Six Word Saturday

Life throws another curve ball…striiiiiiiike!

For those just joining my life adventure… the plan was to be here at home until after church tomorrow then head to my mom’s in Vallejo for a few days, then my in-laws in Bakersfield for the Fourth, then another few days at my mom’s while my DD stayed with my in-laws.  THEN, I realized that our church’s family camp out was the weekend following the Fourth, so I decided not to leave my DD at my in-laws and just stay at my mom’s until Wednesday of that week, come home and then go on the camping trip on Thursday through Sunday (first camping trip – more on that later).  THEN, yesterday, I tried calling my mom’s and the phone was busy.  A few hours later, my sister called and my mom was at her house.  It seems that her backyard caught on fire yesterday (!).  They have a wood gazebo that my dad built and a wood deck and the next door neighbors had a nice wooden deck as well.  I guess those burned.  The house seems okay – just a few melted siding pieces and some melted rubber around the back french doors, but there will be no electricity until Monday at the earliest and the insurance adjuster can’t come until Monday.  So, my sister got my mom yesterday and took her to her house thinking she would be able to go home today.  But, no luck there.  Now, she is going to my mom’s to pick up the necessary things for a few days away and I’m driving down to my sister’s to pick up my mom and bring her here for a few days.  Hopefully, her electricity will be back on by Monday and we’ll head back down there on Tuesday.  But, with this, we will probably skip the trip to Bakersfield (I’m sure my mom will be completely exhausted after this few days) and just stay at my mom’s until we leave to come back here before camping.  If the electricity is not back on, we may just head to the Bay and stay in hotel (insurance covered hopefully) so she can have hospice come there and bathe her and check on her.

Sigh…serious curve balls here folks.  Last week was pretty good overall thankfully, so I’m feeling ready to deal with this.

Always an adventure…

Five Minute Friday – Dream

I am once again participating in Five Minute Friday over at Kate Montaug’s blog.  If you are looking for an incredibly supportive writing community and weekly prompt, this is a great one!  Enjoy!

Five-Minute-Friday-4-300x300

DREAM…

This is a word that has positive connotations in a lot of ways.  Dreaming big is definitely something that is culturally encouraged.  But, I also feel like it sometimes has some negatives that come along with it.  Dreams are always a suspension of reality and sometimes we set ourselves up for failure and instead of being happy with what we have and living a life that is full of satisfaction, we are constantly reaching for something more or falling short of what we “dreamed” our lives would be.

I am starting to realize that it is good to wake ourselves up sometimes, not in a harsh way (like a cold glass of water in the face), but in a nice way.  A positive way.  Where we wake up and appreciate the actual sunlight that is filtering in the blinds.  Where we appreciate our spouse next to us who may not be making us breakfast in bed but is more than willing to make a run to the coffee shop for us if we need it.  Where we see our children in all their glory, rather than wanting something different from them.  Where we appreciate the roof over our heads and our lived in homes where toys and dirty dishes are a sign of having enough, maybe even too much.  Where we look around our communities and find love and support, not envy and wanting.

I have had a good week.  I realize that I get as much out of volunteering at Vacation Bible School each year as my daughter does from attending.  I am reminded of how many blessings I have and my dreams become a little closer to my reality.

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So – will you join us?  Come on over to this week’s Five Minute Friday and add your link!

Tuesday Truth

The truth is out there…this much I know, thanks to X-Files.

Tuesday Truth

Today is relatively relaxing day.  I volunteered at Vacation Bible School this morning (in the nursery, which is really pretty easy), had a meeting with a colleague over coffee for the hour before DD was done at VBS and then we came home.  She ate lunch and then the neighbor kids came over and they’ve been playing ever since.  So, I’ve been playing catch up on email, housework and other stuff.  But, I’m feeling like I SHOULD be doing something more.  I guess that is my own problem.

My first truth today is that having a neighborhood full of kids is both good and bad.  Good in the way that its happening today – they allow my DD to stay entertained without me having to work at it.  Bad in the way that it happened yesterday – a load of kids come over, eat my snack food, drink my apple juice boxes and make a mess of my DD’s room and then leave.  So, today they “pinky swore” (my DD’s words) that they would help clean up whatever mess they made.  And they’ve only asked for water so far.  I love knowing where my DD is and being a host to other kids, but sometimes it can be too much. Yesterday was one of those days.  Today is better.  So far.  It could still get worse though.  We’ll see.

Second truth, my husband was right.  I am an old lady in my television viewing.  I’ve mentioned before about my Murder She Wrote obsession.  I also love Matlock and Diagnosis Murder (thank you Hallmark Channels).  At my mom’s recently, I rediscovered The Love BoatGolden Girls.  I love them all.  I try to watch newer television, but it just doesn’t have the same appeal to me (although, I am DVRing Aquarius because of my love of X-Files and David Duchovny, despite the whole sex addict thing – I am hoping I like it).  So, yeah, my TV viewing would totally work in a retirement home.  Oh well.  I’ll live with it.

The last truth is that summers here are hot!  We’ve been lucky so far but this week we’re going to hit over 100 and a little north of us it is predicted to hit 111!  Ugh.  Today was only 98 and it was hot enough.  Tomorrow at VBS is water day, so my DD will be cooling off in the park during the a.m.  She had a bit of a meltdown tonight, so we talked about taking rests in the afternoon and coming in earlier at night.  Hopefully, it sticks.  It is hard to be six and want to hang with the other kids in the neighborhood.  But, I’m pretty sure none of them get up at 6:30 – 7:00 a.m., which is what she does, so she is fully exhausted a little earlier than they are (although, I’m pretty sure the other 6 yo was also pretty exhausted by 8 p.m. when I made her come in – he was in a mood).  So, we’ll try again tomorrow.  I want her to learn WHY I want her to do things, so this seemed like a safe way to learn a lesson.  Hopefully, it was learned.  We were supposed to go see Inside, Out today with a friend and her daughter, but her daughter has 103 fever and cough, so that was a no go.  Hoping her daughter gets to feeling better soon. Nothing worse than being sick in the summer time!

That’s it – what are your truths on this Tuesday?

Minimalism Monday – Getting rid of “stuff”

I’ve decided to start a new Monday focus – minimalism.  I am really serious about making my life simpler and minimalism (at least a slight amount of minimalism) seems to get me everything I really need.  Spend less, less “stuff”, less on my to-do list, more focus on family and well-being.  So, this first post is going to focus on the WHY of it all.

Simplicity - Longfellow

 I think the biggest reason I feel the need to simplify is that I am completely and totally overwhelmed.  My life is OVERSTUFFED!  My home is OVERSTUFFED.  I have stuff piled up everywhere.  And every time I clear off a surface, it is suddenly full of more and different STUFF.  I am disorganized.  My life is chaos.  I just read, “Defending the Family Routine” on Motherlode and I realize that we have zero routine.  I have a family schedule hanging on our wall from the latter part of the school year and I can count the times we stuck to the whole thing on one hand.  Sigh…

So, I’m really trying to “hit reset” on my life – this article over at Elephant Journal could have been written by me.  My key wake up call from it came in these words:

How you do anything, is how you do everything.

If your house is a disorganized mess, so then likely is your life. If your storage area is filled with boxes stuffed with your past, then you are probably also physically holding on to those emotions and wounds too.

If you are ignoring financial obligations, playing the role of the ostrich in your reality, most likely you are shortchanging yourself from prosperity in more than just your bank account.

If your calendar is so very full you have to check it just to see if you have time to make a phone call to a friend, there’s very good chance you are also experiencing adrenal fatigue.

If you consistently ignore the fundamental chores and repairs in your home, then you’re probably also not meeting your basic emotional needs. Just like the clogged bathroom sink you’ve avoided dealing with for a month, your emotions are likely starting to back up, and eventually, they too will flood.

Look around, see what’s in front of you, examine your household habits, then ask yourself— where else does that show up in my life?

The answer to that is EVERYWHERE!  At least that is what I feel like right now.  I am physically holding on to emotions and wounds from the past.  I am shortchanging myself from prosperity in multiple places in my life.  I am almost fearful of success.  I am probably suffering from adrenal fatigue.  Especially during the school year.  And I do have emotions that are backing up…have been backing up for multiple years.  It is the reason I can’t bring myself to watch movies or read books that have sadness in them – I feel like I may start crying and never, ever stop.  I feel like I have so much fear and anxiety that I mask on a daily basis that if I were to ever let it go free it might never stop flowing out of me.

That last paragraph makes me sound like I’m on the edge of a breakdown.  But, I don’t think I am.  I think I’m pretty strong.  I think I’m pretty capable of holding it all together even when everything is falling apart.  I’ve proven that.  But, I also think that holding it together has become tiresome and overwhelming.  So, I’m going to follow the article’s advice…some of it seems a little mystical/new age for me, but I feel like I’ve skipped number one and two (the acknowledgement of the past pains and the “setting it on fire”) and gone to number three – the clean and polish – but, I still need to acknowledge and release.

The remainder I will do, but in a more biblical way I think.  The saying “Let go and Let God.” comes to mind.  And settling into God’s grace and plan for me seems a little more of a relief than trying to hold it together myself.

Well, that turned out to be a little more of a serious post than I first planned.  But, it feels good to get that out.  Release.  Acknowledge.  Let it Go.  Move on.

 

Stray Thoughts Sunday

Today’s thoughts are straying toward sadness, so I’m going to try to focus on positive, hopeful and fun things.  Why sad?  Well, there is the world at large where a bitter and evil person chose to take the lives of nine people at a prayer meeting because of some deranged hatred.  There is my smaller world where my husband will be gone for seven weeks and we’ll miss being with him on Father’s Day (and I didn’t plan ahead to have something where he will be) as well as missing my dad who passed away a little over a year ago.  I am also still feeling a bit overwhelmed with my life in general…trying to clean up and declutter seems more like a cycle of clean, pile up, clean, pile up, clean, pile up, take some stuff away.  Repeat.  I don’t feel much progress right now, but I’m sure I will get there.  Bit by bit.  Anyways – on to my stray thoughts this Sunday:

Stray Thought Sundays

First off, I have not been overly invested in the Rachel Dolezal story and I have various opinions about the situation and I’m sure none of us who are outside her personal social circle and personal history have a complete understanding, but I can definitely get behind this perspective shared in the Boston Globe’s “Rachel Dolezal a lesson in how racism works,” :

Finally, it is troubling that so many of us now know the name and story of Rachel Dolezal, a white woman who passed as black advocate, rather than the names of countless black women who occupy the front lines in the war against racism. Dolezal is a national phenomenon, but Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, the activists who started the Black Lives Matter campaign, are scarcely recognized. Dolezal’s peculiar and sensational fall from grace have made her more recognizable than Rekia Boyd and Natasha McKenna, two black women among many who were killed by police with little national attention. Uncovering the truth about Dolezal is no substitute for speaking the names and telling the stories of true martyrs and warriors in the battle for social justice.

As a debate coach and appreciator of argument, I am loving the articles focused on argument, like this one: “This is why you will lose your argument.”  Unfortunately, I don’t think most people will go to the trouble to really force the issue of relevance and “point at issue,” and will instead settle for poorly focused discussions that get us no closer to truth or conclusive claims.  Sad, but true.

I am (still) loving Modern Mrs. Darcy  I started reading this blog quite a while ago when in one of my “I’m a reader.” phases where I figure if I follow blogs of people who read a lot perhaps I will be encouraged to read more.  I’ve given up on a lot of those blogs since then, but this is one that survived even once I realized that reading a bunch of book reviews did not actually make me read more myself (maybe I should have spent that time reading actual books).  She is funny, a great and honest critic and writes about so much more than just books.  Plus, I love the name of her blog and all the design work on the blog.  If you are a reader, lover of books or just like to read posts from someone who is a reader and lover of books, this blog is for you.

Those are some of my stray thoughts for this Sunday.  What about you?

Six Word Saturday

And so it begins…officially summer.

I know that I’ve talked a lot about summer already but today is what I consider to be my PERSONAL start of summer.  We dropped my husband off at the airport in Reno this morning and he will be in Michigan for seven weeks working a summer camp.  So, I’m officially on my own.  Which is what the summer is usually about for me (since this is his 15th year working the camp – not always seven weeks, but almost always).  In a way, it is a productive time for me, especially when my DD has activities going on.  But, this summer is going to be a bit different.  Since my mom is having to figure out new caregivers (what a long, strange trip this has been) or hopefully will be moving into an Assisted Living facility later in July and I’m trying to help out by saving her some money by staying with her BUT my DD goes a bit stir crazy at my mom’s after a few days (rightfully so – it is hard to do much of anything while staying with her because she can’t walk well anymore and gets tired very easily), I’m trying something over the next few weeks.  So, here is my schedule:

This coming week, we’re doing Vacation Bible Experience at our church.  I say “we” because I volunteer.  It has been, by far, my DD’s favorite week of the summer for the past two summers.  Hopefully that holds up this year.

Then, a week from tomorrow, we will head to my mom’s house to stay with her as it is her caregiver’s last day (she is traveling for the rest of summer and then concentrating on Real Estate selling when she returns).  We are going to stay there that week and then head for Bakersfield that Friday.  My SIL is hosting a Fourth of July BBQ and pool party at her house and we’ll stay the night in a hotel on Friday, hang out with my in-laws on Saturday, go to the party on Saturday night, stay in the hotel again on Saturday, hang out a bit more with my in-laws and then head home WITHOUT my DD.  I’m going to leave her there for that week to hang out with her baby cousin and her Gigi and Papa and Aunt and Uncle!  She seems super excited about it and it will give me a chance to be at my mom’s for another week without the DD guilt.  :)  We’ll go and pick her up the following Friday and possibly stay another night there if my mom feels up to it.

So, we’ll see how all this works out.  That saying about the “best laid plans” is definitely forefront in my mind right now, but I’m going to go ahead and go for it.  Wish me luck!

 

Book Review: Booker: Hate City

I received a copy of the book Booker: Hate City from Beck Valley Books in return for doing this review as part of the virtual book tour.  All of the opinions are my own.

From the moment Booker: Hate City by John W, Mefford opens, you know it is going to be a messy ride:

“He was afraid to look in the mirror.

Heaving breaths surged from his lungs, as bile dripped off the corners of his mouth. Squeezing his eyelids shut, his heart fluttered with a drumroll cadence. Searing heat poured out of his chest like molten lava.”

With that opening, we are pulled into the world of Booker Adams, a former Dallas police officer with some skeletons in his closet, who is now working as a PI. There are numerous references in the book that I imagine are being made to the previous titles, Booker: Streets of Mayhem and Booker: Tap That. But, I definitely do not think it is necessary to read the former titles to enjoy this third in the series. I was able to enjoy it, but would like to go back and read the two prior volumes to fill in those details.

The book has a few different plot lines working throughout. Being a conspiracy theory fan, I loved the setting of the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, TX, a place I’ve actually visited. For those unfamiliar, the Sixth Floor Museum is dedicated to the John F. Kennedy assassination and is housed in what was once the Book Depository where Oswald was working at the time. The opening scene has Booker standing in the window where the Oswald had positioned himself to take the shot. This setting and the story line of stolen items from the museum definitely piqued my interest early on in the book. In addition to this plot line, there is a grisly killing of a CEO of an energy company that is doing fracking – a nice tip of the hat to a current event to balance against the historical event of Kennedy’s assassination. But, is there a connection between the two cases? That, my friends, is part of the book’s appeal. You just aren’t quite sure what is coming next throughout.

Booker is a very likable character. He has charm, but not too much of it. He is honest, but as I said before, has some skeletons in his closet. He has a sense of humor that comes across in both dialogue and what we know of his thoughts. The character development is excellent for such a short book. I feel like I get to know the characters quickly, but without them being left too shallow. If you’re someone who loves a thriller-type mystery, you’ll like this book. If you’re someone who likes a conspiracy theory thriller, you’ll like this book. There is a lot of different things that are appealing about the book and I think it makes it attractive to a broad audience. Being someone who likes mystery, thriller AND conspiracy theories, the book was a home run for me as a reader.

The tension that builds as the story unfolds chapter by chapter, introducing new characters, new settings, but without giving too much in the way of explanation of the mystery provides great motivation to continue reading. I loved the unfolding, rather than straight forward telling, of the story.   And I found myself driven to continue reading to reveal the next piece of the story and to get to know the characters just a little bit better.

Overall, this book is a short, fun and tension-filled read. I look forward to going back and reading the other two volumes in the series to fill in some details that were left a little fuzzy for me in this third installment. But, I definitely enjoyed the book without having read the first two volumes.

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Now, the information about the book, previous titles and the author:

NEW RELEASE….

After a life filled with destruction of others and himself, and his body ravaged by disease, there’s only one thing left for Javier Calero to do. Leave a legacy that will finally bring meaning to his life—and to the death of an American president more than fifty years ago.

The CEO of a green energy company is murdered behind his million-dollar estate, his neck nearly severed in two. Recruited to aid the widow and find a savage killer, Booker finds himself in the middle of a family train wreck.

Days later, thrust into the crossfire of a deadly sniper, Booker eludes sure death with the uncanny arrival of a young woman who only wants to save her father from harm. But she can’t do it without Booker’s help.

Joining forces with a Latin spitfire, Booker and his new sidekick, Maggie, embark on a twenty-four-hour quest to hunt down a killer determined to make an indelible mark on history—just like the one that struck down John F. Kennedy a half-century earlier, which launched a cascade of assassination investigations and theories.

BOOKER – Hate City weaves a historic tale of thrills and suspense, examining the justifications of the unjustifiable.

Book available from…

Amazon.com    Amazon.co.uk   Barnes and Noble   iTunes   Kobo   

Check out the other books in the series

Booker: Streets of Mayhem (Booker #1)On a cool October afternoon, the majestic blue sky above Dallas is polluted with swells of gray smoke, carrying shattered memories of fifteen people, mostly children, who’ve just been killed by an explosion on a bus.

A white supremacist group claims responsibility, opening old wounds, turning neighbor against neighbor–fracturing the community.

A Southeast Dallas native, Booker T. Adams couldn’t be more invested in the city…in the people he’d served for the last seven years as a beat cop for the Dallas Police Department. Without warning, it becomes personal for Booker on so many levels. And as panic grips the city, he must decide how much he’s willing to sacrifice to end the chaos.

With his career called into question and his family in the crosshairs of one terrorist act after another, Booker invests every fiber of his being to protect a broken community, and to stop the brutal, senseless slayings.

If he fails, terrorism will reign in the city of Dallas.

Book available from…

Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Barnes and Noble   iTunes   Kobo

Booker: Tap That (Booker #2)

A performance for the ages.

Courtney Johnson brings the house down in the heart of the vibrant Dallas Arts District. Later, shrills pierce the hallways of Wyle Theater when Courtney, a budding Broadway musical star, is found dead, a single bullet to the head.

Driven to find the killer before panic tears apart the arts community and all those who support it, private investigator Booker T. Adams discovers evidence of a professional hit, then uncovers a lovers ‘ triangle that takes him all the way to the mean streets of Boston.

And then it happens again. Another performer killed, someone Booker had met. Rocked by the shocking murders, performers and patrons alike fear that a serial killer is on the loose, and no one knows when and or where another dead body will show up.

But professional obligations quickly morph into personal vendettas. Running against an unforgiving clock, Booker is forced to solicit the help of a crime boss, The Shark.

With his life threatened at almost every turn, and his heart being put through a meat grinder, Booker taps into every resource at his disposal to stop more than just a killer.

But at what price?

Full of unforgettable characters, bone-chilling suspense and stunning thrills, BOOKER – Tap That is a wild ride that will test even the most fervent reader’s quest for a luminous reading experience.

Book available from…

Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Barnes and Noble   iTunes   Kobo

About the Author

A veteran of the corporate wars, former journalist, and true studier of human and social behavior, best-selling author John W. Mefford has been writing novels since he first entered the work force twenty-five years ago, although he never put words on paper until late 2009.

John writes novels full of intrigue, suspense, and thrills, but they also evoke an emotional connection with the characters.

When he’s not writing, he chases three kids around, slaves away in the yard, reads, takes in as many sports as time allows, watches all sorts of movies, and continues to make mental notes of people and societies across the land.

John lives in Frisco, Texas with his beautiful wife, three opinionated kids, and a feisty fat cat who rules the world.

Find the author on the following sites…

Website   Facebook   Twitter   Google+   Goodreads

Follow the book tour

I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.

NOW FOR THE AUTHOR’S GIVEAWAY

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