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Book Review: Legacy of the Tropics by Mary Deal

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Legacy of the TropicsLegacy of the Tropics by Mary Deal

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Every once in a while, you come across an author who can write across multiple genres and make it seem like an incredibly easy task. Mary Deal is one of those not-so-frequent-few who can deliver romance, mystery, thriller, historical, and contemporary all throughout a wide variety of settings. Legacy of the Tropics is my fifth read from her growing literary works, and while I’m not sure if it’s my favorite yet, it is definitely in the top two or three of what she’s produced. At a 50-foot glance, it’s a collection of three short novellas (~90 pages each) revolving around weather impacts in those lush and beautiful (not always serene) beach locations many of us adore. While each of the stories are stand-alone, and the first two are completely separate, there is a connection between the characters in the third story which was a beautiful surprise.

One of the facets of Deal’s work I’ve grown quite fond of is her ability to incorporate detailed histories of her characters all throughout the text without overwhelming the reader. Sometimes it’s a few pages, others it’s just a line here and there. By the end, you’re fully immersed in someone’s struggle or plight, rooting for him or her like no one before. In all three stories, weather plays a huge and dramatic role. At first, it’s a freak storm impacting a boat at sea off the cost of Puerto Rico, then it’s an unexpected rip tide on a beach in Hawaii. I’ve been to both places and she instantly brought me back there. By the third, a powerful hurricane wrecks havoc on an already burdened set of inhabitants and characters we’ve come to know. Deal knows how to toy with your emotions… whether it’s making you want to reach thru the pages to save the victim yourself, cry when someone unexpectedly takes a turn for the worse, or shout with strength when it appears a reward might finally happen. But it’s never over when Deal’s at the helm. Just when you think things are looking brighter, she drops the truly big one on you! Every possible conflict appears among these stories.

Deal’s knowledge of these places and various water-related incidents is vast and descriptive. You will feel (1) stuck in the middle of an ocean with little hope for survival, (2) as if you’re being lifted by 100 mph winds into the air as a roof is ripped off your house, or (3) the jitters when a sea creature begins attacking your legs just because it wants to toy with you. Between the ocean-life and real-life in between the words of these 3 stories, be prepared for emotion, knowledge, and shock. I expected to read one story for the next 3 days. Instead, I read 1 last night and 2 first thing this morning… and I still want more. What a fantastic way to share a common theme and experience. Awesome work, Deal!

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where 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. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Book Review: X by Sue Grafton

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After a ~4 year hiatus from reading the Kinsey Millhone Alphabet series, I got back to focusing on it late last year just before the author, Sue Grafton, passed away. In the second to last installment, X, Kinsey and the series become a bit more relaxed, but it also reminded me there’s only 1 book left as the final one (Z, 26) won’t be completed by a ghost writer.

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There are three primary story lines in this novel, not the usual focus or style for Grafton: (1) Henry and Kinsey’s personal problems with their new neighbors, (2) Kinsey’s friendship with the wife of a late deceased colleague (who we learned a lot about in W is for Wasted) where peculiar people and letters start showing up, and (3) a mystery investigation Kinsey’s actually hired to solve by a real client. Each on their own wasn’t enough to carry a 400+ page novel, but by combining it together, readers were treated to a “week in the life” of a private eye who we’ve come to love.

One of the things that struck me the most was how Grafton only aged Kinsey by a few years over the course of ~35 years writing the novels. The setting still take place in the 1980s where there were no cell phones or usable personal computers, but there were major issues occurring in California, like a drought. Grafton uses the book to offer solutions on how to solve the water shortage, which actually applies today in many cases, too. Always keen to offer political or societal commentary through the characters, we don’t lack for an education in this one either: both treatment of the aging and conservation of water in and out of the home. At times, I thought… wait, did I start reading non-fiction again?

As for the 2 main mysteries, both ended with too many loose ends. While we know the criminal, it’s not your standard whodunit in the first one; and in the second one, Kinsey ends up playing matchmaker. While I enjoyed the book, it wasn’t a true mystery / thriller / suspense novel like most of the past. There were several high action moments, and one where I really worried Kinsey was going to die, but in the end, I was a little disappointed in the mismatch of how it all came together. That said, it’s still a strong book, just not what I was expecting or wanted. 3.5 stars and I’ll round up because I have a strong affinity for the series and author.

Writing is as good as always. Characters are clear, memorable, and understandable. A few things didn’t sit well, but for the most part, I cared what happened to everyone. I am both sad and excited to read the last one… probably later this month or the beginning of July.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. 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. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

365 Challenge: Day 192 – Elements

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Elements: experiencing all four of them on the trip today: earth, air, water, and fire

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Today’s 365 Daily Challenge word is ‘elements’ because on this third day of the vacation, I see all four of them: (1) earth in the tree and greenery, (2) air in the wind blowing the Spanish moss, (3) water in the lake in the background and (4) fire in the hickory smell in the air all around. And I was also completely in my element in this beautiful arboretum at Airlie Gardens in Wilmington, North Carolina. We spent a few hours this morning at this lovely place, where you can see tons of pictures below, or also on my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts. Afterwards, we drove to Wrightsville Beach, which was exactly like the seaside town I wanted to visit. Lunch at the Oceanic right on the beach while we watched surfers crash, bathers play on the sand and people mulling about the small island space.

We drove three hours this afternoon to Chapel Hill and checked in at the Siena Hotel, which is gorgeous. More on that in tomorrow’s post. We toured UNC Chapel Hill and are now back at the hotel for a short break before going out to dinner and a few bars this evening. Or maybe I’ll enroll in a Master’s program and start auditing classes. Or possibly find a party at one of the fraternities or sororities, as we saw at least ten houses the size of mansions…. makes me miss my college years and my fraternity days when I was our president. Oh well, feels like a different life… but it’s also given me two fantastic book ideas. One is called ‘Alternate Lives,’ which I’ll explain in a post once I get back home. Another is called the ‘Elements of Living,’ a book about how to experience all the things in life you should embrace regardless of who you are. I need more time to write all these books, but that’ll have to wait. I need to finish and schedule this post, then head to dinner. Ciao!

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500 year old Airlie Oak Tree with Spanish Moss – Stunning

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Lake in the middle of Airlie Gardens

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Sitting area built in an old oak tree

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Random trees in between the various gardens

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Cemetery with graves from the 1700s (creepy lighting effect!)

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Bridal Walk to the lake where they hold weddings

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States built all throughout with small sitting areas

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Brunch at Wrightsville Beach @11:40 (oops, drinking before 12 noon, I’m bad!)

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View from our table of the surfers while we had brunch

 

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 to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 169 – Doghouse (RYDER RANT)

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Doghouse: (1) a place where a dog sleeps, (2) a place you go to when you are in trouble

 

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Feels like Groundhog Day. Every time I wake up lately, this laptop is sitting where my food bowl is supposed to be. And instead of getting to eat, I’m forced to type away for a few hours, coming up with some brilliant little “Post from Ryder.” I just hope you all realize the torture I go through simply so you have a few minutes of reading material. And all I ask in return is for my own space, a doghouse, where I can close the door and ignore the world around me for a few hours each day. But do I have one? No. Why, you ask? That’s a good question. Dad 2 wanted to buy the materials to build one. But Dad 2 doesn’t have those types of skills. Dad 1 might be able to build it, but he said things like “permission from the building,” and “are you gonna help?” Do you see what I live with? I have this lovely Enchanted Terrace outside and it would be amazing to retire for a few hours every afternoon where I can relax and have a cozy little sleep. I’ll keep working on them, but if you have any pull over Dad 1, please assist. I promise to make my posts even better.

So today’s word has a few meanings. I was in the doghouse again last night for something I have little control over. I am a food addict. I can’t NOT eat food when I see it. So I begged and begged for some of their dinner. They had beef cooked in a brown sauce in a giant orange Le Creuset pot in the oven. With carrot and potatoes and onions, and a whole bunch of deliciousness. Something about wishing autumn would arrive sooner. I don’t know. I just wanted the foods. There were 3 big pieces of meat in the pot. I assumed one for each of us. But Dad 1 said no, that the third piece was for lunch the next day. But I pushed and persisted and eventually they filled my bowl with some people foods, even though Dad 1 said it was a bad idea. Then it happened. It always happens. I can’t help it. After I eat the food, I run around whining that it hurts in my belly and I throw it up all over the floor. You remember that infamous rug I mentioned a few weeks ago? Yeah, happened again. It’s not my fault. They gave it to me! But now I’m back in the doghouse ’cause they said no more food for a week. Is there an emoji for a sad dog? That’s me. But today I get to see Grandma and Grandpa. They are coming for a visit. They always sneak me food. And I am never in the doghouse with them.

I am getting worried that I may have to put the dads in the doghouse soon. I heard them talking about a puppy again. I protest. I turn 10 years old on September 3rd and I’ve been an only dog for the last 5 years. I had a sibling my first 5 years, but she isn’t around anymore. (‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ has always been my policy. The dads think I am a Republican, but I’ll never tell.) Anyways, don’t you think I deserve to not have to put up with another dog in the house? Seriously… I don’t like them. They make messes. Rambunctious. Take all the food. Shed. Oh… wait… that’s me… now I think I understand why Dad 1 is always yelling about my fur babies rolling across the floor like dust bunnies. Mmm… rabbit. I’m hungry. Oh, off topic again. So no puppies allowed. They don’t get it. If they bring one home, I’m moving out. Does anyone here have a good home they want to share — two rules: (1) food all the time and (2) no other dogs. I might be OK with a cat. Or smaller animals I can eat. No birds either. They are mean.

 

I decided not to post pictures of me today as I don’t have a doghouse and until I get one, no pictures! But also because something happened with the link from the laptop to the iCloud and the pictures won’t open. Dad says he’ll fix it soon, but he’s so busy these days, who knows when he’ll get around to it. For now, he just hangs around the house all day long. I kinda love it. Both Dad 1 and Dad 2 used to leave around 7:30 am and come home at 7:30 pm. Twelve hours to myself is a lot. I would meet my friends for lunch at the French restaurant downstairs (they serve my kind thankfully). I’d go for walks. I’ve asked for a doggy door so I can get out to the terrace by myself, but that hasn’t happened yet. They don’t want me out there alone. I guess I can understand that. I do chase the birds and jump higher than they’d like. But now Dad 1 is home all the time. I don’t want him to go back to work. I like the company. But don’t tell him that! He’ll get an ego. OK, it’s time to get all cleaned up before Grandma comes. I’ll tell you more about her next week. Love you all! xoxo Woof!

This is what I’d do with my doghouse!

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • Ryder has gotten to know so many bloggers over the last year, he’s decided to recommend one to each of you during his Monday posts. This week, he’d like you to meet Vinnie. Vinnie and I met somehow (don’t recall!) about three months ago, probably over a movie review one of us wrote. He’s big time into films, but that’s only one part of his blog. He’s a really genuine and caring guy, always sharing of himself and interacting with his friends and followers. He’s had some great advice to me over the last few months, but also has been encouraging and promoting bloggers he is friends with too. An all-around guy, he’d be a great addition to your WordPress Reader. And doesn’t he look cool in the pic with sunglasses below? If you don’t believe me, you can see a blurb from the site’s About Me section below:
    • “Who is Vinnieh? That’s a tough question but here’s what is known.  From a very young age cinema has been one of the biggest things in his life. Snapshot_20140612_1He loves the absolute hell out of movies and would probably die if there were none in the world. He’s just the typical young man; smart, interesting, devilishly handsome(OK the last one may be a lie). He is sometimes known as Vinster or Satrap. The aim of my blog is to write about the movies I have seen and hear feedback from the many other’s who populate the blogging world. Feel free to stop by and comment on my posts.”

 

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 to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 162 – Watchdog (RYDER RANT)

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Watchdog: a dog kept to guard private property; to maintain surveillance over (a person, activity, or situation)

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It’s Ryder and I’m back to bring you more Monday fun. Well, it would normally be fun. But not today. I’ve got some news to share about my very bad dads who did the most awful thing this weekend. I’m sure you read all about their lovely little weekend getaway to the beach. One they just returned from. Without me. Where was I, you ask? Not there. No, they left me behind. No consideration. Just abandoned me. And I hear they’re about to do it again over Labor Day when they make a trip to visit family down south. If that happens, you will have a one unhappy Ryder post again. And that’s why I’m a watchdog today. Okay, maybe a few other reasons, too.

I probably shouldn’t complain. They do take good care of me when they leave. I just don’t know why I can’t go. They used to take me all the time with them to the beach house. Not anymore. Claim it’s because it’s not their rental, and it would be an imposition to ask friends if I can come along. Me, an imposition? Ugh. I never. So they signed up with this adorable company called Celebrity Pets. Ella runs it. She comes and picks me up at the apartment, brings me home to her lovely house with a whole backyard. I see other dogs. More on that nuisance later. I get walks. And lots of treats. But I miss the dads very much. In honor of being angry with them for the first 24 hours when I return, I thought I’d share a few things that also make me a very angry dog. But first, a pic where I am not angry — snow on the terrace from a few years ago. I love snow!!! But I hate water.

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Children. I do not like them. If they are under 10, they annoy me. First of all, they want to pick me up. I don’t like being picked up. I barely tolerate it when the dads do it. I will come snuggle with you when I want to snuggle. Otherwise, pets are allowed. Scratches are great. And sometimes I enjoy belly rubs. Children don’t understand this. I bark at them. I hear the toddlers out in the hallways and I run to the door and get very huffy. I also growl at them. It’s a low growl, not too scary. But I hope it sends them away. It usually does. Sometimes it takes a while, but then they disappear. Thankfully. Does anyone really like these children? When they become adults, I love them. But until then, please stay away from me. I would never do anything to hurt you. But you will not catch me. I will hide. I will run. I will do whatever it takes to get away.

Halloween is the worst. Dads buy candy and all the little children dress up. Monsters show up. I always go to the door to answer it. I try to be friendly. But then they run into the apartment after me. I look at the dads who do nothing of course. They laugh and say “aren’t you cute” to the little monster chasing me into the dining room. Seriously, that’s wrong. But what’s worse is when one of the dads puts me in a costume. The other dad knows better. It’s only on Halloween. And just for the 2 hours when those children show up. Last year, I had a little King outfit. The hat was itchy and it had to be eaten. The children might be next.

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The other thing I really dislike is water. I like to drink it. But that’s all. I hate getting baths. When I was younger, they put me in a pool. I do not like swimming. I kept trying to get out, but for 20 minutes they tortured me and forced me to swim across to the other side. I didn’t understand it. You get nowhere. You earn no treats. You just get wet. I like the sun. I like laying in the heat sometimes. Water is not good. They claim they just wanted me to know how to swim in case I ever fell into water. I think they are just trying to torture me. Especially with the outdoor watering system they installed. Sprinklers go off all times of the day. Shooting water at the plants. But they always miss. And it hits me. I hate getting wet like that. So I try to bite the water where it’s coming out of the sprinkler or the faucet. I bark at it to go away. It eventually listens. Takes about 20 minutes, but it recedes back into its little hole. If it really annoys me, I screech. Like a really loud abrasive noisy one. Neighbors once thought my dads were killing a cat. Oops.

They even took me into the ocean on a leash one day. Only where the waves came up on the sand, trying to get me wet. They laughed. Found it amusing. One dad loves the beach. The other does not. You would think he might try to protect me. No. He was in on it. Water torture, I tell ya. Not a pretty sight. So in return, I chase birds. When they land on my Enchanted Garden AKA NYC Terrace, I jump in the air to catch them. I run down the patio and nip at them. I’ve caught 6 so far. Actually 7, but the dads haven’t found that one yet. They will. Some day soon. During fall clean-up while I’m laying in the sun. One of them will scream. The other will have to clean it up. They are very different sometimes. I once brought a dead bird into the house and gave it to them as a lovely housewarming gift. They did not seem to like it very much. Dad two wrapped it in paper towels. Threw it off the side of the apartment. I don’t think that’s allowed, but he was screeching almost like I do when the water hits me.

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This joint’s loony sometimes. I don’t feel bad that I kill the birds. They invade my territory, they pay the price. I’m just protecting the dads. One summer, a series of birds kept attacking him anytime he went on to the terrace. But not the other dad. The dads don’t know why it was just one of them. But I do. Sometimes I am friends with the birds. This was a long time ago. So when I was angry with one dad for not giving me some of his dinner, I had a little conversation with the birds and asked them to do me a solid. I thought it was a one-time attack, but it happened every day for a month. I didn’t mean for it to happen. Poor dad two. He would spray the hose at them. Throw things at them. But they always attacked him. Then it just stopped. I suspect the other dad talks to the birds too. He might have had his own vendetta against dad two for a few days. Something about breaking too many wine glasses. I try to not pay attention to them when they get like that.

So I’m a bit tired. It takes a lot to write these posts. With no pay. I’m generous like that. How about you? Any angry dogs out there? Keep them away from me. I am not angry, I just play one on TV to amuse everybody. And I’m the watchdog around here. I have to ensure I keep things in order. Woof!

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RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • Ryder has gotten to know so many bloggers over the last year, he’s decided to recommend one to each of you during his Monday posts. This week, he’d like you to meet Decluttering My Life. We met about two months ago and have been chatting a few times a week about over nearly ever possible topic, given the variety of content on both our sites. Categories you’ll find on this blogger’s site include the environment, expats, feminism, human nature, literature, minimalism, science, society, sport and the third world. The topics and posts are incredibly thought-provoking, connecting ideas and beliefs across hundreds of centuries in a way that really gives you new perspective. Sometimes it’s a reminder of things you knew but forgot, yet at others, it’s a good wake-up call. Never preachy. Never too lengthy. Just enough to give you some alternative paths to look at complex topics. She’s friendly and quite intelligent, which you’ll easily see from the words she chooses and the messages she conveys. At times, I believe I might be missing a few of the hidden meanings in her words, as it’s so incredibly responsive and interactive on many levels, you have to let it soak in and then respond yourself. If you’d like an intellectual blogger to add to your daily inspiration and review, check her out. If you don’t believe me, you can see a blurb from the site’s About Me section below:
    • “While striving to close a chapter in my female life at the age of 34, I have started to clean out the remnants of my past. This is neither another manual how to declutter overpacked make-up bags nor a don’t-worry-be-happy site. What is then? During this process I have run across some rather weird ideas about possession and self-justification. I have chosen this way of reflection to discuss my concerns about the opportunity costs of donation or the arrogance of humankind. My overall disappointment is leading me towards minimalism. May it be the remedy?”

 

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 to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 135 – Effortless

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Effortless: requiring no physical or mental exertion; achieved with admirable ease

As we dive into today’s 365 Daily Challenge, the first step is to stop and think about a few things in our lives that we’d consider effortless. Take a few minutes if needed, but picture two before reading any further. {Insert elevator music… 120… 60… 30… 3… 2… 1…} Ready?

  • Strolling through nature simply to enjoy the beauty surrounding you
  • Listening to music and allowing your body to react however it feels the need to

Those were the two I’m focusing on as I write this post. While some might say both of those require a tad bit of physical exertion, I disagree. You can put as little or as much as you want into each action, ensuring your own level of admirable ease is met. It’s rare for me to engage in either of these activities purely for the sake of just these activities. If I’m walking through nature, I’ve usually got a problem I’m trying to solve. If I’m listening to music, I’m usually feeling something emotional that wants to connect with lyrics and sound from an artist I admire.

But have you ever just stopped what you were doing purely for the sake of allowing something effortless to occur, without worrying about what you get from it in return? Without choosing to mold or shape the journey to fit whatever path you want to embark upon? Rarely, if at all, would be my guess. Effortless is not a word that most people think of or feel as part of their normal day. We have schedules and clocks. We have to do lists and goals. We have fears and concerns. There’s always something we need to accomplish and our minds naturally look to focus on achievements before relaxation. We are programmed to put effort into a task so the outcome is beneficial. But that’s where we often fail to recognize what’s right in front of us sometimes… doing something that requires little or no effort and has no specific tangible outcome might actually be exactly what our bodies and minds need, so that we can continue to reach our future expectations.

Today was a busy day for me. I flipped my schedule so that I spent most of the afternoon writing. Within three hours, I had drafted 5K words for Father Figure, finding myself remarkably impressed that the story was flowing from my fingertips to the keyboard with relative ease. But it wasn’t effortless in the beginning. I stopped and started. I re-checked the outline several times. I had a few interruptions with phone calls and a visit from the repair man (the freezer has been fixed). But after about 45 minutes, it felt like the most natural and normal experience. By late afternoon, feeling thoroughly accomplished and in need of physical activity, I went to the gym. Then I headed across town to meet the significant other and some friends for dinner and an early show. Linda Lavin was having a cabaret performance at Birdland here in NYC, singing a few songs, telling a few stories and reminiscing about all the shows and tv series she’d previously acted in. And all I had to do was sit at my table, have a few drinks, relax and enjoy the entertainment for several hours. It was an effortless experience where no one needed me to do anything and the only required duty from me was to listen.

effortless

Enter the adorable, sweet, creative, fun, intelligent and charming Roda from Growing Self. We chatted for a few minutes about cookie dough, magic, clones, writing and opportunity. She could tell I was struggling with the right 365 word, then drew a card from her set of Earth Magic Oracle Cards created by Steven D. Farmer. The card, as the picture shows above, was Effortless. It displayed a picture of a waterfall, sharing a story about the natural, graceful and powerful flow of water cascading through a rock formation and settling in an exquisite pool of simplicity. The message was clear: to allow yourself to surrender to the will of Spirit. Essentially, give yourself permission to relinquish control to another. Could my decision to choose a word and write the post be anything other than effortless at this point?

I bet you’re wondering why I didn’t choose permissive after that experience, but how could I? My takeaway from the cards pointed me towards that feeling I’ve been having for the last week… among all the items on my list of things to do, I most feverishly and frequently looked forward to sitting at my desk to begin writing the chapters for my second novel. Once I allowed myself to let go, forgetting about everything else I needed to address, writing no longer felt like a task on a long list of to-do’s. No one was expecting anything from me. My mind was open and ready to create life from the outline I’d finished last week. And all I had to do was give myself permission to move forward with these steps for me to see it was truly an effortless activity.

Life doesn’t always give you the freedom to choose what you want to do. But when it does, you need to wisely accept that chance. You need to allow the world to show you what it is that you haven’t been able to see for yourself. Find the path that feels as effortless as either your stroll through nature or listening to music — whatever your two items were at the top of this post. Don’t let yourself be so caught up in everything that you’re supposed to be accomplishing less you forget the beauty of your own effortless waterfall. You might just get swept up by its sheer serenity, finding yourself landing in an even better place than the water chose for you.

 

REMINDER: The poll will close today regarding any changes I might make to the 365 Daily Challenge posts. I appreciate everyone who voted over the last six days. If you haven’t had a chance to vote, here is the link: Vote for Changes to 365 Daily Challenge.

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • Today’s 365 Daily Challenge recommended blogger to know is Patricia @ Tea And Tales. We met just a little over three months over a shared excitement over cozy mysteries. As I got to know Patricia, we learned there’s so much more in common. We both loved Hush, Hush… Sweet Charlotte, are excited researching our genealogy and found Fifty Shades of Grey just awkward! We’re constantly checking each other’s reviews out on all types of books, but mystery has been on the top genres we both flock towards. Her website is extraordinarily beautiful in its colors and tranquility. The menu on the right clearly shows all the different types of categories for her posts… everything from cooking to faith to life to humor and of course tea! You will definitely find a few books to pick up as well as a new online friend. If you don’t believe me, check out the below blurb from her About Me section:
    • “Welcome to Teaandtales1… I love talking Tea and hearing a good Tale, or a new Cozy Mystery! Have a favorite of either? Let us know, we love a good tea and/or tale. We have a Facebook Page also, which is full of Tea news, offers, discounts and Cozy Mystery Book Reviews.  Facebook Link“”

 

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 to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 52 – Wasteful

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Wasteful: using or expending something of value carelessly, extravagantly, or to no purpose

At different points in our lives, we all say aloud (or hear someone else tell us) “that was wasteful,” referring to something just done that we carelessly minimized when others so desperately needed it. Often we should have known better, but we do it anyway without thinking about the consequences because it’s become habitual. That said, as much as it is habitual for many of us, there are several people who work hard not to be wasteful and teach this to children at a young age.

To kick this one off… a few places I recognize I am wasteful — not all the time, but enough that I should call myself out.

  • Water
    • I run the water the entire time I’m washing dishes, rather than try to use only the amount needed and re-use where appropriate until the final rinse.
    • I leave the water running when I brush my teeth when I should leave it off  until the last second.
    • My showers are entirely too long and often run for a minute or two for the water to get hotter before I get inside. I should deal with the cold, stand to the side and wash my hair.

 You don’t care about my bathroom habits?

  •  Energy
    • I tend to leave lights on when I don’t really need them. Sometimes it’s for the dog, but a little goes a long way.
    • My building keeps the heat on from October thru May, and because I get so hot, I open the windows which likely makes the heat work a bit harder since I’m on the top floor. Can’t really change this…
  • Time / Money
    • I spend way too much time watching TV or on the computer when I should be out with people, in nature and learning.
    • Time is money, and therefore I’m wasting earning potential and income.
    • I can be frivolous when spending and should save more or donate more.
  • Food
    • I sometimes eat too much. And we all know how to fix that. (Shh… don’t say it aloud or it may come true)
    • I make too much food when I cook and am not good about eating leftovers.
    • I buy stuff, it expires, and I end up throwing it out. I need to be more pragmatic and plan meals in a better way.

And if they can do it, so can I!

Not so bad admitting faults, is it? I’m sure that only touches the surface of the areas where I’m being wasteful. And quite honestly, some of those are easy fixes that I should be more consistent about in the future.

Sometimes I get caught up realizing how unfortunate it is that I haven’t fixed this sooner, especially knowing the limits of these resources across the world. And while these posts are not meant to make anyone feel guilty or to preach, sometimes a gentle reminder helps implement positive changes. And that’s all I’m intending here… for any reader including myself.

This is me talking to myself right now!

Life is complicated. We should all figure out how to be part of the continuous cycle of improvement. And when we don’t work in jobs or volunteer in roles where we have direct impact on re-cycling, re-use or proper waste disposal, perhaps we should take 5 minutes a day to focus on it as a human being who cares about the world around us.

It begins with learning this as a child, so it feels almost inherent. Good habits will occur and help propagate even better ones with each year and generation. But there’s no time to start like the present if this hasn’t been built into you already. And with that, I’m off to see how to tone down my wasteful usage of time — it took 30 minutes for this post and I’m supposed to be down to 20 minutes a day at this point. Ugh… I hate missing the target.

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and 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 to their original creators.