Make Your Creative Dreams Real: A Plan for Procrastinators, Perfectionists, Busy People, and People Who Would Really Rather Sleep All Day – S.A.R.K.

Rating: 5 stars

Cliff Notes: I can definitely see myself returning to this book again and again. It is like a reference book for the creative person I want to be.

Full Summary: A friend gave this book to me as a gift after we were in a group study of The Artist’s Way. It took me a few months to work my way through it, as it often does with non-fiction. And that was without doing any of the exercises in the book – just a straight read through. I can envision a time in my life where I WILL go back and do exercises in specific chapters, or refer to different resources that SARK highlights at the end of each chapter.

I have meandered through the author’s website a few times and what a powerful resource. I sort of want to live on Planet Sark.

Make Your Creative Dreams Real: A Plan for Procrastinators, Perfectionists, Busy People, and People Who Would Really Rather Sleep All Day - S.A.R.K.

By |2019-12-12T19:17:11-05:00September 6th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

I Miss You When I Blink – Mary Laura Philpott

Rating: 4 stars

Cliff Notes: I love this format – separate chapter essays of non-fiction. This is the first thing I have read by this author, and I really enjoyed it. I plan to put her other book, Penguins with People Problems, on my TBR as well.

“I feel like a human traffic jam.”

This is but one of the gems you will get in this book. I usually call this feeling Tuesday afternoon.

Full Summary: One of the best things I like in a book is chapter, passage, or page that can feel like a gut punch and make me laugh out loud at the same time. This book is that.

One of my favorite chapters is about friendships, how they change as adults, and how they can sometimes be mindnumbingly superficial. I get tired of talking about the weather, “Pleasant weather we’re having. Blessed be the fruit.” I get tired of talking about superficial stuff or bragging about how much we are failing as mothers, wives or women. The author describes a long, painful discuss about chicken salad.

I too am done discussing chicken salad. I want more from my relationships.

I Miss You When I Blink Mary Laura Philpott
By |2019-12-12T19:26:21-05:00July 4th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

My Reading Life – Pat Conroy

Rating: 3 stars

Cliff Notes: There is no better place to read Pat Conroy than on the beach in South Carolina. This had to be a Beach Week read.

Full Summary: Although this is not the book I rated highest of those I read during Beach Week, it is my favorite from the week. I love Pat Conroy, and I love reading. So to read about Pat Conroy’s reading life on the beaches of South Carolina (where he was raised and where most of his books seem to be set), was just too good to pass up.

Pat Conroy My Reading Life

I did not love every book that Conroy wrote about (many I have not even read – I am not the Brainy Smurf I pretend to be), but it really gave insight into his writing style. For example, the chapter on Tom Wolfe was so revealing because Conroy talks about how he has modeled his super wordy style after his love of all of Wolfe’s writing. Of course he says it much more eloquently, verbosely and humorously. You kind of have to read it to get it. Sort of like hearing how he describes, Gone with the Wind:

To Southerners like my mother, Gone with the Wind was not just a book; it was an answer, a clenched first raise to the North, an anthem of defiance.

By |2019-12-12T19:28:40-05:00June 26th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Inheritance – Dani Shapiro

Rating: 4 stars

Cliff Notes: I have lots of mixed feelings about this book, but they are all strong. I am not doing 23 and Me anytime soon.

Full Summary: The tag line on this book is “A memoir of genealogy, paternity, and love,” but for me it really struck a nerve about motherhood. As I have mentioned before, there can be all kinds of feelings wrapped up in being a mother. Or not being a mother. Or being a childless step-mother, as it were.

Inheritance Dani Shapiro

I read this book around the same time as some other books that struck a motherhood chord with me. I do not think there are coincidences. I think the universe brings different things to our awareness to learn lessens. Often those lessons are presented different ways or through different mediums. Once something is Brough tot our awareness, it seems to come up everywhere.

What are the recurring lessons or topics that are showing up for you?

By |2019-12-12T19:28:51-05:00June 25th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone – Brene Brown

Rating: 5 stars

Cliff Notes: A must read for everyone. THIS is a book that should be required reading in all schools (instead of The Hunger Games, perhaps?) and board rooms (I cannot believe we are not done with Who Moved My Cheese yet). This book outlines 4 lessons we all need in order to be gentler with each other and ourselves.

Full Summary: Everything Prophet Brene writes is golden and this book is no different. How do we disagree civilly? What does it mean when we are dehumanizing others in our arguments or requiring either / or thinking?

Brene Brown breaks down sociological constructs and concepts for easy understanding through her storytelling, examples from her research, and the writings of others. I highlighted and flagged so many pages in this book that I know I need to digest and write future blog posts about. I hope you will keep coming back to read those as well as going out to get all of her books.

By |2019-12-12T19:31:23-05:00June 9th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Things My Son Needs to Know about the World – Fredrik Backman

Rating: 5 stars!!!

Cliff Notes: Fredrik Backman is my favorite author, and I would read the yellow pages if he wrote it. Pause reading this blog post and go put this on your TBR. I can wait…

Full Summary: OK we are back from your TBR. If you saw this on my Goodreads, it looks like I read the book in a foreign language. Nope, just too impatient to wait for the Goodreads entry in English because THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD. Backman can make you laugh hysterically through the gut wrenching tears left over from the previous paragraph. And as we all know from Truvy in Steel Magnolias, THAT is the best feeling.

This book is different than Backman’s others in that it is non-fiction and is a collection of essays and anecdotes from his early experience with fatherhood. Might be a good choice for all the parents that have cherubs out of school for the summer. This would be a good book to interval read in between giving the kids 1,593,288 snacks per day (even though they only ate once during the school day) and watching them cannon ball into the pool. You all have my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

By |2019-12-12T19:33:36-05:00May 25th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim – David Sedaris

Rating: 3 stars

Cliff Notes: Classic David Sedaris. What I find funny I laugh out loud and read it to everyone around me. What I don’t find funny really misses its mark. Great get for $2 and book sale last week.

Full Review: What really makes a David Sedaris book better is having heard his voice. I first heard his voice when he read some of his essays and did other work for This American Life on NPR. He has a specific tone and cadence that seems to give no effs about whatever it is he is reading – whether it is his sister’s mental health issues, his sexuality, or what he is eating for dinner. And often that makes his essays that much funnier. I strongly encourage you to find somewhere to hear him read his stuff, then (re)read any of his books. You will not be disappointed.

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim David Sedaris memoir non fiction humor
By |2019-05-16T19:26:27-04:00May 16th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

The Next Right Thing – Emily P. Freeman

Rating: 5 stars

Cliff Notes Version: I have never highlighted on a Kindle until I read this book. Backlist read completed 3/1/2019.

Full Review: Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) on Kindle. This was the first book launch team I was a part of and it was a great experience! The author is local to Greensboro, where I live so I was grateful to be on a launch team that was also convenient for me to support.

Some parts of this book touched a raw searching nerve in me that made all the hairs on my neck stand up. And I don’t know of any big decisions weighing heavily on my heart and mind right now! Additionally, Emily P Freeman has an online course, “Discern and Decide” that works as a companion piece to this book and also a quiz that helps you decide what your decision-making style is. Apparently I make decisions with my gut, which might be why we buy Tums from Costco.

Some people have commented they are not going to read it bc of the “God focus.” I am here to tell you that is a mistake. I would consider myself a seeker and spent a couple decades angry at God for things that happened in my life and for the people he put in charge of churches. But there is a small part inside of me that knows there is something in the universe that is greater than me and I choose to call it Love. Whenever Emily refers to God, I literally subbed the word Love and it unlocked messages that I really needed to hear. Don’t let your fear of the human mess get in the way of the soul message.

By |2019-12-12T19:36:31-05:00May 10th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Atomic Habits – James Clear

Rating: 3 stars

Cliff Notes: I took my time on this one to try to let the ideas sink in. I think it could have been shortened, seemed repetitive at times, but the ideas are good. There are a few nuggets like compounding habits and habit stacking that I will use.

Full Review: This book came into my awareness from a couple different sources. When Laura Tremaine recommended it on her podcast, I reserved it from the library and had an anticipated check out date for me of about 2097. Then my sister recommended it to me. I am the younger sibling and even though we are in our mid 40’s and live 500 miles apart, I still do pretty much everything she says. So of course, I immediately bought this book.

I probably should have read the blurb (a recurring theme you will see in my reviews) because I expected habits that would blow my world apart like the atomic bomb. But the book is about small teensy habits – the size of atoms, if you will – that gather together to make a big impact on your world. I can see where concepts like compounding habits will be valuable for me. I refer to this as “butts in seats.” On any given day, I am not having big spiritual revelations from the 10 minutes of morning meditation I do. However, when I look back at a month and check in with my gut, there is a correlation between the number of minutes my butt was in the meditation seat and how restless, irritable, and discontent I have been. More minutes = Less grumpy. Of course, calling this “Compounding Habits” and not “Butts in Seats” is why James Clear has sold millions of books and I am at home wearing socks with my Crocs sandals.

By |2019-12-12T19:37:04-05:00May 8th, 2019|Mental Well-being|0 Comments
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