These are some of the inserts from our family gratitude journal during July, reminding us that God is good and we are blessed!
July has been a productive month of snail mail for me and another month of firsts. If you remember last month I had my first piece of mail go missing? Well this month I had my first piece of mail returned (the piece that went missing last month!) and it just goes to show it really is worth putting a return address on the envelope!
I also sent postcards to Israel and Sri Lanka for the first time, received my first mail from a new penpal in Hawaii and finally got round to penning a few words of encouragement as part of the More Love Letters initiative.
So here are this months stats: 26 postcards, 6 cards, 3 parcels and 2 letters to a total of 20 different countries.
*(Belarus, Canada, China, Czech Republic, England, Finland, Germany, Israel, Jersey, Latvia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Scotland, Slovakia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, U.S.A.)
Did you manage to send some happy mail this month?
Well it’s been a long time since I shared with you some of the books I’ve been reading as I’ve kind of had a bit of reading block these past few months and just couldn’t work my way through anything, until recently. I then devoured 3 books in just over a month, which is actually a lot for me. So here I am linking up with Quick Lit over on Modern Mrs Darcy again to share with you some short and sweet reviews of the books I’ve been reading lately.
The Rings of My Tree: A Latvian Woman’s Journey by Jane E. Cunningham
Once started this book is hard to put down. I have read quite a few biographies by survivors of World War Two, mainly set in the Netherlands and mainly written by Jews or those trying to hide the Jews, but this book is different. Mirdza is not a Jew so this book does not follow the usual theme of holocaust horrors but instead highlights the journey of a young Latvian woman who is forced to flee her country in 1944, not because of the threat of the Nazis, but because of the invasion of The Red Army. I had never before considered the double threat that eastern Europe and the Baltic States faced with both the Nazis and the Soviets fighting to claim their soil. The end of the war did not bring freedom to Latvia it brought a new regime that would be in power for many years to come. I could feel Mirdza’s anger and anguish as she faced life as a displaced person, an incredibly fascinating account particularly in light of the current refugee crisis that is happening today in Europe. The story is a wonderful reminder that “where there is life, there is hope.”
The Earth is Singing by Vanessa Curtis
Continuing with the theme of World War Two and Latvia this fictional story is inspired by the authors own Latvian Jewish heritage. The story starts in June 1941 when the Nazis “liberate” Latvia from the Soviets and swiftly put their anti-semitic plans into place. As told by Hanna, an ordinary fifteen year old girl who also happens to be a Jew, life is about to change drastically. This book is beautifully written, incredibly thought provoking and yet horrific at the same time. This book highlights the pain that is felt when your own community seem to have turned against you, a fresh perspective that is not always explored in other books set in the same era. As with reading all books detailing the holocaust it is hard to comprehend how some people can treat their fellow human beings in such a harsh and evil way. This book is very detailed which is why I also recommend it with a brief word of warning: do not read this book before going to bed! The story follows the historic events of the Rumbula massacre which is incredibly disturbing. I’ve been reading books about World War Two and the holocaust since my mid teens but never before have I read of an event quite so wretched. Despite the horrors, this is a story that should be told.
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese art of decluttering and organising by Marie Kondo
As a self confessed neat freak, books about decluttering and organising always appeal to me as I’m always looking for new ways to fine hone my system. However, I’m also a bit wary of these books as some I’ve read in the past have been so basic they’ve just not offered me anything new. I’m pleased to confirm though that The KonMari method however, does have a lot to offer even the tidiest of people. Marie Kondo is a cleaning consultant based in Japan and by the sounds of it works with some hardcore hoarders. This book is not really about everyday tidying up (which is really just putting things back in their place) but rather about the one-off decluttering and organising that will put your house in order. The first step is to work your way through her suggested categories and discard, discard, discard! Most of her clients discard at least two thirds of their belongings and are left with only the items that truly bring them joy. Her guidance of only keeping items that spark joy has become one of the main things that sets her approach aside from others, that and her folding and storage method for clothing, both of which I can confirm work really well in practice. If you struggle to keep your home tidy, desperately need to declutter or like me just enjoy organising your home then this book is definitely worth a read.
What books have you been reading lately?
Dear Blossom, your first year of playschool will soon be at a close and in the 6 short months since you started you have acquired many new skills. You can now count to ten, recognise your name, point out triangles and even ask politely if you can get down from the table. But better than shapes and numbers and even table manners, you have grown in confidence and dared to be brave and that is what makes your mama most proud. Dear Bubbles, life with you is never dull! You pull faces at strangers, lick your feet at inappropriate times and scuttle off at remarkable speed when let loose in open spaces. You really do know how to make people laugh – potential career as a comedienne maybe? Dearest Daughters, may you always know how proud I am of who you are, not just what you do.
What do you think your little ones will be when they grow up?
Today was a usual Sunday for us, filled with a trip to church and a lot of lazing and playing around home. I had an unwelcome early start to the day that left me feeling shattered for most of the day but the girls managed to squeeze in lots of play and I even managed to squeeze in a nap with my big girl.
Linking up again with Rebekah Gough here are my ten shots trying to capture the beauty in the ordinary.
What beauty did you find in the ordinary today?
Well it’s been quite some time since I updated you on the progress and projects around our home. Following on from my last post we actually decided to delay decorating the girls room and instead have focused our efforts this year on decorating the dining room and finishing off the “almost done” rooms, like the lounge and our bedroom.
Here are some snapshots of our work in progress…
What projects have you been working on lately?
These are some of the inserts from our family gratitude journal during June, reminding us that God is good and we are blessed!