Another Monday, another list. I promise this won't become a habit.
I have so many wonderful things I've been meaning to share with you. This first Monday of May is bursting with inspiration.
Off we go . . .
* A few months ago, I received a review copy of The Power of Half: One Family's Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back by Kevin and Hannah Selwin.
I am so thankful to Caitlin at FSB Associates for thinking of me when this book was released. It is amazing! And it completely speaks to my personal philosophies on life, wealth, and the power of purpose-filled living.
Here's a little insight to what you'll find in The Power of Half:
It all started when 14-year old Hannah Salwen, idealistic but troubled by a growing sense of injustice in the world, had a eureka moment when a homeless man in her neighborhood was juxtaposed against a glistening Mercedes coupe. "You know, Dad," she said, pointing, "If that man had a less nice car, that man there could have a meal."
This glaring disparity led the Salwen family of four, caught up like so many other Americans in this age of consumption and waste, to follow Hannah's urge to do something, to finally just do something. And so they embarked on an incredible journey together from which there would be no turning back. They decided to sell their Atlanta mansion, downsize to a house half its size, and give half of their profits to a worthy charity. At first it was an outlandish scheme. "What, are you crazy? No way!" Then it was a challenge. "We are TOTALLY doing this." Each week they met over dinner to discuss their plan. It would transport them across the globe and well out of their comfort zone. Along the way they would inspire so many others wrestling with the same questions: Do I give enough? How much is enough? How can I make an impact in the world? In the end the Salwens' journey would bring them closer as a family, as they discovered, together, that half could be so much more.
As you can imagine, the message of this book just makes my heart happy. It's written by Kevin Salwen in a way in that is accessible, engaging, and inviting. He is completely honest in revealing a real picture of their family. You get the impression that this journey to downsize with an eye on powerful and dynamic social justice could just as easily happen for your family as it did for theirs!
Another enjoyable aspect of the book is that each chapter conclude's with "Hannah's Take" - some thoughts from Hannah on how families can begin take small steps that will result in big changes. As a former high school English teacher, I appreciate that Hannah has such a prominent voice in the book and in the way this family's story is playing out. Her thoughts and challenges are indeed inspiring.
I've created a page for extended review material, and if you would like to read more about The Power of Half, I invite you to click over and check it out. This book is a great read for families and would make for really interesting book club material! For every book sold $1 will be donated to Rebuilding Together, serving American’s low-income home-owners. In addition, the Salwen family is investing in the Hunger Project.
* Speaking of great summer reads, there is another book that I am absolutely ga-ga over.
First of all, the Woolyhoodwinks are a set of handmade characters that live in the Black North Forest. For families who are fans of simple, rustic, charming creatures for play, this cast of characters will bring you much delight!
As much as I adore the non-commerical, against-the-mainstream aspect of the characters of the book, as well as the minimalist approach to illustrations, what I really love is the text. It is full of poetic prose that just sings off of the page. Each line is a poetic picture of the action unfolding as the Woolyhoodwinks try to tackle the problem of the mysterious dark patch.
Here's a little snippet:
A ruckus breaks dawn with
thunder, quake, and tear.
The 'Winks rattle and
wake, and wink and blink,
and wink and wonder
how and why
would some rude noise beast
be dancing about at this hour?
Sleep lost, torches lit,
ears up, eyes wide,
a call is on the wind.
A deep gurgle and hum echoes through the forest.
Something out there does not belong.
Eeeek! Don't you just love it?! I love it.
Meet the Woolyhoodwinks and find out more about adding this incredibly charming treat to your home library at Woolyhoodwinks.com.Non-book-review-related likes:
* Many of you know Lora Lynn of VitaFamiliae. She and her family are in the process of adopting and, like many families, have created a fundraising project to help meet the financial needs of families in the adoption process.
They've created HopeSuds - an all-natural laundry detergent made from "Cheeky Maiden soap with mineral-based borax, washing soda, and baking soda." I am all about natural laundry detergents, and have found great success with Charlie's and Country Save. HopeSuds performs every bit as effectively as my two former favorites, and the lovely thing is I can get it with a nice citrus scent that washes out completely in the wash cycle. (Since kicking the fabric softener habit, I have an aversion to scented clothing. That's another post for another day.)
My girls are no strangers to messes, and I can testify that HopeSuds has put the hurt on stains from playgrounds, grape juice, and mud pies. Oh! Also, they shipped it out to me super fast. I had it in my laundry room three days after I ordered it.
If you like for your purchases to do a little more than just serve your own family, I encourage you to support products like HopeSuds. In fact, here's a handy link to ordering information!
* I've begun the painful process of sorting baby clothes and baby stuff for the purpose of finding new homes for it. No, we aren't closing the door on owlet numero tres - it's just time to make space.
Leaving our home this week are two pieces from the cloth diaper stash that I love SO MUCH. These precious handknit cargo shorties and one of my all-time favorite knit covers. Le. Sigh. Loved them.
Dacey in the cover (14 months-ish old) (hello, direct flash. ugh)
And the cargo shorties - I think she was about 19 months here?
Anyway, I mention this for two reasons:
1) The May/June 2010 issue of Mothering arrived in my mail box last week (happy!), and the feature story is on cloth diapering. WOW. It is an INCREDIBLE resource on all things sustainable diapering. If you aren't a subscriber but you are a cloth diapering fan or think you could be if you just understood what it was all about, I highly recommend picking up a copy of this issue.
2) Spring/summer was always my favorite time to be have the girls in cloth diapers. It is SO easy to just put them in a t-shirt or a little dress and have them run around with just diapers on bottom. I have to confess I always found it tricky to find pants that would fit over a fluffy bum, but you don't have to worry about that in warm weather. If you've been toying with giving it a try, this is definitely the time to try it out!
* Finally - FINALLY - just wanted to mention that two of my fellow Simple Organic contributors have released books that I cannot wait to dig into:
Long-time blogging friend Stephanie of Keeper of the Home just released Real Food on a Real Budget and she is running an introductory sale on it this week! Read all about it here.
Katie of Kitchen Stewardship released Healthy Snacks To Go last week, and it looks so helpful.
* * * * *
Okay, I think that's it for my Monday madness.
Oh wait! Not it's not.
Wanna read what I'm reading?
My list of Links To Share multiplies daily. Rather than running once-a-day link features, I decided to just put up a sidebar widget that features my Delicious bookmarks. Some of these I link to from the SortaCrunchy fan page on Facebook, but I think people would be "un-liking" me in a hurry if I clogged up Facebook feeds around the world with all of my "Hey! Did you read this?!?!" business.
That's it. Really. For real now.
(Dear Mr. FTC - here is your fine print. The Amazon link to The Power of Half is an affiliate link. I was in no way compensated for my reviews of The Power of Half and Woollyhoodwinks. I purchased HopeSuds myself and decided on my own to review it.)