August was a whirlwind of a month. I got away for 24 hours with the ladies on my team, which was lots of fun. We had plenty of playdates with friends during our 4 short weeks of homeschool summer. Then halfway through this month, we started school (it’s been going well so far). And this week, I finally got a date with my husband! It was only an hour and a half, but it was the first out-of-the-house date we’d had in 2 months – though it wasn’t for lack of trying! Either our schedules didn’t match our sitters’, or they did but someone got sick. In other news, I’m joining a home school co-op this year and am quite excited about that. ~Elizabeth
BOOKS AND MAGAZINES
Mark: The Gospel of Passion by Michael Card. I started this Bible study/devotional/commentary and have made some good progress on it. While I really liked Card’s Luke: The Gospel of Amazement, his book on Mark is so much better (for me anyway). It’s teaching me a ton and challenging me to think in new ways. In fact, I often have to put the book down so I can contemplate what I’ve just read. I’ve been surprised by this, as Mark has always been my least favorite Gospel. But maybe it means there were treasures in there all along, and I just never knew it. (You’ll find a couple quotes from the book at the end of this post.)
The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis. This isn’t the first time I’ve read the last installment in the Narnia series, but it’s the first time in a long time, and the first time I read it out loud with my children. And to be honest, I’ve never much cared for this one before. How different was my reaction this time around!
Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis. A new-to-me Lewis book that is as good (and strange) as everybody says. You can read two different responses of mine to both these Lewis books on Facebook here and here.
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. Could this book get any more perfect? I think not. The entire thing is a Littmus Lozenge: sorrow mixed in with sweet. (You’ll have to read the whole book to find out exactly what I mean by that.) And don’t forget to read it with a southern accent — this is the book that inspired my daughter to speak in one too.
Psychology Today magazine, July 2016 edition. One of our family’s favorite Saturday morning activities is visiting the book store (especially with no public libraries around here). We peruse the magazine section each time but because they are so expensive, we almost never buy magazines here. This month we made an exception, an exception that was well worth it. Several of the articles provided a scientific defense of important spiritual concepts – things like finding mentors, staying humble, not comparing yourself to others, not letting smart phones destroy your marriage and other relationships, putting down roots and becoming attached to your “place” in a mobile world, even avoiding cohabiting or serial dating before marriage (yes, that last one really was in this secular magazine!).
BLOG POSTS ON THE SPIRITUAL LIFE
On Home and Glory: Musings on Daily Life and Divine Destiny by Heidi White. You know I’m a sucker for anything that talks about our longings, and that’s what you’ll find here.
Holding the Long View in Mind by Amy Young. Comforting, hopeful, and so very biblical, all at once.
Women, Trade Self-Worth for Awe and Wonder by Jen Wilkin. This post spoke to the deep places inside me that crave awe and wonder.
In Defense of an Ordinary Life by Elizabeth Esther. So very important and so very true.
A Prayer of the Heart in 30 Words or Less by Emily P. Freeman. If these breath-type prayers are what you’re needing, you’ll find more like them from Sarah MacKenzie in the quotes section below.
Dear Writer, We Commission You by Idelette McVicker. Go back to this post when you need inspiration. Every time, go back to this.
Mending Thoughts by Jenilee Goodwin. The idea resonates.
The Mental Neat Freak by Jennifer Fulwiler. A very helpful explanation.
Harry Potter, Jesus, and Me by Andrew Peterson, whose music I’ve linked to before (most notably here and here) and whose Wingfeather Saga I’ve just started and which I will probably review next month. This article is long but good — and I’ve never even read Harry Potter.
FOR GLOBAL NOMADS
The Gift of Saudade by Marilyn Gardner. More on our longings (and as you know I can never resist that).
The Mother of Modern Missions? by Abby Alleman. With this post, Abby created a safe space for those struggling in the missions community. More important than I can say.
Wasted on Children: Keeping Babylon at Bay by Joshua Gibbs. “The more you love a child, the harder you make it for the Babylonians to love them later. The more you lavish on a child, the more the Babylonians will have to lavish on them later— and the Babylonians are, in truth, really not willing to lavish a whole lot.” Dense (like everything from CiRCE Institute).
This year’s *totally official* homeschool permission slip at Brave Writer. The permission we all need to enjoy our children.
How to Protect Your Child from Sexual Abuse and Molestation: A Pediatrician’s Advice at The Mom Creative. No explanation necessary.
Thank You by Hillsong United.
There is no one like You
There is no one like You, God
All my hope is in You
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
To Your name
We give all the glory
To Your name
We give all the praise
We Glorify Your Name by Hillsong LIVE.
The highest praise is yours
The highest praise is yours
The highest praise is yours
In all the earth
Healing Grace by Donnie McClurkin. The instrumentation here is a bit dated and slightly different from the way we sang it at church, but oh, these lyrics (reminiscent of The Book of Common Prayer don’t you think??).
Merciful God and Father
Loving us like no other
Hear our prayer
The cry of our heart
As we come to You
We acknowledge our transgressions
We confess to You our sins
Show us mercy and compassion
Touch our lives with Your healing grace
Leave Me Astounded by Planetshakers.
All my hands have made I’m laying down
All that I hold dear, my many crowns
I’ve tasted and seen of Your great love
You satisfy me, You satisfy me
My constant request above all things
Every hour I wake, be near me, oh God
Though I’ve tasted and seen of Your great love
Show me Your glory, show me Your glory
Leave me astounded, leave me amazed
Show off Your glory, let heaven invade
We’re waiting with worship, we’re waiting with praise
For the almighty presence of God to invade
Glory by Hillsong.
Glory to the risen king
Glory to the Son
Lift up your heads
Open the doors
Let the king of glory come in
And forever be our God
(Apparently glory was a theme for me this month.)
PODCASTS, VIDEOS, AND TELEVISION
Yeah. ANOTHER sermon on fear by Nadia Bolz Weber. 12 minutes of fear fighting — but don’t worry, it’s free of the salty language that sometimes accompanies her written work.
Amy Boucher Pye on the Intersection Between Creativity and Faith on James Prescott’s podcast. A relatable conversation on faith, creativity, editing, and writing. And Amy has such a lovely, velvety voice, don’t you think?
Why We Should All Be Reading Aloud to Children, a TEDx talk by Rebecca Bellingham. 10 power-packed minutes of read-aloud inspiration.
The Jim Gaffigan Show. I’m often too serious and in need of laughter in my life. (Of course, if you’ve ever seen me laugh, you know I do it so whole-heartedly that I look and sound ridiculous.) But you’ve read my writing and seen my reading list — there’s some pretty serious stuff here. So my husband recently asked me if I would join him in watching The Jim Gaffigan Show. He’d seen a few episodes and wanted to share the joy with me. It’s mostly clean, and I deep-belly-laughed a lot, which made him laugh even more. Jim and his wife Jeannie aren’t producing a third season due to the very respectable reason that the show was taking too much time from their real-life family, but you can still enjoy the first two seasons.
Greg McKeown on the importance of hand-written journals and records:
“Paper is an important technology.”
Somerset Maugham, found in Madeleine L’Engle’s A Circle of Quiet:
“The common idea that success spoils people by making them vain, egotistical and self-complacent is erroneous; on the contrary, it makes them , for the most part, humble, tolerant and kind. Failure makes people bitter and cruel.”
Ann Greve with an explanation that makes a lot of sense to me:
“We never leave God’s presence, but sometimes we leave God’s fellowship.”
Andrew Peterson in On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness:
“‘Janner,’ Oskar said, ‘there’s more to the world than just seeing it. If you can’t find peace here in Glipwood, you won’t find it anywhere.'”
“All of the passion and sadness and joy of those who listened would into one common strand of feeling that was to Janner like homesickness, though he couldn’t think why; he was just a short walk from the only home he’d ever known.”
“Janner hadn’t realized it, but his cheeks were wet as well. ‘There’s just something about the way he sings. It makes me think of when it snows outside, and the fire is warm, and Podo is telling us a story while you’re cooking, and there’s no place I’d rather be — but for some reason I still feel . . . homesick.'”
Aspirations (or breath prayers) from Sarah MacKenzie in Teaching From Rest:
Oh Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Jesus, my God, I love thee above all things.
Jesus, I trust in you.
My God and my all.
My Lord and my God!
God, come to my assistance. Lord, make haste to help me.
O Lord, increase my faith.
Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
Michael Card on the “Lord of the Sabbath” incident in his commentary on Mark:
“Lordship by definition knows no boundaries. There is no area of our lives where He is not master. Jesus’ proclamation of lordship should cause us to stop and take account. We need to realize that whatever the facet of our orthodox observance, no matter how correct or biblical, He claims lordship even over that.”
Here’s something else from Card that stays with me and just won’t go away. It was one of those moments where I put the book down so I could try to absorb what I just read. And I’ve now copied it into my journal not once, but twice. In the passage in Mark 6 where Jesus walks on water and the disciples are afraid, the words Jesus spoke in the original language were actually:
“I AM; no fear.”
I’m struck by both the simplicity of Jesus’ statement, and its power. I’m not sure whether Jesus is making a statement here, as in “Wherever God is, there’s no fear,” or a command, as in “Do not fear.” Maybe it’s both. And maybe that’s why it stays with me.
And lastly, C.S. Lewis in Till We Have Faces:
“I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?”