Monday, March 2, 2015

What I'm Reading....

Gracious y'all.

Every time I talk about books, I feel like I do such an inadequate job of communicating just how much I love words.

Ryan always says that my motto is "why tell a story in 20 words when you can tell it in 2000?".

But I just can't help myself.

I love words.

And I love details.

Because so often in books, the details are what make the words sing. That turn simple words into poetry. Details turn the plain old words into pictures I can so clearly see in my mind.

I like to know what people eat. And what they wear. What the living room looks like and what's in the pantry. What books are on the shelves and what kind of flowers are in the garden. What music is playing and what smells are wafting from the kitchen.

I just adore words.

And what better place to get my fill of lovely words than some really wonderful books?

Here are some books I've already read, the three that I'm currently reading, and a few of the many on my TBR (to be read) list.

What's Done -

You're Going to be Okay - Holley Gerth
     Do you sometimes wonder exactly how you're going to make it through the hard days? Well then Holley is the gal for you. Not only does she offer encouraging words of hope, she gives you step-by-step instructions to keep on keeping on. I think the fact that she's a life coach sets her a little bit apart from all the other Christian self-help type books out there. And Chapter 3 is worth the price of the book all by itself.

Bread and Wine - Shauna Niequist
     What can I say? I am completely smitten with Shauna and every word she writes. If you haven't read any of her books yet, you just have to. I'm laying down the law and totally being the boss of you.   But you'll thank me later.

Delicious! - Ruth Reichl
     Ruth was the Editor of "Gourmet" and has written several memoirs but this is her first fiction novel. It's totally fun and light and charming with a hint of mystery.

Into Thin Air - Jon Krakauer
     I'm not what most would call an adventurous person so I live vicariously through the stories of others. This is a first-hand account of the disastrous climb of Mt. Everest in May 1996. It left me breathless and content to be a little bit cautious.

What Alice Forgot - Liane Moriarty
     A sweet and captivating romantic comedy that was more thought-provoking than I expected. Alice wakes up after a fall in the gym unable to remember the last ten years of her life. As family and friends help fill in the gaps, she finds she doesn't really like what's she become. A good story of what we choose to remember and what we choose to forget.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry - Gabrielle Zevin
     First of all, this book mostly takes place in a bookstore and is filled with references to books. So right away, it's a win. Then the story pulls you in and shows you that sometimes, when life is not going as you expected, it just might be the best thing that ever happened. Delightful and endearing.

What's In the Works -

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage - Ann Patchett
     First of all, Ann Patchett. I'm such a fan. And this book gives this fan a peek into Ann's life. Her writing, her family, her friends, her husband, the opening of her bookstore. Seriously. The woman loves to read, loves to write, and owns a bookstore. Gosh. I'm such a fan. Or did I already say that?

Small Victories - Anne Lamott
     Anne is wise and irreverent. She's honest and completely unexpected. And she makes me think. How can you not love a woman who writes things like, "I have a lot of faith and a lot of fear a lot of the time." Amen sister.

To Dwell in Darkness - Deborah Crombie
     Murder. Mystery. Suspense. Dead bodies and detectives. My weakness. Because please, people. Not all reading is for learning. Some is for escaping. OK. Most is for escaping. Warning - this is the 16th book in this series so do not start with this book! You must read them in order or we simply cannot be friends anymore.

What's Next in Line - (or just a few of them, at least...)

Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good - Jan Karon
Scary Close - Donald Miller
Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis - Lauren Winner
Don't Look Back - Gregg Hurwitz
Delancey: A Man, A Woman, A Restaurant, A Marriage - Molly Wizenberg
Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free - Hector Tobar
An Everlasting Meal - Tamar Adler

So fellow lover of words and books, have you read anything I mentioned? Thoughts? Plus, any books I need to add to that "Next in Line' list up there?


Thursday, February 26, 2015

What I'm Into This Month - February 2015

This month has been a little unusual around here.

Thanks to my parents, our master bathroom is being remodeled. We had a huge jetted tub and a tiny shower and what we really needed was no tub and a larger shower. After about five weeks of work, the last bit is being finished right now and I'm really looking forward to having a much nicer and much more functional master bathroom.

A few other things I'm especially loving this month:

She Reads Truth app - I especially love their plan for reading the Bible through in a year, something I'm determined to do in 2015.

Criminal podcast - I had to find something to help with my Serial podcast withdrawals. I can listen to an entire episode in the time it takes me to drive to Lily's school which makes it very convenient but also means I'll be done with all of them before the end of the month. And then I'll be looking for something else to listen to....

Badger Headache Soother - I think I'm one of those people who has a headache more than I don't have a headache. I'm considering finally going to see a specialist about it but in the meantime, while it doesn't make them go away, this balm is quite comforting.

Love Bean Fudge Cream - A big plate of fruit and a bigger dollop of this right in the middle makes me very happy - and makes eating Paleo very easy.

Couch to 5k - While I wouldn't actually say I'm loving this, I'm trying really hard to be more active. I've never been a fan of running but since it's the cheapest form of exercise there is, requires no real equipment,  and I can pretty much do it anywhere, I'm doing the Couch to 5k program again. (yes, I said "again". I did the whole program once before but never ran a 5k and promptly quit running after the last workout. Because I like to repeat the hard work of getting back in shape as many times as I possibly can. Except not.) This time, I've told myself that I will run a 5k and then, I will buy a new pair of tennis shoes. I'm generally pretty motivated by footwear so this could actually happen.

And there you have it - the February highlight reel. Anything special going on with you this month? I'd love to hear about it!

Have a warm and cozy weekend, sweet friends. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

It's Just a Date

Remember that time I wrote a blog post on the "faux-ship"?

And I talked about how dating has become a lost art? Like just a simple "let's grab a cup of coffee and get to know each other a little better" date. Where a guy isn't afraid to cross the "friend threshold" to see what could happen. Where a guy just asks a girl out with plain old words and not some elaborate Pinterest scheme that involves costumes and balloons and dancing ponies.

And remember when I was told that same post was so "ridiculously sexist"? 

Good times. Good times. 

Well, when a friend shared an article on dating with me, I just had to share it with you.

For one thing, it's written by a man, addressing some of the very same things I talked about in my original post. So maybe he says it better than I do. Or maybe it just sounds better coming from a man. 

But if you have older high school or college-age kids, I think it's worth a read. And a conversation with said kids. 

Because it's not a marriage proposal. Or even a serious commitment. 

It's just a date. 

And even if you think I'm still being ridiculously sexist, I'd still love to hear your thoughts. 

You had me at Chipotle. @chipotletweets

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thinking Before I Speak

Last week, Ryan challenged our church congregation to "go unplugged".

The idea was to do a three day media fast. There weren't really a lot of hard and fast guidelines because it wasn't meant to be this legalistic rule-fest. It was just a challenge to cut back on screen time to see if any differences in efficiency, attention span, stress levels, and the like could be detected in as little as three days.

In the Rush house, we decided to do a crazy thing and use our phones like... ahem... phones. What a concept, amirite? Instead of firing off dozens of texts, we decided we'd actually pick up the phone and speak.

And here's what I learned after three days - when I actually have to pick up my phone and utter phrases, I constantly weigh my words.

I ask myself if what I have to say is really important enough to warrant a phone call right this very moment. If it's pressing enough that I need to call someone in the middle of the day to share this thought with them. Or tell them this funny story or ask their opinion.

Which then led me to think about Facebook.

How funny do you think most of the Facebook status updates would be if they were spoken? How strange would it be if your phone rang and a friend just said something like, "It's a big, big day!" or "Chips and guacamole!" or "Taking a morning walk" and then hung up the phone?

Kinda crazy, right?

All of a sudden, those words that we felt were so important to type don't seem nearly as big a deal when we have to call and say them to someone.

Don't get me wrong - I'm a big fan of texting. I'm often able to respond to someone more quickly and efficiently via text rather than a phone call that requires more of my time and attention. But maybe the constant barrage of texts flowing out of my phone are just not quite as important as I thought they were when I consider speaking them instead.

And if texting doesn't really require me to be that tuned in, does that really count as having a "conversation" with someone? I don't think so because when I've had several days of just texting with my big girls, it feels like we've been speaking in bullet points. And then I request a phone call so I can hear their voices. Or even better, a Skype call so I can hear their voices and see their faces.

So I'm not sure where the balance is. Or if there will ever be an even balance between typing and talking. I'm confident my texting will still outweigh my phone calls.

But I am more aware of my words. I'm thinking a little more before I post a status update or send a text.

And after three days unplugged, I don't think that's such a bad thing to learn.

Be sure to taste your words before you spit them out.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Around the Web in Six Clicks

A round-up of random things that struck my fancy - enjoy! 

We love some banana bread around here (paleo version, of course) so I'm excited to try these five ways to kick it up a notch.

You might think you're a book nerd but here's one way to know for sure.

Thinking about trying this the next time I have trouble falling asleep.

Reinier Gerritsen is working to capture the lost art of reading real paper books.

While the rest of the house is not really my taste, I want this over my mantel. But the million dollar question - what book cover?

How many of these most mispronounced Texas city names do you actually say correctly?

Plus bonus link because it still makes me laugh. Maybe you missed it?

See you Monday!

Monday, February 9, 2015

No More R-Word

I remember Kasey Studdard from his football playing days at the University of Texas.

I knew a little bit about him, mostly the kind of stuff you pick up from TV announcers in between game plays. But what I didn't know is that Kasey used to be a special education student.

I'm sharing an article he wrote for Medium because this is a subject that is near and dear to my heart. As the parent of a child with special needs, I love it when people like Kasey use their platform to bring attention to an issue that needs to be talked about so that positive change can occur.

See if this doesn't get your attention:

Click here to read Kasey's article. 

I also wrote a little more of my thoughts on this subject back in 2011 in case you're interested. 

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