Pondering (and What I'm Trying Not to Ponder)

photo (46) We've had two days in a row where I can taste fall. We've opened the windows to air the house out, and I can't get over how clean it all smells. The night before the first one, I suddenly just felt like I couldn't do it anymore. I felt like our days had become so mundane, and with Liam's virus and the general fatigue that created, I just felt lost. The next morning, the autumn air jerked me out of myself. It was the perfect refreshment, and I am so thankful.

I was sitting on the porch blowing bubbles with Liam yesterday and trying to clear my mind. I wanted to stop my constant inner writing. But even while I was attempting this, I was thinking about writing about it. Ugh.

So in an effort to free myself, I wanted to share with you the thoughts that are running in circles through my head. Please feel free to chime in! I'd love to hear what you think.

1. Tiny Houses 

When am I not thinking about tiny houses!? Liam and I watched the documentary Tiny in fits and spurts over the last two days. I loved it (and he loved the occasional dog or cat or chicken in the film).

First, I liked how the project built Christopher's maturity. I love how Christopher's girlfriend, Merete, talks about how this project will mature him by forcing him to think through what he wants. His mom mentions this, as well, and explains how a project of this size will change him. I've been thinking about the concept of maturity a lot lately. One woman in the film says that building her tiny house was the hardest thing she ever did. I so admire these people, and I think back to the hardest thing I ever did--delivering and then caring for a baby. Attempting and completing a project bigger than ourselves changes us and matures us tremendously. I want to always be dreaming and completing.


Second, I find it interesting that these tiny houses are so beautiful inside. The real wood walls make our own painted walls look cheap in comparison. And the kitchens are lovely. It's one of the main principles of minimalism to have less but have the best. This appeals to me on so many levels, and I wonder what it would be like to live knowing you crafted your home and crafted it so exquisitely.

Lastly, I love the way the documentary ends with a message about starting where you are. It makes me think through how to keep beauty around us while getting rid of excess. I still am not sure how this looks in my life. I do hate having so much space to keep clean!

However, as I admitted last week, I do love having the space a house provides. We don't have a huge house, but it definitely feels big after living in apartments.

Though our current house isn't that big, I do love having space to comfortably have friends over, and I dream about using our sunroom for homeschooling one day. With kids, it seems nice to have a house with space. After all, I want our kids to be able to bring their friends over and to want to spend time here. I love having a guest room so family and friends can visit. I know these things aren't necessary, and we would be okay if we couldn't live in a house, but I do like it. Is this just part of my materialistic side?

I highly recommend the documentary. It will give you a lot to think about and maybe a new perspective.

Also I need your help! At one point, Christopher's family brings up the economy and talks about how if people stop buying so much then jobs will be lost. I've heard this reasoning before, but do you know of any good books/resources that explain this in more detail and offer a solution? 

2. Modern vs. Classic Novels

Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy wrote an interesting post about why she sometimes needs to read an older novel after reading so much modern literature. I love her point that older novels have more layers of complexity that often take multiple readings to unfold.

In addition to Anne's theory that part of this need for older fiction has to do with complexity, I also think that it has to do with cultural artifacts. In Hold On to Your Kidsthe authors write:

Culture, until recently, was always handed down vertically, from generation to generation. For millennia, wrote Joseph Campbell, "the youth have been educated and the aged rendered wise" through the study, experience, and understanding of traditional cultural forms...Essential to any culture are its customs, its music, its dress, its celebrations, its stories." (9-10).

They explain that culture now is transmitted horizontally (from peer to peer), and this has some dangerous consequences. Up until fifty or sixty years ago, the older people in a society passed on wisdom to the young through stories, music, and rituals. When we open an old book, we get those years of wisdom we may not find in a modern work.

IMG_9082Like Anne, I only recently started reading modern fiction. I had to force myself to take a Contemporary Lit class in college because I was overwhelmed by where to start but knew that I should keep up with modern fiction as a teacher. Current literature is excellent, but there is something in me that longs for a Classic after too much modern literature. I've recently started Bronte's Shirley, but I have to admit, I'm not used to having to force myself to get into a novel (with most modern literature, the author pulls you in quickly!).

3. Gates and Reading

Sarah Bessey wrote the best post on choosing carefully what we see. I always struggle with how to think through this, but I love how she applies grace. She talks about how our eyes and ears are gates and we must guard them--not in a legalistic way--but in a way that leads to our wholeness.

My favorite part of this article is quoted below:

It’s funny how much I’ve tried to pretend that I’m beyond being influenced. Like I’m supposed to be so past it, so over it, that it doesn’t bother me or impact me. Like what I listen to or watch doesn’t affect what I think and how I speak and how I move through my life, how I view humanity and violence, sex and God [...]

Guard your gates now means that we get to decide who influences us – how we think, how we feel, what we do.

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It makes me think about how I don't always struggle with obvious books or articles. Sometimes, I pick up a book and know it will make me feel guilty or overwhelmed (in a bad way--which is different from conviction which I often do need). This is hard to put into words exactly, but have you ever known that reading a new book will change your thinking negatively or disrupt where you are in a bad way? Recently I started a book about simpler living, but it made me feel like I needed to overhaul our entire lives, which isn't where we need to be right now.

4. Regional Writing

We talk about shopping local, and in "Viral Blogs Posts or Local Liturgy," Seth Haines writes about writing for your local area. It has given me a lot to think about, particularly in light of this post about authenticity and blogging. I want to make sure I am the same person here that I am in real life. I also want to consider what it looks like to have my local community--my place and people--figure into my writing and what it looks like to have my writing be located here and for the people here. 

5. Fingerprint Words 

This article was fascinating! What words have you found that you have either picked up or had stolen? I remember thinking a particular friend was so old-fashioned for using the word "bizarre." Now I use it almost every day. But I'm not sure I heard her use it at all when we talked recently.

And what I'm trying not to ponder? I made the mistake (as a somewhat germophobic person) of reading this article from Real Simple about the cleanliness (or lack thereof) of the air in our homes. I feel that if I tried to maintain the level of cleanliness that would prevent us from dying of gross indoor air, I would die of exhaustion. But I'm still pondering it... or trying not to.

Please tell me what you're thinking about any of the above!

As always, thank you for reading, and feel free to check out Raising Kids These Days. The posts this week were about toys and how I stopped feeling guilty over the fact that my son didn't have a bedtime. And I always do weekly links.