A Mundane Joy

I, too, am never quite thankful enough for regular, boring, routine, rote, consistent, Christ-centered days with neighbors, kids, friends and family. They are so often a delight and often contain — if you look hard enough — the full breadth of emotion and fullness we all want from life.

The Miracle of Babies

This one is so short it feels like I’m just copy-pasting an entire post (I’m not). This site was started, however, as a collection of my favorite quotes, thoughts, art and words that I see throughout my days online.

I loved it, and I believe it to be true.

Yet in all your stellar journeys you would never see anything equal to the birth and wonder of a human being. For a tiny baby girl or boy is the apex of God’s creation!

But the greatest wonder of all is that the child is created in the image of God, the Imago Dei. The child once was not; now, as a created soul, he or she is eternal. He or she will exist forever. When the stars of the universe fade away, that soul shall still live.

Challies

Thy Grace Sufficient

One of my new favorite reads is the Valley of Vision prayer book which includes classic “Puritan spiritual exercises, meditations and aspirations.” The language may not be modern, but I find the words connecting with my heart often. Today’s afternoon prayer hit me especially hard (I feel like I say this to myself every day).

Do thou be with me, and prepare me for all
the smiles of prosperity, the frowns of adversity,
the losses of substance, the death of friends,
the days of darkness, the changes of life,
and the last great change of all.
May I find thy grace sufficient
for all my needs.

The older I get and the more life I live, the deeper my realization (and hopefully understanding!) is of just how badly I need thy grace sufficient.

On Suffering (and Pre-Suffering)

I wrote this in May 2014 …

What do we do with this?

I also loved this from a more recent blog post on suffering. Jonathan Parnell wrote the post but the quote is attributed to The Pipes.

Suffering is nothing more than the taking away of bad things or good things that the world offers for our enjoyment — reputation, esteem among peers, job, money, spouse, sexual life, children, friends, health, strength, sight, hearing, success, etc.

When these things are taken away (by force or by circumstance or by choice), we suffer. But if we have followed Paul and the teaching of Jesus and have already counted them as loss for the surpassing value of gaining Christ, then we are prepared to suffer.

The part that is crushing, to me, is that little two-word phrase at the end of the parentheses.

By choice.

I’m not sure if I’d rather adopt this attitude and thus, lifestyle, or be able to write like Rutherford (The Great King keeps his wine there…!) but there was a whole host of destruction in the depths of my heart when I encountered these words.

I hope there was in yours, too.

On Leadership

I feel confident that I am good at a handful of things. I do not feel confident that leadership is one of them. This list of 16 lessons learned in leadership was an eye-opener to me, and all of them are great.

Probably 5-6 really popped though, and maybe none more than this one.

Limitations force leaders to make choices. Whether you lead a team of two or 2,000, you cannot, and should not, do everything. Refer to your vision, values, and strategy. What is central to the mission? Memorize and protect those things. Don’t let the good eat the great. Rehearse and guard your priorities. [TGC]

I have struggled not just to point to our mission in the sphere of places where I lead but sometimes to even know what that mission is. Same for vision, values and strategy. Something I want to get better at as I lead into the future.

On Growing Platforms

I saw this — ironically? — on Twitter this week, and I thought it was really true and also really encouraging. Something I certainly need to be more wary of in my own life. And I think I’m talking more about the studying another’s excellencies than studying my own infirmities.

More From Read-Aloud Family

I loved these two quotes as well.

C. S. Lewis says it best: “Since it is so likely that they will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.”

That Lewis quote could not possibly be more true.

Catherine’s experience helps prove that reading to our kids teaches them to think, make connections, and communicate. Reading aloud doesn’t just open windows. It flings wide the doors of opportunities far outside the scope of language and literature.

The single most important thing (to me) to teach our kids is to understand how to communicate well, have self-awareness and be able to make connections. I can think of no better medium than reading aloud.

The Read-Aloud Family Notes

I recently stumbled across a book called the Read-Aloud Family. It’s intriguing so far, and I’ll probably be posting quotes from it on here intermittently. Here are three that hit me early on.

Trelease advocates reading aloud to kids especially when they can read for themselves. He goes so far as to say that if teachers and parents experience a shortage of time and can’t fit in reading aloud, they should “steal [time] from other subjects that are not as essential as reading, which includes pretty much everything else.”2

Read-Aloud Family

I LOLd.

So as a mother and as a writer, let me urge you to read to them, read to them, read to them. For if we are careless in the matter of nourishing the imagination, the world will pay for it. The world already has.  -Katherine Paterson, A Sense of Wonder

Read-Aloud Family

I read aloud to my kids because I know that my years with them are short. Because I long for a deep, soulful, real connection with each of them. And because I hardly want to spend these precious years waiting for the walrus, missing every ant moment while I wait. When my head hits the pillow each night, I want to know that I have done the one most important thing: I have fostered warm, happy memories and created lifelong bonds with my kids—even when the rest of life feels hard.

Read-Aloud Family

The Difficulty of Lifelong Learning

I often find that the throwaway stuff of smart people (or maybe just the setup stuff) is the stuff I end up remembering. Like this from Seth Godin about lifelong learning, which was just setting up something on lifelong community.

Lifelong learning is never finished, and achieving the mindset isn’t easy, because the existing bias toward competence makes it socially unattractive. It requires us to acknowledge that we don’t know enough on our way to learning more.

Seth Godin

This part has stuck with me: because the existing bias toward competence makes it socially unattractive.

We want to be good at what we do, and we’re scared to be bad. But we were always once bad at anything we’re now good at which means we either embraced how bad we were or displayed extraordinary confidence (arrogance?) in whatever discipline that was.

Tillinghast on Talking Too Much

As I prepped for the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage Black, I came across something from one of Bethpage’s original creators, golf architect A.W. Tillinghast. He was asked to rank the best courses in California, of which he had built many, but he declined.

With thanks I must regretfully decline this opportunity to lead with my chin. Although I have formed conclusions I would consider it extremely bad taste for one, so long associated with course designing and construction in the East, to make any comparisons. 

Tillinghast.net

But here’s the money quote.

As I grow older I appreciate the fact that for general publication there are some questions that need a whole lot of letting alone.”

Tillinghast.net

How often would I be helped by adhering to the idea that “there are some questions that need a whole lot of letting alone”? The answer: very often.