Thursday, January 31, 2013

I want to be like this a woman who created a community in her backyard.

She hosted lunches and dinners and neighborhood concerts. She invited friends and neighbors and strangers to share meals around her table. She marked every holiday with an invitation that said “the more, the merrier.” And then on Thanksgiving Day, the 500th guest sat at her table—she’d reached her goal more than a month early.


At every party, guests signed their names on the table, and Sarah says that the community they formed along the way wrote the story of that table together. And the gatherings themselves unfolded with community spirit — one person holding a new mom’s baby so she could eat for a minute, someone jumping up to refill glasses, a first-time guest volunteering to load the dishwasher. Everyone pitched in, and some of the sweetest memories were made bumping into each other in the kitchen, washing dishes together long after dinner was over.
There are so many ways and so many scales on which to do this. Even an introvert like me can manage it somehow. Thoughts?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Quick Takes: A reading list for 2013

With the new year, people always have something to say about their reading: their favorite books from the past year, their intended reads for the coming one. Last year Jason bought me a Moleskine book journal that I didn't use at all. I have resolved to remedy that this year—and not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Many of my library borrows are spot reads, books that I don't finish for one reason or another, and that I may or may not attempt to finish later. Some, not all, of these have made it into my journal for January.

The books I really want to make sure get in there, the books I really want to be intentional about reading, are going on my "2013" list. And I'm trying to be reasonable. Keep it doable, but know that I'm not going to be able to resist adding to it. Here's my list—mostly Christmas gifts.

1. The Province of Hope: Praying with Flannery O'Connor by Angela Alaimo O'Donnell. I put this on my wish list on the recommendation of—was it the Anchoress? Happy Catholic? I can't remember. Anyway, I love Flannery O'Connor's writing, both her fiction and her letters, so I didn't need to know much about this book to want it. Looking forward to reading it slowly.

2. Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales. A Catholic classic that I haven't yet cracked open—until yesterday, appropriately enough.

3. Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith by Fr. Robert Barron. Another that came highly recommended. I know somebody else out there is reading this right now. Anyone want to start a book club?

4. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, translated by J. R. R. Tolkien. I know the story, and now I get to sink my teeth into the longer text. I'm finding the alliterative poetry of this book a joy. Not strictly a Christmas gift, because I cheated and bought it for myself for my birthday! So when I received a second copy, I returned it to get myself something else! Which was...

5. Educating the Wholehearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson. I formally have five students (not including the littles who would be preschool), one in high school, and I'm feeling it. I felt the need for an infusion of encouragement and inspiration, and since I have long respected, and often tried to emulate, Elizabeth Foss' approach to home education, I took my cue from her and turned to this book. It looks promising. 

6. Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives by Pope Benedict XVI. Actually Natalie's Christmas present. We'll be reading it together. Can't wait.

7. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings by J. R R. Tolkien. Also rereads. I couldn't resist, after watching the movie with my two oldest kids last month. I'm trying to get a friend, a newbie, to read them with me. She's already started The Hobbit. What say you, Krystin?

Of course there's more, but since I don't have time right now even to consider them for inclusion in a post, I figure it will be a while until I get around to reading them.

What books do you want to read in 2013?

my book shelf

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Prayers for Jennifer Fulwiler

Friends of Jennifer are passing on information about her hospitalization for pulmonary embolisms. Jen's writing, and now her mini-series, "Minor Revisions," have touched thousands; she might be the friendliest voice for the faith on the Internet today. Please join the club in praying for her, her baby, and her family.


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