Turn Your Family Rooms Into Libraries

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“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”

Cicero

Growing up, our house didn’t have a TV Room or a Family Room. It had a Library. Now, there was a television in that room, but it was still called the library. On either side of the television, were rows and rows and rows of books. There was a smaller bookshelf that was full. Books on the coffee table. Book in the bedrooms. Books!

I grew up looking at copies of Twain, Hemingway and Fitzgerald long before I could understand their works. Shakespeare, Frost, Whitman introducing me to poetry and language. Books with fine print far smaller than my Babysitter Club or Sweet Valley High books. Books with old cloth binding and gold lettering. Encyclopedias, anthologies, history books. A giant red atlas that I couldn’t lift. There were more books than I could possible read; but I wanted to. Books!

When I got married, out first apartment was filled with books. The simple bookshelf made from cinder blocks and particle board was one of the first things we put together. Filling it with books, mostly from our childhoods and from college. Many date nights were spent exploring Barnes and Noble, with Starbucks in hand. A few years later, when we moved to Princeton, NJ, we bought three tall brown bookcases from IKEA and quickly filled them. Books!

We have downsized out book collection over the years only to replenish it again. I think the only reason we downsize is so we can purchase mimage3 (2)ore books. Just like my childhood home, we have books on our bookshelves, on the coffee table, on the side tables, in all the bedrooms. Our children loves books and get excited to explore a Barnes and Noble Bookstore. Books are gifts at every birthday and every Christmas. Books!

We take huge tote bags to the library on Saturday mornings and fill them so full no one can lift them. The children devour them, sometimes finishing a book before we get home. Books!

My love of books and reading has gifted me the opportunity to be a part of several book launch groups. I get to read books before they hit the bookshelves and share about them. I didn’t even know this was a thing until a couple of years ago when I responded to an email, and a book arrived in my mailbox a few weeks later. These days I usually find myself reading 3-5 books at a time. Here are just some of the books I’ve been reading lately. All different. All great! So many books!

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I am about to start two new books for launches. One of the books arrives tomorrow and the other soon after! The Power of Positive Leadership by Jon Gordon comes out on April 24th and Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker comes out in August. I will be sharing all the scoop about these books and there will be more books to come. Someday, my book.

So, get thee to a library or bookstore and start reading! Fill those shelves, then fill them again. Turn your family rooms and TV rooms into libraries. Stack books next to your bed. Feed your children’s imagination with books and then set them free.

“They are the books, the arts, the academes,
That show, contain and nourish all the world.”
William Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s Lost

 

A Fresh Outlook on Life and What We Can Learn From Babies

My son will soon be eight months old. His most recent victory is sitting up. He is quite good at it. Occasionally he will reach for something too far out of his grasp and end up on his belly, or lean in the direction he is looking and topple over. Earlier today, he took a strong hold on the toy farm, brought it to his mouth to bite on (something he does with everything now that he has teeth) and fell onto his back with the farm on top of him. This did not phase him in the least and he went along chomping on the farm’s silo. He also doesn’t have very far to fall and we have a very nice plush carpet in our family room. Sitting up gives Colton a whole new view of the world. One he did not have a few weeks ago.

Colton has gone through many different stages of sight. As a newborn, babies can only see as far as the face of the person holding them. Perfect for a new mother nursing her baby. As they grow, so to does their eye sight. Things are more in focus and they can see further away. We have carried all of our babies in a Bjorn carrier. For the first several months, they are carried facing in toward your chest. They can’t see much, which is fine, because they usually fall asleep in this position. When they are strong enough, they are turned out, to face what is coming. A new perspective. A whole new world is just waiting for them to take in.

Like his sisters, Colton loved this change. To see what was coming, explore with his eyes, and return the smiles of everyone he sees. My husband calls this the “floating baby” because everyone notices and talks to Colton and rarely says anything to him.

And finally, when the torture of playing flat on the floor is almost too much to handle, the magical days comes a long when a baby can sit. Sit and play. Sit and be content. Sit and be happy. That is, until they want to crawl.

Sometimes in life, all we need is a fresh outlook on life. A new perspective. It doesn’t take much for a baby and it really doesn’t take much for us. So, take a moment, change your position and look again into this day. You may be surprised what you find. Disclaimer: Be careful to not pull the farm on top of you!

I’m Someone’s Future

Recently, our family of six drove from Virginia to Orlando, Florida. My husband was attending a conference and we couldn’t let him escape to sunshine without us. We stopped part way down for the night at a hotel. The next morning at breakfast, an older man and his wife were getting up to return to their room. He came over with a smile and told us that we had “a wholesome family. It’s nice to see.”

While spending a day in the Magic Kingdom, we took a little rest and enjoyed some delicious frozen pineapple-orange drinks. A couple at a nearby table came over and asked if he could take our picture for us. He and his wife loved watching us enjoy being a family, and our yummy drinks.

The next day, we took a trip to Clearwater Beach, on the gulf. We enjoyed an amazing seafood feast before heading back to the car to get our beach gear. We passed a young couple who had a one year old little boy. They were both smiling. The wife stopped me and told me that she had just told her husband that we were her future. (Her husband stopped smiling. Probably because he had recounted our family members and realized we had four children.) She said we looked like the family she wanted to have.

Most often, people comment on the size of our family. It’s as if having four children is an anomaly. We get the smiles at our cute children, but you can see the slightly negative thoughts rushing through their minds. But within just a few days, we got three amazing compliments.

The comments caught me off guard and made me realize that others are almost always watching. Someone notices when I am a little too cross with my children in the grocery store, or when I forget to brush someone’s hair, or when I forget to brush my hair. They also notice when we care for each other, love each other and have fun with each other. It is a good reminder for me and for my family to act as if someone is always watching. What kind of mom and wife to I want to represent? What kind of family to I want people to think we are? I want us to be a wholesome, loving family that enjoys each other’s company. I want to be someone’s future.