Wednesday, December 16, 2015

This book is B.O.S.S.

The second of the IA series blew my mind, I’m still thinking about it a week after reading it. My impatient wait for the sequel to IA: Initiate paid off and then some... IA: B.O.S.S. is one of those reads that I couldn't put down. I became thoroughly engrossed in the story-line from page one, and as revelations came to light, I was increasingly drawn in and held within the pages.

Winston paints a clear portrait of life in the Exclave and the challenges and harsh realities that Naz faces. Naz is a quirky thirteen year-old boy, trying to make it in foster care with his much adored sister Meri—his first priority is always his sister, but he also manages to juggle school, therapy, basketball, and a job all while delving deep within himself to discover and test his many emerging and amazing talents/abilities. He is a hard worker, fighting against the odds, and he is determined to make a better life for his sister and himself…something most thirteen year olds shouldn’t have to deal with, but the reality is that many do. Naz does this all while still displaying what a thirteen year-old really thinks and how they approach the world…he is a laid back guy with his eyes wide open and can be a bit flighty, but he is also passionate about the things that are important to him. Life in the Exclave, for Naz, is much like a game of chess and the references to the game throughout the book are both ironic and in some cases poetic.

This book is touching but it also had a lot of very raw moments that for me were total jaw-droppers.  I think I felt every possible emotion from this read and even shed a few tears. I loved how IA held different meanings throughout the book, depending on the situation. Many of the questions I had from the first book were answered in such a way that I didn’t see coming, but they also left lingering questions which leaves plenty of opportunity for Winston to knock another one out of the park... I can hardly wait :)

Monday, December 7, 2015

40 things about turning 40

As I take time to reflect on the first forty years of my life, I am in awe of the things I have done and the things I have learned. Here is my list, in no particular order.

  1. Kids have it bad nowadays. There is so much crime in this overly-populated, overly-entitled world. Trusting anyone is near impossible...but do it anyway.
  2. My childhood wasn't as bad as I thought at the time...I am grateful to have been an eighties kid. I learned how to take care of myself and make my own way in the world, without the support of technology.
  3. My body aches when I wake up in the morning and I still, after forty years, hate mornings. I live in the north and truly believe that we shouldn't have to rise until the sun does...nine is a respectable time to wake, but it still sucks. There is no winning on this topic...mornings are my nemesis.
  4. I've been unwanted, ill, beaten, broken, depressed, molested, hated, lied to, cheated, cheated on, betrayed, disrespected, dis-empowered, and abused. I survived it all and I've learned some invaluable lessons! I am stronger than any of the assholes who tried to bring me down!!!
  5. I swear. A lot! And I will keep on swearing :) It isn't wrong if it makes the point...
  6. I have zero patience, tolerance, or time for shitty people. I have a big mouth and I use it! Life is too precious to waste on those that treat me or my peeps like crap.
  7. I've been worshiped, loved, appreciated, empowered, trusted, blessed, needed, and wanted. This has been a wild but awesome ride.
  8. Life isn't worth living if you don't make the effort to enjoy and embrace it.
  9. I spent ten years in an abusive relationship with a drug addict and nearly died from depression. I didn't believe I could make it on my own, but I broke free and took charge of my life as a woman and a mother. I am awesome!
  10. After kissing a few too many frogs, I found my prince.
  11. I swore that I would never get married...I got married (to the love of my life and my soul mate, so it's all good).
  12. I've been a vet assistant, horse trainer, bartender/waitress, counselor, wedding planner (even though I despise weddings), event planner, fighter and advocator for those with disabilities and most recently...an author--I have dreamed of this day...
  13. As a child, I wanted to be a secret agent or a police officer. I 'm glad I didn't pursue that dream...no one should ever give me a gun. I would totally go vigilante with it!
  14. I am a mother, a wife, a friend, a confidante, a role-model. I am me :)
  15. I have more secrets held in my vault than I ever thought possible, but they will stay there. I am one hell of a great secret keeper! No one likes a rat...
  16. I am a dreamer, but still firmly grounded in reality.
  17. I have a over-active and often dirty sense of humor and it's sometimes inappropriate, but I laugh...that's the point.
  18. I love my mom. I didn't like her for a long time, but I grew up.
  19. I love my dad. I've never actually met him, but he's in my heart...
  20. I love my step-dad. He put up with all the crap I dished out as a teenager and still loves me...he definitely earned the title of DAD.
  21. I love my boys--all three of them. Two came from me and one is a hostage... Motherhood is a game-changer and the BEST accomplishment of my life.  Sometimes my heart is so full of love and awe for these precious angels that it literally feels like I will die from it. They have taught me what love and life is all about. In their eyes I am a hero, protector, provider, friend, snuggler, cookie maker, and they trust me with their lives--I would die for them, happily. It's like the minute you give birth a switch is flipped and any loneliness and selfishness you may have had disappears. I didn't know love until I had my first baby. I guess it doesn't happen like that for everyone, thus all the shitty moms out there--WAKE UP LADIES! YOU'RE MISSING OUT!!!
  22. You're never too old to make your dreams a reality. Go for it!
  23. Starving yourself is stupid, gorging yourself is greedy and your waistline will pay the price. Moderation is the easiest diet ever!
  24. Reality tells a tale about a life filled with mistakes...some that I learned from, but all of them shaped me. I am exactly where I am supposed to be and it feels so good!
  25. Depression isn't something you snap out of! It's real & overwhelming, but you can come back from it, stronger.
  26. Age is just a number. Some days I feel like I'm 20--others...the number doesn't go high enough to be humanly possible.
  27. I'm fierce and loyal to the point of ridiculous. Hurt my loves and you'll be dealing with a whole lot a cray-cray!
  28. Milestones are momentous but little things make a life: hugs, love, kindness, a good book, wine & conversation...
  29. I can't hold my drink like I did when I was 20. Mixing alcohol isn't as cool as it was when I was 19...now it's just dangerous with evil consequences. I still haven't learned my lesson :) #GimmeaGoodBookandaGlassofRed.
  30. Pining over someone who doesn't love you back isn't romantic. It's stalking and masochistic. Move on, there is so much more to life. Reciprocated love is the only way.
  31. My body has changed in many ways and sometimes does the strangest things. I still live well, but acne never really goes away. Never sneeze with a full bladder...Appreciate your health...you never know when it will fail. Live well & love yourself, so that you can stay the fight!
  32. Fight for what's right. Silence doesn't create change. Be loud!  
  33. Choices are like the stars in the sky...limitless. If one doesn't work out, pick another.
  34. Cruelty doesn't garner respect, but kindness, peace, and love will.
  35. Empathize: remember...it could be you. Help & respect those in need EVERYDAY...
  36. What seems like a huge deal today will be no biggie tomorrow.
  37. My verbal filter has holes in it...
  38. Respect the environment. We can't survive without it. Plant trees, don't litter or pollute, RRR, etc.
  39. Tell your family & friends you love and appreciate them, often. Everyone wants to feel needed...encourage honesty.
  40. Sharing my birthday with my first baby is awesome...His life is the best gift...each day is a present and you never know what you'll get--open it and be thankful :)
I have learned so much on this amazing journey. Each day is a gift and a blessing. Thank you to everyone for making this life so awesome.

Forty and Fabulous :)