Monday, February 1, 2016

Weekly Smorgasbord

 I realized I have a TON of links from the last few weeks that weren't showing up on the Delicious Links sent to my blog (I have this setup where Feedburner sends them to an email that posts directly to the blog in the form of a draft each day at a certain time and it's not working). Anyway, here's the first batch of them. I'll probably have another round to share sometime this week.

On Faith:
"But I am not so sure. What if she is not trying to avoid the conversation but inviting it to go deeper? What if she is thinking, “Okay, you seem to know what you are talking about, how about I ask you to explain the big religious question of our times? Because my soul is sensitive to big religious questions.” And notice, after Jesus does explain the big religious question, how she responds. She goes deeper. “Okay, that was a good answer to the big religious question of our times, tell me what you know about Messiah. After all, that is the biggest religious question of all time.” Jesus tells her exactly what he knows about Messiah."
"Help me see my daughter rightly and hear my son’s questions with discernment. This often moves me beyond the heat of the moment and toward a more compassionate understanding of her needs. This often allows me to hear the deeper questions about love and belonging my son truly hunts for in our conversations. Help me see refugee families, Muslim men and women, and incarcerated youth truly. This often leads me to recognize our shared humanity, their unvarnished vulnerability, their proximity to violence and layers of injustices suffered before our eyes meet. "
On Love:
"But tonight I sigh and roll over in bed, and the next time you come down, unable to sleep, I tell you to bring your pillow and your blanket and make a bed beside me, on the floor. I watch through the door’s slant of light the beauty of you, falling asleep, and suddenly I remember the antidote to the unyielding nature of this world: a seven-year-old girl, dreaming."
"I remembered kissing Angie under a starry summer night on that dock that jutted out into Lake Como, the thrill of that moment reflecting off the lake and making everything luminous that summer before our senior year. I can still see the picture of us at the homecoming game: she was beautiful, holding my hand under the dark October sky. I had a ridiculous acid-washed denim jacket on, with only the bottom button fastened in the chilly air. There was a grin on my face and my eyes were sparkling. I was seventeen." So beautiful and I want to read this book now.
On Friendship: 
The Church Desperately Needs to Reclaim Friendship - Seedbed 
"It’s hard not to see where English is coming from. Compared to the deep friendships we see in early 20th century literature with Tolkien and Lewis, classical literature with Aristotle, Cicero, and Homer, or even Biblical literature with Jesus and Lazarus, modern friendships are rare, shallow and disposable. Christians have moved from the example of vowed friendship shown by the Saints Sergius and Bacchus where they would die for one another, to our social-media age “friendships” that end with a disinterested push of a button. Journalist Johann Hari puts it nicely when he argued, “We’ve traded floorspace for friends, we’ve traded stuff for connections, and the result is we are one of the loneliest societies there has ever been."

On Pain and Messiness and Difficulty:
"It the prep-school school of Southern maledom, you learn this: ailments, financial woes, and the death of dogs are not the things gentlemen discuss in public. (The exception being if the dog was an exceptional retriever with wizened eyes.) Fact is–and this is a fact that bears being spoken–these were not subjects for private conversation, either. Neither the ear of the closest confidante nor the bosom of a loyal lover were meant to suffer a man’s bellyaching, and by way of bootstrapping avoidance or willful ignorance, most pain was to be stuffed."

"And then something beautiful happened. She gave me the privilege of listening to her own mess of words. And it is an utter privilege to be invited into someone’s pain. I was able to hold space with her. To meet her in her mess. To throw as much hope into the void as I could manage."
"I never tell my kids that the thing they’re struggling with—be it tying their shoes, or fractions, or catching a softball—is easy. When they complain about things being hard, I don’t argue with them. But I’d never realized how simple it could be to sneak a growth mindset into our conversations about their struggles. It’s hard is fact, it’s hard right now is hope. It might sound like we’re just quibbling over vocabulary, but those with growth mindsets (as opposed to fixed mindsets) go further in life, and enjoy the process more, regardless of age. And kids with hope don’t cry over math."
On Wholeness and Healing:
"How badly do I want to heal? Am I willing to come undone to taste it? Am I ready to launch myself headlong into my fear? Am I ready to give up my coping mechanisms, my anger, my desire for revenge? Am I willing to stop telling myself I have no choice? Am I willing to stop pitying myself long enough to have empathy for other people?"
On Hospitality:
"I realized that the hospitality we had envisioned when we first arrived at Maplehurst could be so much larger than the crowd we hosted at Thanksgiving for a local Lancaster County turkey or even the hundred-odd neighbors who joined us that first spring to hunt for candy-filled eggs. When we write and read and share stories of food and hospitality, as we do in good books and here at Grace Table, we set a table so large no farmhouse could ever hold it, no matter how spacious. If some stories make us hungry, it is good to remember that they also feed us. Most importantly, they remind us that every loaf of bread is a message and a miracle, and even buttered toast can be an invitation to receive life, and to receive it to the full."
"What is it about motherhood that has our hearts so scared of self-hospitality? The infamous “me time” brings to mind cucumbers on eyes and a spa somewhere in Tahiti, but nothing you could actually get a hold of in your own life. I find the stigma we have around self-care both funny and frustrating and wonder if we’ve ever even thought of self-hospitality. Have you? Hospitality to one’s self seems an even sillier notion than self-care. At least self-care evokes some sense of need. The word care makes me think of a bowl of soup or a bandage on my knee. That, at least, I think I could manage. But hospitality? Hospitality evokes visions of doilies, clean tea cups, and a few hours baking or cleaning for honored guests, not me. Self-hospitality is almost inconceivable."
On Priorities:
"This year, I’m making a decision. I will effectively, protectively, and responsibly carry what I must, what I need, and what I want. I refuse to be overloaded to the point where I stay awake at night with angst and wake with anxiety. Life inherently has enough of that on its own. For now, I need to focus on holding my children's hands and carrying the keys to my husband's heart."
On Memory:
"What is forgotten is well and truly gone, and the measure of God’s mercy is this: that he remembers me and not my sins, though I remember sin and not my God." Perhaps my favorite line in what was just an amazing piece of writing.
On Over-Policing:
A boy was playing with a pretend gun. He was 12 years old. He was shot before the police car stopped moving. He was left to die like a wounded animal. He was not given aid. His sister was tackled and cuffed when she arrived on the scene and expressed grief. He laid on the ground with no one attending to him. A child. And a grand jury decided this was legal. I could go on about his age, and his height, and the similarity to my own son. I could try to personalize this for you . . . I could give you the "nice white lady perspective" of having a black son and the fear that is inherent in that so that I could try to provoke more empathy from those who don't get the outrage."
On Learning a Skill:
"The 10,000 hour rule is based on becoming the best of the best: it requires a tremendous amount of practice (and probably innate talent, too) to reach the top 1% in a given field. But it only takes 100 hours (give or take, depending on the discipline) to go from knowing nothing to knowing more than 95% of the population—enough to make you competent, even to set you apart. Gaining competency in a field still takes work, and it still requires deep practice: the active, deliberate, slightly uncomfortable kind that pushes you past your limits. But it only requires 1% of the hours required to become an expert."
On January:
"January is kind to us in making us reevaluate. The loud voices in our heads tell us to achieve more! Do more! Go further! January quietly suggests that it might be better to do well at those things we’ve already undertaken — for the glory of God and not ourselves, for the benefit of others. We’ll be distracted soon enough by other months. Hail, January. I love you. Do your good work while you’re here."

On Girl Scout Cookies:
"Here, for example, is what LBB calls their chocolate/peanut butter cookies: Tagalongs. Great name—friendly, playful, lends a pleasant sense memory to thoughts about the Philippine language Tagalog. Here is what ABC calls the same cookie: Peanut Butter Patties. That is a bad name for a cookie. No one wants to eat just a patty of anything. No one wants to even think about just a patty of anything."

On Nature:
"We devote too much energy to years and months and hours at the expense of the moment we are currently living. The long walk is about attentiveness, about receiving each moment as a gift and listening to the sermons creation is preaching to us. The long walk can be practiced anywhere, from a nature walk to an urban neighborhood. The idea behind it is to unplug in order to connect with the Power that surges through the world. I extricate myself from everything, external and internal, that keeps me from being wholly present, and practice a lectio divina of the big book of creation."

So fun. A blog reader just shared this. The Great Backyard Bird Count falls right around Midnight's birthday!
Humor Worth Sharing:
"Who keeps emptying the trash can every Thursday afternoon? Slow down there, Stick Stickley! You’re on island time now.” “Could the owner of this moldy Tupperware please stop by my cubicle and kiss me as if it were for the last time?”
Noteworthy Quotes and Stories:
Can I confess something? Often, I don't feel like America is my country. Years of being asked where you're really from is wearying. Years of people joking about me eating dog is wearying. Years of seeing so many people who aren't white treated as second-class is wearying. In some ways, it's a perverse relief to see racist Americans revealed for who they really are, led by a man who speaks what many simply think. -Jeff Chu
Noteworthy Images:
"In what city did you first experience ennui?" Hahaha.

 Kids these days! Back in the day, Minnie just destroyed Cookie's actual room one time she was so fed up with her. LOLOL.

 Hope you enjoyed and/or learned something new!

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