December 31, 2018: Goodbye 2018

Well, today marks the last day of 2018! Lots of events took place this year:

  • I went to do OT for my hand injury back in April. My left hand still feels a little sore, but it’s a lot better than how it felt in the beginning of the year.
  • Andy and I officially began planning for our wedding! Our special day will take place in eight months. I have my wedding dress, but there’s still lots to do.
  • I rekindled my passion for reading. I always have my love for reading, but I truly used it as an escape these last couple months.
  • I lost my dear friend and colleague in poetry therapy, Johanna. Life moves on as usual, yet I miss turning to her for advice and good laughs.
  • I turned 40 this year! Such a special milestone. I got to celebrate the special day with my good friends from college. It was a wonderful time.

My goals for 2019?

  • Making sure my wedding runs smoothly.
  • Finding a profession that I can truly enjoy. I love working with children, but I feel like I’m ready for a new challenge.
  • Making sure that Andy and I live through 2019 in good health and blessings. We have so much to celebrate this year.

I really enjoyed posting here throughout 2018. At the beginning of the year I set a goal to post every day on both blogs: Woven From Words and Poetic Threading (my Blogspot poetry site). I’m happy to report that it’s been achieved! For those that cared to read my daily entries, thank you. I definitely plan to continue blogging throughout 2019. Maybe not daily, but in a consistant basis. I can’t wait to share more with you.

Happy New Year!

December 30, 2018: Surprises

I didn’t expect to end the year sick, yet here I am with the stomach bug. 🙁 I was trying to be soo careful at work, wearing gloves and using hand sanitizer every chance I got…but when a child manages to touch your face, there’s not much you can do. So yeah, last night was terrible. I’m slowly moving about the day, taking it easy with drinking seltzer. Still feeling achy, but hopefully I can eat food. Hopefully I can make it through the day without getting sick again.

December 29, 2018: Wedding Colors/Flower Girls

My David’s Bridal color swatches shipped out today. I’m looking forward to their arrival…I need to discover which shade of yellow could work with the purple I selected for my color scheme. This yellow shade will be paired with the other color in the reception area.

Next year will be a busy one, since the wedding will now be eight months away. I need to search for flower girl dress ideas, for when Ana and Nadia go for their outfits. I’m hoping for the best.

December 28, 2018: Reading ‘One Day in December’

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I began my new read last night, ‘One Day in December’ by Josie Silver. It’s a love story, following the lives of three people throughout a 10 year period. I’m amazed that I chose another story that centers on relationships! I did want to focus on Christmas stories around the holiday season, and the book has Christmas as a focal point. Granted, I began reading it after Christmas, but it has the word ‘December’ in the title, and it’s still December. So that counts!

December 27, 2018: My Review on ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ by Liane Moriarty

Novel received from Book of the Month

Length: 453pp.

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Synopsis:

Could ten days at a health resort really change you forever? In Liane Moriarty’s latest page-turner, nine perfect strangers are about to find out…

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

Frances Welty, the formerly best-selling romantic novelist, arrives at Tranquillum House nursing a bad back, a broken heart, and an exquisitely painful paper cut. She’s immediately intrigued by her fellow guests. Most of them don’t look to be in need of a health resort at all. But the person that intrigues her most is the strange and charismatic owner/director of Tranquillum House. Could this person really have the answers Frances didn’t even know she was seeking? Should Frances put aside her doubts and immerse herself in everything Tranquillum House has to offer – or should she run while she still can?

It’s not long before every guest at Tranquillum House is asking exactly the same question.

My Thoughts:

I usually don’t bother reading stories that are fixated on finding love. As soon as books venture into characters down-trodden and lost due to love, or moving on after a failed breakup, I put the book down. Yet reading ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ by Liane Moriarty was a nice blend of characters from different backgrounds drawn together, gaining empowerment after difficult life situations.

‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ follow the lives of nine individuals taking part of a pricey, 10 day wellness retreat at Tranquillum House. The workshops are run by an overzealous guru, applying her un-orthodox approach of healing to the attendees in order to attain transformative results.

The novel is written in the third person, each chapter taking the perspective of a different character. This made some parts of the story fast-paced, as a certain scene could be split in several chapter following several perspectives. This allowed the reader to see what the other attendees in the retreat were pondering at these tense moments.

Moriatry also delves into the lives of each person, revealing the inner truths of how Tranquillum House entered their lives. The story didn’t have a central ‘dark character’, if you will, for each person carried a personal life struggle which led to their self-discovery. Moriarty also writes in the perspective of the health guru and her consultants. Their input in this tale further opens up a window into the past that gives clarity to the bigger picture.

I also appreciated how Moriarty writes about the power of social media’s influence in our society. Ben and Jessica, a married couple in the wellness retreat, were attending Tranquillum House for marriage counseling due to the wife’s obsession in her appearance, leading to a constant need for ‘Likes’ on her Instagram account. Frances Welty, a once best-selling author, was attending Tranquillum House after suffering her first huge rejection and poor feedback due to (according to her publisher) a lack of online traffic and resources. Both women suffered from the harsh eye of the internet, but for different reasons: Jessica was at the mercy of comparing herself to beauty’s entrapment, while Frances struggled to thrive under a publishing company run by a younger, social-media savvy generation.

‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ was a pretty good read, even with the periodic slow pace it contained. Reading about relationship struggles normally isn’t a preference for me, but this didn’t take away from the story.

Rating: 4/5

December 26, 2018: Growing Up/Coordinating

The free time passes by so quickly! It seemed like Friday was only a few hours ago, and now I’m up at 5am once more, readying myself for work. I did have a relaxing time with relatives and reading. Ana is growing so quickly! She’s even talking more clearly, the ‘child-like’ sound of her speech fading away. I felt a bit wistful whenever I heard her speak. Her mom is still convinced that she bears no resemblance to her. I see Ana’s recent smiling photos, and a younger version of Brittany still looks back at me. It makes me laugh.

One thing I need to do is arrange a time for Brittany and Joyce (the other bridesmaid in my wedding) to get together and coordinate. I don’t necessarily think of minute details, aside from dressing in the color I gave them. Everyone else is concerned about matching outfits though. So the three of us can meet, and they can work out that detail. If Brittany can pin down a time to meet up.

Blogmas Day 25: Merry Christmas!

Christmas is such a special time of year for many people. It symbolizes the birth of Jesus Christ, bringing peace and joy across our world. Christmas is also a time to reconnect with family members, whether they are close or distant relatives. Of course, this holiday brings about the stress of preparation and unpredictable family dynamics. Sometimes we’re in the company of others we only spend once a year with. Despite the unpredictability, I always find it refreshing to visit family on this day, since maintaining family connections mean so much to me.

Today Andy and I went to Christmas service in the morning, then we shared a meal with his family. His siblings spend Christmas with us, so it’s exciting to catch up with them about their lives.

Andy and I with Layla, my family’s dog in Paterson.

In the evening, we headed to Paterson to spend time with my family. Whenever I spend time with my grandparents I value every single moment. I also marveled at how my niece is so outgoing and social with her cousins, twin girls a few months younger than she is. I talked about many things with my fanily: life, the upcoming wedding, and how my cousin in Florida is doing. I’m hopeful that he and his fiance can make it to the wedding.

My grandfather with my niece Ana

I hope everyone shared a memorable Christmas with their family and loved ones!

I very much enjoyed sharing my Blogmas journey with you all. It was my first time taking part in Blogmas, and I hope you enjoyed reading these entries as much as I enjoyed posting them.

Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2018: Family Time/Reading Update

Today is very special, since Christmas is a holiday to spend valuable time with family. Life can be extremely hectic, yet for a couple days we can spend time with cousins and relatives, and share special moments together.

Along with the time spent with relatives, I also have time to plan my reading time. I’m nearly done with Nine Perfect Strangers, and it’s been quite an interesting story. I will have that review posted close to the end of the week. I’m looking forward to beginning my next story, which centers around Christmas (I know, after Christmas Day…my time management is out the window!). I’ll see where my mood takes me 😊

Blogmas Day 24: Christmas Eve

For many of us, Christmas Eve is a time for families to gather and share their blessings with one another. My fiance Andy has a tradition that entails a special dinner on Christmas Eve. His immediate family gathers to share a meal, exchange one gift with family members, and give thanks for another special holiday together.

Andy’s brother and sister-in-law arrived in the late afternoon, and we shared the special meal together. It’s so heartwarming to see how much his niece and nephew have grown!

Christmas Eve can be a very hectic time, with last minute gift shopping and ensuring that all family members receive the proper recognition during the joyous season. Through all the hectic moments, it is very important for us to be thankful for one another’s company. These type of occasions only come around once a year!

December 24, 2018: Special Times

Christmas Eve, a special day for many. Not only because it’s a holiday, but I actually have the day off due to the lack of children at the center. I definitely needed the extra time for myself to refuel mentally.

I even have some time to read my book today. I’m about 71% through with Nine Perfect Strangers. I’m going to give my review of the story this week.

Yesterday my friend from Puerto Rico called and mentioned that she received her save the date card for the wedding! I’m so relieved that I still had the right address for her. It’s going to be a wonderful event if she does indeed make it. It’s been 13 years since we’ve last seen each other.