A Bookish Sort of Post

This last week has been busy with work at my non-writing job, packing, traveling, and family time. That means I haven’t gotten a lot done on writerly things, but that’s kinda what I expected.

I spent some of my traveling time getting caught up on reading I needed to do for reviews, so yay! Yesterday I wrote my first ever 1-star review, which wasn’t very fun, but I balanced that out by reading some of a very intriguing book yesterday evening in the car. The book is a historical fiction novel by Jocelyn Green called The Mark of the King. I haven’t gotten very far into it, but what I read was shocking enough that discussing it comprised part of our dinner conversation, and ended up with me searching the internet to see how accurate the book was. Needless to say, it was accurate, and I’m looking forward to reading more.

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Florida! 

When I finally do get back into the writing-ish groove, I’m looking forward to querying for agents again. I enjoyed getting to research agents and learn more about their lives and the industry. I haven’t received any feedback or rejections for the last week, which is much more along the lines of what I was expecting when I first began the process. I had thought I’d have sent out more query letters by this time, but I’m not disappointed because life has been full and crazy recently.

And speaking of life being crazy, every time I hear somebody mention something about the New Year, or New Year Resolutions, it hits me that Wait a second! This is still the beginning of 2017! Because so much has already happened this year that it feels like it’s been 2017 for forever. (Although, I do still find myself writing 2016….)

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Working while traveling.

One of the things I’m looking forward to next month is getting to review The Lost Girl of Astor Street on it’s release date of Febuaray 7th. (You can read more about it on Amazon and Goodreads.) You might have heard me excitedly talking about this book, and that’s because I’ve wanted to read it for a looonnnggg time. I read the book two weeks ago, and it was so different from what I was expecting. It was captivating though, and even though I received a free e-copy in exchange for a review, I also just pre-ordered a hard copy to add to my bookshelf.

And now I’m off to another busy day with my non-writing job. I hope y’all are having a fantastically wonderfully blessed day!

(By the way, have you ever had to write  a 1-star review? If so, is that the kind of thing that bothers you, or were you more like “The book was horrible! It deserves a bad review!”?)

 

Rose

She’s a wee little darling baby.

My sister’s youngest child, who I affectionately call Rose, was born just over a month ago. It wasn’t until I was traveling down to Florida this weekend that I was able to meet her for the first time.

As I held her I marveled at her tiny (yet long) fingers, tugged off her socks so I could see her bitty feet, and stroked her soft, nearly black hair. Her dark eyes sleepily took in the world around her from time to time before blinking shut as she drifted off to sleep again.

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My other nieces and nephews clambered around, telling stories, handing me books to read, completing their chores, and showing me their newest animals. There were gales of laughter, little voices rising above each other in an effort to explain something, toys dropping, doors opening and closing, and the clock chiming. In the midst of the noise and excitement of a bustling house full of small children, Rose contentedly snuggled down in the arms of whoever was holding her, and slept.

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It was beautiful seeing how peaceful Rose was in the midst of so much going on. She had no reason to fear or get upset, because she was safe and surrounded by love. And she reminded me that I can rest in the arms of my heavenly Father, no matter what is going on around me.

Some days when I think about the future and how little I truly know about it, I can feel restless or worried. It might make me antsy and wish for time to pass faster, other times it makes me want to barrow in and beg changes to stay far at bay. In reality though, all I need to do is stay peacefully in the center of God’s will for me, and everything will be alright. And that, is beautiful.

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I hope y’all have a great week!

10 Tips for Packing for Your Next Trip

After spending the entire month of November at home (a feat that doesn’t happen very often at all), I’m back to being gone for nearly half of December.

Several nights ago as I was packing, I realized I’ve gotten a lot faster and less frivolous with packing. Now, it still took me a couple hours the other night, but that included a headache, distractions, and the fact that part of the packing was for “sunny Florida” and the other part was for Christmas Town at the Creation Museum, which means cold. Therefore, I had to figure out what I needed for the different climates.

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Video chatting while packing. 

Overall though, I’ve learned a fair amount of helpful tips when it comes to packing, mostly through trial and error.

  1. Start out with all your laundry clean
  2. Have a note of how many days you’ll be gone, and if there are any special occasions you need to pack for (For example: If you’re going to a fancy dinner, hiking, or attending an Ugly Sweater Party)
  3. Look up the weather where you’ll be traveling
  4. Don’t overpack clothes – This is huge (haha). It’s so easy to randomly throw extra items into your suitcase, but that’s generally not a good idea. One way to help avoid this is to lay out everything before you pack anything and go over each item to see if you’ll actually use it
  5. Packing outfit-by-outfit cuts down on the extras. And, rolling the clothes into tight, neat bundles is the best way I’ve found to pack and not take up excess space
  6. With non-clothing items, once again, less is generally more. Books are normally the hardest items for me to go easy with, but since they weigh a lot, they’re not fun to lug around. This trip I kept my list of physical books down to four: My Bible (I have two I generally read, and I brought along the smaller one), a book-for-review I have to read, a book I’ve been studying, and one book for fun. That might sound like a lot of books, but I had several more books I wanted to fit on the list and didn’t. (Also, kindle books are a great way to keep the weight down)
  7. If you’re packing things like vitamins, snacks, or other small items, it’s quite helpful to put them into little baggies instead of taking along the whole container
  8. If you’re flying, make sure you bag, or double bag, all your liquids/gels/etc… Also, taking a reusable water bottle along to fill up after you’re through security is a good idea, because it’s very easy to get dehydrated while traveling by air
  9. Double-check to make sure you have everything you need. This last time I nearly forgot to pack socks, then as I was falling asleep the night before we left, I realized I hadn’t packed my wrist-brace
  10. Turn it into a game. Packing is something I really enjoy. I sometimes challenge myself to see if I can fit everything into one backpack, or figure out a new combo for older clothes, or dance to some upbeat music as I work. This time several of my little friends were over and we video chatted with some of my other friends as I packed. They also had fun helping me pick out which clothes to take along, as well as putting some of the outfits together for me

Okay! Obviously this isn’t a conclusive list. What are some packing tips y’all have? I’d be delighted to hear them. 🙂