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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Update on My Resolution to Simplify for 2017!

This picture shows exactly what I want my life to by like in 2017. Spend time with my wonderful family and write! So let's see, here is part of what I wrote back in December when I chose Simplify for my one-word resolution: 

"So my one word resolution for 2017 is Simplify.  I want to simplify my life, enjoy the little things, read more, enjoy time with my family more and stop trying to do it all. 
I want to clean out the debris that is cluttering my desk, my store, my closet, and yes, my brain. I want to clean out, so to speak, manage to "spring clean" myself and my surroundings. I am hoping that this does not mean I clean up and then cannot find anything at all as has happened in the past. I plan to simplify what I do and stop trying to do everything and accept some help when I need it. I plan to simplify my writing and go back to what I love - long hand. I know that seems odd since you are reading my blog on a computer of some kind, but when I write a book or story, I need time for my brain and fingers to sync and often with a computer keyboard that syncing just seems hard to do. So back to my pen and paper style, that allows me to think at the same time. Eventually it will make it to the laptop but not until I have the first draft. 
I don't plan to just simplify my writing, I want to simplify my whole life so I can truly enjoy it. I hope I am successful but if not I will not beat myself up. Life can be hard enough without that. So let me hear what your one word resolution or your multi-word
resolutions are for 2017. And if you have any wonderful tips to share with me on ways to simplify my life, by all means please pass those along. I am going to need them!! 
Can't wait to hear from you all."

And how am I actually doing?  That is a very good question. I have made myself stick more to a schedule with my writing. At the same time, I do cut it off some nights to just spend time with my husband. We work together five days a week at our business, but that's not the same as spending time together. I try to make more time for just being with him.
(I wrote this early last week as we were going to be busy celebrating our 31st wedding anniversary! When I think about the length of 31 years, it amazes me! I am the "luckiest girl in the world.")

It's harder to make time for my daughter as she is out of the house and living her own life most of the time. We try to have dinner with her at least once a week so we can all catch up and we talk on the phone. We are so fortunate to have her and lucky that we talk so much to each other and that she also enjoys spending time with us. 

As for my things, my house, the store, the closets.... I am working on them. We are remodeling the store. New paint, carpet, wood floor and exterior signs coming soon. The prep is killing us, but it's good to get rid of some of the debris that's been hanging out for the 27ish years that it's been accumulating. Hope the hard work makes a good difference. As for my house, I am working on it. Slowly, I usually find other things that I would rather be doing, but I feel like I am going in the right direction at least. I really appreciate all the wonderful encouragement I received last week after my spot in the Triangle Reads section of Sunday's News&Observer! A big thank you to Teresa Leonard to asking me to participate. 

How is your resolution or year working out? Do you feel like you are heading in the right direction? Any tips to make life easier for us busy people? Hope to hear from you soon!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Patty Pick for 3/2/17 is "Hillbilly Elegy" by JD Vance

I had read a lot about this book on different forums and it was high on my to-read list. At our annual Book Club dinner in December we do a book exchange, and after much finagling I was able to "steal" away with this book! Yeah! Of course, one of the first things I had to do was look up the word, elegy. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, "elegy" is defined as "a sad poem or song, a poem or song that expresses sorrow for someone who is dead." Not to assume what JD Vance, meant by his title, but he definitely seems to be singing the blues where his hillbilly heritage is concerned. The sad fact that some of them make it out of the poverty-stricken Kentucky area that where they grew up, but they continue to struggle to find their way. The system and society are not set up to help them in many ways. People are not looking for handouts - someone to do it for them, but they are looking for a hand to make the transition plain to them, a pathway to make the hard work they put into this life a little better for the next generation. 

What I thought I would be reading was his childhood and how he made it out of poverty to become a successful something in life - author? He did become a successful Harvard-educated lawyer. What I did not expect is the harsh realities of his childhood and the struggle of his family to maintain and take advantage of the opportunities they worked hard to obtain. What I did not expect was to read some of the very same examples that I have in my own family to some degree. What I did not expect was to relate to the reality of the effects of your family life has on future generations. What I did get was a wonderful dose of Southern family life in the rawest possible form. I did read harsh situations that he and his family found themselves in, many after "making" it out of one of the poorest areas in the South. What I did find was some of my own family's stories woven into his book. If you are from the South, you will get this easily.

The South is a unique place in this world and I would not trade being born and growing up
here for anything in this world. I thought my family was always middle-class until I went
to high school and then saw some of my friend's homes and how they lived. I did not know
all the society niceties that I wished I had been taught, and my family sometimes struggled. I did watch my sister turn from a smart, kind person into someone who lost her way. Was it in her genes? I don't know, but I do know that we are all influenced by our family - our wonderful, loving, dysfunctional family. And we all have one - that took 
years for me to figure out. We all have the crazy uncle who throws snakes out of the yard 
and across the road to rid the yard of the huge creature. We also have memories to cherish, like those warm, bright Sunday afternoons at our grandma's house, making homemade ice cream with the aunts, uncles and cousins.  

I loved my childhood. I had two of the most wonderful parents ever to walk on this earth. Sure we could have used more money and I wanted more "things" at some years in my steps on adulthood, but I was loved and well taken care of. JD Vance had to fend for himself and deal with a no-nonsense, gun-toting grandma and a drug addict mother, but he made it. He also had some wonderful people around him, his sister for one. They became a tight team that just kept each other together when they needed to.

Success is what you decide it is and sometimes it is hard to comes to term with your own
family. But you only get one and you better cherish those moments while you have them.
Maybe JD didn't have a lot of money but the story of his life to this point is inspiring and
sad at the same time. There are people out there who still struggle to find their way.
It took me years to have any self-confidence and all most 40 years to start writing again. Be proud of yourself and embrace the kooky and calm members of your family - you only
get one family. They can all teach you something  and they are all irreplaceable in this world.

Don't walk to the bookstore or your on-line portal, RUN for this book. A big, huge READ!!