writings in a planner
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Out my Window: Still rainy

Enjoying: Christmas lights, time to read, listening to the speakers of Passion 2020

Listening to: (I drove a lot this week so I had time to listen) The Holy Post Podcast joined with Love Thy Neighborhood for podcast this week on the Gospel and Social Media. This podcast was interesting and done well. I ended up listening to one of the Love Thy Neighborhood Podcasts on the gospel and politics. I highly recommend it. Click on Episode 30 if you are interested. This past week I remembered how much I enjoyed Krista Tippett’s interviews, On Being with Krista Tippett. I listened to a fascinating one with Bessel van der Kolk on How Trauma Lodges in the Body some interesting ideas and thoughts about what is being done to help people with PTSD, but also building that body awareness. I also listened to NPR’s Ted Talk Hour on Creativity. The host was a bit awkward, but some of the interviews were very interesting on what various people thought creativity was and how they go about working out their creativity. Dec. 27, 2019 episode. While I was cleaning I had on Passion 2020 Sessions. Christine Caine was fire… Appreciated Sadie Robertson’s take on following Christ and what that looks like. (not sure if they are available at the moment, I can’t find a link that works.)

Reading: By my bed: Bob Goff’s new devotional Live in Grace Walk in Love and Adorned: Living out the Beauty of the Gospel Together by Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth. I put away Unhurried Leader. I enjoyed what I read, but I felt that it was getting longer than it needed to be. I may return to it at some point, but for now it is back on the shelf.

My carry around book (on the couch books): Finished When Air Becomes Breath by Paul Kalanithi very easy reading, although content is heavier since he is dealing with his mortality and identity. I did skim his discussions on cutting up cadavers and some of his surgeries. I get queasy. He did a great job communicating his processing. I really enjoyed his wife’s epilogue as she had to finish his book for him. The cancer took him faster than he thought.

That message (to his daughter) is simple: When you come to one of the many moments in life when you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more, but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing.

I began to realize that coming in such close contact with my own mortality had changed both nothing and everything. Before my cancer was diagnosed, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn’t know when. After the diagnosis, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn’t know when. But now I knew it acutely. The problem wasn’t really a scientific one. The fact of death is unsettling. Yet there is no other way to live.

I also started and finished The Reckless Way of Love: Notes on Following Jesus Dorothy Day edited by Carolyn Kurtz. Definitely one I will re-read. Dorothy Day is one of my heroes. She is complicated and messy (I can relate), but so passionate about loving God and people in all the complex ways it comes. So many profound thoughts in this little book. Her autobiography The Long Loneliness was my first introduction to her, and then I read her granddaughter’s biography, Dorothy Day: The World will be Saved by Beauty by Kate Hennessey that gave more angles. She fascinates me.

I cannot worry much about your sins and miseries when I have so many of my own. I can only love you all, poor fellow travelers, fellow sufferers. I do not want to add one least straw to the burden you already carry. My prayer from day to day is that God will so enlarge my heart that I will see you all, and live with you all, in his love.

Pondering: The word gentle… as in “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 Strong’s Concordance describes the use of gentle here as “Biblical meekness is not weakness but rather refers to exercising God’s strength under His control – i.e. demonstrating power without undue harshness.” As the air becomes thicker with divisiveness I am realizing how much I need to pursue gentleness as Paul encourages Timothy in his first letter. (I Tim 6:11) I am thinking about what this looks like. As I looked up Scriptures on gentleness it was used to describe the voice God when he spoke to Elijah, the way He loves His people, the way He leads, but it is also a fruit of the Spirit and something we are to pursue. Gentleness does not seem like a word that I really have a grasp on as far as God’s character, or my own. In Matthew 11 Jesus says learn from Him for He is gentle… I am realizing that I need to set my eyes more firmly on Him to learn what it looks like, and not hold on to my misperceptions.

Learning: I was going to release a Year End Daybook but that did not happen. So here’s a modified version of some things I learned this year:

… I enjoy audiobooks specifically autobiographies and memoirs. The right reader makes difference though.

…enjoyed the podcast world. I really have enjoyed and been encouraged by those processing current events in a humorous yet thoughtful manner. I am so thankful for so many great thinkers in the world.

… that I need to have a book available wherever I am that I am into, so that I will pick it up instead of scrolling through social media.

…that I have a hard time promoting a book that I don’t have access to the whole book to skim over.  I still very much enjoy the book launch world but will keep that in mind in the future.

…I enjoy the Instagram world. Wishing I had figured it out when I did the Practicing Resurrection series because it was a picture and a brief thought. I love taking pictures and then processing something connected to it. Check out my page here:

…My favorite books this year were mostly the audiobooks. Creative Quest by Questlove was so good in presentation and information, Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell gave me much to rethink and was done so creatively with audio clips and music, Gay Girl, Good God: Who I was and Who God has always been by Jackie Hill Perry was very good in content and presentation. Becoming by Michelle Obama, her reading felt long at times, but her ability to process her life and growth process was powerful and helpful. So much insight in this one. Jeannie Gaffigan’s When Life Gives you Pears is definitely one of my favorite books this year. It was the year of audiobooks for me. I keep flipping through my Common Book (record of books I have read) to see what my favorite books were this year, and then another audio jumps out…

…As far as writing, exercise, and home I have learned that I do better with some sort of fluid structure. I need a grace-filled plan to succeed. Most of my writing occurred when I joined in with a group or with something I already had structured as with my Daybook. Exercise worked better when I was doing a certain amount of days challenge with someone… so I am trying to apply that for this upcoming year.

Home Life: Sickness of someone in the house is incentive to clean and disinfect. Being home for extended days has been helpful to get a jump on some projects that have been on the to do list for over a year… (yes, I continued to have hope every season that the office would evolve into something useful, but I am finally doing it!)

Fitness and Mental Health: We had a few beautiful days. I got outside and schlogged. On the other days when formal exercise did not occur I cued up an evening yoga or stretch video to do, so I am at least moving. I am allowing myself some grace as I get some structure. Mental Health: Christmas lights make me happy. Candles burning. Cleaning up and out has been freeing as we prep for this next season of life around here.

Giving Thanks: hibernation Days, younger son feeling better, my husband and older son got to spend some time with family while my I was home with sick boy, glad my older got that time before he heads across the country, for friends who check in, friends who like to laugh but also think, signed onto a new publisher for book reviews, time to read, chance to talk to a friend even for a short time, time to clean and organize, birthday wishes of kindness from some people dear to me, thoughtful gifts


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