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Book Review: The Happiness Project and Happier at Home

Book Review: The Happiness Project and Happier at Home

  I must confess that it took me a little while to get hooked on Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project.  I called my friend Caroline after I read the first chapter. “She kind of approaches happiness as a to-do list,” I said of Gretchen.  “Is it worth reading?” “I thought so,” Caroline said. “I really enjoyed it.”   The next night I got stuck on a New Jersey Transit train heading home to visit my family … for three … Read entire article »

Filed under: Lessons Learned, Nonfiction

A Tale of Cleaning: What Do You Hoard?

A Tale of Cleaning:  What Do You Hoard?

  I have a confession to make:  I’m a hoarder. You would never know this about me, even if you came to my house.  I hide my hoarding carefully. That’s because as a writer, I hoard writing.  I hoard books, notes from classes I took in college (and, in my childhood room at my parents house, I’m sure there are class notes from high school).  Since I process and learn from writing things down, getting rid of books … Read entire article »

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Lessons Learned from the Whole 30: How to Start a Habit

Lessons Learned from the Whole 30: How to Start a Habit

  Last week I shared my journey with the Whole 30, a month-long nutritional program that made me feel AWESOME. I radically changed my eating habits overnight. Since our habits define us and how we spend our time, here are the best strategies I found for starting a new habit and sticking to it. Define the goal. The Whole 30 is great because it’s already strictly defined: for 30 days, you eat no added sugar, grains, dairy, legumes, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Lessons Learned, Paleo

How to Tell Stories: Lessons Learned from Bird by Bird

How to Tell Stories:  Lessons Learned from Bird by Bird

Check Out My Story! WIth all that’s been going on, I forgot to direct you to a flash fiction piece, “Hand in Marriage,” that I had published in The Corner Club Press.  It’s on page 53-56 of Issue 5.  Check it out! Bird by Bird When I’m having trouble with my writing–or with my life–I reread Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott’s “instructions on writing and life.”  The title comes from a family story in which her brother, at … Read entire article »

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Steps Toward Gratitude: Lessons Learned from Two-Part Invention

Steps Toward Gratitude: Lessons Learned from Two-Part Invention

Happy Thanksgiving! Blessings to you and your family tomorrow!  I hope you’re enjoying your celebrations, wherever they may be.  Safe travels. Announcements There’s still time to read our book of the month, The Art of Fielding, and join the discussion! I recently started writing for another blog, Ask Miss A.  You can see a list of my articles here, some of which will be book reviews I haven’t posted on Books Distilled. Two-Part Invention My dear friend Caroline (of A Wish … Read entire article »

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Dreaming Dreams: Lessons Learned from The Alchemist

Dreaming Dreams:  Lessons Learned from The Alchemist

    “When you want something, the whole universe conspires to help you achieve it.”   The hero of The Alchemist is searching for a treasure.  A humble shepherd, he has a dream that a gypsy interprets: to find his treasure, he must travel to Egypt.  The boy sells his sheep, and he travels and sees many things.  He loses all his possessions many times.  His life is threatened more than once.  Many times he wishes he hadn’t been … Read entire article »

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Lessons Learned: 4 Ways to Follow Your Heart, from Letters to a Young Poet

Lessons Learned:  4 Ways to Follow Your Heart, from Letters to a Young Poet

Go into yourself.  Search for the reason that bids you write; find out whether it is spreading out its roots in the deepest places of your heart, acknowledge to yourself whether you would have to die if it were denied you to write.  This above all–ask yourself in the stillest hour of your night: must I write?  Delve into yourself for a deep answer.  And if this should be affirmative, if you may meet this … Read entire article »

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Lessons Learned: Love in the Time of Cholera

Lessons Learned:  Love in the Time of Cholera

I have had the extreme privilege of studying this semester with Da Chen, writer of the memoirs Colors of the Mountain and Sounds of the River, and of the novel Brothers (review coming soon!)  When we were assembling my reading list for the semester, he strongly recommended that I add Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera.  His exact words were:  “I think it is the perfect novel.”  … Read entire article »

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Lessons Learned: Eat, Pray, Love

Lessons Learned: Eat, Pray, Love

Liz Gilbert’s memoir Eat, Pray, Love has had so much media attention that, much as I loved reading it, it’s become a bit overrated.  However, I love hearing about other people’s journeys of discovery, whether literal or figurative –or in Gilbert’s case, a little of both.  Below are a few lessons I learned from her. 1.  Feed yourself.  I had the privilege of hearing Liz Gilbert speak at the National Cathedral in DC … Read entire article »

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5 Ways to Feel Infinite: Lessons from Perks of Being a Wallflower

5 Ways to Feel Infinite:  Lessons from Perks of Being a Wallflower

I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky for the first time my senior year of high school.  I absolutely loved it.   If you haven’t read it, it’s a great coming-of-age story about Charlie as he begins high school.  He’s precocious, shy, and socially awkward. I  related to Charlie’s struggles to fit in (also being somewhat shy) and find his place in the world, as I was … Read entire article »

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