Audio Book Review: Wisdom of Sundays

I’ve never really gotten into Oprah, but I know she’s so influential, and love her vibe, for what I’ve listened, heard, and saw of her. Awhile back, Aileen from Lavendaire said that she had listened to the audio book of Oprah’s Wisdom of Sundays, taken from her series on her network.

I chose my first of two audiable credits I had, to listen to Wisdom of Sundays as well. It was no better time to listen to this, right before my trip to California. I’ll be sharing more on how I planned that on Monday! Anyway, I truly suggest, as a fan or not so much fan, to go listen to these conversations she shares in this audio book.

Truly, this book is something that was perfectly placed into my life, and made it’s way into my life, at no better of a time.

Oprah’s best life style shines through this whole book, which really isn’t a book, but filled with best life tips, tricks, and “Ah-ha!” moments we should all experience. I would love to get into watching or listening to more of the Super Soul Sunday conversations because of this book.

Oprah shares her conversations with people like Gary Zukav, my next re-read author (which I next to never re-read) Ekhart Tolle, and one of the last ones on her list, Daniel Pink. I love the idea that that conversation brought: every great person/influencer has a sentence or catch that we remember them for.

Throughout this book, every time that Oprah talks about gratitude and her gratitude journal, I keep telling myself that I need to get back into doing my daily gratitude. I was doing so well, doing 5 a day, and kind of lost track of it. This is a habit that I wanted to cultivate this year, and I’m not doing it as much as I should.

Also, while listening to this whole book, over the course of many days, I am brought back to mindfulness and self awareness. When I say I needed this book, at this exact point in my life, I mean it. The mindfulness brought to light in the conversation of John Kabat-Zin was the start of everything I needed in this book. When he says “When you’re making pasta, and stirring the sauce, JUST STIR THE SAUCE”

The next conversation that hit me was the one with Reverand Bacon (I think that’s his name…chapter 4 of the audio book…listed as chapter 5 because of the intro being a “chapter”, for reference).

Their take on vibrations, and how what you do, say, and surround yourself with, creates your vibration and energy. When you tweak or mess with one (or when one messes with you), the others are affected. It makes sense on why I have a lot of the desires that I do, wanting to branch out and move on, in terms of my work, let alone who I want to keep around me.

I’ve been on the journey of filtering out or limiting the energies that don’t vibe with mine, either as they come, or the ones that have been around too long and need to go. Frankly, most of that has been dealt with, so it’s just a “deal with it as it arises” sort of thing.

My next “Ah-ha” moment came just a little over a chapter later in the listen. Commentary on the idea of “the opposite of poverty isn’t wealth, but justice”. What justice are you doing for yourself? With that

As I listened to Oprah’s conversation with Elie Wisel at the end of her book, the first minute broke my heart. Any survivor of that type of horror brings my feels out, and knowing that his heartbreak of his sister dying during the Nazi reign makes me feel the sad feels. Anything like that, sad feels doesn’t even cut it for my pain, and I didn’t even loose someone from those wars.

Wiesel had written about 50 books, and he is best noted for saying “The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference”, which is remarkable. Looking through his list of books is what I HAVE to do over the next while, and add to my ever-growing list of books to read.

He passed away just under 2 years ago, and may his soul truly rest easy.

This audio book is a MUST READ/LISTEN. I grasp why those who recommend it, recommend it. When you need hope, when you need inspiration, when you need ideas, when you are in need of “Ah-Ha” moments, get this audio book. Listen to this when you are short on yourself, when you need something to pull you out of yourself, out of your mind.

This will be a listen frequently. This will be at least an annual listen, like what I’m making the Power of Now from Tolle, and Tuesdays with MorrieTuesdays with Morrie by Albom.

I’ve never been the type to re-read books. But as of late (the last 2 years really), I’ve turned into one of those. My first re-read was Tuesdays with Morrie, hence my desire of talking with “older” people, and wanting to turn it into a podcast.

The Power of Now hit me so hard last year that I couldn’t help but want and near NEED to put it on a re-read list. Listening to Wisdom of Sundays has done the same thing. 12 Rules for Life is on my re-read list as well.

 

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Plan With Me: June 2018

Disclaimer: I don’t have or use Happy Planner products (well yet…2019 will be that year.). My sister though…check her out on insta. If her cute spreads can’t win you over into even just planning and using planners/schedules, you might want to go get checked out by a professional (haha…but really, who are you?)

Over the last couple years, I’ve been finding my taste. It started in the middle of 2016 really. I had gotten a large calendar, but hadn’t used it. For whatever reason, I started using it as a food planning calendar. I did the same thing for 2017 and 2018. Now I do a spreadsheet first of the month, because it was going tacky, fast.

2017 started my Artist of Life Journey, and I also started tracking when bills were due in a desk calendar. 2018 for the most part has been the same,  but I’ve also added in making sure that I put in family and friends’ birthdays, so I could mail out cards, as well as making sure there was at least a holiday card as well, for everyone.

I also have a whiteboard calendar for my goals, and as of late, writing down when I want to bulk start my posts, as well as adding in when my posts are going live.

YES, I’m turning into one of those. Already? YES ALREADY! Next year I want to do even better. I want to go more all out, while still saving and managing things, so that babe and I can do what we want as well.

I’m highly considering changing up how I do things, when 2019 comes around. But that’s a half a year away, plus I still need to figure out how I want to do it differently, and gathering all of the supplies for it.

All of this is why planning is so important! I know it’s only June but think of next year. Even a card can make someone’s day, for their birthday, their religious holidays, and even just a “thinking of you” when they might be dealing with something, or just as a reminder that you still care.

At the end of last year, I made sure to get some spare holiday cards, as I’m personally not Christian, but know that Christmas is important for a lot of my loved ones. I also made sure that I counted all those I needed birthday cards for, and ordered a box of various birthday cards, for this year.

This is an easy way of planning, and to start writing a cute note inside each card, at least putting your address and a stamp on it, then when it’s about a week out from their birthday, making sure you have the correct mailing address, and all you have to do is mail it out, is so easy, and is a rather simple way of putting a smile on someone’s face.

Anyway, you probably wanted to see how I’m planning one of my busiest months of the year, didn’t you?

For my blog posts, I started this method last month, and have liked it so far. Especially since I’m traveling this month for 2 full weeks, this method is going to work out great, since I only need 3 days of being “online” on my laptop.

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What I did, was sketch out what days I wanted to post, which also meant planning out what I actually was posting. Usually I know what I’m posting on each day, but there’s 2 days that could be a conflict, since I am traveling, and am unsure of plans, let alone if I’ll have internet access to upload the review on the day I am planning. Hence what you see on the picture, is what it is.

I’ll be able to write things as they come along, then when I’m online on those three days, I just need to upload the posts, for scheduling.

My other big task is planning out meals, and budgeting. Both are so closely tied, that I’m just saying it at the same time. Now I’m not sharing my actual budget, as that’s just a tad too much.

If you know of a great budgeting planner/notebook let me know! I’ve just been using spreadsheets for each pay (I get paid every other week, right now), and as easy as it’s been, I’d love to try new ways to manage my budget!

Half of the month, for food planning is really sideways for me for June, as I have to plan for babe’s food while I’m gone, as well as my own, for the most part, plus the half of the month where we’re together.

I’m not inserting babe’s food on the calendar, as he can pick and choose what he wants each day, but I have a running list of what needs picked up before I leave, for him.

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Past that, it’s a very much “look at the planner”, as during my 2 week vacation, I have a 3 night stay in Yosemite with family, as well as a 4 night stay in Anaheim, and the rest is with my mom.

I won’t share those plans, as you’ll see my posts throughout the month on here, plus on my social medias (insta, FB, Twitter).

So what are some of your plans for June?

World Book Day 2018: What I Read

Going through the Google suggested articles on my phone (open your chrome app, and as long as your home page is google.com, or on google.com, scroll down, you can read suggested articles), I had an article that today was going to be World Book Day, and Amazon was giving away 9 books from around the world, translated into English for the 9 days leading up to today.

Who wouldn’t take a look at the list? Unfortunately, I think a lot. I got 3 books off the list, and got the audiobook version for $2 each, so I could partake in this day. It’s also nice to learn about other cultures, and what others went through. Fiction or true story, I’m sharing my review on 2 of the books given for free: “A River in Darkness” by Masaji Ishikawa, and “The Last Train to Istambul” by Ayse Kulin. The other one I’ll do another post on soon.

I spent most of what I could of Wednesday and Thursday last week, listening to the first book, and took my time up until today, to listen to the second. Why? Because the second one IS. SO. LONG.

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So I’ll start with “A River in Darkness”. It’s a true story from a guy who was half Korean, half Japanese, whose father got the promise of North Korea becoming a nation of its own, a paradise, which fell through. The family moved to North Korea, even though the dad was born in the south.

He stayed there through his parents’ passing, in the 90’s, and had his own family there as well. After he couldn’t afford to keep raising his family with the “lowest of low” status he had, as a Japanese man, he tries to deflect, and makes it into China, and makes it to the consulate, to try to make it back to his home, Japan, to hopefully save his family as well.

Hearing him go through the troubles he did, with hearing his parent’s death, years apart, while seeing his sister pregnant out of wedlock, to his issues with moving just from China back to Japan, is something. I even wrote in my gratitude journal, that I was glad (and am glad) and grateful for the fact that I grew up here in the States.

Listening to this story, helps me connect a bit with the distaste that the Japanese people had against Koreans, especially the North. My dad grew up in Japan, as a white boy, and was discriminated against, and grew up knowing some of these distastes of Koreans, still affecting him to this day, I’m sure.

Now let’s dive into the other book I listened to: “Last Train to Istanbul”.

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I’m so glad that I went for the audio book version of this! Kindle suggests a 9 hour reading time, and a 12 hour listening time, but OMG my attention span would make the reading time like 20 hours, I’m sure of it. But I got through just under half of it, by listening to it, just in the first “session”, during my first day back at my mundane job.

You follow a few different families, during both world wars, and it’s truly so much to take in. Hearing their differences, how they came together in their own family, for whatever reason, to eventually come to a lot of the same fears, for different reasons, is so amazing.

I can tell you though, that the second half (really the last third, just about) makes the book. The first third feels like it’s going on forever, and the second third has some “meat” to it, but the last third is where you see all of the characters’ stories come together, on that journey to Turkey. The journey to get to the train, and the train ride, you really feel their anxieties, from each stop, to while they’re blatantly going through Berlin, like if half of them weren’t Jewish, is something else. It really does end on a bittersweet note as well.

Learning and appreciating different cultures is not something that is to be frowned upon. It’s the same thing we need to do about other cultures and countries, that we need to do the same with history. They go hand in hand. So please, read, listen, and talk to others who may have lived a little differently than you. And of course, share yours when the time comes as well, with those who want to learn about yours.

 

Taco Tuesday: Taco Salad Editon

I was soo feeling tacos, so here we are. Babe’s been struggling with illnesses off and on, as this weather won’t just pick one (winter or spring), so I took to a mild form of taco salad, that I got from my ex’s sister in law. It’s different, but good, and you can add in all the spice you want, while not hearing everyone else eating, complaining “It’s too spicy!!!!!”

What makes it different, you ask? Well, take to these ingredients, and take a guess:

-Ground meat or substitute. I like ground turkey
-taco seasoning
-onion
-tomato
-lettuce or spinach
-shredded cheese or substitute
-Catalina dressing (I like Kraft’s sweet honey one for this)
-sour cream, or substitute
-refried beans
-soft tortillas, or Doritos (spicy nachos, cool ranch, or nacho cheese, all will do)
-anything else you want, like chives, rice, hot sauce, jalapenos, etc

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Start by dicing up some onion, and put in a hot pan with oil. Let it start cooking, and put some taco seasoning in with it, then your meat substance. While the meat is cooking, dice up any more onion you’d like, and all the other veggies. If you’re using tortillas, rip a few tortillas into bite sized pieces. If you have rice, cook that too.

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Once the meat is almost done, add some more taco seasoning. Once it’s done, add refried beans, and if you want cooked rice in there, add the cooked rice here as well. Let the refired beans and rice get warm, and soak in the seasoning.

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From there, grab a big bowl, layer some tortillas or chips (kind of crunching them as you go), some veggies, then the meat mixture, cheese, and dressing. Rinse and repeat.

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At the top, add some sour cream, and if wanted, either put some salsa in now, and mix it all up. Serve, and add any spicy condiments, as desired (or not).

I hope you enjoy this simple and milder take on taco salad. I enjoy it both with chips and tortillas. Which one is your favorite? Try them both, and get back to me!

Self Care Sunday: 5 Lives Prompt #2

This is the 2nd of my 5 part series of my 5 imaginary lives prompt. Two weeks ago, I shared my love for wolves. Didn’t read it? Go read it! This one is about my love of a hobby I’ve had since I was a child: photography.

My maternal grandfather had a printing business for “old” film. I believe they sold cameras as well, but I couldn’t tell you for sure. Between my grandfather’s eye on photography, my dad also had his own freelanced style of photography. Both of these men taught me a lot of what I know.

Recently, I’ve gotten back into photography, and got a nice, but starter, camera last summer, to start this old hobby I had started in my childhood. in the last half of last year, I did a good handful of photography endeavors, from a bridal shower, plus a bachelorette album, and a mother-and-infant holiday shoot.

I would love to make it a freelance job. I have done some Skillshare classes, to help with my editing skills, and making it easier on me, as I am in the middle of the actual photo shoots themselves. (I have a link to get 2 months for free on Skillshare. You’re welcome!). I also love looking at others’ pictures, as I can get ideas as well.

My favorite thing about photography, is that I can totally suck at drawing, and STILL be an artist. It’s one of my favorite creative outlets, and I’m so happy that I’m dusting off my skills. I’ll talk about another creative outlet in another 5 imaginary lives.

I’ve been continuing my skills, by taking pictures on both my phone and my camera, when I went to Pittsburgh with my dad over Easter weekend (shameless blog post insert here). All the pictures are my own on that header, plus from that same time on insta.

During this summer, I’ll be doing a bunch of traveling, so it’ll be a perfect excuse to whip out my camera and get on the photography scene. Especially since my first big trip includes Yosemite, VidCon, and Disney.

One of these days, I’ll start my journey of video-film, and I’ll definitely take you all (who want to watch) along with me. That’ll be my next formal move.

I am so glad that I started this series, and am sharing it with you all. This exercise is such a good way to get back into yourself, plus remind yourself to be creative, and imagine what other things you can do either in your free time for fun, or turn something into a side hustle, or something you might be able to work up to a full job with. What is another (or a few) of your imaginary lives?

Does anyone know of any good websites I can keep/upload my work, by album? I would like something more professional than Insta and Facebook. Speaking of, follow my insta though (shameless plug).

Waking Up to the Second Quarter of 2018

So yesterday, I gave you a recap on the first three months of 2018. Now I’ll be sharing my general plans and goals for the second quarter!

If you didn’t already know, I’m in the second year of THE Artist of Life Workbook program, created none other by Aileen Xu at Lavendaire. I’m apart of the OG from last year, as 2017 was her first year of the program. It’s a workbook, which can be done digitally (and printed, if desired…that’s what I did this year), or mailed to you, in a very cute smaller paged book (I did that last year). There’s also a private Facebook mastermind group that runs in junction with the workbook. You don’t need the workbook per se, but it is a huge influence into what goes on in the group.

Anyway, now that I’ve explained a little more of what that is, let’s jump into what I have going on, what I want to do, and where I want to see myself in three months time. Since it’s Wednesday as well, so I’m going to share my “wine Wednesday” choice, which is a chilled brut sparkling wine from California.

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What are you sipping on today (or looking forward to, since we’ve made it through half the week?)

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This is the quarter overview page, and as you can tell, I did the print version and typed up all that I could, then printed it out so that I could physically write down my progress during each month. The pictures I shared in yesterday’s post display the monthly outlook, as well as the quarter review. This is the other end of the quarter, since I haven’t share this end of it yet.

To give you some big goals for the overall year, my goal was to explore and learn. I wanted to read a book a month (or 12 books) at least. I’ve done 2.5 books so far. I want to read more, if I can manage, as I have a book given to me by my maternal grandma, but it is a heafty read, so I’m leaving that book for the months where I travel a lot, or when I have spare time at the end of the month, where I’ve finished the book that I have planned for said month.

The exploring end is my travel bug, that has been a general thing since I was younger. I traveled across the two US coasts near all of my childhood, and I want to actually travel. My grandparents asked me last fall if I wanted to join them on a trip, and I couldn’t say no, so hence this year is all about exploring and experiences, of all sorts.

My travels started over Easter weekend, with going to more properly explore Pittsburgh, as it’s one of a handful of close larger cities to me. I’ll be experiencing more come summer, but this was a nice introduction.

Going back to the “smaller picture”, this quarter is a strange one, at best. I have some self care and home care I’m taking care of, but in the same time, come June (the last month of the quarter, let alone the last month of the first half of the year), I’ll be traveling. To me, it’s a reward to both “adulting”, because what fun is it (and what good is it really, to your health) if you don’t have something to look forward to, and it’s also a reward for working on myself and the place I live in.

Our aparment isn’t messy or needs too much work done, but since babe was here long before me, and with the Universe granting it, we’ll be together a long time, I want to add a more personal touch that I like as well. Most of it’s just organizing and tiding up, as we’ve accumulated things. I’ve become more simplistic in material goods, and I want it to show throughout our apartment.

Organizing the house, is something that both Aileen targets in the goal setting and planning sections of the workbook, and she has a whole section devoted to the home. After reading Jordan B Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life (read my review), it solidified that I did need to get my house in order as well. He always says start with your room, and that’s always a work in progress. Then your house? That’s even more always a work in progress. Yet as long as you sort out and plan and try to expect things (like plan for when you need a new garage door, or if you have pluming issues), you’re doing pretty good.

So April is covering what I want or should get for the start of organizing the living room and attic, while May is the living room, and after that and into June, before my 2 week trip (yes half the month!), will be the attic. I have no idea what I’m getting into, but I hope I have enough time and stamina!

I have 3 books planned out, and already have two of them. I should get the third on audio book, so that I can listen to it while I’m organizing…or maybe I should just re-listen to 12 rules for life? I’d probably fall asleep on the couch if I did that!

During June, I’m letting myself enjoy things, and my biggest goal is to explore and work on photography while I’m on my trip. I have 10 busy days out of 14, which includes flying. I’ll be able to get some reading done, as well as some prep work for here.

Do you think I’m doing enough? Or do you need another drink to process all of that (haha)?

As you can tell, I’m planning to get some housework done before the trip, so that I can fully enjoy the summer, all the way through my birthday events, in September. After September, it’s all hustle and bustle to pay it off, and start saving for next year!

The fun is only starting to begin, and I can’t wait to share it with you all! Share what you have planned for summer, down below, or repost this blog and do it there!