Permission To Be You

The road to self-acceptance can be a rocky one with lots of twists and turns. When I think back to some of the paths I attempted as a teen I kind of cringe. In her memoir, Let's Pretend This Never Happened, Jenny Lawson got some help on that path thanks to her father, a turkey named Jenkins, and an incident in the public school library....more
Through my late teens and early twenties, I struggled with myself. I identify with Jenny a LOT. ... more

What is Your Confidence Wig?

There are days when we all need a little help -- a confidence boost. When we are in a situation that makes us nervous or anxious a little thing can make big difference. Jenny Lawson has found things that help deal with her anxiety disorder. She documents many of these in her memoir, Let's Pretend This Never Happened, and one of my favorites is something that we can all do in our own way -- confidence wigs. ...more
I actually don't think I have ever worn a for real wig - maybe on Halloween. I guess my "wig" ... more

Bowls Versus Trash Cans

When you begin sharing your life with someone, you discover differences in family traditions. Sometimes they are foreseeable and other times they take you by surprise. Jenny Lawson recounts many of these in her memoir, Let's Pretend This Never Happened, including the time she discovered she had been sitting on couches wrong....more
Oh good lord. TRASH CAN. Absolutely trash can. more

What's Your Favorite Funny Childhood Memory?

In between laughing at Jenny Lawson's recounting of her childhood memories in her memoir, Let's Pretend This Never Happened, I found myself comparing it to my own childhood. We didn't have raccoons in the bathtub, but my uncle totally had a raccoon for awhile. Alas, no one thought to make it jams. It did make me remember a few other childhood memories, particularly those involving wild animals....more
I think my favorite funny childhood memory is that of waking up to in the middle of the night to ... more

Considering What Unites Us

While I read Alex George's A Good American I thought a lot about what it means to belong -- to a church, a town, a country, a family. Frederick didn't belong to Jette's social strata, so they had to leave their homeland in order to be together. When they reach America, they do not end up in the town they intended to settle in, but they put down roots there....more
What unites my community is a general understanding, acceptance, and love of each other's ... more

The Redemptive Power of Song

We've discussed how music plays a big role in Alex George's A Good American when we talked about how he described Jette's life as an opera. It's more than that the family just liked music, it was woven into the fabric of their lives. It was what they used to learn about themselves and about life. ...more
Hard to pinpoint a single song that lifts me up when I'm in a bad mood. I love music. I was ... more

Is Your Life an Opera?

In Alex George's A Good American music is important to the lives of the characters and is integral to the plot. Jette and Frederick meet when he serenades her in a park. They find help in New Orleans from someone that Frederick met through music. This same man will come back into their lives and greatly impact their future. Frederick and Jette's sons and grandsons are all singers....more
I am musical, and grew up in a musical family. I have the tendency to randomly sing out loud - ... more

Gastronomic Mosaics & Culinary Road Maps

Food quickly becomes important to the story in Alex George's A Good American. Before the Meisenheimers ever open the restaurant, Jette finds herself homesick. She turns to the meals she ate in her homeland for comfort. She didn't have recipes passed down from her mother or even a cookbook to turn to. Through a process of trial and error, she made her way through the food in memories until they existed on her table. ...more
The foods from my childhood.... Black olives, "hamburger and spaghetti" (a concoction of ... more

Little Earthquakes: A Good American

If you are like me, when you turn the last page in Alex George's novel, A Good American, all you'll be able to think is "Wow!" You'll find yourself in a bit of a fog as you stop and think back on the journey that you just finished. Of course, I mean all this in the best possible way. ...more
I was so in love with this book. From the moment I read the first page I was hooked. I actually ... more

Change Your Definition of Willpower!

Willpower is a weighty word. If we had more, if we could simply exercise it a bit better, our lives would be different. The lack of it is a character flaw. Or so we've been told to be believe. What if willpower wasn't exactly what we thought it was? What if willpower was so much more than just saying yes or no? That's what Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D reveals in her new book, The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It. ...more
I definitely think this will have to be a book I go back and read again to reinforce everything ... more