Jan 312016
 

I have been seeing so many people talking about the KonMari method from the books The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing and her new book Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up both by Marie Kondo. So, I decided maybe this was for me!

I have been a perfectionist of the worst kind for several years. I am either all or nothing. Meaning, if I can’t do it all perfectly, I don’t do it at all. This either leaves us with a very clean house, or now that I am in pain most days, a very messy home that seems to be falling apart around us.

I have spent a long time placing the blame for the clutter on my family. They don’t want to part with anything and the house is cluttered, but MY SPACE DOESN’T HAVE TO BE! When I began to learn a bit about the KonMari method of decluttering it really hit home for me. What is worth my time and my pain to keep tidy and clean? From there I purged down my closet but I didn’t follow the rules of pulling out every article of clothing that I owned and placing it in a pile and going through each one, touching each one and seeing if it sparks joy while deciding to donate, toss or keep.

This afternoon I did just that with my clothing. Some of which had been stored in bags that I haven’t looked at in a few years. Since I already did my main clothes last week I didn’t pull those items out again as I know they are all part of my wardrobe that definitely spark joy. Here is the floor of my bedroom after I pulled everything that I had stored out. I am shocked that I had so many things stored, some of which still on hangers! Please tell me I am not alone?!


It only took me about a half hour to do my first sort through. I did 3 piles that I knew would work well for me. Keep, toss and maybe. This giant pile was quickly split in half which left me thinking “do I really want to hang up these things and keep them?”

So I went through the keep pile again and only kept a few pieces. A dress for my daughter that is brand new and will likely be worn to a school dance, a button up shirt, 2 leather skirts, a leather jacket, my pink spring trench coat, my white leather jacket and 3 tanks. Funny enough, these were ALL items I had been looking for and was upset that I couldn’t find. I had assumed they must’ve been lost in the move and I was looking to replace them. I am definitely happy I found these things! It saved me money and are pieces that I LOVE!


I also kept a stack of things my grandma made that bring me joy. They don’t fit but they have sentimental value. I will have to re-evaluate these items when I get to the sentimental portion of the KonMari method! For now, they stay.


And this is what I am getting rid of. I would have loved to be able to donate everything but unfortunately most of the things that were taking up space in my life were torn, stained and embarrassing. They served me well at one point and they definitely showed it! The blue bag is what I am able to donate. It includes pyjamas, pants, shirts, skirts, and even a set of sheets. I am excited that this bag will be able to bless others. I am also excited that I won’t be hurting my back anymore moving these things around just to tidy up.

I am definitely feeling like this method is something that is going to work for me. I am excited to get through all of my things so that I can then move forward to the kids and help them tidy up their lives and only have things that bring them joy as well. Who knows, maybe the rest of the family will catch on too!!!

This in total probably took me about 45 minutes, including pulling everything out of storage, dumping it out, sorting, sorting again, bagging things up and moving them to the door to be taken out by my dad. A task that had literally waited years because I didn’t have the time ended up being super easy and more than fulfilling! I would love to know how you declutter and how you keep things organized. Have you read through Marie Kondo’s books and did they help you?

Jan 312016
 

Summary

If you find yourself in between one thing and another, changing from who you used to be into who you are becoming, how will you live in the messy, beautiful middle? And what if the middle pages hold storylines that wound and surprise? Is God with us on those pages, too?

In Even If Not, Kaitlyn Bouchillon invites you to let go of trying to figure out the ending of your story and instead lean into the faithfulness of God. With honest and vulnerable storytelling from her own in betweens, Kaitlyn encourages you to say – no matter what page of the story you find yourself on – that although you believe God could come through how you’re asking, you’ll trust Him… even if not.

About the Author

Kaitlyn E. Bouchillon is an author and blogger who believes every person is a walking story and every story matters. She loves writing – blogs, books, and handwritten letters – is addicted to queso, and is crazy about her people. She currently splits her time between Starbucks and her cute little apartment in Birmingham, Alabama.

Thoughts

This book is available for pre-order on Amazon right now! I am so excited for Kaitlyn! She has been such an inspiration to get to know over the last few years on Twitter. She is definitely a child of God and I have NO doubt that this book will reflect her amazing journey with Him! To tide you over until the book is in your mailbox you can check her out on her blog!! Remember that if you reserve your copy of the book on Amazon now you are guaranteed the lowest price if the price changes in the meantime! Congratulations Kaitlyn! So proud of you!


Jan 032016
 
Kindle Edition, 204 pages
Published by Slogan Books (first published August 31st 2011)
ASIN: B005KKUVX6

Summary

In the exclusive enclave of Grosse Pointe, Michigan, a woman who builds custom guitars is murdered. A disgraced ex-cop turned private investigator is hired by the dead woman’s father and immediately becomes the target of a violent ex-convict. An enigmatic music star performs damage control on her links to the dead woman. And a professional killer who idolizes Keith Richards is brought into town by a mysterious employer.

My Review

Started and finished this book in a single day. I love when I get sucked into a book so quickly that I lose track of time! It has been awhile since I have really enjoyed reading and I am finding some awesome reads lately that are just sucking me straight in.
This was a suspense/mystery without much graphic so I consider it to be a fairly clean read. There was some moments but that was more than expected.
The story for me was quite unique having it be a private investigator rather than a police officer or another member of law being the one who is doing all the leg work and unraveling the mystery/story. I enjoyed the extreme use of humor in this book, it really made it feel like I was reading the thoughts of the narrator rather than just the actions, which was a lot of fun. I love that this story had me guessing as the pages turned. Definitely recommend it to anyone who is into crime novels!!

Jan 022016
 
Author: Terri Ragsdale
Paperback, 509 pages
Published December 1st 2009
By Booksurge Publishing
ISBN 1439203547
ISBN13: 9781439203545

Summary

WINNER OF THE PINNACLE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD IN LITERATURE HISTORY!

A suspenseful novel filled with unbridled passions, jealousy, incest, murder, witchcraft and dark superstitions. Roots of Indifference is interwoven with the story of a prestigious family during the early 1900s, struggling with racial intolerance as they try to carve a place for themselves in a hostile land during the Mexican Revolution, World War 1, and The Great Depression. This fascinating novel brings to light the horrendous injustices inflicted upon the Mexican-Americans, who suffered cruel indignities and discrimination. It is a story that needs to be told about the turbulent times during those dark years of indifference.

My Review

This book is LONG but well written and it contains a lot of history that we don’t often think much about any more which I personally enjoy. The author does a good job building characters. I think that this is a book for people of all ages and that it would be welcome reading for school projects or book reports. This is a story of injustice, racism, wartimes and everything else that was going on in the early 1900’s. I absolutely love reading fiction that is so well done that you believe it to have actually happened as written and that is what Terri Ragsdale does, she brings us to the past and lets us live through her characters so we can understand how bad things were. A MUST READ!

Dec 072015
 

Yeah, it’s already week two on the countdown to Jesus, God with skin on. We lit the Peace candle and the light grows strong and excitement and joy over what comes next grows.

Mary heavily pregnant with the messiah inside, kicking her ribs and tickling her sides. Following her husband dutifully to Bethlehem.

I wonder what she was thinking and how she felt. Knowing that she was carrying the Son of Man.

Was she scared every time she didn’t feel the baby move, did her ankles swell and ache? Was she excited to get the pregnancy over or did she want to keep Him safe inside forever.

As mama’s we deal with so much through a pregnancy from wondering what our baby will wear and how we will afford diapers to fears of miscarriage, stillborn, a disability, SIDS. We worry. We wonder if we will find out the sex and if we should tell if we do. Yet beautiful, young Mary knew!

She knew before the first flutter kicks that she was carrying a child. She knew it was a boy! She knew what His name would be. She knew that the world would forever be changed but surely had no idea to what degree. She expected to have a healthy baby because He was the Son of God. All of the things we consider while pregnant she knew and so did Joseph. And they didn’t need an ultrasound or some sort of techie gear to reassure her that everything was going just right.

So imagine the shock, the momentary fear, when her water broke and contractions came hard and she had nowhere to rest, nowhere to lay her child’s head. Imagine wondering if you could properly parent Jesus?!

The world contracted too while she struggled to catch her breath. The stars aligned to announce the coming of the King. The angels came and began to sing. The nations heard of this boy-child who would be king and began to slaughter every little boy forcing them to run and protect the only true innocent One.

There is a reason that we look to Mother Mary and strive to protect, defend, and be grace-filled as we chug along praying for the best.

And prophesy of old was fulfilled because out of the stump of Jesse grew a shoot and that shoot did in fact bear fruit –Jesus!

Jul 282015
 

May 262015
 

Author: James Anderson
Hardcover: 288 pages
Published: February 15th 2015
By: Caravel Mystery Books
ISBN: 0912887109
ISBN13: 9780912887104

Summary

BEN JONES, the protagonist of James Anderson s haunting debut novel, The Never-Open Desert Diner (Caravel Books, February, 2015), is on the verge of losing his small trucking company. A single, thirty-eight-year-old truck driver, Ben s route takes him back and forth across one of the most desolate and beautiful regions of the Utah desert. The orphan son of a Native American father and a Jewish social worker, Ben is drawn into a love affair with a mysterious woman, Claire, who plays a cello in the model home of an abandoned housing development in the desert. Her appearance, seemingly out of nowhere, reignites a decades-old tragedy at a roadside café referred to by the locals as The Never-Open Desert Diner. The owner of the diner, Walt Butterfield, is an embittered and solitary old man who refuses to yield to change after his wife s death. Ben s daily deliveries along the atmospheric and evocative desert highway bring him into contact with an eccentric cast of characters that includes: John, an itinerant preacher who drags a life-sized cross along the blazing roadside; the Lacey brothers, Fergus and Duncan, who live in boxcars mounted on cinderblocks; and Ginny, a pregnant and homeless punk teenager whose survival skills make her an unlikely heroine. Ben s job as a truck driver is more than a career; it is a life he loves. As he faces bankruptcy and the possible loss of everything that matters to him, he finds himself at the heart of a horrific crime that was committed forty years earlier and now threatens to destroy the lives of those left in its wake. Ben discovers the desert is relentless in its grip, and what the desert wants, it takes. An unforgettable story of love and loss, Ben learns the enduring truth that some violent crimes renew themselves across generations. The Never-Open Desert Diner is a unique blend of literary mystery and noir fiction that evokes a strong sense of place. It is a story that holds the reader and refuses to let go and will linger long after the last page.

My Review

I *thought* I had reviewed this book but apparently I somehow forgot, which is a surprise because the book is a really great one! My dad is a truck driver so in some of the things I can relate simply by going to work with him when I was a kid. This book begins with a man who seems to be hiding in the desert, away from his feelings, we are then introduced to several other characters, all of whom have their own degree of mystery. The book is well written, a fun and easy read and one I am excited to keep on my shelf. I have an uncorrected proof that was sent to me in exchange for my honest review so I won’t go into detail in case edits were made. Overall five stars and a thumbs up!

About the Author

James Anderson was born in Seattle, Washington and raised in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. He received his undergraduate degree in American Studies from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and his Masters Degree in Creative Writing from Pine Manor College in Boston Massachusetts.

Undergraduate thesis: Word-man/Poet: The Poetry and Poetics of Lew Welch

Masters thesis: The Never-Entered Kingdom: Beyond Linguistics in the Rendering of the Literary Child in Adult Fiction

His first publication in a national magazine, a poem entitled Running It Down, occurred at age nineteen, in Poetry Northwest. The poem was later anthologized. His poems, short fiction, essays, reviews and interviews have appeared in Northwest Review, New Letters, The Bloomsbury Review, Solstice Magazine and many others.

In 1974, while still an undergraduate, Anderson founded Breitenbush Books, a book publisher specializing in literature and general interest trade titles. From 1974 to 1991 Anderson served as publisher and executive editor. Breitenbush received many awards for its books, including three Western States Book Awards, juried by Robert Penn Warren, Elizabeth Hardwick, N. Scott Momaday, Jonathan Galassi, Jorie Graham, Denise Levertov, William Kittredge and others. Notable authors published include Mary Barnard, Bruce Berger, Clyde Rice, Naomi Shihab Nye, Michael Simms, William Greenway, John Stoltenberg, Sam Hamill and Gary Miranda.

From 1995 to 2002 Anderson co-produced documentary films, including Tara’s Daughters, narrated by Susan Sarandon. The film, which won Best Documentary at the New York Film Festival, chronicled the plight of Tibetan women refugees as carriers of Tibetan culture in the diaspora.

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