Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A Few of My Favorite Things: Mother Culture

As a teenager, I acquired a taste and appreciation for the finer things. I bought high end makeup and cooked with gourmet foods. I took pride and pleasure in pursuits such as pondering song lyrics and cultivating my own personal style. After having one son and then another, I fell into serious mom mode (one part- survival, one part-self sacrifice). My reading habits were made up of baby sleep training and board books. My cooking consisted of "gourmet" baby food purées and toddler finger foods. My style became the infamous yoga pants and things I could easily nurse a baby in. It naturally seemed to me that to be the best mom I could be I would put my family's needs before my own and if there was any time in the day after that, well my hobbies could reside in that time slot. But you know, the needs just keep resurging and the to do list was never done, so my personal interests fell by the wayside. And as my self sacrifice felt like the obvious choice and best way to love my family, I also felt parts of myself slip away,for necessity's sake. I found as I filled my day absolutely to the brim with only little boy life, I was exhausted-physically, mentally and emotionally- by the end of the day. While a good nights sleep definitely helped to rejuvenate me,
I was lacking a recharge when it came to my mental and emotional stores. I was in need of inspiration and creative outlet. Then after encountering the idea of making sure your mama soul has some space to breathe (primarily thanks to one of my current mothering role models, Sally Clarkson), I realized being a martyr is not always the honorable,best thing to do. Yes, my family's needs do come before my own. Yes, I am not justified in spending my time on hobbies and self interests at the neglect of my family; but there is something to be said for knowing myself enough to make some small investments into my well being to be able to better and more joyfully serve my family. So as selfish as it felt, I decided I needed to invest some time into cultivating my soul and stimulating my intellect. It was worth the time to read good books and fill my mind with truth and beautiful mental images to recall when needed. It was good to sweeten my soul with beauty and things that brought joy into my every day life. 
 I set the culture in my home: What a large task to undertake and responsibility to realize. My tastes theme my whole home- decor, food, even mood. Being the only woman in my house, I've realized I really have to find intentional ways to recharge my femininity to be the woman my men need. One way I've cultivated that state of beauty into my life is to give myself permission to "indulge" in some items that bring me joy. So today I wanted to share a few of those things with you!

 First, I must have coffee. It is a necessity and a pleasure in my life; one of the first things I consume in the mornings and a treat I look forward to in the late afternoons. It's also a love language shared between with my husband a some of my close friends; expressed with hand crafted lattes when visiting and a gift of a new blend of coffee beans picked up on a trip. I have become pickier and pickier about my coffee preferences, but love that their are some really good quality local roasters to support thru my habit! Some of my favorite married life memories have been in a coffeehouse or at the least, include a good conversation over a good cup of coffee. My husband and I are always on the hunt for a new coffee source during our travels. Some of our favorites are Sisters Coffee and the Suislaw River Roasters. Sisters Coffee in quaint Sisters, Oregon is a rustic oasis of great coffee and a relaxing atmosphere. Whenever we visit, I try to pick up a bag or two of their beans of gold! It's the perfect souvenir to keep the vacation magic alive. 

Because it's winter, I'm all about having a nice, warm beverage on hand-pretty much at all times! When it's not coffee in my cup, it's tea. I love a good spicy and complex cup o' tea. This year I happened upon a box of Tazo Joy blend at a discount store. It turned out to be my favorite tea to date and I'm wishing I would have cleaned out their supply of it! It's a really great blend of black, oolong and green teas that literally tastes like joy in a cup! I did some research and found that Teavana is now making their own version. I bought a box and while it's pretty close, I would say Tazo is still the best version. Of course it would be limited edition and now pretty much discontinued! :/ 

 There's something illustrious about a well designed, thick paged magazine. I try to keep a stack on hand to delve into on a slow, dreary day during nap time. I always keep my subscriptions current when it comes to Bon Appetit for new recipes and World Magazine for a christian perspective on current events. But lately, I came across a real treasure for christian women- Deeply Rooted. These magazine is a treat for the eyes and meat for the spirit. This is no fluffy, christian Good housekeeping; the articles are theologically challenging and true calls to embrace God's version of womanhood over the world's. Interspersed between articles is beautiful photography and hand lettering. I love how the magazine is broken up into six categories- Christ Follower, Creator, Helpmate, Keeper of the Home, Mother, Individual- something to speak to each role a woman carries in life. 

 Another magazine I have really been enjoying since pursuing photography a bit more as a hobby is the Click magazine published by Clickin' Moms. It's a large format publication printed on lush pages that are (of course) filled with beautiful images. I love the mix of inspiring photos, informative tutorials and product reviews. These are hobby magazines worth re-leafing thru once in awhile. 
For homeschooling encouragement and inspiration, I've really enjoyed the Family magazine put out by HEDUA. It has really evolved and changed style and content focus in the last year or so and I've been pretty good with that change. Before it seemed to be a very informative "how to" and product review focus, it know seems to address finding the right rhythm and style education for your family. They have crafted it to be both visually appealing and an uplifting read. 

I have really been enjoying continuing my journey behind the lens of my "semi-pro"camera. I forget about pulling it off the shelf some days and do miss capturing some special everyday moments, but I love having the capabilities to provide well documented memories. Awhile ago, my sweet and generous husband told me to buy myself something- I hesitantly and a bit guiltily purchased the new Sigma ART 24-35mm zoom lens. I sort of feel like a pro photographer impostor/wannabe with this ridiculously large lens on my camera, but it is pretty fun to use! It actually works really perfect for photographing my boys around the house. Our house being as small as it is, I really have to have a wide angle lens to be able to fit all of their combined action in a frame. 

One of the smaller pleasures of the stay at home mom life is a nice, hot shower and a luxurious body wash. Lately, I've been a fan of the Method Magnolia body wash.  I'm not usually into floral too much, but this is the perfect blend of warm and creamy with an uplifting floral note.

And lastly, my new, cozy addition to my blanket collection. I love the fun fair isle pattern in neutral colors. It was a clearance find on and I almost thought it would be too heavy with the dual layers of the knit and the fuzzy Sherpa. It's my favorite now though- I love the weighted comfort of it. 

And these are a few of my favorite things!  :) 

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