Failure and Happiness And What I’m Currently Reading

 Life is scary. Failure is scary. Love is scary. So many of the things we spend a lot of time doing, are scary.

Personally, I am terrified of failure, of life not going the way I hope, or want, and also, I am scared of love. Admitting you are in love with someone is terrifying, because what if they don’t feel the same? Then you’ve put yourself out there, and there is no taking back those “three little words” because they are ANYTHING but little.

Fear is such a powerful emotion. It ranks right up there with love, actually; perhaps that’s why it is so frightening. Two of the most powerful emotions in the world, and they are two of the scariest emotions, as well.

I’d like to ask two questions, and kindly request you truly think about them, for a moment. Don’t just skim over them, and quickly continue reading this blog post…

What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
What would you try if you were guaranteed to somehow, feel no fear AND also feel loved?

I am currently reading “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin, and it is changing the way I look at so much. I would HIGHLY recommend it, to any and everyone. She is a Yale Law School Graduate, and formerly worked with Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor before she quit her job, moved to NYC and began a career in writing. The book is so encouraging and inspiring, to me. She had no proof that she would experience success as a writer, but she followed her heart. She wasn’t willing to let fear, or the possibility of failure, stop her desire to try something new. I want to live a life of no fear, and extreme faith – in all aspects; in Love, in Christianity, in my relationships with family and friends, and on and on.

Life is meant to be lived wholly, completely and without regret. Sure, there are going to be moments, and possibly decisions, we all wish we could take back – but to strive towards a life of no fear, no regrets and truly living “out loud” is such an incredible thought, and a goal to reach for.

So start now, living the life you COULD be living, and loving the way you SHOULD be loving. Don’t waste the days and the time God has given you – after all, life is God’s gift to you. How you live it, is your gift to God.

I read. A lot. I mean, on average, when I’m on vacation and actually have time to sit still and read for more than 5 minutes, I can read a book a day. A lot of friends ask for suggestions and want to know what I’m reading, and although I keep a highlight tab on my Instagram page of everything I’ve recently read, I thought I’d share what I have read over the years that were my favorites. I included the authors of the ones I remember. I’ve recently gotten quite attached to a new (to me) author, Anita Shreve. I’m currently moving through her entire collection and am on book 4 right now! Here are some others I’ve read and also some that were either SO good or SO bad that I felt compelled to write a brief description… 

The Swimming Pool – Holly LeCraw 

Opposite of Me – Sarah Pekkanan 

Girl w/the Dragon Tattoo – Steig Larsson 

Nantucket Nights- ELIN 

The Love Season – HILDERBRAN 

The Walk – Richard Paul Evans 

The Ocean between Us – Susan Higgins 

Resistance – Anita Shreve 

The Weight of Water – Anita Shreve 

Testimony – Anita Shreve 

Like Me – Chely Wright 

Juniper Tree Burning – Goldberry Long

 The Girl who Played with Fire – Steig Larsson

 The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest – Steig Larsson 

Choosing to See – Mary Beth Chapman 

Crossfire – James Patterson 

Prairie Tale – Melissa Gilbert 

Safe Haven – Nicholas Sparks 

Swimsuit – James Patterson 

Still Growing – Kirk Cameron 

Angel Falls – Kristin Hannah 

Firefly Lane – Kristin Hannah 

Run for Your Life – James Patterson 

Don’t Blink – James Patterson 

Sliding into Home – Kendra Wilkinson Baskett (Don’t hate, or judge! I like her!) 

Any Place I Hang my Hat – Susan Isaacs Bourne 

Deception – Eric Van Lustbader 

Slugfest – Rosemary Harris 

Gone with a Handsomer Man – Michael Lee West 

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins 

Sing You Home- Jodi Picoult 

Lincoln Lawyer – Michael Connelly 

The Shadow of Your Smile – Mary Higgins Clark 

Girls Like Us – Rachel Lloyd (One of the best books I’ve ever read. A MUST read!

Perfecting Kate 

Sarah’s Key – Tatiana DeRosnay 

In Spite of Everything – Susan Gregory Thomas 

Faking Grace 

Girl w/the Dragon Tattoo Lucky (Alice Sebold) 

What to Ask the Person in the Mirror – Robert Steven Kaplan

Silver Girl – Elin Hilderbrand (I’ve read all of her books and they are all fantastic)

Heart of the Matter (Emily Giffin – read all her amazing books as well) 

Saving Max – Antoinette van Heugten

For Laci (Sharon Rocha) 

It’s not About the Bike (Lance Armstrong) 

I guess I haven’t Learned That Yet (If I could only recommend one book for you to read, other than the Bible, it would be this book. Absolutely amazing)

Ya Gotta Believe (Tug McGraw) 

The Paris Apartment (Lucy Foley)

Beachcombers (Nancy Thayer) – My 2nd Favorite book of the summer! 

The Girl who Chased the Moon (Sara Addison Allen, who is from NC) My Favorite Book!!!!

Winter Garden – Kristin Hannah // For her to be one of my new, favorite authors, this was my LEAST favorite, of her works. I found it to be boring, hard to follow, and overly detailed. Simply not a fan.

 Night Road – Kristin Hannah// Completely differing from the previous book by Kristin Hannah, this was my absolute favorite of her titles. I couldn’t put it down and stayed up well into the night reading it. The book begins with Lexi, a 14-year-old orphan, after her mother OD on drugs. After several failed attempts with foster families, she goes to live with her great aunt. Upon starting a new school, she quickly makes friends with the most popular boy in school, and his twin sister, Mia. I don’t want to give away too many details, as it is a MUST READ – but the book follows the three teens throughout their lives, including the rambunctious last few parties they attend, before graduating high school – where one decision made, changes the course of their lives forever. I loved it! 

Maine – J. Courtney Sullivan// Simply put, there were too many characters introduced, to avoid becoming confused. There were so many positive reviews about the book, I was really looking forward to reading it, and was pretty disappointed. Just another book about family drama. 

The Swimming Pool by Holly McCall (I think!)

Then Came You (Jennifer Weiner) Although slow to divulge any real reason for being written, the conclusion gained strength in reminding us, it IS possible to read an entire book, close it after concluding and STILL have no idea what was between the covers. My *least* favorite book by Weiner. 

The Real Girl Next Door (Denise Richards) Don’t Judge. I have been intrigued by Denise for quite some time. No, I never, ever, not even once, watcher her reality show; but ANYONE who married Charlie Sheen and went on to have 2 children with him must have a LOT to say. To put it simply, I was curious. Her biography seemed to help my assumptions hold weight; She seems devoted to keeping her head on straight and offering her kids as normal a life as she can, given their dad’s crazy behaviors. 

Room (Emma Donoghue) There isn’t enough room to record the emotions pulling at my heartstrings all throughout this very well-written work of fiction-that-I-am-sure-happens-alot-more-than-we-hear-of. Told through the eyes (and mouth) of a very sheltered 5-year-old boy who has been held prisoner since birth. His entire life has taken place in the confines of an 11×11 room. He gives personification to his wardrobe (Where he sleeps), Table, Chair, Rug, Bed – the only basic necessities offered to him – in a way that rips at your heart. Truly riveting, “Room” is one of the best books I have read all year. 

Crazy, Sexy Diet (Eat your veggies, ignite your Spark and live like you mean it) (Kris Carr – Author) A very well-researched encyclopedia of living a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle. Carr gives a breakdown (much like Alicia Silverstone did in “The Kind Diet” – my personal favorite) of not only what we should avoid, in terms of food/drink consumption, but WHY they are unhealthy. She also uses the last few pages to offer recipes and healthy substitutions for what we should be eating, instead of our “go-to” staples. 

Mockingjay (Suzanne Collins) The final installment of the “Hunger Games” Series. The first book was more interesting, but the 2nd and 3rd definitely did not disappoint. Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are just as intriguing as in the first two books, and the love triangle between the two of them, and Katniss’ best friend, Gale, keeps everyone guessing until the very end, who will ultimately win her heart. (I have also read the other books in this trilogy)

Crazy Love (Francis Chan) Suggested reading for several years now, I finally got around to seeing what the fuss was all about. Overwhelming, is the first word that comes to mind. Christ loves fully, without question or condition – but how often do we mirror His amazing ability to do so? I have a renewed urgency to share the authentic faith Christ longs for us to envelop and share it with the world. The time is NOW, to be passionate and unwavering in our relationship with the Creator of the world. 

Summer in the South (Cathy Holton) A quick and easy, mindless read about a woman who spends an extended amount of time in rural Tennessee, in hopes of writing her first book. It was enjoyable but I doubt I’d read it again. I COULD – and did a few different times- put it down. 

Close Your Eyes (Amanda Eyre Ward) My FAVORITE book by this author. After hearing about her this past summer, and reading a few of her works, I requested this from the library and sat up late into the night reading. Very enjoyable. She is talented and very easily places you in the middle of her novel. You feel very much, like you could walk out your front door and be in the setting of her books. I”ll DEFINITELY read more of her work, in the future. 

To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee) To be fair, this was a re-read. However, only as an adult can I fully appreciate the gifted writing and the circumstances surrounding the setting of the novel. It reminds me to be thankful for the steps our country has taken, in overcoming prejudices of many different natures – but also how far we still have to go, before equality is encompassed and respected by ALL people. 

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