the habit of being_constancy


This week got away from me. The sun hidden away, the yard (and kids) a muddy mess. Two knitting projects off the needles and gifted to their recipients before being photographed. There have been the constants that come with this time of year: cups of smoky lapsang consumed, a batch of cookies, winter squash soup, wool socks drying, quilts and books left abandoned on the sofa.

There has been work, the kind that brings a deep satisfaction. Something about the work and this time of year brings to mind my high school English class, the teacher up front reading Melville, Shaw whilst my mind and heart were only half present, ears only half-tuned in until something in a single line of poetry or prose brought me to attention, focused my breath, and made me feel. What was it?

There has been adoration of baby toes. And sleeping baby fingers curled gently into fists. There has been much nuzzling and inhaling of babyness, my nose buried in her neck, the top of her head. It is a familiar sweetness, one that brings joy and a tinge of sadness as I marvel over her so big! so soon! and whisper plea, stay a wee babe a bit longer sweet love. There is still the glow of twinkle lights, a basket of wool waiting to be looped and stitched into something useful. There are candles and diffusers making our home cozy. Overflowing bookshelves, paintings drying on the dining room table, the hum of the dryer, the sound of Bach’s Cello Suites coming from the living room, the sounds of this soundtrack coming from the Red Bean’s room. There is a cat asleep in my favorite sitting spot which doesn’t matter because as soon as I sit down someone will need something. These are my constants and I’m devoted to celebrating them.


PS: If you’ve considered joining Cornerstone, registration will be closing at the end of January. If, like me, your good intentions are already faltering, maybe community and a bit of guidance in the get-it-done department will be just what you need. I signed up to set a strong foundation for 2015, my year of planning, intention, and legacy building; it’s not too late to set yourself up for a great year too! Yes, I’m an affiliate but I having already dug in and gotten my fingers dirty so to speak, it’s worth it and that is why I’m sharing it with you.


+++ Joining in with others inspired by the prompts here.

  • Our week’s seem pretty similar and I for one am glad to see the sun today, it’s been too long.

    Enjoy soaking in all that baby goodness, I miss it.

    PS- Are you on Goodreads? I admire your taste in books so very much, finally joined the site and would love to follow you. You have expanded my book reading more than another other than my Dad, thank you.ReplyCancel

    • That should read ‘you have expanded my book reading more than anyone except my Dad’. :)ReplyCancel

    • admin

      Love hearing this, Tracey! I am on Goodreads :)ReplyCancel

      • Janet

        How can we look you up on GoodReads?ReplyCancel

  • Kirsten

    So much to celebrate. It’s just all about spotting the perfection. XReplyCancel

  • They are very much worth celebrating! It is the time for cosying up, candles and twinkly lights…wishing you a wonderful weekend xxReplyCancel

  • Felicia Jones

    Oh, I had a moment this afternoon when I felt an acute sadness as I remembered squeezing chubby legs and nibbling on tiny toes. My baby is now 18 and away at school. Where, oh where, did the time go?ReplyCancel

    • admin

      Shhhh Felicia! Trying not to think about that ;-)ReplyCancel

  • Ah, those sweet baby legs and feet.
    Those are some perfect constants. I can see why you are celebrating them.ReplyCancel

  • Those baby legs! Too cute. And I love your piece. Just reading it makes me feel calmer. Your voice is really soothing here.ReplyCancel

  • Our children are a constant to us, as are our homes. Places to retreat to when we need to. Thank you for this beautiful reminder.ReplyCancel

  • you paint a lovely picture of babies and children and life abundant! love those baby feet :)ReplyCancel

  • i love the word constant and you paint such beautiful pictures of it.ReplyCancel

  • Jenny

    Will I ever not shed a few tears when I read posts like yours? Beautifully expressed for all of us. You do help remind me that even if you have a whole houseful of babies, they all do indeed grow up. I marvel at my almost 6 year old and my 2 year old. How can I see it happening day by day but struck dumb at certain moments of their lives when they seem so old. You remind me to cherish every drop. Thanks.ReplyCancel

  • Goodness! I go into hibernation for a bit and Wow!!! I know life continues on all around, but there’s nothing like a new baby to point that out. Congratulations! I hope all is well. Take care!!ReplyCancel

the habit of being_celebratingdailiness6#celebratingdailiness is a hashtag. A way of life. A way of seeing the beauty in the mundane. An embracing of the here, the now, the perfect, the imperfect. This is my plan for 2015.

Why? Because I want to cultivate a sense of wonder. If you’ve taken this course you have already heard me wax on about the importance of the ordinary, the dailiness in both my life and creative process.

I think of Welty and her words and work that both point to real things. “Abstraction always being the enemy of art,” her fiction rests in particulars, never the general, and in particular things as experienced in reality. Her writing is a celebration of particularity, of details.

I think of Walker Percy, a southerner, a fellow wayfarer and seeker, and of his “holiness of the ordinary.” I can think of no better way to be serenely at home than to celebrate the ordinary, the details, the dailiness. This year I commit to open myself up to the wonder and the mystery around me.

Want to revel in dailiness with me this year?

  • Find me on Instagram where I’ll be using the hashtag #celebratingdailiness.
  • Tag your Instagram posts and tweets with #celebratingdailiness.
  • Have a blog post you’d like to share? Link up in the comments of this post or share a link to your post here.
  • You can search for all #celebratingdailiness posts on Twitter and Instagram simply by searching #celebratingdailiness.

Need a #celebratingdailiness image for your blog? Find them here. If you click on “share” you’ll get the url for each image for easy use on your site.


  • Kirsten

    I’m loving this. Thank you for being an inspiration.ReplyCancel

  • I am not on instagram or twitter, but I will be following the dailiness in my world and making sure I make note of it.
    Enjoy your beautiful world!ReplyCancel

  • Manise

    Love your new hashtag! A fun way to share.ReplyCancel

  • Love this idea, Amanda! I will plan on joining in!ReplyCancel

  • Teresa

    Ann, I LOVE this! I NEED this. Thanks, my friend.ReplyCancel

  • I love this idea and the images that you captured for blog use! So perfect!ReplyCancel

  • Perfect.ReplyCancel

  • A lovely idea :). I am not on Twitter or Instagram so not able to share but I do blog each week about the ordinary moments in my week.ReplyCancel

    • admin

      Looking forward to seeing your ordinary moments!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie Bonin

    You and I are terribly kindred. How grateful I am to call you friend. This is perfection.ReplyCancel

  • […] #celebratingdailiness […]ReplyCancel

  • Using the hashtag has been a great way to find the beauty in my dailiness again. Thanks!!!ReplyCancel

  • ok, i’m in, and just IGed one. ;)ReplyCancel

  • First of all, I enjoy your writing whenever I visit. It’s a kind of simple poetry – a flow to your words that relaxes, captivates and inspires at all once… even if all you’re saying is hi. :) Secondly, I love the idea “celebrating dailiness”. It’s perfect for me – a mother – where my days seem nothing but mundane. It’s what I strive for everyday; seeing the extraordinary beauty in quotidian life. Thank you.ReplyCancel

    • admin

      Thank you for your kind words, Alexa!ReplyCancel

  • […] #celebratingdailiness […]ReplyCancel

  • […] There is still the glow of twinkle lights, a basket of wool waiting to be looped and stitched into something useful. There are candles and diffusers making our home cozy. Overflowing bookshelves, paintings drying on the dining room table, the hum of the dryer, the sound of Bach’s Cello Suites coming from the living room, the sounds of this soundtrack coming from the Red Bean’s room. There is a cat asleep in my favorite sitting spot which doesn’t matter because as soon as I sit down someone will need something. These are my constants and I’m devoted to celebrating them. […]ReplyCancel

  • What a lovely idea. I aim to look at the small wonders and delights that every day brings, but it will be nice to also be part of a community of people who are aiming to do the same.ReplyCancel

the habit of being_jan 2015


I have ideas (big, small, in between) for 2015, for this life of mine. I have a plan, loose here, concrete there. As I mentioned on Instagram yesterday, I’m not the sort to choose a word, to make resolutions. I live life, I sink down into it, do gentle course corrections when I stray too far from the path.

I think of the time available to me each day and get depressed. There is not enough time to get in all the things each and every day. I can’t do it all so I’ve been thinking long and hard about the things I love doing, about the things I never regret spending my time on, about the things that fill me and leave me empty. What this means is that change is, as ever, afoot. I’m fully expecting I’ll have to make some big changes, cut some losses. Scary. Hopefully liberating.

The plan as it stands now:

  • Finish the essay burning in my brain no matter how painful, how raw it leaves me feeling. It needs to be done so I can move onto the next one.
  • I’m participating in Cornerstone. This is new for me but just a few days in, I’m starting to see things, to see how I need more details in my loose plan. And so I’m in, committed, and looking forward to a bit of accountability. Sound like something you might need? Maybe I’ll see you over there and we can be accountable together. (Note: that is an affiliate link but if I didn’t find it useful, I wouldn’t share it with you so keep that in mind.)
  • Put out two lit mags and five books this year.
  • Read great books.
  • Draw more, lots more.
  • Stick my head out more. Have coffee with a friend. Have a phone chat with a friend. Sometimes I’m my own worst enemy with my hermit ways.
  • #hellomorningcoffee was fun and I’ll still do it but I’m kicking off 2015 with #celebratingdailiness—if you’re on Instagram, I’d love it if you’d join me!

There’s more. Much more but this is what I know for certain now.

Happy New Year my friends! May your 2015 be bright.


  • Happy New Year, Amanda! I’m in Cornerstone as well, looking for guidance + getting clear on my plan. I wish all good things for you and your beautiful family in 2015. xoReplyCancel

  • I agree with you about feeling like there’s too much to do, so much that we want to do and coming to terms with what must go. It’s painful but liberating, as you say. I am doing the same. :)

    I love your list. It has challenges, hard work but also rewards involved.

    Happy 2015 to you – it will be amazing!ReplyCancel

  • That sounds like a wonderful list of aspirations, I hope you find the time to fit them in. You right that we have to decide what is important to make time for as we cannot do everything.ReplyCancel

  • With your words (and others like Lori), I have thought a lot about what is truly needed in my life. On what do I want to focus and spend my precious time? I struggle at times, because I have my kiddos to consider as well. I think part of my constant course correction is recognizing what works and really sinking into those moments and digging a bit deeper. So good to see what you are thinking as this new year dawns.ReplyCancel

  • Jen

    So well said. As always. So much rings true.
    Best wishes for 2015!ReplyCancel

  • Hooray for more drawing!

    And a happy new year to you.ReplyCancel

    • admin

      Thank you, Kortney! Happy and blessed New Year to you and yours :)ReplyCancel

  • Cutting losses here’s the only way sometimes! Loved reading your plans, however loose, it all sounds great! Wishing you good things in 2015 xReplyCancel

  • Less on line, more in person. Write. Take pictures. January will be pinhole month.ReplyCancel

  • I love your plans for the new year. I will look into Cornerstone, thank you for the recommendation!ReplyCancel

    • admin

      My pleasure, Imene! I know you’re a planner and organization junkie at heart just like me ;-)ReplyCancel

  • I wish you a wonderful 2015 and I know you will achieve all of your goals :) Happy new year!ReplyCancel

    • admin

      Thank you, Karen, and happy 2015 to you!ReplyCancel

  • Love the dailiness idea – celebrate the ordinary! Happy New YearReplyCancel

  • P.S. What is Cornerstone?ReplyCancel

    • admin

      Juliann, Cornerstone is a year long program with accountability to help keep me focused on creating what I want in my life/my work/my community!ReplyCancel

  • Brooke

    Dailiness is a great idea. I get wrapped up in big schemes and drive myself batty. Cornerstone looks interesting. My big idea of the new year is to start saying no. Especially no to parties, however fun, with friends that are at night and Hisband cannot attend. Happy new year!ReplyCancel

  • Happy New Year! I’m drawing more too. I bought fancy drawing pens and I must say they are so fun to use. I need to read way more. I read picture books to the girls and gardening books and blogs but not enough fiction.ReplyCancel

  • it years of work to whittle down to my priorities. i’m a HUGE Scanner and enjoy so much.
    like you, in not one for resolutions, but for the first i have a word this year. probably change in a few months lol, but it’s my intention for Now. and my word has smatterings of being a little less hermity this year. it’s a year for outwardness for me.ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie Bonin

    A perfect plan.
    Much love my friend.ReplyCancel

  • Good for you, planning is everything! :)ReplyCancel

the habit of being_saving grace


I received an ARC of Jane Green’s Saving Grace during my baby moon and it was a bit of much needed indulgent reading. This is the story of Grace Chapman, she of the perfect life living comfortably with her husband, bestselling author Ted, in their picture-perfect restored farmhouse on the Hudson River in New York.

Grace has what she believes to be a dark secret in her past and had a volatile childhood. As of late, her marriage to Ted has left her feeling unsettled. In a conversation with Jane Green about Grace and what intrigued her about the character she said:

” … we have a propensity to repeat the patterns of our childhood; we recreate situations that are somehow familiar to us, and I loved the idea of Grace growing up in a difficult, volatile household, and how the would explain why she would remain married to a man like Ted. Many people reading the book would urge her to leave, but when you understand how walking on eggshells is entirely familiar to Grace, I think it helps you understand why she stays.”

As Grace’s life starts to unravel following the arrival of her husband’s new assistant, Grace ignores her uneasiness with the new assistant while everyone else is enchanted by her. Things soon take a sinister turn and Grace finds herself fighting for both her marriage and her sanity.

When asked what she hoped readers would take away from Saving Grace, Green replied:

“Grace’s lessons were ones I had to learn the hard way, primarily that we should always trust our intuition; that when that little voice tells us something is wrong, we must listen to it, and that we have to be our own advocates when it comes to our health…”

And for the aspiring writers out there, Jane Green has written fifteen New York Times bestselling novels. Asked what advice she offer to an aspiring writer:

“That writing is your job, and has to be done every day, whether you feel like it or not. That the most important requirement is discipline; that you will be hit with writer’s block over and over, and the only way to break it is to keep writing anyway. I would also add, write the story you need to tell rather than the one you think will be a bestseller.”

Saving Grace will be released on December 30, 2014, and will be a great reading choice for those last days of winter vacation! I have one copy of to give away. Sorry, US residents only. Leave a comment below, a winner will be selected at random on Wednesday, January 7.

ETA: The winner of the giveaway is Andi — congrats!

  • Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • would love to win this! sounds like a good read and an important message for many!ReplyCancel

  • Manise

    Wow. This book has my name written all over it in so many ways….. kind of frightening actually.ReplyCancel

  • I have been looking for a read like this. Thank you for the lovely giveaway!ReplyCancel

  • This sounds like a wonderful book!!ReplyCancel

  • I would love to have my name entered Amanda, thank you.ReplyCancel

  • I only hesitate, because I am not sure how good the book actually is. You mention indulgent-was it a worthy indulgence?ReplyCancel

    • admin

      Heather, I consider indulgences to be worthwhile ;-)ReplyCancel

      • Indeed. You are quite correct. Too often, I think of the pure act of reading an indulgence. Leftover sentiments from childhood about productivity. I am working on shedding those little by little.ReplyCancel

  • Maybe an indulgent read, is what I need to get out of my reading slump.ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie Bonin

    This spoke to me on so many levels. I will absolutely begin my new year with this read.
    As always, a wonderful post.

  • Pamela

    This looks good! I need a little fiction for my month between semesters.ReplyCancel

  • Have been wanting to give her another try… Sounds like a great January read :)ReplyCancel

  • Sounds like a sinister and fun read!ReplyCancel

  • Thank you for the giveaway!ReplyCancel

  • Debbie Eichel

    I believe I would enjoy this book.

    I appreciatethe opportunity to win it!ReplyCancel

  • Thanks for this opportunity-I am getting my to read list for 2015 settled now and could add this on.ReplyCancel

  • Cheri

    Sounds like a fun read!ReplyCancel

  • thank you for the fun giveaway!ReplyCancel

  • Sounds interesting! Thanks for the giveaway.ReplyCancel

  • Marie

    This sounds like a wonderful read for a cold winter’s night!
    Happy New Year everyone!!ReplyCancel

  • Sounds interesting! Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Nicole

    Man, I’d like to get lost in this novel. —I mean right now!ReplyCancel

  • katy r

    Intriguing. Sounds like a great read. Intuition is key, I learned that by ignoring my own intuition and it cost me emotionally and financially.ReplyCancel

  • MamaSue

    Sounds like an interesting book. Thank you for doing a giveaway! And Happy New Year!ReplyCancel

  • Jenny

    Sounds intriguing for these cold days ahead. Thanks Amanda. Happy new year.ReplyCancel

  • Beth Kopp

    My first time on your website not my last. I would so enjoy that bookReplyCancel

  • Jane Green is new to me, and I would love to read her new book.ReplyCancel

  • Marcia

    I would love to read this book – thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Charlotte

    I have not read any of this author ‘s books. This one sounds like it would be good.ReplyCancel

  • Susannah K

    Yes please :)ReplyCancel

  • Sonya

    I am such a fan of Jane Green and am looking forward to reading this one. Fingers crossed.ReplyCancel

  • Always love visiting your peaceful space here. Looks like a fun read!ReplyCancel

the habit of being 2014 book list

I began 2014 with this list of books I owned and wanted to read. And from there the list of books to-be-read only grew and grew; I reread several books and found them richer with the repeated reading. Some of these I’ve never posted about—especially the ones toward the end of the list—but I’ve posted a few thoughts or a gem of a quote from most of them here on the site. If you are the curious sort, you can find most of my book-related posts by poking through the posts in this category. An * denotes two enthusiastic thumbs up!

:: mystery and manners
:: the luminaries
:: pope awesome and other stories
:: the lowland*
:: The Thin Place*
:: the narrow road to the interior*
:: the art forger
:: Parched
:: Redeemed
:: shirt of flame: a year with st. thérèse of lisieux
:: my sisters the saints
:: orthodoxy
:: quiet
:: Soy Sauce for Beginners
:: My Life in Middlemarch
:: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
:: The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns
:: Nestuary
:: Save the Date
:: Cathedral*
:: A Prayer Journal
:: Wise Blood
:: The Violent Bear It Away
:: Juniper Tree Burning
:: Looking for Mary
:: Benediction
:: Something Other Than God
:: The Little Oratory
:: Runaway
:: Dear Life
:: The Fever
:: Landline
:: We Were Liars
:: After the Sour Lemon Moon*
:: Brideshead Revisited*
:: Divisadero*
:: The Interestings
:: Light Years*
:: Howards End*
:: She Rises
:: The Sea*
:: I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl
:: Crossing to Safety*
:: The Summer Book
:: Sculptor’s Daughter: A Childhood Memoir
:: The Woman Who Borrowed Memories
:: Fair Play
:: A Thomas Jefferson Education
:: The Flying Shoes
:: Belzhar
:: Frances and Bernard
:: The History of Love*
:: All the Light We Cannot See*
:: Saving Grace
:: Stoner*
:: Everything I Never Told You*
:: Daybook*
:: Lila*
:: Nora Webster
:: The Gin Closet
:: The Empathy Exams
:: The Hours*
:: The Ice Chorus

PS: Book giveaway coming Tuesday morning!
PPS: The January prompts are up if you’re so inclined.

  • You all have been shaming me with these long lists of books you have read. Reminds me I need to squeeze in my first love (reading), in the new year. Thank you for the list!ReplyCancel

  • I will refer back to this list often.

  • I am reading Lila right now. So heart-achingly good.ReplyCancel

  • never say no to one more list of books lol, and thanks for pointing out the ones you especially enjoyed. we seem to share some similarities in book choices so will definitely be perusing through these.ReplyCancel

  • oh i just realized that you would probably appreciate my most recent make ;)ReplyCancel

    • admin

      I just clicked over and it looks great Monica! You are so talented ;-)ReplyCancel

  • You’ve inspired me to read more! I’ve only read 21 books instead of the usual 26. However, seven of the 21 were not really good….here’s to 2015 being a good book selection!!ReplyCancel

  • Great list. Crossing to Safety might be my all-time favorite … I loved Lila, All the Light, and the Empathy Exams … so many great books here! xoxReplyCancel

  • Thank you for your lists. Often when I am at a loss of what to read or crave a new recommendation, I look to your reviews and suggestions. Sometimes my pile is daunting and a fresh read is just what I desire.ReplyCancel

  • Debbie

    Thank you for this great list!

    I have only known of two other people who have read Stoner! It is great, isn’t it? I have read many of the books on your list, and since we have similar tastes, I have written down several of your recommendations.

    I will be reading your recommendations more often. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • What a long list, I am sure if I listed all the books I have read this year it would be long too! It is wonderful to make time for in your day, we are lucky to have such a good and varied choice of books to read these days.ReplyCancel

  • This is an AMAZING list.

    My One Word for 2015 is Read. I am gathering bits and notes from everywhere for what to read. Will definitely be revisiting this list for inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • This is great, Amanda. I’m especially intrigued by The Narrow Road to the Interior. Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • admin

      Denise, if you read it, I’d love to hear what you think of it! The Narrow Road to the Interior was one of my fave books of 2014.ReplyCancel