Becoming (Michelle Obama)

becoming

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African-American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments.

Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare. In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.

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I listened to the audiobook, which is read by Michelle Obama herself.

I have always been a fan of Michelle and Barack and family. I liked that they appeared to stand above many political pundits, as evidenced by Michelle’s “when they go low, we go high” slogan. I was also a fan of her political and social movements, championing health and fitness for children.

Listening to this book made me feel closer to her. That is a weird idea, considering that we have never met, but I felt like I gained a much deeper understanding of her as an individual – not just FLOTUS – and appreciated what I learned. She comes across as more of the high-achieving girl next door, rather than as the “elite” I always pictured her as.

She is relateable.

She is the epitome of the American Dream.

I am a Canadian citizen. I agreed with a lot of the policies and values that were championed by the Obamas but I think I was granted some emotional distance from the political drama that always seems to unfold in the USA, by nature of my geographical distance. I remember thinking about the insane and unrealistic expectations everyone seemed to have of Barack Obama when he was first elected. He was optimistic and a talented politician, but he was still just one man who was forced to work within the same political machine as each of his predecessors and successors.

Becoming obviously tells Michelle’s personal history, as well as chronicling many of the key points in her journey through the White House. It is very informative. It also put certain things into perspective.

I am white. Michelle is black. I am Canadian. She is American. I grew up in a small town, she grew up in the inner city of Chicago. We are a lot alike though.

History that seems to have occurred so long ago – like Jim Crow laws – isn’t so long ago when you think of them in terms of generations. To have grown up knowing people who were oppressed by those laws. To know that their grandparents – your great great grandparents – were slaves…. that is a heady realization. It makes you realize that those periods of history weren’t so long ago after all. I have greater awareness for the lingering affects of this history today.

As I mentioned, I was easily able to relate to Michelle at times. I never would have imagined that she was burned out by school. That she trained to get a prestigious degree in a career that she quickly discovered she had no love for. To feel burdened down by school debt, expectations, and difficulty conceiving. I was extremely emotional listening to her talk about her Dad’s death. And incredibly impressed over her career trajectory, and professional self-confidence.

One thing I learned about her husband is that President Obama always had to have something to attain and reach for. I couldn’t help but wonder, when you have held the highest office in the country for 8 years, what else is left to do afterwards?

On a more technical note, I did find that the recording of the book dragged. The narrative itself was great, but I sped up the playback to 1.5x, very unusual for me. Most of the word count is devoted to Michelle aged 5-30, with less than I expected devoted to the Obama Family’s time in the White House.

I particularly loved the stories related to her experiences with Queen E.

One lingering question I still have, silly though it may be, is how much freedom does the first family have to redecorate the private residence? Like, did Sasha have a pretty pink bedroom when they first moved in and she was still a young girl? If I ever had a chance to meet Mrs Obama, that would definitely be a question I asked!

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xx

 

Instant Family

downloadInstant Family is 2018 movie about a couple who adopts children through the foster system in California. This type of adoption is often referred to as “fost-adopt”.

Angie from This Gathered Nest featured the show on her channel a few weeks ago. She and her family are huge adoption advocates and I am super excited to share this film.

I saw it last night and it is sweet, funny and so so true. Although not a Christmas film, it is in theatres right now and I highly recommend you see it. It exemplifies many themes behind the true meaning of Christmas and will fill you with all the feels.

I really hope that this film inspires others to become involved in the foster care system. There are many more children than parents in the system, but there are lots of other ways you can also become connected. One example is working with local organizations to fund extracurricular activities, joining Big Brothers and Big Sisters, sponsoring a foster family for Christmas … the list is endless.

I really enjoyed this movie and it is one I would watch again without hesitation.

The trailer is available here.

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xx

Teen Mom 2 Returns

Teen Mom 2 returns tonight with the premiere of season six!

Teen Mom OG and 2 are the only MTV shows I like, but they are favourites of mine. I think most people have that one (or more) guilty pleasure television show(s) that they’re addicted to, and these are mine.

It is interesting to see the different paths that the girls have followed through life. I’m not a teen mother, but I find it inspiring watching them continue to struggle to overcome hardships and persevere. I have had more trouble that a lot of my friends to find my way in life and find schooling and a career and relationship that made me feel happy and fulfilled, so I can identify with many of the growing pains these ladies experience.

I was so happy during the previous season of teen mom 2 to see that Jenelle, who had been the “problem child” of her cast-mates for four seasons, has matured so much since then. She had gotten clean before but it seems she has stayed clean this time and went back to school and did well, studying all the time and spending time with Jace and then Kaiser, and realizing that she did deserve better and so do her sons.

I think the defining moment of season five was when she approached her mother about reclaiming custody of Jace. I expected this to turn into a train-wreck of a discussion between Barbara and Jenelle, particularly since Nathan was present, but it was a calm and heartfelt discussion between the two women. In that moment, you could clearly see how much they loved Jace and wanted to work together to create the easiest transition possible for him.

That situation was so charged, it was almost inevitable for confrontation to break out so it was surprising and gratifying that it didn’t. Even though I only know them through my television screen, I was so proud of their family at that moment and hope that they can continue to keep Jace as their focus, because that little boy deserves the world, and he deserves his Mom and Grandmother to work together towards a stable and happy future for him.

Excited to watch tonight and catch up with the other girls as well! Are we finally going to meet Chelsea’s new man on the show???

xx