Tag Archives | books and authors

I am a reader…

libraries full of ideas

I created this piece for a client at Christmas.  I love the quote and how it turned out.  I feel like this when reading a really good book…it is like part of me disappears into the story.  Or like my head is ready to explode with new ideas –to the point I have to get up and act on them.

I love a good mystery.  Romance is my brain candy.  Historical fiction always gets me thinking.  Art books warm my creative juices.  Books–they truly are powerful.

I have loved sharing some of my favorite classics with the girls while homeschooling.  Every time they turn up their nose, I just smile and encourage them to start.  And then they can’t put it down.  I love when the power of the story takes over and they don’t even remember fighting me on it any more.  🙂

 

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Rooms of Books

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If you were to visit my home, you would find books in almost every single room (none stored in the humidity of the bathrooms).  But even the laundry, because it is a storage area, holds books.  Cicero lived from 106 BC to 43 BC.  Before printed books, and he said this.  The dude is fascinating.  I looked him up and here are some other quotes from him, I foresee some of these going in my journals:

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”

“Read at every wait; read at all hours; read within leisure; read in times of labor; read as one goes in; read as one goest out. The task of the educated mind is simply put: read to lead.”

“For books are more than books, they are the life, the very heart and core of ages past, the reason why men worked and died, the essence and quintessence of their lives.”

“Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book.”

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”

“The life given us, by nature is short; but the memory of a well-spent life is eternal.”

and….

“Six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century:
Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others;
Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected;
Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it;
Refusing to set aside trivial preferences;
Neglecting development and refinement of the mind;
Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.”

Yes, I think I would have enjoyed hanging out with this guy.  His words ring true still today.  All things that as a Christian I understand and believe.  All points that Christ may have agreed with, don’t you think?

Much to think on….and maybe journal…and maybe to get more books…

 

 

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Children as Readers

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My parents always supplied me with books.  They knew I was ravenous for the written word.  Mom was great about getting me to the library and reading out loud to us.  She set that precedent, and I did the same with my own babies.  I started reading to them in the womb, and then even as tiny infants.  I have modeled that reading is an important part of our day.  And not just books, but all kinds of text.  And not just fiction, but nonfiction, and –their own stories.  I always scrapbooked not just for the art of it, but to record their stories, those real life happenings that shape who they are.

And the most important text is the Bible.  Again, Mom, all my aunts and grandparents, made God’s word an important and normal part of everyday life as a kid.  And now my dad shares verses with me from his daily internet devotions and my cousins share the Word.    I love knowing that we are linked and affected by the same text each day.  My kids know that I open my Bible daily.  They know a lot of the stories of the Bible, passed down through the generations, and know that they are real life, just like the stories of their own days.  I want them to know the stories that shaped our world, our ancestors, God’s people, Jesus, the apostles, and more.  I want them to make their faith their own.  And reading the Bible is the best way to do that.  I became a Christian in the laps of my family, and my kids are doing the same.  What a wonderful tradition, one I hope your family experiences.

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past my bedtime

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Do you stay up late reading?  Sometimes I can’t stop.  I need to know what is happening.  But I get tired eventually (you know around 1 am) and so I read the end.  Yes, I am a peeker.  Otherwise I would never get sleep, or anything else done.  I would just sit there and read and read and read.

The good thing about reading ahead is that then I can enjoy looking for literary devices (that would make my high school English teacher Mr. Sales happy I think).  I dig deeper for foreshadowing, symbolism, and how the author builds and resolves the conflict with different clues.  I love how an author can use history and context to shape the outline.  I have a tendency to relate a book to my own experiences, people I know, places I have been.  I am notorious for reading a book and then observing the people around me to try and “find” a character in real life.  And sometimes, I just  make up stories about people because they intrigue me.  And that is okay in books, because they end.

But that isn’t how real life works, is it?  I can’t look ahead to know how something is going to turn out.  That is only for God to know.  I laughed last week that meteorologists “predicted” huge storms, that never hit, and then they apologized for the havoc they reeked.  Sometimes I wonder if God doesn’t like to play with us a little just to remind us:  we don’t get to look ahead in our own book, we are not in control, He is.  He is the ultimate author.  We can look back and maybe see His use of foreshadowing, symbolism,  and clues.  Otherwise, we will just have to learn when we get there.  We can stay awake and be ready for what is coming.  But we can’t peek.

And sometimes that is best.

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Books Galore

In honor of the snowstorm in Chicago, and all of the other places for that matter, I am going to celebrate staying inside with a good book this week.  My kids will be outside a good chunk of the time, no doubt, reveling in the beautiful white world.  But, when I am not making art and working on assignments, I will be on the couch, with my quilt, my coffee, my dark chocolate covered cherries (Yay for Aldi), and a big old stack of books.IMGI own a lot of books.  I have sold a lot of books at garage sales and used book stores.  I have given a lot of books away.  I am in a book club that feeds my brain and my heart.   I am on Amazon ordering new ones all the time (a new set of states and regions are on their way).  Speaking of…did you know you can get used books on there for a penny?  Of course there is shipping, but a penny???  I love it.  My favorites tend to be brain candy romances, historical fiction, art books, ones on faith (devotions, histories, studies), and children’s books (love, love, love the poetry and illustrations).  And I am at the library a couple times a week, once we checked out 78 books (for a month of homeschooling).  One of my favorite things about homeschooling is not using textbooks, but raiding the library for every imaginable text on a subject, and using literature.

Right now I am reading four different books.  I have four different devotionals I choose from.  Plus, I am re-reading Little Women  with Phoebe and listening to Annika read Hoops.  You will always find stacks of books around our house, or as a friend called them, “nests.”

But the book that never leaves the pile is my Bible.  I have an Oxford Annotated, monster, red hardcover, from college religion classes that I prefer.  I like the fonts, the paper quality, the notes, and it is NRSV– so pretty easy to follow.  It is 7x9x3.  Seriously, it does not travel with me.  But I love the heftiness of it for at home.  It is so sturdy, and just….there.  It stands out, the way a Bible should.  My mom just got the girls beautiful leather bound versions and we have been reading them in the morning.  They are perfect first Bibles.  I still have my first Bible from my grandma, and I own three others.  But the Oxford is my favorite.  It sits there and it screams my name, “Nicole, look at me!  Open me!  Hear what God has for you today!”

And it always speaks to me.  I am a product of an endless supply of books, but the Bible is the one that has shaped who I am at my core.  As it should be.  There have been books that left their imprint on me, made me think, changed the way I think, influenced my everyday life, but none like the Bible.  Open yours.  Hear God’s word.  Let it soak into your very being.  And may it never leave your side.

 

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Right People

#3 in the Peach Keeper  series

IMG_0007Oh, buddy, isn’t that the truth???? I have struggled with this one.  I have moved a lot, lived in a lot of places, hoped for a lot of new friends.

I have met some doozies in my search for friends to talk to.  (Because ya’ll KNOW I love to talk.)   And moving can be lonely sometimes.  I have pursued people that really I had nothing in common with, but they seemed to be the ones I thought I was “supposed” to friend.  Sometimes I was just lazy, sometimes desperate, sometimes over confident about their ability to fit into my life.  I have opened myself up to people that I was completely unprepared for, some seriously quirky people that I had no idea what to do with them as things went along.  People that Jeff would not let me answer the phone if they called.  Stalker weird.

People that then I maybe didn’t do a good job unfriending or even friending in the first place. Bad Nicole.

But then there are the others.  The ones who have made me who I am today.  Who gave a piece of themselves to carry with me wherever I go to fill my heart with happiness.   All of the lovely people who have so many common interests and experiences, kindred spirits.  The ones that I am excited to see a message from or see their phone number pop up.  The ones that I wish all lived right next door.

(I have this silly dream that someday I will hold the “I Love Nicole” conference.  LOL  All my besties from each state and season will all join me for a weekend of goodness, because I know they would all love each other, too, of course.)

Those are the RIGHT people.  Those are the ones I hold dear to my heart.  Those are the ones who light up my day.  I am so blessed to have found so many of them, in so many places.  So incredibly thankful for you.

I hope that you, too, have a heart filled with the RIGHT friends.

I hope you have enjoyed this little series.  And I hope you pick up a copy of the book.  It really is quite delightful.

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So good can enter

#2 in the Peach Keeper  series of journal entries.  This is the link to the author: Sarah Addison Allen  .

IMG_0010How true is that???????  Holy schmoly!  The truth in this, people, should rock some of our worlds.  Especially burnt out, over volunteered mamas/and papas.  If I leave an open spot in my home, in my heart, good things could fit in there!  I know I have things on my plate that I want to feed the dog under the table.  And I should!  Because if there is room on the plate, there is room for dessert!  GOOD things.  Yummy chocolate gooey-ness with whipped cream and butter and flaky pastry.  That, was a lot of metaphors.  But you get it.

If I give up things that are annoying, or I am doing just to please someone else, or out of a sense of duty, I can make room for time with my kids and husband, time to paint, time to read good books like The Peach Keeper.  Good things that fill me with joy, that  bring me closer to love, and ultimately make me a better person.  Far better than the one who fulfills obligations with dragging feet and mumbling under the breath.  There is someone else out there that will find joy in that duty.  LET THEM DO IT!

Make room for the good things.  Whether it is in your house, in your heart, in your mind, on your plate.  DO IT.  Today.

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A good map

I recently read an excellent book.

There were several ideas/quotes that I really enjoyed amongst the prose, that really stuck with me.

I am a sucker for books set in the South (and secretly believe I was meant to live there) and this is set in North Carolina.  The book follows two women who are finding their place in their hometown, love, and friendship, all while uncovering a mystery that bonded  the families of both women together.  It was a lighthearted, easy read and thoroughly enjoyable.

I will share three journal entries this week I did based on the book.  Here is the first:
IMG_0012How true is that?  Sometimes we are circling in our sense of being lost.  Turning down every avenue trying every option.  When really we just need to stay on the straight path and get where we belong.  And sometimes we just have to listen to the right person to do that.

It may be a close loved one, it may be a friend, it may be a stranger, it may be God.

But a good map makes all the difference!

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