“It’s a serious thing

just to be alive

on this fresh morning

in this broken world.”

– Mary Oliver

I’ve been a little lost this week.  You see, I don’t like to march to the beat of a calendar.

And the next three months are all splayed out, dissected, and entered in little appointment slots, ready to be the busiest three months of my life yet.

I look at the months ahead filled with change and character building, and I suck in my breath. Can I do this?  Can I take this next step forward?

Of course, I can, my inner grammarian replies.  I am physically capable, indeed.  But what if I fall?

And a mentor has taught me to use those “what if’s” and to place them in a positive frame to direct glory and purpose toward God?

What if God wants to use the next three months to teach me to depend on Him fully and wholeheartedly so that He is most glorified when I am in my weakest and humblest state?

What if God wants to teach me to find joy amidst frustration, sadness, and change?  What if He wants to use my experience to bless the lives of others?

And when I breathe out those new “what if’s,” I find myself more ready to face this hurdle.

I’ve been reading some enjoyable books lately.  I’ve taken a step back from some social media and have found more time to read and to create.

These are some of the ones that I’m reading concurrently.  Because my mind tends to go deep, deep, deep and wade in the philosophies of things–and too much philosophy can make for a stern and stoic Heather– I choose to read several books on several topics at a time, to prevent binge knowledge hoarding.

Upstream by Mary Oliver is beautiful.  Just beautiful.  Her work is almost always filled with nature and glimpses of grace.  But, look at this paragraph, part of a larger essay on creative work and identity.  It speaks to my longing to be away from the service of the hours.

“In creative work–creative work of all kinds—those who are the world’s working artists are not trying to help the world go around, but forward. Which is something altogether different from the ordinary. Such work does not refute the ordinary. It is, simply, something else. Its labor requires a different outlook–a different set of priorities. Certainly there is within each of us a self that is neither a child, nor a servant of the hours. It is a third self, occasional in some of us, tyrant in others. This self is out of love with the ordinary; it is out of love with time. It has a hunger for eternity.”

The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben is such a fascinating read about how trees communicate and feel.  I got it from the library today, and already I’ve devoured about five chapters, reading some aloud to Million and Aslan

An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler.  I’ve already posted about this one on Instagram, but it is revolutionizing how I think about food and my job as a cook.  Michael thought I was crazy when I went on and on about a chapter on theories about boiling water.  

Other honorable mentions that I’m reading or re-reading:

Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson .  Always.  Always need this encouragement to live my life with intention and conviction.

Radical Hospitality: Benedict’s Way of Love: Benedict’s Way of Love by Lonni Collins Pratt  It’s so interesting to read about the rules of hospitality in a monastery and the theology behind them.

Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education by Michael Pollan.    Michael Pollan always inspires me to do better and be better.  He’s the kind of author I like to “hang around with,” as opposed to authors who acknowledge that they’re just frankly a mess, but it’s okay because we’re all messes, right?

For the Family’s Sake: The Value of Home in Everyone’s Life by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay   Wow.  This book has so much to teach me.  I can only digest it a little bit at a time.  Susan Schaeffer was one of the pioneers of the Charlotte Mason resurgence in homeschool communities.  In this book, she talks about how Charlotte Mason, C.S. Lewis and other theologians and scholars viewed home, the person, the family.

Now I’ve taken up so much of your time discussing my books.  I haven’t even gotten to any of the other family members’ current reads.  (And there are some very interesting ones.)  What a shame!

I imagine you’ve been reading some fascinating books.  What are they?  Who is your favorite author?

P.S.  I feel a Louisa May Alcott binge coming on.  I’ve been thinking about this quote for several weeks, but holding myself at bay.  Perhaps this is the year that I’ll read Little Women out loud to some of the kids.  

“The humblest tasks get beautified if loving hands do them.”

Louisa May Alcott

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