What I Read: March 2019

Image from Amazon.com

A Lily in the Light was a book I got from Amazon First Reads. It’s about a little sister that disappears and the family that is left behind. The main character, Esme, was 11 when her four-year-old sister disappeared. Esme was a promising ballerina, and her parents became depressed and almost unable to cope, so her ballet teacher offered to take her in. Esme auditions to go to a private boarding school for dancers and wins a full ride scholarship. The book then fast forwards to when Esme is 19, dancing in Paris. They found a girl that could be her missing sister, and she’s alive.
This book was better than I expected. It did a really great job of showing someone grappling with guilt over such a great loss. It highlights Esme’s depression and her reasons behind different actions. I’m definitely glad I chose it.

Image from Goodreads.com

This is another book I got from Book of the Month. They have really been able to deliver in their selections and I definitely recommend trying it out if you’ve been curious.
The story follows Hen, an artist, and her husband right after they move into a new house in the suburbs. Hen is bipolar and has a history of episodes where she becomes obsessed with different murder cases. Her last episode came right after their neighbor on their old street was murdered. It was made to look like a robbery, but the victim’s fencing trophy was also stolen. The killer was never caught.
Hen’s new next door neighbors invite them over for dinner and she sees a fencing trophy just like the missing one sitting on the neighbor’s mantel. Hen then becomes convinced that her neighbor is a serial killer, but with her previous history, who would believe her accusations?
This book had so many twists and turns and I loved every minute of it. The author perfectly captured what it’s like to suffer from mental illness. I especially loved the twist at the end. I won’t spoil it though.

Image from Amazon.com

I’ve been wanting to read this book since it came out because I had heard good things about it. I had been reading a lot of murder and dark stories, so I decided to try something else. I picked it up at the local library and almost didn’t put it down. It reminded me why I want to be a therapist. It reminded me why I want to help people tell their stories.
The story is about Greer Kadetsky and her discovery of feminism. She is sucked in by Faith Frank in college and wants nothing more than to change lives for the better in the name of feminism. The book also tells the story from the point of view of several different characters.
There is so much growth and change in each character. It was so realistic. I should go to the library more often.

Do What You Like

I spend far too much time thinking about writing and then never following through. I still have the mind of a writer, but my actions would say otherwise. I have started some cool things, but I haven’t decided what to do with them yet, so they’re still just sitting there.

Remember being a kid and having hobbies and interests, some of which matched those around you, and some of which were your own? For example, a lot of little girls love horses, but not all do. Some little girls loved dinosaurs. Some girls still do. Kids play with dolls and hotwheels and beanie babies and make up pretend worlds. Kids collect things.
But then we come to a point when the opinions of our peers matter more. For some, that’s middle school. For some that is high school. If a person has an interest that is not popular and maybe too nerdy, they get made fun of. And of a lot of people stop liking things because their friends tell them it is lame.
So I’m gonna say this: It’s not lame.

When you reach your twenties, loving Disney is cool again. Having quirky decor is trendy, like having trinkets and lamps shaped like your favorite animal. I think a lot of us would be a lot happier if we didn’t let our peers make us feel bad about our nerdy designs.

Recently, my boyfriend and I started embracing our nerdiness again. He had been talking about buy pokemon decks with a friend of ours so they could battle. But we’re moving and there has been a lot going on everywhere, so they hadn’t done it yet. One day I came home and told Bobby I would be willing to go buy decks with him and play. And we have been sucked in completely.
Did you know there are huge tournaments where people can win money? Just through strategy? It’s so crazy and weird. But we’re having fun.
Because we both liked pokemon as kids. But everyone reaches that age where things become not cool anymore, even if they don’t lose interest. I wish we had held onto that interest.

Do what you like. Do things that make you happy, even if they’re nerdy or weird or unpopular. Happiness should trump all.

Books I read in February 2019

February was filled with new distractions, so I only read three books, but I’m still reaching my goal to read more this year.

These are the books I read last month:

Image from Amazon.com

In January I wrote a post about Marie Kondo’s show Tidying Up on Netflix. I mentioned that I had wanted to read her book for a while. My dad saw that post and bought me the book. I have a pretty cool dad.

I liked this book and found it to be a helpful resource. What is difficult for me right now in the organizing my house category is that it is hard to find motivation when I know I am about to pack up my house and move across the country. I have been effective in going through my clothes and books and have gotten rid of them. I plan to use everything I learned in our next destination. I’m trying to feel positive, but it’s hard to feel that way right now. I’m still a lazy human.

Image from Goodreads.com

This was my book of the month pick.
I really enjoyed this book. The main character’s sister was murdered and her case was never solved. She always suspected that her sister’s boyfriend was to blame, and when she returns home to take care of her mother she discovers that he’s a nurse at her mother’s cancer facility. She starts searching for truth, starting with the boyfriend, and finds out so many things surrounding the case that she never would have known.
I keep reading books with a lot of mystery and murder in them. I get sucked in so easily, and I sometimes wonder how this is affecting my mental health, but it’s also hard to care. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves mysteries surrounding families and murders.

Image from Amazon.com

This is another book that I got from amazon first reads. I’m always apprehensive to read books I get from first reads, because it seems like the majority of my choices have been duds or have just been really hard to get through. I don’t really like reading boring books.
Luckily, this book was awesome. It’s from the perspective of Katie, whose father was arrested six years before after being convicted of statutory rape. Katie’s then best friend was the accuser, and Katie never believed her father was guilty. The book starts off right before her father is released from prison and is filled with flashbacks from the summer the crime was supposedly committed. Katie finally starts to discover different things about the case that she had been kept in the dark about as a teenager.
This book has such a good plot and shows so much character development. Katie begins to understand why she does the things she does and reacts in certain ways. It was really interesting from a counseling perspective. Definitely glad I chose this book.

We Have an Announcement

Back home currently has the most snow in the United States. A lot of feet of snow have fallen. Flagstaff, Arizona has a ton of snow right now also. In fact, a friend of mine that lives in Tucson posted a snowy video today too! Needless to say, I miss the snow. Alabama has no snow, but that’s no surprise.
And snow isn’t even the most important thing to me, especially in a place that I want to live.

I moved to Alabama sort of on a whim. I thought I was being called here. I thought my life was going to change and I would be put on a path that would launch me into a career I could only dream about. It’s funny how I’m usually wrong about these things. Because what I thought I was stepping into was not at all what I actually stepped into.

I had not lived here six months when my mother passed. I was reeling from her loss and found comfort in alcohol and watching stupid Netflix shows with someone who was starting to become a very good friend. It wasn’t much later that he was more than a friend and I fell in love with Bobby.
Moving to Alabama changed my life. Losing my mother changed my life. But loving Bobby has changed my life for the better.

Last year, Bobby and I took a road trip across the country because I was homesick. Along the way we stopped in Flagstaff, Arizona to buy some film and get coffee at Dutch Bros. because I discovered they have one there. We had been in the city half an hour when we both decided we wanted to live there. We planned to make the move after I finished my graduate program, and I would just go through the licensing process in Arizona. I had some anxiety about the difficulty of finding someone to supervise me so I could get my license, when I would have no contacts in Arizona, but I figured it would work itself out.
But I’ve been homesick for a long time. Alabama has made me more and more miserable. I thought if I quit my job and made a change that I would be happier, but in December I only felt more depressed. I felt like I couldn’t make it. I just wanted to go home.
So I called my dad. And I called my brother. And they said that Bobby and I could move back to my childhood home for the summer to save money. So we’re leaving Alabama in May and will be in California for three months. I’m ready to go home.
Bobby and I decided that we didn’t want to wait until I finished school, especially when the licensing process in a different state might be challenging. So I’m going to finish my degree in Arizona. We’ll be moving there in August, and I am so excited.

Since I’ve been missing the snow and sick of all the rain here, I figured now would be a good time to announce that we’re leaving. Finally.

“What would Jesus do”

Said as a statement. Not a question.

I was work the other day and a man came and found me and asked for help with the patio furniture. He asked how big of a box this big wooden outdoor chair would come in. Unfortunately, the only one of those chairs that we had in stock was the display, so the box question was irrelevant.

I radioed my manager and was informed that I could not sell a display this early in the patio furniture season. Haha. Retail, am I right?
So I gave this information to the man and his wife, but I let them know that we would be getting more in the future, so they would be able to come back at a later date or order the chair online.
And the lady lost. her. mind.

“Why can’t you sell me this one?!”

“Because I can’t sell the display this early in the season. We just put it out. I’m sorry.”

“I don’t understand why you can’t sell it to me!!!”

“Her manager just told her over the radio that she can’t sell it, I heard the conversation.” (Her husband)

Then the woman starts saying, “What would Jesus do. What would Jesus do. What would Jesus do,” to herself.

And I could think was that Jesus would not lose his mind because a chair was out of stock. In fact, he was a carpenter, and he was perfect, so I’m sure he could easily make a significantly better chair. And I’m sure he could find a much better use of $230 than spending it on an outdoor chair. And if the chair was so necessary for his plan, he would probably send his disciples out and give them instructions about talking to specific people with donkeys or something and they would be sent on a wild goose chase and eventually be gifted the perfect chair.

It always blows my mind when people try to show how holy and Christian they are by mentioning Jesus in the same breath as being super rude to someone. Jesus got angry at the money changers in the temple, and he often mocked the pharisees, but other than that I’m pretty sure he wasn’t rude. He especially wasn’t rude to those he was going to buy something from. American Christianity, especially in the south, is so annoying to me sometimes.
Sure, go ahead and live your life with the WWJD motto. I have no issue with that. Except that most of those people don’t even know the answer to the WWJD question. They just know that they want to throw a toddler temper tantrum because something is out of stock. Something you would use in the spring and summer. Even though it’s February.

Her husband did come and find me and thank me for being helpful and apologized for her behavior. So at least there’s that.

Books I Read in January 2019

I’m trying to get into the habit of reading more, and so far I’ve done well. I subscribed to Book of the Month Club, and I’ve really like what they’ve delivered.

These are the books I read in January:

Photo courtesy of Amazon

I only bought this book because it was $3 at Books a Million. You Should Have Known was about a therapist who believed that she could see if a relationship was doomed from the start. She wrote a book telling women that all of the problems in their relationship or issues that their male partners had were evidenced from the beginning. Her books is about to be published and she’s planning a book tour when a mother at her son’s private school is murdered and her husband disappears. She soon realizes that she had it all wrong and that her husband was not who she thought he was, and she changes her whole life. I thought the main character seemed a little clueless at the beginning, but this book turned out to be more than I expected.

Picture from Amazon.com

I got Bleak Harbor on my kindle for free from Amazon First Reads. These books are usually hit or miss. This story specifically was confusing. The premise of the story was really intriguing; a woman’s autistic 15 year old went missing right before his 16th birthday. The whole book is spent trying to find him and figure out who took him. Every time it seemed like they had the answer, something else would come to light. The ending had such a twist. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Bleak Harbor, but it wasn’t the worst book.

Picture from Amazon.com

The Woman in the Window was my first book from Book of the Month, and by far my favorite of the month. Apparently it is coming out as a movie this year, so I’ll definitely be going to see it. The premise is similar to Rear Window, a woman stays inside her house and watches her neighbors. However, she stays inside because she is agoraphobic. She is convinced that she witnessed a crime across the street, but no one believes her and she wonders if she’s going crazy. This book had so many twists and turns and I was sucked in the entire time.

Image from Amazon.com

I also got The Silent Patient from Book of the Month. It started out a little slow, but picked up pace, and the story was was never going where I thought it was. A talented artist murders her husband and goes silent, and she ends up in a mental hospital. The narrator is a therapist who is intrigued by the case and wants to help her. He gets hired at the hospital with hopes of getting her to break her silence. This book was so crazy, but so good.

What books did you read this month?

30 Days Done

As I’ve said before, every January I try to do 30 straight days of Yoga with Adrienne. I love that she does this every year and it gives me an opportunity to build momentum for the year ahead of me. Today marks the end of January, thus I have done yoga for 30 days straight. (31 days really, because I did yoga on the 1st of the month too, even though her 30 days doesn’t start until the 2nd)

I feel accomplished. I feel like I can do this year right. I have a lot of things planned for this year, some big changes are coming that haven’t been announced yet, and I am pumped. I want to step forward with confidence. I may not get it all right, but I can do it. I am smart and I am capable.

I am setting goals for myself to make myself a better person, inside and out.

What goals are you setting? I’d love to hear them.