Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Bedtime Stories for Girls of Destiny | Raeleigh Wilkinson

1. [Chieko Nishimura Okazaki] "Do you see women of different ages, races, or different backgrounds in the Church? Of different educational, marital and professional experiences? Women with children? Women without children? Women of vigorous health and those who are limited by chronic illness or handicaps? Rejoice in the diversity of our sisterhood! It is the diversity of colors in a spectrum that makes a rainbow." (11)

2. [Sahar Qumsiyeh] "My country has never experienced peace, but now I feel my heart has enough peace to cover the entire country of Palestine." (79)

3. [Emily Bates] "Sometimes, people ask Emily about the conflicts between religion and science, and she says simply that they are complementary approaches to finding the truth.  When science and religion seem to conflict, Emily prays and studies.  Through the Spirit, she discerns what is true or how the two concepts can work together.  She believes everything good is from God and that all truth leads to Him." (21)

4. [Julia Mavimbela] "I give thanks to God that he has made me a woman.  I give thanks to my Creator that he has made me black, that he has fashioned me as I am with my hands, heart, head to serve my people.  It can, it should be a glorious thing to be a woman." (39)

5. [Noelle Pikus-Pace] "Rise above it all, whatever holds you back, and become who you want to become." (67)


5/5. This book is a beautiful compilation of inspired women and their stories.  This is geared toward a younger audience in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, and it's such a fun book to have on hand as I teach my own daughters. The stories are diverse and beautiful, and the artwork is equally stunning!

Monday, August 22, 2022

The Curated Closet | Anuschka Rees

1. "In our culture, buying a ton of new stuff every year has become the norm.  We are so used to buying new clothes, gadgets, and knickknacks all the time that buying less, repairing what you have instead of immediately replacing it, and putting time and effort into selecting new purchases all seem like foreign concepts.  An effective way to reset what you consider normal and gain a new perspective is going on a temporary shopping fast.  Don't buy anything for one whole week and see how you feel.  Or don't buy anything new for one moth except for food and essentials like shampoo and toilet paper.  You can also limit your shopping fast to just one specific group of things you're having trouble with, like clothes or beauty products.  Throughout your fast, keep a little diary of how you feel so you can later go back to identify your personal triggers for wanting to shop and find replacement activities." (220)

2. [Cotton] "Check the density of the fabric by holding it up to the light.  Even if it is very fine, the fabric should not be transparent.  If the fabric lets through a lot of light, it's a sign that it is not very dense and therefore will not be very durable." 226

3. "Always check the care instructions before you buy a linen piece.  Linen is very prone to shrinking, and many linen garments can only be dry cleaned or washed in cold water." (227)

4. "Oftentimes, a small amount of synthetic fiber improves the fit of an otherwise natural fabric. Spandex, poyester, or Lycra especially, mix well with cottons or wools to add stretch and elasticity and make sure the garment keeps its shape after washing.  For fitted items that you want to curve around your body (such as Jeans and T-shirts), look for a fabric composition that includes about 2 to 5 percent of a stretchy synthetic material." 233

5. "The essential two-step fit check... Step 1: Mirror check. 
...Step 2: Movement check: 
...Check how your piece feels and looks during these four basic movements: 
1. Hug someone (or pretend to) 
2. Sit down.
3. Walk
4. Bend over (as if you were tying your shoes). 
If you like, you can also do some lunges or a little chicken dance." (244)


3/5 I think this is a creative book. I felt it was more tailored for young people, however, such as those in college or just starting out.  I would have loved more examples for types of styles, and their descriptions. I would have loved more focus on how to look put together when you're a mom and the only thing you want to wear are yoga pants and sweatshirts.  I did find the chapter on how to know if a garment is high quality invaluable. I loved that aspect of the book! 

Anxious People | Fredrik Backman

1. "The older police officer squints at the real estate agent.  He's gotten into the habit of doing that when he encounters incomprehensible individuals, and a lifetime of almost constant squinting has given the skin under his eyes something of the quality of soft ice cream. The Realtor, who is evidently of the opinion that no one heard her the first time, offers an unwanted explanation: 'Get it? HOUSE TRICKS Real Estate Agency. HOW'S TRICKS? Get it? Because everyone wants a real estate agent who knows the best...'" (18)

2. "Nothing is easier for people who never do anything themselves than to criticize someone who actually makes an effort." (209)

3. "Ro replied dejectedly: '...Since she got pregnant everything's become so serious, because parents are always serious and I suppose we're trying to fit in.  Sometimes I don't think I'm ready for the responsibility-- I mean, I think my phone is asking too much of me when it wants me to install an update, and I find myself yelling: 'You're suffocating me.' You can't shout that at a child. And children have to be updated all the time, because they can kill themselves just crossing the street or eating a peanut! I've mislaid my phone three times already today, I don't know if I'm ready for a human being.'" (163)

4. "Julia didn't follow the logic. 
'Grandchildren would make him feel important?' 
Anna-Lena smiled weakly.  
'Have you ever held a three-year-old by the hand on the way home from preschool?' 
'You're never more important than you are then.'" (177)

5. "The bridge is covered with ice, sparkling beneath the last few valiant stars as dawn heaves its way over the horizon.  The town is breathing deeply around it, still asleep, swaddled in eiderdowns and dreams and tiny feet belonging to hearts our own can't beat without." (322)


4/5. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was not only hilarious and relatable, but the unfolding of the story was clever and beautiful and poignant. Bravo, Fredrik Backman! Can't wait to read more of your books.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

The Midnight Library | Matt Haig

1. "She had thought, in her nocturnal and suicidal hours, that solitude was the problem. But that was because it hadn't been true solitude.  The lonely mind in the busy city yearns for connection because it thinks human-to-human connection is the point of everything.  But amid pure nature (or the 'tonic of wildness' as Thoreau called it) solitude took on a different character.  It became in itself a kind of connection.  A connection between herself and the world.  And between her and herself." 126

2. "She imagined, now, what it would be like to accept herself completely. Every mistake she had ever made.  Every mark on her body.  Every dream she hadn't reached or pain she had felt.  Every lust or longing she had suppressed.  

She imagined accepting it all. The way she accepted nature.  The way she accepted a glacier or a puffin or the breach of a whale.  

She imagined seeing herself as just another brilliant freak of nature.  Just another sentient animal, trying their best. 

And in doing so, she imagined what it was like to be free."


3. "Look at that chessboard... 'At the beginning of a game, there are no variations.  There is only one way to set up a board.  There are nine million variations after the first six moves.  And after eight moves there are two hundred and eighty-eight billion different positions.  And those possibilities keep growing.  There are more possible ways to play a game of chess than the amount of atoms in the observable universe.  So it gets very messy.  And there is no right way to play; there are many ways.  In chess, as in life, possibility is the basis of everything.  Every hope, every dream, every regret, every moment of living." 195

4. "We just have to close our eyes and savour the taste of the drink in front of us and listen to the song as it plays."  277

5. "She followed her brother inside her flat to start tidying up, catching a glimpse of the clusters of irises in Mr. Banerjee's garden as she went.  Flowers she hadn't appreciated before, but which now mesmerised her with the most exquisite purple she had ever seen.  As though the flowers weren't just colours but part of a language, notes in a glorious floral melody, as powerful as Chopin, silently communicating the breathtaking majesty of life itself." 283



Thursday, June 23, 2022

What to Eat | Marion Nestle

1. "Breakfast cereals are supposed to be good for you, and the relatively unprocessed ones still are, but most are now so thoroughly processed and sugared and filled with additives that they might as well be cookies.  You can hardly find a cereal without added vitamins, so let's call them vitamin-enriched, lowfat cookies." (339)

2. Any sensible person might think that the Founding Fathers devised the First Amendment to protect political dissent rather than the right of food marketers to use overblown health claims on cereal boxes. (344)

3. Bear in mind that food companies would rather you did not notice how they market their products to your kids.  If you did, you might see, as researchers tell us, that much of food marketing seems designed deliberately to undermine your authority and encourage your children to view you as ineffective or stupid... 'Conflicts arise because the foods that are most heavily marketed to children are low-nutrition foods of which parents would like their children to eat less.  Marketers count on children wearing their parents down and on parents giving in and purchasing low-nutrition food for their children... [F]ood marketing...forces parents to choose between being the bad guy who says "no" in order to protect their children's health or giving in to junk-food demands to keep the peace.'

Analysis of food commercials aimed at children demonstrate that such advertising often promotes "antisocial" and "anti-adult" behavior designed to make kids think they know more about what they are supposed to eat than their parents do.  As a parent, your job is to set limits but you are up against an entire industry devoted to undermining your authority to do so.  Marketing to children does more than make them want certain products; it is meant to change society. It aims to put kids in charge of decisions that you should be making.  For this reason alone, marketing to children is worth opposing. (381-382)

4. As an individual, your recourse against such manipulation is to vote with your dollars every time you buy food.  The better informed you are, the more wisely you can spend them.  But it is not easy to oppose an entire food system on your own; it takes strength, courage, and firm determination.  The current environment of food choice-- driven by Wall Street as it is-- has come about as the result of history, politics, and business concerns, not public interest." (521)

 5. "..Salmon farmers resort to cosmetics.  They add dyes to the feed pellets, knowing that the farmed salmon can easily absorb the color and that their flesh will turn as pink as that of wild salmon.  This, as it turns out, can be done with amazing precision. In the same way you match paint to color chips at paint stores, salmon farmers can choose the color they want the salmon to be from a chart made by Hoffmann-La Roche, the company that makes synthetic astaxanthin and canthaxanthin.  The intensity of color on the Hoffman-La Roche SalmoFan ranges from #20 (pale salmon pink) to #34 (bright orange-red). Focus group tests show that customers prefer the natural color of wild salmon (#33 on the SalmoFan) by a ratio of 2 to 1, equate that color with quality, and say they are willing to pay more for it.  When farmed salmon comes in at a pinkish #27, customers reject it.  You can bet that salmon farmers give their fish plenty of the dyes." (225)


4.5/5. This book was fascinating. It was so hard to choose just 5 quotes. I learned that Albacore tuna is much higher in methylmercury than the cheaper kind, and that food politics is the reason this is not a well-known fact (something I wish I had known when I was pregnant!). Eggs are eggs, and grass-fed beef is higher in some vitamins and nutrients. Organic really is a better choice if you can afford it, and bottled water is basically a big fat waste of money. 

I learned how sophisticated and manipulative the food industry is, and I was inspired to rebel against this fact through the choices I make when I decide what to eat. I only wish she would revise and come out with a new edition, because this book came out in 2006. 

Marion Nestle is brilliant and delightfully presents her research with a good dose of humor (a necessary thing when you are swallowing the dark side of food politics). 

Bravo, Marion Nestle!

Friday, June 10, 2022

The Three Mothers | Anna Malaika Tubbs


   1. “It is time for the honor many quietly pay Black mothers to become as loud as Alberta’s choir, as consistent as Berdis’s love, as strong as Louise’s fight.” (219)

   2.  “Louise was especially strict with Malcolm because he was so much like her. She knew firsthand how dangerous things could become for someone so strong willed, so she did her best to steer his energy and intelligence in the right direction. Malcolm learned more from what he saw in Louise than what she said directly to him. He too demanded what he knew he deserved, and he stood up for himself. She had strict rules for her children because she wanted to protect them, but like her son, she was a rebel who did not let rules restrict her.” (131)

   3. “For Louise, surviving meant never allowing fear to keep you from speaking the full truth, never being afraid of what you might lose in the fight for what was right.” (199)

   4.  “Louise, with her almost century on this earth, would leave an indelible print on the lives of millions, most of whom are still unaware of her name.” (188)

  5. “The mother is the first teacher of the child. The message she gives that child, that child gives to the world. -Malcolm X” (178)


  1. “David’s funeral took place a few days later… Berdis was not there. She was attending to her newborn and perhaps already focusing on her new life, free from him. Years later, Berdis’s grandson would describe Paula’s birth as completing Berdis’s solar system, with Berdis in the middle and her nine children surrounding her. He would also describe David’s death as the moment that allowed Berdis’s light to fully shine like the sun. She’s lost both of her parents, she was isolated in the North, away from family, and she was now a single mother of nine at the age of forty-one. She would have to do whatever she could to provide for her children, but she would, as she always had, find a way.” (115)

  2.  “For Berdis, living life to the fullest centered around being able to find love and joy for yourself no matter how hard others tried to take it away from you.” (199)

  3.  “We are all walking in terrible darkness here, and this is one man’s attempt to bear witness to the reality and the power of light. -James Baldwin” (152)

  4.  “I saw my mother’s face again, and felt, for the first time, how the stones of the road she had walked on must have bruised her feet. James Baldwin” (178)

 5. “…we must do a better job of recording our stories and sharing our truths, not only with our immediate networks but with as many people as possible. It is only a disservice when we hide ourselves, when our children do not know what we have gone through and how we survived it, when we allow others to define who we are.” (218) 


  1. “Alberta Christine Williams King is best known for being the mother of the revered Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr…. Alberta’s work did not stop when she got married, it did not stop when she became a mother, it did not stop when her heart was weighed down by anxiety over the danger her children faced, it didn’t even stop when she buried her sons. Alberta used her family teachings, her own training, her love for her family, her deepest pain, and her desire to educate to touch the lives of others and, by doing so, to live a full life. Loved ones said, ‘Her teachings of unshakable faith and her love for mankind were instrumental in shaping the nonviolent movement which has changed the course of history.’” (183-184)

   2. “Christine would fondly recall such moments, saying, “Every now and then, I have to chuckle as I realize there are people who actually believe ML [as Martin was sometimes called by his loved ones] just appeared. They think he simply happened, that he appeared fully formed, without context, ready to change the world. Take it from his big sister, that’s simply not the case. We are the products of a long line of activists and ministers. We come from a family of incredible men and women who served as leaders in their time and place, long before ML was ever thought of.” (133)

  3. “For Alberta, fulfillment for herself and her children rested completely in their Christian faith and was paired with their pursuit of education in order to better their own situation as well as that of their larger community.” (199)

  4. “It is something like the mother giving birth to a child. While she is temporarily consoled by the fact that her pain is not just bare meaningless pain, she nevertheless experiences the pain. In spite of the fact that she realizes beneath her pain is the emergence of life in a radiant infant, she experiences the agony right on. Martin Luther King, Jr.” (178)

 5. “Rather than standing in awe of Black mothers and simply commenting with deference on their incredible strength, others should stand with them and lighten their burden.” (219)


3/5  Fascinating, sobering, inspirational. 

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Simplicity Parenting | Kim John Payne, M. ED

Simplification is about stripping away the distractions and clutter that monopolize our attention and threaten our connection.  It's about giving kids the ease to become themselves and giving us the ease to pay attention. 48

"The process of simplification... restore(s) a more natural balance, one where the "everyday" has a place and time expands.  Where distractions don't overwhelm connection, and the rituals we share are small promises made and kept, every day." 340

If, as a society, we are embracing speed, it is partially because we are swimming in anxiety.  Fed this concern and that worry, we're running as fast as we can to avoid problems and sidestep danger.  We address parenting with the same anxious gaze, rushing from this "enrichment opportunity" to that, sensing hidden germs and new hazards, all while doing our level best to provide our own children with every advantage now known or soon to be invented.  This book is not about hidden dangers, quick fixes, or limited-time opportunities; it is about the long haul. The big picture: a reverence for childhood." xvii

While your daily life may seem like a radio bandwidth full of static, simplification allows you, with much more regularity and clarity, to tune in to your own true signal as a parent.  I think you'll find it very gratifying to feel your inner authenticity develop as you bring more awareness and attention to your relationship with your children.  And with this process comes more opportunities to see deeply into who your children are becoming. xx

The central struggle of parenthood is to let our hopes for our children outweigh our fears. 35. 

"I'd like to make a recommendation directly to parents, especially those who, like Annmarie, are often fretful: Reduce your exposure to media, and particularly media news.  .. I am suggesting, parents consciously say "no thanks" to media overexposure.  ..Media that can exploit our deepest, most primal urge to protect our children.  We need to live with confidence, to parent with a sense of strength and openness, and, perhaps most of all, with a sense of humor.  The primal urge to protect is our cortisol spigot; I'm suggesting we not invite it to be turned on so easily and so often." 244-245

Young children are very busy.  Their evolution in the first ten year of life-- neural, social, and physical-- makes what we do as adults look like standing still. 76

Does sleep do something, besides mark the time between periods of wakefulness?  Does childhood do something, other than mark the time until adulthood?  ... As a society, we seem to be asking the same questions about childhood. What purpose does it serve?  Can we speed it up?  Can we better prepare our children for adulthood by treating them more like adults?  I worry that we'll understand the "purpose" of childhood by seeing, increasingly, what people are like when they've been rushed through theirs.  And I don't think that will be a pretty picture. Childhood has its own mysterious processes, its own pace.  When we ask children to "keep up" with a speeded-up world, I believe we are unconsciously doing them harm.  We are depriving them of exactly what they need to make their way in an increasingly complex world: well-being and resiliency.  Quite simply, a protected childhood allows for the slow development of identity, well-being, and resiliency.   16

It's strange how we look for meaning everywhere, as though it will be "new," not something that we already know and constantly have to remember, renew, and reclaim as our own.  20

As parents, we must not become "harmony addicted."  It's tempting to hope that every day might be a sort of "rainbow experience" for our children.  Wouldn't that be nice? If only we could suspend them in sort of a happiness bubble. But they need conflict.  As Helen Keller noted, "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet."  Children need to find ways to cope with difficult situations; they need to learn that they can.  34. 

Children love to be busy, and useful.  They delight in seeing that there is a place for them in the hum of doing, making, and fixing that surrounds them.  104

A wonderful counterbalance to "entertaining" children is to involve them in a task, in the "work" of family life.  Home is the environment a child will know best, and they need to affect their environment through their own efforts.  As small beings they can feel like inferior, passive observers of all that happens around them.  A sense of industry-- of busyness and purpose-- counteracts feelings of overwhelm.  And isn't it easy to feel small and inconsequential in a world so awash in information, so threatened with issues such as global warming?  Children who grow up as little doers, making Christmas breakfast and participating in the chores of daily life, will already have an inner gesture, a posture toward competency, activity, and autonomy.  105

When your child seems to deserve affection least, that's when they need it most. 61. 

Isn't it tempting to jump in with a solution? Absolutely tempting to quiet their quivering little chins and dry their eyes, with a fail-safe, can't miss solution.  But to do so consistently says "I'm in control of your life" and "I know how you feel."  We aren't.  And we don't, really.  And while it may seem a comforting thought to "know how they feel," it also denies them their own feelings. 146

"Do you love the time you live in?  We project a general sense of optimism to children when we talk less (with them) about things they may not understand, and definitely have no power to affect." 259

Before you say something, ask yourself these three questions: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?  And I would add: Will it help the child feel secure? 251

"Quite simply, don't talk too much to children aged nine or younger about their feelings. ..
Emotional intelligence can't be bought or rushed.  It develops with the slow emergence of identity and the gradual accumulation of life experiences.  When we push a young child toward an awareness they don't yet have, we transpose our own emotions, and our own voice, on to theirs.  We overwhelm them.  For the first nine or ten years, children learn mainly through imitation.  Your emotions, and the way that you manage them, is the model they "imprint," more than what you say or instruct about emotions.  268, 270

Children are such tactile beings.  They live so fully by their senses that if they see something, they will also want to touch it, smell it, possibly eat it, maybe throw it, feel what it feels like on their heads, listen to it, sort it, and probably submerge it in water.  This is entirely natural.  Strap on their pith helmets; they're exploring the world.  But imagine the sensory overload that can happen when every surface, every drawer and closet is filled with stuff?  So many choices and so much stimuli rob them of time and attention.  Too much stuff deprives kids of leisure and the ability to explore their worlds deeply. 28-29.

An overemphasis on toys co-opts and commercializes play, making it no longer a child's natural world but rather one that's dependent on adults, and the things they provide, to exist. Our generous impulses can also go awry.. ..What started as a generous desire to please and provide can assume its own life.  It can become addictive, feeding our own needs rather than our children's. Overworked and under-nurtured, we parents sometimes use toys, or stuff, as a stand-in for relationship. Our kids' joy fills an empty space within ourselves. We may be feeling disconnected, tied up in our many responsibilities, distracted by all that we have to do. A fast way to "connect" with our kids-- and surely "fast" is better than "not at all"?-- is to give the something new. We buy toys with a degree of compulsiveness, that children pick up on. What does it say to them? As the mountain of toys in their room grows, it also speaks. It speaks as loudly as advertisements, and its messages are the same, I believe, as the ones Mary Pipher identifies. What comes through to our children, loud and clear, is "Happiness can be bought!" and "You are the center of the universe! 78-79

You have to step up and believe in what you are doing and do a little bit of it every day. 308

REVIEW: Obviously, I could not choose just five quotes. I LOVED this book! It was a revelation for me, at a time in my life when I needed it most.  It greatly calmed me, invited me to step fully into motherhood, and has given me a clear vision on to what I want to strive for as a parent in our family life. 10/10!