If you've decided this is the year you're going to read more books, Girlxoxo has you covered with a master list of the 2019 reading challenges. Any challenge you can think of, this list has it, including one that we all probably need to use: Beat the Backlist which encourages us to read all the books we've already purchased but haven't yet opened. Our shelves would thank us.
This Master list has something for everyone, no matter what type of challenge you're up to this year! So go ahead and take a look and pick your challenge. It's never too late to start reading more!
A Facebook friend recently posted about thinking about mortality. She asked if others thought about it and how they dealt with those thoughts. The responses varied from those who didn't dwell on it to those who gave it a passing thought every now and again.
I lost a good friend on December 10th, who was only 54. Her death hit me really hard, and I'll admit I started thinking about the brevity of life. Regardless of how long someone lives, it seems like the time goes by so fast. And while I don't dwell on the future or life that will take place after I'm gone, I do have moments of "Wow. One day I'm not going to be here." I think everyone does, and Mark Tyrell, a psychotherapist, advises us to "not try to not think about it." In other words, don't try to put it out of your mind if the thought arises.
But you can't let what the future holds keep you from living, either. I'll admit that, as a Christian, it helps knowing where I'm going, but I still try to live each moment of each day to the fullest. I want to leave a legacy behind, to matter, in essence. Don't we all? It might be easier said than done, but I believe that dwelling on life instead of death can help us live a better life.
Do you think about the end of your life? What helps you when the thoughts come?
For Christmas, I received a book with 300 writing prompts. One of the questions was if television was a complete waste of time or is beneficial in some way by providing enrichment and relaxation. I do watch TV to relax and to be entertained, but I also watch it to be educated, especially historical programs, cooking shows, and design shows.
Watching TV allows my brain to stop focusing on the work that's still left to be done and any problems of the day. For however long I choose to watch, I can tune out the world. That kind of relaxation is important because you can't be "on" 24/7.
Keith Rhys, who works with health professionals to help them become online authorities, says that watching TV can help you change your perspective and inspire creativity. He has gotten blog post ideas from watching television as have I. Inspiration is essential for writers, especially when we might be going through a bit of a slump.
Of course, moderation matters. If you're zoning out in front of the television for several hours a day, that might not be a good thing. LIfeadvancer.com says that, according to a 2015 study by JAMA Psychiatry, people who watched more than three hours of TV a day performed worse on cognitive tests than those who didn't watch as much. And we all know that sitting in front of the box for too long isn't good for you physically. So restricting how much you watch can also be a good thing.
What's your take on watching television?
I'm choosing topics from various blog challenges this year, and the first one that really spoke to me was: If you could rid the world of one thing, what would it be?
I had so many answers for this one. Things like hate, greed, homelessness, and hunger. Any one of these would work as I agree that they all shouldn't be a part of our world. But I think the one thing I would love to get rid of in this world is partisanship in politics.
I know it's unrealistic because everyone likes to choose sides, but if we could ever get to the point where a side isn't trying to win, if there were no Democrats or Republicans, just Americans, this world...our world...might be a better place. I'm sure other countries could reap the same benefit if parties didn't represent the people.
I mean, think about it. If our political world was a mixed blend of people who disagree on issues and they weren't backed by a party, they would have no choice but to work together. If, instead of parties against one another, we had Americans working together for a common good, imagine what could be done for this country! There would be less name-calling like "libtards" and "repugnants" in our vocabulary. We'd have to make compromises on every issue.
Maybe this is pie-in-the-sky and I'm not seeing things clearly. It's possible, but this is the one thing I'd choose to erase from the world.
Every year I set goals rather than resolutions. Goals give me something to work toward while resolutions can be a bit intimidating, especially if you vow to do something every day and end up missing a day. So I set small goals, medium-sized goals, and big goals. I usually try to get the small goals out of the way first and slowly work my way up to the big ones, depending on what they are.
Years ago, when I first started writing goals, I would set deadlines to have my books published. Well, we know that's not always in our control so I changed it to getting the book finished or sending the book to the publisher. Those were goals I could control.
I encourage you to choose five REALLY BIG goals that will change your life like finish your first manuscript, enroll in college, or take the trip to Spain, if you can. Big goals should be big for a reason; they should make you have to push yourself to achieve them. And it really helps to use a planner to keep track of these as you can write each week what you've done to work toward that goal!
Happy setting, and welcome to 2019!
Keeping track of what has happened each year is important to me because I can look back to see where I've been, what I've done, and how I've changed. I can also see things that need to be improved and changes I need to make. So, without further ado, here is my year in review.
It's never easy to say goodbye, whether it's just for a few months or for longer. The people we love in our lives leave an impact on our hearts. They've made our world a better place, and even though we may disagree with them, ultimately, we are tethered by a connection forged in similarities.
I met Rene Manning Wilson online in 2006, and we became fast friends even though we lived over 500 miles apart and only got to see each other once or twice a year. But we talked on the phone for hours on end several times a week when possible, sometimes chatting into the early morning hours. We made each other laugh and no topic was off-limits even if we disagreed.
The first time I met Rene in person was the same day her mother passed away. I'd flown to Missouri to meet her, knowing her mother was extremely ill. I asked Rene if I should wait, but she wanted me to come. So I did, arriving about eight hours before she lost her mother. That first meeting cemented our relationship. You don't walk beside someone through pain and come out without a connection.
Over the years, I became a part of Rene's family. I felt as comfortable at her house as I did in my own. And Rene and her family came to see me as often as they could, experiencing some firsts here in Charleston like walking on the beach. I welcomed Rene's sister, Shelley, her nephews, and her daughter into my home, loving their unique perspective on life.
Rene spent all of her life in the little town where she was born, East Prairie, Missouri, which has a population of about 3,000 people. I've spent most of my life in big cities, most in excess of 500,000 people. Rene had experienced some things I never would like having a child while I ventured outside the country, something I couldn't pay her money to do. We could not have been more different from one another. But we loved one another despite those differences.
On December 10th, Rene passed away at her home. The call from her sister came as a shock, and I don't know when or if I'll fully recover. It was much like the call Rene made to me when her daughter, Alexis passed away at the young age of thirty-one in 2017. Rene's heart broke, but she tried to make the most of life without her only child. But those of us who loved her knew she desperately missed her beloved Lexi.
That is the only thing that makes Rene's passing a little more tenable. She didn't walk into Heaven alone. Her daughter was there, hand outstretched, to welcome her mother into her new life. And Rene was reunited with the child who owned her heart.
While we who are behind miss her and grieve for her, we also rejoice that she has found happiness once again, and we know that when our time comes, it will be Rene's hand reaching out to us to say "welcome home."
With all the Christmas shopping and visiting I'll be doing over the next month, today, I am so grateful for comfortable shoes!
I have had four surgeries on one foot, and it took quite a while for me to find a pair that did not bother the scars. Once I did, I stuck to that brand. Your feet take a lot of abuse so it's important to treat them well. If only I'd learned that sooner...
Today is the last day of my 30 days of gratitude. I hope you've enjoyed this past month! Stay tuned for another thirty days around the corner!
Today, I'm grateful for pets, well, one. My cat, Temperance. I call her Tempee, and yes, she is named after the main character Dr. Temperance Brennan from the television show Bones.
Years ago, after my last cat died, I swore I would never have another animal, but in 2013, something drew me to the animal shelter. I went in to just look at the cats, but when the volunteer took Tempee out of her cage, and her little head flopped on my shoulder, I knew I was a goner. She came home with me that day. I haven't regretted one day since adopting her.
She loves to sleep next to me, comes when I call her, and bumps her head against my hand when she wants to be scratched. She kisses me goodnight by licking my cheek, meows at me when she wants my attention, and stands on her back paws to attempt to turn a door knob when she's locked out of a room. Overall, she makes my life better.
Today is Small Business Saturday, a day when local business try to draw shoppers into their smaller stores for Christmas purchases. And because I'm grateful for each small business that struggles to keep its head afloat in the face of the retail giants, I always make it a point to go shopping on Small Business Saturday. Those businesses count on customers like me to prevent them from being overtaken by vast commercialism. It might not be much, but I will always do my part to help those trying to support themselves!
My thoughts, experiences, challenges, and goals. Right here. At least once a week or so. Oh, and opinions, too. Those will definitely come in. Join me!