Books To Read For Personal Development

The  52-Week Blog Challenge was started by Britts Daily Dose & Sit Back And Just Live. I’m enjoying the challenge as a way to get myself into blogging consistently and it’s fun!  If you want to participate you can too!  All you need to do is 1. post the banner at the top of the post and 2. link both of their blogs in your post!

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Whether you are an online book reader, are enamored with the feel of a book in your hands, or like to listen to audiobooks on the go, there’s nothing like immersing yourself into the insightful words of another to help you see things in a new light.  

This week’s challenge is to share a favorite book, but being an avid reader and wishing to bring you more, below are 5 books to read to help inspire creativity and personal development.    

The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion by Elle Luna.Elle-Luna-Crossroads-Should-And_Must

The Crossroads of Should and Must was more inspiring than I could’ve ever hoped.  Each page illuminates the need to follow your passion in order to live a happy, authentic life. Choosing between should and must is the difference between a job and a calling.  Luna sets out to give the reader permission to follow one’s passions, use their gifts, to live a more fulfilling life.  

LONG QUOTE ALERT!! – This quote is too important NOT to include.  So bear with it.  Let it marinate:

“Should is how other people want us to live our lives. It’s all of the expectations that others layer upon us.

Sometimes, Shoulds are small, seemingly innocuous, and easily accommodated. “You should listen to that song,” for example. At other times, Shoulds are highly influential systems of thought that pressure and, at their most destructive, coerce us to live our lives differently.

When we choose Should, we’re choosing to live our life for someone or something other than ourselves. The journey to Should can be smooth, the rewards can seem clear, and the options are often plentiful.

Must is different. Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self. It’s that which calls to us most deeply. It’s our convictions, our passions, our deepest held urges and desires — unavoidable, undeniable, and inexplicable. Unlike Should, Must doesn’t accept compromises.

Must is when we stop conforming to other people’s ideals and start connecting to our own — and this allows us to cultivate our full potential as individuals. To choose Must is to say yes to hard work and constant effort, to say yes to a journey without a road map or guarantees, and in so doing, to say yes to what Joseph Campbell called “the experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.”

Choosing Must is the greatest thing we can do with our lives.”

The Crossroads of Should and Must is a fitting read for creatives, graduates, and anyone who is looking to get more out of life.  

To follow Elle on Instagram click @elleluna.

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Lifestyle Blogging Basics: A How-To for Investing in Yourself, Working With Brands, and Cultivating a Community Around Your Blog by Laura Demetrious.  Lifestyle-Blogging-Basics

Laura Demetrious takes you on her blogging journey from her first blog to where she is now, as well as the hits and misses along the way.  

If you are thinking of starting a lifestyle blog, it is a great resource to help you discover your niche, blog name, selecting a blogging platform, as well as how to get into a blogging routine.  Further chapters discuss how to position yourself to work with brands, how to promote your blog on social media, and creating a thriving community around your blog.  

Starting a blog can be very empowering and can lead you to learn things about yourself and skills you never anticipated.  Being brave and putting yourself out there isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve ever toyed with the idea, you owe it to yourself to give it a try!

To follow Laura on Instagram click @breezyandbrazen.

M Train by Patti Smith.  

This book!  They say you can’t tell a book by its cover, but when I spotted this memoir, I knew the words would be poignant and poetic, weighted in both wisdom and reflection.  It didn’t disappoint.  Inspiring-Reads-For-Creatives

Smith achingly beautiful look at how the losses in life mold us, leaving a lasting impression on the heart as only a musician, poet, and photographer can adequately portray, exposing the pain of losing her husband, the ache of children growing up, and all things in between.  Smith weaves the melancholy of life into a rich tapestry of the heart sharing moments from the past to the present in a free flowing manner.

4 Swoon-Worthy Quotes:

  • “Shard by shard we are released from the tyranny of so-called time. A curtain of purple wisteria partially conceals the entrance to a familiar garden… In a wink, a lifetime, we pass through the infinite movements of a silent overture.”
  • “We seek to stay present, even as the ghosts attempt to draw us away.”
  • “Nothing can be truly replicated.  Not a love, not a jewel, not a single line.”
  • “How is it that we never completely comprehend our love for someone until they’re gone?”

Reading of Smith’s journey and seeing her Polaroids that capture special moments, you realize you have been given the gift of seeing someone completely and unapologetically vulnerable.  It’s next to impossible to not feel moved by such beautifully worded candor. 

Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What’s Right in Front of Me by Alexandra KuykendallLoving-My-Actual-Life-Self-Development

In a world that promotes being busy, we’re left spinning our wheels, rushing from one task to another day in and day out. Life becomes centered around completing tasks without taking the time to appreciate living.  

Alexandra decided to take matters into her own hands with an experiment to loving her actual life.  

“By intentionally adding one thing each month that will make her jump for joy, she provides practical challenge women can easily replicate. With humor, poignancy, and plenty of personal stories, Kuykendall weaves together spiritual themes and practical application into a holy self-awareness, showing women how a few small changes in their routines can improve their enjoyment of this crazy-busy life.”

Maybe you have thought you would like to spend more time being present rather than rushing on autopilot from one task to another.  This may be the spark you need to devote time each day, week, or month with a specifically allotted amount of time to focus on the present with your family, friends, and yourself.  

To follow Alexandra on Instagram click @alexandrakuydendall

Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life by Byron Katie.  Byron-Katie-Loving-What_IS

For those times when you feel short-changed or find yourself getting in your own way, Byron Katie delivers in bringing four questions to turn your thinking around.  All too often we complicate things when what we really need to do is The Work.

“The Work is simply four questions that, when applied to a specific problem, enable you to see what is troubling you in an entirely different light. As Katie says, “ ‘It’s not the problem that causes our suffering; it’s our thinking about the problem.’ ” Contrary to popular belief, trying to let go of a painful thought never works; instead, once we have done The Work, the thought lets go of us. At that point, we can truly love what is, just as it is.”

It’s true that you can only control how you react to something.  Realizing that is the first step in taking ownership of your own happiness.  Reframing your thoughts allows you to approach things the way they are rather than causing more stress, anger, fear by fighting them.  

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“Isn’t it marvelous to discover that you’re the one you’ve been waiting for?  That you are your own freedom?” – Byron Katie

Book-Related Hashtags:

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What are some books that have inspired you?

For more book recommendations, check out 7 Must-Reads To Motivate Creatives, Bloggers, and Entrepreneurs. 

To follow Sweetsnsnarks on Instagram click @sweetsnsnarks

 

 

Month of May

The  52-Week Blog Challenge was started by Britts Daily Dose & Sit Back And Just Live. I’m enjoying the challenge as a way to get myself into blogging consistently and it’s fun!  If you want to participate you can too!  All you need to do is 1. post the banner at the top of the post and 2. link both of their blogs in your post!

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Today we are taking a look at our favorite month for the 52-Week Blog Challenge.  My favorite month is May!  Join me and see if you have similar memories to share!

May Basket Day.  The first “holiday,” and one of my favorite memories of May, is May Basket Day.  In the NPR article, Forgotten Tradition: May Basket Day, Linton Weeks gives the description of the holiday as, “The curious custom — still practiced in discrete pockets of the country — went something like this: As the month of April rolled to an end, people would begin gathering flowers and candies and other goodies to put in May baskets to hang on the doors of friends, neighbors and loved ones on May 1.”

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In grade school, I loved making little May baskets.  Using Styrofoam cups or construction paper that we decorated, stapled into a square or cone, and adding a handle made from a colorful pipe cleaner, the baskets were ready for filling with popcorn and candy. Continue reading

52-Week Blog Challenge: The Music of My Heart

Hi, everyone!  Sorry, I haven’t posted in awhile, but I’ve had some medical issues (that can be addressed) coupled with anxiety.  Those two go hand-in-hand and making writing less than easy.  So I took the time to unplug for self-care.  

As you may know…

The  52-Week Blog Challenge was started by Britts Daily Dose & Sit Back And Just Live. I’m enjoying the challenge as a way to get myself into blogging consistently and it’s fun!  If you want to participate you can too!  All you need to do is 1. post the banner at the top of the post and 2. link both of their blogs in your post!  

 

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52-Week Blog Challenge

The music of my heart…  I chose a few songs that always make me feel something special when I hear them.  Music offers a great way to practice self-care in lifting our moods and promoting relaxation.  Music unites, holds memories, and enhances moods.  

Whether writing, walking or driving music accompanies many of us.  As I’ve gotten older I’ve gravitated toward relaxing music.  My nerves simply aren’t as tolerant, but if I hear the music I grew up with, I’m all ears!

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The music of my heart is infinite.  The music selected below is eclectic, random, and popped into my head quickly, no rhyme (pun intended) or reason, for the emotions and memories they evoke.  

inspiring-music-phillipsWhen I need to feel at peace and cheerful, I like listening to Phillip Phillips Home and Gone, Gone, Gone from the album The World From The Side Of The Moon.   As someone who suffers from anxiety, it’s the kind of extra boost I need.

Hearing those songs readily makes me happy.  Happy like when I just a young girl in the 70s listening to songs about putting flowers in your hair.  And also because I miss home! 

                                                 If you’re willing to throw it back further, I would go to Neneh Cherry’s Buffalo Stance. What is a buffalo stance? 220px-neneh_cherry_raw_like_sushi_cover 

According to Urban Dictionary, it means to stand with your arms tightly crossed looking over to the side at somebody. This comes from the pose struck by Bruce Smith of the Buffalo Bills in the late 1980’s.The song came out in 1989 on Cherry’s album Raw Like Sushi.  

Why is this the music of my heart?  It was released just before the end of my junior year in high school.  My best friend introduced me to it when we were road tripping to the metropolis of Des Moines to go shopping.  In a nutshell:  We were young, skinny or skinnier than we thought we were, spring had sprung, and as everyone at that age, we felt invincible!

                                           For music of my heart to inspire writing, I turn to my favorite female artist, Steve Nicks. She writes some of the most enchanting lyrics. images

Filled with heartfelt emotion, I can’t help but be inspired to write when I listen to her music especially songs like If Anyone Falls In Love or Rooms Are All On Fire.  If you haven’t listened to her box set, Enchanted, you really should.  Now I’m going to throw it way back to a couple of songs my late grandma and I used to sing while on drives in the country.  They’re from the early 70s, and although far from vogue, whenever I hear them I’m transported.  

I can feel the wind coming in through the windows as I sit beside Grandma without a seatbelt singing our hearts out without a care in the world.  Fittingly, one song is Take Me Home, Country Roads by the late John Denver.  The other is Rhinestone Cowboy by Glen Campbell who now sadly suffers from Alzheimer’s. 

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Music Playlist – Music of My Heart

I  could go on and on listing songs that touch a chord whenever I hear them, but by far, the music of my heart is the sound of children laughing and playing outside.  It’s the sound of youth and freedom.  A reminder of a long-distant memory of our innocence.  

Or the sound of laughter of family and friends.  To live is to know struggle and strife making all the more precious the sound of joy from those we hold close to heart.  

Whether big or small, the sounds of nature including the rolling of waves crashing to birds singing their songs, make my heart happy and soothe my mind.  

What is the music of your heart?  

To follow Sweetsnsnarks on Instagram:  @sweetsnsnarks

For more of the 52-Week Blog Challenge Posts:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Also, check out 6 Ways To Explore Creativity!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

52-Week Blog Challenge: Week 10 – Oh To Win A Million Dollars

The  52-Week Blog Challenge was started by Britts Daily Dose & Sit Back And Just Live. I’m enjoying the challenge as a way to get myself into blogging consistently and it’s fun!  If you want to participate you can too!  All you need to do is 1. post the banner at the top of the post and 2. link both of their blogs in your post!  

52-week-blog-challenge-guideIf you’re taking part of the 52-Week Blog Challenge, please leave a comment below so I can check out your posts and get to know you as well. 🙂

Many of us don’t have the luxury of spending at will.  There’s bills to pay, obligations, and incidentals that life throws our way.

Oh to win a million dollars…we’ve all had that dream about a million times, but it’s always fun to dream.  

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Here’s a list of my top 6 things I would do if I won a million dollars (after being smart by saving and investing: 

New car.  If one didn’t have to worry about a down payment and monthly payments, a new car would be OUTSTANDING!  My hubby and I work from home so thankfully we currently only need one vehicle, however, it’s getting old and showing its wear.

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Move.  Let’s get the ball rolling.  While spending winters in Tucson are nice, I’m looking forward to moving back home to be near my family.  Heck, let’s just fast forward to being snow birds.  Buy a house back home and buy a condo in Tucson!  Nah, let’s make that a condo somewhere near a beach.  Win-win.

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Buy a house.  Since moving back to the Midwest is on my to-do list, let’s add buying a home to the list.  I haven’t been a homeowner for a few years and it would feel good to have a bigger space of my own.  A charming home like the one below looks like a cozy, comforting retreat from the world. 

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Travel.  Travel like there’s no tomorrow, baby!  My hubby and I have a European travel wish list that we’d like to tend to sooner rather than later.  As noted in the post Top 5 Places I’d Like To Visit, a tour of England, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain sound like a dream come true.  

Treat others.  Sometimes it hasn’t been easy to buy presents for family members and friends.  However, I would love to give to others by treating them to an event, a weekend away, or activity.  Memories made while together are the treasured.  Those moments are the true gifts in life that a tangible gift cannot compare.

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Donate.  There are always worthy causes that are in need of donations.  One cause close to my heart is the elderly.  I  would donate to a local care center(s) and to elderly shut-ins that don’t have family or friends to look out for them, to provide needed items they would find much needed or comforting.  

Again, spending time with someone is often the most beneficial, but also those who cannot get out on their own, also deeply appreciate someone looking out for them and their needs. 

To read more about how caring for the elderly is a gift check out the post, Pay It Forward By Doing Good.

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To be notified of new Sweetsnsnarks posts, please be sure to follow.  Join me on Instagram at @sweetsnsnarks.  I’d love to see you there!

To check out 52-Week Blog Challenge posts you may have missed:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

 

 

 

 

 

52-Week Blog Challenge: Week 9- My Biggest Pet Peeve

The  52-Week Blog Challenge was started by Britts Daily Dose & Sit Back And Just Live. I’m enjoying the challenge as a way to get myself into blogging consistently and it’s fun!  If you want to participate you can too!  All you need to do is 1. post the banner at the top of the post and 2. link both of their blogs in your post!

52-week-blog-challengeWhile I have a proverbial laundry list of pet peeves, I decided my biggest pet peeve revolved around the modern convenience we would all cringe without, our cell phones.  No doubt, they are wonderful. The world figuratively at your fingertips, but damn, they can be annoying.  Below is a roundup of cell phone curses.

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A roundup of our most loved nemesis:

  • The battery always is low when I’m about ready to go out the door.  (yeah, #firstworldproblems)

Continue reading

52-Week Blog Challenge – Week 8!

 

The  52-Week Blog Challenge was started by Britts Daily Dose & Sit Back And Just LiveThey welcomed anyone to link up with them. I’m enjoying the challenge as a way to get myself into blogging consistently and it’s fun!  If you want to participate you can too!  All you need to do is 1. post the banner at the top of the post and 2. link both of their blogs in your post!

52-week-blog-challenge-guideWeek 8 of the 52-Week Blog Challenge prompt is an unforgettable day in my life. There are so many little moments that were BIG, memorable moments.  Isn’t that what life’s about?

 

However, I would have to say that meeting the man of my dreams at the Minneapolis Airport is right up there!  How does that happen?  Facebook.  People really should be more careful about social media, says the girl with a blog.  Heh.

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John flew to Minneapolis from Tucson for our first “date.”  Not the usual first date, but we had gotten to know one another well with long talks about what we find important in life.  We covered more ground there before he clocked the over 1,000 flight miles.   Continue reading

52-Week Blog Challenge: Childhood Memories

It’s time again for the 52-Week Blog Challenge!  What I love about the blog challenge is that it affords the opportunity unwind, ponder, and reminisce.  If we were to sit with a favorite cup of coffee and chat, I’m sure we’d touch on many of these topics in getting to know one another.

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Week 7 is My Childhood Memories

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Where, oh where, to begin?  That’s the question, my friends.

The thing is, I was pretty damn lucky in the childhood memories category.  Thanks, Mom and Dad!  

The highlight reel would include vacations whether to amusement parks in the Midwest such as these pics from Worlds of Fun in Kansas City.  My dad won company trips via sales and when my brother and I got to tag along, we were always pretty excited.   Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ambience

Downtown Tucson has some outstanding restaurants that are a photographers dream and at the top of my list is the award-winning Elvira’s Restaurant located in the old Saint House location at 256 E. Congress.   Elvira’s was originally established in 1927 the border town of Nogales before opening a restaurant in Tubac, AZ.  

The exposed brick, lighting, and colors are captivating.

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Looking directly upward was this installment of glass teardrops which made me think of Purple Rain.  I cannot wait to return to the restaurant in the evening to see the installation against darkness. Continue reading

52-Week Blog Challenge: Week 6 – Ten Years From Now…

Due to a host of factors, I’m late to writing the post for this week.  Hey, it was the holidays, after all, work calls, and I’ve literally had a pain in my neck.  

As you may now know, the  52-Week Blog Challenge was started by Britts Daily Dose & Sit Back And Just LiveThey welcomed anyone to link up with them. I’m enjoying the challenge as a way to get myself into blogging consistently and it’s fun!  If you want to participate you can too!  All you need to do is 1. post the below banner and 2. link both of their blogs in your post!

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It’s befitting this week’s prompt is taking a look into the future.  Ushering in a new year tends to get people motivated set goals.  Let’s take a look at ten years from now.

  • Ten years from now I see myself owning a home again (how I miss that except when something needs to be repaired – I just call maintenance and viola!).  It used to be I could picture exactly what I wanted in a house, but now more than anything, it’s important to me to be near my family.  Time and distance have a way of putting things into perspective.

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Continue reading

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