Personal Demons – YA Novel by Lisa Desrochers

Bailey here again –

I’ve been totally wrapped up in my latest read, Personal Demons, by Lisa Desrochers. While the main character, Frannie Cavanaugh,
deals with actual demons from Hell and angels from Heaven, her own personal demons are of another kind. But no spoilers here.

As for the demons and angels, Luc, an actual demon from Hell – and a sexy one to boot – is sent to tag Frannie’s soul for Hell. And let me tell you, Luc is hard to resist. But Heaven has its own plans and sends sexy angel Gabe to thwart Luc’s plans and tag Frannie for Heaven. Gabe is also impossible to resist. Caught between two hot guys, and not knowing exactly what they are, is where Frannie’s fun begins.

You’ll have to read the book to find out why Frannie is SO important to both Heaven and Hell. And you’ll never be able to guess it.

I won’t spoil the story for you, but there are so many twists, turns and surprises in this book. I didn’t see most of them coming, which makes for a great read.

I can’t wait to dive into the sequel, Original Sin, and then the third installment, Last Rite, to be released in May 2012!

Check out more about Personal Demons and Lisa Desrochers at http://www.lisadwrites.com

Taylor Swift

Bailey here again –

I’m all over the map when it comes to music. But there’s so much great stuff out there – why would I limit myself? I don’t care what anyone else thinks. No matter who it is, or what type of music it is, I listen to whatever I like. And I love Taylor Swift.

Yes, she’s young, and some people think it isn’t cool to like her anymore. But I think she’s an incredibly talented singer/songwriter. This always amazes me. I can understand being able to sing. And I can understand being able to write lyrics. But to be able to do both – well – always astounds me. AND Taylor plays the guitar, while she’s singing the lyrics she wrote. What an amazing amount of talent for one person to possess.

At age 14, Taylor was the youngest staff songwriter of the Sony/ATV Tree Publishing House. And at age 15, she was signed by Big Machine Records. Taylor’s albums are:

  • Taylor Swift (2006)
  • Fearless (2008)
  • Speak Now (2010)

One of my favorite Taylor songs is Breathe from the album, Fearless. Have you ever felt this way before?

  • And we know it’s never simple, never easy
  • Never a clean break, no one there to save me
  • You’re the only thing I know like the back of my hand
  • And I can’t breathe
  • Without you, but I have to
  • Breathe
  • Without you, but I have to 

So agonizing. So true when you’ve lost someone you love – or maybe when you don’t know where they are. Ugh. Gut wrenching.

Taylor says on her website, “. . . love is unpredictable and it’s frustrating and it’s tragic and it’s beautiful. And even though there’s no way to feel like I’m an expert at it, it’s worth writing songs about — more than anything else I’ve ever experienced in my life.” 

Taylor’s moving – and sometimes heartbreaking – lyrics are inspired by her life. She says listening to her songs is like reading her diary. Her songs are so relatable because we’ve all had good and bad relationships, tough breakups, or that elusive love who doesn’t know we exist. What’s different about Taylor is she’ll go and write a song about it – even using names – and put it out on public radio. So boys, beware. If you cross Taylor Swift, you WILL end up in a song.

Read more about Taylor Swift at http://www.taylorswift.com.

I Love Daughtry!

Bailey here again –

So you know I love Native flute music, especially Carlos Nakai. But I also have a rocker side. I love the band, Daughtry! Yes I watched Chris Daughtry when he was on American Idol, and I cheered for him from the moment of his first audition.

Not only did I love his amazing and unique voice, I loved his story. What a cool guy! He married his wife, Deanna, in 2000 and became a dad to her children. How many young guys do you know who’ll do that? And then he got famous – very successful and famous. But did he trade in his wife for a shiny, new one? 

Nope. 

He’s still in love with Deanna and they just had twins in November 2010.

Here’s what kind of guy Chris is. In a December 2007 interview with Gibson Lifestyle, Chris said, “I used to call [my wife] and just quickly throw in the towel. But I’ve found that the less I say and the more I actually listen to her, and just be there without actually being there, is the best thing I can do. As a man, I always feel like I need to say something. Sometimes I have to stop myself because all I want to do is call and tell her about how much awesome stuff is going on in my life, and, you know, her day is sucking hard. I could write a book on it, I’m serious.” 

Is he just too good to be true??

Anyway, about the music. I love both Daughtry albums – Daughtry, the five-times platinum and fastest-selling debut rock album in Soundscan history, and Leave This Town, which is already platinum. I rarely like every single song on an album, but that’s the way it is with both of these for me. Every. Single. Song. 

I especially love the song, “It’s Not Over” (Daughtry) with the words: 

  • It’s not over
  • This love is killing me but you’re the only one
  • It’s not over

I dream of someone being so in love with me that they would feel like this. About me. Hmmmm.

I also love the song, “Call Your Name” (Leave This Town) with the words:

  • And when you fall apart
  • Am I the reason for your endless sorrow
  • There’s so much to be said
  • And with a broken heart
  • Your walls can only go down but so low
  • Can you hear me when I call your name

Oh, such bittersweet sorrow. Ugh. I love it! To feel such powerful emotions AND to be able to put them into words.

You can check out Daughtry at http://www.daughtryofficial.com

Let me know if you’re a Daughtry fan, too.

Perseverance – The Native American Way

Bailey here again –

I can’t stop reading Keep Going by Joseph Marshall III. I wish I could get all my friends to read it. We all run around thinking that nothing bad is ever supposed to happen to us. And then when something does, we’re flabbergasted and wonder what happened.

But Old Hawk says we must expect difficulties, because they will come. That is part of life.

“No one embraces disappointment, sadness or grief, but neither should we deny ourselves the necessity of experiencing the entire array of human emotions. When our spirit tells us it is time to weep, we should weep.”

Now I’m a pretty tough girl, and I admit I don’t like to cry. Especially in front of people – won’t happen. But in the secrecy of my bedroom, there have been times when I’ve let the tears fall. As ashamed as I always am, somehow when all the tears are gone, I’m better able to handle whatever the situation is. I guess that’s what Old Hawk means. If we let our bodies and spirits do what they need to, we can actually heal faster and cope better.

Old Hawk says there is truth to the axiom ‘whatever doesn’t kill you can make you stronger.’ But he says the most important word is ‘can.’ We are in charge of how we deal with the tough things. It’s our decision to take one more step, to try one more time, to wake up one more morning. That’s how we become strong.

HOW COME NOBODY EVER TOLD US THIS STUFF BEFORE? We’d certainly be more prepared if someone had.

Old Hawk says that how we handle the hard times is how we become who we are. We choose whether we’re going to give up and fail, or if we’re going to build integrity and become a person of worth.

In the old days, the Lakota chose their leaders from men of experience. And not necessarily those who were great warriors, displayed bravery, and had many successes on the battle field. They chose men who withstood the storms of life and grew strong from them. Because strength built from adversity does not crumble under further adversity.

I want to be – no, I’m GOING to be – a strong, vibrant person who can handle the storms of life. What about you?

http://www.thunderdreamers.com/

Native American Wisdom – How to Keep Going

Bailey here –

One of my favorite authors is Joseph Marshall III.  That may not sound like a Native name, but Joseph is Lakota and was born on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

I’ve been having a tough time lately, but have gained a ton of strength from reading Joseph’s book, Keep Going – The Art of Perseverance.  In the book, a young man named Jeremy is grieving the loss of his father.  Jeremy visits his grandfather, Old Hawk, who is over 80-years old, and who understands that “life itself is the greatest journey.”

Jeremy asks his grandfather why life has to be so hard, so painful.  Old Hawk tells him, “In life there is sadness as well as joy, losing as well as winning, falling as well as standing, hunger as well as plenty, badness as well as goodness.  I do not say this to make you despair, but to teach you reality.”

Old Hawk goes on to say that if life were the same all the time, there’d be no variety, no excitement and no balance.  Old Hawk says, “Life is not all sadness.  Yet without sadness we would not yearn for joy, and strive to find it, and treasure it when it comes.”

As for me, I wish life could be good all the time.  But if it was, maybe I wouldn’t treasure it.  I really don’t want anything bad to happen – to anyone – ever.  But could Old Hawk be right?  Would life be boring if it were perfect all the time?  Like maybe we’d go nuts because we wouldn’t have something to work on, something to complain about, or some problem to solve.  Do we actually like it this way?  Need it this way?

Could it be we wouldn’t be able to feel joy without knowing sadness?  Oh my gosh!  Maybe we wouldn’t know joy at all.  How could we experience the thrill of winning if we never felt the sting of losing?  How could we know warmth unless we’ve felt the cold (although I’d be willing to risk it on that one).  But seriously, maybe we wouldn’t feel anything at all.  That’s kind of scary.

I guess Old Hawk is trying to tell Jeremy that he needs to keep going through all that life has to offer.  To enjoy the good that makes him happy, and to allow the bad to make him stronger.  I guess I have to do the same. 

Joseph M. Marshall III is an author, historian, educator, motivational speaker and Lakota craftsman.  He’s been both technical advisor as well as an actor in films such as Into the West (one of my favorites) and Return to Lonesome Dove.  Check out everything Joseph has to offer at http://www.thunderdreamers.com/

As always, I’d love to know your thoughts.

Magpies Newsstand Cafe

Bailey here again –

I promised to tell you about my favorite coffee house – Magpies Newsstand Cafe.  It’s on Main Ave across 7th Street from the historic Strater Hotel in the middle of downtown Durango.  In fact, the Downtown Durango Cam is on Magpies’ roof, so check out what Main Avenue looks like right now at http://downtowndurangocam.com/

Anyway, I love Magpies because it’s just a cool place.  Everyone hangs out there, especially on the front patio on the warm summer evenings.  The people-watching is great – you never know who you’re going to see, like maybe some beefy river guides or hot, long-haired Natives!  Then there are all the cool cars cruising down Main Ave.  I’m a Mustang lush, with an obsession for 60’s series ‘Stangs.  There’s a black ’65 Mustang Fastback that cruises through town every now and then.  I’d love to meet who drives that.  And maybe even get to ride in it!

But I make Jazz sit inside on the cold days.  I hate being cold and it’s nice and cozy inside, and you can still see out the big windows.  Oh, and the magazine and newspaper section is HUGE!  I’ve seen magazines at Magpies that I haven’t seen anywhere else.  I swear there’s a magazine for every subject, hobby, and interest. 

So my favorite drink to get at Magpies is the chai – hmmm, tastes like spicy liquid pumpkin pie.  Even though they have a million different drink options, I always get the chai.  I get it hot in the winter and iced in the summer.  And their giant cinnamon rolls and homemade pies are delicious, but I try not to eat too many.  Got to stay in shape for my sports – basketball, track, river rafting and skiing.

So anyway, the next time you’re in Durango, I highly recommend a stop at Magpies.  And you just might see me there.

Durango, Colorado – Why I Love It

Bailey here –

I mentioned before that I live in Durango, Colorado – and I love it here.  I believe the Creator granted extra blessings on this beautiful place. 

Durango is located in the southwest corner of Colorado – close to the four corners of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.  It’s a gorgeous mountain river valley (at about 6500ft) surrounded by pine trees, red rock mesas, lakes and rivers.  It’s close to the Southern Ute Indian Reservation (me likey!).  And it’s lush, green and fun year-round.

The fast-running Animas River – that weaves through town – is perfect for river rafting, which is one of my favorite things to do.  I love the rush of the water, the challenge of keeping the raft upright with just a paddle in my hands, and the thrill of the rapids.  There are also the cute rafting guides – and I mean every single one of them.  Who wouldn’t want to raft with a bunch of athletically-built river guys?

Then there are the trails all through the San Juan Mountains (which are part of the Rocky Mountain Range).  They’re perfect for running and hiking – which Jazz and I love to do to keep ourselves in shape for basketball and track.  We also ride our horses, Dakota and Cheyenne, along the trails and rivers, and let them cut loose in the beautiful meadows.  There’s nothing like feeling the wind whip through your hair while you’re on the back of your galloping horse.  And there’s magic in those mountains, at the holy places of the ancient peoples.  I’ve felt it.  I know.  Of course Jazz thinks it’s all bologna, but that’s just her.

There are so many other things to do in Durango that make it so cool – kayaking, canoeing, backpacking, mountain biking, rock climbing, hunting, fishing and off-roading, to name a few.  The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad – an historic steam-powered train with a haunting whistle – meanders through the mountains to Silverton, Colorado.  We have Fort Lewis College (where I’m going to go), Purgatory – or Durango Mountain Park – where I like to ski (and tried to kill myself boarding), and Mesa Verde National Park where the ancient Pueblo people built their cliff dwellings – way cool.  And last but not least – and where I like to hang out – is our old west-style Main Avenue.

Speaking of Main Ave, I have several totally favorite places there.  I’ll tell you about my beloved Magpies – the best coffee house – next time.

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