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Entries in Jenna (4)


Balancing Life with Books

Those of you who know me well, know how much I love Christmas.  I love everything about it.  The lights, the tree with all those tiny, sparkling lights, with branches full of ornaments from all all the world that we carefully hand carried home from our visits.  The smells, oh the smells of the past.  My Mom's peanut butter bars and my Nannies lemon bread...all reminders of Christmas pasts.  I love the company and I most especially love the boys who now bring the belief of magic and wonder back into our Christmas mornings...Oh how I love all of those things...I also love gifts...both given and received.  I love when I find the perfect gift for someone.  Each year I strive to get it right.  We are big in this family on homemade gifts and time-spent gifts.  It's amazing what turns up each year in my can.  The other gift that I cherish each year is the gift that keeps on giving...and that comes in the form of books.  Again, those of you who really know me, know that technically I could be called a hoarder of books.  That does not stop me from wanting more though and this year was a banner year for books.  They fill me up, they take me away, they make me a better writer, they teach me life lessons and I make new friends in them.  I am never alone as long as I have books.  So I thought you might like to see where and what I will be doing if I'm not visiting you as often this year...presenting my 2017 book list, as of now...

My son and I share a passion for books.  We can get lost in book shops for hours, as we often do.  We love new book stores and we especially love a good used book store.  We read a lot of the same types of books but he is always introducing me to new themes and new authors.  He does not forget my favorite people though...The books above were in his his book bag to me this year...Who doesn't love Mary Oliver and I still have more to collect of hers.  This year I got Long Life..essays and other writings.  I can't wait to get into that on. I'm also getting more serious about my meditation and Thich Nhat Hahn is one of my new favorite authors so Chris gifted me At Home in the World, stories and Essential Teachings from a Monk's Life.  Sounds so interesting.  Last in this wonderful bag is a new author to me, Margot Livesey.  Mercury is the name of this novel. Doesn't this description sound so juicy..."The midlife crisis takes many forms, some familiar, some wildly unexpected. In her riveting novel, Mercury, portrays a couple in their season of crisis. Patiently, precisely, she unfolds the layers of their drama, at once quiet and extreme.  She'll make you wonder how well you know your spouse.  

My second book bag from Chris was so much fun.  Honestly, I read each books back cover while wrapping paper was flying through the and dogs going wild, laughter and conversations all around me, but still I sat with my tea and this most lovely, themed bag.  The tag is a keeper..."To Mom, a books about books, book bag.. Got it"..Love Chris."  I have to admit, I had to read it several times before I really did get it.  All of these books are about bookstores and the books.  How cool is that.  I have already read..Time Was Soft There and I give it 5 stars. It is about a bookstore in Paris that I need to get to on my next trip over, called Shakespeare and Co., which is also a book about that store. The owner of Shakespear and Company is George and oh my the surprise when I read early on in the book that he was from Salem, Massachusetts, which is my home town.  I highly recommend both and they are both non-fiction...The other book store books will speak for themselves...until I get to read them.  Of this group, the one that speaks to my heart though is Howards End is On The Landing by Susan Hill.  A year of reading from home.  I think Chris is trying to tell me something with this one..."A passionate reminder of the importance of reading and a revealing glimpse of a writer's life.  Observer.  The basis for this Non-fiction is that Susan Hill discovered one day all the beautiful books that she had on her shelves and decided, that for a year, she would re-acquaint herself with her own book shelves.  I so need to do this and i want to do it.  So I'm going to give it a try also.  I can say right now that I won't make it but what I will try really hard to do, is only by books that I absolutely must have.  Not just everything that looks good or interesting.  I have such great books on my shelves..I'll let you know how this goes as we move through the year...

Of course, not to be left out is a wonderful photography book entitled "Hearing with the Eye." by John Daido Loori...this needs a quiet Sunday afternoon, with the fire crackling and a brandy snifter of Rum Charta...Thank you Chris for the fine books...that will bring many days of pleasure to me.  I know this is a gift from the heart...and I'm so grateful.

Now as if that weren't enough books...others in my family know me well...

My new Rumi collection from a friend of Chris's.  I did not have either of these so this willl be fun to go through and the photo's are fabulous in The Illuminated Rumi...

Finally, comes the book bag from Jim.  I think his intent is to keep me reading so that I have very little time for the News shows in the next four years...This might work.  We are both readers and not really  people so this is what we do at night, when the sound of the clicking keys from our computers go silent.  Then we love nothing more than to turn on the electric blanket and head to bed to read. This year we even bought a new mattress that goes up and down at the head and the foot of the bed.  So brilliant for reading.  This bag is a very diversified bag...but I have my eye on Lilac Girls for the near future.  I have been wanting that one for awhile..Maybe it's just the title, it sounds so lovely and the girls on the cover just look so inviting...I know, I know, never judge a book by it's cover but you know, sometimes I do and this is one of those... Another Brooklyn.  Brooklyn, the 70's, coming of age...delicious.  Herman Hesse, now there is a blast from the past. I have not read Siddhartha but I'm sure it is timeless.  A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by David Eggers.  So many awards and great book reviews.  It's non-fiction with a bit of fiction tossed in.  I'm not quite sure...but it does sound interesting.  Finally, from this wonderful collection of books from one who knows my heart so well is...Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri.  Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. It was written in 1999 and is a collection of short stories which is great for me.  I need to read more short stories because I essentially write essays and it might be good to move along a bit. Jim's bag was also themed. Except for Lilac Girls and Another Brooklyn, the other three books were from the list of 100 books to read in a lifetime. Jim's addition to my photography collection is "It's Not About the Jay Maisel.  So you see I will be busy and I can't wait to find my books a home here on the shelves.  A bit of sorting is in order to make that happen...

Strangely enough, Jenna and I also share books.  We do the mysteries and girly books.  Cookbooks and magazines...we have favorties that we pass along to each other.  It's truly a book loving family. Although I didn't get a book bag from Jenna this year, she did give me a beautiful Burbury scarf to wrap myself up in as I read.  She is my girly, girl.  So much to love there. The boys, well they have their favorite books also. Liam has just started to love early Reader books, his favorite being Bisquit. Now he is reading to us. Jaxson loves books also and his very favorite from nap days in the big bed, which he still loves is How Do I Love You.  I read that to him each day he came..and when the book was over we would find other ways to say "how do I love you" is still his favorite book.  

So books, they make the world go round.  They ground us in times of trouble.  They sooth us when we are sick. They make a bad weather day sunny in there presence.  They brighten up a coffee table, even if they are never read. Mostly though, they keep us connected to each other through discussions and sharing.  They also sometimes surprise and amaze you in a gift that you could not even imagine...

This book was written by my high school friend.  It is the last book in this series.  Terri and I became friends again on Facebook and she told me how much she enjoys Jaxsons...stories and photo's.  Now imagine my surprise and graditude when I opened her book Unraveling The Pieces and found this on the fly page: Liam, Jaxon and know what that makes this book, right?  A keeper.  Thank you Terri for your books, your words and for this I was following you, you were also following me. How sweet is that...

So at the end of the never know what your gift to world will be.  I might never write a book, actually, I'm pretty sure I won't but I do hope that my blog counts, my photo's count, books count and words spoken or written count.  Use them for good out in the world and for your own pleasure.  You never know whose reading or listening...grab someone and snuggle, with a good book.

Here's to books and an entire new year to challenge yourself...

"Books are the comfort food without the calories."  Elizabeth Berg...

“There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.” Charles Dickens.. 

The above quotes are from two of my favorite authors...they never disappoint.



The Crane's Estate At Castle Hill

Christmas on the Cape Ann coast of Massachusetts is beautiful and timeless, at least that's how it feels when we recently visited the Crane's Estate, all decked out in it's holiday finest.  The sun was shinning, the ocean was at the bottom of the hill, the sound of music and the scent of gingerbread filled the air. It was a grand day to get your Christmas mojo on.  Nothing was left undone and it was just magical...from the moment you stepped through the front door..


“Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!”  Charles Dickens


The Crane's Estate is a property of the Trustee's of the Reservation.  I would really like to encourage you to visit any of their properties if you are fortunate to have a few in your area.  They are always beautiful kept and the grounds provide wonderful outdoor activities...even if it's only a walk along a coastal path...




"We live in a state of constant change .  Whether or not we're paying attention, the process is always happening.  Life is about recalibrating. About continually asking yourself: what do I have to do to get where I want to be? How do I create the life I want."  Although those words were written by Oprah Winfrey, the say exactly what I've been thinking for a few months now...

I find myself in a constant rat race...trying to get all the lessons, writing, blogging, researching done..I also love knitting reading and my boys...but I find that even though I'm retired I don't have enough hours for everything I want to do.  Then just when I think I have it all figured out, bingo...lights out..I'm off track again...and I'm feeling unsatisfied...all of this and to say nothing of friends and shopping (for shoes of course) I have begun to feel frustrated and unrewarded.   So what I end up doing is checking in...on Facebook, Mail, Instagram and running around the house like I have a need to be busy..

So how to get organized and prioritized...the first thing that popped into my head was something that a special photographer friend told me a short time ago..she decided to get serious about her photography and she has noticed it has made a difference...that thought has been running through my head a lot lately...but where to start...then I read in a post of Kim's...when people asked her how  she accomplish all she does...and her answer, " I wake up in the morning and I just start.  So my friends, that's what I did this week...I just started..

First, I stopped notifications from Facebook to my mail...can't believe how clean my mail is now and no going back and worth...second I did something that I have been wanting to do for very long time...I hired a photographer to do a portrait of me for my blog blog needs a tiny bit of now that I have my photo's I'm going to work on it...I'm looking for a writing workshop in my area...a place that I can go to and be part of a group..I love writing and I love blogging but I want to do it right...I've signed up for lessons on my camera...I'm not a book learner but I am a "you show me how" excited for this piece.  Most importantly I'll get this LR business because I'm going to keep at lesson at a time.

To be able to add the new postions in, I'll have to let go of some of the other things I love, like knitting.  I won't completely give it up but I won't go to classes every week..I don't need was more social than anything although I love the feel of the wood and wool moving through my hands.  I still make things but not under pressure....and reading, I'm going to do more of that fills my soul...and of course, I'm keeping my boys..for as long as I can...another thing that I'll be slowing down on is Facebook...I'm addicted and I need to be more aware of my time...I'll still show up because I love my peeps...maybe just not 20 times a day. I'm also going to be moving my post to my Facebook Photography page so I can take myself more if you don't see me as much, don't worry...I'm right here in my office, at my desk...looking at your work..I hope I can stay true to my word...for myself. 

As I move forward and embrace the change, I'll be on a more stable path to peace of mind and well being...and I'll take myself more seriously..

I had a lovely week...with lots of Autumn finds and a few funny moments...I won't be giving up my Fridays with you that's for sure...well, unless I'm off wandering the world...which I hope to continue..may you all find it in your heart to recalibrate whenever you need to...Here's to loving what we do.....

We took the boys to Pumpkin Land..and they had so much fun...have to share a few...

Liam flying....

Jaxson taking Mommy for a ride around the race track..Seriously, whose having more fun here. 

Watch out Jaxson...Liam is coming up the rear...punch it Martha....

After leaving Pumpkin Land, I went for a drive, BY MYSELF, on the backroads of Maine...and this is what I found.

I love this property not to far down the road from me in Maine...You'd swear you were in Kentucky. I visit it most times when I'm in the white fence, the horses, the laundry on the line...I've posted many photo's from here...most of all the love the woman who owns it....a lovely senior who inspires me with her energy, work ethic and neatness...and she loves to chat over the kind of girl

I wish you all a lovley, color filled weekend...thanks for stopping by...and helping me to finally get it out in the can think it but once you write it on paper and share it...I feel you become more serious in your efforts...Happy Autumn.

“When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” ~Viktor Frankl

“Happiness is not a goal. It’s a by-product of a life well lived.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt 

Photo credit for my portrait...(gosh I hate getting my photo done) goes to Lisa Pelonzi.. Please check her out. She does the most amazing work...and she's a beautiful person...from one photographer to another...thank you Lisa...xoxo


Simple Things


Simple things..and a simple post.  I love simple things, neat and orderly. Because I love it does not always mean that's the way it is...but in some parts of my house I can achieve this. One place is my downstairs bathroom.

A few years ago my son did the entire room over, start to finish, just like this lesson.  Walls went out, bead board came in.  New everything, and best of all white with a bit of grey.  I just love this space.  I found a big porcelain white sink, with hugh chunky legs.  Awesome.  On the sink I keep this favorite photo of my daughter from our trip to London, my favorite hand cream and always a little flower of some sort.  The floor is white tile with just a speck of light grey running through it and all the photo's are my own, done in black and white.

It is a small space but it is a space that I love...just to go in and look at...and while I'm there, perhaps a bit of hand lotion just for the smell of it.

Happy Weekend...enjoy your own special things...