Nine Women, One Dress

Happy Friday Peeps!!

First and foremost, thank you for stopping by and checking this out.  More traffic is definitely a good thing 🙂

This week will go down as a very long one… longest in a while.  BUT the end is in sight (at least for me), and you know what that means….

COFFEE + WORDS + WINE = WEEKEND!

 Cue the choir.  Clouds parting, angels singing.

I’m wondering if anyone looked into last week’s #weekendread,  The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin.  If you didn’t, you should definitely put it on your list.  I was blown away by how much this book touched me and found myself re-reading paragraphs and highlighting quotes.

Why were we all hoarding love, stockpiling it, when it was all around us, moving in and out of us like air, if only we could feel it?

Why are we all hoarding love?  The moment I read that, a part of me softened to the world around me.  I tend to be a basket of resentment… but this quote, this book, makes me feel like I just need to open my eyes to what is real instead of what I think is real.

Does that make sense?

I’m rarely going to give anything away in a book review, mostly because I want you to read it and experience it on your own without my take.

But seriously, read this book.  It will break your heart and then heal it too.

So what’s next???  I thought you’d never ask 🙂

I have heard so many good things about this book, Nine Women, One Dress by Jane L Rosen and can’t wait to dive in. I’ve been waiting to get my hands on this book for quite some time now, and got it from the library just in time for the weekend!

Something about the title reminds me of my undying affection for the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, so already that’s a plus.  And of course the cover is AH-MAZE-ING.

Thoughts of this will definitely get me through this crazy Friday…

What are you reading?

#WeekendReads

Is there anything better than a good book?

How about time to read that good book in your favorite chair and cozy blanket?

This year has not been my greatest reading year… not by a long shot.  I had the hardest time finding anything that would capture my attention, then when it did, my life seemed to get in the way.  I know, I know, this is not a blog for complaining, so you’ll be happy with my next adventure.  Let me preface it by saying that if you asked me anytime in the last ten (or more) years ago, I would’ve told you that my dream job would involve reading books and writing.  So that’s what I’m doing.blog-forgettingtime

I am going to treat this as if I’m getting paid to read, because that is eventually the goal.  Embracing the whole ‘act as if’ rule to manifest the dream job is the adventure.  Sometimes you just have to take that step into the life you’ve always wanted, and fake it till you make it.

So… The plan is that every Thursday or Friday, I will be posting about #WeekendReads and the books that are on my TBR list.  I have always had a list of books to be read, and the stack of books piling up on my shelf is obnoxious.  Obnoxious in the best possible way though 🙂

This week I am reading The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin.  I literally found this just browsing books that were available on my Overdrive App, and after reading the first couple chapters, I was hooked.  The reviews on Amazon are equally as good.  I can’t wait to dive back into it this weekend.

If you’re interested, post your own #weekendreads on Twitter and tag me @coffee_andwords.  I would love to get more ideas for the next book choice.

Have a great weekend!

Choose Joy

It’s December 1st.

As in 25 24 days till Christmas.

As in 24 days to figure out how to manage my money so I don’t break the bank this year.

I swear if we took out the stress and need to compete with others over gifts and decorating, we’d be much happier.  Where would we be if we celebrated what Christmas was really about, instead of beating ourselves up thinking that whatever we spend won’t nearly be enough?

Do we ever feel like what we do is enough?  How are we supposed to enjoy ourselves when the self-induced pressure is very real? (And it is self-induced).

My main goal this year is to take each of these next 24 days and make them different from what I’ve done in the past… and I’m hoping you’ll do the same with me.  What we do for others, whatever we do for others, will be enough.  Trust in that.

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5 Ways to Savor this Holiday Season…

  1.  Above and beyond anything else, focus on you and your family first.  I know finding the perfect gift for your boss or bestie feels important, but trust me, they will still be your boss or bestie after the holiday.  If you’re spending money, make sure it’s on the ones that really count.  The ones who see your bedhead and love you anyways.  The ones who know what kind of wine is your favorite.  The ones who don’t make fun of you for knitting your tenth scarf in a row.  Gifts for others shouldn’t break the bank or your sanity.  A coffee mug filled with goodies.  A bottle of wine.  A great book.  Trust me when I say you don’t need to stress about this.
  2. Stay off social media if it brings you down.  There is nothing worse than going on Facebook to check in, and realizing you didn’t decorate nearly enough as ANYONE else.  Keeping up with the Joneses is a full time job for some, and they take it VERY SERIOUSLY.  It’s okay… totally their choice.  But it’s not okay to feel like your life doesn’t match up if you don’t have a decorated tree in every room.  Or Santa outfits for your dog.  Or 64,000 twinkling Italian lights adorning your exterior (Thanks Clark!).  Decorate as much or little as you want, and do it with joy.
  3. Listen to Christmas music daily.  A Charlie Brown Christmas, in particular.  Trust me on this… the entire soundtrack will make you feel like a kid again and put a smile on your face.  If that’s not your thing, then search through Apple or Amazon Music apps.  Seems like everyone has a Holiday album now.
  4. Be a party pooper.  This time of year brings many invites to all kinds of parties.  Pick a couple that you want to attend, but certainly don’t feel like you need to go to all of them!  The next 24 days is a battle field, and the only way you will get through it is if you take care of yourself first.  That means skipping the party that you really didn’t want to go to anyways.  Pop some popcorn and Netflix, or better yet, go to the movies and see something new… Like Office Christmas Party 🙂
  5. Stay healthy.  You know the rules… drink water, skip the Doritos dinner, try to exercise a little every day (instead of 60 min once a week). Keep your life and mind in balance.  If you don’t meditate, download an app (Like Headspace) and give it a try.  Yoga and Pilates are also great for keeping yourself grounded and can be easily accessed for free on Youtube.

That’s what I call a good start… what would you add to the list?  I’d love to hear how you survive the holidays 🙂

Happy December!

 

P.S.  I made the above graphic into a phone wallpaper too.  Just tap on it and save to your photos if you want a daily reminder to CHOOSE JOY!img_1942

 

Waking Up

I had one thought this morning when my alarm went off, and it’s the same thought I have every morning…

I’m tired.

This thought enters my brain roughly 3000 times a day.  In fact, I’m not sure it ever really escapes my brain.  It’s there when I cook breakfast.  It’s there on my way to work.  It’s really loud when I’m at work.  And then at home…. oh my home life… it’s the loudest there.  Usually ending with me curling up on the couch for a power nap of some sort just so I don’t have to think about being tired.

How did I get here?  How did I get so tired of my own life that it’s literally all I think about?

I’m having this feeling lately like life is passing me by.  Every day feels the same, and I’m certain that nagging feeling I’ve had for months now is a sign that I need to change something.

But what?  A part of this feels like an adventure.  I’m heading into unchartered territory, and yet still sitting in my comfy chair, safe in my home.  I truly believe the change has to start in my head… my thoughts and eventually, my patterns.

Changing your thoughts is one thing.  I have countless books about changing your thoughts.  Being more positive.  Saying yes to life.  Dreaming big.  Being mindful.

But changing your patterns?  Your go-to, this is safe, I know what happens when I do this pattern?

That is another story.

One that I’m going to write.

So if you’re tired… weary… and want something different, grab a cup of coffee and follow along.  Life if too short to be so tired, and I want to find a way out.  I think we deserve that.

Happy Monday!

 

 

Coffee & Words

Yes, another new look… but even this will change once I figure out how, and also a new name.  This blogging thing has been on my mind a lot lately, and I feel like it needs a new direction – a new focus, if you will.

Enter Coffee & Words.

There is so much hate in the world, especially lately, and I wanted to create posts that make people feel better.  Honestly, that’s always been the goal.  I remember a job interview in the past where I actually said, “I want people to leave here feeling happier than when they arrived.”  And then I worked my ass off to do just that.

And that’s my goal here, too.

I just want a break in your reality… just a short one, that leaves you feeling a little better than before.

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So be patient with me while I post in an “under construction” site.  I promise there will be no beeping 🙂

Have a great weekend!

Moving Forward

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It’s funny – well, not really funny I guess – but before the election, I couldn’t wait for it to be over.  Now that it’s over, I want this part to be done too.  Is it me or are people crazy in the head at this point and time?  I get that Trump is hated and Hilary was looked at as the great new hope for women and America, but really?  Burning flags?  Protesting the result of America’s right to vote?  Moving to Canada?  Seriously, people.

Perhaps I’m not political enough to be so involved I want to write horrible and hateful things on Facebook.  Perhaps I see a big picture that feels like most people have lost sight of.  Perhaps I just want a life that is about more than focusing all my energy on people who don’t deserve it.

Here is what the focus should be for all Americans.  Kindness.  Love.  Acceptance.  Understanding.  Patience.  GRATITUDE.

If we all did our part, and allow the government do their part, life would be different.   In years past, we would see many people posting on Facebook the November Gratitude Challenge.  Sure, it got redundant, but it’s way better than what’s out there now.  I’m taking a break, and giving my attention to what needs it most:  My writing… books… and kindness.

So to answer the question ‘What do we tell our kids?’  Tell them America voted, and someone had to win.  Yes, he was hated, but she was too.  We live in America where we have the privilege to vote.

Tell them to treat others with respect.

Tell them it’s okay to have opinions, but it’s not okay to use them to hurt others.

Tell them to win graciously and to lose with grace.

Tell them to be kind to everyone they meet.

I hope this helps someone.  I know I feel a little better writing it…

Have a Happy Thursday Peeps!

Clarity

Simple Definition of clarity

  • : the quality of being easily understood

  • : the quality of being expressed, remembered, understood, etc., in a very exact way

  • : the quality of being easily seen or heard

Source: Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary
Seems clear, right?
But what if the “subject” needing to be easily understood is little ole me.
Not so clear.  Game over.
It seems the older I get, the more time I spend in a confused state, never sure what I want or need, let alone what’s for dinner on any given night.  It’s true, I’ve spent a huge part of the year fighting, resisting, and procrastinating what I know to be true.
I am a writer.
I’m not exactly fighting that fact, but it’s more of a priority thing.  A focus thing.  And a habit (or lack of) thing.
I’ve done everything possible to try and make myself write, forcing it upon myself till the words are literally hiding out in an unknown part of my brain.  It’s crazy, and the only way I was able to sit down and get some words out tonight is to finally stop the internal battle, and cut myself some slack.  I literally gave myself permission to stop writing earlier this week, and only then did I let my thoughts float up to the surface.
It still feels a bit stiff, and I’ve deleted more than I’ve written, but here are words, formed into sentences, on a specific subject.
Clarity.  Or something close to it.
I can’t promise anything consistent, only that I will continue on this path that is way less traveled for me.  I am learning to treat myself better, kinder, like a friend I haven’t seen in a long time.  Someone I really like to be with.  I am learning that managing two families is a really good reason to be too exhausted to write, and that this feeling won’t last forever.  I am also learning to manage myself better, opting out of the wine every night philosophy that makes me feel worse than when I started.  Cutting out on sugar… always a work in progress, and eating more real food, less junk.
None of that is easy, but I believe it’s more important than worrying about a writing habit that is adding to my pressure.
So, for now, I am taking a writing break 🙂  The irony isn’t lost on me.
If you’re still reading… thank you.  If not, I probably wouldn’t have either.  I’m only hoping that someday all of this will finally make sense to me.  And that each word I put out there is leading me closer to where I’m supposed to be.
Now that would be really cool….

Begin.

So this is it… August first, and the beginning of my year long writing journey. This isn’t something I planned at all either. I literally thought of it yesterday when I was going through my planner, and it popped into my brain and nagged at me all day till I did what it wanted: made a commitment. images

To make it even more interesting, I started a new Instagram account [mjwrites365] and would love it if you wanted to follow. I will also be posting daily on there as well to keep myself accountable.

I’m smiling as I write this because it feels like the first big step I’ve taken in a long time. I’ve been pretty MIA in the writing department for so long, years if I’m being honest, and just want to prove to myself that I can do this. No more excuses (I have millions). No more wishing. No more complaining.  Just write.

Also, it has that ‘project’ feel about it, and I’ve always been happiest when I have a project. I love working towards something, and spending my time when I’m not writing thinking about what I’m going to write about. All writing will be written in one file on Scrivener and then exported to it’s home, whether it be the fiction piece I’m working on or this blog.
Journaling doesn’t count.

I figure this way, next July, I can print the whole thing and really see what a goal looks like completed.

What about you? We are over halfway through 2016… how are your goals coming along? It’s not too late to create some new ones and get back on track.

It’s never too late to turn your life around.

Hope you have a great Monday!

The Gratitude Diaries

It’s no mysteries to anyone who knows me that I’ve had an on-again and off-again relationship with Gratitude (yes, it deserves a capital G in my eyes).  I’ve read about it, done 28-day programs, and even proclaimed myself “cured” from the negative self-talk that has always plagued me.

Funny word, plague.

And by funny, I don’t mean haha.

I always know that my thinking has gotten away from me when I’m most drawn to self-help books.  Yes, it’s true, they’ve always been a part of my life, but now I notice myself steering away from fiction when I’m feeling a little lost.

And by lost, I mean hopeless.

For me, there are two contributing factors to wandering around the desolate island with Jack and Sawyer… exhaustion and diet.  I can function okay when one or the other is out of whack, but when both are, forget about it.

Game over.  Nobody wins.

Gratitude is a tricky topic for me, mostly because I really try to do what I say I’mmaxresdefault going to do.  I genuinely try to find the good in situations and help others along the way.  But I have been finding myself lately in that dark place where nothing feels like it’s ever going to get better.  That place where binge-watching The Killings in two weeks is not only okay, but justified.

The Killings.. totally worth it, btw.

So, last night, while cleaning out my Kindle, I came across a book I had bought last year and never read.  The Gratitude Diaries, by Janice Kaplan, and it was all clouds parting-choirs singing for me.

Of course, this finds it way to me when I need it.  I’ve been working on the food thing again, and exhaustion is far less when I eat better (go figure), so naturally Gratitude is the next step.

If you’re also looking a way out of fiction this summer – even though your To Read list is probably growing every day – pick this up.  We could all use a little more Gratitude in our lives, and sometimes just need somewhere to start.

Ready… set… Go!

Happy Reading Peeps 🙂

Don’t You Cry

51C-qS47EAL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_Traditional book reviews are not my favorite thing.  It always makes me a little crazy when I’m looking through Goodreads, only to find the same summary written and rewritten in catchy ways to try and inform the reader of whether to read the book or not.

I can read a book cover.  I don’t need information about what’s inside the book, and for God’s sake, please leave out any spoiler alerts.  I don’t want to know how it ends… until I get to that spot myself, thank you very much.

What I do want is to know how you felt reading it.  Did you laugh, cry (or hopefully both!), or were you unable to put it down?  Did you struggle to get through or give up for something better?  These are the things I want from a review.

And so that is what I will give you, Dear Reader.

No summaries.

No spoilers.

Just thoughts.  Random thoughts, obviously, but thoughts just the same.

Which brings me to this weeks read, Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica.  I’ll be honest, I almost didn’t finish it.  About a third of the way through, I texted my friend Linda to see if it was worth finishing.  (It’s nice to have a friend who has the same taste in books.)  “It does get better.” was the text I got back.

So, I did finish it, although I may or may not have skimmed quite a bit of it in the middle.  It bothered me because I was such a fan of The Good Girl, and while I liked this story in the end, it was a challenge to get there.  But by the time I got to the last fifty pages, I couldn’t put it down.

Mary knows how to weave a story, a mystery, that I will never know how to do.  Days after reading this, I’m still thinking about the characters and the story woven through the pages.

Should you read it, yes.  Don’t compare it to anything… just relax and enjoy the process.

Actually, use that advice for life too.  Don’t compare… just relax and enjoy the process 🙂

And #prayfororlando #loveALWAYSwins

Happy reading, and have a great week.

 

 

 

Living life one page at a time.