Interesting tidbits, inspirational thoughts, good books, and new ideas we found over the summer.
Thirst by Scott Hamilton
Hamilton is the mastermind behind Charity:Water; a non-profit that supports already established clean water organizations around the world. It's huge, impactful, and Hamilton's journey is astounding. The book is relentlessly positive and Hamilton is annoyingly cheerful, but I was impressed by the choices he made along the way to align his life with his values. A quick and easy read that illustrates the power our choices can have on the world.
Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative In Good Times and Bad by Austin Kleon
Kleon is an artist and writer by trade, but his little book was an inspirational manifesto to keep on keepin’ on (whether you’re an artist or not). Practice, delightful, and engaging, Kleon’s book is filled with broadly applicable advice that is both obvious, but easy to forget (“take a walk,” “leave things better than when you found them”). In a world of extremes, Kleon’s moderate and even-handed tone was a breath of fresh.
Women Talking by Miriam Toews (Warning: sexual violence)
In the mid-2000s a secluded Mennonite community in Bolivia was rocked by the revelation that for years a group of 8 men had been drugging, attacking, and raping women of all ages during the night. The women had no idea what had happened the next morning and were told by community leaders that they had been visited by demons. Taking place over a period of only a few days, Women Talking is a fictionalized account of an in-depth discussion the women of the community have about their options - should they leave the only home they have ever known to protect their children; should they stay and forgive the men; or should they fight to take control of the community. While definitely difficult to read at times, Toews present an incredibly impactful and timely meditation on the power of community, faith, and humanity. The women wrestle with questions of forgiveness, God’s love, agency, and hope and offer a theologically sophisticated examination of a theologically conservative community. One of the best books I will read all year.
I am absolutely loving the PreachersnSneakers Instagram account. It showcases photos of preachers' and worship leaders’ shoes and outfits next to the cost of these items on online retailers. Funny and provocative, this brings up some seriously complex questions about how Christians do (and should?) spend their money. (And revs up my own frustrations about the point of "luxury brands.") This New York Times article gives a good overview of some of the nuances of the issue.
I also can't get enough of these crazy kids of the no-furniture movement. There are lots of reasons this doesn't make sense (accessibility, physical limitations, lots of guests, large pets, etc.), but I was intrigued by the choices these families have made to live so far outside the norm and to nourish wellness in their own lives. It's inspired me to try a single low table in a single room. I'll let you know how it goes...
I know I’m super late to the party, but I finally jumped on the Brene Brown bandwagon (spoiler alert - she’s awesome). I really enjoyed a talk she gave expanding on her themes in Rising Strong, called Rising Strong as a Spiritual Practice. (It’s available on YouTube as an audiobook). She’s approachable, funny, and makes complicated issues clear and reasonable.
Favorite Quote of the Summer:
I'm certainly not zero waste, but I am interested in trying to reduce the amount of waste I produce so I'm keeping my eye on the zero waste movement. But I am ALL IN on this quote I keep seeing around. This is so true of so many parts of life. We don't need people who are perfect - we need people who are trying. We don't need a few people who never spend any money on anything fun or frivolous - we need lots of people who commit to making small changes to spend their money on what they truly value. I hope I remember this for a long time. Being consistently imperfect is far better than being sometimes perfect.
What fun and interesting tidbits did you discover over the summer?!