Overlay – Book Review

If you are looking for a good read I highly recommend the book Overlay. It’s an autobiography written by Marlayna Glynn Brown about her life as a young girl born to alcoholic parents and the years she spent growing up in Las Vegas during the 70’s.  It amazes me how some children, who are neglected and left to fend for themselves, can find the strength and the fortitude to survive each day despite adversity.  It’s sad that most kids today who are born to addictive parents eventually follow in their footsteps and become addicts themselves.  It’s a never-ending cycle.   Fortunately Marlayna had a strong head on her shoulders and was too busy trying to figure out which neighborhood kid’s house to go hang out in hoping that she’d score a good meal or some much needed play time with kids her age, rather than play with the strange drunk men her mom would bring home.

Marlayna shares some of her most painful moments as a child growing up with alcoholic parents  but through God’s grace she persevered and fought to survive one day at a time. If you’re looking for a good book I recommend Overlay. You won’t be disappointed!

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Living Well Spending Less – Book Review

I must say I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  I came across the book Living Well Spending Less  on various occasions as I’d skim through my favorite blogs and never gave it any consideration. But when one of my favorite YouTubers, Katherine from Do It On a Dime shared her review, I just had to read it.  And I’m glad I did. I learned a lot and found it to be quite enlightening.  So here is MY review and what I thought about the book.

First off I love how Ruth Soukup was brutally honest with how she struggled with spending. I think we can all relate to her on some level and can really understand how life events can sometimes lead us down a path to financial misery.  She explained things in a way that made me go “YESSS that’s exactly how I feel”.  Another thing I love is that Ruth is a woman of faith and how she wasted no time in sprinkling in a few key bible scriptures that really called out to my heart and reminded me of how important it is to not focus so much on the material things but rather to store up our treasures in heaven.  The scriptures says it clearly, for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21 ESV).  So in other words by placing all our attention on worldly things by storing up material treasures,  we are excluding God from the picture instead of allowing our hearts to be one with Him.  Really something to think about.

Her book touches on having an attitude of gratitude.  Funny because I would hear this often throughout my adult life. Be grateful … be happy with what you have….We often do forget to thank God for blessing us with so much. Instead we focus on the I wants and I needs by feeding our addiction to material things and our incessant need to constantly be the one with the cutest outfit or the most current phone.  We seem to never get our fill, do we?  I know I am guilty of this.

I also enjoyed the tips and advice that Ruth gave in her book.  Some of it I was a no-brainer for me but was still refreshing to read.  Eliminating temptation by unsubscribing to emails and catalogs.  For me, receiving emails with great coupon deals from stores like Michael’s, Joann’s and Kohl’s is the absolute death of me.  If you know me you’ll know that I love two things… crafts (i.e., yarn, stamps, paper) and purses. Hence, the reason why I love Kohl’s. I always get my purses from there.   But I’m proud to say that I’ve developed some restraint over the last couple of months.  After reading the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (you can read my review on this book Here) I became more aware of the abundance of purses and craft supplies I had and realized I just didn’t need that much.  I didn’t really use a lot of the purses I had because they were either too old or no longer my style so I purged and kept only the purses I did like. The same with all my yarn and papers and things.  By doing this I was able to see for myself what exactly I have and realized that I didn’t need more stuff. Why buy more yarn when I have a sufficient amount in my storage basket in my room?  By decluttering my home and purging stuff I have no use for, I have a much clearer picture of the things I have and feel less inclined to go out and spend money.

Ruth goes into other important aspects of how to save money by explaining how to make use of coupons and by sharing recipes to make your own all purpose cleaner and laundry detergent using natural ingredients which I LOVE to do.  She really hit it home for me when she talked about how the best things in life are free in the form of friendships, practicing hospitality and giving our time and talents.  Imagine the perspective and appreciation we’d all have for each other if we would just slow down long enough to appreciate these wonderful treasures.

I absolutely recommend this book to anyone who is trying to stay on budget and just looking for ways to cut back and spend less.  If you read this book, please fell free to leave a comment below and let me know what you think. Happy Reading!!!!

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The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Book Review

Okay so I finally bit the bullet and downloaded this book to my kindle.  I just couldn’t take it anymore and had to see what all the fuss was about this Marie Kondo person.  To be honest the title of this book really didn’t grab me at all.  I thought what’s so magical about tidying up?   Just clean up your house and be done with it. Nothing magical about that.  Oh how wrong I was.  As Marie takes you through the steps of organizing, storing and ultimately decluttering your home, you can’t help but feel an awakening of sorts.  My own process of cleaning and decluttering my home consisted of emptying out all dresser drawers completely and going through each article of clothing and selecting what stays and what goes.   I smugly thought, phssshh, I could have written this book with my hands tied behind my back since some of the steps Marie explained sounded very familiar as I was already implementing them in my organizing routine.  Anything I wanted to keep would get folded and put back in the drawer and anything I didn’t want would go in a pile designated Yard Sale.  Whatever was leftover from the yard sale I’d load into my car and haul it off to the Goodwill.  But Marie tackles clutter a lot differently than I do.  One would think her primary goal in life is to empty out her clients homes and leave them with nothing more than a bed and the clothes on their backs. Not the case at all.  She merely explains her rationale on why certain things need not hold a space in your home a minute longer than it should.  Holding each piece of clothing, book or trinket in your hand and determining if the item sparks joy is the question you should ask yourself.  If the answer is no, then it gets placed in the discard or donate pile.  This goes for all the bedrooms, closets, bathrooms, kitchen, and cabinets in the home.  While some of her reasoning on why some things should get discarded may seem a bit extreme, I totally get her point and simply can understand her passion for organization and having a clutter free, calm and peaceful home. Though I doubt I’ll be tossing out any articles of sentimental value anytime soon…lol!

Since reading this book I have to say it has completely changed how I view things in my home.  I’ve held on to stacks of books for so long with the intent of one day getting around to reading them and the same with a few dresses that I bought and planned to hem (I’m really petite) but after several years I just never got around to it.  The truth of the matter was that every time I saw those stacks of books on my shelf or those dresses hanging in my closet, I felt guilt and unhappiness and to be honest I always let out a big sigh because they were reminders of my perpetual problem with procrastinating and my lack of commitment to accomplishing things I said I would but never did.  As I went through the books I found they no longer interested me and the dresses hanging in my closet were out of style and no longer something I wanted to wear. They didn’t spark joy.  So I donated them to the Goodwill.

In closing, what I thought was a silly book (because of the title) and only purchased it out of curiosity after reading all the great reviews, I quickly swallowed my words and can honestly say that Marie Kondo’s book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up was indeed life changing for me personally.  While I have yet to finish my entire home by using her famous KonMari method of simplifying, organizing and storing, I did complete my bedroom and half of my kitchen.  Still a work in progress but definitely going in the right direction thanks to this #1 New York Times Best Selling Japanese guide to decluttering. It has definitely earned a spot on my book shelf. Happy reading, ya’ll!

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