Anxiety About Current Events

News stories affect my anxiety differently. I want to read them to stay informed and to know how to help in situations that require it. However, it does ramp up all the feelings of my insides shaking and the combination of fury and nervousness that all is lost. Or, furvousness. I make myself keep reading them because being ignorant of what is happening around me, while good for my overall stress levels, isn’t an option. I need to know what’s happening. I need to help. I need to spread the word and urge others to help. Even if your “following” is small, everyone knows someone who they can reach out to. Talking to people causes me anxiety in general so in times of national crises (see: Supreme Court Overturns Roe v Wade) it’s like someone inserted an air pump to my anxiety valve and pumped it up to almost bursting. I don’t know what to do. I have no fucking clue. But I do know some ways to try and help. And since this news just came out a couple of hours ago obviously my nervous system is in overdrive. Rather than breakdown (I’ll give it a couple hours) I decided to do what I do: I made a list.

Here’s some small ways you can help. Feel free to comment links/other ways to get involved below.

  1. Get a therapist. I know: WHAT? Trust me. You’re gonna be stressed and your brain is going to be overworked and the feelings of helplessness might fade but they aren’t going anywhere. Talk it out, get it off your chest, and keep going. I used Better Help – this is not an ad, just a great place to find a therapist who aligns with your values and can help you.
  2. Subscribe to people who are doing this work at a professional level and GIVING YOU THE ANSWER on how to help. Providing history, updates, petitions to sign, + tons of other info. Join their patreon if you can. Here’s a few that I use that are truly amazing sources:
    A) Anti-Racism Daily Basically real time news and ways to help.
    B) America Hates Us I follow on Instagram but you can subscribe to their patreon as well for even more content.
    C) The Progressivists Again I follow on IG – they provide a ton of news, resources, petition links, actions.
  3. Donate to Planned Parenthood. More importantly, donate to your *local* abortion clinics as well as to funds that help people that need to travel to get one if they happen to live in one of those states that think they need their hands in people’s uteruses.
  4. Reach out to get people to vote. There’s a lot of ways to do this – helping canvass, call and text banks, volunteer to drive people to voting booths or ballot drop-offs. Social stuff makes me uncomfortable so I’ve been using Postcards to Voters. Fill out postcards to voters in key elections and send ’em off. Super easy.
  5. Keep learning and sharing your knowledge. Read books, share the books, buy new books, share those books. Is a book banned? I personally recommend grabbing a copy. Find used ones on PangoBooks. (My personal one is MyFavoriteBookAffair…I add important books to the shop as often as I can get my hands on them.)
  6. Take a break to help yourself. This is a rough time so do a little more than you think you can but also take breaks and be nice to yourself.

Trying to remind myself to breathe but I’m having a hard time calming down today after the news this week. The overturning of Roe v Wade was just the cherry on top of a wholly shitty week courtesy of our very own Supreme Court of the United States. Check out my other article here on how to calm down your anxiety.

A Series of Anxious Events 1

I’ve been waiting to use the section title for this series until I was ready to tell you all a good, fun, anxiety fueled story. Lucky for all of you, the perfect starter story happened to me on my trip to Ireland last week! (Lol, “lucky” in Ireland, huh?)

My dad has always wanted to go to Ireland. I don’t know why exactly except maybe since it’s his heritage? Hard to tell. So my mom and I decided to plan a surprise trip for him. He did not know he was going until the night before the flight and only because we didn’t want to get stopped for dragging him onto a plane against his will. (He hates travelling, he’s a weirdo.) We had everything planned ahead of time though from days trips (Cliffs of Moher, falconry lessons), to tours (Guinness, Jameson), to our stay in Airbnbs…to a rental car. Because like an actual genius, I thought it would be easier than booking stuff through tour agencies and having to wait on buses for everything.

I don’t know how many people know this but fun fact: in Ireland they drive on the left side of the road. Not only that, but their cars are flipped as well. So instead of the wheel on the left it’s on the right. Most of the cars are manual so now you’re shifting with your left hand while driving on the left side of the road on the right side of the car. (To be clear, they do have automatic cars but I didn’t want to pay an extra $100. Because I’m cheap, that’s why.) Bonus: there’s practically no stop signs so hello, one million roundabouts! It should be obvious at this point that I have never actually driven on the left side of the road…

So we spend 16 hours traveling to Ireland to get to the airport and pick up our rental car and with zero practice, I am in the driver seat taking us on a 2.5 hour road trip from Dublin to Galway. Luckily we didn’t have anything planned for the evening, but less luckily we arrived slightly too early for free parking. Because everything requires a parking fee except between nighttime hours. So we drove around city streets (on the left), I’m sure angering the locals with the slow speeds and lack of knowledge on how to make turns, until about an hour before free parking kicked in. We paid the fee and then finally were able to park that machine and leave it for 12 hours. Good thing we were staying above a bar.

Next morning we’re up bright and early to get out of that paid parking space, and spend the day driving in the rain to the Cliffs of Moher (3+ hours with the godforsaken roundabouts and chocolate factory detour). Go home, repeat for next day’s activity. Well, I made it two days without incident on these roads where I should mention they drive insanely fast on the universe’s tiniest roads. Day three we’re headed to Ashford Castle for falconry lessons, and I, who hates driving even in normal (American) conditions, have a full blown panic attack when we stop at the gas station. I’m sweating, panting, gasping for air, heart racing, and looking like a trapped animal. My dad is like wtf is happening and my mom, who also has anxiety, is like it’s cool just take her outside it’ll be fine lol. So we head outside and finally it passes and my mom’s like okay, I will drive for a bit so you can have a break. I was so grateful & it was a huge mistake, both of these things can be true.

My mom starts driving and I’m in the front passenger seat and NO. 100% do not recommend. I thought she was going to hit the walls, the hills, the bicyclers, the trees, the ditches, the other cars, everything. I felt like I was about to deliberately be driven to my death. Which she must have been feeling while I was driving but graciously only mentioned 100 times. I was at 100 within 5 minutes. I was gripping the “oh shit” handle like someone was trying to rip me from that car and take me. I was white knuckles and “watch outs” every 10 seconds until she was like, “ok, do you want to drive?!” YES. Omg, YES. I never thought that would be the better option here but pull over and let me drive!

Some of you are probably like why not just switch off driving? And to that I say “see above paragraph” and also, because I’m cheap, that’s why. It was $100 per person who was to be driving that car so I was actually supposed to be driving. Regardless, even if I would have paid the extra money to take turns…you know what, see above. I would have been panicking from the other seats the whole time or else stuffed in the trunk which I’m sure would have been full of it’s own issues. Basically, I would have ended up driving anyway.

A couple of notes: I hate driving even in my own normal driving conditions. Which is to say American driving on the right side of the road. Additionally, I live in Colorado where its 75MPH which is 120km~ BUT ON FLAT LAND! I was doing my normal Colorado speeds in winding mountain roads and super tiny streets. Bananas. I drive in snow and rain and extreme cold and heat frequently. All of those are less scary than my time driving in Ireland. But. I only had the one full size panic attack AND even if I’d had one every day I think it was worth it because that trip was amazing.

Travel causes me a lot of anxiety but for me at least it’s worth it because I love experiencing new places. Wanderlust and all that. But sometimes it results in these little anecdotes. Funny now but at the time I definitely thought the air was trying to suffocate me.

Want to travel cheap? Sign up here, it’s FREE. Pick your bucket list destinations to watch and receive emails on amazing deals. I’m talking $100s off normal fares. You can upgrade but you do not have to, you still get the same amazing deals.

The Windshine Chronicles by Todd Sullivan

The Windshine Chronicles Series photo – view full post on Instagram

Todd Sullivan reached out to me here on my site (check out the contact page to do the same) for a review of his series, The Windshine Chronicles. This is South Korean fantasy trilogy and ohmygosh it’s so good!

This brings in some culture to the made up realms of fantasy so you get a nice mix of real and fiction. It also brings in religion and magic in a really unique way. Often I will find myself shying away from reading about religion because it comes off as preachy but that’s not the case here at all. Todd almost makes it it’s own magic category to fit it into the story which works really well.

We are following Ha Jun as he makes his attempt at becoming a hero. He is placed into a group of men, each with their own unique talents, to find their assigned quest and attempt to win. The group is paired with Windshine, a centuries old elf like figure, who is there to chronicle their journeys. Most are afraid or at least wary of Windshine – she is not like them. But Ha Jun forges an unlikely friendship with her.

Each book is a new quest, and with each new quest comes new comrades for the journey, new problems, and of course new enemies, as no one can properly become a hero without a villain to vanquish. But sometimes, the biggest villains are in your own home.

I loved reading about Ha Jun and Windshine and their adventures. This series reminds me a lot of The Lord of the Rings meets in South Korea. And MAGIC, obviously! This was another direction the author took that I really loved: it wasn’t just spells or abracadabra, it was really unique magic. Ha Jun has a sword that historically can only be lifted by Windshine and her people. He learns to use it and the magical elements woven into it. Religion is it’s own magic and you see it brought to literal terms: you can raise the dead – or knock them down. Music is elemental control. Archery is taken to Hawkeye Avenger levels.

This was a fun series to read and I recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy, especially if you’re looking for something a little different.

Thanks so much to Todd for reaching out to share this with me – this is not a series I will soon forget.

Anxious Thoughts About Things That Don’t Concern Me

Sometimes I get really buzzy anxiety that makes my heart race and my legs restless and suddenly I need to walk/sprint 5 miles but also I’m paralyzed by indecision and I can’t??? It’s really stupid and obviously *I KNOW* it’s stupid and I shouldn’t be concerned but my body is on a different playing field. So while my brain is like, “Calm down, this 1) doesn’t make sense and 2) isn’t something that’s ever happened, my body is like, “You fool. It doesn’t matter if it’s never happened – think about this: WHAT IF IT DID?” And then my brain is like, “You’re absolutely right! I will now freak out with you.”
So here’s another list. This time of things that cause me a higher amount of anxiety than they should, especially considering they aren’t really based in reality.

  1. The medical field and cavemen.
    Sometimes when I get a headache (or similar) and medicine is temporarily unavailable I think to myself, “This is probably good practice. They didn’t have it in cavemen times and they were fine.” And then from there I think the spiral is obvious. We’re not cavepeople now, sure, but if another meteor strikes? Or even if just one of those many apocalypse scenarios happens? Suddenly most of mankind is dead and do you really think it’s going to be all doctors that survive? No. You’re gonna have to fight to get a doctor on your squad. What if another squad can offer your doctor more food than you and they switch? Then you have to find a new squad and that’s only if they let you leave alive! You never know. Humans are stupid and we could end up without meds again.
  2. Killer Hide’n’Seek.
    When I go into new buildings/houses I like (read: need) to figure out where I could hide in the inevitable case a killer/the government/a purge crew shows up to either take me or kill me. It can’t be an obvious one though, like sure I could fit in the cabinet under the sink but so could many people. I need to find the half sized cabinet for storing lids only, or under a bed that has a cardboard cutout that looks like the wall but is really hiding a lot of stuff shoved under the bed to get behind. Somewhere they wouldn’t automatically think to look. Maybe I can fit through a ceiling tile? Behind an awkward shelf? Not finding a spot is not where the anxiety kicks in though, it’s how much time I spend on this imaginary scenario. Then I start going through enemies in my head and ranking who’s most likely to show up. I start imagining what I must have done to make them come after me. I think about if there are any other people in the house: will I need to forego the hiding and defend my pride, or are they people I’d be okay with leaving as a little buffer between me and whatever entity is coming for me? This is all nonsense, I KNOW THAT. But this is a since-childhood thing and old habits, ya know?
  3. Imagination school.
    Every so often I will think something in the opposite direction of my current career trajectory sounds cool. So I’ll lightly check into what it entails. What certifications, deadlines, salary, PTO policy etc. I could expect. And then I will get overwhelmed and I’ll close all my browser tabs and give up. And from there, all my research meets me in bed – and not in the sexy way. It’s there like, “Hey you know you have a deadline coming up to apply to go back to school, right?” Or, “Girl, you know you’re not going to pass that certification exam if you’re not studying, right?” Studying what?! I don’t have to make any actual step in the direction of changing something in my life, I just have to kind of think about it and my body hits me up, “LOL you absolute idiot. You really thought you could imagine a different life with no consequences?”
  4. Singers and actors.
    You ever hear a song on the radio that just hits you? Or watch a movie and the actress just moves you? It gets a little tiny hook in your heart and just shifts your worldview to the point where you start thinking about what if you made that song/movie? You’d be so famous right now and you’d be the one who made someone feel like you’re feeling? Basically, if you’d been born as said singer/actress your world would be vastly different? Yeah, me neither.
  5. Alternate timelines and infinite potential outcomes.
    And, finally. Once in a while, I will start thinking about past, abandoned projects. And I’ll think about how amazing they would have been if I’d finished. Writing a book, art projects, training for a 5K, learning a new language, getting the guts to try out for some sort of acting gig. My anxiety ramps up thinking about all the things I could have done if I lived in the reality where I completed them and not in this current reality where I didn’t (yes, like in Men in Black). This causes a little panic-sesh of starting new projects (like this blog…we’ll see how long it lasts) and then I quit those too.

I’ll stop here because I’m, I mean this is, getting to be a bit much, right? I will now go have anxiety about both not making this longer and making it at all.

The Cure for Anxiety!

Just kidding.

But these things will help! As a professional anxiety-haver, I’ve been working pretty hard on getting it under control. So aside from the obvious (Xanax, alcohol, excessive sleep) these are some things I’ve found that help me. If they don’t help you then…don’t do them, I guess? I bet you’ll like at least one of these suggestions though 😉

  1. Puzzles. I prefer crossword but word search, sudoku, actual physical puzzles, are all great too. Gives you something to focus on which helps to calm your system down. Personally, I feel like I’m buzzing when I have anxiety so that feeling goes away. Or at least simmers at a low hum instead.
  2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation for the lazy person (hi, it’s me). You can probably find a more detailed version anywhere online. Here, you get the easy version. I start by flexing my toes and move up. Flex toes, count slowly to ten. Flex feet, count slowly to ten. Calves to ten. Quads to ten. Butt to ten. Abs to ten. Hands, arms (biceps), chest, shoulders. At the end it’s like you’ve taken a nice long cat stretch and your whole body feels more peaceful. Obviously there are way more muscles than listed here but my version works for panic attacks as well so there’s that little benefit too since it’s the “quick” (lazy) version.
  3. Exercise. Kickboxing if you’re frustrated too or yoga or barre for more flowy, stretchy moves to help your body relax. Plus, endorphins. And you know what Elle Woods says about endorphins!
  4. Water. I like to look at pics of it. I’ll just google “water” and look at ocean pics. This could probably work for pictures of anything you find soothing though. Puppies. Various forms of potatoes.
  5. Binge that show. Schitt’s Creek. The Office or Parks and Rec. The Walking Dead or Dexter. Science-y people say to watch something you’ve already seen because you already know it so it’s soothing. I agree but also disagree. Sometimes a new true crime doc helps too.
  6. Read. Takes your mind out of reality for a bit which I find helps me reset.
  7. Therapy/counseling. Talking to someone who can help you work through your problems/anxieties can help so much. Tools (like this list) come out of it. Your behavior changes in a healthy way as you focus on yourself and your mental health. Insurance companies should really include mental healthcare but as they don’t places like Therapy Den can help (not an ad, I just find them helpful) and you can always Google around and call different counselors to see if they can work with your budget.
  8. Pet a dog. I don’t feel inclined to provide further explanation here.

Soooo, thanks for reading along in my serious of anxious events. Hopefully one of these will work for you and if not or even if so but you ALSO happen to know of others, drop it in the comments to share!

The Hive Queen by Robin Kirk

A BarksBeachesBooks Review

Welcome, welcome to my TLC Book Tour review for the second book in The Bond Trilogy, The Hive Queen! Dystopian future meets fantasy in this futuristic look at a time when humans are engineered rather than made in…traditional ways. I’m talking Handmaids meet Avatars.

Of course if you’ve read here before you know I love dystopians but this was an extra interesting take. Following The Bond where Dinitra and 12 ultimately help Fir and his brothers escape a captivity where they only serve their mothers, this is Fir’s story. Headed toward The Master (leader of men) he must travel through The Hive Queen’s domain (leader of drafts) where she’s in interested in more than a friendship with Fir. But Fir has places to be – specifically those free of women as he has always been held captive due to being a man.

Wild battle scenes ensue with drafts (animal, human, plant concoctions) and men as Fir must continually rescue others from death. And in true dystopian style Robin Kirk has no problem killing characters off and some bloody gore. I don’t mean to say kill all the characters, but it definitely keeps you on your toes and adds an element of suspense.

If you like dystopians or SciFi or Fantasy then this is a series you’ll want to grab! It was a fun and very entertaining read in a completely new world – one where women rule (duh) and men are hunted due to their violence toward women and the planet. But as you continue you start to wonder, at what point is it justice and when does it cross the line back into violence for violence’s sake?

In the second book in the INDIE-award-winning Bond Trilogy, warrior Fir leads his brothers on a quest for salvation that will threaten everything he holds dear.

After the battle that toppled the Weave, warrior Fir leads his brothers east to escape servitude, or worse—death at the hands of rival warriors. They search for the fabled Master of Men who promises freedom for men in the Weave. But their quest leads them to a foe more dangerous than they could have imagined.

When the beautiful Hive Queen, Odide, bespells Fir, he’s compelled to betray his brothers—and risks dooming them all to an unspeakable fate. To survive, Fir must choose between his loyalty to his brothers, his allegiance to the Queen, and his love for Dinitra.

But salvation is not what it seems. When theworlds of the Hive and the Master collide, it triggers a devastating betrayal that leaves Fir with an impossible choice: can he sacrifice his brothers for the love he thought he could never have?

Purchase: Bookshop.org l Amazon l Barnes & Noble

Connect with Robin: Facebook l Twitter l Instagram l Website

Thanks again to TLC Book Tours and Robin Kirk for my copy to read and share!

Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters by Emily Carpenter

A BarksBeachesBooks Review

Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters entangled in my homegrown pumpkin vine.

A sequel and a stand-alone, Emily Carpenter brings us Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters. The story of Ruth “Dove” Jarrod, one half of the heal-through-prayer sisters that traveled southern Alabama in the 1930s.

The story alternates between Ruth, who was born in an insane asylum to a mother who would later kill herself leaving Ruth to plan her escape, and her granddaughter Eve who has spent her life keeping secrets for Ruth. Ruth’s story is from her escape through her death and the events that made her who she was: an evangelist healer traveling the world to cure people’s ailments. Eve’s story is of a cover. She’s spent the last 8 years keeping Dove’s BIG secrets, that were otherwise buried with her, to protect her mother and brother. It turns out someone might know and expose her anyway. This she is sent racing through Dove’s last trying to uncover the secrets that are being threatened to be exposed in order to save the foundation Eve and her family run in Dove’s name.

This was my first trek through southern gothic fiction and it was such a great read and entertaining story. I definitely recommend if you liked The Lost Girls of Devon or Where the Crawdads Sing. I was so sucked into this story I couldn’t put it down until I started falling asleep…I got up immediately the next morning to finish.

Rarely does an author go from start to finish in a non-thriller and not lose me at some point along the way. You’re basically a passenger of Eve’s throughout the story with glimpses into the famous and infamous Dove’s past. Truly great read.

Dove Jarrod was a renowned evangelist and faith healer. Only her granddaughter, Eve Candler, knows that Dove was a con artist. In the eight years since Dove’s death, Eve has maintained Dove’s charitable foundation – and her lies. But just as a documentary team wraps up a shoot about the miracle worker, Eve is assaulted by a vengeful stranger intent on exposing what could be Dove’s darkest secret: murder…

Tuscaloosa,1934: a wily young orphan escapes the psychiatric hospital where she was born. When she joins the itinerant inspirational duo, the Hawthorn Sisters, the road ahead is one of stirring new possibilities. And, with an obsessive predator on her trail, one of untold dangers. For a young girl to survive, desperate choices must be made.

Now, in order to protect her family, Eve will join forces with the investigative filmmaker and one of Dove’s friends, risking everything to unravel the truth behind the accusations against her grandmother. But will the truth set her free, or set her world on fire?

Connect with Emily: Website l Instagram

Pre-order from your local store for October 20, 2020 release! Colorado local? Try Barbed Wire Books or The Used Book Emporium! Otherwise check Barnes & Noble, Target or even Amazon to get your hands on your next great Southern fiction read!

Thanks so much to Lake Union Publishing for my copy to read and share!

The Rescuer by Jason Sautel

A BarksBeachesBooks

Welcome, welcome! I’m here for my TLC Book Tour post this week to share The Rescuer: One Firefighter’s Story of Courage, Darkness, and the Relentless Love That Saved Him.

This was a powerful read. I was expecting an emotional and tug-at-your-heartstrings memoir but this was much more. From the first chapter Jason gives an eye-opening glimpse into what it is to be a fire fighter. Spoiler alert: it is not just fighting fires. And while it is camaraderie and brotherhood it is also a very emotionally and mentally difficult job. Jason takes readers through many different scenarios that can, and for him have, come up as a fire fighter. But deeper than that, he brings readers to see how he was affected and what was going on in his mind during the best and worst of times.

This was a truly incredible, heavy, and yet hopeful collection of stories that I am so glad I got the pleasure of reading. Everyone respects fire fighters in a general sense (especially since many will never need their help directly) but The Rescuer brings light to the many ways a fire fighter puts their life on the line every day. I recommend everyone reads this. Absolute must read and so important. It will completely change the way you look at fire fighters and give you a whole new sense of appreciation.

He helped save people every day—but he had no idea how to save himself.

Jason Sautel had it all. Confident in his abilities and trusted by his fellow firefighters, he was making a name for himself on the streets of Oakland, California. His adrenaline-fueled job even helped him forget the pain of his childhood—until the day he looked into the eyes of a jumper on the Bay Bridge and came face to face with a darkness he knew would take him down as well.

In the following months, a series of traumatic emergency calls—some successful, others impossible-to-forget failures—drove Jason deeper into depression. Even as he continued his lifesaving work, he realized he could never rescueeveryone, and he had no idea how to save himself.

In the end, Jason was forced to confront the truth: only the relentless power of love could pull him back from his own deadly fall. Action-packed, spiritually honest, and surprisingly romantic, TheRescuer transports readers inside the pulse-pounding world of firefighting and into the heart of a man who needed to be broken before he could finally be made whole.

Purchase: Amazon Books-a-Million Barnes & Noble

Followe Jason Sautel: Website Facebook Twitter

The Grown Woman’s Guide to Online Dating by Margot Starbuck

A BarksBeachesBooks Review

Welcome to my stop on the book tour for The Grown Woman’s Guide to Online Dating and a big thank you to Margot Starbuck and TLC Booktours for allowing me to read and share!

*Four years after an unexpected divorce, best selling writer and funny lady Margot Starbuck found herself venturing into the unknown waters of online dating. What she discovered surprised her – and changed her.* Read to find her tips and tricks for online dating as well some funny dating fails and even interviews Margot gives.

First, I actually finished this. I don’t usually finish self-help type books. The humor was a big help (and what got my attention to begin with) because even if I’m not looking for a man, this was very insightful. Also I love to laugh and Margot has the own-biggest-fan and self-depreciating humor down perfectly. (I laughed out loud more than once.)

My favorite part was probably the emphasis on female friendships. You realize how important those are every year you get older which makes it sad to think back on older articles in magazines and online and even parts of books I’ve read that say not to tell your girlfriends (or anyone really) anything about your relationship because you will ruin it. This book is not that: red flags are real and should be discussed. Trust your girls, trust your family and trust yourself. I love that.

This is a Christian dating advice book but even if you’re not religious I think this could be helpful in your online search for a man. Or a woman. If I had a criticism it would be that this is very hetero-oriented and I do wish it hadn’t been so “woman gets husband” specific because the tips definitely apply to everyone. Not that this blatantly excludes any gender by any means, it just is definitely for any and everyone!

Also, and again not that I have any dating profiles, but I think you should absolutely put your biggest passions on your profile even if it’s just a picture of you at a protest or being your activist self or volunteering. Personally, I don’t want to meet anyone who has the exact opposite passions as me (because I’m always right, right?) but I also have very little patience for people in general so I would think it’d make it easier to be up front in that arena.

This was a fun read overall. Margot goes through the ups and downs of online dating and the fun parts and even the ugly ones. She also is very clear that self care is important in this journey which is awesome. It was a really refreshing take on something like online dating in general, but also for grown ass adults who may or may not have been left by their husband for another man. Did you have a disappointing or rough end to your last relationship? Margot has tips on healing as well.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, are you in the dating scene? Then this book is probably perfect for you. Write your bio with Margot’s insight and hook the fish you’ve been angling for!

P.S. Margot, want to grab coffee and tell me jokes some time? I have a feeling you will make me laugh even more in person and that’s my favorite thing.

Does the thought of joining a dating site invoke feelings of fear and anxiety—or, worse, insecurity or unworthiness? If so, then The Grown Woman’s Guide to Online Dating is the book for you. With practical advice about how these sites work, what to expect, and when to join and quit, along with proven tips for making the most of them, The Grown Woman’s Guide equips readers with all they need to take the plunge.

Purchase: Amazon l Thomas Nelson l Barnes & Noble

Follow Margot Starbuck on: Facebook l Twitter l Instagram l Website

One Hundred Dogs and Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and A Journey into the Hearts of Shelters and Rescues by Cara Sue Achterberg

A BarksBeachesBooks Review

When Cara Sue Achterberg reached out to ask me to read and share One Hundred Dogs and Counting, I almost missed out on the opportunity. Due to the Covid19 pandemic, she could only offer an eBook, but I didn’t have an eReader. Over the next week I realized it wasn’t going to be quick for anything to arrive, so I decided to order an eReader. Once it arrived (because who knows if 2 days was going to be true (it wasn’t)), I reached out and confirmed with Cara. And I am SO GLAD I DID. 


I figured it would be a heart wrenching story about fostering dogs and that I would soon be crying. While it will tug at your heart strings, it is with information that you need to know. And while it will hurt the hearts of animal lovers a little bit, the information gained is worth the tiny bit of pain. In fact, I would recommend every animal lover IMMEDIATELY reads this. You will get insight into fostering dogs, but more than that you get to go on Cara’s journey visiting animal shelters in the south to see why there seems to be a never-ending flow of dogs going into and out of (and sometimes not) shelters. 


Additionally, Cara mentions how it would be possible to save all the dogs instead of just some if everyone were to have this knowledge and then pitch in however they can. Volunteer,donate to shelters (money, food, medicine), foster, spread the word on social media, and most of all just TALK about what is going on. Of course it’s a sad subject but it is so worth your time to help save innocent pups and even some kitties too. 


Go with Cara on this journey to see her difficulties and successes with fostering. See what the animal shelters look like that need the most help and no help. See what Cara sees when there are no shelters or no space or no resources and a lone citizen is willing to take on the job. Invest yourself how Cara invests herself: wholeheartedly. See what YOU can do to help and if fostering might be for you. 


My personal tips: 

1) Don’t adopt unless you plan on keeping that fur baby. Check with your apartments/cities to make sure it’s allowed to that you aren’t having to rehome.
2) Training is available and you should use it if you need to, especially if you’re considering rehoming due to behavior issues. Google it, call shelters, ask friends and family, get a trainer, utilize fund raising sites.
3) Keep your pet healthier and vet costs down by not letting your pet drink from other animals’ water bowls. Make sure open areas are safe for them (there is an algae in Colorado that comes yearly and can kill pets so I have to be careful where and when I hike).
4) Adopt don’t shop-there are so many good animals in need of homes in shelters. The fees usually cover the adoption and spay/neutering and aren’t profiting people that breed animals and then send them to a shelter once they can’t have anymore litters.

To purchase: http://www.carawrites.com/100-dogs–counting.html

*Thanks to the author for my copy to read and review!*