How to Choose a Book

Monday, June 13, 2016

Choose an author.* Read one of her books. Then read everything else she's written. (Mourn when you've read it all; pray she writes more.)

A few I recommend: 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 
Kate Atkinson
Zadie Smith 
Anne Morrow Lindbergh

*Choose a prolific and/or still living author. 

Tabs I Can't Close 49: Bike Rides, Trees, Getting Dressed, Insulation

Friday, June 10, 2016

These are the days for bike rides and walks along the river, ice cream in hand. My work takes me on long drives down dusty gravel roads and at the end of the day I am covered in a not-so-fine layer of dust. All I want to do is this.

People like trees.
I...want getting dressed to be a simple affair. I want to wake up in the morning and open my drawer or my closet and be able to select, in a matter of minutes, something to wear for the day.
Erin Boyle
Erin's blog is one of the few I read these days, and I love Elizabeth Suzann.

I'm expecting one of these perfectly simple dresses in the mail today. (Oh, it's in the mailbox right now. Half of the fun of ordering something new is tracking the package, right?)

Last night I had to rush home from the grocery store as the ice cream melted in the trunk, making me wish I had one or two of these.

Thanks for stopping by, reading, generally being there! 

How to Make a Bad Day Better

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

  1. Listen to good music. 
  2. Do all of the things you've been putting off. 

Tabs I Can't Close 48: Simplicity, Organics, Flea Markets, Bonnie Cashin

Saturday, April 30, 2016

This looks so complicated

Organics Sin Fronteras

Five things to look for at flea markets

Bonnie Cashin

Also, as it stands right now, you have a very good chance of snagging a copy of Bella Grace in the giveaway, which is open to you, yes you, wherever you are in the world.

Here's to the weekend!

Found Grace

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

One summer my sister and I were in Poland, biking south toward Germany when we looked up to see this massive cathedral. We stopped and went in to wander around the cool, dark building, saying hello to an elderly priest sitting in an open-style confessional booth. Having no confessors, he seemed very eager to talk, to know who we were. We introduced ourselves all around and when I said my name, Anna, he beamed. 

Anna! He said, and then gently, kindly, graceful child.

My name is Anna, (as in Anna and Elsa :). It means grace. Full of grace. 

Grace, in a strange twist, is a stressful concept for me. I am not exactly graceful. At my best, I am a take-charge person (bossy). I don't  always deal diplomatically with things that are wrong (difficult). I defend myself (sassy). Be graceful is a directive I've seen and experienced misused as a method of control. Gracefulness feels like a skin that isn't mine. An idea, a lifestyle, a heaviness that covers, blots out light, stifles breath, cuts out movement and freedom. "Grace" makes my skin prickly and sensitive.

I don't think I'm alone in this, and it's fair to say that certain understandings of grace are misguided. Forced grace loses something of its essence and becomes a cramped, constraining thing. Grace is not so much a practice as it is something one finds, something one is given. Found grace, and grace that is given, is expansive and broad, creating a place where one can breathe, stretch out cramped limbs, and find the edges of one's own self instead of the edges of a too-small idea.

When he said this, when a friendly, elderly priest, so happy to talk with us—so happy to escape from the boredom of an empty confessional booth—when he said, graceful child, I found a small relief. A thousand miles on a bike to meet this priest who said, graceful child. He wasn’t entreating me to be graceful, to embody the meaning of my name; to force what cannot be forced. Rather, he simply named it—said it, and so, spoke it into being. Graceful child, he said, as if to say, you are. You do not have to try to be, this you are. 

Bella Grace magazine recently launched Grace Notes, a blog about life's everyday magic. I'm thrilled to celebrate the launch by being a part of the blog hop (full participant list here), and together with Bella Grace, I'm offering two lucky readers a current copy of the Bella Grace magazine. To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below. Giveaway is now closed. 

© The Attic at Anderwood Maira Gall.