On My Bookshelves

You can count on this: if you invite me into your home, I'm going to browse your bookshelves.

Despite my interest in what books connect with you, interest you, bring you joy - More often than not, I'm always looking for common ground, delighted to see a book I love or that I've wanted to read sitting on your shelf. At times I peek at a book I dropped 40 pages in because it just didn't interest me in and, contingent upon how close we are, I may even tell you how much I disliked it and why.

These reasons and more are why I often find myself gazing at our two seven foot bookselves bolted against the West wall of our dining room. Our living room couch faces them directly coming from the East and as I sit and sip my morning coffee I often wonder, "What books do I need to hide for company coming tonight?", "What will they think of my addiction and grief book collection?", "Let's hope they don't see my crafty book collection and actually think I craft."

As Henry Ward Beecher shares, “Books are the windows through which the soul looks out.” 

Books speak volumes of where you have been, what interests you now and where you want to be. They speak to imagination, hopes, a rabbit hole to stories not yet told.

One of my most favorites services offered to my clients is opening up my lending library catalog and walking them through books of possible interest. Listening to the anticipation in their voice and directing them to a thoughtful book to match, inform, inspire. What better gift than to be offered a book that connects and properly informs during such a season as this?

Take a look! Any titles offered share a sliver of your birth story in this season? Do you have a favorite birth related book that's not offered and deeply connected with you? Would love to hear your thoughts and personal stories in comments.

A Few Simple Luxuries

When I take time to dive into the world of Myers-Briggs personality descriptions there are two descriptive traits that come up time and time again, Connector & Authentic. How I ever do relate! The idea of connecting people to great ideas, resources or other amazing people - The high I receive... I honestly can't stop smiling with delight. And the blessing/curse of authenticity. How often I have wished to live with a personality/conviction of  a lesser weight. But how freeing it is to live fully into it and embrace it for all the truth and transparency it offers.

With those two given pulses, the desire to connect you to rich content and amazing people, as well as the pull to live authentically, I offer you these delightful simple luxuries.

Over the years I found that centering my holiday purchasing on beautiful, ethically made, empowering gifts, these offerings to others not only speak of value to the person whom you're gifting but also influence so deeply those who created the product. Some of my favorite people have created beautiful gift guides to some truly great gifts that are sure to make the deepest of impacts. Sarah Bessey created an extremely thoughtful gift guide centered around gifts that empower women.  May, I tell you how long I have desired this necklace from this list. The degree of longing is palpable. Jamie Ivey (who offers such fun podcast every week with such inspiring people) put out an equally delicious gift guide that stands alone in regards to products made and the people your support through your purchase. Lastly, this past year I signed up to receive a Fair Trade Friday package each month and can I share with you, for this shopping hater, it has been a game changer. To have on-hand, throughout the year, a stock-pile of high quality fair trade items to gift. I am never ending my membership. They also have a number of one time purchase items and packages to choose from as well.

Last year, for my beloved group of close friends, I printed this poem, made it all sorts of fancy and gifted it as an offering of gratitude for the very way they embody the message. May you be filled with women who love as well.

Over the last two months I was gifted with the opportunity to attend two life-giving conferences. One offered time away to reflect, restore, and revive my weary heart. The other, a great excuse for a fun road-trip with my mom and three littles to Williamburg, VA and one and a half days of rich, full and life giving inspiration as I seek to nurture our home with the goodness of God and the fullness of beauty. Needless to say, both the Why Christian conference as well as the Wild & Free conference were filled with some wealthy & beautiful moments of being fully spiritually fed. You should all join me next year at each one.

                                     Sweet moments in the charming Williamsburg, Va.

                                     Sweet moments in the charming Williamsburg, Va.

It is no secret, I am a dedicated fan of Brene Brown. I believe her work has already begun to change our communities. So when I saw she was starting a new post series I dove right in. So should you.

Our family believes in reading aloud. We believe the research that supports it, the time it offers our family to gather together, the rich content it provides and the many discussion points it gives us to connect with one another throughout the days. So when I read this article, I couldn't have been more filled with delight.

Lastly, aren't these beautiful? I think our family is well on our way to gifting our Nature Pals with some beautiful natural holiday delights.

Have a great weekend and remember - You are enough and have fun enjoying the simple luxuries of the everyday.

A Few Simple Luxuries

Last night we lit the candles and dined on warm soup, crusted garlic bread and mulled wine.

Babies climbed under and around the table, finding rest in various cradled arms, bumping their heads time and time again on both wooden and human legs.

As infant comforting and conversation were continually on our lips and in our arms, our friend, a new mom of one new joyful soul, gently looked over and almost in a whisper shared, "Babies just don't need much, do they?"

One question I'm asked more often than not is this, "What do I need to get to prepare for my baby?"

Oh dear friend, if you only knew.

If you know knew that all your baby really needs is you.

Yes. Diapers & wipes, onesies and sleepers (both optional items for summer babies most of the time), and yes, a few blankets and bottles will do as well.

But at the end of the day, all your tiny needs is you.

Often times though, in the midst of this romantic notion of truth that you are enough, the questions still remain - what do I really need, as in tangibles?

Oooooooh, that kind of need!

                                                      Image Courtesy of Creative Commons

                                                      Image Courtesy of Creative Commons

As questions such as these have come to my attention time and time again I thought it may be time to add a little component to this blog. Let's call it... Hummmm... A Few Simple Luxuries.

Because all of which I'm going to share are not necessary to caring for your little or for you, but good books, good food, good tools, and sound resources - all these simple luxuries of life do make parenting that much more enjoyable, life-giving and, dare I say, a bit easier at times?

So at least once a month I'm going to share with you, my lovely readers, clients, and friends, a few of my most favorite luxuries that bring life and joy into the everyday.

We'll dive into recipes (we're talking quick calories here, by no means full meals - who has time for that?), influential or simply good books (some of which you can check out from my lending library if you're a client), baby items (because for the LOVE do we really need everything in Bye Bye Baby? No. The answer is no.), and quite possibly a note or two of something I have learned along the way.

So without further ado, here’s our first few simple luxuries.

When a good friend was given a difficult diagnosis that put her in bed for months upon months, her community rallied. We're talking a Take Them A Meal schedule set up for multiple meals each week for months on end. It was an act of God really. When visiting one weekend, these (or an adapation of these) showed up at her doorstep and were immediate stock for her freezer, for the days when the only energy available to make a meal for her family was to open the freezer, heat these up and let it be. They were also the inspiration for my many dozens of burritos made and frozen in the weeks before we welcomed Matthias. 

Speaking of Matthias, let's talk teeth. And while we talking teeth can we talk about how much I dislike these? It's not personal, the theory is good, the execution and the time it takes to clean them, not so good. Let me tell you where teething relief is at. It's all in the blessed gift of the frozen blueberry. You've got it. Keep a bag, or 15, in your freezer and you have the most relieving tool you could ask for. Take a handful, plop them your little ones highchair tray and let them live in sweet healthy relief.

I recently recommended this beautiful book and much in the same vein, I'm going to recommend Spirit-Led Parenting by one of my favorite podcasters, Megan Tietz, and co-author, Laura Oyer. These two books only begin to unveil my bias toward the aformentioned belief that you are enough. Never-the-less, affirmation of such is always welcome and a few tips and suggestions along the way never harm.

All three of our littles were welcomed into our family in sunny months. Months when the sun rose earlier each day and stayed high for longer moments into the evening. When I think back to the early days, the days of new baby and wanting so desperately to soak in that sun both on the beach and in our backyard, I grow more fond of this gift were were given at one of our first baby showers. This little tent we used from the beaches of Hawaii and Lake Michigan to the grass in our front yard and into the blushing strawberry fields. When our littles needed to rest and I needed to move and wanted them close but not vulnerable to the sun and overly curious neighbor kids, this tent (now out with a much more updated look and safety features) was a saving grace.

Have a great weekend and remember - You are enough and enjoy the simple luxuries of the everyday.