Sheila's Books Read

Sheila's bookshelf: read

The Best Intentions
Scotland's Melody
The Secret Society of Salzburg
Secret of the Sonnets
20-40-60-Minute Dinners: Meals to Match the Time You Have
Through the Wilderness: My Journey of Redemption and Healing in the American Wild
Secret Santa Claus Club: A Tool to Help Parents Unwrap the Secret of Santa
Mr. Pudgins
Revenge Never Rests
The Best Mistake
Meriden Park
More Inspirational Stories for Young Women
The Great Tree: A Christmas Fable
To Capture His Heart
The Call of the Sea
Livvy and the Enchanted Woodland
Come, Gentle Night
The Bad Boy Theory
Guide To Smart Wedding Planning: What You want to know and everything you haven't thought of yet.

Sheila's favorite books »

2023 Goodreads Reading Challenge

2023 Reading Challenge

2023 Reading Challenge
Sheila has read 3 books toward her goal of 100 books.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ruby's Secret by Heather B. Moore {A Newport Ladies Book Club Novel}-Review

Product Description:
Title: Ruby's Secret (A Newport Ladies Book Club Novel)
AuthorHeather B. Moore
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Published: October 1st, 2013
Paperback: 240 pages
ISBN13: 9781621084600
FTC FYI: I received an e-book copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Book Description:

At age sixty-two, life is finally beginning for newly widowed Ruby Crenshaw. Her son is grown and gone, and after long years spent in the role of loyal wife to her charming but unfaithful husband, she’s ready to live the life she’s always dreamed of. He resolve is firm: she’ll never make the mistake of giving her heart to another man.
The first step in Ruby’s quest for a carefree lifestyle was to create the Newport Ladies Book Club, an unlikely gathering of women that has been her haven. Now, she’s ready to take her new found independence a step further—along with her friends from the local Senior Center, Ruby is jetting off on a much-needed Greece adventure. What she isn’t prepared for is Gabriel—the group’s tour guide—a native Greek and a true gentleman. His unquestionable charm is hard to resist. But resist she must—because no matter their growing attraction, Ruby is not about to fall for charming again! 
My Review:
I have been a huge fan of The Newport Ladies Book Club novels. I have grown to love the characters brought to life by some of my favorite authors. I have been looking forward to reading Ruby's story. Ruby is the sixty-two year old woman, a widow, who formed the book club. Up to this point the things we knew about Ruby is that she is a put together, well-to-do widow. From her interactions with the other women, we know that she is a leader and very kind. She knows how to take care of others and love those who are in need. But with all people, Ruby has secrets about her life that she has never shared. Her late husband had been unfaithful to her all of their married life. As readers we get a look at Ruby's fears and the guilt she lives with daily. 

When Ruby has a chance to return to Greece with a group of seniors, she hesitates because of bad memories related to her trip there 30 years before. It also resurfaces the awful feelings and memories about her husband's cheating ways. She decides to go and ends up meeting a man who turns her world upside down. {Where oh where can I meet my own Gabriel?}

This novel was read in one day. I always fall quickly into another world when I read a book written by Heather Moore. Her engaging writing style and relatable characters assures that you are in for a good read.

There were many things I could relate to with Ruby's journey. It's a scary thought giving your heart away to another,especially after it has been crushed once before. How do you trust again? I love the character of Ruby so much! I wish I had a "Ruby" in my life to help me through my struggles. As with all of the books in this series, we learn that things are never as they seem from the outside. Each woman's story has given readers the truth hidden inside each of their hearts. I love this series and I will be so sad once it is done. The beautiful thing about books though, is that I can always revisit the Newport Ladies Book Club women over and over again. If you haven't started reading the series yet I highly recommend you get started. If you are a fan of this series and haven't read Ruby's Secret's just liking coming home to a warm and comfy place. I loved this book and I'm happily giving it 5 stars!  

Meet Author: Heather B. Moore

Heather B. Moore is the 2-time Best of State, 2-time Whitney Award & 2-time Golden Quill Award winning author of ten historical novels. Her historical fiction is published under H.B. Moore; her newest historical thrillers are Daughters of Jared, Esther the Queen, and the Omar Zagouri series: Finding Sheba and Beneath.

Heather writes women's fiction and romance under Heather B. Moore. She's the co-author of The Newport Ladies Book Club Series (with Josi S. Kilpack, Annette Lyon & Julie Wright)--her books are Athena and Ruby's Secret. Heather is also the author of the bestselling anthology collection A Timeless Romance Anthology, the Aliso Creek Novella series, the historical romance Heart of the Ocean, the non-fiction works Christ's Gifts to Women (co-authored with Angela Eschler), Women of the Book of Mormon, and the upcoming Divinity of Women (2014, co-authored with S. Kent Brown).

Visit her blog for writing and book signing updates:

Heather loves to hear from readers at: or if you're an aspiring writer, she also manages the editing company, Precision Editing Group:

{Go HERE to read the first chapter of Ruby's Secret.}

{Purchase Ruby's Secret HERE}

{Read more about The Newport Ladies Book Club Series HERE.}

About the Series

1st Set: Olivia, Daisy, Paige, Athena.
2nd Set: Shannon's Hope, Ruby's Secret, Victoria's Promise, Ilana's Wish, and Reunion.

The Newport Ladies Book Club series is unique in that each Newport book is written from the point of view of a different woman in the book club. The first 4 books cover the same time period and the same book club meetings. But only with reading all 4 books, will you learn the whole story of each of the women and her full character journey. The 2nd set of 4 books covers the next 4 book club meetings. Think of it as a parallel series, not as a forward-moving series.

The final and 9th book, REUNION, is a thank-you to all of our readers who have asked "What happens next?" 

Authors of the Newport Ladies Book Club Series

Authors of the Newport Ladies Book Club Series
Josi Kilpack, Annette Lyon, Julie Wright, & Heather Moore

****If you haven't read the first four books in the series, you might be interested in this!****

4-in-1 E-Book Bundle

4-in-1 E-Book Bundle
First set of the series available as a book bundle at!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Book Blast for The Scourge and The Defiance: The Brilliant Darkness Series and $50.00 Giveaway Gift Card

THE SCOURGE (Brilliant Darkness, Book 1) Seventeen-year-old Groundling, Fennel, is Sightless. She's never been able to see her lush forest home, but she knows its secrets. She knows how the shadows shift when she passes under a canopy of trees. She knows how to hide in the cool, damp caves when the Scourge comes. She knows how devious and arrogant the Groundlings' tree-dwelling neighbors, the Lofties, can be. And she's always known this day would come--the day she faces the Scourge alone. The Sightless, like Fenn, are mysteriously protected from the Scourge, the gruesome creatures roaming the forests, reeking of festering flesh and consuming anything--and anyone--living. A Sightless Groundling must brave the Scourge and bring fresh water to the people of the forest. Today, that task becomes Fenn's. Fenn will have a Lofty Keeper, Peree, as her companion. Everyone knows the Lofties wouldn't hesitate to shoot an arrow through the back of an unsuspecting Groundling like Fenn, but Peree seems different. A boy with warm, rough hands who smells like summer, he is surprisingly kind and thoughtful. Although Fenn knows his people are treacherous, she finds herself wanting to trust him. As their forest community teeters on the brink of war, Fenn and Peree must learn to work together to survive the Scourge and ensure their people's survival. But when Fenn uncovers a secret that shatters her truths, she's forced to decide who and what to protect--her people, her growing love for Peree, or the elusive dream of lasting peace in the forest. A tale of star-crossed lovers, strange creatures, and secretive, feuding factions, THE SCOURGE introduces readers to a rich and exciting new world where nothing is as it seems.
From 1/17 to 1/23 The SCOURGE will be on sale for just .99 cents!
Grab your copy on Amazon
Praise for The Scourge "Looking for a trenchant, imaginative, beautifully written novel to read? Look no further: it's The Scourge, by A.G. Henley." -- Sarah Cloots, former editor at Greenwillow Books, imprint of HarperCollins Children's Books "The prose flows smoothly and easily but there are much deeper issues lying beneath the surface of the story that are captivating and will hold the interest of readers of any age . . . I was quickly transported into the world of The Scourge and plummeted breathlessly toward the resolution. This is a very good book and a good look at just what science fiction can achieve when in the hands of a capable writer." -- Josef Hernandez, Examiner "From the moment I started reading this book I was hooked . . . The Scourge is not only a story of survival; it is also a story of awakening, love, family devotion." -- ReadingDiva, blog review "Lovable and relatable heroine? Check. Swoon-worthy, kick-butt hero? Check. Compelling romance that makes your heart melt and toes curl? Check. Captivating story and fascinating world? Check. Eagerly anticipating the next book? Check, check, check." -- Refracted Light Reviews, blog review
From 1/17 to 1/23 The SCOURGE will be on sale for just .99 cents!
Grab your copy on Amazon
Excerpt from the THE SCOURGE "Are you ready, Fennel?” Aloe asks. I nod. She embraces me, and whispers in my ear. “Don’t forget—never forget—you are protected. The Scourge can’t harm you. Remember that when you’re afraid.” “I’m afraid now.” “Then remember it now.” She leads me to the passage that will take me back to the mouth of the cave. People touch me as I walk, murmuring good luck. Eland clings to me, followed by Calli. Her tears moisten my cheek. “Here, Fennel.” Bear’s voice is even rougher than usual. He presses something silky into my hand, his fingers lingering on mine. “The foot of a rabbit, for luck.” It’s a charm, left over from the old days, before the Fall. Then his hand is gone, and everyone is gone, and I stand alone in the passageway. I start walking, rehearsing in my mind what I’ll do when I leave the caves, as Aloe taught me. Take the path to the clearing. Walk along the edge of the clearing. Find the sled track, and follow it down to the water hole, where the sled waits. I go over the number of paces it should take to complete each part of my trip, repeating them to be sure I remember. Then I try to wipe my mind clean. I try not to think of the cries of the creatures the night before. I try not to think of the many stories I’ve heard about the flesh-eaters tearing apart their victims, or the agonizing transformation into one of them—half human, half dead. Instead I focus on the cool, lumpy rock under my hand, or the musty smell of the passage, or how many steps I have left until I reach the mouth of the cave. Anything else. But it’s impossible. My heart is a desperate animal, smashing against my rib cage. My shivering now has nothing to do with the cold. I sing—another trick Aloe taught me—but the closer I get to the mouth of the cave, the slower I walk and the softer I sing. Then I stop walking and singing altogether, trying to work up the courage to take the last few steps necessary to reach the sunlight. Something’s thrashing through the forest, coming closer. I hear shrieking, like the dying people of my imagination. I tuck the rabbit’s foot into my pocket, and tug a scarf Aloe gave me up over my mouth and nose, preparing for the stench. For a moment I wonder if my protection will hold, but I push the thought away. It’s the gift of our Sightlessness, as I’ve always been told. I think of Eland huddled in the gloom of the caves, eating the salty dried meat, waiting for his water ration. That does it. I take a deep breath, and step outside. The creatures surge around me. Their howls pierce me. Even through the barrier of the scarf, I can smell their putrid breath. Something brushes my sleeve and I cry out, wrapping my arms tightly around my body like a shroud. What if I’m not protected? What if everything I’ve been told about my Sightlessness—everything I’ve believed about myself—isn’t true? The Scourge will consume me, as they have so many others. Or worse, I’ll become like one of them, only knowing hunger, thirst, and the yearning for flesh. I yank the scarf down; it’s suffocating. I wait, shuddering, for biting mouths and tearing hands to find me. 
THE DEFIANCE (Brilliant Darkness, Book 2) 
 It hasn't been long since Fennel, a Sightless Groundling, and Peree, her Lofty Keeper, fell in love and learned the truth: the Scourge, and their world, are not what they seem. Fenn and Peree are determined to guide their people to the protected village of Koolkuna, but first they must convince them that everything they believe is a lie. An impossible task, especially when someone seems hell-bent on trying anything--even animal sacrifice and arson--to destroy the couple's new bond and crush the frail truce between the Groundlings and the Lofties. Not everyone wants to uproot their lives in the forest, and those who stay behind will be left terribly vulnerable. Fenn and Peree's resolve to be together, and the constant threat of the Scourge's return, push both groups to the breaking point. Unable to tell friend from foe, Fenn must again decide how much she's willing to sacrifice to ensure the future of the people of the forest. Only this time, the price of peace may be too high to bear.
FROM 1/17 to 1/23 THE DEFIANCE will be just $1.99
Grab your copy on Amazon
Praise for The Defiance "Fans of The Scourge, you will not be disappointed with this sequel. The Defiance was thrilling, romantic, and full of surprises. Loved this book!" -- Imagine a World, blog review "I had very high hopes for this follow-up novel, and Henley DEFINITELY delivers in her sophomore release!" -- Booking It With Hayley G, blog review  
FROM 1/17 to 1/23 THE DEFIANCE will be just $1.99
Grab your copy on Amazon
Excerpt from THE DEFIANCE The morning passes quickly. There was more wood to move into the storeroom in the caves this morning, new stores of salt meat and dried beans to deliver, and our herbalist, Marjoram, told me she has some poultices and teas she wants me to bring in. Marj was underprepared for the accidents and illnesses resulting from such a long confinement last time. She won’t make the same mistake again. There’s plenty of space in the storeroom—it was almost empty by the time we left the caves after the Reckoning. It’s an easy job to stow the supplies neatly along the natural stone shelves. My stomach rumbles, anticipating a midday meal, as I cross the cavern to the storeroom carrying the second-to-last load of wood. Even the lingering stench of crampberries doesn’t deter my appetite. “Fennel.” The word whispers across the cave. I freeze. “Who’s there?” “Stay away from the Lofty. Groundlings and Lofties aren’t meant to be together. You’ve been warned.” I can’t tell anything about the speaker—man, woman, their age. But quiet as the person’s words are, it’s hard to miss the implied threat. I drop most of the wood, keeping one thick log as a potential weapon. The person is between the passage out and me. I hold the log firmly in front of me, trying to tame my wild breathing so I can hear. Fear strangles my thoughts. An indefinable amount of time passes. Finally wrestling the courage to move, I step forward, keeping the log at the ready. And I cough. The air is wrong, and not simply human-waste wrong. Something else. There’s light where there shouldn’t be, and . . . smoke. That’s what I’m tasting and smelling. There’s a fire in the passageway, and it’s blocking my way out. Terror doesn’t steal through me. It rips my head off.   agAuthor A.G. Henley 
 A.G. Henley is the author of the BRILLIANT DARKNESS series. The first book in the series, THE SCOURGE, was a finalist for the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Award. A.G. is also a clinical psychologist, which means people either tell her their life stories on airplanes, or avoid her at parties when they've had too much to drink. Neither of which she minds. When she's not writing fiction or shrinking heads, she can be found herding her children and their scruffy dog, Guapo, to various activities while trying to remember whatever she's inevitably forgotten to tell her husband. She lives in Denver, Colorado.
BookBlast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 2/10/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Accidental Marriage by Annette Haws-Blog Tour Review


Product Details
  • Title: The Accidental Marriage
  • Author: Annette Haws
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc. (December 10, 2013)
  • Genre: Women's Fiction
  • ISBN-10: 1462113745
  • FTC:FYI: I received a review e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
 Book Description:
 Nina Rushforth was born with a silver spoon caught in her throat. She and her father have mapped out a future that includes a brilliant legal career, a marriage to an equally stellar attorney or Wall Street whiz kid, and eventually the production of three perfect children. A semester at St. Andrew's University in Scotland, was part of the plan, but falling in love with a handsome missionary was not.

Six months later, after Elliot returns from his mission and after a tumultuous courtship, Nina finds herself teaching at a junior high school, learning to keep house in a minuscule apartment, and living with a man who doesn't know any more about being married than she does. Intimacy, cooking, laundry, lesson plans, and a tug-of-war with a possessive mother-in-law prove to be more overwhelming than Nina can successfully manage. The newlyweds awaken to realize the head on the adjacent pillow belongs to a stranger.

This novel captures the heartbreak of young love caught in the turbulent social crosscurrents of the 70's, at a time when brave women struggled to find dignity and equality in the workplace, as well as peace at home.
 My Review:
I couldn't stop reading The Accidental Marriage. This is not a fluffy romance book. This novel shows so many doses of reality for the main characters, especially Nina the female lead. It showcases the first year of marriage between two people who fell in love and married despite their very different backgrounds. The story takes place in the early 1970's where women weren't given the same opportunities in the workplace and the only place for them was in the home. Nina and Elliot struggle in their marriage as Elliott wants a wife who cooks and takes care of their house and Nina isn't meeting those expectations, but he knew what she was like before he married her.
 Annette Haws writes so well that you are fully drawn in to this couples story. There are many heartbreaking moments for Nina and Elliot. There is also the problem of interfering and non- accepting in-laws. 
Overall this is a book that shows character growth. It is a book full of life's realities and how we deal with differences in marriage, the good and the bad. This compelling read was so well written that I would be in line to read anything that Annette Haws has written or will write. I recommend this novel to readers that enjoy gritty, realistic looks at life with a little romance thrown in.
Purchase links:


 “A thoughtful, heartbreaking, and often laugh-out-loud romp… Annette Haws explores the interesting question: What keeps a marriage together?”

--Terrell Dougan, a columnist for the Huffington Post and the author of That Went Well: Adventures in Caring for my Sister

“Haws delivers a story that makes you want to rush to the end to find out what happens and prose that makes you want to slow down and savor it.”

--Karey White, author of For What It’s Worth, Gifted, and My Own Mr. Darcy

“If you want a story with plot, character and real, deep meaning that will leave you thinking long after you’re done, this is the book for you.”
--Shannon Guymon, author of Do Over

About Annette: Annette Haws’s literary strengths are based upon her experiences in the classroom. She began her teaching career as a junior high teacher in Richmond, Utah and ended it teaching Sophomore English at Murray High School in Salt Lake City. However, her favorite assignment was a five year period at Logan High School teaching English, coaching debate and mock trial, and watching the antics of her own three children who were also students in the same school.

Her first novel, Waiting for the Light to Change, won Best of State in 2009, A Whitney Award for Best Fiction, and the Diamond Quill Award for Best Published Fiction in 2009 from the League of Utah Writers. In July of 2008, the Midwest Book Review selected it as a Top Pick for Community Library Fiction Collections.

Social Media Links:

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Key of Kilenya Series. See How to Get a Free E-Book!

My friend, Andrea Pearson, has just had the fourth book in her young adult fantasy series published. In celebration, the first book, The Key of Kilenya, is available for free as an eBook, and the second book, The Ember Gods, is available as a $0.99 Kindle eBook until March 3rd.
The Key of Kilenya has been in the top 100 for teen fantasies on Amazon since last May and has been very popular with young and adult readers alike.
To download a copy of The Key of Kilenya for Kindle, click here:
Here is a message from Author Andrea Pearson...

Hi, Everyone!

My name is Andrea Pearson and I'm an author of middle grade and young adult fantasy. In celebration of the completion of my Kilenya Series, I'm giving away eBooks! Read on for more details. :-)

The Key of Kilenya, first book in the Kilenya Series (with 50 five-star reviews on Amazon), is available everywhere for free (Kindle, Nook, Smashwords), but only until the 18th of January.

It's originally $3.99, and is geared to readers 10 and older. If it were a movie, it would be rated PG. No swearing or vulgarity, and very minimal violence.

Here's the book description:

We all have a choice but we can't choose the consequences.

Jacob Clark is chased down a path that takes him to another world world where he is a wanted young man. The Lorkon want to control him and the special powers he possesses. The people of the new world want him to save them from the destruction of the Lorkon. All Jacob wants is to go home, but even that choice has consequences. He doesn't know what to do and if he waits too long, the new world and the one he came from will be destroyed. As Jacob looks for people he can trust, he finds himself in the center of the fight for freedom both for himself and the people he comes to know.

Jacob has no idea where the path he chooses will take him, but once the choice has been made bring on the consequences.

Back to Andrea. :-) I had so much fun writing this book! I came up with the idea for the magical key when I was 10 - the same age as many of my readers - and built on it until I was 22, when I sat down and actually wrote the book. The Kilenya Series has sold really well and I've been so excited to find people just as passionate about the books as I am. :-)

The second book, The Ember Gods, is available for $0.99 until January 18, but you don't have to buy it if you don't want to, because I'm giving it away for free. In fact, I'm giving away three different eBooks. The only thing required on your part is to decide which one you want, mention it on this blog post, then email me the info, and I'll send you the file. :-)

Here are the books to choose from:

The Ember Gods, Kilenya Series Book Two

Original and discounted price: $3.99 to $0.99
(or free, if you choose this eBook :-))
Discounted Until January 18th
Genre and target audience: Fantasy for teens
If this book were a movie, what would it be rated? PG
If you don't want it for free (ha ha :-)), you can download it from: Kindle, Nook

Book description: 

Jacob Clark's new abilities are a blessing and a curse. He's a hero for returning the magical Key of Kilenya to its rightful owners, but at school he's starting to get noticed for something other than his basketball skills. And the attention is freaking him out.

Balancing both worlds is tricky enough, but Jacob has tasked himself with saving Aloren whose trapped in Maivoryl City by the Ember Gods. He doesn't want to wait for the potion that will protect his team from the corrosive influence of the Lorkon, but the desire to prove himself to the high school basketball coach conflicts with his plans to rescue her.

Feeling pulled by both sides, Jacob must walk a tightrope of warring worlds with lives on the line. Lives that will be lost if he doesn't figure out how to complete his quest and balance his abilities. Fast.

August Fortress, Kilenya Series Book Three

Price: $3.99 (or free, if you choose this eBook :-))
Genre and target audience: Fantasy for teens
If this book were a movie, what would it be rated? PG
If you don't want it for free, you can download it from: Kindle, Nook, Smashwords

Book description:

Since Jacob Clark discovered his abilities, his life has changed for the better and the worse.

The basketball coach won't notice him and high school is much more complicated than before. Jacob finds himself needed more and more in Eklaron where his abilities are saving lives. And then the call comes and his friends must rescue the powerful Sheingols from August Fortress where they've been held for fifteen years. The only problem is, Lorkon traps are everywhere and getting past them might be impossible.

The closer he gets to his goal, the harder the traps are to overcome. Can he master more of his powers to fight the traps? Or has Jacob finally met his match?

Samara: A Kilenya Romance

Original price:$1.99 (or free, if you choose this eBook :-))
Genre and target audience: Clean teen romance
If this book were a movie, what would it be rated? G (or a very, very soft PG)
If you don't want it for free, you can download it from: Kindle, Nook, Smashwords

Book description:

When Samara Oldroyd meets the most amazing guy ever, she's frustrated their conversation is cut short. Her wishes that they'll run into each other again come true when she meets her sister's new boyfriend. It's him! Eeek!
Inspired by the film Dan in Real Life, this novella will tickle you pink as Samara tries in vain to undo her crush.

(There is no magic involved in this story. It contains characters you'll meet in the Kilenya Series and can be read separately.)

Now that you've chosen which free eBook you want, here's how you get it:
  1. Comment on this blog, saying which eBook you want
  2. Send me an email ( and tell me:
    1. The title of the book
    2. The name of the blog that sent you
    3. Which format you want the eBook in (Kindle, Nook, etc.)
And that's all!

I can't wait for you to delve into the world of Kilenya and discover the magic, monsters, and people there!

Meet Andrea Pearson:
Andrea Pearson, author of the Kilenya Series, Kilenya Romances, and Katon University series, lives with her husband and daughter in a small valley framed with hills. She is Executive Director of the Indie Author Hub group and creator of the writing application Progress Bar. She is an editor for the website

Andrea spends as much time with her husband and daughter as possible. Favorite activities include painting, watching movies, collecting and listening to music, and discussing books and authors.

Her mother says they can't possibly be related because Andrea isn't in love with chocolate and tomatoes, though she'll eat either. (But not together.) She would much rather snack on toasted English muffins with lots of butter or nearly anything with cheese.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Being Realistic in 2014

adjective: realistic
  1. 1.
    having or showing a sensible and practical idea of what can be achieved or expected.
    "jobs are scarce at the moment, so you've got to be realistic"
    synonyms:practical, pragmatic, matter-of-fact, down-to-earth, sensible, commonsensical, grounded; More
    informalhaving both/one's feet on the ground, hard-nosed, no-nonsense
    "you've got to be realistic"
    "a realistic aim"
  2. 2.
    representing familiar things in a way that is accurate or true to life.
    "a realistic human drama"
    synonyms:true to life, lifelike, truthful, true, faithful, unidealized, real-life, naturalistic, graphic More
    "a realistic portrayal of war"

Yes it's 2014! I love the start of a new year, but this year I want to be realistic. I've been reading all of my friends New Year's Resolutions for 2014. Some of them I've nodded my head at in agreement and others I've sat here and laughed. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves at the beginning of a new year. Is this really necessary? Yes, it's good to make goals for ourselves, but make sure they are realistic and aren't going to cause great stress for us in the process. Here are some things that have crossed my mind as I've been thinking today...

-It's OK that we don't have perfect children. No one is perfect, so don't expect our kids to always be that way. They are still kids and need time to be just!

-Don't set your goals so high that you will topple. If you make a mistake, say you cheat on your diet, it shouldn't make you want to quit. Give yourself a break to mess up and then get back to your goal the next day.

-It's OK to mention to others, even on facebook, that you're having a bad day. No one is going to judge you and most people are going to cheer you on. Always saying that your life is perfect and you never have any problems is only going to make other people grumpy. Like I said at the first, let's be realistic.

-On the other hand, no one wants to hear you complain all of the time. I guess this is for me. This past year has not been the best in my life, and I need to remember that everyone doesn't want to hear about it at all times. But, I'm trying to be realistic and not lie when asked how I'm doing.

-Something else I'm going to do different this year is not compare myself to others. That also goes for my kids, home, clothes etc. We are all individuals that are blessed with strengths and weaknesses. We take away from our own accomplishments when we compare ourselves to our friends and family. We have trials that belong to us. Their trials are not ours. I know many people are unhappy because they feel like they never measure up to their friends.

-Showing more compassion is on my list. What would our world be like if we were more compassionate? Let's show empathy to strangers and those we know. Reaching out to others can change lives. I had people last year do this for me. They know who they are and I'm so grateful for them. They showed deep compassion to me and gave me hope at a very crucial time. 

The last thing I'm planning on doing: trying harder. There are many areas in my life where I have goals. I'll not bore you with the details, but they are realistic. I'll try hard to work on one of these goals each day. I know I'll have good and bad days. But I will try hard and won't give up. I hope that you will do the same. Remember, we are not perfect people. Be gentle with others and yourself. I'm proud of those friends and family that accomplish so much in their lives, but you can count on me not comparing every little thing you do with what I do. The secret to happiness is being happy now in the moment in our life's daily journey.