Garden Spells and Gifts of Love

I received and gave several gifts this week to friends that has filled my heart and warmed my soul. WARNING: Stop reading this post now if you're looking for my usual snarky comments & tech tips - though I don't blog about books as often as most librarians - I will always be a book lover!
This post is a heartfelt thanks, celebrating my relationships, and mentally positioning myself with a air of grattitude for the upcoming school year that starts....for me...on Tuesday.

I met with dear librarian friends and Maryland PLN peeps Brenda Anderson, Kyra Kreinbrook, and Andrea Christman at the Ram's Head Tavern this past week for happy hour ales & laughs. We stayed well beyond the hour of happy talking, bonding, scheming, and planning for the next coming school year. Brenda surprised me with a gift of a hand-made bracelet which I love & touched me! I want to share it with you! Awwww! Damn. So lucky.

During our conversation, Andrea mentioned a book - Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen that I immediately downloaded to my Kindle, read and LOVED. Great prose...lyrical and touching. Yes, some say this book is remincient to Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman - and if that means an old house, magic family, two sisters and love...Oh..ok, yeah got it...but can you have too much of a good thing? I even added Practical Magic to my Netflix queue for tonight! This book made me blink back hot happy tears almost every 5 pages - from either the events of the book or the way the author, Sarah Addison Allen wove the beautiful prose together to create a warm soft blanket of Southern charm and happiness embracing friends and family...and ourselves. Acceptance. Forgiveness. Giving. Generosity. These are the things I need to focus on this coming year. 

I wish this had been our summer Book Club choice! Instead it was Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout which I have read "was a bit disappointing. I felt very depressed and disheartened after reading the short stories in this collection." So I didn't read it.
So there! I want only positive and happy in my life - I'm not going to over stretch myself with commitments and I'm going to avoid toxic people and situations. I love right now but I'm not in-love. That might change this year - if I find time. But I am surrounded by amazing family and friends who love me and who I adore.

I gave my friend Debbie this week a sterling, pearl free form flower ring that I saw at Ross Simons that just called her name...and gave it to her early for her Sept. B-day because I know how Septembers are for me...and for all teachers! CRAZY! It made her so happy which, of course filled me with happiness. (see quote above!)

So inspired, I went back to Amazon and downloaded the other two Sarah Addison Allen books - set in small Southern towns that I love so much with new quirky characters: The Sugar Queen and The Girl Who Chased the Moon: A Novel. I'm hoping these touching books will give me something happy to read on the plane and in any quickly grabbed quiet time this coming month. I need to make time for that - reading. That would also be a gift to myself.
You can also pre-order Ms. Allen's next title: The Peach Keeper: a Novel to be released Spring 2011 - I'm so there!

Thank you family, friends, and dear readers for all that you give me - outright with your words of encouragement, gifts of your time, out loud love, & even in your unspoken support. Your comments & feedback are a gift to me and I thank each and all who take a quick min to leave one. Thank you.

I wish all educators a good school year and much love and happiness in your life. Keeping in mind:

"We tend to seek happiness when happiness is actually a choice."

a print I plan to buy from Ballard Designs and a sentiment I 100% believe in.

Going back outside for a few....funny how I've been off all summer but have been so busy - ISTE, being daring, friends and family obligations, & I've only read 3 books! I used to read 3 books a week in the summer....[shakes fist in mock anger] Damn you interwebs!


  1. It sounds lovely, Gwyneth. I try to avoid depressing novels also - I get enough stress from my non-fiction reading!

  2. Thank you dear friend! [hugs] This book is a feel good book, for sure! And you must take a pic of your new Kindle! XOXO

  3. Garden Spells is one of my favorite books of all time - I love the magic, the characters, and that determined apple tree. Can't wait for her next book.

  4. I set a goal for myself to read more books this summer and I have. One of my favs is the new Margaret Atwood, The Year of the Flood. When I don't read novels, my soul misses that exploration into others' stories, that wondering about life and love. This morning I re-started Brian Greene's The Fabric of the Cosmos looking to have a lay person's understanding of space, time and the cosmos. Yet I do know what makes my life meaningful, it is the love I give and take from my friends. Love this post and our friendship!

  5. Glad you enjoyed the book! I was trying to explain it to someone and you did a great job! It is a happy book :) I like your resolutions and it is nice to put them "out there" so we can all help each other to stay in that "happy place!" I call toxic people, "Well-poisoners" -- they don't want to drink the water and they don't want anyone else too either!!! Good luck with the beginning of the year. Beginnings are fun because they are so filled up with anticipation, new starts, tingling toes--all things to keep us at our best :)

  6. Thank you Milena for your comment! What did you think of her other 2 books? I'm 30% through the Sugar Queen and also downloaded the Girl Who Chased the Moon!
    Brenda...I've never finished an Atwood book - but i've gotta give it another try! and yes, it's love ....the Beatles had it's all you need. Really. I am so blessed with my family & friends.
    Andrea - thank you so much for your comment, friendship, AND bringing this author into my life! I love the well-poisoners term.. I also use Fun-pire like a vampire who sucks the fun out of the situation! I stay away! YOU however my dear are a Fun-GIVER! I love being around you!
    Here's another gratitude thought i had:
    I think i'm gonna order flowers to be delivered to my Media Asst on our first day...brighten the library plus she's gonna have a busy year this year covering for me whilst i'm at 4 conferences/board meetings where I'm speaking & attending.

  7. I am looking forward to reading this one, too! There are books that I have been reading because I have to, but I have set the goal of reading more lately that is for me and own interest and personal well-being. This sounds like this book will be perfect! Thank you all for sharing.


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