Friday, December 21, 2018

Books I read in 2018

I did it!  I reached and passed my goal of 24 books read this year (not all pictured above)!  I participated in courses and book clubs that pushed me to read more than I usually do, which helped me a lot in my goal.  Rediscovering the Libby and Hoopla audiobook apps was also a big help.  I still borrow as many books as I can from the library, though I did get a few hard copy books because I knew I'd want to mark notes in them (looking at you, Brené Brown).  We have a Kindle that helps us keep our book count down, which helps me keep sanity and integrity with minimalism.

I joined the goodreads app this year to track my reading.  Having that visual aid kept me motivated and gave me an easy place to write reviews, too.  I haven't written reviews for everything I've read, but if you're interested, you can follow me and see what's next on my lists here.

* indicates required reading for leadership courses from my church.
Bold indicates books I especially enjoyed highly recommend.

  • The Forgotten Desert Mothers, Laura Swan
  • Half the Church, Carolyn Custis James - Uncovering God's full purpose for women
  • * Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Peter Scazero
  • * The Jesus Storybook Bible, Sally Lloyd-Jones
  • The Bible Tells Me So, Peter Enns - The Bible is more than you ever knew.
  • * Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands, Paul David Tripp
  • * Can Man Live Without God, Ravi Zacharias
  • * Renovate, Léonce Crump
  • Inspired, Rachel Held Evans
  • Falling Upward, Richard Rohr - The two halves of life and how to navigate the transition
  • The Day the Revolution Began, N.T. Wright - Coming back to a biblical view of atonement

  • Laurus, Evgenij Vodolazkin - An enchanting story of an herbalist monk in the Middle Ages
  • The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
  • The Yellow Wall-Paper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins - This thriller had me hooked like few books hook me.

Professional Development
  • * The Leadership Challenge, James M. Kouzes
  • * Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry
  • Teaming, Amy C. Edmondson - Research and insights on psychological safety in the workplace

Other Nonfiction
  • They Thought They Were Free, Milton Sanford Mayer
  • Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet Ann Jacobs - The life and sufferings of a black slave girl in the South
  • Braving the Wilderness, Brené Browne - Vulnerability and belonging matter.
  • Atlanta Chef's Table, Kate Parham Kordsmeier
  • Eating Viet Nam, Graham Holliday - Lifely stories about meeting Vietnamese street food
  • Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • The Most Beautiful Thing I've Seen, Lisa Gungor
  • Girl Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis
  • 'Tis, Frank McCourt
  • Rising Strong as a Spiritual Practice, Brené Browne

Friday, November 9, 2018

Recommended reads

Happy Friday, friends!  Here are a few things I've been digging lately.

golden cocoa via the kitchn

Golden cocoa (haldi doodh from India) :

I first heard about golden cocoa from Local Milk.  It sounded really strange, but I like trying new things and I've been dipping my toe into herbalism this year, so why not go for it?  (Turmeric's supposed to be an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.)

I'm pretty flexible with my recipes at home, so I guessed at my measurementswhile adding the ingredients I had on hand.  After taking a peek at Wooden Spoon Herb's powder recipe, I decided to add some ginger and cinnamon to my cup, along with the cocoa, turmeric, butter, and milk (no ashwagandha).

My first attempt was best described as sludgy, but it wasn't bad.  Later I adjusted my ratio of powders to milk, and then at work I got to try it with almond milk (a mix of sweetened and unsweetened almond milk).  That's where I found my sweet spot.

It's not for everyone, but I enjoy the earthiness, the savory and calming heaviness of the drink, and the process of building the drink and whisking it with my matcha whisk.  Also, I absolutely love butter and pretty much anything that contains it, so I was already predisposed to like this thing.

Have you tried golden cocoa?  Do you think you will?  What warm things have you been gravitating toward since the weathers become colder?

And some extra reading for your weekend...

Just interesting

Social issues

Design inspiration

Monday, October 29, 2018

Voting is hard, here's some help

by Heather Mount via Unsplash

I've heard the perspective that voting should be conducted by informed voters, and as much as I care about rights being defended, I agree with the sentiment.

This year I decided to be a thoughtful citizen and look up all the amendments and positions up for vote.  It's taken me roughly two weeks to put together a voting guide for myself, and I'm still not confident in some of my choices!  It's so hard to find the information I need to make the best decision for myself and my state, now I know why some people take the easy way out and vote for their party without digging into the details!

I'm discouraged by how difficult this has been for me, and I know it's even harder for others.  I work at a job where I'm on the computer for my entire day and I have a lot of free time to research issues and politicians.  Even with that privilege of access, this has been a real pain.

To help you help your state, I wanted to share the resources that have been most beneficial to me.

  • Ballotpedia is a good starting place for seeing who's up for voting and what their political background is.
  • Vote Smart has been a great way to get details on politicians.  The interface isn't as intuitive as it could be, but it allows you to see the position and voting records of the people running.
  • Vote Save America is a biased platform but helped me understand the amendments up for vote in a way no other place has by rewording the phrasing to be readable.
  • Empowrd is a mobile app that helps you stay connected with your representatives once they're in their political seats.

In my Georgia county, I have the opportunity to vote for 14 positions and 7 amendments.  Of those, there are only 3 people and 4 amendments I feel confident in my decision on.  For the rest, I'm going to try and vote well, but there's one other thing that makes voting hard - I don't believe it will make a difference.  Our governments are corrupt, our politicians are self-serving, and what good could a politician really do in 4 years anyway?

If there's one thing I've learned since becoming politically aware, it's that we can't depend on our governments to be the change we want to see.  That's up to us.  I regret that it took me so long to recognize this, but I finally believe that the greatest power is held at the citizen level.

By all means vote, but then be sure to act.

(And the people I'm confident to vote for?  Richard Woods (R, incumbent) for Superintendent of Schools, Ted Metz (L) for Governor, and Fred Swann (D) for Commissioner of Agriculture.  Join me, Georgia friends!)

Friday, October 19, 2018

Practical steps toward eco-consciousness

by Mert Guller

Did you know minimalism is eco-friendly?  The anti-consumerism mindset is one of my favorite things about the lifestyle, and this year I've picked up a couple new ways to practice.  These are low-barrier, low-cost ways to help the planet, and I hope you're inspired to try some of these out with me.

#1 No more straws
I got this one from Erin at Reading My Tea Leaves.  The girl actually has metal straws that she uses when they're absolutely needed, but they're rarely necessary, so why use them when you don't need to?  And those plastic cups?  Just keep a thermos in your car or bag.  I love how Starbucks and others encourage us to make eco-conscious choices by giving a small discount when you opt out of plastic.

#2 Reef-safe sunscreen
I'm excited Hawaii has prioritized reef-safe sunscreen, but don't think that just because you don't live on an island, your sunscreen has no effect on the environment.  Reef-safe sunscreen is important for everyone to use.  Watch this 11-minute documentary for the details.

Skin absorbs the hormones and such in sunscreen and the human body expels these things via urine. Nemo taught us all drains lead to the ocean, and during hurricane flooding, inland sewage reaches the ocean even faster and in higher concentration. Take a look at this visualization of the flooding on the Eastern American coast from this year's hurricane season.

I bought my first reef-safe sunscreen this month from Thinksport (which smells like fruit loops) but there are many options!

#3 Control the thermostat and automatic lights
This may be the natural first step toward loving the planet with your choices, but in case you don't already, turn off your motion lights and porch lights when you wake up.  Adjust your thermostat so it's not heating or cooling your home with no one there.  Wear cooler clothes or a sweater if you need that extra comfort instead of using extra electricity.

#4 Bar soap and shampoo
Why buy another plastic bottle when you can get your soap, shampoo, and conditioners in bar form?  You can get body soap almost anywhere, and if you're looking to try out bar shampoo, try Chagrin Valley, Apple Valley, or J.R. Liggetts.  (Each of these are produced in the USA and Apple Valley and J.R. Liggetts don't use any palm oil.  Chagrin Valley uses organic sustainable palm oil.)

#5 Secondhand shopping
 With so many options catering to different preferences, there's no reason left to not try out secondhand shopping.  Thredup, Poshmark, yard sales, Facebook marketplace, quirky consignment shops, and good ole Goodwill.  Start small if you need to, but take advantage of these resources.  Not only are you helping your local economy, but you're reducing the demand for new materials, a crucial first step to keeping stuff out of our landfills.

#6 Stretch goals
I haven't fully incorporate these habits yet, but these are things I want to do more of.  What else would you add to the list?
  • Use Amazon sparingly to cut down on transportation's carbon footprint.
  • Reduce international shipping and buy products made in my country.
  • Eat less meat and especially less beef.
  • Gift more food and experiences and less stuff.

What would happen if you started doing these things?  What conversations might come up with others who comment about your weird metal straw?  What if we're the early adopters and the rest of the world needs us to jump first?

Jump with me!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Faith deconstruction resources

Picture of a lonely church
by Adam Morse

 (I did expect to have published more posts this year than this, and I still hope to flesh out more of my series on social media, but before much more time goes by, I want to share this.)

Faith transitions are hard.  It's called a deconstruction by the community for a reason.  For most and for me, it's felt like a ruthless demolition of all I held dear.  When the walls started falling around me, I was terrified because I didn't know when it would end, if it would end, or what would be left standing.

I've talked with many who had to go to the very, very bottom before they saw any hope for a rebuilding phase, which then brought its own worries.  What if my new set of beliefs don't match up with anyone else's?  What if my church doesn't accept me?  What will my family think?

If you've had any of these questions, this post is for you.  You're not alone, there are tens of thousands of us wading in the murk, stretching out our hands to blindly feel for what we hope will bring clarity and comfort.  My own outstretched hands have been grasped by others pulling me upward to where I can see just a little better.  The community of searchers I've bumped into and the resources they've pointed me to have been a saving grace, and I want to share these things in case you need it, too.

(Last updated: November 2, 2018)

  • Come Sunday  :  the true story of a Charismatic pastor's changing theology
  • Silence  :   the true story of Jesuit missionaries trying to find God in Japan
  • I am Michael  :   the true story of a young gay man who transitioned to an anti-gay pastor
  • Bonus TV show  :  Queer Eye on Netflix  :  true stories of gay guys making the world a better place

  • Falling Upward  :  by Richard Rohr, about the 2 halves of life
  • Finding God in the Waves  :  by Mike McHargue, about his deconstruction story
  • The Bible Tells Me So  :  by Peter Enns, about making sense of the Bible
  • Inspired  :  book by Rachel Held Evans, about making sense of the Bible, but this time with more creativity

LGBTQ+ and Faith

Women in the Church resources

Enneagram resources

A little update on me - I am really happy with where my faith currently is.  The fear of not knowing has been shrinking fast this year, and I'm comfortable being in the in between.  There's not a common term for where I'm at, but I've used "agnostic Christian," "hopeful agnostic Christian," "progressive Christian," and I've joked saying I'm a "bad Christian."

If you'd asked 2010 Lindsay if 2018 Lindsay is a Christian, she'd probably say no.  I don't fit into the usual definition.  I don't think there's a literal hell, I don't believe the Bible is inerrant, I don't know if Adam and Eve were real people, and I don't really care either way.  What I care about is living like Jesus' example, caring about what He cares about, and bringing that goodness to the world more fully.  I hope there's some kind of reward at the end of all this, but even if the lights just go out at the end, bettering this world in the way Jesus did is how I've chosen to live.

I sometimes pray.  I sometimes read the Bible.  I love learning about the Bible and about what the authors really meant.  (I currently have 15+ pages of a paper I'm writing about how women should be teaching and preaching and leading in the church, and it's all based on research from the Bible, its history and the culture of the original audience.  If you're interested in seeing the final product, let me know.)

There are still some areas of tension, but most of them occur when I'm interacting with more traditional Christian ideas and the people who hold them.  Being different isn't easy, especially when religion is involved, and I'm uncomfortable in some church environments due to things the preacher may say or the song lyrics or the Sunday Morning Face™ I never liked.  (Does anyone like that?)

I'm glad to be where I am.  I'm glad I didn't throw it all away when my doubts came in pronounced.  I'd been brought by my schooling to believe that doubt was opposite of faith, but I've found that's not true.  Certainty is the opposite of faith.  Doubt is more than welcome to join the dance, and having doubt doesn't make you any less of a Christian, however you choose to define that term.

With love.

Friday, May 4, 2018

How to cull your social media feeds

Last we talked about social media, I touched on a few of the risks paired with living life on social.  I've had a smart phone for only 4 years, I've been on social for 8, and in that little bit of time I've fallen for many of the false promises social media offers.  I can't imagine growing up on smartphones and not having a framework for life without social media.  Just like with friends and ice cream, in order to enjoy social media best, you need healthy boundaries in place.

While it's possible to break from the norm and go off grid, it's not viable or even attractive to everyone.  I get value from the community and inspiration social media opens up to me, but since real life happens off grid, I want to spend as little time on my phone as possible.  My personal compromise is to carefully judge what I keep in my feeds.  If content is good for me, it stays.  If it’s bad or even neutral for me, it goes.  This lets me consume what brings me value while not wasting time on the filler stuff.

Here are some questions I ask myself as I determine which feeds to follow and which to skip:

  •  How does this content make me feel?  Does it ignite jealousy or unhealthy self criticism?  Do I find it delightful or encouraging?

  • How does this content make me think?  
Does it challenge me and encourage critical thinking?  Does it create an echo chamber?

  • Is this content redundant?  Do I need to follow this account and these twelve others?  Which ones are most worth my time?  Also, do I need to keep following this feed or have I already seen what they’re about?

  • What would change if I unfollow this account?  (Hint: if the answer is "nothing," it's not worth my time.)

What are you thinking?  What do these questions stir up for you?  And further - what effects have you noticed in your life from social media?  What questions would you add to the list?

If you want to keep Facebook around for Facebook messenger or because you want to look back on your photo albums, check out the News Feed Eradicator for Facebook.  You can still access all your friends’ material and add your own, but you won’t see the news feed on your home page.  You’ll only see what you intentionally seek out.

I also recommend checking out this Twitter thread for more thoughts on our social media behaviors and how to be a good human being when interacting with people through our screens.

I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on how you're using social media and how it's using you.  I often need to reevaluate every few months.  Each time, I find that flushing out the content that doesn't serve me encourages me to view what's left, what truly brings me value, with more appreciation.  I hope the same happens for you.


Keep an eye on this space.  More is coming to this social media series.  And please comment below about your thoughts, your journey, and your challenge to me to keep to my boundaries!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Recommended with April

I'm not sure you hang out with in real life, but if you're around any Southerners, you probably hear them complain about the back and forth spring weather every year.  But this year!  This year, it's been wilder than usual.  Chaco weather, then 30 degrees, then shorts and Chacos again, and back to "where's my parka?"  I've heard it better said that we're dealing with "global wierding" rather than "global warming," and I'm becoming more and more of a believer.

Anywhere, here's a peppy, fun, girl-power song to encourage the peppy, fun weather to stick around!  I found it on a Spotify playlist they put out on International Women's Day, and this song is more family friendly than these two others I came across on the playlist and can't stop listening to, either... they're just so catchy!  Anyway, I hope you like at least one of these (let me know in the comments!) and if not, check out the playlist to listen to women from around the world and find something new.

For starters, here is some beautiful and deep encouragement for your week.

This new system could help you read at crazy speeds.

Can't decide between two movies?  Try a blend of both!  Date Night Movies gives you a third option that finds the middle ground.  I think this app is brilliant.

It's a dramatic title, but it's not inaccurate.  Take a look at this post about how buying one thing can change ruin life.

Check out these retro posters for US national parks, I love them!  Remember the retro NASA posters, too?

I didn't get to see the Northern Lights when I was in Norway, but watching this video almost makes up for it.

There are a lot of things I'd recommend to every woman, but just one for now, get a bra that fits.  (Spoiler alert: you're probably not wearing a bra that fits right now.)

And your happy gif of the week: A dog waiting for the ice cream man

This lady started a lovely flower truck business in Nashville!  How charming.

No, this is the craziest birth story.  (told in Twitter thread format)

A delightful adventure to find a mysterious point on a map, told through Twitter.

Check out these beautiful floral creations.  Not quite the same as a flower truck, petals are used to create all kinds of beautiful scenes.  My favorites: FirebirdGeishaStag, and Quail Family.

Have a lovely weekend!