Fun Finds From the Web

IMG_3876It’s Monday! I had the good fortune to spend most of last week in Juneau, Alaska. I have always wanted to visit Alaska, and I am happy to report that I loved it!  I hope to go back some day. This picture was taken on a trail I went on in the Tongass National Forest. After staring in awe at the Mendenhall Glacier, and hiking a few shorter trails, I headed up this trail.

U.S. News Travel offers “Best Things To Do in Juneau.” I was able to do several of these.

We haven’t taken our family to a professional baseball game, but we plan to! Check out “The Ultimate American Baseball Stadium Tour.”

Anyone that knows me, knows I am always taking about the importance of living in the moment and being present. Take a moment and read “The Art of Now: Six Steps to Living in the Moment.”

I found myself drinking a ton of water on my Alaskan trip. Staying hydrated made for a smooth trip, especially will all the flying I did to get there and back. Here are “5 Little Known Benefits of Drinking Water.”

And, last but not least, I didn’t find this on the web, I found it in Juneau walking to the bagel shop early one morning.before I die Juneau

Have a great week, everyone!

Friday Book Review

bittersweetI borrowed this book through our Sunflower eLibrary system. I had a limited time to read it. Once I started it, I didn’t want to put it down. I found it engrossing, and I really wanted to see how it ended.

Mabel Dagmar is attending a prestigious university on scholarship and finds herself roommates with the privileged, beautiful, stand-offish Genevra Katherine Winslow (Ev). “…I was accustomed to her regarding me as she would a hideously upholstered armchair – something in her way, to be utilized when absolutely necessary, but certainly not what she’d have chosen herself.” Mabel is surprised and elated  when they start a friendship and she is invited to Winloch, the Winslow’s family estate in Vermont, for the summer. Mabel would rather be anywhere than with her own family and return to the life she had with them and her haunted past.

The Winslows are everything a person would want to be: wealthy, beautiful, refined, privileged. She not only admires them, but secretly wishes she could be one of them. It’s after she gets to know them that she sees that what is on the surface is not always what is beneath. From the moment she sets off the train, she starts on a journey that will forever change her. The story has so many twists and turns. The characters are all richly developed. The plot moves at a pace that accelerates to a solid, fine finish.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The writing is smooth, descriptive, and tangible. A book I will not soon forget.

 

Lazy Days & Lazy Hours

A few weeks ago I found myself a little disappointed that we weren’t having any lazy days. I like that term “lazy days of summer.” With me doing some grant writing, the kids busy with all their activities, yard work, friends, life…. it just didn’t seem there were any empty days on the calendar. Well, as we all know, things change. As children get older they get more involved, and that’s normal and okay, unless we aren’t willing to accept that things change.

So, I was feeling a little sad about what I wanted and wondering if any “free” days would open up, and I realized that maybe I couldn’t have full lazy days, but I most certainly could have lazy hours. This was a small revelation that filled me with immediate relief and a little joy at the same time.

In a way, this little life lesson can apply to many other aspects of my life. Sometimes a little is better than none, and sometimes solutions do come when we open up our minds.

Fun Finds From the Web

Hello, and Happy Monday! I hope today finds you well. Here are a few sites I have been enjoying.

Check this out! I love this video. It should be required viewing for all girls, young and old.

Speaking of old……or maybe the concept that days can pass, but we discover more of ourselves as time goes on. Happy I stumbled across this.

I am always happy to see a new post from the blog: Abigail Green. It doesn’t take much time to read through her posts, and they always put a smile on my face.

Here’s a song to put a smile on your face – “Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer” by Nat King Cole.

For you writers out there, I found this article “How to Design a Metaphor” interesting.

Friday Book Review

lee child jack reacherI was first introduced to Lee Child’s talented writing style when my family took a long road trip and we listened to a Jack Reacher audiobook. I have also seen the movie “Jack Reacher.” We got so engrossed with the audiobook we listened to it at night before we went to bed. We just had to find out how the story ended.

Recently, my son and I were taking a road trip to a track meet three hours away. We went to our local library and checked out Three jack Reacher Novellas (with bonus Jack Reacher’s Rules): Deep Down, Second Son, High Heat, and Jack Reacher’s Rules. We got through the first novella and had just started the second when we arrived back home.

Lee Child takes the reader on a fast-paced journey. Jack Reacher is no nonsense, highly intelligent, intuitive, a skilled fighter, and quite fearless. From childhood he is simply called Reacher. It fits him.

In the first story, Reacher is in his late 20s. Military Intelligence has asked him to go undercover in Washington, D.C. He is to figure out which of  four career climbing military women is leaking secrets about a new state-of-the-art sniper rifle. He is assured that there won’t be danger, just getting to know the women and figuring out who the mole is. However, Reacher knows a lot about life and human nature, and things aren’t always as easy as they seem.

In the second story, Reacher is a young teenager whose family has just moved to Okinawa. His father is in the military so he is used to moving. He quickly adapts to any situation he is in. Always on the look out for trouble, he quickly gets involves with two mysteries – one involving his father and one involving his older brother. At a young age Reacher demonstrates an analytical mind and incredible fighting skills.

In the last story, Reacher is almost a young adult and he is visiting New York city on his way to visit his older brother at West Point. When he sees a man on the street being aggressive to a young lady, he steps in. In perfect Jack Reacher style, he is soon involved in a situation in which he will have to keep his wits about him to get out of.

I enjoy Lee Child’s writing very much. The narrator Dick Hill does a wonderful job reading in the audiobooks. If you haven’t yet, give the Jack Reacher books and audiobooks a try!

The Importance of Belonging to a Writing Group

maya-angelou-quotes-on-writingSeveral years ago a friend invited me to attend a writing group that met several times a month at a library in a nearby town. I’ll admit I was a little intimidated. I had wanted to be a writer for years. I wrote a children’s book, articles, essays, toyed with an idea for a novel, etc. I submitted a little, but never felt like I knew what I was doing. I just had the desire to write.

I attended the first meeting. I don’t remember the exact number but I think there were about 8 – 10 people there. The facilitator, who was also the founder of the group, was young, bright, quirky, and caring. She grew up with parents who were into art and theatre and remembered gatherings at her house and wanted to replicate it in some way. She formed High Plains Writing Group, and anyone that cared to come was welcomed. There was no pressure. We would write each meeting on a variety of topics. If the writer wanted to share he or she could. I attended the meetings whenever I could. There was no  repercussion if I didn’t make it. I was always made welcome.

Eventually the writing group became six members who meet once a month at the founder’s home. Everyone brings a favourite dish and we talk, eat, and write. We support each other with feedback, encouragement, new ideas, and ways we all might become published. We are all different in our writing styles. I enjoy how we can have one topic but everyone there has a different spin on it.  I feel fortunate to be a part of something that helps me in my desire to be a writer. According to them, I am already a writer. I can’t tell you how good that felt when at one of our meetings they all exclaimed, “You are a writer.”

If you aren’t fortunate enough to have a writing group near you, start one. Surely, there are people you know, or will get to know, that want to meet and work on their writing. Meet in a public place, see how it goes, let it evolve into what it’s suppose to be. I wish you the best of luck!

 

Fun Finds From the Web

It’s Monday again, and I swear someone hit the fast-forward button. The weeks are flying by. Summer officially starts this Sunday, June 21st – Happy Father’s Day and Happy Summer!

Here are a few sites I found around the web. I hope you enjoy them.

A little inspiration for you: “6 Ways to Get Unstuck as a Writer (that Actually Work).”

I follow the author, Eleanor Brown, on Facebook. She recently posted and article from The New Yorker titled, “Can Reading Make You Happier?” It’s a great article. Maybe my second career can be as a bibliotherapist.

I put on a two-piece swimsuit this weekend, and perhaps I should do a little more of this before I put it on again.:)

We love Netflix at our house, and here is a great list to check out!

Here’s a new blog I started following: Ordinary Handsome. Check it out!

If you like to follow blogs but get tired of the many emails or multiple posts on Facebook, you can use bloglovin to follow your blogs in one place.

Have a great week, everyone!!

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Book Review

ruby bookI had a feeling going into this book that it might be difficult to read. I read some of the reviews on Amazon before reading it, and it seemed to me that most people loved it or hated it.

The story is set in a small town in Texas. The two main characters are Ruby Bell and Ephram Jennings. The beginning seemed a little disjointed to me. It starts with the present and then takes the reader back to when Ephram first met Ruby. It didn’t take me long to realize this is a dark, violent story.

The author is poetic and descriptive. The story has lots of similes, metaphors, and symbolism throughout.  I very much wanted to see a sliver of silver lining in the clouds. Every time I felt somewhat hopeful that something good might happen, I was disappointed. I made it through chapter seven and I decided I was not going to finish the book. Then I randomly chose a chapter later in the book. What I turned to was a part of the story that was so gruesome, disturbing, and violent that I decided I was done with the book. It’s not that the subject matter couldn’t or shouldn’t be in the book, it is the way it’s presented – too graphic, too much horror.

Obviously, the author is a talented writer; and I would have enjoyed the story if it would have been edited differently. For me, this book was just too over the top with violence, too far-fetched at times, and too dark for my taste. I do not recommend it.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my review. My review is posted on their website.

Fear of the Unknown

I recently saw this quote on Instagram “Dare to do the things that scare you.” I think we all deal with fear of the unknown. Recently I had lunch with a good friend and I was telling her I was scared about something. I don’t even remember what it was, but I remember the look of relief on her face. When I noticed her expression I told her, “We are all scared, all the time.” Granted, if we are lucky our fears are small; however, even facing small fears can give us courage in our daily lives.

I remember one time I was taking one of my son’s friends home, and on the drive we were visiting. I asked what his plans were for the summer and the fall. I told him we have to try new things so we can see what we like and don’t like. He had done Boy Scouts and baseball for several years, and he was ready for a break. In the summer he was going to a basketball camp at our local university and then playing football in the fall.

When I think about my life, I realize that sometimes I do things because I am ready for something new, but other times I do them because I’m kind of scared and I want to push myself a little. Here are a few examples:

Last summer we moved to a new town after living in our old house and town for 12 1/2 years. It was a really great move for our family.

I read Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. I had never read anything by a Russian author. Also, the book was two large volumes. (I do want to note that I really enjoyed it. Tolstoy has such a keen insight into human character.)

I participated in two 5Ks. I walked one and walked/jogged the other.

I went to an auction at my favourite floral shop. I bid by myself and got several things I love.

I drove to Denver, stayed in a hotel, navigated my way through DIA’s parking lots and terminals. (It’s such a huge airport!) I then flew to Seattle to see my best friend from college.

Very recently, I got certified as a grand proposal writer. It was scary going back to school. I taught college classes for over seventeen years, and I am use to being the teacher, not student. It went very well, and I am pleased I earned my certification.

Overall, pushing myself a little (or a lot) has yielded positive results. I encourage you to push yourself a little. When you are scared and go forward anyway, you grow. You gain confidence and courage every time you face the unknown..

 

Fun Finds From the Web

It’s Monday again. How did that happen so quickly? I love summer, especially early mornings. The day is fresh with promise. It’s also cooler, less buggy, and I feel more inspired.

Last week a Facebook friend posted an article titled, “Warren Buffett Says to Invest as Much as You Can in This.” Spoiler the “this” is “yourself.” Check it out.

So happy to see this article “These 15 Jaw Dropping Places in Kansas Will Blow You Away.

If you feel like you are a writer or you want to write, Jeff Goins of Goins, Writer  has written an article (that includes a video) on how to start a blog in 8 minutes or less.

And, last but not least, “Power Foods for Your Busy Life.” This is worth the short time it takes to read it.