Book Review: “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio

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Howdy!

In February, I read only three books.

Ride Me Dirty by Vanessa ValeJane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone and Wonder by R.J. Palacio

My tastes in books at the moment has been very interesting, I’m not really sticking to one genre but then again if you know anything about me, you’ll know this is completely normal because I can be completely at peace when my music is on shuffle. I figure going this route will help me stay motivated to read more and maybe keep it entertaining and so far so good!

This book was my final “disability” read on my list and I’m glad I read it, but I am somewhat surprised by the fact that I gave it a four star rating on Goodreads. I enjoyed reading it. I thought it was really good, but I just didn’t think it deserved five stars.

Hmmm…


13510287“I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.”

August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face.

WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.

taken from Goodreads.

The story of August “Auggie” Pullman was beautiful! I loved his attitude and surprisingly his hobbies like Star Wars. Although, I have to say, I don’t know anything about that fandom. Honestly, I am more into the “newer” Star Trek world of Captian Kirk and Spock. Anyways, I loved that there was still a silver of a young child in him, but as you continue reading the book, you also discover there’s a mature side wanting to come out too.

It was a bit difficult to see him as a middle schooler, because where I’m from, when you become a fifth grader, you’re still in elementary so I had to get it into my brain to not create this avatar character younger than he is in the book. Another part of this process was when the term “dating” come up and oh my gosh, I had so many flashbacks going on, it was nuts! I fully agreed with Summer’s mother, fifth graders are too young to start dating or anything else in that realm.

We talk about Auggie’s life in his perspective first, but then we come to a stop and there are a few parts for some of the close characters that August is surrounded by and I feel like these were my favorites because of course, everybody is going to have another perspective of a certain person, but you never get to really know what they are thinking about them in real life. So, the fact that we see Via, Jack Will, Justin’s telling us their thought process made it more interesting for me. It actually brought me back to the time when I first met my friend Haley in kindergarten, because for me this was the first time I was around a group of kids all day long, so they were allowed to get to know me but the only person I remember who had a good experience was Haley. She thought I was the coolest thing in the world and I still appreciate everything she ever did for me back then.

One of the other things that is discussed is these precepts in Mr. Browne’s English class. I thought it was only right to end this post with one of my own. Actually, this is a quote that I used for my senior year in high school to go underneath our pictures in the yearbook. It was:

Why be different when you can be so much more?

At this point in my life, I wasn’t comfortable with my body, disability at all. So, I still don’t fully understand why I would come up with such a thing. I came up with it on the spot too! It was crazy, but the real question is now that 10 years have passed, do I believe it? In a way, yes I do. I am different, but I am more than my disability. I am a woman, who thinks for herself and enjoys things like any other person. I am just me. I think Auggie could believe it too. He is more than what is going on with his face. He is more than what other people may think of him. He is just himself.

I think I might’ve figured out why I gave it four stars. At the end of the book, Auggie does understand that he is just an ordinary guy and is perfectly fine with it. He is also looked upon others as an inspiration. He did do an extraordinary thing and even though he was happy about it, as the reader I didn’t much care for the ending of the story. It was exactly like it was supposed to be, a happy ending with a greater reason behind it. I expected it to happen and I’m sure others did too, but because of that, I was immediately offended. So, I left out a star and I know, people will say something about it, but this is what I feel and what entered me emotionally while I was reading it.

How you read the book “Wonder” yet? What were your thoughts on it? Let me know below! 

snowflake

Tune Tuesday | Where Does The Name ‘Upon Wings’ Come From? by Anne Erickson

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Howdy!

We’re back with the second Tune Tuesday post featuring Upon Wings lead vocalist Anne Erickson!

Are you loving these pieces so far? Everybody seems to love them, which is really great for the band as the more we do this, people who have never heard of them will grow more curious about their music and eventually want to check them out, which is something that I strive for on a daily basis. That’s what every music blogger wants to do, inspire people to look into this artist or group, so that maybe they’ll start to love them and become a steady fan, if that’s an actual term for musical purposes!

Today, Anne will be discussing how the name Upon Wings came about and I think it’s a very touching story on how different things, like verses or words in general can touch and help us create something entirely new! So I hope you all will enjoy it!


When I was thinking of different band names, I wanted something simple and something that somehow felt right with the band’s sound. I was looking at different places for inspiration, and I looked through the Bible for some inspiration and ideas and I read Isaiah 40:31:

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

The phrase “Upon Wings” stood out to me. To me, that phrase implies depending on something outside of yourself in times of need. It could be God, a friend or family member or something else to help you in some way. There are times in life when all of us will need to rest “Upon Wings” of Eagles to soar.


How is that for an answer?! I really loved hearing about this, because I remember the afternoon I found Upon Wings and literally I thought how the band name came about, honestly for most bands with out of the box names, this is usually the first thing that pops into my head!

How to follow Anne and Upon Wings?

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Top 11 Life Mottos To Live By

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Howdy!

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a while. It wasn’t until I saw fellow blogger, Lisa put up a post about her favorite life mottos that made me get my butt in gear to publish this!

Back in 2014, I really wanted to learn how to deal with life. I didn’t want to get started on anti-depressants, and still don’t honestly! I knew what I was doing, wasn’t the best. I had two big depression spells first was in 2010 and the other was late 2011 into early 2012 and at this point at my life, I was fine, but I always felt on edge. I remember being on the website Your Zen Life created by actress Teresa Palmer a lot. I read some of their self-love articles and they really helped me deal with some of my inner demons. I started to learn more about daily affirmations and somehow I managed how to control my patience, which still freaks out a number of my family members!

Blondie and I have adopted a similar way of using life quotes to our advantage. After she got out of a very abusive relationship, one of the things she did to help her find some comfort, was she wrote out different quotes in this small notebook she got after attending a college campus tour. We’ve decorated the back of our doors with quotes and song lyrics that really mean a lot to us in the past, and with doing this, it helped a lot because I was able to see the phrases in front of me on a daily basis and I constantly had them on my mind.

If you follow my blog’s Facebook page and been seeing the quotes I’ve posted on there for the past couple of weeks, this is the reason. Here are eleven different quotes and the stories of why I like to use them on a daily basis. Maybe some of them will inspire you to adopt them into your life.

Train your mind to see the good in every situation.

A few years ago, I found this thing on Pinterest that I was thinking about doing, and I mentioned it to my nana and somehow by the end of our visit, we ended making a promise we’d do it together. So instead of looking at your whole day and knit-picking at the negative stuff first, you’re suppose to select three good things that happened within your day and if you can find three things then you have an excuse to say it was a “good day” compared to what you usually say.

This is how I ended up finding this quote, because it was similar to the activity. After a while, you do start seeing the good in your day that maybe you didn’t before. I mean, you’re going to have bad days, but you don’t want to feel stuck in that pattern for days on end, so this is a good way to start anew.

Sometimes the best reaction, is no reaction at all.

It’s funny, this was the quote that inspired this post because as much as I like to use it on a daily basis, the one thing that it doesn’t work on is apparently basketball. Maybe it’s the papaw in me or something, but I have trained myself to not react to everything, except that!

I think the one thing that I still need to work on, is how to deal with my dad. Whenever my mom goes to work, I spend close to six hours with him and we know how to get on each other’s nerves pretty easily. And whenever he says something that I feel like I don’t need to reply back to, he will ask it anyways. So I’ve learned to select my battles and I try my best to not give him any kind of reaction at all.

Everything happens for a reason.

To a lot of a people, this will seem like a cliche quote to use, but I think it’s one of the most popular quotes ever.

Honestly I use it for probably the most random things ever! This actually comes in handy whenever I watch Jeopardy.  I’ve had a lot of things that I’ve watched on TV, mostly about art, books, food, history become categories on the show within a week later. I always find it both cool and weird whenever it happens.

Prove them wrong.

This one is just embed into my brain. I started using this one when I was very young, before it was a just a simple phrase I heard other people say out loud to me and somehow I ended up becoming that phrase. I like to prove people wrong with everything I do, it’s part of my disability vocabulary, and I still use on a daily basis.

Strive for progress than perfection.

I wish I knew about this one in school, especially when I was in elementary. As the “prove them wrong” was meant as a positive quote to say around, it also had a drawback to it. When I would take art classes, I would become this “amazement” to my teachers and the rest of the class. I was never teased for it, but I feel like I was my biggest bully to myself because as I got older, I started to really hate wanting to be perfect in whatever I did. It took many, many years to get myself out of that mindset, especially when it came to art.

You’ll do it when you’re ready.

This is a like a timeline on what’s going on throughout my life without even trying!

I think this can be taken in many ways. Right now I have a lot of ideas relating to my writer side. I want to branch out and share some of my knowledge and pieces to other websites, but I have a lot of self-doubt that comes with it. I can talk myself up to it only so far before my confidence fades. So a part of me has been writing, writing, writing as I’m trying to follow the advice of Lucy and have a different array of articles in my drafts, so when I do decide I’m truly ready, I can just pick and chose which ones to give out!

Be open to whatever happens next.

I found this quote, prior to the death of my papaw. I don’t know if this was my sign that something was coming, but I have been increasingly embracing this lesson. I think it’s a good idea, because I know you can’t prepare yourself for everything, even though I’ve become pretty good at attempting this. I usually try to say it in the mornings, and it’s been very helpful!

Perspective is everything.

Perspective really is everything to me, it keeps me grounded I think. I’m not as quick to judge things and people, thanks to this quote. I also like to use it when it comes to art too! I like trying to figure out what the artist was thinking about as they were doing the design in the first place. That’s why I usually like big canvases and abstract art!

You can’t change what’s going on around you, until you start changing what’s going on within you.

Oh, this was a new addition to my life and to this post. I found it back in mid-April, as I was scrolling through my dashboard on Pinterest! I thought it worked well with how I was dealing with life in general.

I am the one that everybody comes to for advice, or they did, and I’ve been used as distractions in the past. I’m fairly good at doing both, but it’s when people don’t want to be bothered with either situation, is when it can get a bit difficult. Now when it comes to help for myself, I’m scared to ask for it. I like my independence and hate the fact that I need extra guidance to get through life, so a part of me knows that if I want to get better, I’m going to have to accept this obstacle and basically hitch a ride and hope to God, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

Everything is a choice.

I think this is somewhat similar to “when you’re ready” and “perspective” quotes. They all go together with the same outlook, I mostly use them for my articles. I need to remind myself that everything I do is a choice, I don’t have to conform to what other people expect me to do, and if they don’t like it, I can take that piece and send it to another person or site and hopefully they’ll be more open to allow it.

Even the nicest people have their limits.

At first, I wasn’t going to add this quote, because I didn’t think it was like the others, but the more I thought about it and I realized why I wanted to write up this post in the first place, I figured out this was one of the most perfect quote/lesson to keep in mind.

I’m a fairly nice person, I don’t have any drama with people, I get along with most of the population. I’m not racist, homophobic, or anything of that nature. I’ll never really talk about these any subjects but I do have an issue with keeping other things, like serious topics locked up and they can swirl around in my head for many, many years without being discussed and I’m very been worried that one day, I’m just going to explode because somebody’s said the wrong thing to me and I’m going say something that’ll sound insulting and that’ll just break my heart.

So, in the future you might see some very brave posts that I feel need to be talked about on here, and hopefully I won’t sound too much like an asshole. I’m just tired of keeping my opinions to myself. This is your warning I guess to what could come on this blog in the next seven and a half months!

Are there any quotes that you love and keep nearby to remind you to keep going in life? What is your favorite quote ever?

Goals for 2018!

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Howdy!

I feel like this week I’ve done are lists for posts! I didn’t necessarily plan on do the one I posted on Tuesday but I figured it would be an easy one to write out so I went for it!

As I mentioned back in that post, I don’t really know what I’m doing blog wise for the entire year, which in a way is okay, but I have become one of those people that I’d like to have an idea and be able to have everything to maybe a create blog post out of it. Since my nana has moved out of her house, the crafts are like a no-go right now. However I do have a few goals for the new year. Some I have actually done before, I don’t know why I ever stopped doing them because they helped me a lot! And then there like one or two that I hope to really commit myself into doing better because I think I will be more relaxed and free to do things without feeling guilty.

Do Research For Novel – So, I think my biggest goal is to do more research for my novel. I’d like to do NaNoWriMo for 2018 again, but I’m still debating whether or not to try my foot at CampNaNo in April and/or July, because I think it would be good to have some more practice beforehand!

I had a lot of missing areas while I was writing the first draft. I need to work on my descriptions of my main characters and explore different locations, I need to find a good place for all of them to live. I’ve had certain places in mind already, but I feel like I would need to learn more about war bunkers. I also need to look into on politics and ways of government (which is going to be difficult!) and weapons too!

Make Time To Do Other Stuff – I am the worst when it comes to doing other things besides blogging (and obviously NaNo). Since blogging itself is my life and I love doing it, I never give myself any free time to read or watch movies during the day. When I went to stay at my mom’s work in October, I read majority of the time I was there and only went on my laptop for an hour maybe four out of the eight days. The only day where I usually don’t do anything is Sunday, because it’s symbolic. If God can have a day off, so can I! However, on the day I wrote this post, it was literally a Sunday! Funny how that works! So I’d like give myself more chances to detox really.

Read 7 Books – I don’t know how I did it, but I ended up reading five books this year! I am happy with myself that I completed my Goodreads Challenge I made up at the start of the year though. I always go on there and look up what other people are reading and how many they’ve selected to read in 12 months. The real bookworms have put over 100 books and by the end of June, they’ve already went over their original amount and continued to get more books to read in the mean time. I admire them a lot!

Although I was very proud, I didn’t think I read majority of them for the fun of it. I think Elizabeth of York, Me Before You and The Da Vinci Code were the only ones that I literally made time to enjoy and weirdly enough I read one at the start, middle, and at the end of the new year, which is kind of cool but that means the other two weren’t as fun. I remember a time when I was a bookworm too, and I was even in high school! I don’t think I read over 10 books when I was Junior though, that year was chaotic enough!

I have decided on seven books for 2018. I’d like to finish the three that I still have on my “currently reading” right now. I was asked to do a review for an author back in August and I feel bad that I haven’t been reading that, but I lost interest in it and eventually went into a reading slump. I know I want to at least get in the middle of The Girl On The Train, before that really drives me nuts! I also want to watch the movie! And the last one is Victoria Aveyard’s second book of the Red Queen series, The Glass Sword. I was so addicted to that series, I mean it is the reason why I’m so hard on myself about my own fight scenes for my novel.  

Write Out Ideas – This is actually something that I’ve been doing lately. My nana gave me a lot of her old and unused notepads when she moved into the nursing home, and I’ve been noticed that I’ve getting close to completing one of them already! I’ve written out so many of my blog post ideas on them, and crossed them out whenever I’ve finished with it. Sadly, I may not get rid of it whenever I do finish it because I’d be too proud of myself to throw it away! Sentimental.

Last April, my mom got me a very late Christmas present as I was wanting a daily planner. She got me one the year before, but I never really used it and mostly not only was it small but heavy for me to lift but I wanted a new one that showed the entire calendar on roughly one page like the big one she uses in the kitchen, but I didn’t necessarily want one exactly like that so she found one for free at the meat market when she and dad went shopping! I actually used it off and on for most of the year. It wasn’t until October that I couldn’t get the digital calendar to pop up on WordPress whenever I wanted to schedule my posts, that I actually started using it more and more. Now it’s full of ideas and the posts I had done for those last three months of the year!

My nana and I got daily planners from my mom’s work, which was very nice! I’ve been scheduling upcoming posts on there and already have a hefty list of Blogmas topics for the end of the year too! I’m also in the early works on coming up with my summer music series, Tune Tuesday Worldwide too! So both of the notepads and planner are coming to good use for me right now.

Look For Three Things – Back in 2014 and parts of 2015, I did this thing where I looked for three good things that happened throughout the day and let that decide whether or not I had a good day.  I don’t know why I even started doing it. I feel like it was an alternative to putting the good moments in a jar. I don’t think I had a jar handy and so I ended up doing it this way and I ended up enjoying it a lot better.

Pick Your Battles – This is another one I wondered why I stopped doing because I think it’s something that I need to be constantly doing throughout the day and night. I can get pretty defensive and lash out to people without any warning. I’ve been bickering with my dad a lot more lately. He can do things to really push my buttons and since I’m of his blood, I’ve learned to continue the cycle and give it right back at him sometimes. So I need to relearn how to keep my mouth shut and move on around him. This will be hardest one to do out of the others!

Create An Affirmation Wall – Once I had a whole space behind my door of different quotes that I thought would help me be chill and mindful. The last goal was part of the affirmations that I had listed on there. I had a stack of unopened, medium, neon colored paper that I got last spring that I could use but I’m running out of space to put things and be able to see them at the same time too. So if I do eventually do this, I’d have to get creative on placement.

Do you have any goals you’d like to do for the new year? Share some with me in the comments below!

snowflake

 

My Papaw Has Dementia

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Hey guys!

Today, I’m doing something very different. I don’t normally talk about serious matters of the family until I have permission, but I finally got my mom’s okay to do this post. I have two reasons why I wanted to write this: in case anybody needs information for somebody close to you that has dementia. My second is I really needed to talk about it out loud before I explode!

I wanted to give you some background about my family, or at least my mom’s side of the family. I’m hoping that after I’ve gotten this one out, I can finally share those posts I have been saving since November about the great aunts. I know more information about her side since I’ve been around them more later in life. My papaw (my mom’s dad) is very interesting and I hope to God I don’t sound bias or anything, but he is!

He was pharmacist for 47 years! My grandparents have been married for 50+ years. Every anniversary, they would always celebrate it by going to Red Lobster. Our whole family took them to eat out at Red Lobster for their 50th anniversary in 2011. It was very cute and nice to be out fancy with my family. Everybody ate like kings that day! My papaw has a train room in the house, unfortunately it’s upstairs but it doesn’t stop him from going up there. He’s ordered and made a lot of model trains and tracks. He’s obsessed but in a good way! Whenever we would come over after school, he would be sitting in his desk and painting a side of a train so delicately!

We’ve been noticing a sight change in his behavior. I say “we” but it’s mostly been my mom and nana. He’s been forgetting a lot of different things in the last several months. My nana has had to explain a few things, like where everybody lives and where everything is, especially in the kitchen. More recently, the changes has increased; now he thinks somebody is going to take them back home, when he’s already home. They moved all over Indiana, spending most of their time in central Indiana before moving into the aunt’s house down south. My nana also thinks whenever he takes a bath and eats breakfast in the mornings, he should be going to work but he hasn’t been to work in a long time.

When he first started going a little loopy and I mean that in the bad way. He was mean to basically everyone. He wasn’t napping, drinking coffee/water like he normally does in the middle of the day either. He ultimately went to the hospital. I don’t necessarily know what all happened for him to go there, but I’m pretty sure these were the basic reasons. They did tests on him to see why he was acting the way he was. The main reason was he got mixed up with different medication and took too much. Now everybody watches over him like a hawk. He hasn’t been medically tested for dementia yet, but my mom thinks it’s very mild.

We’re mostly afraid of the bad really days, because we don’t want him to spend the rest of his life in a nursing home. He’s not going to like that. What hurts me the most is that I’ve been trying to comfort everybody and full myself up with as much of his stories of Hawaii, family, hear fun times with his friends Harold and Dick, etc as I can and I’m still scared of the inevitable. I know it’s going to happen, they’re both end up in a nursing home. If one goes, they both go because the house is too big and everybody’s already in agreement on that part. It’s always been known in our family that once they’re out of the house then it’ll be set for safe and that really bothers me, despite the fact that the living room and upstairs creep me out! I’ll explain that story on another day! I’m not ready to see my grandparents go into a nursing home or see somebody else living in their house either. I mean, all the holiday and family gatherings spend there. I’m pretty sure that’ll hurt me a lot.

I want to end this post on a good note, so I’ve decided to include some funny stories that my papaw has done throughout my life and some recent things that has happened while on his good days where he’s slept and drank lots of fluids.  My parents only allow me to go over there whenever he’s “normal” and not combative with everybody.

I feel like everytime I talk about my grandparent’s, I’m mostly talking about my nana. It’s not that I try to do that, my papaw and I have a special bond. I only watch sports with him. We share the interest of Butler basketball, cookies, storytelling and running our wheelchairs into walls. I love my papaw and enjoy being around him. When my mom started to hint that he was showing signs of early dementia, I kind of brushed it off. I didn’t think she was serious, even though she is a registered nurse, I still didn’t want to believe her. In my defensive, I don’t think I was the only one in my family that didn’t want to believe her either!

The other day, we really knew there was something different about him when he had to be taken to the hospital I think like, two or three days before Christmas. I wanted to come right out and say why I was asking for prayers for my own family on my social media accounts, but at the time I didn’t know how serious it was. Unfortunately, I suck at gaining information about it. My nana has said she’s been reading up about it. She’s been reading about how to act around him and his behavior towards others. My parents cook their meals, mostly breakfast and supper. They’re getting spoiled on breakfast with my dad (he does make great breakfasts!) and my mom takes me over there around lunchtime on certain days and we eat lunch with them and I feel like he’s been missing that. We used to it that every weekend, but then we stopped.

Every week, we would get a call at our house, he usually leaves a message on our answering machine making sure my dad knew that he hadn’t gotten lottery tickets and that he was going to win the big bucks! However half the time he calls he’s not addressing anybody in general, he’s talking to our dog ChiChi. He’ll literally go “Hi ChiChi, please tell your daddy or mommy that we need lottery tickets today. ” If you got this on your machine, it would warm your heart into a little puddle.

In 2009, he had to go to the hospital because he got a really bad infection in his foot. He is losing feeling in his feet, so if he sticks himself on accident with anything sharp, like in this case a staple that went right throw through his sock and shoe. He got an infection and ultimately lost his big toe on his right foot. After he came home, he did PT to learn how to walk again, but only to use a walker for a couple of years and now he just stays in his wheelchair. I got to see his foot after he had his toe amupteed, it was disgusting! I had front row seat too! It looks so good now! It’s a little weird that he’s missing a toe, but it’s more cool than gross.

He was a pharmacist in the army, we are always hearing stories about him being stationed in Hawaii He is a storyteller, now you all know where I got it from! It doesn’t matter if there’s a lot of people around or the same two people that were hanging out with him the day before, he’ll tell you a story about the funniest things ever!

The other day, my mom was doing errands and my papaw was talking about a time when was working in Hawaii, they had a dog that would scratch at the door. Her name was Amber. Somehow we got on the subject of baseball and like I’ve said before, I don’t watch sports. I don’t know anything about basketball. My sister does, definitely more about baseball than any other sport except maybe cheerleading! She would have loved what we were discussing that day, however he couldn’t remember the pitcher’s name, but apparently he was in Hawaii too or something like that, and he has the perfect play for a Dodgers game once and he was very upset that he couldn’t remember the guy’s name, but what got me was after he left the room he found pictures, one of them was a Buick convertible with him and a friend in the army overlooking mountains and ocean of Hawaii, plus a little doggy named “Amber” in the front!

I’m sorry for making everybody cry while reading this post. You’re used to more positive stuff on here and wham! I publish this one. I needed to speak out about it though. So I hope you didn’t mind it that much! Thank you for reading this post! 🙂

snowflake

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