Monday, March 29, 2021

A Spring Visit to the Bookshop

" So often, a visit to a bookshop has cheered me,
and reminded me that there are good things in the world. "

One beautiful morning last week, an email landed in my inbox to say the library book I had on hold was ready for pickup. Splendid. While out, I decided to stop in at the bookstore across the street. After all, I could use some new notebooks, and maybe a scan through the magazine section would reveal something inspiring to celebrate Spring. With face masked and fingers freshly glistening with hand sanitizer, I was ready for a quick browse.

When I was a girl, I remember coming home from shopping trips. I'd empty the bags on the bed and settle in for a gleeful inspection of all my new purchases. It was such fun. Although I don't plop myself on the bed anymore, I still get great enjoyment from unpacking everything, setting it out, and duly anticipating the delight each purchase promised.

Do you, like me, also find pleasure in showing your purchases to someone else when you get home? Of course, it has to be someone who truly appreciates the snoop even if it's not her stuff. I felt quite certain you'd be interested, so here is a peek. Because most of my shopping is done online these days, a physical bag filled with items in my hand in real time becomes a true moment of deep satisfaction - it was my treat of the week, as my SIL is wont to say!

I chose three magazines: Victoria, Bella Grace, and The Creativity Notebook - I could have stocked up on a dozen more, each boasting inviting covers. I found a set of three notebooks and a journal, all with a lovely exposed spine binding. And, I happily snapped up the pretty box of floral notecards nestled on the sale table.

I was very focused - no snoops through the book section;
they weren't on the agenda that day. After all, I had books from the library to read.

A zip past the sale table revealed these delightful notecards ...
Got home to realize they were thank you cards. I would have preferred blank;
perhaps it's a sign to send thank you's to people touching my life these days.

The Spring edition of the 150+ page gorgeous Bella Grace Magazine ...
with a peek inside below!

* * *

The March/April issue of Victoria Magazine...
Although I admit to still feeling disappointed, even after all these years,
in how few articles there are in the current magazines,
the pages of luscious photography always more than make up for it.

* * *

The Creativity Notebook ...
with a peek at the Table of Contents below.
It's a hands-on, interactive magazine with prompts and exercises
to spur your creativity and imagination. 

A quote found in The Creative Notebook...

" To practice any art, no matter how well or badly,
is a way to make your soul grow. "

* * *

A journal and three notebooks ...

Don't you just love the scalloped edges? 

The exposed spine allows the pages to lay flat when open ...
which makes the notebooks quite lovely to write in.

* * *

Thanks for letting me chat about my purchases. Hope you enjoyed the peek.
Sending my best wishes for a beautiful week ahead.

Heart Hugs,

Top tulip photo: Image by Rondell Melling from Pixabay
All other photos are mine

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Books: The flower can always be changing

" I love when familiar words are
used in surprising ways... "
CASS MORRIS, as seen on Twitter

It's a year ago this week since I started the series 'Pressing My Books Into Service'. It was in response to the world-wide pandemic lockdowns. With people all over the globe stuck in their own homes, folks everywhere began offering their own versions of pleasant and useful distractions: sublime photos, poses of their pets, comforting home life scenes, hints to stay sane, hobbies, encouragement, poetry readings, music lessons, concerts, entertaining videos, you name it. I 'met' so many creative and lovely people over these past months—it was social media at its best.

At the time, I looked around my own life and wondered what I could possibly offer by way of helping to create community in isolation. My books sat there in silent reproach: You have us, we can help, press us into service. As you know, I did just that, browsing my shelves with you in mind, picking out a few favourites, and then sharing excerpts from each. You can find the 2020 series HERE.
The weeks passed and I found it hard to keep a daily post going; the series lapsed. During my recent hiatus away from It's A Beautiful Life, I thought about my blog a lot and came to see that the book series could be the makings for a permanent category. After all, most of us love to share what we read and enjoy.

While spring cleaning my book shelves, I was surprised that I'd missed including one of my favourite books last year. Tucked between all those larger books, no wonder the slender spine all but vanished from view. It was like meeting a dear friend. So, today on this anniversary week, I'm putting that to rights. I am delighted to give The flower can always be changing by local author Shawna Lemay its day in the sunshine.

by Shawna Lemay

I went to the bookstore one summer day a few years ago hungry for something seasonal to delve into. Then I spotted the tiny book, not much larger than a birthday card, tucked in alongside all the other volumes of inspiration and poetry. The gorgeous cover of pink poppies and coneflowers promised something wonderful on the inside. I was immediately drawn into a book of delightful essays by a new to me local author.  

To this day I still find new lines and phrases that need starring and remembering. The book itself is a flower in bloom—tightly furled thoughts blossoming out with something fresh to see with each encounter. Through her essays, Ms Lemay encourages her readers to ‘align with the poetry of the everyday’.

The following excerpts from Shawna's book resonate in my own writer's heart. I hope they give you a glimpse of the loveliness found in this thoughtful book.

" As a poet I've believed part of my task is to be an instrument of peace. "
" I think of myself as an artist of the everyday, someone who looks for what is bright in our tired and at times shabby days. I want others to realize that this type of seeking is available to them as well, no matter where they are and what situation they happen to be in.

What I want in my quiet life is to be a persistent witness to splendor. "


" Having a summer reading list means I will also have to make a winter reading list and so I begin by worrying about which books will keep me warm and which ones will cool me off. ... some of the books will be bad and I'll have to abandon them half way through. Some of them will be less bad than boring ... Other books will be immediately fantastic and captivating and I'll want to tell my friends about them even before I finish the first chapter. Some of the books will be astonishingly good and might change my life and some might inspire me to write. The worst books are the ones so exquisite they will make me feel like I should quit writing my own books. These are also the best books. I dream of the season where I read nothing but this last sort of book. ... "  

* * *

Wishing you beauty and heart's ease.


Top photo credit: Image by Henryk Niestroj by Pixabay