Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Letting Go: Decluttering My Life

Continuing with the theme of my recent post, 12 New Chapters, I recently adopted, or rather had thrust upon me, a new philosophy to help me with my goal to declutter - "Let it Go!" (Cue the music!)

Now, as I meander about my day, I purposefully look for things to let go. As a way to increase the speed of which I sell, donate, or dispose of things, I am actively seeking "ten a day" - ten things to get rid of, ten things to "use up" that have been sitting around waiting for a raining day or forgotten in the back of the cabinet, or ten things to give to someone who could put the item to better use. 

What I've found is that with each object that I free myself from, I feel more organized and less stressed. I have a donate pile and a garage sale pile in addition to the countless things I am tossing - on a daily basis! And I have so much more to do.

I am not saying I am going to become an actual minimalist, but just these little steps in this short amount of time have shown me the light to being less cluttered in the physical aspect of life. In addition, I am looking for ways to consolidate other areas - whether financially or mentally. For example, I recently closed a bank account that I had a small balance, but didn't actively use. All it gave me was more paperwork to track. 

The other day at work I cleaned out my top desk drawer. Not because I didn't have work assignments to complete, I did, but nothing pressing, but simply because I have noticed that decluttering my physical space helps me declutter my head space. Make sense?  When that very small task was complete, I felt rejuvenated and ready to take on my next project, despite the crazy week it had been. 

At home, I am going room by room, cabinet by cabinet - weaning out all the crap I no longer use or need. I wish I had a dumpster in my driveway to just toss it all in and have hauled away. Instead, unfortunately, I have to look at those previously mentioned piles and wait for donation pick-up dates or upcoming community garage sales. Although not as ideal of having the stuff instantly removed from my presence, seeing the organized piles do give some sense of gratification similar to the feeling I get when I cross something off my to-do list. 

So, it may seem silly to you that I break out in song every time that little voice in my head tells me to let it go, but for me, it really is part of the therapeutic process. 

"Let it Go" from Disney's Frozen

Until next time, have a great day and, as always, thanks for stopping by and reading. 

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Friday, January 26, 2018

Echo of the Cliffs (Book Review: Multicultural Children's Book Day)

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/18) is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators. 

This is my third year in a row participating in the Multicultural Children's Book Day. I previously reviewed the first two novels in this Young Adult Fantasy trilogy, and am so honored to have been given the opportunity to read and review the final Juniper Sawfeather novel by D.G. Driver.  Echo of the Cliffs surpassed my expectations and ended up being my favorite of the three novels. 

Read reviews for Cry of the Sea and Whisper of the Woods

In books one and two, readers are introduced to June and her parents, local and influential environmental activists in the state of Washington. Echo of the Cliffs comes full circle tying the trilogy together - from mysterious mermaids to spirits trapped in ancient trees. Driver does an excellent job filling in all the pieces and connecting the novels that span a time frame of only a couple of months. 

In Echo of the Cliffs, June once again runs into mysterious circumstances while working with her parents to expose a construction company responsible for polluting the ocean and causing harm to the environment and the creatures that live in it. Still, in the back of Juniper's mind are the aching questions, just what happened to the mermaids she rescued only weeks earlier, and how are they connected to her ordeal in the tree? However, when her mission puts her friend in grave danger, June will stop at nothing to save him. 

Driver's writing style brilliantly paints vivid images for her readers, and I loved the way June's relationship with her mother changes over the course of the books. Echo of the Cliffs was also the most suspenseful of the novels - the ending really had me turning the pages faster than my eyes could read. 

If you like fantasy novels, particularly those based on Native American legends, along with novels that focus on modern day environmental concerns, you will enjoy these books. I highly recommend you read the first two novels to better understand the plot and history of Echo of the Cliffs. I am disappointed that there won't be more Juniper Sawfeather stories. She is a fabulous role model for teens, and a charismatic character for all fans of young adult fiction, regardless of age. 

I believe the target audience of middle and high school teens will thoroughly enjoy this novel and believe teachers may certainly use it as a stepping stone to discussing the plight of our environment and things we can do to help protect and save it.   

I strongly encourage teens to become active in environmental issues.  A simple way to do so is to organize a local beach clean-up with your school or outside organization. The future of our planet depends on the compassion and action of today's youth. 

Read more of my Book Reviews

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2018 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board.

2018 MCBD Medallion Sponsors
BRONZE: Barefoot Books, Carole P. Roman, Charlesbridge Publishing, Dr. Crystal BoweGokul! World, Green Kids Club, Gwen Jackson, Jacqueline Woodson, Juan J. Guerra, Language Lizard, Lee & Low Books, RhymeTime Storybooks, Sanya Whittaker Gragg, TimTimTom Books, WaterBrook & Multnomah, Wisdom Tales Press

2018 Author Sponsors
We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.
TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Scholastic Book Clubs: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/27/18 at 9:00pm.
Join the conversation and win one of 12-5 book bundles and one Grand Prize Book Bundle (12 books) that will be given away at the party!
Free Multicultural Books for Teachers:
Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators:
Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

NOTE: I received this book free from the author requesting an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's rules and guidelines. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

12 New Chapters

For the Chinese, 2018 may be the year of the dog, but for me, the new year seems like an ideal time to declutter my surroundings - both literally and metaphysically. 

From vowing to use all my the gift cards I have accumulated over the years (yes - YEARS!), to finishing the countless bottles of youth potions and half used hair products, I am determined to spend, lather, and spritz my way through the first couple of months of 2018 (First world problems, I realize.) 

In addition, I have the more daunting task of ridding myself of possessions - from clothes to furniture and knick-knacks, 2018 will be the year of minimizing all the crap I have collected over the decades. 

Most importantly, is the purging of unhealthy thoughts and unnecessary stressors.

 Breathe in positive light, breathe out negative darkness - repeat. 

A few years ago when I started this journey, I spoke about wanting to practice meditation and yoga more. Unfortunately, neither became a regular part of my schedule. I am hoping that will change in this new year and bring about a more relaxed and peaceful existence. 

2018 - new year, new goals. Who's with me?

Thank you all for stopping by. I wish all my readers a happy and healthy New Year and the best 12 chapters of your lives. 

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