Saturday, April 30, 2022

Blogging from A to Z 2022 - Zoo

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter


Welcome to Day 26 of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge (2022) I will be discussing topics of interest to those who identify as women this year. The Book Connection is lucky number 78 in a list of more than 140 bloggers who are participating in 2022. I encourage you to check out the list and visit other blogs with topics of interest. 

ZOO

To end our Blogging from A to Z Challenge for 2022, I want to talk about those furry little members in our lives that are good friends and who offer companionship and comfort. Well, not all of them are furry, right? Maybe you have a bird, a lizard, a fish, or a pig. No matter what type your animal friend is, we are grateful to have them. 

We lovingly call our four cats and the dog a zoo, because morning and evening feeding times are definitely zooish around here. I honestly don't know how farmers handle so many animals at once. We have loved many pets through the years, and we have lost several along the way due to age or disease. But, they are always worth it to us, and we can't imagine our home without them. 

I hope you'll share more about your pets in the comments. Congratulations to all who participated in this year's challenge. What was your easiest letter? What was your hardest letter? Will you join again next year?



Theo 


Travis & Dwight


Boots


Giggles


R.I.P. Tito


R.I.P. Tiger


R.I.P. Stubby


R.I.P. Miller

Friday, April 29, 2022

Review: Sand Dollar Lane by Sheila Roberts

 

A fun romance set in a small beach town is what you'll find in the latest Moonlight Harbor novel by Sheila Roberts. 

Sand Dollar Lane features Lucy Holmes, a Seattle-based real estate broker working with her husband, until she catches him showering at one of their listings with another agent. Determined to start over, Lucy buys a house in Moonlight Harbor, a small beach town. 

Brody Green has suffered through a divorce and being dumped by his fiancée. Even though he and Jenna remained friends, they still live in the same small town. Eager to make up for breaking off their engagement, Jenna is seeking the perfect woman for Brody. 

The one thing Brody always has going for him is that he owns the one real estate office in town. That is until Lucy Holmes arrives and opens up her brokerage.  

I have enjoyed this author's books for years. I rarely pass up an opportunity to participate in her virtual book tours. This read was a bit tough on the eyes since I used NetGalley on my phone, but it was worth every minute.

Roberts creates characters you love and want to spend time with. In Sand Dollar Lane, you can't help but feel sorry for poor Lucy, whose entire life is turned upside down by her husband Evan's indiscretion. And who can't understand how Brody feels watching the woman he thought he would spend the rest of his life with marry someone else? It is a novel that tugs at your heartstrings and makes you root for the main characters to find lasting love.

What I truly enjoyed about this novel, however, is how well Roberts used multiple points of view to work through the subplots of the novel. Lucy and Evan's daughter Hannah brings a fresh and younger perspective to this women's novel. I don't want to spoil things, so I won't go into detail, but I loved her insight into her family's troubles and how big she dreams about her and her mother's futures. 

Anything with a beach town setting is going to capture my attention, but Roberts' cast of town residents and their town events really made this a special story. As a real estate professional, I also appreciate that the author took the time to run details by an actual real estate broker. I despise when fictional real estate professionals do crazy things that would never be allowed. 

If you enjoy small town romance, women's novels, or well-written stories told from multiple view points, you need to give Sand Dollar Lane by Sheila Roberts a try.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ MIRA; Original edition (April 26, 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 368 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 077838635X
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0778386353

I received a digital copy of this book from the author through Pump Up Your Book. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Blogging from A to Z 2022 - Yes

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter


Welcome to Day 25 of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge (2022) I will be discussing topics of interest to those who identify as women this year. The Book Connection is lucky number 78 in a list of more than 140 bloggers who are participating in 2022. I encourage you to check out the list and visit other blogs with topics of interest. 

YES

Many people, myself included, are encouraged to say no more often. We say yes so often our schedules are overfilled and self-care goes out the window. There are, however, things we might want to consider saying yes to more often.


Say yes to trying new things.

Say yes to believing in yourself.

Say yes to having faith that even if you can't see it right now, everything will turn out okay.

Say yes to doing one thing each quarter that makes you step outside your comfort zone.

Say yes to listening more than you talk. 

Say yes to living each day to its fullest. 


What do you say yes to? How has it changed your life?

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Blogging from A to Z 2022 - Xena

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter


Welcome to Day 24 of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge (2022) I will be discussing topics of interest to those who identify as women this year. The Book Connection is lucky number 78 in a list of more than 140 bloggers who are participating in 2022. I encourage you to check out the list and visit other blogs with topics of interest. 

XENA


If ever there were a hero series to attract men and women alike in the mid- to late 90s, it was Xena: Warrior Princess. First appearing as a villainous warlord on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, by the end of Xena's story arc, she reforms and goes off to make amends for her past evil deeds. Xena: Warrior Princess then spun-off due to the character's popularity. 

As a demi-god, she had amazing strength. While proficient with many weapons, her chakram remained the favorite. Of unknown origins, Xena throws the chakram and it ricochets off objects before returning to its owner. 


Xena was known for an unforgettable battle cry. Her battle garb made her instantly recognizable. According to Looper, two of Xena's costumes are ensconced in museums, and the United States military looked into her outfit when redesigning battle armor for female soldiers. 

The character of Xena became a role model for many reasons: she owned her mistakes, she empowered others around her, and she was viewed as equal to her male counterparts (by herself and others), to name a few. 

Did you watch Xena: Warrior Princess? Did you have a favorite episode? Were you okay with how the series ended? 

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Blogging from A to Z 2022 - Alice Walker

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter


Welcome to Day 23 of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge (2022) I will be discussing topics of interest to those who identify as women this year. The Book Connection is lucky number 78 in a list of more than 140 bloggers who are participating in 2022. I encourage you to check out the list and visit other blogs with topics of interest. 

ALICE WALKER

Alice Walker is a writer, poet, and activist who, according to her website, won the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction in 1983 and the National Book Award. Her biography states she is a staunch defender of not only human rights, but of the rights of all living beings. 

Walker coined the term "womanist" in her book, In Search for Our Mother's Gardens. Howard University states womanists place special focus on issues facing black women, men, and families. There are numerous journal articles written on this topic. 

She has a new children's book out titled, "Sweet People Are Everywhere." The poem addresses a young boy getting his first passport, taking the boy––and the reader––on a journey through a series of countries around the globe where “sweet people” can be found.



Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Blogging from A to Z 2022 - Vacation & Valued

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter


Welcome to Day 22 of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge (2022) I will be discussing topics of interest to those who identify as women this year. The Book Connection is lucky number 78 in a list of more than 140 bloggers who are participating in 2022. I encourage you to check out the list and visit other blogs with topics of interest. 

VACATION & VALUED

What we all need from time to time is a vacation from life; time away from the day-to-day grind to recharge and refresh. Vacations don't always have to be this ridiculously planned, scheduled down to the minute getaways. You don't even always need to leave your home. It can simply be taking a few days off to do something you enjoy or to accomplish something on your to-do list that you can't during your regularly scheduled work week. Because we go to the Outer Banks in July, I know I'll have some real estate work to accomplish while down there. However, the simple freedom of knowing I can't possibly show houses because I am hundreds of miles away, makes it easier to handle. Then we have the beach, going out to eat, and time to just sit and read. 

I don't think anyone can place a price on the importance of feeling valued. Knowing you're appreciated, knowing you're loved, knowing people respect and trust you is priceless. It's important to show each other how grateful we are that they are in our lives and for how much they do for us. One of my favorite quotes is this one, because even if people can't see your value, your value is not diminished. It may be a struggle to see that, but it's true. 


What is your favorite type of vacation? How do others make you feel valued? How do you remember your value?  

Monday, April 25, 2022

Blogging from A to Z 2022 - Unbeatable, Unlimited, & Unwavering

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter


Welcome to Day 21 of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge (2022) I will be discussing topics of interest to those who identify as women this year. The Book Connection is lucky number 78 in a list of more than 140 bloggers who are participating in 2022. I encourage you to check out the list and visit other blogs with topics of interest. 

UNBEATABLE, UNLIMITED, & UNWAVERING

The word "unbeatable" might make one think of champions; athletic champions, social rights champions, or academic champions. I like to use it in another way. When I don't let something get me down, I'm unbeatable. When I keep on plugging away despite the odds, I'm unbeatable. When someone tells me I can't and I decide to show them I can, I'm unbeatable. Some call that persistence. Some call that wherewithal. Some probably call it crazy. I just can't be any other way.

Unlimited thinking helps us achieve our goals. If instead of putting obstacles in our way or determining before we get started the reasons we can't accomplish a task, how about being open to dreaming big and envisioning ourselves achieving our goals? Sounds easy, but it's not. We have to take it in baby steps, but the more we do it, the more it will become habit for us.

Unwavering support is important to all of us. It is so much easier to face life when we know we have support along the way. Whether it be from family, friends, or colleagues, that unwavering support helps us succeed and push beyond our comfort zone.

In what ways are you unbeatable? How can you use unlimited thinking to achieve a goal? Who offers you unwavering support?

First Chapter Review: The Road to Me by Laura Drake

 


I received the first chapter of the women's novel, The Road to Me, by Laura Drake from Pump Up Your Book. 

BLURB:  Jacqueline Oliver is an indie perfumer, trying to bury her ravaged childhood by shoveling ground under her own feet. Then she gets a call she dreads―the hippie grandmother she bitterly resents was apprehended when police busted a charlatan shaman’s sweat lodge. Others scattered, but Nellie was slowed by her walker and the fact that she was wearing nothing but a few Mardi-Gras beads. Jacqueline is her only kin, so, like it or not, she’s responsible.

Despite being late-developing next year’s scent, Jacqueline drops everything to travel to Arizona and pick up her free-range grandma. But the Universe conspires to set them on a Route 66 road trip together. What Jacqueline discovers out there could not only heal the scars of her childhood but open her to a brighter future.

COVER: I love this cover. The character looks younger than the age I would expect Jacqueline to be in the story, so I am guessing it is symbolic of her childhood. It is a beautiful cover. 

FIRST CHAPTER: Jacqueline travels to Arizona to pick up her grandmother (Nellie) who escaped from the group home because they would only release her to the next of kin... and she is it. Frustrated, and not keen on spending time with the grandmother she feels abandoned her, she thinks this will be a quick trip and she can get back to her life. She is wrong.

KEEP READING: Definitely! Jacqueline, or Jack as her grandmother calls her, draws the reader into her story right away. The reader feels her anxiety, frustration, and pain as she thinks about all the reasons she doesn't want to be the one to get Nellie, but knows there isn't anyone else. You wander through bits and pieces of Jack's childhood--just enough to understand where she is coming from. Not only does the author drop you right into the action, she paints a picture of both her characters right away, and you want to know more of their story. 

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ The Story Plant (April 19, 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1611883253
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1611883251 


PURCHASE FROM:


I received a copy of the first chapter from the publisher through Pump Up Your Book. This First Chapter Review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.



Saturday, April 23, 2022

Blogging from A to Z 2022 - Talent

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter


Welcome to Day 20 of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge (2022) I will be discussing topics of interest to those who identify as women this year. The Book Connection is lucky number 78 in a list of more than 140 bloggers who are participating in 2022. I encourage you to check out the list and visit other blogs with topics of interest. 

TALENT

Why are women so quick to dismiss their talents? Some cite a lack of confidence. However, Stéphanie Thomson, in writing her 2018 article, "A Lack of Confidence Isn't What's Holding Back Working Women," for The Atlantic, states research shows though women are told confidence is the key to professional success, the appearance of self-confidence is not equally rewarded in men and women. Researchers concluded, “Women were able to translate their self-confident image into influence only when they also displayed high prosocial orientation, or the motivation to benefit others.” Working women must balance self-confidence with modesty or they are seen as unlikeable and less hirable. 

I guess many of us feel uncomfortable with what we see as self-promotion. In addition, even if we can portray confidence, deep inside, we might wonder if we measure up. That's why this quote from Henry Van Dyke has always been a favorite of mine.



Personally, I feel all talents come from God, so if I am not sharing my talents to better the world, I am dishonoring God's plan for my life. That is part of what motivates me every day. 

What are some of your talents? How do you best use them to serve your community?

Friday, April 22, 2022

Blogging from A to Z 2022 - Safe

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter


Welcome to Day 19 of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge (2022) I will be discussing topics of interest to those who identify as women this year. The Book Connection is lucky number 78 in a list of more than 140 bloggers who are participating in 2022. I encourage you to check out the list and visit other blogs with topics of interest.  

SAFE

My husband has a very different version of safety than the girls and I do. Rarely does he concern himself with who or what is around him when he walks down the street or visits a new place. The girls and I, however, observe the people around us, what the neighborhood looks like, and the proximity to safety complexes. When we visit colleges, I ask about their campus security response time, something that never crosses my husband's mind. 

Not all of this comes down to gender. My husband is tall and strong. My girls are petite but athletic, so they have physical stamina. That leaves me; little ole hates exercise, sits at her desk for extended periods of time me. Thankfully, I haven't had many scares, but I've had a few in the workplace that are the reason I carry pepper spray and a tactical pen, have a phone app that alerts select people and--if needed--the police with one swipe, scan the perimeter of vacant properties, and know my entrance and exit upon entering a building. 

I won't claim to be an expert, and not every piece of advice works for every person. Here are links to safety tips:





Thursday, April 21, 2022

Blogging from A to Z 2022 - Rebels

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter

Welcome to Day 18 of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge (2022) I will be discussing topics of interest to those who identify as women this year. The Book Connection is lucky number 78 in a list of more than 140 bloggers who are participating in 2022. I encourage you to check out the list and visit other blogs with topics of interest. 

REBELS

Rebels--fictional and real--resist conforming to social norms or rise up against the powers that be. When I think of real life female rebels from my years growing up, these women come to mind:
  1. Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique
  2. Barbara Walters, the first female co-host of a news show
  3. Maya Angelou, poet and Presidential Medal of Freedom award winner
  4. Sandra Day O'Connor, first female Supreme Court Justice
  5. Dr. Sally K Ride, first American woman to be sent into space
  6. Margaret Thatcher, first female British prime minister
Many women came before them and many came after them to advocate for women's rights, gender equality, and a brighter future for all.

When I consider rebellious females from my reading, characters that I often speak about here come to mind:

  1. Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables
  2. Jo March, Little Women
  3. Laura Ingalls Wilder (also a real person), Little House on the Prairie
  4. Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games
I admire the strength and perseverance these rebels display as they resist and rise up. I applaud their commitment to making a difference in their worlds. 

Who are some rebels you admire?

First Chapter Review & Giveaway: They Called Him Marvin by Roger Stark

 


I received a digital copy of this book from the author through Pump Up Your Book. This biographical historical romance novel is set before and during World War II.

BLURB: They were just kids, barely not teenagers, madly in love and wanting to be a family, but WW2 got in their way. Three hundred ten days before Pearl Harbor, buck private Dean Sherman innocently went to church with a new friend in Salt Lake City. From that moment, the unsuspecting soldier travelled a remarkable, heroic path, falling in love, graduating from demanding training to become a B29 pilot, conceiving a son and entering the China, Burma and India theater of the WW2. He chronicled his story with letters home to his bride Connie that he met on that fateful Sunday, blind to the fact that fifteen hundred seventy-five days after their meeting, a Japanese swordsman would end his life. 

Transferred to the Mariana Islands, he and his crew were shot down over Nagoya, Japan as part of Mission 174, captured and declared war criminals. Connie’s letters reveal life for a brand-new mother whose husband is declared MIA. The agony for both of them; he in a Japanese prison, declared a war criminal, and she just not knowing why his letters stopped coming.

COVER: Beautiful. The photograph of the Shermans along with the WWII era planes speaks to the subject, genre, and time period. Love the blue background.

FIRST CHAPTER: The author starts at the beginning--which in this story is the day Stan Carter met Private Dean Harold Sherman, took a shine to him, and invited him to church and for a visit to his girlfriend's house. Little did Dean know that he would meet his future wife in that church, and that a war they didn't know was brewing, would separate them forever. 

KEEP READING: Definitely. I've got to be honest, I struggled with the mountain of information, characters, and events included in this first chapter, but once I got to the end of the chapter, I totally understood why the author opted to introduce the reader to Dean Harold Sherman this way. Thankfully, Roger Stark broke all the bits and pieces up into sections by date, so that helped me digest each part before moving on.

You can quickly tell that the subtitle of this book, "A History of Love, War, and Family" is appropriate. I like the intention behind it, since this allows the book to be of interest to those who enjoy some romance, those interested in WWII history, and those who like family sagas. 

Even in this first chapter, Stark uses Connie Sherman's words to make this story come alive for the reader. Prior to the first chapter, the author indicates some scenes are taken from documents in the National Archives, while others are dramatizations based on historical research. Stark has also used the sixty-seven letters written by First Lieutenant Dean Sherman and Connie Sherman as inspiration. 

I look forward to reading more of They Called Him Marvin.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Brigham Distributing (September 1, 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0578855283
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0578855288
  • Purchase here!

This First Chapter Review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Roger Stark is giving away three autographed copies of his book, THEY CALLED HIM MARVIN!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Three winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one autographed paperback copy of They Called Him Marvin
  • This giveaway ends midnight June 30.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on July 1.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Blogging from A to Z 2022 - Quantum Leap

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter

Welcome to Day 17 of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge (2022) I will be discussing topics of interest to those who identify as women this year. The Book Connection is lucky number 78 in a list of more than 140 bloggers who are participating in 2022. I encourage you to check out the list and visit other blogs with topics of interest. 

QUANTUM LEAP

The science-fiction show Quantum Leap aired from 1989 - 1993. It starred Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell as Dr. Sam Beckett and Admiral Al Calavicci. The premise of the show is that during a government experiment on time travel, Sam steps into the Quantum Leap Accelerator and vanishes. Instead of traveling within his own lifetime, Sam finds himself trapped in the past, leaping into a variety of people and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better. Al, as an observer from his own time, is his only guide, appearing as a hologram that only Sam can see and hear. Sam leaps from life to life, seeking to right what once went wrong, and hoping the next leap will be his leap home. 

Though I am not a huge fan of science-fiction, I loved Quantum Leap. Probably because I enjoy history, and Scott Bakula isn't tough to look at either. :) 

One interesting concept of the show is that Sam could leap into any gender. IMDB states that Sam leaped into nine women or teenage girls. Here is the rundown on those episodes:

  • "What Price Gloria? - October 16, 1961" - Sam leaps into the body of Samantha Stormer, an attractive secretary, who learns she was promoted because her creepy boss (Buddy) wants to sleep with her. Buddy is already having an affair with Samantha's roommate, Gloria. Though Buddy has told Gloria he will leave his wife, Sam knows he needs to convince her to break it off to avoid heartbreak and her eventual suicide. 
  • "Another Mother - September 30, 1981" - Sam leaps into the body of Linda Bruckner, a divorced mother of three. Sam must prevent her oldest son from running away and never being heard from again.
  • "Miss Deep South - June 7, 1958" - As Darlene Monte, Sam enters a beauty pageant. Not only must he prevent a fellow contestant from posing for nude photos, he must make sure Darlene comes in third place. [This episode might not be as well received if it aired today.]
  • "8½ Months - November 15, 1955" - Sam leaps into the body of a pregnant  teenager. Her mother died and her father wants nothing to do with her. The child's father is off at college and wanted her to terminate the pregnancy. Unless Sam can convince her father to support Billie Jean, she will end up living a life of regret and searching for the child she gave up for adoption. [Not sure how well this one aged without watching it again.]
  • "Raped - June 20, 1980" - Sam leaps into the body of rape victim Kate McBain. When he decides to press charges against the rapist, he discovers it will be hard to prove Kate's date raped her.
  • "A Song for the Soul - April 7, 1963" - Sam leaps into the body of fifteen-year-old Cherea, an African-American singer who dreams of starting a group with her two friends. Sam and Al aren't in sync on why Sam is there. Sam believes it is to prevent one of Cherea's friends (Lynell) from running away. Sam thinks it is to improve Lynell's relationship with her father, who does not support her singing career.
  • "Liberation - October 16, 1968" - When Sam leaps into the body of Margaret Sanders, he discovers she and her daughter were arrested at a women's lib rally. Margaret's activism puts a strain on her marriage, and Al fears the leader of the local women's movement will be shot unless she cancels the next rally. 
  • "Dr. Ruth - April 25, 1985" - If you were at least a teenager in the 80s, you will remember Dr. Ruth Westheimer. In this episode, Sam leaps into Dr. Ruth's body as she is in the middle of her call-in radio show giving advice to Annie Wilkins, who believes her boss is pressuring her to have sex.
  • "Revenge of the Evil Leaper - September 16, 1987" - Sam leaps simultaneously with ex-Evil Leaper Alia. As Liz Tate, Sam finds himself with Alia in a female prison where they are accused of murdering a fellow inmate. Zoey, Alia's observer, manages to leap into the same place and time, so keeping Alia's location a secret from Zoey, who is the prison warden, is the main challenge. 
Do you like when shows tackle tough issues? Did you watch Quantum Leap? How do you think it did in handling women's issues? 

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Blogging from A to Z 2022 - Possibilities

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter

Welcome to Day 16 of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge (2022) I will be discussing topics of interest to those who identify as women this year. The Book Connection is lucky number 78 in a list of more than 140 bloggers who are participating in 2022. I encourage you to check out the list and visit other blogs with topics of interest. 

POSSIBILITIES 

What a boring world this would be without possibilities. Perhaps our first introduction to endless possibilities comes from the picture book, Oh, the Places You'll Go, by Dr. Seuss. It opens this way:

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away.

 

How much more successful could we be if we saw each day as starting off or continuing upon a great adventure?

Maybe we could be more like The Little Engine That Could. We take our next project and go at it one step at a time, focusing on our goal and believing we will achieve it, until we do. 

How about being more like Anne of Green Gables? Anne Shirley had every reason to be upset about life. Living in orphanages, abused by foster parents, and when the first truly wonderful thing happens to her--she arrives at Green Gables--Miss Cuthbert tells her they can't keep her because she isn't a boy. But Anne goes on do amazing things--attending college, teaching at a private school, writing a book--all because she had a huge imagination and knew what she wanted. 

Well, that is all fiction, right? Let's talk about Edwin C. Barnes, a man with no money and little education, who went on to become Thomas Edison's partner. You can read about Barnes in Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, but here is a glimpse from the movie.   

 

When we shared the letter C, we talked about women who faced challenges and brought about change. They, too, saw the possibilities of what could be, instead of what was. In conclusion, I will share a quote from Michelle Obama about decision making and possibilities.
 
Don't ever make decisions based on fear. Make decisions based on hope and possibility. Make decisions based on what should happen, not what shouldn't.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Blogging from A to Z 2022 - Opportunity

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter

Welcome to Day 15 of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge (2022) I will be discussing topics of interest to those who identify as women this year. The Book Connection is lucky number 78 in a list of more than 140 bloggers who are participating in 2022. I encourage you to check out the list and visit other blogs with topics of interest. 

OPPORTUNITY 

In the years since I've become an adult, the opportunities for women have increased. Though I still make less than my husband, who has a four year degree, the pay gap has tightened. His Corporate America job also offers the benefits, since insurance is more affordable that way. Seeing the current focus on celebrating and empowering girls and young women, means a brighter future for our daughters. There is, however, still work to be done.  

In December 2017, the International Labour Organization published one of their InfoStories on "The gender gap in employment: What's holding women back?"  They updated this report in February 2022. They stated that in the United States, the labor force difference between male and female is 11.2% (male 66.4% versus female 55.2%). 

Helping out in their households is one reason women have a harder time finding work than men. Women spend three times more hours on unpaid housework than men do. Another reason is stated as maternity coverage. The report says that although most countries provide some maternity protection for employed women, almost 66% are not entitled to paid maternity leave. Lack of affordable childcare in developed countries impacts the probability of women entering the labor force. Both men and women agree that the largest barrier for women in paid work is the struggle to balance it with family responsibilities. Something we talked about with the letter B on April 2. 

Stepping back a bit in time, the April 2020 survey from Pew Research Center shows that while 54% believe men have more opportunities to get high-paying jobs, 94% think it is important for women in their country to have the same rights as men do. 

What is important to note as we think about opportunities for female entrepreneurs and business women is that a fair amount of discussion over the last few years has been how women-owned businesses are key to economic growth. In a March 2022 article, CNBC contributor Hannah Miao cited a Citigroup report that states, "achieving gender parity in business growth could boost global gross domestic product by as much as $2 trillion, or 2% to 3% of global GDP." The same report stated gender equality could generate between 288 million and 433 million jobs.

Here is a list of the Top 15 Most Famous Female Entrepreneurs published two weeks ago. Click here.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Blogging from A to Z 2022 - Next

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter

Welcome to Day 14 of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge (2022) I will be discussing topics of interest to those who identify as women this year. The Book Connection is lucky number 78 in a list of more than 140 bloggers who are participating in 2022. I encourage you to check out the list and visit other blogs with topics of interest. 

NEXT

I had a totally different word in mind when I started this post, but then I stumbled across The Next Women and thought it would be interesting to talk about. The Next Women is a global community, a female growth network for entrepreneurs. Their website states this group invests in female founders, thereby helping these companies to build an environment of inclusion and equality. 

Yesterday, I participated in the At Home with Diversity Certification Course offered by the National Association of REALTORS®. Some of the topics this program covers are diversity, equity, inclusion, and fair housing. As president of our local association, I am committed to making our association as inclusive as possible, and hope to develop a leadership program that allows us to attract leaders who reflect the diversity of our membership. 

The Next Women seems to be based on the other side of the ocean. Maybe a United States chapter should be formed. 

Have you heard of The Next Women? What professional organizations to you belong to that embrace inclusion and equity?

Friday, April 15, 2022

Blogging from A to Z 2022 - Mom

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter


Welcome to Day 13 of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge (2022) I will be discussing topics of interest to those who identify as women this year. The Book Connection is lucky number 78 in a list of more than 140 bloggers who are participating in 2022. I encourage you to check out the list and visit other blogs with topics of interest. 

MOM

I've held the title of mom for almost 35 years now. Hard to believe, since I feel no different from when I was in my 20s or 30s. There are a variety of terms to describe moms. Here are a few I've held:
  • Teenage mom
  • Unwed mom
  • Single mom
  • Stay-at-home mom
  • Working mom
I was two months shy of my 19th birthday when my son was born. His father and I never married, and we split up when our son was 18 months old. My husband and I met in high school, but we didn't date until about three years after we graduated. I spent 11 years as a single mom and worked three jobs for five years just to make ends meet. My husband and I married in 2000, and I spent 18 out of the first 40 months we were married pregnant. Though I returned to work after the Lil' Diva was born, after the birth of the Lil' Princess, I stayed at home with the girls for 11 years. In 2014, I returned to the workforce.

Though I mentioned working mom as one of my titles, I've always felt that term isn't appropriately used. Stay-at-home moms and those moms who pursue a career are both working moms. They just work in different ways. Believe me, one can be just as exhausting as the other. At this point in my life, I've pursued a career, but I contributed to my household in other ways when I stayed home. Every mom deserves recognition for her efforts, whether they take place in the playroom or the boardroom. 

Little side note on the girls' nicknames. I explained earlier in the week how Lil' Diva came to be. See J if you missed it. The reason we call our youngest the Lil' Princess also has a story behind it. Driving in the car one day, she was being naughty. So, I told her to stop it or she would have a time out. She responded, "You can't punish me. I'm a princess." So, in the blogging world she became known as the Lil' Princess. 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Blogging from A to Z 2022 - Listening

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter

Welcome to Day 12 of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge (2022) I will be discussing topics of interest to those who identify as women this year. The Book Connection is lucky number 78 in a list of more than 140 bloggers who are participating in 2022. I encourage you to check out the list and visit other blogs with topics of interest. 

LISTENING

If there is one thing I consciously work on as a leader, it is active listening. It is something I've always struggled with, which doesn't surprise me, since my mind runs at a frenetic pace. The Center for Creative Leadership states, "Active listening requires you to listen attentively to a speaker, understand what they’re saying, respond and reflect on what’s being said, and retain the information for later." 


Sometimes, I'm so eager to get my ideas out, I don't fully listen to what the other person is saying. Though I tend to be a mostly digital person these days, to be a better listener, I bring a pad with me to meetings and write down bullet points. That allows me to repeat back what I believe the person said to make sure I understand. 

I'm working on eliminating my interruptions as well. My mind has random thoughts racing through it all the time. I know if I don't say what I think, it will be lost. That, however, can make the person who is speaking feel frustrated. 

I also find that if I focus on asking more questions or pose a thoughtful question to clarify the person's idea, it allows me to step back and really think about what they are saying. 

The great thing about honing these skills for the workplace, is that active listening also improves my relationships at home. Family members want to feel they are heard and understood as well. 

What are some tips you have to improve active listening?  

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Blogging from A to Z 2022 - Kindness

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter

Welcome to Day 11 of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge (2022) I will be discussing topics of interest to those who identify as women this year. The Book Connection is lucky number 78 in a list of more than 140 bloggers who are participating in 2022. I encourage you to check out the list and visit other blogs with topics of interest. 

KINDNESS 

When I typed "working with kindness" into Google, it returned 322,000,000 results. The top result is an article from the Harvard Business Journal titled, "Don't Underestimate the Power of Kindness at Work." In the same year (2021), Indeed's Editorial Team wrote an article titled, "15 Effective Ways to Show Workplace Kindness." 

Kindness in the workplace is not a new concept, but based upon the Google results, many articles were written while we found ourselves amid the pandemic. If we needed to learn anything since the pandemic began, it is the importance of being kind to each other. Many people lost loved ones. Many people were sick or out of work or both. Parents and educators had to learn how to teach students remotely. Students had to navigate learning remotely. The things we took for granted, like shopping and going out to eat, were taken away in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

When I wrote my book, A Christmas Kindness, I wanted to help my children see the importance of thinking of others and being kind to everyone because we never know what someone else is dealing with. Celebrating kindness early on makes spreading kindness in the workplace easier, because it is a concept they are growing up with, so that it becomes part of everyday life. As this article from Workhuman states, kindness at work boosts productivity, builds trust, and creates a positive culture. Though some might believe kindness is a weakness in a leader, I find it is essential to success. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Blogging from A to Z 2022 - Joy

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter

Welcome to Day 10 of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge (2022) I will be discussing topics of interest to those who identify as women this year. The Book Connection is lucky number 78 in a list of more than 140 bloggers who are participating in 2022. I encourage you to check out the list and visit other blogs with topics of interest. 

JOY

When my girls were little, I did my best to keep them in the same routine for bedtime: supper, playtime, snack, reading time, then lights out. I think we all appreciated a schedule of knowing what would happen next. 

One day, snow had been falling for a good part of the afternoon, and my husband arrived home from work later than usual. Supper was late, which threw off the rest of the schedule. As the girls undressed for bed, it was easy to see they weren't ready. On the spur of the moment--which is not a me thing--I suggested we get our winter stuff on and go outside to play. 

The four of us had so much fun running around and tossing snow at each other. The girls decided they wanted to swing, so Paul and I brought them into the backyard, lifted them into their swings, and pushed them. After a few pushes, an enormous smile spread across the Lil' Diva's face and she exclaimed, "This is the happiest day of my life!" 

Recalling this memory, even after all this time, has a profound impact on me. The Lil' Diva at that stage was tough to impress and tough to make happy... hence the nickname. That this spur-of-the-moment decision allowed her to experience such joy touched my heart. It is one of the fondest memories I have of the girls' childhood. 

We can manufacture happiness, and it is often short-lived. But joy is different. We cultivate it. Joy brings about long-lasting feelings of peace and contentment. 

When I learned to loosen up on how rigid I was with our schedule and work in some spontaneous activities with our children, this helped the Lil' Diva to be more content. She didn't know when these spontaneous events would occur, but she could look forward to them. Bringing her joy brought me joy, and it made those tougher moments easier to handle. 

What is something that brings you joy? How do you cultivate joy on a regular basis?

Monday, April 11, 2022

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Mailbox Monday - Apr 11

Welcome to It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Mailbox Monday. 


 


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

Welcome back to Monday. I hope you had a great week. Last week was filled with meetings, showings, media training, and a lovely dinner out on Friday. My publisher also held its latest Between the Covers of 4RV Zoom presentation, which I participated in. This one was about what the publishing house is looking for in a manuscript and each editor shared their wish list. They also announced a new imprint titled, Tenacious, which is for grittier/edgier fiction than 4RV Publishing usually offers. They also accept poetry book submissions. Check out the 4RV website at www.4rvpublishing.com to see if you have a manuscript that fits one of our imprints. 

Speaking of books, over the weekend, I learned Clever Tom, my fifth children's book, has a tentative release date of Summer 2023. 

So, what does my reading world look like? Um... not getting a lot done. I am loving this one so far.

I am in the middle of this one.


I read and scheduled my First Chapter Review of They Called Him Marvin for next month's virtual book tour. I still need to read the first chapter of The Road to Me.  


I am also reading this book in between others. 


These are next:



Review coming May 27 at TC&TBC


Review coming June 7 at TC&TBC


Review coming June 22 at TC&TBC

Maybe by the time vacation rolls around I will get to these:










Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

My physical mailbox remained empty this week, but considering how little reading I am doing, that's okay. I did, however, pre-order this one for 99 cents. Its release date is May 24.



A family in turmoil.

Detective Richard Anderson grapples with the notion one of his cold cases of ten years ago may connect to recent disappearances when his son, Kyle, reveals things kept out of the media all those years ago to avoid copycat killings. But can he believe him? After all, Kyle claims he had a vision, something Richard doesn’t believe in. Susan Anderson is plagued recently with nightmares of a dark-clothed figure smiling at her, causing her to believe it’s an omen of some sort.

Kyle Anderson is determined to locate this cave that’s been tormenting his thoughts for several weeks. With the help of his two best friends, they begin their quest to locate it in Doorman’s Creek… But what they discover soon places all of them in danger.

How is your reading coming along? Have you found yourself reading more or less than usual?