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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

New York will always be home.

I was born there.

Raised there.

Went to school there.

Many schools.

Elementary. Junior High. High School.

College. Undergrad. Graduate school.

I worked. For years.

I interned.

I took continuing education classes.

American Sign Language.


I interviewed.

Found jobs.

Turned down jobs.

I wandered the streets.

Ate lunch in the park. Many parks.

I met up with friends.

For lunch, halfway between offices.

At great restaurants.

On park benches.

For many happy hours.

Cigarette breaks in back rooms.

On curbs outside of office buildings.

In cafeterias.

Smoke breaks when I didn't even smoke.

Walks around the building.

Fresh air near the water.

Coffee breaks.

Sneaking off to the movies.

Extra long lunches.

Playing pool during overtime.

Flirting with the bartender.

Stumbling to the train.

Hailed cabs late at night.

Calling for a car.

Cried tears of love lost.

Wandering through neighborhoods with a broken heart.

Holding my husband's hand before I really knew.

First kisses. Stolen. Quietly.

Broadway shows.

French restaurants.

Gloves lost on snowy nights.

Diners after midnight.

Shots at the bar.

Sparks flying.

I got married there.

First engaged.

Central Park.

The zoo.

The polar bears.

We got married.

Moved around the boroughs.

Found our way.

Found our fur-babies.

Years later - I left.

We left.

Came home for visits.

Met my niece.

Returned home with a baby girl.

Introduced her to a place like no other.

Years later - I returned again.

Said goodbye to my father.

A piece of my heart, gone forever.

New York is home.

Always will be.

Today I choose to remember the moments that I will never forget, beyond those imprinted in my brain forever. Beyond those that the entire world watched with me.

These moments find me happy, sad, aching, longing, loving.

In some ways they're similar to those that occurred so so many years ago tomorrow.

And in many ways they're not.

I try to forget the smoke. The tumbling. The walking mile after mile.

My shoes.

Scrambling for phone calls.

The tears.

The forever change in my view.

Instead I recall the moments of MY New York.

And I remember. And I pray.

Because in my heart of hearts I know.

New York will always be home.

* Linking up with Pour Your Heart Out today over at Things I Can't Say. *

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Matter of Mercy, Lynne Hugo ~ book review

I'll start right off with saying that A Matter of Mercy was an enjoyable read.

CiCi (Caroline - our primary character) returned home to take care of her mom - who was dying. Her life outside of "home" had been falling apart.

After a brief stint in jail - yes, I know - she found herself trying to figure out where she stood.

Where were her strengths?

Who did she have in her life to support and love her?

What would she do without her mother?

I know, I'm not doing a great job of selling the story just yet, am I?

But it's good to know that although there are so many negatives happening in CiCi's life that she can find her way out of the darkness with the right support.

CiCi reconnects with an old acquaintance from high school. Rid is someone she knew, but barely. Their paths cross as she stumbles through her return home.

Watching them reconnect was a strong point of the book for me. The overlap in their stories, enjoyable, but not overly predictable. Rid had his own storyline. His life was not dependent upon Caroline's. Not her life. Not her decisions. Not at first.

I did find the culmination of their relationship to be a bit rushed as it seemed to come to fruition towards the later part of the book. Certain steps became predictable - although still enjoyable.

I suppose at close to 300 pages the author deemed it important to wrap things up. I would also guess that to drag out the ending of the story would be just that - draggy. It wouldn't work for the book and could lead to frustration. But I would have liked a little bit more.

I also held issue with a secret that CiCi kept from Rid. It, too, wrapped things up nicely, but didn't bode well for their relationship if he ever finds out. Unfortunately (or fortunately, maybe?) he doesn't - not within these pages - so we don't see what happens there.

Regardless of these two points I really did like the book. The setting was perfect, and I often found myself picturing it clearly in my mind. Hugo did a beautiful job of detailing the surrounding areas for this story. The community was enjoyable and I could picture myself hanging out with Billy (bartender Billy!) at The Oyster. There is another critical aspect of the storyline that was really intriguing, but I can't introduce you to it without giving a lot away - so I'll have to hold back!

Overall A Matter of Mercy was a mostly non-stressful read, despite the occasional heavy topics, and is worth looking into. A Matter of Mercy is available on Kindle and in can also be purchased in paperback at: A Matter of Mercy for your enjoyment.

* I received a copy of this book from TLC Book Tours. All expressed opinions are completely my own. I was not compensated in any way for this review. *

Thursday, September 4, 2014

StrollerThon for Postpartum Mental Health!

* Please note, the content of this post is not meant to be medical advice. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of a postpartum mood disorder please reach out to your doctor as soon as possible. There is help. You can feel better and the appropriate support is out there. Allow yourself to reach out for it. 

I'm going to talk to you a little bit today about an organization I volunteer with regularly. It's a really important organization and we could use your support. So if you can take a few minutes to share and then possibly spread the word? I'd love you forever. 

But seriously, I'd appreciate it. Really. 

Many of you know how important postpartum mental health is to me. From a personal and professional perspective, my goal is to help mamas everywhere get the support they need, when they need it. 

Postpartum Education and Support (PES) is an organization that is local to the Triangle, NC area. An organization that offers unconditional and FREE support to moms who need it. No questions asked. 

It's a support system for new and expectant mothers who need that reminder that they are not alone. It's completely free. All of it. The weekly peer support meetings (Moms Supporting Moms - MSM), the phone support line, the email support. All of it. 

PES is a nonprofit organization that works hard to ensure we can continue to offer this kind of support to new and expectant mothers. And so I'm thrilled to update you on a huge event we're having that will be loads of fun for you and your family, AND will help support this incredible organization. 

Our upcoming StrollerThon is always tons of fun, and no stroller is required! Admission is an affordable $10 for an adult and $15 for an entire family! The event is happening on Saturday, September 13th in Bond Park in Cary, NC. 

There will be the main walk (it's not horribly long - we promise!), a Tot Trot for the kids, live music, food, kid-friendly activities and an incredible raffle! You can purchase raffle tickets online to support the organization and do not need to be present to win. Find out more on our StrollerThon Registration Page. 

If you have any questions about this event you can email our executive director, Caroline Pence, to find out more. 

The following links will help you find out more and will direct you to information on how you can support PES:

AmazonSmile (shop on Amazon to support PES at no cost to you!)

* If you feel that you're experiencing anxiety or intrusive thoughts, please stop here and do not continue reading - as this post could be potentially triggering. Consider calling Postpartum Education and Support (Triangle, NC area) at 919-454-6946. Or contact Postpartum Support International at 1-800-944-4PPD. *

Women in the postpartum period often find themselves overwhelmed beyond words. Many women experience the Baby Blues. I'm sure you've heard that phrase before. And I'm sure you've heard it used to describe women who have been emotional after giving birth. 

And while it's true, hormones are adjusting, a new baby and the early days (and NIGHTS!) of motherhood are exhausting, mamas feel stretched too thin - that's all true - but there are often things happening beyond that. 

Beyond the sleepless nights, the nursing issues, the diaper rash and the reflux. 

Mamas sometimes find themselves too anxious to leave the house with their baby. They sometimes find that they don't want to go near their baby. Or that the crying is so awful that they hole themselves up in the bathroom and can't move. There are sleepless nights when the baby IS sleeping. There are intrusive thoughts. 

Most of all? There is that feeling of being completely and utterly alone.

Nobody tells you that this could happen. Nobody gives you a manual to pregnancy and early motherhood with the disclaimer that this could happen to YOU. Postpartum mental health is a concern for other moms. You'll be just fine. 

And chances are you will be. But if you're not? Support is out there. PES is one place you can find it. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Sweet Water, Christina Baker Kline ~ book review

* I received a copy of this book from William Morrow publishers. All expressed opinions are entirely my own. I was not compensated for posting this review. There are affiliate links throughout this post. * 

Sweet Water is the second book I've read by Christina Baker Kline. While the first one was completely different, I have found that I'm a fan of her writing, writing style and just her work in general.

I've got another of her books lined up for reading pretty soon, and she may turn into one of my must-read authors before you know it. Usually it takes a few books before I decide, so I'll let you know for sure after the next one.

Sweet Water: Novel, A (P.S.) was an enjoyable read.

The character of Cassie is likable. She's motivated. She's human.

As we get to know her she develops an independent streak that we, as onlookers, start to enjoy.

Her newfound family? Not so much.

There's mystery in Sweet Water. It surrounds Clyde (Cassie's grandmother who only goes by Clyde). It hangs over the family.

The story flips back and forth. We get Cassie's perspective in the current day. We get Clyde's memories of years past. Situations. Friendships. A husband who has passed on. Cassie's grandfather. The reason she's here in this little town to begin with.

There's unexpected connection between family members.

I can't decide if that sentence is too literal or not literal enough, so I'll just leave it as is.

There's love and support and strength. And backstabbing and rudeness and feelings like you've stumbled onto an old episode of Dynasty without the cash value. (Have I just dated myself there? Thinking I have.)

You can download a Kindle copy of Sweet Water pretty easily, if you're looking for an end of the summer read, or headed off on a trip and want something non-stressful at your fingertips.

The first book I read by Christina Baker Kline was Orphan Train. It's a must read. I haven't reviewed it yet because I'm not quite sure how to. I bought it on my own, which wouldn't stop me from reviewing it (I'd honestly like to get more of those reads reviewed here!), but it's just a lot. Intense. Real. Just pick it up. You'll thank me.

And stay tuned for a review of Desire Lines in the coming months.

* Disclaimer reminder: I received a copy of this book from William Morrow publishers. All expressed opinions are entirely my own. I was not compensated for posting this review. There are affiliate links throughout this post. * 

Friday, August 29, 2014

I have no post title.

I've tried to title this post like ten times.


What makes me happy?

Finding the positives.

Meh. They all kind of suck.

I figure y'all like me better if I'm honest and true to myself. So - I have no post title today. Have at it. If you have one? Send it my way. Maybe I'll change it to your idea. Maybe I'll reward you with never-ending gratitude. Or somethin'. *wink*

Seems these days that there is so much flying around Facebook that prompts me to write blog posts. I've been nominated a handful of times (okay, fine, maybe two?) to do the positivity challenge aka things I'm grateful for and although I have not written a blog post in - oh - say a week or so - I'm thinking about the things in my life I'm happy about.

I usually write things that make me pour my heart out in a way that covers sadness.

And these last few days I've been missing my dad like a son-of-a-gun, so a few happy thoughts thrown in would be for very good measure, I think. Don't you?

So, up there ^^ you'll see a few things I'm pretty sure my daughter experienced this week as her happy moments.

here are a few I shared with friends on Facebook, and then a ton more that make me smile.

What brings you happiness and joy? Stop by Good Girl Gone Redneck on Facebook and let me know!

* family
* watching my daughter sleep
* the feeling I get after working with clients
* country music (fine, some country music)
* my fellow warrior mamas
* upcoming conference plans
* nail polish creativity
* a 3-day weekend = family time
* college friends
* iced coffee
* a good cry (because sometimes you have to)
* fall television starting up soon
* connections that go back as far as you can remember
* writing
* the tooth fairy
* pumpkin spice lattes
* the brief moments it feels like fall
* my fur-babies
* a full heart
* friends I've only met a handful of times but feel like I've known forever
* being out on the water
* a beautiful sunset
* General Hospital (what? I can't help it!)
* smiling
* a true pee-your-pants kind of laugh
* the hug of an old friend
* holding my Momma's hand ... or my daughter's
* volunteering

And there you have it. A good handful and then some of the good things in my every day life.

Want to share some of yours? Leave me a few in the comments. I'd love to hear from you.

TGIF, y'all!