Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Weekly Smorgasbord

Well, the format got all weird when I was working on this, but there are some great links in here. A couple of great posts on kindness, one really fascinating one on the idea of "concept creep", some cool infographics, a hysterical video, some beautiful encouragement, and a couple of lovely poems, plus more!

On Faith:

Seth Haines | Your Offering to the World

"There is a trick to this life that I haven’t yet learned. It’s the trick of seeing the world as something more than a giant scoreboard. It’s the trick of seeing each individual as a soul composed of eternal stuff instead of competitor on the gridiron of life. The trick is something more than just saying “you are the beloved of God,” or “God loves you just the way you are, bankruptcy, zits, and frumpy body aside.” The trick is allowing those phrases to work me over, to whip me into shape. The trick is allowing those things to permeate me like yeast, to grow, to puff up the way I live. The trick is really meaning what I preach, quantifications be damned. Seth, 0. Everyone else, 0. We’re all 0. And yet, we’re all everything. This is the trick."

Yes, I think this is the trick. 

On Kindness:

Mother’s Day Kindness | Brain, Child Magazine

"We’re in the store now and moving at a decent clip for a mud-smeared forty-something who may or may not have something wrong in the left breast she is now palpating surreptitiously under the inadequate cover of a pyramid of oranges and may or may not be in the initial stages of the audit she has always dreaded, not because she cheats—she doesn’t, let the record show—but because, shit, what a pain, and with two writers and two home offices, she always knew it was a risk. I realize I’m narrating this sad story about myself in third person as I scoop up my last item from produce—asparagus, on sale."

I loved this post on a stranger's kindness. 

When Jesus Brings Cheerios: A Memory for Mother’s Day | Mockingbird

 "To this day, that is the closest thing to a miracle I have ever witnessed. Anyone who has had a fidgety toddler knows that a tiny, random box of Honey Nut Cheerios is not only food, but at least 20 minutes of entertainment. And so we all began to look in our book bags, and slowly but surely, a table full of undergraduate students helped to keep a toddler busy while still having class. We passed our car keys down to her. We folded up paper and handed her pens. But mostly, because our professor had welcomed a mother and child into our classroom, we were able to welcome her too."

If one kindness post is good, two is better. 

On Creativity:

Lifting the Veil ⋆ The Mudroom

"Yet, the fact is that the artist is an ordinary person who carries with her into those lonely chambers of toil seeds germinated in society, fruits formed by fellowship, ideas incubated in dialogue. Only God creates out of nothing. Human beings create from the materials given—and received. In other words, creativity comes from community."

This was a great post about two things that are really important to me and so intertwined- creativity and community. 

Michelle DeRusha | Sing Your Words {Thoughts on Overcoming Your Life’s Block}

"We all fall victim to the shiny stupid happy. Family portraits where everyone is wearing shades of blue. New books written by people we know. We are envious and sad. But why? Why do we care so much about how we rank? Because other people are so damn funny when we are just sitting around in our pajamas. How can they always be so wise or witty when we are not? We are just average, slumping around with our half-finished manuscripts writing articles in a gardener’s magazine. Going to work at the insurance company. Brewing average coffee. What losers we are; everyone will tisk-tisk at our averageness. Now that that’s out of the way, you big fat joy-sucker weirdo, snap out of it. Write for you. Sing for you. Dream your big crazy nutzo dreams for you. And then be bold about them, because they are beautiful, and unique, and creative. You made them, the words and the strokes on the canvas and the notes that hang in the air. They are yours! The way you string them together is a beautiful thing. I am so proud of you.  So extremely proud of you for doing it anyway, even if you don’t have a family portrait shrouded in sea foam or a book deal or a re-tweeted whatever."

I needed this encouragement the first time I read it and even more so on the re-read. 

On What Matters Most:

Shawn Smucker - What Matters Most

 "Here we are, sifting through two decades.
This has been the way
of these years, the keeping and the casting off.
The sense that somehow, that which matters most
will find its way to the surface."

Simply beautiful. 

On Parenting:

R.I.P. Naptime. — Coffee + Crumbs

"When you force your kid to play alone for a little while every day, a shift happens. Without a baby brother to distract him, or a mom to talk to, he learns to be resourceful. He learns to entertain himself, to use his imagination, to be creative and figure out things on his own. He learns to become a Master of Play instead of just a student."

This is not a novel concept, but I loved how well written the post was. 

On Concepts:

Don’t Look Now But Your Concept Is Creeping | Mockingbird

"It can be a very good thing, in fact, a way of incorporating fresh breakthroughs in the study and experience of human beings. In the case of war veterans, for example, expanded understandings of what it means to be “traumatized” have led to considerably more effective (and humane) methods of care. Expanding our notion of “prejudice” to include less conscious forms of racial bias allows for deeper compassion and greater opportunity all the way around. And so on. As you might surmise, though, concept creep has plenty of downsides, not the least of which being children who are never permitted to exist unsupervised."

This is one of the most interesting things I've read in awhile. 

On Busyness:

Is Busy-ness a Drug?

"Busy is both my drug and my defense. By that I mean that I use busy-ness to make me feel numb and safe, the way you use a drug, and I use busy-ness as a way of explaining all the things I dropped, didn’t do well, couldn’t pull together, as a defense." 

A great reminder.

On America:

Killing Off the Mythos of America ⋆ The Mudroom

"Maybe our national character should change, should in some way not even be the same country anymore. We lay claim to this rich history of settlers, pilgrims, and immigrants, while denying an equally as expansive history of refusal and exclusion. In order for there to be resurrection and renewal, something has to die. There is no way around that process. And maybe it will leave us staring at each other, wondering did that really happen? Is it really dead? What will happen next?"

I'm ready (I hope I can say that honestly) for this kind of death.

On Infants Over-Heating:

The Story of my Infant Overheating and What I Learned from It - My Life Well Loved

 "Always touch the infant when you are checking on them every few minutes. Touch their legs, belly, arms and head making sure they are not abnormally warm or profusely sweating. If they have fallen asleep, mess with their feet, jiggle their arm and/or rub their belly every few minutes. Do they rouse easily? Also, listen to their breathing. Is it fast or at a normal pace?"

I thought this was worth sharing, especially with how hot it is here! 

On Fashion:

Outfit: Rainbow Brite

 I love this skirt!
Poetry Worth Sharing:

Once Again | the beautiful due

"Thankfully evenings stay lit longer now
and we built of lazy bones and lazier cartilage
can stoop-sit poor-postured while
the radio remembers Summer Wind.
These golden duskings are incantatory, and
its so good to feel slightly foolish once again."

I loved this. 

Art Worth Sharing:

Mark Dingo Francisco — Wes Anderson Postcards


These are amazing!

The Alluring Art of Fake Food in Japan | Messy Nessy Chic

"Sampuru, derived from the English word “sample”, is nothing short of an art form in Japan. Picking out a restaurant can be like viewing an art exhibition of fake food so accurate it really does look tempting enough to eat. To compete for customers, restaurants go all out with their window displays, hiring the best craftsmen to turn their menus into a parade of palatable plastic...Food presentation plays a huge role in how we experience mealtimes and calculate whether we’re going to enjoy the dish. A lot of work goes into making items as small as a grain of rice. During the molding process, the imitation ingredients are often chopped up and combined in a manner similar to actual cooking."

Max Factor’s Clown Contouring Make-Up of Early Television | Messy Nessy Chic

 "Green lipstick and rouge replace the customary red in make-up designed for actresses appearing in television broadcasts. The television camera, it is explained, does not record the red coloring in the human complexion, leaving the transmitted image flat and unnatural. When green is substituted, however, the lips and cheeks of a performer appear in accurate relation of tones with other facial features as the image is projected on the screen of the receiver."

Noteworthy Quotes:
"Coming from an orthodox pastor: it is perfectly okay to mourn the loss of life in Orlando without having to qualify our statement with what the Bible says about homosexuality. By mourning such violence, you aren't approving of something. So my advice to everyone: When you say "This is a tragedy" don't feel the need to say anything about what the Bible says about certain sins. Just acknowledge the tragedy and pray for those who are injured and for all of their families. Let now be a time of mercy and mourning, and simply that." -0wen Weddle

Noteworthy Images:

How Americans Spend Their Time Infographic
 [infographic on How Americans Spend Their Time found here.]

[multiple infographics about flags- so interesting!- found here

[from The New Yorker]

Twenty years ago today, Keshia Thomas was 18 years old when the KKK held a rally in her home town of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Hundreds of protesters turned out to tell the white supremacist organization that they were not welcome in the progressive college town. At one point during the event, a man with a SS tattoo and wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with a Confederate flag ended up on the protesters' side of the fence and a small group began to chase him. He was quickly knocked to the ground and kicked and hit with placard sticks. As people began to shout, "Kill the Nazi," the high school student, fearing that mob mentality had taken over, decided to act. Thomas threw herself on top of one of the men she had come to protest, protecting him from the blows, and told the crowd that you "can't beat goodness into a person." In discussing her motivation for this courageous act after the event, she stated, "Someone had to step out of the pack and say, 'this isn't right'... I knew what it was like to be hurt. The many times that that happened, I wish someone would have stood up for me... violence is violence - nobody deserves to be hurt, especially not for an idea."
Thomas never heard from the man after that day but months later, a young man came up to her to say thanks, telling her that the man she had protected was his father. For Thomas, learning that he had a son brought even greater significance to her heroic act. As she observed, "For the most part, people who hurt... they come from hurt. It is a cycle. Let's say they had killed him or hurt him really bad. How does the son feel? Does he carry on the violence?" Mark Brunner, the student photographer who took this now famous photograph, added that what was so remarkable was who Thomas saved: "She put herself at physical risk to protect someone who, in my opinion, would not have done the same for her. Who does that in this world?"
In response to those who argued that the man deserved a beating or more, Pulitzer Prize-winning commentator Leonard Pitts Jr. offered this short reflection in The Miami Herald: "That some in Ann Arbor have been heard grumbling that she should have left the man to his fate, only speaks of how far they have drifted from their own humanity. And of the crying need to get it back. Keshia's choice was to affirm what they have lost. Keshia's choice was human. Keshia's choice was hope."

Noteworthy Videos: 

An old friend sends you a Facebook request
You only find out they're racist after you accept
There's free office cake on the first day of your diet
It's like they announce a new iPhone the day after you buy it
And isn't it ironic, don't you think?

It's like swiping left on your future soulmate
It's a Snapchat that you wish you had saved
It's a funny tweet that nobody faves
And who would've thought it figures


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