Education, Higher education, Read, Reader, Romance novels, Shy, Write, Writer, writing

Make it rain…books…lots and lots of books…

Psst…come closer and I’ll tell you a secret. *waiting…waiting…* Okay, come on, stop taking so long to get here. Oh, you’re here. Sorry. As I was saying, I’ve got a secret. Here goes – I puffy heart L-O-V-E reading. I mean really ❤ it. I have since I was a child.

little kids reading

To know me is to know that I’m a happy introvert who loves to tuck away in a corner and read.

tuck away reading

In honor of International Literacy Day, which gives children and communities a chance to rediscover the joys of reading while raising awareness for those without access to education, here’s a collection of my favorite reading memes.

life easier reading

sleepread

book memes

And a tiny collection of my favorite books.

The MOST important book I will ever read. It goes so far beyond ink on paper (or words on a screen, I read it on my phone). It guides my life.

Bible Live

The book that gave me the courage to admit that I wanted to be a writer.

anne frank

Ironically, the book that encouraged me to see something special in my dark skin and what I thought of as my plain brown eyes.

The bluest eyes

The books that shaped my career’s passion to bring opportunity where there is none.

Kozol

I have so many more. They can be seen on my Author and Fan and I Heart Reading Pinterest boards.

collage 1

Collage 3

How can I not crush on Kane and Jared?

How can I not crush on Kane and Jared?

Collage 4

Collage 5

your fave tm

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Author, Blogging, BlogHer, Christian, disciples, Feedback, NaBloPoMo, NaNoWriMo, november, Reader, share, writing

Day 30: 30 NaBloPoMo Random Thoughts

1. I’m thankful to all who have taken time to read, like or comment on my posts. There’s plenty else that you could be reading or just doing, so thank you for the 10-15 minutes out of your day to engage with me.

2. Thank you to the other bloggers who participated this month. I had a chance to read a number of your blogs/posts (not as many as I would have liked) to learn about you and your take on the world. Even when your take on the world skewed left where mine skewed right, I could appreciate the courage it took to be vulnerable and share your thoughts.

3. Why did it take me so long to discover BlogHer? What a great way to connect others in the same sphere! Looking forward to the conference this summer.

4. Pictures can and do say a thousand words.

5. *This has always been true for me* It takes less emotional investment to share your thoughts/feelings with strangers than it does to share with your loved ones. D is the only one who knows I have a blog and it took a while before I gave him the link.

6. I’m very mindful about sharing the personal information of others because they did not choose to expose their thoughts to strangers – I did. As such, if you see ‘D’ (for my husband) or/and other acronyms and abbreviations, please know it’s only because I want to be respectful of their privacy.

7. I’m ALWAYS interested in learning more about my readers. I don’t just ask questions to fill empty space, so I encourage you to jump in and respond. I read all of your responses.

8. The default date and time stamp on WordPress is wrong. It’s always a day and hours ahead. I have to publish the post and then go back in to edit the date/time. Anyone knows how to change that?

9. I have to switch to posting early in the morning because waiting until the end of the day makes me less likely to do so. I’m on the computer all day, I don’t want to get back on after work.

10. With that said, it has been nice to use these posts to reflect on each day’s activities.

11. Sorry I’ve been so American-centric with my references. WordPress tells me that my visitors are from all over the world. I welcome all international readers and want you to feel a part of the Write it Out! community.

12. I am very random. My posts have and will continue to reflect the diversity of thoughts that zigzag through my head at any given point.

13. Even so, I do need to put together a calendar of topics each month to organize my blogging life. I can be random and organized, I think.

14. There has to be a less time consuming way to add a ‘Pin It’ button to each picture. Right now I use Widget Builder  – a helpful tip I picked up from blogger Venus Trapped in Mars, but it’s tedious when I have multiple photos. Is there a better tool?

15. Prissy didn’tknow nothin bout birthin babies!” and I don’t know nothin’ ’bout growing a blog! Thank God for the experts out there. I’ve curated a collection of tips on one of my Pinterest boards: The Business of Writing. Take a look.

16. It’s so helpful when bloggers set links to open in new windows or tabs. I find it annoying when I’m reading a post and click on a link and it opens in the same tab.

17. I’m a complete dork who gets silly excited when I receive a comment/like notification. Wonder if that’s the same for bloggers with better traffic.

18. What are some of your favorite blogs out there? I’ll be writing a post of my faves in December or January, God willing, and I’d like to start researching more.

19. Yes, I love technology. Always and forever. *But I will go crazy when it doesn’t work as fast as I think it should.*

20. Bookmark has been so helpful through this process. First I post here, then I have to copy and paste to BlogHer, and then have to add the link to the November 2014 NaBloPoMo page. When I’m posting with one minute to midnight, I don’t have the time to go in search of all these links.

21. Picmonkey is a great free tool to edit photos.

22. As you can tell by my photos, I’m not a skilled photographer. I hope you enjoy the slices of my life I share with you even if they’re not perfect.

23. How come when it’s time to write a post that’s when I remember the 12,000 other tasks I wanted to do that day? Distracted much?

24. The same topic can be covered by multiple bloggers yet each voice is unique and will present the story as such.

25. I ♥ fashion and home blogs. BlogHer has helped me find new, small and quirky ones to add to my list.

26. If I post steadily over the next year (God willing) and see a tremendous growth in readership, I will invest in my own personalized designed site.

27. I made a mistake taking on NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo in the same month. While it’s unfortunate that I did not successfully complete NaNoWriMo, I am encouraged by the success of this project. The work on my second novel focused on Eli‘s sister Laura will continue. It just won’t be completed this year as I had hoped.

28. I recently learned there is a NaBloPoMo for December. The theme is JOY; I’m excited and will be posting!

29. Real life or online life, I’m an introvert. And as an introvert I don’t always feel like sharing myself with the world. When I’ve been too social – as has been the case over the last month – I often need a little quiet corner to regroup, which is why I didn’t post yesterday. And that’s okay. 🙂

30. I am not perfect, but thankfully I’ve been blessed with a heart that seeks after God. My life is here to encourage others to see God’s mercy, grace, correction (God corrects those He loves), and love in order that He may receive the glory that He alone deserves. Whether I’m writing a blog post or writing a story, I am aware that what I share with the world can either encourage others to draw nearer to God or away from Him. I pray to always do the former.

My feet in the Aegean Sea in Athens

My feet in the Aegean Sea in Athens. Random enough?

 NaBloPoMo_November

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birthday, Blogging, BlogHer, Dessert, Dinner, faith, Family, Family Values, food nerd, Friends, Friendship, grandparents, jesus christ, Love, NaBloPoMo, NaNoWriMo, november, Reader, Restaurants, Sacrifice, Technology, Travel, Write, Writer, writing

33 Random Things I’m Thankful For.

To cap off my lovely birthday weekend here’s a list of 33 random things I’m thankful for.

1. My salvation. Nothing in life could ever matter without the security of eternal salvation. I’m thankful God used my grandmother to lead me to the church where I eventually came to accept Christ as my personal savior. I am by no means perfect, and in fact I’ve fallen short more times than I’d like to admit, yet I’m blessed to know that nothing can separate me from the love of God. My salvation is because of the sacrifice of Christ Jesus and not of my own merits.

2. D, who is happy to indulge my desire to jump in the car, pick a direction and see where we end up. In fact, he is a willing participant. Today we ended up in a cute, tiny slice of Americana called Millerton (NY).

3. Great food. Whether it’s a spicy chicken sandwich at a fast food joint or a grilled octopus dish at a Michelin rated restaurant, I’m thankful for the meals that make my stomach happy.

4. Speaking of food, I am ever thankful that even though my family was considered working poor, my siblings and I were always fed. It wasn’t until adulthood I came to realize my mother willingly sacrificed her meals to keep us fed. I don’t ever take for granted a full – heck even a partially full – fridge, and never miss out on an opportunity to feed someone. When 1 in 6 people in this country face hunger, the opportunity is ever present. Feeding America can help you find a food bank near you if you’d like to lend a hand, or if you’re in need of a helping hand.

5. Cheap makeup brands that let me try out red lipsticks. I don’t wear lipstick and never red lipsticks, yet I had an itch to try one recently. NYC 320 Mahogany is a winner.

6. My siblings – both by blood and by marriage. Of course I love them because they’re family, but I also really like them as human beings. Each unique personality brings something of value to this world and to my life.

7. Christmas decorations with lots of lights. I am the weirdo who will stand outside your house taking pictures. Accept it as the compliment that it is.

8. The Internet. In the last few days alone I’ve googled the correct temperature to cook chicken (350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes), the start and end dates of Hanukkah 2014 (Dec 16-24), and Ian Ziering’s age (surprisingly, 50). How is that possible? How old was I when I was watching 90210? Anyway, technology is an amazingly convenient tool.

9. Hairdressers. Making me presentable since 1999.

10. Puppies. All that cuteness just brings a big ol’ smile to my face.

11. Pedicures. Specifically pedis at my favorite salon. Such a great way to relax and hide out from the world for 45 minutes.

12. Working for a company with a mission. With as much time as I spend at work, I’m thankful I can at least say it’s to serve a greater purpose.

13. Sanity. Enough said.

14. Physical health. Enough said.

15. Friends who care about me and my husband. Last year I had a health scare and it was great to see how certain friends rallied to support D knowing he was remaining strong for me. I’ll never forget that.

16. Funky glasses. Fun eyewear helps me make the most of terrible eyesight.

17. Contacts. The next best thing to laser surgery.

18. A love of the written word. Reading and writing.

19. Coffee and tea. Spent some time at a Harney & Sons tasting room today. So good.

20. Spiritual leaders who take seriously the role of shepherd that God has called them to be. Those who know that they will have to give an account to God for the spiritual well-being of everyone He placed in their care. Hebrews 13:17 and James 3:1.

21. A good night’s rest.

22. Coconut and Olive oils. Talk about multipurpose use. Good to eat. Good to moisturize. Best value ever.

23. Pretty/interesting/unique notebooks and journals. I’ve kept a diary since the 5th grade when Ms. Romain gave me Anne Frank’s Diary as a graduation gift. I can never have enough of them.

24. Four seasons. Even winter.

25. A huge big world to explore. So many places to see. So many dishes to try.

26. Smoothies. The best way to get nutrients from all the good-for-you ingredients I’d rather not eat. Although I still can’t bring myself to add bananas. *Shudders at the thought of eating them.*

27. Secret Santas. I’m always excited to participate in SS exchanges and look forward to creating a package that my person will enjoy.

28. Online banking.

29. My mother-in-law’s pumpkin pie. Yum.

30. My mom’s legume – eggplant, chayote, crab, conch and beef – and rice with fresh beans.  Sooo good.

31. Legs that enjoy walking.

32. Protective cases for phones.

33. Love.

Millerton Oblong

Main street

Terni's

2014-11-23_23.40.09[1]

Book drop ted

Book drop blue

Bench

Tasting room

Harney and Sons

Mussels

Dessert menu

Dessert

NaBloPoMo_November

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#Askformore, Bold, Career, Confidence, Criticism, Discipline, Empowerment, Gender Inequality, Glass Ceiling, Goals, Habit, Read, Reader, Self confidence, Speak up, Technology, Women

Quick Review: Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

A good read at a time when I’m struggling to figure out the next step in my career.

However, it falls short on a very key point –actually on two key points: race and socioeconomic status. This book reminds me of the difference between ‘feminism’ and ‘womanism’. When it comes to gender inequality ‘feminism’ fails to appreciate the added unique challenges of race and socioeconomic status, whereas ‘womanism’ does not.

There wasn’t much Ms. Sandberg could do to really present and discuss these other matters – though she made brief mention of race. This book is well researched but that research is in line with the privilege of life as a rich, white woman. It’s nothing to hold against her because she’s speaking her truth from a genuine place. Unfortunately, as an early 30s black woman trying to establish my career in a male-and-white dominated world, it’s unlikely that I will have the luxury to follow much of her advice.


Lean In

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#AuthorAndFan, Christian, Christian fiction, Family, Family Values, Fiction, Harlequin, Inspiration, Inspire, Love, Love Inspired, Read, Reader, Romance, Romance novels, Witness Protection

Quick Review: Undercover Marriage (Witness Protection) by Terri Reed

Waited months for their story. It did not disappoint. Their love will grab hold of your heart and that’s just the way you’ll want it to stay.


 

Undercover Marriage

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#AuthorAndFan, Christian, Christian fiction, Family, Family Values, Fiction, Love, Love Inspired, Read, Reader, Romance, Romance novels

Quick Review: The Bachelor Next Door (Castle Falls) by Kathryn Springer

As Christians our lives are not compartmentalized. We aren’t God-fearing in church but God-ignoring in our personal affairs. God is organically woven into every aspect of our lives and we don’t push Him out to accommodate or to fit in. Kathryn Springer is a Love Inspired author who seems to understand that – as evident by this book.

The Kane brothers melt my heart. Can’t wait to read Liam’s and Aiden’s stories in the Castle Falls series.


 

 

The Bachelor Next Door

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Author, Doubt, Goals, Inspiration, Inspire, Introvert, Marguerite Ann Johnson, maya angelou, mentor, Read, Reader, role model, Self confidence, Shy, Write, Writer, writing, Writing Tips

Thank you, Ms. Maya Angelou.

I hope you somehow knew the value of your words to a shy teen with her nose always buried in a book. Thank you for encouraging me to speak my voice through pen and paper. You will be missed.


untold story

 

By Maya Angelou 

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
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