I’ve read some good books lately–and I probably won’t review most of them. Here they are…
- The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown: Very thought-provoking and challenging to the way I think about myself on a day-to-day basis. Similar to her TED talks, she talks about resisting shame and perfectionism and embracing our humanity, but she goes deeper and gets more practical. I want to read it in again to try and soak it up even more.
- Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist: This was a fun, refreshing read. I didn’t love every aspect of what she wrote, but I appreciated the honesty in her voice and how much she loves food. The recipes also look yum.
- Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor: As I’ve written, I’m into memoirs lately. This one, similar to books by Rachel Held Evans, speaks to doubt and questioning and identity-shifting in the midst of faith.
I’ve also got some good books on my night stand presently. (Like my dad, I like to read a few books at a time.) Here they are…
- Raising and Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman: I really, really love this parenting book so far. It speaks to the need to validate children’s feelings in order to teach them to be self-aware and able to regulate their emotions. I like how he goes deeper than just teaching “good” and “bad” behaviors.
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: I had the best intentions of re-reading before I saw the movie. My efforts are flagging, though. The most entertaining part is reading my notes in the margins from college.
- Unnatural Death by Dorothy Sayers: Classic early 1900s mystery–I’m loving it! (Says the girl who read through all the Nancy Drew Mary Higgins Clark mysteries in elementary and middle school.) Not necessarily an easy read–it takes me a few pages to settle back into the more formal language each time I pick it up. But I’ve been quickly drawn into the story.
What’s on your nightstand? What are you looking forward to reading this summer?
PS: Two great posts by Modern Mrs. Darcy–a great summer reading guide and why grown-ups shouldn’t finish books they’re not enjoying.
I’m thinking of painting the nursery floors white. With only one wall of two windows, the room could stand to be lightened up a bit. And the white foundation, beneath the furnishings, looks so fresh, yes?
Images from Houzz, Apartment Therapy and Door Sixteen
The Memorial Day weekend was the perfect time for a quick getaway to the mountain air.
We gathered for Dad’s big birthday. We read, took naps, played tennis, bocce and croquet, hiked and ate. All in 60-70 degree temps. It was marvelous.
This is one of my all-time favorite lines from The Office. We quote it a lot. Pam jokingly says it to Michael, who is awkwardly shaking his rump and leaving the room. I think this is also the episode where he wears women’s dress pants, which seem to accentuate his behind.
The title of this post also reflects how I feel about the culmination of 9 seasons of The Office. Please don’t go. It’s been the only TV show that I’ve watched in total, and almost entirely season by season, instead of binge-watching on Netflix. Jim and Pam’s romance seemed to coincide with my own marriage in some ways. (Pretty sure I cried when they got hitched in Niagara and had baby CeCe.) I laughed at the ridiculousness of Dwight and the practical jokes between him and Jim. I felt tortured by Andy and his growing pains. And I often wanted to shake Michael for being so obnoxious and selfish.
I feel like I grew up, from a college girl to an adult, alongside Angela, Oscar, and Kevin. And I struggle with change. So, even though the last season has had its ups and downs, I’m sad to say goodbye.
Without spoiling anything, I think the last episode ended well–it made me feel good about where I am leaving the characters. As I am writing, there are many moments that are coming to mind as my favorites over the years. Like when Michael follows the faulty GPS and drives his car into the lake–just to prove that technology stinks. Or when Pam accidentally nurses the wrong baby in the hospital. And when Darryl teaches Michael fake gangster communication–Fluffy Fingers and tickling. Or when Michael hits Meredith with his car. And when Jim dresses up like Dwight in all brown and acts like they switched bodies. Ahh, I could go on.
It’s the end of an era. What will you miss about The Office?
Image via showbiz411.com
Campbell turns one today, May 15! I’m tempted to say that her birth feels like yesterday because the memories of that day are so vivid. I remember my water breaking at 2 a.m. The hubs packing, checking, and re-packing the hospital bag. Snuggling with Finn while I finished up last-minute work emails from bed. The drive to the hospital and ride up in the elevator. The pain…and then the relief of the epidural. Hanging with our sweet family members who arrived throughout the day. Pushing–then having to stop–then pushing again. And then the silent (and scary) emergence of our sweet baby. Her screams after a minute. Our family rushing in to hold her. And then, after they left, the question of “what next?” I’ve maintained that that first night was more traumatic than the birth– the hubs understandably had drifted off, and I was alone, exhausted, and overwhelmed by this new life. I was so afraid I’d drop her, but she wouldn’t settle in the bassinet. But morning came, and slowly we were able to relax as we learned-by-doing to be parents, and it got better.
While I’d love to write that this year has been the happiest (and quickest) year of my life, in reality, it’s been a long year full of change and challenges. The adjustment to motherhood has involved a steeper learning curve than I expected. Some days were marked by snuggles and fun, while I felt inexplicably disconnected and sad at many points. And, contrary to what I perceived as others’ experiences, my life and calling were not magically fulfilled by being a mama. And yet. And yet, Campbell is the most profound gift I’ve ever received. She has opened my heart to more joy than I thought was possible. And, I believe, caring for her will always be my life’s most important and meaningful work.
I can’t believe we are on the brink of toddlerhood. Now that Campbell is walking, she seems more like a little girl than a baby. And I guess she is. Thanks for letting me share some reflections in this space. If you’re interested, here are some pictures from her birth, newborn days, and, most recently, her birthday party.
We are so excited. I’ve been scrutinizing the ultrasound to guess the gender–I’m dying to know so I can start spoiling him/her and telling Campbell about her cousin-to-be….
PS– My post about being pregnant.
We don’t write much about faith on Idaclare–I think because SB and I tend to be more private about such a personal aspect of life. But, recently I’ve been taken with author Rachel Held Evans and her books The Year of Biblical Womanhood and Evolving in Monkeytown. I can identify with aspects of her faith journey and how she has allowed herself and her faith to change and grow over time. Plus–she’s hilarious.
Whatever your faith background, I think you might find her books and blog thought-provoking. Here’s a snippet from Evolving in Monkeytown…
“I used to think that the measure of true faith is certainty. Doubt, ambiguity, nuance, uncertainty–these represented a lack of conviction, a dangerous weakness in the armor of the Christian soldier who should ‘always be ready with an answer.’ ….If I’ve learned anything over the past five years, it’s that doubt is the mechanism by which faith evolves. It helps us cast off false fundamentals so that we can recover what has been lost or embrace what is new. It is a refining fire, a hot flame that keeps our faith alive and moving and bubbling about, where certainty would only freeze it on the spot.”
Happy Friday, folks.
Author: Joan Didion
How I Came to Pick Up this Book: I’ve wanted to pick it up every since my dad recommended it a few years back when I was looking to read a memoir.
Basic Scenario: Didion recounts her process through grief during the year that follows her husband’s unexpected death by heart attack.
“Life changes fast.
Life changes in the instant
You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.
The question of self-pity.
Those were the first words I wrote after it happened.”
Strengths: I was drawn in and fascinated by being privy to Didion’s thoughts and emotions. I found myself identifying with her feelings, even though I have never experienced this kind of loss.
Weaknesses: The style is stream-of-consciousness, which can get laborious at times. It’s not a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat. But I found it peaceful and interesting in its own right.
Image via npr.org
What a week it’s been. Our hearts go out to Boston residents and families affected by the tragedies at the marathon and in Texas. And, also, to those who are sick, weary, grieving, or alone. Let’s take a deep breath…
We have had Grandnanny (the inspiration for Idaclare) in our midst this week–Campbell and I have been so happy to see her each day. Wishing you a peaceful weekend….