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By John Greywitt — 4 years ago
I am a New Year’s Resolutions kind of gal. I am that crazy, somewhat OCD person that makes a goal list every year and does her best to get ‘er done. At the beginning of 2017 I realized that my goal sheet needed some sprucing up…it was BORING! I renamed categories and just added a healthy dose of fun into the titles and the goals themselves. Today, I’d like to share one of those goals about books I wanted to read in 2017 with you.
I created a stack of 10 books to read throughout the year. That was it. Boring. Snore. Probably not going to happen even though they are staring me in the face every. single. day. And then I remembered something. When I was in 3rd grade my teacher held a contest. She created a bookworm for each of us and for every book we read (think Golden Books back then) we added another segment to our bookworm. I adore reading and my bookworm went around at least two of the walls in our classroom.
So that’s what I did! This year I created a bookworm and named her Ms Penelope Pickwick and she is beautiful! I’m not a crafty person, but I AM creative. I cut out circles on pretty paper and every time I finish a book I add a segment to Ms Pickwick which now goes along an entire wall and started onto the next wall here in my studio.
In honor of it being November and I’m down to my last few books for the year, I’d like to list the books I’ve read here for the year and give you a little rating (solely my opinion, of course) from 1-5 stars and why. Enjoy and happy Reading! If you have any comments on any of the books listed here please feel free to let us know so that everyone can decide which one to buy next! (Links to buy included below and the order is in what I read first, second, etc.)
Books I’ve Read in 2017 (So far…)
This was the first steampunk proper romance I had ever read and devoured it with ease. Mystery, fantasy, love, women who kick-ass and take names. This is an incredible read!
The Love Dare for Parents – 2 Stars!
I am a HUGE fan of the movie, Fireproof and the workbook available called The Love Dare so when I started having some trouble with my teenager it seemed like a good fit, but while I am Christian this book seemed a little too fire and brimstone for me. There was some good advice, but I would not recommend this book.
My Fair Gentleman by Nancy Campbell Allen – 5 Stars!
After I read Beauty and The Clockwork Beast, I wanted more Nancy Campbell Allen (you can listen to her podcast interview with me here) and this was the next one. While not a steampunk romance, it is a play on My Fair Lady and devoured this one in 24 hours flat. Yep, it was that good.
Dr. Julie Hanks was a guest on the podcast (listen here) and her method is pretty much foolproof. Loved her interview, loved this book, and believe it can help you learn more about yourself and finding the strength to be assertive in your life.
This year I completed my collection of novels by Louis L’amour via second hand stores, thrift stores, used book stores, and finally some on Amazon. He is one of my favorites and I never tire of the good guy winning! Glad I didn’t live in that era of old western towns, but can’t get enough of these!
The Artists Way by Julia Cameron – 5 Stars!
My husband bought this book for me Christmas 2015 and it took to the end of 2016 to crack it open. I was really interested, but other books came first What I didn’t know is that it was a workbook and would take weeks to complete. I learned more about myself during those weeks than I have over the last decade. It is a MUST READ and is phenomenal in its content. It was through this book that I got the idea for #PlayDates and #Recess and was a influence in me finding my creativity and learning that I was actually creative! Who knew?
The Mismatched Nativity by Merrilee Boyack – 5 Stars!
This is truly a children’s book, but because I had Merrilee on the podcast (listen here) and we talked about this very book, I had to get it and read it for sure. I highly recommend it for your young’uns!
The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann – 5 Stars!
“A Little Story about a Powerful Business Idea” is so good that I still have the 5 steps of business on my dry-erase board in my studio. Want a teaser? The first one says, “Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment”. Get it, read it, enjoy it, implement it!
Kissing A Frog by Sharlene Hawkes – 5 Stars!
This was recommended to me by my best friend, Elizabeth and not only did I read it, enjoy it, and implement parts of it – I then asked Sharlene to be on the podcast and you can LISTEN HERE! Miss America 1985 and the first foreign-born Miss America ever – you will love her! There are only 95 copies of her book left in print and if you click here you will be directed to my website where you can get an autographed copy just for yourself!
The Conference of The Birds by Peter Sis – 3 Stars!
Given to me by a friend, it is beautifully illustrated and hard to understand. Maybe I am just too simple to get all of it’s deeper meaning, but it is now my coffee table book because the artwork adds beauty to my home.
Josi stole my heart long ago with her recipe/mystery novels featuring Sadie Hoffmiller and I’ve never looked back. I was so deeply honored (and am a crazy huge fan!) that I asked her to be on the podcast and she accepted! (Listen Here!) These three are some of her best proper romance books to date and I fall in love with her all over again every time I read them. I went on a bender here obviously and read three in a row! Highly recommend all three, but would read A Heart Revealed before Lord Fenton’s Folly – interconnected just a bit, but still can be read as stand alone books so pick your favorite!
This is an insightful book on how you can fit meditation (even four minutes) into your daily schedule. It is definitely a way to do that, but found myself only giving four stars because I’m not very woo-woo…sorry ladies! I loved the stories and indeed love Rebekah “Bex” Borucki so much that I had her on the podcast and had an incredible interview! (Listen Here!)
If you need a Christmas present or birthday present or graduation present for any girl or woman in your life, look no further…this is it! There are not a lot of words, but little there are makes an impact. Even more impactful are the images. Kate’s photography in this work is worthy of any bookshelf or wall. I found myself going from laughing to crying to being all out contemplative as I consumed the photos that fill it’s pages. A must have for you and anyone else you can think of. Want to learn more about Kate? Listen to her podcast here!
Another guest on Lauri’s Lemonade Stand The Positivity Podcast for Women (Listen Here!) Kelsey has empathy down to an art and in fact teaches it to other via her workshops. In all honesty, I didn’t read the book before our interview. Then this happened: One of my closest friends started going through a divorce that still isn’t over as I write this and I felt like I could be a better friend. I then devoured the book within a couple of weeks and started using its wisdom immediately. It’s worth every penny – get it!
Don’t need to say another word more than what I did on her first two books listed above other than I can’t wait for her next steampunk romance coming out in 2018!!
Ladies, this book is tailored just for you and your dirty money secrets you might be hiding. Don’t hide under the covers about your finances any longer…Kate take you through her own experiences and what you can start doing right now today to make a difference in your personal finances. True eye-opener and guess what? She tells much, much more during our LLS Podcast interview (Listen Here!).
Choose Yourself by James Altucher – 5 Stars!
This book is all about possibilities. Believing in possibilities. Coming up with new possibilities. It was so fun (even hysterical in some parts) to read and chock full of knowledge about how to Choose Yourself in this world in the best possible way. Implementing even one part of this book could seriously change your life. Try it out!
Books I’m reading right now (Unfinished)
What’s on your bookshelf?
Would love to hear recommendations on new books, give me your two cents on any of the books written above and let me know if you purchase any of these based on the above reviews. I would love to hear from you!
By Lauri Mackey — 6 years agoA Letter to My GramBeing Sad and MadOur name for her was “Gram”. She was my mother’s mother who was born September 3rd, 1926 and adopted from an orphanage in Los Angeles when she was 5 years old. Her adoption records are sealed and so we might never know who her birth parents were, but the couple that adopted her were ever so kind and she grew up with loving parents in a beautiful home with lots of opportunities.She married, had four children, two girls and then two boys with a big gap between the girls and boys. For example, my uncle was in kindergarten when I was born and he had to bring something to class that started with the letter ‘B’. He brought me because I was a baby! She had a love for horses, dogs, and cats and made the best snickerdoodles you ever tasted. She always had cars that were fast and usually red even though she didn’t drive them fast. She didn’t have a lot to say, but I loved it when she laughed.Her house was always neat as a pin. We visited her more often as children and she always came to our house for Christmas bringing McDonald’s gift certificates for all of us. I have pictures of her at a few special occasions such as my 8th grade graduation and when I was first married. I remember meeting her for lunch at the Smorgy or The Depot in Oroville, CA for lunch.She was not what I would call a playful grandma like my mother is now for her grandchildren. In truth, it is because my Gram was not very involved that I believe my mother has been so determined to be in her grandchildren’s lives and is doing an incredible job…she makes me exhausted! Being a new Gram myself, I appreciate her efforts even more.This last Sunday morning I received news that my Gram had passed away. I was surprised that I was sad. I was more surprised that I was mad. Over the last 15 or so years, my Gram had alienated every single one of her family members and any friends she may have had.I am mostly sad over the years that were already lost. I am mad that she let this happen. I am confused because I simply don’t understand it all. I’ve sent birthday cards every year, emailing her on her birthday as well. I sent Christmas cards, all with no response.There will not be a funeral, no one would come. She pre-paid to be cremated and have her ashes spread over the fields where some wild horses roam around the place she last lived.In the wake of her passing the last few days, I have thought much about the circumstances that brought her to such a sad place. How awful it must have been to lead such a small and selfish life. It also got me thinking about all the good she brought into this world.She was an excellent mother to her children. She sewed beautiful dresses for my mom and aunt. She took them on camping trips and supported them in all they did. My aunt had excellent advice to remember her how she was and not who she became. On that note, I add a story she wrote to her granddaughters when I was 12 years old. It shows how much she cared in those days to be a wonderful Gram.She was my last living grandparent. I am her first grandchild and oldest granddaughter. I am here because she lived. I am grateful for her love of life in her younger years. I am grateful for her quiet moments. I am grateful for the afghan she crocheted for me. I am grateful for a couple pieces of jewelry she thought to give me about 20 years ago. I am grateful for her talent in the kitchen and what I hope I have inherited of her talent for storytelling.Thank you for being patient as I write this on my blog this week. I promise to have some more uplifting thoughts next week, but such as in life, there are ups and downs. Please take a moment after reading my Gram’s little story, The Day My Dolls Danced, and get in touch with someone you haven’t talked to in much too long. You know who it is…please do it. Leave a mark…no, leave a legacy.May 13, 1983To my sweet granddaughters: Lauri, Holly, Heather & Sarah.In this, the Springtime of your lives, may you still enjoy a fairytale.Much love from your “Gram”
THE DAY MY DOLLS DANCEDIt had been a long and busy day but the house sparkled and the clothes were washed and put away. There was an apple pie fresh from the oven, warm and spicy, for special dessert that evening. There was some time left before I needed to start dinner so I decided to take a little rest. I went into my bedroom, took off my shoes, closed the drapes and lay down on the bed.As I always do before closing my eyes, I looked at each of my little dolls, 14 in all, that stood on the shelf above my vanity. There was another larger doll that stood on the vanity. They were all dressed elegantly in long gowns of pink, blue, green, yellow, and lavender and I had given each of them a name; Jasmine from Japan, Heidi from Holland, my Irish girl Colleen, Cherie from France, Ann from Israel. Joining them were Leah, Honey, April, Sarah, Shirley, Lauri, Heather, Sunshine, Holly and my tall Southern Belle – Elaine. They were my little girls, dainty and sweet and beautiful.My eyelids grew heavy and just as I was drifting off to sleep I heard faint tapping sounds coming from where my dolls stood on the shelf. To my astonishment, the tiny ladies had come to life and are taking off their shoes! I wondered if perhaps I were dreaming but I lay very still and waited to see what would happen next.After each girl had removed her shoes she placed them side-by-side in the exact place that she stood on the shelf. Then one-by-one they tiptoed to the ends of the shelf and let themselves down the turned posts on either side of the mirror to the vanity below. Each girl in turn went to a small cart of silk flowers that stood on the table, selected a flower that matched the color of her gown, and laid it at the feet of Elaine, as though she were their queen. Elaine smiled and nodded to each lady in acceptance of their tributes.After their acknowledgement to their queen, the girls became carefree and playful, darting among the bottles of perfume and playing hide-and-seek with one another. While they were occupied with their games, I very quietly turned on my radio to music that seemed to match their bright spirits. They were startled and seemed almost fearful at the sound. Then, quite suddenly, my vanity became their stage and I was about to become an audience of one at a Ballet of the Dolls!Their tiny bodies moved with charm and grace and their joy at dancing was reflected in the sweetness of their faces. I was completely absorbed in the performance when suddenly, outside, a dog barked rudely. The dancing ended abruptly and the little ladies glanced my way, but I stayed very still. I was hoping they would decide it was safe to continue to dance, but the spell was broken. They scurried to put everything back into proper order. One-by-one, they returned to their Queen Elaine, curtsied and picked up the flowers and put them back in the cart, then made their way up the turned posts to the shelf. Each girl returned to her own pair of shoes, slipped them on, smoothed her gown and hair, smiled sweetly at their queen, then became motionless once again.Quietly I turned off the radio and marveled at the sight I had just been privileged to see, and hope that sometime I will see them come to life and play and dance on my vanity once again. Perhaps I had just dreamed the whole interlude. It would be quite fantastic to see dolls come to life and dance on the vanity. It must have been my imagination working overtime.Several days passed and one evening as I prepared for bed, I noticed a tiny object lying on my vanity. I picked it up and discovered that it was a shoe! I was very excited because I realized that I hadn’t been dreaming and it wasn’t my imagination and that my little ladies did really come to life after all! I laid the tiny shoe carefully on the shelf above, turned off the light and went to bed. I wondered if, perhaps, they would dance this night.The next day was house-cleaning time and as I reached up to dust the shelf where my girls stood, the little shoe was not there! I carefully picked up each doll and to my amazement, their shoes were all on their feet! They had indeed come to life and danced again while I slept. I felt a little sad that I hadn’t seem them. However, my ladies had known that once I had watched them dance and play, for as I turned to dust my radio, there, lying on the top was a lovely silk flower, a gift from my little girls!
By Lauri Mackey — 5 years ago
Negative Energy VS Positive Energy
Trip to Boise 3/3/16It was the best of positive times and the worst of negative times…After being in airports for over 14 hours I have come to the conclusion that they bring out the best and the worst in people. Negative Energy VS Positive Energy. This story is one about my journey from Southern California to Boise, Idaho for a Women’s Conference I was booked to speak at.My husband and I own our own business and it was already going to be tight having me gone for a couple of days and my hubby started to not feel well. The morning I’m flying out he woke up with 102 temp and flat on his back in bed. Just touching my hand to him made me draw back sharply because of the intense heat. He was my ride to the airport. I drove my daughter to early morning seminary calling a shuttle on the way. Luckily they could come and get me, but it was an hour earlier than I had anticipated so I rushed home, finished packing, made breakfast, walked and fed the dogs and smiled when my chauffeur came to the front door. I was sweating as I (very unladylike) got into the van.On my way to the airport I am frantically texting to take care of things for the day. Texting our employees (who handled it magnificently by the way) to hold down the shop that day and what would continue to the next day as well, text a friend and neighbor to walk the dogs again after lunch, and call yet another friend to pick up my teenage daughter after school. I then go through my bag only to realize that I have my very cool Freska mango knife with me. The driver is grateful to acquire such a lovely trinket. At least it didn’t get thrown in the trash when trying to go through security.I get to the airport an hour and a half before my flight and after about 30 minutes of waiting my flight gets delayed and then delayed again. I end up leaving almost three hours after the original time. This is where you start to see the true characters of those around you. While I am concerned and it’s a bummer, I decide to use this block of time to answer emails and polish my speech intro that I wasn’t totally happy with. Trying to be productive in what for me is this rare opportunity of nothing else tugging at me for my time. Unfortunate, yes, but not life-threatening. The flight attendant assures me that my connector flight has also been delayed due to the weather in San Francisco.One lady is deciding if she should get a rental car and drive to Vegas which is her ultimate destination. I chat with her a minute about the price and time cost and she decides to wait it out. One gentleman with his wife is making a joke at every turn and I dub him the “unfunny” comedian. I listen to a young man on the phone with his mother in San Francisco and he is complaining loudly that he just wanted to watch a movie while on the flight but due to the crappy airport wifi that it will never happen as his computer tells him it will take 7 hours. He is irritated and has nothing positive to say.As I wait at the “electronic” plug-in bar so I can charge my laptop and phone I experience positive, caring, even trusting people. Half a dozen people are trying to charge their devices. Each of them make room for the others and exchange kind words. One lady older than me asks if she can plug her phone in beside me. I tell her I would be happy to watch it while it charges and she trusts me! Her phone cover is leather and has a pocket on the outside holding cash and her driver’s license and she sits it by me and goes to read her novel two rows away. I renew my faith in humanity as people care about other people and she is so trusting of a perfect stranger.And then there is the angry redheaded dude. He was the one in line speaking to the attendant at the counter, visibly upset. Everything about his demeanor suggested irritation, irritability and a terribly poor attitude. His actions were jerky and full of negative energy. I’m not sure what his rush is to San Francisco, but in his mind it must be urgent.And then we board the plane and who is my aisle partner? Yep…the red-headed angry dude. He exuded the most powerful negative energy that I’ve had the opportunity to be so close to in a long time. Every time the captain came on with an update he would jerk the headphones off his head to eagerly listen. When the captain would then say there was another 15 minute delay or anything at all he would be slapping his hand on his leg or just into the air and uttering curse words under his breath. I almost said something to him, but felt that it might make him even more angry. It was an incredible reminder how negative energy can physically be felt when it is pouring out of someone in such abundance.I get off the plane in San Francisco and literally run past everyone trying to go down the ramp off the plane and then up the ramp into the terminal only to find out that I had missed my connector flight and would then be in San Francisco for another 6 and a half hours. Yes, I’m sweating again.After a couple of hours and finding vegan food to eat in the airport I glance up at the screen at my gate and it shows the next two flights out…neither of which was mine. I calmly ask the gate attendant if my gate had changed and she said it had changed to gate 70 in another wing from gate 79 where I was currently standing. I finish charging my phone and head across the airport. I get there and it it doesn’t have my flight on that screen either! That’s when I ate an entire bar of chocolate.All of the big screens showing all the flights still say my original gate so I gather up my things and head back. That screen still doesn’t show my flight, but I feel like I’m in the right place. Now I start thinking about Boise and how I’m going to get to my dad’s house in Caldwell. My dad was originally going to pick me up, but that was earlier in the day and now I wouldn’t be arriving until 10:30 at night and after a nasty fall and hip surgery he just isn’t feeling up to it. I call a shuttle, turns out it’s just a charter, but they are friendly and give me the local taxi service. Called them, but WOW! Huge price tag. I considered getting a hotel for the night when my husband suggests Uber. I download the app, arrive in Boise, grab my bag and the driver arrives in 4 minutes. I reach my dad at 11:30pm. 7 1/2 hours after I should have arrived.Traveling by plane, shuttle, taxi, Uber…ok, all traveling modes can bring out the worst negative energy in you or the best positive energy in you. I hadn’t traveled by plane in over 2 years and this was a gentle reminder that people are always watching.
My conclusion?There is simply no way to avoid bumps in the road. They are a part of life. Delays, setbacks, moments where you will be forced to wait when you really just want to take action, moments people send you on a wild goose chase that accomplishes nothing. How you REACT to those bumps is a test of your true character. What will people of observe of you when the next bump comes along?