This evening, I am glued to my television watching a hostage situation unfold at a Reform synagogue in Colleyville, Texas. As a woman of the Jewish faith, I am saddened and horrified at what is happening right now. So much so that a light-hearted blog post seems impossible for me to write this evening.

No one should have to fear that something like this may happen in their place of worship. And during a Shabbat morning service. And yet, the Jewish community – my community – has seen this happen way too often. Antisemitism is real. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.”

May our world, our country, our communities, and our own circles grow toward more love, light, tolerance, and harmony.

I am praying for the safety of the rabbi and congregants being held hostage at Congregation Beth Israel and hope for a peaceful resolution to the situation. I am also so thankful for the members of law enforcement who help keep our communities safe.

Reading Resolutions

Can you stand to read another book-related post from me? Good, because I want to talk about my 2022 reading goals. And because it is close to 9 pm and I’ve had a long day, I’m just going to get right to them.

Resolution #1 – Read More Books

Last year, I read 30 books. I didn’t plan to, but it just happened. Now that I’ve reached that milestone, I want to set a new record. Although my resolution specifies 35 books, I hope to reach 50 titles. On average, I read four books a month, which would add up to 48 books by the end of the year. But in all seriousness, I’m not putting that kind of pressure on myself. It isn’t the number of books that matters to me.

Here’s the catch – and this is what is important – half of the books I read this year must be ones I already own. Between my Kindle, my Audible and Libro accounts, and my bookshelf overflowing with physical books, I have close to 200 titles currently collecting dust.

There was a reason that I had to have these books, but because I bought them a while ago, I don’t remember that reason. Did I find the blurb on the back cover compelling? Did I read a fabulous book review in O Magazine and decide I had to have it? Did it come recommended by a friend? Or did I simply fall in love with the front cover?

Regardless of the reason, now is the time to dive in and find out. And if I’ve outgrown that reason, resolution #2 gives me the perfect out.

Resolution #2 – DNF More Books

As I go through my TBR list, I need to DNF more books. Therefore, if I read 50-75 pages and am not enjoying the book, I will put it in the “did not finish” bin. I will be ruthless about this. It isn’t a failure if I don’t finish a book. It is actually an accomplishment because, little by little, I am tackling my books and making decisions about each one.

Besides, there are too many books that I want to read. Why waste my time on books that no longer interest me?

Resolution #3 – Visit and Support More Independent Bookstores

One time, I was in Kutztown, PA, for a college tour with my daughter. My family decided to have lunch at the local brewery, and I noticed the Firefly Bookstore across the street. I remember the cheerful windows and holiday lights waiting to welcome me in. I wanted to check it out so badly, but I was also hungry. We walked around the entire campus and worked up an appetite. I decided to eat first and stop by the bookstore when we were done.

By the time we finished lunch, it was getting late, and it looked like it was about to rain. We stepped outside and felt the instant chill in the air. I glanced over at this quaint bookstore and reluctantly decided not to go in. I was so disappointed. I still haven’t forgotten about that place, and I hope someday I’ll get back there.

To make up for it, I haven’t passed up on entering an indie bookstore again. Ever since I was little, bookstores have been like a place of worship for me. (But, please don’t tell my rabbi I said so.)

Inside a bookstore, I find inspiration, enlightenment, and a sense of belonging. I’m with my people who share a faith in books and honestly believe they are a gateway to fulfillment. In 2022, I will not deny myself the opportunity to be a part of that community.

What are your reading resolutions for 2022? Let me know in the comments, and happy reading!

A New & Improved Morning Routine

Only two short years ago, I had a morning routine that began at 5:30 am on the dot and ended with me picking up Dunkin Donuts coffee on my way to the office. Now that I work from home, my process for getting ready has changed dramatically. But I’m not complaining.

My day begins at 6 am. The alarm blasts in my ear, and I feel around my nightstand for my phone to hit snooze. I fall back to sleep. I repeat this cycle at least twice before I get up to let the dog out.

Once the dog does her business, she takes her treat and goes back upstairs to her dog bed. I guess the steps and backyard is tiring enough to warrant another nap. Lucky dog! On the other hand, I grab my favorite coffee mug and have a bowl of cereal.

Around this time, I scroll through my Facebook page. I know (I know!) all of the productivity articles say not to do this, but some habits are hard to break. And anyway, some of those same articles think I can get my email inbox to zero every day. 😉

After breakfast, I settle onto the couch with my yellow notepad and pen and write out what I want to accomplish that day. I also take a few minutes to jot down blog post ideas. I’ll start writing out the blog itself if I have time, but most mornings, I have to put it off until later.

Usually, I try not to let anything come between me and my writing time, but then the best part of my day happens, and I put down my pen. My son, Andrew, comes downstairs to make his breakfast and lunch. Like me, he is a morning person and a bit of a talker. I love our brief conversations, even if they are only to talk about his scout meeting or swim practice. The fact that my 18-year-old son still likes to check in with me and tell me about his day is something I’ll never take for granted.

When he leaves for school, he yells out, “Love you, mom!” Then I start my day with my heart full and in a good mood.

From there, the rest of my day begins. I loathe doing my hair, but I recently splurged on a Hot Tools hair dryer/brush, which is the best thing EVER! It’s easy to use and my hair almost always comes out looking good. At least it does in the front. No one ever sees the back because I’m on Zoom calls all day long. As a bonus, I get a bit of an arm workout because that thing is hefty!

I take the much faster commute down two short flights of stairs to my home office. I turn on the computer and smile because I know that between the coffee, the writing, and the daily kitchen chat, it has already been a great day.


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