Thursday, June 30, 2011

Book Nook Early Summer Inspiration

I love to read. It is one of my favorite pastimes. I love finding a good book that will draw you in and that you wish you could linger with. The minute a good book is over you feel a sense of longing and almost loneliness. Fortunately for the last couple weeks I have had some wonderful books to linger with. For my birthday I received "Blue Castle" by LM Montgomery. It is a wonderful book about finding yourself and standing strong in who you truly are, plus it is a romance so it gets a thumbs up from me.
The next one is not a book but it too was a little inspiration in my day and it had my very favorite poem in it. Mr. M and I watched Invictus the last couple of nights...oh how I love Netflix. It was so uplifting. In case you have never heard it here it is.
William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
Int he fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but he Horror of the shade,
And yet he menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

My dear friend suggested I read this book and I was not disappointed. It is absolutely charming. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society has a funny name but was wonderfully written. It is historical fiction and like all good books made me want to know more about the actual events. It takes place during and following WWII in the Channel Islands just off the coast of France. So uplifting. As with all books about WWII I am in constant awe of those who endured it, and showed such amazing courage. I also can not fathom how there could be people who are so destructive of life, beauty and culture.
Finally, I LOVE this book. It is a new favorite of mine. My sister Alisa had read a review in the paper on this and picked it up. She devoured it and then loaned it to me. I love Alisa because she finds such great finds and then tells me about them. I too could not put it down. In fact I received it for my birthday from Mr. M and kids and last night picked it up again with the same effect, I could not put it down. It is based in Regency time period and is fun, romantic and interesting. The author Sarah Eden has quite a few other books that are currently out of print but scheduled to be released in the next few years. I can't wait. This was the perfect summer time read and I think I may read it again at the end of summer.

Hope you are finding inspiration and great reading this summer. I would love to hear some good book suggestions. I find myself in need of some more good reading.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Party on a Dime

I am always looking for great ideas that also are inexpensive. Simplicity is becoming a big part of my life lately. So these ideas are simple, inexpensive and super fun. My good friend had a bug themed party for her little girl...because she loves bugs. She printed off these butterfly coloring pages, colored them and hung them from the ceiling fan. They were so cute and reminded me of stained glass.

A Lady Bug cake....
This cute Caterpillar was made with construction paper and a plate for the template. It was darling.
My favorite part of this celebration was the Lady Bug font she found do make a Happy Birthday sign....LOVE it. She found the font online for free. Super cute, super simple and super inexpensive, but altogether it gives you a wonderful party. I LOVE these ideas.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Moments That Matter Most

What a perfect message for me today. To slow down and focus on what matters most. I have been in the frantic moments lately. Running from task to task and I have missed so many moments. I thought this was a beautiful inspiration for today.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Some Beauty in the Evening

I really should be in bed right now. I have spent the last week re-reading the book North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. It is an amazing book. It discusses complex political issues dealing with classes, unions and various stereotypes that if we care to analyze closely I believe we still face today. In the middle of all that she weaves a beautiful and powerful love story. Once again I have been captivated this week by her moving, lovely words. I love reading my favorite books and I completely enjoy then sitting down and and partaking of them visually. The BBC did a masterful job of presenting this book and it has become one of my favorite movies.

If you haven't seen it you should. If you haven't read the book you should. If you don't want a spoiler don't watch the clip above, but let me just say in my opinion it is the best on screen kiss I have ever seen. So tonight I leave you with the poignant and stunning ending to North and South.

Happy Dreams.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Running My Own Race

Sometimes when I get up in the morning and things are more clear from a good nights rest I will have the most amazing epiphanies. This morning I had a beautiful thought and wanted to share.

I am fairly competitive in just about everything I do. So often times when I view the world I view it as a race. However lately I've been thinking that we don't always start at the same point as everyone else. Example: I know people who were raised in loving homes and that from a young age their main focus in life was to thrive in the world where they were placed. They had people to guide and direct their life, and help them to see there great potential. They seem to have started out ahead a bit in the race. On the flip side of that I know several people who grew up in homes that were merely about survival. From a young age they were in a daily situation of self preservation for their emotional and physical selves. They didn't have help at home on homework or science fair projects. They merely hoped to make it through another day and often times to remain as invisible as possible another self preservation tactic. From my race view of the world I have thought well they started behind the others. So my rationale for a few weeks as been that everyone is starting from different places and will therefore get to the finish line at different times.

Today my big breakthrough was that we aren't running a race against others at all. This life granted to us by a loving Father in Heaven is not about competing with others, it is all about our own individual race. In high school I ran hurdles. I was okay at them, and mostly ran them because my dad had run them when he was in high school. As I tried to beat other scores and compete with those on my team and others I often felt discouraged. But as I practiced and put in the effort and focused on only me and what I was going to achieve I improved. I didn't improve to the point of winning every race or even placing most times, but I improved enough to run at Region as a sophomore a huge accomplishment for me. I realized today that in my own personal race it is all about personal bests.

I am running my own race on my own course. My course can be on level ground sometimes and many times it includes steep inclines, grueling obstacles and often times stormy weather. But I'm not competing against anyone. I am fighting for my own personal best.

I look at those who started out on bumpy courses and see the strength that they have as they continue to race the good race. To continue to get up when they have fallen and to achieve their personal bests.

As a mother I have learned this lesson over and over again. When I compare myself, my children or my marriage to others and then try to compete with what I see of others lives I only seem to feel more discouraged. Mostly because it seems that when my course is particularly bumpy I often look over and think "oh so and so is doing so well" thinking we are running the same race when that person might just be on a level surface of their current race.

When my competitive streak is directed toward myself is when I see the greatest actual achievement versus when I am trying to best someone else I usually don't do as well. When I focus on where I am on the course. What I am facing, and how best to get through the next section and improve my own personal best is when I seem to find contentment, real improvement and success.

So here's to running our own race and besting our own personal best whatever that maybe.