Eager to post about today's link up, I got hung up on the word "young" and immediately felt conflicted about my participation. Having just turned 40 in February, I am still adjusting to this new stage in life, and am continuing to accept that I am not old but that I also am not "young". In response to this week's linkup, I'm recommending these books to my twenty something self (and other women into their third decade of life) and hope that you see something that you'd like to read or recommend too. 

I had just gotten out of college and was burned out on reading books that my professors required me to read (I was an English major at the University of Wisconsin - Madison). I was twenty one and sick of reading and writing papers about what I had read. I did not choose to read for fun until in my late twenties/early thirties (I know, sad right?) or at least I don't recall reading any books that I chose having a robust impact on me.

So, I am recommending these five books for young women in their early twenties. Note that there are no books about my blackness or culture - I did not delve into this part of my life as a reader and am still working to be more conscientious about ensuring that the books I choose and recommend for my child incorporate this part of who I am. This is my list of books that I think young women should consider delving into and all for the same reason...

Who are you, really?

Do you know yourself? Do you study yourself and know your weaknesses and strengths; triggers and hang ups? Do you know your baggage and your prejudices? Your insecurities? Read these books and ask of yourself - do I know me and do I love me?

Are you the type of woman who is great at helping every other woman with their problems, but blind as a bat when it comes to your own issues as Anna was in Anna Karenina? Do you use shopping and credit card debt to create and live in a world that you cannot afford like Rebecca Bloomwood in Confessions of a Shopaholic? Do you feel torn between culture and love like Sayuri in Memoirs of a Gesha; if you do are you able to remain poised and calm despite watching your life fall apart? Are you or do you know Dolores Price in She's Come Undone? Dolores is an overweight, depressed, social misfit. She struggles and her story pulls on your heart and you must ask yourself have you mistreated or befriended a woman like Dolores if you are not her? Do you accept what's been put before you without asking more questions? Do you think there is more and are you willing to work at being your authentic self in order to reach your goals, experience your fullest potential and live the life that you want to? Read, Something More: Excavating Your Authentic Self

I am constantly encouraged by how women overcome their challenges. It comes back to introspection and being honest about what you see in yourself, listening to your gut. I would encourage all "young" readers to read every book and ask about one's own self while reading. Every fiction piece has at least a slice of truth and can be an opportunity for each and every one of us to learn about ourselves and grow from what we learn.

If you are a woman looking to grow closer to God or grow firm in your beliefs about what He values in you, consider these titles. All of them include scriptures and in one way or another cut to the heart of our pain, insecurity and lack of trust. I have marked up my copies with many comments about how relatable the text was to my own life - usually things that happened young in my childhood or in my twenties. I appreciate the constant theme of God's perfect love throughout all of these books. Each requires that the reader take time to do some emotional and mental work and take a vivid look at their own lives and then to go and grow...closer to God.

I was very encouraged to see some overlap at The Very Unofficial Adult, (Bee)autiful Blessings, The Daily Distraction and a lot of new books to add to my GoodReads bookshelf.  I still have so much learning to do and look forward to reading about these books on my journey.

I am so excited to participate in the Preview to Summer: A Blogger Book Swap!

The second step in this swap is to share three of our favorite books. As everyone else has shared, choosing only three is a challenge, but these are the ones that continue to leave a mark on me.

1. The Bible. I read it almost every day. Almost 14 years ago, I was baptized into Christ. The Word of God has been incredibly relevant in my life throughout the past decade and a quarter. I am thankful for the words of encouragement, the promises and the expectations that God has for me. I hope my love for God is recognized in all I do; I only get the strength to follow Him and do His well by reading it and feeding on it everyday.

2. Eat, Pray, Love. I read this book over 7 years ago. I had been widowed and felt lost as to what I ought to specifically do next, how to actually move forward. I knew God was there for me but was unsure about how to step out into the world. I don't even recall how I finally got my fingers wrapped around this book, but am glad that I did. I could relate to a lot of her thoughts and feelings about herself; things she had suppressed for so long and that finally came to the surface. I was flying someplace, I don't recall where to, and remember reading this book on the plane and having to quickly cover my mouth to stifle a loud guffaw (yelp, inappropriately loud laugh) in response to the words on the page. I did not want to the book to end and to this day have not read the final page. 

3. Harry Potter. I think this is one of my favorites because I have read the entire series twice but more importantly, the legacy has lived on because my 13 year-old son has read it three times. It is a bond we share, a language we speak and it is all the more sweet because he was reluctant to even pick it up. Now, we laugh because I am able to choose books that I've not even read yet that turn out to be of interest to him, keeps him a hungry, hungry reader and his imagination vivid and youthful. I attribute that to the trust that Harry Potter helped me build with him. 

I am enjoying hearing about other folk's faves. So many books, so little time...

Don't be too hard on me, it was my first opportunity to make a guest 'appearance' on another blog and I was nervous - I took it as seriously as I took writing my graduate school papers.

They were looking for writers and I put my name in the electronic hat and they said yes and the post has been posted!

Please take a few minutes to read the post (also on BAIWB under the Woman section) and leave your comments. Also enjoy the other posts by 'Blogs by Christian Women". These young ladies are trying to do something really great for God and I am really thankful to have been a part of it making my debut out there talking about being real women of God.


Click here to see the books that I am reading and "reviewing". I intended to read so many books about blackness and being black and the black community (you get the idea) and then decided, I needed to read what called to me, what was recommended by trusted readers or what was given to me for free. Take your time, I hope you find a book or two that you like and recommend some of your favorites.

Film Critic.

The son that is most interested in and on the road to film school has motivated this page of my blog. Rather than allowing him to think that movies like Shrek and Megamind (enjoyable no doubt) are classic films, we have a plan in place to tackle these 100 "greats" before he graduates from high school in 2017. We watch them and he helps me write the reviews that you see on this page.

City Girl.

I am a (mid-sized) city girl and really enjoy it. Unfortunately, Milwaukee is one of the most segregated cities in the country. I live in a suburb of the city, but work in the city of Milwaukee and know that I need to learn so much more. These are my adventures, or at least will be as I get out and about more this summer. Pack your passport (or your equivalent since you won't be leaving the country, ahem - you get the point), I'll be your guide. 

This whole blog is about my take on life as a black person. It became incredibly clear to me though that the plight of a black man is significantly different than that of a black woman, so I wanted to write about that and also wanted to share my faith. Being a woman is something that I enjoy and appreciate, but also want to demystify for myself and any readers who think similarly about womanhood the way that I do. I believe that in all of this, God has a plan for my life and has chosen me to be me (black, female, middle class, etc.) and this section is about my musings and experiences  specifically connected to these characteristics.
I met a friend for sushi on Thursday night and though I arrived late (wrong sushi restaurant) it was a delightful experience. 

First, a little context about my personal relationship with sushi...

While living in Minneapolis, Minnesota less than 15 minutes from the Mall of America, I was introduced to the loveliness of sushi by one of the sisters in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Church of Christ. We were both temporary residents (me for family, her for business) and we hit it off right away. I can not recall the name of the lovely - small, intimate, wonderful - sushi joint but I went back a couple of times with this now dear friend, took my dad there when he visited and went alone many, many times. I experimented with lots of different rolls (no raw fish at this time) and thought I was a tough girl for embracing the pain of wasabi. You know what I'm talking about. It's not good wasabi if you don't need to wipe your running nose. And let's be real, it's just the Asian version of tabasco sauce, ain't it?

Anyway, over the years and after finding favorite spots in Madison, Wisconsin and on trips out of the country and on cruises and in other parts of this country, sushi restaurants have been some of my favorite places to eat.

I was so excited to visit with this friend - it had been almost a year since we'd seen one another- and the lounge was fairly dark, I forgot to snap some photos of our yummy dishes but we started with a yummy, beautiful to look at tuna spring roll. Its texture is something to adjust to and I have to remind myself that it is not cooked but the flavors were just magical. Really, it was very good. We had a glass of red wine (her a merlot and me an Australian wine with blackberry and currant) and water and ordered our rolls as we were hungry for them.

The menu at Wasabi Sake Lounge is not overwhelming - I get overwhelmed by too many choices (like the Cheesecake Factory Menu) and knew that practically every choice would be a winning one and it was.

We had the Wasabi, California Crunch, Oh-My-God (it came lit on fire!) and the Las Vegas signature (maki) rolls. There were no and I mean absolutely no cause for complaints.

The decor was fantastic - modern, clean and very night out on the town without being too over the top. Our waitress' name was "Air" - yes...like the "air we breathe". And though I digress, I must tell this truth. As soon as she spelled it out for us (of her own volition, though I was glad she did because I was almost certain she couldn't be for real), I thought to myself - MUST WRITE POST ABOUT NAMES BLACK PARENTS GIVE TO THEIR CHILDREN. Air was a fabulous addition to our wonderful experience at the Wasabi Sake Lounge and I will certainly return for celebrations, times to reconnect and quite possibly even by myself (yes, I do go to restaurants by myself with a book!).

For the record, anything tempura is going to make its way into my belly and into my top five sushi favorites. Maybe this alone would bring more black folks to a place of attempting sushi. I was the only black woman in the spot, from people working there to people eating there. Didn't mind it one bit though because my loyalty to the enjoyment of good food outweighed my need to fit in or be within the "proper stereotype". If you're reading this and are on the browner complexion spectrum, we could go together next time and increase the blackness of the 'sushi experience' for ourselves and others.

So, while it may not be common to see black folks enjoying sushi, this girl does and gets more adventurous with it each and every time that I get to go. Next time, saki!