July found myself wanting to get back to reading again, a favorite hobby which I sorta left by the wayside when I experienced a preference for more active hobbies – exercising, knitting, crocheting, blogging, trying out new recipes when lightning struck (ha!).
After sorting out how I wanted to balance my preference for physical books with the convenience of downloading on my Kindle, I started my bookish adventures with the following:
Happier At Home by Gretchen Rubin (non-fiction)
I truly enjoyed Gretchen’s Happiness Project when I read it several years ago and, since this time around I’m a SAHM on a mission to create a happy home, Happier At Home was an easy pick. I enjoy Gretchen’s writing style, and the fact that the act of pursuing happiness is approached as a personal experiment. Therefore, not everything will stick, and just because it makes somebody else happy doesn’t mean it will do the same for you. But you do get to learn about yourself & what works along the way.
The book is chock-full of practical lessons a few of which that I could apply immediately are:
“When we are happy we are always good, but when we are good we are not always happy”.
Respond to the spirit of the gift. How wise this is! How many times have I responded to the gift instead of the spirit of the gift, and been a scrooge for it. For example, if my daughter makes up the bed but doesn’t fold the blanket just perfectly so, I should not respond with criticism or re-do the whole thing the way I want it. I should be happy about the fact that my daughter wanted to help, that’s the real gift. Ditto for when my husband tries to cook and leaves the kitchen an amazing mess 🙃
Everything looks better arranged on a tray. Just try this one out, it’s true! 😁
Celebrate holiday breakfasts. This one made me think about how my family usually does not plan for special occasions but sorta just wings it. I decided that henceforth and at the very least, celebratory cakes will be available for enjoyment on-date, ordered beforehand, and not just some random, yummy-enough sounding cake that we buy whereabouts dinnertime on the date itself. (We can do better!🙄)
Embrace good smells. This motivated me to enroll in an online aromatherapy course. My husband and I are absolute suckers for nice smells. We are never without perfume, room-specific fresheners and deodorants of all types. I make doing laundry enjoyable by finding the freshest, cleanest, loveliest smelling detergents and fabric softeners I can get my hands on. An aromatherapy course would promote going natural on some of these fumes for better health without compromising on the happiness factor 😁😁
13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher (fiction)
An absolute page turner, I read it in 1 day, it was just difficult to put down. The topic of teen suicide made me think back to my own teenage years and made me appreciate growing up under strong Catholic influence. “There IS a God watching over all of us and He strongly disapproves of suicide”. Bless those austere rosary-bead stringing nuns and stern, disapproving priests we used to secretly poke fun of, they at the very least instilled in us the habit of praying for even our most worrisome problems that were too embarrassing for human ears. In my darkest moments I never felt alone.
My So-Called Life As A Proverbs 31 Wife by Sara Horn (non-fiction)
This book popped up as one of the suggested reads on my Kindle and is about a woman’s experiment in trying to be like the biblical Proverbs 31 wife. I thought it would just be a book with suggestions and funny anecdotes, but mid-way through it I slowly started to realize that being a SAHM is not about ME. This stay in Indonesia (which I still struggle with) is about my family being together, being a wife to my husband, a mother to my daughter and being the “thermostat of the home” as Sara puts it.
Where Happier At Home starts from a self-centered place of what makes ME happy that will also make my husband and daughter happy, My So-Called Life focuses on the important role of a wife, mother and homemaker and the huge impact that has on the family. Think of it as being on a team, and you’re the specialist at something and without you contributing your uniqueness to the team (the family unit), it just won’t work.
And it is not about sacrificing either, it is about giving from a place of empowerment. In thinking of myself as a valuable, uniquely contributing team-member, I let go of the selfish & ultimately unsatisfying pursuit of chasing happiness for personal consumption
Hmmmm … definitely a profound lesson for me to learn 🤔
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So those are the books I read in July. Hopefully I can come back next month at about the same time with more interesting titles & lessons 😊
Oh and … have you come across a delicious read recently that you might want to recommend? Do tell! 😍