A ONE Way to Quick Lit

First things first. I’ve wanted to participate Modern Mrs Darcy’s Quick Lit link-up more often, but I had it in my head that I had to write about the books I’d read from May 15th-June 15th. And the idea of splitting the month of reading right in the middle just made my mind too tired to try. I think I get to blame my personality on this. I am a One… so. Yup. Sounds right.

But here’s the easy way. No mind-boggling. No hangups.

What I read in May 11 books (5 fiction, 6 Non-fiction)

Give Your Child the World by Jamie C. Martin – 5 stars. A book of booklists sorted by continent and then by age of intended reader. I will reference this until the kids outgrow it for an easy addition to their knowledge of geography and culture. Best used in tandem with the local library.

A Different Kind of Happiness by Larry Crabb – 4 stars. Good thought provoking read arguing that the greatest happiness comes through sacrificial love. I underlined a lot. (Review copy from Baker Books)

The Practice of Spiritual Direction by William A. Barry – 5 Stars. Though geared more towards Spiritual Directors, this has much value for everyday people too. Good for considering your own journey with God and learning to walk alongside others’ journeys. I found this fascinating and meaningful for the way my life is shaped.

The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller – 4 Stars. Such a fun read! I felt like my GBBS obsession finally had a purpose because I have so much secondhand baking knowledge. Sorta. About a baker who moves to the country, of course. Fun, humorful, interesting. (disclaimer for a couple TMI scenes.)

White Awake by Daniel Hill –  An excellent resource for beginning to make your way into discussions of race and faith and questioning your presuppositions about the world you occupy. Smart, useful, an open door to learn more. (Review Copy from IvPress.)

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig –  About a person who ages more slowly than the rest of the world. Such an interesting idea for a novel. Liked it. Another quick read.

The Wisdom of Your Heart by Marc Schelske – 5 Stars! excellent! One of the best books I’ve read this year. I always feel vaguely confused about emotions. This is a great primer for those less than emotionally literate and those wondering what place emotions have in their Christian experience.

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The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan5 Stars – About a man who collects lost things and leaves his collection to his assistant to find out where they belong. A little hard to follow at first, but a lovely whimsical read with a satisfying close.

Sociable by Rebecca Harrington –  An angsty read! It seemed really cliched and what the main character seemed to believe about herself was the opposite of how she acted and allowed herself to be treated. Also the constant focus on how you can’t make it as a writer. ugh. I finished it, but it stressed me out.

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The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill – I can’t decide between ‘loved it’ and ‘liked it’. Enjoyable and magical, if a little dark at times. I think I would have loved it unquestionably as a kid, if I could get past the fact that it had witches and that was a no-no when I was growing up.

How to Raise Wild Child by Scott D. Sampson – 4 stars. Some solid inspiring information about the benefits of the outdoors for children and helpful tips for embracing the outdoors, especially the wild, with your children.

 


What was the best book you read last month? Why? I’d love to hear! :)

Find me on Instagram for more books and everything else!

Also: Find more lists of reading and books at the MMD linkup!

 

(Disclaimer: Post contains affiliate links. )

 

Noah’s Car Park Ark (Review and A Few Other Books On My List)

Lately I’ve been on the lookout for picture books that entertain but also teach. I also love a good Bible story retelling. So I was happy to see this title available through Intervarsity Press.

Noah’s Car Park Ark by Paul Kerensa, Illustrated by Liz and Kate Pope. 

This is a cute retelling of Noah’s Ark. The rhymes are almost Seussian and happily easy to read aloud. My kids were a little confused about why it calls the ark a ‘car park’ (I think it’s also a cross-cultural issue since we call it a ‘parking garage’), but the adults in the room will chuckle as the Mustangs, Jaguars, and Beetles all find their places to park.

We also couldn’t decide if there should be sharks on the ark. I thought no, because they could just stay in the ocean, right? But the sharks are in the ark. They must rhyme too easily. And the idea of a shark tank inside a boat is just too entertaining.

The illustrations are delightful, fun and bright colored. It might give your kids the wrong ideas about technology in Noah’s time, but I especially liked the lion with a GPS on its head.

The only complaint I had, is that Noah and most of the sons and the wives appear to be white. There is one a little more tan than the others, but it would’ve been easy and better for the kids to add a little more melanin to the crew. I’d even be fine with having every person in Noah’s family a different color. That’d be pretty cool. And the lions have a GPS, so why not?

Overall: This a fun book. My kids have spent a lot of time looking at the pictures and consistently choose it for read-aloud time. And so far I don’t mind reading it again and again. That’s a win.


What books have you loved for your kids lately? What’s on your wish list?

I’ve been eyeing these cute stories about emotions, these about mindfulness (in English AND Spanish!), and these beautiful books: Called and Courageous Girls. Too many good books!

Find me on Instagram!

(Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from IvPress in exchange for an honest review.

Also: This post contains affiliate links.)

What I’m Into – May 2018

We are definitely into visiting the ocean. #spoiled

It’s been one of those months that feels both long and short. Long because of stress felt and short because ‘hey look it’s June already’! Summer is on its way and the weather is warming up. I’m a fan. :) I love summer activities.

We are looking forward to more hiking, some swimming, hanging out, maybe some outdoor excursions, and summer bbqs with neighbors (note to self: organize that!).

In May we did a soft intro to summer with lots of driveway time with bikes and scooters, some hiking, a couple afternoons playing in sprinklers, planting a garden (thanks to my sis and brother-in-law!), and many many books from the library.

Here’s what else I’m into:

Unschooling:

We are learning to pay attention to what unschooling looks like for us and what these kids are interested in. It looks different dor every family!

At this point I’m giving the kids a mini-geography summer even if only through library books. They’ve been interested and I was inspired all the lists in Give Your Child the World by Jamie C. Martin. I will be referring to it for kid book suggestions often. :)

I’ve been paying attention to what else we can naturally expand on for the kids learning. One day we did a mini intro to math in chalk on the driveway. And they’ve had numerous lessons in science and other topics from simply following their curiosity and our (the parents’) interests. Unschooling is working for us and them at this point. We also just finished up a semester with a low-key STEM club. The kids loved it. I am excited to see how unschooling continues for us.

Reading:

I finished reading 12 books this month. A few of which were started months earlier and I only just now got to the end. But still a lot! I’ve read 50 of my 100 book goal for the year. So maybe I’ll slow it down a little now this summer. Highlights from May were:

  1. The Wisdom of Your Heart by Marc Schelske
  2. The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

100 Day Project:

I jumped into the 100 day project in April! It’s an creative challenge to do one creative thing each day. Usually repeating the same action as a way to make a habit, get unstuck or create something bigger. I am about two weeks behind, but i will be making it to 100 with my action one way or another. Because doing something 43 times in the last month and a half is much much better than not attempting it at all. I like it. My project is to fill one 5×7 notecard each day with the words I need to hear that day. It has been a good way to get a little writing in, and to tap into something wiser as I approach the angst in my head. I’ll probably share some here at some point.

Running:

57 miles! I have been training for a half marathon and getting the miles in one way or another. Lots of treadmill miles, a few solo miles, and a couple long runs pushing the jogging stroller. I just ran my half today in 2:10:45 at a 9:59 pace. I’m happy with it, but also dreaming for a 2:0x time or even the 1:59 time. I’ll just have to train some more and run another. :) Also the Newport Marathon in Newport Oregon is beautiful, well-supported, and fun!

Food:

Moroccan Salad in the Run Fast, Eat Slow cookbook. I make a batch and then eat it for lunch for about a week. My kids aren’t necessarily fans, but all the more for me!

I’ve been searching for a satisfying chewy granola bar recipe and my friend pointed me to these Smitten Kitchen Granola Bars. I think my search is over. Pro-tip: say yes to chocolate chips. ;)

On the internet:

On raising well-adjusted kids: “What do kids really need to be happy and successful? The answer surprises most: Empathy.”

On talent: “Talents” assume that WE are the authors of our success, and that we depend on some special magic we have no control over.”

On acting like an entrepreneur: “They embrace (instead of run from) the work of doing things that might not work.”

On Instagram:

Look who’s here 🐾 🐼 #sheepadoodle Newest member of the fam 👏🏻

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Tuesday morning reminder. Also, NO. Thanks @jenhatmaker

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There are all kinds of reasons we keep ourselves from growing and changing.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ —⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We’re afraid to leave people behind.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ —⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We worry we don’t have what it takes to change.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ —⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We’re nervous to walk into the unknown. —⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We would prefer to avoid the messiness of the process.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ —⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We have long-held ideas about the “kinds of people” we are (no such thing as kinds of people, just humans).⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ —⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ So instead we resist, hold back, settle, sabotage ourselves before we even start.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ —⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ What if you gave yourself permission to be more than one “kind of person”? To be serious and also fun. Lazy but also driven. Harsh but also gentle. Scared of commitment but also in love. Soft but also bold enough to speak up and be direct.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ —⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ What would happen if you braved the mess of the unknown territory?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ —⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ You might just find how brilliant and multi-faceted and interesting and impossible to categorize you’ve been all along.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ —⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I now give myself permission to grow and change.

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What have you been loving or just doing a lot of lately?

Find me on Insta. I find happy things there :)

(Linking up with Leigh Kramer whose new novel is coming out in couple weeks!)

Emboldened by Tara Beth Leach {Essay Inspired by/ Book Review}

(Review copy provided by IVPress)

This is our story! We are fierce, intellectually astute women who are brilliantly made to not accept simple answers. We are wise teachers and colleagues of some of the world’s most renowned and brightest scholars. We look to men as co-laborers in this great work and aren’t afraid to push them to think in new capacities. This, my dear sisters, is our story.” Emboldened: A Vision for Empowering Women in Ministry by Tara Beth Leach, p 19

This book is a breath of fresh air for any woman who feels stifled, overlooked, or disenchanted with church as it is. And any man who is looking to walk beside or empower a women in ministry. It is encouragement to keep living as your whole self, showing up, and being courageous. 

I believe God wants women to lead just as much as He wants men to lead; He has gifted and empowered each one of us to live into our different and specific callings (whatever that may be); and jobs should not distributed by gender but by gifting.

I wish women could be pastor, speak at a pulpit, or teach adult Sunday school classes alongside the men in every church- no questions asked. And wouldn’t that be lovely? 

“I often wonder how many women in these churches even know that they have been given gifts of teaching and exhortation, because they never have the opportunity to use them!” p 100

But it’s not that simple.

In this here, but not yet Kingdom, there are many women who are called to be pastors. What amazing grace. Serve well. This book is written for you and all the people around you.

But also, in this here, but not yet Kingdom, there are women, like me, who realize their worth, believe God has freed them, and are confident in their calling to be co-heirs with Christ alongside their brothers in Christ – but might stay in churches that are less egalitarian. Taking our cues not so much from the church’s doctrinal statement, but from the Spirit who indwells us. This is grace as well. 

“Lead from where you are, in the power of the Spirit. Do it with courage, gusto, and boldness.” p126

We learn to see grace in the messy middle places where God works with our little faulty offerings. He brings it all together to glorify Himself all the same.

It’s mystery and grace. 

But, in the midst of living in the mystery, we need to remember who we are in Christ, instead of focusing on those church rules we get hung up on. I’ve struggled to find a balance in my writing lately, feeling a little silenced by those rules. I have had to remind myself I am created for a purpose. And that purpose is now. And, really, I am the only one who can find out what that is. 

“Now is the time for women to rise up and use their God-given gifts with boldness.” p189

That is where books like these come in for me: they encourage me in my createdness as a woman. I am just as qualified and called to be involved in ministry as any other person. Men are not the go-between between me and God. Through the Bible and prayer, God leads me, too. I can trust Him to lead me as I continue to learn and write my way through life. 

“Breaking gender molds, you see, doesn’t mean we move from leading one way to another; rather, it means we are free to lead in the only way we can lead. Be you, dear sister.” p65

I’m not perfect. And neither is anyone’s doctrine or church’s teaching. So I find hope in humanity’s imperfection, because God has a plan. 

He has a plan for you. 

Woman. Created. Spiritual. Spunky. 

—-

More important than what your church says about you and your voice is what you believe God says about you and your voice. Do you believe you can be heard? Can you change the community you’re in? 

Because you can.

Read a little more about the book here:Emboldened: A Vision for Empowering Women in Ministry by Tara Beth Leach!

Other books you may also like:

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Follow me on Instagram for more books and, right now, a lot of flowers. :)

(Disclaimers: I received a free copy of this book from IVPress in exchange for an honest review. And this post contains affiliate links.)

Side Hustle by Chris Guillebeau {Book Review}

Book review time! This review has been a loooong time coming (sorry, world!) since it came out last September. But today’s the day!

Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days by Chris Guillebeau

 

Side Hustle walks you through the process of creating an income generating side project. It begins with what makes a good idea (is it “feasible, profitable, and persuasive?), and by the end you are learning how to price, market and launch it to the world (and money-earning potential). Highly useful, especially if you’re naturally better at making stuff than selling stuff. Or better at coming up with ideas than choosing one and following through. As the case may be.

After listening to the insanely inspiring and daily(!) podcast Side Hustle School for the last 9 months I had high hopes that this book would make me rich. Or at least make me some money. Or get me started on an idea.

Disclaimer: It didn’t. Not yet at least.

It turns out you have to be a little more intentional than just reading the book. You also have to set aside time, resources, and gumption to follow through.

I’ve thrown around ideas of thrifting and revamping furniture, launching a kids’ learn Spanish something or other, selling crocheted pumpkins, and others. I’ve had trouble deciding where to invest my time and money when I don’t have much of either. It’s easy to get discouraged.

The only downside is that when you’re reading the book you’re constantly getting distracted with figuring out ideas, looking into stuff, googling maniacally, laughing manically (ok, maybe not), or becoming overwhelmed by looking at too many options, etc. Which can make it hard to focus and can be counterproductive if you haven’t committed to an idea.

But if you read the book and do the work, you’re going to figure it out. (Note to self: Do the work! See what happens!)

Guillebeau believes that everyone should have a side-hustle. When I take on that challenge, this is the guide I’ll want to have along for the journey. And I predict it will be dog-eared and well-worn by the end.


My reviews are a little less belated if you follow me on Instagram! Every week I post a quick review (two sentences and some stars) of each book I make it through.


 

(Disclaimer: I received a free proof copy of this book from the author in exchange for being part of the launch team and writing a review. All opinions are my own!

Also: This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links. If you make a purchase after clicking a link on my site, I receive a few pennies to support my book habit. Thank You!)

No. 1: It must look boring.

Something about having three young kids makes you a little more guarded about any scrap of potential quietish time you could possibly have.

Lately we’ve been playing in the front yard a lot because the kids are loving the front yard things: bikes, scooters, and swings. And our backyard is pretty small so it makes sense. I like the front yard too.

The downside for this introverted mama is all the people. Sigh. Sometimes it gets exhausting to make the small talk with the neighbors, corral the kids, and moderate playtime with the neighbor kids who my kids enjoy immensely. Which is great. But mama is overwhelmed. Even just greetings or standing around watching the kids together is draining because of the expectation to visit or be social.

Anyway. I feel like my quietish moments have been quartered and social expectations have been doubled thanks to the kids love of the front yard.

Often lately I’m trying to straggle together my quiet moments so I can unwind or refresh my energy levels a little bit.

Energy Levels: Straggling. 

And it’s harder than you’d think. Not only because the kids are all about being children. (How dare they be so childish! <– I forget where I saw someone say that, but it has been a helpful thought to me!))

Today, feeling almost anxious about my lack of free time, I googled ‘How to make the most of 20 minutes of quiet time.” Mhmm. It didn’t solve my problem but it did get me here which is helping.

I would love to have that restorative feeling that I get after doing some things but not others. And to be able to feel restored and refreshed and happy again after few minutes in whatever specific activity does the trick. I don’t know how to consistently make that happen.

I do know some things that don’t help and some that do, so maybe just paying better attention to what I am doing and how I am feeling about what I am doing will help in the long run. It’s not the short cut I was looking for but living a little more mindfully could only help.

Things that I find myself doing often that are draining:

  • Endless to-do list making. I am an idealist. I can make really long lists. Really easily. So figuring out what is essential and most life-giving would be key. (A book about that: Essentialism by Greg McKeown)
  • Scrolling and flipping and paging on my phone.
  • Feeling pressured to do all the things with all the people. And not doing anything instead.
  • Feeling like I have not enough time for anything and just watching netflix instead because I’ve already exhausted myself with my expectations.
  • Deciding I can’t or shouldn’t do things because other people think I can’t or shouldn’t. Same goes for can or should. Only I get to decide what I can, should, can’t or shouldn’t. humph.
  • Reading too many books at once or not stopping a book when I’ve stopped enjoying it. Just because you thought you wanted to read something doesn’t mean you have to once you have it in your hands. That’s why you use the library. ta-da! It’s magic.
  • Getting stuck in a negative loop of all the things I’ve not managed to do. or read. or be. There’s always another verb. You’re fine. It’s fine. It’s all going to be fine.

So now there is an excellent list of things not to do when I’m trying to enjoy a few minutes of rejuvenation when the children are by some miracle playing together nicely. or maybe they’re asleep. Who knows.

(Right now I’m pretending not to notice that they’ve made a mud puddle around the corner by transporting water a mouthful at a time from their water bottle – which I’ve asked them to leave on the patio – to the mud. yup.)

But.

What to do?

This is the question that I am currently overthinking and it is giving me mental hives.

It seems like basically anything that won’t result in the children immediately jumping on you again. So it has to look boring? I’d guess a 50% success rate if it at least looks boring.

I think that about covers it.

Suggested activities:

  • Sitting on the floor in the kitchen with your eyes closed. Try not to think about what to make for dinner but if it comes to you accept the inspiration and then continue to sit with your eyes closed. Bonus points if the kids are wandering around the house trying to find you and just haven’t managed – you’ve found a good spot.
  • Drinking a cup of coffee and letting out some thoughts onto a page. I find coffee sometimes restores my sense of humor. And turning mental hives into words is good for perspective.
  • Picking up some fiction. I find sometimes I have a hard time starting a new book, but once I figure out who the main characters are it’s easier to jump back in the next time I have a few minutes. I scroll the most between fiction reads.
  • Looking out the window. Just focus on those trees in the wind not that empty diaper box the kids brought outside at some point. ahem…yeah..Trees. And clouds. So pretty.

Well those are some things for my list now.

What’s on your list of activities you actually find life-giving when you have a few minutes?

Find me on Instagram where I tend to be less wordy and, as long I don’t check it tooo much when I’m not actually posting something, it tends to be restorative.

Also: learning to some things despite the interruptions is somewhat discouraging, but much better than not doing the things at all.

The older two brought me a flower and made many other assertions of their presence. The youngest was asleep. And we managed. They’re fine. I’m fine. And here are some words. It’s all fine.

Stuck {FMF}

We have drifted into warmer weather. hooray! For some reason it feels like this winter was oh so long even though last winter was infinitely worse as far as temperature and actual snowfall.

But maybe it’s just the collected feeling of too much winter after one long season plus one slightly flighty season (it left for a week or two in January and then came back snowing again).

But it’s April. I should be over it by now. Winter is OVER.

Hooray!

Projected forecast for tomorrow is about 78F and I am rejoicing but also a little bit worried because 74 felt hot today.

But that’s not the point. Bodies acclimate. No worries.

The point is, now that it is warming up, I am getting all these plans and ideas and hopeful feelings about being able to accomplish things, see people, and generally lead a productive life. Though arguably I haven’t not lead a productive life since I am constantly doing the householder thing of wrangling kids, nailing down food, and cleaning up detritus of items of arguable entertainment value (sometimes it’s just more fun to dump things out? I wouldn’t know).

Anyway.

I have hopes of carrying along with my natural Spring momentum and jumping back into actual writing and blog stuff.  i.e: Getting UN-stuck.

So here I am, picking up with the thing I often come back to to get unstuck. Five Minute Friday on a Thursday evening.

Welcome to my hope of getting unstuck on my blog.


And that’s my five minutes. I hope here I can offer you a little more grace, hope, and freedom for the ways you are living your life. I’m working on it, too.

May we be free instead of stuck.

Find me on Instagram more often. I’m stuck on that. ;)

Linking up with the Five-Minute-Friday crowd for fun and for inspiration.

Just for Fun: Collections of Words from Other People

I’ve been loving these songs:

“Joy” by Tori Harper:

The chorus is my favorite part. Which is lucky because it repeats a bit.

“Your joy is greater than a thousand sorrows and
Your love will conquer all of my tomorrows
It fills my heart, the sound of Your song.”

Listen on youtube:

Tori’s other song is just as good. She has two officially released on iTunes as far as I can tell and then more on her youtube. It is always nice to find new-to-me music that encourages my soul.

“After Dark” by Tori Harper:

And “Be Kind to Yourself” by Andrew Peterson. Not exactly new to me, but something this Enneagram One is constantly needing to remember. Good song.

And these podcast episodes:

And these thoughts on Instagram:

…your voice, your heart, is always wanted and never, ever forget: you always belong. . Christ didn’t degrade women in His talk, but He made women heroes in His stories. That’s how God loves women with His words. . Promise you’ll never forget this either? . God first revealed Himself to a woman as the God Who Sees — because God needed every woman to know that she is seen, she is known, she is beloved. . God made the answer to the world’s first problem, the one of aloneness – to be a woman. . Just promise — that you’ll never, ever forget: . God made sure every girl born knew she was never less than. . Girls are a whole world more than pretty faces & pretty hair — they do hard & holy things & change the whole world. . Rise, Esthers, & don’t be afraid to risk like a girl, be fiercely fearless like a girl & change the world like a girl. . #genEsthers #madeinHisimage #ImagoDei #facesofGod

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Not that there’s anything wrong with knowing how to do your hair… But lifting up our hearts to world-changing power.

Strength and tenderness. Practicing both. Needing both. (🎨: @pocketfuel)

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Writing is a journey of self-discovery.

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What is your favorite thing to save on instagram? Mine tend to be words and every now and then an idea for home-ing.

Do you have a favorite podcast? I can’t really choose these days. :)

Hoping to be back here with more of my own words more often in the future. But maybe this will get me started!

Find me more often on Instagram!

Long Days of Small Things by Catherine McNiel {Book Review}

“God formed our bodies on purpose and called them good. In the seasons of life he gives us, we encounter and know a unique part of God and his creation that cannot be know without our voice, without our teaching. We represent a part of God’s image that the world cannot see except by looking at his work in and through us. Our voice is necessary, our wisdom is indispensable, and both these are beautiful and lovely and true.” p.177

– From the Postscript of Long Days of Small Things: Motherhood as a Spiritual Discipline by Catherine McNiel

Positive:

  • Motherhood is a necessary picture of God’s character (quoted in the postscript above).
  • The idea of being “faithful in responsibility.”

“Some religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, have a name for people in this predicament: householders. Recognizing that folks can’t just up and leave their spouses or children, these religions give householders a different set of expectations. Rather than becoming meditating monks, studying under gurus and wandering along through the forest, householders are asked, for now, simply to be faithful in responsibility.”p.9

  • Motherhood is not a second choice, does not confer secondary status, and it is transformational. Even when it feels like it’s simply chaos.

“Motherhood spirituality is not Plan B for those of us with no other choice, making the best of a bad situation. What we do and who we are is foundational to the character of God. And so is the spirituality of these stressed out, chaotic days.” p.87

Negative:

The structure made the ideas feel prescriptive. Each chapter discussed a theme from the Bible and then listed places we could look in our own lives for examples or to embrace that theme a bit more – such as in breastfeeding, silence, diapers, work, cherishing our children. Taken this way would be easy to feel like we must find a picture of God in even the smallest moments or we are not doing enough.

And that’s just unhelpful.

There are many types of mothers who are mothering well. It doesn’t have to fulfill us or be described through rose-colored glasses. If you treat the to-do items as simply suggestions (as intended, I’m sure) where we might feel glimpses of God, this book would work better. The fact that it feels like a list on how to a be better christian mother makes it seem unhealthy for me.

Motherhood can be, but it doesn’t have to be, a spiritual discipline. We can choose to make it a spiritual experience with the practices in this book if that is something that fills us up, or we can do it our own way and that is perfectly fine as well.

In short: I appreciated some things. Mostly this book wasn’t for me. But it might be a book for you!

What do you think? Are you interested? Or would you skip it?

Find me most often on Instagram!

(Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale Book Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. Contains affiliate links.)

This unseasonable winter {saving my life right now}

So, apparently, it is already the middle of winter. Which is hard to believe for me right now since it is a Springish 45 degrees outside and raining daintily. Some of the trees are already starting to think about getting leaves. I sure hope they don’t regret that.

My quince bush is already getting leaves having been fooled into thinking it is spring by our last two weeks of unseasonably warm weather. It feels like April.

I am not complaining. I just hope we don’t get more winter in March instead.

Because that would be sad.

But anyway. Every mid-winter for the last little while, Modern Mrs Darcy has hosted a linkup where we get to share our lists of the fun, mundane, or thoughtful saving our life right now. It’s akin to counting blessings, to help us identify things, or moments, practices, often easily taken for granted, that are helping us more than we realized.

So here’s what’s saving my life:

  1. The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson – at 1000+ pages each you only have to decide what to read once every week or 10ish days, and there are three of them. They are extremely well-done fantasy with a new world, new powers, great characters, and interesting social dilemmas. Perfect for rereading. I actually tried to read the third one without revisiting the first two…but two years between books was too long! So I read them again happily, and now I’m in the middle of the third one. The only problem is now I want to use words like “voidbringer” and “creationspren” in conversation. #booknerdproblems
  2. The library as a place to hang out with my kids, have all my bookish dreams come true, gain a few new dreams/books to my TBR, and feel connected to a community of book people, even if it’s just kid’s storytime.
  3. New clothes! My jeans had holes, my husband lacked a flannel shirt for me to steal, and I wanted to try a puffy vest. So I went to Thredup with a little Christmas money and made it happen. Results: I love the flannel shirt, the jeans fit perfectly, and the vest is amazingly versatile and perfect for this winter. And I feel a little more freed up to be myself everyday just because I’m doing style my way – instead of feeling at odds with my clothes.  That, and my jeans aren’t sprouting holes. Always helpful.
  4. My french press coffee pot – I love knowing we don’t have more machine than we need and I just have to boil some water to make some decent coffee. Simplicity.
  5. My kids’ rain boots are colorful, personality specific, practical for the muddy season, and somehow turn my kids’ eclectic dressing into adorable outfits. And if not that, at least they are wearing weather appropriate shoes. I don’t know why I didn’t try rainboots sooner! :)
  6. The Next Right Thing Podcast by Emily P. Freeman – I love this short, thoughtful encouragement to breath, reconsider, reevaluate, or reappreciate. I really loved the most recent episode: Episode 22: Embrace Your Limits. Favorite quote: “Possibility can be as overwhelming as it is exciting.”
  7. Run Fast, Eat Slow cookbook – great easy recipes with tons of vegetables, healthy without being too needy or unpalatable for those uninterested in health. Favorites so far: Winter Root Salad (2/5 like it as a whole, 2/5 like part of it, 1/5 just CAN’T EVEN) and Ginger-Molasses Granola (5/5 love it!).
  8. And last, but certainly not least: The fact that our driveway does not look anything like last year:20170104_091139

What’s saving your life right now?

Also: This post was brought to you by a box of legos. So maybe they’re saving my life, too. :)

(Disclaimer: amazon affiliate links, and also Thredup referral link with $10 for you)