I just got home from one of the most fulfilling and decadent self-care activities, ever.  Going to the library alone.

It’s much more refreshing than the spa.
Way more energizing than enjoying a venti latte at Starbucks.
More efficient than solo shopping at Target.
A more nourishing for my soul than going for a walk on a breezy summer’s morning.

Visiting the library by myself a luxury I rarely, but really should make time to do. As stay at home mom, the kiddos are at school for six hours a day, so I could make time to go, but chores and meetings, and past episodes of “Parenthood” sneak in like little foxes and rob my time.  I think I’m going to put “go to the library” on my weekly calendar.  Yes, that sounds like a lovely plan.  Will y’all help me remember?  You will?  Thanks, you’re the best!

If I make it a more consistent rhythm, I’ll publish more posts like this where I share my haul with you every week?  Ok?


Ok so, I finished all my chores.  The house looks (and smells) amazing.  I submitted my first paid writing assignment this morning and I was feeling all self-care-y.  Like I should go out and buy a new dress or make something off of Pinterest or have the slice of cake for breakfast as my daughter suggested.


Hey, if we’re not Facebook friends or you haven’t liked “Shalom in the City’s” page, then head over and let’s get connected there. I post hilarious stories from the kids and fun pics of our lives here in Los Angeles there.

Instead, I thought, ‘what do I need right now?’ Not necessarily what do I want to do, but what do I need.

And what I needed to do today is:
1: Save money
Every day we’re pastoring, but everyday we’re budgeting too- it’s just the nature of the beast.

2: Get something new to read.

So, I popped over to the library to revel in the  productive quiet of a roomful of readers and researchers.  It was pure joy to not have to help a child show his work or look for quadrilaterals in a magazine or nag my tween to start his project on Ancient Greece.

I was at the library for me- oh glorious, self-care!

I read a post this week about how you’d know if you were a total bookworm as a kid and one of the indicators was you “thought the library was more fun than any playground”

Yep, that’s was me. Every day.  All the time.

My love for the library rivals my love for the bookstore/coffee shop, especially if said bookstore is owned by an eccentric ex-hippie who hired her anarchist post-grad son covered in ironic tattoos, to make fair trade lattes.

Back in Cambridge, there was a library the next town over, Watertown that actually has a coffee shop INSIDE IT!  Brilliance.  Simply brilliant.  While the library closest to me only has a bookstore in the back, it’s still a pretty magical place.

To be honest, y’all, I’m still amazed at the ease of getting a card!  I can’t believe the  implied trust that I am responsible enough to take whatever I want home!   And of course, let’s not overlook the frugality of the library!

Everyday We’re Budgeting!!!!!!

Today, I wandered the aisles- just because.  Which, by the way, is the best wandering- the “just cause kind”.  While wandering, I’d grab a book, read the jacket, and imagine where I would sit while I read it.  In the van?  On the couch?  At the park?  If I couldn’t see myself reading it, I didn’t pick it up.

Choosing books by this standard slowly released me from a sort insecurity I’ve always felt around reading.  You see, when I notice what my friends are reading or I check out the book my favorite bloggers review or when a podcaster I love interviews an intriguing author, I instantly add those books to my ” need to read” list, but in all honesty, I know I’m not going to read those books.  Not because they’re not well-written, timely, or interesting but simply because, I’m not interested in them.

The worse is when I’m rushed with the kids at the library because  I check out books on the “the list” even though I know I’m probably not going to crack them open. Once home, they sit at the bottom of my bag ridiculing me for my impulsively or lack of resolve until it’s time to take them back and exchange them for new members of the Taunting Book Chorus.

Today’s library trip silenced the Symphony of Insecurity. 

Today, I chose self-care and enjoyment while at the library and brought home four very different books than I would have if I were following the “the list.”


1:  The Mom 100 Cookbook by Katie Workman
I’m always looking for new cookbooks for my Plan to Eat schedule.  In all honesty, I thought it said, “Mom 101 Cookbook” when I picked it up. This really resonated with me because I feel like I need to start back at the basics of meal planning and prep for the kids.  We’re in a rut and I’m hoping this book will pull us out. Even though it says, “100”, I’ll forgive it and give it a chance.

***A word about picking cookbooks:  If when I thumb through it, it has pictures any devices or tools I don’t have or can pick up within the next two days, I don’t get it.  Same goes for the ingredients.  Radicchio people, we are not.

2:  Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews
I’ve never read anything by Mary Kay Andrews, but I liked the synopsis in the jacket- a wedding florist experiencing mishap after mishap all while trying to prove to her father that her dream of becoming the premiere wedding florist is a viable one. “Save the Date”  promises to be full of belly laughs and heart-warming romance.  This will definitely be a before bed treat.

3: The Vow by Kim and Krickitt Carpenter with Dana Wilkerson
This book was hard for me to choose because right above it was, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings”.  I want to read that masterpiece by Maya Angelou, but it didn’t pass my “can I see myself reading this right now” test.  I felt so torn choosing “The Vow” over “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings”.

Was I not serious or smart enough because I gravitated to a love story made into a romantic blockbuster? Shouldn’t I be reading more rigorous, important books?

It’s shame-based questions like these that makes self-care difficult. They rob me  from authentically caring for myself.  Shame always undermines truth and core self-care is about becoming comfortable with true yourself. Loving the person you are now.  Nurturing your heart with gentleness and dignity.  When I realized myself spinning out with these questions,  I kicked shame to the curb, and chose “The Vow”.  Also,  I have this annoying snobbery about reading a book before I watch the movie. Maybe I think movies are a lower art form.  Maybe I just like to play the critic.  Whatever, man.  I’m reading the book then inviting some ladies from New City over to have a chick flick night.  Love the you, you are, baby!

4:  Spirit Animals: Book 2: Hunted by Maggie Stiefvater
When I saw my branch had a copy of this book in stock, I literally yelped with excitement!  My middle boy, TJ is SO into this series.  He and his new friend, JP read and then role-play the books. This magical story about a land in danger, children with special connections to ancient animals, and team work is exactly the kind of book TJ would gravitate towards.  He’s on book 5 and every night at dinner he asks me read the series with him. I’ve had the audiobook on my phone for a few weeks since he had an earache he and listened to it in bed while the ear drops worked their magic.  I was between books so I turned it on for my drive to run errands last week and now I’m hooked.  From my understanding, each book is written by a different author so this should be fun.  I’m already making summer plans for this book. Stay tuned, lovely readers!

So, here’s my library  haul.  What about you?  What books did you recently checked out from the library that you love?  What ways can you Love the you, you are today?  What is your guilty pleasure, before bedtime read?  Can you believe you have a library card?!?!?! I must know.

Comment below and I promise to look up your book and try to imagine myself reading it.

Seeking Self-Care Shalom at the Library,