Moments of 2020 – 06


Moments of 2020 is a year-long project for 2020. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here.

Books I Read This Week 2020 – 06

Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I also have an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.


The New Life of Hugo Gardner (2.5 stars): This is a complicated novel for me to rate or review. I read About Schmidt back when it came out but considering it’s been almost 25 years, I don’t think I remember enough of it to be sure I am accurate, however, this book felt like a similar book to me. Not in sense of plot, in that Schmidt was always very disgruntled and pretty much complained about everything. But in the sense that this novel reads like a character study of an elderly man.

Hugo Gardner is in his 80s and his wife of some 40 years decides to leave him to be with someone else. Hugo is wealthy and well regarded (as an ex-bureau chief of a magazine, etc.) and has two children with whom he doesn’t have great relationships. This is the story of what happens to him post-divorce.

Here’s the spoiler: nothing happens. I mean there’s not much of a plot in this story. Which usually would not bother me at all. I prefer character-driven stories. I love quiet stories where nothing much happens.

But.

But in return I need something to happen to the character. I need the character to grow in some way. To learn something about themselves. To acknowledge or ponder some truths. Something that makes me feel like reading the story was worthwhile because we both learned something from it.

Alas, I didn’t feel that way in this story. There were parts that made me laugh (especially the part where he thanks Gore for inventing the internet.) There were parts that made me cringe. There was so much where I couldn’t tell if the author was trying to be clever or whatever and it just didn’t really land with me. The character seemed both full of himself and I found myself pitying him at parts.

I didn’t hate my time with this story. I think Begley is a good writer and I found the book readable and enjoyable in parts. I mostly felt like I wasn’t sure what the point of this whole story was. What did he learn from the divorce? How did he grow from the experience? It all just felt empty to me. I understand the author was maybe trying to make a point with this character but it just didn’t work for me.

with gratitude to edelweiss and Doubleday Books for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.


The Fifth Risk (3.5 stars): I think I might have filled my quota of books related to this administration. I’ve read way too many of them over the last few years and at this point, I am not learning anything new. Lewis’ book was more interesting because of its focus on the US Department of Energy and I’ve learned a bunch and am now officially worried of course. His storytelling style is always engaging and the people behind the stories are always fascinating so I don’t regret reading this but I’ve liked his other books more.


Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties (3.5 stars): I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I was going to. I am not sure why I didn’t think it was going to be all that interesting but it was well written and well narrated and a thought-provoking story about a woman who is a bit older than I am going through a divorce and having to deal with figuring out how to move through that. It was an enjoyable read.


Things in Jars (3.5 stars): I started this book right in the middle of a major release at work so my brain was completely full and this is one of those books that really appreciates your attention. I loved the characters and the quirky weirdness of the book and I think at a different time it would have rated even higher for me. If you don’t like weird, unusual books, this is not the book for you. But, for me, it was a very enjoyable read.


The Operator (4 stars): I was fascinated by the premise of this story when I read about it. Vivian Dalton, a switchboard operator, eavesdrops on conversations regularly and hears a secret that’s about to change her life. The story starts and moves a little slower than I’d like and when you finally hear the secret, it’s unclear whether it’s actually a big deal or not. The emotions in this story, in fact, all seem muted. You can mostly tell what the characters are feeling by what they do more than what they say (which might be a reflection of the times, I am not sure.)

There are a handful of plot lines in the story and they weave through in and out of each other at times. There’s a small or big surprise in each story and by the end of the book I found myself attached to the characters, hopeful for second chances all around.

I really enjoyed the time I spent with this beautiful story.

With gratitude to edelweiss and the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


And there we go, another week of reading in 2020.


Books I Read this Week 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

Stories from 2020 – 06

Prompt: Habit – 02 | Are there new habits you hope to adopt in your everyday life?

As we approach a new year, I always find myself hoping to adopt practices I want to cultivate. There are a handful of items that make my list each year: drawing/painting more, journaling more, moving more, mediating more, sleeping more, eating better. These handful of items are at the crux of who I strive to be so there is always some goal around each of them on my list. 

But if I could pick only one item for 2020, it would be getting fitter. I really would like to be able to go on big, adventurous hikes with my husband in 2020 and to be able to do that, I am going to have to get much fitter. I am going to have to build up my stamina, my muscles, my heart, and my endurance. I don’t have a history of focusing on these so it’s going to be that much harder for me to build the habit of showing up and keeping at it even when I want to give up. It will be hard and painful. 

But I want to do it. I want it so badly that I can taste it. So I am going to have to come up with a way. So that I can really live the days of my life. To give each day my all and to drink the wild air as often as I possibly can.


This year I am planning to do something different than last year. Around last September, I stopped taking a lot of daily photos which then meant I also stopped scrapbooking. I have several of the Story Kit’s piled up. So I decided to switch gears a bit and see if I can use Ali’s prompts to tell my stories. I might (or might not) also turn them into scrapbook pages. In the meantime, I will just enjoy telling my stories.

Stories from 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. The prompts are from Ali’s Story Kits unless mentioned otherwise. I have started an instagram account for these, we’ll see if I keep it up.

Living Wild – 06

Weekly Intention: This is my last full week of work before I get a week off for vacation. I really could use some time off and some time in the wild so I am looking forward to both. My intention this week is to try to clean out some of my to dos both personally and at work so I can have a break without carrying all that noise.

This month’s intention is: Wild at Heart:  Take new chances with your heart this month. Try new date nights. Reach out to new people. Create new connections. Strengthen your heart with exercise. Haven’t done my work on these yet.

One way I will show up this week:  efficient.

I will go into the wild:  this weekend i will get to go into the wild hopefully.

This week, I will pay attention to: my todo list and let’s see what i can check off.

One new thing I will begin this week: journaling still 🙁

One magic I will create: still need to: Book a vacation for winter break and figure out some sort of hiking plan.

One thing I hope to release: just the thought of all the things I am not getting done.

One thing I will join in on: going to the kids’ school on Tuesday this week. not sure if it fully counts. but it will have to.

One area I will practice being open: to the possibility that all will not be finished this week.

I am looking forward to: vacation.

This week’s challenges: getting to draft 2 is still likely my biggest one still.

  • Top Goals:
    • Work: clean email. draft 2. cheese. docs for draft 2.
    • Personal: figure out a routine that works for me. journal. get into a groove. book vacation.
    • Family: support nathaniel and david and jake.

I will focus on my values (love, learn, peace, service, gratitude): this week i am for just taking it slow everywhere. slow slow slow. and efficient.

This week, I want to remember: it’s all going to be ok. Everything will get done.


Living Wild is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here.

Weekly Reflection 2020 – 05

The Wildest Part of this Week was: This week was David’s 15th Birthday! I cannot believe this boy is now 15 years old! Time passes way too quickly and it’s just truly wild.

Top Goals Review:  

  • Work: cleaned email but now it’s a mess again. did not do draft 2. thursday went well. did not touch nbu doc.
  • Personal: have not figured out a routine that works for me. did nto journal. did not get into a groove.
  • Family: supported nathaniel and david and jake. celebrated david.

I celebrate: David and the launch this week.

I am grateful for: everything going relatively smoothly.

This week, I exercised: I did uphill walking (15%) 2 days and rock climbing 3 days. David and I walked a lot on Friday together.

This week, I answered the Call of the WildAlso just 1 walking 1-1 this week. I am working on finding a way to go outdoors a lot more.

I embraced Silence of the Wilderness: i did a tiny bit of OLW journaling, I am hoping to do a bit more next week.

This week’s Wildcard was: crazy things at work always. last minute table and chair buying for david. little crazy things. visiting david’s elementary school with him.

I said yes to: showing up for David.

I said no to: doing email this weekend.

Core Desired Feelings (leap, soft, release, join, delight) Check-in: this year feels like it started slowly and poorly for me. i am trying to stay present and give myself grace.

My mood this week was: grateful.

I am proud of: my son. he’s amazing.

I release: all my noise about how this year is going. i am letting it go.

Here’s what I learned this week: all is well.

What I love right now: i am just so grateful for my family right now.


Weekly Review 2020 is a year-long project for 2020. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here.

Moments of 2020 – 05


Moments of 2020 is a year-long project for 2020. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here.

Books I Read This Week 2020 – 05

Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I also have an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.


Say You Still Love Me (4 stars): This was my second novel by K. A. Tucker and I enjoyed it just as much as my first. I like the characters. Just like The Simple Wild, it was a really fast read and it definitely was fun and sweet. It’s light and yet the characters aren’t cartoonish and there are some serious topics to show that they are real characters with complicated lives, making sometimes poor and sometimes wise decisions. I enjoyed the alternating camp scenes and how they were as kids vs now. If this genre of books is your cup of tea, you’ll enjoy this one.


The Better Liar (3 stars): This book kept me reading without wanting to take a break. I think I sort of guessed some of the twists but I still thought it was cleverly done. I am a bit sick of twists to be honest and what I enjoyed the most about this book was that it had a mix of character development and twists. It wasn’t all plot all the time. I also thought the pacing and atmosphere were both really well done and you could almost feel the unease of the main character the whole way through.


The Bookworm Crush (3.5 stars): I went into this book blind and had no idea if it was a series or if it was YA vs adult. I wanted something light and I loved the idea of reading about a bookwork. The book didn’t disappoint. I loved reading about the shenanigans of Amy and Toff. Laughed at the instagram references, enjoyed the more honest conversations and mostly just enjoyed my time with this light and sweet story.


The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavendar (5 stars): Oh my heart. I know that magical realism isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and I know that this book is so so so sad. But it’s also so very magnificent and it’s one of the most beautifully written books I’ve read in a long time. There are so many characters in this short book and yet each of them is textured, memorable and plays an important role in the telling of this story. The atmosphere of the book is so pronounced that you can’t help but feel like you’ve become a part of the story as you read it. It’s rare when the writing, setting, characters and plot are all well-done. In this exquisite story, they really are. I loved the time I spent with this beautiful story.


The Wives (2 stars): Oh goodness. I am not even sure what to say about this story except that I read the reviews and knew this was going to be tricky so I am not sure why I decided to read it after all that. The beginning of the book was actually interesting and I liked both the pacing and the characters but then there’s twists and this might be one of the worst ones I’ve ever seen where the entire book just falls apart and you’re left thinking “seriously?!” or at least I was. It felt like the author had the idea for an interesting story but really didn’t know what to do with it so just gave up halfway and made it into a mess. I was so very disappointed in this one.


Home Making (4 stars): “You don’t just get pregnant, suffer the nine months, give birth, and become Mother. You choose this title.”

I was surprised by the mixed reviews on this novel. The writing is unusual and a bit of a stream of consciousness-like, but in my opinion that didn’t get in the way of this beautiful story. I loved this story because it’s the kind of novel I enjoy the most: quiet with characters that are interesting and writing that’s thoughtful.

“Some women do this all their lives. Iron, rear, sweep, wash, fold, brush, wipe. For the entirety of their adult lives, they make homes. They make other people. They make families. This is just to say that what I’m doing is not so unusual. It’s the opposite. This act is completely mundane. But no one talks about how difficult it is. I don’t think it’s any easier for a woman with a pretty husband and a pretty six-year-old daughter. Beneath the prettiness, we are all a mess. We are all struggling.”

I loved the quiet nature of this novel. The characters grew on me as I read, I loved the quiet atmosphere of home making, the juxtaposition of illness, motherhood, friendship and people quietly taking care of each other, needing each other, building lives together.

“In this moment you know that for all the trauma you have suffered, for all the suffering you have witnessed, you know there is no love greater than this and you believe in God.”

I loved the writing. I loved the mother-daughter relationship. I loved the way the whole book grew on me as I read it. I found myself rooting for the characters, rooting for everyone to make the homes they wish to have, to fell full. The find their own homes.

If quiet novels are your thing, too, you will like this one.

with gratitude to edelweiss and Harper Perennial for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


And there we go, another week of reading in 2020.


Books I Read this Week 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

Stories from 2020 – 05

Prompt: Gratitude – 04 | There’s something good in everyday

my beautiful friend Kelly

I entered 2019 in the middle of a major depression. I had spent the last six months extremely sad and unable to see any light as I looked down the road of my life. It took me three months to come up with a word for the year and I ended up having to create a spreadsheet with all the options until I found the one that spoke to me: magic.

I picked magic because I knew I had to get intentional around both adding more magic to my everyday life and also about seeing the magic that was already there. I had stopped seeing anything good about my life, let alone magical. I needed to make a concerted effort. 

Throughout 2019, I exchanged weekly emails with my friend Kelly, listing all the magical things from that week. In June 2019, I finally started to feel better again. I could breathe again, I could imagine possibilities again, and I started seeing the magic of everyday again. 

I don’t know how much the weekly practice contributed to my healing but I know that it was the most tangible way to remember that there is indeed something good in everyday. That every single day I get is a gift and is magic and I am so very grateful to get to have one more.

And so grateful to finally feel better.


This year I am planning to do something different than last year. Around last September, I stopped taking a lot of daily photos which then meant I also stopped scrapbooking. I have several of the Story Kit’s piled up. So I decided to switch gears a bit and see if I can use Ali’s prompts to tell my stories. I might (or might not) also turn them into scrapbook pages. In the meantime, I will just enjoy telling my stories.

Stories from 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. The prompts are from Ali’s Story Kits unless mentioned otherwise. I have started an instagram account for these, we’ll see if I keep it up.

Living Wild – 05

Weekly Intention: This week has the potential to be a crazy week. I have several big things going on as well as a bunch of work I have to get done and then I am possibly going to the kids’ school Monday night, climbing Tuesday night and taking Friday off to be with David for his birthday. My intention this week is to stay as calm and grounded as I can. Let’s lean into the silence of the wilderness.

This month’s intention is: Wild at Heart:  Take new chances with your heart this month. Try new date nights. Reach out to new people. Create new connections. Strengthen your heart with exercise. Interesting one. I think a great reminder and something that was top of mind. I am going to think about this.

One way I will show up this week:  attentive. calming maybe?

I will go into the wild:  not sure about this one. maybe over the weekend? I have a hike slotted for Jake and me.

This week, I will pay attention to: things that are happening and mostly how i show up

One new thing I will begin this week: journaling still 🙁

One magic I will create: still need to: Book a vacation for winter break, wrap david’s presents.

One thing I hope to release: the thin layer of anxiety i add to everything.

One thing I will join in on: maybe go to school monday?

One area I will practice being open: maybe here i can be open to feedback this week?

I am looking forward to: some big projects culminating

This week’s challenges: getting to draft 2 is still likely my biggest one.

  • Top Goals:
    • Work: clean email. draft 2. thursday. nbu doc.
    • Personal: figure out a routine that works for me. journal. get into a groove.
    • Family: support nathaniel and david and jake. celebrate david.

I will focus on my values (love, learn, peace, service, gratitude): i aim for peace and learning at work. gratitude for me. service and love for my family.

This week, I want to remember: which of these will matter in 5 years?


Living Wild is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here.

Weekly Reflection 2020 – 04

The Wildest Part of this Week was: Hmm this week was mostly just a lot of work and late nights. I worked 10+ hours most days and still went climbing on Tuesday night – though I didn’t end up climbing so much – and Thursday morning. I still haven’t adjusted to the rhythms of 2020, yet. Here’s to hoping February fares a bit better.

Top Goals Review:  

  • Work: had only one walking 1-1. cleaned email. did not really continue or really do the nbu doc.
  • Personal: totally did not figure out a routine that works for me.
  • Family: did support nathaniel and david and jake.

I celebrate: being brave this week.

I am grateful for: a quiet weeked.

This week, I exercised: I did uphill walking (15%) 4 days and rock climbing 3 days.

This week, I answered the Call of the WildHmm not much this week. I feel called but am not answering the call. I did take one walking 1-1 but it’s measly.

I embraced Silence of the Wilderness: i did my OLW inspiration board which always makes me happy.

This week’s Wildcard was: hmmm. just having to have so many conversations at work i think.

I said yes to: resting this weekend.

I said no to: working over the weekend even though i really should have.

Core Desired Feelings (leap, soft, release, join, delight) Check-in: Hmm. I am taking a big leap and trying to release all the anxiety around that. I am also thinking of what/where and how to join. Those are top of mind right now.

My mood this week was: very tired.

I am proud of: some solid climbing on Saturday and working hard to tackle the overhangs.

I release: the outcomes

Here’s what I learned this week: how i show up has a big influence on how the story goes.

What I love right now: I love that I am moving slowly.


Weekly Review 2020 is a year-long project for 2020. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here.

Moments of 2020 – 04


Moments of 2020 is a year-long project for 2020. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here.

Books I Read This Week 2020 – 04

Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I also have an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.


The Love Story of Missy Carmichael (5 stars): “She marched to the beat of her own drum, whereas I seemed to listen out for everyone else’s.”

I loved and adored this story. This is the story of Missy Carmichael who is living by herself at the beginning of a new stage of her life where she’s lost her husband and is estranged from her daughter and so far away from her son who lives in Australia. She is living a contained life.

“To be open with one’s emotions, to reveal one’s devotion so obviously, seemed reckless, as if inviting a knock?back.”

As she meets her next-door neighbor Alice, her life begins to open up and thanks to a series of small-seeming events she starts building a community around herself. She touches people’s lives and allows them to touch hers. She mends relationships. She learns about herself. She grows up and opens up.

“The magic doesn’t stop the worst happening. The worst happens all the time, every day. And then life goes on. And you just hang on and hope that you can keep whatever crumbs and tiny white teeth are left.”

The magic of letting others help you, of expanding your life, of leaning in and on others is at the heart of this gem of a novel. And it shows you what happens when a person is supported and loved and blooms under the care of that love.

“I’d never seen myself like that before. The first photo summed me up, mostly, but the second had exposed my other self, the tiny part of me that could laugh like that. I wanted to poke my way into that part like I’d delved into the envelope, widen and open it up so that it overwhelmed the stiffness and self?consciousness and all the other weaknesses I despised.”

It’s not possible to read this beautiful novel, full of beautifully rich characters and not to feel your heart growing a size bigger. I have loved my time with it and it will stay with me for a long while.

with gratitude to netgalley and Penguin Group Putnam for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.


Big Lies in a Small Town (4 stars): Diane Chamberlain is such a master storyteller. I loved both of the characters’ storylines here and I loved how they came together in the end. I felt both of the characters (and worlds) were well developed and interesting on their own which is relatively rare in novels like this. I enjoyed every moment I spent with this story and if you’re a fan of Chamberlain this one won’t disappoint.


Love Her or Lose Her (3.5 stars): I enjoyed my time with this sweet romance novel. I loved that it was about saving a marriage as opposed to a new budding romance. I loved how each of the characters were flawed and yet also wonderful. They were three-dimensional. I liked the therapist a lot, too. Most of the novel was reasonably predictable but it was sweet and endearing.


The Camera Never Lies (3 stars): The premise of this story was so compelling to me that I checked it out from the library multiple times. I had read that it was by a Christian author and I don’t usually read novels of that genre so I couldn’t decide if I should read this. But I kept coming back to it so I finally decided to just read it. And I am glad I did. The story was interesting and despite several reviews to the contrary I actually thought the characters weren’t 100% stereotypical. I liked the premise and i liked the overall lesson that hiding things are not good for you. I believe it’s really important to live aligned with your values and that when you’re out of integrity with who you are, you suffer. This story was a good reminder. I enjoyed it.


And there we go, another week of reading in 2020.


Books I Read this Week 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.