Home » Blog » reading

Category: reading

Change Your Life on Your Lunch Break: Read a Children’s Book

Change your life on your lunch break

I’ve been toying with this idea for posting about how to change your life in small increments. I’ve even mentioned it on the blog before. And now, I’m bringing it to fruition because this is something I believe so intensely in.

You do not have dedicate hours and hours at a time to make changes in your life. Small pockets of time each day are enough to bring about major changes in your life. A half-hour here, 10 minutes there is enough to transform!

Welcome to my new series:

Change Your Life on Your Lunch Break

Let’s get started with our very first installment…

Today, I want to talk about children’s books.

That’s right!

Children’s Books are gold!

If you want to mine our human existence for little nuggets of truth, you need only visit the children’s section at your local library or bookstore.

We can’t truly appreciate the depth of the meaning packed into these tiny beautifully illustrated wonders until we’re older after all. Like all the best Disney movies, with their references that only the adults in the room understand. You can’t fully appreciate it until now.

What children’s books have to offer:

 

Golden nuggets of life advice
Children’s books distill some of the best paradigms and advice in life down to the most precious little stories. Kinda like fortune cookies: all the best little nuggets might have become cliche and overused over time, but usually their truth runs deep.

I still have a copy of Emma’s Pet that I found when I was younger about a little bear that goes out on a search for the perfect pet. Come to find out, her own daddy is the perfect pet. Tears me up every time. So precious. Family is everything.

IMG_2106.JPG

IMG_2108.JPG

 

Teach yourself Bible stories and history:
K, so I’ve never been good with history. This coming from the model A student. I mean, it’s embarrassing really. But when I need to know about certain battles in history, I turn to the children’s section at the library. All the bite-sized explanations help me wrap my head around what happened.

And Bible stories? Make soooo much more sense when explained in a children’s book. I like to start with children’s renditions of Bible stories when I’m learning about them, because then I can go back to the Bible and glean a whole lot more after the scene has been set for me (usually in kid-friendly illustrations).

IMG_2109.JPG

Learn how to draw. Or knit.
Is it just me, or do adult DIY books sometimes seem a little convoluted? If I want to learn how to knit, I will pick up a children’s book on how to knit. Talk to me like I’m 12 so I can get the hang of it first. Hehe. Then, I might graduate to an adult book once I’ve got the technique down. I’ve learned other forms of art this way too, by picking up a kids’ book to teach me. I don’t need fancy techniques, I just want to learn the basics.

Feel all the feels
Seriously, children’s books are downright funny and adorable and heartwarming and they distill the most important life lessons down into the most beautiful words. If we could all understand the world like a child, how peaceful we would be.

IMG_2105.JPG

And magic-filled.

The Stars Beneath Your Bed is about how wondrous dust is. As adults, dust is a nuisance. But from a different perspective, there could be dust particles from stars underneath your bed! Paradigm…shifted! Magic.

IMG_2110.JPG

 

Maple is one of our newest favorites from the Imagination Library (thank you Dolly Parton!). It completely exemplifies the magic of being outside and hugging trees, like, literally. It’s totally hipster and just perfect.


IMG_2111.JPG

 

Children’s books say everything you wish you could say so eloquently.
This book, On the Day You Were Born just drips my melty heart into pieces all over the floor. It’s so special. I bought it for my son for his very first birthday and it’s about how the entire world is aligned on the day each person is born. The stars are in a particular arrangement, the tides are at a particular spot, the sun takes its rightful place on the horizon, and the world whispers in your ear “we are so glad you’re here.”

Ahhh, gets me every time.

IMG_2112.JPG

 

Promise me you’ll read a children’s book on your next break, will you?

I hope, even if you don’t have kids, you take a minute to stop by the kid’s section the next time you’re at the library or bookstore. The stories are always quick. And always potent.

I didn’t revisit children’s books until I had some little ones of my own, but I realize now how much I was missing out!

Just remember, when everything in life gets confusing…

The world seems so much more approachable in kid’s format.

 

Whatever you learn or piece of gold you extract from the book might be a great starting point for your daily journaling practice or a topic for your own blog post. I hope you’ll share!
 

What’s the last children’s book you read? Do you even remember? What were some of the memorable nuggets you took away from it?

Book Pages: Patternless Fashions

I don’t think I’ve ever used this book except to help me dream (yet!!). I always thought a book about patternless fashion would make a great starting point for an e-course or blog tutorial or something. Growing up, I always hated sewing with patterns. I learned how to sew with fussy patterns and grew annoyed with sewing itself because of the rigidity. Once I realized I could make things without a pattern, I felt so free. Novel idea, huh?

 photo P1201036_zps355fab8c.jpg

This book has the cutest little hand drawings that our modern books lack, but that give books a little extra character. They give you a glimpse into the hand-work put into the book by real live people. I think it’s endearing. I mean, the descriptions are enough to make me gush, “awww, cute!” Basic School Dress with Yoke and Gathered Skirt, anyone?

 photo P1201039_zps5a6c1845.jpg
Sweet little ribbon-tied girl. Sometimes I wish I could have a girl to dress up like this.
 photo P1201041_zpsa2f1a0f5.jpg
Cutest father/son duo ever (besides my guys of course:) Looks like a Leave it to Beaver family portrait, doesn’t it? Love it!
 photo P1201040_zps75743d0c.jpg
When’s the last time you heard the word “slacks” and it wasn’t coming from your grandma?
 photo P1201037_zps3f4a7db2.jpg

There really are great tips and pointers in this book for making real clothes today. The original book was created circa the 1950s, and the styles are pretty true to that era. However, you can tweak a little bit here and there or even use some of the patterns just as they are. Many of the styles are fashionable again today, depending on the fabric that you choose. Some of the instructions just give you guidelines on how to use clothing you already own to fashion new items. This totally translates to today’s world, if ya ask me.

If you’re a beginner, you might want to try a project that is a little less involved first, like a pillowcase or curtains or something. Once you get the hang of sewing basics and techniques, you can always refer back to this book. This book also doesn’t work for people who need the structure that patterns provide. My grandma taught me to sew using patterns because she prefers them herself, and that’s just fine. I just operate a little differently and enjoy the freedom of patternless sewing. I have also always had an affinity for completely original clothing, and this book puts that idea at my fingertips.

If you’re interested in this little gem, there are a few copies on Amazon.

The Book and its Cover

I’ve learned a lot of things about myself from reading. Authors have an inexplicable gift for putting seemingly unimportant circumstances into words that make them sound profound and forming crisp ideas in the mind of the reader.

Reading material also has the tendency to trigger new ideas in me. From reading, or sometimes accidentally reading things wrong, I’ve come up with ideas for writing. Small nuances, gestures, explanations or observations begin a cycle of thought that’s all my own. It might be a memory trigger, an emerging pattern, or a way of looking at something from an unexpected angle.

I have also learned a great deal about myself from books. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance brought me out of an all-encompassing funk when I was a teenager. I had an inferiority complex and was extremely self-conscious, to say the least. I couldn’t understand why people generally dismissed me, come to find out I was projecting an image of, to be frank, worthlessness. The main character was told that he came off as harsh and conceited when he didn’t participate in conversation, even though he was really the shy, contemplative, watch-from-the-sidelines type. This sort of revelation, as simple as it sounds, had a profound effect on my life. It’s those sagacious passages that have the ability to trigger momentous ah-ha moments just when we need them most.

This idea can also be applied to your outer appearance, your visible binding and covers. When you wear frumpy clothes, throw your hair into a bun, bite off your nails and fail to remove accumulated lint from your garments, you come off as someone who doesn’t care. People instantly read this cover, no matter how much you think they won’t. I’m not saying your worth is found in how you look, but the care you take with yourself tells people something about you before they have a chance to peel back the layers.

This is why they tell you that to be a good writer, you need to read; to be a good conversationalist, you need to read; to understand the world, you need to read; to take a break from your life, you need to read. There are so many reasons to read, but nearly none more important than mining your own identity and understanding your existence in this fine world.

Photobucket