Election Day

I was going to simply post this on Instagram to share. But then I realized how much I actually had to say, and decided to go ahead and turn it into a post.

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I’m not one to get political. Like at all. Much like religion, we all have our beliefs and ideologies that we live by. They may be the same, or they may differ, but we each have the right to our own thoughts and opinions and I respect that.

But allow me to stand up on my soapbox for just a moment. I’m not here to tell you WHO to vote for. Don’t worry. I’m just here to tell you to VOTE. And not just for the president. There is much more at stake than just the top seat of our government. Yes, that’s a big deal, but there are candidates and issues much closer to home that need your vote as well. Candidates that will represent you at a much more direct level. These aren’t candidates in some far off seat in Washington. These are the people running for public office in your own backyard. They will be the ones that create, enforce, and protect the laws within your communities. They’re the ones that will vote to put a stop sign in your neighborhood. The bonds on the ballot for your city will go toward funding the police that will pull you over for running that new stop sign. They will be the judges that preside over the court you have to go to in order to pay your traffic ticket. There will be levies for the schools in your community. Bonds that create and maintain parks, replace aging sewer lines, fix the road outside your home. You may not like the top of the ballot much, but there is a lot of important things going on down below that need your attention just as much.

But let’s talk for a minute about that top part of the ballot. Again, I’m not going to tell you who to vote for. But we all know that there was a LOT of drama surrounding this election season. On all sides. Very serious accusations all around. This is the 5th presidential election I’ve voted in, and I can’t remember one that was this polarizing and divisive. But before you cast your vote and hit that confirm button, take a moment to stop and think. Put all of that drama on the back burner for just a moment and take a deeper look at the candidates on your ballot. Think about the policies that they will enact as President. Think about what their presidency means for you, your family, your friends and coworkers, and the community around you. The next 4 years aren’t just going to be about hot mics and email servers. There are actual laws that will be created. There will be communcation, negotiation, and trade with other countries around the world. Think about that for just a moment before you push a button to cast a vote. Which of the candidates aligns with the beliefs and ideologies that you live by? You may not like anything about the other candidate, but does the one you’re voting for really represent you? The same thing goes for all the candidates below that top spot too. Do they represent the community you want to live in? Remember, they’re a lot closer to home.

I probably should have posted this weeks ago rather than halfway through Election Day. It’s been weighing on my mind for awhile now, but it finally bubbled over after I went to cast my vote today. I was going to wake up early and walk to my polling place, but I slept in. I didn’t leave my house until noon. But it was fine. I walked down the street to the church where I vote, telling myself I would use my stopwatch app on my phone to time my experience to see just how long it would take.

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Under 7 minutes. From walking through the front door to walking back out again, I was done in less time than I would have waited at Starbucks. It was an easy, painless experience. I was not hassled. I was not intimidated. Everyone was polite and courteous, from the poll workers to the other voters. I know my experience isn’t going to be the same as everyone else’s. I know there are people that will wait in ridiculously long lines. I know there will be people who feel pressured or intimidated by others around them. I wish that weren’t the case. I wish everyone would have the experience I had today. But regardless of the issues that may arise during your experience, I hope you stick it out, persevere, and allow your voice to be heard. There are many who came before us who have fought long and hard for our right to be heard. There are many who are still fighting for that right. Honor them by exercising that right.

There were 2 girls who were at the polling place at the same time who were voting in their very first election. Several of my coworkers are voting for the first time. And I’m excited for them! This is such an important election to allow your voice to be heard for the very first time. But I know a lot of my Bookstagram followers and people I follow aren’t old enough yet. To those who can’t exercise that right yet, I say– Pay attention. Just because you can’t make your voice heard this time, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be watching. Use this election as education. Take this time to understand how important your voice is when it’s time for you to use it. Take a deeper look into the candidates’ policies and ideologies and see which one you start to align with. You may not know much about taxes and trade and foreign policy, but that’s okay. There are still issues I’m sure you feel strongly about already. Begin to recognize those issues, so when you’re time comes, you have a head start.

And I implore you, whether you’re voting for the 1st time or the 10th– vote with your heart and mind. Not anyone else’s. You don’t have to vote the same way your family does. Trust me. I’m the lone Democrat in a family of Republicans. But you also don’t have to vote strictly with the party you most identify with. After taking a couple hours to research all of the candidates on my ballot, I voted for nearly as many Republicans today as I did Democrats. Because I voted for who I felt was best qualified for the job and who represented my ideologies the closest.

So I’m not going to tell you WHO to vote for. I’m simply telling you to VOTE. With your own heart and mind for the candidates and issues that best represents YOU. This is your government. Make sure your voice is heard.

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Hotel Ruby

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From Goodreads: Stay tonight. Stay forever.

When Audrey Casella arrives for an unplanned stay at the grand Hotel Ruby, she’s grateful for the detour. Just months after their mother’s death, Audrey and her brother, Daniel, are on their way to live with their grandmother, dumped on the doorstep of a DNA-matched stranger because their father is drowning in his grief.

Audrey and her family only plan to stay the night, but life in the Ruby can be intoxicating, extending their stay as it provides endless distractions—including handsome guest Elias Lange, who sends Audrey’s pulse racing. However, the hotel proves to be as strange as it is beautiful. Nightly fancy affairs in the ballroom are invitation only, and Audrey seems to be the one guest who doesn’t have an invite. Instead, she joins the hotel staff on the rooftop, catching whispers about the hotel’s dark past.

The more Audrey learns about the new people she’s met, the more her curiosity grows. She’s torn in different directions—the pull of her past with its overwhelming loss, the promise of a future that holds little joy, and an in-between life in a place that is so much more than it seems…

Welcome to the Ruby.

After Audrey’s mother dies suddenly, her family life spirals out of control. While she’s acting out, her father is closing himself off. After a wild party where Audrey loses control, her father decides to send her and her older brother Daniel to live with her grandmother. But first they stop at Hotel Ruby for the night. The hotel may be out in the middle of nowhere, but it’s far from boring. A one night stay turns into days as Audrey and her family get caught up in the hotel life and all it has to offer, including love. Maybe staying at Hotel Ruby wouldn’t be such a bad thing. After all, the motto there is Stay tonight. Stay Forever.  Continue reading