by and I am nearly at the end of another week without any accomplishment that I care to mention.

    Since I last posted an entry...no one has visited my page.  I am wondering why?  If you are reading this...there is another blog before this one that you might enjoy.  I've continued using colored pencils and coloring books to relax in the evening.  I have to say I have become a bit obsessed with it.  I just ordered a few more coloring books and it didn't cost me a cent because I used some DISCOVER REWARD points.

     

      

    I also used some online survey points and got some gift cards for restaurants.  I decided since I had not used many of those points, I should get something out of them.  Restaurant gift cards are nice.

    ****

    I opened up the SIMPLE ABUNDANCE Daybook by Sarah Ban Breathnach for inspiration once again.  Here is what I read...

    AFFORDABLE SPLENDOR.

    "There never has been a house so bad that it couldn't be made over into something worthwhile." by Elsie De Wolfe.

    Many of us live in homes that could use some encouragement....we could and would like to make it look fresh and interesting. It might make us excited to open the door to see what we have created.   Sarah Ban Breathnach said when she was poor, she lived in one room in an old Victorian house.  One day she bought a bolt of fabric that was on sale.  She spent her weekend fashioning a bedspread, table cover and covering the walls and ceiling with the fabric.  It was like her own little palace.  She found a book by Diana Phipps titled AFFORDABLE SPLENDOR and read how Ms. Phipps did much of the same thing.  She couldn't sew, couldn't afford new furniture so she got a bolt of fabric that she loved and used it to cheer up her space.  She didn't use professionals because of the cost.  "Instead she does it all herself and the stunning shortcuts she has devised are aimed for people whose purse, like hers, fall short of having it done by others."

    Sarah Ban Breathnach believes "we are all just as clever as Diana.  We just  haven't accessed our authenticity to the extent she has, because she trusts her "eye" and creative impulses.  She acts on her instincts.  We hold back, hesitate, halt ourselves --and end by snuffing out the spark.  Today, please be convinced that you can find a room in your home that can be transformed by using fabric, paint, a saw or hammer, staple gun and your own imagination, time and energy."

    In her next essay, Sarah Ban Breathnach asks "How much time, creative energy and emotion we expend resisting change because we assume change will be painful.  Personal growth is uncomfortable, especially learning to set boundaries in relationships.  When we choose to nurture our authentic selves, people who are close to us start noticing that changes are taking place.  This is the season when growth in the garden, is now accelerating.  It's that season for us as well as we are six months into the year.  "It can be difficult to express your authentic needs by saying "Sorry, I can't" when everyone assumes that you can.  But it's worse to thwart the growth of your authenticity.  The day will come--maybe  it's now--when it is more painful to remain still than to blossom."

     

           GO FORTH AND BLOSSOM....

    ****

    In other news, I have read some books.

    22609470       3 of 5 stars  bookshelves: familyfriendsmothers-and-daughters   Read on June 05, 2015

    This is an autobiography by Candice Bergen. It was hard for me to get into the book at first. A lot of famous names and places were mentioned and discussed. Once Candice started talking about the television shows of MURPHY BROWN and BOSTON LEGAL, the pace of the writing picked up. She was married for a very long time to Louis Malle, a famous French Director and the father of her only child, Chloe.

    After a few years, she met and married again. She has quite a sense of humor and adventure. She seems like someone who would be wonderful to know as a friend in real life. She admits that growing older is not for the faint of heart and never takes herself too seriously.

    Here's the book description...
    In the follow-up to Knock Wood,her bestselling engaging, intelligent, and wittily self-deprecating autobiography, Candice Bergen shares the big events: her marriage to a famous French director, the birth of her daughter, Murphy Brown, widowhood,  falling in love again, and watching her daughter blossom.A Fine Romance begins with Bergen's charming first husband, French director Louis Malle, whose huge appetite for life broadened her horizons and whose occasional darkness never diminished their love for each other. But her real romance begins when she discovers overpowering love for her daughter after years of ambivalence about motherhood. As Chloe grows up, Bergen finds her comic genius in the biggest TV role of the 80s, Murphy Brown, and makes unwanted headlines when Dan Quayle pulls her into the 1992 presidential campaign.

    Fifteen years into their marriage, Malle is diagnosed with cancer, and Candice is unflinching in describing her and Chloe's despair over his death. But after years of widowhood, she feels the sweet shock of finding a different kind of soulmate. Candice takes us through the first years of her new marriage and shares the bittersweetness of watching Chloe leave home and flourish; and the comedy of a losing battle against those damn wrinkles and extra pounds.

    A natural writer, Candice is hilarious, brutally honest, down-to-earth, and wise. She may be a beautiful Hollywood actress with a charmed life, but Candice is someone who can talk frankly about extraordinary events. Readers who pull up a chair will feel like they've just made a best friend.

     

    And another reader's review...
    I would give this book a 4.5.  I have been a fan of Candice Bergen for a long time. I read her first book "Knock Wood" years ago. A Fine Romance picks up after Knock Wood. She spends a lot of the book discussing the three loves of her life. Her first husband Louis Malle, Her daughter Chloe, the child she had with Louis Malle, and her second husband Marshall Rose.
    She is very candid about her life. I like that she did not paint herself as "flawless".She writes about the fifteen years she was married to french director Louis Malle up to losing him to cancer in 1995.  Leaving her with a young daughter to raise.
    I was glad to see her write about the years she spent on Murphy Brown, one of my favorite shows during the time it ran  .I only wished she had shared more about her experience on this terrific show. I also wished she had written more about the movies she was in instead of a few brief paragraphs.
    Another part of the book is finding new love and marrying her second husband, a wealthy businessman Marshall Rose. Of course a large part of her book is about her daughter Chloe. She had a baby later in l life at 39 .and found she loved being a mom to her fabulous daughter. there are some name dropping about all the famous people she has known. and talks of her mother, and brother Kris. I liked this book. I was glad she wrote a second book about her life. If anyone is a fan of Candice Bergen they may enjoy reading her latest memoir. I did.!!
    22318578  3 of 5 stars  bookshelves: self-improvement  Read on June 07, 2015

    This is a small book but it is filled with good advice. The author is Japanese and uses many illustrations which relate to the Japanese culture. She thanks her home and her clothes and her other possessions for doing a fine job. While this is not what I do, I did incorporate a few of her suggestions already. She insists that having lots of storage containers does not unclutter the home. Instead it just keeps the extra things you don't need in the home and as a result, your life is filled with too much. First, she says, you must unclutter your space. Pull all the clothes out of all the closets and pile them together. Then decide on keeping, donating or throwing away. After you have completed that task, then fold the clothes into squares or rectangles and put them in drawers upright...Yes, that's right. You can easily see every color and pattern and make a selection. You actually have more room in your drawer. Of course, there are hanging clothes for closets. She suggested putting them in categories such hot or cold weather clothing, color, and so on.
    For the most part, I think her plan is very good. Having a space for everything and putting it away after you use it works so easily. It saves you time, frustration, prevents duplication and makes your life easier.
    Here's my sock drawer and underwear drawer after folding and storing per the book suggestions
      
    Here's the book description...
    Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list).

    With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.

    And another reader's review...
    Though this book can be a little woo-woo and a little repetitive, I have to give it five stars for the impact it has already had on my life. I love collecting stuff and have a very hard time letting go. The author's techniques allowed me to graciously and gratefully bid adieu to things I no longer love, and I felt *amazing* when I did both my clothing and book purges. (My sister asked if I was high!) I still have much more to do, but I'm trying to do one step a week. HIGHLY recommended.
    22716194  3 of 5 stars  bookshelves: familyfriendsmarriage  Read on June 15, 2015

    This book really hits close to home for me. My husband was a police officer and his family has had Huntington's Disease for several generations. In fact, his family is part of a study in Indiana because so many of the members of the family have passed down the gene, suffered and died from it. Fortunately my husband did not have the disease so our son is safe. This story really educates the reader on the disease and how it affects the entire family...those who get the disease, those who have the gene and those who are lucky enough to live without HD. It's the most horrible thing to see your brothers-in-law and sister=in-law, mother-in-law and other relatives go through this course of illness...knowing there is nothing you can do but be supportive and loving.   The book also brought forward how depression and worry and other factors can make such big changes in everyone's life.
    Here's the book description...
    From award-winning, New York Times bestselling author and neuroscientist Lisa Genova comes a powerful new novel that does for Huntington’s Disease what her debut Still Alice did for Alzheimer’s.Joe O’Brien is a forty-four-year-old police officer from the Irish Catholic neighborhood of Charlestown, Massachusetts. A devoted husband, proud father of four children in their twenties, and respected officer, Joe begins experiencing bouts of disorganized thinking, uncharacteristic temper outbursts, and strange, involuntary movements. He initially attributes these episodes to the stress of his job, but as these symptoms worsen, he agrees to see a neurologist and is handed a diagnosis that will change his and his family’s lives forever: Huntington’s Disease.

    Huntington’s is a lethal neurodegenerative disease with no treatment and no cure. Each of Joe’s four children has a 50 percent chance of inheriting their father’s disease, and a simple blood test can reveal their genetic fate. While watching her potential future in her father’s escalating symptoms, twenty-one-year-old daughter Katie struggles with the questions this test imposes on her young adult life. Does she want to know? What if she’s gene positive? Can she live with the constant anxiety of not knowing?

    As Joe’s symptoms worsen and he’s eventually stripped of his badge and more, Joe struggles to maintain hope and a sense of purpose, while Katie and her siblings must find the courage to either live a life “at risk” or learn their fate.

    Praised for writing that “explores the resilience of the human spirit” (The San Francisco Chronicle), Lisa Genova has once again delivered a novel as powerful and unforgettable as the human insights at its core.

    and another reader's review...
    Huntington's Disease is a cruel disease. Once you're gene positive, there's no way out of it. The symptoms are terrible and will worsen over time. I can only feel sympathy toward people who have this merciless disease. As a future doctor, it only pains me to see how hopeless this disease is right now, but I have faith that one day there will be cure for this. It's only a matter of time.While there are hundreds of books regarding romance with health resulting to death incorporated, I believe that this novel aims to inform. It's not supposed to make you feel light hearted, but rather to inform you how serious this condition is. There's a chapter in the end that provides a link wherein you can donate to help develop a cure. I honestly don't think that was meant to be a gimmick, because the author seems to exude genuine concern toward this matter. It can also be seen in the acknowledgments.

    So enough with the disease awareness, I'm now going to talk about the novel itself. The perfect way for me to describe it would be that it was completely immersing. The plot was very interesting, and the characters are genuine and life-like. This novel is about a family with a father who has HD and a 50-50 chance of his children inheriting it. It was interesting to read about the family's way of coping with the disease. If the author was true to his word that he really did research on this (interviewing actual victims) then this novel was fantastic. I don't want to spoil anything but all I can say is that I hated and loved the ending. I want more of this book. It should've been longer. I didn't want to part ways with the characters. It feels like I still need time to read about their journey with HD. I'll surely remember them for a very long time. This is the only novel that truly made me feel like shit after reading. Anything medicine related is a plus point for me, in terms of enjoyment.

    So....that's all for this time, kids.
             

     

June 3, 2015

  • MAY I ASK A QUESTION, PLEASE?

    Once again, it has been weeks since I last posted a blog.  Honestly, I really don't know where the time goes.  I think I remember going to the blood bank to have my blood drawn, getting a mammogram and seeing my doctor.  Everything was just fine and I don't go back to the doctor until November of this year.

    Then I know I spent time on Facebook...too much time... but I love to play some of the games like Criminal Case, Candy Crush and Words with Friends.  I think it keeps my mind active.  I've coloring more pages too.  I'll put a sample on here for you to see.  I can lose 2 or 3 hours coloring...to be honest.  Then there is television programs that I record to watch.  And somewhere in there I find time to sit down and read a book or magazine too.

    And in-between all of that, I do a little work in the yard with my plants and go to the grocery store, take care of my cats, clean the house, do laundry and those sorts of things too.

    So, I got out my book of SIMPLE ABUNDANCE by Sarah Ban Breathnach to see what wisdom she has for me today.

    The entry for June 3rd is ASK, ASK, ASK.

    This seems appropriate because I don't like to ask for help.  I want to be independent but as I get older and since I live alone now...there are times I need help.  

    "When was the last time you felt comfortable asking anybody for anything--for advice, for help, or even for directions?  Sarah said she discovered something that brought a sense of adventure into her life.  It's so simple, it's scary.  It's ASKING for what we want.  Help. Advice. Wisdom. Guidance. Information.   Sarah decided to risk it all and asked a friend, who always was dressed so beautifully where she shopped.  The woman gave her great advice including the name of a store where sales is often going on.  ASK to get on a store mailing list. and you might get unadvertised notice of sales."

    "We want, we need, we desire but often we don't just ask.  Longings cross our mind but we don't commit ourselves enough to ask the questions.  We don't ask because we are afraid someone will say NO!  But who? It doesn't matter.   It could be your spirit, a higher power, your spouse, your boss.  When wishful thinking doesn't bring what we desire, we feel we have been denied.  So the next time, we choose not to ask but just continue to wish and getting nowhere.  It's no wonder we feel discouraged."

    "Asking comes with no guarantees.  But it you don't ask, you haven't got a chance of success.   So today, start asking for what you want.  If you see someone with a great haircut, ask them where they got it done.  If you have a good meal, ask for the recipe.  Ask someone to take your kids for an afternoon and promise to take their children on another day.  Ask your children to pick up their toys."

    ..ASK THEM AGAIN!!!. LOL

    "Ask for a day off when you just need some time for yourself and can't face a day at work.  Ask for a raise too! Ask your favorite store when the next sale is planned.  Ask for higher power or spirit guide for some grace.  Some answers .  Ask your guardian angel for some insight,  And while you are in the asking mood, ask for a miracle."

    "Ask for what you need and want.  Ask to be taught the right questions to ask and how to accept the answers when they are not what you expected.  Ask for the Divine plan for your life to unfold in a way that  you can understand and accept it.  Ask politely and sincerely.  Ask with a grateful heart and you will be heard."

    JUST ASK...

    ***************************

        

    I did read a couple of books since the last time I posted too.

    22841065     3 of 5 stars - Read in May, 2015

    This book is only 145 pages but it tells the life story of an Irish woman from her 7th birthday into her 60's. She has many changes in her life throughout the story. She travels from Ireland to the United States and back again. She seems to always feel like there is something else that she is searching to find. I thought the story was interesting but very sad. This is a very quick read, obviously, but it packs in a lot of story-line.
    Here's the book description...
    Academy Street is the heart-breaking and evocative story of one woman’s life spanning six decades. Tess’s childhood in 1940’s rural Ireland is defined by the sudden death of her mother. Later, in New York, she encounters the ferocious power and calamity of love, and the effects of catastrophic fate. The novel resonates with the rhythms of memory and home as well as those of America’s greatest city.  This is an intimate story about unexpected gifts and unbearable losses, and the perpetual ache for belonging. It is exquisitely written and profoundly moving.
    And another reader's review...
    Mary Costello's debut novel Academy Street is a short novel spanning four decades and tells the story of Tess who emigrates to America from the West of Ireland in the 1960s. 

    The blurb of this novel really had me excited about this book as it was described as....."Joyous and heart-breaking, restrained but sweeping, this is a profoundly moving story that charts one woman's quest for belonging amid the dazzle and tumult of America's greatest city"

    Unfortunately I found the book neither joyous or heart-breaking. I really found no emotion in the story and felt I was reading a diary of Tess's life over the years and I failed to get a sense of the person that Tess really was. I possibly connected better with the first half of the novel and liked the feel of 1940s Ireland. I wanted to be moved by Tess and her sad life but I just couldn't relate to this character. I finished the novel and felt no emotion or for the events on Academy street and think perhaps there was too much going on in this little novel.   However the prose in this novel is good and many of my friends have loved this story and the characters.  It was just not my favorite.

    Lost Lake       4 of 5 stars - Read in May, 2015

    This was an interesting book based on going back in time and place to a lake campground that one of the main characters had run with her beloved husband. Just as she thinks she may have to sell the land, a niece returns with her own daughter to the place where she spent her favorite 2 weeks years before. As the women meet other old friends, they work together to try to figure out what it was about Lost Lake that was so very special. This book has a happy ending and brings everyone together once again. It's a good weekend book to read and enjoy.
    Here's the book description...
    Suley, Georgia, is home to Lost Lake Cottages and not much else. Which is why it's the perfect place for newly-widowed Kate and her eccentric eight-year-old daughter Devin to heal. Kate spent one memorable childhood summer at Lost Lake, had her first almost-kiss at Lost Lake, and met a boy named Wes at Lost Lake. It was a place for dreaming. But Kate doesn't believe in dreams anymore, and her Aunt Eby, Lost Lake's owner, wants to sell the place and move on. Lost Lake's magic is gone. As Kate discovers that time has a way of standing still at Lost Lake can she bring the cottages—and her heart—back to life?  Sometimes lost loves aren't really lost. They're right where you left them, waiting for you to find them again.
    And another reader's review...
    I don’t really know what this it with this author, but every book of her leaves me with a smile on my face and this book was no exception. 
    The stories have always some magical aspects, and backgrounds so sweet and perfect, that makes impossible not wanting to be a part of these book-worlds. 
    This was a beautiful story about a mother and a daughter, about a small town, about friendship and loyalty. About healing, and forgiving and romance and the magic that surrounds all of it.  I can’t say anything else except that I loved it. 

     

    I    

    And finally, here are some of my favorite colored pages done with colored pencils.

     

    ....Aren't you glad you asked?

May 16, 2015

  • DO YOU NEED A CLUTTER FAIRY? HMMM?

                                            

    I was looking at my book by Sarah Ban Breathnach (SIMPLE ABUNDANCE) today to get some inspiration for a blog.   It was interesting to read that her essay for today was Clearing Out What Isn't Useful or Beautiful.

    According to her ..."Our authentic decorative deliverance arrives when we begin to appreciate and put to use the rule of ridding ourselves of anything we do not believe to be beautiful or useful--as we restore order to our homes and simplify our lives."

    "Beginning this week, with a pad and pencil, browse through the rooms of your home meditatively.  Let the Divine spirits of simplicity, order, harmony and beauty accompany you.  Really LOOK at your surroundings--your furniture and decorative accessories.  Give thanks for your home exactly as it exists today.  NOW...begin the inquiry.  Ask each possession, Are YOU beautiful?  Useful?  Is it time for you to move on?  You will undoubtedly come to an object that is neither beautiful or useful but has sentimental qualities.  You can create a new category on your list but have restraint.  Does it really tug at your heart?  Would you mourn if it disappeared?  Be truthful.  Listen to your authentic self.  Write it all down and think about it before you take action."

    The next step is to make a commitment in writing, on  your calendar to go through one room a month.  On that day, plan to spend a few hours.  Be sure you have plenty of boxes available.  Now, start to sort: if it's not beautiful, useful or sentimental ~~ it goes.  One pile for items to be given away to charities.  One pile for perfectly good objects that no longer make your heart beat faster.  These might be recycled for others who would enjoy them."

    "There's an ancient metaphysical law that says if we desire more abundance in our lives, we must create a vacuum to allow ourselves to receive the good we seek.  How can more good come into our lives if there is no room for it?  The way we create the vacuum is by giving away what we no longer need or desire but what can still serve others."

    We all change as we grow.  This includes our personal style.  If you no longer love Fiesta dishes and want to collect another china or if the fancy china doesn't match your casual style, give them away.  Deciding to simplify our lives and bring order to our homes by sending on the objects we no longer love to a new happier life with people who will genuinely appreciate them is the way to open ourselves up to receiving an abundance that will more perfectly suit us."

    So, I guess I need to heed my own words and do this.  I have been saying that it's time to go through the house again.  I have many things that are stuffed into closets and storage areas that I haven't used or even wanted since my husband passed away.  I think it is time to move it on to someone else who may need it.   Since I've lost about 23-25 lbs, I have some clothes that are too big.  I've given some away but I need to clean out the closet once again.  No need for all those blankets and dishes and coffee mugs that I have stocked away.  I have bookcases full of books that I need to read and then donate.  And stacks of magazines that I need to get read too.

         

    THIS IS NOT MY HOME......

    AND NEITHER IS THIS.....

        

     

    AND THEN YOU CAN DO THIS.....

          

    Well, now I am exhausted!   I need to go read a book.  I recently ordered a book from the library entitled THE LIFE CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP by Marie Kondo.  I'll let you know if it has some good ideas.

        

     

    I did just finish     22522170

    This is an autobiography that Brooke Shields wrote about herself and her relationship with her mother. Most of us probably have heard how Teri Shields drank to excess and was Brooke's manager for many years. They had a loving yet difficult relationship. Teri always wanted to be in control and yet she would allow Brooke to do "her own thing" as well. Brooke was always searching for the perfect mother-daughter relationship and yet she didn't ever want to leave her mother.
    Brooke also wrote about her relationship with Dean Cain and Andre Agassi. She was married to Andre for about 5 years. They were dear friends but didn't seem to do well as a married couple. She has been married now to the father of her two daughters for several years. She even mentioned that Tom Cruise was a friend over the years even though he had made remarks about Brooke taking antidepressants when she had her first daughter. She had quite a difficult time conceiving her first child but was finally successful. Brooke had quite an interesting life. Most of it wasn't easy but she still holds those memories dear.
    Here's the book description....
    Actress and author of the New York Times bestseller Down Came the Rain, Brooke Shields, explores her relationship with her unforgettable mother, Teri, in her new memoir.Brooke Shields never had what anyone would consider an ordinary life. She was raised by her Newark-tough single mom, Teri, a woman who loved the world of show business and was often a media sensation all by herself. Brooke's iconic modeling career began by chance when she was only eleven months old, and Teri's skills as both Brooke's mother and manager were formidable. But in private she was troubled and drinking heavily.

    As Brooke became an adult the pair made choices and sacrifices that would affect their relationship forever. And when Brooke’s own daughters were born she found that her experience as a mother was shaped in every way by the woman who raised her. But despite the many ups and downs, Brooke was by Teri’s side when she died in 2012, a loving daughter until the end.

    Only Brooke knows the truth of the remarkable, difficult, complicated woman who was her mother. And now, in an honest, open memoir about her life growing up, Brooke will reveal stories and feelings that are relateable to anyone who has been a mother or daughter.

    And another reader's review...
    Being a woman of a "certain age", I grew up with Brooke Shields and always loved her. I knew of her alcoholic "momager" through all of the gossip mags of the time. Brooke recounts so much of her childhood and how the co-dependency shaped her career and life. It's hard not to feel sorry for the little girl who felt that she had to take care of her mother. However, Brooke does a good job of painting both sides, the pain and the pride that her mom felt as she watched Brooke succeed.
       

May 9, 2015

  • IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE I LAST POSTED.....DID YOU EVEN NOTICE?

     

    I'm sorry it's been so long.  Once again, time has rushed by and I don't know where or what I have been doing.....Did you miss me?

    So what has kept me so busy....I have no idea!   I have been working in my backyard with the help of my duplex neighbor.  She is such a good person and we share our gardening tools and other items.  She does some lawn care on the side to make extra money.  Some of her customers give her plants they don't want any longer.  She has been sharing them with me.  She recently got a chokecherry tree and planted it in my yard.  It's only been about a week and it has gone from some bare branches to having leaves!   I bought some other plants and  have been putting them in.  She still wants to dig up more of my yard for planting so it is an on-going process.  Next year, the yard should look even better once the plants take root.

    I've also been on Facebook quite a bit. Trying to keep up with some games I play.  And I have continued to do colored pencil coloring pages every evening  too.  It's quite relaxing.

    My book reading time has really suffered.  I have returned more books that I didn't even open this year.  I need to make reading a priority once again.  I am determined to get back to it.

     

    My son and daughter-in-law just made a purchase of a used 1999 5th wheel which is permanently installed in a campsite about an hour from here.  My son took me to see it last week.  It's really nice.  I know they are going to enjoy their little getaway place for a very long time.  They are right next to a lake too.  The campsite is in Amish and Mennonite country.  I love hearing the clip-clop of the horse drawn buggies.  We saw farmers with their teams of 4 to 6 horses pulling plows to get the fields ready for crops.  Such a lovely area to drive through.

                  

                    These are some of my favorite pictures on that life style.

     

    I decided to check into SIMPLE ABUNDANCE by Sarah Ban Breathnach once again to see what she wrote on this date in her book.

    The essay title is GETTING YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER.    She talks about how most of us let our housework go as long as possible because we are so busy with our lives.  "Many of us approach housework as unrelenting, repetitive, exhausting and unproductive until it reaches the point of no return!"   What she discovered is that "ORDER is the third principle that needs to be embraced on our path in life.  Although we often fight it....the virtue of ORDER seems very old-fashioned, unimaginative and uninspired, dreary, cheerless and well...A CHORE!"   But as she reflected on the simple, uncluttered serene lives of the Amish, the Quakers and the Shakers, she was struck by their seamless stitching together of life, work and art of living.

    "Order shapes every part and nurtures every nuance of their lives, from their daily schedule of tasks to the way they express themselves authentically through their surroundings.  Mother Ann Lee who founded the United Society of Believers in the First and Second Appearance of Christ in 1774, told her followers to remember that "order was  heaven's first law.  "there is no dirt in  Heaven." she counseled.  Members of the Shaker Society were to keep their personal belongings and tools in such perfect order that they could be found at a moment's notice, day or night.  The Shakers elevated ORDER to a sacred art: just to gaze at the exquisite beauty and brilliance of Shaker built-in drawers and cupboards is to know that in the House of Spirit a pine cubbyhole awaits with your name on it.  The Shakers believe that their daily work, including  housekeeping, is a personal expression of worship."

    "Prayer and housekeeping--they go together.  They have always gone together.  We simple know that our daily round IS how we live.  When we clean and order our homes, we are somehow also cleaning and ordering ourselves." Gunilla Norris tells us in her book, BEING HOME.  How we care for our home is a subtle but significant expression of our self-esteem."

     

                                    

     

     

    And then there are always the cats to amuse me and take up my time.....

     

           

April 7, 2015

  • SPRINGTIME AND OTHER THINGS...

    I do believe that Spring is finally peeking into Northern Indiana to decide if it is safe to appear!  One way I know is because my eyes have been itching and my nose is twitching and I have a slight headache which usually means ALLERGY SEASON!    Nevertheless, I am happy to see some green grass and even some rain to make the plants grow.  I don't know if anything I planted last year is going to make it so I am interested in watching whatever comes up in the yard.

    I was checking to see what the Spring 2015 colors are this season.

    The lead color for women for the Spring/Summer 2015 season, according to PANTONE  ~ Aquamarine is an airy blue with a dreamy feel. Cool and calming, ethereal Aquamarine is a shade with a wet and watery feel. Open and expansive, this restful blue also acts as a stress reducer.

    It looks like the usual colors but lots of patterns, polka dots, stripes and flowers.  As a coincidence, I opened up SIMPLE ABUNDANCE to check on what Sarah Ban Breathnach has to say for these current days and she also wrote about THE COLOR STORY.
    "ADORNMENT IS NEVER ANYTHING BUT A REFLECTION OF THE SELF." Coco Chanel

    "Usually the fashion story at this time of year is what is the color story.  One season, it could be Neons such as watermelon (hot pink) and key lime (bright green) and the next season could be earth tones such as aubergine (blackish purple) and saffron (golden yellow).  You could spend a small fortune trying to be "in style."

    "In Europe the two groups of women who stand out on both sides of the runway are those who work in or cover the fashion industry who mostly dress in black and those whom the industry is courting ~ wealthy women who dress in classic colors.  The moral of the story is: fly-by-night colors may dazzle but the real people know that the classics are best."

    If you are rethinking your wardrobe and your personal style, consider the role color plays in your life.  To build a wardrobe with standing power, invest in the classic colors ~ black, white, navy, gray, beige, ivory, and the "reds" including wine and russet.  There are 100s of hues to choose from and gradually your wardrobe expands with these classics.  Then picture  your personal style with accent colors that are "in" right now."

    If you don't know what colors are good with your skin, experiment with the many books that are available to help. If you see a scarf or purse that you absolutely love, make it your signature accent for this season.  You will never go wrong if you love what you have selected.

    You can come alive with color.  Sarah Ban Breathnach talks about her childhood when her mother painted their living room red....long before the color became popular.  Sarah didn't realize what a statement it made until she was outside one day.  Her house was white with black shutters and accents and seeing that bright red room framed by the black and white made it stand out in the neighborhood.  I believe everyone has colors that really speak to them.  If so, you should paint rooms in your house in the colors that make you feel good.  I choose new wall colors by sitting in my family room and looking into the kitchen and living room to find colors that were compatible.  I have not been disappointed in my selection.

    Sarah goes on to say "the colors you wear don't have to be the same as the colors you live in.  You might love bright colors that stand out to wear but feel comfortable living in a pastel home.  Go to a store and look at the paint sample cards.  What colors really speak to you?  How can you incorporate those colors in your home or in your clothing.  Maybe wrap a pillow in a color or pattern that you love.  Find a scarf to tie around your neck or on your purse to see how it makes you feel.  Find some paper napkins in a bright color to perk up your table. Perhaps some postcards at an art museum that  you can post on your refrigerator or in a frame on your desk would make you happy."

    In keeping with this idea of color, I have taken up a new hobby.  I have been coloring with colored pencils.   Just 24 of them on pages I have copied off the Internet.  Here are some samples....

     

    I also have my latest book for sale on Amazon.com.   INDIGO MEMORIES.   I've sold about 10 copies and have some reviews on Amazon.

    And that, of course, brings me to the books that I have read recently.

    22208282   1 of 5 stars   ~~    This is a short novel of 207 pages. I read 100 pages before I gave up. This was described as a book about the aftermath of a fire at an ice cream store that killed 3 young female employees. The premise of the book was to tell how the people left behind including the suspects, parents and friends in the community lived their lives.  I couldn't keep anyone straight in my mind. The time periods jumped around continuously and I never really knew what was going on. Maybe it was just me but this writing didn't work for me.

    Here's the book description...
    2.86 of 5 stars  ~~  A riveting novel about the aftermath of a brutal murder of three teenage girls, written in incantatory prose "that's as fine as any being written by an American author today." (Ben Fountain) 
    One late autumn evening in a Texas town, two strangers walk into an ice cream shop shortly before closing time. They bind up the three teenage girls who are working the counter, set fire to the shop, and disappear. See How Small tells the stories of the survivors--family, witnesses, and suspects--who must endure in the wake of atrocity. Justice remains elusive in their world, human connection tenuous.Hovering above the aftermath of their deaths are the three girls. They watch over the town and make occasional visitations, trying to connect with and prod to life those they left behind. "See how small a thing it is that keeps us apart," they say. A master of compression and lyrical precision, Scott Blackwood has surpassed himself with this haunting, beautiful, and enormously powerful new novel.
    And another reader's review...
    A hard book for me to write a review for as the concept and the structure in non linear. The beginning grabs  you right away, three girls killed in an ice cream parlor, abused and then set on fire. No, this is not graphically nor emotionally displayed.The book is about this only as it relates to those involved. What happens to the people affected after the event. The author does a great job of describing the grief of a lost child, or children as two of the three were sisters. The sisters sometimes make an appearance in spirit form, sort of like a Lovely Bones type of scenario, but not as often.The book is very well written, but in the beginning is was hard to keep track of who was who and their relation to the story. Also it jumps around, memory flashbacks which one would expect in a book of this kind. The chapters are short and this was my biggest hurdle, the short chapters made it next to impossible for me to connect to the characters. Yes, I felt horrible for all those involved, except the killers of course, but this was only a surface emotion not a deep felt one that I should have had. So while the story was good, I just expected and needed more

    ***
    .22545426  5 of 5 stars ~~  bookshelves: dramafamilymarriage

    Read in April, 2015

     

    This book was excellent! It starts out with the main female character, Bailey, coming to and realizing she is in the hospital. She doesn't remember what happened but she is very frightened. Everyone keeps pushing her to remember. There was a murder, missing women, gossip about her husband and his first wife, lots of mystery. The reader follows along with Bailey (the second wife) and slowly starts to learn what happened to her. But, who is the culprit? Who is behind all the many incidents? And why?   It takes nearly the entire book to find out what really happened. This was a very fast-paced and good story. I would recommend it to everyone.
    Here's the book description...
    3.62 of 5 stars   ~~  An idealistic young woman marries a man she barely knows only to discover his first wife disappeared under mysterious circumstances. As a child, Bailey Browne dreamed of a knight in shining armor swooping in to rescue her and her mother. As she grew older, those dreams transformed, becoming ones of a mysterious stranger who swept her off her feet and whisked her away from her ordinary existence; then, suddenly, there he was. Despite the ten-year difference in their ages and her working class upbringing and his of privilege, Logan Abbott and Bailey fall deeply in love. Marriage quickly follows.

    But when Logan brings her home to his horse farm in Louisiana, a magnificent estate on ninety wooded acres, her dreams of happily-ever-after begin to unravel. A tragic family history Bailey knew nothing about surfaces, along with whisperings about the disappearance of his first wife and rumors about women from the area who have gone missing, and when another woman disappears, all signs point to her husband's involvement.
    And another reader's review...
    I loved this book.   it was different then I thought it would be but still amazing.  Bailey went on a vacation to grieve her mother's death. She never thought that she would meet the man she would want to spend the rest of her life with. But little did she know the secrets that are hidden within the family.
    Bailey and her new husband wanted to move forward in their marriage but when she wound up in the hospital with a bump on the head ~she tries to get her memory back and solve all of the questions in her head.
    Throughout this book there was a complete mystery of who done it. There were the usually suspects but not who actually did it. I was a little shocked on who the murderer was.
    This author did a wonderful job of keeping the readers guessing. She sucked the reader into her world from the very first page. You wanted to keep reading to see who would be next or who would be found guilty. 
    19286669    5 of 5 stars  ~~  bookshelves: dramafamily

    Read on April 04, 2015

     

    I always enjoy a novel by Diane Chamberlain. This one was especially good. Throughout the entire story, even when the reader finds out some of the truth, the reader doesn't know until the very end everything that led up to the mystery. There were a few different twists and turns in this story too. Very fast-paced and engrossing to read. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a mystery, and a story about a family. I read this 343 page book in one day.
    Here's the book description...   3.91 of 5 stars ~~  In The Silent Sister, Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager.  Now, over twenty years later, her father has passed away and she's in New Bern, North Carolina cleaning out his house when she finds evidence to the contrary.  Lisa is alive.  Alive and living under a new identity.  But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now?  As Riley works to uncover the truth, her discoveries will put into question everything she thought she knew about her family.  Riley must decide what the past means for her present, and what she will do with her new-found reality, in this engrossing mystery from international bestselling author Diane Chamberlain. 
    Another readers's review... 4 of 5 stars ~~  Riley MacPherson has lost her entire family in one form or another; she heads back to New Bern, NC to wrap up things after her father's death. She discovers a shocking secret, things aren't always as they appear in her family, and her sister-- who committed suicide 20 years ago-- comes back into play...

    Can't say too much more without giving away the book! I will say Diane Chamberlain's writing always leaves me wanting more, and I flew through this book because (once again) I HAD to know what was going to happen. She does an amazing job of creating cliffhangers and leaving the reader wanting more. For this point alone, I'm giving it four stars. The hesitation for giving a full five, was that the second half of this book was a little choppy, not as seamless and believable as some of her other books. I also predicted the ending, not Chamberlain's fault per se, but I do enjoy a good shocker!    Definitely worth reading!
    20828370    3 of 5 stars  ~~  Like many of us, I had heard and read and even watched the movie about Chris McCandless who had gone to Alaska and died of starvation there several years ago. There was always the hint that he had mental problems and there was no explanation on why he choose to move there. This book is written by his sister,Carine. She and Chris were extremely close throughout their childhood. She was in hopes that the shock of his death would change her parents. Change them into accepting that their harsh treatment of Chris andCarine was probably the biggest reason why Chris left home after college.Carine also suffered throughout her adult life as she struggled to find some redeeming qualities about the parents. This story tells about their childhood, what lead up to Chris going to Alaska, the parents who never seemed to "get it" and whyCarine felt she finally had to fulfill her brother's belief in the TRUTH.   There are also plenty of photos to show the family dynamics.

    Here's the book description...  3.57 of 5 stars ~~  "The Wild Truth is an important book on two fronts: It sets the record straight about a story that has touched thousands of readers, and it opens up a conversation about hideous domestic violence hidden behind a mask of prosperity and propriety."-NPR.org

    In the more than twenty years since the body of Chris McCandless was discovered in the wilds of Alaska, his spellbinding story has captivated millions who have either read Jon Krakauer's iconic Into the Wild or seen Sean Penn's acclaimed film of the same name.
    And yet, only one person has truly understood what motivated Chris's unconventional decision to forsake his belongings, abandon his family, and embrace the harsh wilderness. In The Wild Truth, his beloved sister Carine McCandless finally provides a deeply personal account of the many misconceptions about Chris, revealing the truth behind his fateful journey while sharing the remarkable details of her own.Exposing the dark reality that existed behind the McCandless's seemingly idyllic home in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., Carine details a violent home life, one where both parents manipulated the truth about a second family--a deception that pushed Chris over the edge and set the stage for his willing departure into the wild. And though he cut off all family ties, Carine understood--through their indelible bond and some cryptic communication--what Chris was seeking.

    This understanding, kept under wraps for years as Carine struggled to maintain a relationship with her parents, now comes to spectacular light in the pages of The Wild Truth. In the decades since Chris's death, Carine and her half-siblings have come together to find their own truth and build their own beauty in his absence. In each other, they've found absolution, just as Chris found absolution in the wild before he died.

    Beautiful and haunting, told with candor and heartbreaking insight, The Wild Truth presents a man the world only thought they knew--and the sister who has finally found redemption in sharing the rest of their story.

    Another reader's review....One of the frustrations I felt with Into The Wild was that it clearly wasn't the whole story. It was clear that he did not have the happy childhood people on the outside thought he did, but it wasn't clear why. I figured 'strict' meant some abuse and I could tell Chris' parents had very little insight to him. I wondered did that go both ways? What this book showed me was that Chris had plenty of insight into his parents--enough to sever ties and walk away. Reading this book made me want to rewrite Chris' life. This time help would come in time, weakened and exhausted, Chris would return to the world.....not to his parents, but to his brothers and sisters. That even if he chose a wandering, solitary lifestyle, he would come home once in a while and learn, as Carine has, that families can include the people who support you.This is a story of survival: surviving a childhood and decades of dysfunction, and the loss of a beloved brother and of a woman trying to build her life, making mistakes, and trying again
    So That's my week.   I hope you enjoy some color in your life too.
       

     

March 28, 2015

  • IF IT'S SPRING, IT MUST BE TIME TO CLEAN THE CLOSETS...!

    I am just about ready to move my winter clothes to one closet and bring out the summer clothes.   I don't want to jinx the warmer weather coming along so I am being very, very "quiet" about the move!  I expect I have some clothes that might be a wee bit too big this time around.   So, maybe I will give myself another incentive and get rid of some of those clothes so I have to keep on my eating plan.

    I got an on-line order today in the mail and the company put in a pair of jeans that were not my size.  They were not charged to me and it would cost me to send them back.  So I found someone who can wear them and will be sharing my good fortune with her.  I think I should also check on some of my other clothes to see if she could wear them as well.

    I brought out my SIMPLE ABUNDANCE book by SarahBan Breathnach today to get some inspiration.  Coincidentally, the subject is CLEARING; PARTING WITH FASHION MISTAKES.

    She talked about "finding your true authenticity by parting with your fashion mistakes so you can unclutter your mind.  Most of us have to be psyched up to go through our closets.  It's hard work once you get into it.  There are some  pieces that bring back wonderful memories or something you used to be able to wear and keep telling yourself that "someday, I will fit into it again."

    According to Sarah Ban Breathnach, "there is nothing as satisfying as bringing order to a closet in which chaos once reigned.  A change of seasons provides the perfect opportunity to get to work too.  Find two hours on a Saturday afternoon.  Gather some boxes or bags ahead of time.  Play some good music. Take a deep breath.  Take EVERYTHING out of the closet and put it on the bed.  Now, you can work."

    "Try things on if  you are not sure and look at yourself honestly in a full length mirror.  Edit your fashion accessories as well; jewelry, scarves, purses, hats, and shoes.  Keep ONLY the things you love--things that make  you look beautiful or feel fabulous.  This is  simplicity at work.  If there are some items that  you still love but they don't quite fit, only save the ones that are only ONE size different from your current size.  It's a realistic goal to lose one size and something to work towards."

    If you have a few sentimental things and the room to store them in the hopes that someday your own daughter might want them, that's just fine.  Otherwise give them away to someone who might really enjoy the outfit right now.  "Take the plunge and give the items away.  You will feel a sense of grateful abundance when you realize how much you can give up.  This positive attitude will help attract more prosperity into your life."

    Every woman has made fashion mistakes that clutter up her closet and her life.  She might be tempted to whine about her wardrobe. Clearing the closets of past items provides the space and freedom for us to choose clothing in the future that reflects the women we are today."

    Image result for CLEANING closets + cats      

     

    My own personal preference is to organize my clothes by color and group.  For example, all slacks go in one grouping by color, all tops go in another grouping by color, all sweaters and so on.  It helps me find something I am looking for when I want it to wear.

    This photo is NOT my closet.  I would have to reorganize right away!

     

    Image result for CLEANING closets + cats

    In others news, I finally got my latest book back up for sale on Amazon.com.  I hope you will check it out there along with the other books I have written.    It's on Amazon.com.  The title is Indigo Memories.

     

     

    I also read some books this week.

     

    17857396        bookshelves: familymarriage

    Read in March, 2015
    This story is about an affair. The couple have been married for a few years and have a young son. She writes from home doing columns about food. He is a successful magazine publisher, and handsome and smart and everything one would expect him to be. The other woman is young, preparing to launch a new magazine and eager to please. The young woman and the man meet and have an instant attraction. Then, the real story of what can happen starts playing out. The story is told from the experience of each of the three main characters.In the ending, things seems to work out but not in the way any of the three ever expected. I think this story shows that everything that seems to work in a relationship doesn't always have a happy ending...or does it?

    Here's the book description...
    3.4 of 5 stars
    In the internationally bestselling author Sarah Rayner's The Other Half,  Chloe, bright, hip and single, is a feature writer with ambitions to launch a magazine of her own. When she meets James, her potential new boss, she knows she shouldn't mix business with pleasure, but finds it impossible to resist...Maggie appears to have it all.  She's beautiful, a talented writer, and has a gorgeous husband. But something's not quite right: his job as a magazine publisher is keeping him in the city until late most evenings, and some nights he doesn't come home at all...

    Told in the alternating voices of the mistress and the wife, this story of an affair is a sharp, seductive take on modern love.

    Who,  if anyone, comes out unscathed?

    In writing that is lively, sexy and sharp, the international bestselling author Sarah Rayner explores modern-day relationships and age-old moral dilemmas.

    And here's another reader's review...
    4 of 5 stars

    A perfect beach read for my Jersey vacation. A smart take on wives, mistresses and cheating husbands. Chloe (the mistress) and John (the cheater) think they're being oh-so-discrete, but the reader is privy to all the stupid 'mistakes' they make and how their smoothness is anything but smooth. You also get to watch as Maggie (the wife) ever-so-slowly comes to the (rather obvious) realization that her husband is a weak, immoral man. Then she deals with things in her own way. Even though this is a classic story of infidelity and its consequences, and even though the reader knows exactly where things are headed, it's a fun read that keeps you turning the pages. It's a clever book, well written, and very British. I recommend taking a copy along on your next trip to the Jersey Shore!
    ****
    21853667

    bookshelves: dramafamilyfriendsmarriagemothers-and-daughters

    Read on March 22, 2015

     

    This novel started out with a married couple who appear on the surface to be happy. But as the reader gets into the story, we learn that Grace was bullied by her mother and now seems to be bullied by her husband, who is a successful writer. As things start to spiral out of control, a young woman comes into their lives. She appears to be everything they need..an excellent assistant to Ted, the writer, and a huge help to Grace with her busy life as well. But there is just something about Beth that doesn't seem quite right.As the story unfolds, Ted and Grace's marriage starts to fall apart. Grace has lost her way. She doesn't cook the gourmet meals she is noted for. There is gossip about her mental health and she starts to lose herself.   It is only when she finally relies on some old friends that she figures it out and overcomes what has happened to her.

    This is a fast paced book, full of twists and turns. I enjoyed reading how just one person can be so uncaring and mean that she can change everything.

    Here's the book description...
    Grace and Ted Chapman are widely regarded as the perfect literary power couple. Ted is a successful novelist and Grace, his wife of twenty years, is beautiful, stylish, carefree, and a wonderful homemaker. But what no one sees, what is churning under the surface, is Ted’s rages. His mood swings. And the precarious house of cards that their lifestyle is built upon. When Ted’s longtime assistant and mainstay leaves, the house of cards begins to crumble and Grace, with dark secrets in her past, is most vulnerable. She finds herself in need of help but with no one to turn to…until the perfect new assistant shows up out of the blue.  To the rescue comes Beth, a competent young woman who can handle Ted and has the calm efficiency to weather the storms that threaten to engulf the Chapman household. Soon, though, it’s clear to Grace that Beth might be too good to be true. This new interloper might be the biggest threat of all, one that could cost Grace her marriage, her reputation, and even her sanity.  With everything at stake and no one to confide in, Grace must find a way to save herself before it is too late.
    Here's another reader's review...
    On the outside Grace and Ted Chapman  look to be the perfect couple to everyone they know, but behind close doors that isn't the case at all. As a stay at home mom Grace has been the perfect wife taking care of her husband in the best of times as well as the worst (which seem far more frequent). Ted's standing in the literary community seems to be going down hill book by book and Grace seems to be the one that receives the brunt of his anger. 
    When Ted's assistant needs to leave for personal reasons, their lives seem to crumble. Grace begins to worry little by little that she is falling apart and becoming her mother.
    Then out of the blue, the perfect assistant comes along. Beth comes into their lives and looks to be a savior that is sent to help turn their lives around and help them before they are ruined.
    Soon Grace realizes though, that Beth is not what she seems and Grace needs to fix herself before she loses everything from her family to her life and even her sanity.
    This book will have you guessing what will happen at each turn and wondering how someone that seemed so perfect for the family could be the worst thing that ever happened to them till the very end.
    ****
    15793222

    bookshelves: familyfriendsmarriage

    Read in March, 2015

     

    This novel was quite a departure from what I usually read. It's the story of 2 women, both of whom desperately want to have a child. Each of them had some serious medical issues and feel this might be their last chance to become a mother. As they explore IVF options, their lives become connected, although they never meet. It's a good story and I will be looking for the other books this author has written.
    Here's the book description...
    A memorable and moving page-turner about two very different women, each yearning to create a family of her ownWhat if the thing you most longed for was resting on a two week wait? From the author of the international bestselling One Moment, One Morning, comes a moving portrait about what it truly means to be a family. After a health scare, Brighton-based Lou is forced to confront the fact that her time to have a baby is running out. She can't imagine a future without children, but her partner doesn't seem to feel the same way, and she's not sure whether she could go it alone. Meanwhile, in Yorkshire, Cath is longing to start a family with her husband, Rich. No one would be happier to have children than Rich, but Cath is infertile. Could these strangers help one another? With her deft exploration of raw emotions and her celebration of the joy and resilience of friendship, The Two Week Wait is Sarah Rayner at her best.

    And another reader's review....
    Heartbreaking and life affirming. Two words I used to describe Rayner's first book about the Brighton based women Lou, Karen and Anna 'One Moment, One Morning' and they could easily be used again for the review of 'The Two Week Wait'. Sarah Rayner once more reminds us that ordinary lives are filled with extraordinary events and once we are able to connect the dots an amazing story is unfolding right before us.I love her no fuss way of telling a story. Written in present tense the events of the books seems to be happening around you - and the story is filled with characters that feels as real as were they truly a part of your everyday. The women of the book don't live perfect lives - and they certainly don't make perfect decisions - and the story is sad and joyous - terrible and perfect - it is filled with life as we all know it and love it.

    ****