Inspiration by the Minute

It’s a beautiful day, weather-wise here in the suburbs of Philadelphia and has been for the past several days, much to my delight. There is a difference in the air, demeanor of my fellow neighbors and beyond, when the weather is warm, sunny and pleasant in comparison to cold, blustery and dreary. With that being said, each day and nearly each minute, I find something, no matter how minuscule to be inspired by or at least provoke a consideration or stream of thoughts within my mind. This past weekend, on a trip to Hallmark to purchase some holiday cards as I browsed through the store, several bits of merchandise caught my eye and had me enraptured for several moments. Unfortunately without being able to purchase all of them, I took advantage of the next best thing and snapped some quick photos from my iPhone, hoping to recall and remember them the next time I’m in need of inspiration or food for thought.

Taking in this aforementioned merchandise, I thought, why not share this find with others? So with that, I give you, the photos I took this weekend of the Hallmark merchandise I spotted in-store:

Hallmark photo                    Hallmark photo 2

Hallmark photo 3

Hallmark photo 4

Also, several months ago, I spotted a company on Facebook whose merchandise and overall initiative caught my eye: Mantraband (mantraband.com). If you’re not familiar with them, they are a company producing inspirational jewelry (bracelets and necklaces). Hailing from California, these bracelets and necklaces are available in countless different inspirational “mantras” or quotes, arranged on their website according to category (i.e. happiness, love peace, strength and journey) They are also available for purchase in Hallmark stores (I spotted them by the checkout counter!). Necklaces are the newest addition to their lineup and are as beautiful as the bracelets. They are extremely active on social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram and are always hosting giveaways. Speaking of giveaways, back in January, I was announced the winner of one of their Facebook contests where they asked followers to submit their favorite mantras, or quotes. My prize was the opportunity to choose any Mantraband bracelet I’d like. Here is my choice:

Mantraband

The “Brave” mantra in particular resonated with me and actually, I took the cardboard portion and posted it on my refrigerator for easy reference and inspiration. Each mantra is imprinted on the outside of the small cuff bracelet, so it is easy to see and refer to at any given time.

One of my other favorite means of inspiration are books and the small, but poignant quotes or phrases I seem to come across every so often. Most recently, I spotted one in one of the novels I read and the quote, from Nora Ephron, the late director and writer, stood out to me and has stuck in my mind ever since. It is a quote with much personal meaning to me and I often remind myself of it when I feel overwhelmed by personal faults or worries and snapped a photo for easy reference:

Book Quote

Anyhow, that’s all the inspiration I have for you today, but I do hope it was able to provide you at least with a fresh perspective, insight and even the momentum you might need on this mid-week day.

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Aging Without Limits

Those who know me, even slightly well, know that I’m a voracious reader, often indulging in numerous books throughout the month, savoring them and then advising others to read them, as well. Reading has always been a favorite pastime of mine, offering me refuge from an often stressful and tumultuous life. For me, reading is a comfort, transporting me to the life of another, allowing me to travel from the comfort of home, or wherever I may be. Each page turned is an adventure to embark on, with the words often coming to life.

With that being said, innocently enough I requested a new book recently recommended in one of the many magazines I read. I was excited to indulge in this particular book, having read a brief excerpt. As I typically do, upon picking up the book from the library, I turned the book to the back to learn about the author; a year jumped out at me: 2010. It was the year I graduated college, a year that served as a culmination of four often painful and excruciating years to endure due to emotional and physical constraints. The brief biography of the author stated she graduated college in 2010, as well. Absorbing this fact, I was caught off-guard to say the least and quickly found myself falling down the comparison trap, yet again. There I was, perplexed as to where I would fall as far as a career and personal life and yet held within my hands was a potential bestseller, or at least a published novel, by my peer of the same, or vastly similar age.

Instead of continuing to fall deeper and deeper into the comparison trap, I forced myself to recite this very phrase: “Everyone has their own time.” It is true though, isn’t it? There is no set time, place or moment, that we really have to be doing anything at all. Our life is own, our own story to write and detail each day, each breathe and each moment. The stories I love most are the ones I hear about people who realized this, people who didn’t set a time limit for achieving their goals and dreams. Often times, people who are most inspiring to me are the ones who were brave enough to make significant changes and take significant risks, years or moments beyond when people “typically do.” What do I mean when I say this? I mean, the women who may have had children in her 20’s, who had dreams of becoming a nurse, and abandoned her goals for the sake of her family, but later returned to school in her 40’s to become a nurse and ended up being one of the best nurses a hospital or medical facility could ever ask for. Or, the girl who suffered so deeply from illness as a child, or never was able to travel and later became a travel writer, as an older adult, traveling the world, writing and telling others all about it. Bravery and courage and the ability to continue on, in spite of our difficulties or the ideas in our heads about “how it is supposed to be,” are most attractive to me. Each day when I find myself wallowing about the current state of my life, I remind myself of these people and remind myself that no matter how alone at times or isolated I may feel, (learned from a quote I read last night!): I can always look outside at the sun or moon and know that at that very moment, someone, somewhere is looking at that very same sun or moon.

change-quote

Maybe others can relate to these sentiments, or perhaps not, but regardless, I thought it was important to share, because they are thoughts that help me during life’s toughest moments.

life-limits                     never-too-late

Choices and their Consequences

About a month or two ago, while perusing several websites, including one of my favorites for books, Goodreads, I stumbled across an author whose two books called to me. Her third book, slated to be released this month, in July, was also one that had particular appeal to me, so I immediately requested all three from my local library. After reading the first two, already-released books, Taylor Jenkins Reid, the author of the books I am referring to, quickly became one of my favorite, go-to authors. Her writing is simple yet poignant, with words and stories I can easily relate to. The books have a certain flow to them, one where I can start reading, and then look at the clock next to me and realize an hour has passed. Her stories have the ability to take hold of deeply-etched emotions with me, bringing back feelings of the past and allowing me to deal and process with those sentiments I neglected years ago.

Taylor Jenkins Reid 1     Taylor Jenkins Reid 2

Needless to say, when I learned of the title of her newest, third novel, “Maybe in Another Life,” the memories of my past came flooding to me. I often spend chunks of the day wondering what my life would have been like if I had made another choice in various situations, or if I hadn’t made a choice at all, or if I had simply spoken up verbally, rather than through bodily actions. Throughout my life, I regrettably made a lot of rash decisions seeking instant gratification or to numb myself from the situation at hand, without considering future consequences. I suppose a part of that was being young, not realizing how the actions of the present time could prove to impact me in future years to come. Often as a teenager, it’s difficult to really understand the impact of our actions. I’ll be first admit I was self-centered in much of my adolescence, often believing it was a catastrophe if I had no weekend plans, or if I wasn’t invited out with friends. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that decisions made as a 17-year-old still feel hauntingly poignant in my life, now as a 27-year-old.

Taylor Jenkins Reid New

That being said, the title, Maybe in Another Life, has lead me to contemplate and wonder, some of the many “what-if’s,” in my life, so rather than have them running rampant in my often frenzied mind, I figured I would share them and ask those of you who might reading, how you might finish this sentence, “Maybe in another life, I would have…” The other day, the author herself, Taylor Jenkins Reid, posed this question on Twitter to her followers and it stayed with me, triggering an outpouring of memories and contemplations.

My senior year photo from 2006.

My senior year photo from 2006; sharing a time when a lot of the choices I made at that time proves to still impact me, very much so, today.

“Maybe in Another Life,”….

  • I would have been a magazine editor/journalist, working in the city, interviewing different types of people, writing articles, researching, and discovering my voice as a writer.
  • I would have a great group of friends who love me for who I am, no matter my quirks, who bring out the best me, who I would meet on the weekends for a lingering brunch of excellent food and conversation and share laughs about the latest TV shows, guys we’re dating, and other events.
  • I would have been in a loving relationship with a man who makes me feel loved, cared for and appreciated. He would love me for who I am, no matter the blemishes, imperfect aspects of my personality and body and would celebrate me for the person I am and who I’ve become. He would comfort me when sad, share in my laughs and tears, and hold my hand every night as we feel asleep together. With him, there would be no self-conscious feeling, no wondering if he likes or truly loves me, no games, but only simple, wholesome love.
  • I would have been married and a mom to children; children who would grow up to be loving, well-adjusted individuals.
  • I would have been more trusting and confident in my body, respecting myself and realizing I am not my body, but a woman with thoughts, feelings, dreams and goals who tries her hardest to be supportive and encouraging to others.
  • I would have a father in my life who loves and respects me and acknowledges/validates my feelings, who doesn’t make me feel ashamed of myself or ashamed of my body. He would offer me advice and provide me with encouragement and love.
  • I would travel extensively throughout the world, seeing different cultures, learning different languages and allowing myself to relish in the beauty of the various architecture and lands.
  • I would be able to eat and enjoy anything and everything I wanted, realizing that food is something to be enjoyed and celebrated, not pushed away or manipulated. I would enjoy plentiful meals with friends and family, cooking all the recipes I’d love to and able to share in the love that is that of homemade meals.
  • Most importantly though, maybe in another life, I would be confident enough to take the risks I think about taking and allow myself to feel pain and disappointment that might come with these risks, but realize failure isn’t final and that each new day is another chance to make a change and to even start all over again. Maybe in another life, I would have the courage to start over and live the past 10 years the way I thought I always would. Maybe in another life, I would realize it really isn’t too late, because every moment alive I’m given affords me with a chance for change and a chance for happiness.

Start Over Quote

So, now that I’ve told you some of my “maybe in another life” responses, I’d love to hear what some of yours are, if you’re willing to share, which I hope you will be. Thanks for taking the time to listen today.

A Forever “What if?”

I’m guilty of it and perhaps you are, too, whomever you might be, reading this post of mine. Lying in bed, you glance at the clock and realize it is minutes before you must get out of bed, attempt to make yourself presentable and progress through another day. Though prior to rising of your bed, you grab your cell phone lying on the nightstand adjacent to your bed, eager to peruse the latest happenings on Twitter, Facebook, or your other social media platform of choice. For me, this morning, as with most other mornings, my choice was Twitter. Scanning through many seemingly meaningless tweets, I arrived at one by one of my favorite fiction authors, Jane Green. In her tweet, she provided a link to a website, simply tweeting, “So thrilled to be hosting the Booksparks Summer Reading Challenge this year! And I cannot believe the amazing… (then she inserts a hyperlink to her Facebook page, where she details the aforementioned “challenge.”) Needless to say, I was intrigued and contemplative.

About an hour or so after reading Jane’s tweet, I logged onto my Facebook via my laptop and began to familiarize myself with the challenge she mentioned. If you’re curious about it like me, here is the link to the official post and explanation about it: http://gobooksparks.com/SRC2015/

The overall premise of the challenge is to read a new book each week. Bloggers can sign up to participate and review a book per week, as they complete them. Non-bloggers who are book lovers, can still join in the fun and read a book per week and tag the books and the challenge in their social media posts to win prizes throughout the summer. If you’re eager to participate, the sponsors of the challenge encourage readers to RSVP on the event’s Facebook page. Each book is a new “destination” (i.e. set in various locations, such as Los Angeles, Montana, etc).

Scanning through the list of selected novels, some, but not all are appealing to me after reading through the descriptions and also heading over to trusty Google to learn more about each book. For those I am interested in reading, rather than purchase each book, I logged into my account on my local library’s website and requested them. Some of the books are new and yet to arrive on book shelves, so it is necessary to wait for their arrival. One book in particular, truly captured my eye and mind, becoming the muse behind this very post.

The book I speak of is entitled, “Maybe in Another Life,” by Taylor Jenkins Reid. After reading the brief description on the challenge website, I felt as though I more or less was reading my life in a snapshot:

“At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college. Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan?In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into radically different stories with large-scale consequences for Hannah, as well as the people around her. As the two alternate realities run their course, Maybe in Another Life raises questions about fate and true love: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps, most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?”

Rapidly approaching my 27th birthday, I can relate to Hannah’s sentiments, unsure about what to do with my life. Like her, I’ve had several different jobs since graduating from college nearly five years ago. I’m not at all where I thought or hoped I would be, way back when I was a teenager. I would think of my twenties and believe it would follow the pre-determined pattern I set for myself – graduate college at age 22, fall in love, have an excellent career, attend graduate school then graduate, get married, have children and carry out a domestic life while being a career woman. To me, there was no “in-between,” or room for life to happen. I operated under the immature assumption that life will transpire in the way I want it to, simply because I said it would.

Now as I am edging further into my late 20’s, I realize that the choices and decisions I made often haunt me, each and every day. I realize that we don’t always have control over the things and events that happen to us and in all honesty, it took me years to come to terms with this truth and realization. Sometimes, it’s still hard to accept it. Now more than ever though, I realize that while I may not have control over everything that happens to me, what I do have control over is how I respond to it. I can choose and control the way I respond to each hardship and obstacle thrown my way. I’ll never know what might have happened if I made a different choice years ago. I don’t know if had I made a different choice 10 years ago if I would be married, or a mother today. I don’t know if I would have had the fulfilling career I always dreamed if I had chosen a different path for myself.

It’s hard to believe that nearly ten years ago, I was about to turn 17-years-old. It was a poignant time in my life, because a lot of the choices or decisions I made way back then, as a teenager still impact and affect me today. Those choices and situations shaped the last decade of my life. When I look back, I wonder what might have happened if I had used my words instead of actions to communicate my internal sentiments. More so now than ever though, I try to practice more self-acceptance, realizing how important it is to accept the choices I made, realizing that it was what I felt was best at that moment. I was young then and yes, while I still am young, back then I operated in the mindset that the choices I was making then would have little or no influence on my future. If I had known what I know now, I can’t be confident in saying I would have made the same choices. Sometimes I wish I could go back and be a friend to my teenage self. The things I felt were of the utmost importance then seem so trivial now, but that is apart of life. It is apart of what it means to be young, taking risks and chances that might leave our future selves scratching our heads and contemplating about what we were thinking back then when we made those choices.

It’s important to note that the choices I made in the past are reminders to me of what not to do today, or at least provides me with a snapshot of what will happen if I make those choices again. The pain of yesterday’s decisions sometimes radiates through me today, especially when I see or encounter people of my past. I can still think about the events and situations of yesterday, but this I know now: I can choose to not be reduced or defeated by them; I can look towards the present today and tomorrow, realizing that while I might not have made the best choices in the past, I can still make better choices for tomorrow and beyond.

It’s funny how reading a brief description of a novel can trigger an entire outpouring of memories and sentiments and a question for a myself: What if I decided to let life happen as it does and adjust accordingly? That, my friends, I CAN choose – in fact, we all can.

On the Radar

Good Thursday morning to you! I hope your week has been a pleasant one, thus far. So I thought today, a post would be in order to brief you on some of the items (i.e. foods, clothing, books), TV shows, etc, that I’ve currently been enjoying or, conversely, aspire to enjoy someday, very soon!

FASHION:

For about as long as I can remember, fashion has always been a deep interest of mine, especially when it comes to shoes and accessories. Though, fashion of all kind is definitely a source of creativity for me and I am open to most prints, designs and colors. Recently, I learned one of my favorite department stores, Kohl’s, will be welcoming a new line of clothing items and accessories by one of their beloved designers, Lauren Conrad (LC). As you might already be familiar, LC welcomed her Cinderella-inspired line of clothing, due to the recent release of the live-action movie in theaters. Well, she is following suit with another beloved character line and this time, it is the much-loved, Minnie Mouse! Yes, you heard me right – Minnie Mouse! Her line is expected to be lighthearted, easygoing and friendly, and appeals to all ages – from a true child (by chronological age), to a kid at heart!

Lauren Conrad Minnie Mouse 2

One of my other favorite stores, Target, will also be introducing a new line of clothing by long-time loved designer, Lilly Pulitzer! Though she is often regarded as a “higher-end” designer, her line for Target is expected to be much more affordable, without sacrificing on the quality and style she is noted for. For me, personally, I am extremely excited to see this new line at Target, as I’ve never purchased any of her items. I absolutely love all the colors and prints; they are very appropriate for the spring and summer, or really, anytime of year and provide color and a personality to whatever one is wearing! Look for it at your local Target on or around April 19th!

Lilly Pulitzer 2

Lilly Pulitzer dresses

Lilly Pulitzer Target

Lastly, yet another store I’m quite fond of – Express, recently introduced new versions of their dressy shorts. Now, anyone who knows me, is aware that I have not worn shorts in probably 10 years. It’s not that I don’t like how they look – I definitely do, but it’s a matter of comfort and feeling at ease in them. Much of the time the shorts I’ve worn don’t fit all that well, or don’t look the way I would like them to. The dressy short style is one I’ve always hoped to emulate and the shorts I recently spotted on Express’s website and in their emails, is one that caught my eye. Perhaps you’ve seen them, as well? If not, here’s a photo:

Express Shorts

I just love the lace detailing on these! The lace, in my opinion, really adds style and personality. Plus, I love that it has a sophisticated, dressy look that can easily go from day to night. Also from Express, I spotted a Spring-style jacket, that I think would pair well with many outfits. The only caveat is that I believe it is only available in one color – Green, which is decent, but wouldn’t really match with everything. All the same, I love the style and hope to emulate it this season!

Express Spring Jacket

FOOD:

Two items in my particular have been on my radar for a number of months, with the first and foremost being: Elli Quark! You might be wondering, what exactly IS Elli Quark? Well, (according to their website, Elliquark.com) Elli Quark is a spoonable FRESH CHEESE with a creamy texture similar to Greek yogurt, but with a richer, LESS SOUR taste. It also has a better protein-to-carb ratio than Greek yogurt, with HIGH PROTEIN and NO ADDED SUGARS or artificial sweeteners. Yum! It sounds great to me! I’m already a HUGE fan of yogurt in general, especially Greek-style yogurt, so I think I would really enjoy Elli Quark! Plus, listen to this: they have a VAST array of flavors (12 in total!), which include:

Red Velvet; Blueberry; Strawberry; Lemon; Plain; Cherry; Pineapple; Peach; Vanilla Bean; Sea Salt Caramel; Bananas Foster; and Mint Chocolate!

They aren’t available yet in all locations, but they have a nifty product locator on their website to help with your searching and an option to order their products online, to be conveniently delivered right to your home! I’ve been desperately longing to try Elli Quark, so online ordering for me may be on my radar… early birthday gift, anyone?!

Elli Quark

Another product which recently caught my eye while shopping is a new granola flavor by the brand, Bear Naked Granola! As a company with wholesome, natural ingredients, plus recyclable packaging, they are a company I feel exceptionally comfortable and excited to purchase! Plus, one of their latest flavors – Sea Salt Caramel Apple, sounds absolutely incredible! Yum!

Barefoot Granola Sea Salt Caramel Apple

BOOKS:

As I’ve mentioned many times in the past, books are a frequent staple in my life and a source of comfort. I have a whole rotation of authors I currently love and follow, but am always open to new ones and the latest talent. I’m always in such awe of the prose and writing style of the authors I read and am impressed by their skills, ability and tact and the way they are able to provide such emotionally-riveting words. A an author I recently discovered (though definitely not new to the writing community; she is already well-established and has a healthy following) is Jane Green. Since discovering her only a short time ago, I’ve already read several of her novels and look forward to reading more in the near future. I also follow her on social media and love to see all the interior decorating and cooking she does in addition to her fiction-writing. I highly recommend her, if you haven’t already read her before.

Jane Green

Another author I’ve been following and reading is Meg Donahue. She is very personable, likable and her books always capture my attention. Her newest novel, Dog Crazy is an excellent book for those who have weathered through a host of emotions, whether you’re a dog owner or not. Check it out, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!

Meg Donahue

Currently, I am reading a novel by Stacey Ballis, one of the newest authors I’ve discovered. Though I still have a way to go with her novel, Recipe for Disaster, I am enjoying it and look forward to traversing through.

Stacey Ballis book

TV:

One day, a couple weeks ago, while lounging around the house, my mom and I were flipping through channels, curious about what would actually be on, given it was a random Sunday afternoon. Suddenly, we stumbled across HGTV, a channel I haven’t watched all that much with the exception of House Hunters, about once or twice. Reading the description for a TV Show called Beachfront Bargain Hunt, I was intrigued and decided to try an episode and see what I thought. Well, ever since first taking in an episode, I have been hooked! It’s been filling up my DVR now for weeks straight and I always look forward to seeing what new beach homes various families and people will be looking for. Every episode is a new location and a new family, so it feels like the first time, every time I view it!

Beachfront Bargain Hunt&

Also, as I mentioned yesterday, I recently made the morning transition over to watching NBC’s, The TODAY Show from ABC’s Good Morning America. I find a lot of the anchors and reporters much more personable (especially Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee, Tamron Hall, Al Roker, etc). I love their banter and personality and how well they bounce ideas and thoughts off of one another. They also aren’t afraid to voice their true opinions, no matter the backlash they might experience. They don’t shy away from the limelight, which is truly inspiring to me.

The Today Show

KLG and Hoda

I’m also so glad The Voice is back, especially with judge, Christina Aguilera! Her voice is just exceptional; it always has been and I’ve been a fan of hers since my childhood. Also, I think she is an excellent judge and mentor and provides great guidance and support to the contestants on the show. She goes well with new judge, Pharrell Williams.

The Voice

So there you have it, just a brief sampling of what is currently “on my radar!” Have a good Thursday!

Keeping Strength: Wise Words Demi said

As I’ve mentioned many times before, I am a dedicated fan of morning talk shows and talk shows in general. From Good Morning America, to The Chew, to Katie, to Dr. Oz, the possibilities are endless. If I don’t catch it live, then my DVR awaits for me, eager to be watched either that evening, or an evening to come. A couple weeks ago, while watching Good Morning America, Demi Lovato, the nationally-renowned singer/songwriter, was announced as the guest, that particular morning. To confess, in years past, I was not the biggest Demi Lovato fan. When I looked to her, I saw her as a cheesy, manufactured, Disney popstar, however, as I came to hear of her story and truly listened to her strong, determined, powerful voice, I saw her in a different, positive and respectful light. Today, she is one of my favorite musicians and role models.

She has battled her own inner demons, family perils, among others, and still has managed to overcome it, and manages it each day. She stated while on Good Morning America, that she is often asked by her fans how she maintains her recovery from an eating disorder and addictions and finally decided to place her advice and coping mechanisms into book form. Therefore, one of her main reasons for appearing on the talk show that morning, was to introduce and disclose her brand new book entitled, “Staying Strong 365 Days a Year.” However, it is not in typical “book form.” Rather, it is a book arranged by each day. Each day is introduced with a quote from a famous/influential individual (Dr. Seuss and Maya Angelou, to name a few), in addition to Demi’s perspective for choosing the quote and a goal for the day. These goals and quotes are both inspiring and truthful. In fact, I can usually find at least something to relate to in all the goals and quotes for the day and while it might not be exact, I still empathize, appreciate it, and perhaps even share it with others who might be able to relate more closely to it.

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After hearing her speak of the book, her motivations behind it, and her own personal goals, I just knew that instant I had purchase the book and so I did. Thanks to good old Amazon.com, Demi’s book sat on my doorstep the very next morning (and I didn’t even have to pay extra for advanced shipping!) Though I do occasionally forget to consult the book each day, when I do happen to remember, I’m always so thankful and hopeful. It surely does serve it’s purpose, comforts me and lets me know I am not alone, despite how I might feel. There is always someone out there who can relate and who has made it out successfully, on the other side. Sometimes, just reading Demi’s book provides me with “food for thought,” or at least an alternative perspective for thinking about situations and life, in general.

Whether you’re a Demi Lovato fan or not, or aren’t all that familiar with her, her new book, “Staying Strong 365 Days a Year,” is worth checking out. Plus, on days when you might need more comforting or inspiration than others, take it from me when I say it, turning to that particular day’s page, always seems to hold something I can relate to at that moment.

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QUESTION: What do you do or read when you are seeking inspiration or comfort?

Solace in Pages

It is now Sunday evening and the holiday weekend is winding down. Naturally, I don’t have to inform you of this, but a part of me is indifferent about it. To say this weekend was eventful would be an understatement, but of course, eventful does not always have a positive connotation. To be honest and frank, the past several days have left me undeniably heartbroken and wracked with a kaleidoscope of emotions. At times, I became angry and resentful, while other times, I longed to step into the past and alter decisions and actions I’ve made. Most times, it was difficult to even place into words the sentiments floating through my heart and mind. While I say I was heartbroken, it is not of the romantic kind, but rather ones involving family and in particular, my father, the man who as a child and even as an adolescent, I mistakenly thought would be my hero, the one I could look to for protection and guidance, the man who would steer me in the direction towards achieving my dreams. To arrive at the realization that this is not in fact the truth is perhaps the most challenging truth to accept at all. As children, maybe we uphold beliefs that our parents are significantly different creatures from us and it is only later, as adults, we begin to realize, they are human, just as we are. Often I wonder if maybe I expected too much. As I grow older, I realize people love in a multitude of ways. More importantly though, they love in the way they can and I try to accept this, no matter how challenging it may be. Each day, I try to remind myself of this necessary truth, because holding a grudge and wishing for a different reality, I’m aware, will lead me nowhere. It will only make me harbor resentment, hurt and anger and prolong the stinging, like a scab on an old wound that someone continuously exposes to air. Healing takes time and as I’m learning, so does acceptance.

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Searching for reprieve, or at least a momentary, “escape” if you will, I opted for one of my favorite author’s newest novel entitled, “Morning Glory,” by the undeniably talented, Sarah Jio. If you’re unfamiliar with this latest novel of hers, you may have read some of her other favorites, “Blackberry Winter” and of course, “The Violets of March.” To say I am thankful and grateful for her words this weekend would be a vast understatement. Her beautiful control of words and the English language in general has captivated me so these past several days as I traveled into the fictional literary world she created. The words seem to flow with each page I turn, as I delve deeper and deeper into the lives of the characters lining the pages. Her talent is rare and one I truly cherish. For me, it is quite simple to discern whether or not an author/book and I “click.” With Sarah Jio, her books have a way of weaving mystery, romance and intrigue so profoundly, the book is difficult to put down. When I place it down, I find myself curious, wondering what the pages will leave me with next. In fact, at times, I force myself to place the book down, so that I can savor the rest later, like a forbidden treat.

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Books have always captivated and cushioned me. They keep me company when I would otherwise be lonely. Though to some they may simply be binding and words on a page, to me, they are a work of talent, creativity and a world outside of my own. When reading books, it’s as though I am transported away from my troubles and for as long as I am reading, I am safe and anesthetized from the pain and disappointment living within my everyday, conscious life. 

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So today, I’m here just to say how very thankful I am for the talents of fellow writers, such as Sarah Jio, who share their craft and mastery of the written word with each of us and who inspire me each and every day to keep going and not to settle until I find my true calling.

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