Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Love with Nutella Smudges

It's the gooey-love I love the best.

Nutella Picnic

Sent from my iPhone covered in hazelnuts & chocolate.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

1000 Gifts

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You AreOne Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great gift from blogger Ann Voskamp. Her writing style was a bit difficult in book format (compared with her blog), but her ideas stuck with me. While it might sound cliche to start your own personal list of gifts, don't knock it until you try it. Sometimes we are too "smart" for our own good.

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You AreThe Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book and learned a great deal from it, so the perfectionist in me has been procrastinating writing a review. How could it be good enough? Ha ha! Seriously, this book is one of the best non-fiction books I've read.

"Shame is the intensely powerful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging." (p. 39) Are we flawed? Yes. Does that mean we are unworthy of the truly good things in life: love and belonging? No. (And don't believe anyone who tells you differently, even if that person is you.)

"The Gifts of Imperfection" is a concise guide (130 pp.) outlining the research of Brene Brown, writer and professor at the University of Houston. Dr. Brown avoids presenting a typical self-help list of "easy-to-follow" steps to solve the problems of perfectionism, anxiety, fear, and other things that "get in the way." In fact, she has a story about a disastrous speaking engagement where the organizer insisted that she keep it "light and breezy" for her audience: "The women in the audience just smiled, nodded, and ate their chicken. It was a train wreck." Rather than completing a checklist, the goal is what she terms "Wholehearted" living: courage, compassion, and connection.

Dr. Brown offers 10 guideposts for the journey toward a more shame-resilient life, emphasizing that the process is meant to continue for the rest of our lives. For each guidepost, the reader is encouraged to cultivate a Wholehearted gift by letting go of something that gets in the way. For example, cultivate authenticity by letting go of what people think; cultivate creativity by letting go of comparison; cultivate laughter, song and dance by letting go of being cool and always in control. Ironically, the length of the journey, and its comprehensiveness didn't leave me with a dark and heavy feeling, (think "Gotta make the donuts..") but a more positive outlook on life. It also reminded me of what evangelist Joyce Meyer has said, "You will know the truth about yourself, and the truth will set you free."

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Brave Sunflower

Facing the oncoming storm clouds this seems to know that the rain will probably only last a few minutes.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Seedless Yellow Watermelon

Got one of these in my CSA share this week.

Who'd a thunk it?

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Friday, August 5, 2011

A Broken Vessel

A Broken Vessel (Julian Kestrel Mysteries, #2)A Broken Vessel by Kate Ross

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An enjoyable read of the historical-mystery-fiction genre, #2 in the Julian Kestrel series. I thought this was a tighter book than #1. The plot progressed at a nice pace and the characters were well-written. I liked the new character Sally. It's fun trying to figure out the Cockney phrases that she and her brother, Dipper (Kestrel's streetwise valet and ex-pickpocket) use in conversation. The three suspects are wildly divergent in background and motive -- discovering whodunit is fun without being so outlandish that you conclude by asking, "How on earth did that happen?"

There are a number of historical mysteries that fail to work on many levels: plot, timing, and especially dialogue. Kate Ross keeps the elements in balance and executes a fast-paced and original mystery. A Broken Vessel is just the ticket for a light, entertaining mystery read.

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Lessons of Procrastination

There are many areas of life where I can procrastinate without seeing much damage as a result. The garden is not one of those areas.

This used to be Lemon Basil. After a month of not pinching off the blooms I have created a crazy masterpiece of basil flowers. The bumblebees seem to like it, but it's not much use in the kitchen anymore. When it dies, it will probably make a great tumbleweed, too.

Tomorrow I go back into the fray, recovering my kitchen garden from its Planet of the Apes overgrown state.

I'll post an "after" photo when I get it done. Until then, the sunflowers are pretty.

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