Sunday Check-In: Row 80



It is Sunday check-in for Round 4 of ROW80.
I will make note of what I have achieved after each goal and highlight it.
*Write at least 1000 words a day. YES!
*Revise Catching Love, through the revision course with Lori Wilde (will start the course Oct. 16)

*Finish writing Saving Christmas NO

*Win at NaNoWriMo (a November goal, although have started to plan – using Janice Hardy’s Idea to Novel Workshop)

*Blog at least 3x a week. YES – counting my 3 blogs

*Write and publish 4 reviews for WOW .  The first will appear this week 

*Participate in Yoga Challenge at Prevention for next 3 months. YES
*Walk 10,000 steps a day. I’ve achieved this twice in past week.

*Take part in Write 31 Days by sharing my journey with 31 Days of Healthy Practices YES – have done a blog post each day

*Read daily. YES

*Create art daily, taking part in several challenges. Not every day

*Continue to declutter. Took 3 boxes to Goodwill this week


I will keep writing and working on these goals in the week ahead.



ROW80 – Goals for Round 4


ROW80Round 4 begins today.
I have been away from ROW80 for some time. The past two years have been stressful and definitely not productive.
I’ve read a lot, but written very little. Ideas have still percolated but I haven’t done much more than write them down. I still have several novels /novellas to revise.
But I am tired of my lack of progress. It is well past time to buckle down. I know what it takes to succeed – I just need to get back to my routines of writing and creating.

My goals this round will be fewer but more specific.


*Write at least 1000 words a day.

*Revise Catching Love, through the revision course with Lori Wilde

*Finish writing Saving Christmas

Win at NaNoWriMo

~ complete Janice Hardy’s Idea to Novel Workshop in Oct.

~write 50,000 words in November



*Blog at least 3x a week

*Write and publish 4 reviews for WOW



*Participate in Yoga Challenge at Prevention for next 3 months

*Walk 10,000 steps a day

*Take part in Write 31 Days by sharing my journey with 31 Days of Healthy Practices


Personal (not as specific)

*Read daily

*Create art daily, taking part in several challenges

*Continue to declutter


My fall intentions vision board highlighted many of these goals. I have it displayed so I can be reminded to focus on them regularly.


September Favs and October TBR



October  -a new month, new challenges and new books to read.

At “Broke and Bookish”, today also means a look back at our favs from September.


My Favourites from September

First and foremost, it was a love fest for Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I find her writing draws you in and you feel as if you know the characters, and quickly come involved in their complicated lives.

I continued reading several more of her books this month:

What I Did For Love

This Heart of Mine

Natural Born Charmer

First Star I See Tonight

Breathing Room

Match Me if You Can


I also enjoyed

Map of the Heart by Susan Wiggs


This month, I hope to read a few books from my TBR Fall List (check here for the complete list)

Glass Houses by L0uise Penny

Off the Page by Jodi Piccoult and Samantha Van Leer

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Ain’t She Sweet by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.


There will be other books of course, but these are must reads.


What will you be reading this month?

Top Ten Tuesday


At “The Broke and Bookish”, the theme for Top Ten Tuesday is a fairly open one and I am choosing to stretch it even a bit more.


This week is “Banned Books Week”, a time to celebrate books that others feel should be banned for whatever reason.

I grew up in a reading family, where my father never censored what I read. He felt I needed to learn to discriminate by reading anything I wanted to.

Each year the Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles a list of hundreds of challenges and each year they post a Top Ten list of banned books for that year.

In the past 15 years, ten of my favourite books have been on these lists.

For Top Ten Tuesday, here is my list of 10 books I’ve read and enjoyed and have been on the Top Ten list of banned books at least once.


  1. Harry Potter by J.K.Rowling This amazing series has been on the list several times, cited for violence and having themes of Satanism/occult.


  1. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. Maya’s gut-wrenching memoir proved to be too sexually explicit for some people.


  1. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. The reasons this novel was banned were for offensive language and being sexually explicit as well as being unsuited by age group.


  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. A book that still resonates since I read it as a teen. It has been banned for offensive language, racism and being unsuited to the age group.


  1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I thoroughly enjoyed the series, yet others found it violent, sexually explicit and unsuited for the age group.


  1. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. The scary part of this book, is that so much of what is happening now, Huxley predicted so long ago. It has been cited for insensitivity, offensive language, racism and being sexually explicit.


  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Alexie explores important themes, especially relating to native youth. It has received so many objections: anti-family, sexuality explicit, violence, drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, unsuited for age group.


  1. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. This is a challenging book to read but well worth the read. The reasons for banning it included being sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for the age group, drugs/alcohol/smoking.


  1. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger. It has been on the banned list for a long time – for being sexually explicit, offensive language and being unsuited for the age group.


  1. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. Published in 1937, it was a stark book about an unlikely pairing. It has been cited for offensive language, racism and violence.


In honour of Banned Books Week, I am going to have to read a few more of these banned books. We have a right to read (and enjoy!) what we want to read.


Top Ten Tuesday – My Fall Reading List


This week for “Top ten Tuesday”, we are asked to share our Top 10 Fall reads. This meme is hosted at “The Broke and the Bookish.

My Top Ten Fall Reading List
1. Glass Houses by Louise Penny. All year I wait for the next installment of Penny’s Inspector Gamache series. Now that it’s here, I want to savour it and not rush the read. 13 books and I’m still hooked.

2. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I never read it 30 years ago and have now been drawn into the TV drama (which deservedly won Emmys). I have started reading it and am determined to read it. Trouble is, with the climate today, it seems almost too prophetic.

3. Feversong by Karen Marie Moning. I enjoyed the whole Fever series and am looking forward to read her latest book in the series.

4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Another book I missed years ago and am still anxious to read it. This time I will!

5. Sue Grafton – I am behind in her series – and my husband already bought me the latest for Christmas (don’t tell him I know!) so really must get on with finishing the books I already have.

6. The Plot Whisperer by Martha Alderson. I am taking part in a book study and will finish this this season.

7. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. A book I’ve had for a while and want to finally read.

8. The Hobbit by Tolkien. I can’t believe I still haven’t read (or finished reading) this book. Time to bite the bullet and just read it.

9. Posted by John David Anderson. I loved his “Ms. Bixby’s Last Day” and I am sure this book will be as gut-wrenching.

10. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordin. I have this book to read for a while and want to read it.

There will be many more books that I want to read but this is a good start.

What books do you plan to read this fall?

Five Minute Friday – SUPPORT



Today is Five Minute Friday, the weekly writing Challenge hosted by Kate Motaung and the prompt is SUPPORT.


Throughout my life, I have received support from so many people.
My mother was my first and greatest support – encouraging me to return to university, to take a teaching job in the far north and to take me in as a single mom. I still miss her after 8 years.

My husband, my children, friends, and other family members give me support – as a writer, as an artist, for any action I seek support for.

We all need to have someone who has our back, who we can turn to no matter the time of day or night. They may even push us to do something we find challenging.

Always, prayer has been that extra support I have turned to so many times. I know prayer has helped me, in so many different circumstances.

Top Ten Tuesday – Books Published in 2002


Today is  Top Ten Tuesday, the weekly challenge hosted by “The Broke and the Bookish”
This week is a “Throwback Freebie” –where we are to choose books from somewhere in the past.

I am choosing books published in 2002, the year I remarried. Fifteen years there were many great books published and though I didn’t read them in 2002, 7 I read and 3 are still on my TBR shelf.
1. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. So enjoyed this book
2. Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer. This was the book chosen for “One Book, One Community” and was quite a read, especially if you enjoy scifi.
3. The Lonely Bones by Alice Sebold. This was such a difficult read as my daughter was the same age when I read the book but I did enjoy it.
4. Living Dead in Dallas (Sookie Stackhouse) by Charlaine Harris – I read this series last year and loved it. (I bought the TV series but still need to finish that)
5. The Dark Highlander by Karen Marie Moning – I have read most of her fantasy books and especially enjoyed this series.
6. Eragon by Christopher Paolini. A fun fantasy to read.
7. Grave Secrets by Kathy Reichs. I enjoyed the first books in her series, including this one.

These three I own, but still have not read – they sit on my TBR waiting to be read.
1. Lucky Man by Michael J. Fox
2. Unless by Carol Shields
3. I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Five Minute Friday – WORK


This week at “Five Minute Friday”, the word is “WORK”

Work has many conotations – both positive and negative. It can refer to our daily jobs, chores we must do around our homes or task we take on.
I was lucky to work at a job I loved for over 30 years – as a teacher. Yes, teaching was work and there were many challenges but it was also my passion.
I often worked long hours at night or on the weekend but I was doing what I needed and wanted to do.
As Confucius said “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Now that I am retired, my work is more house workd and yard work – both of which I have always done, but am not really partial to. I have turned more to writing and art to fill my time.
We should all be able to choose work that fulfills us.

Slice of Life Tuesday



Today is Slice of Life Tuesday – the weekly writing challenge hosted at “Two Writing Teachers”. I have been absent for some time from taking part, and have really missed this wonderful community of teachers/writers. Time to rejoin!


Today is the first day of school. A new start for so many.

After 13 years as a student, 4 years at university and over 30 years as a teacher, the day after Labour Day was always a start of a new year and a time for renewal. This day still resonates as a fresh new start, even though I have been retired for four years.

I thought it a perfect time to start fresh on getting healthy. I needed to make changes and John C. Maxwell said it so well:

You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”

It goes without saying then “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
It comes down to changing my ingrained habits – habits that have resulted in an unhealthy lifestyle.

I need to add daily exercise, more fruit and vegetables and more water. It means eating less bread and treats.

I’ve had enough. I need to lose weight, improve my flexibility. I want to write and create daily.

So for the next 100 days, I plan to:

~walk 10,000 steps daily and find other ways to exercise and move

~shake up my eating habits

~write daily, even if it’s only 55 words

~create art daily

~have more fun, get together with friends more often

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Struggle to Finish



This week for “Top Ten Tuesday”, the weekly challenge at “The Broke and Bookish”, the theme relates to books we’ve struggled with in some way.


I’ve chosen to focus on 10+ books that am struggling to finish, for whatever reason. (The first though, I just finished, after a looong wait to do so)

I have a huge TBR pile of books. As well, I have a number of books that I’ve started but just could not finish. Too many other books catch my eye and I end up reading those ones.


  1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

I finally finished it last month after over a year on the TBR pile.


  1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I’m loving the series, but find I can only read this book a bit at a time. With the unheaval in the U.S. it seems too prophetic somehow.


  1. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien. It sits on my shelf half read. I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy in my teens but still haven’t finished this one. Maybe seeing the movie stopped me.


  1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I have started and stopped reading this book so many times. It still awaits.


  1. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steefvater. I do enjoy fantasy – but this one got put aside for others.


  1. Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I started it, stopped, tried watching the movie, but then got stalled on both


  1. T is for Treason by Sue Grafton. I had read all of the other mystery books in her series, but still waiting to finish T thru X.


  1. The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldron. I loved the first 2 books and definitely am addicted to the series, but once again am stalled with the rest of the series.


  1. Casual Vaqcancy by JK Rowling. I loved all of the Harry Potter books but just could not get into this one (or her Galbraith books as well)


  1. Hollow City and Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs. The first book was challenging but I enjoyed it. The second still awaits to be finished.


I plan to finish all of these – this year!

What books have you struggled to finish.