If you want to test your marriage, parenting, and general lust for life, try moving with three children, age four and under. I suppose it wouldn’t have been so challenging if we hadn’t attempted to paint all the kitchen cabinets and the entire interior of the house before moving in …
But my word for this year is “fire,” so I will leave you to apply all the metaphors to this current situation. Just not the cozy, sit-by-the-fire ones, please.
But in the midst of our normal, daily life stressors, I can’t not mention that this was the month of Charlottesville, the solar eclipse and Hurricane Harvey, plus flooding in many other countries around the world. Each event left me stunned and speechless. As a writer, I struggle because I feel the pressure of speaking into the noise even when I know I may not be heard. The weight of responsibility weighs on me. But that’s a topic for another post …
Today, I’ll keep it light and share what I’ve learned this month via books, podcasts, articles and writing.
Because of the busyness of our recent move, the book reading has been minimal. But with the many hours of painting and nursing a baby, I’ve squeezed in podcasts and much blog/article-reading. Please comment here or on social media. As an extrovert, I love knowing I’m not writing into the void and as a mother to small children with little time to reach out, I appreciate feeling like this blog is more of a conversation than an online journal I am publishing for every stranger to read. Don’t be a stranger;-)
So here we go. Here are the books (okay, book), podcasts, articles and very little writing I’ve been into this month, plus ten things I learned this summer while renovating our new home:
Adopted, by Kelley Nikondeha
I have a serious problem. As a writer, I have some amazing opportunities to pre-read books and be a part of book launches. I find I CANNOT SAY NO to these. It’s a problem. But I am so glad I went against my own better judgement and agreed to read this book written by a long-time contributor to SheLoves. Adopted is a slowly-read-and-savor kind of book. It is an underline-every-line kind of book. The author was not only adopted, but also adopted two children from Burundi (and married a man from Burundi), so she speaks out of her experience as she shares about belonging to the family of God. Kelley is an outstanding writer and I loved the way she weaves words and images from Africa throughout the book. If you are looking for an early morning companion to your daily Bible reading and coffee drinking, be sure and pick up this book. It will change the way you view your place at God’s table.
Bonus: The Fierce Urgency of Now: Christian Complicity with Racism and the Imperative for Immediate Action. This is fabulous. Please listen if you have a chance this month.
I’m experimenting with listening to this during the first part of my runs in the mornings. I’ve shared it before, but it includes a spiritual song, then a reading of a short Bible passage and a few questions for reflection. They have British accents, so it makes it feel even more spiritual somehow;-)
Episode 88: No & Yes. I’ve been thinking about this question a lot lately as I begin the school year calendar. What will I say no to and make room for the things I want to say yes to? This episode gave me a lot to think about.
Slices of Life. This one was new to me this month. I love the depth these women go to as they discuss daily life.
Episode 110 Sorry/Not Sorry. This is a long one, but if you don’t have time to get together with girl friends yourself and need a good belly-laugh, this is a perfect way to spend your minutes folding laundry, cooking dinner or commuting to work.
TED Talks Daily. These are all fabulous. If I were teaching right now, they are talks I would assign as homework so we could discuss them in class. Here are some I listened to this month:
How to Design a Library that Makes Kids Want to Read, by Michael Bierut (I feel like this isn’t the right title for this–listen through all the way to the end!)
Authentic Italian Meatballs at food.com
Garlic Lemon Herb Mediterranean Chicken + Potatoes (one pan) at Café Delites (Be sure to add feta cheese to this one)
Shrimp Boil at Tasting Table. (Use less salt!)
Vanilla Cupcakes from Life, Love and Sugar. The cake part wasn’t anything new, but the frosting was better than any I’ve ever made before! I’m excited to try out some new recipes from here.
Interesting Articles from the Web:
Be a Foster Parent or Be the Village, by Katie Finklea at Loving Well, Living Well
The Death of Reading is Threatening the Soul, by Philip Yancey at Washington Post
I Moved My Kids Out of America. It Was the Best Parenting Decision I Ever Made, by Wendy DeChambeau for The Week
Oldest Kids in Class Do Better, Even Through College, by John Ydstie for NPR
Teach Me How to Age Well, by Leah Abraham at SheLoves Magazine
The ‘Wait Until 8th’ Pledge–Let Kids be Kids a Little Longer, by Linda Sharkey, at Westport Moms Blog
White Supremacy (Overt and Covert), a great visual for understanding race
Why Free Play is Disappearing in Our Culture, for Today’s Mama
10 Truths and Realities of Transracial Adoption, by at Loving Well, Living Well
100 Books by Christian Authors of Color, by Deidra Riggs at her blog
In Case You Missed it on Scraping Raisins:
And Elsewhere on the Interwebs:
And this is for the Emily P. Freeman Crowd–10 Things I Learned this Summer while Renovating Our New Home
- Painting Kitchen Cabinets: Don’t use Annie Sloan Chalk paint on your kitchen cabinets unless you want to do three coats of paint, plus three coats of polyurethane PER SIDE–that’s 12 flips, people. I did use it on the kitchen island, though, because I wanted to use the dark wax and loved the turquoise color, called Florence.
- Shower Mildew: check this out before re-grouting your shower. Totally works.
- DIY Kitchen Island: My dad and I built our kitchen island basically using this site. I love it so far!
- IKEA and I are not enemies anymore. I love the drawer organizer, kids’ easel and paper, kids’ plasticware, comforter and plants.
- Downsides to the Open Floor Plan: noise and it is impossible to hide the clutter.
- Painting Kitchen Counters: haven’t done this yet, but I’m planning on using Giani–let me know if you’ve ever done this and have tips!
- Painting All Interior Walls: taping takes so long that I eventually just got really good at cutting-in.
- Stock Up on Trader Joe’s Frozen Dinners–the Indian ones and naan are actually really good! People should do meal trains for moves like they do for new moms. A couple friends brought us meals and literally saved my sanity that day!
- Keep Little Ones Busy: let them play with paint brushes and rollers outside and “paint” the sidewalk with water.
- Popcorn Ceilings: don’t attempt to remove them yourself. It is completely worth the cost to pay someone to do it.
Before and After pics still to come!
What all were you up these past couple months? I’d love to hear!
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