Living in Love

living in loveWe all have them. Dog-eared books that stay on our nightstand alongside whatever we are currently reading. I have several books there that speak to different parts of my personality, but one in particular has been a mainstay. Through thirteen years and six moves this book has managed to find its way back to my side. Food stains and torn pages don’t do justice to the lofty and appropriate title, Living in Love.

They instead, speak to the frequency with which I have turned to the pages when in trouble.

Time and time again, I seek inspiration and rejuvenation from this book. Like most people, there have been times in my life when I have been overwhelmed with everyday trials: long separations from my husband due to military deployments, the illness and loss of a loved one, personal and professional setbacks, and of course trying children. During these times, I have battled loneliness and depression, finding it far too easy to let the negative beat me down.

In the book Living in Love by Stoddard Alexandra published by William Morrow Hardcover focus’ on the positive in life and gently guides me back to appreciating all things for which I am thankful. While I have read the book cover to cover a number of times, I frequently open to a random page and begin reading. In doing so, I generally find just what I need to get out of a mental rut. There have been days where I felt the only positive I could find was having a roof over my head and a loving family. I now understand that these things are the most important, not simply the bare minimum.

Quotes on almost every page offer quick mini reminders, while chapters such as Creating a Loving Atmosphere walk me step-by-step through the process of finding happiness in my own surroundings. I remember one particular day; I was teaching full-time, attending graduate school full-time in the evenings, and my husband was halfway around the world. I began to suffer migraines and was physically and mentally exhausted. Inspired by the book, I walked around the house, gathered items that harbored happy memories, anything that made me smile, and scents I loved. I arranged them on the coffee table with a picture from my wedding, made tea in my favorite mug, grabbed a blanket from my childhood, and fell asleep on the couch looking at things I loved. I woke up hours later feeling I could tackle another day.

As I sit down to write, I opened the book to the quote, “Pick today’s fruits,” by Horace. Today I will try to focus on what is good, beautiful, and generous in my day; not dwell on things that sour my outlook. Life is too short not to be happy.