Reading and Listening

1. This article came out in the Atlantic last month.

A few excerpts:

“In a remarkably free country, many evangelicals view their rights as fragile, their institutions as threatened, and their dignity as assailed. The single largest religious demographic in the United States—representing about half the Republican political coalition—sees itself as a besieged and disrespected minority. In this way, evangelicals have become simultaneously more engaged and more alienated.”

“Falwell, Graham, and others are providing religious cover for moral squalor—winking at trashy behavior and encouraging the unraveling of social restraints. Instead of defending their convictions, they are providing preemptive absolution for their political favorites. And this, even by purely political standards, undermines the causes they embrace. Turning a blind eye to the exploitation of women certainly doesn’t help in making pro-life arguments. It materially undermines the movement, which must ultimately change not only the composition of the courts but the views of the public. Having given politics pride of place, these evangelical leaders have ceased to be moral leaders in any meaningful sense.”

“Here is the uncomfortable reality: I do not believe that most evangelicals are racist. But every strong Trump supporter has decided that racism is not a moral disqualification in the president of the United States. And that is something more than a political compromise. It is a revelation of moral priorities.”

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2.  I listened to this a few weeks ago, when I was at my office moving furniture around.  The Q and A portion, where Shannon Watts replied (rebutted?) most arguments that attempt to block gun restrictions (i.e. “It’s a mental health issue, not a gun issue.”), was a yes for me.  I look forward to listening to this sometime soon, as well.

3.  I just finished the first of this series.  So many friends and bloggers have talked about how much they love this series.  Midway through the book I was still like ehhh…not sure if I am on the bandwagon.  But then I finished the last chapter this morning and need to pick up the next one asap.

4.  A few weeks ago my husband kindly, lovingly, kicked me out of the house for the weekend so I could rest and get some time off.  Night one was a sleepover with college friends.  Night two was at the house of the family I lived with ever-so-briefly, my first time around in Charlottesville.  May I recommend this to you?  A night away, with good friends?  I read and I listened to a lot that weekend and it was, undoubtably, good for my soul.

I also got away in January with some high school friends (including our Young Life leader, because we still want her to be our friend and also still tell us what to do with our lives).

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5.  What are you reading or listening to?

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How I Read A Lot of Books

A friend asked me how I read a lot of books in 2017.  My final count was 81.  I’ve read 15 books in 2018.  Here are my secrets:

  1.  I read whatever I want, and a lot of it is fluffy and easy to read.  I’m not logging a lot of hours reading War and Peace.  Last year I read a ton of memoirs and some YA fiction, which tend to move pretty quickly.  I will quit a book a few chapters in if I can tell it is not for me.
  2. I carry a book with me most of the time.  When the kids are playing on the playground I am often sitting on a bench reading my book.  Sometimes I am surprised by the pockets of time that exist when I can read instead of scrolling my phone.
  3. Screens off by 9:30 pm and real pages only until 10:00 pm.
  4. I am a fast reader.
  5. My oldest kids like someone to lie down with them at night, so now I bring my book and we all read together in bed for a while before they turn their lights off.  This is a time of day when I really struggle because by then I often just want peace and quiet and to not give anything more to anyone else.  But reading in bed offers them what they want and is nice and peaceful for me too.  (Point of clarification: I read my book, they read theirs.  Companionable silence ensues.)
  6. I keep two lists in my bullet journal: “Books to Read” and “Book Log”.  I like watching the book log number grow.  It motivates me.  (I get a lot of book recommendations from here and here).
  7. I use daytime reading hours to chip away at the books that require more of me, and nighttime hours for the easier reads.  Right now daytime reading is this and nighttime is this.

There you have it.

(In February I logged off Facebook and instagram and I think that created more time, too.  It also generally quieted the chatter in my head.  Win/win.)

Brain Dump

  1.  Things I am dreading: taking down our outdoor lights.  #nothankyou
  2. If you have a bagless vacuum it will work better if you empty the canister once in a while.  #likeanewvacuum
  3. Thing my husband was right about and I was totally skeptical but willing to go along and now I’m happy that he was right and I was wrong: getting a wood stove.  #cozylivingroom #nonexistentheatingbills #winwin
  4. For January I am putting the brakes on my personal spending.  I have been click-clicking away on Amazon (after googling “What skin products should an almost 40 year old use?”  #toomanydifferentanswers #buyalittleofeverything).  Also on thredup (new yoga clothes for cheap!), and then back to Amazon (books…a sweatshirt that covers my bum when I wear my new yoga clothes…).  And so on.  I’m fine to spend in the name of socializing but not in the name of boredom or mindlessness.  I decided that then quickly found jeans I like for a mere $28, down from $80.  Who will buy them for me and then sell them to me in February?  #jk