My true love...

Hello there! If you know me, you know I love, LOVE to read! As a child, I spent many weekends locked in my bedroom with my latest library or garage sale books. Ahhh...those were the days. ;) My sister still teases me to this day because everywhere I went as a child, I almost always had two things in tow: a snack {usually an orange} and a book. I would literally sit in the middle of the clothes racks at stores and read while she and my mom shopped away. Not much has changed. Reading trumps shopping any day in my book. ;)

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that this summer I've been challenging myself to completely unplug for at least one hour, everyday solely to read. This means - no TV, no laptop, no social media, and I silence my phone completely and ignore texts during that time as well. Obviously, an emergency would allow for different circumstances, but you get the idea. ;) Of course, I unplug throughout the day for other things too: exercise, family time, etc, but I found that I've been reading less and less and I LOVE reading, you guys! So something had to change and I knew it was time to be more intentional in my reading time.

Ever since I learned to read, it really has been one of my favorite pasttimes. Yet as I mentioned before, I was finding it would take me months to finish a simple novel. Okay, I have to tell you that I can be pretty extreme with reading, and so I have to not only be intentional in taking time to read, but I also have to be intentional in putting my current book down to make dinner and live life too. ;) I was finding I wouldn't read for a while, then I would start a book, and my poor family would lose me for several days. Sooo...I think I've finally found the solution in my dedicated hour-ish.

I do realize that we are all in different seasons of life, so dedicating an hour to something you love may or may not be possible at this time. When my girls were small, an hour dedicated to reading would have been nearly impossible. While some of you are empty nesters and you have several hours you can dedicate. The point is - do what works best for YOU and YOUR family. :) Maybe all you can dedicate is fifteen minutes, but I'm telling you, having a dedicated time to do something you truly enjoy really is invigorating.

Dominic and I are in what we believe might be the most fun season of our lives yet! We had our girls when we were very young and now they are post-college, just entering college, and a junior in high school. That said, we have our daughters {and their friends and boyfriends} in and out of our house pretty much daily. It's like having fun roommates; basically they're self-sufficient, help out a lot, and come and go. This means everyday is like a continual date for me and Dominic! What a difference from when they were young. I've learned each season is such a gift with those three incredible daughters of ours. Those earlier days were so sweet and beautiful in their own right, but we are also embracing this season of having more time together and to ourselves; meaning this season simply allows for a little more downtime to enjoy my favorite hobby.

Obviously, if I have more time I might read a bit longer, and often I read a little before bed too. Some days it's less and some days it's more. I try not to get hung up on the time having to be an exact hour, and if I have to skip a day, that's okay too. The goal is simply to read more consistently, and I'm finding because of that consistency, I don't want miss my hour and look forward to it all day. I try to make it a special time for myself as well. Not only do I put all electronics away, I also tidy up the room I'm reading in, light a lovely candle, cuddle up, and lose myself in my latest read/adventure. I've also found I'm more likely to read before bed if I'm reading more consistently overall, and this dedicated hour is providing just that. I guess it's like that with any hobby/activity we pursue, isn't it?

Here are the books I've read this summer:

All four books were absolutely wonderful, and the fifth is proving to be the same. I do have to say, Where the Crawdads Sing took the cake, followed by Cottage by the Sea, in my humble opinion. ;) Seriously, if you haven't read Where the Crawdads Sing, you are missing out. It is INCREDIBLE! I mean, it give me chills every time I recall the story and I was able to relate so much to the lead character, Kya. If there's one book you read this summer or autumn, let it be Where the Crawdads Sing!

Most of you know blogging and social media influencing are my full time gig and I love it. It's a job I am so very thankful for! I do have to say that by the late afternoon/evening, I'm a bit done with looking at screens - email, messages, Instagram, etc. This doesn't mean I totally unplug every evening {although sometimes I do}, but most nights I simply can't; yet taking the time to just stop and read really helps me step away from it all and realign a bit. Reading really does help me feel sane again.

Maybe reading isn't your thing, and that's okay. However, I must admit that I want everyone to love reading as much, if not more, than I do. ;) I encourage you to choose something you that enjoy and helps you to regroup, retreat and recharge. Either way, take time to tune out the noise. We are surrounded by so much noise {and bright screens}, and I for one, love the beauty of silence and the beauty in someone else's story written down on pages.