Mindful and Intentional

Kon-Mari is all the craze (thanks, Netflix). Minimalism is everywhere (thanks, Pinterest and Instagram). Thrifting is chic (as it should be!) and living slowly, mindfully, and purposefully is on trend (again, as it should be).

If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you may already know that I began this process myself by deleting about half the people I was “friends” with on Facebook and then deleting my Facebook app all together. I also made a new Twitter account and now follow mostly #CatholicTwitter accounts. I’ve been unfollowing a lot of accounts on Instagram and following those that bring joy and meaning to my life, and I try to be mindful about what I post on any of my own social media accounts.

There’s many reasons and benefits for all of this. I’m trying to live more minimally. Yes, I was one of those people that binge-watched Marie Kondo’s Netflix show. I began applying it to many areas of my life. Sparking joy should apply to ALL areas of our lives. We can declutter our homes, our minds, and our hearts. It’s literally good for us, healthy and healing.

There are several accounts I now follow on Instagram that have an emphasis on more mindful and intentional living. I will share them on my Instagram story for anyone that is interested!

They’ve also introduced me to a concept called slow fashion. I had honestly never heard of it, but it’s pretty self-explanatory. Fast fashion follows the practically weekly changes in fashion trends and supplies tons of options at low prices so consumers can, and will, buy more more more. WalMart and Target are big contenders here. The thing about fast fashion is that it’s not always ethical. What do I mean by that?

Well, I’m sure we’ve all seen at least one documentary about the working conditions of those who make garments for WalMart. When you really think about those prices, it makes sense. Those pair of shorts are just $12? But, how much does it actually cost to make them? I mean, just stroll over to the fabric department to see how much different fabrics cost. Plus thread. Plus buttons. Plus zippers. Plus time and energy put into cutting and sewing those shorts. Now how much do they cost?

Listen, I’m as much a bargain shopper as anyone else. I have a limited budget I can spend on clothes. My personal closet has several WalMart and Target items. This is a new concept to me. I also don’t want to seem like I’m talking down those that shop at these stores; they are legitimate options for those that have to shop on a tight budget. I’m slowly beginning to shift my perspective on how I shop and am not here to judge or tell anyone else how they should shop.

As a Christian, I see my calling to shop responsibly. Christians are called to care for their brothers and sisters in Christ. Since following accounts that have taught me more about slow fashion and shopping more ethically, I am now shifting gears in how I approach shopping.

As I am minimizing my wardrobe, I also see value in spending more on a higher quality item that will last a long time over stocking up on cheaper items that will need to be replaced more often. For example, I have two pairs of jeggings from WalMart that I love and wear often, but my first pair (less than 6 months old) is already beginning to fray in areas. Whereas my more expensive Victoria’s Secret leggings I’ve had for years are in great condition.

Shopping ethically on a budget can be difficult, but it’s not impossible, and it’s certainly worth it. I’m new to this, so I recommend this blog post from Just a Handmaiden. On her instagram, she has highlights for her OOTD and on her blog, she talks about modestly, slow fashion, and shopping ethically. (Like I said before, I will also share some other accounts in my Instagram stories).

A big step in my journey of living intentional is coming up in June. I will be participating in 30 Days to a Hobbit at Heart by Tea with Tolkien.

Here’s what that entails:

This summer will be a summer of self-improvement and growth. This first day is being celebrated with a blog post! (Yes, I may be in bed while writing it, but hey! It’s summer break AND it’s not even 9 AM yet!)

I plan to write more about this topic as I go on this journey. I will definitely write more about ethically shopping as I learn more about it. I also hope to write about my Hobbit journey at the end of June!

Please comment below to share your experiences. If you have recommendations for ethically sourced clothing stores, share those as well! Thanks!

Going Green

I know I’m a few days late for Earth Day, but I’ve been wanting to write about ways I’ve “gone green” this year. I thought about making it a New Year’s post, but I think Earth Day is more fitting.

Before I get into it, I want to say this is not sponsored in any way. These are just ways I am making changes in my own home, for the environment and for my wallet.

For Christmas last year, my husband and I decided to buy subscription boxes for each other instead of just one-time Christmas gifts. I’d had my eyes on a particular subscription box for a while and they were having a really great deal we didn’t want to miss out on. In November, my husband signed us up for Mighty Nest’s subscription service, Mighty Fix.

Mighty Nest has hundreds of great products to choose from. Their Mighty Fix sends one product to you each month, either of your choice or a surprise. With the Mighty Fix, you can also add on any items you want without any additional shipping charges. It’s a pretty great deal.

I’ve been receiving Mighty Fix packages for about 6 months now and have loved each and every one of them! I’m going to share what products I’ve received and what I love about them.

My first fix came with a little welcome letter. Each fix comes with a nice detailed little card about that month’s particular fix, what it can replace in your home, and how to use it.My first fix was two Swedish dishcloths.

These dishcloths are much more absorbent than regular cloths and much more Earth-friendly than typically plastic-y dish sponges. They are also compostable! We use ours literally every day and usually just toss them in the dishwasher or washing machine to get them clean. I recently ordered a third one to add to our collection.

My next fix was wool dryer balls.

I had plastic dryer balls before that didn’t last very long. These have held up very well. I just keep them in my dryer, unless I need to wash them, and use them with every load.

In addition to the dryer balls, I chose to add something to my monthly package.

I am sensitive to perfume-y smells and air fresheners, so before our cat I just used essential oil diffusers to keep our home smelling fresh.

My husband and I also have allergies and I use an air filter in our apartment, but wanted something more. Air quality is especially important to me, living with allergies and asthma. The Moso Natural Air Purifying bag naturally cleans the air with natural charcoal. It does not emit any smells, just purifies. I currently have it in our bedroom.

I believe the next fix I got was a set of Lunchskins bags. I don’t have a picture of the ones we first got, but we use them so much, I ordered more. Lunchskins are reusable sandwich and snack size bags. They velcro shut, are dishwasher safe, and replace plastic baggies. We love them.

Another fix we got shortly after was a set of Bees Wraps. I’ve had and used Bees Wraps in the past and like them. They are great for covering glass bowls or wrapping cheese. I will say, I have noticed a bit of a transfer of flavor with these. I used my big Bees Wrap to cover some homemade banana bread, and I guess the banana bread was warm enough to affect the beeswax, because there was definitely a bit of a flavor from it. That being said, it is beeswax, so it’s not harmful and has a slightly honey-flavored taste to it.

After that fix, I received one of my favorite and most used fixes.

I arguably have far too many kitchen utensils. The silicone spatula and spoon I received from Mighty Nest could easily replace half of them (and have! I threw many old and worn out utensils away). These food-grade silicone utensils are safe up to 450 degrees and won’t wear out like plastic. They are also chemically inert, so no chemicals leaching into our food! I use these almost every day and they are dishwasher safe.

Ok, now for my biggest fix.

I recently added a bunch of stuff to my Mighty Fix order. I just opened this package today.

This package includes some fixes I received in the past and liked enough to order more of, such as the Lunchskins. I also order new products to try, like the Avocado Huggers. The fix for this month was the Meliora All-Purpose Cleaner.

So, I’ll be honest. I’m not sure how much I will use this fix. I have an all-purpose cleaner I love.

I make my own bleach-strong, kid-safe all-purpose cleaner with Force of Nature. This stuff uses salt, water, vinegar, and electricity to make powerful, germ-busting cleaner. I use it for everything, from my glass-top stove, to mopping my floors.

Gross, I know, but a little Force of Nature on a microfiber towel on my Swiffer, and my floors are clean! This is way better and cheaper than the perfume-y Swiffer Wet Mop wipes.

I am looking forward to seeing how the two cleaners compare and I will probably post about it on Instagram.

Something I already love about Meliora (besides the cool Latin name) is how few ingredients they use to make their vegetable soap.

I also ordered their laundry soap stick in this month’s box. Both cleaners container 4 simple ingredients: Sodium Cocoate, Glycerin, Organic Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, and Water. I can’t wait to see how they do!

Another new product I ordered was this cute cotton bowl cover:

I brew my own kombucha and have been using coffee filters for covering my vessel. I don’t drink coffee, so that’s literally the only thing I use those coffee filters for. I am excited to use this cute cotton cover instead!

I think the last thing in my box I have yet to talk about is the Avocado Huggers!

We love avocados and rarely have halves leftover, but when we do, it’s hard to store it in a way that keeps it from browning and going bad. Cue Avocado huggers! These are cute, food-grade silicone, and dishwasher safe. I’m sure I will put them to use (probably soon!).

Ok, I think that about wraps up my Mighty Fixes!

I love Mighty Nest for so many reasons. I hate doing chores and when I do have time to clean my home, I want it to be effective and safe. These products help me feel good about what I’m doing.

We’ve all seen those interviews of people with their little mason jars of trash from over the years. Zero waste seems so unattainable in real life, but companies like Mighty Nest are changing that. Their products always come in recyclable packaging. Each fix comes with a card that tells you how it replaces a disposable in your home. If you are not one for subscriptions or just want cheap ways to be greener, I do have a couple more suggestions for you. I do highly recommend Mighty Fix and find it very budget friendly, but there are other easy swaps anyone can do.

As pictured above, I use microfiber towels for mopping with my Swiffer instead of Swiffer WetMops. They are pretty cheap at Walmart and I use them for most of my cleaning. They are washable and reusable, and I like the soft texture.

I also have reusable produce bags.

These cotton ones I ordered from Amazon are machine-washable and perfect for bulk produce like rice or dry beans. I transfer my bulk produce to glass mason jars for storage.

Here you can also see my mesh produce bags, which I bought at Fresh Thyme.

I use these for fresh produce like fruits and veggies. I toss them in the wash after I use whatever was in them.

No matter where you stand on global warming/climate change, I think we can all agree we need to take care of planet Earth. Anyone can do it. Amazon has great swaps for common disposables. Reusable totes can be bought at literally any grocery store. Reusable products just make sense. They save money and save the planet.

I hope this post will help you find ways to make healthy changes in your home! Happy Earth Day!

Goodbye Facebook

It’s not me, it’s most definitely you…

Social media has turned into quite a nightmare… or is that just me? I feel like Facebook is just a cesspool of negativity every time I look at it. Sure, there’s funny memes, weird life hack videos, and it’s great for stalking people you knew 15 years ago and potential SOs of friends. It’s even a nice way to share what’s going on with friends and family that live far away and may not otherwise get to partake in your day-to-day.

But honestly, how many of your Facebook “friends” are really friends? When was the last time you saw that old high school girl friend? Or even made plans to hang out with your old crew? Who have you intentionally reached out to – no, not “liked” their picture or commented on their post – actually called or texted and had a real, genuine conversation with?

A lot of times my anxiety stems from feeling like I have no friends and I think I leaned into having Facebook “friends” as an illusion of comfort. That’s NOT healthy. I still struggle with being alone sometimes, but I’m also learning to love it. I’m getting to know ME. I’m realizing what my true hopes, goals, dreams, and aspirations are, for me, myself, and I. I’m learning to be more comfortable with a small, close friend group. I’m spending more time with family. I’m learning that I want the connections I make to be meaningful and positive.

Marie Kondo’s “spark joy” craze doesn’t just apply to physical items in our homes. I think it should apply to everything. Facebook doesn’t spark joy for me anymore (if it ever did), so I said goodbye. I purged my friends list (so don’t take it personally) and deleted the app from my phone. For now, I am keeping my account, mostly as a means to run my Color Street business, and to have Messenger to reach friends and family I would otherwise not be able to contact. As time goes on, I may delete my account all together.

It’s weird, adjusting to not having another app to mindlessly scroll through, but I am excited to see what I can accomplish with having less screen time in my life. Truly, smart phones have become addictions. Piece by piece I want to grow apart from mine and explore my creativity more. Find peace and happiness.

Goodbye, Facebook. Can’t say I’ll miss you.

*Update 3/20/19:

Since deleting Facebook I have:

⁃ Written a blog post

⁃ Deep cleaned my bathtub

⁃ Cleaned my washing machine

⁃ Done six+ loads of laundry

⁃ Put away a few loads of clean dishes

⁃ KonMari’d my bedroom/wardrobe

⁃ Visited some friends in real life

⁃ Gone to confession

⁃ Gone to Mass

⁃ Worked my Color Street business

⁃ Donated bags and boxes of clothes and misc items to St. VdP

Responding to “The Call”

Hi, my name is Julia and I am a cradle Catholic.

I’ve been Catholic all of my life. I’ve never left the Church. I’ve never “experimented” with my faith. I’ve always been Catholic and because of that I think I have really taken it for granted. But I’ll get back to that later.

As a Catholic with over 12 years of private Catholic education under my belt, I grew up hearing that God calls all of us to respond to a vocation. This vocation could be anything, but I always most associated it with being called to the religious life. I mean, how often do we hear an amazing, inspiring story about a priest or sister and how they knew they were being called to religious life. And, oh, how I wanted that neon sign call, that obvious “Hey, God wants you to do THIS” call.

Of course, not every priest or sister or other religious person had that kind of call. Not even every saint had that kind of sign from God. But that’s what I wanted. That’s what I felt like I needed. “Hey God, please just hit me over the head with whatever it is you want me to do so I can just know. Thanks”.

From middle school all the way through college, my favorite subject in school was English. I love all things literature. I even love grammar. I went out of my way to take extra English classes in high school and college any chance I could. It made sense to me senior year that I would pursue a degree in creative writing. Then one of my best friends at the time told me a story about her sister, who is a Speech-Language Pathologist. And wow. It changed everything. Without even learning more about what it would entail, I applied to be in the Communication Disorders program at Truman State University. I enjoyed my classes, made amazing friends, and learned more than I could have ever imagined. After a while, though, I began to wonder, is this really what I’m “called” to do?

I hadn’t really put that much thought into it. Being an SLP would pay way more than a freelance poet. I valued financial security. I knew that was something I wanted for my future family. But had I really thought about it much more than that?

My great-grandfather passed away during finals week the first semester of my third year at Truman. It hit me hard and I felt a lot of guilt leaving family behind when I came back from winter break, so after three years at Truman, I transferred to Fontbonne University. And what did I do? I stayed in the same major, even though I had already been questioning it for some time, and a painful meeting with the head of the Communication Disorders department at Truman probably should have steered me in a different direction, but I was stubborn. I started this thing, I ought to finish it. Besides, how many more years of loans could I really stand? As an SLP, I could probably pay them off.

While at Fontbonne, again I had that nagging feeling. I stuck with the SLP program. I took the classes, worked in the clinic, did my observations. But every chance I could, I took a class on education. Was I being called to something else? Had I been mishearing God this whole time? I couldn’t possibly start over. Student loans, though.

I graduated from Fontbonne University in May of 2017 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Speech-Language Pathology. I am proud to say that. I’m not proud of the loans, but hey, I graduated! Am I going to grad school? No. Am I working in the Speech-Language Pathology field? Again, no.

Before I graduated, I started working at a daycare center, where I still work part-time. I have found that there is nothing I love more than watching little ones grow and learn. While this job doesn’t quite pay the bills like I wish it could, it is incredibly rewarding. That being said, I still needed to figure out what on earth my “vocation” is. “Hey, God. Still waiting”.

I took another part-time job, this time at a school. As of this week, I have been working at St. John Paul II Preparatory School for a year. Last year I was the 2nd grade teacher’s aide. This year I will be aiding both 3rd and 4th grade. The first week or two of this job, I didn’t know if I was going to like it at all. By the end of the first semester, I loved it. I love the kids, the teachers and staff, the families, and possibly most importantly, the faith.

Something I hadn’t realized I was lacking in was a faith community. Truman had an amazing Catholic Newman Center that kept me going in some of the darkest times, but I lost that when I left. JPII also have something special about it that Truman’s Newman Center didn’t have.

JPII is a very classic and traditional faith community, something I hadn’t really had since elementary school. Even then, the “old fashioned” tradition didn’t go much beyond the hymns and the few old ladies that still were veils to mass (something else I will be coming back to). At JPII, we teach the kids Latin and sing the mass parts in Latin. We even have a Latin mass once a year. We have mass every other week. Several of the teachers wear veils to mass (even young ones). We kneel to receive communion on our tongues. There is this incredible sense of reverence at JPII that honestly can be hard to find these days. It was something I didn’t even realize I was missing, something I was desperately needing.

Since one of the first masses I attended at JPII, I have been fascinated by these young women wearing veils. That seemed like such an outdated thing. Why were they doing it? Like I said before, growing up I was used to seeing a few older ladies wearing them at mass, but I always thought it was just because they were old, and old habits die hard. But now I was in a totally different realm. Women who grew up in a post-Vatican II Church were veiling at mass.

For months, I honestly only really thought about it when we were at mass. Beyond that, it was out of sight, out of mind. Until last week. The teachers had a special mass, in preparation for the new school year (that starts tomorrow!!). Again, I was in a room with women wearing veils (even one near my age). I finally started to get the picture. “OK, God. I’ll Google it”.

And so I did. Immediately I found Veils by Lily. I found the FAQ page and read every word. I downloaded the free printable fact sheet. I scrolled and scrolled through the site. Read the blog posts. Less than 24 hours later, I found myself doing something I never in a million years would have seen myself doing. I bought a veil. A veil to wear to church. What?!

OK, OK, what does this have to do with “Responding to ‘The Call'”? I think the kind of obvious theme here is that I’m not very good at listening to God. Or even hearing Him. I don’t know what I am doing with my life. Honestly, no idea. But a little less than a year ago, God began calling me. No, it wasn’t the “What is my vocation?” call I had been hoping for (well, I don’t think it was, but I’ve learned to never assume I know God’s plan). God was calling me to take a step outside of my comfort zone (nice and vague, thanks, God).

OK, so what does that mean? Where does that take me? I had already taken on a new job in a new place with new people. What else do You want from me? Well, a few months after starting this new job, I learned about a direct sales company called Color Street (which I wrote about here). Could this be it? I thought about it for MONTHS. Could this really be what God is calling me to do? Well, it couldn’t hurt to try. I took the leap. I joined an awesome company with an awesome product that I love. I met awesome people, built a community, and I had fun. But it was also hard. And I struggled. And I felt like I was doing everything wrong. “OK, God. Really? What am I supposed to be doing right now?”

Well, after almost 5 months with Color Street, I came to the conclusion that while, yes, God was definitely telling me that I need to step out of my comfort zone, this was not what He meant. Last night I decided I need to take a step away from Color Street. I do hope to some day go back to that awesome team I got to work with, but for now, I need to walk away.

That call to step out of my comfort zone. It wasn’t a vocational call. It was something much smaller and more personal. It was a call to wear that veil. That may not seem like a huge leap from one’s comfort zone, but when you are as reserved and introverted as I am, it is kind of a big deal. It is something people will notice, which means (gasp) people might actually want to talk to me. While the thought of being questioned about my decision to veil at mass does make me a little nervous, ever since making this decision (and purchase), I have felt this overwhelming sense of peace that I have been searching for, for years. I am excited about veiling at mass. I am embarking on a new spiritual journey to bring me closer to God, and maybe even bring others closer to Him, too.

I would like to ask that you pray for me as I take on this new journey. If you have any questions about my decision to wear a veil at mass, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I am still learning about it myself, but am happy to share what I know and what lead me to this decision more in depth.

We are all called to something. Yes, I am still trying to figure out my true vocational call. But some of the things God calls us to are much smaller than that. It may be hard to hear Him, but with an open heart, eventually all things become clear.

Detoxing

We all need a good detox from time to time.

Body, mind, and spirit.

This week has been a tough one. I started off the week with bronchitis (insert “ain’t nobody got time for that”) and ended the week with my husband in the hospital with kidney stones.

The medicine I’ve been taking has depression and anxiety as side effects, both of which I’ve been feeling. The stress of my husband having kidney stones (yet again) has been emotionally draining.

All these factors put me in a bit of a sensitive place, so when someone I have met maybe twice was rude and insensitive online, I was hurt a little more than I usually would have been. It sent me on a bit of a spiral first thing this morning.

So I’m detoxing. I deleted my Facebook and Twitter apps. I’ve spent the weekend taking care of my husband. Tomorrow I am going to focus more on myself. I want to clean our apartment top to bottom. Bake a cake. Do laundry. Read a book. Go shopping. Pray.

Social media can be a real downer sometimes. I know how toxic it can be for me personally. I plan to do another detox like this in the future. Probably a longer break than just the weekend.

Strive for positivity.

Stay happy.

Losing Steam

Hey everyone!

Ugh, is it Spring yet?

It’s been a while since I posted, so I felt compelled to write a quick update. I haven’t disappeared! I’ve just been hit hard with lack a motivation. I’ve been in a bit of a slump, mood wise, and finding it hard to push myself to do things, not just blog-wise. I don’t know if it’s the weather, or the way I’ve been eating, but I am trying to push past it. Life has it’s ups and downs, and now it’s time for me to push myself up, above and beyond!

I still plan on writing a post on Lent. This is an important time of year for me and I would like to share what it means to me with all of you. I will push myself to start posting B&W pictures daily again. I can’t wait for the weather out here to clear up so I can take my DSLR outside and capture some nice shots with some natural light. I also recently purchased a lens ball and a prism, so I’ve been dying to try both of them!

Thank you, readers, for sticking with me! Let’s welcome March in like a lion!

PS: Please comment any tips you have for writing posts even when you really don’t feel like it! TIA

Another Day, Another Bookstore – Half Price Books

Another bookstore haul!

This one isn’t as big – I only got three books (I honestly don’t know where I found the self-control). This was only my second trip to Half Price Books, but this time I got to spend more time looking around. I will definitely be going back, though! There were countless books I wanted to get (next time I need to remember to make a list!)

Starting from the right: I chose this book because what’s better than reading about how much authors love books?! I thought it was cute, and I’m thinking about sharing a quote a day from it.

The middle book I grabbed because I love C. S. Lewis and I love the book of Psalms. I’ve been wanting to read some of his non-fiction work, so I thought this book would be the perfect place to start.

The last book I grabbed because I have a weakness for clearance books. I saw the movie when it came out years ago and liked it, and you know what they say, the book is always better.

Once I get into one of these books, I’ll do another Currently Reading post. If you have any suggestions for books I should look for at my next bookstore trip, please comment and let me know!

February Update – Thank you!!!

I just wanted to post a quick little update!

First, and most importantly, thank you so, so much to my followers and everyone that has liked even just one of my posts. It always makes me feel good to see a notification after posting. I recently reached a small but exciting benchmark:

I officially have over 100 likes on my blog! It’s not much, but it’s benchmarks like these that really motivate me.

With Lent coming up soon, I hope to get some longer posts on here. In the Catholic Church, Lent is a very important time of year. It can jokingly be thought of as a second chance at those failed New Year’s resolutions, but in reality, it can be a time of great spiritual growth. Sometimes it takes a lot of work and guidance, but it can be an amazing time of year.

When I have a chance to sit at my computer, I will write in more depth about my experiences with Lent and what it means to me. This year, I plan to work on my gratitude, an often forgotten about virtue.

Again, thank you for being a part of this blogging journey with me! I hope my followers are enjoying the trip thus far. I look forward to hitting some more benchmarks this year!

Currently Reading

For the most part, I read fiction novels. I am a big fan of Stephen King in particular. As much as I love his books and stories, however, I’m finding my TBR pile continuously growing and myself not branching out much. One of my goals this year is to change that and expand my literary horizons. As I read new books, I will share my experiences and opinions here. I think this will be a good way to push myself to read more and to critically think about what I’m reading. Plus, it’s always fun to share new books with people.

At the beginning of the school year I started a new job at a Catholic school as a grade school assistant. All of the grade school teachers were talking about a book by Immaculée Ilibagiza, a Rwandan born Catholic. It was a big deal because she was coming to host a retreat at the home parish of the grade school dean. I kept hearing them talk about how impactful and amazing her story was, and after the retreat, the dean couldn’t stop talking about Immaculée and how much meeting her impacted her. I wanted to see what all the talk was about for myself, so I borrowed the book, Left to Tell, from my mom.

This book is about how Immaculée survived the Rwandan holocaust that took place during their civil war in 1994. She and several other women were hidden and locked inside a tiny bathroom for 91 days, not allowed to speak or move, barely surviving on tiny scraps of food and sips of water. Throughout those three months she held tightly to her father’s rosary and her faith in God. All of her family save one brother were murdered. She now travels the world serving others and telling her story.

I’m only about halfway through the book. She is still trapped in the tiny bathroom. Each page is more heartbreaking than the last, but her hope in God is inspiring. When things go wrong, it can be so easy to turn away from a lifelong faith. It isn’t always easy to find comfort and peace in scriptures that are thousands of years old. Immaculée held true for 91 miserable days; days most of us can’t even begin to fathom suffering through.

I know there is at least one other book she has written and I plan to read it when I finish this one. It is heartbreaking and full of hope at the same time. As I’ve read this, I’ve felt joy, sorrow, pain, and even angry. This emotional journey will take you through it all. If you enjoy any kind of religious testimonials, this is a book for you.

Again, the title is Left to Tell and it was written by Immaculée Ilibagiza with Steve Erwin. A portion of proceeds from her book sales go to her Left to Tell Charitable Fund, which supports Rwandan orphans.