How to Get Out of Your Own Way

I started reading How to Get Out of Your Own Way by Tyrese Gibson last night and did not want to put it down when my eyes got droopy with sleepiness. I keep telling myself that I am going to focus on me this year and what I can do now to achieve my dreams and goals in life.

“…to hold on to the past limits your future.” (Chapter 1)

 It’s amazing to me that Tyrese had gone through all of this to get where he is today and he’s only three years older than me.

“…whatever happened yesterday is over. Today is a new day. So many people are submerged in what was, they don’t even focus on now. They don’t focus on the future. Every time they look back they cry and have all this pain about their past.” (Chapter 1)

I relate to this like Tyrese wrote it for me. I have written on my blog about my past and the bullying that I endured. I still cry about the pain that is caused, and still do, but at the same time, I wouldn’t change it if I was even given the opportunity to go back to that point in my life. I believe that the emotional torture and mental breakdown that I received from my peers made the person I am today. My only regret is that I have blocked out a lot of my childhood wherever the bullying occurred so I don‘t really remember too much about the bullying. I know it happened but I cannot repeat all of the name-calling and what-not verbatim.

Tyrese had a few people outside his family that became mentors to him. I think everyone does. For me, Mr. Young, my fifth grade teacher, always stands out. He forced me to believe in myself and see my potential. My parents put me in a new school after fifth grade because of the bullying that I received and refused to let me stay with that group of children. I believe that going to Round Valley Elementary School saved me. I still received some bullying but nothing like I was getting.

Photo by Stack Klemm, Stacie Klemm Photography, October 2009

Because of all the bullying that I received, I still am dealing with self-esteem issues even though this all happened fifteen or more years ago. Having only been on one date in my life as I am nine months away from turning 30, doesn’t help. So many of my peers called me ugly and worthless, that today I have a hard time seeing a beautiful young woman when I look in the mirror. I know am, but I cannot see it.

“Your actions reflect what you want for yourself and what you feel you deserve.” (Chapter 2)

I know that I deserve more in my life and I am currently working towards bettering my life. I want to be happy and successful and I know that I can do it. I know that my hopes and dreams will not be automatic and that things take time. Lucky for me I can be a very patient person.

I am loving Tyrese’s book so much right now and I encourage people to pick it and read it. Thank you Tyrese for opening up and exposing who you are for all of us to understand that we may not, and are not, alone in the challenges that life throws in our way. You truly have motivated me to reach out and chase my dreams.

Dyslexia

Unless you have dyslexia, you truly cannot understand how frustrating it can be to live with it. I think I’ve written a little about my dyslexia in the past, but I cannot remember how much I said. I did write a little about my dyslexia in my January 25th post about my writing.

Books have always been a passion of mine, but I didn’t really start to read until the fifth grade. Reading has helped the dyslexia but it is still difficult. I kind of decided to write this after watching an episode of Shake It Up on the Disney Channel (don’t judge me) when Cece has to face the fact that she has dyslexia and was too embarrassed about telling her best friend. I can relate to that. Cece said two things in the episode that is true for me.

“Every day I wake up afraid that I will have to read something out loud.”

“Sometimes I see words and it just looks like alphabet soup.”

Growing up, I was scared to read anything out loud because I usually got laughed at because I ended up stuttering because the words and letters would rearrange themselves on the paper. I learned how to read ahead and yet still follow along with the rest of the class, that way if I got called on, I already knew what I would have to read and the stuttering would be less apparent. One of the things I was good at in school was spelling, but I always would have to write them down a few times before they would appear normal to me. I don’t know if that makes sense. I still have to write some of the most simple words down in order to spell them out because in my head they are jumbled.

When I read, or even write, letters don’t look right. Sometimes they don’t even make sense to me, at least I don’t see them as letters of the alphabet, but rather something incomprehensible. It can take me a while to realize what I am staring at. I know this is something that I will have to deal with for the rest of my life and I do manage to live with it. Typing is difficult too. I hit the back button so much when I write these posts because my brain will want to type a certain word and before I can comprehend what I want to write I have added random letters to very simple words. It sometimes takes me a while to realize that I have made a mistake. All I can say is thank God for spell check.

I can read one page of a book a few times before I understand what is being said. Quite a few of my family members have some form of dyslexia so we all understand what one of us is going through. While I have learned to deal with my dyslexia, I still find it frustrating. I find it hard to read even to myself.

Vampires

I don’t know what it is about this genre that I like. I’m sitting here watching season two of True Blood on DVD because I don’t have HBO. There is just something about vampires that is intriguing to me. Maybe it’s the idea of being immortal, seeing so much history,  but also the sadness that comes with immortality. Having to watch everyone you love grow old and die while you never change is tragic.

I own almost all of The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice, the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer, three of the House of Night novels by Kristen and P.C. Cast, The Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler, The Awakening (Book #1 of the The Vampire Diaries) by L. J. Smith, Club Dead (book #3 of the Sookie Stackhouse series) by Charlaine Harris and (of course) Dracula by Bram Stoker. There are so many different legends and lore about vampires that you never know what type of story you will get.

Each story is so different and I have enjoyed every single one of them.

Classic Novels

Since I was about 14, I have built a list of classic novels that I would love to read. Since I got the Kindle app for my iPhone and found out that classic novels are free I have decided that it might be time to sit down and start crossing titles off my list. Here are the novels on my list:

1. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austin
2. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
3. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
4. Grimm’s Fairy Stories by Jacob Grimm
5. The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells
6. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
7. Gulliver’s Travels by Johnathan Swift
8. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
9. Aesop’s Fables
10. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
11. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
12. Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
13. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
14. The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
15. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickson

I’ve got a lot of reading ahead of me. My goal is to read most, if not all, by the end of the year. Continue reading

Kindle App for the iPhone

One of the first apps I downloaded for my new iPhone was the Kindle. (Thank you Bryan) I LOVE IT!! First of all I love to read but lately I have a hard time picking up a book and sticking with it. Once I stared at the app for a few weeks, I decided it was time to download a book and start reading again. What book to buy?

Getting on Amazon to download a book for the app is like walking into a bookstore. Where do you start? Especially when you’re me and read quite a few different genres. Then I remembered one series I have been wanting to read for over a year. The Vampire Diaries. I love the show (not to mention vampires) and knew that the TV series and the books differ, but that’s okay. I found Awakening by L. J. Smith and hit download. It didn’t take long for the novel to download and off I went. Immediately I found a lot of differences between the characters I have grown to love on the TV show and the characters I was discovering in the book. Very different but I like that both versions of the story have taken on their own life.

It wasn’t until tonight that Margi (my Mexican Mama) told me that she has a Kindle (the full one not the app for the iPhone) and she said that the classic novels are free. Free books was all I needed to hear but I have a long list of classic novels that I have wanted to read for the longest time but never found myself picking them up. My app came with Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austin, Aesop’s Fables, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson and the dictionary. Tonight I downloaded quite a few other classic novels and now I have quite a few books to read this year on top of all the books sitting on my bookshelves.

No matter how convenient and neat the Kindle or other electronic reading devices are, I will never give up a paper book. There is something about holding a book in your hands and reading the stories they hold waiting for you to discover them.

“When you sell a man a book, you don’t sell him twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue… you sell him a whole new life.” ~ Christopher Morley

Book Reviews: The Twilight Saga

“Could a world really exist where ancient legends went wandering around the borders of tiny, insignificant towns, facing down mythical monsters? Did this mean every impossible fairy tale was grounded somewhere in absolute truth? Was there anything sane or normal at all, or was everything just magic and ghost stories?” ~ Bella Swan (New Moon, page 293-4, chapter 12)

 

Book 1

Book 1

 

Summary:

 

About three things I was absolutely positive:
First, Edward was a vampire.
Second, there was a part of him–and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be–that thirsted for my blood.
And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.

 

“I’D NEVER GIVEN MUCH THOUGHT TO HOW I WOULD DIE– I’d had reason enough in the last few months –but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this. . . . Surely it was a good way to die, in the place of something else, someone I loved. Noble, even. That ought to count for something.”

 

When Isabella Swan moves to the gloomy town of Forks and meets the mysterious, alluring Edward Cullen, her life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn.

With his porcelain skin, golden eyes, mesmerizing voice, and supernatural gifts, Edward is both irresistible and impenetrable. Up until now, he has managed to keep his true identity hidden, but Bella is determined to uncover his dark secret.
What Bella doesn’t realize is the closer she gets to him, the more she is putting herself and those around her at risk. And, it might be too late to turn back. . . .

 

First Review: When I picked up this book in the store, I didn’t have high hopes to tell you the truth, but once I started, I couldn’t put the book down. I love vampires and the different legends and lore. Stephenie Meyer’s vampires follow one of the myths that aren’t well known or told about the “creatures of the dark” and after a while you forget slightly that you are no longer reading a story about vampires, but rather an amazing love story and how being immortal can change the way you look at life and the ones you love. The entire series so far has kept me on the edge of my seat wanting more and I can’t wait for the next book in the series to be published.

 

Second Review: This was my second time reading Twilight for me and, as with the first time I discovered the novel, I loved it. Stephenie Meyer has the ability to make the reader forget what Edward and the rest of the Cullens are and focus on the different kind of love story while following a different vampire lore that most authors choose not to tell. Told in first-person, the reader is invited to absorb themselves in Bella Swan’s personal account of her bond not only with Edward but the rest of his vampire family and how her clumsiness can be dangerous. Twilight is a twisted (I mean that in a good way), and beautifully written, version of the classic Shakespearean tale of Romeo and Juliet — two lovers doomed to be seperated by life and death. The dangers lurking around every corner will keep you wanting more.

 

Favorite Quote from the Book: “It’s twilight…. It’s the safest time of day for us. The easiest time. But also the saddest, in a way… the end of another day, the return of the night. Darkness is so predictable, don’t you think?” Edward Cullen (page 232-3, chapter 11)

 

 


 

 

Summary: For Bella Swan, there is one thing more important than life itself: Edward Cullen. But being in love with a vampire is even more dangerous than Bella ever could have imagined. Edward has already rescued Bella from the clutches of one evil vampire, but now, as their daring relationship threatens all that is near and dear to them, they realize their troubles may be just beginning. . . .

 

Review: While New Moon is a very good story, it is not my favorite of the books in the Twilight Saga. It has a little bit of a dull spot as most middle books do in a series, but it is better than others I have read. Bella reveals more of her love for Edward and how the difficulty of their relationship can be troublesome. Once you get past the typical depression Bella faces when Edward leaves her, trying to give her the normal human life he thinks she deserves, the story picks up. We are introduced to two new (or some-

Book 2

Book 2

 

what new) characters, both throwing Bella further into a world where more myths and legends are just as real as the vampires Bella has come to know and love. Trying to understand why Edward left, breaking her heart in the process, Bella hits a rebellious stage and breaks promises she made with both Edward and Charlie, but how far is she willing to go to get Edward back before she meets her death trying to prove something?

Favorite quotes from the book: “What I enjoy the very most is when my… enhanced abilities let me save someone who would otherwise have been lost. It’s pleasant knowing that, thanks to what I can do, some people’s lives are better because I exist.” ~ Carlisle Cullen (page 34, chapter 2)

“…Would fate take the last few shreds of peace left behind? That seemed unfair, out of balance. But maybe I’d violated some unknown rule, crossed some line that condemned me. Maybe it was wrong to be so involved with myths and legends, to turn my back on the world.” ~ Bella Swan (page 355, chapter 15)

 

 


 

 

Book 3

Book 3

 

Summary: As Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a malicious vampire continues her quest for revenge, Bella once again finds herself surrounded by danger. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob–knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite the ageless struggle between vampire and werewolf. With her graduation quickly approaching, Bella has one more decision to make: life or death. But which is which?

 

Review: Eclipse offers us a clearer picture into the pasts of two vampires in the Cullen family. All of them are so different and yet so much alike. Each one offers Bella a different view into what vampire life can offer her, if she chooses to become part of the family. Unlike New Moon, Eclipse only has a few small dull spots somewhere in the middle. From ancient werewolf legends and how they came to be to vampire battles and the choices between love and friendship, Bella’s story will keep you on the

edge of your seat not knowing what will become of her unusual life that has been caught in the middle of myths and legends. All of Bella’s challenges that she faces, any reader could relate to. I can’t wait to see how this story ends.

Favorite Quotes from this book: “Normal humans run away from monsters, Bella. And I never claimed to be normal. Just human.” ~ Jacob Black (page 112, chapter 4)

“I don’t care who’s a vampire and who’s a werewolf. That’s irrelevant. You are Jacob, and he is Edward, and I am Bella. And nothing else matters.” ~ Bella Swan (page 143, chapter 6)

“I don’t care who’s a werewolf and who’s a vampire. If Angela turns out to be a witch, she can join the party, too.” ~ Bella Swan (page 143, chapter 6)

 

 


 

 

Summary: To be irrevocably in love with a vampire is both fantasy and nightmare woven into a dangerously heightened reality for Bella Swan. Pulled in one direction by her intense passion for Edward Cullen, and in another by her profound connection to werewolf Jacob Black, she has endured a tumultuous year of temptation, loss, and strife to reach the ultimate turning point. Her imminent choice to either join the dark but seductive world of immortals or pursue a fully human life has become the thread from which the fate of two tribes hangs.

 

Now that Bella has made her decision, a startling chain of unprecedented events is about to unfold with potentially devastating and unfathomable consequences. Just when the frayed strands of Bella’s life – first discovered in Twilight, then scattered and torn in New Moon and Eclipse – seem ready to heal and knit together, could they be destroyed…forever?

 

Book 4

Book 4

 

Review: The conclusion of the Twilight Saga will have you scratching your head and wondering how Stephenie Meyer could fit so many myths and legends into one of the best series I have ever read. Like the saying goes, “All good things must come to an end,” and I’m sad to see the ending of this beautifully written and compelling series. While the entire series is written from Bella’s point-of-view, Breaking Dawn offers the chance to see someone else’s side of Bella’s story. There are dangers and surprises lurking around every corner and just when you think you have it figured out, you’re wrong. You never know what will happen as Bella is faced with the choice of life or death.

Favorite Quotes from the book: “I am truly sorry for the pain this has caused you, Jacob. Though you hate me, I must admit that I don’t feel the same way about you. I think of you as a… a brother in many ways. A comrade in arms, at the very least.” ~ Edward Cullen (page 341, chapter 17)

“It was sort of the pattern to my life – I’d never been strong enough to deal with the things outside my control, to attack the enemies or outrun them. To avoid the pain. Always human and weak, the only thing I’d ever been able to do was keep going. Endure. Survive.” ~ Bella Cullen (page 374, chapter 19)

 

 

Book Review: Marked (House of Night Novels, book 1)

Marked, House of Night Novels, book 1

Marked, House of Night Novels, book 1

Summary: The House of Night series is set in a world very much like our own, except in 16-year-old Zoey Redbird’s world, vampyres have always existed. In this first book in the series, Zoey enters the House of Night, a school where, after having undergone the Change, she will train to become an adult vampire – that is, if she makes it through the Change. Not all of those who are chosen do. It’s tough to begin a new life, away from her parents and friends, and on top of that, Zoey finds she is no average fledgling. She has been Marked as special by the vampyre Goddess, Nyx. But she is not the only fledgling at the House of Night with special powers. When she discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school’s most elite club, is misusing her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny – with a little help from her new vampyre friends.

My Review: The Cast mother and daughter team captures you from the first few pages. I loved the fact that they incorporated Pagan views and traditions and not follow the typical, Hollywood steryotype society has placed on the religion. I was left wanting more. I cannot wait to see what is next for Zoey within her journey of becomming a vampyre and I’m curious to know what the Goddess Nyx has planned for this special fledgling.

Favorite Quote from the Book: “[D]arkness does not always equate to evil, just as light does not always bring good.” ~ Goddess Nyx (pg 41, ch 5)