Monday, March 24, 2014

The Most Awesome Awesomeness the World Has To Offer

Hiya, Blogosphere! What's shakin'? Remember when I got all ambitious and started blogging recaps about my fave PBS shows (inquiring minds NEED to to know moi's thoughts on Downton, m'kay) and then totally stopped? Yeah. Sorry about that. I realize not reading my deep insights into Sherlock's latest derring do may have left a few of you bereft. (I kid.) Season 3 was just crazy by the way... um, no more psychological intrigue. Just case solving, please. And really no more face licking criminal masterminds. ew. But thanks for bringing back Moriarty. He's crazy smart/scary.

Okay, so, the awesome awesomeness.  I've got a backlog of AllTheDeepThoughtsandFeelings posts that require way too much thoughtful analysis to process coherently in written form at present, so I'm gonna jump back in with some newly rediscovered passions.  Brace yourself.  I'm a dynamo.


A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet: Southern Stories of Faith, Family, and Fifteen Pounds of Bacon by Sophie Hudson

"You may have picked up on the fact that I tend to operate at extremes. I'm either fighting my way through vehement opposition or trying to convince everybody I know that I have singlehandedly discovered the most awesome awesomeness the world has to offer," Sophie Hudson declares in her pitch-perfect memoir.  A mama/teacher blogger, Sophie caught my attention a few years ago, though she's been around awhile... like she's tight with Pioneer Woman and Beth Moore.  So basically, a member of the Christian Woman's earthly trinity.  What I loved about this book is the way she has a ear for family conversations.  Though hers is steeped in the South, all families have their peccadilloes.  This recalled conversation could have taken place, verbatim, in my Mamaw's den with the his and hers Lazy Boy recliners with protective towels covering the headrests:
 "Mama and Chox took care of most of the talking during our thirty-minute car ride, focusing primarily on a little conversational segment I like to refer to as People We Know Who Have Died.  The best part of  any People We Know Who Have Died conversation  (PWKWHD for short) is the inevitable constructive criticism/evaluation of the funeral service centering on.... people's funeral fashion choices....If you show up in jeans, I guess the good news is that they actually won't talk about you at all. Because as far as they're concerned, your ancestors are to blame for that one."

This writer is my lane of funny.  She deftly balances humor in her slice-of-life observations with honest poignancy.   When she includes Scripture to highlight a recollection, it doesn't feel forced.  She's the just-a-shade-of-a-season-ahead-of -you friend who shoots straight.  Highly recommend.

When Calls the Heart series by Janette Oke and Where Courage Leads
by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan

 I picked up this series after getting wrapped up in the TV series of the same name.  These stories are in the vein of Christy and Dr. Quinn.  I'm a premature Granny, I suppose, but I love 'em.  In fact, my new friend in Bible Study, who is probably in her late sixties to early seventies, is a fan. She's quite a spitfire, so maybe being a bit of a Granny's not the worst thing ever.  A little clean living, a dose of chaste romance, and a whole lot of sound theology is a good mix.  Sweet and fun.

This book, written 30 years later by the author and her grown daughter, is even better and the basis of the new Hallmark series.  The plot and dialogue are much more sophisticated and satisfying.  Another Lis must-read.

Austenland by Shannon Hale

I've already plugged the movie once in a short post, but I'll say if you like Austen, read this.  It's just fun.

The Honest Toddler: A Child's Guide to Parenting 
by Bunmi Laditan

HT (Honest Toddler) and his mama are straight up legit.  If I could build my own peer group of role models (Beth Moore), mentors (Sophie Hudson, PDub) and mama friends, Bumni Laditan would be in my playdate group. I love her "voice".

HT on "tantrums" or "loud responses" in HT approved language:

"Homework: Go to the grocery store with your child at five thirty P.M. When the loud response starts, scream, "EVERYONE SHUT UP, I NEED TO HELP MY CHILD." Then open four large bags of chips and a juice box. Let your child feast."

Since I just got each of my kids their own jumbo Panera chocolate chip cookie so I could enjoy my own bagel in peace and not share, and since my middle child will have a LOUD RESPONSE if I split a cookie, clearly I'm winning at this whole thing.

I read aloud a post of HT's to my husband at least once a week.  Check it out.

Did you know you can check books out for free?  Place holds online?  You can. There's this place called the library.  My county has terrific branches.  We've started stopping in about every week lately.  The librarians/media specialists are always in fancy hats leftover from storytime; they plan activities for all ages of the population; it's a thriving place.  I love a culture of learning.


When Calls the Heart series

I mentioned the book series above, so all I can say is: Mounties=swoon.  Dudes, I know you can't really ride in to literally save the day anymore.  But like Brad Paisley encourages, women want someone whose "still a guy."  I'm just sayin', there was a gentleman in my age range that I saw recently wearing THE SAME EXACT SHOES as me.  Granted, they were TOMS, and yes, obviously TOMS makes Men's and Women's shoes, but it was a wee bit of odd.  TOMS wearing men, not trying to question your manhood; just be sure to wear 'em with flannel.  No belt. Shirttail untucked.  Let's go for rugged or sophisticated, but please pick a lane.  I believe the wise Cher from Clueless said it best: "They thrown their greasy hair in a backwards hat and we're expected to swoon? As if."


What's in the Bible DVD series

Oh, I loved it.  You will not waste a cent on this.  If you take any of my suggestions, please take this one.  It is on the money and then some.  A three-year-old and a seminary student alike could learn something from this.  It's deep theology, bible history, and entertainment.  The entire series walks through the major points of the Bible in 13 DVDS.  I will be collecting them.  I think this is a great tool to come alongside parents trying to seize opportunities to show that the Bible is living and active and God is very much living and active in our world. Love, love, love this!  Perfect for the upcoming Easter season.


Back to the opening quote about going back and forth from "vehement opposition to... the most awesome awesomeness...."  That seems to sum up parenthood for me.   The vehement opposition would be all the energy-crushing repetitiveness and responsiblity that caring for little humans necessarily entails.  But the little moments of love: the most awesome awesomeness.  Today, we were finishing up one appointment with some time to kill before another.  In our little town, we could cross the grass to the drugstore to pick up some much needed kiddie toothpaste.  The dogwoods are in bloom; I'm holding my toddler's hand as the bigger two (okay, slightly bigger) walk in the store, and I think something like "I'm happy."  Of course, we enter sans buggy cart, one's beelined for the candy checkout, the other's jonesin' for a princess toothbrush and the toddler's thoughtfully rearranged the mouthwash section.  But.  I was happy.  The contentment of ordinary days.

Thanks for reading and holler if you take me up on any of these suggestions!

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