Monday Inspiration

diy_marble_vase_still_61I'm rereading one of my favorite books, Bread & Wine, for the millionth time, and something I love about rereading a great book over and over again is that I can read the same pages and paragraphs and quotes and yet each time I read them, if they're from a really rich, layered book with lots of depth, I come away with something new, a page or paragraph or quote that strikes me differently this go around. The quote below really jumped off the page at me today, so much so that I had to share it with you as a little inspiration for your Monday:

"I want to cultivate a deep sense of gratitude, of roundedness, of enough, even while I'm longing for something more. The longing and the gratitude, both. I'm practicing believing that God knows more than I know, that he sees what I can't, that he's weaving a future I can't even imagine from where I sit this morning. Extraordinary, indeed. More than enough." - Shauna Niequist, Bread & Wine

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School Year Resolutions

Hustle + Florals Happy Wednesday, friends! I always feel like I'm in my best rhythm on Wednesdays - does anyone else feel the same way? I seem to have an extra boost of energy that helps me be super productive, allowing me to accomplish lots of tasks on my to-do list.

I wrote about this before, but I really find the month of September to be so invigorating. Don't get me wrong - summer is still my favorite season, but there's something about the sentimentality of a fresh new school year that makes me want to set brand new goals for myself. So I started thinking, in lieu of (or in addition to) making New Year's Resolutions, why don't we start coming up with School Year Resolutions each fall? We can create new goals for ourselves, using the timeline of a school year to chart our progress. In addition to providing you with some ways that you can make some resolutions of your own on Darling Magazine's blog, I also thought I'd share my personal School Year Resolutions with you here. This is what I'd like to do:

  • Research and register for inspiring conferences, classes, and seminars that I could participate in for work. I would love the opportunity to get out and about a bit more, pushing myself to meet new people, explore new avenues of relationship-building and fundraising, and learn lots of new and creative ways to do my job.
  • Read two new books every month - one novel and one creative/inspiring/motivational book. On that same train of thought, I need to get a library card...
  • Cook two new recipes per month and categorize them in Evernote. This is an extension of a goal I set for myself in the New Year, and while I have been testing out lots of new recipes (and sharing many of them with you here), I haven't done the best job of recording and organizing them in Evernote. Extra challenge: memorize some of my favorite recipes.
  • Complete one house-related project per month. This can be as simple as cleaning out a closet that's bursting at the seams or choosing a new bedside lamp for the guest room, or it can be more time-consuming, something like repainting our master bedroom nightstands or reupholstering our couch.
  • Pursue more writing opportunities.  I am so grateful that I get to write consistently for the powerhouse that is Darling Magazine and also occasionally for the beautiful Bungalow Magazine. In addition to working on pieces for these publications, I'd like to more intentionally pursue other freelance projects and also work on some essays, query letters, and writing exercises in my free time. I love to write - it's such a life-giving creative outlet for me - but I'd like to fine-tune some of my skills and also identify my weaknesses so that I can work to improve them.

So there you have it! What do you think - will you make a list of School Year Resolutions?

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Fall Reading List

d2e8ecf00a03e4b78f441237a6bb4526 I have always loved to read but there's something particularly special and invigorating about the beginning of the new school year that causes me to line up a bunch of new titles to devour. I was so thrilled when I recently learned that my favorite author, Shauna Niequist, is working on her next book, Present Over Perfect - even though it won't be published until 2016, you can bet your bottom dollar that this spurred on my passion for gobbling up a whole shelf's worth of books while I wait for her next creation to come out. She's also releasing a devotional next spring that I can't wait to get my hands on. In the meantime, here are some books that I'm looking to add to my reading list this fall (plus, see the rest of the books I'd like to read [and have read!] here on my Shelfari profile):

  • A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live, Emily Freeman - I admit, we were supposed to read this for our book club in January but I only got through the first few chapters. The content is so good but I got sidetracked by a really delicious novel and didn't ever get back to the rest of A Million Little Ways. As I seek out inspiration heading into this new season, I can't think of any better way to dive right in than by reading this book.
  • I Am MalalaMalala Yousafzai - My sister-in-law gave me this book for Christmas, so it's been on my list for a few months now. I'm so excited to dig in to this inspiring memoir.
  • The Circle, Dave Eggers - I love all of Dave Eggers's books so The Circle definitely makes this list. This novel, set at the world's most powerful internet company, is described as a "heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge" - intriguing, no?
  • Rework, Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson - I have heard so many great things about this book and the way it transforms the reader's concept of work, business, time management, and efficiency. I definitely think it will give me a kickstart, work-wise, as we head into our busiest season of the year and corresponding fourth quarter donation push.
  • Speak: How Your Story Can Change the World, Nish Weiseth - Speak is "a book about the power of telling our own stories and hearing those of others to change hearts, build bridges, advocate for good, make disciples with grace, and proclaim God's kingdom on Earth today." Boom.

What's on your back-to-school reading list? Got any great book recommendations?

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