Tuesday, January 15, 2019

WEEKLY WANDERINGS: Stories In All Forms


As I stated in my last post, these past few months have been difficult for me, and because of that, reading has taken a drastic hit around here.  I'm still reading, but just not often and mostly via audiobooks.  However, words in all forms remain a key piece of my life ... and in this stage of my life, the words take the form of music.  I have been listening to a wide array of music, but I have particularly been focusing on music to empower and inspire me.  Like this one . . .


I have listened to different forms of this song during other difficult times.  Not all the lyrics are what I can relate to each time, but the phrase "I'm A Survivor" is definitely one that sticks with me and can usually bring me out of my funk .... not always, but usually.

As I listen to all these empowering songs, I run.  I have taken to running one to three miles everyday.  I don't always run the entire way, but I am getting stronger and more capable with each mile that my feet hit the street.  And, as I run and listen to my playlists, I listen to the messages within the songs.  Each of these songs are truly short stories in and of themselves.  So, despite the fact that my reading has decreased, my love for a good story has not, especially for ones that bring me strength and hope.

I love stories in all forms, and right now, they happen to be told through music and I listen to them over and over and over again.

YOUR TURN:  What are the songs that you have found to be the most inspiring and empowering during the difficult times?

Saturday, January 12, 2019

MY RETURN: Life is Like a Game of Baseball

I have had this piece in my head for months, bouncing around, brewing, and evolving. It finally came time to write it. It's personal and raw, in an analogous sort of way. It stirred up a lot of emotions, and as I sat here deciding whether to publish it and send it out into the world, a weight was upon my chest while I debated if it was the right thing to do. Well, I made my choice, and now that weight has lifted.

After all, in real life I wear my heart on my sleeve. Today, I give you all a piece of my heart online.

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Sometimes life is like a game of baseball.

I was just hanging out in the dugout, cheering on my team. I was the one that cheered the loudest. I was the one encouraging as times got tough and the game was close. I was even the one cleaning up as spit, seeds, and trash hit the floor. Then, a shift occurred.

It occurred to me that I was taking the roles of the coach, the janitor, and the fans, but what I really was was just one of the team. I didn't have to do it all, and I deserved to be treated as an equal. I needed encouragement when I was playing out on the field. I needed support as I went up to bat. And, I was up next on the roster.

As I slowly walked up to home plate, I gripped the bat tightly with sweaty palms. I was scared and nervous as I stood there staring down the pitcher. I stood there realizing that all I heard was silence. I did not have the rest of my team cheering me on, and I never really had.

My eyes met the pitcher's. We stood there, I trying to read what was to come, him trying to decide which strategy to move forward with. I knew with all my heart that a curve ball was coming. I adjusted my stance. I turned slightly to ensure that when the bat met the ball, I would not hit it foul. I took a deep breath, slowly inhaling through my nose. When I didn't think I could inhale any longer, I paused and breathed in slightly deeper. He began to curl in upon himself, readying to throw, and I slowly released my breath, closing my eyes for my own silent moment of encouragement. When I opened them, the ball was flying my way. I could see it begin to curve, even more than I had predicted. I could imagine the bat connecting with the ball. I felt the air as the ball flew past me. It didn't matter if it was called strike or ball.  I had chosen not to swing.

I looked at the pitcher. Our eyes connected. I knew my time on this field and on this team was done. Because we were not on the same team. He had been playing against me all along.

I took one last deep breath, slowly taking in the smells of the field. It would be the last time I would smell these smells. It would be the last time I would see this field. I had made my decision.

I came to the conclusion that I simply don't like the game of baseball. I called myself out. It was time to move on.

It has not been easy. Honestly, it has been damn hard. I left behind my team. I hit the road on my own, alone with my two most prized treasures and my inspiration. Along the way, I have discovered that I have more fans in the background than I realized. I have had unexpected surprises. I have had to rethink my priorities, my desires, and my future. I realized that I may have been playing the wrong game, but there are other games out there that will be a better fit for me. I breathe deep every morning I wake and every night before falling asleep. I savor the new sights and sounds around me. I am on a new adventure, and I will continue to stand tall, even if I stand alone.

Bring it on.

Friday, September 7, 2018

BOOK CHAT: June 2018 in Review


On Wednesday, I reviewed the month of May.  Today, it's June.  If I keep this up, I can be all caught up in just a few short days!

JUNE went by way too quickly.  I did get in a little trip to Tulsa for an Usborne Books & More Convention.  Then, I had to attend some trainings for work that proved to be quite fun and I learned a lot.  I also made a long list of all the projects I wanted to get done during the summer.  (Spoiler alert:  I did not get all of those projects finished!)  I also really dove into planning the annual Out of the Darkness Walk in my area, which proved to be quite time-consuming even despite having an amazing team to help me out this year.

The TOP PIC for the month was this pic from my travels to Tulsa.  My plane was a bit delayed, which only meant a bit more reading time for me.



I had high hopes for reading in June, but I was only able to complete a handful.  Here's the full list of BOOKS READ for the month:
  1. Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School #2) by Gail Carriger
  2. If I Stay (If I Stay #1) by Gayle Forman
  3. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  4. Where She Went (If I Stay #2) by Gayle Forman

My FAVE BOOK for the month was Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger.  This series is such fun!

JULY arrived before I knew it, and it flew by.  Stay turned for more information on that coming soon!

YOUR TURN:  Have you ever read The Finishing School series?  If so, tell me what you think!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

BOOK CHAT: May 2018 in Review


Wow, am I behind schedule a bit these days!  I have to go all the way back to May to get caught up, but I would rather do this than not.  I hate to let this little corner of mine in the webosphere disappear because it has held a special place in my heart for far too long.  With that in mind, bare with me as I catch up!

The month of MAY flew by so quickly.  My kids and I finished up the last month of school, and with that comes a large amount of activities to wrap up the year.  Overall, we all finished strong, but were so very thankful to see summer greet us with open arms.

The TOP PIC for the month was this beauty that I captured while out taking a walk, listening to an audiobook.


I got in a few BOOKS READ during the month, amongst all the chaos of the end of the year.
  1. When Luck Dies (The Murder Lawyer Series #1) by Piper Punches
  2. The Witches:  Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff
  3. Ghost Knight by Cornelia Funke
  4. Strange Weather by Joe Hill

My FAVORITE READ for the month was probably Ghost Knight by Cornelia Funke.  It was a light and fun read, which is just what I needed for this time of year.  I immediately recommended it to my son who recently started listening to audiobooks, and it was his first audiobook completed on his own.

JUNE would prove to be the low-key month of the summer, with a little traveling and a number of projects on my plate.  I will share more when I look at that month in review soon.

YOUR TURN:  Flashing back to May, what was your favorite memory of the month? 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

WEEKLY WANDERINGS: Back in Session!


As I logged into my account today, I realized just how long it has been so I have posted here.  I cannot believe it.  Since the last time, I have done a bit of traveling, have had some work done around my house, took a long hike, hung out with the family, and prepared to go back to work.  I have also been extremely busy working on organizing another Out of the Darkness Walk for suicide prevention.  If I'm being honest, it's been a bit more than busy; it's been chaotic!

Today, I hope that changes and at least a bit of routine helps me get back on track.  School started today, which means I'm officially back to work myself (though technically I started on Monday).  Now that school is back in session, let's hope that my writing falls into place as well.

As for the reading front, it's been slow lately.  I'm still plugging along, reading a variety of things these days:  a little Sherlock, Night Film on audio, listening to Mockingjay with my kids, trying to convince the kids to finally return to the sixth Harry Potter.  I try to get in a little each day before moving into the long list of things to do, typically wishing that I had some time to just sit down and read for an extended period of time.  Keeping my fingers crossed that the upcoming long weekend will allow me to do just that.

YOUR TURN:  What have I been missing this last month?  Have you been reading anything good these days?

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

WEEKLY WANDERINGS: Reading Check-In


My summer is flying by, and it's time to check in on the latest reading news in my neck of the woods.  Reading is going slowly these days.  I had planned to participate fully in the #24in48 readathon, but I ended up working all weekend long on estate tasks.  I got in a little reading via audiobook, but no where near the 24 hours that I was hoping for.

Can I just stop here for a moment and so how thankful I am for audiobooks these days?  If it weren't for audio, I am not sure I would get anything read these days.  I rarely have a moment to sit down and actually read these days.  But, I can listen to a book while I work on all those cleaning tasks, transporting the kids, working out, going for walks, and more. 

Now, the reverse readathon hosted by Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon is quickly approaching this weekend, and I have every intention of participating.  I plan to sit down and read an actual book or two!  I haven't decided which books to read yet, but I will share on Instagram and Twitter as soon as I do.  Because afterall, with all the work that I've been doing these last few weeks, I have every intention of rewarding myself with a little relaxation and time to myself!

In the meantime, I leave you with the list of books that I am currently reading:
  • Bold School by Weston Kieschnick (a book for work that I hope to finish within the next 24 hours!)
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling (reading with my kids, very slowly as time allows)
  • Waistcoats and Weaponry by Gail Carriger (my current audiobook that I can't get enough of).

Alright, that's it for me!  

YOUR TURN:  Are you participating this weekend in the reverse readathon?  What are you currently reading?  What will you be reading this weekend?

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

WEEKLY WANDERINGS: Readathons Galore


Once again, it's been a while!  Where in the world does the time go?!?  Since the last time I posted, I have been on lots of adventures.  That's the only thing I can think of ... my time has been going to adventures!  I will share more of that with you later, but in the meantime, I have to tell you about all the readathons coming up.  Because I plan on participating in all of them!


The High Summer Readathon began at the beginning of the month, and will run all month long.  No real requirements for this one except to have fun and read a novel at some point. 


Then, there is the 24in48 Readathon, coming up the weekend of July 21-22.  With this readathon, you want to try to read 24 hours within a full 48 hour weekend.  Though, it is not absolutely required for participation, it's fun to try to reach the number.


Lastly, there is the NEW Dewey's Reverse Readathon during the last weekend of the month.  Instead of starting in the morning, we will be reading for 24 hours starting at night.

I currently do not have stacks of books to choose from.  I will be sharing those updates via Instagram and Twitter.  My one goal this month with all these readathons is to catch up on my reading for the year.  I am currently 16 books behind schedule to reach my goal of 75 books for the year.  I hope to narrow that margin significantly in the next few weeks.  Wish me luck!

YOUR TURN:  Will you be participating in any of these readathons?