Wednesday, May 10, 2017

I’m a Winner!

Don’t you just love that feeling when you win something?  As an avid reader and book lover, I am especially excited when I actually “win” one of the Goodreads giveaways.  Winning a FREE book to read, with absolutely no strings attached – how cool is that.  Although there is an expectation that you will write a review once you read the book, I usually write a review for all the books I read anyway so that seems easy enough. 

If you are not signed up on Goodreads yet – you really should think about it.  Basically, Goodreads is like Facebook but specifically about books.  On Goodreads you can not only make friends and share book recommendations, but you get the chance to win FREE books.  Authors provide a copy or copies of their books for the giveaway in hopes that winners will post reviews.  A good review can equal more book sales so this is an important form of marketing for any author.  The best part is that you can choose which books you are interested in winning.  I really enjoy historical fiction, so I can browse giveaways just about historical fiction or I can choose to browse all giveaways. There are also reviews and many ways to interact with books and authors.  

So far I have won over a dozen books through Goodreads in the past few years.  Check it out and start winning yourself.  

Sunday, May 7, 2017

I’m still Proud to be a CTRS

 Anyone who holds a professional certification knows that eventually it will be time to renew that certificate, so when I got the email reminder that it was recertification time again I was not overly surprised.  Even though it felt like only minutes, five years had quickly passed since my last renewal.  In the field of recreational therapy, we have a 5-year recertification cycle that requires certified recreational therapy professionals to complete a combination of professional work experience and continuing education or a certification examination to ensure continuing professional competence in the field. 

Even though I have not actively worked in the field of recreational therapy in the last 12 years, being a recreational therapist is a huge part of my life and my identity.  I am extremely proud of my years working as a recreational therapist as well as my years serving in leadership positions in not only my state recreational therapy organization, but also in the American Therapeutic Recreation Association as a member of the board of directions and past president.  Recreational therapy provided me with professional skills that I still use today in my teaching career.  Despite the cost and effort involved, I decided that I really wanted to do what it takes to maintain my certification.  I was so proud to receive my CTRS all those many years ago, and I am still very proud to hold that title. 

I am extremely lucky to have a supportive husband, so when I explained that I wanted to keep my certification and I would need to take a test, and it would cost a few hundred dollars, my hubby was completely supportive. 

I do admit, I was nervous.  Although I had taken the test twice before for recertification, I have not worked in the field and I am getting older, so I wasn’t as confident in my abilities.  I pulled out my old RT textbooks and began studying.  I completed several practice exams, and identified the areas where I needed to focus my studying.  I was amazed at the range of online resources that are now available.  I found quizlets that others had made, I reviewed terminology, and I planned some specific study time. 

The day of the test arrived and I will admit I was nervous.  I have always had confidence in my clinical skills as a recreational therapist, and I worked in a wide variety of settings, but that was a long time ago. I was very worried that my fifty-year-old memory and retention might be a struggle. 

I pushed back my fear and walked into the testing center.  A friendly but professional staff checked me in and showed me to my computer terminal – This was it, time for all that studying to pay off.  I began to review the questions, and while a few challenged my memory, I read through each one and felt confident in my responses, and yet……..when I realized I had come to the last question I felt that lurch in my stomach as I hit the submit button.  Those few seconds felt like an eternity until the computer screen updated to proudly boast that I had passed!

I am officially a CTRS for 5 more years.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Wildwater Walking Club: Back on Track by Claire Cook

We have all been there in our lives, struggling to find our own purpose, in Claire Cook’s most recent book, The Wildwater Walking Club: Back on Track, the gals from the Wildwater Walking Club help each other through their own struggles.  Noreen, Tess and Rosie hold each other accountable and encourage each other.  They are the kind of friends that everyone needs in their life. 
 The Wildwater Walking Club: Back on Track shares the power of friends and the need to go beyond your comfort zone, but it does so in a light-hearted and fun way.  Claire Cook is the master of reinvention and in this book she once again shows us why she earned that title.  The Wildwater Walking Club: Back on Track is the continuing story of Noreen, Tess and Rosie who are neighbors that have banded together through their daily walks.  In her usual sassy and casual style, Claire Cook makes reading feel like a chat with your best girl friends. 

 Each chapter starts with Noreen’s daily step count, and those of us sporting our own fitbit can relate to that daily goal.  As Noreen, Tess and Rosie ‘step’ their way across Europe, they remind us of the importance of having goals, making a plan to get there, and most of all enjoying time with good friends along the way.

 With vivid descriptions of the ship and each stop along the way, readers will feel like they are on a river cruise themselves.  Noreen, Tess and Rosie share a love of lavender and readers can almost smell the lavender as they read descriptions of the lush lavender fields in France.  Cook also incudes practical tips and recipes at then end of several chapters so readers can recreate them and share in the magic of lavender for themselves. 

 Part escape, part self-help guide, and all fun – this book is a great way to vicariously travel with Noreen and her friends and perhaps help readers find their purpose too. 

I highly recommend this book to everyone who could use some positive motivation in his or her life.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review