A Few Of My Favorite Books of 2015 (So Far)

Seems that I’ve made this year a year of reading. Maybe it’s because I have some quiet nights when Henry is at Jason’s. Or maybe I just want to take my eyes off my computer and drift into another world with characters who give me ideas and inspiration and hope.

I thought I’d share a few with you. Go forth and read!

Books by our very talented Listen To Your Mother Cast Members:

Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected by Kayla Aimee

The Beauty of Grace: Stories of God’s Love from Today’s Most Popular Writers by Dawn Jacobs Camp (and many other contributors)

Hands Free Life: Nine Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better, and Loving More by Rachel Macy Stafford

Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters! by Rachel Macy Stafford

All Beautiful Things by Nicki Salcedo

Listen to Your Mother: What She Said Then, What We’re Saying Now by Ann Imig and other LTYM Cast Members from across the country

Other books I love and highly recommend:

Damselfly Inn (Thornton Vermont Book 1) by Cameron Garriepy

Buck’s Landing (A New England Seacoast Romance Book 1) by Cameron Garriepy

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

After You: A Novel by Jojo Moyes (pre-order sequel to Me Before You)

Kindness Wins by Galit Breen

Primates of Park Avenue: A Memoir by Wednesday Martin

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 1) by Cheryl Strayed

Rare Bird: A Memoir of Loss and Love – by Anna Whitson-Donaldson

ALL the Housewife Assassin’s Books by Josie Brown

Disclaimer: Contains affiliate links. Buying through these links will feed my travel habit. And keep my local Starbucks open. 

Apart.

Apart.

It’s an adverb, used with verbs like drift, grow, or live.

It describes how our hearts have grown over the years. Apart.

Our love has drifted and now we have chosen to live that way. Apart.

It wasn’t a split second decision. And the details aren’t important.

Apart, for now, is how we will be.

Will it be permanent? We don’t know.

But for now it’s where we find ourselves.

We’ve grown to this place and hope that in the apartness, we can both drift towards our individual happiness or newfound togetherness.

Words, Glorious Words!

Words, Glorious Words!

I sat and sat, thinking about what my word for 2015 would be. I wrote down random words that popped into my head and tried to think, meditate, pray, and contemplate what this very important ONE WORD should be.

Since December, the word glorious has been popping up everywhere. You see, we went to an event for an organization that partners with local Tanzanians to provide education to children, healthcare to families, and opportunities to women. The organization is named Glorious. I left that event with the strongest desire to be part of it — to go to Tanzania to help. To do whatever I could.

Glorious is an adjective that means “having a striking beauty or splendor that evokes feelings of delighted admiration.” It’s a synonym for wonderful, amazing, marvelous, magnificent, spectacular, lovely…

Who wouldn’t want to be glorious? Or to have a glorious life?

I want this. And this year, I will live with this word on my heart.

2014 word glorious

With that said, I’m hopeful (very hopeful) that it will work out for me to go to Tanzania this year with Glorious for three to four weeks. By saying it out loud, here, in front of you, I am setting it as a goal. In fact, I made a Pinterest board where I can look at pretty pictures of things to do while in Tanzania, because if I go all the way over there, I plan to volunteer and then take time for myself. Maybe you’re interested in going, too? Let me know… we can go together!

This year, I wish to focus on myself. Not in a selfish way, but I need to tend to myself and my heart and my happiness. I need to huddle inside of myself and regroup — find happiness within and intentionally share it with others. I long to keep my energy clear and not allow myself to get muddled down by outside energy.

On top of that, I have very few goals or resolutions for the year. 2015 will be good. I will make it so.

And maybe I’ll bring you along for this glorious journey!

Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015

Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015

Oh, 2014. You’ve been good and you’ve been bad. As far as I’m concerned, you can go ahead and get on out of here…

Last year, I chose Intuition to be my word of the year. I’ve worked very hard to trust my intuition this year. It isn’t always easy, and sometimes it’s downright impossible, but when I’ve listened? It’s never led me astray.

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2014 was a busy year, and unfortunately I didn’t share a lot of what we did in posts. But here are some of my favorite moments from the year.

January: I cut off all my hair and the entire metro Atlanta area shut down from #snOMG14. Auburn went to the National Championship and lost, Henry won a trophy in the Pinewood Derby and Henry and I ran the Hot Chocolate 5k.

january2014

February: Henry was asked to be in the Austin Chorus that would perform at the local high school. It snowed again. This time, like 6″. We had an amazing time playing in it for days and drinking iced snoffee! I started and completed the hardest weekend of my life, running 19.3 miles over the course of two days. It was stupid and amazing!

february2014

March: March was super busy with Listen To Your Mother stuff. We held auditions and planned, plotted, and schemed. I spent a full week traveling the Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi area with my boss and coworker. I got to ride in the backseat of the truck the whole week and needed serious pain meds when it was all over!

march2014

April: In April, my dad tried to catch himself on fire by blowing up his lawnmower. He’s fine… now we just laugh. Henry spent several days camping with his grandmother and her friend at Stone Mountain. The girls I grew up with from the time we were born all spent a day together. We always have such a great time! Listen To Your Mother: Atlanta happened. It was magical!

april2014

May: May saw the end of third grade for Henry. Mom 2.0 was in Atlanta and I was fortunate to have been asked to be on the social media team. It was an amazing conference and I just l.o.v.e being able to see my friends… especially in “my” city! We marked Charlie’s 11th birthday without pomp and circumstance.

may2014

June: In June, I left my job at the wholesale nursery to do social media management full (part) time. Jason and I took Henry to New Orleans for the 70th Anniversary of D Day. We spent the full day at the National WW2 Museum, which I highly recommend to anyone and everyone. On this trip, after probably 6 years of being friends online, I finally got to give Leah a big hug in person!!

june2014

July: July was busy. We moved into a new house where we have a small pond behind us. Henry and his friend had a lemonade stand. He also participated in the GIANT Dunwoody 4th of July parade and went to Camp Winnataska for the 3rd year. I posted my 700th blog post on this here site.

july2014

August: In August, Henry and his first girlfriend Daria were able to get together. Our families went bowling and they were absolutely mortified to have to take a picture together (though later, I saw them playing a game standing about 1cm apart). Henry started 4th grade and I landed myself in the ER with a crazy reaction to a sulfa drug. Fun times, y’all! I also shared a recipe for the Georgia Cash Crop Cobbler. It’s seriously delicious.

august2014

September: In September, Jason and I dressed up and went out. It was to a wedding where we knew only the bride, but it was out. And fancy. Henry’s hair got to epic lengths and he looked like a teenager in his school pictures. Type A Conference was in Atlanta and I spent a few nights down in Buckhead with dear dear friends, old and new.

september2014

October: In October, I went to a few Auburn football games, hanging out with Kim and my #BelieveBitches crew! We went to the fair down in Perry, as usual, and celebrated Halloween with the Hollidays for the 5th year.

october2014

November: November marked Henry’s TENTH birthday. Double digits. He had a Game Truck birthday party, which was amazing! I highly recommend having someone bring a game truck to your driveway. You can drink while they play games and entertain your child! The Cub Scout Den went zip lining. What a blast! Henry was a narrator in his class’s patriotic program. If you want, I can have him recite his part in his Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation. My friends got together for an unofficial 20th class reunion. There was much drinking and much Cards Against Humanity going on. 

november2014part1

We spent Thanksgiving Week in New York City.

This was by far the highlight of our year. Henry and I got to hang out with my dear friend Neil for two days while Jason worked in Long Island, and then we spent the next 5 days as a family doing amazing things, like the Intrepid Museum and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! Yes, I’m going to recap the trip after the new year because there is SO much more!

november2014part2

December: In December, I turned 39. Yes, I’m staring down 40. We celebrated my birthday and our friend’s 50th with all you can eat catfish! We celebrated the holidays with Jason’s side of the family at the annual Anthoine Christmas Party, and of course, took goofy pictures of ourselves with our Christmas tree! Christmas was wonderful as usual, with my parents coming over for Christmas day lunch and then going to Jason’s mom’s for the weekend.

december2014

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2015 is now upon us.

I think I speak for a lot of people when I say I hope 2015 is better than 2014. Not that it was horrible for my family or myself exactly, but there’s always room for improvement. I’ll be spending the next few days thinking about what I want in 2015 and I’m sure you’re going to do the same.

My big hope for everyone is that we can all find happiness and peace.

Cheers!

 

When things don’t make sense…

When things don’t make sense…

There are times when we realize that things just don’t make sense. But once we think about it, they make perfectly perfect sense.

We just don’t understand what it means.

Maybe we’re not meant to.

Three years ago, I took my niece to NYC for her 13th birthday. We spent several hours in the rain walking around the newly finished 9/11 Memorial. I wrote about finding Todd Beamer’s name and thinking back to his wife’s book and then…

Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 11.39.35 AM

 

As strange as it sounds, I think of Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas and her Unborn Child often. I mean, not every day, but sometimes I’ll hear a word and think of her. Coozie, Grandiflora (plant word), Lauren (my sister’s name)… They all spark a memory of that moment.

I don’t understand why, but at the same time, I don’t question it.

Thanksgiving week, while we were in New York, we went to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. It was the first time there for Jason and Henry, and my first time at the Museum. Let me tell you. It’s amazing — a must-see when you’re in the city.

In the museum, they have a room that is lined with photos of all who lost their lives on 9/11/01. Faces are smiling up and down, as if they are actually looking at you. And you feel them. I wasn’t paying attention to names, just the eyes in the pictures, when a name grabbed me on a photo.

Yes, Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas.

The one name that had grabbed me before, grabbed me again almost exactly 3 years later.

Sometimes what we believe as coincidence
is really just getting ourselves caught
in an angel booby trap. ~Terri Guillemets

In the center of this room, there was a small theater that ran on loop, videos about those who lost their lives narrated by people who loved them. There were no seats available, so I looked into the room and on the wall were the words Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas. Of course I started crying because, WOW!  

I don’t know what any of it means, but I know that for some reason Lauren and her Unborn Child have a place in my heart. I know nothing about her except what I have seen in the memorial but I’m going to try to find out all I can about her. There may be nothing that ties us together, or there may be something.

I may never understand what it means. Maybe I’m not meant to.

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