So. Monday, We Meet Again.

Did anyone else spend the rainy weekend in their PJ’s & slippers, Netflix n’ chillin’? No? Just me? Jokes on you. I was able to peel away from the couch to cook gourmet breakfast, lunch, and dinners on Saturday and Sunday. Ah, what a luxury!

Monday’s always drive me into a goal-oriented mindset. What do I want to accomplish this week? What’s on my plate? (Literally and figuratively) What’s new? How much money do we have, and where’s it going?

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Read: As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner


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Book Review: As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner

Rating: 5/5

Origin: Browsing goodreads

Genre: Historical fiction

Death is not our foe. There is no foe. There is only the stunningly fragile human body, a holy creation capable of loving with such astonishing strength but which is weak to the curses of a fallen world. It is the frailty of flesh and blood that causes us to succumb to forces greater than ourselves.

Summary: In 1918 the Bright family makes the move from their quaint tobacco farm in Quakertown, Pennsylvania to the growing city of Philadelphia, where Thomas Bright thinks he can give his wife, Pauline, and their three young daughters, Evie, Maggie, and Willa, a fresh start and a better life by working as his undertaker uncle’s apprentice. With no son’s of his own, his uncle wants to pass the business to his closest nephew.

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It Was Always My Mom

I’d always been a die-hard daddy’s girl growing up. My dad and I were so much alike that our bond came naturally and with an ease that few daughters are lucky to understand. He was so cool. While my mom worked on the weekends, he’d take us to hole-in-the-wall diners with questionable sanitary conditions. Sometimes he’d take us to the flea market, give us five bucks, and let us loose. Most times we’d drive through downtown and settle at one of the parks for the day, or the giant water fountain if it was hot enough. Everything felt like an adventure when it was just us and our dad. He was the king of cheap thrills and he was always laid back.  Things were different with my mom around. As a kid, I remember her presence was more tense. She wasn’t going to bust balls to make it to my soccer game. She was always the anxious parent at the pool who’d conditioned herself to keep two eyes on six kids, or the frantic woman at the park who couldn’t relax; my little sister has a severe allergy to bees and my mom would be damned if the EpiPen wasn’t an arms length away. For many years, it was my dad I’d call to chat with, my dad I’d go out to dinner with, my dad I’d travel with. It was always my dad.

But I’ll never forget the day my relationship changed between my mom and I forever. I was 20 years old when I came home from work in a frenzy, tears flowing, my world shaking with fear and uncertainty. It was one of the worst days of my life. I ran straight up to my sister’s room and confided in her what I should have told my mom first. My mom had been on my tail as soon as I’d walked in the house, and I still remember her standing in the door way to my sister’s room watching me cry. Her eyes were big with worry, “what is it, Rachel? What’s wrong?” I told her, “I’m… pregnant!” followed by another round of convulsive crying. Her face relaxed slightly and she looked unconcerned. “That’s it? I thought someone died” she said.

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Why I’m Married to My Husband

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Above, and featured image: Michelle Joy Photography, 2016

The day my husband proposed to me was one of the most joyful days of my life. As I gleefully accepted, my heart was somersaulting in my chest and surely he saw the fireworks in my eyes. I walked around in pure delight after becoming a new fiancée, holding my left ring finger strategically so that anyone who was paying attention knew that I was getting married. The whole engagement thing is rather sanctimonious like that now-a-days. Alas, looking forward to the shameless Facebook announcement has become a highlight of the event in itself.

Once upon a time marriage was seen as an expectation; while in today’s society marriage is perceivably a bit less so. The marriage rate is down a little less than 20% from the 1950’s. Is that because gender roles have progressed, and men and women are considerably more independent from each other? It could be. Regardless, the concept of a modern relationship taking it to the next level is extravagantly celebrated. After all, it’s a unique, life-changing event, and despite the ~forever alone~ memes that circulate our social media feeds, the status is coveted, if not only for the sheer romance of sharing day-to-day life with someone they connect with. I consider myself a lucky one, because although our relationship hasn’t been effortless, we’ve persevered through good times and bad, and we’ve been watering our love fern together for almost four years…

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Read: The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman


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Book Review: The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman

Rating: 3.5/5

Origin: Browsing goodreads

Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Magical Realism

“To fear change is the most hopeless fear one can harbor”

The story begins from the perspective of a young, heartbroken ballerina named Ari. She makes the quick decision to visit a hekamist, or rather, a witch, to purchase a spell that will erase any memory of her late boyfriend only a day after his death. The spell doesn’t come free, setting her back five thousand dollars, as well as her ability to dance forever.

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A Comprehensive Guide to Finding the Right Childcare

Step 1: Don’t listen to me.

We all feel like awful parents sometimes. As a matter in fact, a distinctive quality of a good parent is the inevitable assumption that we’re actually doing a shitty job from time to time. It sure isn’t easy raising a human, and it’s especially difficult having a career simultaneously. Many working parents have to entrust a downright stranger, at least initially, to care for their child while they work all day. Unfortunately, we haven’t had the most pleasant experience when it comes to finding childcare that we trust and feel completely comfortable with, while still offering our now 4-year-old son, Shore, an environment that encourages his growth…

Here goes.

It was Monday, February 6, 2017. Thus began one of the more stressful weeks I’ve had the displeasure of clawing my way through in quite some time. One thing led to another, and it gradually became worse and worse. Our rent was late (not for lack of funds, but bad timing and sheer laziness), I was distracted due to lacking connection and time spent with my husband, we joined our bank accounts -imagine the cause and effect for the changer (..me)- and on top of that, we had to find a new daycare for Shore.

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I Can’t Keep Quiet Anymore

“To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.” – Pres. Theodore Roosevelt

My ill-informed political and social opinions have developed drastically over the last ten years. Not into the right ones, depending who’s reading this, but they’ve developed nonetheless. I remember beginning my life as a working class American; a spunky young girl who cashed her paycheck, filled her gas tank, and then wondered where to get her next dime bag of weed. Laughably, that girl thought homosexuality was a choice that people made and the government was just out to get her by sticking their grimy paws all over her hard-earned cash, to distribute it among lazy son’s of a gun who didn’t want to work as hard as she did.

I look at me now, a white-collar wife with children, who gets shamelessly excited about an evening alone and a decent health insurance policy. I make a lot more money these days, and so it goes, I pay much higher taxes (without as much as a dirty look thrown Uncle Sam’s way). I support the LGBTQ community and their rights, immigration, men’s feelings, and most controversially, eating carbs after 7.

2016 is the first election I’ve voted in, and I’m not even going to pretend like I have an exceptional political track record. Nevertheless, my views and opinions are wholly mine, having developed gradually and based largely on first-hand experiences as well as sourced articles and readings in general. Whatever the case, my lack of interest in politics up to current events doesn’t cheapen my opposition to the unreasonableness that our President has displayed since his inauguration, because know this: I’ve earned my voice. We all have. We, the working people. The you’s and me’s of society. The ones that turn the wheels for he who enjoys the ride.

Like so many others, I’m stirring with confusion and upset for the American people who have been directly, and indirectly, affected by our new administration’s chauvinistic and offensive orders or intentions. For a nation that boasts freedom and bravery, I see a leader who is lacking the willingness to embrace either of America’s most important values.

I simply can’t keep quiet anymore. I’ve found my voice, and I refuse not to use it. I urge you to figure out what is happening; who this man is, in a position of such authority, even if just perceived. This man is your global spokesperson. What does the world hear?

I do not stand with the Trump Administration.

Read: Good to a Fault by Marina Endicott

4681859Book Review: Good to a Fault by Marina Endicott

Rating: 4/5

Origin: Browsing goodreads

Genre: Fiction

Clara “Clary” Purdy is a middle-aged woman living alone in a suburban neighborhood in Canada. She leads a seemingly normal, honest life working as an insurance claims adjuster. One day, during her break hour from work, her life is changed when she causes a car accident, sending a woman to the hospital. It isn’t long before she realizes that the woman, Lorraine, and the rest of the Gage family were living out of the Dodge Dart that she crashed into.

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I Choose Me: An Excerpt

The new year isn’t my blank slate, and Monday doesn’t define my new week; my soul is refreshed every day that ends with “y.” New beginnings aren’t assumed by a new name, a new baby, or a new relationship. My name joins me. My child joins me. My relationship joins me.

I choose where to begin, and I choose when to end. I decide who, what, where, why, how. I don’t live by your rules, his rules, or her rules. I don’t have limitations except those I set for myself, and I decide how to overcome, and then I become limitless. This is my journey, my class, my lecture, my space, my mind, my world.

I don’t follow the gilded path; I erect my own trail, and follow it until I discover soil with the tilth suitable for sowing my ambitions. I grow my own, because yours aren’t good enough for me. Grow your own, because mine aren’t good enough for you.

You might question me. Why do I climb the mountain when I could walk around it? You might be searching for the meadow behind, and I’m searching for the peak above. Why do I wash my hair in the rain when I could take a shower? You may crave the steady flow, but I covet the fickle drops. But I ask, why do you question me at all?

I choose to be a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter. I choose to label myself, and I choose to define them in my own way. Above all else, I choose me. Every day, I pick me. I challenge myself to become better for me, and this makes me better for them. Don’t ask me who they are.

It’s never too soon to be who you are.

It’s never too late to be who you are.