Sunday, June 25, 2017

30 Pieces of Advice

I recently turned 30, which to me seemed to be outrageous.  I am not where I thought I'd be right now.  It's hard beating expectation back with reality, and finding a reality that you enjoy.

They say that with age comes wisdom, and while I don't feel very wise, I thought it would be interesting to see what 30 pieces of advice I would give to others.

1. You have to like yourself.  You spend the most time with YOU, so make sure you're the type of person you want to be around.

2. Everyone has a different path.  Don't run someone else's race, and don't let them run yours.

3. Sometimes, you have to roll with it.  Or like Elsa says, let it go.

4. And for those times you just can't roll with it, quietly get out of the way.

5. The things you have today are probably things you prayed for in the past.  Think about it.

6. You are not alone.  Ever.  Even when you feel like you've fallen in a pit and no one can see you, I promise, someone can.

7. Finding a hobby is important.  People always say this, I didn't believe them.  I do now.

8. Communication is hard.  Honest, open communication is harder still.  You have to work at it, but it makes a difference.

9. There will be friendships you regret losing, and they are often nearly impossible to reclaim as time goes on.  Which means hold dear the friendships you have, and work hard not to lose them.

10. Sometimes people are more weight than you can carry.  It's okay to let go of unhealthy relationships.

11. Answer the phone every time a grandparent calls.  If for some reason you can't, call them back.  There will be a day when they no longer answer.  And it can be heartbreaking.

12. Reflection is important to growth, discovery and understanding.  But don't get stuck in the weeds.

13. Find something to geek out/nerd out about.  (Ahem, Harry Potter)  Be passionate, be invested, own it.

14. Learn to cook at least one dish REALLY well.  If it's a full meal, even better.

15. Make time to roll down the windows, blast the music and jam on a highway.  Ahh... freedom of the open road.

16. Take a road trip with friends, make it a long one!

17. Give genuine compliments and words of affirmation.  It's a neglected area of human interaction.  Let's change that.  

18. Disagreeing with people is okay, disrespecting those people is not.

19. Give back.  Whether it's in your chosen profession, through a faith community, or other volunteer work, find a way to give back to others.  It doesn't have to be monetary.  And it doesn't have to be forever.  Start and stop as you are able, just give.

20. Always have an adult beverage in your home.  You never know when a friend shows up needing company, and a lovely glass of pinot.

21. Nobody is perfect.  They may look that way, you may see them that way, but they aren't. 

22. Comparison is the thief of joy.  I read that somewhere, but oh Lord is it true.

23. Negative talk.  Find a way to shut. it. down.  (Much easier said than done, I'm still working on that one.)

24. Advocate.

25. Own your quirks.  They make you who you are.  And who you are is interesting!  (The radio volume better not be on an odd number that isn't 11 or doesn't end in a 5.)  :)

26. While we are at it, stop apologizing.  Because honestly, I bet much of the time you use that word you don't need to apologize.  You are watering down a word that is powerful, because it needs to be.  Apologize when you need to, find a different word for when you don't.

27. Be informed.  

28. It's okay to be wrong.  

29. Failure is not the end.  It's the beginning of success.  Fall down, and get back up.  That's how we learn, and how we grow.  

30.  Things in life come and go.  Times change, people change.  To do lists pile up, red icons on phones show up with increasing numbers.  These things, they can all wait, The Sunset Won't.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

101 List in 1001... 7 Years Later

On February 27th, 2010 I posted that I was making a list of 101 things I wanted to do in the next 1001 days.  1001 days is roughly 2.75 years.  As inspiration on this blog weaned I forgot about the list.  perhaps I was discouraged about how stagnant I was feeling or perhaps I wasn't ready.

Well as I approach my 30's (my students say that means I am ancient), I was inspired by a friend to live 2017 as a year of 30s.   To prep for that I dug out my bucket list, and that list of 101 things I wanted to do.  Now, almost 7 years later I looked at the list and was encouraged.  Perhaps that's an odd thing to say about a list.  But from the perspective of a 22 year old, those were things I wanted then.  I wasn't willing to wait, so I was going to make them happen.

Looking at that list things like "purchase a home," "help plan a wedding," and "start my master's degree" are all things that can be checked off.  There are over 40 of them.

Then there are things like "buy flowers for myself every month" where I wonder why I don't do something like buy myself flowers.  Which is quickly followed by laughter when I see that I wanted to "put 25% of paycheck into savings."  Girl, you have bills to pay, you can't afford to put that much into savings.

So I continue to work on my lists of 30, reflect on where I am in life, and where I want to be.  And, I think maybe, just maybe, those to things are coming closer together.

There are many things in life that can wait, 
but crossing things off your list, 
and The Sunset Won't.

Monday, January 2, 2017

500 Days

It's been roughly 500 days since I last put finger to keyboard and wrote a post for this blog.  For awhile I never thought I'd stop writing and then the inspiration simply started to fade.  But reflecting on those 500 days, the 364 days left of 2017, and the 150 odd days left of my 20s I felt a pull to open this once more.

I'm hoping it lasts awhile.

Maybe I'll come up with something amazing and this blog explodes as I once dreamed it would.

Or perhaps it will again serve as a window into my life.  A snapshot I can return to in the future and see just how far I've come.

For today I sign off with anticipation of sharing with you, whoever you may be, about my plans for this year, and some lessons I've learned recently.

Until then remember,
        Many things in life can wait,
                But The Sunset Won't.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Book Review: Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Beth K. Vogt

From the Publisher:
Wedding bells and storm clouds collide in the first engaging novel in a brand-new series about destination weddings, the power of love, and the possible mishaps and missteps that happen on a couple’s journey down the aisle to “I do.”
Paramedic Vanessa Hollister has put her adolescence behind her, including the unwanted label of being the new kid in town over and over again, thanks to her father’s military career. She’s overcome what her mother called “the biggest mistake of her life” and is planning an elegant destination wedding in Destin, Florida with her new fiancĂ©. But will the reappearance of her first husband from her what-were-you-thinking teenage elopement disrupt her dream of an idyllic beach wedding?
As a professional storm chaser, Logan Hollister is used to taking risks. However, a reckless decision during the last tornado season has him questioning the future of his team, the Stormmeisters. Coming face to face with his ex-wife eight years after their divorce compels him to confront his greatest regret: losing Vanessa. Does their past give him the right to interfere with her future?
A fast-moving, powerful hurricane throws Vanessa and Logan together as they evacuate to a storm shelter along with other residents of the Florida Gulf Coast. Forced to spend time together, the pair battles unexpected renewed feelings for each other.
Vanessa and Logan are faced with a choice: Should they accept, once and for all, their teenage marital mistake? Or is God offering them a second chance at happily ever after?

Would I Recommend This Book? One thing I do enjoy about Beth's books is that she chooses a central question that weaves into her stories.

This story was not for me.  I'm a reading teacher, and I encourage my students to give books a fair shake.  However with this one I had to know when to put it down.  With so many books on the market, this one was not for me.  I didn't connect with the characters and the plot didn't feel natural.

My Rating: 2/5 Stars

An interview with the author!

(Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  I am under no obligation to provide a positive review.  All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.)

My Rating Scale:
 5 stars= A definite favorite, will be re-read again and again, and permanently placed on my bookshelf.
 4 stars= A pretty good book, one that will be re-read eventually, placed on the bookshelf.
 3 stars= An average to good book, that may or may not be read again, probably has a place in my library.
 2 stars= A not liked book, I wouldn't read it again, and wouldn't have a place in my library.
 1 star = A book I really didn't enjoy, wouldn't read again, would not keep in my library.)

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Purpose of Writing

Do you post on Facebook?


Heart on Instagram?

My question is why do you do it?  Is it to put your best face forward?  To connect with relatives and friends?  To get noticed?

Last night I was speaking with a couple friends about blogging.  What's the purpose?  With thousands of blogs out there it seems near impossible to become the "it" blog.  The one to which many people return to read posts, comment and connect.

Again I ask, what's the purpose?  To be a sort of digital journal to your thoughts?  Perhaps, if you're a teacher, you might blog to remember things for your classroom?  Maybe you write purely for the sake of writing.

I believe that every writer writes for a purpose.  One of those purposes being to be read.  All writers want that.  To believe that our words have value.  That they connect with someone, somewhere.

Remember many things in life can wait,
but The Sunset Won't.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Book Review: Hearts Made Whole by Jody Hedlund

The first book in the Beacons of Hope Series, Love Unexpected featured Emma Chambers.  This second story features her brother Ryan along with Caroline Taylor.  Caroline has suffered great loss and has taken over the running of the lighthouse in her father's absence.  Becoming more confident and capable in her duties Caroline is at a loss when a man who is not up to the job is hired to be the new lightkeeper.  With lives on the line will Caroline and Ryan work together to keep the lighthouse running and sailors safe?

Would I Recommend This Book?  
Yes, but it doesn't need to rush to the top of your to-read pile.  I really enjoyed the first book, this one wasn't quite as exciting for me.  (In all fairness, I tend to suffer from series syndrome and love the first book in a series and find it hard for the rest to compare.)

I enjoy the history of the series, rooted in the lighthouses along Lake Michigan.  It's interesting to learn a bit about a piece of history I really know nothing about.

I would be interested in reading more about Tessa, Caroline's sister.  Overall the characters were well written but I think it was a few small plot things that threw me off.

I liked the tying in of the driftwood, if you read the first story in the series, you will know what I mean.  You don't need to have read the first book to enjoy this story, though as always it adds to the story.

My Rating: 3/5

(Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  I am under no obligation to provide a positive review.  All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.)


My Rating Scale:
 5 stars= A definite favorite, will be re-read again and again, and permanently placed on my bookshelf.
 4 stars= A pretty good book, one that will be re-read eventually, placed on the bookshelf.
 3 stars= An average to good book, that may or may not be read again, probably has a place in my library.
 2 stars= A not liked book, I wouldn't read it again, and wouldn't have a place in my library.

 1 star = A book I really didn't enjoy, wouldn't read again, would not keep in my library.)

Publisher's Information:
(Bethany House, June 2015)
Can she forgive the hurting man who costs her the role she loves?
After her father’s death, Caroline Taylor has grown confident running the Windmill Point Lighthouse. But in 1865 Michigan, women aren’t supposed to have such roles, so it’s only a matter of time before the lighthouse inspector appoints a new keeper–even though Caroline has nowhere else to go and no other job available to her.
Ryan Chambers is a Civil War veteran still haunted by the horrors of battle. He’s secured the position of lighthouse keeper mostly for the isolation–the chance to hide from his past is appealing. He’s not expecting the current keeper to be a feisty and beautiful woman who’s angry with him for taking her job and for his inability to properly run the light. When his failings endanger others, he and Caroline realize he’s in no shape to run the lighthouse, but he’s unwilling to let anyone close enough to help. Caroline feels drawn to this wounded soul, but with both of them relying on that single position, can they look past their loss to a future filled with hope…and possibly love?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Being is Still the Word

In January of this year (2015) I picked being as my word of the year.  The one that was going to remind me, inspire me, encourage me.

It was chosen because I can rock "doing" like nobody's business.  I have lists for lists, I'm thinking two steps ahead.  Yes, I can sit and be lazy with the best of them, but even then my mind is running like a hamster on an exercise wheel.  

Just "being" is hard.  Being in the moment.  Taking it in.  Allowing yourself to feel whatever emotion you choose free from judgement or worry or concern.  That's a powerful thing and one I have been tackling.

I sit here writing this from the beautiful beaches of the Outerbanks, where I have rented a house for the week.

Normally I would have an itinerary of everything I want to do, see, places to eat, etc.  While I love sitting and reading, or writing, when I'm on vacation I pay to be there, so I want to see things.

This time around in being very intentional about planning less, thinking on the fly, and being content too sit, look and listen to the waves rolling in.  (If I could figure out how to post an image from my iPad I would, you'll have to come back later!)

Remember many things in life can wait,
But taking time to just "be",
And The Sunset Won't.