Working on some far more interesting stuff to regale you with next week, but for now the combination of nap-boycotting babies and a few extra nephews running around has my writing brain turned into mush for the day. Plus, did I mention I went off coffee to experiment with getting a better handle on energy levels/insomnia? Color me sheepish. As one intrepid reader pointed out on Facebook, #mamaneedsdecaf. Which is accurate. (and which is also gross. High hopes for some of the recommendations you guys left me this morning.)
Anyway, I’ve read a couple great pieces this week that I wanted to pass along, and one interview that YOU ALL MUST WATCH – play it in another browser if it doesn’t open in Safari for you. Thanks to Hallie (who was also kind enough to invite me onto her Sirius XM show yesterday – link coming soon) for bringing it to my faltering attention.
And this one. Okay, yeah, I know it’s an ad campaign (and those granola bars, from what I recall from my swim team days, are terrible. Not a hint of chocolate) but it is a poignant truth they hit upon. I am always wracking my brain for ways to get my kids to do stuff outside, even when the weather isn’t great, and I realize that a lot of what keeps me turning to PBS Kids is that I don’t want them to mess up the house or get dirty. Which is sick. I’m really trying to be more intentional about giving them direction to play messily, independently, and boisterously outside, and not clenching my cheeks in terror when they scramble up a tree or jump a fence to grab a ball. Or jump into the wading pool filled with melting ice and mud. With shoes on. I will say that as I detach more and more from my phone and from the endless consumption of entertainment (even if, as is often the case for us grown ups, we cleverly disguise it from ourselves as “news” or “research”) I have more authority to refer them back outside, or down to the basement. Or … you get the picture. Because I also am reading something or mopping something or prepping dinner or helping another kid, so I don’t lack all credibility in their eyes, waving them off with my eyes glued to my phone, telling them and myself that mommy needs a break.
I’ve been reading more these past 3 weeks because, sorry dead horse, gonna hit you one more time, I HAVE TIME. It just still feels kind of miraculous. I have time to read, to write for pleasure, to write for deadlines, and to make dinner. Okay the last one is a lie, but that’s just because cooking is not my favorite. Give me all the laundry and vacuuming and take all my meal prep and dishes.
A few good titles:
The Year of Living Danishly. I’m a huuuuuge sucker for cultural immersion memoirs. Heck, I might write one myself one day. And this one did not disappoint. There are some nasty details about the sexual habits of the author’s new countrymen, but if you can skim past the grosser parts (mostly in one chapter, you’ll know it when you get there) this book was a fascinating look at a part of the world I know very little about. It was also a sobering glimpse into a completely secularized state, and the ensuing effects on the family, mental health, and child development. Without meaning to, the author painted a fairly grim picture of Scandinavia in those regards. But a really enjoyable book overall. Made me want to go to IKEA and start fresh with white walls and bleached pine floors and so many candles.
Waking the Dead. This is one of John Eldridge’s lesser known titles (at least I’d never heard of it) but it is spectacular. I would put it on a must read list of modern Christian writing, along with Unbound and Be Healed.
The Benedict Option. You know the one – that book that everyone is talking about without having read it first? Yeah, you’re gonna want to read this one for yourself, and then form your own opinions. I found Dreher to be surgically precise in his assessment of the cultural climate, and it was not at all what I was expecting from him. Plus, he interviews one of my all time favorite bloggers in it, and spends a good deal of time talking about Italy and Italians. What’s not to like?
The Magnolia Story. Hi, I’m a sucker for the Gainses. Can’t stop, won’t stop. It’s a sweet book, and Jojo was, at one time, more neurotic than I’d ever imagined. Which gives me hope. 4 stars.
Okay, so apparently I don’t read fiction. Haha. I just have the hardest time finding something that doesn’t blow up in my face with a gruesome murder plot or lascivious sex scene a quarter of the way into the book. I’ve learned that there’s actually a thing for what I am, I’m an HSP, and therefore, I can’t handle violence (especially sexual violence) or intense sex scenes or anything – definitely anything – involving a child’s death/kidnapping/torture.
So, at least I know I’m not alone in my crazy. But I am rather alone in my pickings from modern fiction. I’ve read pretty much everything on the best seller’s lists that fits into my scrawny little acceptable category, at least I think, but if you’d got something besides the past two year’s glut of WWII bestsellers or Miss Prim, I’m all ears.
Have a great weekend!
And hey, we’re still within the Octave, so Happy Easter!