Friday, January 24, 2020

Book #5 of 2020

Book #5 of 2020
The Sun Down Motel
Simone St. James

This was my book of the month club book for this month.  It is rare that I actually finish the book in the month that I get it!  But I am SO glad that I finished this one!  It was way out of the norm of books that I normally choose.  I am usually not one for ghost stories.

This story was told in a way that flipped back and forth from 20 years in the past to present time.  I don't want to ruin any of it, but I do want to say that it is totally worth the read.  But only if you can handle ghost stories that take place at run-down motels!  It definitely kept me awake some nights!

I also couldn't put it down!

Monday, January 20, 2020

When Friendship Overcomes...

Friendship... it used to be something that I was always trying to define... what makes a friendship real?  How do I live in this place where I feel like I am always the one reaching out.  How do I get to a place where I am secure in my friendships?  Will I ever be secure in my friendships?

I feel like 2020 has already taught me a lot about this!  I have some friends that are really helping me to understand what true friendship means, and how to be a good friend.  You see I think that we set up these expectations for our friends, and then when they don't meet our expectations then we get so bent out of shape about it.  But the thing is that we actually don't really have the right to put expectations on anyone.  That is not our job at all.  I know some people aren't going to agree with me, and that's okay.

I've thought a lot about this... and most of the time when someone disappoints me it is because I am trying to put my expectations on them.  I know how I treat others, and I automatically think that other people should treat me that way too!  But that is not the case at all.  We have to believe people when they say they care about us.  Not everyone can help us out the way that we would like for them to.  We want them to drop everything for us... but unfortunately that can't always happen.

So what do we do, when we feel like no one is there for us?  When we feel like people should be giving us more of themselves then they are?  Do we get mad, and post things on social media saying how no one is there for us?  Do we lay crying in our bed crying about how people don't care?  Maybe.... I've done that before.  In the past I feel like my reaction has been just that.

But here lately I have had some people show me that friendship doesn't have to be this overwhelming thing that we make it into.  We can care about each other just as much even if we can't spend the time together that we might want, or can't do all the things that we would like to do for our friends.  I am a giver... I love doing things for other people.  It is one of my most favorite things... but I can't always do it.  I also don't always have the capacity for being around certain people because they are so needy or so demanding.  So... I have to take people in small doses.

But I have had a couple people recently show me what friendship means.  The kind of friendship that accepts me and loves me for exactly who I am.  Without this need to prove to each other that we value the other person.  The kind of friendship that just flows.  Even when you haven't seen that person for awhile.... you can pick up  the phone and talk to them, and you just know that friendship no matter what future brings... it is helping you to be the best version of yourself.

Sometimes I think we forget that life doesn't have to be so serious all the time.  Sometimes I think we forget that it is okay to just laugh and have a good time.  We need that in our lives.  We need to be able to have a good time.

I guess what I am saying is this... we all need people in our life that we can just be ourselves around.  We need people that will see through the bullshit, and call us out when we are being insecure or putting expectations on others that don't need to be there.  We need people in our life that we can laugh with over really stupid, inappropriate things.... they help us see the world a little less serious.  They help us live in this place where we don't have to live up to these crazy expectations that we have put on each other.

I'm thankful to have found those kind of friends.  Because in this life... the best kind of friendships help you overcome the worst parts of yourself.  It is not because they don't see those parts, but because they help you to work through those parts, and they love you for those weaknesses.  They love you for all of you!

Book #4 of 2020: Daisy Jones & The Six

Book #4 of 2020

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Loved this book!  It was written in such a way that the characters, the band everything about it seems real.  I loved the style of this book, and the way that the author made the different perspectives come to life.  There were so many different characters involved in this story.  There is a reason that this book was one of the Book of the Year for 2019 Book of the Month Club books!  It definitely earned it!

I loved Daisy's character.... not that I could relate to the addiction part of it a lot, but I did relate to the rest of it.  I was amazed by this vibrant character.... and just how her story unfolded.

I also loved this story because it was about a character who loved someone she could never have....

I don't really feel that way in the current moment, but I have felt that way in the past.  I think if we are honest we all have.  We love someone that just slips through our fingers.  The hurt and pain of that love....  it makes us feel like we will never be able to have a way out.  We don't think there will ever be anyone to come along to replace that love... until there is.

I liked this book a lot because the story didn't end how you might think it would.  It is not like all of the characters lives ended happily ever after.  In fact no one in this book really ends up the way that you might think they would.

It is real, without being real.  And it is about a band!  I mean who doesn't love reading about a 70's band?  The drugs, the sex, the everything that made it the 70's!  And Rock N' Roll!

Definintely will be one of my favorites of the year!

Book #3 of 2020: Oh You Pretty Things

Book #3 of 2020

Oh You Pretty Things by Shanna Mahin

This book has been on my shelf for a year or so... and I just didn't have the time to pick it up and read it.  But after the last book that really made my brain hurt at times, in a good way... I decided I would read this one…. even though it isn't on my list at all!

But it was good.

It takes place in Hollywood... and if  you know me at all you know that I do love me some Hollywood drama!  I still think one of the best trips I ever took was to LA, when I stayed in the Beverly Hills Hilton hotel.  It was amazing.... now it doesn't beat a beach or mountain trip at all... but it was definitely fun to pretend I was rich for a little while!  I have since then changed the way I live my life, and want to live my life... but that will be one of those trips that I never forget for sure!

This book made me think a lot about friendships, and the way that we choose to look at other people. Sometimes I think that we try to get the approval of others... and we live our whole lives trying to get this approval that in the end really doesn't matter.  Right?

I feel like that is what this book was about.... the way that people we think are the ones to be like, really aren't at all in the long run.  The way that we tend to put people on a pedestal that really do not deserve to be on that pedestal.  It was a great story....

It wasn't a love story... which I found refreshing because so many books are about that.  And although I do love a good love story... I would rather that not be the sole focus of every single book I read!

This book also taught me about not waiting to say what you need to say.

We don't know what tomorrow will bring....

We have to tell people we love them when the time is right there.....

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Crushing is the Process...

Have you ever thought about crushing being a process?  Me either... or maybe you have.  But this post is going to come from the perspective of not really thinking about crushing being a process.  Mostly because it is very uncomfortable... right?  I mean who likes to fail?  Who likes for things to not go the way you want them to?  I don't know too many people that are super excited for things to go opposite of what they want.  Yet I meet people all the time that are not living the life that they expected.  They feel like they are in a constant state of being crushed.

A friend sent me a podcast yesterday to listen to.. and when I saw that it was over an hour long I almost didn't listen to it, but I decided that it was probably worth it... so I listened.  It was by far one of the best things I have heard in a long time.  Pretty inspiring and life changing....

It reminded me of all the things that I have already been thinking about this year, but put them in a way that the excuses I have been making... well they can't really be excuses anymore.

I've been having a hard time, more so the first 7 months of last year with people leaving me.  I don't like it, it feels messy and it makes me feel like I am not worthy of anyone's love.  Yet, when I think about who I am at the core... I know that my faith is in God.  So, doesn't that mean that no matter who leaves me... or who I don't think I have in my life anymore I should have confidence that Jesus is there.  He is always in the room with me... that should give me the confidence to get back up.  Because no matter who chooses to exit my life... they didn't exit my life because of me (essentially) They exited it because it was the best thing for both of us.  I believe that the people that are meant to be in your life will be.  Sometimes those people have to take a hiatus... and then they come back around.  But the ones that truly leave... well then they were only meant to be there for a season.

Last year I felt like I lived in my circumstances a lot.  I let those circumstances change me.  I allowed them to dampen my mood, to alter how I viewed myself, and essentially to almost destroy who I was and my faith in God. I allowed my intensity and love of God to disappear in those circumstances... something I don't want to happen again.  My circumstances are just that...  something temporary.  Why should I let a temporary thing change who I am?

Those temporary things were often brought upon me by feelings of not having what I wanted.  Yet, I know that I don't really want anything before it's the right time....

I mean sure there are things that I want, but I want them when I'm ready for them.  I hope and pray that this year brings those things... but I also don't want something that is not going to last... I don't want to rush what shouldn't be rushed.

So I live in this process... the crushing process.  I pray and hope that the crushing ends quickly and the soaring begins.  But I am thankful for the crushing... because I know that means the flight is going to be more beautiful and I will be able to soar so much higher because of it!

Book #2 The Great Pretender

Book #2  The Great Pretender by Susannah Cahalan

This was my November Book of the month!  I just got around to reading it, but I think that it was the perfect timing.  I am in a very good state of mind right now, one in which I am pondering a lot of things.  So... this book was definitely not what I expected when I started.  I thought it would be more of a novel, but instead it is actually more research based.  The author still shared a lot of her opinion, but also gave a lot of her research which I found intriguing.

Psychology has always interested me. In fact I really at one point in time wanted to be a school counselor.  I gave up on that idea awhile back, but it is always in the back of my mind.  I would be a good counselor I think, but I just don't know that I would want to do it in the age we are living in right now.  Kids are not really held accountable, and they have a lot of big feelings.  Not that is wrong, but it is just tough.  Teaching was hard enough... I can't imagine being responsible for the emotionally well-being of hundreds of kids.  Some of which whose parents just don't care or on the opposite end don't want to ever see them get hurt.

Regardless I think we have a huge problem with diagnosing people.  It is a difficult thing, and I do not envy doctors at all.  But I think that we are quick as a society to try to give someone a pill to "help" them.  When really at the core of all the things that we find "wrong" with people, well if we stopped and actually saw them as humans we might be able to get into the depths of the issue, and that might just help more.

What I took away from this book was that we don't get things right a lot of the times.  We have treated people with differences pretty awful, and still do today.  I think we like to sweep things under the rug a lot.  I am using we because even though I haven't done some of the sweeping, in allowing the sweeping to happen, am I not just as much a part of it?

The experiment in the story... getting yourself admitted into a psychiatric hospital... would I ever do that?

Probably not, but do I think that we need to do more of that?  Absolutely.  We need to do more of finding out what is going on behind the scenes of the places that take care of our most vulnerable.  Because there are a lot of things going on that are not okay.  There should absolutely not be people being harmed because of their differences or because they can't defend themselves... but there are.

This book makes me want to do more research for sure.  I'm looking forward to reading more on this subject.... but for now.. I think my next book,  might need to be a fun novel!  This was pretty heavy!

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Book #1 of 2020 The Book of Gutsy Women

Book #1:  The Book of Gutsy Women by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton

Hopefully I am going to be better at making book posts this year!  I started out strong last year, and then failed!  But life is better when we learn from our failures, right?

This book was the BEST book to read to start out 2020!  My 2020 is about transformation... that's my word for the year, and I am amazed by the women in this book and how they not only transformed their own lives, but the lives around them!

I really liked this book because it was into categories.  I really appreciated finding out about women that I really hadn't learned about in history class.  Some of them of course I know their stories, but there were a lot of stories of women I had never learned about. To have them all in one place.... was fascinating, and encouraging.

My hope is that I am able to focus on knowing more stories like this.  Understanding how our world, our country came to be.  The ways that we have been able to move forward, and the ways that we have gone backwards.  We are living in a time that feels like there is heartache, pain and devastation around every corner.  We have to find the brave inside ourselves, and try to leave a legacy and make a difference.

Sometimes I get really caught up in feeling like I am not doing enough... and I am probably not.  But what I can do is touch and encourage the part of the world I am in contact with every day.  People may never read my name in a book, but those around me should be able to know that they are loved.

A few of my favorite quotes from the book:

"If you hear the dogs, keep going.  If you see torches in the woods, keep going.  If you want to taste freedom, keep going."  Even in the darkest moments, that is what we all must do: keep going."  -Chelsea Clinton, quote by Harriet Tubman  page 17

"I like frank debate, and I do not object to harsh criticism so long as I am treated like a human being with a mind of her own."  -Helen Keller

"Her story deserves to be told again and again- the story not simply of an extraordinary girl but of a woman who spent her life questioning why things were the way they were, and standing up for people who had no power."  -Hillary Clinton  page 28

"But the story of Title IX and the triumph of its "godmothers" remind us that strength in women is an asset to be cultivated, not a character flaw to be overcome."  page 88

"When leaders deny science, disregard facts, and ignore the people they represent the consequences are disastrous.  In this moment when thousands of communities in the United States still have unsafe lead levels due to paint, plumbing, and industrial waste, none of us can be complacent."  -Chelsea Clinton page 194

About Billie Jean King
"She is a constant reminder that none of us can rest for very long.  In the fight for equality- on the court and off- there is always more to do."  -Hillary Clinton  page 212

"In the end it's the ability to tune out the distractions and zero in on chasing their dreams that has made the Williams sisters two of the greatest athletes in the world."  page 226

The book is full of quotes by women!  I recommend getting your copy today!!!!