beautiful words

As you probably figured out by now, I’m a reader.

And because I just can’t help but share the things I love to read, apparently, today I am sharing a couple blog posts by someone else that I have just adored.

Why Your Kids Don’t Need a Super Mama – Ann Voskamp
“My kids don’t need a Super Mama. They need to see a Mama who needs a Super God.”

What To Do When You May or May Not Be a Control Freak – Ann Voskamp
In which Mark Buchanan says “Here’s what I’ve learned: Every impulse to seize control — is the Holy Spirit’s invitation to practice self-control.”

Ahh!! I so loved and needed both of those posts! And they were so timely. But then again, when doesn’t a mama need to hear that their kids don’t need a Super Mama?

And of course that second post popped up the day after I started reading Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay. So ironic, because I think Cline and Fay’s words are all about control vs. self-control.

Parenting with Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility

Yes, I added an another book to the list of four (now five) am already reading or about to be reading. Crazy? Nooo. I love it :)

If you want to see more links to blog posts about mama-hood that I enjoy, see my Pinterest board, Breathing Space for the Mama Soul. I try to only pin things that are encouraging to me. Nothing that induces a sense of shame, nothing about a specific parenting-style topic. Only words abounding with grace and the invitation to breathe deep and lean into a God who knows. The real words coming from the real hearts of real mamas.

 

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what I’m reading

A little more than a year ago I wrote this post about the books I was reading (and going to be reading) at the time.

This stage of life doesn’t always allow me to read like I would love to be able to. Lately it has been one book at a time, and a lot of times I haven’t gotten a chance to finish the book! I read most books these days as eBooks borrowed from the library, and sadly it usually takes me much longer than three weeks to finish a book. By that time, the book has expired off of my nook and then I either forget to re-borrow it, or there is such a long wait list that I decide not to place another hold on it. Bah.

I love holding a real book in my hands. But these days those books are in real danger of getting peanut butter and blueberry juice all over them. And I am in real danger of forgetting to return them and having more late fees added to my account (which already has $9 on it. Oops). I am very thankful that my husband thoughtfully bought me a Nook around the time we started having kids :)

Somehow, and I have no idea how since life hasn’t really changed too much, I’ve found myself reading more than one book again, though! And I’ve also found myself being able to read at least one chapter everyday, which is so amazing for this mom of two crazy boys!

But I love reading books this way. Sometimes you need a little bit of silly… to not think too much. And sometimes a book that causes thinking and introspection is a very good thing. I have three (soon to be four) very different types of books that I am reading at the time and I love it.

Like I said in my last post, I recently discovered that I love memoirs! Some of them, anyway. The honest ones… the ones where the author has been graciously brave enough to be deeply honest. Humor and look-you-in-the-eyes vulnerable sincerity can be a tough balance. So far I have read Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle and Paris, In Love by Eloisa James and absolutely loved both. Melanie talks about the first eight years of motherhood and Eloisa about living in Paris for a year with her husband and two kids.

So far Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes by Shauna Niequist has both of those characteristics that I loved about Melanie and Eloisa’s books – humor and vulnerability. It is so so good. I can not do the book justice by talking about it here. Just go read about it.

Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes

The second book I am reading is one that will probably take me a while. It’s just the kind that my mind can’t really digest quickly. I love what I have read so far, though.

Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home

The third book is one I am reading just for fun. It is one that my husband picked out for me (he’s good at that… he once picked a book from the library that ended up being one of my favorite series!). Fiction is easier for me to read before falling asleep because my mind is usually on overdrive already, and fiction seems to help me let all of those crazy thoughts settle.

Crown Thief

In the spirit of supporting another mama with young children, I bought this next book with an Amazon gift card from Christmas that I’d forgotten about. I am waiting for it to arrive. It is a collection of poems by Sarah Dunning Park. I can’t wait :)

Happy reading, friends :) please feel free to share what you’re reading in the comments!!

how to not write a fifty-first draft…

The boys are both napping.

I have a cup of green tea.

I have fifty posts in “drafts”.

And I have no idea whether this one will be published or if it will become draft number fifty-one!

How do you start a post after not writing publishing one for almost two months?

So how about some books, something new, and a few swirling thoughts?

You ready? Great :)

Books.

I’ve discovered I love memoirs. Or at least two of them. Click on the pictures to go to B&N and read about them!!

Sparkly Green Earrings: Catching the Light at Every Turn.      Paris in Love

Something new.

Theme days! Last week Eli and I watched The Tigger Movie with his sock tiger, read a book from the library about Tigger, and I drew a picture of Tigger for him to color. It was fun. But I think I had more fun than him :) We will be doing themed days again! I think it is a good precursor to starting Before Five In a Row with him in the fall.

Also…. Stitch Fix! If you have never heard of it, click here (I get $25 in credit if you use that link and sign up for your first fix ;) I probably can not afford to do it again unless I get credits, ha!

Basically Stitch Fix is a fun way to shop for clothes. It is also perfect for a stay-at-home mom who has precious little free time and also happens to hate the process of shopping (ahem…. me). The clothes are pricier than what I usually spend, but that doesn’t mean it would be out of your budget… I am an Old Navy clearance kind of girl. You fill out a style profile online, pick a day for them to send 5 items to you (you can ask for specific things or choose what kind of items – tops, bottoms, outer layers, jewelry, dresses) and then you choose what to keep. You pay for what you want and send the rest back for free within 3 business days. You pay a $20 styling fee, but if you buy even just one item that $20 goes towards your purchase! Basically free then ;) I kept two items – a lovely paisley maxi dress and a necklace. No, I don’t have pictures, sorry.

Swirling thoughts.

A Chinese proverb that has been on my mind for a while … “a woman has three hearts… one she shares with the world… one she shares with family..  and one she shares only with herself.”

And because Isaac just woke up I am hitting publish. No draft number fifty-one! At least not today ;)

Have a lovely Tuesday, friends.

Allow me to introduce you to some of my friends {umm, I mean books}

You can’t get everything you need from one friend. That puts an incredible burden on them! I may only have a few close friends, but I’ve learned that I can’t expect just one friend to be my everything, one-stop friend. {That makes friends sound incredibly used… but when it’s a friend, it’s a two-way thing, right? I’m sure you know what I mean}. I’ve noticed that I tend to go to one or two of my friends most often when I just need to hear “yes, my son does that, too” or “I feel the same exact way.” There are a couple other friends that I go to when I need that advice, to double-check myself – kind of hold my soul up to them as in a mirror. And there are other types of friends, too, you know, the ones you just really want to be around just ’cause you like them, but my point is… I’m not a one-best-friend type of girl, I guess.

So. I had this silly thought. Hang in there with me :)

Books and I are the same way. I am almost never just reading one book at a time {unless I am just way too wrapped up in the storyline, but those book-relationships only last a few days anyway! A book fling!? Ha!}. Take now, for example. I am reading a non-fiction book just for me. A non-fiction book for the purpose of learning. A fiction book, just for fun. And a more creative type compilation of  letters. And I have another fiction book waiting to be read.

That first book, the non-fiction, I have been working on for forever. Since last September. Mhmm. This book and I, we have a long-standing friendship, one that I am not rushing through. The second non-fiction, I am about a third of the way through and I’ve been reading it less than a week. The fiction – well, I tend to run through those fast. Book Fling, remember? And the letters. Oh, the letters. Those letters and I have an understanding that they’ll be there whenever I need them. Mentor-ish relationship there.

Do I sound crazy to you yet?

When I was in college, one of my most favorite things was when my advisor, and favorite teacher, and role-model for the type of teacher I wanted to be, brought in all the books that she was currently reading. And maybe a book she just finished. And a book she was excitedly planning on reading next.

So I am really excited because I’ve decided I want to do the same thing here.

Allow me to introduce you to my book friends.

They’re not in the same order as how I talked about them before. So we’ll go top to bottom.

Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freeman. This is the book I have been working on since September. I can not rush through it. I just can not. Each and every chapter has affected me a ton, and I take a lot of time to process. Plus, I’ve found that I read this book best when I have time to be quiet. And that time is not in abundance for me lately. And often I choose other things than reading during that time. Like napping. But I am 100% sure that Emily would say “yeah girl, nap!” But my real point is that this book is just so good. Not only do I love Emily’s style of writing, but her words are just so full of truth. She is even hosting a book club this summer for the book, so if you are interested, go here.  I also do not know if I can do the book justice by trying to describe it so just go read her summary :)

The Dog Who Knew Too Much by Spencer Quinn. This is the fourth book in a mystery series. It is told in the point of view of a dog who belongs to a PI. It is hilarious :) For some reason I just really love books told in unconventional points-of-view {point-of-views?}. Have you ever read Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann? If you haven’t, you MUST. Must, must, must.

Grace Based Parenting by Dr. Tim Kimmel. The title is kinda self-explanatory, I think :) And it is also so good.

{Not Shown, because it is in e-book format} Mother Letters curated by Seth and Amber Haines. Please please  click that link and read about how this e-book came about. Sweetest story ever of a true love-gift from Seth to Amber! And if you are a mama, and you need some encouragement, I’d say you need this book. Seth and Amber compiled letters from mothers to mothers. Encouragement-type letters, written to you. It makes me cry. In a good way. And I’m always crying anyway because I’m pregnant, but I’d bet that even if you aren’t, you’d shed a tear or two.

To be read next: Widows and Orphans by Susan Meissner. I love her books. And funny thing, I was inspired to look her up when I was reading a post by Emily Freeman about books that she was currently reading. See? These book list things are good things!

Sooo… if you have or make a list like this, tell me in the comments :) I seriously love to hear people talk about what they’re reading!

book lady

Two blocks into our walk this morning I spotted a bright pink sign that read 

BOOK SALE

Friday and Saturday, 9am-6pm

I immediately turned around to go get my wallet, and then trek back to wherever this book sale sign led, thinking of my recent fall into book-page art. Maybe I could find some old books to tear up!? (Ha, I never thought I’d ever type those words, but here I am!)

What I found instead surprised me… so naturally it ended up in my notebook … ’cause that’s what my notebook is there for – capturing moments, in word-weaving and sketching and what-ever-other-way-I-feel-inspired.

Sorry, it’s not the best picture…

I don’t even know how to describe her. She is full of life. And humor. And gratefulness. She asked about my son (who is 11 months old today!) And she talked to me as if she has known me for years. She got tears in her eyes as she told me of her husband who passed away, who called her “his bionic woman” because of all of the joint replacements, and her son who died 10 months after his father. She spoke with joy in her eyes as she remembered staying home with 5 kids, and all the baking, sewing, laundry, cooking, cleaning, and mom-ing that she did, often with a book no more than a foot away (or already in her hands). She spoke of God, like He was living and breathing right there next to her… as if she knows (and she does) that she is His.

She is beauty.

I bought two books. Mostly just because I had to bring home something from her, a tangible reminder. But I’m not sure they’ll be torn up quite yet.

And I might just go back there tomorrow.

Oh, and another journal page… from just now…

Linking up with Jennifer.

crocheted mushroom… feeling coming back

The other day, in the middle of completely unrelated errands, I passed a Michael’s and went in. I had a sudden urge to crochet a sock monkey hat for my little monkey boy… and the only yarn I had at home had become a surrogate litter box for my cat one day, when I forgot to clean his box out for weeks.

I immediately found the yarn I wanted but when I got home… a sock monkey hat did not appear. This little guy did:

I used the pattern here.

Lately, I’m feeling something come back that I haven’t felt in a while.

Long ago (before college) I used to sketch. I used to paint. I used to crochet. I wrote poems and sometimes I even shared them, those most intimate parts of my heart, with others.

And then I was hurt… I was criticized by someone, simply for the reason to hurt me. Their words and actions said I wasn’t up-to-par. I wasn’t good enough for them, I was selfish. I was just not good. And so I stopped. I stopped doing the things that I knew were the truest parts of me.

I’m reading Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freeman… and it has begun to free a part of me that had been locked up so long I thought it had died forever. The permission to create… the permission to be me and do what I was made to do, without reservation and without worry of what someone else may think of it (what they think of me), or their expectations or my own expectations, built from my imaginary ones of others.

For although I’ve created here and there for the past year or so… it has still all been done with reservation… with fear and LOTS of anxiety and the underlaying questions of “am I selfish? Am I not good?”

Oh but now I know… now I know that being good is not the question… being HIS is.