blogging · Books · reviews

Holiday Reading

I was so excited about the interactions on my last post I forgot to get writing again…oops, and suddenly a fortnight has almost passed!

Truth is I’ve been busy spending time with the fam bam – we got back yesterday from a week interstate with friends. Lots of fun, laughs, tears and tantrums – don’t you just love holidaying with kids :p All in all however it was a great time away and we kept very busy, in fact I only finished my holiday book last night back at home! Indeed 20 days into January I have only finished 2 books (oh wait 3 – bcb*). I normally go into a reading frenzy during the summer holidays but this year I’ve been spreading my spare time between books, puzzles and tv. I’m finding lately after working on a computer, studying on a computer and catching up on so many awesome blogs my eyes have had enough reading. Anyone else have trouble balancing their reading choices?!

That said the two books I have finished are well worth sharing about:

Wish You Were Here by Sheridan Jobbins –

I loved that the author was Australian. I loved her honesty and reflections (even if at times they seemed to go round and around in circles), I enjoyed her adventures, I loved her car and the new man. In some ways a bit of a cliche post divorce memoir in others completely unique. I loved learning more about America and the life of this interesting woman.

The author herself described it as “basically a rom-com memoir” about how she met her husband. “After leaving my first marriage, I decided to buy a big red car and drive around America, I would spend six weeks driving one way, and six weeks driving back,” she said. “Halfway through I did a stopover in London to visit a friend whose husband had been sick. My friend was studying with this boy and we started to have a fling. It ended up in a bit of a misunderstanding, I thought I was saying ‘I like you’ and he thought I was saying ‘join the trip’. So our third date was four weeks in a Chevy Camaro and a tent arguing across America and that is the bulk of the story.”

Definitely a good holiday read.

Secondly, The End of the Road: Becoming a Mallee Wife by Deborah Hyde –

As a fellow farmer’s wife I really enjoyed relating to much of this memoir and recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about this way of life!

I’ve also watched Big Little Lies the HBO tv series which unfortunately was a bit disappointing. It wasn’t the bits cut or added, I think it worked quite well. I don’t even really care about the ending. It just all seemed so slow to me, a lot of angst and not much action. I think having read the book ruined the build up of tension for me. Good news is that hubby enjoyed it, yay for a accurate recommendation for him!

We have one more week until school goes back but with work, meetings and school book pick up it feels like things will be back into at least half swing. Fortunately I have book club this week reviewing Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a novella (*bcb).

Before I sign off I would like to say a  big special thanks to the FOUR beautiful bloggers who commented on my last post. Even without new content in the last 2 weeks I’ve been feeling super connected. My Spotlight Blogger for today is for “Bryce Warden” who was the first to comment last time. You can find her at  https://wasthatmyoutloudvoice.com – be ready to laugh out loud and experience some warm fuzzies too. She is a busy Mum of teens, business owner, hospice and charity volunteer. She likes mystery novels and lives in the USA experiencing the cold while I am once again sweltering in 40+ degree weather. She’s been a recent find for me but I am very much in love.

I’d love for Bryce (and YOU!) to share, if you wish, about your favourite things to do in your spare time?

Happy Reading!

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blogging · Books

Priorities

The temperature in my part of the world is going to reach 45 degrees today. So I’ve done something ‘amazing’. To make sure I don’t miss my third day in a row of going outside, I’ve cleaned house and walked the bin over to our on farm landfill (a couple 100 metres).

So it’s not much, but what a great start to the day, especially when it’s already HOT out there :p

What are you prioritising today?

The other New Years resolution I’m going to work on today is connecting. I really want to get to know you all. I have no idea how best to do this….any suggestions?!?

I’m going to try and do a spotlight today on one of my newest likers – Amanhimself.

Stalking his Bio page I’ve discovered his name is Aman Mittal and he is the well published blogger at Confessions of a Readaholic. He lives in New Delhi, India and adores books – so do I Aman!! (Indeed I’m pretty sure that’s how we discovered each other). I also discovered this quote on his page:

Capture

And this exactly summarises my blogging goal for 2018 – to actively engage in this conversation. So if Aman doesn’t mind I’m going to ask him a few questions, perhaps you’d like to answer them too:

  1. What is your all time favourite book or genre and why?
  2. Tell me something cool about where you live?
  3. Do you have a blogging quirk? I’d love to hear a fun fact about how you read or prepare your own blogs?
  4. Have you got any top priorities for 2018?

Thank you Aman for visiting my blog – I hope to continue conversing with you for a long time to come 🙂

blogging · life · mental health · relationships

Off to a good start

This past Christmas week has been full of the highs of festivities with friends and families but also lows of feeling flat, dealing with children and a lack of motivation/direction. The lows culminated in a head cold which thankfully gave me an excuse to lay low. An excuse also helped me build a fighting spirit and I finished off the week ready to bring in the New Year.

It can be tough when you finally reach the much longed-for break at the end of the year. My husband and I of course struggle with different expectations. I’ve generally already had a few slower weeks and am ready to, or at least wanting to be ready to, start doing some jobs together but he’s only just getting a chance to stop and generally still has a few daily work things that need seeing to.

Today on the first day of the year I’ve been productive and bright and hopeful and just HOORAY! As I always say on the flipside of a rough day or two – the hardest part about is not knowing how long it will last. This blog is an amazing reminder that it does always pass, generally much quicker than it feels.

Although not big on New Years resolutions I still think they have a place – I need something to aim towards, particularly this time of year when I actually have time. Last year I had a lot of goals for this blog which really didn’t come to fruition. I was going to do:

  • weekly Gratitude/Positives of the Week Post
  • WWW – Wednesday + When are you reading? challenge
  • fortnightly issue post
  • random regulars
  • 2+ weekly posts?!?

I did say it was wishful thinking at the time LOL

This year I’m focusing on personal goals:

  • Spend 5 minutes outdoors every day –  I’m hoping it will be 5 deliberate minutes and maybe even involve a bit of mindfulness and fitness too.
  • Keep working on my marriage. I made a casual suggestion today at morning tea that we should have a night each week where we discuss the week ahead which wasn’t received well – all suggestions seem to be work to him rather than opportunities. One relationship theory I studied last year by the Gottman’s was called Sound House Relationship – I’m really wanting to work on Building Our Love Maps and Creating Shared Meaning together – the other levels I hope I can strive for myself making a positive impact on my loving man
  • House goals – work towards getting a patio built and changing our lounge room carpet/set up (I’d love to take out a wall!)
  • Continue my slow journey towards decluttering – I’m happy with my pace and progress. I actually think my Fly Lady routine of ‘a load a day, keeps chaos away’ has changed my life!
  • oooh and study I want to start preparing again for that…….especially PRAC (eeek/:D)

Blog wise my brainwave today was to try and learn about my followers. It truly amazes me that 156 people have clicked that follow button. I know it means different things to everyone and I’m nowhere near 156 likes but WoW. I reflected recently that I’m not really a writer but community is super important to me. I think one of things I learnt about myself in 2017 is that I struggle socially out and about but I love reading and feeling connected, even if I can’t manage it all the time!

I’m back to writing down lists to do and feeling positive about 2018. I pray you are too,

God bless.

Dear Lord, give me wisdom and guide me to the choices You want me to make. Amen.

 

 

blogging

How to be Happy

I feel like lately  my posts have had a negative vibe. I tend to turn to WordPress and blogging when life is throwing me lemons. It’s my anonymous outlet to share and process. I think that’s healthy, but I also feel it’s a bit dishonest. Just as social media can be guilty of being a disproportionately positive view of our lives, WordPress might be the flip side of that for me.

Last night I finished a truly beautiful book ‘How to be Happy’ by Eva Woods (also published as Something Like Happy), it followed an unlikely friendship on a journey of 100 days of happiness and some truly life-changing experiences. One of things I enjoyed about this book was how it touched on a number of issues without delving into unnecessary depth, they were simply there, part of the story – syrian refugees, gay relationships including an orthodox greek gay christian and cot death. Cancer and death was a large part of the novel and I felt realistically portrayed.

Today I’ve started reading Kent Haruf’s Our Souls at Night which I’m enjoying particularly the writing style and characters but I’m also a bit sad as Louis and Addie share about their past marriages which left much to be desired. That is a big part of where my marriage is at, much to be desired. With our kids getting older, my mental health a lot more stable and future dreams starting to take shape I’m ready to dig deeper into our relationship and strive for true intimacy. My husband however is still happy with where we are at, maybe too busy with his own work.

I’ve also been reflecting on my desire to write. I’ve had more time since study finished for the year but it’s never reached the top of my ‘to-do’ list. I don’t think I’m much of a writer actually. I like to share my thoughts but the process of writing them down often feels too laborious. I think what I want to share today is not (unfortunately) how to be happy, but that while I love this WordPress community I don’t think I’ll be writing much in the New Year. I’m going to keep reading though! Thank you to people who do follow and connect with me, and to those I follow and (I like to think) know me – I love this journey we are all on.

Merry Christmas – may God bless your celebrations at this time of year.

 

ps This will be my 100th post!

relationships

Just saying G’day

Would have really liked to do a post this week but alas the weekend is almost over and I spent my evening watching and reflecting on an awesome Australian Survivor episode :p

Things have been pretty tough in my marriage lately. In lieu of a post I’d like to share this poem from Pleasant Street at Are You Thrilled which really struck and resonated with me:

No man’s land

I set up camp there
when my world is too much
and yours is unreachable
I build my safety net there
even though you never
asked me to

(your claim is full disclosure)

What do I need?
I don’t remember, as I have
learned to do without
this ground
with its rotting and wounded
feels oddly safe

Affection would be nice
after all this time
but I can get myself off
like any other day
and I hear you say ‘no’
not that kind of touch

The touch of lips on a heart
injured and bleeding

(no man left behind?)

 

If you are the praying kind please consider a prayer for my husband and I, and our two beautiful living children, that we can continue living faithfully together as a family.

blogging · life · Uncategorized

No. 1 Gratitude Post

Well I’ve done ok with my reading posts, not so well with the gratitude ones – will probably toss that idea in the bin before January is even over! But let’s at least get one out, especially as it has been a good start to 2017.

New Years  I went to a party I kinda felt guilted into attending, drank too much too quick, slowed right down and felt ready to leave, especially as attempting to get kids to take up a restful activity and hopefully fall asleep (which of course was never going to happen).

I still enjoyed being out but did end up getting picked up by my dear Mum and Dad on their way home from a party. Thus ending the year being read a bed-time story by my dear Mum, snuggled in bed with my two babies, with my Dad sitting in view, listening to the midnight church bells ring – perfection.

I also got to wake up at Mum and Dads which is always a luxury knowing I’ve got help with the kiddos and generally meaning I can laze in bed that bit longer 🙂 Add to that attending church with them and getting lots of hugs from dear parishioners. It really was a good start to the year.

Other Highlights of 2017 so far:

  • Time to watch and then read Outlanders
  • Master C waking up sooo happy and playing hide and seek under the sheets together
  • Miss H’s helpfulness packing up the Christmas tree
  • Cuddles with my nephew
  • Teacher friends!! Who come and visit and entertain the kids 🙂
  • Vacswim, giving mush needed routine to the summer holidays – not to mention the joy of seeing my two swimmers improve and love the water
  • Country cricket catch ups
  • Much desired bowen therapy for my aching body
  • 6 year old birthday parties
  • Escaping fighting siblings for a day of work!

 

My other blogging goal was for a monthly ‘issue’ post – I thought I’d try and keep myself accountable by letting you know this months topic – ‘Legalising Same Sex Marriage in Australia’, if you have anything you want me to consider feel free to let me know in the comments.

 

Would also love to hear your highlights of 2017 so far….

 

Wishing my readers a happy weekend ☼

(ps thank you to my lovely followers I recently reached 100 leaving me feeling pretty chuffed!)

 

 

Books · Uncategorized

My first WWW Wednesday + challenge

Welcome to my first WWW Wednesday post, a weekly update on my reading. This meme is currently hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words and I’m hoping it will guide my 2017 blogging plan for regular posts.

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

W1: I’m currently reading ‘Exposure’ by Helen Dunmore. I had to choose a book with a one word title as my pick for hosting book club this year and this is it. I havn’t got very far (too distracted watching Season 2 Outlander) but the characters are developing interestingly.

W:2 I finished this week The Small Woman by Alan Burgess, based on the true life of Gladys Alyward a missionary in China during WW1. It was recommended to me by a friend, but the small book size and print put me off. The first chapter however quickly sucked me in and I loved it. Indeed I was disappointed not to find any tags on WordPress but there were some on twitter. A good book for me is one that makes me want to learn more but sadly there wasn’t much information on google either, so no answers for my question on what happened to the children she adopted.  The History Bucket  did have a post on her though! I’ll definitely be looking to watch the movie inspire by this book ‘The Inn of the Sixth Happiness’, even though Gladys apparently was rather disappointed in its cast and dramatization.

W3: I’ve borrowed a copy of Constance Hall’s Like a Queen from a friend, and although I’m not a huge fan and predict I won’t be buying into the hype, I’d still like to see what it’s like.

Now onto the challenge…..

when-are-you-reading-2017-final

Sam is also hosting the 4th annual When are you reading? challenge so I’ll be aiming to read a book set or published in 12 different time periods this year. I’m cheating a little and including 2 of my above books even though one I finished in 2016…shhhh.

Progress Tracker

Pre 1500 

1500-1599 

1600-1699 

1700-1799

1800-1899  

1900-1919

1920-1939 – The Small Woman by Alan Burgess

1940-1959

1960-1979 – In progress … Exposure

1980-1999 

2000-Present 

The Future 

 

ps Would just like to report I’m getting good at putting links in posts (woop, woop!). Next step learning to add book images….