It’s taken me longer than usual to break through the fog that settled over me at the tail end of 2022. That sounds a lot more dramatic than it is; everything is fine here (physically, mentally, spiritually—all is well), but the shift from 2022 mindset into 2023 vibe is taking its sweet time. I don’t know that I can articulate what I mean by that, other than I usually hit the ground running at the start of January, and this year I seem to be moseying into the new year instead. We will see how that bodes for the rest of 2023. In the meantime, a monthly recap.
In contrast to my mindset and moods, my reading this year is off to a great start! I read SEVERAL 5-star books this month, including this heartwarming found-family story (that left me itching to adopt an unconventional pet), this riveting mystery with a time travel element, and this beautiful and powerful epistolary memoir. I loved revisiting this childhood favorite with Charleston and really enjoyed listening to this novel that was penned and read by a beloved audiobook narrator. Stay tuned for full reviews of these books in an upcoming Quick Lit post.
I don’t do much online article reading these days, but I read a couple of posts this month that were too powerful not to share:
Christian Word of the Year: Winsome, from Stephen McAlpine “Christians, well-meaning Christians, who want to be viewed as winsome in the public square, and are reading through their notes carefully before they go up to the public podium, are finding that their problem is not in their delivery, it’s not in their word choice, it’s not even in their body language. No, it’s in their actual beliefs.”
On the Changing of the Dictionaries, from Tim Challies “In our society self-definition is considered unassailable so that a person’s individual defining of a word must reign over a dictionary’s. A dictionary can suggest, but it is the individual who determines.”
I listened to a number of AMAZING podcasts this month. Here are some of my favorites you might enjoy, too.
Verity by Phylicia Masonheimer — 095 | How Do I Know I’m Interpreting the Bible Correctly?
Focus on the Family — Discovering the Power of One
Ministry Strong with Lisa Whittle — Crisis and Comeback
That Sounds Fun with Annie F. Downs — Episode 429: John Mark Comer on Spiritual Formation
Relatable with Allie Beth Stuckey — Ep 736 | How to Love Your Job & Find Your Calling | Guest: Jordan Raynor
Focus on the Family — Letting Go of Offenses
John Mark Comer Teachings — Can We Trust the Bible ? | Scripture E1 (The subsequent episodes in this series have been excellent as well.)
The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast — CNLP 546 | Mark Sayers on Future Cultural Disruption, The Church in Ten Years, The Overton Window and How to Cultivate a Non-Anxious Presence In the Midst of It All
Raising Boys and Girls — S5, E17: Madeline Levine, PhD
10 Things to Tell You — Ep 157: True Crime as Entertainment (A Victim’s Story with Amy B. Chesler)
The Candace Cameron Bure Podcast — The Spirit of God Changes How We Live
Rule of Life — Prayer: Talking With God
+ After learning about Goodwill/thrift stores and how their prices are lower than items at traditional stores. “Oh, cool, so they sell things other people don’t want. Do they have food? We could buy our groceries there.”
+ “Why do they call a search party a ‘party’ if it’s for something sad?”
+ “Why does the word tsunami have a t at the beginning? Whoever made that word needs to go to school again”
+ “Mom! I am white and you are white. We need to be pink. And purple! And you can be blue too.”
+ “Daddy, come fast! Arlo throwed! He throwed!” (When Arlo threw up in our living room.)
+ “My feet are not old. I’m not a big kid yet. When our feet get older, we get to be big kids.”
+ Responding to Kali, who was saying I was a mean mommy: “She’s not mean. I love her!”
+ While going to the bathroom: “You can’t come in here, Kalinda, I’m privacy-ing.”
HAPPENINGS & HIGHLIGHTS
A few days into January, Charleston overheard me telling a friend that “we didn’t do anything” for New Year’s and he was VERY offended because Charleston, Luke, and I *did* have a very small celebration that to his young mind was significant. We let Charleston stay up until 10:00, played board games, dug into our gingerbread house, counted down to faux midnight (9:00), and toasted with sparkling cider. I love that this was special for Charleston and that I spent actual midnight as I always do: on our front porch, by myself, watching the neighborhood fireworks and praying over the year ahead while my family slept.
Charleston turned EIGHT this month! I had a mini meltdown a few days after his birthday when reading an activity calendar that labeled kids age 8-12 as tweens. How is it that I am now mom to a tween?! As sad as it is that he’s growing up way too quickly, I’m glad he had a great birthday. Charleston was born at 1:43 in the morning and wanted to be woken up at that time to recognize his official transition to 8—and I did wake him, though he was a little too groggy to appreciate it. He woke up bright and early the following morning, though, and came into my bedroom wearing a huge smile and last year’s birthday shirt. When I told him the shirt was too small, he looked stricken. . . but I came through with a brand new birthday shirt surprise (phew!). We went out for donuts as a family, then came home for presents, play time, and a Face Time call with my parents.
After having Charleston’s choice for lunch (he asked for oatmeal) we all headed to Indigo Play for his party. He was so excited that his party could be on his actual birthday this year! (He didn’t realize—and I didn’t point out—that having his party and actual birthday celebrations consolidated into one day meant he got less birthday goodness.) And despite several last minute party cancelations and no-shows, we still had a great time with family and friends. Afterwards we came back to our house for pizza and round two of presents with Luke’s parents and sister. Charleston’s excitement throughout the day, and his siblings’ shared enthusiasm for his celebrations, was so precious.
We had another family birthday this past weekend: our Arlo pup turned five years old! It’s hard to believe he’s been part of our family for so long. He is a wonderful dog—easygoing but playful, and great with the kids. True, he’s Luke’s shadow and wants little to do with me, but I try not to take it too personally. We all love him, are thankful for five great years, and look forward to many more!
ICYMI: JANUARY ON THE BLOG
JUST FOR FUN
28 Lists to Consider Keeping in the New Year
LIFE AND FAITH
Faithful in 2023 “In fact, all of history and the entirety of the Bible is a testament to our very Faithful God and His unwavering, incessant devotion to His children. His faithfulness holds up to the harshest scrutiny. It serves as the undergirding for our own ability to have faith in Him.“
Stumbling Backwards (January Verse—Hebrews 10:19-25) “In this backwards stumbling, though, we can find hope and confidence in knowing that we are not alone. The Lord is walking beside us, and as the author of time and One who transcends its boundaries, He is facing both backwards and forwards, to past and future and present too.”
Charleston Michael 🙂 Eight, and Totally Great! “What do you think will be different about the world when you grow up?It won’t be 2023. Haha, actually it will, because you grow up every single microsecond, so it will still be 2023 when I grow up.“
Trading It Out “My feelings matter, but so do my thoughts. And the way I think about my feelings and experiences matters most of all. A quick mental shift from negative to positive has the power to totally alter the tone of my day and my mood. It takes the focus off of me and my shortcomings (that’s shame) or martyred moments (when my pride makes an ugly appearance) and shifts my gaze towards truths that are good, beautiful, and much more honoring to God. Changing the way I view my circumstances enables me to make the most of my time, be it blissful or overwhelming.”
Faithful 01.23 “I recently heard a pastor say that God delivers his faithfulness in divinely measured and timely doses. He works on His own timeline, offering just what we need and at just the right time. In the past, He has spoken to me through routine; this year, He is demonstrating His faithfulness as I learn to approach Him with less rigidity.”
Bookish Superlatives from My Reading Life in 2022
“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. When life is bitter, say thank you and grow.” ~ Shauna Niequist
“It is never irrational for us to put our hand in the hand of God. In fact, it is the only rational choice for us, considering our vantage point in life.” – David Kinlaw
“The real things haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.” ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder
How was your January? Hopefully it was a strong start to this new year; if not . . . well, this year still has eleven months to redeem itself. Either way, it’s a win!