Push

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Dear 2017,

My word this year is ‘Push’.  You will hear this single word when you try to slow me down.  I will push back if you try to trip me up.  I will push to stand up if you try to knock down.  I will push a little harder if I feel I am out of fight.

I.  Will.  Push.

I’ve worked hard the last two years.  2015 was my doorway.  2016 brought me beauty.  I have put so many things in place.  2017 will be when I will push to cross off the big items from my list.  It will be the year I push the boundaries.  It will be the year I push myself to overcome challenges.  It will be my year to push.

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Bloggy Book Review

While doing research in January, I read many books on blogging.  Here is a review of some of those books…

The Digital Mom Handbook – by Audrey McClelland and Colleen Padilla
This was a very easy read.  I managed to get halfway through in one evening, even with the kids home.  There seemed to be more hype added to the beginning of the book than was needed, and I suspect that this was needed because they just needed to make it seem longer.
This book is for absolute beginners.  Published in 2011, it talks about Facebook and Twitter as though they were rather new things, and even explains how you can set up a Facebook page.
Centered on “Mom blogs”, this book offered little for those wanting something different, other than how to advertise said blog.  It mentions little about the actual content of the blog.  There’s even a section about balancing your family life with your sudden successful blogging life, as thought it might be just that… sudden.
Honestly, I feel like this was just a money grab for the authors, offering up just the bare minimum of advice, way too many ‘see how easy it is’ tidbits from other mom bloggers, while keeping the real trade secrets and struggles to themselves.  I barely read, only skimmed the second half.  Got few ideas, but mostly on marketing myself.
WordPress for DummiesLisa Sabin-Wilson
I had high hopes for this book as I’ve read many ‘Dummy’ books, most of which were very helpful.  (Does that make me a dummy in multiple subjects or an anti – dummy because I read them?)  Touches on hosted and self hosting WordPress as well as the (bare) basics of html coding, but more of as explanation of what the user is seeing on the screen than a ‘how to’ section, and then a large section on themes.  Over all decent beginners technical manual.  (For those interested in HTML, there’s a Dummies book for that too.)

Blogging for Writers – Robin Houghton For those of you who even have the foggiest idea of how to set up a blog on either Blogger or WordPress,  skip to Chapter 5.  This is where the actually writing info starts.  It offers suggestions on the actual post content itself, style, images and resources.  This one centered less on money, and more on just being known as a writer, and offered the most suggestions on how to get your blog out there and seen.

How to Blog a Book – Nina Amir
If you know anything about blogging, skip chapter on one.  I can sum it up in two sentences.   People get book deals based on their blogs.  Anyone can have a blog.
The remainder of the book seemed to be a bit down on the ‘book publishing’ industry.  Chapter 9 had some interesting insights into the biz and how little money there is in the actual publishing  of a book, and how multiple streams of income will be needed in order to work full-time as a writer.  Interesting.
Over all, I found the book repeated itself a lot, going over the same points chapter to chapter.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

I actually finished this book last month, but it has stuck with me and inspired me till this day, that I feel I need to honour it with its own review.

I fell upon this book through the Todoist blog and borrowed it from my local library that night.

At first, I’m not going to lie, I thought it was fluff and a silly self-help book.  Gretchen is a full-time writer, has more time, resources, and it would seem money, to throw at her project than I would, but it is still none the less inspiring.  I will not be going full-scale like she did, but I did write my own 10 Commandments list, and feel this book lead to my epiphany to do what I want, and write.   The lesson she learned on earning gold stars is something I myself am working on and can see in others more now.  I will reread again to gain another dose of inspiration and happiness injection and recommend this book to those who feel like they’ve lost something, but can’t quite put their finger on it.

Kathy Reichs – Bare Bones Book Review

Bare Bones by Kathy Reichs
There are two things I would like you to keep in mind while reading this review.
This is the first book I’ve read not only in the ‘Bones’ series, but also by Kathy Reichs.  Yes, I know its not the first book in the series.  Yes, I know I probably should have started at the beginning of series, especially since it seems to refer to fleeting images I can only imagine are from previous books in the series.  But I don’t like being told where to go.
Secondly, I have watched pretty much all of the TV series which was inspired by this book series.  And while I am acutely aware that the book and its screen version are never the same, it was hard to adjust from the TV version of the Tempe Brennan to the book version.
I like when books start immediatly with action, instead of a slow winding, and with a dead body right off the hop, my interest was peaked right away.  Sadly it didnt stay there.
Written in the first person, I had a hard time grasping the personality of this woman.  In certain ways she seemed overly clinical and annoyed me with phrases like ‘memory cells… expand the image…’  But her interior monolgue seemed to be sensitive.  The narrative voice is choppy and abrupt.  I can’t say whether this is to add to the character of Tempe Brennan or of the author of herself.
Perhaps it was done in previous books, and Kathy expected it to carry forward for the remainder of the series, however I found the character development seems rather linear with characters that seem to play a significant role to the plot.  What’s the deal with Ryan?  Is he a boy toy? Is she the one being used? Are the a couple?
I felt the story was a bit researched to death.  I get that information that is needed to help the plot progress move along must to be presented in to the reader somehow… but I find it hard to believe that Dr. Brennan wouldn’t know about Diatoms.  Seriously?
The ending was the biggest let down for me.  The action gets good, Brennan escapes from a near death experience, the mystery is unravelled, only to have the cop she doesn’t even like put the pieces together for her while she’s in the hospital.  And then that Ryan guy appears again, goes to a beach with her, fills her in on how the whole kerfuffle unfolded… and she rants about endangered species.   The end.
It wasn’t terrible, and I did read through it fairly quickly.   But I’m not sure I’ll be reaching for another dose right away…  Maybe next month.

To the 2014 me…

old journal
old journal
Dear Amanda,
As you head into 2014, I’d like to give you a bit of heads up of what is to come.
January is filled with a creeping desperation that will make you suddenly wake and sit straight up in bed.  Your plan B won’t work out and even though you find a foothold, it doesn’t lead where you thought it would.
February and March turns you around and forces you to head back the opposite direction you want to go.  Put on a brave smile.  It gets better and the lesson is coming.  Sleep whenever you can.  You’ll be tired.
In April you’re going to drink so much that you nearly fall down a flight of stairs, black out and puke.  A lot.   Do not repeat.
May and June bring more job loss, an old monster will make another appearance and secrets will be told.  The house will be quiet.  Secrets will be reoccurring theme for the rest of your year.  Listen close and you’ll pick them up.
July brings a surprise wedding and more secrets.  Smile.  The credit is going to be stolen from you, but it’s ok.  Pay attention and you’ll see someone needed it more than you.
August is full of loose threads and each one you pull only leads to more confusion.   I wish I could tell you that the light at the end of the tunnel was coming but I can’t.   You’re just going to have to shine it on a bit longer.  Ok… a lot longer.  Go get a tattoo.
September gives you a few days of freedom, which reminds you that you are an individual.  It doesn’t solve anything, but being reminded that you are in fact still standing is just as good.  Go get another tattoo.
October brings the lesson I foretold in February.  You are good at what you do.  You have strengths that are not utilized.  You have talent.  You are creative.  You needed to start back at the beginning to see this.
November brings more bad news; foreboding, clinging, heavy news.  It’s not going to be ok this time.  Be strong.  Slow down.  Shut up.
In December, you’ll come across a small thing and it will shape and motivate you.  It hasn’t solved anything yet, but it did turn the spotlight onto things you don’t want to see.  It will force you to recommit to yourself, and see the destruction before you.  Stress arrives with baggage this month, and you’ll hear more secrets.  Keep Visine in your purse.  Breath deep till the tears stop.
You will make it through this year, and you will be scarred and bruised.  This year will feel as though it has lasted ten.  It’s a long journey, and even though you still won’t have all the answers by the end of the year, you will at least have a plan.  You will have perspective.  You will learn more about yourself.  You will begin to create what you have destroyed.