One piece of feedback I got over and over with my blog reader survey was that you love the voice and tone of this blog. A few of you actually described the vibe as feeling like you and I were sitting on my couch, just sipping coffee and spilling our hearts. (I like to imagine that some pastries were involved too!)
First, I’m really appreciative of such kind words. Second, I’m thrilled to hear this, because that’s exactly the feeling I’m going for here. When I write, I actually do picture having a conversation with a friend, and I write out what I might say to her if we were sitting together on comfy chairs or on a couch, with our legs tucked under us and our hearts and ears open.
Your words sparked a new idea for me, and I want to test it out here to see how it goes. If we decide it’s a keeper, I may make this a regular installment through the newsletter, or perhaps just keep it as a monthly blog series. We’ll see what happens.
So let’s have a monthly armchair chat, right where we are. Maybe for you that’s in your office chair, or the glider in your baby’s nursery, or your sofa that’s broken in just right. I want these posts to be just as much about your life as they are about mine, so I’ll be asking lots of questions and hoping you’ll answer in the comments, by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or on Facebook or Instagram.
If I you and I were cozied in our armchairs, catching up on life and sharing about what August meant for us, this is what I’d tell you.
What I’m Learning
- My life is not made up solely of my responses to events. Yes, this is a big part of life, an important part. How we respond to matters outside of our control makes a bigger impact than I can imagine. But I’m also learning that my life is something I can create (within God’s loving boundaries for me, with his guidance), and I’m thinking I want to do a little more reaching out instead of reacting.
- Listening to your body is not just for intuitive types, yogis, and woo-woo new agers. (You may remember this from my Instagram post a few weeks ago.) Our bodies communicate clearly but often quietly, so we need to train ourselves to listen. They whisper their needs at first, but if we don’t heed the warnings, they will begin to shout. I’m trying to train myself to hear and respect the whispers.
- Meals don’t need to be a production. I’m happier and less stressed eating the same old grilled chicken for lunch every day than I was when I was trying to cook something new and different for lunches each week. I’ve been simplifying my meal planning and choosing from just a few tried-and-true recipes in an effort to minimize decision fatigue, and it’s actually helping.
What I’m Wondering
- Why God chooses to heal some people but not others.
- When I’ll feel ready to have another baby. (Because my heart wants one, but nothing else in me does yet.)
- What God’s plan is for my writing. I want to be faithful with my words and write because he’s asked me to, but I’m struggling to create the time and find the energy to write what I want to.
What I’m Loving
- This stage of Selah’s life. This might be my favorite stage yet, but I feel like a traitor because I loved the newborn stage! But seriously, guys, months 8 and 9 have been big winners, and they feel a little bit like a giant thank you for all the sacrifice and tears that came before this. Selah is eating well, sleeping well, and making giant leaps forward (sometimes literally) with movement and communication. She’s crawling, finally starting to spout off a few consonants, eating table food, and giving kisses. She’s learning and changing so quickly that I can hardly keep up with her!
- My new haircut. I’ve always kept my hair somewhere in the short to medium range because my hair is pretty fine and doesn’t look great long. But my hair was so healthy thanks to pregnancy hormones that I just let it grow and grow until it was longer than it had ever been. It started to drive me a little crazy with how long it took to style and how frequently sticky little fingers were getting tangled in it, so I lobbed off 5 inches. It’s a little shorter than I expected, but I think I like it—and I love the time it’s saving me!
- Podcasts! I feel like I’m constantly evangelizing about all my favorite shows. I love to pop one on when I have mindless tasks to do at work, when I’m cooking dinner or washing dishes, or when I’m driving. My go-to podcasts are Sorta Awesome, Smartest Person in the Room, The Popcast with Knox and Jamie, What Should I Read Next?, Mom Struggling Well, and The Simple Show. If you’d like to get started listening to any of these podcasts, I’d recommend starting with these episodes in your favorite podcast app (I use Overcast):
- Sorta Awesome: Episode #14, All about friendship
- Smartest Person in the Room: Episode #2, Production designer Ethan Tobman
- The Popcast with Knox and Jamie: Episode #135, Emoji anthropology
- What Should I Read Next? Episode #18, Compelling, character-driven books steeped in time and place with Jessica Turner
- Mom Struggling Well: Episode #49, When your life looks different than you thought with Kara-Kae James
- The Simple Show: Episode #32, Placemaking with Christie Purifoy
What I’m Reading
- All the Light We Cannot See: I was a little late to this train, so I heard all the hype before I managed to snag a copy from the library. It did not disappoint. Not quite a page-turner, not quite a sweeping novel, this book was so beautifully and creatively written that I just couldn’t put it down. I found myself rooting for the writing as much as I rooted for the characters. I can’t wait to check out Four Seasons in Rome, also by Anthony Doerr.
- The Royal We: I needed a break from heavy reading after finishing All the Light, and this was the perfect guilty-pleasure novel. Based loosely on Will and Kate’s royal courtship, this fictionalized account had me laughing and crying and cringing as I recognized bits of my college self. I also hear there’s a movie adaptation in the works with Lauren Graham and Mae Whitman, and I can hardly contain my excitement.
- Ruined: I actually read this one back in October (I was the copyeditor on this at work), but since it just released at the beginning of August, I think I can count it here. This is the raw, honest memoir of a woman who was raped at gunpoint in college, her turmoil in the aftermath, and her lifelong road to healing. This book examines issues of sexual violence, women in the church, racism, and trauma recovery with honesty, courage, and beauty. This is one of the best books I’ve read in the past year, and I hope it starts a conversation our culture desperately needs to have.
What I’m Clicking
- It’s one thing to talk about simplicity, but do our lives reflect it? This piece from Daisy of Simplicity Relished had me doing some serious soul searching.
- I’ve been wondering lately if I need a break from social media, and these signs from Coffee with Summer confirmed what I’ve been feeling.
- Being a mom is a hard job, but so is being a growing kid. The pain and frustration of constantly learning, receiving feedback, and struggling to communicate is so real, and our children deserve all the empathy and grace.