Latest Reads

I rarely have the time to read for pleasure so whenever I can, I try to curl up in my "cozy room" with a good book.  Yes, we call it the "cozy room." It's a tiny little room off my kitchen, just 10'x12'.  Just right. It's a perfect place to nap or read and its where I have my coffee each morning as I listen to the news and scroll through my favorite blogs.

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But this post isn't about my cozy room - it's about what I've been reading lately! I wanted to share a few lovely books I read over the summer, starting with this one - Chasers of the Light by Tyler Knott Gregson

This is a collection of poem's from Gregson's Typewriter Series, poems he banged out on old book paper, envelopes, and other ephemera using an old Remington Typewriter.  He had me at poems.  And old paper. And typewriter.  I love this poetry; haunting, beautiful, encouraging, lovely. How could you not fall in love with words like this:

Come now the flood
for you have no idea
how long
I can hold my breath

I've read it twice. Okay, maybe three times.  If you love poetry, you will love this book.

The second book I loved reading this past summer was Traveling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor. I am a huge fan of Sue Monk Kidd and have read most of her books, but my daughter suggested this one to me.

It's a beautiful story of the dynamic connection between mother and daughter as they navigate the treacherous waters of relationships, self-discovery, pain and ultimately fulfillment. This is a memoir by the two as they travel through Greece, Turkey and France and the parallel between themselves and the mythological mother/daughter story of Demeter and Persephone. I adored this book and I read it as I travelled to these same places they visited in the book. Touching and poignant, it is told from both perspectives; mother and daughter.  It's lovely. Truly.

I revisited To Kill a Mockingbird also this summer by Harper Lee. It had been more than 35 years since I read it the first time. Harper Lee is one of the greatest American writers of all time (in my opinion) and I once again enjoyed the adventures of Scout, Jem and Dill as they spent their lazy summer days together hoping for a glimpse of Boo Radley. I pondered their innocence and awakening to racial discrimination and thought how timely it still is, even after 45 years. I pulled the book out again because of the release of Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee's newly found novel which was supposed to be a sequel to Mockingbird. I haven't been able to pick up her new novel as I can't picture Atticus Finch as anything but a hero.  I think I'll leave my memory of him in Mockingbird intact.

The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan was phenomenal.  If you have never read any of her books or listened to her inspirational talks, you owe it to yourself to giver her a listen. Corrigan writes this beautifully told story about her shift from being a child to a parent to a caregiver of her own parent as she navigates that "middle place."  I cried and laughed and sometimes both at the same time.  I loved her family.  They are my family. Most American families.  She taught lessons on pride, humility and grace.  Did I tell you I want to be her when I grow up? 

I hope you get a chance to pick up one {or all} of these!  I would love for you to share with me some of your favorite reads!

The Road Not Taken

June Theme
Travel Journaling
June 13 - Week 24
Art Challenge: Recording Memories
Journal Prompt:  Taking the Road Less Traveled

This week, I am focusing more on my memory than on my art journal.  When I read the prompt, I instantly thought of Robert Frost's famous poem, The Road Not Taken.

My Journal page ended up being a hot mess anyway, but as I worked through it, so much bubbled up to the surface, that I decided to leave the art alone.  It happens.  I may go back to it at some point but not today.  Not this week.

This poem evoked many beautiful memories and happy times for me. I was fortunate enough to spend so much time with my grandmother growing up - large chunks of time - entire summers and nearly every weekend.  I was in awe of her.  She was a working woman in a man's world - not because she had to, but because she wanted to.  She graduated at age 45 from the University of Maryland.  In her college yearbook, she is one of only two females in a sea of male graduates.  She wasn't even going to go to her graduation - the ceremony was unimportant to her, but her professors urged her to attend, just so they could present her with her degree and the distinction of Summa Cum Laude (highest honors).  She was surprised to find she was Valedictorian, selected from a prestigious faculty and her peers.  She was unassuming and smart and kind and had a career long before women even thought about that {or men accepted it}.  She taught me 'how to play the game' in the business world and her lessons helped me many times while I was making my own way through the ranks.  She encouraged me to 'pick my battles' and let the rest go.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
— Robert Frost

Besides being a savvy and successful business woman, my grandmother also was a Dreamer, like me.  She read poetry and traveled and hung out with intellectuals and artists.  She and I would read poetry for hours and I was always her companion when attending gallery exhibits and art shows.  She introduced me to the poetry of Shelley, Keats, Lord Byron and Frost. She showed me Monet, Manet, Renoir and Vermeer.  At a very young age I was exposed to a treasure trove of the written word and the visual world.  All of this inspiration and guidance molded me into who I am today.

So back to Robert Frost's poem . . . she used it as a metaphor for me.  I remember the day exactly.  We were walking along a beach on the Chesapeake Bay and discussing Frost.  'You can follow the pack and do what everyone else is doing, or you can forge your own way and make your own path."  She did that in her own life, and I am doing the same.  I am so grateful for the encouragement and the freedom she gave me to do that.  No matter what obstacles come my way, I make my own path and keep searching for my own True North. So I dedicate this page to her memory and as a thanks for all of the wisdom she passed on to me - I use it every day!

I created this collaged page using an old Atlas I found in an antique shop, some acrylic paint and a few stencils from StencilGirl; Around the World Latitude by Mary Nassar and Compass Rose by Julie Snidle. *NOTE - the geo tag stamp from Studio Calico is stamped outside the perimeter of the map . . . I took the road less traveled!

This week our featured artist is the amazing Lindsay Ostrom for ZIG!  Lindsay's take on this challenge can be found HERE.

For more information on this week's challenge you can find us here:
Instagram: #documentedlife #documentedlifeproject

Looking for previous challenges? click HERE

Visit our blogs: Sandi Keene, Roben-Marie Smith, Rae Missigman

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