The Sacred Slow [book review]

Let's talk about buzzwords, shall we? The last couple of years, we've been all about creativity, intentionality, and "slow" living. Don't feel bad if you've jumped on the bandwagon--I have, too. And there's actually nothing at all wrong with any of it. Being intentional and living at a slower pace are GOOD things. And God himself is the ultimate measure of creativity, so why would anyone disparage us, His creations, from developing or expressing the measure of His creativity in us?

The issue I have is when authors take those buzzwords and use them to repackage and resell a basic concept. They're not coming up with anything new at all--just reframing something old with whatever is cool at the moment to sell more books.


Lately 10/8/17

+ I gave myself my first black eye the other night. I had to get up and use the bathroom in the middle of the night (#pregnantproblems), and I guess I wasn't awake enough to be fully aware of what I was doing. I ran face-first into a shelf that hangs on the wall next to the bathroom door, and by the next morning there was a big ol' bruise. I've never had a black eye before, so I kindof wish it was a better story. But still... it takes talent to do that to yourself, right?


What We See in the Stars [book review]

Having not been homeschooled myself, it's a little tricky to figure out exactly what I'm doing, especially when it comes to the books and such that we'll be using. Thank goodness E is only three and I have time to research and gather. I'm collecting books little by little--my favorite thrift-store scores are copies of classic books. I figure we'll be reading those at some point no matter what, so they're a perfectly safe investment (and at thrift store prices, it's not like it requires much investment). Other than that, though, I try to stick to things we'd use in preschool or kindergarten, so I'm not getting too far ahead of myself before I really have a feel for what this looks like in reality. Some books are too interesting to pass up, however, and that's how I end up with volumes like What We See in the Stars.


Guide to uncommon gifts (What to get the people who are impossible to shop for)

Psst! This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

On any given year, it's a task for me to reign in my enthusiasm for gift-giving until it's socially acceptable to be out Christmas shopping. But this year, we have a baby due at the end of October. So we'll have a newborn during prime Christmas shopping time. Which means it's perfectly reasonable for me to do my Christmas shopping early and get it taken care of before baby comes--which is exactly what I did. I'm completely finished!

Truthfully, Christmas shopping is one of my favorite activities of the whole year. (Judge me all you want, it's fine.) It combines my affinity for shopping with my love of finding the perfect gift for someone--and then I get to pick out pretty paper to wrap it all up in and set it under a sparkly tree. I can't help feeling a little like Buddy the elf  when I think about it.

Of course, the longer you buy gifts for the same people, the harder it gets to find the thing that's just right. You've picked the low-hanging fruit in years past and now you've really got to get creative. And if your list includes people like my husband, who never wants anything, it's even tougher.


Where to start when your upbringing didn't teach you how to build a family

Technically speaking, I am what people usually refer to as a "cradle Catholic." I was baptized as a baby, spent years in CCD classes, and was confirmed right on schedule. I even attended a Catholic school for a time. But don't let that fool you: my upbringing wasn't really all that Catholic. My family didn't attend Mass, didn't pray together, didn't observe holy days or saint feasts, and didn't really talk about faith in general. I was put through the motions (because as a kid in this setting, it certainly wasn't MY idea of a good time), but that was the extent of it.

On top of our lack of faith activity, my family had its share of issues in the bonding department. I remember lots of visits to Grandma and Grandpa's house a few hours from home, and one big trip to Disney World, and even a camping trip some time before that. Bright spots there, for sure, but not much in the way of day-to-day nurturing. Perhaps there was more of an effort made when I was too little to form a long-term memory? What I remember from the later years, however, is a whole lot of television, being on my own, and mutual disinterest.

My family also fought a lot. That's probably normal--families fight. But the four of us fought in truly awful ways. We were spiteful, vindictive, dismissive, cruel, even violent. Let me tell you, handling conflict like this doesn't set you up for success in any relationship. I didn't learn to fight "right" until after I was married--I still don't know how or why C ever put up with it.

Why am I airing all this dirty laundry on the internet? Well, because this rocky upbringing is, for better or for worse, one half of the foundation C and I are working with as we build our own family. The way I grew up influences the way I live and parent. And these three areas--faith life, family bonds, and conflict--are preeeetty major. Having what I call a "deficient background" in any one of them, much less all three, is hard to overcome. And if I'm not very intentional and extremely careful, it could spell disaster for my little family. The internet part is because I don't think I'm alone in this situation, and maybe someone else needs to see that. Or maybe, when I get down to my "resources" list below, you'll have something to add.