Thursday, April 12, 2018

Perfect Moms Aren't the Enemy, I Am.

It's really hard to write a teaser for a blog I wrote on Her View From Home when my 5 year-old is blasting a song about a hamster eating popcorn, so I'll just say that this blog might hurt. It might convict you in ways you aren't ready to be convicted, but you should read it anyway. And if you've ever Skinny-shamed or Perfect-shamed or Beautiful-kitchen-shamed a friend unintentionally... I have too. It's time to recognize what's really going on.

You can read it here.




Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Nobody Likes Fake Jesus.


Originally published on flatironswomen.blogspot.com

Photo by Elias Andres-Jose on Unsplash

I didn’t like Jesus when I was in college. Mostly because the people I knew who talked about liking Jesus in college were super weird. They were fake. And they were appalled at people like me. People who engaged in under-aged drinking and made out with guys they didn’t know. People who swore and went to wild parties. Girls who flirted, wore low-cut tops, and danced on tables a time or two. I was inadvertently giving them an education about what real people were, and they were giving me an education about fake Jesus, bad religion, and fear.  

Maybe the weirdest fake-Jesus-pusher was this middle-aged man who used to come to our campus to stand outside the main cafeteria with big signs. The signs would list the sins he assumed everyone within earshot was committing. He would shout random “warnings” to people he thought needed to be “educated”. He yelled at me once. Screamed that I was going to hell because “Tank tops are an adulterer’s tool of the devil worn by evil fornicators.”

This guy wore eighties-style iron-on T-shirts and mesh hats with the words “Don’t Sin” on them.

I saw a friend of mine wearing one of these rare gems, and I asked him about it.  Apparently, my friend ran up and stole a “Don’t Sin” hat off of the “Preacher’s” head while he was distracted by a girl he was calling a “harlot.” My friend got an earful of “wisdom” shouted at him while “Preacher” chased after him, but it’s hard to chase down a sinner while carrying a four-foot sign which specifically lists “stealing” as a sin. So my friend got away with his new hat. The lunch crowd roared and cheered. If YouTube had been a thing back then, he would’ve been a sensation. 

But based on what I’ve read about Actual Jesus, I think if Actual Jesus had been on my college campus in 1999 and witnessed the hat-stealing, I think it would’ve gone down like this:

Jesus: Hey man, wanna see some cool stuff?
Friend: Like what?
Jesus: We’ll give a blind guy back his sight. Tell a paralyzed guy to walk, and he will. Turn water into wine…
Friend: Sweet. That sounds cool.
Jesus: Skip class and follow Me.
Friend: I’m failing that class anyway.


Actual Jesus would've done his amazing story-telling thing where my friend would've had an, "Oh. Yeah. Stealing's not cool" realization at some point, but He usually only led with the truth about sin with Pharisees. Which is why I think Actual Jesus would’ve put “Preacher” in his place somehow because he always put the Pharisees in their place. That would’ve been fun to watch.

But basically, I didn’t like Jesus because the Christians I knew just wanted to bully me into believing. The Christians I knew didn’t want to be kind or patient. They didn’t want to be loving or accepting. They tried to save me and change me so they could sew one more Merit Badge on their non-existent Souls Saved Sash or something.

If I would have met Actual Christ in college, I imagine it would’ve gone something like this:

Me: Hi
Jesus: Hi
Me: You’re ripped.
Jesus: I Am
Me: Are you an athlete?
Jesus: I’m a carpenter.
Me: So you build things out of wood?  Like furniture?
Jesus: Yes.
Me: That’s hot.
Jesus: Okay.
Me: You going to the party on Saturday? Just gonna be some people drinking too much and making out.
Jesus: I love people like that.
Me: Cool. Can you teach me how to build stuff?
Jesus: Sure. Follow me.

I’m 37-years-old, and thankfully, my eventual non-fake husband introduced me to Actual Jesus.  I don’t fully understand who I am yet, and I don’t fully know who He is yet either. But, I do know that I’m no longer the girl I used to be. And that Jesus, the Real Jesus, is the same as He ever was. 


One who provides, protects, and heals. One who doesn’t even flinch at our shame, fears, regrets, and screwed-up pasts. 



A friend whose love never wavers, whose arms are ever open, welcoming the poor, the lonely, the sick, the weary…. the thieves, the whores, the murderers, the drunks… He is the one who rebuilds the broken and restores the dilapidated pieces of our lives and our souls.

There are many things that I don’t know, but I do know that Christians and non-Christians alike are a screwed up bunch of humanity, and when we make the decisions, we get it wrong much of the time. But that’s why He came. That’s why He died, because we always have been a bunch of screw-ups. On this earth, and in this life, I am sure that I will continue to screw up this person God made me, but the more time I spend with the Real Jesus, the more like Him I become. The more truly I know him, the more truly I also know myself because I can see myself as he sees me - loved, accepted, restored.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

I Ski Because I Was Bitter. (How This Mama Does Self-Care)

Photo by asoggetti on Unsplash

The other day, I did this thing I do when all of my kids are at school. I packed the lunches, signed
the things, got the kids to school, and drove up to the mountains by myself to ski for the day because
after 10 years, I’m beginning to master this Stay at Home Mom Gig.


I spent the next few hours shreddin the gnar in 7 inches of pow, chasin freshies.
(I don’t even know what that sentence means, but I think that’s what I was doing all day.)


When my legs begged for mercy and my phone alarm reminded me to go pick up the children,
I began the drive home, basking in the glow of a spectacular ski day, and feeling like that girl
I used to be before the kids and the last 10 years of life drained the energy from my soul. There’s
just something about a day in the mountains, a winding road and country music on the radio that
refuels me.


As I made my way back to my kids and my home, I was oozing gratefulness for the opportunity to
call Colorado my home, and I realized I could’ve been taking care of myself like this for the past 1
0 years by doing the things that make me feel like me. But I was too busy feeling bitter about how
much poop I was cleaning up, how many dishes were still left undone, how much laundry needed
to be washed, dried, folded, or put away… I was too busy being angry about my husband’s long
hours at work, my kids making it impossible to leave the house, my inability to run a household…
I was too busy grieving the loss of the girl who loved mountains and trees to realize she was
never lost at all.


You see, fifteen years ago, my now-husband said something my 23 year-old self thought was
romantic and profound. We were deep into a discussion that covered everything, and he
said, “Love is about sacrifice.”


“What do you mean?” I replied.


He leaned back, ran his hand through his hair, and paused just long enough to make me think
he was coming up with something really deep. And then, this country music-hating young man
looked straight into my eyes and said, “It means… I would’ve listened to country music if I had
to in order to be with you.”


Had God called me to sacrifice my happiness, my personality, my love of the outdoors when I
became a mom? Had God called me to give up on leaving the house? Had God called me to
sacrifice my self-worth because the kitchen was constantly a mess? Had God called me to give
up on being the person He made me?


Or did I give my happiness, my personality, my time in the outdoors willingly because fighting
for them was just too hard? Did I cling to my “sacrifices”, believing it justified my bitterness? Did I
sacrifice so I could believe I deserved to be angry that my life now isn’t what it once was?


Sure, being a wife and a mom requires sacrifice. I mean, I knew there would be poop. I didn’t
know there would be THIS much poop, but I knew there would be poop.


And it’s true. Love IS about sacrifice.


But love is NOT about bitterness. “Love is patient, love is kind...it keeps no record of wrongs…”
(1 Corinthians 13:4-8) Unfortunately, I keep a record of the sacrifices I make for my husband, and
my children. Even the ones no one ever asked me to make.    


Here’s the thing, friend. My people never asked me to give up hiking, country music, or long
drives on country roads, but they also don’t know how much I need those things if I don’t
communicate and schedule them in. It’s not selfish to be my best self. It’s selfish to give
people my worst self because I’m drowning in pee-stained sheets and dirty dishes and I can’t
breathe. It IS selfish to allow my heart and soul to die because “it was just too hard” to fight the
battles it takes to care for them.


It’s true. Love is about sacrifice.


Because I love myself, I will sacrifice a clean house for a day of skiing. Because I love my family, I
will sacrifice the “should-be” version of me and go be my best self instead. Today I have a ski
goggle tan and a smile, and this is the face of the wife and mom I want my family to have, not the
exhausted, bitter, angry one who only exists to wipe up poop and pick up the house.


Please fight for the time to be and care for yourselves, mamas. Your families need the real you. She’s
still in there. And she’s worth fighting for.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Prison Break: How I Stopped Believing the Lies in my Head

Originally Published on flatironswomen.blogspot.com
Photo by Robert Hickerson on Unsplash

My negative thoughts had begun to run my life. I was grunting in anger or disappointment so much, my children were starting to think I was part cave woman. Ugh. I’m so fat. Ugh. This should be easier. Ugh. Why can’t you listen? Ugh. I’m a moron. Ugh.

I was trapped in a prison of should be and not enough.


So I did the most courageous thing I could think of. I went to see a counselor. A therapist. A shrink. Somebody who holds a pen and says, “mmhmm” and “I see” a million times.

“Why are you here?” she said.

“Because I hate my life.” I said.

“Do you really?” she said.

“I don’t know.” I said. “I just know that the words, ‘Ugh! I hate my life!’ get screamed in my head over and over and over again all day long.”

“And do you believe that those words are true?”

“No. Yes. Maybe. I mean… I don’t really hate my life. I just think I hate my life a lot. My life’s not that bad. But every day shouldn’t be this hard. Right?”

So, slowly, we worked on noticing the icky thoughts, saying, “Oh hi, icky thought.”

It made me feel like an idiot, but it worked… little by little. “You’re just a thought, ‘I hate my life,’ just a thought.”

I found this terribly annoying. “Little by little.” She said. “Just keep noticing your thoughts.”

Whatever. I’m talking to my thoughts like an idiot. But it works. Sort of. I still think I hate my life. But that thought doesn’t own me anymore.

On a visit to my best friend in her Pacific Northwest home, I said, “I’m still sad. I’m still angry. I’m still annoyed. Life is still hard, and I feel like it is taking forever to move forward. I feel like I’m a turtle still wallowing through the stupid crap of her life.”

“Know what my therapist made me do that really helped?”  Her mid-thirties had demanded the courage to talk to someone too.

“She made me draw two pictures. One of me when I was in a bad headspace, and one of me when I’m in a good headspace.”

“And…”

“And it helped.”

“What did you DO with the pictures?”

“I just drew them and wrote down my thoughts.”

“And this helps?”

“It helped me.”

“Okay. Well, it sounds fun. Maybe I’ll try it when I get back home.”

Fun. I said. It sounds fun.

So on a day when two of my three kids were at school and the third was taking a long, glorious nap, I sat down with some blank paper and a cup of coffee.

I drew an egg-shaped round body with a crazy messy bed-head-looking ponytail, angry eyes, slumped shoulders and big thighs. I wrote thoughts that plague me. Thoughts that pop into my head when I fail, when I get frustrated, when I look in the mirror, when I try my best and feel like I’ve succeeded, but no one else seemed to notice or care. I wrote “Mean Me” on the top of the page and began to pour out all of the negative things that run through my brain on a daily basis. I labeled myself with the words, “jiggly, messy, flaky, gross, bored, lonely, empty, selfish, alone, angry, cheated.” I called myself things that I would never call anyone. Words that cut so deep I wouldn’t dream of saying them to or about another human being. Words I had begun to believe described who I really was.

It was not fun. Nope. Not fun at all. It was terribly painful in fact. But it was also the most freeing thing I have ever done.

I scribbled and sketched out the negative junk for about 25 minutes. Then I looked at my creation and ugly cried for an hour.

Because the only truth on that page was that I believed it all.

I can’t believe I believe all of this about myself. I thought. These are lies. They’re all lies. And they’re in my head constantly.  

I realized the thing people had been telling me for years was the truth, “Emily, honey, you’re too hard on yourself.”  But I have known no other way to be. And so, I have believed the lies.

As painful as writing the bad stuff was, writing the good was more difficult than writing the bad because, like Julia Roberts says in Pretty Woman, “Sometimes the bad stuff is easier to believe.”

It felt like I was trying to be Stuart Smalley, from a Saturday Night Live skit portraying a ridiculous self-help counselor. “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough…” Gag.

I bit the bullet, though, and I drew the “good version” of me. It was reserved but truthful. I used words like “strong, adventurous, funny, cute, interesting, natural, barefoot, present.” Nice Me climbs mountains, plays outside, gets dirty, has guts, wants to hear your story, and is full of great ideas. Nice Me LOVES wearing ponytails and no makeup. Nice Me is who God wants, who my kids, my husband, my friends want. Nice Me is who everyone is rooting for.

But Nice Me is also the girl that Mean Me swallowed when she was eating her feelings a long time ago.

Nice Me is the truth, and she is amazing. She is a force. She is encouraging and kind. She is full of grace and grit and authenticity. 

She is incredible. 


I stared at the two sketches for a long time separating the lies from the truth, and it occurred to me that I could, in fact, stop believing the voice in my head that told me I was worthless and not good enough. I could, in fact, put one foot in front of the other and walk right out of the prison of guilt, shame, anger, and self-loathing lies that held me captive just an hour ago. And I could do this because walls made of lies don’t actually exist. They were only there because I believed they were.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Mom-shame, God, and Bob Goff.

Photo by Kaitlyn Baker on Unsplash

A couple of weeks ago, a new mom I don’t know in real life asked a question in a Moms’
Group I’m a part of online. I had befriended her during a different post, and we shared
many of the same perspectives in that post, so I chimed in with my 2 cents of solicited
advice with thoughts that differed from every other mom’s response to her question. And
that’s when it happened.


I was mom-shamed.


Two women were aghast at how I had raised my children. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.  
I just shared my opinions with this mom, and my opinions infuriated one woman and
shocked another. And these two strangers let me know.


I identified it as mom-shaming early, thank God. But that didn’t stop me from typing about a
million fiery responses and deleting them before I pressed enter. I typed and deleted,
typed and deleted, typed and deleted… And a small voice in the back of my head said,
“Walk away. Walk away right now.” So instead of responding with anger and arguing and
engaging with the woman who was very adamant and vocal about her opinion,
I just typed, “Okay.”
And then, I had a place to go… A Different Online Mom’s Group where everyone swears,
laughs, and is real about the fact that momming is hard and we are all doing it differently.
They call themselves a “Shame-free Group of Moms.”  


So I took it to this Shame-free group and said, “Guys. I’m being mom-shamed. Tell me
I’m not alone and I’m not crazy.” And they did. They gave me an outpouring of support.


And then we laughed.


And I remembered that real life is existing in front of me in the form of children trying to do
the luge down the stairs on a blanket. Which is wrong. You clearly cannot get the speed
required for a gold medal on a blanket. You need a sled. So I got one from the garage,
instructed my kids to keep their arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times and
pushed the sled down the stairs repeatedly. They squealed with delight.


It was glorious.


And because I had walked away, I was able to think about what really happened, and I was
able to forgive these women who mom-shamed me… because I’ve mom-shamed other
people before too.


And I’m so grateful I had the insight to say to myself, “you’ve been a jerk to people before too,
Em.” Because less than a week later, a precious, dear friend posted something that I disagreed
with. In real life, we had had basically the same discussion respectfully and agreed almost
entirely. But online, one word of her post set me off and I was angry, shaking. I was frantically
searching for articles to support my opinion, deconstructing that one word that I had such a
huge problem with…


But my friend, you see, is super smart and compassionate and patient. She took down her
post and texted me with something like, “Dude. You just went off and belittled me and that
wasn’t cool. Do you have a beef with me or something else?  Are you okay?”


Three words: Are you okay?


I wasn’t, in fact, okay. I was shaking. I was angry. I was reliving icky stuff from years ago and
holding my sweet, innocent friend accountable for someone else’s actions. And I wouldn’t
have realized it unless she had asked me… “Are you okay?”


Nope. Apparently I am not okay. Apparently I have some forgiving to do.

And as if that wasn’t enough of a message from God, He sent me the first 5 chapters of Bob Goff’s new book, Everybody, Always.  And it’s filled with all of these convicting and inspiring thoughts like this one:
I read that and thought, Okay, God! I get it! We are all hurt and we respond to each other in crappy ways, and we don’t know what battles other people are facing!

And He said, Are you sure you get it?

Because then I had to start prepping for a MOPs talk about Mom-Comparison, and I thought, Again? The same message?

But, you see, it’s one that we all need to keep learning and re-learning… like Bob Goff says, “Love Everybody, Always.”

Even that jerk?
Yep.
Even that perfect person who gets everything right that I get wrong?
Yep.
Even… myself?
Everybody…
Even…
Everybody, Always.

Okay, but I’m going to need another reminder…

I think you'll love Bob's new book. You can preorder it here.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Non-Fiction of 2017

Stacks of books bound together on an old shelf
Photo by Simson Petrol on Unsplash

I gave you my fun fiction reads last week.  Those are just the books I read so I can go to New York City or London or the year 1732 instead of living inside my own house with all of its dirty dishes and laundry and children.  Those are the books I take to get me through my kid's swim practice and waiting for him to get out of Chess Club.  But these books... Non-fiction books.  These are my bread and butter, man.  These are the books that change me, challenge me, make me say, "yeah, me too."  These are my true love, even if they are more difficult and take more time. Here are the Non-fiction books I read in 2017 in no particular order:

1.Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
Let's talk about Steinbeck for a minute.  You see... He was tough for me back in the day... by that I mean, when Mr. Walters told me to read The Grapes of Wrath and I tried for a while, but ended up just BSing my way to an A through all of the class discussions and never reading the book because it was just too... ugh. That's how I feel about Steinbeck's work sometimes.  Other times, I have all the heart-eyes for his work. Like in Travels with Charley. This book took me back to my month on the road in the American West. It took me back to November of 2003 when I packed up Ralph (my purple Ford Ranger) and wandered around camping alone in some amazing places. I loved traveling along with Steinbeck and his dog, meeting the folks and feeling the feeling of freedom on the road.  

2. The Road Less Traveled by Heidi Renee
This is the story of a warrior mom who just does what she has to do to give her son the most normal life possible. Her story of adopting and beginning to raise AJ is that of someone who refuses to give up, and it makes me so proud to call Heidi my friend.  You can find her book here: 
https://www.amazon.com/Road-Less-Traveled-Adoption-Special-ebook/dp/B01II1NFHW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1515013241&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Road+Less+Traveled+Heidi+Renee

3. The Power of Habit  by Charles Duhigg
4. Smarter, Faster, Better  also by Charles Duhigg
Both of Duhigg's books combine deep research with engaging story-telling. The stories that illustrate his research on habits and how we get better at things are memorable and interesting. Definitely worth the read.

5. The Dip  by Seth Godin
So... I feel like Seth Godin's best work is in his blog with short pieces that give you food for thought for the day, and that style hasn't translated well into book-format for me. That being said, The Dip seemed to conquer his normal hiccup, and held my attention well.  Also, it's a very short book, so... concise seems to work well for Mr. Godin. 

6. The War of Art  by Stephen Pressfield
This was my favorite book of 2017. It was inspiring and encouraging and engaging. I loved part of it so much I ripped out the last page and hung it on my joy wall to remind me that I was born to write, born to be uniquely me, and if I get lazy, I am absolutely robbing the world of what I was born to do.

7. Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker
Ah, the controversial Jen Hatmaker. First, let me say that we can occasionally disagree with people who write things that we love to read. And we can agree with people whose writing sucks, and we can be kind about it all. And all of this nonsense about her and the church and same-sex marriage... Just whatever, man.  She has studied and worked very hard to come to the beliefs she holds, and she loves and serves Jesus dearly and better than I ever have. I love Jen Hatmaker's books (at least her more recent books). She is real and raw and so much like me. And her books bring women together. I think you'll like it.
 
8. Payoff by Dan Ariely
It was good. I don't remember what this book was really about, but I remember it had important information in it that I wanted to remember.

9. Deep Work  by Cal Newport
See... This book reminded me that the way I work is in long focused spurts with no interruptions... perfect for a Stay-at-Home-Mom. It was great to have the validation that this is just how some people work most productively, but it was also encouraging to read that we can do deep work by showing up continuously. If you're working on something that needs deep concentration and intense focus, read this... Though I think it might be better as an audio book...

10. Design Your Day by Claire Diaz-Ortiz
I was hoping that this book would give me a little more insight into how to be more productive during my day, and maybe it did a bit... but I feel like it was mostly just more of the same advice on how to be productive... advice that I just still can't figure out how to implement as a 38 year-old scatter-brained Stay-at-Home-Mom.

11. Grace Eventually by Anne Lamott
So... Anne Lamott is a little weird. But she is also an absolutely beautiful struggling soul, and I love her writing dearly. She is real and open and vulnerable. She is so easy to relate to.  Her stories and insights, and me toos are some of my favorites.

12. Finish by Jon Acuff
This book is great advice for those of us who never finish anything.  It's engaging and encouraging and funny and helpful. Everything I hope my writing could ever be. You won't be sad about reading this. It might even help you reach some of those 2018 goals.  

Love you guys!
Happy Reading!
xoxo
Em

Monday, January 1, 2018

Fiction Books of 2017

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Well, friends, it's that time of year again.  The time of year where I tell you all about the books I read in the past year, and maybe inspire you to try some of them!

Why I read all of these books this year:
1. I LOVE to learn through reading engaging books. It's my favorite.
2. I love to escape through stories. (I learn here too, but it's much different.)
3. Stories inspire me.
4. I get better at life and adulting when I read more.
5. I had a goal of reading 18 books-- 1 1/2 books each month. (I didn't do any audio books last year, but I think I will this year.)  I actually read 26 books in 2017, which means maybe I need to set my goals on the smaller side, and I'll blow them out of the water, because I'm 26 books smarter now than I was on January 1st of last year!  Wahoo!

Here are the fun fiction books I read this year. I'll catch you up on the non-fiction ones I read in a few days.

1. Bridget Jones's Baby by Helen Fielding.
You know what this is, people.  It was a fun, quick escape into the funny and oddly romantic life of that lovable quirky lady.

2. Bridget Jones Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding.
See above.

3. Happy People Read and Drink Coffee  by Agnes Martin Lugand.
I mean, I'm happy. I read. I drink coffee.  I guess she's got a point. It's about a woman who moves to Ireland after a devastating loss to find herself. Instead, she finds a cranky guy who lives next door. It was interesting enough to read the sequel, which is on my list.

4. One and Only  by Emily Giffin.
I have an interesting relationship with Emily Giffin's books.  You see... She creates interesting characters that make really poor decisions in the "name of love." Like falling in love with your best friend's dad. That's what this book is about. A chick who falls in love with her best friend's dad. But it's not dumb like it seems like it'd be. I mean, it sort of is, but it's also fun to escape and learn how dumb it would be to fall in love with your best friend's dad. I don't advise falling in love with your best friend's dad. But you can read this book.

5. Something Borrowed  by Emily Giffin
Again, interesting character, bad decisions. This chick falls in love with her best friend's fiance and sleeps with him. Don't do this either. I mean, seriously. You are not this dumb. And yet, you'll sort of like this main character, but you'll be mad at her... Kinda like when Rory was being an idiot in Gilmore Girls, and you were like, "Rory! Stop it! You're being so stupid!" I mean, I'm gonna read the sequel, which is told in the best friend's POV. But don't say I didn't warn you.

Books by Lisa Genova
6. Still Alice 
OMG, you guys. This book killed me. Maybe because I have Lyme Disease and that makes me forget words and I've experienced some of these weird, frustrating, scary things, and I fear that this is my future, but this was an incredible story. It's about a brilliant professor who gets early-onset Alzheimers. Read this one for sure.

7. Love Anthony 
Another beautiful heart-wrencher. Love this one about a mom who lost her autistic son and becomes a photographer on Nantucket?  Or Martha's Vineyard?  Somewhere like that. It was good.

Books by Liane Moriarty:
8. The Last Anniversary
9. Three Wishes
10. The Husband's Secret
These are all great. Read everything by Liane Moriarty. I just love her style of story-telling. Always with a twist. Always something engaging. Always interesting characters.

11. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Okay, this one was weird. But really good. I'm not usually into Sci-Fi, but even far-fetched multiple universes couldn't derail me from the story of a man who just wants to go home to his wife in his perfectly imperfect life.

12. Good As Gone  by Amy Gentry
If you weren't worried about your kids before, you will after you read this book. It's a beautiful story about a mother and her daughter... The mother losing her daughter, finding her again, and coming home. It's a gory, read it in 48 hours thriller. 

13. Maybe In Another Life  by Taylor Jenkins Reid
You know that thing we do where we wonder what would've happened if I had... Well, you get to watch each decision play out with lovable characters.  Another fun 48 hour read.

14.  The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin
So... this one is also a little weird. It's about a little boy who had a previous life. You know how these books go.  When someone tells you about the book, it sounds crazy and far-fetched, and then you read it, and you're like, "Yeah. I get that. These characters aren't crazy.  Why won't people believe them?!  I love them!" This is a great story.

That's it for last year's fiction!  I can't wait to tell you about the amazing things I learned last year in my non-fiction reading!