***INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY*** This is Not How it Ends {Rochelle B. Weinstein}

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest blog review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I absolutely loved Somebody’s Daughter by Rochelle B. Weinstein.  I read that book over a year ago and I still think about it.  If you haven’t read that one yet, do yourself a favor and read it.  It’s such an important topic and the way she presents it is incredible.  You can read my review of Somebody’s Daughter here.

So obviously when I was asked if I would like to receive a copy of Rochelle Weinstein’s newest book ahead of it’s January 1st release, of course I said yes!

When it arrived in the mail, I was surprised to find that it also contained this adorable little package of Kleenex.  How cute is that?!

Receiving this package of Kleenex was my first clue that I might cry while reading this book.  Ummm…I didn’t cry.  I SOBBED.  In the absolute very best way.  In fact, I messaged Rochelle Weinstein very late one night to share a fun fact that I discovered while reading…eye cream BURNS when it mixes with tears!  Who knew?! Like…for real. It hurt.

Synopsis:

When Charlotte and Philip meet, the pair form a deep and instant connection. Soon they’re settled in the Florida Keys with plans to marry. But just as they should be getting closer, Charlotte feels Philip slipping away.

Second-guessing their love is something Charlotte never imagined, but with Philip’s excessive absences, she finds herself yearning for more. When she meets Ben, she ignores the pull, but the supportive single dad is there for her in ways she never knew she desired. Soon Charlotte finds herself torn between the love she thought she wanted and the one she knows she needs.

As a hurricane passes through Islamorada, stunning revelations challenge Charlotte’s loyalties and upend her life. Forced to reexamine the choices she’s made, and has yet to make, Charlotte embarks on an emotional journey of friendship, love, and sacrifice—knowing that forgiveness is a gift, and the best-laid plans can change in a heartbeat.

This Is Not How It Ends is a tender, moving story of heartbreak and healing that asks the question: Which takes more courage—holding on or letting go?

My Thoughts:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

I truly loved this book.  In fact, it was among my favorites that I read in 2019!

The multifaceted characters, the intricate storylines, the beautiful settings…all of it spoke directly to my heart.  The depths of emotions that each character felt were so beautifully articulated and made my heart continuously see characters from different angles the further I read into the story. I LOVED it.  I found myself thinking of these characters when I wasn’t reading which is always the sign of a great book. I couldn’t wait to pick it up again each day!  I wanted to read quickly to find out what would happen and yet at the same time, I wanted to read slowly just to savor it so it wouldn’t end. I LOVE books that make me feel like that.

Over the past year, Rochelle and I have become friends and I’m so proud of her and of her beautiful new book.  It’s always tricky for me to review a book written by someone whom I adore…what if I don’t adore the book???  I’m happy to report that I truly love this book and it has absolutely nothing to do with how much I love it’s author.  Both this book and this author are absolutely beautiful!

These characters, these storylines, these settings…all of it will stay with me for quite some time. I really loved this book. You will, too.

Bottom Line

Read this book now.  Apply eye cream later.

A Conversation with Rochelle Weinstein, In Her Own Words:

How did you create the idea for your book?

The idea for This Is Not How It Ends came from her big sister What We Leave Behind. An early fan favorite, the novel captured a heart-wrenching love story that resonated with many readers. I’d been itching to write a similar story, one which pulled all the heart strings. And here we are.

What audience would be most interested in your book?

I’d say my books are for women of all ages. Especially book club readers. And I do have some awesome male readers. If you’re the kind who’s willing to go deep, I think you’ll find my work satisfying.

Where can your book be purchased?

Amazon and some select independent bookstores.

Use 3 adjectives to describe your book:

Heartbreaking. Emotional. Unforgettable.

Any additional information that you would like to provide about you or your book:

I love connecting with readers.  Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Book Bub, Goodreads, or Instagram. Also, sign up for my newsletter at www.RochelleWeinstein.com
Thank you! I’m so grateful to all the readers and bloggers.

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

***GIVEAWAY DETAILS***

Would you like to win a signed copy of This is Not How It Ends ?
I have 1 signed copy of to give away! 
If you live in the US, the book will be mailed directly to your home.  If you live internationally, an electronic copy will be sent to you.

To be entered, please complete these 2 simple steps:

1. Make sure that you are following and/or subscribed to my blog

2. Tell me about your favorite love story (it can be from real life, a book, a movie, etc.)

FYI here’s my answer:

**My favorite love story is my own!  My husband and I are high school sweethearts.  We broke up the night before I left for college…and got back together 11 years later.  We now have 2 children, bought a house in the town where we grew up, and our kids will one day attend the same high school that we did!  We drank out of our prom champagne glasses at our wedding and Jon’s prom bow tie is current;y displayed in our china cabinet).**

**You must complete BOTH of these steps to be eligible for the giveaway and you must complete them here on my blog (not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)**

Giveaway will close tomorrow (1/21/20) at 6:00 pm CDT and the winner will be randomly chosen and announced in Wednesday’s blog post (1/22/20).

Make sure you check the blog on Wednesday to see if you’ve won (you will have 48 hours from the time I post the winners to email me your mailing address.  If I don’t hear from you within 48 hours, I will pick a new winner).

If you already follow and/or subscribe to my blog, you are still eligible…just leave a comment below to be entered 🙂

Good luck!  Can’t wait to read your comments!

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

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Return of a Book Blogger

Happy New Year! This book blogger is back after taking some lovely time off to enjoy the holiday season with my family and friends.

This is my current situation as I’m typing.  Coffee, candle, and oatmeal straight out of the (almost empty) peanut butter jar.  Absolute perfection.  My kids went back to school today and my house is too quiet.  I’m sad that they went back, it’s been so nice to have such wonderful quality family time over these past few weeks!  Side note: this candle is one of my very favorite scents from last holiday season and this year I haven’t been able to find it anywhere!  I HATE when that happens…

It’s been such a wonderful holiday season over here, I hope you had a wonderful holiday season as well.  We celebrated 8 glorious days of Hanukkah:

Our perfect homemade menorahs:

My beautiful besties and I (we missed you, Beth!):

and kicked off 2020 with our dear friends at our annual NYE Tsukasa dinner. NYE is also my friend Bari’s birthday so the night is always extra fun!

This is the 4th year in a row that we have celebrated NYE with these dear friends.  They have 2 daughters and this was the first year that we were able to put all 4 kids at one end of the hibachi table and the adults at the other end so that we could talk.  It was GREAT!  The food was delicious and the company was even better.

Happy Birthday, Bari!

 

My son fell asleep in the car before we got home.  My daughter, my husband, and I stayed up until midnight wearing party hats and throwing confetti that my daughter made with a hole puncher and colorful paper.  A perfect ending a wonderful year 🙂

At one of our family Hanukkah parties, I chose the most perfect white elephant gift: cozy reading socks!  Ok, so maybe that’s not exactly what they are meant for but obviously that’s how I’m using them.  I love them!  White elephant for the WIN!

On the reading front, I’m currently reading this:

I’ve been SO excited to read this and couldn’t wait to start.  To be honest, I’m really not loving it but I’m pushing through (for now) with the hopes that it will get better.  Have you read it?  I feel like all of the other book bloggers that I follow all loved it…??? I’m reaaaaally hoping that my very first read of 2020 won’t be a book that I don’t finish…fingers crossed it gets better…

Look at this gorgeous new addition to our local mall! How amazing is this???

Our kids had many Winter Break sleepovers on our bedroom floor. When Jon and I came up to bed 2 nights ago, we found this next to our sleeping daughter. Looks like someone read herself to sleep using Mommy’s (ghetto fabulous) book light 🙂

I have some pretty lofty goals for this blog in the coming year and I hope you will be along for the ride!  I have some great giveaways already lined up, books that I can’t wait to read already on reserve at the library, and I’m super excited to be a guest blogger on one of my favorite book blogs in the coming weeks!

One of my blog resolutions is (as always) to increase my number of followers.  Please enter your email address to be notified each time I post so you’ll never miss anything on here.  Thanks so much, XO!

Cheers to an amazing 2020!

How was your holiday season? What are you currently reading?

Xo,

Jenny

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

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I Can’t Put This Book Down!

A book I literally can’t put down, holiday lights, a special reunion, a lovely new book in the mail, and a chance to theme out my daughter and I???  I’d call that a wonderful week!

My kids and I were driving around looking at holiday lights a few nights ago and we stumbled upon this house.  How beautiful is this?!

I had such a special thing happen earlier this week.  When I was in kindergarten, I was an advanced reader (no surprise there) and was pulled each day from my classroom to go into another classroom for advanced reading instruction. I loved my beautiful reading teacher so much and looked forward to spending time with her and her lessons each day!

Earlier this week, when I arrived to lead my storytime at a local children’s play cafe, my beautiful teacher was there with her granddaughter! We recognized each other immediately 🙂 I couldn’t believe that I was given the opportunity to read to my very own reading teacher and to be able to thank her for all she has done for me.  I was so excited to tell her how my love of reading had lead me to teaching elementary school for 14 years, currently writing a book blog and to now being paid to read to kids twice a week!

After storytime was over, her we had such a lovely talk.  We caught each other up on the past 35ish years (!) and compared our current “to read” lists.   We gave each other book recommendations and lots of hugs!  So special.

Speaking of book recommendations, I  CAN’T.  PUT.  THIS.  ONE.  DOWN.  I’m halfway through and am loving it so much.  I have no idea how this one is going to end!  Aaaaaand after I just wrote that sentence I realized the title of the book that I am discussing, lol.  I can’t remember the last book I read where I was this invested.  Maybe this adorable book?

I’m truly loving this one so far and I can’t wait to write a full review once I’m through.  (I’m so fortunate to be reading an advance readers copy…It officially releases January 1st).

I received this children’s book in the mail yesterday and it looks great! Full blog review and giveaway coming soon!

The library called last night…the book I’ve had on hold for weeks is waiting for me to pick up! Happy holidays indeed 🙂

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend…Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate! My daughter and I will be wearing these to her class party today 🙂

What are your plans for this weekend?  I hope whatever you are doing includes family, friends, love, and BOOKS!

Xo,

Jenny

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

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New Family Heirloom, What I’m Reading, and My Porch Goose

I received the most lovely text from my wonderful cousin, Shari!  The very day that I posted this post mentioning that I was so happy to receive the 1st in the Little House series for my daughter, she texted me that she has the entire series and wanted to give them to me!  How amazing is that?!?  I just love my family so much.  She asked that I keep them in the family and pass them along to my other cousins when my daughter finishes reading them.  Jamie, these are coming to you next and you can then pass them along to Catherine!  Our new family heirloom 🙂

Would any of my local readers like to have this copy?  Just let me know, I’ll put it on my front porch for you. 🙂  If not, I’ll toss this little gem into a Little Free Library!

I find it creepy how the baby was partially edited out in the different covers.  Why not just edit the whole body out?  So weird, lol. 

My porch goose is all ready for winter.  Love.

I will finish reading this book today!  Full blog review coming soon!

So excited to start reading this one next!  It looks amazing.

I’m a huge fan of Rochelle Weinstein both as an author and as a person.  If you haven’t read Somebody’s Daughter yet, I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend it.

Happy Friday!  What are you up to this weekend?  Ours will be busy and fun.  My kids have 4 (!) birthday parties, my son has a basketball class, and my husband and I are going to a fancy downtown dinner with his colleagues.  I hope you have a nice weekend!

Xo,

Jenny

Did you read this book?  What did you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate links.  When you order through these links, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

*If you already have a blog, please “follow” mine*

*”Like” my Facebook page (and please comment on, “like”, and share my posts)*

*Follow me on Instagram*

*Follow me on Twitter*

*Subscribe to my YouTube channel*

*Clicking and buying products through my Amazon Affiliate links.  The cost to you is exactly the same and I receive a tiny commission off of your purchases.*

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My Best 8 Tips on How to Get the Most Out of Your Local Library

Libraries are among my very favorite places on Earth to visit.  I may or may not have been known to visit more than 1 location in a day 🙂  I have 8 helpful tips on how to get the most out of your local library experience but first I’d like to highlight some of the many benefits that libraries have to offer.

Obviously the draw to libraries is the vast amount of literature offered.  You can name any topic in the world and the library will have a book (or be able to get a book) about it.  However, libraries offer so much more than just books!

Storytimes

Before I had kids, I dreamed of the day when I would be able to take them to storytime at the library (#booknerd). I’ll never forget when the day finally arrived.  The storytime we attended was specifically for preschool aged kids…and my daughter was 6 weeks old, lol.  Who was the overly excited new mom?!?  I remember walking in with my daughter and couldn’t wait for her to participate in the activities.  Again…she was 6 WEEKS old!  The lady leading storytime was so kind and told me that my daughter and I were more than welcome to be there.  As a new mom who was just excited to be out of the house with my brand new daughter, I was more than excited to stay. So basically I sang songs, listened to stories, and learned new rhymes along with all of the other preschoolers, lol.  My daughter slept through the entire storytime until she made the most gigantic poop in all the land…and of course her newbie mother forgot to bring extra diapers.  Of course!  I was so embarrassed and quickly wrapped her up in a blanket and fled the library without even saying good-bye to all of my brand new preschool friends and their mothers, lol.  Fast forward 7.5 years, another child later…and my kids both love storytime at the library.  AND they are totally age appropriate now which also really helps, lol.

DVDs

Checking out DVDs from the library is always such a treat for my kids! Holiday movies, classic movies, even entire seasons of past television shows (I’m looking at you, Full House and The Cosby Show).  There is such a wide selection of DVDs that the library has to offer.  I love taking advantage of this, especially for my kids.

Quiet Reading Rooms

Both of our local libraries have “Quiet Reading Rooms” where there are fireplaces, comfortable chairs, and…SILENCE.  It’s as dreamy as it sounds and I have spent HOURS in those rooms.  They are glorious.  The first time I discovered this room at one of the libraries, I asked to speak to the director just so I could thank her for the vacation I felt like I was just on in that peaceful room. 🙂

Sick Child?  No Problem!

One of our local libraries has the most amazing service.  You call them, tell them about your sick child’s interests, and within 2 hours they will put together a selection of books and movies that you can pick up at the drive thru to keep your little one entertained!  How awesome is that?!?

Side Note ***for the love of GOD do NOT bring your sick child into the library***

Programs/Events

My children have attended some amazing programs/events at our libraries.  Traveling zoos, jugglers, movie viewing parties, musical performers, and so much more!  One of our local libraries currently has a traveling dinosaur exhibit and I can’t wait to take my son!  Libraries offer amazing opportunities for adults as well!  Book clubs, classes, etc.

Libraries are truly wonderful places full of amazing resources and opportunities.  Some of my very favorite memories of my children were made within the walls of the library 🙂

Play Areas

Don’t even get me started.  UGH.  You can read this post to hear all about my feelings on this one.  Spoiler: I hate them.

Book Coffee Happy Pro Tips:

  1. If there is a book that you want to check out but your library doesn’t have it and can’t get it from another library, they might be able to order it…and you will be the very first person to read that new copy!  I have done this a few times. I loved that I was able to add some wonderful books to our library for others to enjoy…and I loved being the very first person to check them out!
  2. Place a hold on multiple books that you want to read at one time.  They won’t all be ready for pickup at the same time so you will have plenty to keep you busy while you are waiting or the others.  When you’re done reading one, anther will be ready for you!
  3. If you get the call that your book is ready for pickup but you know that you won’t be able to start reading right away, wait a few days before you pick it up.  Your checkout date begins from the day the book is actually checked out, not the day it’s ready for pickup. At our library, holds expire after 7 days so I plan on when I pick up accordingly, especially if it’s a popular book that I know I won’t be able to renew if I don’t finish reading in the allotted time frame.  **Be mindful of others waiting for these books and don’t do this often**
  4. Older books have a much higher chance of being available than new releases.  Always keep a list of older books that you would like to read in case none of the new releases are currently available.
  5. If you know there is a book coming out that you want to read, you can place a hold on it months ahead of time!  Get your name higher on that list before the book is even released!
  6. Many libraries have remote locations where items can be returned.  In my community,  there is a location at our grocery store and also at the community building where my kids take classes.  Easy!  Be sure to check and see where your library has remote locations.  I rarely return books to the actual library…but I’m always at these remote locations.
  7. You can return your library books to other local libraries, it doesn’t have to be to the library from where you took out the book.  Just be sure to allow travel time for the book to make it back to your library so you won’t incur late fees.  When you return your item to a different location, there is no way for that location to track when it was returned.  Only when it is actually returned to it’s home library and checked back in can that date be tracked.  Sometimes it’s just easier to return items other places depending on where I am on that day.  **Again, be mindful when doing this!  I would imagine that libraries don’t love when people do this often**
  8. Busier libraries will have a less likely chance of newer books being on the shelves (although these libraries DO tend to own more copies of these titles).  When there is a particular book I’m looking for, I know exactly which of our local libraries will have a better chance of having it on the shelf and which libraries I shouldn’t even bother trying.

Do you visit your local library?  What are some things that it offers?  Any tips you have for helping others to get the most out of their library experience?

Xo,

Jenny

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

*If you already have a blog, please “follow” mine*

*”Like” my Facebook page (and please comment on, “like”, and share my posts)*

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Sick, Reading, Coffee, and Books

My daughter has been sick.  There is nothing worse than when your child gets sick!  She was home from school for a few days last week and spent her time sleeping, reading, and watching episodes of her current favorite tv show (Bunk’d).  I bought her a present to cheer her up (shown with the humidifier which has been running every night for over a week in her room):

Her and I quietly reading together.  And yes, the bulb in her closet is pink 🙂  Obviously.

Last week was hard and I was exhausted.  I dropped my coffee all over the floor as I was desperately quickly trying to brew it because I was so tired from being up with my sick daughter the night before.  As soon as my son came into the kitchen and saw this, he thought that the coffee grounds were ants and he promptly freaked out.  Recap: I was dealing with a sick daughter, upset son, huge mess, and NO coffee all at the exact same time.  #momlife

Thankfully now it’s a new week and she’s feeling much better but I do think this nasty cough might be around for a while.  Ugh.

In book news, if you follow me on Instagram you know that I officially gave up on this book.  I found it VERY unrealistic and VERY boring.  Not to mention that I kept pronouncing the main character’s name the wrong way. It has gotten fantastic reviews from others who have stuck it out.  My general rule is when I use words like “stuck it out” that means it’s not a book I need to read, lol.

Also, if you follow me on Instagram you know that I’ve been receiving some very exciting book mail lately!  My dear friend Melissa over at Chick Lit Central mailed me these 2 books and I’m SO excited!  I’m halfway through reading Things You Save In A Fire and I’m enjoying it so far 🙂  Full review coming soon!

Rochelle Weinstein sent me an advance reader’s copy of her latest book which will be released in January 2020.  This beautiful book looks AMAZING and I can’t wait to read and review it!  Thank you so much, Rochelle!

I entered a Bookstagram giveway on Instagram and won!  Thank you so much to Flat Iron Books for sending me a copy of this book!  It looks great 🙂

I went to the post office to buy stamps (holiday card season is almost HEEEEEERE!!!) and the man presented me with 7 different design options.  Obviously I chose the one with a literary reference!

And lastly, this picture because it makes me smile.  Favorite coffee, favorite holiday cup, favorite color:

Happy Monday!  I hope your week is off to a great start.  I’m looking forward to Wednesday…I’m going on a special blog related activity!  Any guesses???  If you have been reading my blog since the beginning, you might be able to figure it out from this clue (that’s me on the top right):

Xo,

Jenny

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

*If you already have a blog, please “follow” mine*

*”Like” my Facebook page (and please comment on, “like”, and share my posts)*

*Follow me on Instagram*

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*Clicking and buying products through my Amazon Affiliate links.  The cost to you is exactly the same and I receive a tiny commission off of your purchases.*

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Bradley University, The 4 of Us, and Our Amazing College Experience

It has somehow been an entire year since our last college day trip down memory lane to Bradley University.  One of my very favorite days of the entire year.

**If you haven’t read last year’s post, definitely read that one before reading this one.  You can find it HERE.**

And yet here we are. 1 year later. And just like every year the 4 of us are given the gift of our 1 magical day where we can go straight back to where it all began. Back to the place where we found each other for the very first time…and haven’t let go of each other since.

Beautiful Bradley University.

Life gets busy but this one day is so important to us and to our friendship that we plan it months ahead of time. We even put 2 different dates on the calendar including a rain date in case of weather. We group text daily with memes and gifs which reflect how excited we are.  Nothing will keep us from our yearly tradition.

And just like every year, I’m in charge of breakfast. This year’s selection includes Greek yogurt, bananas, blueberries, peanut butter, and homemade apple muffins.

The 4 of us have been known as “The Goats” since the very beginning so this sticker is the absolute perfect way to decorate the top of each breakfast.

The car ride up is filled with retelling stories that we have been retelling for over 20 years. And yet somehow it doesn’t matter how many times we have told them, they get even more hilarious with time.  Laughing.  SO.  MUCH.  LAUGHING.

About 2 1/2 hours later…and we see it.  The exact spot where the bend in the highway suddenly opens up to the skyline which may as well be a banner saying “Welcome Home”.

We drive straight to the campus and suddenly…

We’re back.

The sights, the sounds, the smells, all the same. How can so much time have passed and yet it feels like just yesterday when we were wearing our sorority letters and Eddie Bauer backpacks while walking across campus? Wasn’t it just yesterday when I had a meeting with my astronomy teacher and told him that I didn’t understand cosmetology and he told me that word means makeup and the correct word was actually cosmology? Wasn’t it just yesterday when we were having class outside on a beautiful day and in the middle of a serious class discussion, I put my hand down on the grass and it landed straight into a pile of dog doodie? Wasn’t it just yesterday when the creative writing teacher said that the 4 of us should have our very own comedy sitcom because our friendship was so hilarious? How did all of this happen over 20 years ago?!?

The night before I turned 21, my best friends decorated literally every single sidewalk on campus with the words “Today is Jenny Zwass’s 21st birthday! When you see her wish her a happy birthday!” and “Happy 21st Birthday Jenny Zwass!  Your best friends love you!” When the sun rose the next morning, it shined on a campus dedicated to ME.  For the entire day I had literally EVERYONE on campus wishing me a happy birthday! Faculty, students, everyone.  Everywhere I went for that entire day, everyone knew it was my happy day. It was so amazing. I felt so special. Love my girls.

All of these years later there are absolutely zero signs of my beautiful birthday dedications from my special girls. And yet when I look at these sidewalks today, it’s all I see.

We head to the bookstore where we are surrounded by Bradley love.

These shelves used to be FILLED with textbooks!  It’s still so crazy to me that everything is now online.  

Avantis for lunch, One World for coffee.  Avantis gondolas are what dreams are made of.  And dream about them we have…for an entire year since we were here last.

Sigma Delta Tau. What if the 4 of us had joined 4 different sororities?  The night we had to “pref” during the sorority rush process and write down our 1st choice sorority I actually wrote down a different sorority’s name!  After I left and walked back to my dorm room, I was filled with the most unsettling feeling and walked all the way back across campus just to switch my first choice to Sigma Delta Tau.  Somewhere deep in my heart I knew just where I belonged.

What if 23 years ago I DIDN’T walk back and change that form???  What if I had kept it the same and had joined a different sorority?  What if I had never met my 3 soulmates?

But I DID. I changed it.  I proudly resubmitted my first choice with the words “Sigma Delta Tau” and the next day was accepted into what would ultimately determine the course for the rest of my life.

Walking in the front door today is walking directly back into the late night mini pizzas, the 90210 viewing parties, the chapter meetings, the secret sorority rituals, the corner kitchen table with assigned seats where the 4 of us ate every single meal together, the laughing…the LAUGHING….

….and we’re home.

We leave SDT and walk through the alley to our off campus house where we lived senior year.  We take our yearly picture on the front porch.  Oh the memories we once made just behind that door!  

Our rent in that massive old house was only $190.00 a month each. I had never written a check that big (!) and wrote my very first month’s rent check for $1.90. Once he received my check, our landlord came straight over to the house and gave me a lesson on decimal points 🙂

And to think that I almost burned down that house when I so long ago burned a pizza in the toaster oven causing flames…

We walk through the campus, relive our favorite memories, and laugh until it hurts. And when it’s time to drive back, somehow our friendship feels even deeper than when we had arrived that morning. How is that even possible after all of these years???

Our ride home is spent reflecting on the day, reflecting on the past 23 years, and laughing until it’s hard to breathe.

As I’m unloading all of my stuff from the car, the front door to my house flies open and my 2 footie pajama clad children run out onto our front porch literally jumping up and down yelling, “Mommy’s home!  Mommy’s home!” and just like that…I’m back.  As I fall asleep after this long day, I fall asleep with a smile on my face. My 20 something college self would be so very happy and proud with how her future life has turned out.

This year’s souvenirs:

A t shirt for my son, a glittery waterbottle for my daughter, 2 sweatshirts for me, 2 18 inch Avantis Gondolas, 1 container of Avantis ranch dressing, and 2 sorority notepads and 1 sorority shirt for my daughter (aka a TRIPLE sdt legacy…my mom and my great grandma were also in sdt)!

To My Goats: To think that when I first stepped foot on this campus over 20 years ago I did it without the 3 of you absolutely baffles me.

One of the greatest wishes that I have for my daughter is that she will one day experience a friendship like this. The kind of friendship where the word “friends” almost feels like an insult because they are not “friends”, they are family.

Love you, goats. Forever.

Thank you Bradley University for being our home base. Thank you for allowing us to come back each year and to relive the very best and very earliest memories of our lifelong friendship.

What we learned inside of the classroom was valuable but it’s what we learned outside of the classroom that was life changing.

And most importantly…thank you for bringing us to each other.

See you next fall.

Xo,

Jenny

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