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Monday, February 27, 2017

Why Share so Much?

Delphine & her BFF Zoey
So - I appreciate all the kind messages, texts, PM's and all the support concerning our recent pregnancy announcement. You are all just the neatest people EVER! And haters are gonna hate, but I'm not really concerned with what they think. I am however going to take a moment to explain WHY I choose to share so much with social media. It's not because I think I'm important. It's because I know what it feels like to be alone. I can tell you about 3 life-changing moments:

1) When I was 14, my mom got in a car accident and for several weeks didn't know who she was. She thought she was 18 and had no idea who my dad or I were. My dad had already been diagnosed with cancer and I knew he was going to die. I wrote a poem about how it would feel if my Dad were dead and my mom didn't know me. As an only child, it was a very "come to Jesus" time for me. I thought I'd end up in foster care or living on the streets. Luckily I had some amazing friends and family to help me realize my worth had nothing to do with anyone other than me and God. It's hard as a kid, because family is your world.

2) When I was 17, my dad died and the night of his funeral, I drove home with his ashes. The thought
Delphine & Zoey after Kindermusik
of that 5 block drive still leaves me in tears. I'm not sad for myself, I'm sad for that little girl who lost her best friend and her entire world and who just wanted to turn back time and make the bad dream stop.

3) When I was in my mid-thirties, I lost a job I had devoted my life to. I had become a work-a-holic and didn't realize I had made that job my everything. I sat on the floor in my new house (the house I bought as a single mom) looking at my beautiful healthy children and I thought about taking my own life because I felt like a failure. God helped me see what a gift it was to have lost my job. He helped me look in the mirror and say "you have so much, this is a second chance to really live the way you should be living". I had always said my priorities were faith, family, and then my job...I had been lying to myself. I didn't take my life, I TOOK MY LIFE BACK that day.

Any of those moments could have been very different. Had I stayed lonely and afraid, the outcome would be totally different. I choose to see social media and the internet as a way to connect people. I know when I read about someone struggling, I can reach out to them. I can offer support. I know that just one person can change the world by changing the hearts of people around them. When moms reach out to me to talk about breastfeeding, babywearing, daily frustrations, I know I'm making a difference just by listening. There are also people who don't feel comfortable reaching out, but when they read a story about someone they can relate to, it gives them hope. I'm still a hot mess. Parenting isn't easy. Being a wife isn't easy. Owning a farm isn't easy. You know what IS easy? Listening is easy. Smiling is easy. Being a friend is easy.

Friendly comes easy to toddlers! 
We were super public about our pregnancy in 2012 - it ended in a missed-miscarriage in December of that year. It was hard to tell people about that miscarriage, but it allowed me to celebrate the 8 weeks of life our baby had. It also allowed lots of people to come forward and talk about their own heartbreaking losses. We all healed a little bit and we did it together. That right there is why I share so much. I started this blog as a way to heal. It's become so much more, and yet it hasn't - it's still a place people can come to heal and feel connected.

So - there you have it friends.

May your paths be abundantly filled with lemons, sugar, sunshine, and lots of friends!

Hugs,
~Crystal


Crystal is a secretary and musician at her church, babywearing cloth diapering mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, Unicorn Mom Ambassador, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin with her husband, four young children (Carmen 9, Andre 8, Breccan 3, Delphine 2, and baby E due in fall 2017), two dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff here, and at WOW! Women on Writing.

Wisconsin Educator Cathy Hansen Reviews "Banged-Up Heart" by Shirley Melis

Thank you to WOW! Women on Writing, guest blogger Educator Cathy Hansen, and Mari from Artotems as well as Shirley Melis. Without these amazing friends this lovely post would not be possible!

Hugs,
~Crystal



Banged-Up Heart: Dancing with Love and Loss




Review by Cathy Hansen


I have to start off with a straightforward confession: Memoirs are not my thing. That said, when friend asked me to read this book, I looked at the description, and I was intrigued by the description of a dramatic tale about remarrying after a spouse’s death only to lose one’s second spouse far too soon.

Banged-Up Heart is definitely NOT your typical memoir. I found myself double-checking the cover during the first few chapters of the book, certain I’d picked up a sweet romance novel by mistake. The beginning of the book is charming and reads quickly, with Shirley’s chance meeting with John, as well as her first date since the loss of her first husband. There’s even a bit of comedy, as I read the details of that first date and thought, “Seriously? Who says THAT to a woman he wants to impress?” As someone who does not typically read memoirs, I enjoyed that little bit of comedy to help ease the me into a book that I knew would eventually bring heartbreak and sadness.

That’s the thing with a memoir like this--you already know the ending. You know she’s lost her second husband. You just don’t know exactly when, the details of how, or the life they lived in between. There has to be something interesting to keep you reading, and Shirley Melis delivers that something with the details of their adventures together. I started the book thinking, “How awful! That poor woman!” I ended the book thinking, “Good for them. What a life they packed into such a short time!”

Do not be mistaken--the story will take its toll, and I believe anyone who reads it will be touched in a different way and make a different connection with the story. There are parts of the book that are very difficult to read, because the moments they describe were very difficult to live. For me, there were several things that tug at me even now, a week after finishing the book. First, the fact that Shirley got remarried at all took tremendous courage. Having discussed this topic with my husband who faced the real potential of leaving our family forever if anything had happened to him while deployed in a war zone, I simply cannot imagine the challenges she experienced.

The second aspect of the story that really hit me was the idea of slowly watching the decline of a loved one’s condition, knowing that loved one would not recover. My family is experiencing this now, with the cancer diagnosis of one of my grandparents. Like reading her memoir, we know death is coming, we just don’t know when, or what will happen between now and then. I was in the middle of reading Banged-Up Heart on a recent trip to visit my family member. On this particular visit, I had to provide that family member with more assistance than I had in the past, and I too noticed the unbelievable weight loss caused by cancer. The realization that time is very short was still on my mind later that weekend, when I read a part in Shirley’s book where she compared John’s condition to that of a holocaust victim. It was like she was reading my own thoughts on the awful effect that horrible disease has on the body!

I think the biggest take-away from Banged-Up Heart is to take risks and love well. Don’t dismiss the possibility of love even when you think your chance for love has passed. Bucket lists are not just for “some day” or “eventually” because we never know just how long we or our loved ones have. Thank you, Shirley Melis, for a difficult read, but a good read. Thank you for sharing your story.

Paperback: 300 Pages
Genre: Memoir/Non Fiction
Publisher: Terra Nova Books (February 14, 2017)
ISBN-10: 193828870X
ISBN-13: 978-1938288708



Banged-Up Heart: Dancing with Love and Loss is available in print on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.


About

Banged-Up Heart: Dancing with Love and Loss is an intimate and clear-eyed account of finding love late and losing it early—and of the strength it takes to fall deeply in love a second time, be forced to relinquish that love too soon, and yet choose to love again.

When her husband of thirty years dies suddenly, Shirley Melis is convinced she will never find another man like Joe. Then she meets John, a younger man who tells her during their first conversation that he has lived for many years with a rare but manageable cancer. She is swept off her feet in a whirlwind courtship, and within months, made brave by the early death of a friend’s husband, she asks him to marry her! What follows is a year-long odyssey of travel and a growing erotic and creative partnership— until a mysterious bump on John’s forehead proves to be one of several tumors in his brain and spine.

The nine months that follow are filled with a life-threatening infection, three brain surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy. Two years and one week after their wedding, John dies at the age of fifty-nine. More than just a love story or a memoir of mourning, Banged-Up Heart comes down solidly on the side of life. It takes you deep inside an ordinary woman, her deeply felt grief butting up against her desire for more than companionship: passion, sexual fulfillment, and self-realization. It bears eloquent witness to the wild trust it takes to fall madly in love and risk profound loss—a second time. Ultimately, it shows that it is possible to dance with a banged-up heart.



About Shirley

Shirley Melis is a longtime business writer, travel writer, and newspaper columnist who traveled the world interviewing everyone from busboys to heads of international organizations before launching a career in public relations in Washington, D.C. With Banged-Up Heart, she now takes her writing in a new direction, delving deeply into her own personal story of finding love late, losing it early, and discovering the strength to choose to love again. It is a fascinating odyssey, a journey both creative and erotic as Shirley and John work lovingly together to blend their dreams—until a mysterious bump on his forehead starts them on a tragic struggle against the dark hand of fate.

A graduate of Vassar, Shirley Melis has created an intimate memoir bearing eloquent witness to the kind of wild trust that can grow in the heart of an ordinary woman thrust into circumstances that few others must face. Now retired, she lives in Galisteo, New Mexico.

Shirley can also be found online at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shirleymelis/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShirleyMelis

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32145012-banged-up-heart?




Thank you to WOW! Women on Writing for allowing me an opportunity to participate in this book blog tour!


Be sure to check out some of the future blog stops on this tour:







Feb 28 @ Bring on Lemons with Cindi Ashbeck
Cindi Ashbeck shares her thoughts after reading the touching story Banged Up Heart by Shirley Melis.
http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

March 1 @ Bring on Lemons with Penny Harrison
Wisconsin business owner and avid reader Penny Harrison shares her thoughts and feelings about Shirley Melis's memoir Banged Up Heart.
http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

March 2 @ Book Santa Fe with Tange Dudet
Avid reader and book enthusiast Tange Dudet shares her thoughts and feelings after reading the touching memoir Banged Up Heart by Shirley Melis.
http://www.booksantafe.info/

March 3 @ The Constant Story with David W. Berner
Author and radio personality David W Berner reviews Shirley Melis's book Banged Up Heart and shares his thoughts with readers at The Constant Story.
http://davidwberner.blogspot.com/



Please feel free to leave a comment or ask a question - it's great hearing from YOU!





About today’s reviewer:

Cathy Hansen is a wife, mom, teacher, independent
beauty consultant, and small business owner. She and her husband operate SeedsNBeans, a local nature store, in Two Rivers, Wisconsin.






Sunday, February 26, 2017

She's Getting a Promotion...and we swear this is the LAST baby!

I kind of like doing things a little different than most. If you follow this blog, you likely know that already. We announced we are having another baby. This will be the LAST one as I'm closing in on 40 and I'll be the big Four Oh by the time baby gets here. Anyway - we made the announcement at our 2 year old's birthday party. She looks pretty happy about it, right? (keep in mind at 2, you'll smile about anything as long as you're having a good hair day and there's chocolate-cake a plenty)

but seriously. there's lots of rule-breaking going on here:

A) I've been told you should never announce something about one child at another child's special event

B) I've been told you should never announce you are pregnant until you are out of the first trimester

C) I've been told you shouldn't want a large family in today's economy and this day and age

D) I've been told that getting pregnant at advanced maternal age is a bad idea

Holy Shit - how many rules did I break all in one damn day? Just to round it out I thought I'd add some cuss words - sorry mom.

It's funny though - you have your first baby and everyone jumps up and down and shouts for joy...Have your 5th one and people raise their eyebrows in disbelief. It's actually quite laughable. I may as well start laughing now, because I'll be nearly 60 when this baby walks across the graduation stage from high school. (now there's an eye-opener)

Now before any panties get bunched up any rear ends - no, this baby was NOT a mistake, no, we are NOT getting any genetic testing done, and YES - we know full well where babies come from and my husband has graciously volunteered to spend some time later this year with some frozen vegetables in his lap.

Thank you for joining us in this adventure. I plan to do a lot of blogging to capture this, my very last pregnancy. We hope you'll enjoy the ride as much as we plan to. In the meantime, if you come over bring some pineapple or some gingerale because this mama feels like she has the flu. We are pretty confident that baby is due the beginning of October but haven't gotten the exact date as I haven't seen the doctor yet. Regardless of any outcome, problems, or issues, we will be celebrating each and every day of Baby E!

Cheers!

xoxox
Crystal


May your paths be abundantly filled with lemons, sugar, sunshine, 
and little sticky hands to hold while sipping that oh so sweet lemonade!



Crystal is a secretary and musician at her church, babywearing cloth diapering mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, Unicorn Mom Ambassador, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin with her husband, four young children (Carmen 9, Andre 8, Breccan 3, Delphine 2, and baby E due in fall 2017), two dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff here, and at WOW! Women on Writing.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Angela Williams Reviews Shirley Melis's "Banged-Up Heart"

Thank you to WOW! Women on Writing, guest blogger Angela Williams, and Mari from Artotems as well as Shirley Melis. Without these amazing friends this lovely post would not be possible!

Hugs,
~Crystal



Banged-Up Heart: Dancing with Love and Loss




Review by Angela Williams


I was skeptical when I was asked to review the book Banged up Heart. It is not a type of book that I would normally pick up and read all on my own. I am a person that likes a good mystery or thriller. My attention has to be captured within the first few chapters or I will never pick up the book again. I am not a person that reads about love stories. That was immediately what I thought this book was going to be all about. At first, it was a little bit of a struggle to get myself to read it. I think that was because of my preconceived expectations. Before I knew it, I was done with the book.

This book is more than just a love story. It is more about how two people can battle odds together and become closer than ever. It also is about how to deal with emotions after a loss. For anyone that has suffered any type of personal loss, I think it would be an easy story to relate to. It is heartbreaking and exciting all at the same time. It made me think about how I would handle a situation similar. It really made me sort of evaluate myself. Could I be strong? How would I process the emotions that Shirley was feeling? Would I have handled it the same way?

It was very well written and easy to read, once I got in to it. I think this would be the perfect book for anyone that likes books that tug at the heart strings a little.



Paperback: 300 Pages
Genre: Memoir/Non Fiction
Publisher: Terra Nova Books (February 14, 2017)
ISBN-10: 193828870X
ISBN-13: 978-1938288708



Banged-Up Heart: Dancing with Love and Loss is available in print on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.


About

Banged-Up Heart: Dancing with Love and Loss is an intimate and clear-eyed account of finding love late and losing it early—and of the strength it takes to fall deeply in love a second time, be forced to relinquish that love too soon, and yet choose to love again.

When her husband of thirty years dies suddenly, Shirley Melis is convinced she will never find another man like Joe. Then she meets John, a younger man who tells her during their first conversation that he has lived for many years with a rare but manageable cancer. She is swept off her feet in a whirlwind courtship, and within months, made brave by the early death of a friend’s husband, she asks him to marry her! What follows is a year-long odyssey of travel and a growing erotic and creative partnership— until a mysterious bump on John’s forehead proves to be one of several tumors in his brain and spine.

The nine months that follow are filled with a life-threatening infection, three brain surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy. Two years and one week after their wedding, John dies at the age of fifty-nine. More than just a love story or a memoir of mourning, Banged-Up Heart comes down solidly on the side of life. It takes you deep inside an ordinary woman, her deeply felt grief butting up against her desire for more than companionship: passion, sexual fulfillment, and self-realization. It bears eloquent witness to the wild trust it takes to fall madly in love and risk profound loss—a second time. Ultimately, it shows that it is possible to dance with a banged-up heart.



About Shirley

Shirley Melis is a longtime business writer, travel writer, and newspaper columnist who traveled the world interviewing everyone from busboys to heads of international organizations before launching a career in public relations in Washington, D.C. With Banged-Up Heart, she now takes her writing in a new direction, delving deeply into her own personal story of finding love late, losing it early, and discovering the strength to choose to love again. It is a fascinating odyssey, a journey both creative and erotic as Shirley and John work lovingly together to blend their dreams—until a mysterious bump on his forehead starts them on a tragic struggle against the dark hand of fate.

A graduate of Vassar, Shirley Melis has created an intimate memoir bearing eloquent witness to the kind of wild trust that can grow in the heart of an ordinary woman thrust into circumstances that few others must face. Now retired, she lives in Galisteo, New Mexico.

Shirley can also be found online at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shirleymelis/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShirleyMelis

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32145012-banged-up-heart?




Thank you to WOW! Women on Writing for allowing me an opportunity to participate in this book blog tour!


Be sure to check out some of the future blog stops on this tour:





Feb 23 @ Linda Appleman Shapiro
Don't miss today's interview between memoirist Linda Appleman Shapiro and Shirley Melis. Find out more about Melis and her memoir Banged Up Heart.
http://applemanshapiro.com/

Feb 23 @ Writer’s Pay it Forward
MC Simon interviews Shirley Melis about her novel Banged Up Heart for readers at Writers Pay it Forward. Don't miss this courageous memoir.
http://writerspayitforward.com/

Feb 24 @ Memoir Writers Journey with Kathleen Pooler
Kathleen Pooler shares her thoughts with readers of Memoir Writer's Journey - find out what Pooler has to say about Shirley Melis's memoir Banged Up Heart.
http://krpooler.com/

Feb 27 @ Bring on Lemons with Cathy Hansen
Educator and Entrepreneur Cathy Hansen reads and reviews Banged Up Heart by Shirley Melis. You'll want to stop by Bring On Lemons today for your chance to learn more about this touching and encouraging memoir.
http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

Feb 28 @ Bring on Lemons with Cindi Ashbeck
Cindi Ashbeck shares her thoughts after reading the touching story Banged Up Heart by Shirley Melis.
http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

March 1 @ Bring on Lemons with Penny Harrison
Wisconsin business owner and avid reader Penny Harrison shares her thoughts and feelings about Shirley Melis's memoir Banged Up Heart.
http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

March 2 @ Book Santa Fe with Tange Dudet
Avid reader and book enthusiast Tange Dudet shares her thoughts and feelings after reading the touching memoir Banged Up Heart by Shirley Melis.
http://www.booksantafe.info/

March 3 @ The Constant Story with David W. Berner
Author and radio personality David W Berner reviews Shirley Melis's book Banged Up Heart and shares his thoughts with readers at The Constant Story.
http://davidwberner.blogspot.com/



Please feel free to leave a comment or ask a question - it's great hearing from YOU!





About today’s reviewer:
Angie Williams is a simple girl living in a complicated world. She grew up on a family dairy farm in rural Wisconsin and loves her family and has a soft spot for all animals, but especially cows. She works at the beautiful Lighthouse Inn on the shores of Lake Michigan. When she's not cheering on the Dallas Cowboys you can find Angie hanging out with her husband, children, and extended family.


Monday, February 20, 2017

Crystal Otto Reviews Shirley Melis's "Banged-Up Heart" for WOW! Women on Writing

Thank you to WOW! Women on Writing and Mari from Artotems as well as Shirley Melis. Without these amazing friends this lovely post would not be possible!

Hugs,
~Crystal



Banged-Up Heart: Dancing with Love and Loss




Review by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto


Banged-Up Heart is a great memoir for the non-memoir-loving reader. It reads like a novel. The only difference being you pretty much know the outcome before you crack the spine of the book. So what makes you want to read the book? Why would I recommend it and give it 5 stars?

Well...
Let me ask you this. Did you know Custer's Last Stand ended? Or better yet, have you ever visited Arlington Cemetery and looked at one of the really large ornate stones? Right there you have examples of knowing how something began and how something ended - but were you satisfied with that? Didn't you want to know more? After all, life isn't about the destination, it's about the journey. We all have a starting point and an ending point whether we've gotten there yet, or not...it's the circle of life. What we do with the time in the middle is what leaves it's mark on others.

Shirley Melis's "Banged-Up Heart" is no different. She hasn't yet reached her ending point, and I hope there will be more books between now and then, but as far as how she managed to dance through love and loss, it's truly remarkable. It's not how I would have handled things, but if it were, then there wouldn't be a story to tell. That's what's fun about reading a memoir that reads like a novel - you get to experience things through the eyes and hearts of others. Melis's ability to forge ahead and dance is remarkable and quite admirable. Whether you've had a Joe in your life or a John - or you've experienced love once or many times, you'll want to pick up a copy of "Banged-Up Heart". Even if you've never been in love, this book will help you believe in love. It's beautifully written, honest, laughable at points, well edited, and a bit unconventional, yet it's a book you'll devour and that will stick in your heart long after you've finished the final page.



Paperback: 300 Pages
Genre: Memoir/Non Fiction
Publisher: Terra Nova Books (February 14, 2017)
ISBN-10: 193828870X
ISBN-13: 978-1938288708



Banged-Up Heart: Dancing with Love and Loss is available in print on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.


About

Banged-Up Heart: Dancing with Love and Loss is an intimate and clear-eyed account of finding love late and losing it early—and of the strength it takes to fall deeply in love a second time, be forced to relinquish that love too soon, and yet choose to love again.

When her husband of thirty years dies suddenly, Shirley Melis is convinced she will never find another man like Joe. Then she meets John, a younger man who tells her during their first conversation that he has lived for many years with a rare but manageable cancer. She is swept off her feet in a whirlwind courtship, and within months, made brave by the early death of a friend’s husband, she asks him to marry her! What follows is a year-long odyssey of travel and a growing erotic and creative partnership— until a mysterious bump on John’s forehead proves to be one of several tumors in his brain and spine.

The nine months that follow are filled with a life-threatening infection, three brain surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy. Two years and one week after their wedding, John dies at the age of fifty-nine. More than just a love story or a memoir of mourning, Banged-Up Heart comes down solidly on the side of life. It takes you deep inside an ordinary woman, her deeply felt grief butting up against her desire for more than companionship: passion, sexual fulfillment, and self-realization. It bears eloquent witness to the wild trust it takes to fall madly in love and risk profound loss—a second time. Ultimately, it shows that it is possible to dance with a banged-up heart.



About Shirley

Shirley Melis is a longtime business writer, travel writer, and newspaper columnist who traveled the world interviewing everyone from busboys to heads of international organizations before launching a career in public relations in Washington, D.C. With Banged-Up Heart, she now takes her writing in a new direction, delving deeply into her own personal story of finding love late, losing it early, and discovering the strength to choose to love again. It is a fascinating odyssey, a journey both creative and erotic as Shirley and John work lovingly together to blend their dreams—until a mysterious bump on his forehead starts them on a tragic struggle against the dark hand of fate.

A graduate of Vassar, Shirley Melis has created an intimate memoir bearing eloquent witness to the kind of wild trust that can grow in the heart of an ordinary woman thrust into circumstances that few others must face. Now retired, she lives in Galisteo, New Mexico.

Shirley can also be found online at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shirleymelis/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShirleyMelis

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32145012-banged-up-heart?




Thank you to WOW! Women on Writing for allowing me an opportunity to participate in this book blog tour!


Be sure to check out some of the future blog stops on this tour:



Feb 21 @ Deb Blanchard
Teacher Deb Blanchard gives insight into "Banged Up Heart" the touching memoir by Shirley Melis.
https://www.facebook.com/Reviews-by-Deb-1737715249887520/

Feb 22 @ Bring on Lemons with Angela Williams
Angela Williams reviews Shirley Melis's Banged Up Heart.
http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

Feb 23 @ Linda Appleman Shapiro
Don't miss today's interview between memoirist Linda Appleman Shapiro and Shirley Melis. Find out more about Melis and her memoir Banged Up Heart.
http://applemanshapiro.com/

Feb 23 @ Writer’s Pay it Forward
MC Simon interviews Shirley Melis about her novel Banged Up Heart for readers at Writers Pay it Forward. Don't miss this courageous memoir.
http://writerspayitforward.com/

Feb 24 @ Memoir Writers Journey with Kathleen Pooler
Kathleen Pooler shares her thoughts with readers of Memoir Writer's Journey - find out what Pooler has to say about Shirley Melis's memoir Banged Up Heart.
http://krpooler.com/

Feb 27 @ Bring on Lemons with Cathy Hansen
Educator and Entrepreneur Cathy Hansen reads and reviews Banged Up Heart by Shirley Melis. You'll want to stop by Bring On Lemons today for your chance to learn more about this touching and encouraging memoir.
http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

Feb 28 @ Bring on Lemons with Cindi Ashbeck
Cindi Ashbeck shares her thoughts after reading the touching story Banged Up Heart by Shirley Melis.
http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

March 1 @ Bring on Lemons with Penny Harrison
Wisconsin business owner and avid reader Penny Harrison shares her thoughts and feelings about Shirley Melis's memoir Banged Up Heart.
http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

March 2 @ Book Santa Fe with Tange Dudet
Avid reader and book enthusiast Tange Dudet shares her thoughts and feelings after reading the touching memoir Banged Up Heart by Shirley Melis.
http://www.booksantafe.info/

March 3 @ The Constant Story with David W. Berner
Author and radio personality David W Berner reviews Shirley Melis's book Banged Up Heart and shares his thoughts with readers at The Constant Story.
http://davidwberner.blogspot.com/



Please feel free to leave a comment or ask a question - it's great hearing from YOU!





About today’s reviewer:


Crystal is a secretary and musician at her church, babywearing cloth diapering mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, Unicorn Mom Ambassador, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin with her husband, four young children (Carmen 9, Andre 8, Breccan 3, and Delphine 1), two dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff here, and at WOW! Women on Writing.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Is it Wrong or Just Not My Way?

same class - same instruction - look at the differences! ALL BEAUTIFUL!
I just had a fabulous conversation with a friend. I was reminded of a time when a mentor asked me a tough question. A co-worker at the time (many many years ago) had done something I disagreed with. In my youth, I was quick to judge and readied myself to jump in and explain what they had done wrong and how they could do it better the next time. My mentor asked:

Did they do it wrong, or did they just not do it 'Crystal's Way'?

I sat back and thought about that. I thought about how my mother said you should vacuum first and dust later and how my father said dust first and vacuum later and how they were both right, as long as the work got done.

It's the same way with parenting, marriage, book reviews, and just about any situation you can imagine. There's very seldom one single way to get something done. In my recent article for WOW!Women on Writing about book reviews for example I talk about writing a review of a book that you don't particularly love. Just because I wouldn't have written a book about poetry as a way to heal after sexual abuse doesn't mean Rebecca Fitton's book "Wave Rider" is any less valid. Just because I wouldn't write a book about my relationship with my mother doesn't mean Linda Appleman Shapiro's "She's Not Herself" isn't a great book.

After a failed practice marriage over a decade ago, I learned to be less critical of myself and others. I no longer look for fault in my spouse in the same way I did the first time around. If you are waiting for someone to make a mistake or if you are looking for faults in others, you'll find them. If you look for the good in others and in yourself, you'll find that too. It's no different with books. I could pick up a book by any author - this includes my dear Wall Lamb or Jodi Picoult too - and find points that could be spruced up, draggy parts, things that don't appeal to you, etc... or I could pick up the same book and see all the beauty and heart written on those pages. It's really up to me.

This doesn't mean I never write a negative book review, but I try to see books the same way I see people. There's good in most of them. Sometimes you have to dig a little deeper beneath the surface, but there's some good there. Just because the person isn't someone I want to spend eternity with doesn't mean they aren't an amazing individual. Just because the book isn't done 'Crystal's Way' doesn't mean it's wrong.

There are my deep thoughts for the day. Enjoy!

Do you have a situation you can tell us about where you had to take a step back and look for the good in others?

Please leave a comment - I love hearing from you!

Hugs,
~Crystal

May your paths be abundantly filled with lemons, sugar, sunshine, and the wisdom of good friends.





Crystal is a secretary and musician at her church, babywearing cloth diapering mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, Unicorn Mom Ambassador, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin with her husband, four young children (Carmen 9, Andre 8, Breccan 3, and Delphine 1), two dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff here, and at WOW! Women on Writing.