It's been more than a month of Sundays since I last posted, so an update is way overdue. Some of the posting absence was planned, but the latter part was due to the blue screen of death that appeared on my computer, which required purchasing a replacement. Navigating Windows 8 has proven that you can teach an old dog new tricks; it just takes about three times longer. I felt such a sense of accomplishment when I finally figured out today how to install the printer driver. I still don't know how to use all the functions on here, but the big E button to the internet is working, and so there's no reason to delay blogging any longer.
What I've Been Enjoying
During my time away from the blog, I enjoyed four days with family at a beautiful house on the Guadalupe River.
(View from the dining room looking onto the pool and the river)
I had fun catching up last weekend with my Sunday Supper Club from grad school. We toured the Chagall exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art and told stories over lunch at Oddfellows in the Bishop Arts District. Catching up over good food reminded me of all the meals we shared together and how many recipes they taught me to cook. I wish we lived closer and could gather every week.
With the expanded extra daylight hours, the opportunity to engage in fun activities after work has also expanded. I've loved going to a smoothie party, a baseball game, and a ballet and spending time with friends.
I've also enjoyed learning from my friends as they demonstrate intentionality in leading the lost to Christ, in pursuing their callings, in discipling others, and in giving up the things of this world in order to find sufficiency in Christ alone. I never doubt that our lives can preach because I see such incredible examples daily.
What I've Been Pondering
Over the past month or so, I've heard several Scriptures mentioned numerous times. I never think that's a coincidence. The Lord obviously has something for me in these verses, and so I don't want to forget them.
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
"Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
Joel 2:25 (NKJV)
"So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locus, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust."
Luke 18:1-8 (the parable of the persistent widow)
"And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.' For some time he (the judge) refused. But finally he said to himself,' . . . [B]ecause this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice . . . .' And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly."
What I've Been Reading
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.
I underlined a ton in this book. Her research on shame is eye-opening and has drawn international attention since the talk she gave at TedxHouston a couple of years ago. This book focuses on how vulnerability is not a weakness but rather a major strength. She covers how this is needed in the corporate world, education, and in parenting. Here are a few excerpts:
"If we want to reignite innovation and passion, we have to rehumanize work. When shame becomes a management style, engagement dies. When failure is not an option we can forget about learning, creativity, and innovation." (p. 15)
"When it comes to parenting, the practice of framing mothers and fathers as good or bad is both rampant and corrosive--it turns parenting into a shame minefield. The real questions for parents should be: "Are you engaged? Are you paying attention?" If so, plan to make lots of mistakes and bad decisions. Imperfect parenting moments turn into gifts as our children watch us try to figure out what went wrong and how we can do better next time. The mandate is not to be perfect and raise happy children. Perfection doesn't exist, and I've found that what makes children happy doesn't always prepare them to be courageous, engaged adults." (p. 15)
Towards the end of the book, Brown shares "The Daring Greatly Leadership Manifesto" (p. 212) and "The Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto" (p. 244), both of which are fantastic.
Our Southern Breeze by Daphene Jones.
I loved reading Same Kind of Different As Me, the story of Deborah Hall's befriending a homeless man (Denver Moore). Her acts of courage are even more astounding in light of this book, which was authored by her twin sister and tells the story of her upbringing. It's a beautiful story of how grace wins out over darkness and how suffering and can change hearts.
Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist.
I loved Shauna's previous books, Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet, and so it was like catching up with an old friend as I read through her latest essays in Bread and Wine. She has a way with words and can eloquently, and often hilariously, draft situations that I've experienced or emotions that I've felt. This book is one that you won't want to end as she shares stories from her supper club and how important it is to gather people around your table for a meal. This book made me miss my old Sunday Supper Club, so I was glad I was able to see them last week. I have already sent copies of this book to my mom and my aunt, and they've already made several of the recipes that are included in the book; it's one of those books you can't help but share.
If you've read this far, thanks for hanging in there for the long update. I'd love to hear what you are enjoying these days.