W H E N I W A S Y O U N G E R I was that student reading cliff notes the night before a quiz or a test and cramming 200+ pages into synopses and summaries. Reading? Forget about it. I would much rather spend my time building my perfect home on Sims and probably getting the onset of carpal tunnel by typing CTRL + SHIFT + C + 'motherlode' so many times. It wasn't until this past year that I picked up a book just for enjoyment- to learn more, to be better, to pass the time doing something other than replaying Friends over and over... and then over again. Of course I've tried reading books in the past, I just have that thing where you get to Chapter 4 and then you all of the sudden get really busy and the One When Ross is Fine comes on and you turn the volume up a few notches.
It wasn't until about the end of the month of May when we were traveling to Seattle, WA that I picked up a few books off my bookshelf and packed them in my carry on. I typically watch movies on flights, but I gave myself the benefit of the doubt. The first one I pulled out was Present Over Perfect, which (admittedly) I've had for a couple years now. And once I opened it, I didn't put it down. From Atlanta to Seattle, I flipped through the pages and marveled at the way I resonated with this book. If you've read it, you probably know exactly what I'm talking about. If you haven't (and especially if you live in a hectic city like those in or near Atlanta), you should. Upon our descent into Seattle, I put the book in the pouch of the seat in front of me and surprised myself thinking about how nice it was to be quiet, to sit, to read. Then, as life would have it- and halfway through with this book, I left it on the plane.
Since then (after buying another copy of Present Over Perfect and finishing it), I've been hungry for books that teach me a little bit more about life, love, business, and God. I write in the margins of my books what the pages are teaching me, I highlight the words, sentences, and sometimes entire pages that stick with me. And as a result, never in my life have I felt so inspired, capable, and closer to understanding myself because of that 'me too' feeling when you read something that hits a little too close to home.
T H E N I T G O T M E T H I N K I N G , what other things do I love to spend my time doing that I should do more of? How will I get the most out of this season of my life? I'm a newly wed, finishing college, working 30-35 hours a week, and coming home to a relatively quiet house for now. I have a little more free time than I will working a full time job and especially more than if I had kids running around at home. What would my life look like if I didn't come home to watch the schemes of Blair and Serena in the Upper East Side unfold (for the third...okay fourth time)?
I love painting. And I love sifting through thrift shops even if I don't buy anything. I LOVE cooking and trying new recipes. I want to plant rose bushes in my yard and grow vegetables. I want to expand this 'business' and I want to touch people's lives with words and designs. So, I've started collecting copper pots and pans. I bought a few cookbooks, and I asked for a few more for Christmas this past year. I made Joanna Gaines's Chicken Spaghetti (10/10) and I learned what vegetables are good for you during what season thanks to author Wendy Rowe. I read Gay Girl Good God in one day and was rocked to the core by the word of God coming from Jackie Hill Perry. And I feel like I have room in my head to think about my own life again, not just what I'm watching on tv.
A N D G U E S S W H A T ? I started 2019 feeling fueled, fulfilled, and inspired. I learned more about myself and what makes me feel more like myself. I've always been a dreamer, but not always a doer. Like most people, I need a push to actually do the things I've always dreamt about. So if that's you too, here's your push. Buy and read the book- highlight everything that speaks to you and let the ink of your own pen bleed through the pages as you get those thoughts down on paper. And don't be afraid to make it messy, because life is messy. Plant the rose bush. And for crying out loud,
C O O K T H E C H I C K E N S P A G H E T T I (it's worth every calorie).
It seems trivial. Of course we should do what we love doing. But sometimes it's easier not to. Sometimes it's easier to get under our favorite blanket and escape to 1990's New York with six of our best friends for 22 minutes... or 4 hours at a time. And truthfully, there's a time and place for that. I'm not saying to delete your Netflix subscriptions. But I am saying there's something to be said about doing things that give you life- not living through the lives of others on tv, even though Jack and Rebecca Pearson just do it all so well.
What did you learn about yourself in 2018? And what will you do this year to find more of yourself and who you were made to be? If you're like me and want a few good reads this year, I've listed my top 3 favorites below that I've read so far. If you want to try your hand in the kitchen, I've listed my top 3 favorite cookbooks too (and again, try the Chicken Spaghetti in Magnolia Table. You won't ever regret it. Ever.) Maybe I'll even share a few of my own recipes later on this year!
Cheers to a new year, a fresh start, and a time for change. Do what you love this year. You'll be glad you did.
R E C O M M E N D A T I O N S /
F O R T H E B O O K W O R M S
1. Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
2. Gay Girl Good God by Jackie Hill Perry
3. The Magnolia Story by Joanna Gaines
F O R T H E K I T C H E N
1. Eat Beautiful by Wendy Rowe
2. Love & Lemons by Jeanine Donofrio
3. Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines (duh)