Great Reads: Christmas Edition

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For several years now, my dad has requested a mix CD from his kids of the songs that we have enjoyed over the previous year.  It’s been fun to revisit those old playlists from time to time and remember through songs. For example, 2007 (the year things were a bit deconstructed for me)  is such a different playlist than 2008 (the year I fell in love).  

However, this past year wasn’t really about music for me, and so I have had a hard time thinking about which songs I would put on a playlist.  Instead, I thought I would put together a list* of articles that have made an impression on me.  I’m pretty sure the purpose of the CD was to be a little insight into our lives anyways, so this should do the trick. 🙂

So Dad, without further ado:

Sarah Bessey: In Which I Am Practicing and In Which Its Not Much Fun Being the Project

Emily Wierenga: On How to Have and Extraordinary Marriage

Patheos: Dear Christian…

Sorta Crunchy: The Truth About Urban Schools

Sarah Markley: For When We Clothe Pride in Generosity

Alyssa Bacon-Liu: The Blood in my Ballot

Kathy Escobar: Down We Go: Big Tables Where Everyone Eats

Jen Hatmaker: The Election: Thoughts From a Christian Independant and In the Basement

D.L. Mayfield: Mutuality

Sarah Odell: Musings on Motherhood

Rachel Held Evans: God Can’t Be Kept Out

Joy the Baker: I Love You, Los Angeles

Kristen Howerton: How to Teach Kids How to Help with Packing

*This list is by no means comprehensive. So.Many.Good.Thoughts.

Happy Reading, and Merry Christmas!

 

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Marbles

marbles

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Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to hear Brene Brown speak about the power of vulnerability.  As part of the event we were given a copy of her book, The Gifts of Imperfection which I promptly read in one Saturday (clearly this happened pre-baby!).  Something about her ideas and research really resonates with me.  When I saw she had a new book out, I knew I had to get it.

Ever since, I’ve been thinking about marbles.

You see, I read it during a time when I was feeling a bit restless in my relationships.  Which sounds awful because I truly am surrounded with wonderful family, friends, and a faith community.  Perhaps the dissatisfaction could partly be attributed to the isolation that is part of new motherhood.  Probably a lot of it comes from playing the poisonous game of comparison.  Bottom line, it was a season of feeling like I was running low on marbles.

In the book, Brene uses the metaphor of a marble jar to explain to her daughter and the reader how trust and relationships are built (a marble jar is often used in elementary school as a classroom management technique; class is good, marbles go in.  Class misbehaves, marbles come out.  When the jar is full, The class earns some kind of reward).

“Whenever someone sticks up for you, or honors what you share with them as private, you put marbles in the jar.  When people are mean, or disrespectful, or share your secrets, marbles come out.”  Brene Brown, Daring Greatly

Basically, I love marbles.  Who doesn’t?  It feels great when someone remembers your birthday, or asks you about something because they listened when you were talking, or gets you a gift because they saw something and were reminded of you.  But I realized: I suck at giving marbles.

 I have great intentions.  This is how the conversation in my head usually goes: “I need to remember that Tuesday is a big day for so-and-so (first day at a new job, their birthday, important doctor appointment, fill-in-the-blank).  “Oops, how is it Wednesday?  I wonder how such-and-such was?  I need to text them and see how things went.” And then I get wrapped up in something unrelated and totally forget.  Its not because I am trying to be selfish with my marbles.  I guess I just think about myself more than I thought. The fact that I even spent a moment thinking about how I wish people were more considerate of me is all the proof that I need.

Instead of focusing so much on my marble jar, I have been looking for ways to be a bit more open-handed.  I don’t give marbles with an expectation of reciprocity.  The point is generosity.  To be generous not only materially, but with who I am.  My appreciation. My gratitude.  My time.

I like to call it: “Getting Over Myself.”

Care to join me?

(Linked up with Fancy Tuesday Link-Up!)