When Last Words Matter the Most

Please note…this got super personal and a little bit more intense than I had intended. With that being said I feel so much better after typing it and decided I want to share it anyway. It’s a great discussion in how words can stick with you.

If you guys follow me on here you know that I love a good first line to a book. I love the way just one sentence can set the tone and suck you in without much more than a few words. I love that feeling of reading that first line and knowing that I am in for a great read.

First lines are similar to first impressions; both very important. Think about it, the first time you meet someone and talk to them they form an opinion on you (yes, everyone does this and if you say that you don’t then you’re lying). Obviously opinions can be changed, but whatever that person things of you after that first impression is a big deal, and to make that opinion change can be very tough.

But what about last words? Think of the last line of a book. The last line sums it up (or leaves you completely hanging if you are in a series). The last line is closure. The last line makes it final. If it’s not the best last line then do you really feel sold on the book?

In real life last words matter. We read them all the time. I think there are actual books of famous last words. And if the last words that someone says before they die aren’t that great, then we tend to judge the person even though they are no longer with us.

What about last conversations? How much do those matter?

To me, a last conversation is something that I treasure. Forever. It’s something I look back upon during moments of struggle. It gives me strength.

Last year I wrote a post on this day about my dad. I shared with you 13 memories of my life with him, because I was having a really hard time dealing with it. Writing down those memories helped me feel like I had shared him with the world, like I have always wanted to. I have so many people in my life that I would love for him to meet, kind of including my own husband (ok, he knew my husband when we were kids but I feel like that’s a little different).

This year has been difficult. I have had a year with some ups and many downs, and there were so many times I wish I could just run to my dad like I did as a kid. My parents were notorious for making crappy situations better as a kid, and I though I have talked to my mom plenty and she has helped me out I still have this longing to run to my dad. It has gotten to the point where I have been having dreams about him being alive right now (and that is not fun to wake up from). So this year I want to write again. Because I want to remind myself what it is that I am doing, and what it is that I am trying to accomplish.

I want to be the person that deserves the last words that he spoke to me.

My dad had been sick all summer long, but the beginning of August 2002 he was officially diagnosed with cancer. Within days of the diagnosis intense treatments were started. This started our month of emergency room trips, hospital stays, and other general scares as we tried to cope with my dad being this sick and us doing whatever we could to make it better.

I remember one day, about a week before he passed, I came down to the TV room and started watching baseball with him. The Minnesota Twins were always on our TV that summer. Baseball was my dad’s favorite sport; the Twins his favorite team (I apologize for their unfortunate playing this season dad). I spent a lot of time watching them play that year with him, and it was always fun. It became one of the few moments that we were able to do something together and bond, because he really didn’t have the energy for much else. On this particular day we started talking. At this point school was starting up. My sister was entering public school for the first time, and I had joined the 8th grade volleyball team. He and I talked about what was going on at school, the things I was busy with, the Twins game, and his sickness. That last one was not exactly a subject my 13 year old self was super pumped to talk about, so I don’t really remember a lot of that. But this day I remember him stopping and looking me in the eyes. He started talking about me and how I was handling all of these big life changes and scary moments. He said “Emily, you have been such a brick during this whole situation. I am so proud of you and I love you.”

Now I am sure we talked a little bit more after that, but the next day while I was at school he was taken in to the emergency room, the day after that he went into a coma.

Today I still have a hard time wrapping my brain around that sentence. My dad would tell my siblings and I that he was proud of us when we did something to be proud of. He wasn’t one to hide his feelings or anything like that. He wanted us to know that we were loved. But it’s that first part, the part about being a brick. I remember those few weeks from diagnosis to death. I refused to cry in front of my dad. Is that an oldest kid thing? I have no idea, but I refused to do it. That’s not to say that I wasn’t scared out of my mind, but I would go cry in my room by myself before crying in front of him about his sickness. I couldn’t do that to him. I had been helping out even more around the house. Helped out even more with my siblings and was taking on a whole new school year. I guess I did give off the impression of brick-like strength. And to hear him tell me that…it just made me want to prove myself more. This attitude of proving myself went until the day he died, and the brick started to crack just a little bit.

Through all the ups and downs in my life my brain always circles back to that comment. I think about the girl that my dad saw when his life was flipped upside down and the strength he saw in me at that moment. Do I still have that strength? Can I still get that strength? I remember what he saw and I strive to still be that person.

I hope that today, and any other day that seems tough, I can be brick strong.

So today I am going to surround myself with some of his favorite things. Crank some Led Zeppelin, watch a baseball game, eat a Hershey’s bar and then try to cleverly make it look like I didn’t eat it and offer it to my husband (yeaaaaa, my dad and I used to play that “joke” on each other all the time. I was a real funny kid guys), jam to some Petra, maybe watch Princess Bride and quote along with it. I am going to surround my stuff that is very much my dad.

Whoa, so sorry. That got way more intense than I would like. Here’s some fun stuff to end it with…

My dad did a killer Grover impression. As I was looking something else up this popped up and I just knew it was meant to be.

I love you so much dad. And I definitely miss you here down on Earth. Looking forward to the day that I see you again!

Is there anything that anyone has said to you that you, to this day, remember and think back to?

I Grew Up Potter, Did You?

This is a post that I wrote for My Trending Stories (you can find the original here!) I was really excited to share my reasons for being the Harry Potter nerd that I am, because it gets a little more personal than just a general feeling. Feel free to share your thoughts about how you grew up Potter (or any other series) in the comments!

As readers we are always able to look back fondly at a book or series that we felt we grew up with. It could range from the picture books you read as a kid (Berenstain Bears for the win!) or the first chapter books that you remember getting lost in (Little House books!). Whatever that book or series may be, you hold a special place for it. As an adult you may collect it, and eventually hope to pass that love down to the children in your life (your own children, nieces, nephews, etc). While I was a very avid reader as a child, knocking out the Little House books at a pretty young age, I can honestly say that I grew up Harry Potter.


Shocking right? What “millennial” (blech, I hate that word but I am technically classified as one) hasn’t said that they grew up Potter and that Harry Potter was life, but it’s the truth. I grew up Potter and I am not ashamed.

When we say we grew up with this series I think that we all mean it a little differently. Some started reading it the day it came out in 1997. Now, let me tell you, my parents would not have let their 8 year old read Harry Potter. They were unsure about it and I don’t blame them. There was a lot of talk about the magic and what it would do to children, and I don’t think they were wrong at all to wait. I don’t think I was quite ready then. Thanks for being a bit strict about it mom and dad, I wasn’t fully prepared for Harry Potter.

Others who say that they have grown up Harry Potter refer to the movies. As a child who did get into this series around the same time as the release of the 1st movie I must say, I get it. I didn’t start reading it because of the movie, but I can see the appeal. How many times do we see a TV show or movie and decide we want to look further into it? I do this all the time. But no, this is not how my journey with Harry Potter started.

I started reading Harry Potter in 2000, right before Goblet of Fire came out. I remember it well. My dad had finally said we could maybe read it, if my mom read it first and approved (and that’s how my mom got suckered into the series). This became the rule of the house. My mom always had to read the book before we did so that she could make sure it was appropriate for us (eventually I think she just started using that rule so that she got the book first…). I was pretty excited. I remember starting this series because this was also the year that I stopped being home-schooled and started public school. I was definitely nervous and not fully sure I wanted to start this new part of my life, but I started to feel like I was doing the same thing as Harry (minus being at Hogwarts) and looked on this as a new adventure.

The more I read the more I found that I could relate to this young boy. I started to match up to him in ages as the books started taking a little bit longer to release. I found an escape when I was still trying to figure things out. I found friends, and honestly felt a little more comfortable with being out in this new experience because of Harry. Even though Harry is fighting for the school and against Voldemort he also experienced a lot of the same adolescence that I was going through.

And then…came The Order of the Phoenix.

Now, at this point we knew without a shadow of a doubt that we wanted to continue on with this series. Because we were so sure of this we pre-ordered books from that point on. There was no way we would be able to wait on the library hold list. WE NEEDED THE BOOKS RIGHT AWAY! You know the feeling.

The Order of the Phoenix is the first book I remembered crying in. I started to relate to something way more than I had ever even imagined that I would; the loss of a loved one. This book has been out for 13 years now, do I still need to hide who died here? I mean you have either seen the movies or read the books right? Well…the death of Sirius hit me hard. At this point in my life I was getting close to the 1 year anniversary of my dad’s death. I think that was the moment that I found I related to Harry the most as he watched his beloved guardian die. Now, let me get this straight…my dad was not killed by a death eater. His death was due to cancer, but even so…I understood. I understood the hurt and the pain and the need to try to make it better even though there’s no way to really do that. I could relate and I felt a little less alone.

In 2003 I really felt like I understood Harry. And in 2003 I become 150% more invested in reading his adventures in bringing good to the world and defeating Lord Voldemort.

2007, the year the last book was released…well, that was the year I graduated high school. I read as Harry and his friends fought for their lives, and then I watched as their lives started all over. At that same time I felt like my life was starting all over. I wasn’t necessarily going to the college that I had intended to at that point, but it was still a whole new world. I felt like I ended an era with Harry.

Obviously there were still the movies at that point, which I deeply enjoyed, but I grew up Potter. I grew up with the books. Harry Potter was there for a lot of tough situations in my life, and I am so happy for that.

So naturally, I have been like a kid at Christmas lately. Seeing new books by JK Rowling, a play, a new movie series to look forward to. I am so excited to get to be treated to this world again; a world that gave me temporary relief from the real world when I needed it most.

I grew up Potter! Did you?


So long Summer 2016!

I still am shocked that summer is over. My summer was not exactly the best, but that doesn’t mean that I want it to end. I live for the long days, sunshine, and endless amounts of summer fun (which I really didn’t get to participate in that much this year). But like all good things, summer must end. And luckily one of my other favorite seasons follows. I am sad to say goodbye to summer, but ready to say hello to apples, boots, crunching leaves, and beautiful fall colors (but get that pumpkin spice out of my face please and than you).

So, to say goodbye to the summer…here are a few moments that I enjoyed.

My summer started off pretty rocky, with a not so fabulous May and unnecessary drama that has since kind of resolved. During this rough month my husband was away, and decided that as soon as he got back we should take our first Door County trip. And boy, was it worth the money. If you are in this area I highly recommend going. It is so gorgeous and relaxing. I came back feeling totally rejuvenated and ready to take on the stress in my life.

After that weekend involved some other busy weekends with graduations and…my husband taking Command of his unit. I am so incredibly proud of him for taking this on because I know it’s not easy. But it is so flattering to have him be selected at such a young age, and I know he will do great things. The ceremony was simple yet so very cool, and his parents were even able to make it out to watch. A very cool weekend.


We took an impromptu Chicago trip with a friend of ours. We are only about 3 hours away, so we picked a day and went down there. We did the touristy things, like visiting the Bean, and then went to a bar where you could also play arcade games for free. Needless to say, I found my calling in a few of those games and was destroying. It was a lot of fun.

This past month I was able to spend a whole week back in my hometown. Granted, the week long stay was to dog-sit, but all for the fabulous cause of celebrating my friend’s final weeks before her wedding. She was able to fly up and we had an awesome time painting mason jars and walking around in our Minnesota Sports gear. And though these celebrations were a big reason for my stay, I was also fortunate to meet up with Lauren from Live, Love, Read while she was in my hometown area! It was so fun to actually meet in person after having been talking to her for years and to make her try a Minnesota specialty….Caribou Coffee.


Other than those few highlights my summer has involved working when I am able, trying to figure out what’s next in my life plan, hanging out with friends when we all actually have time time (I have a busy group of friends), some trips home to see the family, and reading. Here’s just a few more pictures of my summer 2016.

As sad as I am to see summer go, I am so ready to see what this new season has in store for me. I have so many plans already and have some good feelings about where this is going to go. Hooray for Fall 2016!


Ok, this is going to be a real quick post, but I had some really exciting news to share with you.

I have joined the team on My Trending Stories to bring you some fabulous posts about books!!


I am so exciting to join this growing website and to watch my writing improve while continuing to think of creative ways to talk about my favorite things…books!

This doesn’t mean that I am going away on here. If anything, I would think that this means I will be doing even more brainstorming for things to feature on here.

I am so excited to write on there and to try to push Midwestern Book Nerd further out in the world.

You can find my profile here!

And…I just posted my first article so please…check it out. I give out a recommendation straight from shelf of personal favorites.

That is all for now. I am so excited for what’s to see where this step in my journey takes me!


Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Facts about me!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

I am so excited for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, because I think it is an awesome chance for us to really get to know the blogger behind all of the awesome books they read and bookish things that they do. So, here you go. 10 facts about yours truly…

  1. I am married. Shocker right? No, not really. I am pretty sure I have mentioned him here and there. What most people don’t know is that we have been together for 10 years (awwww high school sweethearts), and in October we will have been married 5 years. He is my absolute best friend, and I can’t imagine spending my life with anyone else.
  2. I absolutely love summer. The cold and I do not get along (and yet I live in the upper Midwest…silly me) so I am always super pumped about summer. I love the sunshine, being on the water (when I can be), going for walks, reading outside, cold drinks, bonfires, all of it. I live for summer. I will complain when it gets hot and humid, obviously, but I still would rather have summer.
  3. I am not a coffee drinker. Oddly enough, coffee either makes me sleepy or makes me feel sick. I can’t drink it. I can’t really drink those fancy frappe drinks either…same results. I have definitely been turned on to loose leaf tea. It just makes me feel all warm and good inside. I love my tea.
  4. I am the worst mood reader ever. Making a TBR hardly ever works because I always stray from it. Recently I got a bunch of library books I was really excited for, but I only read one of them because I was suddenly in the mood for A Court of Mist and Fury (AH!). I am doing Rock My TBR, but I think I am probably failing at it. I am trying though!
  5. The only bone I have ever broken in my entire body is my pinky toe. Yep, pinky toe is the worst because there is nothing they can do about it (and I have zero pain tolerance). How did I break it? My friend accidentally kicked me while we were on a trampoline (she will really appreciate this story coming out again). She must have kicked my toe JUST RIGHT because I heard it, pretended that that I didn’t because it freaked me out, and then panicked when it started to turn black and I couldn’t touch it without pain. What made it even better, I had to march in a really long parade the next day.
  6. It really bothers me that so much of the world does not know the joy and wonder and deliciousness that is cheese curds. Little lumps of deep fried cheese. It is the best fried food ever, and even better if it’s a beer battered curd. I’m sorry all you non-upper midwesterners. You are seriously missing out.
  7. My favorite animal is the red panada. Because oh my goodness how cute are they!? They are just the goofiest animals and I really wish I could have one of my own as a pet. Seriously, can I have a red panda please!?!?!?!?
  8. I have a strong dislike for some fairly popular things and people…such as Taylor Swift, Pokemon Go, Hamilton, etc…I guess its just not for me, or the hype scares me, or it’s just too in my face. I don’t know, but I know this one is FULL of unpopular opinions.
  9. I went to college for Education, specifically Elementary Education. However, I am not really wanting to continue in the path of becoming a teacher. It’s for a wide variety of reasons, but in the end…I just don’t feel like it’s where I am supposed to go. I am glad I went to college for it. I think I learned a lot, but I think my life is heading in a different direction. I really wish that I know what direction that was, but I am working on figuring it out.
  10. Some things that I fangirled over before I fangirled over books: NSYNC, Nano Babies, Furby (sadly..), BBMak, Lizzie McGuire, CINDERELLA (I still fangirl over Disney movies), Justin Timberlake (I may still a bit…), Polly Pockets (the choking hazards obviously), Magic School Bus, aaand Arthur. (and many other things not listed)

A few pictures and gifs to show you me as well 🙂

So, tell me a bit about yourself. Do we have anything in common? Is there anything else you are just dying to know about me?

Words I needed to hear (4)

This is something I have started doing randomly on my blog, finding quotes that kind of hit me and sharing because I think someone else may need it it. More information and past posts can be found here.

I have found myself feeling pretty meh lately. I have actually had good news job-wise, and have some employment throughout the summer (which I am so grateful for). Even with all these good things I am really struggling with trying to figure out just where it is I am supposed to be and what I am supposed to do. I have lately started even feeling a little under-valued, not worth it, etc. I work hard, with little to show for it. I have found myself having a hard time just relaxing like I so need to, and I really have found that my self-esteem has fallen a bit. This just seems so ridiculous though because I know I have SOMETHING good going on right?

I think it comes down to me being scared of what’s to come. It comes down to me being fearful of crashing and burning, because I really have had very little success as far as employment and such has gone since moving away from home. Seems silly though, right? Because without taking risks, without taking that jump, I am really not going to get anywhere am I? This last experience has rocked me. It has taken that fear of rejection that I have and multiplied it by a trillion. And yet, I am returning since they decided to take me back. I am excited. I am excited to have one more year of consistency, to have the opportunity to help. BUT I am also scared, because I know that I will be in the position of not knowing again.

So instead of looking at the bad stuff, I am looking at the good (well, trying to). I am looking at the fantastic experience that I know I am going to get. I am looking at the ways that I will be tested and grow. I am going to get the best out of this experience.

I know that I can’t be the only one struggling with these feelings. I can’t be the only one feeling like they aren’t really valued in where they are at and taking it a little more personally than necessary. We just have to remember…there is a reason we are here. There is a reason, and we are growing because of it. We are becoming better people. We are becoming stronger people. We just need to put on our brave face.



Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Memories…

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

This weeks theme is Top Ten Reasons I love X…could be ANYTHING book related or not. And let me tell you…this is tough to narrow down to one topic. I have bounced around with doing a book theme, such as why I love a particular genre or character. I have thought about doing non-book things that I love, because even with reading being a big thing about me it’s not the ONLY thing about me. I have gone back and forth, and decided to do something a bit more personal. So please, bear with me. I want to keep it light and fun. I want to make this something to bring a smile to your face.

Today would have been my dad’s birthday. And I have been having a hard time with a lot of things, and missing him has been huge lately. So today I want to concentrate on the positive. So this week I am going to share ten memories of my dad.

  • Twins Game: 14 years ago today I went to my very first Twins game with my dad. He was a pretty big fan of the team but had never actually taken us to a game. On this day, his birthday, he decide to share that love with us. A love that has definitely stuck with me. I remember him being excited to show us around the Metrodome (RIP) and to cheer along with us as the Twins closed out an awesome victory with one of the best lineups I can remember. We walked out and I remember him shouting “Twins win!” to people as they drove past; his happiness was contagious. Because of him I am the avid Twins fan that I am today (and a heartbroken one these days…). They always make me think of him, even though no one on the roster was on the team when he was alive (though good old Eddie Guardado is back there coaching that bullpen).
  • Minnesota Vikings: Shocker, another sports team makes the list right? And don’t you dare laugh at my love for my home teams. The year…1998-1999. The team…unstoppable. We made it a tradition to watch Vikings football every single week. We would make pigs in a blanket and all of us would find a spot in our small TV room so that we could cheer our team on to victory. My cheering now may be a little more in line with my grandma’s than my dad’s, but it all definitely started with him. We won’t talk about the heartache when good old Gary Anderson missed that field goal that would have gotten us in the Superbowl. It’s where I learned to not let defeat get to me too much (especially when your neighbors team…the Denver Broncos…won their game and made it to the Superbowl and didn’t hide their excitement).
  • Softball: Yes, the game I quite after my 8th grade year. I had been playing softball since I was a child. My dad signed me up for tee-ball and it just kept going. Every summer I knew that I would be on that field learning how to be a decent player, and I did become a pretty solid hitter. When I got to play in competitive softball my dad never missed a game. I could always count on him to make it to a game, even when he got sick. His love of the game was obvious from the stands, and I could always count on him to cheer me on. He would celebrate in my successes and teach me in my failures. This is the sport that got too difficult emotionally to play. That 8th grade year…that was tough. But I still cherish those memories of him driving all over with my traveling league, of him leaving work early, just to watch me play. I know he would have done the same for my siblings. He supported us in whatever we did.
  • Mini golf: As a kid, my brother had an obsession with mini golf. It got to the point where my sister and I would have to distract him if we saw mini golf course coming up because we would never hear the end of it if he saw it. Bit when we went on vacation we always made sure we would at least take one day to play. And my dad…he didn’t hold back. He kicked our butts every single time. We always had a good laugh even though we were being destroyed. Today I am glad my brother had that annoying obsession.
  • The day he faced his fears: The summer before my dad was diagnosed we went camping just like every other summer. We went to this water-park because my parents knew that us kids would love it. My dad was afraid of water and couldn’t swim. He would maybe stick his feet in, but he mostly would just watch us enjoy it. Well there was the water-slide that we discovered where it like went down, plateaued, went down a little more, plateaued, etc. We spent HOURS on that thing. My mom even came on it with us. And then my dad decided to give it a try. I like to think he kind of enjoyed it even though the fact that he couldn’t swim was probably on his mind. I do remember some laughter at some point. Even if he didn’t enjoy it, I hope that he knew just how much it made our day. Heck, it made my summer.
  • Summer camping trips: Every summer we went on a week long camping trip. Now, just know this…we weren’t really roughing it. There were showers and toilets with running water nearby. We went all over the place. South Dakota, Michigan, Missouri, all over Minnesota, etc. A lot of the time we would stay in state parks where my siblings and I would work on becoming Jr. Park Rangers (oh my gosh nerds right?). We took classes like campfire cooking (I remember that campfire pizza guys. It was so good) and did nature walks and things like that. We would take hikes and go to touristy places, but mostly we would hang out together. I, of course, had my stack of reading material that I would read during down time. We would play games and just enjoy being together as a family away from everything. I definitely miss that. That was my favorite part of the summer.
  • Pearl: Oh, my dear Pearlie. My first dog. As a kid I was terrified of dogs. To the point where I wouldn’t even go near dogs. I was chased by a doberman as a child, and I remember it had a look in its eye and I still will not go too close to that particular breed, which is bad I know but one bad dog can ruin it all. My parents decided that in order to cure that they needed to get a puppy. And this is where I got the world’s sweetest black lab. She was our guard dog. She was there to help us feel better when we were sick. She absolutely loved my dad. She was a happy reminder of him for so long after he passed.
  • Malt-O-Meal and perfectly buttered toast: This was the only meal my dad could cook. And honestly, I don’t even remember if he could really cook the Malt-O-Meal. The toast was his specialty, and I never did it right as a child. First you had to have the butter softened JUST right so that it spread. It should be SOFTENED not melted (this is where I failed big time. There was a process of like flipping after so many seconds and I was impatient). Then the toast…every square inch of the toast had to be buttered. You think I’m lying, but I’m not. Every. Square. Inch. He was so into how it had to be that normally he took over for us (I guess if it’s the one aspect of cooking that you’re good at you might as well do it right?). He tried other meals…but the mac and cheese was still crunchy or else he decided not to drain the water…so he stuck with sandwiches, frozen pizza, and Malt-O-Meal with perfectly buttered toast.
  • Music: I would like to think I got a part of my love for music from my dad. He had a love for what we now call the classics, but also Christian Rock. He always had a perfectly planned mixed tape for our road trips (which I am sure my mom REALLY appreciated) and it just was always a part of our lives. I may not be as talented with the guitar as he was, but I could be I suppose if I tried. There are certain songs that make me think of him. Sadly…Ice, Ice, Baby is one of them (apparently I loved that song as a kid? I think I still do the same dance move that I did back then whenever I hear that song). Currently looking at my record collection and it makes me smile because there are a bunch in there that were his. I love having that part of him with me. Other songs or artists that make me think of him….The Immigrant Song (he knew all the worlds), Another Brick in the Wall Part II (he sang that one a lot), Rich Mullins, Petra, and Kansas (who I may POTENTIALLY be seeing in July. Fingers crossed!)
  • Movies: So there are a few movies that I remember watching with him that he loved. I am just going to list a few….Princess Bride was a movie we watched as a family constantly and quoted all the time. He did good impression of most of the characters (if you knew him I am sure it doesn’t come as a surprise). Oh Brother Where Art Thou was one of his all time favorite movies. I remember him signing along and constantly quoting it. We watched that one quite a few times. I was introduced to the Star War and Indiana Jones franchise when I was sick. He thought it was the perfect time for that, and I guess I didn’t stop him because trying to switch the movie was too much work at that point. Might I add…he hated Phantom Menace. He was pretty strict on what movies we could and could not watch, but most Disney movies were ok (minus Alice in Wonderland…thanks for letting me watch it anyway grandma!). The movie that reminds me of him is…Pocahontas. Why? Well because he thought it was really funny to call her Picklepontif. Yep. And my sister and I would get offended but honestly, I call Pocahontas that now because of him. Thanks dad.

I am really happy to have had him in my life as long as I did. I am so happy to have called him my dad. And I hope that these memories make you smile. They sure did for me.

Next week I will get back to more bookish topics for my Top Ten Tuesday. This just really fit this week. It’s kind of a look at my personal life.

Anyone else have any fun memories of their parents from when they were younger?

Words to help you through

Lately life has been throwing everything it can at me it seems. I know this is not the hardest moment of my entire life, but I think it ranks at least in the top five or ten. I don’t want to go into too much detail but I am just throwing it out there.

During this particular event in my life (even seems to be the most fitting word) I am trying my hardest to stay positive. It sucks. It sucks a lot. It hurts a bit (ok, it hurts a lot) and I am definitely a bit upset. I am trying to avoid bitter. I am trying to avoid anger and rage, because what can I do about it at this point? It’s already happened and I have to just move on.

So in attempts to keep myself out of this, I thought I would share a quote. I have an entire Pinterest board called Words, and that’s simply what it is. Quotes for when I’m hurting. Bible verses that I needed and still need. Things that help me reevaluate where I’m at. Things that help me put my best foot forward and move on.

I know that I am not alone. We all go through crappy situations. All situations are different, but crap is crap. So I wanted to share just one of the many quotes and things that hit me today as I was killing time on Pinterest.


Today, on a crap day…I had a friend come down to my house with doughnuts and watched movies with me between shifts at her different jobs. Today…I sent out many resumes to try to get my name out there. Today…I was loved on by many people who found out my current situations. Today I found some good in a whole lot of bad.

Even though I am still adjusting to the idea. Still trying to think of what step is next. Still wallowing in the crappiness that I have been dealt. Even with the bad…I am trying to find the good.


Personal Reading Connections: Insecurities

What kind of books do you read? Is it fantasy, something far off from reality…or is it something that is so much like real life you feel like you could be living it if you tried? Is it a tear jerker? Is it a book that upset you so much you threw it across the room?

I have found myself pondering these things, and why I read what I read. In case you needed a quick little idea of what I tend to read…

  • I am very into fantasy. I love when the world resembles a medival time, but mostly I tend to love when it really has little basis with reality (BUT HOGWARTS IS REAL PEOPLE!)
  • I love historical fiction. I really like getting different “accounts” of the past and seeing it from different view points that I never would have thought of.
  • I love books that pull at my heart strings. Not so much in the “awww that’s cute” sort of way, but more in the gut wrenching sort of way. I like to read about grief and people dealing with grief.

I think it’s honestly fascinating to think about the things we read, because we all come at these genres from different places in our lives. As I look at the genres that I read I kind of shake my head, because I know exactly why I love them. I love fantasy because sometimes I just need to escape the real world and the issues that I am facing. I love historical fiction because I like to get different viewpoints on past situations. I love books deal with grief because I feel like I am less alone in still dealing with that emotion each and every day. Honestly, I could go on and on about this a lot. But I have one main idea from this line of thought…

What kind of people do I read about?

Well…I read about badass women who are not afraid to take chances, take risks, and try to put themselves out there. Why do I find this interesting? Because I honestly don’t think I am that person.

The main characters in a lot of the books that I read are strong individuals. They may not always start off as brave and strong, but you see them grow into their own and become so much more than they can be. I have lately been feeling like the exact opposite.

I’m not saying that I’m not strong. I think I have a good head on my shoulders and that I can probably handle more than I think. I have made my way through some not so fabulous situations in my life in one piece. I guess that counts as strength. The characters that I read about are strong, but they also face their insecurities head on…this is where my one fault is.

I have really been paying attention to my insecurities lately. Because I know I can be bigger than them and better than them, but I have found myself shrinking instead. It is for the dumbest reasons, but here I am. I sit here second guessing myself all the time about my choices. For example, I have made some really awesome friends here which has made living away from home a lot easier. However, I am constantly dealing with the fear that they are friends with me because of my husband and not because of me. This seems INCREDIBLY ridiculous this month when I really think about it, because he is off at training and they are still talking to me and inviting me to do things and I don’t think it’s for his benefit. But yet here I sit every Friday after work…should I, shouldn’t I? The back and forth is absolutely ridiculous, especially when these people are always kind and welcoming and I always have a great time. Not once, NOT ONCE, have they made me feel like I shouldn’t be there. It’s so stupid that my brain works this way. And I know my behavior is stupid, but WHY can’t I stop it? I am just always in over my head in my own thoughts and my own rejections that I make up and I can’t stop. I am that person that even when you invite me to something, you should probably make me do it. Once I go and continue to go all will be well, but that first time…I need a shove. It’s like when I was a kid and terrified to go off the diving board. And then my swimming instructor shoved me off and I realized it was fun. I need that shove.

The leading ladies in the books that I adore don’t need that shove.

I guess today I was really making connections about what I read and why I am drawn to it. And as I was battling my ridiculous insecurities it came to me. I am most own worst enemy.

So what’s the point of this post?

Well…I thought it was interesting. My own personal connections to what I read never really clicked with me until now, and I thought it was worth sharing. I also think I needed that safe space to really let it out, and I do feel like this is that safe space. I also want to let others know that they are not alone. I know for a fact that I am not the only one battling these kinds of things. And I know that we are all capable of overcoming it.

So I am going to set my goal…I am going to put myself out there. I mean that. I am not going to 2nd guess (ok, I won’t 4th guess…I think making myself stop 2nd guessing right off the bat could be crazy) my choices and I will do it. It’s literally all in my head. It’s high time to get over it.

I hope that no one takes offense to this post or thinks that they have done anything to hurt me or something like that. I really struggle with some things that I am working on, and one is my massive fear of rejection and being a burden. You guys keep doing you. Because you’re awesome and more helpful than you know.

So, what kind of personal connections have you made with what you read that you are willing to share? Anyone feel the same way I do? Because accountability partners are awesome.

Feel free to share whatever. We’re all flawed and we’re all human, and sometimes letting it out helps so much.

Book Talk: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

18460392Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

Add All the Bright Places to your goodreads

This is not going to be one of my normal book talks. The subject matter of this book is tough, and I really have a lot to say. Instead of just chatting about how awesome the characters are and such (which is always fun) I am going to talk about what this book meant to me. When I was sitting in bed this morning, reading the last pages and sobbing…what was I thinking.

All the Bright Places really hits on some tough subjects. I think they are important ones, but still tough. I know some people are reading this and wondering what could be so important and tough about a YA novel. This is when I shake my head, roll my eyes, and get a little upset. Adults don’t want to talk about the stuff that happens in this book, therefore teens typically don’t either. But this book is FILLED with subjects that need to be talked about. A lot of these subjects hit home in some way or another, and that is what I am going to talk about. This book is important, and had me doing a lot of reflecting of my own.

Grief: It’s no shocker that grief is a large part of this book. Violet is still trying to come to terms with everything that happened since her sister’s death. Grief is a huge part. It’s also no shocker that I can relate to it. With that being said, it gave me the reminder that all grief is different. Each death is different and there are millions of ways to react. Car accidents happen in many different ways. Cancer takes people differently. I still mourn the loss of my dad to the cancer that his body just couldn’t handle, and though it’s different I could really relate to how Violet is grieving for her sister after an accident. There are many emotions, frustrations, and behaviors that I really could relate to even though our situations were different. A quote that really struck home with me…


“I don’t have any friends or a boyfriend, because it’s not like the rest of the world stops, you know?” My voice is getting louder, and I can’t seem to do anything about it. “Everyone gone on with their lives, and maybe I can’t keep up. Maybe I don’t want to.”

It’s hard to remember that life moves on for everyone else while your whole world seems to come to a crashing halt. This is something I felt. This is something I still feel to this day, wondering how people go on with this and that when my life isn’t at all what I thought because of loss. I loved the author’s portrayal of grief. It was so accurate. It really stuck with me.

Mental Illness: I don’t know many people that don’t have any sort of experience with mental illness. Some struggle with it, some struggle with the sads, some struggle with helping loved ones that struggle with mental illnesses. It’s not fair, but such is life. There are so many different kinds of mental illnesses; many different diagnoses that someone could have. This particular book deals with bi-polar, if you want to label it. And it kind of scared me. I have definitely watched loved ones go through what Finch called “the sleeping.” It’s scary. I have honestly never felt so helpless and useless as I watched. I honestly have never been more terrified, and there was that fear that maybe this time that person won’t come back. How is this still a thing that we are just brushing under the rug? How are so many people still ignoring that this is a problem? Yes, they don’t show any physical ailments. They don’t have the measles, the chicken pox, or any other sort of sickness like that. But they are still sick. Why are we still ignoring it and shying away from it? Why is it such a scary thing to try to help those that are too scared to ask for help because of the stigma of mental illnesses? It’s terrible. We make anyone that struggles feel terrible. I think that we all struggle, just at different levels. So why are we shying away from those that struggle more than we do? This book definitely makes it known that ignoring mental illnesses is a problem.

Suicide: This is probably the trickiest part of the book for me to talk about. Suicide is a messy subject, and there is always the fear of offending someone by it. I personally have not know anyone that committed suicide. I have known people who have thought of it. I have had the chance to get to know family members taken away from me because they committed suicide before I was even a thought (or when I was just too young to understand it). I don’t totally understand how people get to that point, but that is just what it is. What you need to remember is that suicide is a permanent solution to what could be a temporary problem. There is no coming back from that. And the people that you leave in your wake are the ones that suffer. I am not saying that your feelings aren’t valid at all. But there are other options. There are so many people in this world to help you and who care about you. So many people that can help you before you reach that point. We just need to make sure that we are reaching out to those that struggle with these thoughts. By reaching out you could save someone’s life. I think that this book really drives home the importance of paying attention to the signs.

This book….this book is many things. This book was so good (I was so sucked into the world of Violet and Finch and was cheering them on the whole time). This book hurt (hurt me to the core guys). This book is important.

Have you read this one? I would love to hear your thoughts.