The Woman Before You

It’s a unique story about discovering parts of yourself you didn’t know you had, and figuring out how much you’re willing to sacrifice for the life you want.

Hello dear reader.

As you know, I love to read. This is the second book review I’ve posted and there will be more to come.

This book grabbed me at the beginning and didn’t let go until the very end.

Isabelle is an aspiring actress who works in a mattress store. She’s unfulfilled and bored with her life. Everything changes when she meets Matthew, the man of her dreams. They have an exciting and passionate relationship. But who is Matthew really? Does he have ulterior motives? Can she continue her relationship with him without losing her identity?

I enjoyed the way the story was formatted, going back and forth between Isabelle’s point of view and Matthew’s. The twists and turns just kept coming, leading to the biggest surprise of all at the end.
This is one you don’t want to miss! It will be available April 27, 2018. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

I was given an advance copy of The Woman Before You in exchange for an honest review.

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Hope

I’ve gotten a chance to remember what I’m fighting for, why I keep hanging on when I it seems so pointless.

Hello dear reader.

I have really good news and I have bad news. Which should I talk about first? Let’s start with the good news.

In the last two weeks I’ve only had one day I was stuck in bed. It’s incredible! The pain is there, of course, but my doctor and I have finally found a combination of meds that keep it at a level I can push through. I feel younger, more energetic, and extremely happy.

Now the bad news. Medicaid and Medicare are taking me off these meds. I have just over two more weeks on them. They’ve even decided what I have to take instead. It’s something I’ve taken before and it didn’t work for me.

This isn’t necessarily all bad. There’s a possibility (a tiny one) that the stuff they want me to take could be effective. There’s also a chance that if I take the new stuff and it doesn’t help me, they may let me go back to what I’m taking now.

So that’s the situation. I’ve felt better in the last couple of weeks than I have in an extremely long time, and I have two more weeks to go before it’s taken away. I can’t begin to express how thankful I am for this time. I’ve spent many hours praying for just a break from the agony I’m usually in. My prayers were answered. I’ve gotten a chance to remember what I’m fighting for, why I keep hanging on when I it seems so pointless. I discovered that Lynnette is still in there. That may sound strange to some of you, but when I’ve been stuck in bed unable to move my head for weeks, and even months at a time, the pain and depression seem to be all that I am. The part that’s me gets buried so deeply that I can’t find it any more.

This brings me to something else I feel it’s important for me to address. During the periods I’ve existed in hell I’ve wanted badly to end it. I couldn’t see any way for the agony to stop besides death. I’ve spent a lot of time wishing for death and thinking about suicide. I’ve felt like I was already dead and just waiting for my body to catch up. I know a lot of people who deal with horrific pain constantly feel the same way. But the break I’ve had these last couple weeks has given me hope and that’s something I haven’t had in… I can’t remember how long. I’m telling you this because I want to give you hope as well. It’s possible! Things can change! If I had ended things then, I would never have had this experience. Even knowing it’s probably temporary, it’s totally worth it.

The biggest surprise of the last couple weeks has been discovering that I’m still here. The pain, isolation, depression and darkness didn’t destroy me after all.

Until next time…

Jar of Hearts

Jar of Hearts is due to be released on June 12, 2018. Don’t miss it!

Hello dear reader.

Every now and then I read a book that just blows me away. This is one:

I just finished reading a book called Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier.

Jar of Hearts grabbed me from the first page and didn’t let go.
It’s a psychological thriller filled with twists and turns and nothing is quite what it seems. It’s also, in its own way, a love story.
Jennifer Hiller did a wonderful job making me care about the characters, all of which have their own flaws.
Geo falls in love, as only a teenager can, with an older boy named Calvin. Soon she’s in way over her head. She makes bad choices in some situations and has no choice in others. She puts Calvin and the past in the rearview mirror and becomes quite a successful woman. But the past never really goes away. I really enjoyed the way the story went back and forth between the past and present.
The ending was not what I expected at all, but that’s a good thing.
I wasn’t able to read this in one sitting (life got in the way) but found myself constantly thinking about it and wanting to get back to it.
I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through netgalley.com.

Jar of Hearts is due to be released on June 12, 2018. Don’t miss it!

Until next time…

Seasons

I love sitting in my house with a nice fire going and watching the snow falling outside.

Hello dear reader.

Today I decided I didn’t want to talk about pain or coping or anything to do with illness. I want to share my mountains with you.

I couldn’t tell you my favorite season here in the mountains. They’re all wonderful.

During the summer the temps usually top out in the mid 70’s. It’s a rare occurrence to hit 80 degrees. The wildflowers bloom everywhere. There are more colors than you can imagine.
Summertime is also tourist season. People come from all over the world to see, and sometimes hike, the mountains.

The trees at this altitude are pretty much all aspens and pines. In the autumn the mountains look like a patchwork quilt that changes every day.
The tourists start to thin out as the temperatures start to drop, but quite a few people come to see the aspens.

The aspens turn mostly gold, but also red and every shade in between.

Winter has a beauty all its own.

I love sitting in my house with a nice fire going and watching the snow falling outside. The tradition in my house (which started when my kids still lived at home) is the evening of the first real snowfall I make homemade hot chocolate. Things get quiet and peaceful.

Last but not least, springtime arrives. The snow starts to melt.

The trees begin to bud and the birds come back. I love hearing them sing when I wake up. We have a pair of doves that come every year. It’s easy to tell they’re the same ones from their markings. I can’t find my pictures of them, but I’ll show them to you when they come this year.

This is the most incredible place to live. I could go on and on about the wonderful town I live in, the festivals, how I came to be here, etc. But I’ll save those stories for another day.

Note: Most of these pictures are from Unsplash.com which allows free use of the tons of beautiful photography on its site. A couple of them were taken by Tim, who has a wonderful eye.

Until next time…

Dancing with the Mop

In a strange way, the constant pain is a gift. Without it I wouldn’t notice how wonderful some days are.

Hello dear reader.

I hope you had a wonderful Easter and that today finds you well.

I’ve had almost five good days in a row! I think we may have finally gotten the right combination of meds going. I said almost five because today would have been the fifth, but I was up most of last night in pain.

Monday I got a letter from my insurance company (Medicare/Medicaid) saying they won’t cover the long-acting medication. I called my doctor’s office yesterday and they’re doing the whole “prior authorization” thing. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s about 50/50.

That letter really upset me. They do this to me a lot and normally it’s not a huge deal. If they won’t approve it we’ll use something else. I just want something that will keep the pain down enough that I can get out of bed.

I had honestly forgotten what it was to feel good. Friday I was dancing with the mop. I haven’t done that in… I can’t even remember the last time. I felt like me, a me I thought had been destroyed by my illnesses.

Okay, so I was in the kitchen wearing jeans and a t-shirt with my back brace on, and I look about 100 years old, but this is how it felt! Now that I’ve discovered it’s not completely gone, I don’t want them to take it away.

Enough about that. I’ll keep you posted on what happens. Now let’s move on.

I really want to focus on the (almost) five days of feeling good. I made it a point to be completely present and aware. That’s the point. We (people who live with chronic pain) enjoy the good days to the max when we get them. Feeling good and having energy is something healthy people take for granted. We don’t. It’s like people who’ve never seen darkness don’t really appreciate the light. People who’ve never been lonely don’t get excited about having a friend. I try to enjoy the good days 10x more than I hate the bad ones. I hang on to them for dear life during the dark days.

In a strange way, the constant pain is a gift. Without it I wouldn’t notice how wonderful some days are. I’d just sleepwalk through them. How do I know? Because that’s how it used to be for me.

click here for a song that fits this.

What’s a good day for you? How do you celebrate them?

Until next time…

Easter

Hello dear reader and happy Easter to you.

I don’t talk much in here about my spiritual beliefs. There are two reasons for that. The first is that I believe with all my heart that everyone’s beliefs are precious and have value. I don’t have the right to tell anyone what their spiritual beliefs should be. Secondly, my spirituality is always changing, growing, and sometimes waning. I’m still figuring some of it out.

That being said, I’ve always felt that Easter is a time of renewal, a new beginning. It’s a time to let go of the past, a time of forgiveness both for me and by me.

Whether you believe the traditional celebration of Easter, Jesus rising from the dead, or not, it’s still a time for celebration. It marks the end of the long, dark winter and the beginning of spring. It’s the time of new growth. Trees begin to bud, grass turns green, and flowers shyly poke their heads toward the sun.

We bought our house in the spring and soon noticed a tulip growing at the edge of the yard. It was off by itself, a single, beautiful, red flower. The next spring it bloomed with two flowers, which it’s done ever since. That tulip has always made me think of Easter. It spends a long time in the cold, dark ground, but manages to emerge full of beauty and color no matter how harsh the winter has been. It’s a rebirth, like Easter is.

There are times when I’m down for weeks, even months at a time. Depression sets in and tells me it will never end. Easter reminds me that no matter how long, dark, and hard that time is, eventually it will end.

I felt better yesterday than I have in a very long time. I had an excellent day. The pain was low and I had energy. I felt like I was me, rather than the pain which takes me over. I danced and celebrated (the dogs thought I had lost my mind). Easter came a day early for me.

The point? No matter how long, dark, and brutal the winter, Easter will come. Celebrate it when it does.

Until next time…