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The Rhythm of Family: Discovering a Sense of Wonder through the Seasons Paperback – August 9, 2011
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“This book will fill you with yearning to connect further with nature, yourself, your family, and creativity. It inspires and uplifts with magnificent, evocative photography. Knitting and sewing projects, herbal health care, recipes, seed sprouting. A book of delight for the whole family.”—Juno Magazine (UK)
About the Author
Amanda Blake Soule is the creator of the popular blog www.SouleMama.com. Amanda spends her days with her four young children—making things, thrifting, exploring and being inspired by their coastal Maine surroundings. Learn more about her and find her blog at www.amandasoule.com.
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The essays were like diary entries -- things about their family and experiences. There's some value to this I guess, but I thought the book would be about rhythm in family in general -- not just this particular family's journal of their private adventures. The book should have been called "The Rhythm of Our Family" or something like that.
Each month offers some crafting or cooking idea, but that doesn't add up to much. Far better books exist on crafting with family through the year, connecting with family outdoors, and cooking. For crafts I like "Crafts Through the Year" by Thomas Berger. For outdoor exploration I love "Nature's Playground" - it's packed full of ideas for exploring nature in every season with children.
I want to address the person who was offended by Amanda's chapter on meditation. I am a Christian and Amanda, I believe, is a buddhist. As a Christian, I teach my children to pray and to meditate on the Word of God. Her chapter on meditation, and other statements by Amanda or Steve that clash with my Christian worldview are NOT, for me, grounds for dismissing her book. There are authors who have a worldview agenda when they write a book, and you can usually pick up on it early on. Amanda's books (and blog) do not fall into that category. Her message is clear in all that she does: love of motherhood, love of home, love of children, love of (and respect for) husband, love of creativity, and love of nature. She is a buddhist (I believe) and I am a Christian, yet we are both women who share these loves. I can learn from her without fearing she'll influence my Christian walk, and I can love.
The recipes are great, so far I've tried the muffin recipe and the bread recipe, both were very good. I also made the homemade lotion, and I absolutely love it. I was really surprised by that, because I've made a few homemade body products that didn't really work very well, but this lotion was perfect for me. It was easy and fun, my husband and I completed a large batch in 2 hours from start to finish. He's even going to make the picnic roll for our Memorial Day picnic, which I'm thrilled about.
Both authors write with feeling and depth, capturing the precious moments of their lives along with the journey they make as parents. I don't feel that they try to push any of their beliefs on anyone; they are simply sharing the way they live and how much they enjoy it. Personally, I can't help but want to be like them in so many ways. She had a quote in the book that was something like: When I'm faced with decisions each day, I ask myself if doing/not doing something is going to get me closer to the goal of how I want to live my life. Her words motivate me to make a loaf of bread and put off a trip to the store for another day, or to engage my child even when I'm exhausted or don't feel well (pregnancy doesn't help with that). Every time I choose to move toward my goals, most of which happen to be similar to the author's lifestyle, I feel better no matter how difficult my day has been. This book was very uplifting to me, and it's beautifully written.
The activities are fun and as the month changes I usually check out what sort of ideas Amanda has for the month.
I recommend this book (and her other two books as well!)