Monday, April 4, 2016

Weekly Smorgasbord

 This round up includes lots of interesting stuff- parenting with joy, the hard work of being human, why moving is good for you and closing newborn nurseries isn't necessarily a bad idea, teens on social media and tons more.

On Faith:

“desperately seeking God” and other cries for help from the evangelical dark side

"I wonder, too, whether our sense of losing faith is really more of an invitation to move toward a faith of a different sort, where “holding on” to what you “know” is decentered and exposed as an idol rather than a sign of “strong faith.” These honest voices—that echo the biblical witness of lament psalms, Job, and Ecclesiastes—are not heard as often as they should."

What Does It Really Take to Heal?

"To the extent that I know myself at all, I know I bear the scars of sin and self, of family and failure, of culture and conflict. The question is whether I’ll put on the medicine every day. The question is whether I’ll smear my scars with prayer, Scripture, silence, public worship, deep community, faithful generosity, and humble service. In the past I’ve botched the season of Lent by engaging it as a six-week self-improvement project, but I think I’m done with that. These days I’d rather just show up to the places where Jesus says he’ll meet me so that he can do the work he says he’ll do."

On Marriage and Parenting:

IKEA Is Swedish For Hot Date — Coffee Crumbs

"You learn how to roll with the punches, and you learn how to roll together instead of colliding. I guess the thing I’m learning to do in the midst of raising kids with this other person is to look for the hidden moments. The IKEA moments. The ones that would’ve never felt like a date a decade ago. Coffee in the minivan while the kids are strapped in back. A hug in the kitchen after dinner with the littles trying to squeeze between your legs. Lighting an impulse-buy vanilla candle and making out between the new bookshelves with the Allen wrench and FIXA (which I can only assume is Swedish for “possibly important leftover screws strewn all over the floor.”)."

Making Room for Joy | Brain, Child Magazine

"One of the best pieces of parenting advice I’ve ever received came from an older friend, her child already grown. “I was good at being present through the hard emotions,” she said. “But I wish I’d been more present for the joy.” When she said this, my jaw dropped a little. So far I had measured my parenting on how well I tended to my children through their daily disappointments, their struggles and grievances. But when it came to how well I engaged with their happiness, I never measured that. I began to consider the moments when I interfere with my children’s fun. There’s always a reason: it’s bedtime or it’s time to leave for school. They’re messing up the bed I just made, or their shrieks are hurting my ears. It’s true that sometimes the fun must end. But it’s also true that sometimes I can make room for it by starting our bedtime routine earlier, for instance, or training them to help me remake the bed that they’ve unmade."

This nailed it with me. I mentioned this in another post, but I feel like one thing I am pretty successful with is helping with the hurts, hardships, and disappointment. In fact, Peyton I were discussing this recently-I feel like one of the great accomplishments of my LIFE, let alone my mothering, has been teaching Annie to articulate her needs and desires and reach within herself to find solutions. But simply being present in their joy? THAT is so much harder for me. Too often, I'm afraid that I too have made joy an adversary- for me too it's an "emotion that is hard to inhabit comfortably"- and I too want to work to change that.

Naming Our Children A Thousand Times ‹ Story Warren

"We will name by words. We will also name by the silent beliefs we hold. We will name by the fears that we let dominate us about our kids. We will name by our hopes for them. We will name by our willingness to look down the trajectory of Christ’s pursuit of their young hearts, and we will name as we continue to see an identity that sometimes gets cloudy in a difficult world."

The Promise I Can't Keep. — Coffee + Crumbs

"Maybe the best promise I can make my daughter is that if she falls—when she falls—for as long as I live and as long as she lets me, I’ll still be there at the bottom, waiting. Still loving her. Still liking her. Still believing in her. When she’s young, I’ll be there with the Band-Aids and tissues and shoulders she can wet with her tears. When she’s older, I’ll be there with stories of my own falls, so she knows she’s not the only one. At every stage, I’ll be the one cheering loudest when she picks herself up and tries again.
I lean down and whisper a new promise in her ear, “When you fall, you won’t be alone.”"

On Being Human:

Being Human Is Hard Work - SheLoves Magazine

"Back in the 1980’s, I was raised in the shadow and under the laugh track of the American family sitcom. What I learned from this brand of storytelling were two things: First, we were in desperate need of a laugh track in our home so that all of our real life, tense-filled interactions could be viewed and infused with more humor. And second, ALL family problems could be solved in 30-minute increments (17 minutes if you didn’t need the commercials). Ultimately, both were very faulty ways of viewing family or any type of community living because sometimes things are flat out painful no matter how much laughter is in the background. And some of our stories take a generation to unpack and reconcile and resolve. Just as the family sitcom fed my imagination of what went on in private lives of everyone else’s homes, reality TV and social media have been lenses that culture has told my teenagers to view their lives through...if I can put parameters around what God says is a mystery and holy, I limit their ability to rescue me from my constant undoing...Our homes, our churches, or our friendships aren’t sacred just because of the beauty that unfolds within them but because they are ground zero where pain and sin and failure are worked through and redeemed. As much joy as some of this world holds, our spouses, our children, our best friends, the people who gather around our tables and sit in circles in our living rooms are humans who will one day wrestle and be caught under the grip of dark and hard things. Our gift to them is to be willing to see them and walk with them and be present in the space where they are restored and renewed. No, we in ourselves do not have the power to forgive sin but we can bear witness to a grace that never ends its story when the music cues out or the sun sets on a day. We can be extenders of mercy, instruments of kindness, and a voice of healing balm to the disillusioned."

One of my favorite SheLoves posts ever, and that's saying a lot!  

On Courage:

How to Be Brave: Two Steps to Grow Your Courage —

"Do things that frighten you, even seemingly little things, because every small victory impresses upon your brain that you are strong. Even small acts of accidental or spontaneous bravery are signals to your mind that you are capable and sometimes surprisingly so. Don't forget the all-important second element, though: couple doing what frightens you with creating more good in the world. This helps actively replace at least some of your fear with memories of well-being and satisfaction. Fear runs from those kinds of good feelings, and your wonderfully plastic brain can start the work of morphing your fear into a space occupied with practical achievement and positive emotions."

On  Hard Stuff and Seemingly Impossible Situations:

You Have An Important Story to Tell | You Are Here

"But the messy middle is where we connect with each other as human beings. When we only share our triumphs after they have occurred, we risk alienating those around us who are still waiting for their ship to come in. When we wait to share our stories until we can give “The 10 Ways to Succeed” spiel, we’ve missed a crucial opportunity to pull another human being alongside us, in the mess, and walk that path together." 

one key to walking through suffering | A Holy Experience

Lament is prayer that honors the honesty of pain and anger while also honoring the truth that God is the one who reigns and whose love never fails. Lament holds in tension all the suffering that seems to make no sense with a determination to believe that God is just. Lament draws us near to God when we are tempted to turn away. Asking “why” – the core question of lament – is not a betrayal of faith."

Feeling the Weight of An Impossible Situation | Brain, Child Magazine 
"In the midst of wrestling him upright and eventually back into the bed, our daughter came into the room. I have no recollection of her action—whether she was in danger of getting hurt as I struggled to move her father or she simply tried to speak to me at that moment—but I screamed at her at the top of my lungs. I bellowed. She burst into tears and ran out of the bedroom. At that point, I felt the weight of everything, unbearably. I so desperately wanted to do everything right: to give Steve the life and death he wanted and deserved, one with as much dignity and as little discomfort as possible; to love and support our daughter through that process; to keep all the little pieces of our quickly crumbling life together for just a little bit longer."

On Life and Change:

… Or Any “-Ism,” for That Matter - The Hairpin

"That’s one of the most terrifying things a human can face — that a former version of yourself could be completely unrecognizable. Which means that there’s no telling what current state of mind or heart will be lost and rendered meaningless in the future. No telling what’s real, or if anything ever is. Particularly if you don’t save the relics that will bring you back to it. Scary. But also a little inspiring, to know that, conversely, the things that currently plague and crush you will probably also be scattered to the wind, hopefully replaced by good things, enduring things."

On Moving:

Rearview perspective on why moving is good for you | The Art of Simple

"Moving around has clarified my view of life’s most important things. Through a rearview mirror, you better see what matters and what doesn’t. You learn not to take for granted the people in your life right now, and how each place has value. The significance of things might even change—I’ve learned that I never want my things to own me, and when I’m forced to choose, less is far more."

On Reading:

First Leap To Learning How to Read | Brain, Child Magazine

 "If you’re me, you remember those two green legs, those two green keys, as vividly as spears of light because they mark the moment when language unlocked and you started to read. I wonder now if that’s why I can’t remember the frog’s body or face, because the moment was so bright, and all the illumination breaking open made me close my eyes so it wouldn’t escape—leap."

On Post-Partum Care:

Closing Newborn Nurseries Isn’t Good for Babies or Moms | TIME

My friend from New York, Katy, is a nurse and she had a great response to this article on Facebook (which is why I'm sharing- for the response, not for the article, which I think is a little misguided). Katy speaks so much truth here (and I actually plan to share more in it's own post). "Women who lack social support need (drum roll please) social support, not necessarily a central nursery. A central nursery MAY be a PART of the solution, sure. But to focus solely on the nursery is myopic, and masks the larger issue of how few resources are available to economically or socially disenfranchised women postpartum. This article is wrong for so many reasons, and I'm shocked that Time Magazine published something so one sided. It’s insulting to those who work hard to help support women who choose to breastfeed, and a polemic response to a nuanced problem."

On Influencing Kids:

This 1846 pamphlet wants your kids to explain to you why slavery is wrong.

"In an effort to reach a new generation of abolitionists, society members Elizabeth Margaret Chandler and Hannah Townsend began writing pamphlets for children explaining why slavery was wrong.
Their reasons for doing so were simple: Young readers were more likely to be horrified by slavery; they could be counted on to bring home what they learned; and they might just be able to change their parents' minds, too. If that sounds familiar, it should. It's the reverse of the logic that inspires companies to advertise sweets and toys directly to kids during cartoons. Except in this case, the cause being promoted was basic human decency and not, you know, cereal. "

On Housing in NYC:

Stuyvesant Town Lottery | Affordable Housing NYC

 Oh look, with Peyton's salary we could almost qualify for the "affordable" unit that rents for $3,704. New York is insane. But damn do I miss it.

On Social Media:

Snapchat like the teens

"Back in the day -- and I'm talking about around the invention of farming and even further back -- everyone you knew in the entire world was never more than a few hundred feet from you for more than a few days. Wheels, domesticated crops & animals, industrialization, cars, and airplanes made it so that people could live farther and farther apart from each other, which is weird for social animals like humans and particularly difficult for teenagers for whom that social connection is the most important thing in their lives.
Smartphones, Instagram, Snapchat, and generous data plans have closed that distance again in many ways...or more precisely, have made the distance less relevant. Interacting with 190 friends1 dozens or even hundreds of times a day probably feels a lot like being back in a hunter/gatherer band, socially speaking. Thanks to these magic pocket-sized rectangles, everyone you know in the world is never more than a few seconds away for more than a few hours."

Noteworthy Quotes:
"Don’t be too easily convinced that God really wants you to do all sorts of work you needn’t do. Each must do his duty ‘in that state of life to which God has called him.’ Remember that a belief in the virtues of doing for doing’s sake is characteristically feminine, characteristically American, and characteristically modern: so that three veils may divide you from the correct view! There can be intemperance in work just as in drink. What feels like zeal may be only fidgets or even the flattering of one’s self-importance. As MacDonald says, ‘In holy things may be unholy greed!’ And by doing what ‘one’s station and its duties’ does not demand, one can make oneself less fit for the duties it does demand and so commit some injustice. Just you give Mary a chance as well as Martha!”"
-C. S. Lewis,

Noteworthy Videos:

I know I've posted similar videos before, but gosh this is so hysterical.

I'm always intrigued by this kind of thing. It reminded me of my dorm room in college a little bit- although my fridge was smaller. And I actually think the lofted bed looks so fun and cozy.

Hope you enjoyed! 

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