Tag Archives: life lessons

2020 Book Review: What Men Live By and Other Tales Leo Tolstoy

This book contains short stories that are meant to be–moral tales. I have read a little from Tolstoy, but this grouping is one of the few books I have read. I read it several years ago and as I’ve not really mentioned it before I figured it’d be ideal for this year of book reviewing. Each story is different with its own lesson to teach.

It was one of those books I wanted to know more of what others thought, what they gained for themselves after reading it and I read online that some took it as a long story broken up into different shorter ones whereas some thought of it as separate individual tales with separate lessons.

Since this is my review and not me rehashing other thoughts as a review my thoughts are that each story contains some valuable lessons. I can see how others can see it as one long story, but I approached each individually as I was reading them. It has theological overtone and approaches the subject of mankind very well. It targets things like greedy and the deeper question of what mankind believes what God is. How what man think of God is flawed as man is flawed.

Very interesting stories that made me rethink things that were going on in my life. I enjoy a book that makes me think about things. I’m a woman very much in her own head often so if something can break through to me on this kind of level of concepts, logic, and values I will think on that subject for days. Often, as of more recent years when something like this comes along into my life I notice I talk about to just about every ear I can snag.

I suppose I’m a bit of a bore.


This review is a part of my 2020 yearlong self-challenge to read and review. I have reread some books for the purpose of reviewing them on my website whereas I have read others for the first time. Check out Book Reviews and Recommendations to find other book reviews, book recommendations, and more information about the books I’m reading, have read, or are sharing.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Do you agree with me? Do you disagree? Let’s have a conversation about it.

The Lessons I Learned While Writing: All of My Every Things

I’ve stated before that All of My Every Things has been a healing journey. It’s been one of the more emotionally raw projects I’ve ever worked on, poetry is emotionally raw. The best way I can describe it is as if I’ve opened old wounds and poured salt in them. That is what this book is. The synopsis’ opening line is true.


Here is a list of things I learned throughout finding the poems, collecting them together, and the entire process summed up in one post.

I recorded my journey of creating this book, making it, and the advertising here on my website of it (check out the category log). I have done interviews/podcasts/web shows and talked about how this was painful, but ultimately I knew I wanted to go forward with even the most painful poems I had written because though I wrote some dark things I began also seeing hopeful ones and that very first hopeful poem was when I wanted to move forward.

I could reflect at moments in time, the situations and times that inspired the brief poems, and could even see that I was trying to heal even as far back as 19 years ago. I hadn’t started therapy back then yet, but it was clear to myself I was trying to heal old wounds, newer ones for those times, and move forward.

As previously mentioned, I could remember the very situations that would inspire a snippet here or a snippet there that became poetry. Alot of dark, isolating, and painful experiences for me. I even began crying. I would cry hard when I was alone in the middle of the night. I then would question why I was crying over things that, though hurt, were from so long ago. I eventually realized I needed it. I hadn’t cried over so many things.

I had refused to let myself cry even a single tear for some things I’d went through. I refused to let my abuser or anyone that had hurt me gain even the slightest show of emotion. It would’ve been as if they won, but I realized I needed the tears. The tears weren’t for them, to give to them something, but for me. It was a great release and relief.

I began breathing. I am no longer walking the world as if I’m a husk.

After the revelations and the tears I caught myself doing things differently. I walked taller, not like I was hiding something anymore. I used to use my pain as a shield. I would justify in my hurt mind that if I had been rejected because of this reason or that then I was right… that I was how I felt, damaged goods.

I also saw myself in the bad habits of the ‘what ifs’. I’d self sabotage myself as a protective hazmat suit against the world. I began rewording things, reworking things in my mind and began to feel better. Not better for a little, but for longer and now its permanent.

I call this growth. Some call it spiritual growth and some would call it maturity. I am far from ‘completely healed’. I don’t know if I ever will be that, but I know I’m growing.


I know I’m not alone. The world doesn’t hurt, but the people in it can. These beings can leave scars across our very souls. This book is my scars, my hope, and my healing. I hope those that do read it find something somewhere within its pages for them.

I’m baring my very soul for connections in some of these poems. Know if you’ve survived something traumatic you’re not alone.

What I’ve Learned About Life So Far – 10 Things I’ve Learned

I’ve learned a thing or two about life. I was inspired by something that happened in my daily life, offline life, and decided to share some of what I’ve learned here. I have lived over thirty years on this blue rock. I am an sibling abuse survivor. I am a mother, daughter, and wife. I’m also a friend.

I work hard, sleep barely, and have doubted myself more times than I can count. I have also realized that nothing that can be said in a review or by someone can ever hurt my feelings because I’ve called myself the worse things, said the worse things to myself, or thought the things that have been said before another conceived of them.

If you’re still reading after that then perhaps I have some things to share after all. Now let me impart my wisdom.

  1. Respect your elders – There is a lot to be learned by those that have gone through it. The things that elder women and men can tell you are truly worth learning from so that you can navigate your own path.
  2. Music is important – It’s more important than just something to dance to. It can rise you up when you’re down, set the mood, and even help you heal. It has become, for me, something that reconnects me to the loved ones I’ve lost and to happier times.
  3. The meaning of life has to be overcoming things – We all have survived something, whether we realize it or not. That thing could be something simple or something complex, but we made it through the other side and we overcame it. If there is a meaning to life, for me, it has to be overcoming things. Learning from them is a bonus.
  4. Trust your gut – Life experience sticks with you in the form of a ‘gut feeling’. Whether you got that experience on the street, the classroom, or listening to the adults and elders in your life your gut will help steer you in the right direction most of the time, it has for me at least.
  5. Embrace the suck – For those I’ve shared my stories on my abusive sibling, almost dying at their hands twice, and still being the person I am I’ve been asked if I could change anything about my life would I? The assumed answer has always been that I would erase all the abuse so that it never happened. I wouldn’t. Yes, my abuse sucked. It hurts me in invisible ways even to this day, but I wouldn’t remove it from my life. It was something I overcame, survived, and without having dealt with the cards life gave to me I wouldn’t be the person I am typing right now. I’m strong. I’m smart. I’ve based decision-making on the ‘sucky things’ I’ve dealt with. It didn’t consume me fully it became lessons.
  6. Love, fully, and without regret – Don’t hold back when you feel for someone. Love can be risky, but fully be in the moment of it.
  7. Enjoy the small things – I’ve learned that even the small things will stick with you. I will remember the first time I kissed my husband, falling over, and him laughing at me right after for the rest of my life. At the time it was an embarrassing situation, but it has become a small happy moment. It was the moment that I realized I felt more for this person than I had previously thought. I still enjoy the memory of my child giving me flowers he picked for the first time. (He doesn’t know it, but I still have one of them saved.)
  8. Go boldly forward – Wake every morning grateful, but also step forward boldly and conquer it. You may not be given the day after so everyday must be treated as if it is a gift, because it is.
  9. Pay your bills and prioritize needs and wants – This lesson came after a winter without electricity. No, it wasn’t me that didn’t pay my bills. I paid the bill and got the electric on though. I’m currently not comfortable enough to go into this too much, but it really happened when I was a teenager and it really sucked.
  10. Enjoy your youth – I laugh with my oldest friend now how as a kid we wanted to be 16 to drive, 18 to be considered an adult, and 21 to drink. With all that we thought we’d be more ‘adult’ that way, but all it did was tick away years we didn’t realize we would miss later on. You’re a child for a shorter amount of time than you are an adult. Being a adult sucks, is hard, but if you are smart about it, enjoy the small things, and love fully you’ll be alright.

I’m still pretty young, I don’t feel it, but I know it. I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to learn about life, but these ten things are what I’ve learned so far.