The Little Things
September 13, 2017

August has come and gone, and I’m back to my busier schedule. This month I read 14 books, bringing my total to 103 books for the year.

(as a side note- the pictures that I often use for the what I read pictures on these posts each month (except for the winter months) are taken in a location hit by Irma. Post coming next week)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone (J.K. Rowling): I’ve read all the books (back between 2003 and 2007) and have watched the book several times, but I thought it was time to read it again. Oh my- it was so good to here the story once again (I listened to the audiobook this time).

The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story (Lee): I gave this book 4/5 stars- really interesting.

Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (Lupton): This explores some of the tenets of doing charity in healthy ways, and explores how churches and charities can ensure that what they do is healthy for the communities in which they work. While this book had some solid gems in it, I’d suggest “Slow Kingdom Coming” or “When Helping Hurts” first on this topic.

You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain (Robinson): This book had me laughing throughout, and the author used humor while discussing some deep, hard realities and truths. I appreciated the way that she shared and challenged readers. 4/5 stars.

Anne of Green Gables (Montgomery): What a classic! I haven’t read these since middle school, so I figured it was time again. I forgot just how over the top some of the language Anne uses is though 🙂 I’m excited to keep reading the series though!

Saint Anything (Dessen):which I wrote a post about previously This book, , is all about a girl processing some major life circumstances, and her reactions, both healthy and unhealthy. I loved the psychology and family dynamics included in this.

The Shark Club (Taylor): 3.75 stars- I will admit that I really don’t like sharks, but I found this book to be pretty interesting. Some parts of the story felt a little boring though. I don’t know- it was fine but not something I would go out of my way to read again.

Choosing to See (Chapman): This book is about the death of Chapman’s daughter almost 10 years ago. I appreciate anyone who is willing to be vulnerable about the most painful moments of their lives and talk about how they grieved, processed, and learned to live meaningfully.

Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything (Bogel):I wrote an entire post about Reading People here. If you’re into personality tests, understanding yourself more, and are looking for an “ah ha” moment for your life, this one is for you!

Yes, My Accent is Real: and Some Other Things I Haven’t Told You (Nayyar): I love Nayyar on Big Bang Theory, so I enjoyed hearing more about his life.

That Summer (Dessen): I’ve really enjoyed Dessen as an author, although I did not like this story as much as I liked Saint Anything. It’s interesting to see how the character processes a summer that felt so meaningful years later, and what she realized was true and not true about that summer.

Maybe Not (Hoover): 3/5 stars– a very quick listen on audiobook. An interesting perspective on a character’s past, but overall it felt pretty “meh”.

The Handmaid’s Tale (Atwood): I watched Handmaid’s Tale on hulu last month, so I was able to breeze through this book and fill in aspects from the show (or maybe- details from the show). I loved this book and was engaged from the start. I did find that some of the details in the middle part to drag a bit. Overall, I really enjoyed it- 4.5 stars.

Summer Sisters (Blume): Somewhere between 2.5 and 3. I’m not sure- I just didn’t really love it and don’t have much to say about it.

If you’re going to read anything from the month, read the following: Reading People, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Saint Anything. 

Now it’s your turn to share! What did you read this month?

 

September 11, 2017

These last two weeks have felt huge to me. I’ve given multiple talks, played lots of fun games, spent lots of time in the woods, worked outside, spent time with family, and did the normal life sorts of things.

But all of that got set aside with Irma. My thoughts are still spinning so I’ll have a post up later (maybe next week?) with some of what my family has been through the last week.

Everyone is safe and well and that is what really matters. We’re still waiting to figure out what has happened to the rest. A situation like this puts things in perspective.

I haven’t forgotten 9/11 today, although I’ve thought about it a whole lot less than in previous years. Continuing to pray for those who’s lives were changed that day.

September 1, 2017

Happy Friday and Happy September. I guess summer is officially over now, right? To get myself through summer ending, I like to get my nails done each year (it’s just a little thing). I didn’t get the nail polish color from the place I went, but here are my nails:

I just needed some extra brightness and glittery-ness these weeks, and this gel polish did the trick!

Here are some random facts from the week:

1. I went and got a massage this week- for multiple reasons. Mostly because I’m dancing the lines of a migraine and really don’t want to get one. To me, especially as a counselor, self-care isn’t optional, and so I try to force myself to make space and time for things like this.

2. So as I was arriving for my massage I ran into a friend from grad school (who used to live for several years in my same apartment complex. – I walked my first 13.1 miles with her back in 2011) who I haven’t seen for a little over a month. She was free the same time I was that day, so we ended up sitting outside and having a long lunch together. It was so fun.

3. This week I’ve been drinking blueberry kombucha, and it quickly became one of my favorites. It’s delicious- and looks pretty too! Nothing like enjoying your beverage AND knowing it’s awesome for your health.

4. I adore fresh flowers (hence ALL the flower pots I have in my yard). I cut a few little blooms for the vase I painted, and smile every time I walk past it in my house.

5. I know I’ve talked a good amount about Reading People on the blog. I originally received a digital copy, but I just got my physical copy in the mail this week, and the cover is absolutely gorgeous. It might be my favorite book cover ever.

Now it’s your turn to share! What’s one random fact from your week? Do you drink Kombucha?

August 28, 2017

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Reading People to read as part of being on the book launch team. (I’d also ordered a copy for myself before hearing about the launch team option!)

Ok, so let’s talk about Reading People by Anne Bogel for a bit. You may recognize her name from the blog Modern Mrs. Darcy or her podcast “What Should I Read Next”.  (I’ve followed both for quite awhile). When I first read about her new book, I skipped off to pre-order it, as I was sure I’d love it- it’s all about personality!

I love personality tests. I’m a counselor, so I’m probably prone to really liking them anyways (I even took a theories of personality class in college), but I REALLY like them. Not only are they fun, but they allow for so much. In one of the final pages of Reading People, Bogel says the following:

“I’ve found that personality insights help me see what changes are necessary, and how to carry them out. Learning more about personality has helped me make peace with the way I was made (even though some days I’d rather trade myself in for a different model). It has helped me understand the people I love, live with, and work with, and it has helped me accept the way they were made, which is to say, differently than me.”

And that’s the wonderful thing about personality tests. When we understand our personality types, we develop an understanding and self-compassion for why we think the way we do, why we respond the way we do, and why we interact with others the way we do. Even more than that, we develop an empathy for others in that we can understand a bit more about how they view the world and interact with it. I think understanding personality is powerful for growth and healthy within relationships.

In the book Reading People, Bogel walks through several different personality tests including Myers-Briggs, Strength Finder, and the Enneagram. She looks at ways each of these types views the world, areas that might lead to a lack of health, and even ways to get to a healthier spot.

I highlighted a LOT in this book, and I absolutely loved it. I already knew about each of the personality tests discussed in this book because of my job, but I still found gems throughout it. I’m definitely going to be keeping it at work to use with clients.

I also dragged the book with me up to Mackinac Island and enjoyed reading it next to the water!

Oh, and in case you’re wondering: I’m an ESFJ, a 2 wing 3, and learner/maximizer/responsibility/harmony/individuation. If you don’t know what you are-check out Reading People.

There’s also a pre-sale bonus going on right now, so click this link to read about it! Reading People is hitting the shelves in September!

Now it’s your turn to share! Do you know your Myers-Briggs, Strength Finder, Enneagram, or other personality type? 

 

August 28, 2017

Oh my gosh- how fun was eclipse day?! While I wasn’t on the path of totality (I WISH- it looked awesome!), we were a little over 88% covered, and I was thrilled.

Last week I started thinking about my eclipse day outfit. I settled on a black dress (you know- since the moon blocks the sun) with white bursts on it which sort of mimic the sun. So fun!

A few co-workers and I made eclipse viewing boxes, since we only had one pair of glasses between all of us. I decided we needed to make it extra fun, and brought markers, construction paper, and pipe cleaners.

We included sun quotes and song lyrics and pipe cleaners on the box, and laughed our way through the entire thing. Talk about good team bonding!

I had no idea how it would work out, but I figured it was worth the try. Also- notice our little sun and moon creations on the top of the boxes? haha- they were a hit.

After spending our lunch hour watching footage of the total eclipse out west (Seriously- it was amazing!), it was our turn! We headed outside to try out the boxes.

Back toward the sun.

They worked! The image of the sun was projected through a pin hole in the box onto a white piece of paper on the inside of the box. I could see the little crescent sun, which was awesome. Of course the sun with the glasses on was even better, but I was surprised by how much detail I could see just with the reflection.

And just like that, Eclipse day was over! It was so fun to have a unique event at work with co-workers, and I especially enjoyed learning a bit in the process.

Now it’s your turn to share! Where were you for Eclipse day (or- have you ever seen an eclipse?)?

August 25, 2017

Happy Friday yall! This week I wore Essie’s Baugette Me Not with some silver glitter on top!

(picture from several weeks ago- they look the same today though!)

This lilac color is absolutely beautiful, and I really adore it. 2 coats is sufficient with or without glitter on top to get good cover on the nail.

Here are some random facts for the week:

1. This past weekend I went on my annual Mackinac Island trip with work. It was weird since it’s a bike trip and I can’t really bike, but riding in the van to help with broken bikes and injuries proved to be really eventful! I actually surprisingly really enjoyed it.

2. The book “Reading People” by Anne Bogel! I got my hands on an advance copy and am loving it! I even brought it to Mackinac Island with me for some quiet reading near the water!

3. ok- let’s talk Solar Eclipse! It was amazing, right? I have a post coming up next week, but I’ll give you a little preview of my Eclipse day with this picture:

4. Does anyone feel themselves relax and their soul still when they get into nature. THIS. This was so good.

5. I finally took the plunge and bought a little diffuser and am enjoying the scent of lavender in my room in the evenings!

Now it’s your turn to share! Do you have a diffuser? If so- what are your favorite oils to diffuse (scent-wise)? Have you been to Mackinac?

August 21, 2017

I’ve heard a lot about the author Sarah Dessen, so when someone suggested her book Saint Anything, I knew I needed to read it! Saint Anything follows Sydney, a high schooler who’s life has been dramatically changed due to the choices of her brother. She is left to pick up the pieces in her own life, understanding that she has to live with his consequences. Underneath this is her own feelings of hurt, betrayal, fear, and guilt.

As a counselor, I loved some of the psychological processing that we get to see as Sydney and her parents walk through the results of her brother’s choices. Things were a little slow at the beginning, but I was solidly hooked by about 40 or 50%, and I would definitely say that the book is worth reading.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:

“You only really fall apart in front of the people you know can piece you back together.” 

“It didn’t matter that I’d done none of those things. With shame, like horseshoes, proximity counts.” 

“As I spoke, I realized I’d held these words in for so long and so tightly that I felt the space they left empty once released. It was vast enough that I could think of nothing to follow them.”

“It was one thing to let these thoughts haunt the dark spaces of my mind, but another entirely to put them into the light, making them real.”

Saint Anything is definitely worth a read, especially as you think through some of the things you might be holding onto in life. 4/5 stars.

*For other book reviews, check out my books/book reviews page.

Now it’s your turn to share! Have you read anything by Sarah Dessen?

August 18, 2017

Happy Friday friends! This week I had every intention of painting my nails a non-orange color, but I just couldn’t help myself. This week I once again painted my nails with Essie’s tart deco polish!

It’s a love affair I just don’t want to end (but I’m going to, as it feels so summer-y to me).

Here are a few random facts from my week:

1.  The summer of 2005 I met my friend Krista when we worked at a camp together. We spent the summer vacuuming, scrubbing toilets, and mopping floors, and we’ve been friends every since. I talk fairly regularly on the phone, but we often go several years without seeing each other. I got to see her this past weekend when she drove down to spend about 24 hours with me, and it was so good to see her again!

2. Nicey treat is… so good. This weekend was beautiful, and a friend in town means having to get nicey treat. They have all sorts of delicious flavors (mango ginger and pink lemonade are two of my favorites!)

3. I’ve started purchasing kombucha in larger quantities… and now I’m wondering what it’s like to try to make your own…

4. This candle- I’ve been burning it for the last week because it smells like sweet, delicious summer and I’m hoping onto summer for as long as possible.

5. I had a fire with some co-workers one evening this past week, and it was so good to hang out for fun, and not during work. Does anyone else feel that way about their co-workers?

Now it’s your turn to share! What’s one random fact from your week? Do you like or make Kombucha?

August 11, 2017

Happy Friday! This week I’m wearing Essie’s Fiji nail polish.

 

I really love this color, and wish I could wear it more (but I wish that about most of my colors). It’s such a beautiful pastel color. If I didn’t put glitter on top, I probably would do 3 coats instead of the 2 I’ve done in the picture above.

Now on to some random facts for the week:

Cicada shells are EVERYWHERE right now. I mean, they are all over my fences, trees, on my front porch, etc… They are kind of cool and kind of make my skin crawl… at the same time.

My co-workers took me out for a delicious birthday lunch. Look at how huge that chai is (and it was SO delicious!)

Last week we had a retreat at work, and spent the night out in the country. I love the property, the flowers… and all the animals running about. I came back to the house to grab a sweatshirt and had to wait until one of these buddies moved…

These flowers. I wish I had some sort of flower service that would drop a now little bouquet of flowers at work every other week. They just make my office feel extra cheery.

I have a whole inside joke about tater tots with a friend. So, for my birthday, he brought me two large containers of tater tots. I managed to eat almost all of them (insert all the emoji faces right here).

Now it’s your turn to share! What’s one random fact from your week?

August 8, 2017

August already?! SLOW DOWN SUMMER! This month I felt like I was *barely* reading anything, but I ended up reading 12 books this month. That brings my total for the year to 88 books.

The Hopefuls (Jennifer Close): A book about 20-somethings engaging in the political process, both in D.C. and in Texas.

A Little Thing Called Life (Linda Thompson): Ok- this was so interesting. Thompson is Caitlyn (Bruce) Jenner’s  (she refers to him as Bruce to delineate before and after transition) former wife. She also dated Elvis for several years, and I found those years of particular interest. This made for a great audiobook.

Wishful Drinking (Carrie Fisher): I’ve enjoyed listening to Fisher’s audiobooks to learn more about her life. 3.5/5 stars

Luckiest Girl Alive (Jessica Knoll): This was really interesting. I actually started reading this book in the Fall of 2015, but that was a hectic time of my life so I set it aside. A bit of a mystery/very tame thriller, and it kept me hooked. 3.5/5 stars

Option B (Sheryl Sandberg): This is Sanberg’s recent book, written after the sudden death of her husband. This book is about living meaningful in the option B, when it’s not possible to have option A. When people talk about their grief journey and processing I feel like it’s beneficial, and she did a great job in being vulnerable about what her journey was like. 4/5 stars

Between Heaven and The Real World (Steven Curtis Chapman): I listened to Chapman’s music growing up, so I really enjoyed learning more about Chapman as a person. I especially appreciated the honesty and vulnerability expressed about his daughter’s death.

Kris Jenner… and All Things Kardashian (Kris Jenner): haha- I sort of wish I didn’t need to admit that I read this. That being said, Jenner’s perspective on OJ’s trial, as well as her friendship with Nicole, were fairly interesting. 3/5 stars

Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors (Janina Fisher): I read this slowly over the past 2 months, and I deeply enjoyed it. As a counselor, I’m consistently trying to read and explore new ways of doing things. I found this book fascinating and so helpful.

The Road Back to You (Ian Cron & Suzanne Stabile): I could write a whole post about this. This book is about the Enneagram, a 9 type personality that is rich with history. They talk through each of the types, and include steps for growth towards health for each type. I find that there is so much understanding and empathy that comes from understanding these 9 types!

The is How it Always Is (Laurie Frankel): A story about family secrets and the lengths that families go to hide them. I appreciated the “behind the scenes” wrestling the parents did about what was right in the “situation” (the secret), and I found the book well written. I enjoyed this.

Being White: The title of this book is slightly misleading, as this book is more about the privileges that come with being white, as well as the healthy process to get outside of one’s self and engage with other cultures and races. Parts of it were pretty good, although this isn’t the first book I’d recommend regarding race or privilege.

To Kill A  Mockingbird (Harper Lee): I’ve read this book twice before (once in middle school and once in high school), so I thought it was also time to read it again. I forgot just how good this book is, and I will definitely read it a 4th time…

If you are going to read anything from this month, I’d suggest the following: To Kill A Mockingbird, The Road Back to You, and Option B.

Now it’s your turn to share! What’s one book on your “to read” list?