100 Days of Joy Project

I’ve been thinking a lot about Joy lately. The dictionary defines joy like this: a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. I really love that. Joy is more than simply being happy. I feel like we can all feel happy, but that joy is that underlying feeling, the realization that we can have a joyful life amid the mundane and even the hard moments in our lives.

God has promised us that we are meant to have joy in this life and in the life to come.

I’m really good at complaining and looking for the negative and the bad. Sometimes it just seems easier to dwell on the hard stuff instead of looking for the good. Because some days, it’s really hard to find something good. For the past year or so, my sister and I text each other each night to say one thing that we’re grateful for. Some days it’s easy for me to do, other days, not so much.

This is why I want to start looking for more joy and light and good.

I know that what we look for, we find. What we sow, we grow. The seeds we plant are what will grow in the future. And I want to see more goodness and joy. And I want to share the good things I’m seeing.

So, in an effort to find more joy in my own life and share it with people, I started a little project. The #100daysofjoyproject. You can follow along and join on Instagram! There aren’t really any rules, just start sharing the joyful things in your life and use the hashtag! I started last Wednesday, but I am planning to do this for 100 days. I wanted to see what good can come out of actively seeking the joy. I picked 100 days because a lot or a little can happen in that time.

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I’m excited for this little project, and if you want regular updates, be sure to follow along on Instagram. I’ll also share things along the way here on my blog. But I’m excited for this, and I hope to make my little corner of the internet a little more joyful and full of light. (This doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop talking about the hard stuff, I think we need to talk about the hard things in life, but I’m still going to be more focused on the good instead of always dwelling on the bad.)

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PS this is great for me today because Von woke up early and a car alarm was going off in our parking lot all night so today I really need to look for the good to improve the grumpy mood I woke up in!

Get Up, Get Up, There Are Worlds To Conquer

This morning I woke up covered in sweat and my heart pounding. It wasn’t hot enough in our apartment for me to be that hot, but I knew the reason.

I took in a shaky breathe and made my way outside with Persephone. It was just before six and as I stood outside I had an inner battle with myself.

Do I get up or do I just go back to bed?

Sleeping only sometimes helps my anxiety go away after I’ve had a PTSD episode during the night. Sometimes, I’ll go back to sleep and I’ll wake up feeling more refreshed and less anxious. But sometimes, it just makes it worse.

As I was thinking about what I should do today, because that’s what is happening right now, today. I heard/saw the words of Victoria Schwab in my mind. She says this often on Twitter, “Get up, get up, there are worlds to conquer.” And so I’m up. I got up today.

I’m still feeling incredibly anxious.

But I also felt a rush of imagination and determination as I pulled out my Start Today journal and wrote down things I’m grateful for, dreams I made (am making) happen, and my big goal right now.

I also had a break through with one of my characters in my book and things are gonna happen.

I’m not saying that those things would never have happened if I’d crawled back in bed. And I’m not saying that I’ll 100% not crawl back in bed as soon as I’m done writing this post. But, I am saying that I’m trying to fight. I’m trying to take care of my mental health in a way that it is healthier than I have in the past, continuing to learn which coping skills work best and what helps me the most after an episode.

As of right now, I don’t know what the day will bring. But I do know that even though I’m feeling anxious, and I’ve got flashbacks and memories dancing around in my brain right now, I’m going to be okay. I’m going to keep moving forward. I’m going to choose my reaction to my anxiety instead of letting my anxiety control me.

So that’s that. It’s time to get up because there are worlds to conquer.

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Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Okay. Where to start?I really really wanted to love Red, White & Royal Blue more than I did. And while I did enjoy a lot of things about it, there were other parts that I didn't love so much. I'll start with what I didn't like as much and then share what I really enjoyed.

Things I struggled with:

I didn't love all the politics. I didn't realize when I picked this one up that we would follow so much of Alex's mom's campaign trail, but we did. It felt like it overwhelmed a lot of the story and it wasn't all that interesting to me to read. I don't love politics much in real life (though I do try to stay up to date) but I didn't really love being so involved in these fictional politics. I felt we could have skipped a lot of the political stuff and focused even more on the romance.At the beginning of the book, it feels like it's going to be a really fun hate to love romance between the first son and the prince. And that is what it is at first, at least for about 10-20% of the book. They basically hate each other and then their making out (which was fine) but I did wish that the hate to love tension had lasted a little bit longer.It also felt like the main characters were a lot younger than they actually were. It read like a YA novel where the protagonist is 16 instead of in his early twenties.The last thing that I struggled with throughout the book was the POV. This was written in 3rd person present tense and while it works some of the time, there were parts that really felt clunky while I was reading it and I didn't love that.

What I did enjoy:

The dialogue/banter. It was hilarious and so much fun to read. This kept me going through some of the political parts that I didn't really care for. But I loved the snarky conversations and it was just done really well.I also liked how Alex goes through his own coming out during the book. He has this huge realization that he's Bi and he has to figure out what that means for him and his relationship. I thought this book had great queer rep.The relationship between Henry and Alex was also fun to read about, at least most of the time. I loved how sweet Henry was and how much he knew what/who he wanted and how he was willing to give up everything in order to have that love. I did feel like a lot of the relationship was "oh look here you are, let's have sex." Which I realize happens a lot in books, but I wanted more emotional connection too. Thankfully, you do get more emotional connection as the book goes on which I really appreciated.This book wasn't my favorite, but it did have some good parts. I will say I liked the first 30% best, as the last half of the book did get more political. But all in all, it was a fun read and while I wished there hadn't been as much politics, it was still fun.

About Red, White & Royal Blue

A big-hearted romantic comedy in which First Son Alex falls in love with Prince Henry of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends...First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him. As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

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Red, White & Royal Blue officially hits the shelves on May 17, 2019. You can preorder here and add to Goodreads. Come tell me about the last book you read in the comments!