friendship

365 BONUS: Blogiversary Guest Post with Claire @ BrizzleLass

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Although the 365 Daily Challenge ended about one month ago, I’ve shared a bonus post in celebration of my very good friend’s third blogiversary. If you’re not currently following Claire @ BrizzleLass, then you must click the link and do so immediately. I chose the word unexpectedly for my guest post on her blog to share how we met, became friends, and will be hanging out together in person in London next month. This is a special week on her blog with giveaways, awesome friends to meet, and the potential to find a new author you’ll have in the future as she’s gearing up with several upcoming novels. She’s also quite well-known in the blogging world for helping authors on their books and marketing. So… without further ado, check out the link below to see today’s unexpectedly shared bonus 365 word all about my friend, Claire, via Blogiversary Guest Post: James from This Is My Truth Now @jamescudney4.

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Book Review: His Name is Joe by Mimi Lou Martin and Chloe Mathis

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I was introduced to this adorable children’s book in early 2018 and liked the premise enough to add it to my TBR. A young boy befriends another kid who happens to be wheelchair-bound. Knowing how awkward life can be for a third grader, especially while playing dodge ball in gym class, I was curious to give this one a shot. His Name Is Joe by Mimi Lou Martin explores the impacts of a school children learning how to put themselves out there, find friends, develop confidence and teach others small life lessons. While the book is relatively short at 24 pages, it’s filled with wonderful drawings and a great moral lesson. To top it off, the book is co-written by the author’s young children… even including multiple sketches (really fantastic for their age and contribution to the book) and artwork by the whole family. It’s a very cute story, and I think it would be a great addition to all libraries and a family’s reading shelves. I’d recommend it for being fun, inspirational, rewarding and confidence-building. Kudos to this wonderful family and the adorable book they’ve built together. The world needs more people like this!

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
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365 Challenge: Day 323 – Paint

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Paint: to cover the surface of something with a colored substance that dries to leave a thin decorative or protective coating

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I have absolutely no talent when it comes to painting, but I know someone who does. I’m always in awe of a person with this talent, but when it is a friend–who feels more like family–it’s special. When that person goes beyond your expectations and surprises you with a custom painting to match your book cover, it’s undeniably amazing. If you haven’t figured out whom I am referring to, then let me uncover this beautiful artist: Roda from the Growing Self blog that many of you already follow. If you don’t know her or the blog, click the name to get familiar with an inspirational and passionate woman who has shared so much with many of us about her life running a farm, a family, and a dream in Michigan.

If you want to check out her art website, you must visit Artistically Roda where you will see not only this painting, but several others she’s created over the last year(s). Roda has an amazing approach to how she builds layers and designs her art, even sharing this process on her site. I was utterly shocked when her painting arrived in the mail, as I knew she was doing something special for me, but I never guessed how wonderful it would turn out. I moved the painting around a few different rooms in my apartment before hanging it, as I wanted to see where it would look best. The colors worked in most rooms, but it seemed to pop best in two places. I decided to wait on hanging it until after the holidays when all the Christmas decorations had been taken down. In early January, it found it’s home in the central spot of the apartment — the hallway where I cross through all day long. It’s between the bedroom and kitchen, which means I see it each time I wake up and walk into the main part of the apartment and before bed when I go to sleep.

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I adore this painting, but I adore my friendship and connection with this wonderful person even more. I’m grateful to all she’s given to me this year, especially the camaraderie we feel when referring to one another as Big Sis and Lil Bro. Thank you, Roda, for this perfect gift and for being one of my greatest treasures in 2017. And when I think of the word paint, it means so much more… to paint the beauty of life, to paint with inspiration, to paint the fabric of a shared connection… to paint the words that bond.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 311 – Purpose

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Purpose: the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists

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This morning has been different, but I expected it to be. W needed to get back to work today, and with Ryder gone, it means I’m alone in the apartment for the first time. Between the silence, frequent memories and constant head shake when I realize I don’t need to give Ryder his pill, check the water bowls, let him outside or look for him between my feet as I wander around, I’m lost this morning. I felt it the most when I sat on the couch with a cup of coffee and began reading through overnight email. It’s part of the process and I understand it takes time to figure it all out. I question the purpose of taking away such a lovable member of my family too many years too early. Part of what I am struggling with today is the realization that my life will be different. When I left my corporate position over a year ago, I felt like I had less of a purpose than I did previously. I no longer needed to leave the apartment on a certain schedule, nor did I have a deliverable due to a boss or an organization to support. With Ryder gone, there’s one less thing I am responsible for, which has made me question my own purpose again.

It’s mostly in that no one truly needs me or my attention in the same way they did before. As an author, my deadlines are generally my own, which can be positive and negative. I still have milestones to reach, networking to do with fans and followers, and stories to tell, but they are because I want to and choose to focus on these tasks — not because someone tells me I have to do it, or because I am a caregiver. I’m not ready to pick up my second novel, Father Figure, and begin wading through the beta reader feedback I received last week; that is the next step on this book. I will not meet my February goal to have it with the publisher to begin their launch process, but that’s okay and I can re-adjust my schedule to fit what will work for me right now. There is one thing I can and need to do when it comes to fleshing out my purpose. And that’s the 365 Daily Challenge.

When I began this daily blog challenge on March 13th, 2017, it was 365 consecutive days to post a characteristic about myself, ending on March 12th, 2018. After a few months, the daily blog challenge evolved to include my connections with other people (author alerts and spotlights), interesting news about my novel, or lists that we could all debate. It seems the daily blog challenge will need to evolve once again, as I missed 5 consecutive days of blogging while supporting Ryder and grieving his loss. But I’m okay with the change and in no way do I feel like I didn’t follow the course I set for myself back when this started. As I thought about it over the weekend, it became clear how to pull this back together. I could double up posts, but in full disclosure, the next few days or weeks are going to be difficult to focus on strong, quality content; one post per day is quite enough. Thus, I’ve found a solution that works for me.

I’m going to extend the daily blog challenge by 5 days, which means it will now end on March 17, 2018. In a way, this is more ideal. This challenge was born out of all the major changes going on in my life at the time — leaving a job, publishing a book and turning 40. My 41st birthday is March 18, 2018. With the new end date being the day before my birthday, it’s a fitting way to end one year (plus 5 days!) of introspection into who I am. As I wind down in those last few weeks in March, I will reflect back through the year on this journey; everything from Ryder’s Rants to the Author Alerts, the lists of things that described who I am to the stories I’ve shared about my life. My goals are still front and center, and the extra five days provides me a way to jump into the next year of my life with so many positive changes and friendships. It also gives me a chance to work through my grief and find the best path for my future — to find my purpose.

Thank you to everyone for their support and guidance the last few days (and the last ten months)… and believing in me and this 365 Daily Challenge — plus five!

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 308 – Bottle (LIST: Objects I adore)

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Bottle: Bailey’s Irish Cream two friends drank during college, where life started to get easier, and I will always remember the fun times

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Sundays are LIST days and today is no different. For this group of 5 Sundays, I chose objects I adore or that have some huge importance to me. We’re in our second week and I’ve gone with bottle because of the treasure you see in these pictures. It’s an empty Bailey’s Irish Cream bottle from 1996, the last week of college during my freshmen year. I’ll explain more later, but of course, as I was only 19 at the time, I didn’t drink anything that evening. I participated only in the conversations and not the imbibing! 😛

I’ve mentioned two things in the past: I’m an only child and I am very shy. I was even more shy 20 years ago. After a decent freshmen first fall semester adjusting to a new life, I found myself considering changing colleges to stay at home, rather than live on campus two states away. My family convinced me to return for the spring semester and give a full year a chance. So… I did. And it worked out. I met a fantastic group of guys, and joined a fraternity. I also met a fantastic group of girls in a sister sorority. Friendships bloomed and everything was feeling great. I finally became a full brother after the pledging period ended, completed my final exams and had a few day before my father could pick me up on the weekend to head back to Long Island for the summer. I had met two girls (they were graduating seniors) and grew quite attached as friends. Everyone else left for home for the summer, but I had the extra few days… luckily, the senior class was around for another week until their graduation. I was staying to say goodbye.

One night, we sat on the front porch of their sorority house for several hours, just talking about life and our goals for the future. It continued for 4 or 5 days in a row, sometimes til 5am. Anette was going back to Finland. Gina was returning to New Jersey. I was going to miss all my new friends, but these two were quite special — especially since they were graduating and I knew it would be hard to keep in touch once they started teaching and working in the business world, while I was still in college for three more years. Our bond would be tough to maintain given the distance… but they did something a few days later which made it all the more special and long-lasting. They gifted me the first bottle from the first hour of the night we hung out, as there were many more bottles of other things after that — not that I had any, of course!

There are phrases on the bottles that are obvious, and there are some that were just the ramblings of a few drunk people. But it will always be in my memory as the beginning of when I pushed myself to be comfortable with new people, to take chances on friendships and to trust others. While we will still send an occasional message on Facebook, we’ve all moved on in our lives, but if I could ever transport back to a time in my life for a few hours, I’d pick one of those nights to discuss our hamburger theory, to listen to someone telling me to grow a backbone or to dance the macarena together. Life was simple. Grades and classes. Nothing else mattered besides our time together.

I’ve had this bottle for over 20 years. It’s moved with me to California and back. It’s been on my bookshelves and locked away in a closet for safe-keeping. I often pick it up to remember the days of my past. Sometimes to laugh at us them for going from tequila to wine to beer to Bailey’s Irish Cream all in the same night. Other times to just feel that connection. Thank you, Gina and Anette, for being one of my first amazing college friendships, and giving me this permanent reminder. xoxo


Sunday posts, the end of each week, have become a theme on This-Is-My-Truth-Now, often organized by groups of five (5) focused on interesting things about my life. I’m continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) that provides more in depth knowledge about me. Past weeks included:

  • Weeks 1 – 5: Primary ethnicity groups and nationalities
  • Weeks 6 – 10: A to Z Favorites
  • Weeks 11 – 15: Colors with an important meaning
  • Weeks 16 – 20: Cities I’ve lived
  • Weeks 21 – 25: Jobs I’ve held
  • Weeks 26 – 30: Top 10 entertainment options
  • Week 31: How to follow or contact me across all social media platforms
  • Week 32: How to help an artist with promotion
  • Week 33 – 37: Favorite Book Genres
  • Week 38 – 42: Holidays
  • Week 43 – 47: Objects I adore
  • Week 48 – 52: TBD

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks.

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365 Challenge: Day 247 – Toxic

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Toxic: when two friends no longer mix well and the relationship has run its course

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Friendships are often the thing that holds us together when life throws too many lemons our way. Friends have your back, they show up when you ask (or even when you don’t) and they offer a sympathetic ear when you need encouragement. Over the years, friendships continue to grow stronger and deeper as the connection forges even more tightly than before. But what happens when things aren’t the same anymore… is it okay to walk away from something that has become toxic?

I’ve had many friends over the years… grammar school, high school, college and even those in my twenties. For the most part, I am not as close with many of them as I was once. Our separation in nearly all the instances was just that: a separation due to physical proximity or the momentum of life situations. It wasn’t a conscious decision, but life takes you in different places and you grow apart; it’s sad, but it happens. There are a few who you can remain just as close with and you adore every minute of it. At the opposite extreme, on occasion, you need to make the tough decision that the friendship is no longer the same, and for the better of both people involved, it’s time to walk away. It’s not fair and it’s certainly not fun, but if the friendship as become toxic, why would you want to continue to hurt one another. Perhaps it’s over jealousy or a stupid incident that just won’t go away. Maybe it’s the way one or both friends change in their own individuality. Religion, politics, opinions and life experience can often help formulate who you are and who you want to be… and sometimes, as you age, those things evolve and take you down a different path.

It’s hard to say goodbye when someone dies. It’s harder in some ways to choose to walk away from a friendship, knowing you will miss the person and/or be reminded of the past too often. There should be some effort put into repairs, but if it’s clear there’s a fork in the road, or in this case, the relationship, it might be okay to walk away from it. It doesn’t change the connection you once had. It doesn’t erase the memories of good times. You might find your way back to being friends again in the future. When the core of the current friendship starts to crumble or change its form, staying in it might end up hurting you more in the long run.

Friends often rely upon one another so much, it becomes second nature. If someone’s thought processes or needs change, it’s not always clear or obvious at the moment. A fight might change the nature of intimacy for a long enough period that the bond is not strong enough to remain stitched together. If one person feels anger, jealousy or abrasiveness, it can start eating away at you to the point where you don’t enjoy the time together. But even when a sense of obligation tells you to keep texting or calling, visiting or going out… it may be time to analyze the whole situation before you keep pushing to fix it. I’m not saying once you have a few fights, it’s time to throw in the towel. You should always make an effort to repair, but when the core things that once kept you close no longer exist, it might be time to accept the changes and walk away as happier people.

Life is short. People change. You want to be close with those who make you happy and whom you love. It may be different people at different times, and it might end changing the nature of your existing friendships. If you are intensely close, you probably will withstand the changes, but if it’s causing more grief, tension, concern or issues than the positive aspects, it’s probably time to move on. The thoughts in this post are not about anyone specific; moreover, it’s about recognizing there are start and end times to everything in life, including life itself. It’s always beneficial to make something good last as long as possible, but on the flip side, if it’s no longer good, figure out how to fix it and/or move on from that friend who makes you feel bad, be upset, get angry, act differently… or just makes your day far worse. It’s okay to walk away when you’ve tried to fix it but the connection has vanished, or it’s just not a good one anymore.

Bad friendships suck… I’ve had a few and had to move on. How about you?

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Review: The Mother’s Promise

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The Mother's Promise4+ of 5 stars to Sally Hepworth‘s The Mother’s Promise, a touching story that will give you a tremendous amount to consider. I received this ARC from St. Martin’s Press as a giveaway through Goodreads, choosing it because it had a gripping summary and a similar sentiment as the book I’d recently written. It definitely was worth the read: a ride through your emotions with several eye-opening questions to ponder.


Story

Alice and her 15-year-old daughter, Zoe, have lived on their own in California most of their lives. Alice assists the elderly with day-to-day errands and health matters while Zoe battles her social anxiety disorder. When Alice discovers she needs to have a tumor removed, and then learns the cancer will need extensive chemo and radiation, she’s at a loss as to who will help take care of her daughter during the recovery period. Enter Kate, a 30ish patient advocate / social worker who’s trying to have her own baby but has had several miscarriages. Kate realizes Alice has no one to help care for her and brings in another aide, Sonja, to help find a solution. Sonja’s got her own problems with a husband who has increasingly become combative and potentially abusive. Each of the 4 women figure out how to face their problems, working on their own and together at different times. Each suffers a major blow to their future and doesn’t know where to turn. Will they come together somehow in the end to help each other out, or is it too late?


Strengths

1. I could clearly picture each of the 4 women in my mind and felt connected to their plight. They were strong and weak, tragic and flawed, beautiful and hopeful. I watched them take 2 steps forward and then 1 awful step backward. And thru each mini-journey, I wished I could be there to help them figure out how to find a connection.

2. I expected this to be a tale of emotional sorrow. I expected this to be full of questions and a push for me to decide how I’d handle such a situation. But two little bombs are dropped along the way (no spoilers here) in such light, easy fashion, I literally dropped the book from shock. I didn’t expect those 2 moments to hit when they actually hit. It wasn’t as though everything was going well and suddenly something bad happened… I was already sad / worried for the character and then the carpet was ripped out… with no notice. Was a fantastic trick on Hepworth’s part, and I won’t say more because every reader should feel that sucker punch I felt.


Suggestions

I think the book ended a little too quickly and was possibly a little too wrapped up. I would have liked to see some of the final drama drawn out a bit more, a reflection on what happens afterwards, a glimmering hope for something positive beyond the immediate ending (which may or may not have been painful — I am not saying right now).


Final Thoughts

I will absolutely read other books by this author. It was humming along for the first 30 to 40 percent, and I liked it, but I was fine putting it down to read another book at the same time. I can only take so many emotional roller-coaster stories at one time, so incorporating a cozy mystery or a happy book is often necessary. Then I hit chapter 48 (note, they are short chapters) and I filled with rage, angst and fear… I read for 2 hours non-stop, putting it down only for 30 seconds to post another update on Goodreads to say “What???? A second gut punch… I can’t…” And that’s exactly how it happened. That said… the questions to ponder:

It’s great to know there are people in the medical field so willing to help and connect with their patients on a personal level. Is it really common?

I had many memories of losing my godmother to cancer when I was about 20. My mom was her caregiver, and I saw lots of pain… but I cannot imagine what it is like to be that person helping the patient who knows they only have a short time left. They are the heroes and heroines of the world.

Who would you trust to raise your child if you had no one in your life and were about to die?

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