Tag Archive | reading

Book recommendations! 📚💜 (Mostly suspense/horror) 😱

Book recommendations!!! 😍📚

(Screencap of my Kindle App – I did not read that black book in the middle, called “Asexuality,” that says “read;” I accidentally skipped to the end and it recorded it as read. And for some reason it won’t let me delete it off of downloads. I’m going to read it but later and I don’t want it showing up here now but can’t get it off.)

This is something I posted on FB last week! 😁

List of books I read in August! All on Kindle! I prefer e-books because I can carry them around more easily, carry multiple ones without it being heavy, can’t lose them, and can read in the dark/falling asleep, my favorite! Also can click a word to see a definition or quickly copy & paste into search box. Then when it’s through, I can easily put it away instead of having to carry it around if I’m out. And they take up less physical space. I travel for work a lot and read when I’m out and about. I can use the highlight function and copy and paste quotes/excerpts. I find e-books much more convenient all the way around.

I love reading but don’t always keep track of the books I read or how often. This month, I decided to list the ones I read. I read various kinds of books, fiction suspense/thriller/mystery, educational, personal development, science fiction, cute romantic love stories, best friend novels…. sometimes I read more suspense, sometimes more educational, sometimes more personal development,….but overall, the ones I seem to read and favor most are fiction suspense/horror/mystery/thriller. I don’t like true criminal stuff unless it’s fictionalized and loosely based on true events.

I love all of these and recommend them all to people who like these kind!

Here is a list with just the titles then I listed them again with descriptions!

1.) The Perfect Son -fiction – horror/suspense
2.) The Moonlight Child – fiction – suspense/mystery
3.) The Best Of Friends – fiction – suspense/mystery/psychological
4.) A Little Book of Ace by Clara Dehlin – educational book on asexuality
5.) One By One “A gripping psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming.”

I’m currently reading a thriller called “Victim Of A Delusional Mind” about a young woman abducted by a disturbed person. I may have it complete before August is through. After that, I’m going to read “Layla,” a paranormal thriller. I may read the “Haunting” one here after that.

I think the two books here I found most to be page turners are “One By One” & “The Best of Friends.” Couldn’t put them down!

1.) The Perfect Son -fiction – horror/suspense

DESCRIPTION
“‘Mrs. Cass, we were hoping your son could answer a few questions about the girl who disappeared last night…’

Erika Cass has a perfect family and a perfect life. Until the evening when two detectives show up at her front door.

A high school girl has vanished from Erika’s quiet suburban neighborhood. The police suspect the worst–murder. And Erika’s teenage son, Liam, was the last person to see the girl alive.

Erika has always sensed something dark and disturbed in her seemingly perfect older child. She wants to believe he’s innocent, but as the evidence mounts, she can’t deny the truth–Liam may have done the unthinkable.

Now she must ask herself:

How far will she go to protect her son?”

I don’t like the characters but the book is excellent!

2.) The Moonlight Child – fiction – suspense/mystery
TRIGGER WARNING ⚠️ This one involves child abuse. We don’t know until we begin reading it. I thought it was going to be a paranormal thriller.

DESCRIPTION
“A gripping and emotional novel that will leave you wondering about the neighbors next door…

On a cold January night, Sharon Lemke heads outside to see a lunar eclipse when she notices something odd at the house behind her backyard. Through her neighbor’s kitchen window, she sees what appears to be a little girl washing dishes late at night. But the Fleming family doesn’t have a child that age, and even if they did, why would she be doing housework at this late hour?

It would be easy for Sharon to just let this go, but when eighteen-year-old Niki, a former foster child, comes to live with Sharon, she notices suspicious activity at the Flemings’ house as well. When calling social services doesn’t result in swift action, the two decide to investigate on their own.”

Very likable characters (not all of them, but the protagonists).

3.) The Best Of Friends – fiction – suspense/mystery/psychological

TRIGGER WARNING ⚠️ – involves gun violence

DESCRIPTION
“An unthinkable tragedy forever changes a group of teens and turns family against family in this edge-of-your-seat thriller that begs to be read in one sitting.

Best friends Lindsey, Kendra, and Dani endure every parent’s nightmare when a tragic accident befalls their teenage boys, leaving one dead, another in a coma, and a third too traumatized to speak.

Reeling from the worst night of their lives, the three mothers plunge into a desperate investigation of the bizarre incident. How could something so horrible happen in their wealthy Southern California suburb?

They soon discover that the accident was just the beginning, and troubling discoveries lead to chilling questions: Do they really know their children? Do they even know each other? As more secrets surface, a fog of doubt and suspicion threatens to poison their families, their friendships, and the whole community.

With the illusion of happiness and safety long gone, these women must now confront the hazards of heartbreak, the consequences of jealousy, and the dangers of living double lives.”

This totally is a book that tempts us to read all in one sitting. I did not want to put it away! In my opinion, none of the characters are likable but the book is definitely great!

4.) A Little Book of Ace by Clara Dehlin – educational book on asexuality

DESCRIPTION
“Learn more about asexuality in this easily digestible book, filled with illustrations, metaphors, definitions, and spaces for your own personal reflections. In a world that isn’t always kind to marginalized communities, it is important to continually educate yourself to better understand others’ experiences. Whether you are hoping to show up better for someone you love, explore your own identity, learn something new, or anything in between, this book will provide you with an understanding of what it means to be asexual.”

Short, easy to understand, and very informative. It seems directed at young people; it’s written with a tone and way that appeals to asexual children(yep, they exist!), but I recommend it for any age.

5.) One by One – “A gripping psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming.”

DESCRIPTION:

“One by one, they will get what they deserve…

A night spent sleeping on dirt and leaves is not how Claire Matchett expected to spend her vacation.

She thought this would be a break from the stresses of work and raising her young children.  A chance to repair her damaged marriage.  A week of hiking and hot tubs with two other couple friends.  It sounded like heaven.

Then Claire’s minivan breaks down on a lonely dirt road. With no cell reception, the group has no choice but to hike the rest of the way to their hotel. But it turns out the woods aren’t as easy to navigate as they thought.

Hours later, they are lost. Hopelessly lost. 

And as they navigate deeper into the woods, the members of their party are struck down mysteriously one by one. Has a wild animal been hunting them? Or is the hunter one of them?

But as more time passes, one thing becomes clear:

Only one of them will return home alive.”

All great books! 📚

I hope you are having a beautiful day or night wherever in the world you are! 💜

Xoxo Kim 😍❤️

Princess – a short fictional story I don’t recommend…

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“Life is like a game of cards. The hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play it is free will.” – Jawaharlal Nehru

Unless you want to be scarred for life like I am. Lol j/k but it’s seriously twisted! 

Recently I read a short story on BlackBerry Kindle like 47 pages and it’s another kind of insanity. An insanity you don’t even want to think about.

It sucked me right in and reading it was thoroughly entertaining but then it just got insane. At the end I had one of those “DAFUQ DID I JUST READ?!?!?!” moments. 

I’m going to write about it here, including the end so if you would prefer to read the short story before reading this then you know to click it off.

But like I said, unless you want to be traumatized forever, don’t. Lol

It’s a psychological thriller and in the reviews it is said to be dark and deeply disturbing. And it is!

It’s BEYOND disturbing.

It starts out with a mother helping her teenage daughter get ready for her prom, fixing her hair in front of a mirror in her bedroom, and her date is late showing up. The daughter is concerned that he’s standing her up and going with another person.

Her mother gets furious at this and spins the chair around that her daughter is in and yells in her daughter’s face that she is second to no one and the boy is probably just experiencing car trouble. Then in a split second the mother is back to her sweet self again smiling cheerfully at her daughter telling her that she’s the most beautiful girl in the whole county and everyone always knew it. That to me is a red flag right there that the mom may have some kind of issues going on getting furious in a split second to the point of screaming loudly in her daughter’s face then just as soon puts on a sweet smile and goes back to fixing her hair like nothing.
And the way she seems kind of obsessed with her daughter being “the most beautiful girl according to everyone.” It’s just weird.

The story switches scenes to where the girl’s dad is in a shopping mall. The wife is horrible to her husband and controlling and sent him out to find their daughter’s date or he would have to suffer her wrath.

So here the father is searching for a teenage boy to take to his daughter. I was confused at this point because the daughter seems to know her date, Josh, but it seems as if the dad is looking around for a random boy to take back.

Here, that’s exactly the case. Her father is looking for a random teenage boy to abduct! 

And call him Josh. Even though he’s not Josh.

The dad gets the boy in a parking lot, drugs him with a needle and takes him home, forces him to dress in a tuxedo before going into the house.

The scene switches back to home where the daughter is getting ready for her prom. They live on a secluded farm in the middle of nowhere and don’t know anyone.

The mom answers the phone and is 
relieved to hear that “Josh” just had “car trouble” and is on his way to pick up their little girl for the prom.

Here, the “daughter” is a mannequin! With a wig! Wtf?!  And the mom switches roles. First she’s the mom and the daughter is the mannequin. Then the mom takes on the role of the daughter and the mannequin becomes the mom!

The mom put on the wig and became the daughter and was conversing with the mannequin who is now the mom.

Then the dad came home with the abducted boy who they call Josh. The boy is utterly confused (as am I at this point..)as the dad tells him to wear the tux, answer to Josh, and do whatever his “daughter” (who is really his wife) says. The dad says he’s not explaining anything to just do as he says because he has a gun and will use it if the boy resists.

The “girl” walks down the stairs calling for Josh and she’s wearing a dirty pink dress that is too small. She’s clearly not a teenage girl but a middle aged woman. At first the boy thinks it’s a twisted joke and smiles then quickly realizes it’s a nightmare of reality.

The “prom” takes place in the basement of the house and there’s no other guests. Just the abducted boy and the husband and wife who is pretending to be the daughter. The husband and wife act as if there are other kids there though but they focus mostly only on “Josh.” They have punch and music and decorations and dancing. They pretend there’s a room full of kids and talk on a microphone to the audience.

The boy begins crying because he’s so scared but the woman/girl assumes/acts like he’s just so happy and moved over the whole prom thing.

The husband is relieved at this because if the boy doesn’t cooperate, the husband will suffer his wife’s abuse for him not doing a good job.

Then they go into a small room and the girl/woman shows her date a photo album and in all the photos is a mother and real daughter. The mother in the photos with the real daughter is clearly the woman now pretending to be a teenage girl. The photos are mostly of them at beauty contests.

The little girl who is the real daughter wins the beauty contests every year, she’s holding a trophy in every photo. But soon she comes to look very much like her mom (the lady now pretending to be the daughter) who is considered less than pretty and overweight.

So she starts getting second, third, last, then no winning place. The mom is obsessed with beauty and being/looking perfect. She tries to force this on her daughter. The woman pretending to be the teenager tells her “prom date” about how her mom was obsessed with physical beauty always trying to force her to live up to impossible standards, claiming that the judges of the contests were just jealous or something.

Then she puts the photo album away and forces the abducted boy to engage in sexual activity with her. He doesn’t want to but the dad has a gun and threatens him. 

So here’s a husband forcing a teenage boy to get it on with his wife! Who is pretending to be a teenage girl! Can you say, TWISTED?!

Something in the punch made it so the boy can be aroused enough to get it up even though he doesn’t want to.

Then they go outside and have some thing where they are elected prom queen and king.

Throughout the story the dad keeps reassuring the boy when he asks, that he will be let go and can go home at the end.

It’s a lie. They are planning on killing the boy.

It’s clear throughout the story that the husband is distressed over this whole situation and doesn’t want to participate but feels he has little say in it; his wife is emotionally abusive and forces him to do stuff.

It also becomes clear that this whole “prom” thing happens every year where the dad reluctantly goes and abducts a random boy, brings him home, he’s forced to engage in a “prom” and sexual things with the wife, then they kill him without anyone ever knowing.

Since they live in the middle of nowhere they’re less likely to get found out. No one ever thinks to look for the missing boys there.

I kind of guessed the end but got a couple things wrong. I thought it would turn out that years ago their real daughter was killed on prom night, I thought maybe a car crash going to the prom. And that the mom got so messed up over it she does this shit every year.

That’s kind of what happened but not quite.

At the end the boy wants an explanation since he’s going to be killed anyway.

So the husband tells him. 

Spoiler alert….
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.
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Five years ago on prom night his real teenage daughter was supposed to go to the prom with a popular boy named Josh. His daughter was unpopular and horribly bullied for her physical appearance and body weight. So when a popular boy asked her out it came as a shock but the girl was thrilled. She got all ready on prom night and Josh never showed up. So when she called him, he laughed at her and said all insults about her, said it was all a joke, that he would never go out with her, he was going with someone else.

She was devastated. Her mom showed no compassion and said it was all her daughter’s fault for not being good enough, for not being pretty, for being second to other girls.

So the girl ran outside and her dad went to run after her but his wife demanded him not to and said let their daughter think about what the mother said, that it will do her good or something. The dad reluctantly listened to his wife as he always does. Then later he found that his daughter hanged herself off the rafter things outside. He had to cut her lifeless body off the thing and watch her fall to the ground getting her pink dress all dirty. The pink dress the mom wears now for this freak show.

Then every year after that the mom set this up.

As the dad is telling the boy how his wife destroyed their daughter, he’s crying and says he misses his daughter terribly and how his wife couldn’t even show her some sympathy after her ordeal with the boy on the phone. He doesn’t even know why he goes along with this every year. He suspects it may have something to do with his own feelings of inadequacy that no one would ever want him, that he will always be alone. Years ago he always felt like that and was relieved that the girl who became his wife, wanted him forever. So he always did everything she told him to out of fear of losing her and being forever alone.

At the very end, the boy promises he won’t tell if the dad let’s him go, he says out of respect for his daughter he’ll keep it quiet. The dad is holding a gun to the boy.

Then the husband gets up, goes inside to the wife where she’s still pretending to be the daughter. And he tells her he misses their daughter so much. The wife looks confused since right now in her twisted head she is the daughter.

Then he points the gun at her and blows her away then does away with himself.

The end.

Bizarre ass shit, isn’t it?!

It’s sad and tragic and bizarre. 
The whole thing.

Not an uplifting read.

And some things you just can’t unread.

No matter how desperately you want to.

Lol

My heart breaks for that poor girl who died, feeling as if that was the only way out, like she was worthless and not good enough. My heart breaks for the dad who lost his little girl who he loved. He was wrong for killing the innocent boys he killed all those years and for killing his wife. But his anguish for his tragic loss is clear. It’s only fiction but it’s still sad. And unfortunately, stuff like this really happens(suicide, bullying, abuse…hopefully not the prom thing as well).
 
I believe the wife knew exactly what she was doing. That’s why she had to get a mannequin and keep making it a point to reverse roles, switching wigs and all. She knew to keep switching and to have to get a physical figure in place of a mother/daughter. She knew to relentlessly criticize her husband if he did not do exactly what she wanted. She knew to keep the thing a secret so she wouldn’t be in trouble.

While mental illness and feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, being verbally/emotionally abused are not the person’s fault and no one can just make them go away, when a person struggles with these things, that person has a choice. A choice to seek help, to overcome, get better, pro-act. The man couldn’t help it that his wife was abusive to him and that he had low self-esteem but that is no justification for abducting people, drugging them, and aiding in sexually assaulting them.

It’s not the wife’s fault that she had unhealthy views about body image but it’s no justification for forcing her own standards on her daughter, emotionally torturing her ’til she killed herself. The woman could have worked on herself to shift her views to more positive ones. She was projecting her own insecurity onto her innocent daughter. She could have chosen love over the abuse and bitterness. It’s not her fault she felt the need to have a fake prom every year, maybe she had some kind of mental illness(???) but she could have got professional help or worked on herself with self-help techniques to help this. So it wouldn’t have all ended in tragedy. There may be real people out there somewhere with something like this, people who dress up mannequins and pretend they are real for whatever reason. If that’s just a hobby for fun it’s ok even if people think it’s strange, but if it’s the result of serious emotional problems I think they deserve some compassionate motivation to seek help of some kind and deserve some sort of understanding. This is just a horror story but maybe there’s real people with these sorts of disorders or something. And if there are, it doesn’t mean they’re all dangerous like the people in the story.

And the poor daughter. She was emotionally abused her whole life by her peers and her mother. But suicide isn’t the answer. It’s a tragic, senseless choice. There’s always hope. 
Being bullied, humiliated, abused, depressed and suicidal is not a choice but acting on it by killing herself is. 
She could have worked on herself to realize her worth and know it’s never dependent upon her physical appearance, her body weight, or what her mom or anyone else says or thinks of her.
There’s always hope. Where there’s life, there’s hope. There’s always a way.

None of these people took responsibility for themselves. They let other people, unhealthy views, situations control them into doing tragic and twisted things. I think this is a great reminder to take responsibility. No situation or other person has the power if we don’t let them. We have the power over ourselves. 

I think this story isn’t meant to be thought provoking like this. It’s probably just supposed to be dark, twisted, insane, disturbing, thrilling. And that’s ok! Some people are into that kind of thing. I like some stuff like that too. But I still found some insights in the story that serve as great reminders. I’m happy I read it. Lol

We must know we have choices. Not realizing we have a choice can be almost as bad as really not having one but it’s not quite as bad as really not having a choice. We can learn we have a choice, be reminded, realize, see the light.

I think the only character in this story who really had no choice is the boy who was abducted. He had a gun held to him so basically he had no choice if he wanted to not be killed or threatened. 
But he has a choice how to handle the situation and his attitude, and reaction when it’s over.

People who have a choice but don’t yet realize it or are scared and act/think like victims deserve compassion but also deserve to be firmly reminded that it’s all up to them to change their lives and selves. Depressed people, homeless people, unhappy people, financially struggling people, suicidal people, addicted people, ones in abusive environments, ones letting a situation or other people dominate them, people working dead-end, life draining jobs…they all have choices. Positive, healthy choices. They don’t always know they have choices but they do, even if right now the only choice is something as simple as working on their attitude or taking small steps to get out of the situation. Small but significant steps.
Maybe they don’t always know what decision to make but they can seek guidance along the way.
Not everyone has a choice to change something significantly right this very minute. 
Not everyone is making conscious or intentional choices to get where they are.

But we can all make the decision to plan to change, our attitude or situation or both. Starting now. In small steps. Small steps are still significant.
And then we can work on that. For some it will definitely be more difficult than others.
Some people have more obstacles and disadvantages than others.
But we all have this life and twenty-four hours each day to do something. Something. Anything.
No matter how hard it is, people can change for the better. Even if it takes longer than desired. Even if it takes a lot of work. Even if it’s painful and seemingly impossible. 

We can’t help how we grew up, the people we have been surrounded with, the things they do or say, disabilities or illnesses, job losses or rejections….but we can always make the choice to do something to better ourselves and our situations.
Even if that choice for now is just meditating upon or planning to live up to a positive philosophy of life, quote or affirmation.

Even if that decision is planning in our heads to develop certain positive qualities we don’t yet have or strengthen ones we do have.
Even if that decision is to make a phone call, send an e-mail, walking into a building to ask for help.
 Many people feel that it’s cold and callous to say that certain struggling people have choices, that it’s not true, that it’s not being compassionate but none of this is true. It is being compassionate to help empower people to know they can get better, can take action, responsibility for their own lives.
To help people know that we are all dependent in some ways and can be independent in some ways if we really work for it.
There’s a healthy balance of gentle compassion and firm reminders of taking responsibility.
 
Some people really are cold and not understanding and and do criticize people in a toxic way when they have a choice but act like they don’t. But that’s not what I’m promoting.
We can be firm in reminders but still compassionate and loving and express deep empathy. 
The choice to do nothing is still a choice.
Sometimes we can find ourselves in places we are unsure how we got there.  It’s like we just ended up there with no say of our own.
But often it’s because of choices we have been making all along. Not always but often. Choices to do nothing, to settle, to take no action, to give in, to succumb to limiting beliefs. Choices to let other people and situations drag us down.
I have found myself in situations I was so sure I had no say in, no control over, I was a “victim” of sorts. But I later realized the roles I had in situations and what I can do now to begin getting out of it. If we realize we made choices that contributed to unpleasant situations then we can be empowered knowing that means we have the ability to make new choices that contribute to more positive situations.
If you make choices that contribute to unpleasant things then you can make choices that lead to positive things. 
 And it’s true we don’t always have choices for everything.
But whether or not we had control all along, right now the choice is ours.

Xoxo Kim

3:00AM

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“Let’s cherish every moment we have been giving; the time is passing by…” ~ Kool & the Gang

Hello,  My name is Henry Bins and I have Henry Bins. Lol jk That’s an inside joke to myself. ;-D

I read a fiction book called “3:00AM” about a man named Henry Bins and he has a very rare sleep disorder which was named after him because he is one of three people in the world to have it and he was the first to be diagnosed.

He says “My name is Henry Bins and I have Henry Bins!” lol

It’s like a mixture of comedy, suspense, thriller, adventure, drama, love, mystery…I guess you can say. I love it!

The disorder causes him to sleep 23 out of 24 hours a day. It’s beyond his control. He wakes up every morning at 3:00am then just drops wherever he is at 4:00am and goes to sleep.

He had this disorder his whole life. It’s no walk in the park for him but he learned to live with it. He learned to adjust and cherish every moment he has awake.

His mom left him and his dad when he was a child and his dad brought him up and loves him unconditionally. He always wanted Henry to be as normal as possible and he made sure he was educated and well socialized. He would teach him reading and writing and he would bring children to their house at 3:00 am to play with Henry. Henry is about 36 years old in the novel, I think, and he’s as “normal” as can be.

He uses the Internet and goes out running and listens to music. But every single minute, literally, has to be planned out so he can get the most out of his life and be home safely in bed before he drops.

It’s also a murder mystery, this book. One morning just before 4:00 he was in his bedroom and he heard a woman scream like she was being murdered. Because she was being murdered. 

They live near Washington D.C.

He looked out his window at her house across the street and saw Connor Sullivan,  44th president of the United States, walking out and the president looked up and saw Henry! Then Henry dropped to the floor asleep. And woke up all stiff and injured. He doesn’t drift off to sleep around 4:00am, he will literally drop and sleep with absolutely no control. He already ended up in an emergency room occasionally because of dropping to sleep and being injured when he was out places too late.

He learned to make sure he’s in bed right before 4:00am.

There’s no known cure for this (fictional) disorder.

Because of knowing his time is limited, he carefully plans to make the most of literally every single minute he’s awake. He is mindful of all the ways he can have fun, of all the beauty around him. He cherishes each and every moment he’s awake. He knows at 4:00am he will be asleep until the next day. He had a few girlfriends at different points but it never worked out because they couldn’t handle his disorder. He says the only thing worse than being or having Henry Bins is being in love with Henry Bins. 

He plays video games, listens to music, runs for fun, reads books, checks out online dating websites, plays cards with his dad, has a stock business, a cat, and is generally happy. He pretty much has a full life. He sometimes wonders what it would be like if he did not have this disorder. He wonders if he would be married with kids but he knows he can’t be wasting minutes sulking or wondering “what if…???”

Henry says:

“I force myself to stay in the moment. I don’t have time for the past or the future. My life is the present. For many years I played the what if game. What if I had a normal life? Where would I be? Would I be married? Would I have kids? But then twenty or thirty minutes would be gone. Wasted. Thinking about things that I can’t change. That are unchangeable.”

See how this can apply to most of us to some extent? Who doesn’t at least once think “What if….?” We may think what if we were different or our lives were somehow different…what if we made a different choice, weren’t struggling with things beyond our control, looked different, were married or married to someone else, chose to go to school instead of certain jobs, did not have to put up with certain people, had more money…..

But all we have is now and what we currently are. It’s good to work to better ourselves but not fret or obsess over what we can’t change, what could have or should have been, or negatively compare our lives to others. 

He doesn’t have much but what he does have is enough. He has one hour each day and he knows how to make the most of it.

Henry wakes up and he says, about the green numbers on his electronic clock,

“The glowing green embers also tell me it’s 3:01am. 
One minute gone.” 

Three minutes later after going online and checking his accounts, he says:

“3:04. 
Four minutes gone.”

There is a profound revelation here.

“One minute gone.”

“Two minutes gone.”

“Three minutes gone…”

(he doesn’t count down like this throughout the entire book – that may be kind of annoying lol)

Henry, because of his disorder, only has a limited amount of time so he knows not to waste any of it at all. 

Every single moment is important and worthy of being embraced. 

For every minute he must decide what he wants to do that minute, what is worth it. Does he want to read, listen to a song, play a video game, masturbate(lol he decides that at this moment it isn’t worth it)…? Each minute he does something he doesn’t really care to do is a minute wasted, a minute he can never have back. 

But guess what?! It’s not because of his sleep disorder that he only has a limited amount of time! This is true for all of us! His case is just more dramatic than most of ours but none of us has an unlimited supply of minutes awake!

One day, just like Henry Bins, we will drop except we won’t get back up again.

Henry was forced to realize this because of his condition. We are not usually forced by life circumstances to realize this to the depth that Henry is. Some people diagnosed with terminal illnesses or ones who have a near death experience see this much more deeply than probably the average person.

In some ways, his disorder allows him to even live more fully than a person without a disorder like this. What we may see as life hindering actually sets him free. To live more deeply, more completely, more sweetly than the rest.

He says

“…I spend a perfect minute watching a trawler sucked downstream by the sweeping black current. I used to wonder what it would look like during the light of day, how the water would look under a burning sun and puffy white clouds, but day didn’t exist in my world. Only night. Only darkness.”

I love this statement for a couple of reasons. It shows how much many people take for granted. The simple beauty we too often overlook.  The beauty of day and night. It shows us how we have access to mundane things we overlook everyday that some people long to have and never do. Like daylight. Some people are always in the dark. 
The next morning you wake up to the light of day, look around you and pretend you are Henry Bins finally seeing the light of day. Look with new eyes like you have never seen beauty in the sun. Isn’t it lovely?
 This statement also shows acceptance. He can’t have day where he lives in his position and he just cherishes what he does have.

He knows it’s not wise to spend his moments being concerned over stuff he can’t do much about currently. 

“The corpse of the woman continuously creeps into my thoughts as I run, but each time I am able to ward it off with a tight squeeze of my eyes and a gaze up at the starry sky. This is my time. Not hers.”

Sometimes we have to practice self-care and not put too much time and energy into other people’s problems and stuff we can’t change. This is especially poignant when we realize our time is limited. I think we all, or most of us,  grow up with the knowledge we won’t be around forever. But knowing and realizing/feeling it are two different concepts. Once we feel it to a certain depth, we may be more motivated to change our ways to live in the present moment mindfully, with gratitude.

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Since Henry’s time is especially limited, he checks his cell phone a lot for the minute. He has to so he can get back home safely and plan out how much of each thing he would like to engage in.

Since he lives near a murder scene, he is questioned by detectives. 

The one detective wonders why he almost  constantly checks his phone. She says,

“What’s one minute to the next at three in the morning?”

Henry is infuriated.

This detective does not know of Henry’s condition and he doesn’t care to explain it to her. 

Also, he made a big mistake and he does have something to hide.

He says to the reader,

“Those minutes are my life, I nearly scream. Those minutes that you take so much for granted because you get a thousand of them each day are priceless to me. Your life is measured by title, wealth, and status. My life is measured in grains of sand, trickling from one teardrop to the other.
My nostrils flare when I’m angry and I wonder if Ray feels a small gust of wind. Taking a calm breath, I ponder telling her that I’m Henry Bins and I have Henry Bins. I don’t.” 

(Ingrid Ray is the homicide detective – it’s cute because Henry and her have a little crush on each other! Lol)

At one point Henry says,

“It’s like Christmas, each minute a beautifully wrapped gift just waiting to be opened. Should I allow myself an extra minute in the shower? Could I read three more pages of my book? Run another quarter mile? Watch a YouTube video? Watch the swimming pool scene from Wild Things, twice?”

Isn’t this beautiful? Each minute of his life is a beautiful gift. Each minute itself. Every minute to him is full of wonder and possibility. If only we would all think this way quite often! 

After reading this novel I noticed a change in me even without trying. I came to have an even deeper appreciation for my minutes and became even more mindful after just reading this book once. Then I began to apply the concept consciously and intentionally even more than I used to, the concept that each minute is a gift. A perfect gift. A minute is brief, fleeting. But it’s something. And every minute matters. 

Have you ever wasted minutes? I sure have. Have you ever waited for a bus or train and just keep anxiously looking up the street as if it will make it appear or keep looking at your watch? Or keep thinking where in the hell is this bus or train? Or have you ever waited somewhere for someone to pick you up to go somewhere and when it’s nearing the hour the person should be coming for you, you don’t just sit and be peaceful, instead you feel like just getting it over with and like there’s no point in starting anything like reading or watching a movie or anything because you will be leaving soon, in just a matter of minutes?

But even five minutes is enough to be some kind of productive. One minute is.  You can read a few pages of a book, meditate, write in a journal, a draft for a blog post… If you’re waiting for a bus I don’t think I would recommend deep meditation or maybe not reading and definitely not listening to music with earphones. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings for safety purposes. I do read and listen to music while out and about, occasionally, but I don’t recommend it to others. But you can take in the scene around you or think more productive thoughts than “when is this bus coming?!” or “let’s get this over with!!!”

Those few minutes are minutes that will be lost forever. Let us cherish them completely.

I try not to waste any minute now. The thing that really got this concept to sink in is in the beginning with the “one minute gone…two minutes gone…” That’s so true. For all of us.

I’m not Henry Bins and I don’t have Henry Bins. Lol 
But just like Henry Bins, I do not have a limitless supply of minutes. I can fall asleep at 4:00am and never wake up.

It’s not likely but not impossible. I’m sure I will live to be old, old, old and hopefully indefinite life extension will be a reality and we will all live much longer. But we all have something in common with Henry Bins. 
Each minute is a gift.

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I was careful not to give away any big spoilers. This is a murder mystery but with a deeper message. I strongly recommend it. 
I made it seem really cheesy and sappy here(I’m really into cheese and sap…) but it’s really not. The sappiness is all mine. Lol It’s a fascinating work of fiction both about a murder mystery and a very rare (fictional) disorder and how the man copes and lives with it. But it also has this deeper message. 

This reminds of of a teacher I had in high school, Dr. Zhender. He always told us in every class that no amount of time is too short. 
We can learn something of value in just a few short minutes. At the end of class instead of letting us talk or stand by the door, he would make us sit and watch part of a movie for the last five or ten minutes insisting that we never waste a minute.

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And it reminds me of a professor I had in college for Sociology. Professor Grasmuck. She did the same exact thing. In college when we have an exam we can leave whenever we turn our paper in and when class ends early we often are allowed to leave. If it only takes us ten minutes to complete an exam, we can leave or if a lecture ends early, but never in her class. She made us sit there and told us to read or something or listen to her music. At the end of every class she made us listen to music saying it would do us good. If a student tried to walk out, she would yell “sit back down now!” as if we were children! Lol But I liked it; to me it seemed like an act of caring and I missed high school when we were under the authority of the teachers. In college that’s not how it is. Professor Grasmuck was always very sweet and friendly, very caring and passionate. I have always loved that about her, how moved she would be over the stuff she was teaching us, she really feels it. She was always deeply touched over injustices and the misfortunes of others and how they would help each other.  She just did not want any time wasted in her class. She wanted us to learn and take in all the music and information we could in her class. Every minute counted. Every minute counts. 

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Dr. Z, Henry Bins, & Professor Grasmuck know that every minute is a gift and a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow and cherish.

This is a great lesson to us all!

😀

Xoxo Kim

Ugly-beautiful

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“And she’s so pretty cause she will never be…
She’s so pretty to me, to me, to me.
It doesn’t matter what everybody sees.” ~ Jude
 
I’m reading a novel called “My Grandfather’s Eyes.” I don’t know which page I’m on since it’s a Kindle book on my phone and the Kindle books don’t always show a page number. I don’t even know how many pages are in the book. I’m not at the very beginning but not quite to the middle. I know because of the virtual line showing reading progress.

What I read up until now is thoroughly beautiful. The main character, Alexandra or Alex, is something like a psychopath. She’s around thirty-two years old. Alex has no concern, love, affection, care, empathy, or any positive emotion for anyone in the world except for one person, her best friend Lizzy. She loves Elizabeth, or Lizzy, more than anything and anyone else in the entire world and would even die for her if she had to to save Liz’s life. They were best friends since Kindergarten and Alex was always in love with Lizzy but never acted on her romantic interest in her.
Alex was born with a facial deformity, a bump on her forehead and dark moles, some of which are hairy, and grow darker and bigger across the side of her face as the years go on. Alex’s dad took her when she was a little girl, to a cosmetic surgeon to have them removed but Alex refused. She has always loved her moles.

Even as a young woman in college, she cherishes her deformity, she thinks they add to her beauty. But it has always hurt her how most other people would react to her for her whole life, even her own family, her own mom. Many just stare while others say cruel things to and about her.

What I read until now leaves me to believe, for now(i think later she may go on a killing spree or something but not sure), that Alex is more indifferent to people than vicious or cruel, although she does think about and desire killing certain people and she murders her own husband who she was never in love with but he truly loved her. The two loves of her life have always been reading and Lizzy.

She doesn’t care about other people’s pain, she shows no empathy or concern when others come to her with problems or when she witnesses someone suffering. Sometimes she just doesn’t care and sometimes she actually takes pleasure in it. She’s somewhat sadistic.  She has absolutely no regard for human life.

Except Liz’s life. She cries for her when she’s hurt or when she misses her.

Lizzy is a beautiful, thin girl, with long blonde hair, flawless in appearance except for one thing. In high school she made a mistake in chemistry class and burned her hand up her arm which caused severe damage and is now disfigured. She thinks it’s repulsive but Alex finds it beautiful in the same way she knows her own deformity is beautiful. Lizzy is aggressive and funny. She’s intelligent but doesn’t care to display her intelligence. She’s also a thief.

Alex’s facial deformity doesn’t and never has fazed Lizzy. And Lizzy defends Alex when people stare or say rude things. She even kisses Alex goodbye on her “ugliest” and biggest mole.

“As I try to read, there is one thought that overwhelms me: He did not look at my moles. I am sure of this. There is only one other person who does not see them. My Lizzy.” ~ Alex

This may just be the most beautiful line in the book. I just love how she says “does not see them” Instead of “does not look at them” or “does not have a problem with them…” It’s just they don’t see them. They look straight through and see her for her.

The book is Alex reminiscing and telling us about different stages of her life, flashing back and forth.  

What I find beautiful is that the author shows how beauty can be found in ugly things or ugly things can be beautiful themselves. There is beauty in pain and darkness, in sadness, and struggles. Sometimes we can overlook “ugliness” and see the beauty in it or we can actually see “ugly” things, themselves, as beautiful. Maybe something is beautiful because it’s sad or dark or unusual or different.

She loves reading so much that her decision for which university to attend is based on the beautiful library.

“…the Gothic Hall complete with turrets and gargoyles – where I will study English Literature. It is ugly-beautiful and will suit me very well. A fitting place in which to study the works of great authors. I feel the hairs bristle on the back of my neck with the excitement it generates in me.” ~ Alex

It’s beautiful because it’s ugly. It’s dark and aggressive and enthralling.

And even though Alex is like a psycho, her self-love is so very beautiful to me. She’s extremely arrogant but also has genuine love for all that she is in and out. She embraces her ugliness and flaws and refuses to conceal them for what others think and say.

Some people mistake self-love as conceit or arrogance but this character, Alex, with both traits, arrogance and genuine self love, is an embodiment of the sharp difference. Arrogance isn’t love. Someone can be arrogant or act arrogant but have no true love for herself and someone can love herself and not be arrogant. Alex is both. She even admits that she “wears her arrogance like a badge.” But she genuinely appreciates her own physical features and her personality traits. She’s an intellectual with no patience for simple, less intelligent minds and trivial drama.

I also like how Alex isn’t a very beautiful character on the inside but there’s so much beauty to be seen in her anyway. The novel isn’t about a sweet, loving, innocent girl who lives a life of goodness but happens to have a physical deformity where the author plays on our empathy to overlook her physical ugliness but see straight through to her obviously beautiful loving heart of gold and love her anyway.

That would be easy.

This? This is challenging because beneath her physical deformity lies a deformed or ugly heart as well. But it’s impossible not to see incredible traits in her anyway. Like her self love even though she was tormented for being deformed her whole life, her indestructible love for her best friend that she would do anything for even if it puts her out, her passion for literature, the way she appreciates and basks in the simple joys of living like lakes and quietude, the way she bursts out laughing uncontrollably for no reason when she meets the man she’ll eventually marry, her intelligence, and dedication to her goals. We see her humanness as well as her monstrous side. And there are little bits of beauty scattered throughout.

I have felt guilt and various other emotions reading this book. Guilt for judging and guilt for adoring a psycho’s positive qualities and even some of her ugliness. I love when novels provoke uncomfortable as well as beautiful and positive emotions in me, when they force us to question ourselves in awkward ways. I don’t promote what she does but I can’t overlook her beautiful qualities. 

It reminds me to be like that with real people who may not be my favorite, ones with qualities I don’t care much for. I don’t have to be their best friend or be head over heels in love with them but I can still work to see the beauty in them and appreciate it.

Here is a beautiful quote out of the book about her looking at herself in a mirror, by the main character, Alex:

“In the mirror, I see a woman sitting bolt upright in her chair, with her handbag on her lap. She has long mousy hair, parted in the middle, her scalp white in the harsh fluorescent light. There is a large, dark mass spreading across the side of her face. I think her elegantly middle-aged, sensuously beautiful. I cannot identify with her. I see her smile, first with her eyes, which remain young, and then with the whole of her face. We fuse together, and I feel an energy building inside me, so that my reflection seems to disturb the air in the room, like a breeze across the surface of a lake.  It is a lake I have visited many times in my dreams. We are luminous and powerful.”

This is in a hospital after Alex’s husband dies. No one knows she murdered or tried to murder him. She planned to kill him but after she did, she wasn’t prepared for the feeling that would hit her, the reality of his death. She wanted him dead but after hearing those words, it was hard to accept and come to terms with the fact that  her husband is dead, that she killed him. She wasn’t shattered and is ultimately happy with her choice to kill, but she felt awkward, uncomfortable at first. She started to dissociate. 
Like, feeling as if one part of herself is no longer connected to another. Like her body and her mind or inner self, disconnect. Some people feel as if they leave their body when they dissociate,  after a serious trauma like assault of some sort, for example.

People don’t choose true dissociation but this excerpt reminds me of how many of us often hold ourselves to greater standards than we hold others. We judge our bodies and self worth in ways we wouldn’t judge our sister or best friend. “I have rolls or stretch marks, or am not a size 2 or have scars or acne…or whatever…so I’m hideous, fat, worthless, no good, ugly, not beautiful….” But would you ever say or think that about someone close to you? Or even a stranger? Chances are, no! Try to look into a mirror and kind of dissociate, not like a mental illness or result of a traumatic experience but remain unbiased, not shadowed by self critical thoughts. Take a good look at yourself and pretend you aren’t you. 

Look at your beauty with new eyes, with a stranger’s eyes. If you weren’t you and not so judgmental, if you weren’t brainwashed by the media or society’s concept of beautiful perfection, would you think you are ugly, horrible, not beautiful? Would you think you’re beautiful? Now take the beauty you see and feel and know, and become you again, the whole you, let you and the person in the mirror fuse together. Love one another as the whole that is you.

This book is already so thought-provoking and inspiring.

But….

I read some reviews and I think there may be some violence later in the book, maybe violent sexual scenes. Sometimes I don’t read much about a book, reviews or even the basic description, before reading. I like to go into it completely unbiased, not knowing. Sometimes I read a few reviews and for this I did and a couple said something about there being some “uncalled for sexual violence” or something like that, in the book that does nothing for the story but be disturbing. I read so many books and reviews though that I don’t always remember which reviews are for which books. For all I know those reviews are for another book!  I can tolerate extreme violence in books if the book is really good or has a deeper message other than just violence for thrill. It doesn’t thrill me.

 I felt drawn to this book immediately but then read something that contributed to me deciding not to buy it. And I think it’s the reviews that said there’s uncalled for horrific violence. But then I bought it anyway because what I did read about it in other reviews, the love she has for her Lizzy is so beautiful and it pulled me in and I also love the title. Yes I do judge books by their covers. Lol And even if that’s true that there’s unnecessary violence later, I’m happy I did buy it because of the deep insights I have already come to know just by reading what I did. But I can’t actually recommend the book without knowing the rest, especially if it has scenes that can trigger distress in someone who may have experienced trauma of some sort. Empathy while reading a book is one thing for a person who never experienced serious trauma but for someone who has, it can be completely  different, like the person is reliving it, the body can be like literally living it over, causing severe distress and pain. So I am careful recommending books without warnings.

“My moles continue to grow and darken. I take less care to hide the bump on my head, and I wonder whether my deformities will eventually take me over. I am impatient with them, wishing they would stabilize. I think I notice people staring more, and imagine they are whispering to each other but I decide that I will not try to hide myself away. It will be easier if the people who are alienated by such things have the chance to avoid me, and I reason that those who are indifferent to them will not care.” ~ Alex

I love this and completely agree. I would never want friends or people who like me only because they don’t know something about me that if they found out later they would reject me for it, whatever it may be. We don’t have to like everything about a person we like but we can accept, tolerate, or overlook it and love the person as a whole. I don’t necessarily want someone to like every single thing about me, like all of my opinions or anything, and I won’t conceal something just to have them like me or not reject me. It’s like an asshole repellent,if you show your ugliness or controversial views or something right off, you weed out the assholes and the true ones are still standing by your side. Or if you’re the asshole and people are going to reject you for it then they can back off and the ones who don’t mind asshole-ness will still be there. 
I don’t always like people’s opinions but I often appreciate the courage it takes them to stand up for whatever it is and the passion that drives them.

I am what I am whether I conceal it or not and whether someone likes it or not. So why deny or repress it? Instead I will give people the chance to know me and embrace me or know me and reject me.

My love for fiction has deepened dramatically over the last year and one thing I love about it is how the novels can teach us even
 deeper empathy and greater compassion and understanding for real people and real life situations. We can’t always see or know why people do the things they do and it can be easy to judge and direct hostility towards them without any ounce of empathy or understanding but in books, authors bring their characters alive, stripping them raw, so we can hear their every thought and know their motives and intentions, and we can then, have compassion even more and understanding for the characters. We can extend that to real people and situations.

Understanding and empathy do not necessarily entail or require encouragement of or promoting something. I can understand and be empathetic of a person doing something wrong or not good but not promote or encourage it. I love when authors challenge us. This author is clearly brilliant, not just in writing but her deep understanding of life.

The girl’s wedding day is on June 25th in the book and that’s today for real! Lol what a coincidence that I read that today!

Is that something only I would be thrilled over? 

;-D
I hear that a lot “only you, Kim!” or “only you would think or notice that, only you would laugh at that…!”

Xoxo Kim

“The only disability in life is a bad attitude.” – Scott Hamilton

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A Hope in Hell

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Last month, in May, for about the entire month into June, I was struggling with a severe depressive episode, worse than I have felt in a while. I have recurrent episodes but they aren’t as frequent as they used to be and they often don’t last as long as they used to.

When I feel an impending episode about to hit, I can often prevent it now using self-help techniques I have learned through the years. But this episode that hit me recently hit so hard, I slipped into it without the ability to go back. So all I was able to do was cope with it as best as I could. 

But it takes great strength and energy to cope with a severe episode of depression and suicidal thoughts and urges. Strength and energy I don’t always feel as if I have or even want to have. Depression saps it all. It weakens my will and desire to live. Weakens my motivation to get out of it. Some moments I let my self slip and choose not to battle it but let it have me, I struggled against violent suicidal urges, almost physical. I wanted to give up and give in, let it take me.

But unlike a few years ago when I would be hit with severe depressive episodes, I am now equipped with certain skills, attitudes, life philosophies, knowledge, and wisdom. All of these I lacked back then.

They are ingrained into me now because of all of my practice through the years to get myself better. While they cannot always help me prevent an episode or get out of one and they cannot cure me, they can help me cope and hold on.

Some moments I give into the weakness but then I soon find my way back. Sometimes I need reminders like quotes, songs, books, tips….to help bring me back.

For just over one month I struggled with inner darkness, a general sense of hopelessness, not about any specific situation, just in general, although it was triggered by something in my environment. I haven’t been struggling with any specific problem in life other than a sense of inherent worthlessness and darkness but an incident set off the episode. No matter where I go, there I’ll be. That’s how I felt. Like it doesn’t matter what I do, what I accomplish, how beautiful I am, how many people I know…It’s not environmental. My whole disorder, it’s like chemical and may or may not be triggered by environmental issues. Although environmental things can occasionally help somewhat or contribute more to the darkness, it’s not about my environment. I have been in different environments through the years, different stages of life….but the overall disorder remains. And I’m sure it always will. It will come and it will go. Come and go.  And I have come to accept that for the most part.

My entire body felt heavy and fatigued. I wanted to crawl up in solitude. I wanted to die. My interest in things almost completely evaporated and the few things I still managed to have a shred of interest in weren’t bringing me anywhere near as much joy or pleasure as they usually do.

Food had no flavor, music had no rhythm, there was almost no feeling to anything. Occasionally I felt beauty in things, like a walk in the warm gentle air, birds flying and chirping, reading books, helping people at work, looking up at the sky, sweet, warm and cool breezes, and a few other things. 
I also saw my good friend on different days, which was very helpful.

Reading is one of the few interests that managed to still get my attention, although it was difficult to concentrate completely on the content.

A while ago I began reading a novel called A Hope in Hell about a young woman who struggles with suicidal thoughts and contemplation and severe depression which she calls “Black Moods.”  This reminds me of when I was a young girl and young woman, before I knew what I have, before I was diagnosed, I called it the “Black days” or “black things” and the “gray days.”

It’s not a long book. I stopped reading after a couple pages, not for any specific reason, I just read multiple books at once and sometimes stop reading one until a while later, even when I like the book a lot.

Recently I felt drawn to it again. I have it on BlackBerry Kindle. So I started reading it and completed it.

It’s not a realistic story as it is about demons. Not just the demons that come along with suffering with depression but actual demons in Hell. In the book they can interact with humans on Earth.  The demons don’t know what happens to humans after they die; one demon, Lil, said no humans ever end up in Hell.

There will be some spoilers here in case you want to avoid them.

The young woman, Tasha, a very beautiful and extremely intelligent girl, suffered with depression since she was a teenager, over fifteen years. She tried some treatments but not many and none helped her so she stopped it. She has no friends and her family refused to help her financially and cut her off so they are estranged. She has had many lovers but it never worked out with any of them. She becomes homeless and decides to end her life at 3:00 in the morning by jumping off a bridge.

She jumps but there happened to be a man there who witnessed and he saves her life.

After she is released out of the hospital she was taken to, the man, John, who saved her life, let’s her live with him until she gets a job and a place of her own. He experienced his own tragedy and like Tasha, he knows true pain.

Tasha quickly falls in love with him but he rejects her sexual invitations over and over.

This book is very sexually explicit with vulgar language. I don’t mind but if that’s not your cup of tea you probably won’t like it much. It’s definitely an adult book. It does have a deeper message to it though.

Tasha constantly feels like a failure and feels rejected always just by life itself.

For much of her life she turned to sexual/romantic relationships and encounters to help her ease her lifelong despair but they only helped temporarily and eventually the men would leave her, usually because her illness always got the best of her.

One day she walks in and finds a stunningly gorgeous, female, demon participating in sexual activity with John, the love of Tasha’s life, her savior, the closest thing she has to a friend. Tasha felt broken and despair finding this. In the book it’s not shocking to find a demon walking the Earth so while Tasha was broken, she wasn’t freaked out. 

The demons aren’t “its,” they are very human-like, they have real genders and sexual identities and this demon is a beautiful woman, thousands of years old but sill looks like a young woman.

Tasha is jealous of her because of her physical appearance and because of her ability to put John under a spell and make him lust after her. During the sexual encounter with the demon, John isn’t all there. He’s kind of unaware of what is happening but his body responds in ways that make Tasha envious and more depressed. 

The demon was summoned to Earth for another reason and while she is there she senses John’s strong sexual desire for Tasha.

He has a certain reason why he won’t act on his sexual desire for Tasha and it frustrates him and the beautiful, sexy demon senses it and pays him a visit just for fun and decides to kill him while she’s there. The demon can sense that Tasha is suicidal and offers to kill her as well if she wants. Tasha desperately wants to die to end her depression but she doesn’t want John to die. So she tells the demon that she can kill her but to spare John’s life. The demon refuses. She will either kill just John or kill both John and Tasha. The demon, Lilith, explains that in Hell a person can’t give her life to save another. Tasha used to hang with Wiccans so she has some background knowledge of demons.

She knows they accept contests so Tasha initiates a contest with the demon. If Tasha loses, John and Tasha both die but if Tasha wins John lives and just Tasha dies. Tasha wants nothing more than to save John’s life and if she can die saving his, it’s even better! Lol it’s kind of amusing even though it has a depressing nature. 

The demon explains that no human stands a chance with a demon. A human will always lose a contest with a demon.

Tasha already feels like a failure so she’s almost certain she’ll lose to Lilith.

Tasha has no energy or life in her because of her depression but she will do anything for the man she loves so she gives it her all. The demon explains that the contest has to be sexual in nature. Tasha is no stranger to sexual experience as she spent years being seductive and doing whatever men wanted her to do so she has some confidence that she’ll do ok but she’s fairly certain she’ll lose.

The demon has John under a spell where he is completely lusting after her. He can’t take his eyes off of Lil. Lil is arrogant and not sympathetic to Tasha. Lil explains that if Tasha somehow manages to get John to take his eyes of her and look into Tasha’s eyes, she’ll spare John’s life but it’s agreed to that Tasha will die no matter what.

Tasha at first takes this to mean that she has to engage in physical sexual acts with John. The demon leads her to believe this is true. So Tasha does just about every physical sexual thing she can think of to John. He’s somewhat conscious but doesn’t realize what’s happening. Tasha knows he doesn’t want to have any sexual encounter with her but she apologizes and does anyway to save his life.

Nothing works. He won’t take his eyes off Lil.

-spoiler-

As I have mentioned, Tasha is extremely intelligent and has knowledge of how demons operate. She is able to realize that to get John to truly look into her eyes, sexual contact won’t work. So she takes him into her arms and touches him with her words, in a deep place, tugging at his heartstrings. She tells him he deserves true love and happiness and he deserves a beautiful relationship and that she would be happy to give him all that he wants, needs, and deserves. He’s under a spell so he can’t completely, consciously understand but some part of him does. So for once, he takes his eyes off of the beautiful demon and looks directly into Tasha’s eyes. He chooses true love over lust.

Tasha won. She outsmarted the demon, much to Lil’s dismay. But now Tasha has one little hangup, she now wants to live. But there’s no negotiating with the demon. She already “signed” a contract written in stone, written in blood, that the demon can take her life.

Tasha began to feel more alive, more confident, and her will to live strengthened.

I’m going to tell part of the end of the story now because of the lessons it teaches. If you would prefer to read the story and not read the end first, you can just click this off. I love the life lessons this story conveys.

“The Black Mood was still there, tugging at the new-found buoyancy of her soul, but she felt stronger now, made more powerful by defeating the certainty of her own failure. Her only disappointment was that she had gained the strength she had always lacked just when she had sold her soul.
Tasha wanted to live, she knew. She wanted to hold John’s hand in the doctor’s office while the doctor explained medical side effects that she already knew by heart. She wanted to hear pride in her father’s voice, and see respect in her mother’s eyes. She wanted to walk across the Michigan Avenue Bridge, spit in the ice water below, and smile at the people on the other side.
It was unfair. The only thing she had known for sure an hour ago was that she wanted to die, so she had promised the demon her life even if she won. Now it was forfeit. She could ask the demon for mercy, but one did not anger demons and expect to be given quarter, particularly if Tasha’s survival increased the risk that Hell would discover Lilith’s failure. Lilith would want her dead for her silence, if nothing else. It was impossible – just as defeating Lilith had been impossible.
Which meant Tasha could do it.
Think.”

Tasha chose life. But it was too late. She realized life isn’t so hopeless. She came alive.

But she found a way to live and the demon spared her life at the end.

Ten beautiful lessons:

1.) love is not mere physical/sexual acts- the story shows that true love is more than just lust and sexual acts. Tasha’s loving words are what convinced John to look into her eyes, saving them both.
2.) accomplishments can help – once she accomplished something great she realized she can accomplish more and more. It showed her that her life is not just one big failure. One accomplishment, big or small, is evidence that we CAN accomplish more and more.
3.) deeply rooted beliefs can be wrong – Tasha was convinced that she was a complete failure and that her life could never serve a purpose but she discovered she was wrong. As deep and ingrained as these feelings were, she was able to eventually see past them. Deep convictions take a while and much work to vanquish but it can be done.
4.) hope in extreme darkness – in the midst of so much, overwhelming darkness and pain, there can still be one slither of hope and that one slither can be just enough. 
5.) love can be strong and powerful enough to keep someone alive – 
The night before I read the end of this book I was contemplating. Wondering if I should choose life or choose death. I felt two strong emotions. Pain. Deep emotional pain. And LOVE. Metta. Universal love. My love was not masked by the pain. I felt it through it all. Love for the world, for people I know, for strangers, for people I have yet to meet who may need me in some way, some day. I may never accomplish much. But one day someone may need a smile, a hug, a helping hand, encouragement, inspiration, comfort, and how can I provide that if I’m dead? I contemplated hard. Should I end it all? Or choose love? I chose love. I choose life.
Just like Tasha in the book. She chose to live for love. Her love for one man inspired her to live. That’s not to say we should only live for romantic love or someone else. But her love inspired life and made her realize how her life can impact another for the better. How someone can come out of nowhere and need her in some deep way.  Just her presence helped heal John in his own pain. He shared some of his pain with her and how her life touched his. Even if she couldn’t have John as a lover right then, her experience showed her that her life does matter and can touch someone else’s. Even if John wouldn’t accept her as a lover or accept her sexual/romantic invitations, she chose to live, to love him in any way she can whether or not he will have her.
I chose love that night too. Not romantic love but universal love. Love for all sentient beings and all the beauty in the world.
Love of any kind can inspire life. 
6.) the “mind” can be changed after it’s too late – it’s possible to change your mind in the middle of or after a suicide attempt and it may be too late. In this story, the suicide attempt – asking a demon to end her life – is not realistic but it mirrors real life suicide attempts. There are people who attempt suicide in various ways then change their mind, realizing that life really isn’t so bad, it’s not so hopeless, life deserves another chance, they deserve another chance, and are sorry.  Some people are saved but for some it’s too late, there’s no going back. The damage is done. As long as we’re alive we can always choose to die but after we choose death and die or cause serious damage to the body to a certain extent, it’s done, there’s no going back. Sometimes this may be what we truly want because the pain is too much but pain can end without ending our lives and we can learn to cope while currently in pain. And often, it’s not an end to life we really want, just an end to the pain.
7.) think – there are other ways out
THINK. There are endless possibilities. Death is only one option. There are many more choices, things to try. We can use our creativity, our knowledge, tap into the love deep within and come up with better ways to end and cope with the pain.
8.) the depression part is realistic – the girl’s depression doesn’t magically lift but even amidst the darkness, she finds the strength to choose life. And has hope that she can get better. No matter how much it hurts you can find strength and hope. Tasha knows she still needs help and plans to ask for professional help and get herself better. 
9.) Something may seem impossible but not be. 
She thought it was impossible to win the contest with the demon. She also thought it was impossible to survive after she won the contest but she was wrong. She won and she lived. At the end of the book, Tasha’s life is spared. Her and John remain close. In real life outside of books, we may come across things that seem so impossible but we may just be wrong. There’s so much potential we all have that can be tapped into and realized.
10.) suicidal urges/desire for death is only temporary(even though it may always come and go) – it can end as fast as it can begin. Tasha made a choice to end her own life but just an hour later she wanted desperately to live. This is realistic. Someone can want so desperately, more than anything, to die. And that very same day, in a matter of minutes or hours, choose to live and want so desperately, more than anything else, to live. I know, I have felt this way myself. It always comes back but it always goes again and it’s worth it to hold on and live. It’s startling how fast a suicidal mind, once convinced it wants to die, can change dramatically and then choose to live. If you’re on the brink now, about to end it all, just think, in one hour you may want nothing more than life itself. This isn’t just reality for a fictional girl in a novel about demons, it’s my own reality in this real world.

This book is all about hope.

The most beautiful message: hold on, live, hope, keep pushing through it all, choose love.

Xoxo Kim 

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For the Love of Antiquarian Books & Things Touched

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“Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.” ~Author Unknown

I love old things. Very old things. Used. Worn things. Especially books. Old books are beautiful. Not just the content but the physical oldness (lol) of them. The fading covers, the crisp yellowing pages, the broken spines with loose pages….everything….

“A good book on your shelf is a friend that turns its back on you and remains a friend.” ~Author Unknown

I prefer old books over new books. In college I used to intentionally buy used books. And unlike most students the main reason wasn’t the reduced prices. It was because I loved that someone had it before me. I loved the highlights and little side notes in the margins. Sometimes I found them helpful but mostly I just loved seeing what people wrote and highlighted, knowing someone previously walked the journey before me. In high school I loved seeing the years and names listed on the back covers, especially when the years listed aren’t even of the same decade I had the book.

“You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.” ~Paul Sweeney

I remember sitting in class laughing with other students as we looked at our textbooks at the list of names next to years long gone, and talked about how students used those very same books in years that we weren’t even yet thought of.

The more tattered, marked up, the better.

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“A book must be an ice-axe to break the seas frozen inside our soul.” ~Franz Kafka

“Lord! when you sell a man a book you don’t sell just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue – you sell him a whole new life. Love and friendship and humour and ships at sea by night – there’s all heaven and earth in a book, a real book.” ~Christopher Morley

Old books.

One of the things I love most about them is the fact that through the years and decades they have been touched. Touched by various people, various lives, various breaths, the pages flipped by the fingers of people I’ll never meet. Words, concepts, sentences, comprehended by brains I’ll never know, books held in the arms of people who lived through years long gone. A world gone away. I wonder at the fact that the very books I hold in my hands were once part of someone else’s life. Someone who lived over ninety years ago.

I imagine my touch embracing the touch of people who felt the pages I feel now. My fingerprints lacing with old fingerprints that may still be on the surfaces, forever etched upon the yellowing pages before me.

I imagine the wonder that may have surged through curious brains long ago while devouring the words, tears that may have caressed the pages at night, thoughts that pondered the content, emotions that swirled like magic, giggles that echoed through the air, sadness, happiness, joy, and fascination that breathed while people read, felt, and cherished the books that are still around today.

I always loved the idea of old things. Old, beautiful things, used things that previously blessed the lives of various people, before making it into someone else’s hands.

“The smallest bookstore still contains more ideas of worth than have been presented in the entire history of television.” ~Andrew Ross

And I don’t just love literal old things but even modern or new things made to look or seem old, things with an old feel to them. A nostalgic, reminiscent tinge. I love modern books which take place way long ago. Just lovely.

“Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures.” ~Jessamyn West

I recently realized I have a few very old books. There’s this used bookstore in Center City, Philadelphia called “Book Traders” and I love it! Especially the personal development, philosophy, and Psychology sections.

Sometimes I just grab a whole armfull of books that seem appealing to me. I found that I have a few very old ones, a couple 1940 ones and one 1913, and one 1920 one. And probably more laying around somewhere. I have so many books and online books on the Kindle, links, and pdfs that I don’t get around to reading them all yet and some I forget about until coming across them later.

I bought none of these books because of the age but because I find the subjects genuinely interesting but I’m sure if I saw a super old, inexpensive book somewhere with a topic I care nothing about, I would purchase it “just because.” lol

I found one last night in my dresser I never knew I have til now! I found myself giggling because it’s an American History book that was published in 1912 and updated in 1913. It’s faded, yellowed, crisp, and falling apart somewhat but still in great condition for a book of that age. Most of the pages are not falling out. It’s funny because so so so much has happened involving the U.S. Since then and it’s interesting to see it so incomplete. It’s funny to think how important that book was back then but how useless in an educational context, it is now. It’s so underdeveloped. It’s difficult to explain in words. It just seems so simple next to now. Our President Taft was president back then. And our President Wilson.

I know in 100 years though, when someone picks up one of our history books now, it will be so incomplete. So useless, educationally. And there will be new history books packed with so much more than we can imagine right now. Maybe in years to come, in the way distant future, someone somewhere will hold one of my books in her hands and giggle, her fingerprints joining mine on crisp, yellowing pages.

Anyway I been thinking about it a lot today and it reminded me of another book I read. A book I planned to write about here but never have yet. A breathtakingly beautiful but devastatingly heartbreaking novel. Published in the 70’s, It takes place in Ohio during the years just after the “Great Depression.” It’s called “The Bluest Eye” and is written by author, Toni Morrison. It’s about a little girl, Pecola, and how she struggles with self-esteem/self-worth issues because of the way society treats African American people. She’s an African American girl, around eleven years old, who desperately desires blue eyes. African American girls were often made to feel less beautiful than white girls and it was ingrained into them that blue eyes and light skin are worth more than dark eyes and dark skin. I know some of that sentiment still lingers today and it’s very real and detrimental to those who are affected by it.

Then this little girl suffers a serious tragedy.

It’s heartbreaking that throughout her whole life she suffered unjust racial discrimination and also her peers, even ones of her own ethnicity, excluded her. In the book, she’s considered to be less than beautiful, not just because of her skin/eye color but all of her features. And her family isn’t very well liked by the community people.

All she wants is love and acceptance and a feeling of being worthy. And no one gives her this or helps her see her true beauty. She is convinced that a pair of blue eyes will give her meaning and beauty.

And she’s convinced that it’s possible for her brown eyes to turn blue.

Her family struggles financially and also with domestic violence.

There’s a scene in a candy store where this sweet little girl wants candy and she’s afraid to ask. She knows the man won’t care for her. He’s rude and abrupt and impatient and treats her as if she’s nothing. It’s heartwrenching.

It’s amazing how the absolutely brilliant author, Toni Morrison, portrays the characters, so real and has the ability to convey the depth of the emotions and feelings experienced by them.

Throughout the book, I felt that I was able to identify so strongly with the characters in some ways. I wasn’t alive in the 1940’s, I’m not a child, have never experienced discrimination based on my race, and although I have experienced financial difficulties, occasionally, it’s not to the degree that this little girl’s family experiences it in the book. They are practically living on the streets sometimes. I can’t possibly know what most of those things are like. But the author is able to reach through all that and poignantly convey the very basic humanness of the little girl, Pecola, and the other characters. She conveys the longings and the needs, the heartache and suffering. The kind that is felt to some degree, at some point, by most living humans.

So many things struck me while reading. Like how sometimes our comfort zones are more comforting to us than the unusual even when our comfort zones are painful, chaotic, destructive, horrifying, and miserable. Even when the unusual is more sane and calm than our traumatic but familiar routines. Sometimes we can’t handle being out of our comfort zones or usual routines and become restless for what we have always known. Sometimes when all is quiet and calm and serene, we may find ourselves not only yearning to go back to what we know but actually intentionally bringing on trauma and drama and horror just because it’s what we’re used to, and actually finding some kind of twisted comfort in it even though we don’t want it and it’s not good for us. The chaos, the pain, the trauma and drama somehow fills a sense of emptiness in us that the lack of it all creates.

There’s so much in this novel I believe most of us can identify with in some ways no matter what decade we grew up in, no matter our skin color or culture, class status, financial situations, age, or any situations….

It’s beautifully and poetically written. It inspires me. The lady who wrote it is mind-blowingly understanding, empathetic, and amazing at writing it. When I say empathetic and understanding I’m not merely talking about compassion and caring. That too but I’m referring to an even deeper ability to get into the heads of certain kinds of people, create characters in ways that are so very realistic.

She gets in the heads of perverts, sexual predators, bullies, prostitutes…and portrays the human side. She writes of the awkward, painful, uncomfortable aspects of life and brings to life the characters who are responsible for the devastation and the people they impact.

She depicts their monstrous sides but also their human sides. She tugs at our heartstrings, seemingly tempting us to feel for these characters, to see their humanness, their basic, essential, marred innocence, daring us to identify with them in some ways. But never justifying their atrocities.

Her writing is beautiful. In an astounding way.

There’s a character in the novel who is a pervert. He’s mentioned earlier in the book but readers don’t know yet at that point that he’s really a pervert so I won’t mention this character’s name to avoid spoilers. I’m going to quote some things about him out of this book after readers find that he’s one. So in case you haven’t read the book and are reading this, planning to read it, I will not write his name.

The quotes here won’t give too much away but if you don’t want to know then I would recommend you stop reading here. I’m not giving the ending away or any big shockers or anything.

I find the description of the pervert to be very beautiful even though it’s dark and awkward and uncomfortable, and to some people, quite disturbing.

Lines taken out of “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison:

“Once there was an old man who loved things, for the slightest contact with people produced in him a faint but persistent nausea. He could not remember when this distaste began, nor could he remember ever being free of it. As a young boy he had been greatly disturbed by this revulsion which others did not seem to share, but having got a fine education, he learned among other things, the word ‘misanthrope.’ Knowing his label provided him with both comfort and courage, he believed that to name an evil was to neutralize if not annihilate it. Then, too, he had read several books and made the acquaintance of several great misanthropes of the ages, whose spiritual company soothed him and provided him with yardsticks for measuring his whims, his yearnings, and his antipathies. Moreover, he found misanthropy an excellent means of developing character: when he subdued his revulsion and occasionally touched, helped, counseled, or befriended somebody, he was able to think of his behavior as generous and his intentions as noble. When he was enraged by some human effort or flaw, he was able to regard himself as discriminating, fastidious, and full of nice scruples.”

&

“All his life he had a fondness for things – not the acquisition of wealth or beautiful objects, but a genuine love of worn objects: a coffee pot that had been his mother’s, a welcome mat from the door of a rooming house he once lived in, a quilt from a Salvation Army store counter. It was as though his disdain of human contact had converted itself into a craving for things humans had touched. The residue of the human spirit smeared on inanimate objects was all he could withstand of humanity. To contemplate, for example, evidence of human footsteps on the mat – absorb the smell of the quilt and wallow in the sweet certainty that many bodies had sweated, slept, dreamed, made love, been ill, and even died under it. Wherever he went, he took along his things, and was always searching for others. This thirst for worn things led to casual but habitual examinations of trash barrels in alleys and wastebaskets in public places….
All in all, his personality was arabesque: intricate, symmetrical, balanced, and tightly constructed – except for one flaw. The careful design was marred occasionally by rare but keen sexual cravings.”

&

“He abhorred flesh on flesh. Body odor, breath odor, overwhelmed him. The sight of dried matter in the corner of the eye, decayed or missing teeth, earwax, blackheads, moles, blisters, skin crusts – all the natural excretions and protections the body was capable of – disquieted him.”

I just love these descriptions. The beauty, the concepts, the words, the substance. And you don’t have to be a creepy pervert or a misanthrope to appreciate the simple human aspects of life, the residual human touches, footprints on a doormat, an old coffeepot that someone else’s coffee was made in long ago, scents that linger on objects, a blanket that comforted someone through the night, a typewriter that someone else’s fingers created a masterpiece with….even the dark parts and the bodily descriptions are beautiful. They are part of life.

I know many people are totally, utterly grossed out by the thought of many people touching one thing and touching what countless strangers have touched. It probably makes some people’s heart skip and not in a good way. But I just find it beautiful.

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I wish I could tell little Pecola that she’s beautiful. She IS beautiful. Her brown eyes, her dark skin, her innocent ways…everything. She’s beautiful just as she is. She doesn’t need blue eyes or fair skin. She’s perfect the way she is. I wish I could embrace her and tell her she’s beautiful in and out. All little girls and women should be encouraged to feel beautiful and worthy and encourage other girls to feel beautiful and important as well.
I wish I could have been in that candy store to help her pick out her candy and inspire her to be a happy, innocent little girl filled with joy just looking at the candy. Just like little girls should feel.
I found myself shattered by this novel. Beautifully shattered.
Characters in fiction aren’t real in our world but they do exist in the worlds of books, stories, writings, movies, in the brains and imaginations of all the gifted authors/writers.
And they are real in some strange sense.

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I strongly recommend it to anyone who loves novels, drama, profound messages and depth and beauty in writing.

“A good book has no ending.” ~R.D. Cumming

There’s another book I read and wrote about here called “314” Book II in a trilogy and in the book one girl is able to put her hands on any object and see everything that previously happened involving that object, even years ago. She can touch a pen and see who else touched it and she can touch walls and see all that happened within the confines of those walls. It’s overwhelming so she keeps her hands in her pockets a lot. I don’t believe in psychic stuff like that but I love the concept. It reminds me of life all around and how some parts of us still remain on the objects we touch and live on long after we do.

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“Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.” ~P.J. O’Rourke

(LOL!)

It reminds me of all the mundane things we take for granted, all the simple things that make up our lives every single day. The things. Things that contain our breaths, fingerprints, scents, particles, sweat, tears, imprints…..

“My test of a good novel is dreading to begin the last chapter.” ~Thomas Helm

“I adore the feeling of being completely taken in by a book. When the tears of joy or sadness wet your cheeks. When you snort with laughter in a crowd and when you shout at the pages in anger.” ~ Unknown

Xoxo Kim

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Accountability & Hilarious victim mentality quotes

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I read a self -help book some years ago called “You Can’t Avoid the Luxury of a Negative Thought”  (A book for People with Any Life-Threatening Illness – Including Life) by John – Roger & Peter McWilliams.

This is a book for anyone interested in self help techniques, learning about positive thinking and letting go of negative habits.

I lost the copy I had years ago and recently my dad just gave me another  copy he is done with and I started reading it again.   I remember that years ago I laughed so hard at some things written in this book.   One of the sections I laughed at uncontrollably is about “Accountability.”. It’s a section in the book intended to help people recognize that we have the ability to make choices and we should take responsibility for our own lives & happiness.  

We shouldn’t feel guilty for making bad decisions and the authors aren’t “accusing” people for being in bad situations. They are intending to help empower us by helping us see that we have the ability to make positive choices and changes & respond positively to bad things that happen in our lives. And knowing that we brought some things on ourselves is a good thing because it empowers us to know we have control over much of our lives.

In this section they provide a list of things real people said after getting in car accidents that were their own fault. 

These people may not have realized they were doing this but after the accident many were putting the responsibility on anything other than themselves, including inanimate objects such as a telephone poll.  They weren’t trying to be amusing but they sure are funny! 

I remember years ago, reading the people’s brief quotes, I almost died laughing.   And when I picked up the book to read again recently I wondered if I would find them just as amusing as I did back then.   I could only vaguely remember them.  But I remembered how I laughed til it hurt!

So I flipped through the book to find that section and read the list and…… found them as hilarious as ever!! I laughed so much my mom said it’s ridiculous! Lol

She wasn’t amused though! She said they’re really stupid quotes. 

I am one of those ones who can laugh at the same joke & movie and memories over & over.   It never gets old! Some people find that so annoying! But I have a lot of fun! ;-D

The authors provided these real life quotes to get a point across but also for some comic relief. I know I probably shouldn’t be so amused over accidents. But it’s not the accidents themselves that are amusing; it’s the things people say!  

I hope no one was seriously injured in these accidents.   

At least we know the people responsible for the accidents lived well enough to tell about it!  
🙂

These were taken out of real auto insurance reports.

“Coming home I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I don’t have.” 

“The guy was all over the road. I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him.”

“I had been driving for forty years when I fell asleep at the wheel and had an accident.”

“An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my vehicle and vanished.”

“The indirect cause of this accident was a little guy in a small car with a big mouth.”

“The telephone poll was approaching. I was attempting to swerve out of its way when it struck my front end.”

(this has to be the most hilarious, to me!!) 

“I pulled away from the side of the road,glanced at my mother-in-law, and headed over the embankment.”

The authors encourage readers to think about something unpleasant that happened that we once considered to be something or someone else’s fault completely but when we think back, we, ourselves, may see that we in fact played a part in bringing it on ourselves. If we develop this skill, we can learn to empower ourselves, taking responsibility in a positive way and seeing how we have the ability to make effective choices & learn lessons through mistakes.

They say to: Go back in time: think back to something that happened to you that you were unhappy about and claimed that someone else was responsible.  

My own example: My food often gets eaten by my dogs and sometimes I get angry at them for eating it.   One day I bought two delicious looking pink cake pops at Starbucks that I couldn’t wait to eat. One was for my sister. I brought them home and had to go right back out and I forgot to put the cake pops away and when I came home my dog already ate them. I was so disappointed but also amused. I was so tempted to say it was my dog’s fault but I know when I leave food out and they eat it, it’s my fault.

Here’s a great country song called, “Choices” by George Jones

Desktop:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&persist_app=1&v=AP0oQCh_teg

Mobile:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AP0oQCh_teg&app=m

I love it and find it so comforting when I’m in a depressed mood.

Xoxo Kim





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Anybody can beat anybody on any given day

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I recently read a novel by Morton Reed called, “Proof of Innocence,” which is a legal suspense thriller. It takes place in California, U.S.A. In the early 90’s and is about a young boy who is accused of attempting to kill his severely abusive father while his father was in bed sleeping.

While I found this book to be very enjoyable in various ways, I probably wouldn’t recommend it to anyone as it depicts horrific violence in graphic detail.

Serious domestic violence /abuse, extreme child & spousal abuse, horrific sexual violence.

At some points I wanted to put the book down and quit reading .

Some parts are deeply disturbing.

I have experienced domestic abuse and while it’s not nearly as bad as the abuse carried out by the character in the book, I can still relate in so many ways, especially to the emotional abuse, extreme anger outbursts, horrific threats…

It’s terrifying. And painful.

But there are many insights and valuable lessons conveyed in this book.

Some themes are:

❤ Risking it all for love (platonic & romantic)
❤ Hopelessness & restored hope
❤ Deep friendship
❤ How one life can impact another and how one person can suddenly, unexpectedly walk into another person's life and change it for the better.
❤ Redemption
❤ Justice and what it is to be just
❤ Self exploration
❤ Trusting others
❤ Never giving up on people even when they are difficult
❤ Emotional scars and learning to live happily with them
❤ Insecurity & confidence
❤ Seeing humanity & potential even in very troubled people/criminals
❤ The benefits of psychotherapy
❤ Morality

&

Some lessons I find to be valuable which are conveyed throughout the book are:

❤ We should learn to trust ourselves and when we learn that, it won't matter so much what others do, say, or think about us. If people fail us, deceive us, or try to rip us off, we will have ourselves to fall back on and survive no matter what. We can learn to be strong, capable, and competent.
❤ Mistakes often say nothing about who the person is. Even great people make mistakes.
❤ Not all people who are considered by society to be lost causes, losers, or failures, are bad people.
❤ The past doesn't have to imprison us.
❤ Sharing our stories of pain can truly help us

My favorite character in the book is a confident defense attorney who tries to get the boy accused of attempted murder, to be found not guilty.

In the book, there is a flash back to the day this lawyer cross examined a police officer/detective in a courtroom.

Most of the details are not relevant to my post so I will not go into them too much but will provide a brief description.

This defense attorney, a strong, confident woman is cross examining a police officer and asking him questions regarding a confession.

This officer is being questioned as to whether a confession provided by an arrested person was really completely voluntary or coerced by police.

He assures the lawyer that the police did no such coercion and that the arrested person did in fact confess voluntarily.

But the officer is frustrated, forgetful, contradicts himself, and is awkward in this moment, among other things.

He is uncomfortable with her questioning and it really shows. As soon as she dismisses him, he runs out of the courtroom, quickly.

She later contacts him and has this to say:

“I wanted to let you know that, like you, I was just doing my job. Also, like you, I’m very good at it. On that day you weren’t so hot. Someday I won’t be so hot, either. It’s like the tennis pros say: ‘ anybody can beat anybody on any given day.'”

I love this and it’s so true. Each one of us will have occasions of winning, being our best, coming out on top, and owning it but then we’ll also have those occasions of falling, losing, seemingly failing, not being our best. It’s great to show compassion, forgiveness, understanding, love, and gentleness to ourselves and each other.

This lawyer is kind enough to reach out and empower the humiliated man and offer him friendship as opposed to smugly rubbing it in his face like she could have, like often does happen in cases where one person gets his/her ass handed to her/him by another.

Sooner or later, you ‘ll get your second wind.

I think we can all benefit by being like this brilliant and loving character.

She is a retired criminal defense attorney who mostly worked for more of a hobby than a career. She never cared for money and was very selective of the cases she took on, only taking on ones she truly felt compelled to work at.

Unlike many of the other defense attorneys, prosecutors, judges, and other law people, she truly cares for her clients and people in general. She warmly embraces those that the rest of society brands as “losers” & “lost causes.” She sees potential and humanity in seriously troubled people.

She retired because of burnout. She got too involved in her cases & the people.

In the book she is described as a beauty. A tall, slender, African American woman with long, lovely legs. Her reputation is that she is not one to be messed with, she’s confident, strong, knows her stuff.

She’s a tough broad but with a soft heart. Truly compassionate and caring about people in general. She’s financially well off, dresses expensively, has a large expensive house decorated impressively, drives an expensive car but she’s not arrogant. She has a bit of an alcoholic drinking problem that she’s not ready to abandon.

I am so inspired by so many parts of this book even though I’m so put off by other parts.

The author is not condoning the horrors in his book,, in fact he conveys the wrongness of it.

If you like legal thrillers/suspense/mysteries and don’t mind gore & graphic details of horrible violence then this may be for you.

If not, I wouldn’t read it.

I love novels about perseverance, happiness, Redemption, heartache, hope, and healing, learning to live again, love & life…and this book does display this.

I love the insights & the lessons throughout it.

But the violence & horror isn’t my cup of tea.

Xoxo Kim ❤
k

“Carry Me Like Water” – a novel

ImageI love to read but I usually don’t read novels. I have read random ones throughout the years that I love that somehow randomly made it into my hands but since I don’t have a favorite topic or favorite author I usually don’t know where to start to find novels I may like to read.

But recently I found one that captured my heart completely.

I go to used bookstores/thrift stores mostly for books and some of them have plastic bins full of free books. One day recently I bought a shitload of self-help books and was walking out the door and noticed a book in the free bin called “Carry Me Like Water”. I never heard of it before then and did not think for a second that I would actually read or like it before I read the description. But the name, that lovely name, “Carry Me Like Water” drew me in, touched me in an indescribable place, inspired me, and so I snatched it up just for the hell of it!

And whooooaaa am I glad I did!!

I read the back of the book and just knew I had to give it a try. But when I got home, I threw the book aside and promised myself I would read it later. A few weeks have come and gone and I finally picked up the book again and began reading. Since the very first page I was hooked!

Hopelessly, desperately hooked.

There are some books I have read and love but certain parts of it or pages kind of bored me somewhat but this book? Not one word bored me. Not one! What a page turner!

I read it day and night and was through with it in just a couple short days. If it wasn’t for having to sleep and a couple of other essential things I would have read it in one day or less! It has 502 pages.

When I read novels I come to get so attached. I come to love the characters almost as if I know them! And I mourn them when my reading is complete. While I can never wait to get to the end to see what happens, a part of me dreads it because while I can read the book again and again it just won’t be the same as the first read!

This book truly has my heart. I love it. It’s beautiful, captivating, heartwarming, heartbreaking, inspiring, painful, breathtaking, agonizing.

Brilliantly, brilliantly, breathtaking.

It explores some deep sorrows that our world endures such as unjust discrimination against people of certain races, incestuous sexual abuse, homophobia, classicism, HIV/AIDS.

It is a beautiful story of hope, healing, forgiveness, moving on, trust, honesty, friendship, love, and family, romantic as well as platonic/friendship love, self acceptance and the acceptance of others, even those who are different than the character or who have made seemingly unforgivable mistakes.

It takes place in the 80’s/90’s in San Francisco & El Paso and involves a group of people including Caucasian and Latino people and Homosexual & Heterosexual people who are all connected somehow but do not know or realize it. Their lives have crossed or touched somehow at some point. Some do not know it and some want to forget. Their lives are all broken and they all struggle with some sort of emotional pain and very difficult problems that are extremely hard to face and admit.

It explores borders, both geographical as well as emotional borders.

I would fall asleep at night reading it and wake up and begin again!

It shows how people can heal even after horrific tragedies like abuse and loss and abandonment and social injustices and how family is not always biological or blood.

This is thoroughly entertaining and gut-wrenching. I felt every emotion conveyed by the author and experienced by the amazing, incredible characters. I felt like I was involved with the lives and hearts of those people. I haven’t felt that way over a novel since I read my other favorite book, the semi-fictional, “A Million Little Pieces” by James Frey about his beautiful, agonizing struggle to overcome substance addiction. 

It is a lovely story! ❤

 

“Carry Me Like Water”

Published in 1995

Author: Benjamin Alire Saenz 

 

My favorite kind of books/novels, other than self-help, I realize, are ones of hope & healing, perseverance, and overcoming problems that once seemed impossible to overcome. I have a hunger for more of those books. I just have to see what subject they fall under. There are murder mysteries, science fiction, romantic comedy….I guess I have some exploring to do!

 

😀 ❤

 

“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.” 

― Francis Bacon, The Essays

 

 

“If you are going through hell, keep going.” 

― Winston Churchill

 

 

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” 

― Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

“I am a slow walker, but I never walk back.” 

― Abraham Lincoln

 

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” 

― Nelson Mandela

 

“When you get to the end of your rope. Tie a knot and hang on.” 

― Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

“That’s one of the remarkable things about life. It’s never so bad that it can’t get worse.” 

― Bill Watterson

 

When things go wrong, don’t go with them.” 

― Elvis Presley

 

“If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.” 

― H.G. Wells

 

 

“It’s not how we fall. It’s how we get back up again.” 

― Patrick Ness, Monsters of Men

 

Let pain make you BETTER not Bitter!! ❤