Do you like the idea of a room described as peaceful, simplistic, pure, relaxing, luminous and natural? Inspired by Pura Vida in the Sherwin Williams 2016 Design Forecast, this collection of furnishings beckons you to unwind and exhale.Â The complete collection of Pura Vida home decor is on myÂ PinterestÂ page, and if you’d like more info on the items featured, email me.Â Breathe deep and enjoy!
This concept of pure & full life is so much more than natural home decor or soothing paint colors. Here are some of my favorite things that contribute to a full life – or my own Pura Vida.
I have to make a conscious effort to unplug and engage eye-to-eye with those around me, especially my family.Â As parents, we desire to be present with our kids; I’ve been challenged in this area by the book Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford.Â To pause and see the faces, hear the voices, watch the expressions of our children is life . . . our life that is happening right before us and not on a screen.
For me, one of the best places to practice unplugging is at the dining table.Â The daily rhythm of life is fast, but meals are a time to slow it down, a built-in pause in our day when we sit around the table and connect.Â In our home, we have a rule that no devices (or toys) are on the table at mealtime.Â This encourages eye contact, conversation, and time to enjoy each family member (for the most part).
During the highly anticipated after-school snack* time, I often read to my kiddos (because my boys are more likely to sit and listen when there’s a snack in front of them). Â We may read a classic fable out of A Treasury of Five Minute Stories which features 31 tales including Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, The Boy Who Cried Wolf and the Ugly Duckling.Â With great illustrations (which in a children’s book are almost as important to me as the writing), these stories provide great conversation starters in teaching life lessons to my sons.Â I have sweet memories of my mom reading to me as a child, and I was tickled to find “the ladybug book” in my old closet (now revamped into the grandkids’ toy closet).Â Big Thoughts for Little People by Kenneth N. Taylor goes through each letter of the alphabet with a simple lesson on values, three questions, and a Bible Verse.Â The illustrations go along with each idea and hidden ladybugs can be found in each picture, thus my memory of “the ladybug book.” I have the vintage 80s version which is special forÂ me to read to my own children now, but the newer version has lovely vibrant illustrations.
*Smoothies are one of our favorite snacks – I love my Ninja blender because it makes enough for three hungry boys and a mama (occasionally dad too) PLUS extra that I freeze in popsicle molds for later . . . and itÂ crushes ice and purees freshÂ spinach &Â frozen blueberries beautifully!Â
Playing games (offscreen) is another way our family connects with each other.Â Apparently, 2015 was the Christmas for games in our family.Â Our three boys were given a total of eight games, so my vintage game trunk is at capacity and I love it. Â Their two favorites right now are Star Wars Trouble and Chuggington Traintastic Cargo.Â Both of these exceed my standards in the “fun for parents too” category.
The Pura Vida trend of using more natural or nature-inspired home decor is driven from the every growing use of “natural” products, food, materials, cosmetics, etc. Â I continue to make small changes in each of these areas, one of which is food. Â I was excited to find thisÂ organic alternative for cream of chicken soup, which is a crucial ingredient for the classic casserole, yet regular condensed soup has an astounding number of ingredients (most of which I don’t know). Â One of our family’s favorite meals is Poppyseed Chicken; it’s a crowd pleaser andÂ easy to prepare for a family dinner. Â Using this cute box of soup instead of the canned varieties makes me feel good about serving a healthier, more natural weeknight favorite on our table.
Another change we’ve made is our tomato soup brand. Â The hubby whips upÂ aÂ mean grilled cheese sandwich on the griddle, which pairs perfectly with the creamy goodness of this organic tomato soup – making this a favorite weekend lunch at our house. Â Contained in a carton, this soup is so easy to prepare . . . just pour in a pan and heat, or microwave one bowl at a time and store the remaining in the refrigerator for later. Â I love finding new products that make life better (and better for us), especially one that even my picky eater enjoys!
Health & Wellness
Wellness is a tricky word, a vague concept and one that means a myriad of things to the one speaking it. Â “Are you doing well?” Â A cancer patient answers “Yes, I’m doing great, thank you!” while a healthy & wealthy entrepreneur moans “No, not really. Life just feels bleak right now.” Â For me, wellness is as much a grateful perspective as it is eating veggies and exercising. Â A game changer for me was reading Ann Voskamp’s bestseller One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.
This book challenged me to exercise gratitude daily, to list my thankfuls even on the hard days. My dearest friend gave me this beautiful journal and I started listing the days’ gifts – I’m up to 1017 and still counting! Â It’s good for the soul to see beauty all around – even when the giftsÂ come in unexpected and unbecoming ways. Â This journal is part of my soul care – what a joy to look back at the record of my days – it increases my gratefulness even more.
Our family loves riding bicycles. Â My hubby is an avid cyclist, pedaling around 2,000 miles a year on country roads, whileÂ I stay on the neighborhood bike trails pedaling considerablyÂ fewer miles. Â He builds a bike based on aerodynamic features, whereas color was my #1 consideration (no surprise there). Â I often ride with my boys to school; we have witnessed some of the most amazing sunrises, an emerging message saying “welcome to today” painted brilliantly across the sky. Â When exercise is an activity that we enjoy, the benefits go beyond just the physical.
Another aspect of healthÂ is slowing down and relaxing. Â This is so vital to our wellness, yet so easy to overlook until we’re completely frazzled. Â I recently joined the coloring craze – the movement of grown ups connecting with ourÂ inner child through coloring in a book. Â It’s quite therapeutic, the experience of sitting, selecting your palette of choice, and creating a unique work of art. Â My current creation is “Owl Love You Forever” from this coloring book. Â I also have the Inspiring Words coloring book I look forward to starting soon.
At the core of “pura vida” or “pure life” is our spiritual health, which is vital to every other aspect of our lives. Â How do we care for our souls, the deepest part of us whichÂ longs to know and be known by our Creator? Â To know anyone on a deeper level involves time, conversation, honesty . . . and often coffee.
I was givenÂ The Voice BibleÂ for Christmas, and I am loving it.Â This is a relatively new translation and offers a fresh perspective on familiar passages.Â Written in a screenplayÂ format, The Voice reads lyrically in modern dialect while staying true to the original manuscripts. Â Whether you’re very familiar with the Bible or you’ve never opened one, I highly recommend checking out The Voice Bible.
Along with scripture reading, I also enjoy doing Bible studies throughout my year.Â After completing The Wardrobe of Christ, I was thrilled to find out that the lovely Carrie Rogers has a new Bible study,Â He Is, which I look forward toÂ starting soon.
The Pure Life. Â Fully Alive. Â Different for all of us, yet so much of being fully alive is in the simple rhythms of our day. I hope you’ll take a moment to consider your own Pura Vida. Â It is a beautiful life.