Moments of 2020 – 21


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 – 21

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.


Yes to Life (4 stars): I love Viktor Frankl’s writing. I love the way he thinks, I love the way he can break things down to their essential parts and help me remember what’s at the crux of my life. He’s one of the handful of names that’s on my list to read relatively regularly so I can continue to have perspective.


The Imperfects (4 stars): I really enjoyed my time with this family story. It has all the elements of a family saga, historical fiction as well as a little mystery. I liked the characters and the story moves slowly but managed to hold my interest the whole way. It has a lot of characters which are sometimes hard to keep track of. It also has a handful of twists along the way. But at its heart this is a story about family.


Writers & Lovers (3.5 stars): This story was interesting in parts, well written and thought provoking but then it also was navel gazing at parts. The writing was so strong that you could feel the anxiety of the main character through the book itself. The grief of losing her mother. The uncertainty of life. A writer writing about a writer is always interesting to read and this well-written book was no exception.


Pew (4 stars): “Since I had woken up on that pew, the meals had been endless and I wishes I could have reaced back and given one of them to those days of hunger in the past, or that I could have moved this plate to a place – there must have been such a place where someone else was hungry.”

This was such an interesting and unusual book. The main character is a person who wakes up in the pew of a church one morning and one of the church members takes the person into their home. We don’t know the gender or the race of the person as each of the characters in the book tries to figure it out desperately. They name the person Pew for where the person was found because Pew won’t talk to anyone and won’t tell them anything.

The writer does an excellent job of showing how the discomfort of being in the presence of someone who doesn’t talk can overtake other people with their need to fill the void. I also liked the Shirley Jackson-esque Festival towards the end. The unsettling, eerie tone accompanies the whole novel and crescendos in the release that is the festival.

No revelations, no twists, no surprises, this is merely a thought-provoking well-written novel.

Thank you to netgalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.


Big Summer (3 stars): I have mixed feelings about this story. Jennifer Weiner usually writes about friendship and her stories are often deeper than they look like they would be and there’s often some element of someone with a weight issue. All of those elements exist in this story, too. There’s also some unexpected mystery which I found to be weird and odd and out of character. I didn’t dislike it but it detracted from the story, in my opinion and took away from the depth usually present in her stories. Still enjoyed my time with it.


American Dirt (3 stars): I kept putting off reading this book because there was so much controversy over it and I didn’t want to promote or encourage false representation. I finally read it for my book club and maybe because I’d already heard so much about it, it didn’t leave much of an impression on me.


And there we go, grateful to be reading.


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 – 21

Prompt: Seasons – 02 | One of the concepts inherent in the change of seasons is the idea of transition. What kind of transition are you experiencing at this point in your life – or can you identify a major time of transition in the past? Write about it..

In the last six months, I’ve started spending more and more time rock climbing with Jake. I am trying to deliberately shift my focus from a season of going inward to a season of going outward. 

I saw this quote a few weeks ago and it stopped me in my tracks: “Where there’s love, nothing is too much trouble and there’s always time.” (sidenote: you can buy the amazing print here. It hangs on the wall above my desk.)

I set so many goals and make so many plans that I can always keep myself busy. I can read for days on end. I can draw and journal and spend time curled up on the couch. Couple that with the tough, tough year that 2018 was, I just went all the way inward.

But in the last six months, I’ve been trying to shift this and start going outward. I’ve been going hiking with Jake and the kids, climbing with Jake, I’ve been trying to give more time, be more expansive. I’ve been trying to join, stretch, welcome and remember that there’s always time.


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 – 21

Weekly Intention: I am almost scared to set intentions at this point since I can’t even seem to keep up with updating this little corner let alone actually doing the things I intend to be doing. Without trying to, I seem to have gotten into a routine and not one I like. At least not one that feels like I chose. So my intention this week is maybe to start a handful of quick steps towards what I want.

This month’s intention is: May: Quiet Wilderness: Time to rest a little bit before things get crazy again. By the end of this month, you have parties, transitions, culminations etc. Use the time to add some quiet to the days and really connect with the peace of the wild, get grounded. Well there you go. So I have this low level discontent and I think the best use of my time this week is figuring out what it is and what to do with it.

One way I will show up this week:  slow and patient.

I will go into the wild:  i’m grateful for the little adventures Jake and I seem to be taking, maybe we can figure out one more this week.

This week, I will pay attention to: the aforementioned discontent.

One new thing I will begin this week: let’s go with continue. I’d like to continue the couch to 5k.

One magic I will create: let’s go with enjoying the magic this week. it looks like the days are going to be warm so i will try to sit in the yard as often as possible. Oh and I am going to try to wake up really early so i can start my days with some quiet. Let’s see if I can make it happen.

One thing I hope to release: worrying about the dishwasher. let’s see what the repairman says tomorrow.

One thing I will join in on: We are hoping to have some video dinners. We’ll see if we can pull one off this week.

One area I will practice being open: i want to be open to the possibility that i am doing okay.

I am looking forward to: celebrating our anniversary and our machine being fixed hopefully. crossing fingers and toes.

This week’s challenges: tomorrow’s a bit challenging with figuring out how to deal with the repairman, but i will stay optimistic.

Top Goals:

  • Work: work on finish retrospective, clean email, reply allyship, make plans
  • Personal: figure out a routine that works for me. journal. couch to 5K. exercise. draw again. continue 100 days of noticing.
  • Family: support nathaniel and david and jake. dishwasher. cook. walk.

I will focus on my values (love, learn, peace, service, gratitude): let’s see if I can make time to figure out what’s going on.

This week, I want to remember: that we are together, safe and that’s really all that matters.


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

Weekly Reflection 2020 – 20

The Wildest Part of this Week was: I’m sorry that I still go back and forth with the writing. Most of the weekend I feel an overwhelming sense of apathy towards pretty much everything. So none of my routines are working, all I do is sit here and read. This week though, Jake and I went rock climbing on Friday and it was definitely the wildest part of the week. It was awesome to be on a rock again.

Top Goals Review:  i didn’t do much of it so we will ignore for now.

I celebrate: my mom’s 70th birthday, my nephews turning 21 and our 18th wedding anniversary all back to back!

I am grateful for: our new tree. mostly that the dead tree is gone and we have some new one to grow.

This week, I exercised: still walking but i also finally managed to rock climb a tiny bit and started day 1 of couch to 5k.

This week, I answered the Call of the Wildwent rock climbing and then went hiking on the beach with the family.

I embraced Silence of the Wilderness: have not been doing anything here still.

This week’s Wildcard was: all of life is a bit of a wildcard at the moment.

I said yes to: going climbing, it was so worth it.

I said no to: working during this long weekend.

Core Desired Feelings (leap, soft, release, join, delight) Check-in: i am still working on doing all of these. slowly i am taking leaps where I can, trying to be soft with myself and others, trying to release things before they really build up, join in even when i don’t feel like it, and bask in the delight of flowers, birds and squirrels.

My mood this week was: grateful.

I am proud of: being kind to myself during all this.

I release: still trying to release everything i am carrying around all this. all the not doing enough, the not being enough, the constant noise of not enough.

Here’s what I learned this week: i am learning to sit with the anxiety and still do things anyway.

What I love right now: I love that summer is coming. Even though I am sad and anxious about it, too. I still love it.


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

Moments of 2020 – 20


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 – 20

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 Sight of You (4 stars): “I know Tamsin’s world is one of optimism. Of straight, sunlit paths; of long, sweeping bends. She refuses to believe in cliff edges and dead ends, darkened corners.”

Oh man, this book wrecked me.

This is a lovely story about what we do for those we love, how hard it is to live under the pressure of choices that are hard on both sides. The ways in which we make our lives so much harder than they have to be and the things we do in order to protect people.

In the end, this is a sweet story about love. It almost felt like Four Weddings and a Funeral in the way the story is written, sweet friends, close families, lots of baggage but also lots of love. Lots of real life moments.

It’s sweet and will touch your soul leave you a little broken and a little hopeful at the same time.

thank you edelweiss and G.P. Putnam’s Sons for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


Girl Gone Viral (3.5 stars): Another lovely story from Alisha Rai. I have come to really enjoy this writer. If light romance is your genre, you will love her books as they are full of diverse characters with interesting backgrounds and depth of character. These books are fun to read.


Dear Emmie Blue (4 stars): “Here, I am looked after. And maybe that is why it feels more like home than anywhere else has ever felt. Maybe home isn’t a place. It’s a feeling. Of being looked after and understood. Of being loved.”

This book looks like it’s a lighthearted romance on the surface of it all. A serendipitous moment that connects three people for life. And it is a romance. And it has lighthearted moments.

But it has serious moments, too. It hints at the seriousness of life and how our lives are full of good and terrible moments. How things that happen to us can change the course of our lives. How secrets and misunderstandings can live forever feeding the stories we make up about how things are.

‘Eliot laughs, rubs the stubble on his chin with his hand. “Um, no. Definitely not,” he says, his smile lopsided. “It’s all just—life, isn’t it? Disordered and chaotic and out-of-nowhere, and we have to plan and navigate our way around it the best we can.”’

I will say that I guessed the ending of this story long before it came. I was still happy to read it all the way through. I still fell in love with the characters and I loved every minute I spent with this story.

with gratitude to netgalley and Atria Books for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


Grin and Beard It (3.5 stars): Another lovely one from the Winston Brothers. I really enjoy these books. The character development, the funny quips, clever lines, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon. Can’t wait to read more of the series.


All Adults Here (4 stars): I know this story got mixed reviews and I know many people said that the author put the kitchen sink and all of today’s issues into one book. But I didn’t feel that way at all. I loved every minute I spent with this story and I didn’t want it to end for a moment. I loved the realness of the story. The way it’s hard to communicate. How hard it is to be a mother and to try so hard to do right by your kids. To mess up anyway. I didn’t relate to any of the characters and yet I related to all of it so much.


How to Save a Life (4 stars): This is the story of Dom who reconnects with his ex-fiancee after ten years. And on the night of their first date, after they reconnect, she passes away in a terrible accident. The next morning, Dom wakes up to find he is re-living the day and tries to do things differently but alas is met with another tragic ending. Dom tries again and again, desperately hoping to save the love of his life.

I requested this story because Lauren Oliver’s “Before I Fall” is one of my favorite books. And this is practically the same premise. This story didn’t connect with me as powerfully as Oliver’s mostly because her book is about high school and it was so resonant for me personally.

This story had a lot of touching moments and surprises. Even though I guessed the ending well before the end, I still felt attached to the characters. In fact, I wanted to know more. In a story like this, the plot makes it hard to do a lot of character development since the events of a day you relive are reasonably restricted. I still really enjoyed my time with this one and recommend it if the premise is as intriguing to you as it was to me.

with gratitude to netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


And there we go, grateful to be reading.


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.

Moments of 2020 – 19


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 – 19

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.


Sorry for your Trouble (4 stars): “We were transients. We were sheltered and stubborn in our view of life. But had we been able to stand outside of our circumstances we’d have known who we were and had become. Such changes are not easy to evaluate when they’re occurring.”

This was my first Richard Ford collection. There are a collection of nine stories in this book, two of which are novella-sized. The stories take place in Maine, New Orleans, and Ireland. Richard Ford’s characters are real, his writing is beautiful and his words are crafted in such a way that makes you stop in your tracks and makes you want to slow down and savor every word.

The characters in this novel aren’t an enviable lot. There’s so much apathy on the surface of these stories. So many different situations that would easily be full of melodrama in other novels but here they are quiet, almost uncaring in the midst of so much tension.

I am not usually a fan of short stories, I have a hard time getting attached to the characters in so many words. And yet, so many of these characters have stayed with me. But, of course, none of them can compete with the exquisite language in this book.

With gratitude to netgalley and HarperCollins Publishers for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


The Happy Ever After Playlist (3 stars): This was a sweet, cute novel. The beginning felt a lot stronger, to me, than the middle/end. Especially the dialogue as they were flirting with each other. Light, sweet and easy to enjoy.


The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires (3.5 stars): I am not even sure why I read this book. Vampires and horror are not the genre that speaks to me and nor do I like campy or ironic or black humor. But I read so many good reviews that I felt compelled to give this a try. And it was quite well done. Especially the beginning was very strong. I felt like the middle and end started to fall apart a tiny bit but it did finish strong and, much to my surprise, I liked it quite a bit.


The Other People (4 stars): I read this book in one sitting. If mystery is your genre and you’re not just into the twisty, unreliable narrator thing (which i definitely am not) you will like this high quality, well written mystery. I read one more book in a very similar theme this year but this one was well done and the creepiness factor was just right.


If I Had Your Face (4 stars): I went into this story knowing nothing about it and read the whole book in one sitting. Even though I don’t disagree with the reviews that desired more depth and felt like each of the characters could have had a novel of their own, I still loved the story. I felt fascinated and sad and horrified in different parts and found myself wanting to know more and more, which to me, is a good sign for a book. While it felt short, it didn’t feel shallow or flimsy, to me.


The Margot Affair (4 stars): “You think I’m a bad person, don’t you? Why are you always worried about being good or bad? Who taught you that? It’s a way of deferring responsibility for your actions.”

This book is the story of Margot, who is the high school daughter of a somewhat famous actor, Anouk. Her dad is a local politician but he’s also married to someone else and Anouk is his long-time lover. The story starts as a story about this family and Margot navigating her life in this more unusual set up.

“At Juliette’s, it felt as though my lungs were filled with more air, and the heaviness in my limbs would evaporate until I grew light enough to hover right above the ground, able to breathe at last.”

Craving a different relationship both with her mom and her dad, for different reasons. Fascinated by the world. Going through fleeting moments of overconfidence and neediness as many teenagers tend to do. Leading up to her betrayal and the aftermath, I really enjoyed this part of the story.

“Sadness is a fleeting emotion, Anouk said, just as happiness is.”

The second part of the story is mostly about Margot and an older couple she befriends and dives into female relationships a little bit but most of the characters in the story are only visible to the reader through Margot’s eyes and her feelings and thoughts. I enjoyed the limited view this posed even where it was clear we were getting a filtered view of things.

“My role isn’t to explain everything to you. I can’t explain your father to you, and you can’t understand what it was like. A marriage is a closed world. Anyone who thinks they can explain it to an outsider is a fool.”

There’s so little that really happens in this story. It’s mostly a character study, which is my favorite kind of novel especially when the writing is as visual and expressive as it is here. Even though it’s not an uplifting story, I don’t think it was depressing either. It felt like a slice of life, with some ups and some downs. As most of life is.

“What happened to daughters like us? Would we flee our families, wanting to be far away, wishing to carve out a life that was ours alone, far removed from where we came from? Or were we always destined to return? I wanted to absorb her into myself so I was never alone. I wasn’t afraid.”

I really enjoyed my time with this book. I savored the writing and the characters. It definitely felt French, to me, but the themes, of course are so eternal: marriage, motherhood, belonging, secrecy and friendship. The stuff of life.

with gratitude to netgalley and Random House for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


And there we go, grateful to be reading.


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 – 19

Prompt: Rest – 05 | Give it a rest.

I have so many stories in my head about the early years of my life. My childhood was filled with moments of feeling alone, ugly, unwanted, different, and lack of belonging. I was always on the outside, always the weird, different one. Not pretty enough or capable enough or athletic enough or whatever enough. Never invited to things. Never welcomed. Not like all the others. I just didn’t fit in. 

I carried these stories with me for such a long time, I still am. I have continued to see myself as the outsider. As the weird one, different, ugly, unwanted. 

And yet, I have this magical life. An incredible family, a loving husband, two wonderful kids who are kind and sweet and hardworking. I have friends who love me. I have fulfilling work that stretches me. Parents who adore and support me. A sister and nephews who love me. I have a home I love and a life I built with my own hard work. I have so much. I am so grateful for everything I have.

So when I look at my life, I can see that the stories in my head don’t fit. They are not my truth. Maybe they were at some point, maybe they never were, but they definitely aren’t anymore. And it’s time to put all those stories to rest. 

It’s time to hug them, thank them, and release them.


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 – 19

Weekly Intention: Ok so my intention this week is to be more intentional each day. How’s that for some circular thinking? I want to move a bit more intentionally through my moments. Be thoughtful with myself.

This month’s intention is: May: Quiet Wilderness: Time to rest a little bit before things get crazy again. By the end of this month, you have parties, transitions, culminations etc. Use the time to add some quiet to the days and really connect with the peace of the wild, get grounded. Well there you go. Even though we won’t have parties, culminations, we will have transitions and I certainly can use some quiet days. I’ve been hustling. I would like to stop. I’ve been trying to rack up the books, I would like to stop. I’d like to journal, draw, listen to more opera. I’d like to ground.

One way I will show up this week:  organized and rested.

I will go into the wild:  for now i will continue my daily walks and sit in the back yard when possible.

This week, I will pay attention to: establishing more of my routine. I know i said it a month ago. there’s been a lot of stops and starts here.

One new thing I will begin this week: i’d like it to be 3: exercise, journaling and drawing.

One magic I will create: i am loving the magic of my backyard and the candles and flowers. I am content with these for now. maybe i can think about some experiences next.

One thing I hope to release: my worry about our tree, they will come look so i’d like to release it for now.

One thing I will join in on: book clubs, school zooms, I’d like to get better at participating.

One area I will practice being open: exercise. i want to do a better job here.

I am looking forward to: feeling a bit less discombobulated.

This week’s challenges: establishing a routine.

Top Goals:

  • Work: finish retrospective, clean email, reply allyship
  • Personal: figure out a routine that works for me. journal. exercise. draw again. continue 100 days of noticing.
  • Family: support nathaniel and david and jake. tree. cook. walk.

I will focus on my values (love, learn, peace, service, gratitude): this week i’d like to lean into learn. see if i can learn a new routine.

This week, I want to remember: that i can do this. i can.


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

Weekly Reflection 2020 – 18

The Wildest Part of this Week was: It’s been a weird few weeks. Even though I’m home and all is well, I just haven’t been in the mood to write. I usually write my blog posts over the weekend and I just haven’t felt like it in weeks. I spend my weekends reading back to back now. I tend to average 4 books a weekend which means I am literally doing nothing besides reading. Not sure why but I am not ready to change it just yet either. So trying baby steps today. I am grateful to those of you who’ve checked up on me, I am doing ok. Healthy thankfully. Just tired. Mentally, physically and emotionally tired.

Top Goals Review:  living things moment to moment most days.

I celebrate: not much this week. just feeling gratitude.

I am grateful for: being safe, sound and for my family’s safety.

This week, I exercised: my exercise regimen has been all over the place. very little of it. I will see if maybe this week I can start getting back into some routine.

This week, I answered the Call of the Wildi’ve been buying a lot of things for my backyard and I spent all of Friday-Sunday in the backyard this week, watching the birds come and eat. it’s been magnificent.

I embraced Silence of the Wilderness: have not been doing anything here. I will see if I can make some progress this coming week.

This week’s Wildcard was: all of life is a bit of a wildcard at the moment.

I said yes to: letting things be.

I said no to: worrying about things i cannot control.

Core Desired Feelings (leap, soft, release, join, delight) Check-in: i am still working on doing all of these. taking a leap wherever i can at the moment. trying to release the anxiety i have. being soft with myself and my family. and joining whenever i can. the delight is mostly limited to flowers and back yard at the moment.

My mood this week was: worn out.

I am proud of: all that i have been able to do at work and all the vegetables I’m eating at home.

I release: all the guilt I am carrying about not doing enough, not being enough, i am trying to release it all so I can lean into this new normal and find some routine inside it for myself.

Here’s what I learned this week: i learned that things are unlikely to change drastically for a while, so it helps me to stop treating this as if it’s momentary

What I love right now: I love my backyard. I love the birds. I love my boys. I love possibility.


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