Welcome Back Readers,
I hope this Tuesday afternoon finds you all well. Feel free to grab a cup of coffee or a glass of tea and enjoy these great finds I have for you.
On Authors Whose Words Changed My Life
There are a few authors in this world, who I can say that their words truly changed my life. Books have always reached me in a way that little else could since I was a little girl. I have always been the girl with her nose stuck in a book somewhere. So you would think after a lifetime of avid reading that, that list of authors would be rather long. It is not. Constantly reading means that you just have more of a haystack to dig through, or more words to sift through. For a long time in life, Scripture was that book for me. It was my lifeline for inspiration, when all other authors failed me. And yet, to my terror there came a day when suddenly I would open Scripture and nothing would happen. The words moved from inspiring me to sounding all too familiar to frustrating me to sounding utterly empty and void of the deep meaning they once held.
Realizing that made me fear for my soul and for my sanity. This could not be happening. Something was horribly wrong. Something was beyond broken, and I could never admit this to anyone.
But then I came across these three women, these three authors and their books found me in a time in my life where I was desperate for answers. In reality these women didn’t give me answers, instead they gave me something more. These women are Rachel Held Evans, Brene Brown, and Glennon Doyle Melton. Each of them empowered me with their words to start a journey of discovering something more for myself with the healing knowledge that 1) it was ok to ask questions of myself, my faith, and the scriptures; 2) that it was courageous of me to admit to having them; and 3) to know that I wasn’t alone in asking them.
So I could not be more excited to learn this past week that Brene Brown has a new book coming out, to see that the week of releasing Rachel Held Evan’s newest book Searching for Sunday has finally arrived, and to see my other favorite Glennon Doyle Melton is the author of the forward in Rachel’s new book. These women and their voices are changing the world, one heart and mind at a time. I know they did mine.
The physics of vulnerability is simple: If we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall. Rising Strong is a book about what it takes to get back up and how owning our stories of struggle gives us the power to write a daring new ending. Struggle can be our greatest call to courage and and the clearest path to a wholehearted life. ~ Brene Brown
Rachel’s Christianity is a daily discipline of boundless grace–for herself, for the church, for those the church leaves out. The faith she describes in Searching for Sunday is less of a club to belong to and more of a current to enter into—a current that continuously carries her toward the people and places she’s been taught to fear. Rachel finds herself not only loving these people, but learning that she is these people. In Searching for Sunday, Rachel convinces us that there is no them and us; there is only us. This idea of hers is both comforting and slightly terrifying. I have a hunch that comforting and terrifying is exactly what faith should be ~ Glennon Doyle Melton
On Words that Challenged Me This Week
There’s nothing wrong with celebrating the good things in our past. But memories, like witnesses, do not always tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. We need to cross-examine them, recognizing and accepting the inconsistencies and gaps in those that make us proud and happy as well as those that cause us pain. ~ Stephanie Coontz
I found Stephanie’s words and advice here to be profound. As I have written about before, as a person who was homeschooled for my entire primary and secondary education years, I often feel pressure from both those within the homeschool community and without on how I should remember my past. So many want me to either only remember the good or only remember the bad. In reality, it was far more complex and included both good and bad aspects. As Stephanie reveals this is just how the past is. It is all the above, and recognizing that has been key to me moving into my future without fear, bitterness, or naivete.
Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy, and scared, even the people who seem to have it more or less together. They are much more like you than you would believe. So try not to compare your insides to their outsides. Also, you can’t save, fix or rescue any of them, or get any of them sober. But radical self-care is quantum, and radiates out into the atmosphere, like a little fresh air. It is a huge gift to the world. When people respond by saying, “Well, isn’t she full of herself,” smile obliquely, like Mona Lisa, and make both of you a nice cup of tea. ~ Anne Lamott
This woman is an author I have recently discovered, whose words speak to my heart and soul. She has an uncanny and beautiful way of speaking the truth. Truth I need to hear. I’ll let her wisdom speak for itself.
Commencement speakers are always telling young people to follow their passions. Be true to yourself. This is a vision of life that begins with self and ends with self. But people on the road to inner light do not find their vocations by asking, what do I want from life? They ask, what is life asking of me? How can I match my intrinsic talent with one of the world’s deep needs? ~ David Brooks
One of the aspects of my faith that has kept me coming back to find some possible way to hold on to it, has been Christ’s example of living His life and ultimately giving His life for others. For the short 33 years He lived on this earth, history has left us a clear record that Christ lived a life that mattered and impacted anyone He encountered. So with that my faith instilled in me from a very young age, the importance of building a life that mattered for more than just myself. Yes with that came a lot of religious legalism, performance, and masking that I have been working to weed out, but the essential principles still mean something to me. So when I found myself reading this Op-Ed piece in the New York Times this week, David’s words struck a chord deep within me as he reminded me yet again of what truly matters in life.
Too often we’re encouraged to simply “have more faith” or just “read our Bibles” as if there’s a pre-scripted answer for all of life’s questions contained therein… but there’s not. Instead, what I remembered today is that God loves us, and is determined to do good to us regardless of what we’ve done, or how we feel– but that he truly honors those of us who embrace the struggle, and wrestle with him on those nights when we are desperate for a reason to believe it again.God can handle the match. He can handle your questions. He can handle your doubts. He can even handle your demands for a blessing. ~ Benjamin L. Corey
These words are one I have needed to hear over and over ever since I started on my journey of being honest about the reality of my faith or lack thereof. It is writers and voices like Corey that have continually reminded me that I am not alone, and that there is more inherent value to a faith wrestled out in honesty than one merely produced from the outside in.
Through a cold and tainted window
Of reflections from my past
I watched silent from a distance
At a life that I once had ~ Mary
This poem is hauntingly beautiful. It creates art out of soul-anguishing questions I know all too well. This poem is written by another homeschool alumni and I hope Mary knows that her voice and her ability to put to words the experience so many of us have had is truly a needed gift.
On Organization and Spring Cleaning
This link is something I picked because I just recently revised my cleaning schedule and it’s about time in my schedule for a kitchen deep cleaning. So I am saving this as a good list to use. I have heard great things about Honest Company’s products, but have yet to try them out. See what you think, looks like they are offering some great deals, if you are in need of some cleaning supplies.
I love this Cleaning Calendar. I have it posted on my fridge in a revised, completely customized version for me. I just now updated it the other day, as I hadn’t since we lived in Japan. Now I have a two-story house to clean and a completely different life-schedule, so back to the drawing board I went. What I love about this cleaning calendar is how it spreads everything out over the week into a manageable schedule. Instead of waiting till the weekend where I have to spend half my day to get the entire house cleaned, I now am remembering how helpful this schedule is as it only requires me to do a few things each day. This works great whether you are working full-time or are at home.
Speaking of which, I still haven’t gotten to today’s chores, so I should probably get off my butt and get to work. 🙂
Hope you all have a great rest of your week and find some treasures among these voices like I did.
As always, feel free to post something you want to share in the comments below!