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Ten Recommended Reads for 2022

May 1, 2022
cammy

Mid-April brought the completion of my tenth book this year. I’ve been intentional about reading different authors and different genres so I could make some recommendations for you! As always, my blogs and weekly updates go to the Brave Notes Club first. I’d love to have you join us! For now, take a look through the list, and, please, share your thoughts. 10. Anatomy by Dana Schwartz  This was the Winter Young Adult book club pick from Reese’s Book Club. It’s a period piece with a love story at the center. I’m ranking this book as number ten because it took 160 pages for the love interests to meet each other. I enjoyed the main character, but not much else.  9. The Sentence by Louise Erdrich Set in Minneapolis, this story comes from a local author! I had so much fun reading about the local places mentioned in the story and the main characters reckoning with the pandemic and protests. At times I did find it difficult to follow the writing style of this book.  8. The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley This book offered multiple perspectives through which to explore the story. It was hard to like any of…

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Where Does Your Love Come From?

April 12, 2022
cammy

Loving from competition leads to lack.  Loving from a place of gratitude creates abundance.  Years ago, I read a piece about motherhood. Back in the days when I never thought I’d ever want kids, I was curious enough that Google sent me links to articles I didn’t even know I’d want to read. That’s Google for you. This particular piece focused on the frightening side of motherhood as your heart exists outside your body in the form of a tiny human body. There is a massive vulnerability in becoming a mother. It didn’t sound fun.  When Tyler and I got married, that article popped into my head. Not because I was ready to become a Mom at that point, but because I felt a new fear creeping up my spine that I had never felt before. I remember laying in bed next to him one morning as he slept, trying to identify what this fear was. I was very nervous. It wanted me to pull him into my arms and hold him with all I had. This fear was anxious and vulnerable. That’s when a phrase from that motherhood article popped into my head.  My heart was living outside my…

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Action > Words

March 23, 2022
cammy

Two weeks ago, a friend of mine had a belated birthday party celebration. She was a mid-February birthday and waited to celebrate until Omicron had calmed. Her husband texted us a few days before. Tyler and I didn’t even have to talk about it; we were going to the birthday party.  Last week, we received a text from our Pastor asking if we could watch the babies in the nursery during church that weekend. Two of the volunteers who were initially signed up had to cancel. My Saturday would be spent babysitting my nephews while Tyler worked. Sunday was also a family day. There was little to no time to simply relax. The didn’t matter. We decided as soon as we read the text we’d be volunteering that weekend.  I have a group chat with my parents. Every so often, my Mom sends a text to my Dad about plans, forgetting I’m in the chat. Last week, I read a text from my Mom to my Dad trying to resolve a babysitting problem. There was a one-hour difference between when my parents would have to leave my nephews and when my brother would return home. I had no plans, so…

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Lessons Learned from Inventing Anna

February 27, 2022
cammy

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been watching the Netflix series, Inventing Anna. If you haven’t seen the series yourself, it’s about a young woman faking her way to the height of New York’s elite as a German heiress. She spends A LOT of money that is not hers to spend. She stays at a series of beautiful New York City hotels, never actually paying for her room while having all meals and services added to her room. There’s more to the story, but I’ll let you binge the series if you’d like. As I was pouring my coffee this morning, it occurred to me that many of the stories we tell ourselves could be just as fake as the lies Anna told. There are moments I catch myself comparing my life to the imagined life of another and I have to ask myself, “do I know that story to be the truth?” Sure, there are women I follow on social media whose stories I consume daily. But, for as many days as I’ve clicked on their profile picture to peer into their lives, I’m only getting a portion of their truth. My eyes see the portion of their lives…

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Sixty Minutes and a Little White Pill

February 15, 2022
cammy

Seven years. It’s been seven years since I sat on that cushioned table, giving voice to the thoughts that had, so far, only existed in my head.  That day changed the trajectory of my life. The doctor was kind and matter of fact. I was trying to hold myself together, speaking with as much confidence as I could, even though I knew my voice was quivering. She turned her computer screen to face me and I saw the little dot in the red zone. The little dot was supposed to be me. The red zone indicated severe anxiety. That’s where I lived my life until that point – in the land of severe anxiety. I left the clinic that day with a prescription in hand and hope for the future. Life got better after that.  The last six weeks of my life felt a whole lot like those days before the clinic visit.  Once again, I found myself sitting on my bed thinking, “something is wrong with me”. Once again, I suffered from panic attacks. Once again, anxiety was dominating my life.  After seven years on medication, I paid another visit to the doctor this week to review the prescription….

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Get Your Booty in the Chair

January 18, 2022
cammy

“This is shit.” Ah, yes, the pain point of the creative process. The moment you want to lay your head down on the table, simultaneously acknowledging the feeble attempt at producing something worth reading and the garbage that actually came out. It’s the frustrating agony of willing quality words to move through your fingertips but struggling to find the actual words to do so. It’s the moment you’re reminded of all those romanticized ideas you had about the craft, all the scenes of Carrie beautifully writing while gazing out her window in Sex and the City, all the holiday movies about writers moving into country homes for the season to write exactly once in the entire movie, or the evenings you’ve spent sitting among the books at a bookstore attempting to absorb the brilliance of other writers through sheer osmosis. Or is that just me? I’m not a published author (not yet at least), but I’m confident in one truth I’ve learned in years of blogging and writing: writing is hard.  Those words at the beginning of this piece were the exact words bouncing around my brain as I looked at my most recent work. It took all the strength…

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Top 5 Reads of 2021

January 4, 2022
cammy

Before 2021, I had one habit (one story in mind, really) that caused a good amount of shame. It might surprise you to learn exactly what it was…. Finishing a book.  Outside of an academic setting, I rarely read a book in its entirety. For whatever reason, books would sit next to my bed, or atop a living room table, or in my backpack, or simply on a shelf for months. The bookmark was always about 50 pages in, the dust would accumulate and I’d forget what was even happening in the book when the interest would, finally, pique to read a book. Back to the beginning, I’d go, starting the cycle all over again.  The story played on repeat for longer than I’d like to admit. At the beginning of 2021, I decided it would be the year I finished a book. At the beginning of 2022, I’m thrilled to say I did it! I made my way through books that I found intimidating in size, explored authors with lived experiences different from mine, and found the genre I love the most. Not surprisingly, I love psychological thrillers; particularly those involving murder.  As we launch into a new year,…

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For the Hard Days

It was the day you woke up asking God, “What’s wrong with me?” It was the moment the thoughts were overwhelming so you crawled into bed and cried yourself to sleep.  It was the morning you spent trying to figure out why the panic was there at the same time you had to calm yourself.  It was the day you googled “what is wrong with me?” It was the journal entry that made you realize even talking about the shame would leave you feeling shameful, so you decided to keep it to yourself.  It was the thought “someone has it worse than me, I should be grateful” playing on repeat.  Maybe it was the day that made you feel like even leaving bed was too much to ask.  Those moments, those heavy days, they’re really hard. I know, I’ve been there. It feels like you’re lifting the weight of your entire life, feeling the decades stack upon each other as the future grows darker. You think to yourself, “I can’t keep going like this. If the rest is going to be this hard, I can’t keep going like this. I need help.” I wish I could make you see how…

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Breaking Up is the Hardest Part

December 2, 2021
cammy

“I would have dumped you if you ever said that to me.” Those were the exact words I said when asked, “what would you have done if I ever said to you the things you say to yourself?” My response echoed in my head as my Husband continued to prove his point.  “I would have dumped him,” I thought. “If he said any of the things I say to myself, I would have dumped him”. It was the next question I asked myself that felt like a personal breakthrough. “If I would have ended the relationship with him for treating me like this, why do I allow myself to treat me like this? Why do I allow these thoughts to play on repeat, and believe them like an absolute? I would never say these things to a friend and I would not allow them to be said to me. So, why, why do I treat myself worse than any other relationship I hold dear?  Ouch. That one hurt. It was a breakthrough as I’d never taken a look at it that way, but it never feels good to know that the most painful relationship I really have… is with myself….

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The HB Brew Sesh

November 20, 2021
cammy

My creative mindset changed in one hour this week. I’ve been following the work and career of author, Hannah Brencher, for years. Throughout the last decade, I’ve read her Monday emails, purchased her books, stalked her social media, and talked about how amazing she is on my social media. I’ve been a super-fan if you will. Her words and courage to share her journey has inspired me throughout my evolution as a writer and, yesterday, I got to sit down with her for more than an hour to simply, talk. As the minutes ticked down and my time with her approached, I couldn’t decide if I was more nervous or excited. I mean, I was about to talk one on one with the, Hannah Brencher! The nervous sweats started as I poured my first cup of coffee. I could hardly sit still as the zoom room opened and, suddenly, there she was.I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve had multiple opportunities in my life to meet some of the people I’ve adored from a distance. America Ferrera, Nobel Peace Laureates, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, Debra Messing, Meg Ryan, Erin Gruwell, Annette Bening, and more. After meeting them all and feeling…

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