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Welcome to Coffee Pines & Designs

Welcome to Coffee Pines & Designs a blog created by an interior designer, a person working on self love, an artist and a foodie. My name is Kirsten and all of those people are me. Far more importantly, I am a wife and mother of two daughters. I am blessed to have those titles, but upon moving to Northern Minnesota in 2011 I lost a little bit of myself. This is my outlet to regain my creative spirit and share my passions. Thank you for coming along with me on this journey!

Friendly Deceit: Book Review

If 50 Shades of Grey and Love Jones were to have a baby, Friendly Deceit would be their love child. This novel by L.V. Hope would not be a normal pick for me, however, the author is married to my husband’s cousin, I felt the desire to support her and read it. Friendly Deceit combines the rough sexiness of the 50 Shades trilogy with the poetic romance of Love Jones.

What L.V. Hope excels in is describing things in heightened detail. She brings Journey, Seth and Cheyenne to life, as if you were sitting across Atticus watching their interaction over a glass of wine. The setting of Minneapolis, Minnesota is described in such a detail that it draws my heart to want to experience it more, and, in a way I have never done so before. This Romantic Thriller will draw you in and make you wonder what will happen next. This is book one of her series and I look forward to the next layer of Friendly Deceit.

The 50 Shades Trilogy and Love Jones both provide excellent soundtracks to their books/movies. Perhaps, the soundtracks for 50 Shades are better than the acting in the movies, sorry Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan. As I was reading Friendly Deceit I was taking screen shots of the songs and artists L.V. Hope brought into the novel to help set the mood. Little did I know she provided a complete playlist at the end of the book. If I could go back, I would download the playlist and have it playing in the background as I dove into the character’s story. L.V. Hope, well done on the song selections!

*Please note, if 50 Shades of Grey was “too sexy” for you this may not be the book for you.

Work Out Music To My Ears

Coming home tonight I found myself easily agitated. Maybe it was having missed Monday at work (putting me behind), or having been at work since 6:30 AM (trying to play catch up), or coming up on a full moon or maybe, just maybe, it was our 6 year old going on a complete emotional rollercoaster the minute I walked in the door (again, I question the full moon). Dinner made it better, bed was calling my name, yet a workout loomed in the back of my brain.

Kids to bed. Check.

Workout pants on. Check.

Head phones plugged in. Check.

Spotify on shuffle. Check.

Music makes it all better.

Dancing makes it all better.

Of course I bypassed some songs that floated through the playlist, but some made me smile, move and sweat.

Have you heard Judah & The Lion’s Folk-Hop Sound? It is the perfect blend of my past love of hip hop and my current love of folk. If you see me leave the school parking lot this week bumping some base you can be guaranteed it is this song! Who knew the banjo could be paired with such sweet base?

The randomness of MC Lyte made me laugh. Bradley Cooper rips on the guitar in Out of Time. This simply made me smile, the movie left me feeling like I had been at a concert, this song brings me back to the theater.

Damien Rice is a definite softer tune, but a more recent love thanks to So You Think You Can Dance. Darius danced to it with Sieve Taylor this last season. I could watch this dance on repeat all day long. The choreography is simply beautiful, sad and powerful. It just may leave you feeling a bit angry. Dance is such a strong art. This song can’t simply be passed by if it comes on.

Leon Bridges is sugar to my ears and my soul. My Shot, oh my goodness, can I see Hamilton yet? Really, my NYC trip is soon approaching and may have to fork over the bucks to see it. Regrets may be bad if I don’t.

January 2019 Goals

January tends to be a month of new beginnings and resolutions that get put to the wayside two weeks into the new year. There is a Jen Hatmaker podcast where she interviews Jon Acuff. He is the author of a few books including, Finish.

Jon recommends that people need to determine their goal and then cut it in half. He found with his research people tend to reach too high for their reality. Once they do not make the mark they get discouraged and discontinue working towards their goal. Half way through January there was doubt that I would accomplish the goals I had set. I was determined to accomplish them as I wanted to complete them, but time was running out!

The goals were broken down into four areas; Reading, Art, Move and the 7 Challenge by Jen Hatmaker.

Reading

Jen Hatmaker wrote Of Mess & Moxie. This was recommended to me by my friend Melissa. Her writing makes me smile, laugh, and say “ahhh, me too!” Each week I read a section of the book and followed a study guide which prompted me to meditate and reminisce about topics in which she wrote about. The blog has four separate posts.

The goal was to read one other book besides the personal development book. Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty was the January book club pick. Big Little Lies, the HBO series, was based on her writing. I binged watched that show (link) awhile back and was glad that Three Wishes prompted me to actually read one of Liane’s books. The Coffee Pines & Designs book review can be read here.

I surpassed my goal of reading two books in January by one book. The book club pick for February was Still Alice by Lisa Genova. I listened to this audio book on a road trip. A highly recommended book and see why here.

Art

Art is in my blood. Art is a passion. Art gets put to the wayside. *sad face* Abstract art is a strength of mine. I have always wanted to be better at figure drawing. I am attracted to people and what makes them who they are. I ran across Jane Davenport thanks to Instagram. She combines figure drawing and abstract methods creating whimsical drawings and paintings. Guess what? She has books to teach her methods! Guess who bought a couple? Why not? The purpose of this goal was not to complete 4 pages of frame worthy art, but I did manage to complete one page that was intended for my cousins, Kelly and Jade, birthday. It also prompted my mom to ask for drawings similar of my sister and me as well as Stella and Emery. Pressure is on and challenge accepted!

Move

Exercise really makes me happy. I easily get bored though. I miss the gym atmosphere. Living outside of town, working full time and having kids makes it not an ideal situation to use a gym. January was a month to focus on PIIT28. For the most part I liked the variety it gave to me. I fully enjoyed it towards the end of the month when I could do it while watching Dawson’s Creek. My dear aunt, Melinda, read a post I completed while reading Of Mess & Moxie and sent me season’s 5 and 6 of Dawson’s Creek *totally own the guilty pleasure* The goal was to workout 5 days each week. I totally owned this goal until the last week. I am not certain if it was boredom of the method I was dedicated to since mid December or if it was the head cold I was fighting. I managed 4 days that week. Summer can’t get here soon enough so I can run outside again.

7 Challenge

January’s 7 Challenge was over food. You can read about my experience on the blog.

I met my goals at about 95%. I do not feel I need to cut my goals in half, but February is a shorter month. These goals would not be a problem if I did not truly feel passionate about all of these areas. I am going to strive for them all again but if I miss a workout here or there, or do 3 pages in my sketchbook rather than 4, I am going to cut myself some slack.

Love life, do what makes you happy, and feel accomplished! Cheers to a great month to start off the new year!

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess: Food

The first month had to be food, didn’t it? Food is my weakness. If you read Jen Hatmaker’s book, 7, you will be introduced to her experiment against excess. She took 7 foods and only ate those 7 foods for the whole month. This intrigued me. I thought, what 7 foods would I eat? Pizza. Pizza. Pizza. Wait! I just turned into my 4 year old daughter. She excels at this experiment better than I can! I started to contemplate only eating 7 certain meals throughout the month for breakfast and lunch and then eat dinners based around items we had in the home that needed to get eaten before they expired- which were a lot of items! This sounded like a plan I could handle until the first week was done *sigh* Food is my weakness. The goals that were set for me for the month of January were at the front of my brain each morning as I got ready for the day. Read 2 books, draw 4 pages in my sketchbook, exercise 5 days a week. Anxiety started to build. Ok, tone this one down a notch. Focus on making meals that got rid of items in the home, focus on not buying a bunch of extra things that would end up sitting in the closet for months. Ok, that plan I could handle. *charge on*

Coffee went away for the month. Coffee is part of my “thing”, or more so coffee shops, is part of my “thing”. After all, the blog has coffee as part of its name. Coffee was not something I could choke down for the longest time. Tea was my love. Over the course of the last few years, I went from Pumpkin Spice Latte queen, to Cafe Miel, to flavored coffee with a “dash” of coconut vanilla creamer. The warmth is what draws a moan out of my mouth as I take my first sip each morning. Tea can do that too. A cabinet full of tea needed to be reintroduced to me. Coffee went away. It made me sad each morning for the first week. After that, I looked forward to my cup of tea with honey. Welcome back first love! Today is February 2nd. It was my first opportunity to have a coffee at the Target Starbucks. Guess what? I went with the Mint Citrus tea. Sorry, coffee, you have some competition!

The kids didn’t notice anything different during the month of January. Except that we made them try a few different recipes as we tried to get rid of canned pumpkin, tomato soup and cream of mushroom soup. We had a couple of successes and a couple of flops!

Did I have any monumental take aways from this challenge of getting rid of excess food? I didn’t buy things just because they were on sale. I am certain our checking account saw a slight drop in food costs. I think I will start each weekend with reviewing what we have in our closet and cabinets prior to deciding on a weekly menu.

A few of my favorite quotes Jen had in her first chapter on Food:

“You always have to be doing something, don’t you” p. 28. This resinated with me. I am always trying something out and challenging myself.

“Tell me about the world before. What was it like?” “We didn’t even know what was precious.” “We threw away things that people would kill for today.” – The Book of Eli p.22

“I am hungry” p. 43

Here are the following recipes that were a hit in our home!

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins (not healthy but oh so yummy- we made these 2 times!)

Ingredients

2.5 cups flour

0.5 cup oats

4 t pumpkin spice

2 t baking soda

1 t baking powder

1 t salt

1.5 cups pumpkin purée

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup vegetable oil

0.5 cup apple sauce

3 eggs

1 t vanilla

Directions

Set oven to 350 degrees

Makes 18 muffins

Bake 25-30 minutes

Combine flour, oats, spice, baking soda and powder, salt. Set aside.

In another bowl whisk purée, sugars, oil, apple sauce, eggs and vanilla.

Stir together dry and wet ingredients.

Pour into muffin tins (sprayed or paper)

Streusel Topping:

0.5 cup brown sugar, 2 T melted butter, 2 T oats, 2 T flour. Mix and place small amounts on each muffin before putting in

Creamy Ranch Pork Chops and Rice from Campbell’s (to use Cream of Mushroom soup)

Beef and Broccoli (to get rid of tomato soup)

The Best Chili You Will Ever Taste (to get rid of diced tomatoes, tomato paste 4 cans of kidney beans *yes, we had that many*)

Couscous salad got rid of some couscous, slivered almonds and craisins

Of Mess & Moxie • Week 4

Is there someone you are having a difficult time forgiving? How would forgiving them change your life?

I wrote a post about forgiveness about a year ago. I think at this point I am going to reference you to that post for this question. Pick up the book, Everybody Needs to Forgive Someone, by Allen Hunt. It is a great book to walk you through this often times difficult task.

If you could fan girl anyone who would it be? Why?

Jen Hatmaker referenced that one of her friends text messages her friends whenever she thinks of them. Friends of mine occasionally get snail mail from me. That is the way I fan girl them, as Jen calls it. I wish I would be better at picking up the phone. In this season of life it easier and less frustrating to write a quick note than it is to play phone tag!

I have to share a story. I had a co-worker that put a pack of tea near my desk. I thought it was a different co-worker. When I found out who it was for real she asked “who else puts little notes on your desk randomly”? It dawned on me. She put a note on my computer when it was my birthday last June. I had no idea who did it, but that post it note with those kind words still is posted on my bulletin board. When you think of someone, share those kind thoughts. It may just make their day *wink*

What were your teenage years like? What were YOU like?

The teenage Kirsten was much like the adult Kirsten is now, just younger, fitter, more brain power and less wrinkles! *laugh, smile* the years were filled with spending time with girlfriends, a boyfriend, dance team practice/performances, working at County Seat (a clothing store that no longer exists) and The Limited Too (now Justice), driving to Detroit Lakes to spend a day at the beach, and the occasional family time. Family time was not purposely avoided, I loved my family and enjoyed spending time with them, but life was busy! My parents adored my friends and welcomed them into our home. As I entered my teenage years two of my best friends were created. Til this day I don’t know where I would be without them.

What was I like, though? Much like now, I was quiet. I always felt like a follower. As I look back there were subtle signs of a leader peaking through that shy and introverted girl. At that time I thought leaders had to be extroverted, loud, crazy and popular. I didn’t realize there were different types of leaders. All I wanted to be was a positive influencer, a rule follower, a nice person and a motivator. I hope that is the way I was perceived and I hope that I radiate those same vibes as an adult.

I have to leave these questions with the following facts though. Embarrassing? Perhaps. Things that make me smile? For sure! I loved gangsta rap, still do. I will drop the kids off at their catholic school and listen to 2pac or Warren G as I leave the parking lot. I loved loud thumping bass. This deserves an eye roll, although, I still love when my speakers “rattle” a little. I am sure I could come up with some more embarrassing moments, but I will leave with those for now.

What has your experience with suffering looked like? And recovery?

This is a difficult question. Suffer is a big word with deep meaning and one I don’t take lightly. One can loose loved ones to death, go through heartbreak, live through violence, be lonely, and suffer in so many other ways. I have lived through some of those. Losing grandparents due to age, having a friend commit suicide, gone through hardships with loved ones and breakups. The suffering that I have gone through seems normal. There is so much suffering in the world. Life has been good to me. I pray that if you are suffering that you have people that love you and hug you. The support is needed in times like those, that is the beginning of your path to recovery.

Still Alice: Book Review

The book club I am a part of decided on Still Alice by Lisa Genova for our next book. A group of us that used to work at the Touchmark at Harwood Groves (retirement community) read this book years ago. Many of us thought we were starting to have signs of Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. That comment was not to make light of the subject, but so many of Alice’s initial signs were things many of us go through on a daily basis. I was about to opt out of rereading the book, but decided to download the audio version and listen to it on a trip to Fargo. The book was read by the author. She had a soothing voice that was easy to listen to, a voice that mimicked the main character. The movie adaptation was done well too.

The following discussion was guided by the following questions on the website here.

When Alice first becomes disoriented in Harvard Square she is scared. She feared that something was wrong with her. She was having those concerns before but this was where it confirmed the uneasy feelings. She didn’t want to tell John because she was frightened, worried he wouldn’t believe her and embarrassed.

Once the doctor shares with her that she had early onset Alzheimer’s she had an out of body experience. She didn’t fit the criteria of someone with Alzheimer’s disease. She was a professor who taught on the subject of language and there she was having a hard time speaking simple parts of language. This was not a light diagnosis, she knew the effects it was going to have on her.

It is interesting that the author chose this profession for Alice. In a way it made it easier for her family to accept the diagnosis and in some ways it made it harder. Some family members had a hard time with it as she was so smart, how could she all of a sudden not remember things? Some I think accepted it more because she was so smart and in tune with her body. She just “knew”. Alice wasn’t necessarily accepting of the disease, but she knew it was happening and that made it easier for some family because she wasn’t making it a big ordeal.

Having worked in a retirement community with an aging population and memory care unit, it can be extremely difficult for family members to accept or understand what is happening. What a hard thing for Alice’s husband to meander through. All of a sudden it is like your spouse is taken from you. At a point they an forget you exist.

It is amazing that technology and medicine allowed Alice’s kids to get tested for the gene that caused Alice to be diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. My personality tends to favor like Anna. If I were to not have kids I could handle not knowing if I carried the gene. If I wanted kids I think I would have to be tested so I could decide to take a chance on passing it onto my children. What a difficult position to be in.

Alzheimer’s disease causes the brain to venture and live in the past. She loved her mother’s butterfly necklace as a child yet wasn’t allowed to wear it. It made her feel alive to wear it. At first, it was a “why not” type of reason and as she began to fade back into a more childlike state it was a “can I get away with it” kind of feeling. As the disease progressed Alice had a hard time remembering that her mother and sister died in a car accident while she was in college. This is difficult on the person struggling with Alzheimer’s as they are constantly reminded that a loved one is no longer with them on a regular basis. It can torture the person. It is like hearing that information for the first time over and over again.

Alice planned on overdosing on sleeping pills when her disease progressed enough. This was something she could control in her life when it got too out of control. She was a person very much in control of her life. How unnerving to not fully know what you are or are not doing. In her mind this plan would put her family out of misery. They would no longer have to deal with her disease. Many people who consider suicide think this way, but they forgot how if affects their loved ones. Suicide hurts the family members far more than the person knows.

Family dynamics are so interesting and full of layers. Alice had three children and her relationship with two of them were similar compared to her relationship with Lydia. Alice’s standard expectation of her children were all the same. The expectation worked with Anna and Tom, but not Lydia. Alice read Lydia’s diary, this action probably wouldn’t have happened if Alzheimers didn’t happen to her. It was like she was not in her sane mind. Alice read it, though, to get a better understanding of Lydia. There is the saying “when the stars align” and by Alice reading her diary the stars kind of aligned for them down the road. Lydia was private about her life to an extent. By Alice reading parts of her diary, for example the part about Lydia’s boyfriend, Alice was able to retain that knowledge. If Alice didn’t read that, Lydia would not have shared this info with Alice until her Alzheimer’s progressed too far and Alice would not have understood who this person was to Lydia.

How amazing was it that Alice was able to put together a support group for her and others in her community suffering with the same disease as herself? She was able to surround herself with people that fully understood what she was going through. How awful of a feeling that people assume things about others when they are feeling off; rather than asking questions about how the person is or asking if things are ok (read The Four Agreements on this subject). If people would have stopped and asked Alice about some of the things they were witnessing she may have been diagnosed sooner, maybe she would have not felt so alone and maybe people would have had a better understanding of what they were seeing. There are some people with Alzheimer’s that alter into a person nothing like they truly were without the disease. I wonder if there are some that have no idea that this is happening to them. I am sure there are. How sad that they don’t help prepare others to share their true legacy. Share the legacy of their person they were before the disease took over.

Alice and John had a unique marriage. A marriage that seemed to work well for them. They were both highly educated people who were dedicated to their work. Alzheimer’s was the one disease that he could not handle. It was something he couldn’t fix. No one could as there was not a cure. He loved her, he tried to help find a fix, but he couldn’t deal with the reality. Being in her presence as her mind deteriorated was a weakness for him. He wanted to be far from her as he was not able to successfully maneuver this change. It is understandable why he wanted the job in NYC. He was young and it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. He was not well versed in the disease to understand, or accept, that moving her would likely worsen her disease. People with Alzheimer’s disease do not acclimate well to knew surroundings, or even to surroundings they have been in before, but are not around most of the time. John wanted to dive into work as it helped him forget the sad realities of his wife dying, even if she wasn’t literally dying.

Like the Alzheimer’s disease, the story ended sadly. The medication that Alice trialed didn’t prove to work for her or for anyone else. John cried. It was like he finally realized that this was happening to Alice. It was like he finally accepted the facts.

Rachel Hollis in Fargo, ND

It was roughly a year ago that I was introduced to Rachel Hollis. I woke up in the middle of the night and was scrolling through Instagram and an ad popped up for Girl, Wash Your Face. I quickly looked at the synopsis of the book and then bought it. Little did I know that I would get a chance to see her in person a year later.

Like many other women, I fell in love with her words, her energy, her honesty and individuality. The push for women encouraging women is tremendous right now. It’s evolving. It’s enlightening. It’s relieving. She is one of the leaders.

As the date approached that she would be in Fargo, ND a concern encroached in my mind and my heart. What if she spoke words I had already read in her book? What if she told stories that I had already heard on her Rise and Rise Together podcasts? What if I wasted my money? *snap out of it Kirsten, it’s going to be amazing!*

Amazing it was! I drove through a quickly approaching winter storm. Blustery winds and snow blowing across icy roads as I drove from Bemidji to Fargo. I was going to make it darn it! I spent the night at my friend Amanda’s home. After a dinner out and a chick flick in (A Simple Favor that left is laughing out loud) I laid down my head with a smile on my face. Tomorrow was the day!

We parked in the Fargodome parking lot and followed packs of women into the SHAC. This event was supposed to be 500 people in a hotel ballroom, yep, um, nope, not for Rachel Hollis. For Rachel Hollis they come in packs! 4,000 women crowded into the home of the NDSU Bison basketball teams. As we filed onto the bleachers with the music pumping you could feel the energy and emotions that seep from women’s veins as they compassionately congregate. Not only did I get to attend with my friend Amanda, one of my main personal development motivators, I got to sit by my friend, Molly, who I had not seen since I got married 7 1/2 years ago! *Let me note, she has not aged a day since*

The moment Rachel Hollis walked on stage, for as small as she is, she was larger than life. I thought I was going to cry. Why? Why was this cute little thing going to make me cry? She was going to make me cry happy tears. You see, the season of life I was in when I bought her book a year ago was when I was started to “take control of my life again”. I started to live life for me. I started to search for the spark I was missing. Her book was a big part of that movement. A lot has changed in my head and my heart in a year. God Bless this woman! God Bless the women of Fargo’s Women Connect group through The Chamber for bringing her to North Dakota.

Rachel talked about comparison. Stop comparing yourself to other people’s highlight reels they post on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, enter in any other social platform you may follow. Make it a goal to be better than the person you were yesterday. Negative comparison is easy to fall into. It is an easy way to crush your self esteem and set back your motivation.

“Check our gut, check your heart” she said. Are your goals following what your heart and gut say you should be doing?

Goals are important. She was selling her Start Today journals and of course I had to pick one up. I have been a long collector of journals. Should I mention I am not a great “journaler”? Spell check is telling me that is not a word, but you get what I am saying. I have tried to change that habit. That habit of buying journals and not writing in them. I am improving. This blog helps *smile* We will see if her method of goal setting works for me. Again, trying to not compare. Perhaps it will help me, perhaps it is not a Kirsten Thing, and that is ok.

Personal development are two words she said. Ah-ha moment for me. I keep using the words self help. I don’t like to use those words. I feel like there is a stigma with the words self help that I don’t like to associate with. Not that self help is not good, but personal development is more my “style”.

“Move your body to change your mind”. Goodness, did these words resonate with me this week. Well below zero temperatures in the Midwest were making everyone want to hibernate. This did not work well with my goal to work out 5 days a week this month. I got up, put my workout clothes on, and it changed my mind. Only 30 minutes. That was all I needed to do. I moved my body to change my mind. Thanks Rach!

“The Spark In Your Heart”. I am such a feeling type of person, after all, I am an INFJ. I was off the charts on the Feelings part of the Myers Briggs. Along with this, she asked the question, “what is your heart’s what if?” I think this was the 2nd time I wanted to cry. Can you guess another blog post might follow on this one?

The last quote I wrote down was “I don’t want to inconvenience you with who I Am”. Uf-da. That one stung a little. Be yourself is what she essentially meant, be yourself and let those that love you accept you. And if they don’t like you, if they don’t like what makes your heart spark, if they don’t like you working on personal development, than is it worth it to have them in your life? I feel like this might be a topic she focuses more on in her next book, Girl, Stop Apologizing. Maybe that is wishful thinking!

If you get a chance to see Rachel Hollis, you will not be disappointed. She is hilarious. She is honest. She is a leader.

PS: This is a post I had on Instagram following the Rachel Hollis event:

We are walking to our seat today at the Rachel Hollis event in Fargo and a nice woman asks if she can ask us a few questions for the Fargo Forum. When she found out I was from Bemidji she said her sister lives there. At the end of the interview I found out her sister is my hair stylist whom I am so lucky to see tomorrow. It truly is a small world. Rachel Hollis was amazing and I can’t wait to reflect on the chance to see her speak. For now, this girl is going to bed!

Click here for the Fargo Forum article.

Of Mess & Moxie • Week 3

How would you make room at the table of faith for someone who was being marginalized? Do you have someone in mind?

I have re-written this answer three times now. It is a very broad question in a way. Is this question asking about someone that is literally being marginalized at that very moment? Is it a person who was being marginalized outside of the group prior to sitting down at the table? Is this person feeling this way internally, but the people around really do not have these feelings? When I sit at the various tables throughout my life, I hope that I am trying to make a connection with each person that sits there. I want to create a spark of belonging and acceptance. The world is large. There are opportunities to belong all around us. Yet, there are so many times people feel belittled and I welcomed. That is not what we are put here for. Like Jen Hatmaker said on page 126, “Sanctuary means all are safe, equally valued, everyone ministered to and included”. I am not certain which God you believe in, but we are put on this earth to value one another and be kind. It is pretty simple, do you not think?

Do you enjoy or dread exercise? Why?

Jen Hatmaker’s chapter on exercise made me laugh. I mean, hello, biker shorts and leotards? I understand her thoughts on how eating chips and salsa and sitting on the couch sound much more inviting than crunches and squats. I like exercise. I really do. At times I love it even. I love the feeling of sweating and feeling strong. I hit walls though, and popcorn and a chick flick sound so much nicer. Maybe even many nights in a row. Exercise makes me healthy, it calms my brain, it is a way to push my emotions to a breaking point. Have you ever cried during a yoga session? Have you ever balled during a run? It is simply an amazing feeling. It is such a release.

When you find yourself in a funk, what do you do to lift yourself up?

I hug my kids, exercise, read a chick flick, do yoga, talk to my family/friends, look at pretty pictures- art, interior designs, watch a movie, go to sleep. Walk through Target.

In what ways do your girlfriends make you a better Friend? Mom? Wife? Person?

To make me my healthiest person I could use some girlfriend time weekly. Now, this is not possible in my current season of life. I take it when I can get it, though *smile*. It might be an hour long walk every other week to quickly get caught up, it could be a quick lunch date (this is a new thing a few of us are going to try each month), monthly meetings with book club, or a well deserved weekend away. I may not always feel quite rejuvenated after these times with friends, but I feel lighter on my feet. I feel like I get to relax in a way that I can’t with other people. I have one friend, that I have said many times to “I am sorry I am not talking, it just feels so good to just be around you” and she gets that! I have one friend that we get together and we talk as many words as we do steps during our power walking sessions. I get together with book club peeps and I leave with a headache from laughing and smiling. I have friends that feel like family. I am so blessed in the friends department. I hope they feel half as good about me being a part of their life. I would do anything for those girls!

Three Wishes, Book Review

Beware, if you read the review, it may give away what happens in the book. Read with caution *smile*

Three Wishes by Liana Moriarty

Excerpt From

Three Wishes

Liane Moriarty

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/three-wishes/id360633839?mt=11

This material may be protected by copyright.

Told from the perspective of spectators, the prologue begins with a fight between the sisters that ends with a fork protruding from the pregnant sister’s belly. How does this event as the opening affect the way in which you read the rest of the novel? How does hearing the story from a variety of viewpoints affect you?

I was curious throughout the whole book to find out what triplet was pregnant with the fork in her stomach. It took awhile to remember which triplet belonged to each storyline, once I had that figured out I couldn’t put the book down.

Short vignettes of people who have observed the triplets throughout their lives are interspersed throughout the novel. What was the author trying to achieve with this technique? Was it successful? How does it remind you of the film It’s a Wonderful Life?

I have not seen the Wonderful Life to answer that question. I know, I know, I should have seen it. It is a classic, right? I thought it was unique to bring in those observations from their past lives. I imagine it was quite a site from others around the Kettle family. Three kids all the same age, 2 that looked the same. I loved how the stories gave a little insight into Gemma, Lyn and Cat’s personalities.

Why did Gemma never tell her sisters, with whom she shared everything, about the abuse from her fiancé? What would her sisters have done had they known? Why didn’t Lyn and Cat notice the abuse? We don’t learn of the abuse until well into the novel. How does this affect your understanding of why Gemma lives her life the way she does?

I think many people have not shared their story of abuse as they are afraid of what will happen. Will it get back to the abuser and will it make the abuse more prominent? I think they doubt themselves, they wonder if they are good enough or 2nd guess themselves. When you look at the three sisters it seems that Gemma is always in the middle, trying to smooth over the emotions that come from Cat or Lyn. I think she had a hard time finding her place. I think if Cat and Lyn knew about the divorce they would have said words that would fuel into Gemma’s personal uncertainty. Not that they would have intentionally done that, but it seems to some extent that they doubt her abilities. The abuse appeared to be all emotional. Lyn and Cat seemed to be a bit self centered and I feel that is why they didn’t notice the abuse, along with the fact that Gemma tended to worry about others and not bring a lot of attention to herself. Until we found out about the abuse I wondered what was off about Gemma and Marcus. I had a feeling there was some tension between the couple, and then when she said she hoped he had died, I had to know what was “up” with the two of them.

Ultra-organized and efficient, Lyn begins to experience panic attacks. Why does she hide them from her sisters and her husband? How are the panic attacks a message to Lyn about changes she needs to make?

I feel that I relate the most to Lyn. I am a type A personality and INFJ in the Myers Briggs personality world. If things are not organized, it causes a lot of stress on me and how I function. Her ultra-organized skills are a large part of who she is. If she lets them know about the panic attacks it will appear to others that she can not hold her stuff together any longer. It is hit to her ego. I think her panic attacks are a sure sign to her that she needs to re-evaluate her life and delegate to others. These attacks appear in her life when her close family members are going through a lot of personal trials. I think this sub-consciously can trigger ones own life to be evaluated.

Cat learns that her perfect marriage to the perfect husband is not so perfect after all. She believed that she and Dan had great communication and love, but Dan has an affair. How could her understanding of their relationship be so wrong? How does Lyn and Dan’s secret relationship prior to Cat and Dan’s affect Cat’s relationship with her husband and her sister.

I think it is easy for one half of a relationship to be unaware of an affair happening by the other half. Maybe it isn’t an affair, but a different big secret. I think this happens to couples that are healthy together and unhealthy. I think it takes a lot of energy to be truthful and faithful to one another for such a long period of time. I have not been unfaithful, but have been on the other side of it in past relationships. I had no idea. In that particular relationship things were not healthy, but I felt they were healthy “enough”. I have seen couples work through secrets that affected them in the past. They altered their communication with one another, saw counselors, worked on themselves and they made it past the secrets. They forgave. Forgiveness is huge in resurrecting a bad relationship.

Coincidentally, the woman Dan has an affair with is also the sister of Gemma’s new boyfriend, Charlie. How does this affect the tension of the story?

I had a hunch that this was going to be the story line with these characters. When it all played out at Christmas I literally held my breath. How disheartening for Gemma. She was the sister you just wanted something to work out for as she seemed to have hit it hard in the love department. I hoped throughout the story that they could make it work. I am so glad they could.

When Cat learns that Charlie’s sister is Dan’s “other woman,” she demands that Gemma break up with Charlie. Why did Cat think she had the right to ask this of Gemma? Describe the sisters’ relationships with men. How are they manifestations of their personalities? How does sibling rivalry affect the decisions they make about their lives, including the men they choose?

Cat and Dan’s relationship came first. They were married, I think it was naturally thought that Gemma and Charlie’s would have to be the one sacrificed; even though it wasn’t fair to ask. I say this and within the same breath I didn’t want to. You want Gemma to work out with Charlie. Like I stated in number 6, you want to route for Gemma as she seemed to be the “underdog” in the love department. She seemed to be the peacekeeper through her life and she deserved something for herself. I think the author did a good job shadowing their personalities with their significant others. There are a lot of layers to sisterhood. They can get complicated. Love and dislike can happen so quickly between sisters.