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December 2015

On Motherhood! And A Look At A Parenting Book I Just Read

Friday I read a short book of essays about parenting. It was called Honey, I’m Sorry I Killed Your Aquasaurs (and other short essays on the parenting life) By Mollie Cox Bryan.

Like most of us, I tend to think that someone who has the gift of being able to put words on paper and create a story to captivate their audience for hours on end as in books and movies is a genius! Well, maybe some of them are, but guess what? They are also human as Mollie Cox Bryan shows us the most important part of her life in this book. Being a mom!

The book is a collection of slice-of-life parenting columns/essays. It touches on the funny and absurd along with the bittersweet and the difficult. Most of the essays were previously published in a long-running newspaper column, Thoroughly Modern Mollie.

After reading many of the essays, I found myself wanting to send Mollie an email… Had I been reading this column when it was originally written, I am sure I would have been communicating with her. So when I woke up Saturday morning, the first thing that came to mind was Mollie’s book….. I had to start writing my blog post!

Excerpt: Mollie’s three week adventure into single parenting! 

In the midst of all this, a resounding clarity came over me at times. I can do this, I thought, I can. But I don’t want to. I have come to a whole understanding of what it takes to be a single parent. When you don’t have a partner to lean on, your strength comes from the deep-reservoir of love that you have for your children. It is a self-less place. There is no time to relax and watch TV at night, let alone, go for walks or get exercise, or to even have the presence of mind to eat right. I found myself ignoring bad behavior patterns in my kids just because I did not have the fortitude to deal with them.

This and I was not holding down a job outside of the house, (though I was working on a big article and issues with my book.) I can’t imagine what it must be like for a single parent who works all day and has to come home to tend to their children. It gives me pause, It should for all of us. Being a parent is tricky enough, but doing it without a partner, well let’s just say good single-parents must be angels in disguise.

My Thoughts:

Thank you, Mollie, an angel in disguise I am not. However, I definitely consider myself a successful single parent. I became a single parent 32 years ago. Although some may see divorce as the end of their life, for me, it was the beginning of the life that I was meant to live. I won’t sugar coat raising them, it was difficult, but definitely worth  every bit of effort that I put into it. In one way or another, I have experienced most of the things Mollie talks about in her book. It was fun reminiscing as I read. Some of the moments were laugh out loud funny. For example, Mollie killed the Aquasaurs. Well, I sent my kids off for a boy scout weekend and they asked me to be sure and take care of their cat. Ut Oh! I tried, really I did. It wasn’t my fault that he escaped, took off, and never returned home. Whoops! I did find out later that he found a home a couple of blocks over and was being fed and taken care of. Thanks, neighbor! Although I love animals, pets were not something I could afford or have time to deal with as a single parent. It all works out in the end.

My Amazon Book Review:

Well, I picked this book up today thinking I would like to know more about Mollie as a parent. Well, this is exactly what I got. Mollie does a terrific job telling the stories of her parenting (but I already knew that about her) in an extremely light-hearted way. I found myself smiling a lot. Not so much because what she was saying was funny, but because I could relate to what she was saying. This is, after all, what the book is written for, I think! So moms out there, If you want to smile and know that all is going to be okay, read this book. It’s cute, but more importantly, its a realistic look at motherhood. Oh, if we could only change some of the things we did! My guess, we would probably do the same things all over again. I for one am pretty sure I wouldn’t change a thing. As a single mom of three boys, I can assure you it wasn’t easy, and many times I wanted to throw in the towel, but I did not, and so it goes!

Mollie, I especially enjoyed the essay about your Christmas traditions with your mom. I am hoping that as you clean out her home, you take some time to relax and reminisce with your family about all the good times! 🙂

In Closing:

The Single Parent essay struck close to home for me. Thanks Mollie for not throwing all single parents under the bus. I am one of the lucky ones, I raised three wonderful sons. I am forever thankful for family and friends who helped me along the way. Little things, like telling me how nice my boys were/are, or taking them someplace special when I was working or not very often, but relaxing. Those folks will always have a place in my heart!

I recently entered Mollie’s “Pages of Thanks” contest. Although I didn’t win, I want to share my scrapbook page with you. I am and will always be thankful for the family that God has given me!

Thankful3

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas…..

and don’t forget to:

Live, Love, Laugh, and by all means, READ!

Sharon

 

Need Last-Minute Gift Ideas?

Reblog of my friend Amy Reade’s Christmas Gift Ideas! Beautifully written Post!

Reade and Write

Give

This year I’ve noticed something a little unusual on social media. With each passing day, there are more and more posts by people who can’t seem to get into the spirit of Christmas. Now, I know not all of you celebrate Christmas, but since I do, this is something that’s caught my attention.

It seems there are more than a few people who aren’t interested in decorating, baking, shopping, going to parties, hosting parties, singing carols, you name it. And many of them say the same thing: this year they just aren’t interested. Their apathy reminds me of a short story I read online recently by Nancy W. Gavin (to read the wonderful story yourself, click here). The story is about a man who didn’t like the commercialism of Christmas. He thought it was all too much– too much money, too much stuff, too much everything. So his wife…

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A Memoir Worth Reading – Life Minus 3 1/2

About Dennis Hart

Dennis Hart is the owner of an environmental equipment rental company in Massachusetts. He is an avid reader and an aspiring author. Since joining a writer’s forum in 2010 called “The Next Big Writer,” his work has been well received and critiqued by other authors. His memoir, Life Minus 3½, was ranked number one for several weeks out of hundreds of submissions. In a separate writing contest judged by published authors, the memoir was selected third best out of 427 entries.
In addition to his memoir, Dennis has written, Gulf Boulevard, and it’s sequel Sand Key. I have read and enjoyed all three of these books. However, this posting will focus on Life Minus 3 1/2.

Other Books, that I have not read are Pictures of Children, Flight of the Owl, and three short stories, Storms, Bandits and Heat Wave.

Life Minus 3 1/2

An Excerpt

…Sweat beaded on my forehead, and electricity surged through my nerves. My stomach tightened. It was time for me to move.

I reached up to the dome light and switched it to the off position. I then powered down my window until I had his car in sight. Gripping the handle, I leaned against the door until it opened, soundlessly, just far enough to allow me to slip out of the truck and back into the night. I stood silently in the mist, gripping my gun. Tears welled in my eyes. Sanity tried to get the better of me, but Darkness repelled it. I closed my eyes and wished I had never been born. How did my life get so out of control?

I willed my shaking gun hand to steady and started to walk toward the Cadillac.

 

What Others had to say

“…The inherent suspense throughout contrasts well with Hart’s candid and effortless writing style, he recounts every mistake from a refreshingly honest and self-effacing perspective. Recommended both as a suspenseful story and a cautionary tale of yielding to temptation.”

KIRKUS Review

“I hated turning that final page on your memoir. You’ve taken us on a journey that had ups and downs, ins and outs, twists and turns, yet you persevered. You bravely handled adversity, overcame an addiction, and came out on the other side a better man. I admire your sense of humor at all times, but especially in the darkest of hours. I also admire the strength it took to get through that whole experience and write about it.”

Amy Metz/Author of “The Goose Pimple Junction Series.”

My Thoughts

So often when we, as avid readers, think about memoirs, the first thing that comes to mind is sadness. We read, after all, not for sadness but to take us to a place of happiness, that unrealistic fantasy that we often wish for in life. Maybe we want to win the lottery or find that perfect knight in shining armor. So for me, I was reluctant to read this memoir so close to the holidays since I assumed it would make me cry. But, a friend assured me that it wasn’t depressing, so I opted to read it. And yes, there were sections that made me cry, there were parts that made me want to slap Dennis, and there were parts that made me admire the man. So how does one experience all those emotions in one book?

Dennis Hart, tells his story of addiction, embezzlement, fear and loneliness. It is my opinion that it takes a tremendous amount of courage to tell this kind of story. He talks about what he did and why he did it with a heavy heart. In writing this memoir, Dennis is forced to relive the entire ordeal, from the beginning of his addiction to the return to his family after jail time.

In his epilogue, he writes about  some of his regrets. He talks about his failures, his low self-esteem and his out of control behavior. He especially regrets the pain that he caused his wife and his daughters. He states without doubt that he has no excuses for what he has done with his life. And I quote, “When the mood moves my wife, she’s not shy about reminding me how much I ruined her life. So for those who think I got off easy, my life sentence will never be pardoned.” I definitely believe that! I also believe that there is no cure for addiction, but how one learns to control it that eventually affects one’s life.

In closing, I will say that Life Minus 3 1/2 is well worth the read. Dennis writes his story hoping it will help someone out in the future. And I can assure you, it is a book that you will not soon forget!

Have a wonderful Holiday Season and don’t forget to:

Live, Love, Laugh, and by all means, READ!

Sharon

 

 

 

And Another Month Bites The Dust!

Old Business first: The randomly drawn winner of Julie Mulhern’s, “The Deep End” is…… Amy M. Reade. I will forward your email address to Julie and she will gift you the book! Congratulations, and thanks for commenting!

November is gone and I welcome December!

November was a very busy month for me. As most of you already know,  I started it driving 1800+ miles from Upstate NY to Central TX.  That took the first 4 days, and the next 5 or 6, I found myself creating to-do lists and moving them from day to day.

There were a few obstacles that I had to overcome this month, not to mention a little bit of bad luck. But, that is behind me now.

More importantly, I need to report on my 2015 goals. I am sure glad I only had to keep track of two. 1) Give up Caffeine. And yes, I am still caffeine free. In addition, I drink very little caffeine free diet coke as well… Once in a while I miss it, but I know that it was slowly killing me.  2.) Read 50 books. Well, I can’t remember when I completed that goal, but by the close of November, I have read 65 books. My reading got off to a slow start with traveling and my huge to-do list this month, however, I did manage to read 4 books by 3 authors. Deadly Proof: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery by Louisa M Locke, Gulf Boulevard, and Sand Key by Dennis Hart, and You’ll Be Thinking of Me by Densie Webb.  I loved all 4 of these books and will definitely be reading more from each of these authors. I am currently reading Life Minus 3 1/2 by Dennis Hart.

As tradition will have it, The Thanksgiving weekend means decorating the house! This year for me I got to sit and watch. Not that I didn’t want to help, but my allergy has me coughing when I move around or talk too much…. I know, my kids are happy seeing me quiet! Sometimes mama has too much to say. Although the house isn’t finished, it is definitely looking festive! Next stop, Santa! In addition to our decorating tradition and listening to Christmas music, we added a what’s your favorite Christmas song? This is what we came up with; Joseph – Oh Holy Night, Jeffrey – Silver Bells, Amie – My Christmas Wish, Abigail – I Want to Wish You a Merry Christmas, Dana – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, and my favorite – Mary, Did You Know? Do you have a favorite? Please comment and let me know what it is!

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, maybe even added some new family traditions! Hopefully everyone is well underway with Christmas shopping and decorating and make sure you find some time to relax and enjoy!

Have a wonderful Holiday Season and don’t forget to:

Live, Love, Laugh, and by all means, READ!

Sharon

 

 

 

 

 

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