chocolate + paper + scissors


On living beautifully

This past summer, our family had a chance to visit a special place for a good six-week block of time.  Our special place is a tiny beach town in coastal Oregon.  And on that beach there was a house.  And in that house there was a huge library of many books.  And in that library was a book that would restore my faith in beauty and its importance.  And in that book were simple words that served as good reminders, such as these opening words:

"Making the things you do every day as beautiful and pleasurable as possible is a way to live a happy life.  Yet many of us don't seem to do this."  - Alexandra Stoddard, from Living a Beautiful Life

She goes on to explain in her note to the reader that her "aim is to inspire you, by useful examples, to go ahead and create beauty an ease in the areas of life that mean the most to you, day after day...I'm trying to provoke and inspire you to set up your daily life for effectiveness and grace."

Having had a busy season heading into summer, these words were like honey to my soul.

One of my goals for the New Year was to bring more beauty into our home and our lives - to focus on the whimsical and lovely, rather than just the practical and functional.  I felt like this book had been placed in my path!

As I made time to read, I wanted to take notes on every chapter.  It was an answered prayer.  How do I make our home more beautiful?  I love that she used her words and examples to educate the reader on a how-to topic.  No photos, no magazine spreads, no Pinterest pins.  It was just her words, her heartfelt advice, her experiences and her successes with friends, colleagues and clients.
Chapters two, three and four were my favorites.  Chapter two focuses on creating the special from the ordinary, chapter three is my absolute all-time favorite, which covers the ktichen, where I spend much of my time:  The Kitchen:  Enhancing the Flavor of Good Eating.  And, chapter four covers the balance between busyness and solitude...which is a constant struggle in this season of life for many mothers.

I also love that it was published in 1986.  Things have really changed since then...but then again, things are still the same.

If you plan to pursue a path to finding your passion, I highly recommend this book.   This will certainly not be the last time I mention it.  


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