January 2015 Reads

By Marisa Lerin Mon, 02/02/2015 - 07:44

I have a loose goal this year of reading more books and a secret goal of reading 100. I'm trying to keep this specific number something of a secret from myself; I don't want to get too caught up in numbers. But I do want to read more books this year, and since 87 seems to be my usual number read, and 100 is a few more than 87, it seems like a good goal. But again, I'm reading because I want to, not to impress myself with particular numbers.

Along with my read more goal, I'm also currently considering how to pay better attention to what I'm reading. To get started along that path, I'm going to try and share my favorite books here and try to explain why I liked them. Good luck to me.

My favorite books this month were:

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

I read this early in the month and I've been sad ever since it finished. What is Mr. Toad up to? I want to know. Are Badger and Mole and Water Rat keeping him under control? I've never been more shocked or secretly pleased at the plot twists in a book than in The Wind in the Willows. I could not help but tell everyone around me what Mr. Toad was up to. Can you believe what he did? Etc. You think you're in for a sort of lazy, chill read and then all of a sudden ALL THE ACTION. Even now, just thinking about it is making me quite happy.

"The last long stretch, the home stretch, the stretch that we know is bound to end, some time, in the rattle of the door-latch, the sudden firelight, and the sight of familiar things greeting us as long-absent travellers from far oversea."

Thinking about yesterday's sun, but walking in the rain is nice too #latergram

An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor

I may secretly keep this book as my most favorite ever. I'll keep it a secret because it's a bit soon to declare it my most favorite, and also, I don't want to give you unrealistic expectations. I read her memoir last year, Leaving Church, and that was probably my favorite book of the year. So I was hopeful about this one, but a bit nervous, because while I'm quite keen on memoirs, once people leave the personal stories for more general "spiritual" thoughts I often have a hard time connecting with what they're saying. But this book was spirituality stripped to its most basic and most understandable, and at the same time most challenging.

"What is saving my life right now is the conviction that there is no spiritual treasure to be found apart from the bodily experiences of human life on earth. My life depends on engaging the most ordinary physical activities with the most exquisite attention I can give them. My life depends on ignoring all touted distinctions between the secular and the sacred, the physical and the spiritual, the body and the soul. What is saving my life now is becoming more fully human, trusting that there is no way to God apart from real life in the real world."

The sun came out and I didn't need my hat #oregoncoast

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (followed by Scarlet and Cress)

It's been a while since I read an action packed series, so I was equal parts super stressed out and super entertained. Very creative re-tellings of fairy tales in the near future, our most recognizable stories get some wonderful updates. I'm anxiously awaiting the next story in the series.

"The screw through Cinder's ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle. Her knuckles ached from forcing the screwdriver into the joint as she struggled to loosen the screw on gritting twist after another."

Reading a novel on paper, a rare moment #itssimplytuesday

Walking by Henry David Thoreau

I read this book really randomly when I read a quote from it in another book, and the quote was so captivating I had to stop everything and go read this. I had not read any Thoreau before, and it seemed very fitting to be reading it while surrounded by the wilds of the Oregon Coast. Written in a different time, you can tell he didn't have a computer, as the thoughts just kind of hop from one to the next without a lot of editing. But a lot of the thoughts were interesting, and great to read when you've got nature on the mind.

"So we saunter toward the Holy Land, till one day the sun shall shine more brightly than ever he has done, shall perchance shine into our minds and hearts, and light up our whole lives with a great awakening light, as warm and serene and golden as on a bankside in autumn."

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The Accidental Creative

I read (or skim) a lot of productivity, how to be creative type books, and I would say this is definitely one of the better ones I've read. This book has real, practical advice and practices to adapt in your life, basically to make it more intentional. I love the title because I feel super accidental about being "a creative." And by "creative" it seems like he really means "someone who needs to come up with ideas." So if you find that you need new ideas in your life, and you're not sure where to find them, this book can help you set up practices so that you can consistently generate new ideas.

But there are other people who derive their energy from filling other people's buckets. They love the thrill of seeing other people come alive, of collaborating, of giving away their ideas and subsequently the credit they deserve. They recognize that more ideas will always come, but investing in relationships and maintaining an ethic of generosity yields results we can't gain when we hold tightly and selfishly to what we think we deserve. These are the people others flock to and who invigorate an entire room with their creative energy. They thrive because they make it their mission to help others to thrive...these people are the meaning makers, and in my experience they eventually come out on top because everyone wants to work with, and for, them.

See Friday's post.

#atmydesk #fromabove

What did you read in January? I'm always on the lookout for recommendations!


February 2015 Blog Train

By Marisa Lerin Sun, 02/01/2015 - 00:05

Shaking things up a little this month with something a little more versatile. The Rustic Charms are all PNGs, some with clear spaces where you can stick whatever you want. If you're a little more advanced, don't miss out on the template kit which includes PSD versions for easier manipulation (available for free on Facebook). As usual, don't miss out on all the other wonderful contributions!

Click on images to download. Links will expire after February 28, 2015.
Subscribers can download here and here.

Rustic Charms Kit

This freebie is available on Facebook. Click on the "Freebie" tab for the free download.
Rustic Charms Templates