20 Books of Summer +1 #20BooksofSummer2021

Thanks to Cathy at https://746books.com/2021/06/01/its-20-books-of-summer-time/ for sharing the 20 Books of Summer Challenge again!!! Yay summer reading!

During the summer of 2020, I participated in Cathy’s #20booksofsummer2020 and I LOVED it!

I enjoyed reading my choices and the posts of others readers as they shared their summer read picks. It made a season of quarantine feel like it a had some sense of community.

For Summer 2021, I am eager to dive into my summer reads, but I’m going to challenge myself to 21 reads before September 1st! #20booksofsummer2021 +1.

As the volunteer librarian at my children’s school, I host a reading club each year, and I always try to include the books in contention for the Mark Twain Award. There at 12 books nominated each year, and I have yet to be disappointed whenever I read those nominated. Students love them and often make informal waiting lists on my library desk for the Mark Twain Award titles. These 12 titles will definitely make up part of my 21 reads this summer, so I thought I would kick the list off with the nominees.

Shine!
Summer Read #1: Mark Twain Award Nominee #1: Shine by J.J. and Chris Grabenstein
Pay Attention, Carter Jones
Summer Read #2: Mark Twain Award Nominee #2: Pay Attention, Carter Jones by Gary D. Schmidt
The Bridge Home
Summer Read #3: Mark Twain Award Nominee #3: The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman
New Kid (New Kid, #1)
Summer Read #4: Mark Twain Award Nominee #4: New Kid by Jerry Craft
Song for a Whale
Summer Read #5: Mark Twain Award Nominee #5: Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly
Shouting at the Rain
Summer Read #6: Mark Twain Award Nominee #6: Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation (Charlie Thorne #1)
Summer Read #7: Mark Twain Award Nominee #7: Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation by Stuart Gibbs
Me and Sam-Sam Handle the Apocalypse
Summer Read #8: Mark Twain Award Nominee #8: Me and Sam-Sam Handle the Apocalypse by Susan Vaught
Bernice Buttman, Model Citizen
Summer Read #9: Mark Twain Award Nominee #9: Bernice Buttman, Model Citizen by Niki Lenz
The Memory Keeper
Summer Read #10: Mark Twain Award Nominee #10: The Memory Keeper by Jennifer Camiccia
The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA
Summer Read #11: Mark Twain Award Nominee #11: The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA by Benda Woods
White Bird: A Wonder Story
Summer Read #12: Mark Twain Award Nominee #12: White Bird: A Wonder Story by R.J. Palacio

M.C. Higgins, the Great
Summer Read #13: M.C. Higgins, the Great by Virginia Hamilton is a book I often recommend to students in the library, but it’s beena while since I read it the first time and want to revisit this amazing story.
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Committing to a Vacation…A Good Kind of Scare

Who doesn’t need or want a vacation?

After the last 12 months of COVID crisis, presidential and political craziness, and wacked out weather, I am certain we all deserve a vacation.

So, why is it so hard to commit to a vacation?

For me there are three major factors.
1. Cost
2. Commitment phobia
3. I have too much to do.

All of which are bologna.

1. Taking a break or getting away does not have to cost an arm and a leg.

2. Committing to do something makes it that much more valuable.

3. What am I gonna do with all my to-do’s if I don’t take a break before I have a breakdown?

For others, fear of committing to a vacation is based on things to actually be afraid of such as: medical conditions, occupational duties, pets, hurricanes, and pandemics. With awareness of the need for concern, we also have to acknowledge the need to take a break when we can.

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Give It the “Scratch-Off” Treatment

Being overwhelmed is a constant state for most of us. The list of to-do’s can never seem to get to-done, and distractions know no limits. Being a list-maker can help, but some of us have a tendency to either make too many lists or put so much on our agendas that it’s not feasible to finish any of it.

At a coffee date with Maddy Hoeltke-Brown, we talked about the unconventional way we are approaching life with our side hustles and how the 8-to-5 scene is not the career path we have followed. Even thought we’ve chosen different paths, Maddy is just getting started in her business ventures, while I’m trying to evolve with mine. She asked if I had any advice to help with her whirlwind of distractions as she tries to get a good focus on building her graphic design business.

First of all, I do not profess to be a guru in business and my blog and writing career are just getting going, but I know a little something about helping people pave paths to success from my experiences on the farm and in the classroom.

To get started, I shared Lysa TerKeurst’s story of dedicating time to her desired work. In her book, The Best Yes, Lysa talked about making the decision to take her writing seriously and scheduled time on her calendar to do just that. TerKeurst reflected the first time she had to turn down a lunch date because she had scheduled time to write. The act of saying no to someone, because she chose time for her own goals, made her feel guilty at first. Eventually, Lysa found that giving herself time to do what she needed to be successful was the ultimate route for making her goals realities. I advised Maddy to do the same. Each week I plan time to write and most weeks I am successful, but I also realize that life throws priorities in my way and I have to compromise to keep the big picture moving forward. That realization led to my second piece of advice.

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It’s Not What You Grow – Wise Words Wednesday

While it may be winter and there aren’t a lot of crops in our fields now, we are reaping the benefits of last year’s hay season and the work of grain farmers from across the country. Long days and late nights produced a tremendous amount of hay to be stored in our barns last summer. As the grass has frozen and dried up this winter, the cattle and horses have been able to continue to grow and find comfort in those bales. The turkeys and calves are able to eat and develop thanks to the feed made from the harvest of American fields. We aren’t growing crops or animals; we are creating a place for them to flourish in spite of winter’s harshness.

Farmers aren’t the only ones creating places for people and things to produce. We all are creators of environments that allow for safety and growth. We are all cultivators of children, pets, food, products, and emotions. Each and everyone has a hand in growing something.

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Blank Terror #BlogBattle

“Sign here, please.” – Words that strike fear into hearts every minute of every day.

“Sign here, please.” – What do these words imply?

They imply agreement, sacrifice, and worst of all – commitment.

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When I think of blank terror, I always remember the scene in Disney’s The Little Mermaid where Ariel is so desperate to become human that she signs away her voice in exchange for a chance to meet Prince Eric.

Everything in her body language says, “I really don’t want to do this,” but, if you’ve seen the movie, you know in her heart she felt like she HAD to sign it.

What is the scariest blank you ever had to sign?

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January 2021 – Positivity Challenge

Forgive and forget… easier said than done. I’m gonna make it happen in 2021.

It is true that we are often our own worst critics, but being a flawed human (just like everyone else) I have come to the realization that I am pretty critical of a few other folks in my life.

My cynicism is the result of my failure to forgive. I can’t be my best if I do not absolve my grievances with the people who have hurt or hampered me in the past. Never would I claim to be completely innocent of hurting others, but if I am ever going stop the damage to my own self-esteem and the esteem I have for others, I am going to have to do some forgiving.

My 2021 Vision Board: It’s going to be a GREAT year!

When I started gathering ideas for my 2021 Vision Board, I knew I needed to work on my relationship goals with some people in my life, as well as myself. Setting a goal for greater compassion and acceptance was something that my Vision Board simply HAD to display.

In my search through magazines and websites, I couldn’t find just what I needed to say on my board, until I stumbled across a quote from Galina Majda in Mukilteo, Washington. (I am sad to say I don’t know what magazine this was from.) Galina’s statement of forgiveness was EXACTLY what I needed for myself and my relationships.

“Every night before I go to sleep, I forgive everyone, including myself.”

Wow! Wow! Wow!

“I forgive everyone, including myself.”

Wow!

Do you ever lay awake at night hashing over the mistakes you made or the things you forgot to do? Do you ever just lay there simmering in regret or guilt or anger? I know I do. Ending the day with a mentality of forgiveness could stop all of that wasted worrying and bring about greater peace. It’s what I need to do.

Maybe you do too.

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The Discipline to Want the Most – Wise Words Wednesday

Discipline – the classic struggle between what we want right now and what we want most.

Abraham Lincoln was an expert on making tough choices based on what he wanted most. He built a career and defined a nation by working for what he knew was necessary to unite our peoples and continue to establish America as a world power. After all how could a nation divided be the most powerful country in the world?

Discipline is something that many feel is a violation of their rights. They believe that if they want to do something, go somewhere, buy something, or say anything, it’s not “fair” to have to work for it or take into consideration the impacts their impulses will have on the big picture for their lives and what they want beyond that moment in time. The demand for instant gratification and knee-jerk reactions to the work and words of others has cast an ugly shadow over what we really need and want as a society.

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Quarantine Your Judgements

We are all familiar with the “If you can’t say something nice…” adage, but how often to we put effort into leaving our lousy thoughts out of what we say?

Last week I was angry. Angry at someone I care a great deal about. Angry at the choices they had been making. Those choices felt unfairly selfish to me. When I voiced my anger to my friend Emily, she helped put things into perspective. Emily reminded me that the person I was mad at wasn’t necessarily being selfish; they were being human. Each decision they made was done so because they thought it was the appropriate choice for them.

Of course, Emily was right and I needed to quit being so judgmental.

This week, as I was taking a drive with my friend Chelsea, she was lamenting the overly critical nature of one of her family members. The nature of their hypercritical haptics was exhausting her. We came up with the brilliant idea that people should quarantine their fault finding fascination. The quarantine of unfair judgment and social criticism would be a great way to cure the world with kindness and understanding.

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Avoid a Fitting Disappearance

There are many things I love about technology, but video games are not necessarily one of them. However, I do enjoy a game of Tetris. It’s about the only video game that doesn’t send me spiraling into a fit of vertigo (at least until those crazy blocks start dropping at 60mph).

Halloween is also one of my FAVORITE times of the year, so this particular Wednesday Addams meme made my heart happy. It also provided inspiration for today’s Intentergy post.

For 10 years I taught high school. In those 10 years, I watched A LOT of kids do things to fit in that I knew were not true reflections of who they were as individuals. After one particularly troublesome instance of two 9th grade girls allowing their alpha-friend to bully another 9th grader, I had to discuss the situation with a fellow teacher.

My brilliant co-teacher had a way of putting new perspective on situations. He referred to the students who followed peer pressure as “lemmings.” He said, “They will run themselves off the roof of the school just to fit in. It’s our job to show them there are other ways down from the situation and hopefully to avoid those tragic falls.”

This reference, of course, is centered on the belief that lemmings will run off the edge of a cliff just to stay with the herd. In many ways this metaphor accurately reflects the Tetris mentality of disappearing to fit in.

People will rush into or follow any crowd if they believe it will help their social survival, but often forget that if they are a crowd follower, it is really hard to be a leader or to stand out with success.

The emergence of a leader.
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What You Take In… Wise Words Wednesday

Doritos are not allowed in my house. Not in the snack size, family size, or the party size. Doritos are not allowed in my house in any size, shape, flavor, or package.

Why?

I will eat them.

That’s why.

If I have Doritos, I will eat them. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

On a camping trip this summer, I splurged and bought a bag of those delectable Doritos and said to myself, “I’m going to be on vacation. I want to eat like I’m on vacation.”

And I did.

A large portion of that bag was consumed by me. And a large portion of the next two days were drug down by a terrible stomach ache. (My stomach apparently does not share my love for those triangular treats.)

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