Summer reading list 📚

Life-and-Other-Near-Death-Experiences-by-Camille-Pagan-200x300

 

So I recently started my free trial with kindle unlimited. I’ve gone back and forth on using it or not because as a bookworm, I LOVE REAL BOOKS. I can’t do the whole digital book format. I have to have the book in my hands be able to smell it, feel it, look at it, and write in it if I so please. But I recently thought I’d give it a try because of the free thirty day trial and then just cancel it. But after finishing my first book, (pictured above) I think i’m going to keep kindle unlimited soley because I can listen to my books while I drive to drop my kids off at school and then drive myself to work. I have a hard time finding time to sit down and read a physical copy of a book. But I can listen while I’m driving! So without further wait, here is my summer reading list! 📚

Numero uno on my list for the summer is the book pictured above: Life and other near death experiences by Camille Pagan. Pagan is a new author for me. I don’t think I’ve read any of her other books but after reading this one I have picked up a few of her other novels. Life and other near death experiences follows Libby (Elizabeth) Miller, 34 no kids and married to Tom. On the day that Libby finds out that she has cancer, she also finds out that her husband of two decades (Tom) is gay. Shocked, she flees from Chicago and takes refuge in a desolate Carribean island where the promise of sun- kissed sands and a hot guy bring her some respite. Enjoying the vacation of her life, deep down she is still coming to terms with how her life is turning out.

Before I even read a word in this book, my thought on this book was that  it was going to be depressing. However, the author somehow writes a “light” novel that talks about death, cancer, and a failing marriage. This was definitely a fast read for me. Read it in about 3 or 4 days. So if you are wanting a quick read that is enjoyable, pick up this book. I rate it 9 out of 10 stars.

 

41BUoC2L8nL.jpgSurprise book number to is also by Camille Pagan! Finally able to pick up and read a little more this month. Picked up this book without realizing this book “I’m fine and neither are you”  was by the same author as the last book I read. I’m fine and neither are you is a book that follows a woman named Penelope or “penny.” The book follows the every day events of penny’s life. As a woman we are expected to keep the house clean, keep up with the kids, make sure our husbands are happy, and keeping a job.

Penny is so desperately trying to keep it all together, and watching her picture perfect best friend Jenny sail though a Pinterest-perfect existence, is not helping. How on earth does she do it? Her home is immaculate, her daughter an angel, and a perfect relationship with her husband?!?! All the while Sanjay (Penny’s less than perfect husband) and Penny can barely sit down and have a conversation together. But after tragedy strikes that puts a crack in Jenny’s oh so perfect life, penny makes a proposal to her husband to get their life back on track. They each make a list of things they wish for the other to work on. And  agree to give it their all.

I went back and forth in my feelings for this book. It slowed down in the middle and was dragging to the point that I almost put it down but I am so glad I finished it. This book made me examine my own life and wonder how I portray my life for others to see. This book is wonderful. The characters are flawed, but real. The story is engaging. I would reccomend this book. 8 out of 10 stars.

 

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You may not be “PRO-Life”

Pro- life, Pro- choice. Whatever. Everyone has their opinion and this subject has been in the news a lot lately. But for those of you that are thinking, “Hey! I’m pro life. I could never have an abortion. That’s a life. How could someone do that?” You still may not be pro-life.  You are anti abortion.

Hear me out. My friend told me this story of a girl that was standing in the super market with her six kids. 1,2, 2 and a half, 4, 8, and 9. Her husband was still roaming around the store while the mom is trying to wrangle the kids and get the groceries paid for and get out of the store in one piece. If you are a mother then you know how hard of a job this is with one kid, more or less six kids. So as the lady is trying to put all the groceries on the counter and shes got all these extra little hands that are wanting to help. Kids are screaming and shes apologizing to the people in line behind her for taking so long. She takes out her WIC coupons for the cashier, ( because she has some foster kids that she cares for so she receives WIC from the state) and the lady behind her says, “Baby its no problem. We’ve all been there before. You just take your time.” The woman with the kids smiles politely and thanks the woman while the couple behind them in line says rather loudly, ” Maybe some people should learn to stop having kids.” Now I know  how this looks. These people in line had no idea that this lady was married, or that all these children weren’t hers. She was fostering some of these kids. But it doesn’t matter either way.

If you call yourself pro-choice and have the same mind set as the “Maybe some people should learn to stop having kids.” Or “Do they know what causes that?” Then you are not pro- life. Being pro-life isn’t just about protecting that baby the nine months that it is in the womb. But protecting it outside of the womb. Those eighteen years after those “cells” are born is just as important. If you are not as caring about what happens to that child after its born then you are Not Pro-life. You are Anti abortion. There’s no 2 ways to look at it. Disagree? Talk to me in the comments.

March Books

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The Best Kept Secret by Amy Hatvany

“Cadence didn’t sit down one night and decide that downing two bottles of wine was a brilliant idea.”

This book follows Cadence and her fight with alcohol. Cadence’s marriage to Martin crumbled when their son, Charlie, was a toddler. After the divorce, Cadence felt the immense challenge and strain of balancing work ( as a freelance writer) with the responsibilities of motherhood. It started with one glass of wine at night, to relax and get a restful night of sleep. And then, one glass spiraled into consuming multiple bottles at a time, until her life spun out of control and became completely unmanageable. Soon Cadence’s sister discovers Cadence is in dire condition. She is brought to the emergency room, which led to a stay in the psychiatric ward, along with the commitment to an intensive treatment program. Utterly depressed and distraught that she lost custody of Charlie, Cadence wills herself to embark on a journey of recovery, sincerely hoping that all the broken pieces will fall back into place. The book jumps from present day moments to flashback of the past, where we could glimpse Cadence’s demons and the road that led to the unraveling of her ‘ best kept secret.’

I was hooked from the first page. Not many books hook me from the beginning.  I can sympathize with Cadence being a mother. The heartbreak of losing the custody of a child. Not being able to wake up everyday with your child in the same house. Having to beg your co parent to let you see your child for even an hour.  In the final pages of the book Amy Hatvany included  “A Conversation With Amy Hatvany.” In this she discusses how this fictional account is rooted in her reality. “I began writing the story as a direct result of my own emotional experiences around being a mother and a recovering alcoholic.” She said. “In revealing Cadence’s secret I was revealing my own. There were dark memories I had to revisit, and it took some time to build up the courage to get the emotional side of those experiences fully onto the page.”

 

Some of those best little things.

  1. Fresh clothes out of the dryer.
  2. Sunrises/ sunsets
  3. Tacos
  4. unconscious smiles
  5. A hug when you need it most.
  6. A beer and a Book by the water.
  7. A beer while kayaking
  8. First kisses
  9. Small animals ( especially baby goats!)
  10. Children laughing
  11. Morning Air
  12. Coffee
  13.  The satisfaction of that first bite of food you’ve been craving.
  14. Bradley Cooper,  Koe Wetzel, and James Franco
  15. The Rain

Living life with anxiety means hiding and missing out on experiences and relationships. It’s being on edge ALL the time.  It’s the constant feeling that you did something wrong although 98% of the time you didn’t. It’s that moment when you obsess over someone not texting you back thinking you did something wrong. But in reality they are busy. It’s being unwell for days at a time with no explanation of whats wrong.

In America, roughly 18 % of adults have anxiety. Now that may not seem like a lot but when broken down that’s about 40 million adults.  And remember, this is just the number of people that have been diagnosed by a doctor. There are still many people that have never been to a doctor and just learn to cope with it. Anxietycentre.com estimates that 18 percent of diagnosed adults with anxiety to grow to 30 % when you add in those people who have never been diagnosed by a doctor. According to the Economic Burden of Anxiety Disorders, a study commissioned by the ADAA and based on data gathered by the association and published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, anxiety disorders cost the U.S. more than $42 billion a year. That is almost one third of the $148 billion total mental health bill for the U.S.

Having anxiety means always saying sorry. “I’m sorry I left early.” “I’m sorry I couldn’t come to work today.” “I’m sorry I didn’t come to the birthday party.” Having anxiety means missing out on the important things in life. Because you just can’t go. I’m exhausted and wired at the same time.

It’s not wanting to go to work because of the pending doom that something is going to go wrong. But Work places don’t give out “mental health days.”  You get sick days and personal days but no mental health days. It’s the constant thinking that everyone at your job is out to get you because of your anxious thoughts that run a loop around your mind. And I know, it sounds silly, but it’s real. It’s something you can’t control.

But the anxiety that is most terrifying is the feeling of complete fear, and the loss of all control and connection to your body.

Themighty.com ask their readers what it was like living with anxiety. Here’s what they had to say:

“Anxiety keeps me awake at night; it keeps me as a prisoner in my home. Anxiety make me feel like a failure. it has taken away my self worth. Anxiety makes me feel uncomfortable and nervous. Anxiety has taken away friends, family, opportunities, my life.”

“Anxiety is like having new tabs opening very quickly [on your computer] one after another and not being able to close them or stop new ones from opening — but in your head. It happens while working, taking care of kids, driving, answering questions, and a million other things that people do in a day.”

“Anxiety is like an adrenaline rush without the actual roller coaster. Heart races, palm sweat, knees get weak. You have all the physical symptoms of a thrill rided but your brain has no actual event to tie the symptoms to.”

“My anxiety takes over my body. My breathing is irregular, my heart is racing despite minimal activity, and my muscles are tense unless I consciously relax them. My mind doesn’t shut off. I think about things that could go wrong, things that went wrong in the past, and things I have absolutely no control over. Despite having the knowledge that I cannot control everything that happens, I struggle with these consuming symptoms on a daily basis.”

“Picture a bunch of people talking loudly to you about everything you don’t want to hear. That’s how it feels in my head. Some days are  better than others, but it feels like pure chaos on bad days and it’s exhausting.”

Book Riots for 2019

First book of 2019. Well I started this book in 2018 but with my busy schedule I finished it in 2019. So we are going to say this is the first book of 2019.

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EVICTED : poverty and profit in the America City by Matthew Desmond 

This book follows eight families in Milwaukee, WI. Six of which struggle each month to pay their rent and two landlords. Since 2000, rent has shot up so high that 1 in 3 families struggle with paying rent and end up with at least seventy percent of their monthly income going towards rent.

As a result of this, poor families are in a crisis. They barely have enough money to pay their bills a month. A lot of the time they have to decide between a roof over their head or food on their table.

This book was an incredible read for me. As a Real Estate student in the process of learning about the housing market, I found this book to be a informative look into the market. Desmond shows what is sadly many americans reality and how they are affected by evictions. Many of these people being single mothers. He talks about who profits from these evictions and how the process goes. Desmond focuses on eviction as one of the leading causes of poverty in America. This is a book that everyone should read. It will open your eyes and make you more aware of what may or may not be going on in your own neighborhood.

I would rate this a 10 out of 10.

 

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Lies by T.M. Logan 

This book did not end the way I thought it would. I like to read ahead. (I know I know) But I have the issue of when I start getting to the end of the book, I’ll read ahead. Not all the way but I’ll read the end of the chapter a sentence or two. And try and piece together what I think will happen.

Plot summary:

Six days ago, Joe Lynch was a happily married man, a devoted father, and a respected teacher living in a well-to-do London suburb. But that was before he spotted his wife’s car entering a hotel parking garage. Before he saw her in a heated argument with her best friend’s husband. Before Joe confronted the other man in the altercation where he left him for dead, bleeding and unconscious.

Now, Joe’s life is unraveling. His wife has lied to him. Her deception has put their entire family in jeopardy. The man she met at the hotel has vanished. And as the police investigate his disappearance, suspicion falls on Joe.

Unable to trust the woman he loves, Joe finds himself at the mercy of her revelations and deceits, unsure of who or what to believe. All he knows is that her actions have brought someone dangerous into their lives. Someone obsessed with her and determined to tear Joe’s world apart.

…But what if you whole life was based on LIES?

My opinion on this book is somewhat lukewarm. I thoroughly enjoyed the book but the last forty pages or so had me questioning the rest of the book. I felt like the whole book ( minus those last pages) had me pacing back and forth. But when it came down to deliver the ending, well it just didn’t happen. It didn’t end up to the ending that I was looking for. The whole book was this one thing after another happening and it just had me on this high..and then came the ending. Now I’m not saying it was a bad book. Far from it. I did enjoy it. Just wish the ending would have given me that thrill I was looking for.

I would give it 8 out of 10 stars.

 

 

December Books

I guess my first book I read wasn’t really a December book, but instead it was a mid November book. But we will just group it here with the rest of December’s. This book was my first Non-fiction that I have read in a while.

History of a suicide: my sister’s unfinished life. By Jill Bialosky

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This book was a wreck. And I tried, I really did to finish it, but I just couldn’t. Life is too short and there are too many good books out there that I will never get to read if I keep trying to push to finish bad books. This book was a story about Jill’s sister Kim, who committed suicide at the age of 21. It could have been a great book except for the fact that I feel like the author didn’t organize ANY of her notes before she started writing. This whole book is like a dog chasing a squirrel. Here. oh over here, now here. Back over here. My mind was going in circles the whole half of the book that I read. And I get that the suicide affected her because it was her baby sister, but the book is like here are some statistics, now some quotes from my english class. Here’s some of my poems (because Im a poet) and here is some stories of other people committing suicide. Oh and some of my sisters journals. Save your time and read something else. This one just didn’t work for me. I rate this a 1 out of 10.

Give yourself a break.

Although I know sometimes it feels like you cannot afford to rest, even though there is a lot of pressure being put on you, even though you want to spend your time making productive leaps towards your dreams, you cannot keep moving until you collapse. Believe me, I understand. Sometimes you want to keep going until you can’t anymore. You are already stretched so thin.

My usual week starts with having to drop my oldest off at school and then my youngest with the babysitter 20 minutes away.  I work full time and when I’m not working, I’m usually in college classes. Any other free time is spent with Girl scouts, Cheer, or Soccer. There is No TIME for anything else. So believe me when I say, I know what it feels like. But you are allowed to slow down. You are allowed to stop and breathe. You are allowed to stop and smell the roses.

Let yourself relax. It doesn’t mean you are being lazy. It doesn’t mean you are falling apart. Sometimes the best thing is to not push yourself.  Do not push yourself past your limits. Everyone has their limits. And that’s okay.

Disconnect from life. Put the phone down and turn off the tv. Go outside and watch the clouds. De-stress. Slow down. I know this is easier said than done. But by consciously slowing down, it will take a load off of you. In the end, You will feel better.

And I know, sometimes it seems like you have a million things to do and a million different people that you could disappoint; but will any of them be there to pick you up when you over do it? If you go without resting for too long, if you end up reaching a point where you snap and lose it, you will suffer. And then you will have a bigger set back and recovery period than you would if you would have just taken a break.

Schedule time for yourself a few times a month. You deserve it. You have accomplished so much more than you realize. So stop telling yourself that you haven’t or that you aren’t good enough.

You are allowed to have fun. You are allowed to stop and dream, to stop and smell the roses..

 

15 tough loves to get you through to the new year.

  1. Mindset is half the battle.  You will have bad days. And that’s okay.  Tough times will come and go; that’s part of life. However when you recognize the rising and falling of crashing waves; and realize that they are both part of the same ocean, you will be able to let go and move on with things. You will be at peace with things that you have been struggling with. In other words, life isn’t perfect but it sure is wonderful. Every day is a gift. Never treat life casually. “Do not let the pain of a situation make you hopeless.” (Iain S. Thomas)  Don’t let bitterness steal your sweetness. Even though others may disagree with you, take pride in the fact that you still see the beautiful things in life.  If you change your thoughts, your mindset, then it can change your reality.

 

2.  The only person who will really ever be there for you is you.  Life changes, people leave. Situations and circumstances change. But there is always one thing that does not leave, that’s you. Take care of yourself.  Allow yourself to grow.  And most importantly, LOVE yourself.

3. Pain is part of life and it helps you grow.  We talk about how great the concepts of life and love are , but then we hide from both of these things. We hide our feelings. Because the truth is life and love hurt, but things get better. Once things hit the bottom, they can only go up from there. We are taught from an early age that pain is evil. But you can’t deal with real life without pain. We need to feel pain, to know you are alive. Pain is meant to wake us up.  Pain is feeling.  Pain is how you carry the feeling when things don’t go your way.  You can only learn how strong you are when being strong is the only choice you have. But in the end, you should stand up for your right to feel pain.

4.  Sometimes your hard work is still not going to be enough.  You can pour your heart and soul into something and it not work out. Sometimes timing is just not on your side and even though you’ve done the work, the end result is not what you want it to be. Or it isn’t what you thought it would be. You’ve done your best, but your best is not good enough. That’s okay though. Missing out on something or feeling like you’ve failed is part of the experience. It happens to everybody.

5. You can’t change a situation that you don’t take responsibility for. 

“Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility and most people are frightened of responsibility.” —Sigmund Freud.  Don’t be this person. When you blame other people for what’s happening in your life, you deny responsibility. As soon as you stop making everyone and everything else responsible for your happiness, the happier you’ll be. If you’re unhappy now, it’s not someone else’s fault. It’s yours. Ultimately, your happiness depends on you and nothing else. If you take responsibility from here on out, then your happiness will be better. It’s about taking control of your present circumstances, thinking for yourself and making a firm choice to choose differently. Don’t play the victim in your own life.

6.  Being irresponsible is not a good look.  It’s a dangerous path to go down.  It’s pathetic. Everyone of us knows someone that acts like a toddler adult. Someone that can’t hold a job, doesn’t take care of their day to day things. Those people that blame everyone else. Those that are irresponsible. Get your shit together. You and everyone else will thank you.

7. Its’s not your problem to make have to make people understand why they are wrong.  YOU CANNOT HELP THOSE WHO DO NOT HELP THEMSELVES. You can bring a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.  You know all these sayings. You’ve heard them all. But sometimes all you can do is accept that they wont see your side and move on with your life.

8. You have to accept that things end.  Realizing that the  world will not end when other things do will change your life. Goodbyes are hard but clinging on after they’ve happened is making the situation harder.

9. People will let you down.  People are just people. They cannot work magic, or make things happen all the time. They are flawed at times. People fuck up and they will end up hurting you. Now I’m not saying every person will hurt you, but eventually most will. How you handle that says alot about you.

10. If they want to be with you, they will.  Oh man, this is the hardest one for me. Hidden meanings do not exist. If hes saying I love you and I want to be with you, But…. or I love you but doing everything to prove different, then listen to it. Ladies, (and gentlemen), There is NO HIDDEN MEANING!!! The only person inventing excuses for why someone isn’t with you, is YOU! Because if they wanted to be with you, they would do just that.

11. The present is literally the only thing you have to deal with.  Sure tomorrow there are things you have to do. Hell even next week most people have things that need to be taken care of. But if you spend now worrying about tomorrow, then you will never live. What if next week doesn’t come? There are many reason it might not. But if you spent all this week worrying about it then you lost this whole week for what? Live in the here and now. Live for the moment. Life is lived here and now. Happiness is a mindset that can only be designed into the present. Its not a point in the future or a moment from the past; yet sadly, this misconception hurts many. So many young adults think that all their happiness awaits in the years to come. So many older people believe that their best moments are behind them. Don’t let your past steal your future. And don’t let your next week steal todays moments.

12. There is always something to be thankful for.  So many people say that they have nothing to be thankful for. But you woke up this morning and got up out of bed. Being alive another day is always something to be thankful for. When you have nothing else, you can always be thankful for that. I am always thankful for that plus. Im thankful for my kids, my husband, my family. Having a roof over my head, a car to drive, and food in my fridge. Life is always better when you’re smiling. Being positive in a negative situation is not naive; it’s a sign of leadership and strength.  What if you woke up tomorrow with only what you were thankful for today? Think of all the beauty that surrounds you. Look at it and smile. Be thankful for the small things. At the end of the day, it’s not happiness that makes us thankful, but thankfulness that makes us happy.

13.  Self control is a muscle you have to work at, just like everything else.  Impulse control is something you learn, it’s not something you are born with. You have to work at self control. You have to work at this everyday. You have to continuously exercise the skill. And you will mess up but you have to jump back in and keep trying.

14.  Being intentionally difficult is only going to hurt you in the long run. There is a big difference between standing up for yourself and being a uncompromising brick wall of a human being. And the thing is, we know when we are being difficult. I am the worst at this. Depending on my mood I will be completely difficult just because things are not the way I want them to be. But lets face it, being unbendable is childish.

15. You are not alone.  So many people are fighting a battle on the inside. In the mist of hard and difficult times, its so easy to look around and see that other people seem to be doing just fine. But guess what, they aren’t. We are all struggling in our own ways. If we could all just be brave enough to open up about it and talk to each other; we’d realize that we are not alone, lost and alone. We are all in this together. So no matter how embarrassed you feel about your own situation, know that there are other out there going through the same things you are. There is always someone who can relate to anything you are going through at any given time. I feel and think and struggle so much. And although some people do not understand how we feel, we understand and that’s all that matters. You are not alone. Remember that next time you are silently struggling.

 

 

What have you learned that will help you get through the new year? What do you tell yourself to motivate yourself? Leave a comment below.

40 Things you never thought you wanted to know

  1. McDonald’s once made bubblegum flavored broccoli (unsuprisingly, the attempt to get kid’s to eat healthier didn’t go over well with the child testers, who were “confused by the taste.” )
  2. The first oranges weren’t orange! ( original oranges were from southeast Asia and were actually green. )
  3. Scottland has 421 words for “snow” ( 421!? )
  4. Samsung tests phone durability  with a butt shaped robot ( People stash their phones in their back pockets all the time, which is why Samsung created a robot that is shaped like a butt, and yes he even wears jeans to “sit” on their phones to make sure they can take the pressure. )
  5. Peanuts aren’t technically nuts (They’re legumes. According to Merriam webster, a nut is only a nut if it’s a hard shelled dry fruit or seed with a separable rind or shell and interior kernel.” That means Walnuts, almonds, cashews, and pistachios aren’t nuts either. They’re seeds. )
  6. Armadillo shells are bulletproof.  One man in Texas was hospitalized when a bullet he shot at an armadillo ricocheted off the animal and hit him in the jaw.
  7. Kleenex tissues were originally intended for gas mask.  When there was a cotton shortage during World War 1, Kimberly- Clark developed a thin, flat cotton substitute that the army tried to use as a filter in gas mask. The war ended before scientists perfected the material for gas masks, so the company redeveloped it to be smoother and softer, and then marketed Kleenex as facial tissue instead.
  8. McDonald’s calls frequent buyers of their food ” heavy users.”
  9. You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching Tv.
  10. The average person spends six months of their lifetime waiting on a red light to turn green.
  11. One in every five adults believe that aliens are hiding in our planet disguised as humans.
  12. A single cloud can weigh 1 million pounds.
  13. Men are six times more likely to be struck by lighting than women.
  14. You cannot snore and dream at the same time.
  15. The world’s oldest piece of chewing gum is over 9000 years old.
  16.  10% of the world’s population is left handed.
  17. Banging your head against the wall can burn 150 calories an hour.
  18. Al Capone’s business card said he was a used furniture dealer.
  19. Ketchup was used as medicine back in the 1930’s.
  20. Chewing gum burns about 11 calories an hour.
  21. About 150 people are killed each year by coconuts.
  22. Blueberries will not ripen til they are picked.
  23. Human bones are harder than concrete.
  24. Apple launched a clothing line in 1986. It was described as a “train wreck” by others.
  25. The chance of you dying on your way to get a lottery ticket is greater, than your chance of you actually winning.
  26. You are 1% shorter in the evening.
  27. Hamsters run up to 8 miles at night on a wheel.
  28. The population is expected to rise to 10.8 billion by the year 2080.
  29. Earth is the only planet not named after a God.
  30. You are born with 300 bones but by the time you are an adult you only have 206.
  31. Blue eyed people tend to have the highest tolerance of alcohol.
  32. Every year more than 2500 left handed people are killed from using right handed products.
  33. More than 50% of the people in the world have never made or received a telephone call.
  34. A hummingbird weighs less than a penny.
  35. In the past 20 years, scientists have found over 1.000 planets outside our solar system.
  36. In France it is legal to marry a dead person.
  37. There’s an island in Japan you can visit that’s inhabited only by friendly bunnies.
  38. There are actually more public libraries in the US than McDonald’s.
  39. A can of Mountain Dew can dissolve a mouse.
  40. There is an island in the Bahamas that’s inhabited only by swimming pigs.

Books part 2

These things hidden by Heather Gudenkauf

book these things

Finished this book in about three days. It kept my attention but honestly it’s not one of those books that I’m busting at the seem to recommend to people. I feel like there was no content in this book. It was long and drawn out for no reason at all. The story is told through 4 different women; Charm, Allison, Brynn, and Claire. Allison is just getting out of prison after 5 years and an unspeakable crime. She gets a job at a book store and realized that the bookstore owner’s (Claire) son is Allison’s son that she gave up. Spoiler alert! This book is so far fetched its not even funny. So Allison got pregnant in high school at fifteen with Twins (but wait there’s more!) She hid the pregnancy (WITH TWINS) from everyone, including her parents. (WHAT?) First off…how do you hide twins from anyone?? I don’t know but okay.  So she has the babies at home and tells her sister ( who helps her deliver them) to get rid of the baby girl. (shes still trying to hide them from her parents) Brynn thinks the baby is dead and throws it in the water but right at the last second she hears the baby crying and realizes that its not dead. Well that ends up killing the baby and her sister Allison takes the blame when the baby is found. This being the reason she is in prison. But she didn’t just have the one little girl but she also had a little boy after her sister comes back from throwing baby number one in the river. So she takes him to the baby daddy which happens to be the brother of Charm. Charm’s brother takes off and leaves her with the baby. So Charm takes the baby to the fire station and leaves it. Fast forward five years and Joshua (the little boy from the bookstore) is that same little boy. Every thing pretty much falls apart from there and there is no real ending to this book. Believe me and save yourself some time…Don’t waste your time on this book. Its about as boring as drags on as much as the review I just gave. I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone and I rate it -1 out of 10.

 

 

Hurricane Harvey…one year later

I only own a few of these pictures. Most were taken by friends and family around me.

 

 

A Letter to Texas from Katrina Survivors

Welcome to the survivors’ club. Whether you lost your belongings, your car, your home, a loved one or your entire neighborhood, you are not a victim and don’t let anyone label you that way. You are not helpless. You will get through this.

In the disaster zone, your brain won’t want to process what your eyes are seeing. You will see, hear and smell things you never thought you would. It will feel like you’re in a dream or on a movie set, because this simply can’t be the place where you lived.

You will feel like an ant trying to move a mountain. Don’t be paralyzed into inaction by the enormity of the task ahead of you. It can be done. Just keep moving. Any forward progress, even in baby steps, is good.

Salvage what you can. The smallest items will be precious reminders of the past. But recognize what is beyond repair and as painful as it is, throw it out. If you can’t, have someone else do it for you.

Don’t punish yourself or those you love because you (or they) didn’t store your family photos in the attic, move the car, save your vital papers, evacuate, buy flood insurance. What’s done is done. Let it go.

You are on autopilot now. Your adrenaline is pumping as you figure out where to live, find food, buy gasoline. You will get used to standing in lines. Use that time to bond with others who are on the same journey. Anger and frustration help no one.

Respect the rules of a disaster zone. Don’t cut in line. Defer to the young and the old who are most vulnerable at these times. Just because property is sitting in the middle of a street or dangling from a tree branch doesn’t mean it’s free for the taking. It belongs to someone. Stack salvageable items where neighbors can see them and potentially reclaim their lost property.

“How’s your house?” will become the new greeting when you see friends and neighbors. You will have a new way of marking time – pre-Harvey and post-Harvey. The definition of the word “home” will expand to include a shelter, a couch, a garage, a friend’s basement.

Disasters are great equalizers. They reveal people’s true nature – for better or for worse. You will find out who your real friends are and what love really means. Incredible acts of kindness will come from unexpected quarters. Beware of the few who seek to profit from the misery of others.

Feel the pain. Cry if you need to. Hug each other. Pray. Share what you have. Know that you are not alone, because volunteers by the thousands are on their way. Their selfless generosity will renew your faith in your fellow man.

Your instinct will be to rebuild an exact replica of what was, down to the last brick, board and beam. Consider carefully whether that is wise or even possible. Seek out ways to prevent future damage by rebuilding higher, smarter, stronger and further from the water. See this as an opportunity.

Accept the new normal. The past is just that. You can cherish the place you and your neighbors once called home where it will always exist – in your collective memories.

~Kathleen Koch
November 2012

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Its hard to believe its been a year already. What a hard year its been for many people. Time hop has been an endless string of emotions for me the last few days. August 25, 2017 the day Harvey rolled in to the Texas cost. I remember on this day laughing with my husband after making a joke about where is Harvey. Living as close to the coast as i do (30 minutes) we have a few “worries” a year as far as hurricanes go. And usually just about every time, everyone loses their minds and buys everything they can get their hands on. ( bread, milk, non perishables). But boy was I wrong. The 25th; the day the storm hit the coast, it caused a lot of ciaos down along the border. But we hadn’t received anything YET. As I went on to joke about ” here we go again, every one freaking out over nothing.” But was I wrong. That Friday the 25th of August was the last day I went to work and would be the last day for two weeks. I spent my weekend like normal and then in the middle of Saturday afternoon on August 26, It started raining. And it didn’t stop for 6 days. That hurricane must have heard me laughing at it the day before. Our front yard started flooding and I remember trying to measure it on my husbands truck tire to see how high it got. Sometime Sunday afternoon it stopped raining for a bit and the water started to go down. It was maybe a half a foot in my front yard. But that night; August 27th, it started to rain again. And this time it didn’t stop. By the time Monday morning rolled around, they had cancelled work for both me and my husband to “see what the weather would do.” We spent most of the day sitting outside watching the water rise. By the time we went to bed Monday evening, There was about a foot of water in our front yard. Tuesday morning my husband’s boss woke us up  at 5 am with a phone call. “Hey, we are flooding over here, how are you guys?” We both got up and went to look. Over night the water had rose about another 6 inches and was up over the running boards of the truck. My SUV and mini van were going to go under if we didn’t do something so we drove them to the highest point in our yard that was still dry and hoped for the best. Our road was flooded in so the best point of action at that point was to get my husbands truck to the rock yard by the railroad tracks by our house and leave the cars in the front yard.

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It rained and it didn’t stop for the rest of that week. We finally were flooded in and couldn’t leave our little town either way. So we kyacked to and from the convenient store for beer and snacks a few times a day. We spent the rest of the week on the porch watching the water rise. On Thursday, August 31st was the day the storm really came in and I remember sitting on the couch up and down all night just waiting and watching. The water level before we went to bed that night was three feet  up on our porch. We were waiting for the water to come in the door. I spent Thursday night picking up as much as i could and tying up curtains so that if the water did come in, we would be able to save as much as we could. I just remember watching facebook with so many people begging for help. Its a surreal feeling watching people on facebook saying that they need someone to come pull them out of their house because the water is getting close to the ceiling and they can’t get out. But the one thing I am proud of as a Texan is that when it came down to it; we didn’t wait for the government to help us. We got out and helped each other. People with boats and big trucks got out and spent all day and most of the night trying to find people in the dark. You never understand how scary night fall is until you are out in it and all you see is water. You start looking for something that will give you an idea of where you might be and you bump into something with your boat. You look down and realize its the roof of someones house…

Luckily the water never made it into our house and it started receding the next day.  By Sunday the water was down a lot and people were able to move around a lot more. But there was still the issue of not being able to get trucks with supplies in. Some MREs were air flighted in by the military. And people from as far away as Wisconsin were down here to help pull people out of houses and put Texas back together.

We were lucky by only losing our 2 cars, but whole neighborhoods around me were wiped out. 8 feet of water in peoples houses. Some people lost everything. The highway that I travel every morning to take my daughter to school and go see my parents had 10 feet of water on it. Its crazy and I still have trouble wrapping my head around the fact that this even happened. Here we are a year later, and so many people are still living in RV’s or hotel rooms. Some people just started over else where. You don’t know what its like until you live through it. And here we are a year later and Hurricane Florence is hitting the Carolina’s  right now.  They are expecting the same thing we got except they had a mandatory evacuation. We never had any warning. I guess all we can do now is wait it out…

These two pictures below are the same area of my front yard about 24 hour difference.

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