Reading Is Good For the Soul

One of my favorite things to do in my small town is to visit the local library on Thursdays with my kids. Most days the library closes at 6:00pm. On Thursdays, though, they delay opening for two hours in order to stay open until 8:00pm. The fact that the library is just two blocks from our home doesn’t hurt either.

My absolute favorite time to visit is at dusk. Oftentimes, particulary in spring and fall, the weather will be a bit misty, blurring the lines of the hectic world and washing everything clean. The lightposts glow pink as the light halos around the bulb. Walking towards the building becomes more and more peaceful with each step. It’s my sanctuary.

“Reading allows us to experience different cultures and places…”

It’s always been important to me that our kids grow up loving to read. It isn’t easy, though. It’s a time commitment when time is a rare commodity. It is, however, so incredibly worth it. The first time my daughter read a book on her own, I experienced a pride and happiness I had never known. My son, age 4, is getting close, too, and I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for the day.

With reading, we get to experience different cultures and different places for a low, low price. I am a big promoter on etiquette not costing a lot. Knowledge shouldn’t either. There are many books I re-read because I get homesick for the different places. I’m currently reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story again, and I love it just as much, if not more, than the first time through. If you’re local to Sulphur Springs, the library had another copy available yesterday!

I hope this post encourages you to find a little time each week to devote to reading. I promise it’s time you’ll find well spent.

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Kindness Always Wins

I am often asked the most important part of etiquette. Without a doubt it is kindness.

I recently had an opportunity to read Lilac Girls: A Novel, and I could not recommend this book enough. It was simultaneously easy and hard to read, knowing what these souls had to endure. It is not a stretch to say that kindness was very limited during the Nazi regime, and kindness being limited was lauded. The Nazis knew that the only way people would follow them is if they promoted the dehumanization of others – kindness, in my opinion, is a vital aspect of humanity.

Thankfully, kindness always wins.

My encouragement for you today is to reach out to someone who may be lacking in receiving kindness. We are all humans, and we are all deserving of kindness, regardless of what the world tries to tell us. Kindness breaks down barriers. Kindness makes us better.

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single minute before starting to improve the world.” ~ Anne Frank

Library Etiquette

My kids and I like to go to our local library on Thursday evenings. It’s open until 8pm on Thursdays, and, as a working mom, this is our little getaway each week.

I enjoyed just walking the aisles until something catches my eye. My daughter, 5, always migrates to the My Little Pony area, despite my attempts. I was always a Romona Quimby girl, to the point where I wrote “Ramona Quimby, age 8” at the top of all of my school papers when I was in the 3rd grade. I’m just grateful I went to a small school and my teacher, Mrs. Jaggers, knew who that was. My son likes The Berenstein Bears (it’s how I know he’s mine) and books about firemen.

Regardless of your interests, I’d bet you’ll be able to find them at your local library. I’ve surprisingly had a few emails informing me that people want to go to the library in their hometown, but they’re unsure of how to act. Here are a few pointers.

  • Unless you have a bottle-fed baby, don’t bring in food and water. Many libraries will have signs letting you know it’s not allowed, but it can easily harm books, which is the reasoning behind it.
  • Bring your kids! Most libraries have a kids’ section/area. Ours does, and it brings out their love for reading, which is essential.
  • Be timely in your returns. Aside from the minimal fine you’ll incur, it’s inconsiderate to other people who may have wanted to read that book.
  • Take phonecalls outside or to a designated area.
  • Don’t fold the pages! This one goes for any borrowed book. Don’t earmark the page to let you know where you are. Get a bookmark.
  • Limit computer use to an hour, if a time limit isn’t stated. Plenty of people use the library and all of its abundant resources, such as computers and/or wi-fi to do work. An hour is usually enough time to do what needs done while not preventing someone else getting their work done.

What other guidelines would you add to the above list?

As always, thank you for reading!

Remembering Your Friends

A tradition of yesteryear is that of having a guest book at your house. I don’t mean for your wedding, though I certainly encourage said book for that occasion, as well. I mean having a guest book for the Halloween parties, the Easter egg hunts, the birthday parties, etc. that happen in your life.

I’m bringing this trend back for 2018 (even if it never fully catches one). I had the opportunity to take a history walk with a local historian, John Sellers. Now, John’s expertise isn’t limited to local history. He has spoken all over the USA and is well-known for his love and knowledge of history.

During this history walk, he mentioned that the home we were touring had a guest book in it where he found his mother’s name signed in it. Her maiden name. I mean, how neat is that?! I hope one day my kids are able to look back through various guests books and will recall the family traditions we had and the fun with friends we shared. You can get this beautiful Guest Book: Illustrated Nature Edition here.

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My Favorite Etiquette Books

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I’ve had a few reader questions on which etiquette books are my favorite. In truth, I’m careful recommending etiquette books because, unfortunately, not all actually follow etiquette. Some of the newer ones are more of a “hey, let’s just do whatever we want, regardless of how we come across to others” feel. That is not remotely how I want to come across. However, I do have a couple I tend to lean on more than others, so I wanted to share those with you today. Emily Post’s Etiquette, 19th Edition: Manners for Today (Emily’s Post’s Etiquette) is a good standby. While it isn’t written by Emily Post any longer, as she is deceased, I still turn to it for table settings and other areas of etiquette that don’t fluctuate as much. However, I have found it isn’t as traditional as it once was. If you don’t want to spend $25 on a book, Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th Edition (Emily Post’s Etiquette) is nearly $10 less. Very little has changed between the two.

Another etiquette expert I really enjoy is Amy Vanderbilt. This book, The Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of Etiquette, 50th Anniversay Edition, is very user-friendly, and she gose into a little more of upscale situations than Emily Post does.

Regardless, I think you’ll find either book easy to understand and use! Thank you for reading!