My child sits for hours, agonizing over his homework. Each problem draws out for an excruciating length of time, far exceeding anything the teacher intended, I’m sure. He doesn’t want to be wrong. This is a computerized assignment, and what he doesn’t know is what happens when he’s wrong. If he keys in the wrong answer, a dialogue box will pop up and tell him it’s wrong. Then he can try again before a final answer is recorded. He knows about the second try and the final answer. He doesn’t know the value of the first mistake. Please read the rest here.
I cannot shake the memory of a grown child, at once mournful and furious, declaring last summer that home didn’t feel like home any more. He was not altogether wrong. His passing comment, hurled in anger the cause of which I no longer remember, is seared into my memory. We’d lost the easy grace extended to one another that makes a house a place where one can be certain that love is unconditional. I’ve spent the last year trying to make home feel like home again. Please read the rest here.
It’s that time of year in the life of a family when calendar squares begin to fill. Pencils in hand (because things change and it’s not quite time for pens yet), we grid in the soccer schedule, the “first day of” dates, the fall birthdays, the auditions, the new lessons. When finished, we stare in disbelief at how full it all looks. Yet that fullness rarely inspires a sense of abundance. Instead, there are alternate feelings of dread and disbelief. Sometimes, there is even fear. How in the world will all these things pull together for a life that is meaningful and not chaotic? May I suggest that the day-to-day rushing that seems so inevitable with growing families desperately needs intentional ritual? Please read the rest here.
After I wrote about my "three books going" habit, I made it a category on my daybook posts. Try as I might, I'm struggling to get those daybooks up every week, and I'm also reading more than three books some weeks. So there's a backup of book reporting.
Last week, I cleared 10,381 unread emails from my inbox. Ahh. Then, I cleared several years' worth of clothing from my closet. Ah, again. So, today, I'm thinking I'll just write one big post with the books from the last few weeks and reach daybook ah.
In my hands:
After reading and very much loving A Ring of Endless Light (reviewed here), I picked up Madeleine L'Engle's A Circle of Quiet. I'm taking my time with this one, mostly because time to sit down at home with a book in my hands has been scarce lately. But when I do read, I highlight. A lot.
On My Kindle:
The day of its release, Mary Beth went out and bought the hardback of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. She binge-read the whole thing in one sitting. Then, she left it in the living room for my other children to fight over--ahem--share. They tried. They really did. They read in shifts and did their very best. But there were six of them in the mix and sharing was not really workable. So, I caved in and bought the book on Kindle. I'm not a Harry fan, so I wasn't clamoring for my time. I decided instead to switch the Harry font to the dyslexia option on my Paperwhite and give Katie a fighting chance to read it with the rest of them. It's slow going, but she's getting through. That means my Kindle time is very limited, because it's not tucked in my purse and at the ready wherever I go.
I'll take it with me on Thursday, though, when Karoline has a series of appointments to see about releasing her leg from this cast. I'm sure that the wait time will allow me to finish Shauna Niequist's Bittersweet. I have really, really loved this one and when I finish, I'll find her new book, Present Over Perfect, waiting for me in my library because I pre-ordered it ages ago and it released today! Pretty much perfect, I think. Shauna's prose is thoughtful and articulate and her thoughts run deep and true. I think a book whose subtitle is Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living is exactly what my end-of-summer wants.
In my earbuds:
Truly, most of the reading action is happening on audio! I'm logging 7-10 miles a day these days walking and the girls and I have taken some long car trips. So, lots of listening.
First, with the girls. We listened to From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler on the way to Charlottesville last weekend. We all enjoyed it. I remember loving it as a kid. I only liked it this time around. But my little girls were definitely enchanted by the idea of hiding out in the Metropolitan Museum of Art for several days and we are planning a trip to the nearby National Gallery of Art really soon.
On the way home from Charlottesville, we started Miracles on Maple Hill, and this time, I remembered why I loved a book the first time. We haven't yet finished. Probably, we will listen to the remainder on the way to the beach in a couple weeks. Then, I'll need to have another ready for the rest of the trip. Right now, I think my plan for them is Saving Lucas Biggs. I am a huge fan of Marisa de Los Santos' adult fiction. (I really need to devote a whole post to her.) I bought Connect the Stars, by Marisa de los Santos and her husband David Teague, for Katie last year, and she liked it. If the duration of our last car ride to the Outer Banks is any indicator of what's to come, this book will be just the right length on audio, after we finish Miracles on Maple Hill. Or, maybe we'll listen to Thimble Summer and I'll take the hardcover Connect the Stars with me to read on my own... I'm just not sure.
Just as Karoline finished the Harry Potter series, Sarah picked it up. She's alternating between reading on her own and reading along with the Audible version. She's bingeing in a big way and I have to sort of laugh a little when she's walking around the house playing to audio out loud and driving me a little crazy with the constant noise. She's her mother's daughter for sure. I know I could insist on earbuds, but really it's probably better she not have them in all the time. I'll have to sacrifice my quiet for her passion, I think.
In my own listening, I finished a "re-read-listen" to Emily Freeman's Simply Tuesday (via Audible this time around) and I just loved it. It hit me right where I am and I felt like I'd had several long phone conversations with a warm and wise friend. Then I listened to Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair, by Anne Lamott. I really like this book and I've marked several pithy quotes in the Audible app. I highly recommend the book, especially if you feel like your life is unraveling a bit or if you've lived with people who struggle with mental health issues or addiction. I do not, however, recommend the Audible version. It's read by the author, so it's hard for me to say that her inflection and cadence were all wrong. After all, they're her words. She can say them exactly how she wants them to be heard. But as much as Annie is a beautiful poet and a philosopher, I just don't think public speaking/reading is her gift.
After Stitches, I started listening to Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in the Digital Age. This is a topic about which I am passionate. I watch how handicapped my children are as they try to navigate relationships in a world dominated by digital communication. I mourn for the lost art of conversation. I literally lose sleep worrying about what this all means, particularly as a I launch a whole bunch of kids into the stage of life where they are meeting and engaging with people who will become life partners. So far, this book is meeting me where I am, with some very specific observations that are spot-on regarding the crisis (yes, crisis) and some strategies for solutions. Well worth the listen.
I'm also listening to Last Child in the Woods. This was an impulse buy, prompted by one of many walks in the woods this summer. I've read this book, but I feel like I might have lost touch with its message. I'm revisiting it to be re-inspired because I need the woods and it's never good if I spend more than a few days away.
Oh! And speaking of audiobooks... I recently discovered Overcast, an app for listening to podcasts (without using gobs of data). Because of Overcast, I've started listening to podcasts again. I'd taken a couple years off--just too much input. Recently, I'm catching up on Anne Bogel's fairly new podcast, What Should I Read Next. The conversations are so engaging and I usually find several book recommendations I'm wanting to try. This morning, though, I was utterly enchanted. If you're a fan of audiobooks, you have to listen to her Episode 31, with Adam Verner. He's a narrator for audiobooks and his insight into that art was fascinating. I highly recommend all her podcasts. Your "To Be Read" list will never end.
Okay, that's it for now. I need to post this before I have to add to the list again to keep it current:-).
I'm not a fan of mindless clicking (my family will scoff at that understatement). I am, however, profoundly grateful when the web delivers something that makes me better, or smarter, or truer to the me my Maker wants me to be. Here are some links worth your time this week.
Did you know that there is "Refugee Team," made up of athletes who are without a country to call home and would otherwise be unable to compete? This is a beautiful story of a swimmer who swam for her life and is now swimming in Rio.
Instagram totally copied Snapchat, but Instagram's copy is better. “Good artists copy; great artists steal” – the famous words of Picasso, revived by Steve Jobs, ring true today as the world complains that Instagram’s new Stories feature copied Snapchat.
When I think of lessons learned in 2016, one of the foremost will be, "Don't think you have to have all the pieces in place and all the questions answered before you just do it. Just do it." Shauna Niequist elaborates and expands, "it’s the paddling that makes you stable, not the other way around. You’ll never stay up unless you start paddling." Read it all. Her words are so good.
Are you feeling confused, disappointed, and a little overwhelmed by the election? There's a 10--point plan for sanity here.
I think sometimes we're all way too focused on obedience. What we really want is self-discipline. There is a difference between being self-disciplined and being obedient. The intent of completing an act varies from a self-disciplined child and one who is obedient. The self-disciplined child will complete an action, regardless of who is watching.
Do you have a little one? Thinking about sending him to preschool or kindergarten, but your heart is tugging to look at something else? The Not Really Kindergarten Post is worth a few moments this August day.
It will come as no surprise to frequent readers to learn that I have lately struggled with depression. I'm certain I'm genetically predisposed to such bouts, and that predisposition has been fed copious amounts of environmental stress to trigger a dark season. For the longest time (and it has seemed the longest time), I kept operating under the assumption that there was something I needed to do or say or pray to turn on the light. Slowly, I have begun to recognize that it is better to know that this season isn't one to be pushed away under my own power and that God is with me in the dark. I really am feeling better, but it's still more than a little murky most days, a delicate balance of light and dark. Sharing (in person) with people who walk this way, too, often helps me to understand better myself. We wait together for the sun to rise.