Thursday, April 16, 2015

Slowing down with a good book...

The middle week of any month is the one where I push myself further than I should; the week when both my body and mind cry out in exhaustion, begging me to slow down, breathe, and drink deeply from the well of calm that is actually just a thought or two away.

Choosing to slow down, making conscious decisions to stop 'doing' and just 'be' for an hour or two is a lesson I'm learning this year but it's not as easy as I imagined it would be...

...because I discovered it has needed more intentional thought than just writing my desire for a simpler life in a journal or framing my mission statement by the bed so I can remind myself each morning what this year is all about.

Yet as the days and weeks of this year have gathered into months, the intentional discipline of slowing my overactive mind so that it can close the door on work and hide itself away in the delights of a good book without a giant dose of guilt as an unwelcome accompanying melody, is a pleasure I'm very slowly giving way to...

I finished a wonderful 1929 classic last week and fell in love with reading again.
You know I couldn't remember the last time I read a good book from cover to cover.
I read so much for the blog and for business, for health and faith...but purely for pleasure and relaxation? No. 

How very different to the delight I found between the well worn sleeves of old books less than a decade ago when I would read marvelous stories to the children (right into their mid-teens) for hours every afternoon, their plea for "just one more chapter, Mum"  encouraging me on.

Then at night after everyone was fed and satisfied, the house tidied, dishes washed, and lessons planned for the next day (we were homeschoolers),  I'd  snuggle down under the sheets, fluff my pillows, and delve into another world, and another time, with a book just for me. 

 And not once did guilt knock on the door of my thoughts.

So I've ordered another old book written by the same author and it should arrive in the post any day now. 
Then I shall fall back in step with the old me, the girl who loved to read for pleasure each day, and found herself laughing or crying or thinking deep thoughts - because that's what happens when you set yourself free in a good book.

In the meantime, now that the middle of the month rush and stresses have passed, I've discovered a wonderful magazine that has added fuel to my desire of living a life-slowed-down, of stopping to smell the roses (or the mock orange flowers in my photos above) and to live and love my life.

 So it seems that the second quarter of my Year of Gentle Domesticity is harvesting some good changes, and that warms my heart because I think with each passing month the good 'fruit' of this harvest will bring more than a year of benefits.

If you've joined me in this year of gentle domesticity I'd love to hear about some of the changes that have occurred which you've found delight in.
If you can, please share in the comments below as there's so many of us on this journey that your own experience will be an added inspiration and blessing.

gentle hugs,


  1. Those books look fabulous. Might need to hunt them out myself. My favourite genre is historical fiction. Love it. The magazine looks great too.

  2. wonderful to hear need some 'you' time...without the guilts! YOu work hard and deserve it!
    love ya xox :o)

  3. With busy lives it is difficult to find/take the time to indulge in a reading a book. I just read one last week and it was wonderful to just get lost in the pages and the journey of the story. Our chores of Gentle Domesticity will wait for one else is going to do them. To nurture our souls is critical so we can accomplish all that demands of us and our time. Blessings Dear Jenny...

  4. I loved Dorothy Canfield! I still read for pleasure - I download free books onto my phone all the time from Book Bub. I do miss reading to my sons....all snuggled up on the couch, going hoarse because they didn't want me to stop. What precious memories.

  5. I read to my children all the time. They are readers now and my daughter is an avid reader she always has something in her hands she is reading... I have begun the journey to organize my life...Not just my home but my life. I have checking out different types or organizational planners and trying to get one put together for me.... And I need to get into a routine. So many things have fallen to the way side for me over the past couple years.

  6. I feel guilty when I read for pleasure as well. I feel that if I am to spend the time reading it needs to be the Word or something to help me grow in my walk. I indulge myself in the Fall when all the garden harvest needs to be canned or dried, or am working on a sewing project. Then I go to the library or download some audio fiction so that I can work and listen. I did purchase some books to read this summer. Books about gardening and the life of Tasha Tudor. A book that you had posted about a few months back called The Gentle Art of Domesticity. Also a few cookbooks by Susan Branch. They may not be fictional stories, but bring just as much pleasure.
    Hopefully time will slow down a bit so that I may sit out in the sunshine with a cup of ice tea and get lost in another world.

  7. Reading for pleasure is something that I often neglect. This has been a week of pushing myself and I appreciate reading your post and being reminded. I work at the library, I will have to bring home a really good book for the weekend. Thanks for all you do.

  8. Years ago, I found out that when I don't read regularly, I get really grumpy! Life gets busy, but my brain still needs that time in another world. I'm lucky because my part-time job involves reading a lot of teen and children's lit, as well, so I spend several hours a day reading, and it makes it possible for me to deal with everything that comes my way.

    One thing I'm letting go of is organizers. Yes, I know. Everyone else is organizing, but I'm letting go of it. It hems me in and causes me stress. I tried being more organized at the start of the year, and wound up accomplishing far less. So, good bye calendars and planners! There's a list of goals and I work on whatever pleases me today. Or nothing at all. =)

  9. I have always enjoyed reading for pleasure. In the last few years my job has been very stressful so between sewing, gardening and reading I get a bit of time to relax and unwind.

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  11. Looking forward to many wonderful books as soon as I get done decluttering my home.

  12. Jenny, I started maybe 6 months ago with having a 30-minute after-lunch reading time. Every day that I'm able, I sit down after lunch and read (pleasure reading) for 30 minutes. (Usually accompanied by a little chocolate!) My kids' elementary school did this. Everyone--principal, janitors, teachers, students--read on their own for 30 minutes after lunch. I really love these reading times and I highly recommend it.

  13. Jenny my time to enjoy and come back to life God has planned for me , began in July 2014 , after an anxiety attack . I hope you can translate the page . kisses


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