5 Books That Remind​ Me to Be Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

In honor of the holiday, I was thinking about books that remind me to be thankful. Here are the few I picked out.


Pollyanna, by Eleanor M. Porter

This book is a classic! It might be silly, but I think it teaches us an important lesson… there’s always a reason to be glad (and grateful).


Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl

This is such an important book that I absolutely think every person should read. It’s about Viktor Frankl’s time in a concentration camp, and also how he survived. It’s bleak at times, but it’s also inspiring, encouraging, and reminds me to be grateful for all the wonderful possibilities in my life.


The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank

This was my first time reading this book, and it was moving. Anne was in a horrible situation, but she tried to keep her spirits up and constantly reminded herself to be grateful for what she had. If she can do it, any of us can.


Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

The idea of living in a world without books terrifies me. Zombies and ghosts and the bird flu make me shrug. But no books? Shudder. We live in a world where we can get just about any book we might want and that’s a beautiful thing. I’m so grateful.


The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood

We live in a world of lots of freedoms. Sure, freedom is always a moving target, and there’s always going to be some inequality and some injustice, but overall, it could be far worse. For some women, in some parts of the world, The Handmaid’s Tale has more fact than fiction. I’m grateful for the freedoms I’m privileged to enjoy.

My friend Ramona over at While I Was Reading did a similar post, about books to inspire your gratitude practice. If you’re interested in that kind of thing, it’s worth a read.

P is for (Books About) Purpose #atozchallenge

For A to Z 2018, my theme is Books About ____. If you’re stopping by from your own A to Z blog, feel free to leave a link. If you need help with how to do that, you can look here.

If you’re someone looking to read a lot of great blogs, here’s the link for the A to Z challenge.

There are so many good books about purpose that I found it extremely difficult to narrow it down. Because I limited myself to three books for this one, they’re all non-fiction. This will probably be my only exclusively non-fiction list for the whole challenge.

Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl: Dr. Frankl was a Jewish psychotherapist who ended up in a concentration camp during World War II. He talks about what he saw firsthand about the difference between people survived and who didn’t. People who had a purpose survived more often than not. His purpose was finishing this book.

Lucky Man, by Michael J. Fox: Mr. Fox explains that he was in a downward spiral of alcohol abuse when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, and the disease made him focus and get serious about living his life. I loved him as an actor, and I appreciated his candor about the good, bad, and ugly in his own life.

When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi: This book tore my heart out. It’s a moving book of a doctor who’s diagnosed with terminal cancer but continues his work because he needs that purpose in his life. In the meantime, he also wrote this book to reflect on his life and what it all meant to him. It was lovely and sad.

What books about purpose do you find meaningful?

M is for Man’s Search For Meaning

Unknown-5I read this book just a couple of years ago, after a friend encouraged (nagged) me to read it.  It’s his favorite book, and he told me I’d love it.  I didn’t feel like I needed to read it since he quoted it every five minutes.

It’s a short book, at about 165 pages, but it packs a huge punch.

The book is about Viktor Frankl’s experiences in a concentration camp during World War II.  He asserts that how prisoners imagined their future affected their survival and longevity.  He stated that he started writing about logotherapy, his psychotherapeutic theory, before he was imprisoned.  He believed that part of the reason he survived is because he felt that he had to finish the manuscript.

He believed that meaning could be found in every moment of life, and that meaning could be found, even in suffering.  People can choose to change themselves, even in the worst situations.

Part I of the book was an analysis of his experiences in the concentration camp.  Part II discusses his theory of logotherapy.

I’d highly recommend this book to everyone.  It’s accessible to people who aren’t in the field of psychology, and it’s touching and thought-provoking.  Once I’d read it the first time, I was sorry I hadn’t read it sooner.

Anyone can be content with life and find meaning when things are going well, when all basic needs are being met, when they’re surrounded by loved ones.  But to find meaning in life when everything has been stripped away is something else entirely.  I hope that I’ll never have to find out who I’d be under such horrific circumstances.  But to know that the human spirit can endure under such conditions fills me with hope.

It’s an amazing book.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
― Viktor E. Frankl

I’m Okay With Aging

I don't need a reason to post a picture of a puppy!

I don’t need a reason to post a picture of a puppy!

I’ve been thinking a lot about age lately.  I’m turning 37 today, and the major problem is that I don’t feel 37.  I don’t feel like I’m on the shady side of 35 or approaching 40.  When I was in my 20s, I knew I was aging only because I saw the numbers creep up.  I didn’t have that awful time when I hit 30, and I’m not quite sure why.  I know I look younger than 37 because I get told that from time to time.  But even if I do start to look my age… so what?  Why is that a bad thing?  Age isn’t the enemy.  As long as I can still do the things I want to do, I’m good.  I know someone who’s hiked the Grand Canyon in his 50s, so I’m not out yet.  Sure, I have some aches and pains, but nothing that holds me back.

This partly came to mind because of my birthday, and partly because I read an article about Gwyneth Paltrow going through a painful process to look younger.  Well… she looks great, and I guess if your job is your body and face, then it’s important.  But that sounds awful to me.  I’m not willing to suffer for beauty; I just hope I’m one of those women who ages gracefully.  Luckily, the women in my family don’t wrinkle!

In any case, I’ve started applying more lotion, especially to my face, than in past years.  I never tanned, but I’ve been careless about sunscreen.  I now take care of these things and also try to wear a hat outside.  I’ll do things that are relatively easy, but painful, weird, chemical things to my face?  Uh… no.

I recently read Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl, and he talks about how a life well-lived is more valuable than youth.  Youth still has to find meaning and purpose in life, whereas someone with a life well lived has already found it.  My life isn’t about how I look, so why focus on it?  I’d rather focus on the things that are important, like being a good person and enjoying my adventures day to day.  Enjoying those adventures means I’m going to get bumps, bruises, scars, and age spots.  And that’s okay.  If I have a day when it really matters, I’ll wear make-up.

I’d rather be interesting than beautiful.

What lengths are you willing to go to for beauty?