BOOK REVIEW: This Life I Live by Rory Feek

I didn’t want to read this book.  I first heard about it when I came across an article in a magazine–some Woman’s Day-y type of publication, I think. I read some of the article, thought, “Oh, this is a sad story,” and put it down.

Well, it found me again.

Have you ever noticed how the books you are supposed to read have a way of doing that?

Joey and Rory are famous, but before that magazine article, I had never heard of them. I have since listened to some of their music and it’s beautiful (spoiler alert, this song is heartbreaking), in case you want to check it out.

Anyway, there is a lot of wisdom in this book. Parts of his story parallel my own, and probably your own as well. I relate to Rory talking about his childhood of being from “everywhere and nowhere” and about how “there are different levels of poor”. Moving so often in your growing up years isn’t easy. It certainly can begin to define who you are.

When Rory’s mom goes back to school in her 60’s, she ‘does the thing she thought she could not do’.  This resonated so strongly for me, recalling one of my favorite Eleanor Roosevelt quotes. It also speaks to one of the themes in this book, brave women, and the author’s respect for them.

My favorite quote from this book is:

“True joy and happiness have a way of attracting good things into your life.” (p 81)

So, I was right. It is a sad story, but it’s also a happy one. Rory tells it with raw honesty, but also with faith and hope. As anyone who has ever written (or tried to write) their life story can attest, this is no easy task. Rory has accomplished it with grace and love.

Read this book.

The BRAVE Interview #8 March 2017: Jennifer Greiner

Here is #8 in The BRAVE Interview series! It’s the Who, What, When, Where, How, (and sometimes Why) of YOUR ‘one brave thing’! December’s interview is with Jennifer Greiner. 🙂

jen-greinerWHO are you? I am Jennifer Greiner, a strong, individual woman who knows what she wants and works hard to get it.  I am passionate, caring and considerate.  I am professionally a therapist but also an essential oil and hula hooping enthusiast! Part of my identity has become being a significant other to a first year Med Student.

WHAT is your One Brave Thing (so far!!)? My One Brave Thing was starting my essential oil business, Green Thinking.  It is something I have never done, nor have ever particularly wanted to do.  It was very scary for me to jump into selling products to others that I, myself, love.  Not only did I just start Green Thinking, I was also adjusting to a big transition: moving to a new state and vicariously beginning medical school.  Thank goodness I was brave enough to launch into this wonderful endeavor as it helped keep me busy, adjust and gain a wonderful new community!

WHEN did you do it? I officially started Green Thinking at the Saco River Market on October 29th, 2016.

WHERE did it occur?  The Saco River Market had just changed locations from Saco Island to a church in Biddeford, ME.  It was an adjustment for the whole Market and was crushing after that first market day, to learn that we would be moving to another new place, 40 Main St., Biddeford.  I could easily empathize with other vendors as it was normal for me to move around and wait a while to get used to a place.  I have been able to easily settle into our new space, as I believe, so has the rest of the market.


HOW did you make it happen?  
 Pretty easily, looking back on the year.  I had been making my own products for myself for months.  I had tested them out and shared with friends.  When I learned of the Saco River Market, I went down there to speak with them about becoming a vendor.  I printed out the application, sent it in and discussed that I would start at the end of October.  Then it was the scramble to get products made, labels on and purchase a table!  I was able to make it all happen and be ready for that first market.


WHY did you do it? 
One of my many passions is essential oils.  I want to share them with everyone and teach how you can incorporate them into your lifestyle, to help elevate your life and live naturally, chemical free.  I’ve always admired market vendors and was eager for the opportunity to become one myself.  I consider myself a people-person and looked forward to talking with and meeting new people to immerse myself in my new community.  I am so happy to have persevered through my One Brave Thing to feel successful and accomplished!

If you’d like to read the other interviews in the series, click here for the list: https://kwrites.com/?s=the+BRAVE+interview

If you’d like to be interviewed for this series about your own ‘one brave thing’, email me at kreads@gmail.com.

 

Spotlight on: The Shops at Cape Neddick

Have you been to The Shops at Cape Neddick recently? If it’s been awhile, you’re in for a treat. It’s expanded and still expanding, so give yourself enough time to look around and take it all in.

When you walk in, you will feel the lovely energy of this shop right away. It feels like you are being wrapped big, warm hug. Everywhere you look you’ll see something beautiful, fun, and unique. There are several different shops under this one roof, so there truly is something for everyone.

Today, I want to tell you about (you guessed it) the book section! Currently called Book Ends, there is a special section to highlight local authors. I am proud to tell you that I am represented here!

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Every time I come here, I find just exactly the thing I want. Today, I found this ‘Be Brave’ bracelet, the perfect compliment to my first novel, One Brave Thingwhich is available at The Shops.capeneddick1

On Friday, March 17th, I will be at The Shops at Cape Neddick, signing my book from 5:00pm-7pm. I will also be giving one card oracle readings as a bonus gift to anyone who purchases my book. When you come, ask me about my second novel, What if Bebe Stays with Steven? So save the date and tell your friends!

The Shops at Cape Neddick is at 1300 Route 1, Cape Neddick, ME 03902. For more information, call 207-363-2500, or check out the Facebook page here.

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Being BRAVE is catchy!

I was trolling Facebook recently, after working on the next “The BRAVE Interview” for my blog (coming in March, 2017). I must be primed to see the word ‘brave’. You know, like when you’re pregnant and suddenly you see pregnant women everywhere?

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So I couldn’t help but notice this page with Being Brave with Abbie McG emblazoned across the top.

Since I chose BRAVE as ‘my one word‘ in 2015, I’ve been all about the brave.

I created the “One Brave Thing” group on Facebook, a private group for anyone who has read my book (One Brave Thing), where we support one another’s efforts to do brave things.

I launched The BRAVE Interview Series on my blog at kwrites.com, where once a month I invite a reader of my book to discuss ‘one brave thing’ they have done in their own lives.

I acquire ‘brave’ jewelry wherever I find it. This ‘brave’ bracelet is from The Shops at Cape Neddick in Maine.

🙂

I also try not to hide from any chances I get to be brave in my own life now.

So, coming full circle, of course I will be watching Abby McGilvery’s Being Brave TV episode!

Aha!

I was at the gym on the bike for the first time in two weeks (don’t judge me). I was hoping to be motivated to pedal a little longer through the time-honored hack of distraction. I was looking forward to listening to a Women Taking the Lead podcast, Number 201 with Dana Malstaff, and now I was finally getting a chance.

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Well, fifteen minutes went by in a blink. I was so absorbed in what I was hearing, not to mention temporarily blinded by all the lightbulbs going off in my head, that I forgot I was even on the bike.

🙂

This podcast perfectly distilled something for me that I have been struggling with (as I discovered looking through my journals) for years.

Here’s what I learned: the difference between PASSION and GIFT. You can pursue your passion forever, but if it’s not also your gift–that thing that you do so joyfully and effortlessly that it doesn’t even feel like a thing–it will never be more than a hobby. Which is fine, of course, as long as you aren’t trying to make a living from it.

When you live your gift, you can infuse it with your passions, what you love and are good but not necessarily great at, and then watch out! You will be unstoppable.

Click.

(Did you just hear that click into place for me?)

I have a lot of passions (don’t even get me started), but my gift is writing.

I am a great writer.

I also love how she called me out on being an island. We have to let others help us on our path, doing the things they are great at. When I published my first book, when I didn’t know what I didn’t know, I did everything but the editing myself. It was an exhilarating but also (yes, Dana, exactly!) a tear-filled process.

Now, what shall I do with this newfound knowledge? Because, as Marie Forleo* says, “Insight without action is worthless.”

I shall be worthy!

This time, I’m getting more help. I’m getting help with tasks I could have done myself, but I don’t love doing. Hello, formatting? Kill me.

Thank you, Boss-Mom, Dana Malstaff! Thank you, Jodi Flynn (Women Taking the Lead) for sharing this with us!

*By the way, have you seen Marie Forleo’s website? It blew me away. Check it out.

 

Doing the thing

I have been working feverishly, madly, to design the cover of my new novel. My publication date is 3/21 (as in: 3-2-1 liftoff! 🙂 ) and I am determined to make it.
frontcoverbolder-2-7-17I originally planned to use my own photos for the cover, but then I started looking around on Canva, you know, just for fun, and one image caught my eye. What drew me about her is that she looks like she’s trying to go forward, but is letting herself be pulled back.
Like Bebe. In the new book, What if Bebe Stays with Steven?, Bebe is thinking, should I stay or should I go? I also like the little bit of backpack showing, since she is a student. This one image captured all that for me.

Here’s the most important part of this story. Right after I saved and downloaded the image, one of my favorite quotes by Eleanor Roosevelt popped up on the computer screen!

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

I took this as a sign that this was exactly the right image for my cover. Of course, that was at midnight last week, and the next day, after I smacked my head into the corner of the huge mirror over my couch and hematoma’d my head, I started second-guessing it all.

 But I am going forward anyway. Like Nikki Groom said in her recent podcast (with Jodi Flynn on Women Taking the Lead), “Just start.”

The BRAVE Interview #7 February, 2017: Jennifer W. Smith

Here is this month’s BRAVE Interview with author, Jennifer W. Smith. ENJOY!

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Who is Jennifer W. Smith?

I put my family first, so I’d start with I’m a wife and mother.  My next top three answers: I’m a novelist, a world traveler, and a foodie. I live in a cozy New Hampshire town in a busy household including a blue-eyed kitty and a collie who looks just like Lassie. I’ve had other careers before I became a fulltime writer in 2015. I’ve used my experiences from when I was a flight attendant and interior designer to inspire my story ideas.

What is my One Brave Thing for 2016?

Well, if you asked me my brave thing for 2015, I’d have said publishing my first novel, Flying Backwards. In 2016 I published two books, The Rare Pearl and The Forsaken Pearl, but I’d say the One Brave Thing was pushing myself to maneuver—and conquer—the digital age to produce all aspects of publishing my latest books—mainly book cover design. The cover is critical. It’s the first thing a reader sees. If the cover isn’t appealing they won’t bother to flip it over and read the back. I worried that I’d be unsuccessful, but I was determined to give it my best effort. Let me state, my skills were basic at first. I’m happy to report that after all the puzzle solving I’m pleased with the final products.

Why did you do it?

So why make my own book covers if I could just pay someone? Well, I love design in general. As I mentioned I’m a former interior designer by trade. Also, I spent a decade taking photos and documenting my family’s life in scrapbooks. So a part of me thought it would be fun and creative. Besides, I found it difficult to explain what I wanted my cover to look like to someone who hadn’t read my story. I paid to have the cover done for my first novel Flying Backwards. I explained what I wanted, and I do love the cover, but it’s not perfect. For example, in that story the main character is an international flight attendant and the airplane on the cover is a domestic plane (it should have four engines instead of two). I know it’s a tiny detail. But the control is what I like—and it is kind of exciting and fun.

When and how did you do it?

I spend loads of time the whole year reading and watching YouTube tutorials about how to produce a successful book cover. Who knew fonts had so much impact! It took me a while as I tried different programs, but eventually I discovered which ones worked best for me. My fellow friends and authors recommend sites where I could purchase photos or fonts. I also stumble across Derek Murphy’s book cover design tutorials which helped me immensely. After vastly improving my MS Word skills, I managed to produce book covers for my Broken Water Series, which include The Rare Pearl and The Forsaken Pearl. I was able to manage 95% it, but I confess, my husband helped with the file conversions. I may have shed some tears of frustration throughout the learning curve, but it was worth it.

Where did you do it?

I learned, and continue to learn, right from the comfort of my home. After I got used to navigating the internet—I realized the world is at my fingertips. With dedication to succeed, I’m grateful to live and thrive in this modern age. This is a usable tool to become self-published. I hope I inspire other budding authors to give it a try.

I always love to hear from readers. Please check out my website at JenniferWSmith.com for book trailers, release updates, events, blogs, and more. Also, you can read the first chapter of The Rare Pearl, Book One in the Broken Water Series for FREE. You can find me on Twitter @authorjenwsmith and Facebook at AuthorJenniferWSmith.

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