Family · movies · Planning · Reflection

Managing Mondays-Back to School Edition

Last night was a very long planning time. As I sip my coffee this morning, I am feeling a bit more at ease with today as well as the week ahead. It is back to school week. Not just any back to school week either. My youngest is starting her Freshman year in high school and that is a milestone. Makes me a bit sad.

We finished our clothes shopping on Saturday. Yay! That is quite a chore. We took in a final summer movie too: Eighth Grade. It was perfectly appropriate in its timing and its message to me as a parent and to my daughter. See it!

Back to the week at hand…

I spent my evening going through the papers we received from school and instead of inserting all the pages into my planner, I used my Erin Condren Purple color dots to mark all of the important dates for the school year.

Instead of this…

With the support of my fur babies I went from month to month placing purple dots like this…

Why purple? School colors are purple and black so I thought that would be easy to identify.

Did you notice my new planner? Yes. I changed from Happy Planner to Erin Condren. I am just in love with my new Erin Condren. I have been test driving it in July and really have found that I want to use it for my go to master planner. Watch for an upcoming post where I compare and contrast my old and new planning systems.

Am I ready for back to school week? I think so…

See my before the pen pages…

I spent yesterday shopping and sorting meals and am all set with simple fixings for an extremely busy week. I adore my new meal planning petite planner from Erin Condren. I love the smaller handy size because it slips right into my purse.

Wednesday will be a crazy day and in the tradition of every first day of school, the kids and I are going out to breakfast. I have taken the day off from work. I know the morning will be hectic and traffic flow will be annoying. And that evening will be filled with paperwork and syllabi and getting the school supplies from every teacher procured and organized.

My planner is ready. I am ready. My Freshman? Maybe. No matter what… I have planned to be there for her to help her be ready, for the first day and the whole year. I will be present to hear all about her first day as a Freshman. I have planned to spend my time where it matters the most. Now…if I can just manage to get through Monday.

Family · Planning · Reflection · travel · vacation

Resetting – Low Country Makes it So Easy

I am enjoying every morning this week sipping my morning coffee as well as every evening cocktail or glass of wine while sitting in a rocking chair like this and seeing these views: rain, shine, dawn, or dusk.

Phoenix just doesn’t have as much green as South Carolina. We can try to manufacture it but it just will never reach this beautiful level of green. My

Our gracious host has encouraged us to treat his home as if it was ours. Being so blessed to have this sweet retreat is immeasurable. I spend my quiet moments remembering the fun time exploring the Low Country and thinking of the next path of a new day’s journey. Living in the moment is not always easy for me because I love to plan. I promised myself that our days would be slow starting and gently flow from one thing to the next with no sense of urgency. In fact, yesterday was rainy and my daughter was, in typical teen fashion, disappointed that it wasn’t a good day for the beach. She stayed inside and I went traipsing in the rain to explore local shops and brought home trinkets and treats. I even cooked dinner for everyone with some fresh shrimp I bought at the local fish market. Our host did say to make ourselves comfortable and cooking shows I am all in on that invitation.

Today ends phase one of our visit, experiencing Charleston and Summerville. We have done so much already.

We spent a day exploring Summerville, the homes of sweet tea and two of the greatest people I have the privilege to know. Historic downtown is full of small local businesses and charming sidewalks that are fun to explore. It is also the home of the oldest pharmacy in the state that still exudes a small town charm while honoring the history of the generations who have been serving the locals over the years.

Our day downtown in Charleston was relaxing. We spent most of the day exploring its history contemplating the history and wondering how women in hoop skirts ever walked these narrow sidewalks We wandered in and out of the famous Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto festival events including

We grabbed lunch at the famous dive bar near Waterfront Park and left our mark on the walls like so many other patrons have done over the years. I can’t wait to visit again and find our moment in history. While we ate, we read the numerous dollars that lined the walls talking about the girl weekends, anniversaries, and family trips that have been memorialized by countless others. How cool is it to think that someone else may be doing the same when they read about our mother-daughter trip?

We enjoyed the peaceful spaces at the park on swings and benches. We quietly evesdropped on conversations that floated around us and tried to guess where folks were visiting from by focusing on languages and accents and stories.

We loved the trees and memorials in every park. Each stop was a history lesson just waiting to be discovered.

We visited Dock Street Theater, the oldest theater in the country. It has been standing and operating since the mid 1700s. It is beautiful inside. Our host works here and gave us the back stage tour before treating us to Chamber Music sponsored by the Spoleto Festival. What an amazing piece of history. While sitting there I thought of all of the plays and operas that must have been performed here and all of the historically significant folks who may have sat in the same seat as me.

Speaking of history…

We also visited St. Peter’s and in the West Cemetery discovered Vice President Calhoun’s resting place. Very cool find.

Charleston is rich in beauty and history and just walking to discover what we found was much more resetting and relaxing than making a list and schedule and pushing us to see so much. This wasn’t our first visit to this lovely city and likely not to be our last. Why rush to take it all in. Our slow roll really let us just take in the beauty and digest a little at a time. I loved it.

In our down time we spent the past few days just driving around with no destination. We found ourselves looking at the homes and imagining ourselves in them. We even stopped in some of the new developments and toured a couple of model homes.

A writer can dream. Heck this girl can dream any day of the year. And I do. Every time I visit this place I can easily picture living here. This time my daughter seemed to see it too. We may have to visit Clemson and some of the other schools in the area during our next visit. Always planning…

Now off to explore vacation phase two – Isle of Palms, South Carolina. Beach day. Yay!

Family · lists · Planning · Reflection · travel · vacation

Managing Mondays – Holiday Style

I am not sipping coffee in my normal spot today and it is not really Monday. Here is my morning quiet place.

What nonsense is This? It is called vacation. I am taking the week off from my weekly spread. (And work.) What? I know. Call me crazy. No planner in sight! I left it at home. Instead of planning the week I left it blank. When I get home I plan to make those pages memories instead. I bet you are wondering how I will survive a week with no planner or no plan, even. Ha! I am not that nuts.

I am in Charleston, South Carolina for the week. We got here yesterday which is why my Monday post is a day late. And while sipping coffee this morning, I have my notebook, pens, stickers, highlighters, and my one pager.

See! I have a loose plan. I left behind the hustle and the structure because I want to relax. So, I have goals. And whatever shape each day takes is what it is. I plan to take lots of photos, videos, and note down in my journal what I saw, felt, and thought about my experiences.

Did I mention my daughter is with me? Oh, yes, she is!

I have my journal page ready and we are heading out to explore in a bit.

I am excited to make lists about today. If you haven’t started following me on Instagram or Twitter find me. I would love to have you along on our adventures.

Family · movies · Reflection

Tully – Hidden Gem of a movie

As I sip coffee some mornings, it is not unheard of that I might be binging on a really great television series or watching movies, new and old. However, nothing beats watching a movie on the big screen in a theater with popcorn, a soda (or glass of wine), and my two best friends.

This past weekend we met up to see Tully. I regularly go to the theater but I don’t recall seeing trailers for this movie which feels like a gem hidden in the early swell of the summer blockbuster season. It could be that Marvel is overshadowing this a bit. (I saw Avengers too!) Nonetheless, mothers, this movie is for you.

As a fan of Charlize Theron I was eager to see it but I had low expectations. Anything about being a mother, my most important role in my life, gets my attention. And Charlize portrayed a woman, a real woman, a woman I could relate to.

I am not one to publish spoilers, nor am I one to write a review that tells of the plot. (See the link above for the official movie website.)

I want to share how it made me think and feel.

At many points in the movie I relived my own struggles as a mother with all of its challenges. I remembered the days that I put aside self care because taking care of little humans was all that mattered or that I had time for.

Having a child who is “quirky” is probably something every mother can talk about. The quirkiness can be so profoundly challenging that it consumes your every day. My best friends and I all have children with quirks. Our stories are as unique as the quirks as well as our survival tactics when we tackle the challenges. Our common thread and how we connected with the main character, is that we, all three, put our quirky children before ourselves with special diets, routines, doctors, selecting schools, and showering lots of love.

Motherhood bond. Sisterhood bond.

What makes us different than the character is how we move beyond the care of others and remember that we have to make time for self-care in a rational and healthy way.

I walked away from the film remembering the struggles my best friends and I have been through and how we have always tried to be there to lift each other up, encourage, and help with the heavy lifting of motherhood. It takes a village. So find yours and make sure your children know who all their special “Aunts” are so that the support system and relationships are strong and powerful enough to transcend the generations. Be a Tully…in the healthiest and most rational of ways.

And always love one another.

I hope you see this movie. It is surprisingly great. Take a tissue because between the laughter there may be tears just like in real life.

Back to sipping coffee and meditating on how grateful I am for being a mother and for being blessed to have friends who are my Tully during the highs and lows of motherhood.

Family · Goals · Planning · Reflection

Managing Mondays-Mom Priorities

It is coffee time! Quiet time is so very precious to me. And this time at the beginning of every week as I sip coffee feels paramount to how the week can go. I take time to think on all that I need to do plus what I would like to do. It is my way of getting out of the bed on the right side.

The past few weeks have been a struggle in changing priorities and I have had to shift even more to remembering what matters most. This focus adds a perspective like no other. I want to ensure I balance Mom priorities over work priorities because the family needs that right now. It isn’t just about my schedule. It is more about being “present” in mind and heart more.

I spent most of my time sipping my first cup in a retrospective state and looked back on what did and did not go well over the past couple of weeks. I asked myself what I could do differently because I felt like I was being too hard on myself and others around me. I realized that my expectations were perhaps set too high or not communicated effectively which can cause conflict on the home front.

Setting my plan for this week I designed a motivational and functional week spread in my planner. I wanted to see reminders of what is really important at work so that I can keep the negative noise and nonsense from others in perspective. And in doing that I can avoid the negativity from seeping over into other aspects of life. Most importantly self care needs to be at the front of the train and not in the caboose as a back burner.

My spread is full of motivation and focus areas. It gives me permission to delegate nonsense to the back burner. I am reminding myself to be the servant leader by focusing on my team’s needs and being a positive in the storm. Recently I have had an opportunity to observe leaders who are in the trenches with their teams and leaders who stay back in the tent barking out orders and then hiding in the shelter waiting and watching. The latter leader style sometimes seeps negativity out beyond the team and affects the bigger goal. And it is simply not my style. So while I am in the trenches I want to remember to be positive and guide my crew to the best outcomes with encouragement, gratitude, and course corrections that take us along the journey to the finish line celebrating together.

This week I want to make sure that I am focusing on the behind the scenes planning that sets the stage for every act in the play my team is cast in so they can be stars. I want to ensure the setting is right, the props are in place, and that they know their lines.

At home, I want to keep the work from seeping in. I want to protect our time so that it is of such quality that we all feel accomplished and grateful.

These may seem lofty goals for the week but I don’t think so.

In any moment of negativity I plan to step outside of it and ask myself:

  • Am I the engineer on this train right now?
  • Is this helping any of my three focus areas?
  • Should this be back burner?
  • Will this seep beyond work?

Knowing the answers to these questions should guide me to the right energy level in the moment and maintain perspective.

At the end of the week I aim to have positive energy to tackle that garage with my family: A project that we never seem to get to with our conflicting schedules and energy levels.

Share your spreads for the week and share the why. I always want to understand others why.

Family · Reflection · Social Topics

Tuesday Thoughts – FAKE NEWS, Family Circle, and Elvis

Yesterday, while sipping coffee and picking up around the house I finally scanned the cover of my recently delivered Family Circle magazine.

Note: This post is the result. I want to stress that I am writing this as a part of self-reflection and how this article impacted me personally. I am expressing my personal views. Please do not share this as a fact based article. The links I’m sharing are part of the research and certainly not the be all and end all sources for the topics that I’m discussing.. (Sad that I feel I even have to include this in my post.)

Slightly Off Topic Musing Before I Dig In on the Headline

I have to ask. Am I the ONLY person who gets magazine’s anymore? I battle with this in my head. There is still a section in most grocery stores and they still hang out near the registers when we check out so I have to believe there are some like me who still enjoy them. How many of us actually have subscriptions and find them in our mailboxes? I know just like newspapers, they are smaller and chock full of advertisements. Why do I still get magazines and pick up the newspaper from time to time? Well…I love them. I love finding meal and recipe ideas. I enjoy the decorating and craft ideas. I enjoy some of the health and fitness articles. And I love the back parts where readers submit photos and articles. I love the feel of them in my hands. I love that method of exploration. I’m not having to think of a search term and I am giving myself a chance to disconnect from the web and social media and learn and discover the “old school way.” I am given options of items to read and not feeling them pushed at me one by one like the algorithms that drive topics to my in box or are “sponsored” and “suggested” by the bots. I still like to get some of my information the old school way. How about you?

Now I know all magazines also have digital versions, but a typical web search isn’t going to produce those results unless you subscribe to the site. And frankly that is too much clutter in an already advertisement and spam-filled world of emails. And really, is this blog not a magazine in a sense? I’m asking you as my reader to subscribe or draw you here from my posts on social media. I don’t have bots and algorithms. I’m not here calling a pot black when I am simply a kettle that is black too. I’m a blogger and I don’t know that I aspire to an audience as vast as the the circulation of Family Circle. I don’t desire to have to sell ad spots and bog down this site with my margins full of ads that I hope you as the reader click on and buy something. Not today. Not tomorrow. Maybe next year. Who knows? That is a blog post and decision for future me.

Thank you for clicking the link in the email or social media post that brought you here. You, my readers, make me so very happy when I know you have stopped by for a visit or a view.

Exit Stage Musing And On To the Point

Right now, I’m thinking more about this Fake News and that article I discovered, not while searching the web or sitting in social media. It didn’t pop up in any of my feeds based on algorithms. It came to me in my actual mail box. I appreciate the work of the hands that get the shiny, colorful pages to my home or local grocery store. I hope they never go away. And this week, I was interested in more than the recipes and healthy tips. Family Circle published an article that I tell you is very timely. The cover highlight, “FAKE NEWS & what to tell your kids” completely grabbed me. What a sad topic to appear on the cover atop those gloriously beautiful cookies. This reader didn’t even go to the recipes. Yep. I bypassed those and went straight to Fake News.

Fake news has always existed. We used to call is rumors and crap. It has always been in the media. Every week for decades if we stood in a grocery store, the check out stands were lined with the “rags” like The National Enquirer. My mother always picked them up to read them for the pure fun and humor. Well, maybe she was hopeful that Elvis was still alive and had been abducted by aliens. We have always had to discern fact from fiction. So why now has this become a problem so out of control that I was planning to read this article before the recipes? Why do I need to know what to tell my kids?

I have to admit that reading this article struck a chord with me. I am not sure if I took it personally or if it had me more worried about the state of our education system and parenting? Should I take this as a personal criticism as a parent?

Good grief! I mean, have we really come this far that articles have to be written to hopefully educate us on how to deal with this problem? Assuming positive intent, I realize that we have tons of information we have to synthesize and rationalize in a small amount of time. It isn’t like the weekly Enquirer of old.

What stood out were results from a study:

  • 82% of middle school students had difficulty differentiating between news and advertising
  • 75% of the time adults believe Fake news headlines

Shocking! Where did our critical thinking go? Did you ever see the Disney movie WALL-E? In my mind, the creators were predicting the trajectory of humans and our careless consumerism and decline in a key skill called critical thinking. In the movie, the setting was 100 years in the future and humans were conditioned to think and behave based on Big Data, algorithms, and bots. This movie came out in 2008, before the terms Big Data, algorithms, and bots became so common place. When I walked out of the theater ten years ago, I actually filed away a personal fear of where we were heading. I thought technology can and probably would change us and make us lazy. We would totally buy Hover chairs to get around and use screens for communication with other humans. They were hovering right next to each other but never left the chair or touched another soul. How many of us text a family member from another room in the house or heck across the room? It reminded me of how lazy we already were and that the folks behind technology could sway our purchases, voting, and opinions. The scene where the new color trend was announced and they could press a button to purchase and change shirts was shocking. Funny maybe. Let’s be real, Color of the Year is decided for us based on various factors and we buy into it. How do you think home decorating and clothing color trends happen? There is a science behind it and a whole team of smart marketing to influence us into buying to the trend. I wonder how many people who saw the movie saw the creators poking fun at us?

Do we buy into this or stop the madness? Can we stop the madness? Is it madness?

All great questions! Fake News? Where did that even start? Well I thought I would point you to Wikipedia and what it says, Wikipedia’s take on Fake News and this article from Family Circle on Fake News because they both drove home to me that a mere 10 years after WALL-E, we aren’t really 100 years away from needing to find another home away from earth nor are we immune to suggestive marketing and fake news. Are we not thinking for ourselves more each and every day? And when I think about it, it seems critical thinking as a skill is needed more than ever before. I know the people with the skill are behind the big date, algorithms, and bots. I guarantee that. So how can I ensure, that I’m honing my critical thinking and retraining myself and teaching my kids? How do I put into practice looking at news and discerning fact from opionion and fact from fiction? How do I talk to my kids more about what they have seen on social media, television, and hearing from their peer groups? And furthermore, how do I turn that conversation on to helping them be expert critical thinkers? I personally will not rely on formal education to do it all. I cannot expect that. It isn’t fair. I don’t send an employee of mine to a class and expect them to come back an expert? Why would I have the same expectation of my children and their teachers? Family Circle and Wikipedia both offer tips on how to analyze the information presented to determine fact, opinion, or fiction.

I encourage you to read this article on Fake News, and not just to know what to say to the kids. I needed it. Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised to find it in Family Circle. (Yay for the magazine in my mailbox!) Future generations can become critical thinking masters if given the chance. Fake News discernment starts with the individual. As we allow our kids access to a vast world of fact and fiction in the digital age we need to talk more about what is being digested. Some may suggest keeping kids off digital longer. I don’t know if that is the right way either. My kids have the ability to surpass me in so many ways if I educate, communicate, and foster critical thinking. They can be a powerful force. The article reminded me that my generation can really help be mentors and guides to the future. So I want to step away from the screens and talk and share an interact more. It will be these moments of connecting where I can find teachable moments. I can walk away with a stronger ability to identify fake news and so will my family. I can ensure that if what I’m seeing is really an opinion, that I won’t choose to adopt the same opinion because I agree and think it is fact. Talking with my kids about it will help me and in turn hopefully help them be stronger.

I may have thought I was doing this already, but the article made me pause and think on it. And I thought a lot. I even talked to my 13-year old about it. I recognize that I can be better. I was disappointed in myself. Because I realized, I am just so annoyed with the amount of fake news that I give less attention to a lot of it and in turn, talk less about news in general. And it got me to this rant. And honestly, I will take my in-hand magazine any day of the week.

I have to ask: What do you do with Fake News? Are you concerned about friends, family, and your kids not knowing the difference? Were you surprised by the statistics from the study that was shared in the article? Do you ignore Fake News? Do you agree with the article on why and how to talk to our kids?

Now…I am off to finish my coffee and look at the recipes and crafts in Family Circle.

Books · Goals · Planning · Reflection · Uncategorized · Vision · Writing

Book Talk – Am I reading more?

Happy Friday! Yes, I’m sipping coffee and I’m wishing I could take the day off to read. It dawned on me that I have yet to share much about my Vision Board and my plans to read more. I used to be an avid reader. A couple of books a week was a typical average. Life got in the way. More like Igot in the way of reading!

I read an article earlier this year about how some of the world’s most successful leaders read every day. So if they can make time to read, why shouldn’t I? In all honesty, I love reading and once I started down this journey of rediscovery this year, I wanted to read more and more. Joining Brenda Novak’s book club and reading challenge was a great launching pad for me. And my “to be read” pile grows larger every day. The more I read, the more I find I want to read.

Let me share with you some (not all) of the books I’ve read so far this year. In each of the books, I will share an overall impression of the book and maybe even a link so that if you want to read it to you can. Full Disclosure: If I provide a link and you use it to purchase it via Amazon, you will be helping me sock away a bit of money to help support this site. I thank you for that.

Reading For a Better Me

<a href=”Shaping It All by Candace Cameron Bure is a great book that is packed full of motivation for physical and spiritual fitness. I love watching her in movies on the Hallmark Channel and I loved watching her grow up in Full House. This book was her way of sharing how she went from that chubby girl to a healthier and happier version of herself. I enjoyed this book because it wasn’t a diet book. It wasn’t a book that pointed out everything I do wrong. It was simply her view on how through faith and family and introspection she worked to make small changes over time that have been maintainable. As such an easy read, I keep it handy and actually pick it up every once in a while to look at end of chapters where she provides recipes and scriptures plus a little practical advice. It never hurts to reconnect. I really enjoyed it and hope you might too. Check it out.

OOLA: Find Balance in an Unbalance World by Troy and Dave the OOLA Masters. Now this book is not new to me. I got it a few years back and with my refocus using a Vision Board, I decided to pick this one back up because I wanted to revisit it. Everyone talks about work life balance and how important it is. I hear it all the time at the office. I preach it all the time to my colleagues. Does anyone really know what it means or how to do it? This book is full of how to put that into practice. I love that it even gives you an assessment to help you learn which of the 7 areas of a balance life may be needing more attention. The OOLA masters don’t tell you “how” to fix yourself. They share real stories and examples which allow you to reflect. Then they offer encouring nudges on how to find your action plan starting small and going bigger and bigger until you feel OOLA complete.

If you don’t get any other book this year, get this one! I have enjoyed reading it again and I’ve also enjoyed comparing my Vision Board for 2018 to their suggestions of an OOLA board and recognize that I have work to do to help me get balance. I also realized that I think reading this book in the past truly helped me subconciously as I was building my vision. My focus areas are closely aligned to the Seven Fs.

Reading for Joy

I have to be honest that I don’t always read books that show me “how I can do things better.” I have to read for the sheer joy of reading. It is my great escape. I love diving into other settings with fun characters and seeing what happens in their lives. Sometimes I have books that I really wanted to read but I struggle to find the time or just have a challenge connecting. Don’t you? Then there are times where I’m so engaged that I cannot put the book down and procrastinate everything else I should be doing. It is important to make time for this kind of joy. I think that even the world’s leaders have had books of fiction or non-fiction that really and truly were escapes into other settings. I learn from these characters and story lines too. So, I made sure I read from this “To Be Read” pile too. Here are some highlights on some of these other books I read in the past two months.

Edge of Darkness (The Cincinnati Series)

“>Edge of Darkness by Karen Rose was a great book. This was part of Brenda Novak’s Readers Book Club. Last night was the book club discussion where Brenda visited Karen and they hosted a Facebook Live discussion that allowed all of us to be part of the interview and discussion. I haven’t been much into mystery and supsense books but I’m a converted fan after reading this book. It is part of a series and I have added all of the other books in the series to by TBR pile because this book was that good. Her characters are real. Her settings were vivid in my imagination. And I didn’t know who did it for certain until she revealed it. I had a good guess, but I wasn’t 100 percent certain. In the discussion she let us know which of her characters in the series she has planned to “star” in upcoming books and I was very excited to know that I can look forward to some of my favorite secondary characters taking the front seat in future books. I learned a lot about how Karen manages her writing including how she keeps track of all of the characters in the series. As a writer myself insight to the writer’s life and learning tools and tips I might apply to my own work in progress and ideation process always gets me motivated and excited. She is a huge fan of Tami Hoag so I’ve decided I must prioritize some of my TBR list to ensure that I read one of those books this year instead of continuing to put it off. Funny, how an interaction with people can change your thinking in only an hour’s time.

Any Dream Will Do: A Novel

“>Any Dream Will Do by Debbie Macomber is probably my favorite of the books I’ve read recently. Do you watch Hallmark Channel Movies? I do. And Debbie is one of those writers who has had several novels made into movies. Her stories are just that captivating and full of real people and sweet outcomes that they lend so perfectly to the Hallmark lineup. I’ve watched so many and realized that I don’t know that I’ve ever read a book. So when I was taking up the challenge to read a book in February based on the look of the cover, this one stood out to me at the supermarket. And I’m so glad it did. I just loved Shay and Caden’s story. Shay is so imperfecttly perfect that she melts my heart. So much of her personality resonated with me. I felt a kinship of parts of me in my younger years when it comes to choices in trust and relationships. And much y favorite character really was probably Caden’s daughter, Sarah. She said it as she saw it as any youngster would but her insights and observations were just so simple and true. Perhaps she reminded me of my daughter at that age. Such wisdom from those so young! I hope you pick this book up and just dive into the characters and watch them grow personally and together to make a new heartwarming family unit. You will feel so good at the end. I assure you.

Her Secret Daughter (Grace Haven)

“>Her Secret Daughter by Ruth Logan Herne was a sweet “commercial” and I picked this book up so that I would have a quick read. I like the Harlequin series books for the short read. Often this is a book length that I can finish in an afternoon while sipping coffee. I enjoyed this book about Josie and I really fell in love with the characters from Grace Haven. Have you ever read a book where you love the secondary characters more than the main ones? This was definitely one of these books for me. Addie is the “secret daughter” and she was a little girl who could have been written so differently considering what she had been through in life. The author, Ruth, really had me cheering this sweet girl on because I just knew that she was surrounded by people who loved her and having a chance to know her biological mother would maybe confuse her but in the end could just be the thing to help bring her that much more joy. I was rooting for Addie more than I was rooting for Josie. And honestly, at first I wasn’t sure I liked Josie and wasn’t sure I wanted her for Jacob. In the end, Addie is who changed my mind about that. Check this book out one afternoon and enjoy it with your favorite beverage in a comfy chair.

I guess I was all about the kids in my books this month. And it proves to me that secondary characters are critcal to any story line and matter to readers. I am looking forward to the next few books on my pile. If you pick up and read any of these books, please come back and let me know what you thought of them. I’d love to hear. What else should I put on my list? Any suggestions?