Friday, May 13, 2022

Why I am a Reader

In Bomb Magazine April 2018, Miriam Rahmani interviews her friend and poet Jenny Xie. It's a lovely interview. 

I loved what she said about reading because I relate to it so much. She says "Reading is migratory, an act of transport, from one life to another, one mind to another. Just like geographic travel, reading involves estrangement that comes with the process of dislocating from a familiar context. I gather energy from this kind of movement, this estranging and unsettling, and I welcome it precisely because it’s conducive to examination, interrogation, reordering. Travel, imaginative or physical, can sharpen perception and force a measuring of distance and difference."

Reading took me places I couldn't go, let me be the heroine I didn't feel I could be in my own skin, led me on adventures that at times left me weeping, at others intrigued or full of mirth. I still love a good puzzle to be solved. I loved the school library during the school year and the book-mobile during the summer. I always checked out as many books as allowed and read them all. When visiting my grandma, I would peruse her bookshelf of Reader's Digest condensed books and pick up what sounded most interesting. That was how I learned about Tsar Alexander and his family. I am grateful for the writers who have painstakenly written and published those books, books that have vastly expanded my horizons, books that have changed my life.

That's why I read. And why I write.



 

Friday, February 25, 2022

Closets

Not my closet but I love the organization.
I have been saving up litte bits here and there and finally splurged on getting two closets in my house redone. They look amazing! It was a process though. All the contents of the closet had to come out and one closet was a little like the junk drawer in the kitchen--a spot where a lot of things got put because ... The old shelves had to be torn out, new shelves cut and put in, custom drawers built, new closet doors, and paint. I should have taken a before and after, but I never remember until 'after'.

It's a bit like writing. You finish that first draft and then you have to tear it apart, take things out, put new things in, and give it a 'good coat of paint'. It's a process! And it's a lot of work. Painstaking labor and a team of people to help you get it to where you want to show it off to your friends. Or at least your mom, haha.

I browsed Pinterest and local ads for ideas then sketched it out on graph paper for the guy I hired to build it. It was such a fun project. 

Now I have to go through the bins and boxes and organize and put them away. Hoping to get rid of some of it. I'm sentimental, it's hard for me to actually do the purging. I've read and started Marie Kondo's process. It's helpful but overwhelms me. Margareta Mangusson has a book The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning. It sounds morbid, but I love the concept of cleaning up your own things before someone else is burdened
with it. 

Do you have a trick for purging your belongings? I would love to hear what works for you. 

And if you live in the Northern Utah area, you can hire the amazing Leah Nielsen of Northern Utah Professional Organizing to help you!     

Friday, February 18, 2022

What's on Your Nightstand?

Not my nightstand, but this is a fun old clock!
A variety of things can typically be found on nightstands. From reading material to a box of tissues, a lamp, decor, tchotchkes, an alarm clock or clock, or maybe a bluetooth speaker. On your nightstand is there something you just can't go without?

I have a wall clock (it needs to be big enough I can see it without my glasses!), a jewelry dish (for cough drops and in case I forget to take off my rings before climbing into bed), a charging cord for my phone, and a small collection of lotions and pillow/room sprays. I don't have books. I know, it seems wrong. I have a lot--probably a more appropiate word for it is plethora--of books, just none of them on my nightstand.

What does that have to do with anything? Well, I've been thinking about starting a monthly post about what I'm reading or planning to read. This year I set a goal to read one non-fiction and two fiction books every month. Now for you readers, I'm sure that's laughable and I really want to do more than that but starting small is better than getting overwhelmed.

For February I have been wanting to read Atomic Habits by James Clear. I've got ten days left. Yikes! How about some fiction? I'm thinking Disguised by Roxanne McNeil and Not Happy Campers by Ash Keller. If all goes well, I'll have a new March list and three reviews coming up. 

Wish me luck!


Saturday, January 8, 2022

Finding Gratitude

I had a lovely massage this morning. It is one of the few things I do to treat myself but it's definitely something I look forward to. The gal I used to see left for bigger and better things and I really liked her, so I was more than a little sad about the whole thing. Perhaps my bar is really high, but I have had trouble finding a massage therapist that was a good fit. Fast forward, I've been going to Holly for about three months and she is amazing. She is a very intuitive therapist and I love her vibe.

We chatted for a bit about how important it is to look for the "silver lining," being grateful in all things. I think "reframing" is the current buzzword. It reminded me of something I first heard when Scott and I were a young married couple. It went something along the lines of 'I'm grateful for my husband's snoring, it means he is there beside me.' Now, I know there are different levels of snoring and that snoring can indicate health issues, but the thought behind it has really helped me reframe some of the little things. Don't get me wrong, there are still things I roll my eyes at or get frustrated by, but I've also learned to be able to laugh about them and to take the emotion out when it's an issue I want to talk about. It's taken a lot of years and a lot of practice but I am grateful for Scott's patience as I learn. Is there something you could reframe to find the gratitude? Here's to a grateful 2022! Sending positive energy to all my readers.

Friday, December 31, 2021

Goodbye 2021! Hello 2022!

 I've heard it said that the years go faster the older we are because they're an increasingly smaller percentage of our lifetime. For example, when you are ten years old, one year is roughly ten percent of your life. On the flip-side, at fifty years old, ten percent of our lives is roughly five years.

What's your take on why time seems to go faster? Is it the load of responsibility, our natural aging process that tends to slow us down so time appears to speed by, or something else?

The opportunities for growth are ever-present. Sometimes we drop the hammer on ourselves and learn valuable lessons, other times, we observe people doing the hammer-dropping and their subsequent response. Some sage advice given to me as a teenager was to observe and learn. I can't say I've always followed that advice, nevertheless, I absolutely agree with it. These challenges, I believe, segue us into an opportunity to lean as well as learn. Lean on our families, on each other, but especially on God. One of my favorite scriptures is Proverbs 3:5, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding". God is so good. Even through our difficulties, He is there waiting for us to turn to Him, to rely on Him, to cast our burden at His feet.

I recently read a book by Kathryn Jenkins, Enduring with Grace and Strength. Wow. It is beautifully written and so inspiring. In talking about enduring some really tough things, she says, "He knows I can do it. More importantly, He needs me to know I can do it." That really struck me. God knows I can do all things through Christ but He needs me to know I can. What a great lesson. So many good nuggets of wisdom she has learned and shares with us in this short book. 

Looking forward, do you make new goals, resolutions, lists? I don't make resolutions anymore. I do try to make goals, but that is an ongoing thing. This year I tried a new thing. I picked a word that I wanted to represent the year for me. That word was Finish. Well. I did finish a few things. Not as many as I hoped, but as with many of us, my years started off great and trickled to barely tumbling over the finish line to 2022. My word for 2022 is Disciple. I'm hoping to grow in Christ's light and that includes reading the Old Testament. There are so many knowledgeable people offering resources for study so I'm really excited for this. Leave a comment and tell me one thing you want to accomplish in 2022 or maybe your word for the year. 

I pray that the year 2022 will hold bounteous blessings for you--however they may come.


*I received a complimentary copy of this book. My opinions and comments are my own.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Slow March of Light by Heather B. Moore

The story of Bob Inama, The Slow March of Light by Heather B. Moore, debuts on September 7 (tomorrow). It is an incredible story of one man's experience as a prisoner of the Germans during World War II.

Back of Book:

Based on a true story. Inspired by real events.

A riveting and emotionally-gripping novel of an American soldier working as a spy in Soviet-occupied East Germany and a West German woman secretly helping her countrymen escape from behind the Berlin Wall. 


In the summer of 1961, a wall of barbed wire goes up quickly in the dead of night, officially dividing Berlin. Luisa Voigt lives in West Berlin, but her grandmother lives across the border and is now trapped inside the newly- isolated communist country of East Germany. Desperate to rescue her grandmother and aware of the many others whose families have been divided, Luisa joins a secret spy network, risking her life to help bring others through a makeshift, underground tunnel to West Germany. Their work is dangerous and not everyone will successfully escape or live to see freedom. 

Bob Inama was an outstanding university student, with plans to attend law school when he is drafted into the US Army. Stationed in West Germany, he is glad to be fluent in German, especially after meeting Luisa Voigt at a church social. As they spend time together, they form a close connection. But when Bob receives classified orders to leave for undercover work immediately, he does not get the chance to say goodbye.

With a fake identity, Bob's special assignment is to be a spy embedded in East Germany. His undercover job will give him access to government sites to map out strategic military targets. But Soviet and East German spies, the secret police, and Stasi informants are everywhere, and eventually Bob is caught and sent to a brutal East German prison. Interrogated and tortured daily, Bob clings to any hope he can find from the sunlight that marches across the wall of his prison to the one guard who secretly treats him with kindness to the thought of one day seeing Luisa again.

Author Heather B. Moore masterfully alternates the stories of Bob and Luisa, capturing the human drama unique to Cold War Germany as well as the courage and the resilience of the human spirit.

What others are saying:

Editor's Pick
Historical Novel Society

This outstanding novel is a harrowing account based aroun actual events in Bob Inama's life ... A timely and cautionary tale. My highest recommendation!
--Thomas J. Howley

And this:




My take: 

Wow! I can't wait to read this. Also Heather B. Moore will be in my town this week doing a signing and I will be there! Hooray!

BONUSES:

**Swag bundle

**Ebook only $5.99 this week! 

The publisher, Shadow Mountain has all the deets.



What books have influenced your view of the world?











Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Two Fun Children's Books by Valerie Ipson

Sweet Dreams, Princess

by Valerie Ipson

Back of the Book: 

How can Marcy go to sleep when there is nothing to dream about? 


Don’t worry, Mom has some ideas. (If only Marcy will listen to them.)


My Take: 

The graphics are so fun and full of emotions! I mean, who hasn't gone to be with that pouty face when we wanted to stay up? I think this is a great addition to night-time reading (or anytime, really, because it's full of imagination!).  




Next up is After Bedtime.

Back of the Book: 

Why do we have to go to bed and Mom and Dad get to stay up?

Jump into your jammies, find your favorite blankie and stuffed sleeping buddy, and join in the fun, or the indignation really, as brother and sister imagine everything they're missing because they have to go to bed. Will Mom and Dad eat all the brownies and ice cream? Do they play with all their toys?

My take: 

More great graphics by illustrator Kevin Mura. What a fun story about all the things kids think they're missing. A definite case of FOMO for these two.



Pick up these fun paperbacks at Amazon and snuggle up for a good read. 


Don't forget to follow author Valerie Ipson:

Amazon Author Page, Goodreads, and Facebook, and check out her website: http://valerieipson.com




Why I am a Reader

In Bomb Magazine April 2018, Miriam Rahmani interviews her friend and poet Jenny Xie . It's a lovely interview.  I loved what she said ...