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Two Books

January 12, 2013

We’ve had a streak of rainy days here lately, so one afternoon after work I found myself curled up on the couch next to the windowpane, and David and I missed our dog walks for a few weeknights and weekend mornings. Perfect reading weather.

I thought I would share this pair of books here, because they’re the special sort that are just lovely and feel like sitting across from a very interesting, knowledgeable person with cups of tea on the table between you. The kind that stick with you in your memory and soul. The type that seem like real-life chatting or mentoring packaged between two covers instead of just “a book.”

I found out about Creative Thursday from Shayla on Twitter, and could not be happier that she mentioned it. It is delightful, and clearly a work of much love and reflection. Marisa Anne sprinkles her darling artwork throughout the pages, so the book appeals to your eyes as well as your spirit. Basically, it is a guide to incorporating creativity into your daily life, finding the courage to listen to your heart, and even growing into, connecting with, and taking care of yourself.

Marisa includes any kind of creativity you can think of within the book’s scope: writing, cooking, painting, drawing, jewelry-making, knitting, sewing, crafting, etc. Creative Thursday is wonderfully encouraging, easy to read, conversational, and down-to-earth. And above all else, it is really, really validating. If you thought you were the only one with fear, self-doubt, resistance, a habit of procrastination, and a lack of inspiration- rest assured! You are perfectly normal and can still be successful, even! And Marisa, like a friend who has been where you’ve been and gotten herself to where you want to be, offers thoughtful and kindhearted advice on how to handle these and other obstacles that pop up in your path sometimes.

Harnessing and encouraging creativity is also part of Brené Brown‘s book The Gifts of Imperfection, which I mentioned in my last post. Since then, I’ve enjoyed reading back through the passages I highlighted a few times and realizing that several of Brené’s points continue to resonate with me and shape my current approach to life.

This book outlines 10 “guideposts” or practices that Brené found in her research to be associated with people living “Wholeheartedly,” which means feeling worthy of love and belonging instead of being mired in shame, inauthenticity, disconnection, fear, blame, perfectionism, and anxiety. It is sort of like a manual on how to live a joyful, connected, peaceful, true-to-yourself life and tackle the “gremlins” that make us feel like we never have enough or are enough. The Gifts of Imperfection also touches on the importance of rest, play, intuition, and compassion.

The Howard Thurman and Mary Daly quotes in this post are from Brené’s book, and I love the perfectionism one below as well. And here’s one last favorite sentence that I highlighted and keep coming back to: “The irony is that the thing that’s wearing us down is trying to stay out in front of feeling worn down.” Yes.

Oh, and if you’re wondering where I got my cute Kindle cover pictured above, which I absolutely adore, it is from the Etsy shop Old Birdy. I am the kind of person who gets just as excited about picking out a Kindle case as she does about her sister gifting her the Kindle itself.

We’re off to Texas next weekend to explore two cities we’ve been wanting to visit forever: Austin and San Antonio. David has already bookmarked at least a dozen exciting vegetarian-friendly restaurants in Austin, including a vegan ice cream parlor with “Not-Tella” milkshakes and gluten-free cones. This is typical of us, our biggest travel challenge being cutting down our list of desired eateries to a number that might be humanly possible during the 2-3 days we’ll be in a city. I hope to return with plenty of photos and taste experiences to share with you all here.

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