Monday, May 21, 2018

Taking a Blogging Break


My dream has always been to publish a novel. My current project has been "almost done" for over a year now. I'm ready to be completely done and finally get rid of the "almost." That means I need more time to work on my writing, editing and beginning the publishing process of my novel.

When I started this blog, I was really excited for the chance to share ideas and photos, and also to connect with others. I still enjoy those things, but there are only so many hours in the day. 

Positive Practice Living is taking up a lot more time than I anticipated.  Once I'm finished with posts, comments and networking, I find I have no more of myself to give to my novel. That doesn't work in the greater picture since my novel is my priority.

All of this is to say...I'm taking a blogging break. I need to focus all of my writing energy on my novel. This is an act of self-care that I hope will benefit me and bring my stress levels down a notch.

I hope to come back with a novel ready to publish and lots of ideas to share. I'm not sure where this path with lead me, but I am confident it is the road I need to walk for now. 

Thank you so much for all of your visits, comments and Wordless Wednesday fun! Keep being awesome :)


Friday, May 18, 2018

TBB Asks: All Things Entertainment


The Blended Blog came about when a group of blogging friends decided to collaborate. I enjoy the blog, especially when a good TBB (The Blended Blog) Asks comes about. It is fun to answer these little questionnaires where there is no right or wrong, just a personal opinion. I like getting to know other bloggers a little better, and also getting to know myself. It isn't often that I think about what I like and it is always an adventure to see what pops into my head when asked random questions. 

This month's TBB Asks is all about entertainment....


1. Comedy or Drama?

I would have to say comedy. There is so much drama in real life that there is a point I can't handle anymore. I enjoy laughing and feeling a little more carefree when I sit down with the purpose of enjoying myself. Though a good drama can be satisfying, I would generally rather have the comedy.

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2. Fiction or Non-Fiction?

This one is hard for me because I read both...at the same time! I write about reading sometimes, like in this post, "Reading Style, Writing Dreams and Two Book Reviews." I often have a fiction book that I can curl up with and just enjoy myself. However, I like to find out how things work, so I read a lot of non-fiction too. I can easily read two books at a time when I read one of each, so really, it's a tie for me. I love fiction and non-fiction.

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3. Movies in Theater or At Home?

Seeing a movie in the theater is a real treat these days. Not only is it expensive, but it is also a matter of logistics with a kid around. I tend to see more animated movies in the theater than anything else. Though there have been some good comic book movies lately. My husband and I saw Black Panther on a date night and really enjoyed it. I also intend on seeing Deadpool 2 later this month. But generally, I enjoy watching movies at home in my pjs and a glass of wine.

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4. Musical or Play?

I really enjoy a good musical. Rent is one of my all time favorites. My husband and I saw it for Valentine's Day about seven years ago in Charleston, SC and was rewarded with snow. Another of my favorite musicals is Singing in the Rain. It goes back to the comedy question. All you have to do is "Make 'em Laugh!"

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5. Which Meal of the day is your favorite to eat out?

Here in Seattle, WA, there is a thriving brunch culture. I have found that I really enjoy eating brunch out. There are so many good places to try and mimosas! There is an energy here surrounding food, especially brunch, that is contagious.

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6. Favorite Book ever read?

This one is nearly impossible for me to answer. There are so many amazing books that I've read. I could write all day and still not have covered all of them. I love so many different genres and it's hard to pick one, even in a particular style.

I have read "The Hunger Games" (including "Catching Fire" and "Mockingjay") by Suzanne Collins several times and greatly enjoy the story. I love "The Vampire Lestat" by Anne Rice because of the philosophical questions that arise. I love several Nora Roberts books, one that I've read multiple times is "Catching Fire" about a team of smokejumpers that fight forest fires. One of my favorite fantasy stories is the Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare. The character development in those stories keeps me wanting to read them again and again. Another fantasy series that I've fallen in love with starts off with "Magic Study" by Maria Snyder. The entire series has great character development as well, one of my favorite traits for a good book. A drama that I enjoyed is "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak, which I haven't re-read yet, but left a lasting impression on me, especially regarding the imagery that Death uses.

I could go on, I love talking about books. However, there are still more questions to answer, so I'll move on.

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7. Game Night: Yes or No?

Absolutely! I love playing games with friends. We will play Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, Dominion, Risk, Clue, Uno, anything really. It is always fun to get together with good food and drinks for a night in.

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8. Favorite Outside Game to play?

I have to admit, I'm more of a board game and reading kind of person. I just started playing softball with a women's league, so I guess that would count. I enjoy bocce if we are camping and such.

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9. Favorite TV Series ever?

This one is an easy answer. My favorite TV Series ever is One Tree Hill. I watched it several times and still go back to view a specific episode once in a while. Again, I love the character development and the incorporation of quotes and books throughout the show.

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10. Sitcoms growing up or Sitcoms of today?

It is hard to beat the sitcoms around when I was growing up. We had Full House and Family Matters, shows that I thought had good morals. Later came Pretty Little Liars and The Secret Life of the American Teenager and I pretty much stopped watching TV at all. I do like several of the Netflix shows though, like Chef's Table and Stranger Things. Honestly, I don't watch that much TV anymore. I would rather read a book.

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11. Miniature Golf or Bowling?

Miniature Golf because it is outside and fun to walk around. I like seeing how a course is set up and trying to find the best angle to play. Plus it is easier for my daughter to putt a ball than try to pick up a bowling ball. We've done both and had fun at both, but one a nice day, my choice is miniature golf.

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12. Favorite Movie Theater Candy?

It is sad, but I don't really get candy at the theater anymore. I love sour worms though, so I suppose that would be my choice. I would rather get a large cherry slushie and eat that with some popcorn.

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13. How do you like your popcorn?

I like enough butter on my popcorn that the napkin turns greasy. I don't eat a lot of popcorn, but if we are at the movies we'll get it once in a while. We went to this specialty theater one time that had spicy Parmesan seasoning for popcorn that was delicious. Sometimes we'll get some white cheddar seasoning, which I also like. I suppose since I don't get it often, spicing it up a little adds to the treat.

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14. 3D movies with the glasses: Yes or No?

No, I would rather just watch the 2D version. Viewing through the glasses hurts my head, especially if there is a lot of movement on the screen. We watched The Hobbit when it came out in 3D and I didn't really enjoy the movie, more because of the length and the 3D hurting my head than the film itself.

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15. Favorite Genre of Books to Read?

This is another one that there is not one answer for. It is easier to say what I don't like to read, which is crime thrillers and horror books. Though I find myself even with one of those in my hands once in a while. I like reading non-fiction about all kinds of subjects and will give just about any book a try. It is one of the perks of learning how to read quickly, I go through a lot of material.

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This was fun. I especially like all the questions about books. You can tell where I spend most of my time. It would be fun to do a series on my favorite books each month...hmmm. I love it when doing posts like this help me come up with fun ideas. Any time I get to talk about books and writing is a good day.

I'm linking this post up with The Blended Blog's TBB Asks: All Things Entertainment. Head over there to read more or link up a post with your own answers. Join in the fun of connecting and to learn more about each other and yourself.


Title Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

{Wordless-ish Wednesday} The Color Run #Happiest5k



This is the before and after of The Color Run (#happiest5k) last Sunday. This is how I started Mother's Day and it was a blast. I spent more of my day with softball friends and awesome family time. Nonetheless, I have been looking forward to running a Color Run since well before I started running. I was so excited, and even with a sore ankle, I was determined to do it. I have done this route before (a standard 5k route in Seattle), and the entire race felt good. I was a little more relaxed because I was making sure my ankle wasn't going to give out on me. In addition, the bubbles and color added a whole new element to the race. I am so glad that I completed this race, got a metal and got covered in color in the process. 

I hope you had an awesome weekend, and to all those mothers out there...Happy Mother's Day!



Now it's time for some Wordless-ish Wednesday Fun!


Link up with the direct link to your post(s) containing photos, crafts and adventures. I love to read through and be inspired by all of the fantastic happenings of the week. Be sure to visit other's posts and share some comment love! Happy Wednesday!
   
   
   
  

Check out these other blog hops I link up with!


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Check out Positive Practice Living at:
Facebook ⬢ Instagram ⬢ Twitter ⬢

Have an inspired day!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Reading Style, Writing Dreams and Two Book Reviews


The way I read is sometimes hard to explain. I read quickly and often. At the beginning of May, I've read 35 books so far this year. I don't know if this is considered a lot, I'm sure it is by some people. The thing is, I read to get what I need from a book. I pick up things that interest me and start reading. I enjoy non-fiction because I like to learn how things work.

I read a lot of fiction too, but it is rare that a book will just grab me. If I can get lost a book, it is special indeed. The best part is by reading quickly I can finish books even if they begin boring. It is always a nice surprise to get about halfway through a book and realize that it is really good, it just took a while to get started.

This has happened to me twice very recently. I was about ready to give up on a book when a twist or development in character kept me going. Though, I would prefer to be more engaged through the entire book, I don't mind changing my opinion halfway through.

The two books this occurred recently were both just a step out of my usual reading genre. They were true "chick-lit" versus more Contemporary literature or romance. "Beach House" by Mary Kay Andrews and "Secrets in Summer" by Nancy Thayer proved to be good stories, once they got going.


"Beach House" features a film location scout named Greer, who is on her last chance to prove herself in the industry, a family tradition. As she searches for the perfect "old time beach town" for her flighty boss and director, Greer stumbles on Cypress Key, a sleepy town on the Florida panhandle. The antique, slightly rundown atmosphere is just what the film "Beach House" calls for; however, the community has some drama all of its own. When film and small town collide, Greer and local mayor Eben have to figure out how to work together to keep the film and town from drowning.

At first I found the characters stale and the setup cumbersome. However, the story intrigued me and Andrews leaves enough bread crumbs to keep me turning the page. About halfway through the momentum begins to build and the characters gain depth. It is always a nice thing to be able to see the world through a new perspective and that is what these characters begin to learn as they work together and compromise. I was surprisingly enchanted with the conclusion making me grateful I stuck out to the end.

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It has become a joke over the years how I read slower when a book is particularly good. People sometimes question my sanity, but I read for information so once I get what I need I move on. Non-fiction is easy to read because it is naturally set up to provide information. I know what I am supposed to learn before I open the cover. The author sets his or her intention on the subject within the first couple chapters. The rest of the book is simply a series of details to support that claim. I enjoy all the fun facts along the way, but it usually lends itself to a quick read. Of course, there are exceptions to this if I get really interested or if it is a subject I am studying and decide to take notes. 

Fiction, on the other hand, is a completely different manner of reading. It is not always obvious what the reader is hoping to portray in the story. Often times, it will develop slowly over time. With these recent reads, the dynamic of the book can even change throughout the story. 

When I am really into a story, I begin to read each word instead of each paragraph, which slows my reading time down drastically. If you are not familiar with speed reading that may sound strange, but it is a fairly common practice for people who have to constantly read a lot of material. I do it by choice, a habit I picked up in college and never really gave up. In fact, I enhanced it. Over time I trained myself to read quicker and retain more comprehension.

I also taught myself how to start and stop, even in mid-sentence if necessary, and how to read with a lot of distractions around me. I am a mother, without this ability I would not have been able to read much in the last eight years. I enjoy reading too much to let it fall away, so I just worked around the interference. 


Another book that surprised me recently was "Secrets in Summer" by Nancy Thayer. This one sort of fell in my lap, so I opened the cover and started reading. I didn't even really like the premise that much at first, but still I kept reading.

Darcy had a hard childhood, but found solace and stability in her kind, though private, grandmother Penny. When her beloved grandmother died, she inherited a house on the "glamorous island" of Nantucket. By living there all year round, Darcy had a unique perspective of the traditionally seasonal vacation spot. As the tourist season opens once again, Darcy witnesses the complete culture change of the island.

However, this year she finds a surprise right in her own backyard. Her ex-husband has moved into the house backing her with his new wife and teenage step-daughter for the summer. Added to them is an elderly lady with her attractive grandson next door and a mother of three down the street. Though Darcy normally doesn't affiliate much with the summer residents, this year proves different. To top it off, she is exploring a budding romance with her own local carpenter. The summer turns into quite an adventure full of emotions, life decisions and learning the power of friendship and love.

It took me a while to realize I actually enjoy the stream of consciousness writing style. It is similar to my own inner monologue and I found it easy to read, even if the writing is simple. I wanted a little more from the characters themselves, but I was pleased with the journey they took me on.

The beginning of this novel provides too much back story all at once before I had a chance to connect with the character herself. It took me a long time to really invest in this book. At one point I even asked myself why I was still reading it. However, Thayer incorporated enough detail in the narration to keep me wanting more.

A little over halfway through the novel, the momentum finally started to build and I wanted to know what would happen to these characters. Though I still wish for more character development, I did appreciate the story. It never comes to any great conclusions or statements on life, but it is a fun summer read. Sometimes, it is just nice to get out of my own head and tap into another's inner perspective. In the end, I appreciated this book for its simplicity and realized it is simply meant to be a fun read.

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I would recommend both "Beach House" and "Secrets in Summer" as good "beach reads." Perhaps it is simply the genre that dictates the style these books are written in. Once I realized that, I enjoyed them both much more.

I like a book I can get lost in. But I can't really tell you what creates that magic. As I write my novel now, I am really trying to figure out how to create that engagement that makes you really care about the characters. I want to create a piece of art that allows you to experience life through a new perspective and enjoy the journey along the way. I want to facilitate a portal into a world that will allow you to get lost in a world that is similar to yours, yet also set apart. I don't know exactly what makes that, but I hope to find it and recreate it.

Until then, I will keep reading and hoping to discover those special books that send my reading speed to a crawl and making me never want a story to end. There's magic in that. I think we all need a little more magic in the world.

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Are you a reader? What genres do you read? What types of stories allow you to forget about life for a while? Have you read anything good lately? Or bad? I love talking about books and writing. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments! Have a magical day.


Title Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash


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Friday, May 11, 2018

Camping at Joemma State Park, WA


A few weekends ago, my husband and I joined some friends for a camping trip to Joemma State Park located in Washington State. The park sits on the southern end of the Puget Sound along a series of islands on the Western side of the state.

It was a beautiful weekend for the Pacific Northwest, our first really warm spring days. It was chilly, but not cold. It was nice walking along the beach and sitting in the sunshine during the day.

I really enjoyed this campground because it was really well maintained and had several sites with good views of the sound. We chose a site up on the bluff overlooking the sound and the beach. It had an amazing view.


The wind picked up on the first night, but we had situated our tent so it was blocked by a group of trees from the worst of it. It rained a little through the night, but thankfully only while we were sleeping. Our days were nice, especially huddled around a campfire.

A pier set out into the Puget Sound. I really enjoyed walking along it to the end where I could hear the wind and the water above anything else. It was such a peaceful place.


We also walked along the beach and found all kinds of shells and sand dollars. We even found some oysters, though I didn't try to eat them or anything. It was nice just to be in the moment and enjoy nature.

That's really all we did all weekend - enjoy nature. It was such an amazing opportunity to take a deep breath and find some new perspective.


I highly recommend Joemma State Park, we had a lovely stay. I look forward to going back again some time soon.

I am happy to announce that camping season has officially opened for us. We just got back and I already can't wait to go out again.


All photos by Amanda McCusker

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

{Wordless-ish Wednesday} Unlikely Magical Place


"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." ~Ronald Dahl

I found this little piece of magic right in our backyard. This cove feels like it opens up into an entirely new world inviting me into a secret garden. I love places like this, it lets me know there is still magic found in the most unlikely places, right where I am.

Do you have a place that makes you feel like there is magic in the world? I'd love to hear about it! Have a magical Wednesday!



Now it's time for some Wordless-ish Wednesday Fun!


Link up with the direct link to your post(s) containing photos, crafts and adventures. I love to read through and be inspired by all of the fantastic happenings of the week. Be sure to visit other's posts and share some comment love! Happy Wednesday!
   
   
   
  

Check out these other blog hops I link up with!


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Check out Positive Practice Living at:
Facebook ⬢ Instagram ⬢ Twitter ⬢

Have an inspired day!

Monday, May 7, 2018

The Good and the Bad of Saying "No"


The other morning I received a text asking to pick up a friend's kid from school. Normally, I would not even hesitate to do this. Our girls are friends and they would have a great afternoon. However, on this particular day, we already had plans to celebrate a birthday with a different friend's daughter. I felt so bad about saying no, but I had to out of respect for the already planned birthday event.

The situation brought up a lot of feelings about saying no.

I've been a mom for eight plus years now. I've read all the articles... "Say yes more" and "Don't be afraid to say no." They all have their points. Still, it is something that comes up for all of us right? When do we say yes and when do we say no?

Though I tried to rack my brain around how I could help, the reality is I couldn't. I already had other obligations. They figured it out thankfully and our day went smoothly as well, but still, I felt the guilt.

I am a people pleaser by nature. If you don't suffer from such affliction, you are lucky. But there are some who understand exactly what I mean.

I try to say yes as often as I can. I enjoy those unplanned moments in life, they are usually the ones we remember. I like to try new things, and saying yes to new opportunities often brings about joy.

The other side of saying yes, is that sometimes my plate is just full. Sometimes it is overflowing. That is my current status...full and overflowing. In this case, saying no is a must because I can't handle anything else today, or tomorrow.

In this particular instance it was because that answer affected someone else. And yet, I still felt remorseful that I couldn't help out. If only it was the next day. (Then again that day was full too, but I probably would have made a way.)

It is a tricky task managing time, resources and energy. Sometimes I wonder how we get anything done or maintain any relationships. Yet, somehow, someway, I am lucky enough to meet people who understand the stresses of life and forgive those times when it just doesn't work out.

I tend to be a "yes" person, though I am learning that I need to hold my own sanity and priorities above outside sources. I don't mean that in a selfish way, though I struggle with how that sounds. I mean that at the end of the day I have to make sure me and mine are taken care of and I can accomplish what is required of me. Adding unnecessary is when I am learning to just say no. Even when it is hard to do.

Where do you fall on the "yes" and "no" scale? Do you ever feel guilty about saying no or regret saying yes? I'm curious, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.


Title Photo by Aki Tolentino on Unsplash

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Thursday, May 3, 2018

Gaining a Little Perspective From Nature



Do you ever feel like you don't have enough time?

I've been feeling like that a lot lately. I'm running from one thing to the next without really breathing in between. I was really beginning to feel overwhelmed. 

Thankfully, the timing worked out well and we were able to go camping a couple weekends ago. There is nothing like spending time in nature to reset my perspective.

Then, it took me a couple weeks to even process the pictures and experience. It was nice to take a few minutes and remember the quiet, slow pace of camping. These last couple weeks have been crazy with moving and spring activities.

Now that I stopped, at least for a moment, I can share a little bit that I learned on this trip. 



I was so thankful for this opportunity to go camping with friends. It was amazing to slow down and take a deep breath. During the trip, I realized several things. The most important being...

I have time.

I have time to think. Time to process. Time to respond. Time to breath.

I need to create time in between all the chaos. 

This is an intentional decision. I have to place it there, it will not happen for itself.



We are pulled in so many directions, how do you find a balance between adult responsibilities, children's needs, work, hobbies and self-care. Add moving, being allergic to my braces, getting a flat tire, and a sick kid into the mix and I'm going a little nuts.

But I have time.

Just Breathe.

One thing at a time. 

My other bad habit is to feel like it all has to be done at once. I can't concentrate on one thing because I'm already trying to figure out the next one, or still focused on the last one. It does not work, no matter how stressed and anxious I get.



Camping really helped me slow down, even for just those couple of days. It helped me remember to breathe. It was nice not to have to worry about anything but what to eat and whether to put a log on the fire. It was refreshing to be able to stare into a fire just for the joy of it. Or to walk along the beach and really appreciate the shells and the sand. 

I love camping. Over the course of the weekend I felt like I gained my sanity back. I am so thankful for the opportunity to just be. 




Now that I'm back in reality and facing the stress of moving and daily routine again, I remember to breath. I know I have time. I believe that everything will happen in its own time. There is no reason to stress or second guess myself, I just need to take it all as it comes.

By taking some time for myself to pause and gain perspective, I have been more capable of handling any that comes up during this transition of our lives. It has made all the difference. 

What do you do when you are overwhelmed to find perspective again? Camping and writing tend to be my go-tos, but there are so many different ways to find that inner calm. I'd love to hear about it in the comments!


All photos by Amanda McCusker
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Did You See This?

Taking a Blogging Break

My dream has always been to publish a novel. My current project has been "almost done" for over a year now. I'm ready to ...

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