Blogging for Books

Happy Friday once again. I hope you’re all doing well. Hopefully you get a to have a long weekend too. It’s strange having Canada Day on a Tuesday. Lucky for me, I am off Monday and Tuesday and looking forward to spending that time with my little man.

Each week it’s getting harder to think about what topics I’d like to blog about. I’ve been blogging every week for over three months now. WOW!

Some how on the weekend I stumbled across a website called Blogging for Books (www.bloggingforbooks.org) which instantly grabbed my attention. After clicking on the link, two big bold questions appeared on the website’s main page… “Do you blog? Do you want free books?” Um… YES and YES! I’m always a skeptic though and was sure there had to be a catch, so I read further. I read their “About Us” page, their “Terms of Use” page, their “Q&A” section: all of it and found nothing except it was as simple as registering for an account, choosing a book to read and the only thing they ask in return is to post a review about the book when I finish reading. It couldn’t be any more perfect, so I signed myself up right away.

The first book I chose is called ‘The Opposite of Maybe’ by Maddie Dawson. It even got delivered right to my Kindle in seconds. I’ve only had time to read a few pages, but so far I am quite impressed. My attention was grabbed right away and I felt like I could relate to the main character. I don’t want to make any other quick judgments, so I’m going to hold off saying anymore until I’ve read some more of the story.

In addition to talking about my writing life and sharing my work, I’m also excited to share my book reviews with you too. I know a lot of avid readers out there and it’s always fun to recommend a good read. Maybe I’ll even take page out of Oprah’s book and start my own Sas’ Book Club… ha, ha, ha… 🙂

The hard part is finding time to read now. After working my day job, writing my blog, writing my novel, trying to promote myself on Twitter, searching the internet for inspiration and trying to connect to other writers/readers, my Mommy and wife duties, plus friends and family…. I am not sure how to squeeze it all in… but I will… some how. If I could only give up watching the dirty drama of the TV Show The Bachelorette, I’d gain two hours a week for other things. I simply cannot shake my addiction to the watching how a group of men fight for one girl’s heart and the testosterone driven drama that arises from it. It’s a very guilty pleasure. Instagram is another guilty time stealing pleasure I should give up, but I just can’t… not yet. I have to keep myself in the social media loops if I’m going to continue to find ways to connect with all you wonderful people out there. Connecting with you all is certainly a great pleasure and lastly I thank you again for taking the time to read, comment on and share my blog. Your support is not taking for granted and always very appreciated.

Until next week, Happy Canada Day! 🙂

❤ Melissa

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Us Self Destructive Ladies – Part 2 The Re-Build

Happy Friday everyone. I hope you all had a great week. Did you get your 7 Happy Thoughts about yourself? I did. It was really scary at first to come up with one each day. It felt wrong in such a weird way like I would be full of myself if I thought of seven good things about me. I didn’t want to be vain, but this task wasn’t about vanity. It was about connecting the mind and heart and just feeling love for ourselves.

The first two days I didn’t think any bad thoughts;  I didn’t say anything bad about myself; I didn’t wiggle my tummy fat. I was off to a pretty good start, but the third day I did waiver slightly… I was thinking some bad thoughts but I quickly reminded myself of the happy thought of the day. If I’m being honest the last few days were harder still. It is very difficult to change your thought pattern in a week, so as those same old insecure destructive thoughts entered my mind, I kept thinking about my happy thought. By yesterday I had completed my 7 Happy Thoughts mission. It was hard giving myself permission to say and believe the following mantras.

1. I am a good Mother. – This one is my first thought because I am so proud to be a Mommy and believe wholeheartedly that I am a great one.

2. I stand up for what I believe in. – This is the second because this is an important part of my character. I love the fact that I am someone who will not stand in the shadows and keep my mouth closed if I see something wrong happening.

3. I am compassionate and caring- One of the best qualities I possess because I do care deeply for others and will try my best to help anyone I can.

4. I work hard to achieve my goals- Writing a weekly blog, constantly searching for ways to diversify and put myself out there is no easy task with every thing else on my plate, but I persevere anyway.

5. I am always trying to be  better version of myself- I try to review the ways I could handle situations better, be kinder to people, be better wife and mommy and be a better writer, etc. Life is about working every day to be better than the last.

6. I have a great sense of humour- Laughter is the best medicine and I love making people laugh. I am sarcastic and love to joke around. I think that side of me makes my personality attractive to people.

7. I am proud to have lost all 45 pounds of baby weight- This was no easy task. It took me 16 months after giving birth. It was difficult trying to accept my body postpartum. It certainly didn’t feel or look like how it used to, so I worked my belly, hips, and bum off trying to get back into shape. It’s still a work in progress but I am so proud of how far I’ve come.

There it is in black and white. My 7 Days of Happy Thoughts. It feels good. It looks good. It reminds me of my struggles and triumphs in my life. Isn’t that what life is all about- how we overcome the obstacles put in front of us? After reading my seven thoughts over again now, I’m starting to feel like maybe this is something I could continue. I have to change the patterns of my destructive thinking and just keep these 7 Happy thoughts close by. Every time I start to tear myself down, I’ll think about them and remind myself that I am worthy of love, life, laughter, beauty. We all are. It shouldn’t matter how other negative people view us or how they might try to make us feel less than we deserve. The only truth is what lies within our own hearts. The more we fill our hearts with love for ourselves; the less empty space there will be for hate.

I hope you did your own 7 Happy Thoughts and if you didn’t get the courage up to, I hope you try it soon. If you feel like sharing, send me a message, email, tweet, whatever form of communication you choose. If you want to keep your happy thoughts private, I respect that too. Even if we all just gave ourselves one happy thought every day who knows how the world around us might change… love is the strongest emotion.

Until next week, keep your happy thoughts written on your heart. Enjoy the beauty of  the weekend.

Take care!

❤ Melissa

 

Us Self Destructive Ladies

Another week goes by… wow… I hope everyone is doing well. Thank you for taking the time to check in with me and read another blog post.

This week I’ve been talking to a lot of the women in my life about self- esteem and the way we think about and feel about our bodies. The question came up in conversation when did we start hating our bodies? What changed to take us from the carefree days of our childhood to the self loathing and body image obsessing teenaged years which carries on through adulthood? It seems to gradually get worse as we age too and the more we try to fight the age spots, saggy skin and cellulite, the more frustrated and self destructive we become. When is the last time you looked in the mirror and thought I look great today? I don’t know there was ever such a day that I can remember for me. I can always find a fault; the flabby belly, acne scars on my cheeks, stretch marks, thunder thighs… I won’t bother to continue but I know a lot of you ladies out there know what I’m talking about all too well.

All these thoughts brings me back to my inspiration for my short story that was published in the Nobody’s Perfect spin-off from Chicken Soup for the Soul books. “Beautiful All Along”, which you can find and read under my “Published Work” tab on my website, is the short story I wrote about how I began to grow from a child’s body into a woman’s body and learned to accept myself. While I did make steps towards loving myself more, I certainly don’t love myself as much as I should. If I had a dollar for every horrible thing I said to myself or every time I grab the extra flab on my tummy and wiggled it in disgust, I’m pretty sure I’d be rich.

There is a great quote that has stuck with me from Eleanor Roosevelt, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”. The only person making me feel inferior is myself. I can blame magazines, models and Hollywood for brainwashing us into thinking a near skeletal woman is the picture perfect image of beauty. That would be easy, to blame someone else, but I take full responsibility for how I view myself. I admit to feeling frustrated when I work out at least four times a week, eating salads, not drinking pop,  chasing after my one year old all day and the scale doesn’t stop close to where I’d like it to. I know I will never be a size zero because I naturally have wide hips, thick sturdy legs and heavy bones. I want to feel satisfied that I put the effort in to be healthy and be happy with the results I have got.  That is difficult with all the bad thoughts circling in my mind.

I want to change that. I do. I have been taking notice of woman in the grocery store, walking down the street, wherever I’ve been and most of them do not look like a size zero. Their bodies in reality are more comparable to mine. In my mind I convince myself that the majority of woman out there have better figures than I do and less imperfections. This is simply not true.

I began to think about how to stop myself from feeling inferior. Every morning for the next week I am making a vow to write down one good thing about myself and throughout the day I am going to think about that one good thing. How terrifying it is to think about writing down 7 good things. I’ll even share those things next week on my blog. Are there any ladies out there willing to take the challenge with me? I invite you to try this with me and share your good thoughts next week. Maybe if I see the words written down on paper I’ll be more likely to believe them.

Here goes 7 Days of Happy Thoughts to bring me closer to not making myself feel inferior.

Until next week. Happy thought-ing… 🙂

❤ Melissa

The Reason I Stopped Writing In Rhyme

TGIF! Another week has flown by again. I feel like I just finish posting one blog update and I have to publish the next one. I really don’t know where times goes some times. We need to add a few more hours to our 24 hour day to get everything done.

Big SIGH!

Anyway for some time now the whole teacher strike has been on the news and it in a way inspired me to write about the impact one of my teachers in high school made on me. If it wasn’t for Mr. Murray’s creative writing class and for the personal time outside of school hours he took to help me, my poetry wouldn’t have become what it is today.

Back in high school, I used to write for hours every day after school and on weekends. Poetry, short stories, novels, plays, song lyrics: you name it I wrote it. I spent a lot of my time writing poetry and at the time I thought I was writing some pretty excellent stuff. I must confess though I wrote rhyming poetry. I was so proud of my work and I discuss it one day with Mr. Murray after class and he asked me to bring some in for him to take a look at. I was so excited! The next day I dropped off a big stack of all my amazing poems and left him to read them. A couple of days later he called me after class to talk about my poetry. He handed me back my poetry with some red ink notes written over them with some small critiques but the one comment he made that resonated with me so much was… “don’t confine your poetry to rhymes. Most of the time it feels forced and unnatural”. WOW! The thought had never occurred to me to write feel form poetry; in my brain I’d always assumed that poetry meant rhyming. I don’t know if it was all the nursery rhymes I was brainwashed with as a child or too many Dr. Seuss books, but it never dawned on me to focus on the words and not the rhymes. That was my defining moment! From that second onward, I did away with all my rhymes and focused on capturing the essence of the message within the poem. I felt so free to write whatever was in my heart without constraint of trying to find a word to rhyme with the last. It was powerful.

I know I’ve said it before but I will say it again; I was extremely fortunate to have wonderful teachers who took a personal interest in helping me pursue my writing and encouraged me to be better. Childhood is the time we are learning who we are as people, what the world is like and trying to understand how we fit into all of it. The support and direction of teachers makes a world of difference in how our future turns out. If it wasn’t for Duane’s drafting class and teacher, he may never have gone to BCIT to study architectural and building engineering. His drafting teacher saw something in him and encouraged him to pursue it as a career. Duane listened and he loves his job… most of the time. 🙂 My teachers gave me confidence that I did have talent in writing and here I am today… still writing.

As a parent I never want to underestimate the impact teachers will have on my son and the role they will play to help shape his character toward adulthood. I hope one of the outcomes of the teachers versus government battle is smaller classrooms for our children. Education is so important and teachers need the resources to give our children the best learning environment and opportunities they deserve. Thank you to all the teachers fighting to give our children a better education.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I appreciate it! Hope everyone gets to enjoy another beautiful weekend.

Until next week,

❤ Melissa