HOPE: MY ONE WORD THAT GUIDES ME…

Earlier today, I was revisiting some of my earlier blog posts, and realized that I haven’t talked about my One Word since May, when I wrote Hope:  More Important Than Ever.

And at that time, I was sharing about my allergic reaction to hair dye.  Well, that reaction happened again in July…so I have decided that I am done with dye.  All the hope in the world couldn’t keep the rash at bay.

But…here’s what I’m hoping now.  That there will be something great about going natural.  How bad could it be?  LOL.

Lately, I’ve been noticing gray hair on people I know or see around (I’m assuming that my natural hair is probably gray, but I have only seen hints of it over the years…hidden, under the dye, but making a brief appearance at times).

Meanwhile, I am enjoying my books, as usual, and hoping to read as many of my purchased books as possible by year’s end (for my Read the Books You Buy Challenge).  So far, I’ve read 71, and should have completed another by the end of the day.

I have a dwindling stack of print volumes, too.  The most recent stack is on my living room coffee table:

 

In my office, there are two short stacks with a total of 11 unread books (older ones than those on my living room coffee table).  Not bad.  There is HOPE that I will finish at least some of these.

Reading print volumes has turned out to be a challenge…occasionally.   Some of the nonfiction books, especially, have a tiny font, making reading them tedious.  I should check these things out before I buy…except, most of them came from Amazon.

I am hopeful that I will somehow rise to the challenge.

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What gives you hope and helps guide you through your days?  Do you find it in books?  People you know and love?  Or in your interior moral compass?

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HOPE: MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER….

This morning, as I visited blogs and responded to those who visited my Bookish Friday, I noticed my One Word logo in the sidebar at Serendipity….and realized it has been a while.

Has HOPE carried me along on my journey this year?  Am I finding new optimism in my daily life?

Well, some of the time, but then there are times that I flounder and even throw up my hands in dismay.  Like when my skylight cover repeatedly fell during the big winds of this year; or when the wind destroyed my patio umbrella, requiring a new one…and then I had to find someone to set up the new one.

Yes, these are ordinary setbacks.  But in the past month, I have been fighting a skin irritation (allergic reaction to hair dye?), and right now I’m going through it again.  My daughter does my hair and didn’t test the dye this last time, since it’s the same brand she has always used.  But now she is doing some research…and I’m using the hydrocortisone recommended by the doctor…and my skin is on fire, still, but slowly cooling down.

I may have to let my hair go to its natural color, whatever that might be (gray?) until we find a solution.

Meanwhile, I am still reading and somehow, it does distract me enough…but I have to keep cold compresses close by, too, and wash and change the lotion every few hours.

This happened last month, too, and it took a full week to clear up.  I am HOPING that it will clear up sooner this time, but then, that’s just optimism.

My current read is He Said/She Said, by Erin Kelly, a NetGalley review book that has kept me twisted up as the story weaves the past and the present together, giving us bits of information as we move along.

 

Blurb: In the summer of 1999, Kit and Laura travel to a festival in Cornwall to see a total eclipse of the sun. Kit is an eclipse chaser; Laura has never seen one before. Young and in love, they are certain this will be the first of many they’ll share.

But in the hushed moments after the shadow passes, Laura interrupts a man and a woman. She knows that she saw something terrible. The man denies it. It is her word against his.

The victim seems grateful. Months later, she turns up on their doorstep like a lonely stray. But as her gratitude takes a twisted turn, Laura begins to wonder—did she trust the wrong person?

15 years later, Kit and Laura married are living under new names and completely off the digital grid: no Facebook, only rudimentary cell phones, not in any directories. But as the truth catches up to them, they realize they can no longer keep the past in the past.

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Just when I thought I had it all figured out, the author threw some more twists our way.

How scary is it to try to escape the world of “digital footprints”?  I tried to imagine living off the grid, and realized, along with these characters, that it is nearly impossible.

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I have two more NetGalley review books to be released soon:

Beach House for Rent, by Mary Alice Monroe, and The Breakdown, by B. A. Paris. (6/20/17)

 

Then Every Last Lie, by Mary Kubica, is on my shelf and will be released on 6/27/17.

 

 

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I am hoping to love each of these…and then it’s on to July, where I have three more books from NetGalley.  A busy summer ahead!

Now…if I can only stay free of skin allergies/infections…and broken things in the house…sigh.

Check out my new patio umbrella through the window.

 

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What is your One Word?  Are you keeping it in your sights on this journey through 2017?

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MY JOURNEY WITH HOPE…

Good morning, Blog World!  It has been too long since I wrote about my One Word, which, for this year, is HOPE.  (Today I’m linking up to Bookishly Boisterous, for my Bookish/Not So Bookish Thoughts).

I am still striving for balance (last year’s word), and hoping to achieve some of my goals for this year.  I’m reading from the Books I Buy, in a challenge, and have read and reviewed 23 so far.

My purchases keep adding to my shelves, with 20 books bought in January; 13 in February; and 4 in March…so far.

But…I think I’ve got this!  See, optimism, second cousin to HOPE.

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Let’s take a look at how it’s going in the other parts of my life:

My daughter is celebrating her marriage on April 1, at a nearby beach community (two hours away).  I have some things on my list, and so far, so good.  I found TWO possible dresses, and decided that one of them (the one my daughter likes best) would be for the wedding, and the other would be fun to wear for the reception (the next day).

Yesterday’s task:  Shoes.  I was hopeful, and went to a couple of shops in the nearby mall, and left very disappointed.  Then I recalled a DSW store even closer to me, and while I wasn’t all that hopeful…I was pleasantly surprised.  Not only was there a great selection, but the shop assistant was very helpful.  Something I didn’t find in the upscale stores I had tried first.

I found the shoes!  Now I just have to manage to stay comfortable enough all day.  Hmm.  You know how they seem comfy in the shop, and then, after a few hours of wearing them, your feet are screaming?  I hope that is not the case, or I’ll be walking around barefoot.

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Nails!  I found a nail salon two miles away with great reviews.  I knew I didn’t want to go all the way over to my daughter’s salon, as I’ll be having them done the day before.

Did I forget anything?  Oh, yeah, hair.  Well…my daughter did the color last week…and she could actually style it before the wedding, but I suspect she’ll be a little busy.  I’ve got this!

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Is HOPE guiding me in the rest of my life?  Am I trying to curtail my book buying compulsions…just a little bit, so I can finish the year with great numbers?  I’ve been bookmarking books I want to buy…and sitting on my hands to avoid that “click to buy” compulsion.  Sometimes it works.

 

 

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Currently, I am reading It Happens All the Time, by Amy Hatvany, a NetGalley review book, a provocative and compelling novel about two friends whose lives are changed by a drunken kiss.

 

 

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So, that’s it for today.  How are you doing with your One Word?  Does it follow you around, reminding you of what you vowed to do this year?

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A JOURNEY: UTILIZING MY ONE WORD IN MY DAILY LIFE…

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Finding strength in my One Word, HOPE, is a journey.  Just like everything about this blog.  A journey through my interior life as I explore my feelings, my attitudes…and take actions.

Am I looking at life through the lens of hope as I explore?

I am finding that little things, seemingly, look different to me when I apply a hopeful attitude as I approach them.  Something minor, like deciding what books to read through new processes, like my TBR Jar (something I am trying this year).  My TBR Jar, created with a quirky little container, now holds all the “dusty TBR books” from 2014 and 2015, and the first half of 2016.

 

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My Read the Books You Buy Challenge – 2017 takes me on my hopeful journey through newer books, spotlighting those I acquired from July 2016-December 31, 2017.

So far, I’ve added 4 of those newer books in that category to my “read” list.

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There are many things in life we have no control over…like the things that other people do.  Our reactions, attitudes, etc., over which we do have control….can shine a ray of hope into our lives as we let go of the anxiety, fear, and resentment we might feel towards the “things we cannot change.”

Yes, a little bit of that old “serenity prayer” can help us in such situations.

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However, I am practical, and I like to focus on what I can change…and my reading and blogging are a good example of what I can change.  How I decide what to read, what to blog about, and even something as miniscule as my blog headers, layout, and background.

Which brings us to Bloggiesta.  This weekend, we are having a little mini-event, and I’ve already started working on my Serendipity blog, my focus for this blog party.

In my pictures folders, I have several sample headers and blog buttons ready to go.  Which to choose?  I am feeling hopeful that I will find one that makes me want to go to the blog and post reviews, events, etc.  One that might appeal to visitors as well.

Like I said…HOPE.

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What is your One Word, and how are you using it in your daily life?  Do you find it helpful?

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MY NEW ONE WORD: HOPE!

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It is time to renew my One Word!  Yes, January begins a whole new year, with more resolutions or vows to make.  Check in with Sheila, at Book Journey, to sign up.

Last year’s One Word was Balance, and while I made a little progress—baby steps!—I have more work to do.

 

 

balance

 

In the meantime, choosing a new One Word will not subtract from those ongoing efforts.

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As you have probably guessed from the image at the top of this post, HOPE is my new ONE WORD.  With so many unexpected changes in our lives, some I am struggling with, I am going to need all the HOPE that I can find.

I thought of the word as I was watching an interview between Oprah and Michelle Obama.  Hope was the theme of the last eight years for the Obama administration…and since some of us will be challenged by the next year’s events, I want to draw upon that hope.

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What are you choosing for your One Word…if you are selecting one?  What is your story?

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CHERISHING MY INTERIOR WORLD: BALANCE?

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Welcome to a Tuesday morning in my Interior World.  The coffee mug above is, like many of my mugs, filled with memories of places and people.

That one I found in Big Bear City, CA, when my second son had a cabin there, and invited the lot of us up there for a few days.  I loved it!  Here are a couple of shots of that cabin in a collage:  you can see my two granddaughters on the right.  They were seven, then!  Now they are nineteen.  How did that happen?

 

 

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It was 2004, and I was still working, so my time away felt like a real vacation.  While others were skiing or snowboarding, I was poking around in the little shops.  That’s where I found the mug, which I don’t usually grab when I want a cup of coffee.  I don’t want it to break while being used.  It does come out for “photo ops,” though.  It usually sits here, first shelf, far right:

 

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I love my little “jelly cupboard,” shown above.  It is small, but can contain all kinds of special mementos, and a few favorite books.  I think I have talked myself out of moving, because every affordable place I’ve seen does not have room for my goodies.  And yes, as my daughter says, I don’t need all this “stuff.”  But maybe I do.

Who’s to say?

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Meanwhile, business as usual here, with the “clicking to buy” books that appeal to me.  Am I staying “balanced?”  Maybe not.  Here’s what the second half of the year looks like so far, in terms of purchases.  Those I have read are linked to their reviews:

 

JUNE 2016:

1.   Confess, by Colleen Hoover

2.  Death at Breakfast (e-book), by Beth Gutcheon

3.  Deep Dark (e-book), by Laura Griffin

4.  Dinner, The (e-book), by Herman Koch

5.  Drinking Closer to Home (e-book), by Jessica Anya Blau

6.   Exit, The (e-book), Helen FitzGerald

7.   Here’s To Us (e-book), by Elin Hilderbrand

8.   Mystic Summer (e-book), by Hannah McKinnon

9.   One True Loves (e-book), by Taylor Jenkins Reid

10.  Sunshine Beach (e-book), by Wendy Wax

11. Sweetbitter (e-book), by Stephanie Danler

12. Vinegar Girl (e-book), by Anne Tyler

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JULY 2016:

1. Coincidence of Coconut Cake, The (e-book), by Amy E. Riechert

2.  Girl You Lost, The (e-book), by Kathryn Croft

3. In Twenty Years (e-book), by Allison Winn Scotch

4. I’ve Got Sand in All the Wrong Places (e-book), by Lisa Scottoline, et. al.

5.  Melody Lingers On, The (e-book), by Mary Higgins Clark

6.  They May Not Mean To, But They Do (e-book), by Cathleen Schine

7.  This Must Be the Place (e-book), by Maggie O’Farrell

8.  Truly Madly Guilty (e-book), by Liane Moriarty

9.   Truth-Teller’s Lie, The (e-book), by Sophie Hannah

10. Valley of the Dolls, by Jacqueline Susann (50th Anniversary Copy – reread)

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AUGUST 2016:

1.All the Ugly & Wonderful Things (e-book), by Bryn Greenwood

2.American Girl, The (e-book), by Kate Horsley

3.  American Heiress, by Jeffrey Toobin

4.  Behind Closed Doors (e-book), by B. A. Paris

5. Book that Matters Most, The (e-book), by Ann Hood

6.  Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, by Anne Tyler (reread)

7. Family Tree (e-book), by Susan Wiggs

8.  Firefly Summer (e-book), by Nan Rossiter

9.  I Am No One (e-book), by Patrick Flanery

10. If I Forget You (e-book), by Thomas Christopher Greene

11. I Found You, by Lisa Jewell

12. It Ends with Us (e-book), by Colleen Hoover

13.  Map of the World, A (e-book), by Jane Hamilton (reread)

14. My Life, My Body, by Marge Piercy

15. Results May Vary (e-book), by Bethany Chase

16. Rosemary:  The Hidden Kennedy Daughter, by Kate Clifford Larson

17.  Silver Linings Playbook (e-book), by Matthew Quick

18. Siracusa (e-book), by Delia Ephron

19. Sister, The (e-book), by Louise Jensen

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SEPTEMBER 2016:

1.Come and Find Me (e-book), by Hallie Ephron

2. Finding Libbie (e-book), by Deanna Lynn Sletten

3. Kept Woman, The (e-book), by Karin Slaughter

4. Last Good Girl, The (e-book), by Allison Leotta

5.Life She Wants, The (e-book), by Robyn Carr

6. London Train, The (e-book), by Tessa Hadley

7. Some Tame Gazelle (e-book), by Barbara Pym

8. Sting (e-book), by Sandra Brown

9. Watching Edie (e-book), by Camilla Way

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OCTOBER 2016:

1. Commonwealth (e-book), by Ann Patchett

2. Love Letters, by Debbie Macomber

3. Mothers, The (e-book), by Brit Bennett

4. Red Car, The (e-book), by Marcy Dermansky

5. Saturday Requiem, by Nicci French

6. Stealing Jason Wilde (e-book), by Dee Ernst

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As you can see, I have a lot to read still.  Even though I’ve finished 68 books in my Read the Books You Buy Challenge, some of which come from the second half of 2015, there are many left.  Since they are mostly on Pippa, my Kindle, they are not staring me in the face, like these stacks of print books. (I’ve actually read the top one on the stack below):

 

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Today I clicked to buy two more e-books, which you’ll notice on the October list:

 

The Mothers, by Brit Bennett:

 

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And then there is The Red Car, by Marcy Dermansky:

 

 

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I read reviews of both books in one of the magazines I regularly read.  O or People, I’m not sure which.  lol.

So…what’s the verdict?  Am I hopelessly out of balance by still collecting and cherishing my books and my quirky objects?  Should I stop?  What do you think?

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balance

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BALANCING THE TBR STACKS: ANOTHER LOOK…

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Lately, you’ve seen several posts about my interior world, specifically how I am shuffling things around.  But what about my Tracking of my TBR Mountains?  What is happening there?

I did a little counting game today, checking out the numbers.  We do know that I’ve read 36 books from my purchased stacks for the period from June 2015-2016, for my Read the Books You Buy Challenge.

But how have these numbers impacted my stacks of purchased books, overall?

Let’s take a look:

Books Purchased in 2015:

95

Books Classified as DNF for 2015:

6

Books Still Unread for 2015:

15

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So…not bad.

Books Purchased in 2016:

54 (so far)

Books Unread in 2016:

31 (so far)

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Unfortunately, I keep pushing that little “click to buy” button whenever a book I want appears.  I am trying to request many of my longed-for books as review books, and I have accomplished that, to a certain extent.

 

HERE ARE BOOKS I RECEIVED FOR REVIEW, SO FAR, IN 2016; ALL OF THEM WERE BOOKS I WOULD HAVE PURCHASED.  THE LINKED BOOKS HAVE ALREADY BEEN READ & REVIEWED:

 

JANUARY 2016:

1.   After She’s Gone, by Lisa Jackson (Vine)

2.  Don’t You Cry (e-book), by Mary Kubica (NetGalley – 5/17)

3.   Girls in the Garden, The (e-book), by Lisa Jewell (NetGalley – 6/7)

4.  Good Liar, The, by Nicholas Searle (Amazon Vine)

5.  Miller’s Valley (e-book), by Anna Quindlen (NetGalley – 4/5)

6.  Multiple Listings (e-book), by Tracy McMillan (NetGalley – 3/8)

7.   No One Knows (e-book), by J. T. Ellison (NetGalley – 3/22)

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FEBRUARY 2016:

1.  A Girl’s Guide to Moving On, by Debbie Macomber – (Amazon Vine)

2.   Girls, The (e-book), by Emma Cline – (NetGalley – 6/14)

3.  Where I Lost Her (e-book), by T. Greenwood – (NetGalley – 2/23)

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MARCH 2016:

1.  Children, The (e-book), by Ann Leary – (NetGalley – 5/24)

2.   Most Wanted (e-book), by Lisa Scottoline – (NetGalley – 4/12)

3.   Perfect Neighbors, The (e-book),  by Sarah Pekkanen (NetGalley – 7/5)

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APRIL 2016:

1.  Cruel Beautiful World (e-book), by Caroline Leavitt (NetGalley – 10/4)

2.  June, by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore (Amazon Vine)

3.   Mother Knows Best,  by Karen MacInerney – (Amazon Vine)

4.   Three-Martini Lunch, by Suzanne Rindell –(Amazon Vine)

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MAY 2016:

1.   All the Missing Girls (e-book), by Megan Miranda – (NetGalley – 6/28/16)

2.  I Almost Forgot About You, by Terry McMillan – (Amazon Vine)

3.  Ink & Bone (e-book), by Lisa Unger (NetGalley – 6/7)

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JUNE 2016:

1.  All Is Not Forgotten (e-book), by Wendy Walker – (NetGalley – 7/12)

1.  Beach Blues, by Joanne DeMaio (Author Request)

2.  Tuesday Nights in 1980, by Molly Prentiss (Amazon Vine)

 

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Balancing the reading of my review books against those purchased is a challenge, but when I remember that these review books would otherwise have been on my “purchased” lists, I feel better.

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Do you play games with yourself, adding up your purchases and examining what you’ve accomplished?  I know that there would be NO BALANCE in my life if I didn’t keep an eye out.

Which doesn’t mean that I won’t keep “clicking to buy”!

 

 

compulsive book buying

 

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INTERIOR THOUGHTS: A PRECARIOUS BALANCE…

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It is time to assess my progress towards BALANCE!

One aspect of balancing my interior world is all about the books I buy, as well as those I manage to read.

Let’s look at my Compulsive Book Buying Disorder:

 

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Here’s what happened so far this year:

Books Purchased in January 2016:  SEVEN!  (Not bad)

How about February?  – SIX!

March:  Uh-oh….TWELVE!

April:  TEN…So far.

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Now let’s check my progress on the Read the Books You Buy Challenge:

Twenty-eight books read so far in 2016.  These are books that were purchased between June 2015 to the Present.

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Now…this is all great, but what does it have to do with balance?   Let’s look at books that I’ve read from my Old TBRs…before June 2015.

Those numbers were harder to access, but I found them by going back through my written logs from the beginning of the year, and here they are:

TWENTY-TWO books read that were purchased before June 2015.  So…a little progress.

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Balancing books read, books purchased, etc., is all good.  But I still have a ways to go to balance out the rest of my life.

My A Day in the Life post showed a somewhat balanced day.  I’m thinking I should do a similar post once a month.  What do you think?

Do you easily balance your days, your weeks, and your months?  How do you do it?

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balance

 

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PROGRESS RATHER THAN PERFECTION: BALANCE

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Earlier in the year, I chose my WORD:  BALANCE. 

How am I doing so far?  Well, I get up every day and go through my routines.  Nothing much has changed there, but I do try to get out and about more often.

Staying holed up inside was one of the ANTI-BALANCE things I did…

Reading and blogging are my two favorite things, but I can do them elsewhere…right?  The other day I took my book to The Elephant Bar, where I had lunch and continued reading A Man Called Ove.  Okay, maybe I should have made more of an effort to socialize.  But that will come.

 

 

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I am trying to pick a more eclectic group of books this year, and I am steadily working on my Reading the Books I Buy Challenge.

So far I have read and reviewed NINE books from those stacks.  Last year, I definitely didn’t do that well in the first month.  I don’t have those numbers at my fingertips, but judging from how many 2014 and 2015 unread books I had, I can safely say…NO.

Does this mean I am achieving some kind of balance?  Maybe not, but it’s all about PROGRESS RATHER THAN PERFECTION.

I need to start walking more…and socializing more, and I don’t mean online, although that is my favorite kind.  I am an introvert, although I have my social moments.

Do you ever take those silly FB tests?  Here’s mine today, and it doesn’t prove anything at all…but I like the sound of it…LOL

 

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Could I really be more well-balanced than I thought?  LOL

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Despite the so-called “evidence” above, I know that I have a way to go in this journey.  Have you chosen a word?  What does your progress look like?

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MY INTERIOR WORLD: FINDING MY BALANCE

5-Secrets-of-Balance

Ever since Sheila, at Book Journey, along with a few other bloggers, started pondering their One Word for the year, I’ve been doing a little thinking, too.

What word means something to me and can serve as my own personal incentive to make changes in this New Year?

Well, let’s consider how I am a bit compulsive…and how I tend to obsess about my blogs, my reading, my anything at all.  Can we say a little OCD?  LOL

What would be the perfect antidote for my tendencies to hole up on my couch and read, watch movies, and do little else?  Could that solution for me be to strike some kind of BALANCE?

Yes!  That’s just what I need this year….

Even when I was doing something positive, like purging and taking excess books to the library, I didn’t seem to know when to stop.  Until my shelves were down several hundred books.  A good thing, right?  But maybe a bit much, too.

Here is where balance would come in handy.  So I have found my One Word!  And now I will strive to achieve it.

 

 

balance

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Do you have One Inspirational Word for the Year?

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