Wednesday, September 23, 2015

REVIEW: When All Balls Drop + With New Eyes

My friend Sage suggested I read this book.  Now, usually, when it comes to her suggestions, I look at it as I'm a book blogger and she's a blog tour coordinator, but this time, after reading the description, I really felt like there was more to it, like she was trying to tell me something.  (And maybe she wasn't.  Maybe I was just reading too much into this.  Sage, if that's the truth - don't tell me haha.)  
            I have recently begun a new life for myself, somewhere far away from what I've known my whole life, after dealing with several bad events, and losing a couple of people (in one way or another) that I really cared about.  I felt like a friend was suggesting to me a book that I really needed to experience - and an experience it definitely was.
            I signed up for the blog tour - and took on both books.  Then, as what often happens with life, I got bogged down with job, editing, being a grown up ... and decided to just read the second book.  After reading the first two pages, I knew I had made a mistake.  There was a story in that first one, a story I deeply needed to read, and I was drawn to it so much that I put the second one down and picked it up.
            After a night of reading with no sleep, I have finished them both. 

Heidi had a life she was very happy with - she traveled around the world with her job, and was happily married to a man that she was deeply in love with.  Things were going perfectly, until the day that she found out not everything in her life was as it seemed and, when heading out the door to go for a walk to calm herself and get her mind straight, a branch from a tree fell on top of her.  The results: a severe head injury and a broken neck.  The next thing she remembers is waking up in a hospital, a couple of days later, with her husband and crying mother at her side.

This is Heidi's story, not only discussing her pain and how terrible it was for her to have to depend on others, but how she was able to get through it all and find a new meaning to life.  

I really enjoyed this book and am so glad that I read it.  It made me rethink a lot of things that have happened in my past and how I handled them.  Seeing the way she braved through heartache and physical pain, and the things she learned from that, was really empowering and I gained a lot of perspective from her story.    

"We cannot tear out a single page of our life, but we can throw the whole book in the fire."

This is Heidi's second memoir - and the next step to her emotional growth.  This book begins with a jump out of a plane and a trip to her childhood home.  And that's just the beginning...

Heidi really has a way with words.  She makes what is originally a sad story into something beautiful, and with her own brand of humor, turns it into an inspirational story that can help anyone and everyone who reads her.  To me, it's far more than just a look at what happened to her and what she has done since to create a new and better life, but a chance for others to see themselves in some of her story, even if it's drastically different.  Her words spoke to my heart, and I can only hope that other people learn from her story as much as I learned.

My favorite part of the story is when she goes back to Wisconsin and sees her old home, sees her dad's cabin, and the way she describes it - as if she's looking at a doll house replica because everything seems so small compared to what she remembers.  It made me think about the time that I went back and saw my grandparents' house, after years of not being there - I had felt the same way, having loved that place as a small child, and feeling like everything was just a scaled down size of the memories I had.

"Oh, how I had changed!  I was Heidi 2.0, albeit with some major bugs to work out."

About the author:
Heidi Siefkas is an author and adventurer.  Originally from small-town Wisconsin, she lives in Kauai and also calls the Midwest and South Florida home.  Heidi is currently writing her third book, Cubicle to Cuba, which features a humorous collection of stories about her travels to Cuba, Peru, New Zealand, Italy, and other far-flung places.
            Heidi invites you to share photos on social media that show where you are enjoying With New Eyes (#withneweyes).  You can connect with Heidi on her websiteFacebook and Twitter.

About the book:
Genre: Memoir, Happiness
Publisher: Wheatmark, Inc
Publication date: 8.5.2014
Pages: 270

Heidi Siefkas was a happily married, globetrotting professional who seemingly had it all - until a tree limb in New York's Hudson River Valley struck her down, breaking her neck and leaving her unconscious.  Suddenly, life as she knew it stopped.  She lost her independence.  She lost her career.  She watched her marriage disintegrate as she confronted a trail of devastating lies about her husband's double life.
            She had lost all that mattered, but she was a survivor.  She fought to restore her health, repair her broken heart, and rebuild herself.  Along the way, she gained clarity about her core values, ultimately coming to a deeper understanding of what it means to have it all.
            Through down-to-earth, short vignettes, When All Balls Drop shows us how it's possible to look up in spite of pain, deceit, and loss.  Heidi's memoir - rich with hope and humor - inspires anyone who's had to confront tragedy and reassesses their life in the wake of life-altering events.

Genre: Memoir, Happiness
Publisher: Wheatmark, Inc
Publication date: 8.13.2015
Pages: 170

Heidi Siefkas lost her health, her career, and her marriage after she was struck by a one thousand-pound tree branch.  While she made great strides in her physical and emotional recovery in the months that followed - an arduous process that she chronicled in When All Balls Drop - Heidi wasn't content to merely survive her setbacks.  The time was right to build a new life.  One she could live on her own terms.
            But what would a redesigned life look like?  In her quest for answers, Heidi returned to her childhood home in Wisconsin, dove into the South Florida dating scene, revisited old flames in New England, sold her first home, jumped out of a plane, and traveled alone to South America.  Every leg of her journey provided a healthy dose of perspective.
            With New Eyes is full of mishaps and bold decisions, all seasoned with sassy humor.  Through her signature down-to-earth vignettes, Heidi inspires you to conquer your fears, head for adventure, and be the captain of your own ship.

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