love rules

I usually have two books going at once, one fiction and one non-fiction. Yesterday, I was scanning my bookshelf in the family room looking for something motivational/comforting/self-helpish and I spotted What Happy People Know by Dan Baker, Ph.D. I read it a few years ago, but apparently I’ve forgotten “what happy people know” because I’ve been feeling pretty blue lately. After rereading it I decided to play along with the Teaser Tuesdays Blog meme at MizB’s Should Be Reading blog. I randomly opened the book to page 94 and picked out this quote to share. “From that day on, I realized that there was something happy people know that unhappy people don’t: No matter what happens in life, there’s always something left to love, and the love that remains is always stronger than anything that goes against it.”

I like that, the idea that love rules, that the capacity of our hearts to appreciate and love unconditionally can overcome the craziness in our minds. Craziness that is almost always motivated by fear. Fear that we aren’t good enough, we aren’t loveable, fear of loss, fear that things won’t get better, fear that we are helpless to “fix” the broken pieces of our life. I think we all have to dig deep sometimes to find the courage to quiet that fear-based voice with a conscious prayer that begins and ends in gratefulness and love. My take away after reading Dr. Baker’s book again is simply this: Life is a dance and we all might be a little happier if we remember to lead with love, not fear.

teaser tuesday

Teaser Tuesday asks you to : Grab your current read, Open to a random page, Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. This teaser is from one of my novels, and like me the main character has hit those mid-life years where you feel like the future is finally just around the corner, for better or for worse! That’s my mom with my sister Amy and my big brother David, and my dad steadying baby David as he takes his first steps.

Maxine had only to close her crinkly farsighted eyes and she could see her father, young and healthy, putting on his felt fedora and blowing her a kiss as he left for work in the morning, or her pretty young mother setting a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies down on the table in front of her after school. She could see a six-year-old Sela at her first ballet recital, the ten-year-old Sela doing cartwheels on the front lawn, and the confident young college student waving goodbye in front of her dorm at Brown. It all went by so fast. Too fast. Maxine often wished she had a pause button that she could hit on the really good days. She didn’t want to stop time—she just wanted to slow it down and give herself more time to take it all in.

teaser tuesday

Teaser Tuesday asks you to : Grab your current read, Open to a random page, Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. I’m reading The Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer. I don’t read a lot of mysteries or thrillers but sometimes I think it’s good to step out of your reading comfort zone and shake things up a bit. I’m really enjoying the read and when I went to his website I also enjoyed his snarky sense of humor! He has fake movie trailers and in one video he’s got family members reading some crummy reviews of the book. It’s totally hilarious, you gotta love a guy who can laugh at the critics! And if those are real reviews I certainly don’t agree with them. I plan to read more of his books, he’s an interesting guy and a good writer.

My teaser sentences are from page 44 where he writes, It’s so damn easy to judge. But Paulo knows from his niece, no matter how much you want someone back in your life, sometimes it’s the letting-them-back-in part that hurts the most. I reread that second sentence several times. It struck me how true it was, and not just about letting people back in, but about letting anything back into your life that you associate with heartache. Years ago, I had to stop painting because I was very ill. When I finally regained my health I didn’t go back into the spare bedroom where my easel was set up for many months. I thought it was because I was afraid I wouldn’t remember how to paint, that I may have lost the ability to be creative after going through so much physical and emotional hurt.

One afternoon, I finally got up the nerve to venture into my little studio. I opened a can of turpentine and squeezed a selection of oil colors onto my palette. Facing a blank white canvas, I breathed in the scent of my paints, dipped my paintbrush into a swirl of cadmium red, and promptly burst into gut wrenching sobs. It was at that moment that I realized it wasn’t the fear of not being able to paint that had kept me away from my art, it was the fear of losing it all over again if my health problems returned. I had grieved long and hard after first losing that part of me, did I really want to let it back in? So I agree with Mr. Meltzer, that simple little sentence says a whole lot about human nature and I imagine most of us can relate to in one way or another.

home sweet home

This is the part of the trail where most people (including moi!) hug the rocky mountain side of the path!

The view looking back toward the Grand Tetons. We propped the camera on a backpack , set the timer, and snapped our own pic!

Okay, maybe it wasn’t really this steep, but it sure felt like it at times!

The view looking out over the beautiful, glacial Jenny Lake. We were at 7200 feet at this point and I could really feel the altitude, which made the hike that much more challenging.

Mr. bookbabie heading back down the mountain.

The trail continues 1/2 mi to Inspiration Point over a rocky path that is moderately steep. That’s how my Foder’s Montana & Wyoming guide book describes the trail in these photos. I guess when you’re talking about the Grand Tetons you might call this trail moderately steep, but compared to the rolling hills of Michigan, I would say that this trail is very steep and at one point not nearly wide enough!

We’re home from our western adventure. Part I of our travels in Jackson Hole was spiritually renewing, Part II after we hit the road to Yellowstone and beyond was a bit taxing as one small travel trial after another piled up making home sweet home look that much better by the time we slipped between the covers of our own bed, jet lagged and exhausted on Sunday night.

Teaser Tuesdays asks you to : Grab your current read, Open to a random page, Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. I must admit, I obviously did not open to a random page and I only shared one sentence, could be the jet lag that’s causing me to recklessly break all the rules today, or maybe it’s the fact that I’m 50 now and can do whatever I want;)

teaser tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays asks you to : Grab your current read, Open to a random page, Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. I finally finished the Pulitzer Prize winning Olive Kitteridge. I had started it in April but set it aside unable to get into it, this time it took however, and I thoroughly enjoyed the read. Each chapter is a short story and they are all linked by the main character of Olive, a stern (and not always likable!) retired schoolteacher in the small town of Crosby, Maine. Themes of aging, marriage, and the always messy expectations of how we relate to our friends, spouses, and children are explored through the brutally honest eyes of Olive Kitteridge.

Today I’ve picked up something a bit lighter from my TBR pile, The Next Thing on my List by Jill Smolinski. The reviews say it is a charming summer read and when I opened to my teaser quote I liked what I saw!  This was catching a wave, and – my suspicions had been correct – I’d never done anything like it before. It felt as if the water beneath me had turned into a sea of hands that kept spiriting my board up and forward – gliding and skipping and lifting until I was shrieking with the unexpected thrill of it and wishing that this amazing rush would never, ever have to end.

Surfer girl photo is by Casch52 on Flickr. I tweaked it a little in my photo program:)

teaser tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday asks you to : Grab your current read, Open to a random page, Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. Do you ever fall into a non-reading rut? I’ve been having a hard time getting into any books for quite awhile. I pick up a novel and start it but nothing really grabs and holds my attention. I know it’s not the fault of the books, my brain just feels “burned out”, if that makes any sense. When I thought about participating in Teaser Tuesday I looked around and saw my Frommer’s Montana & Wyoming tour book sitting next to my computer so that’s where I got my teaser from today. We’re thinking about going somewhere for my 50th birthday and I’ve decided that we need a vacation that is more about nature and renewal than a big city adventure like the one in Paris I was trying to plan. We’ve never been to Europe, and while we still plan to go someday, neither one of us feels like we have the energy (or the cash) to take that kind of trip right now so we may grab our cameras and head for the wide open spaces of America’s west instead!

Here’s my teaser: Grand Teton brags of its soaring mountain scenery; Arizona’s Grand Canyon flaunts its imposing expanses. But Yellowstone enchants with a more subtle beauty, hinting through its very diversity the changes undergone during a volatile, explosive past. As I was typing those two sentences it struck me that maybe I’m a little like Yellowstone. Maybe we all are. Life can be very challenging at times. Nobody gets through it without “stuff”, and some of that stuff is volatile and explosive and it changes us along with the simple passage of time itself. Our bodies get older, they sag a little here, ache a little there and as our past grows longer our list of sorrows grows too. Of course, so does our list of joys. The diversity of our experiences, the ups as well as the downs, truly are the stuff of life that make our lives both bountiful and beautiful.

Yellowstone Photo is by fellow iStocker Wallentine at🙂

teaser tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday asks you to : Grab your current read, Open to a random page, Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. That’s my first grandchild, baby Brooklyn, posing yesterday for her very first portrait! Meagan is having contractions and if the baby isn’t born on her own they will go to the hospital on Wednesday so the docs can help can get things moving along more quickly. When I picked up After This by Alice McDermott just now, the first (I so swear!) sentence I read was in the middle of page 33: Mary Keane watched her daughter and felt as well the punch and turn of the baby not yet born and saw the similarity of the mystery of them both – the baby unseen, moving and elbow or a foot, the means to an end all its own, unfathomable; her daughter with the unseen life playing like reflected light over her face, her lips moving in a conversation forever unheard.

teaser tuesday

Rather than pick up the book I’m reading now for my two Teaser Tuesday lines, I went to my bookshelf and pulled out The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodson Burnett. As a young reader, it was one of the first novels I read and I haven’t looked at it for many years. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I’ve ever read the actual book in my hands, I bought it just so I would have a copy in my library. I hope my future granddaughter is a reader. I would love to have her wander into my den and pick up this book someday, then ask me what it’s about and whether I liked it. When I opened the book this morning my eye went right to this wonderful line, “Fair fresh leaves, and buds-and-buds-tiny at first but swelling and working Magic until they burst and uncurled into cups of scent delicately spilling themselves over their brims and filling the garden air.”

I’ve been working outside a lot for the past few days, weeding and planting flowers in my own garden. We’re making a lot of major changes in the landscaping around the house this year, taking down many old trees and shrubs. There are times in our lives when we don’t want change, when we perhaps get a little too comfortable with the way things are. This spring, I felt like I needed to shake things up a bit. While Mr. bookbabie was concerned about cutting down the overgrown trees, I couldn’t wait to have them gone. I wanted to cut out all the old growth around our property and let in more light, start over again with new trees and shrubs and a whole new color palette for the flowers. Perhaps it’s silly, but I think a part of me hopes that this landscape makeover will also help makeover my spirit, cutting out the old dead growth and letting in a rainbow of fresh new light 🙂