I’m winding down a wonderful Saturday at a coffee shop next door to our house. All because in a moment of strong conviction, I decided we would go without internet this summer. Yes. You read right. No blogs with the morning coffee, no facebook stream to greet me in the morning (although I can cheat by using my phone). To use the internet in full form, I have to make my way to a coffee shop or to the library.
What it has lead to is much of what I had hoped. More time on the porch, more time outside in general and ultimately MORE READING!
The fact that I am devouring books on my kindle & in print feels really good. I always feel that way about reading; like exercise. I don’t do it enough but it always feels great when I do.
The most recent book I finished (by nightlight at midnight a few days ago) was Love Does by Bob Goff.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to figure out how what you believe translates into real life. Similar to the Talmudic story that Ryan shared earlier this week, if you aren’t doing, then your thinking doesn’t matter.
Bob’s big thing is living with whimsy, his stories are compelling and he is a good friend of Don Miller’s. Credibility enough there for me.
The other book I just started is Daughters for a Time by Jennifer Handford. A fictional story for sure that explores the emotions between being a mother and considering adoption in the case of one early thirty something woman. I love the author’s descriptive nature and the development of characthers. It also explores grief and the way that becoming a mother forces you to look deeper into places of your life that haven’t affected you in the past. I’m only on chapter 5 so more to come on this one.
Beyond all of this reading, which is tucked in between naptimes and by nightlight on the porch, we have been to the farmer’s market more than once today, danced at an outdoor concert and enjoyed slurpees two nights in a row.
Life without the internet isn’t so bad. The irony of this statement isn’t lost on me since you are reading this via the world wide web. Either way, words were there before the web so I think I will survive.Read More
When you take a break from facebook you realize how much time you waste. (Or more personally speaking, I am realizing how much time I was wasting). It has been a week and a day since I logged off for this season and while I still have my favorite haunts on the ole internet; blogs I read and emails to write, I am honestly appreciating the space. Surprisingly, I still feel fairly connected to the world or at least the people who I usually interact with in real life.
My biggest fear was that I would miss out on so much and I’m realizing that so many times my choices in life are motivated by fear. Fear that I won’t be in the loop. Fear that others won’t like me or will misunderstand what I am trying to do. Fear that I won’t be able to do what I set out to. That is why I love reading stories of others who have been brave and taken a step of faith to make changes in their lives.
Last night I picked up Jen Hatmaker’s book 7: Experimental Mutiny Against Excess per the recommendation from my friend Jodi. I’m only 26% in according to my kindle but I’m hooked already. It is all about a woman who, along with a council of friends, decides to take a step back from one area of her life for a month for seven months. Seven months, seven different fasts of sort. The difference it is making in her perspective is incredible. How could it not with fasting from certain foods, spending, activities, etc? All things that I can identify with and love. I’m not sure where it will go from here but I do know that I am excited to discuss it with Jodi & others who are interested in reading it.
With all of this free mental space while I am not reading status updates, I have read two other books as well. Lest you think I am super spiritual or completely motivated, the first two of the three were celebrity autobiographies. First Tina Fey’s Bossypants and then Rob Lowe’s Stories I Only Tell My Friends. And I loved each of them. I would recommend both but to different readers. While I can’t identify with either of their fame or storytelling abilities but I can connect with the relationships, decisions and growth that they each go through. Yes, I did just point out redeeming qualities in celebrity books. Ryan doesn’t quite buy it but I say, don’t knock it till you read it! My point is, there is something in seeing someone change and develop within their story that is compelling.
My hope is that my story would mean something. I want to spend my days doing things that are meaningful and worth writing about. I’m thankful for all of those in my life who continue to encourage me in this way by their story. Keep on keeping on; you never know who is reading.Read More
I know Ryan usually writes the thoughtful perspective around here but with seminary starting today, he is already digging into a whole new world of thoughts. I thought I would take the opportunity to sneak in some thoughts I have been having my most recent read. Rarely do Ryan & I both love a book equally but after he attended the Leadership Summit (simulcast) at a local church we both dug into this book:
He read it in the first two days we were on vacation and I have about thirty pages left. I present Onward by Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks coffee. I know, I know, what does a business man’s story about an insanely successful business have to share that I am dying to tell you?
The thoughts have been percolating (sorry, had to throw a coffee joke in there) in my brain for the past few days about Howard’s perspective and ultimately his love for this company. I know from my meaningful experience being part of a team who loves what they do that it doesn’t come easy to keep perspective as you grow and change. Reading through the ups and downs of the Starbucks brand gave me insight into how hard leading well can be. Sometimes you have to make decisions that really stink. I’m not too good at that one yet. I also realized that being passionate about something means being open to change and seeing it through the valleys with as much belief and conviction as when you first began.
This story has everything I love. Coffee. Change. Caring about providing people with human interaction and a connection in a place they feel a part of. It surprised me in the very best kind of way. Just when I thought independent coffee houses were the only way to go, there it was, wooing me back with it’s pumpkin spice lattes and VIA caramel iced coffee. Pure caffeinated joy.Read More
Talents, Gifts, or Bents; Whatever you want to call them, they’re important to discover. One way that I’ve found very helpful in doing this is by taking a test called StrengthsFinder. It’s not a graded exam, so don’t worry. Here is what their website says about the test:
“Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?” Chances are you don’t. All too often, our natural talents go untapped. From the cradle to the cubicle, we devoted more time to fixing our shortcomings than to developing our strengths. –More info here
Rebekah and I took this test a long while back and it gives you your top 5 talents/bents/strengths. They were completely correct, and we got a good chuckle at the results. We’ve also benefited by receiving ongoing coaching in how to invest and develop our strengths since then. We understand and appreciate one another more, we’re both better leaders, and we feel more confident in who God has created us to be. The best part about being a StrengthsFinder coach is walking people through what their results mean and how to invest well going forward. I’ve seen many people and groups blessed by the test and the ongoing conversations surrounding their “talents.” This test can help strengthen churches, businesses, marriages, and more. All of us are created differently and we need to embrace that by encouraging and equipping people after discovering their talents. One way we can do this is through a tool called StrengthsFinder (buy the book here).Read More