Books Bandwagon

The new year started and I noticed a trend I’ll call the Books Bandwagon. It’s a listing of all the books someone’s read in the past year, and I decided to hop on. Looking back at the books I read in 2019, I realized I enjoy a variety of genres: middle grade, fiction, memoir, non-fiction, and self-help. Not listed, but even more important to me, are the picture books I read and studied.

Hon, have you read any of these books? Do you have any favorites?

Planet Earth is Blue by  Nicole Panteleakos

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Big Magic:  Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Tatooist of Auschwitz:  A Novel by Heather Morris

Dopesick by Beth Macy

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Educated:  A Memoir  by Tara Westover

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

The Joke Machine by Theresa Julian

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine:  A Novel by Gail Honeyman

Eat, Pray, Love:  One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity and Love by Dani Shapiro

The Path Made Clear:  Discovering Your Life’s Direction and Purpose by Oprah Winfrey

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Little Women, Lovely and Moving

One of the most beautiful movies I’ve ever seen.

The newest movie version of Little Women, based on Louisa May Alcott’s novel featuring Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, and Eliza Scanlen as the four March sisters, left me weeping. So beautiful! So emotional! It wasn’t just the costumes, setting and lighting that made this version lovely; the character development and story ensured I root for each sister.

Jo March’s need to put words to paper touched me deeply, and witnessing the creation of her book mirrored my own desire to bring my stories to life. I wept as the pages were printed, paper folded, spine sewn, cover glued, and title embossed. Though the time period is different, her dream is my dream and, in wanting to be more than what society expects, a wish for the ages.

Hon, have you seen it? What did you think?

Alcott’s novel was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869, with the first volume following the March sisters—Jo, Mary, Beth, and Amy—throughout their childhood growing up in Massachusetts and the second volume picking up with the characters in adulthood. Instead of presenting the story in two halves, [Greta] Gerwig’s film layers the past and the present throughout the entire movie, flashing back and forth in an attempt to compare and contrast the characters in these two different periods of their lives.

The result is a wildly emotional and deeply impactful piece of storytelling, as the naiveté and endless possibilities of childhood stand in stark contrast to the harsh realities of navigating the world as an adult—and as an adult woman in the 1860s at that. by  for Collider.com

Thanksgiving Poem, Food for the Soul

Morgan, Darcy, Hubby, me, Hannah and Teddy
Happy Thanksgiving!
This  holiday-inspired poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919) has rhythm, melody and a lovely message. Wishing you a relaxing and emotionally rejuvenating holiday weekend.

Thanksgiving

We walk on starry fields of white
And do not see the daisies;
For blessings common in our sight
We rarely offer praises.
We sigh for some supreme delight
To crown our lives with splendor,
And quite ignore our daily store
Of pleasures sweet and tender.

Our cares are bold and push their way
Upon our thought and feeling.
They hand about us all the day,
Our time from pleasure stealing.
So unobtrusive many a joy
We pass by and forget it,
But worry strives to own our lives,
And conquers if we let it.

There’s not a day in all the year
But holds some hidden pleasure,
And looking back, joys oft appear
To brim the past’s wide measure.
But blessings are like friends, I hold,
Who love and labor near us.
We ought to raise our notes of praise
While living hearts can hear us.

Full many a blessing wears the guise
Of worry or of trouble;
Far-seeing is the soul, and wise,
Who knows the mask is double.
But he who has the faith and strength
To thank his God for sorrow
Has found a joy without alloy
To gladden every morrow.

We ought to make the moments notes
Of happy, glad Thanksgiving;
The hours and days a silent phrase
Of music we are living.
And so the theme should swell and grow
As weeks and months pass o’er us,
And rise sublime at this good time,
A grand Thanksgiving chorus.

Travel Bug, Crayon Box Burano, Venice, Italy (Part 1)

Burano, Venice, Italy

In honor of Hubby’s and my upcoming trip to Europe, I’m re-posting these photos from Burano, Italy. We’re headed to England and France where I’m sure to be bitten by the travel bug. If I was independently wealthy, I’d travel the world! Hey, I can write anywhere, and what better way to get inspired than to meet new people and visit new places?

And, as for my love of children, ask my own kids–language barriers aren’t barriers at all when a child’s smiling eyes meet mine. If that sounds sappy, so be it, but consider…

  • in an airport security line, a mom handed me her baby to hold while she struggled to open up her stroller,
  • in a store, a toddler giggled at our silly game, then threw her arms around me for big hugs,
  • in Sienna, Italy, a 5 year old German boy and I  played hide and seek at breakfast,
  • in a shoe department, a 3 year old boy slid over to me and let me tie his shoes,
  • in a bookstore, a 4 year old girl and I read books together,
  • on a train from Manhattan, a 6 year old girl and I played I Spy,
  • in a restaurant, new twins parents and I bonded over being parents of multiples and then took me up on my offer to hold a baby so the mom could eat,
  • at the store where I work, two 5th grade girls asked me to be in their  Tic Toc video (umm, yes!), and then hung around for hours chatting about their siblings, parents and teachers,
  • And so many more wonderful encounters here and abroad.

So, while we travel, I’ll be on the lookout for smiling eyes because those connections, no matter how short, are joyful.

And hon, I need a whole lot of joy just about now.

Shops along the canal, Burano.
Shops along the canal.
School boys meeting by a first floor window.
School boys meeting by a first floor window.
Photographer's delight.
Photographer’s delight.
Hubby and daughters.
Hubby and daughters.

Awesome Advertisements

Kudos to Saks Fifth Avenue for printing these “No Apologies” ads with  Lauren Hutton in Fendi  and Achok Majak in Proenza Schouler. I especially love the quote, “Over-apologizing takes the worth away from your words.” Want to read more about why girls apologize too much and what it means as they grow up? Check out this article from the Child Mind Institute by Rae Jacobson, “Why Girls Apologize Too Much, How to help them stop saying ‘sorry’ and express confidence.”

Hon, I love the message at the end of the article.

Tools for the future

Helping your daughter drop unnecessary apologies and begin using clear, direct language will give her a powerful tool for success in the future.  

No matter who she’s speaking to—friends, teachers, co-workers, or even someday the employees of her own company—knowing how to communicate with confidence sends the message that she’s self-assured, proud of her skills, and comfortable expressing her ideas.

And she’s not sorry about it one bit.

 

Late Summer Sun, A Memory and Poem

Me, my mom and sister at my brother’s wedding.

Hon, my goal on this blog is to share many of the things that bring me joy. But, today is a sad day. It’s been three years since my mom died and her presence is a shadow behind my eyes.

A memory comes to mind. My mom, dad, brother and I (my sister isn’t born yet) are at a farm where we’re picking either apples or pumpkins or both. I am about four years old which would make my brother almost two. We are running in a field of bright yellow sunflowers and my mother is running with us, young and beautiful and laughing. My dad watches and smiles. We have a wonderful day, even when we come home and check for ticks, tweezers and matches in hand. When my mom puts me to bed, she sings an “I love you” song.

That memory played in the air as if on an invisible screen after Lucy and I ran in a field last week. Lucy caught her breath as a I wept and wrote this:

Late Summer Sun

Late summer sun

Lights the leaves

That carry its warmth

While waiting to transform.

Late summer honeysuckle

Scents the air

That carries a hint

Of cool crispness.

Late summer monarch

Alights on blooms

To drinks in nectar

still left In the late summer sun.

Lovely Poem, On Children by Kahlil Gibran

Darcy 2011

Darcy 2019
This poem by Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931) made me weep.
On Children

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.
     And he said:
     Your children are not your children.
     They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
     They come through you but not from you,
     And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

     You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
     For they have their own thoughts.
     You may house their bodies but not their souls,
     For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
     You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
     For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
     You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
     The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
     Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
     For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.