Wednesday, June 7, 2017

"One Word" Update & Books Lately


In January I wrote about my "One Word" that I wanted to focus on for the new year, which was revive. I shared a bit about my husband's and my journey and how the stability of finally planting our feet, buying a house, and setting down roots offers us a prime opportunity to focus on reviving many aspects of ourselves and our lives that seemingly (or necessarily) fell to the wayside as we lived in "survival mode" moving around the country for so long.

Nearly halfway through the year I'm pleased to see and feel that my efforts have been largely fruitful. Decorating our "forever" home, designing plans for our little girl's nursery, and crafting in new ways with the kids have allowed many of my artistic skills to reemerge and be put to good use. I even signed myself up for a "handcrafted night out" during which I made artwork I can happily display in our house (something that was so so good for my soul)!

Can you believe I made this?!?!

Launching and running a Catholic moms group with a friend has utilized many of my ministry, community-building, and administrative skills that are usually manifested in less obvious (and less fun) household administrative ways during these all-consuming baby and toddler years of motherhood. It's refreshing to feel like I have an avenue beyond the walls of our home to give back, support others, and do what I can to get everyone connected and sharing their Catholic and motherhood resources. Plus, the group gives me friends and prayer support when needed, so those are all good things.

Honestly, this year of revival is not so much about reviving skill-sets I may have to offer, but to get back to doing things that make me feel more wholly myself and more fully alive. To pay attention to my physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, to revisit hobbies and passions, and to simply live my daily life in a richer, more complete way that honors my whole being - not just the demands of marriage and motherhood.

Another of my passions I have rekindled is reading good books. Any bookish mama of littles can attest to how challenging it can be to find time in the day for more than the hundredth picture book (although I genuinely love reading those because I refuse to own or borrow any from the library that I deem to be annoying or less than good quality). I am constantly reading, but in recent years I have gone through various phases of pregnancy brain, postpartum survival mode, and just plain "being a mom to little kids" that have caused me to resort to reading only articles, blogs, and picture books for longer stretches of time than I care to admit. I've had good bursts of book-reading energy here and there (I recall making short work of the entire Anne of Green Gables series and 3 or 4 religious books in a 4 month time-span during my pregnancy with Peter), but until this year I hadn't really gotten into any regular kind of reading and motherhood groove.

Baby girl & I managed to read while the boys splashed around
their new water table (hence the fish gift from Peter). ;)

I missed books. I was the bookworm little girl that always had her nose buried in a story from a young age, which is no doubt the reason I have needed glasses since 3rd grade. So, getting back into reading real, enriching literature has been a wonderful way to feel more like my real self again. Plus, it was one thing I managed to keep up with during my first trimester fatigue even when creative endeavors came to a brief halt. I love that reading allows us to nourish our minds even when our bodies are tired.

What have I been reading lately, you ask? Well, here's a list (in chronological order) since I began about 4 months ago:

  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  • The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis
  • Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
  • The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis
  • Unplanned by Abby Johnson
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Emma by Jane Austen
  • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  • Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  • Let the Fire Fall by Fr. Michael Scanlan, TOR (currently reading)

I have owned the Chronicles of Narnia since childhood, but somehow I had only read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe a couple times and The Magician's Nephew once. After reading 5 of the 7 books this time around I took a little break and switched up genres, but I do intend to finish them soon.

I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I had never before read ANY Jane Austen novels, so you can imagine that having devoured all these books has helped not only revitalize and quench my thirst for good literature, but also helped me achieve something I feel I should have done years ago. After all, it's never too late to read a good book!

I suppose there are other ways I have worked on "reviving" forgotten or dropped passions or habits in recent months, but the only remaining one that comes to mind is the obvious: I resurrected this blog! I had been thinking about doing it for many, many months and recently felt the time was right.

Thank you to all of you that have been patiently following along all these years! And for any new readers out there: welcome. I hope 2017 is shaping up to be what y'all have hoped and dreamed! If not, you've got 6+ months to turn it all around! :)

"Revive your light. Manifest your dreams. Realize your worth."
-Alex Elle

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