Carving My Mark

A person who is very important to me thanked me for being such a great friend today, and also told me to look toward the future, look into getting my Phd, and that I will do great things – not to let now get in the way of the future.

And as I was sitting coloring my sun visor for my car (it’s finished and beautiful), I was thinking over this.  I remember my 5th grade teacher, Mr. Prunty, writing in my yearbook that I was going to accomplish great things, and he would keep an eye out for my name in the future.  While he may have wrote this for countless kids – several other teachers told me the same throughout my school career.  And I have always wanted to change the world.

The issue is, how?  One of my greatest passions is education. I have dreams of the educational world I want my son to grow up in.  However, it often seems any way of changing our current education system lies in politics – A world I never had much desire to enter.

I admitted to myself this evening, that I also become frightened of stepping out of my box, and doing something new. I’m used to the things I’m good at and I know what those are (especially school).  So thinking about politics, or higher up roles in education tends to scare me. Hence one of the reasons I went back for a second masters in Leadership – it is not just that I could not decide what to get a Phd or EdD in, it is also that I know I need to improve those skills.

So over the next year, I hope to challenge myself. I want to step outside my box, work on my leading skills, and also do new things.  I want to challenge the status quo.

I also want to write. Two of my awesome friends have been bugging me about this later. So often I say that I just don’t have the time. And it’s really not true. I just do not make the time.  I think it because I am scared to death that I will actually finish something and face rejection at every angle – because I have before.  Plus, I’m just lazy when I get home from work.

Here is to a year of challenges and goals.  Wish me luck. And keep me accountable. 🙂

Back to the basics.

I know the author of this new blog, and he is a great guy who truly cares about students – I interned for him for a semester in graduate school and learned a lot. This post is amazing.1

Higher Ed Introspection

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I was in an Apple store not too long ago in Nashville, Tennessee, with my wife. We were purchasing an Apple Watch for myself; this was my anniversary/Father’s Day gift – my wife is really kind as she knows how I “geek out” about technology.

While we awaited my iPhone to update software so that I could sync the Apple Watch to the iPhone, we struck up a conversation with a younger guy who worked at the Apple Store as a “Genius.” This update took forever, so we were able to have a long conversation with this individual.

This “Genius” had recently graduated from a college in Boston where he studied music business – he also was a musician. He moved to Nashville seeking to put his skills and education to use by entering into the music industry. Specifically, he wanted to pursue a career in the business side of…

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Life Updates & My Reading List

Hello, hello,

I hope you are having an awesome day!  I thought I would give you a few updates (since it has been so long since I’ve posted regularly). I am still working as an academic advisor at WKU, still tutoring, and I’m proud to announce I will be teaching a University Experience class in the fall for Freshmen!

I have also started my 2nd Masters in Organizational Leadership.  The weird thing is that I’m working ahead of schedule… both lessons that due this Sunday at midnight, I had finished by five today, AND I already have books checked out for paper due in two weeks. I don’t want happened to the old procrastinating me!

My son is THREE and lord, potty training is driving me crazy! We now barter – if he wants something, he does what I want – go sit on the potty. It’s pretty much the only way he agrees, and we just started that yesterday (I discovered it by luck). I’m going to have four and a half days off this weekend, so that is my grand plan! I also have a star chart he uses, and he gets a mickey mouse sticker.

My To Read List:

Dark Diary and Fates Aflame (ARC) by P. Anastasia

The Shadow Queen and The Wish Granter by CJ Redwine

Glitter by Aprilynne Pike

Chaos by Patricia Cornwell

Dark Highway (can’t see authors name on book – too far away), and a few others.

Yeeeeeep. I’m current reading Have I Got A Story For You which is a collection of short stories (check out my Goodreads).  I’m doing really well on my reading goal I set for myself!

One last Mention: My sister has started a blog called More Than Muscle.  It’s about the world of Strongmen (and Strongwomen), as she has become involved in the shows, and helps her boyfriend promote his own show Iron Warrior SoKY (http://www.ironwarriorsoky.com/). She shows the side most people don’t see of the people competing – that they are normal folks like us too (and not dumb/jocks/etc.)! Check our her blog HERE!  I help edit her blog (not that it needs much), and I also am in charge of the Iron Warrior website (I don’t know much about web design so forgive me!).

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand: Book Review

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand” by Helen Simonson

“You are about to travel to Edgecombe St. Mary, a small village in the English countryside filled with rolling hills, thatched cottages, and a cast of characters both hilariously original and as familiar as the members of your own family. Among them is Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), the unlikely hero of Helen Simonson’s wondrous debut. Wry, courtly, opinionated, and completely endearing, Major Pettigrew is one of the most indelible characters in contemporary fiction, and from the very first page of this remarkable novel he will steal your heart.

The Major leads a quiet life valuing the proper things that Englishmen have lived by for generations: honor, duty, decorum, and a properly brewed cup of tea. But then his brother’s death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village. Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the loss of their respective spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more. But village society insists on embracing him as the quintessential local and her as the permanent foreigner. Can their relationship survive the risks one takes when pursuing happiness in the face of culture and tradition?”

I love this book.  For one, I love all things English.  Also, I love when cultures clash, and we see how people deal with it.  I thought this was an excellent book, with major characters who were older, and wiser but who still made mistakes. Both were dealing with grief – Major Pettigrew had lost his wife years before, and was also dealing with the very recent death of his brother. Mrs. Ali had lost her husband.

The romance here was everything I wanted.  There are mistakes along the way, issues as they try to figure out how to navigate tough waters, especially considering the fact neither has dated for a very long time. The characters are complex and well developed.

And then add in the children and family. The fact that the author deals with these issues was probably made the book for me. Romance is often shown as a whirlwind story between two people. This book shows how others opinions affect us, and also how our relationships affect them. I honestly wanted to flat out slap his son so many, many times.

The prose and dialogue are both well done.  There are outside issues affecting things as well (the town is facing development), and it even includes a Lord of the town, who is facing hard challenges on his land (something that is quite true for many English Lords).  I loved the cultures, the questions it raises for discussion and the happy ending.

The time line goes well. I never felt frustrated or annoyed, and it seemed well paced. Though I will say that the son’s story made me frustrated just by his selfishness (though the story does address that).  An interesting hint for parents at well.

Go read!

Waiting for Autumn: Book Review

Waiting for Autumn” by Scott Blum

In the tradition of The Alchemist, Way of the Peaceful Warrior, and The Celestine Prophecy, this enchanting semiautobiographical parable follows the inquisitive Scott as he finds himself in a parking lot where he meets a cardboard-sign-toting homeless man named Robert with a penchant for changing lives. With Robert and the sleepy black lab Puppy Don at his side, Scott embarks on a spiritual awakening and attempts to heal his past while confronting the spirit of his dead fiancée, learning the power of nature, exploring the spirit plane, and discovering the true nature of the universe. On this unique journey of self-discovery, various healing and spiritual modalities are revealed, including shamanic soul retrieval, ancestral healing, harnessing of lunar energy, conscious cooking, kirtan, manifesting, and lightworking. This easy-to-read book is a charming and affecting story of one humble soul’s profound awakening on the path to facing an extraordinary dilemma between his spiritual calling and earthly life purpose.” via Amazon

This book was given to me by someone, and we often do not seem to like the same things (He did not like To Kill A Mockingbird. He is also 67 and I am 27).  However, I was fully willing to read it… I did not know at all what it was about. It is certainly… interesting.

This is not the kind of thing I would ever normally read.  I was also not really looking to be enlightened.  For this kind of book for self-discovery, it was very unique, interesting, and had some good moments. The human interaction is quite good and I loved Puppy Dan.

There are apparently others, “Summer’s Path” written after but actually the prequel, and “Winter Moon Rising” the third, final book.

These books are very metaphysical and apparently have many Native American traditions in them.  It has communing with nature, a spirit realm, etc.  It is really about a man’s journey to find inner peace. He meets unique characters along the way.

Scott Blum is the founder of DailyOM.

Updates, General

Hello!

I hope you all are doing well!  I am currently taking a small break at work to update my blog!  I’ve been crazy busy of late. I started my new job on August 1st, so I’ve been figuring all of that out, helping my husband return to finish his degree, and also working on side projects!

I wrote three book reviews for Bowling Green Daily News last week, and one for Edmonson voice.  I am currently reading three books at once. I am reading I, Ripper by Stephen Hunter for my book club on Saturday, and The Man Who Loved Birds for review, as well as a Higher Education book a couple of professors wrote (also for a review).

I am pondering dying my hair red… it also needs cutting.

As things are beginning to level out, I am going to start writing again.  I want to get back on the wagon, and really work on my witch novel, which will be my focus for November. I plan to finish it by the end of November, which means I need about 65,000 more words on it.  We shall see how that goes!

Surely I will start writing on my blog more as well. I am currently obsessed with the song Lost Boys by Ruth B. If you haven’t heard it – go look it up on Youtube.

Oh, and I’m obsessed with PokemonGo.  I’m level 21, almost 22.  SO MUCH FUN!

Laters my friends!

Reading/Book Review Update

Oh me, oh my.

I’m having a hard time getting into a book this past week, for several different reasons.

First: Our book club picked “John Dies at the End” for June. The audiobook was on Overdrive, so I downloaded it.  I could not. I could NOT finish it.  The writing bothered me.  The tone bothered me.  There character drove me crazy. And from what I have been told, it got even crazier as it went on.  Only one person in my group liked it. I take that back, she LOVED it, and gave it five stars.  To each their own. I even tried to watch the movie on Netflix and made it about three minutes. To anyone who loved it, I’m sorry. I tried.

 

So, I think disliking that one so much but trying to listen to it as much as I could for book club kind of ruined for it me on the reading front at all.  That being said, I have several lined up I need to read. And I’m behind on book reviews. I need to review Queen Hereafter for the Edmonson Voice. I’m glad I get to review whatever I want for them.

'Third Target' an action-driven storyI have several books lined up for Bowling Green Daily News.  My review on “The Third Target” by Joel C. Rosenberg was published today. Check out the link for my full review, but overall it was a great read. There is death, destruction, politics and a bit of romance. It does have Christian overtones.  The overall politics are fascinating and slightly disturbing, since it is fiction but seems to ring so true to today. I have “The First Hostage” sitting on the shelf ready to read but I needed a small break from such topics.

I am reading “A Ghostly Grave” by Tonya Kappes, which was sent to me by BGDN. I am only about 20 pages in. It is … unusual. I thought it was a romance at first, but it seems to be more of a paranormal investigation type mystery – and the second in a series. I know I have two more coming from them, and possibly another on my shelf they sent.  I also have “The Drafter” by Kim Harrison to read. I’m actually really excited about that. I LOVED her Hollow series, and had been wanting to read her new Peri Reed Chronicles. She posted on her blog that they were looking for a few readers to get ARC’s of her second book in the series (The Operator). I wrote in, and talked about my blog, and that I could get my review published in the Bowling Green Daily News. I was picked for it, and will get The Operator in October. However, as a great surprise, her publishing company sent “The Drafter” (Which I had almost bought), along with an extra copy to give a friend to make sure we were all ready for the next one!

I have a few others I have bought myself that I want to read. Not to mention all the ones I’ve just been picked up or been given. I really wish I could make a living reviewing books and doing this all the time! Maybe then I would I wouldn’t be so behind…

So how do you handle being behind on your reading list? I’m ahead at least on my Goodreads goal! What do you do when you hit a book funk? When do you call it quits on trying to read something?

Parenting in Public: Judgement Come Forth

Today, my child was in a mood.  Now to begin with, he woke up at 6 am pretty happy.  But as the day wore on, with no nap in sight, we went back and forth a bit on the toddler mood spectrum.

For those of you who do not know my child, he is loud.  And I say it with love. I have a loud kid. He just is naturally loud. If you have met his father, you’d understand.  And generally, it really doesn’t bother me. Kids are loud anyways.  We chase each other with swords through the house screaming at the top of our lungs. We run yelling outside, and we dance like idiots. He is two. Some people I know love to tell me just how loud my kid is, like I haven’t noticed (that gets a bit annoying).

And he is a little extra loud. Oh, especially when angry.  And my child throws the occasional “I am utterly pissed and have no way to express it so I shall scream now” fits.  They aren’t fun. But they are rare.

I had Book Club today. An event I love, that happens once a month.  Most of the time Xander isn’t there – I usually tutor before hand so he stays in Brownsville with my awesome sister-in-law.  However, he does like Barnes and Noble, and today there was not tutoring. So off we went, backpack and shoes on, and he even got over not riding around in his car and having to get in the actual car, no problem.  He fell asleep. Ah, yes, the long awaited, oh so needed nap.

And shocking, he stayed asleep when I moved him to the stroller, for almost another hour. But when he awoke in Barnes and Noble, we went full on grumpy mood. I tried to appease him with trains, but there was another kid there, and he decided he just wanted to be held. And he stayed grumpy. He wanted to go outside to the car.

Honestly, I gave in. And I gave up. Because I know how loud my kid is, and especially just how loud he can scream.

And I hate the screaming. But even more so in public. It’s harder to deal with. It just plain is.  Parenting in public is difficult, and annoying. Even when your child is only minorly upset, you know you are instantly thinking about what everyone is thinking about your parenting. We have become a society that throws judgement around like we all know the perfect answer. And we don’t.

There are a million examples of this.  Mom bloggers.  Breastfeeding vs Formula. The recent gorilla incident, and then the Disney incident which ended much worse.  It takes a millisecond for other parents, or even NON parents (who honestly, can be much more frustrating), to start throwing out blame or advice. “I wouldn’t have done that” “Why wasn’t she watching her child” “Well, I never would have let that happen”

And on it goes.  And in public there are people who stare. And people who try to offer advice or judgement to your face.  Some try to be nice.  Some are downright rude.  And that, my friends, is stressful.

So yes, my child wanted to be held.  I held him.  Yes, he was grumpy and rude to my friends. He wanted to go outside, and screamed when we couldn’t walk through the window. I talked to him calmly, fussed at him, told him he could not talk to people that way. I put him in the stroller, and out we went.  And I just decided to leave.

Because no matter if I had continued to walk around holding him, or if I had let him sit in that stroller and yell at people or just be downright meant, it was no longer a fun experience for me. I can’t shop or talk about books or any of it, when I’m worried about my child. And really, I shouldn’t. I should do what is best for him and me. And in that moment, as much as I didn’t want to, leaving was it. We went and got him some juice.  We went and waited for his dad to go on lunch, and he heard birds and got all excited. So we drove from tree to tree while he said “here bird” and made that noise we all make to get dogs or cats attention. It was cute. And he was happy.  And I was less stressed.

So why did I go on this giant blog rant? Well, partly because a friend asked me to talk about this stuff more here so I’m trying that out.  Partly, because I’m still frustrated about something someone said.  Also, it’s been a rough day. I’m not sleeping well these days. Xander woke up at 6 am. My ear has been hurting nonstop all day.  He peed all over himself and his blanket and sheets when I tried to put ear drops in my ear, and then I had to give him a bath (which he loved). I went to make sure my dogs had water, and found a dead kitten by one dog’s doghouse. That upset me a lot. I drove to Bowling Green. I had a quiet hour with my friends, and then he was upset. It just was not the spiffiest of days. So when it came to dealing with the terrible twos, I took the easy road.

Posting this is opening myself up to all the advice, comments, judgement and drama possible in the land of internet.  And that is sad.  I hear people complain because we use Facebook to make ourselves look perfect. But if we ever open ourselves up to our insecurities, things go horribly wrong. People are mean and rude.  And Judgemental. At least most people in public couldn’t get the nerve to say to me what they would online (and we all know that is true). Then again, I have friends who love to repeat parenting advice, or give me that look when they disagree or really wish I’d let them handle it. I also have the friends/relatives who automatically try to yell at or discipline my child when I’m literally standing RIGHT THERE trying to talk to him.

It takes all kinds. It used to take a village, right? We used to give more support, and offer help, and just be nice to one another.  Now we feel like we have to one up one another in the internet land.  We say whatever we type, not thinking about how it affects someone else. And its sad.  We need to stop judging. I’ve seen some great posts from fellow moms who say the same thing. When you see a mom struggling, or doing something different from you, stop, think, and possibly just let it go.  They may be having a horrid day. They may not feel well.  But honestly, they know their child.  They know what works. And they know what actions will cause what.  It’s their choice.  Its their family. And as long as they aren’t beating the child in front of you, or doing something damaging, you need to let it go. I can work better on this than I do, even now feeling it from the other end.  So let us all breathe.

I know my child. I kiss his “hurts” and hold him when he cries, and get him to sleep at night.  There is two people on the a list that can pretty much say whatever they want to me about him and give me advice (and honestly, they hardly even do, which may be why they are on that list), and that’s about it.  I appreciate support, love and understanding.

(PS – Shout out to my book club for pushing my stroller for me, and following us around while I tried to make him happy.)

Oh The Treasures We Find…

So, I’m on a mission to get rid of stuff.  As I have way too much stuff. So does my husband, but he is a pack rat (I see most of his stuff staying) but I’m hoping to at least get it more organized and hidden in the back of our attic.

Going through a tote we took out of storage, I found these. Oh my.  From essays in high school, to all my poems, short stories and who knows what else.

This could get interesting.  As I’m trying to post more, my new idea is to do “Throwback Thursday” but with pieces of my writing.

Now you have that to look forward to 😛

Now to go back to the piles of crap to sort. Wish me luck!

The Night Circus Book Review

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The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called “Le Cirque des Reves,” and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway–a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love – a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Why I Read It:

My good friend Nick found a copy, excitingly, at the Half Price Book Store when I was with him and my book club.  His girlfriend, my friend, had got him to read it. They both LOVED it. He had the copy in person, so I relented and gave in.  I am glad I did.

Thoughts:

Overall, this book is amazing.  The ideas in it are complex and different about magic. It is something that can be inherent, or taught. A great twist, and what eventually leads to the game this book surrounds.  There is magic, a circus, great characters, and twists and turns. I was sucked into this book and did not want to put it down. I finished it in about a day.

There are time jumps, and character switches. It can become slightly confusing to follow, but after a few of the switches you become more used to it, and it is easier to follow.  The switch in point of view I actually liked, because otherwise the story would have been much less dynamic.  There were moments when I laughed, moments when I cried, and when I hoped things would not go the way I feared. The voice of each character was different, thank goodness. Too often when you switch point of views you wind up with characters who all sound the same.  This is not the case.  The author did a fabulous job here. Characters are well built, they evolve and change, and they are faced with issues unique to themselves.  The game changes them all, in unforeseen ways.

There is romance, as it promises in the blurb. I have seen arguments that it feels like a “love at first sight” thing, but I disagree. I liked the two together, and how their relationship evolved.  I think often the acts we perform in this world speak volumes about who we are.  The magic these two are creating, the tents they set up, truly give each other a view into their soul and their thoughts. It is a way of speaking to each other that so few people could understand.  It is this that leads to their love, and from there that love grows.  I liked it.

Favorite Thing:

The Tents. Oh, I loved the tents and the circus. The magic was lovely.  The tents they created, magical to be obvious in description.  Each new creation was wondrous, and I could envision them easily. Too bad this circus doesn’t exist…

I am afraid to write more as I may start accidentally giving spoilers.  I enjoyed it.

5stars