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Showing posts from 2014

Favorite Children's Books of 2014

Some of my favorite bloggers have been compiling lists of their favorite books of the year (which means my "to read" list is growing). I have read quite a few great books myself this year, but for some reason, the ones that stand out most are children's books. I loved so many children's stories this year. They were sweet, fun, wholesome, and beautifully illustrated.

So that's what I want to share.

First, a couple of notes: 1) These books may or may not have been published in 2014. I just happened to discover them this year. 2) I have provided Amazon affiliate links for each book. This is just so you can easily learn more about the book. If you happen to purchase using these links, Amazon may send a small amount my way which I will put toward blog expenses.

Now, on with the list!

Uni the Unicorn by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
This book actually was newly published this year and is enchanting (as anything with unicorn in the title might suggest). Uni is a unicorn who believes …

My Favorite Books This Year

Which may or may not have been published this year, but this is the year I happened to read them.

Nonfiction

This I Know by Susannah Conway
I love this memoir. Her words and her photos combine to create a beautiful exploration of how we get through life. This is the book I recommend most from this list. (See my review of it here.)

The Writing Diet by Julia Cameron
Whether you think you need to lose weight or not, this is a great book to get you thinking about the way you eat and how it affects you.

Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential by Caroline Myss
A find your purpose sort of book with the approach of studying and finding your archetypes. I enjoyed learning about the archetypes and seeing how they fit me (or didn't).

Fiction

The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna van Praag
A magical house helps women trying to find themselves. I loved the characters in this story

When We Were Grown Ups by Anne Tyler
While reading this story, I sometimes liked it and sometimes questioned …

Dreaming on 2015 (and a new offering)

Are you thinking about 2015? Me, too. This is the time of year where I reflect on the closing year and the one to come. What lessons did I learn? What do I want to learn? What do I want to practice?

Part of my reflecting on the coming year is a medicine card reading. Twelve cards - one for each month - that give me something to think about. What energy might the new year bring? How will I be able to use that energy or learn from it?

Medicine cards are my choice for this type of reading because the animals help me feel connected to the earth and the energies they represent help me look at things in a new light.

I note my cards and their meanings in my planning journal (I use Susannah Conway's Unravelling the Year Ahead workbook and I highly recommend it. It's free, so go print yours!). I think about what kind of flow might happen if I took advantage of these energies throughout the year.

Then at the beginning of each month I study the message of that month's card. I think about…

Winner of the Inner Alchemy Giveaway

We have a winner!

In her interview last week, Mindy Tsonas graciously offered a spot in her upcoming Inner Alchemy circle beginning in January.

I enjoyed Mindy's Inner Alchemy: Earth Coven this fall and will be joining again for the Air Coven (thank you, Mindy!).

So... who will be joining me?

Well, here's how I decided. There were two comments: Paola commented first and Alina second. So I assigned Paola to odd numbers and Alina to even and rolled a die. Number three came up.

Congratulations, Paola! I can't wait to have you by my side in the Air Coven. Watch for an email from me.

For full details on Inner Alchemy: Air Coven and to register, head over here to say YES to the adventure.

Interview: Mindy Tsonas

How about another interview? I am so enjoying these. I love to see how everyone answers the same five questions in different ways.

Today's guest is Mindy Tsonas- a Wish Alchemist, Life Artist, and Feminist Girl Guide on the path of wild discovery and deep integration.

I recently "met" (online, as it were) Mindy through her Inner Alchemy: Earth Coven course where we made our own beautiful decks. You know, I love my oracle decks! Incidentally, Mindy is giving away a spot in January's Inner Alchemy: Air Coven to one Live Wonderstruck reader. Keep reading for details on how to enter!

Mindy's spirit came through as calm and gentle. I couldn't wait to introduce her here to all of you. Please welcome Mindy.

What have you been wonderstruck by recently?

I am always wonderstruck by the magic of kindred community. It never ceases to amaze me how one connection can lead to something new and exciting, and by reaching out and putting yourself out there, real friendships and col…

Interview: Suzie the Foodie

Thanksgiving is upon us as I'm sure you are well aware. (If you live in the United States, that is. For my friends around the world, keep reading anyway. This isn't just about that.)

I feel like I'm digressing already. Let's get back on track. The point is we have gratitude and food on our minds, so this interview is perfectly timed. I'm kind of excited about it. (Okay, really excited about it.)

Today's guest is Suzie Ridler, also known as Suzie the Foodie. She's kind of awesome. And there's a recipe at the end in case you're looking for a yummy dessert for tomorrow's feast. (Told you... awesome.)

Meet Suzie.

What have you been wonderstruck by recently?

I have been wonderstruck by my recently weird obsession with all things foodie retro. Dishes, cookbooks, kitchen artwork complete with mushrooms and lots of orange. It shocks me because in the 70s all those things drove me crazy! Now I see the innocence and charm of the time period and it makes me fee…

Post-deadline Afterglow

Hello, world. I’ve missed you. Okay, so it’s only been two weeks since my last post, but it feels a lot longer.

I had three editing projects all due within a week of each other, so as the deadlines approached I ducked further into my cave, shutting off the world, ignoring phone calls, missing friends. It was a time of buckling down and doing what needed to be done, even if it meant my three-year-old watched a lot of TV while I worked.

Yesterday was the last of the three deadlines and it was glorious. I spent the morning doing back-to-back loads of laundry, cleaning my kitchen, paying bills, completing preschool paperwork. Okay, I realize that may not sound glorious, but it was. I find that when I’ve been in my cave of work, the everyday minutiae of housework is gratifying.

Midday I settled in with a blanket on a sunny couch for a 15-minute nap. Usually that short amount of time wouldn’t be enough for me to fall asleep so it would be frustrating, but yesterday in the post-deadline aftergl…

Flecks #30

As in flecks of reflection from the week: what I'm learning and celebrating.
Things I learned this week:

Wordpress hates me, I think. After 20 minutes working on a post, it produced an error and lost my work. Grrrr. Lesson: Type the post elsewhere first, then paste it into Wordpress.
How to clean my washing machine. (I'm not sure how it gets so gross to begin with, but for now it looks almost new.)
The motor vehicle building is quick to get through on a rainy day.
I can write more than I think I can.

Things I'm celebrating this week:

My husband is back safely from his business trip.
Starting a new online course called Write Your Freakin' Heart (+ guts) Out.
Writing. I've done a fair amount of it this week.
So much progress on an editing job.
Exploring a neighboring town which I drive through all the time, but never really visit. (The above photograph of chairs is from there.)

Things that are resonating with me:
I've spent a lot of time this week on Annapurna Living, a site …

Through the Eyes of a Child (more photos from Jonas)

Remember a few weeks ago when I realized how much fun it was to hand my camera to my three-year-old and see the world through his eyes? Well, I'm still doing it.

Here are some highlights from Jonas's latest photo shoots...











That's real life, folks.

Interview: Stefanie Modri

Hearing other people’s stories is a great way to see things from a different perspective and perhaps find something new to apply to our own lives. Which is exactly why I love this interview series.

This week, I'd like to introduce you to Stefanie Modri. Stefanie is an obstetrics nurse and founder of The American Garden Tool Co. which, as the name implies, sells all American-made garden tools.

She has taught me a lot about organic gardening and is brilliantly helping Jeff and I dream up plans for our new farm. (Incidentally, our husbands went to high school and college together, so I have them to thank for meeting this fascinating woman. Thanks, guys!)

Meet Stefanie.

What have you been wonderstruck by recently?

I asked my husband to help me answer this and he said, "Honey, you are constantly wonderstruck!" He's right. I am. I guess I'll choose the most recent wonderstruck event--the process of moving a house down the street, around the corner, wherever, but without it …

Collecting Soul Samples

As you may already know from last week's post, my husband and I recently collected soil samples at our new farm.



A few times during the afternoon, I typed on my phone about it. Every time I did so, the oh-so-helpful spellcheck changed it to "soul sample."



And while having to fix it repeatedly was frustrating, I was struck by the sentiment. Because when I am at the farm, I feel my soul cup filling.



I feel connection and peace. I am truly collecting soul samples.



How lucky we are to have found this space.



How much luckier we will be to call it home.



Flecks #29

As in flecks of reflection from the week: what I'm learning and celebrating.
Things I learned this week:

How to collect soil samples.
That my local grocery store has a "guess the weight" pumpkin. No, I didn't guess.


Things I'm celebrating this week:

Halloween! I experienced my first trunk-or-treat. My friend Laura and I went in on a trunk together. Her husband lent his drawing skills for this Great Pumpkin theme.



Happy Halloween!
Your turn:
What did you learn this week? What are you celebrating? Leave a comment and I'll share a "Woohoo!"





Colors of Fall

I don't have a lot to say today. Nothing really. Sometimes being wonderstruck is more about seeing. And when you're seeing what we're seeing, how could you feel anything but?

Here is how we are experiencing fall in New Jersey.









Plus, a few from the farm...



Mother Nature is dressed in her finest. And that, my friends, is worth seeing.

Interview: Sonia Marsh

Hearing other people’s stories is a great way to see things from a different perspective and perhaps find something new to apply to our own lives. Which is exactly why I love this interview series.

This week we are visited by Sonia Marsh, author of the award-winning Freeways to Flip-Flops: A Family’s year of Gutsy Living on a Tropical Island, and the founder and editor of the My Gutsy Story® Anthology series, the latest of which will be released on November 1st. Be sure to check out the details at the end of this post.

Now, please welcome Sonia.

What have you been wonderstruck by recently?

This might come as a shock to those who know me online, but my life has taken a dramatic change since my marriage is ending after 28 years. What has surprised me more than anything, and left me “wonderstruck,” is the amazing support I’ve received from so many people. I had forgotten how kind people truly are, and how willing they are to help. Thanks to not being afraid to ask people, and to all my netwo…

Soil Testing and Learning What I Don't Know

The scariest thing about going from hobby gardener to farm owner is that I feel like I need to know things now. Things that I don't know. In fact, I don't even know what I don't know.

Right now if my tomatoes don't come up, I say, "that sucks," and move on with my day. Last year when a groundhog ate my entire garden, I was upset. It was wasted work, but at least I could go to the grocery store.

At the farm, things will be different. Because we are hoping to grow and preserve more food for ourselves and also sell our harvests, the trial and error approach I'm used to taking is less practical.



So right now I'm learning everything I can. I'm talking to organic certification specialists, conservation specialists, and I'm looking for experienced farmers willing to answer dumb questions.

I've signed up for a two-day bionutrient workshop. It's probably important to mention that last week is the first time I heard the term bionutrient. This course…