Top 5 Tuesday | Reasons why I love reading

She nailed it!

Paper Royalty

Another lovely Tuesday, another Top 5. This is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm. For the rest of January’s topics click here!

This week’s topic is the top 5 reasons why I love reading. This should be a topic every book lover will love to participate in!

1.) Reading is sort of a getaway! If you have a lot going on, dealing with mental health issues, etc. then reading can be a way to get away from reality for a bit into another world.

2.) The worlds in a book aren’t like any other! Yea, watching a movie is great but necessarily doesn’t give you a chance to embrace your own imagination. Books give so much more detail that you can even imagine the smallest of things.

3.) The simplicity of it! I can grab a book, go sit outside on a nice day, or…

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Dear Depression,

A letter to my depression

Hello again. It seems we meet every few months or so. No matter that you are uninvited, you still continue to show up unannounced and unwelcome. Again you remind me of how worthless my life has become. You make me forget what it feels like to feel joy and contentment. Instead you want me to feel sad, useless and a a burden to those I love.

I’m familiar with your tactics. I know how you lie to me. I also know that I will believe you and feel totally hopeless while you are here. It’s happened too many times to deny it. You like to remind me how few friends I have and how it’s no wonder since I am not a pleasant person to be around. You show me how ugly I am, inside and out. Together we think about all my mistakes, and shortcomings and how much better my loved ones would be if I didn’t exist! I hear you. I always hear you. I feel you, I feel the pain all the way to my core.

You overwhelm me to the point of feeling paralyzed. I want to get up and do things, be productive, and feel accomplished, but all I see is what I can’t do. It’s too much, too chaotic, too overwhelming. I get angry and turn the anger inward. I overthink and over feel everything.

Let me tell you this though, I’ve been here before. I know what to expect. I know that so far I have survived. You have made me realize how strong I am. Through you I have actually fought for my life and won! Through you I have found that I am not alone.

You will keep coming, this I know, but, I will keep fighting you. I will not back down and I now have a creative writing outlet. I will win!

Depression rears its​ ugly head

Do you or someone you know suffer from depression? It’s a cruel disease! I’m not talking about general sadness, but the depression that comes from a chemical imbalance in your brain. It’s a lot more common than I once thought and when you are in the middle of a depressive episode it can feel like you are the only one in the world feeling this way!

I started to feel it coming on yesterday, and it has progressed today to the point of me crying over every little thing. Let me just add that I have suffered from depression for as long as I can remember. I have been diagnosed with major depression and panic disorder, and I have been to therapy and take medication for it. I am SO much better at handling it than I used to be. I have learned that it is temporary and the feelings of utter hopelessness will pass and not to listen to the lies that my brain tries to feed me when I am in this state.

One lie that always accompanies my depressive episodes is that “I am not good enough.” Another is “I am worthless.” These two seem to be the most recurring thoughts that I have. While I know that it is a lie and I will feel better in a few days, my brain is a powerful thing, and depression will do its best to bring me to my knees or more likely keep me in bed under the covers filled with self-loathing and as my therapist once said, “Awfulizing” everything.

Photo by Kat Jayne on

It’s a cruel disease as I said and if you suffer yourself or know someone who does, a kind word or listening ear could help more than you know. It’s easy to just ignore people or judge them or even say things like, “What do you have to be sad about?” or “Pull yourself together.” Trust me, if we could pull ourselves together we would! No one wants to feel like this. We didn’t ask to have this disease anymore than someone with cancer or diabetes asked for it.

On the same note, a harsh word or worse, not believing depression is a real disease, is enough to send someone spiraling downward. Once that spiraling starts, it’s often tough to climb back up. We start to believe every bad thing our brain tells us, and for some, we even contemplate putting an end to it all. We are not being selfish, in fact, its the exact opposite. We don’t want to hurt or be hurt anymore and feel like a burden to those we love. We also cannot remember how it feels to be happy and doubt that we ever have been. This is another lie of course, but like I said, the brain is a powerful thing!

Be kind to someone who suffers from depression. If you don’t know what to say or do, it’s better to say or do nothing than to inflict more pain. What works for one person may not work for everyone, so your advice about “You need to pray more”, or “You should go for a walk”, will more than likely fall on dead ears. We don’t need advice nearly as bad as we need kindness and support. Someone to believe what we feel is real and that we are not less of a person because of it. Let us know you still love us, still want to be our friend, and still find us valuable.

Digital planning for 2019​​

I dove headfirst into digital planning last September and it has changed my life! I have always been a list maker when it comes to things I need to get done. There is something about crossing things off of a to-do list that makes me feel accomplished and productive. Not to mention if I don’t write it down, I will forget it. I’ve had several planners and bullet journals but my perfectionism always got in the way. I wanted them to be pretty and perfect and I spent more time decorating them than actually using them. Not to mention the expense of pens, markers, stickers, washi tape, templates, paper clips etc etc. Making beautiful planner pages is a great creative outlet but I am too busy these days to keep up with it.

I found Boho Berry digital planners by accident. I was watching YouTube videos about prepping for NaNoWriMo and came across one by Kara Benz, the owner and creator of the Boho Berry Shop. Since I practically live on my iPad, and I couldn’t find a calendar or list making app that I liked, I decided to give it a shot. I do much more than calendar and lists with it though. I created custom pages for things like brain dumping, weight loss tracking, paying my bills, gratitude logs, meal planning and even keeping track of books I’ve read and want to read.

There was a slight learning curve when I got started but thanks to an awesome Facebook group and YouTube videos I mastered it in about a week. It’s not a must but I also purchased an Apple Pencil and it feels just like writing with a pen.

I used the portrait planner in 2018 and played around with decorating and creating pages and layouts and stickers, but for 2019 I purchased the landscape planner and plan to keep it a little more simple. If I’m bored I can always create elaborate layouts using free online images as well as digital stickers that I’ve purchased, but for the most part I just want to keep track of things, plan my months, weeks, days, and cross things off my to-do lists.

Planner from-

App used – Goodnotes

Below are some pictures from my 2018 and 2019 planners.

Think pink

I am on the lookout for new or used books with pink covers. Silly? Maybe. I want to display them on white bookshelves in my office. I don’t actually have white bookshelves yet, lol, but I will. Guess I need to look for shelves and a desk too. Book hunting is way more fun though! I saw somewhere that you can order custom book covers but I don’t know how I feel about that. Authors spend a lot of time creating or picking out their cover. Do I want to cover up their hard work? I did find a custom set of Jane Austin novels in blush pink leather covers but, whoa!!! Way out of my price range. They are beautiful but not that beautiful.

I found this picture on that I love too, it would look great on my wall but I’m just not sure if I love it $90 worth. Am I a cheapskate? I think I have champagne taste but a beer budget.😉

Do you have a home office or a reading/writing nook? I’d love to see picture or any ideas and inspiration for decorating mine.

Alone at Christmas

For most people, Christmas is a time for family. Whether you’re catching up with your adored, long-lost cousin or deflecting annoying jokes from your twisted uncle, chances are you’ll be diving into a Christmas ham with your fam come December 25. 

But if you’re one of those people whose families might not be so close this season, Christmas day can be a lonely affair. For the separated, divorced or widowed, students, the travellers or the ones left at home, this time of year can be more than lonely — it can be heartbreaking.

Luckily, there are plenty of options for the orphans of Christmas to help you feel a little more connected.

1. Do something for others. Do you know anyone else who is spending Christmas without friends or family? Go visit them or have them over for lunch. This is a good way to remember that, while you might be lonely, you’re not alone. Someone has to make the first call, might as well be you.

2. Turn off the tech and reconnect with reality. Step away from the social media people. Logging on during Christmas-time is a sure-fire way to think everyone is happy but you. What is something you like to do but never have time for? A walk? A movie? A good book? Maybe even a day of pampering yourself. Cook yourself a nice meal, take a long luxurious bubble bath, give yourself a facial, paint your toenails…, have a Netflix marathon, eat junk food, do crafts, stay in your PJ’s all day. Whatever it is you enjoy, do it.

3. Pack a bag and take a road trip. Stop anywhere you please. Dine out, there are many restaurants open for the holiday and you just might meet someone else spending the holiday alone too.

4. My personal favorite, online shopping! The store may be closed but the internet never closes! Buy yourself a Christmas present!

5. When someone invites you, say yes. Now there’s a thought! If you struggle with depression or social anxiety, your first response will usually be an excuse. How about trying something different and saying yes.

Most of all, just be kind to yourself. Don’t be a martyr. Use the day as an opportunity to make new traditions and be ok with it. You are worth it!

2018 What a year!

It’s Dec 20th already! How did this happen? They say time flies the older you get. Well, I celebrated my 50th birthday in July this year, and I swear it seems like it was only a few weeks ago!

In August I got a brand new granddaughter who is beautiful and perfect, just like her mother. Wink.

In October I began planning and plotting my first novel.

In November I completed the first draft of said novel. I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and managed to stay sane. It was a crazy month, and I learned a lot about myself. For one, I am most creative at night. Sure, I get up early, have my coffee and appear to be a morning person, but appearances can be deceiving. The only reason I get up early (usually between 5:30 and 6:00 am) is because my body hurts and I need to get up and move around. Fibromyalgia and hip bursitis sucks! I tried to write in the morning, and I would just end up staring at a blinking cursor. When 9pm rolled around, I was a typing machine, lol.

Some other things I accomplished this year were learning to use my new MacBook, took a creative writing class, learning to do digital planning with apps like Goodnotes and Procreate, learned to use a writing app called Scrivener and made dozens of new writing friends! I also got an Apple Pencil and started creating artwork that I never dreamed I would be able to do. I even designed my own book cover! Another accomplishment was reading a whopping 50 books this year! Whew! I’d say this has been a great year!

Now it’s December, and I am taking a breather. I’ve been reflecting on the year as a whole, and I’d say it has been rather eventful. If you had asked me last year what my plans for 2018 were, I would have said, “same ole same ole.” Little did I know that my daughter had a bun in the oven and I was going to write a book! I am so blessed!

Now it’s time to look ahead to 2019. I wish I knew a secret to make it slow down. I know one thing for sure, I’m going to spend more time doing things I love and less time feeling that life is passing me by with no rhyme or reason.

In January, when I get back from my holiday vacation, I will pull out that messy first draft of my novel and begin the editing process. I’m kind of nervous to go back and actually read the words I put down. I hope it’s not all crap and I can actually turn it into a published romantic suspense novel one day. I also want to transform a messy spare bedroom into a new office where I can be productive and have a place that is pretty and all mine! I’m thinking white, pink and gold for my color scheme. Yes, I need more pink in my life! Maybe if I make it pretty, girlie and feminine the man in the house will stay out! Ha! I hope to post some pics here of my office transformation as I go. I created a Pinterest board full of decorating ideas because, well, doesn’t everybody do that when they feel inspired? I really need an intervention for my Pinterest addiction. Feel free to follow me on Pinterest but be warned, I pin some crazy and completely random stuff!

I’m really excited about the new year, and I hope to get my creative juices flowing again and who knows, I may start writing novel number two! Wish me luck!