Monthly Archives: May 2017

3 Things I’ve Learned, Spring 2017

This season our lives have taken some unexpected twists:  car accident, theft, a good friend losing ground to cancer.  I’m re-evaluating God’s sovereignty and maybe trusting it more than I used to.

Linking up with Emily P. Freeman to share what we’ve learned.

Family Christian bookstores has closed all 240 locations nationwide.

These closings are of particular interest to me because we own a bookstore.

I’ve been following the story of Family Christian for a few years.  They became a non-profit several years ago.  Then they filed for bankruptcy.  Their creditors sued them after the original bankruptcy proposal.  So they re-organized and filed again.  Their second proposal was accepted.  That lasted two years.  Now they are shutting their doors for good.

Of course, Amazon and online purchasing is to blame.  Just like the big box bookstores that didn’t survive and many independent bookstores that have gone under.

I tend to think there are other factors in play as well. I think the quality of Christian products has influenced sales.  There are some notable exceptions, but there are a lot of poor quality products with a Christian stamp on them that ruins the reputation for all Christian sales.  Most notable are CDs and Movies, but I believe it to be true across the board.

I also think the climate Christianity in this country is reflected.  I don’t want to detract from good things going on, but there’s a lot of lukewarmness and apathy as well.

How to listen to podcasts on my phone

I’m a slow learner and not techy at all, but I was able to install the Stichter app to my phone and subscribe to my favorite podcasts.

I usually listen to the podcasts in the car to and from work or doing errands around town.

The Dave Ramsey Show is the one I listen to the most.  What Should I Read Next is one I don’t miss, although I’ve become a little wary of some of her top picks.

Speaking about not being techy:  I’m learning how to use MailChimp again.  I used it a decade ago to create a newsletter for a school.  But, it’s evolved since then and I have a terrible memory.   So, it’s an uphill learning curve.

I like the intellectual challenge of Five Minute Friday.  

Writing for five minutes based on a one word prompt has stretched my creativity in all the best ways.

I’ve learned the importance of limits: knowing when to start and when to stop.  Knowing when to stop is critical.  When you don’t know when to stop, it’s hard to get started.

My mind so quickly drifts to the theoretical and philosophical.  It’s my favorite type of thinking.  Practical execution, actually pulling it off?  Therein lies the rub.

What have you learned this Spring?

 

 

 

 

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Five Minute Friday: Visit

Linking up with Kate Motaung and Five Minute Friday.

This week’s prompt is: visit.

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Visit makes me think of temporary versus permanent.

As in, it’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

I’ve read a couple of of blog posts this week about Third Culture Kids transitioning and dealing with life.  I can relate to the itchy feet of wanting to move on, but also to the desire to put down some roots.

What are the elements that make up home?

I want to read Tsh Oxenrider’s book At Home in the World, because I think she deals with some of those same issues.

They say home is where the heart is, but what if your heart is stretched across continents?

The very word home carries a lot of meanings– a haven for some, but not for others.

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I love exploring the global nomad issues, especially when the light bulb comes on.  That happened  when I realized that our family tree was grafted.

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Five Minute Friday: Truth

It’s time for Five Minute Friday.  Five minutes of unedited free writing based on a prompt.

This week’s word is truth.

Linking up again with Kate Motaung.

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Truth is the foundation that we build our days and future upon.

I’ve been concerned recently about the core beliefs that people have that wreck havoc with their lives.

I read a novel that was based on the premise that gender is a choice.  The implications of that belief?

Overwhelming.

We’re talking about 4 and 5 year old kids.  We’re talking about all the children that go to school together.  We’re talking about a whole generation of gender confused.  It’s mind boggling.

And that’s just one “truth” that is foundational to our future.

It’s time to re-examine the truths floating around and challenge them.

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What I’m Reading, May 2017

The lilacs have come and gone in our yard, and I didn’t get one picture of them.

My husband walked away from a serious car accident virtually uninjured.  We took a quick trip to PA for a wedding.  The school year is wrapping up with characteristic craziness.

Some great books read this month and one abandoned.

Linking up again with Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit.

(Discosure:  This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase will go to support this site.)

  Buy now from Amazon

Everything I Never Told You

by Celeste Ng

I liked this book, although I wasn’t sure where it was going and didn’t know I liked it till the end.

It’s about a teenage girl who comes up missing.  Rarely have I read a novel that explores the family dynamic in such depth.  It felt believable.  It rang true.  You could feel the pain.  People do things for a reason and even extreme behavior can be understandable.

I wouldn’t say that the characters in this novel were relatable.  But, there was enough mystery to propel the novel forward and a fascinating tangle of human relationships.

It was a real case study in family systems.

  Buy now from Amazon

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

I can’t remember the last time a novel made me cry.  This one did.

Love, friendship, community and social awkwardness.  It’s the recipe for a great novel.

Ove is near the end of his life, but this novel takes us back to his family, his first love and his losses. It is a bittersweet exploration of what really matters in relationships and what gets in the way.

It demonstrates in brilliant colors that no man is an island.

  Buy now from Amazon

The Course of Love by Alain de Botton

This novel is an unusual look at marriage.  It traces the story of two fictional characters, but steps back to analyze and philosophize at intervals between the story.

I found it fascinating because the dynamics between husbands and wives are more complex than we give them credit.

Although I wouldn’t recommend this to young people because it does normalize non-traditional values, I found the interactions to be instructive.

   Buy now from Amazon

Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead

I loved this book written for middle grades and I read it twice.

It gets five stars for being wholesome and a thumbs up for real heroes.  When I read middle grade, I find myself identifying with the teachers and principals.  Ha.

I loved the two families portrayed here and the real struggle with how twelve year olds deal with the heavy issues of life.

I liked her style.  I liked her characters.  I loved seeing the main character win the battles in his world.

This is How it always Is by Laurie Frankel

This is an exceptionally well-written novel.  I abandoned it, however, because it contradicts my world view.  I know there is a growing trend to accept the abnormal as normal and even to embrace it.  But, this is a dangerous trend.  It starts with presuppositions that aren’t true and builds on premises that aren’t true.  I feel that well-meaning people are genuinely deceived.

Books that normalize non-traditional values are not for me.  This is why I abandoned it.

What are you reading this month?

Stay tuned for my Summer Reading Guide for All Ages  Coming soon!

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Five Minute Friday: Mom

Linking up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday.

This week’s prompt is “mom”.

On the eve of Mother’s Day, I struggle to think of something that hasn’t already been said repeatedly.

I wonder sometimes if motherhood has been over idealized somewhat.  Most of the work of mothering is routine, daily, unglamorous.

A lot of it is just work.

It’s a long term investment, because your two year old doesn’t thank you.  Your teenager doesn’t see the angst beneath the surface.

So, you have to be in it for the long haul, not the short term.

 

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Who’s In Charge?

Who’s in charge?

The question has been echoing in my brain ever since my five year old niece asked me last month.

It was the first day of her parents’ 11 day absence.  I was filling in as caregiver, but I was the newbie.  She and her three sisters were getting me up to speed with how the system worked.  My biggest advantage was that I had the driver’s license.

So, I picked Charlotte up after school on the first day and she asked me flat out,  “Who’s charge?”  As if to say, let’s get the ground rules straight here:  where does the power lie? I was so stunned by the question, I don’t remember if I gave her a definitive answer.  I hope I did because it’s pretty important to win that battle up front.

But, it got me thinking.

I love, love, love setting goals.  I love new systems and “the answer to all life’s problems” and the new way of doing things that’s going to make All. The. Difference.

But, it often doesn’t work out.

I lose enthusiasm.  I drop the ball.  I don’t hit my goals.  I start over or give up.  I face insurmountable obstacles and get discouraged.  Life happens and things don’t work out.

And then I wonder again, “Who’s in charge?”

Is God in charge of my life or am I?  Am I the captain of ship or not?  Why bother to set goals if there’s a Higher Power moving the chess pieces?  How can I set goals that align with His agenda?

These are my questions.

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Coming Soon:  The Summer Reading Guide for All Ages.

Stay tuned.

 

 

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Five Minute Friday: Should

Linking up again with Kate Motaung and Five Minute Friday.  This might become a habit.

This week’s prompt is should.

Should feels like a heavy weight, crushing and debilitating.

It restricts freedom.

It’s the weight of expectations that are too much to bear.

Sometimes, should serves a useful purpose.  It gives us the kick in the hind quarters to move into action and accomplish what is good and right.

Sometimes, though, it paralyzes with regret and shame.

Where is there room for grace?

How can we leverage the helpful side of should without being smashed by the weight?

 

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50 Things I’ve Learned Since 1967

  1. Life is Difficult.
  2. People are complex.
  3. God is in control.
  4. Don’t get into a power struggle with a five year old.
  5. Make peace with routine.
  6. When you’re locked out of the house in your bathrobe, it’s okay to break the window.
  7. Writing 500 words a day is good for your emotional health.
  8. Sleep when the baby sleeps.
  9. There are seasons in life.  Some are harder than others.
  10. Gratitude is a habit you can cultivate.
  11. Guardian angels exist.  Toddlers make them work overtime.
  12. Introverts need to recharge alone.
  13. Eat frogs first thing in the morning.  Everything else will be downhill.
  14. Writing letters is a great antidote for loneliness.
  15. Music feeds the soul.
  16. Solitude is critical.
  17. Every decision is easier when you get on the same page first.
  18. Teamwork is hard.  Good teamwork is rare.
  19. Don’t forget to say “Thank you.”
  20. Put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others.
  21. It’s great to have your Mom there when the new baby comes.                                                                             
  22. Give gifts to the older kids when the new baby comes.
  23. Going to childbirth class helps, but it won’t solve all the problems.
  24. There’s nothing that highlights your own selfishness like marriage.
  25. Many problems can be solved by research, trial and error, and asking the experts.
  26. Take it to the Lord in prayer.
  27. The power to forgive is supernatural.
  28. Invest in friendships.
  29. Pay attention.  Especially if there’s not many other people waiting for your flight.
  30. Plan for down time in your schedule.  It’s essential for your mental health.
  31. A library card is your golden ticket.
  32. Reading solves scads of problems, either by learning something that helps or escaping into a story.
  33. Hold children on your lap when you read to them.
  34. Leadership gives you a bigger audience for your mistakes.
  35. Staff to your weaknesses.
  36. Invite people over who can’t reciprocate.
  37. Celebrate small wins.
  38. Sometimes the hardest person to extend grace to is yourself.  Do it anyway.
  39. Sometimes you have to do it badly.
  40. There are worse vices than chocolate.
  41. There’s hope for the directionally challenged.
  42. As much as it depends on you, be at peace with everyone.
  43. You can’t do more than you can do.
  44. Ask for help.
  45. You can’t go anywhere with one foot on the gas and one foot on the brake.
  46. You can’t steer a parked car.
  47. If you’re the mother of the groom, wear comfortable shoes.
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