Posts Categorized: Life Well Lived

February In Review

March 5, 2016 Book Talk, Life Well Lived 12

February was a quiet month. Reflective; time for good reading and hot tea; introspective and nice. My sweetheart was out of town quite a bit during February so I was able to get some quality time for reading in and lots of time to spend with my kids and grandson.

The writing is coming along – I’ve got three different stories I’m working on in my spare time. One is a children’s picture book for the Little Monkey. It’s in editing mode now. Next step is to deliver the edited copy to my artist daughter so she can complete the illustrations. The hope is that the book is ready in time for the big #5 birthday coming up this summer. The other two projects are coming along slowly – both fictional accounts of life circumstances. More on those another time.



Oh February, what a glorious month of reading! The slump I had been in for quite awhile evaporated while I inhaled a whopping 12 books! Some for pleasure, some for review and some for the Inspy’s judging. As you can see from the photos it was quite the mystery/thriller month for me.



My review for Ariel Lawhon’s Flight of Dreams ~ a winner in case you haven’t tried it yet! 4.5/5

I’m such a champion for this book. Read it. Your life will be changed. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. 5/5


We are a little late to the bandwagon, but oh my gosh! Have you watched Grace and Frankie on Netflix? While searching for something a little light-hearted but with substance to watch with our chinese takeout one night we came across Grace and Frankie. It only took us a few days to get through all 13 episodes and now we are anxiously awaiting May 6th when Season 2 comes out! What’s ironic is that my 22 year old daughter along with her 26 year old boyfriend are the ones to turn us onto the comedy. Ironic because the four main actors are 70+!


Long-time readers here know that podcasts are my go-to listening obsession. Currently Happier with Gretchen Rubin ; Your Move with Andy Stanley and Inside the NYT Book Review are weekly musts. The Jess Lively show – positive living with intention; and You Must Remember This – a podcast about Hollywood stars from days gone by.

Life-long Learning

If writing is a passion this free course offered on is a must. The professor makes learning easy and fun while still getting the craft of writing across to the students. I’m loving it!

For learning more about blogging and email networking Kirsten at Sweet Tea, LLC is an incredible resource. Her latest post about overcoming the comparison trap resonates with me deeply.

Looking forward to March and . . .

Spring Bloggiesta. I’m working on a special project for book bloggers that has been a desire of mine {and many others} to undertake. Stay tuned! 😉

BEA Baby! I’ve got my airline ticket, hotel reservation and BEA registration complete! Woohoo! Insert crazy happy dance here! I am so beyond excited to go to be able to attend BEA 2016! It’s taken me a year to save up but I know it will be worth the chance to hang out with lots and lots of bookish folks! I’ve got a bit more preparing to do, like ordering business cards and mapping out my BEA experience that I’m working on this month. . . Are you going?!? Let’s meet up!

Sending you sunshine wishes and quality reading time! Happy March Friends!




A New Year…A New Word…A New Focus…

January 1, 2016 Life Well Lived 12


Photo Credit: Can Stock Photo Inc. / teresaterra


This past year found me floundering when it comes to reading and blogging. Every time I thought of just giving it up my sweetheart reminded me how much this blog means to me; how much my readers mean to me and how miserable I am when I haven’t been writing. Wonderful and yet weird how my very not into reading sweetie gets it.


Also, I’ve been one of those to make 3 – 4 resolutions each year and by March all 3 – 4 are completely forgotten. Although, I will admit this past year we did so much better at changing our eating habits to a much more healthy diet {ugh! I hate that 4-letter word!}. But, that’s about the only resolution I ‘mostly’ stuck with.

So this year I am doing something a little different. I remember reading last year about focusing on one word for the year as opposed to having a list of resolutions. I was reminded again when I read Sheila’s post on choosing a word for 2016.

The word I chose is actually two words: TAKE ACTION. For the past several years I have said I wanted to accomplish many things like writing a book, finishing a quilt I started for my sweetie 5 years ago, add more evergreen, lifestyle and bookish-lists posts to my blog, {try saying that phrase 3 times!} complete Emma Davies photo challenge, etc. etc.  I’m excited for this new focus and know it will help me to move forward in so many ways.

Reading Goals

With my newfound focus I’m cutting back on the review copies I will accept and reducing the number of books I plan to read in a year. I found this past year that instead of gobbling up books I felt more like savoring. So savor I shall. 52 books. One a week.

Reading a nonfiction book each month carries over into 2016.

I can’t believe I joined the Classics Club challenge a couple of years ago and still have not read {or in many cases re-read} any of the books on my list. And it’s all children’s classics – a lifetime favorite of mine! Soooo, this year I plan to read at least one book a month off of my classics list.

The other 2 books/month will either be review copies or something off of that gigantic recommended books list! I’m feeling good about this plan. It’s going to be interesting to see where I’m at this time next year.


Dearest Reader what are your New Year’s traditions? Do you make resolutions? Go with the One Word idea or something completely different?



List-Makers Unite + Call for Advice

October 30, 2015 Book Talk, Life Well Lived 6

Sometimes our stop-doing list needs to bebigger than our to-do list.

For most of my life I’ve made lists. It’s calming, reassuring and constant. Lists for groceries, what i’m doing today/this week, bucket lists, what to buy, borrow, sell; etc. etc. My oldest daughter, Erica, is the same way; a consummate list-maker. When my girls were younger, Erica and I would try and try to get my youngest daughter, Gabrielle, to write lists in hopes of helping her become more organized and focused. It wasn’t until Gabrielle was packing to leave for her internship that I saw the fruits of our labor ~ she had a list of things to pack sitting on top of her suitcase! I almost took a picture to send to Erica ~ she would have been as proud as I was! Ok, ok. We may be a little fanatical about lists….

Catching up on Book Riot’s blog a few days ago, I found this article about a new app ~ The List App. You could have heard the bells ringing in my head!

Although I am still figuring out how to operate this new app look me up at THENOVELLIFE. Currently it’s only available for iPhone users, but it sounds like Android is in the works once kinks are all sorted.

[Tweet “List-makers unite! Join me on @thelistapp”]

One list I’m currently working on and would very much appreciate your help with is ADVICE FOR MY 19 YEAR OLD SON. Currently he is trying to find himself and getting more and more lost while I am getting more and more anxious, worried, and stressed. So if you could leave me a tip or even 10 in the comments, I will compile a list to share with everyone both as a blog post and on The List App. Once I share the results with my boy, trying to become a man, I will let y’all know how it went.

[Tweet “What advice would you give your 19 yo self? Share @thenovellife”]

Don’t forget – if you join or you’re already on The List App, leave me your username in the comments or find me. I’d love to follow your lists! And please! leave some tips to share with my son.



The Travel Bug

October 19, 2015 Life Well Lived 1

Espresso Shot-2


A few years ago for my daughter’s 18th birthday and my I wish I were 18th birthday Gabrielle and I finally got our passports.

For me, being born at a southern military base, moving at 3 days old to the other side of the country and many, many subsequent moves afterward has made the travel itch a constant.  Although, if you looked at my passport, you’d see there are no stamps as of yet.

Gabrielle has more than made up for my lack of stamps!

While my children were growing up we moved a few times but only within the state of Georgia.  Though I’m not surprised my daughter caught the travel bug.  It’s in her bones. and her blood.  We come by it honestly ~ several generations on my dad’s side of wannabe gypsies!

It’s also no surprise that this same daughter is intrigued by international affairs and political science.  She can debate a brick wall!

Currently, Gabrielle is working on her internship program for her senior year of college.

If you’ve ever had an interest to know about the good and the bad of being an intern abroad, might I share Gabrielle’s blog with you?  It is aptly named Footloose and Fancy Free ~ a moniker I give her years and years ago.  If you have any words of encouragement or advice I know she’d greatly appreciate it.  You can read about the Culture Shock and Gabrielle’s Project Immersion here and here.



I’d love to know, dear reader, does the travel bug infect you? Are you the wanderlust of your family or is home your sanctuary and oasis?




Book Review: Conquer Your Pain in 9 Steps

July 14, 2015 Book Review, Life Well Lived 6

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.

Book Review: Conquer Your Pain in 9 StepsConquer Your Pain in 9 Steps by Carole Staveley
Published by Influence Publishing on May 1st 2015
Genres: Non-Fiction, Wellness
Pages: 220
Format: Paperback
Source: complimentary review copy


Chronic Pain.  Everything from chronic back pain to chronic toe fungus is like a debilitating descent into Hell.  When first approached about reviewing Conquer Your Pain in 9 Steps I knew I had to get on the blog tour {even though I really try to stay away from tours because of my crazy schedule}.  But, I knew this was a book I needed to read.

At age 18 I was in an auto accident that left me in ICU for three weeks, hospital for three months with a traumatic brain injury,  my entire face reconstructed with titanium plates; I needed a new cornea and eye socket and subsequently required cataract surgery; my left hand and wrist were crushed and had to be re-built and 5 thoracic vertebra were crushed as well as 2 cranial vertebra {I went from 5’2 to 5’1 in an instant – talk about fast un-growth!}.  Although the doctors were incredible miracle workers, there was nothing they could do to prevent the lifetime of chronic pain I was now prescribed.  It’s just something I’ve dealt with.

Fast forward 10 years and a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis.  The simple explanation of what is MS?  Multiple scarring of the myelin sheath of the brain which leads to a host of problems, including, but oh so not limited to, chronic pain.

Finally, one of the effects from the accident that I talk about here is chronic migraines.  Did I mention chronic pain is a debilitating descent into Hell?

With all that depressing gunk out of the way, on to the hope-full stuff!  I wanted to summarize how I know what I’m talking about when I talk about chronic pain.

So, there was nothing Carole Staveley could have thrown at me that I didn’t already know.  For the most part, if you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that I”m a relatively positive, easy-going kind-of gal.  I have to be in order to keep those pesky triggers away, like stress and pessimism and depression and frustration and anger and, well, you get the picture, right?

[Tweet “Positive Thinking + Daily Dosage of Belly Laughs = Good Healing Energy”]

It was refreshing to read a real account of overcoming chronic pain.  Her struggles with diagnosis, treatments and doctors were all completely relatable, especially “it must be in your head.”  Well for me, yeah, it literally is!  I’ve had fun making a joke out of it for years ~ yeah, my brain has been bounced around in my skull and it has a few scars so yes Dr., it IS in my head. 😉

Beginning with “discovering your why,” we learn that developing our ultimate life purpose helps to focus our efforts externally rather than internally.  And on to the chapter to “Never, Ever Give Up” that reminds us it is in overcoming adversity where we find our strength.  The quotes included along with the action steps are both motivating and encouraging.

In my thirties I came to the realization that self-worth is at the heart of so many human behaviors, particularly those behaviors affecting our health and wellness.  If you don’t value yourself, then why would you take on behaviors that are good for your health and self-esteem? (p. 19)

A couple of issues I have with the book is that not everyone has a history of physical activity to fall back on as did Staveley.  She talks about growing up participating in sports and of playing tennis through her twenties.  While it is partially an excuse and partially a handicap, it is difficult to put that first foot forward.  Also, her tips on healthcare professionals to engage with is, while fantastic in that it encourages natural methods as well as western medicine, there’s really no magic wand of how in the world one can afford an acupuncturist, massage therapist, yoga teacher, nutritionist, etc.  The recommendation is to make healthy living a priority and weighing the value of missed work versus the value of a service.

For the most part, Conquer Your Pain in 9 Steps is filled with positive actions to take in order to move from feeling sorry for yourself to making the most of the life you have been given. Staveley has an engaging voice, the book is easy-to-read and broken up into bite-sized pieces.  And there really are great action steps for chronic pain-ers to incorporate into their lives.  I’m not certain the IronMan is for me, but a 5k is in my sights!  Recommended for anyone who suffers from chronic pain.

[Tweet “Recommended reading for sufferers of chronic pain by @carolestaveley”]

To learn more about Carole Staveley visit her Website | Facebook | Twitter.

Many thanks to iRead Book Tours for inclusion in this Book Tour!

For additional thoughts on Conquer Pain please visit the blogs on the Tour Schedule.

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[Tweet “”What does it mean to be as healthy as can be?” by @CaroleStaveley #HealthChampion”]