Creme de la Creme: Weekly Round-up of the Internet’s Best

Creme de la Creme: Weekly Round-up of the Internet’s Best

This past week, Peter took Holly and Matt to college, and I took Hope and Little B to Newport with my mom and niece to take the sting out of things. “When life is sour, add something sweet.”

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Holly and her friend and roommate, Kaylee.
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Matthew and Lydia

The adjustment to life with four in the house has been drastic. It’s quiet. I have no idea how to cook for four. The other night I sent Peter to buy two family packs of chicken for a dinner I was making, and he just looked at me. “We need two family packs of chicken for four people?”  WHY DO MEN ALWAYS QUESTION EVERYTHING. Just kidding. He was completely right and old habits die hard. We bought one family pack and had chicken left over.

A friend asked me if it got easier, this college-leaving thing, and I answered no, it’s not easier at all. But it’s natural and normal and though it doesn’t feel right, it is right. I’m trying to keep things happy and positive around here for the other kids, and in the end, I know that it is ok to be sad, and that soon my feelings will adjust to what my mind knows to true. It is comforting to know that they are both happy. Matt and Lydia are celebrating 2 years of “dating” or “being official” or “exclusive” or whatever the kids today say. And Holly loved her first day of classes and is excited to be rooming with a friend from the Wilds.  “One of the nicest people she ever met,” is how she described Kaylee to me.

Breakers Mansion cliff walk Newport Rhode Island

We’re still in regrouping mode after a busy summer, the WEDDING (which I’ll share more about later) and getting the kids off to school. We’re beginning school after Labor Day and we’re enjoying our last few days of summer before school comes around again.

I’ve noticed that on the days that I feel fully alive, I’ve been able to give my mind and soul something to feed upon. Good conversation does this for me as well. Maybe it’s because I’m a words person, but ideas matter and good ideas are like food for the soul. Goethe said:

“One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.”

Grab a cup of something warm and enjoy this round-up of the best internet resources from this week.

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Articles:

Who Cares About Vocation by Michelle Radford is a compelling read and the first in a series of articles on the intersection of real life and the things you feel called and compelled to do. I know I’ve experienced this struggle, the tension between motherhood and its demands and desire to use the gifts of art, creativity, and words that God has given me.  If you aren’t sure how to balance your desire/callings with motherhood or other responsibilities, I encourage you to read this series.

The Idol of Idolatry by Lore Ferguson.

“I was obsessed with my idols—not with worshiping them, but with smashing them. I played idol whack-a-mole, smacking down anything that popped up threatening to take my eyes off Christ. I was an expert at managing what John Calvin called the “idol factory” that was my heart, constantly on the lookout for ways I was failing to find my all in Christ. The problem with this vigilante Christian life was that I concerned myself more with being an expert idol smasher than with seeing God as sufficient in what He was using to sanctify me.”

This article resonated with me because it’s common in Christianity to allow the pursuit of holiness to become central to our thinking and though it’s a good thing, it’s not the ultimate thing. Holiness is a byproduct of gazing on Christ and knowing Him.  So much is said of “the enemy” and “the world” and though they are certainly problematic, Christ is bigger and supreme. The focus on the negatives has made many Christians grim, paranoid, and joyless. When our *focus* is on our internal sin or the external enemy, we’ll be warped. “Set your affections on things above, where Christ is.”

Skim Reading is the New Normal. The Effect on Society is Profound. I didn’t read this article, I just skimmed it. JK. You should read it slowly. 😉

“When the reading brain skims texts, we don’t have time to grasp complexity, to understand another’s feelings or to perceive beauty. We need a new literacy for the digital age.” Maryanne Wolf

Again, I’m so thankful for the Charlotte Mason method which insists that children retell what they just heard. Why? Here are her own words:

“As knowledge is not assimilated until it is reproduced, children should ‘tell back’ after a single reading or hearing . . . A single reading is insisted on, because children have naturally great power of attention; but this force is dissipated by the re-reading of passages”

“A narration should be original as it comes from the child — that is, his own mind should have acted upon the matter it has received”

Though narration threatened to make me a crazy woman when my kids were young, the discipline helped them make connections and articulate and organize what they read and make the knowledge their own.

(Here’s a helpful article on narration from A Gentle Feast if you are interested in learning more.)

 

Podcasts:

When I have time for a podcast, I can only think of a handful that inspire me.

Speaking with Joy Podcast always delight me. It’s a podcast that explores a weekly theme through three pieces of art (literary, musical, and visual). This week’s theme was The Army of Emotions and is worth the listen!

If you have children, The Same Page is a great resource for your morning routine. You can listen  to a five minute podcast that includes a scripture to memorize, a great piece of poetry, a snippet from Shakespeare, and other topics. Listen five times a week and you’ll have great exposure and your kids will probably memorize it!

Things that foster hospitality:

I can’t tell you how many times my coffee bar has come in handy for offering a friend a quick iced coffee, espresso, or cup of tea.

I don’t usually promote expensive items on this blog because most of us are on a strict budget, but I can’t say enough good about our Ninja Coffee Bar. ($189 on Amazon right now.) We reviewed about 5 coffee makers before we found one we really loved, and though I realize that in the world of “expensive coffee/espresso machines”, this one doesn’t even register (they can be thousands) we love it. It’s used at least 10 times a day to make iced coffees in the morning and specialty drinks in the evening. It’s single serve and uses no pods. You can set it to brew iced or specialty drinks. Emily registered for it, she loved it so much. It’s just one of those items that if it broke, I’d replace it in a heartbeat. (Like my Kitchen Aid Mixer, amiright?!) I like strong coffee, but not a caramel-y coffee, so I like Starbuck’s Morning Joe which is a tricky to find around here.  Of course, you don’t need this coffee maker, and you can use what you have, but if you are in the market for a new coffee maker, this one is worth giving a whirl.

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When the weather gets cooler, I instinctively want to light candles in the evening. It’s calming after a long day to see a glint of candlelight, don’t you think?

I tend to like real beeswax candles and I can find them pretty reasonably priced locally. I also find that the white tapers from the Dollar Tree don’t drip like crazy when you light them. They are great for everyday.

Books I’m Reading

I’m currently re-reading homey books.

The Hidden Art of Homemaking is one that comes out every fall for a few weeks. I love skimming the wisdom of Edith Schaeffer. If you read the above articles on vocation, yet find yourself caring for children exclusively in this stage of life, The Hidden Arts will cheer you on to be creative in the sphere you find yourself in today. Maybe you won’t write a best-selling book, but you can still write to your grandmother or long distance friend. Maybe you aren’t commissioning art, but you can paint book marks or Christmas gifts or pictures for a child’s room.  Creativity doesn’t have to be for mass consumption. Bless the one, even if it’s a little one.  We have so many fond memories creating Christmas gifts, telling and reading stories, painting, crafting, baking, making cards together. You may not speak to crowds, but your kitchen can become a place of learning and interesting conversation if you just open your door and heart to those within and without. People can discuss theology, politics, homemaking, doubts, fears, etc…when you use your space for loving others and for the sake of the gospel. I really think this book will bless you.

I’ve been pursuing The Life Giving Home , Lessons from Blackberry Inn, and You Learn By Living.

Quotes I’m Pondering:

‘If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare composed poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, “Here lived a great street sweeper, who did his job well.” Dr. Martin Luther King

“And do you think your refusal to believe will convince God to change his nature? He is who he is no matter what you think of him. Despite what Americans believe, the universe is not a democracy. Truth is not determined by the majority. As for hell, if you were as just and holy as God is, you would understand that all men deserve hell. It is no puzzle that men should go to hell. What is a puzzle is that men should go to heaven.” Randy Alcorn, Safely Home

“Notice how Christ uses that word deny twice. He said to Peter the first time, “Deny himself” (Matthew 16:24); He said to Peter the second time, “Thou shalt deny me” (Matthew 26:34). It is either of the two. There is no other choice for us; we must either deny self or deny Christ. There are two great powers fighting each other the self-nature in the power of sin, and Christ in the power of God. Either of these must rule within us.”
Andrew Murray, Absolute Surrender

 

Are you ready for the new school year? What are you reading and studying? Are you planning any Christmas projects? I’m working on one with Hope and it has been fun to plan and work together.

*This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting and reading here at JFD.

 



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