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Archive for February, 2011

Plan B

Today we were supposed to head north for the day to take in one of our favorite spots. It’s a magical place for us. There are tide pools filled with sea stars, tall Eucalyptus groves and miles of ocean bluffs to explore.  

Hailey hasn’t been there yet and it seemed as though this holiday was the perfect opportunity. Then, Phil’s throat started feeling funny. Prudence told us to stick to a more basic plan. And so, with a few tears behind us, we loaded up the car with simple snacks and explored a familiar path closer to home.

With kids comes the need to be flexible – to live it ourselves with the hope of modeling it for them. Sometimes this feels incredibly difficult. Other times, the beauty remains in tact. 

 

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The Bookshelf

I put myself on blog restriction a few weeks back; turns out this is a great way to get through paid work efficiently. With a mostly cleared out inbox I’m ready to resurface on the virtual front.  

My nightstand has a fairly neat stack of titles that continue to deplete my Post-It Tabs. It turns out that I’m just not a one-at-a-time book sort of lady. I’m okay with this. At moments I do question my behavior from the standpoint of  personal cohesion. Then I move on (and find something else to read). 

That as the backdrop, here’s some present day favorites.

 

The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean my Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun  By, Gretchen Rubin

This one caught my attention right away. Rubin is a professional writer, a wife and a mother of two girls whose age span mirrors the H’s. She has no intention of pulling an Eat, Love, Pray on her family (which I appreciate) but also recognizes the merit in searching one’s soul and taking intentional steps towards a happier existence. Some nights my attention has waned, but generally speaking her ideas have challenged my own and left me with some solid takeaways (like committing to a 10:00 bedtime and pursuing the end of designing a new blog). 

One Thousand Gifts: Dare to Live Fully Where You Are  By, Ann Voskamp

Within the first few pages, I found myself taken by Ann’s craft; her transparency borders on unsettling, yet dares to move through the realm of grief and hope in ways I’ve never encountered before.  

National Geographic Guide to the National Parks of the United States, 6th Edition

Last month I came up with an idea. It was birthed out of my desire to leverage the lifestyle benefits of teaching the girls from home. Like any decision, it can become easy with homeschooling to focus on what makes that commitment challenging. I don’t want to chose that path.

Enter, the National Parks book. With a bit of research I learned that there’s 58 of them. Here’s my thought – how amazing would it be to see all of them as a family before we send Hannah to college! I figure we can circle back to some favorites with the littlest once her sister is gone.

Phil’s on board with only slight hesitation based on his deep appreciation for his goal-oriented, deadline-driven wife. He did make me promise that the Virgin Islands would be our 58th destination. I agreed.  We’re starting this spring with Yosemite and Sequoia. This summer we’re planning to visit Rocky Mountain National Park. I find myself floating somewhere between giddy, sentimental and totally fixated on how we’ll pull this off. 

 

Jayber Crow  By, Wendell Berry

Oh Jayber. This insightful and steady barber feels a bit like an old friend. I’ve found my pace for reading Berry’s novel to match that of his protagonist. Still, its story continues to resonate and challenge me. And so, I keep going. A few weeks back I found a quote that I fully intend to site in my own book someday.

“That grief should come and bring joy with it was not something I felt able, or even called upon, to sort out or understand. I accepted the grief. I accepted the joy. I accepted that they came to me out of the same world.”

 In Praise of Slow: How a Worldwide Movement is Challenging the Cult of Speed  By, Carl Honore

I haven’t actually started this one. I checked it out from the library on the recommendation of my new friend Ann. Ann and I often find ourselves talking on the patio at church since neither of us have tapped into nursery care. The more I learn about Ann, the more I like her; she’s artistic, deep thinking and incredibly hospitable.  

She and her husband invited us over for dinner last weekend. It was one of those balmy January days where you’re tempted to call your friends who live in Colorado and casually bring up the weather.

They served up a grilled cheese bar on their barbecue. Imagine a nice loaf of sourdough with olive oil on hand to spray each slice of bread. There were various cheeses lining a wooden cutting board along with a plate of possibilities to add including but not limited to pesto, spicy mustard, fresh basil, tomato, avocado and prosciutto.

I kept my eyes out for a staff photographer from Sunset to show up.  Okay, not really. But in all seriousness, it was just such a nice evening as families that teetered harmoniously between comfortablity and class.

While this has very little to do with the book’s content, I’ll leave you with this; how could I not enjoy a read that was recommended from a woman who served kale chips right alongside bacon wrapped dates as appetizers for this fresh evening meal?

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