Ahh, luxury of luxuries, I read a book.
Not just any book.
I was able to move beyond The Going to Bed Book and Fancy Nancy to read a big girl book. I was on the hunt for a good one for our trip to Maine. If I was going to spend those precious hours engrossed in a book, it had to be worth my time. I have many half-hearted attempts by my nightstand that never made the cut. A good book has to withstand numerous interruptions and almost a magnetic force to keep me involved.
I left for Maine dissappointed that despite trips to the library and Barnes & Noble, I just couldn't find anything that was Maine-worthy and engrossing enough to take my attention away from my constant "mom" state for a while. Then it happened, this book literally fell into my lap. We stopped at a farmstand in Freeport, ME just 10 minutes from the cottage. We had driven off the beaten path to pick up some fresh produce for dinner. In the corner of this little shanty was a stack of cookbooks and this book:
I had acually been looking for this book after reading a review in a magazine, but couldn't find it. The fact that it takes place on the coast of Maine conveniently sold me as I would be reading it while relaxing by these same cold waters. This Life is in Your Hands is a wonderful true story about a family who abandons their everyday luxuries in order to homestead, which means they are completely dependant on farming the land for their everyday needs. It is the story of how they maintained this lifestyle and it's peppered with real life tragedy as well as the reality that this escape to be self-sufficient is not an escape from heart-ache.
The only disappointing part was the fact that I flew through this book and again had to begin the search for my next read. I have been craving something inspiring. Something that can keep me grounded in the midst of what feels like such a busy and crazy time in our lives.
I found it.
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp is a reminder and a challenge to find joy and gratitude in life - the daily reminders that we often overlook. It is truly grounding to read a book like this. My mind is constantly checking off lists and looking forward in an effort to acheive some sort of readiness for what is next. It is difficult to bask in what is right in front of you when you are busy looking beyond it. It is really the simple things that make our lives great. This book is a perfect tool to remain reminded of the overwhelming blessings found in these moments and beyond:
"Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world."
-Sarah Ban Breathnach from "One Thousand Gifts"
The truth is, I am drawn more and more to the simple things. This Life is in Your Hands was nowhere near a call to leave for Northern Maine and try out homesteading, but in many ways this couple had the gift of creating a new meaning of life for their family without "stuff". One Thousand Gifts further fuels this desire toward simplicity and adds a much needed demension of the grace and abundance that is found here. As a consumer, we are constanty innundated with the things we "need" in this world. The irony is that the "it" thing is constantly changing and it is a game to keep up with the latest. I've found that as a mother, the guilt factor is added in and I typically feel as though my child will not acheive an imaginary developmental level if I don't keep up. I feel like I come up short in my desire to run from the pull of daily life. It is nice to escape from all of these demands for a little bit. Curling up to a good book has been a great way to do this and it's even better to find something that challenges you regroup and rethink.
My friend Laura has a similar vision to enjoy simplicity in the little things. She has started a great website with her friends, called plant. eat. create., which highlights very simple ways to enjoy each of these elements. I always tell her that I feel inspired when I spend a bit of time with her. This inspiration will likely rub off when you check out her blog.