This month the Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time since 1908, Donald Trump was elected president, Mosul was invaded and the Gilmore Girls staged a timely reunion whereby we could all drown our sorrows in sappy Stars Hollow after stuffing ourselves with turkey and sweet potato casserole.
November 2016 really happened. This is real life (and yes, this links to THAT YouTube video...).
In the midst of these huge (and not-so-huge) events, I learned a lovely new word, the Danish word "hygge." Think snuggling up in an oversized chair next to a crackling fire, feet tucked under a plush throw blanket as you sip tea (or red wine) while re-reading Little Women and you have a pretty good working image of hygge. Tanya Marlow goes into greater depth in her article on the topic and joining the 900+ member Facebook group started by another SheLoves editor, Holly Grantham, will offer you daily doses of cozy if you're into that kind of thing (which I am). Hygge dives head-first into the search for contentment, making it perfectly okay to pour time and energy into your home environment if that will make your nest a peaceful place you truly want to spend time in and invite others to snuggle into as well.
Hygge is a pretty good picture of Sabbath rest.
Christmas wears hygge well, I'd say. Twinkle lights, winking candles, pottery mugs of hot cocoa, fake or real fireplaces, and our houses wreathed with spiced air.
But Christmas also brings honor to the spirit of waiting. We light candles with our littles, shushing them and ignoring their whining, hoping to invite them into the mystery that is God as a baby on earth. We meditate, read and sing of Advent wonder--Jesus coming again--maybe tomorrow, maybe next year, or perhaps one thousand years from now. At Christmas, we enter into childlike delight--even if it is out of duty.
I need Christmas this year. I think we all do.
But in spite of the heaviness of the past month, I want to share some of the books, podcasts and articles that I've been reading and listening to. Many of them have brought sparkling light to the dark corners of November.
Life Creative: Inspiration for Today's Renaissance Mom, by Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart
Ooh, I loved this book! It is the modern day Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art for moms. These ladies understand the tension moms have between wanting to care for their families while at the same time yearning to create. They share the stories of more than 30 moms through clear, thoughtful and poetic writing. Life Creative is a perfect mix of practical and abstract, outward-looking and reflective. If you are a mama with the desire to write, act, sing, paint, draw, sew or any other creative venture, you should definitely check this book out!
The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah
We read this for our book club this month and I have to say that while this was entertaining and educational on some levels, it did not have as much depth as I hoped. The reading level did not strike me as being very high and it almost felt like a Hallmark version of a WWII story, or a PG movie at the very least. I listened to most of it on an overnight road trip from Chicago to Denver, though, so the fact that it kept my attention in the wee hours of the night has to be an indicator that it was at least interesting enough to keep me awake.
This African American pastor, Eric Mason, was recommended to me by someone from the Be the Bridge Facebook group. The week after the election, I really needed to hear how people of color were responding to all of this. Since I attend a nearly all white church, I am committing to listening to a sermon by a person of color each week to diversify the voices I listen to.
In God We Trust (First sermon after the election).
#WokeChurch: It's Time for the Church to do Something
#WokeChurch--Jesus on Justice
Kin City (On social issues in Chicago)
The South Side & Segregation with Natalie Moore
(Haven't listened to many yet, but others are on how cops are trained, racial reconciliation, homelessness, adoption and tokenism)
Vincent Harding (Civil Rights leader)--Is America Possible?
Isabel Wilkerson (author of The Warmth of Other Suns)
Pass the Mic
Processing Donald Trump with Jemar Tisby
Round table: Perspective
Current Events: The Election of 2016
This is one my favorite podcasts these days. I appreciate that the hosts are not afraid to discuss controversial issues in the church today, but also love the way they represent Christian women as intellectual, capable and respectable.
The Outsourcing of Women's Discipleship to Para-church Personalities
(On the issue of Lifeway's dismissal of Jen Hatmaker books).
Evangelicals Are Having an Identity Crisis
#SheLeads Summit--Austin Panel
A panel with Latasha Morrison (founder of Be the Bridge), Tish Harrison Warren, Keith Atkinson and Kenny Green about how women are incorporated into the church body.
This American Life
The Sun Comes Up
Interviews with both Trump and non-Trump supporters in the day and week following the election.
Thought-Provoking Articles from the Web:
An Open Letter to the Evangelical Church, from the Black Girl in Your Pew, by Ilesha Graham for Huffington Post.
Dear Children of Aleppo: The People of the World Needed to tell you THIS on #GIVINGTuesday, by Ann Voskamp at her blog.
Finding Contentment in the Uncomfortable, by Christen Bordenkircher for The Mudroom Blog (I loved this for selfish reasons because it was so similar to my own story!)
Gilmore Girls: A Series in Books, by Anne Bogel for Modern Mrs. Darcy. (A glimpse of some of the 339 books we saw Rory reading in the first seven seasons!)
Glennon Doyle Melton's Gospel of Self-Fulfillment, by Jen Pollock Michel for Christianity Today.
I Was an Evangelical Magazine Editor, but Now I Can't Defend my Evangelical Community, by Katelyn Beaty for The Washington Post.
In Defense of Domesticity, by Tyler Blanski for Crisis Magazine.
Lifeway Stops Selling Jen Hatmaker Books Over LGBT Beliefs, by Kate Shellnut for Christianity Today.
No Place for Self Pity, No Room for Fear, by Toni Morrison for The Nation.
To the Mamas of Littles During the Holidays, by Lora Lynn Fanning at Vita Familiae.
Trump Syllabus 2.0 by N.D.B. Connolly and Keisha N. Blaine (an actual syllabus of a course that explores the foundations of "Trumpism")
What I Want Pastors to Know About Women's Ministry, by Sharon Hodde Miller for Christianity Today.
5 Ways Parents Pass Down Prejudice and Racism, by Danielle Slaughter for Huffington Post.
Barefoot Books: Diverse and Inclusive Books
(Great books for Christmas presents)
The Advent Project Devotional Series (sign up for free for daily devos for Advent including art, music, a hymn, prayer, scripture reading and a devotional)
Madeleine L'Engle Made Me Do It
For Scraping Raisins:
This Was Not the Plan
Posts about Christmas & Advent:
The Anticipation of Advent (four ways we like to celebrate Advent as a family)
The Truth About Family Advent
Living the Sticky Life
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Linking up with Leigh Kramer and Emily P. Freeman
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Labels: 2016 Monthly Mentionables, articles, books, podcasts, pop culture