I’ve spent part of the past week catching up on my reading. I finished Dr. Merry C. Lin’s The Fully Lived Life: Rescuing Our Souls From All That Holds Us Back. It’s an excellent book as you can see by the number of dogeared paged and by the fact I dropped it in the bath.
Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m happy that all of the holidays are over for a while and that we have an expanse of spring and summer on the horizon. Holidays, with their expectations, tend to undo me now and I’m always happy for them to be over and normal life (such as it is) to resume.
I sorted through my makeup cabinet as part of my spring cleaning routine. I’m prepping for renos so I’m trying to make sure that I have a clear sense of the storage space I require. I have waaaay too much makeup but I’m always certain that the next purchase from Sephora will be my holy grail.
I’ve vowed to buy no more new product until I’ve used up what I have.
With me, if a book looks pristine, it means I flipped through it in under an hour. When I start to dog-ear things, it’s high praise.
I’m finding this whole “dog-ear” thing very insulting. My ears look nothing like that.
What I particularly like about this book is that it does not fall into the Happy, Clappy brand of Christianity that I really don’t like. Lin, a clinical psychologist, shares her own pain and the pain she’s witnessed as a therapist, in outlining how to discover and live out God’s purpose for one’s life in a broken and imperfect world. She opens one of of the opening chapters with Psalm 22:2: “Doubled up with pain, I call to God all day long. No answer. Nothing.” What I love about this verse is its honesty. Life is brutally hard at times and a relationship with God does not exempt us from pain. At times, it even contributes to further suffering because we expect God to take our pain away and get angry when He remains silent. Lin explores how God is with us in our pain, and then works with us to redeem it for the greater good (have you ever known anyone who had done something useful on this planet who had been totally spared from suffering?) Lin talks about how God does not want us to be trapped by our painful experiences but to push past them to experience true joy: the kind that cannot be taken away by anything. She even invites us to Sin Boldly, per Martin Luther, an expression I adore and something you won’t find in every faith-based book (I urge you to read this in context, however, before booking your one way ticket to Las Vegas…) If you are feeling stuck in your life and not sure why your efforts to move forward are continually thwarted, this is a great book to help ease you back into positivity and action.
I also read Rebecca Eckler’s book The Mommy Mob: Inside the Outrageous World of Mommy Bloggers. As a former mom blogger, I was interested to read Eckler’s take on the current momosphere. When I blogged a decade ago, there were a handful of writers and readers tended to be relatively civilized and respected that you were granting them a peek into your life. Now, it seems to be a total free-for-all with people, hiding behind the anonymity of the screen, launching hate bombs. Even on this blog, I’ve found that any time I deviated from what society considers to be “normal”, it opens me up to criticism. The trouble is, the idea of normal is so very narrow: average income, average parenting style, average ideas. I call this The Tyranny of the Average, whereby anyone whose family does not resemble a Swiffer ad is fair game for hatred. Eckler, who often deliberately courts controversy, receives this in spades. She has thick skin: I’d be undone by what has been tossed her way but she is able to spin the hatred into funny anecdotes. I wish I had her resilience.
Finally, I’ve been listening to Jimmy Carter’s A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power. I cannot emphasize how much respect I have for Carter for writing this book. In this book, Former President Carter provides a primer outlining the major issues impacting women across the globe and religion’s role in contributing to gender-based hatred. I am so impressed that a 90 year old former Southern Baptist (he left the church of his youth due to their anti-women policies) really gets the severity of this issue that many of my female peers with daughters (in other words, people with a stake!) fail to understand. Carter explores the role many religions play in misogyny but is particularly focused on the pitfalls of Christianity. I have experienced first-hand the role that a conservative Christian church can play in contributing to violence against women and am glad to see someone with credibility in the sphere take this issue on. This is not an easy read but a necessary one.
I hope you are enjoying the sunshine. It’s been a long time coming and I plan to enjoy this spring.