Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Peace



Darkness cannot drive out darkness; 
only light can do that. 
Hate cannot drive out hate; 
only love can do that.     
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


May He who has overcome the world bring peace to the heartbroken. Our thoughts and prayers blanket the families of Newtown. I'll be back in the New Year.

xoxo Michele 


Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.



 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Favorite Christmas Ornaments


My favorite ornaments don't come from a store. They are inspired by books and music from the library, and then rolled out and cut with gingerbread cookie cutters by the smoochiest sixth grader I know.


Creating magical memories in the kitchen with my children (and many precious children I claim as mine) is a priceless gift.

Want to know my secret weapon? 


Elvis: Christmas (mooches smooches is the king)
Mario Lanza (super swoony)
Sting: If On A Winter's Night (dreamy times infinity)
Christmas With The Stars (run to your library now and pick this up)


A collection of Christmas CD's from the library. And a ginormous boombox I'm too embarrassed to show you. It's hiding in an armoire (that also houses our microwave). We love to play it loud and sing along. Or hush the volume to a whisper so we can share our day. Either way, the captivating crooners provide the soundtrack for melodious memories. 

Spending less and sharing more, the tangible sense of community and companionship - knowing we are borrowing beauty that was in the home of a dear friend down the block or a retired veteran at The Pines - this is where I find both joy and gratitude.
 

My favorite ornaments are the harvest of sharing. The creation of companionship. A library's legacy is love.

xoxo Michele

Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Gift Of Companionship


I write every day, but publish very few of those ideas. And because the thoughts are tucked away like the special occasion hand-towels and china, Productivity loves to sit on my shoulder. Reminding me of an impatient to-do list that fusses for my attention. A meaningful life subtracted by hidden words.


And then I come across a book like Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird and inwardly rejoice. Even now, I'm continually surprised by how a writer can cheer our hearts with a message that is equally personal and universal.


Authors are ethereal companions, reaching over miles and even centuries with a letter seemingly written just for you. The gift of lifelong companionship - for us and our children - magically shared by the library. 

xoxo Michele 


Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Rick Steves' European Christmas


Quickly becoming one of our family favorite Christmas Specials this season, Rick Steves' European Christmas is a simple reminder that sharing the hope of Christ with family, friends, and neighbors is what the holiday is all about.


Europe spends less on holiday gifts than Americans do, but there is no doubt they get the full heart of Christmas. 

When your heart grows weary of the commercialized Christmas, visit your local library. I don't know if it's because they specialize in sharing, but I've found meaningful memories for our family throughout their shelves of books, music, movies and cookbooks.


The choirs are nothing short of spectacular, and they inspired us to shop the library for European Christmas CD's. We're listening to where our traditions began while baking cookie ornaments and sharing them with our neighbors.

How is the library sharing the holiday with your family?

xoxo Michele

33 seconds in you'll hear the magic.


Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.
 

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Thrill Of Hope


I've been living the thrill of hope all week. The promise of a new bathroom (that is still to come}. A dear friend waiting for good news from her doctor. Our daughter's joyful anticipation of dancing onto the stage and singing for family and friends and neighbors. 

Hope. It is thrilling. Especially when our object of hope is everlasting. 



No one shares the thrill of hope in as many ways as the library.

xoxo Michele
 
Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.
 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

My Favorite Elf Collection From The Library

elf on the shelf 








So far we have resisted the Elf On The Shelf craze, but John-John is pleading for one. Personally, I'm a bit weirded out by spying elves. John's friends all have one or two, and he delights in inviting himself into their homes and discovering where the elves magically appear each day.

While I'm pondering the idea of an elf agent among us and taking a break from our bathroom project, I put together an Elf Collection from the library. We all agree on this borrowed beauty, and the book is a classic - if you haven't read it with your children yet - log on to your library website now and reserve a copy tonight.

   Elf

Wrap up an elf collection from the library and enjoy this borrowed beauty with your family. Do you have an Elf On The Shelf?  Are they any good at bathroom remodeling?

xoxo Michele 

Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bloggy Break

Guess who decided to re-mod the bathroom right before the busiest time of the year? Clearly I've been watching too many DIY TV shows, because I thought we'd be enjoying our new bathroom in an hour. But tile likes time to set, and uninvited dilemmas pop up like weeds in a garden.

You can follow the fun of our bath remodel here. Or I'll be back next week after I've had a chance to shower and pick the grout out of my fingernails. 

xoxo Michele 

 
Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.
 


Friday, November 30, 2012

My Favorite Christmas DIY Decoration


When I spied The Decorologist's book tree, sweet friends and readers, this bibliophile had to craft a beauty for our kitchen table. Stat. 

There are endless ideas of bookish crafts online, and I've been invited to crafty book parties, but very few refrain from maiming or killing the helpless little paper progeny. Believe me, they all were someone's baby.


I can't hurt books. Don't hate me. I'm not mad at you if you have personalized journals made from book covers or book pages shaped like a wreath. Over the summer my daughter and I tried to make her a personalized journal using a super smoochie horse book cover. But we just couldn't, sob, break it's spine.


Smoochie David McDreamy. His history is safe with me. If you have some of his books and are thinking about destroying them to make an airplane or paper bird, please send them my way. I'll send you back some faux snow and teensy ornamental figurines so you can make a holiday book tree. Swoony times infinity.


Hope your weekend is full of family and great reads. If you are nearby, please join us for Christmas in Davidson this weekend.

xoxo Michele

Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Present Of Presence


December is when I go berserk with writing lists. Gift budgets, dentist appointments, holiday parties, the positives and negatives of gifting Nick a snake, dry cleaning, my new improved fail-proof workout plan!, food shopping, school plays. I worry myself when I obsessively re-write the lists, wanting the items I've crossed off to disappear, so I can completely focus on the ones that remain. Weird, no? Here is the deal: this season of merriment stresses me out. 

I often feel like Charlie Brown directing a play he has no business directing, and am in need Linus to remind me of what is truly important.

Children remind us daily of meaningful moments. Warm hugs in the morning, cold milk in the cereal, and lots of reading together. I cherish my reading time, but never as much as I do when life is running down the street like the Gingerbread Man

Reading is a priceless gift of time shared; a present of presence.

xoxo Michele   


Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.
 


Monday, November 26, 2012

Decorating With Books For Christmas

I'm in a bit of a slump. Not sure if it's the lack of writing for a week, the two and half cupcakes (bliss, pure bliss) my dear friend Christine made, the pound of Peppermint Bark (bellissimo, Cha Cha), or my disappointment with this movie last week. I wanted it to be the book. It wasn't.

So let's look at some photo inspiration, shall we?


I'm feeling better already. This afternoon I'll be hunting for old hardbacks at the library in blues and greens with a few accent colors. We have smoochie little resin figures and a small bird for the top. Grazie, Kristie Barnett.


This is dreamy times infinity. The library might not appreciate me breaking the spines of their borrowed beauty, so I'll use books that I find on their library sale table. 



I've been looking for a craft to do with the children, and this is perfection. They can choose their favorite verse and design a meaningful display.



The library shares swoon-worthy ideas that make the holiday season shine. How will you be decorating with books?

xoxo Michele

Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

My Ideal Bookshelf


One of my favorite authors, Alice Ozma, brought to my attention the new book, My Ideal Bookshelf. Our library has it on order (and I've put one on hold) but currently I'm stalking their website and swooning over the bookshelves of Roseanne Cash and some book clubbers who wanted their favorites painted. You can borrow the book from your local library or buy as a gift. How about a custom painting of your own ideal bookshelf? I'm hoping my husband will see this post and think of surprising me for Christmas.


But just in case he doesn't, mine would look something like this:


Which authors would your ideal bookshelf include?

I'm taking a holiday this week from the internet, but I never take a break from reading or photography, so you can find me over at Instagram. 

Happy Thanksgiving.

xoxo Michele

Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Reading With My Hands


When Molly asked, have you done something today that scares you, she inspired me to boldly venture into the kitchen. Yes. I'm terrified of the kitchen. For reasons both real and imagined.


The real reasons are: 

My weight. My binary brain tells me the kitchen is the last place on earth I should be sharing space with, while also admonishing me that the family needs healthy meals to nourish them. I'm a compulsive eater to boot. See, there really is more to me than books. ;)

Creative Black Hole. I find the most encouraging cookbooks at the library and {occasionally} will rush into the galley with high hopes of creating a meal my family will swoon over for weeks, and they do. But most days (like, 360 days of the year) I stare into the fridge thinking, just let me be Tabitha and I swear I'll never ever ever ever ever ask for anything else again.

The imagined reasons are:

I'm not my MIL. My mother-in-law is a knockout. She looks like a Sophia Loren twin, and cooks like Giada. My hubby had her as his primary chef until he married me. The first breakfast I made for him was garlic eggs. He thought I was trying to kill him. I thought Italians liked garlic with everything. I've improved since that debacle, but not much. The idea that I have to be perfect in the kitchen seems ridiculous, but there it is.

Too Time Consuming. Even as a write this, I know how crazy it sounds. The actual time spent in the kitchen cooking is short compared to the constant what's for dinner playlist repeating in my head. 

What if the answer to enjoying meal preparation is found in changing the way I view the kitchen?


As I was reading Molly's post, I discovered an exciting idea (I'm paraphrasing her words here): the stronger I get in the kitchen, the less scary it will be. 

Where do I feel safe? Oh, sweet readers, you know.

It can be a library, and I can read with my hands. The pots and pans, the ingredients ~ they tell a new story every time I open the oven door.


I'll let you know how it goes. Bringing young children into the kitchen with me is also a stress reliever. I don't feel judged, or alone. We are learning together, and sharing strength is a joyful way to combat what scares you.

I'm also learning about swoony Instagram and would love for you to follow me. 


xoxo Michele

Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Bad, And Yours Too


True story: history isn't top of my mind when conversing with my children. The absolute smoochieness of Harry in One Direction, her upcoming role as Ms. Hannigan in the play Annie, the importance of un-cluttering your bedroom so you'll have clean underwear ~ these are constant chitchats I have with Arielle. We are so busy living right now, in the rush of present day, that history can seem so, old news, unnecessary, b-orrrr-ing.

 
But I have a secret I'd love to share with you. David McDreamy. He has the power to make you swoon over history.


 
David's audio books are perfect for upcoming holiday car rides: this and this are our family faves. On a trip to visit relatives in New Jersey, Nick shushed us during the battle of Dorchester Heights - every detail was critical. 




You know how I recommend borrowing the beauty of books from the library rather than buying? I own almost all of David McCullough's books. And movies.


I buy them second hand from the library sale table. I give them to neighbors and friends and anyone crazy enough to ask me, who is your favorite author? 



There are no excuses for not knowing and sharing American history with your children when you have David as your guide. Do you have a favorite? Please share.

You can watch and read David McCullough's complete interview on 60 Minutes here.

xoxo Michele

 
Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Williams Sonoma: Thanksgiving Entertaining


I couldn't wait until Thanksgiving to make some yummy-goodness from the Williams Sonoma Thanksgiving Entertaining cookbook.


We added some of the children's Halloween candy - and pretzels. I'm nutty for chocolate and pretzels.

I'm thankful for the library, and chocolate, and a family to share this plate of love with. I'm also thankful for all of you, sweet readers. 

xoxo Michele

 
Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.
 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Molly's Pilgrim


We discovered Molly's Pilgrim at the library last week. I love it when new (to me and the children) books inspire crafting afternoons. And an incredible revelation of the roots of our American Thanksgiving celebration.


This precious four year old asked me to read Molly's story five times. And then she crafted a pilgrim girl for Arielle. A clothespin body, a rubber ball for the head, red felt and bandana fabric for the clothes, yarn for the hair. While her hands were working her mind was flying to Molly's classroom. Books are magic, I tell you.


All these years I've been like Elizabeth in the story, thinking that Thanksgiving was something the pilgrims just thought up.


Now that we know the true meaning behind Thanksgiving, we put Tikvah Means Hope and Sukkot Treasure Hunt on hold at the library.

Here is a bookmark to print and share with your children.


Molly's Pilgrim is a beautiful reminder to be a blessing to the many modern pilgrims in our midst. 


My heart is thankful for the endless journey of meaningful learning
 joyously shared by the library.

xoxo Michele

Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Perpetual Thanksgiving: Dr. Paul Farmer


Every season of life creates an opportunity to experience a fresh idea of what enjoyment truly means. As I enter this season of Thanksgiving, my thoughts of gratitude and appreciation turn toward extraordinary people I have met at the library, beginning with the librarians. They in turn have introduced me to heroes like Dr. Paul Farmer, who has dedicated his life to fighting medical injustice in the poorest countries on earth. 

Mountains Beyond Mountains is a life changing read. As Dr. Farmer explains it, meaningful enjoyment can be found in misery, because light is meant to shine in darkness. That is where the real magic happens. Many of the daily messages we receive through the media, well meaning friends and family, even our own instincts, are often the antithesis of real pleasure or purpose.

I'm sharing this bookmark, and hope you're inspired to read his personal mission of serving and caring for the poor. The library has book club kits if you are interested in reading Mountains Beyond Mountains for your next book club.




Dr. Farmer's mother read Cry The Beloved Country (another life changing read) to him when he was young. It was my favorite read aloud with Nicholas this year. 


 
 A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a wicked man does not understand such knowledge. 
~ Proverbs 29:7
 
A life of perpetual thanksgiving is found in appreciation of our individual purpose and gratitude for those that have shared theirs to help others.

xoxo Michele

Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.
 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Mayflower


My children love to hear about the day they were born. Arielle savors each detail of how her name was chosen and the meaning behind it. John-John's eyes brighten with the mention that his 18 month old sister declared he was her baby upon meeting him for the first time. Nicholas ponders the gift of his birth and how it transformed our story of a couple into the mysterious, magical love of a family. 

They love to hear about the day I married their father. Photo albums are an important part of the story, but my voice, my words, my narration ~ they have the power to build a living biography so strong in their imagination that they believe they remember the day from a personal experience. Those stories root, bond, connect us as a family. They not only answer the whys, but they ask us to keep adding to that beautiful story that began at a baseball game in the spring of 1997.


Mayflower answers the questions we have about the birth of our nation in breathless detail. And once it becomes a part of your living history, it will be asking you to add to the story of our country. That is what great reads do - they remind us, educate us, strengthen us on our collective history, and encourage us to add our own memoir to the story. The season of Thanksgiving is a perfect time to reflect on our family story and revitalize a spirit of gratitude and sharing.

xoxo Michele

 
Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.