August Heart to Heart

I am still really struggling to admit it, but the truth remains, it is September. The struggle has been so real, its 11 days in to September🤦🏻‍♀️. August came and went in a big old blur.  Did it for you too? Though the cold mornings have been creeping in, I am not ready to trade my iced coffee for all the pumpkin things just yet. So I am going to tell you all about August from under a blanket while stubbornly sipping an ice cold coffee.

The Highs

Welcome to New Jersey

We had the best kind of busy this month with so many visitors!
First we welcomed some dear hoosier friends. We served alongside Conner in ministry a few years back and though Kristin has always felt like a great friend, this was the first time we were able to meet face to face!

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IMG_1105.JPGThe following weekend we had a sweet couple days with other dear friends from New Hampshire. We cherish every minute with Daniel and Natalie. They are the kind of people that make you feel right at home and let you breathe deep you know? They also the kind of people you have wacky pool competitions with.

Then to top it all of, we had the privilege of hosting miss Kinsley Marie after her first road trip! Mom, Dad, sister, brother, baby. My heart friends. Isn’t there something so sweet about sharing your places with the people you love who aren’t in that place with you? Does that even make sense? Regardless, it was so so good.

IMG_0785Not update update, she still loves her Uncle Bobby.IMG_0794
I dare you not to laugh at her mohawk, and the face though!IMG_5441
Her little legs never stop kicking out of the water, so you know she had a blast kicking away in the pool.

 She is the sweetest friends. Just a little love bug. But for the sake of authenticity, you know you cant always just get love and cuddles, sometimes you get a little bit of this mixed in.

Greetings from Michigan

At the end of the month we cashed in on an incredible Christmas gift from the Hubby’s parents with a week vacation to Lake Michigan. Stunning does not even cover it. We reconnected with family, we dreamed, we kayaked, we learned Euchre, and someone (me) bought a souvenir shirt that says “great lakes, unsalted and sharlkess.” yes, you are reading that right.

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The Lows

Hmm. . .

It was a busy month, but overall it was great. The one low I can think of seems to occur every year around the last week of August. An already wild and unstructured summer schedule seems to just go totally bonkers in that last week, anyone else? Honestly I get to the end of my rope with inconsistency by then so it feels like a punch to the gut. But if thats the worst thing August could throw at me I am in pretty good shape.

What I Read

 Hunger – Roxane Gay

I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I was because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe.

So many emotions over this one. Roxane tells her story with such jarring and beautiful honesty. She walks in the tension of having grace for her body, yet wanting to change, embracing her story and the struggles she faces because of it, but also seeking to overcome. Roxanne definitely doesn’t hand you easy answers, but sets you up well to think for yourself.

 Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

Lets not talk about how late I am to this party but OH MY GOSH THIS BOOK IS INSANE! I listened to it on audio, reached the first plot twist right before vacation and had to download it on my phone because I could not possibly wait a whole dang week. You know I watched the movie as soon as I finished! Get your hands on it for a captivating “for fun” read.

 The Boys in the Boat – Daniel James Brown

A synopsis from GoodReads “Daniel James Brown’s robust book tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.”

The whole family listened to this on audio on our drive to Michigan (Edward Herman, aka grandpa on Gilmore Girls is the reader, and I for one would listen to him read an encyclopedia, he was made for it!) Its engaging, heart wrenching, and inspiring. We were all reading to take up rowing when we got home.

 Why Not Me – Mindy Kaling

Okay, I am going to be honest and say I didn’t love it. I am all about championing powerful women, and I appreciate Mindy’s honesty in some places, but in a lot of places I just wasn’t on her humor page. Still love her though.

 Woman Code -Alisa Vitti

Ladies, there is just so much to learn about our bodies. This book
1. Made me FURIOUS at the way women’s issues are handled in our culture and by standard medicine.
2. Made me sad that it wasn’t until my 26th year of life (and therefore roughly my 14th year of menstruating) that I got my hands on this information, and
3. inspired and encouraged me to know more about my body and work with it instead of against it. (If this interests you, I also highly suggest Taking Charge of Your Fertility)

What I Watched

Black Mirror – Again Hubby and I are late to the party, but we finally watched Black Mirror. I like to describe it as a modern take on “The Twilight Zone ” (but I have a feeling I got that description from someone else). If you want to be horrified about the future, empowered to live in the woods somewhere off the grid, and really think deeply about issues in our society, this is just the ticket.

The Mayweather v. McGreggor Fight.
We watched it, it felt like a cultural necessity. It was more interesting than I was anticipating. That is all.

What I Listened To

Andrew Belle – Dive Deep
Andrew Belle dropped a new album, and hubby and I are digging it.

Some Things I Loved

Cold Brew Pitcher
With my love of cold java can you believe it took me this long to invest in one of these? I used to make cold brew by steeping the beans and water in a big bowl than used filters or a cheese cloth and it was so. much. mess and so. much. time. This thing is amazing.

What I am Looking Forward to

Routine

See “the lows.”

Back to school

I am taking a class this year and we kick off on the 16th. I always say my dream job would be to get paid to be a student, so you know I am counting down. The class is called Empower at Alliance Theological Seminary and it is specifically for women in the church. I feel like the timing could not be better for me and I just feel GOd moving in it deep in my bones.

All. The. TV.

Call me a loser, but I am STOKED for all our TV shows to return for the season.

Friday Finds 8.10.16

Happy Friday friends!
Today is an extra happy friday for me, since my family from Buffalo is invading New Jersey
as
we
speak!

Here is just a small taste of how I am feeling;

Anywho, how about some links for your weekend?

  1. Are you interested in being encouraged, challenged, surprised? This podcast had me thinking about some unhealthy habits I have picked up in thinking they were healthy/helpful. Seriously, listen to this.
  2. Want to know what hell is for your personality type? Mine was spot on.
  3. Anyone out there know how to code and want to hook a girl up?
  4. Wait, what? Check this clever idea for tomato sauce (yum).
  5. Have an off shoulder top, but hate the constant tugging back in place? Try this hack and thank me later.
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Friday Finds 7.28.17

By the time this posts hits your eyes, I will be enjoying a day off on the beach.
Oh sweet Friday. Sweet, sweet summer.

How was your week? See anything worthwhile?

I did:

  1. A dear friend encouraged me to give this sermon a listen, I am so glad I did.
  2. “Oh the overwhelming, never ending, reckless love…”
  3. I cant wait to try this yogurt, who knew it could be so easy to DIY!
  4. Perfect total body workout for when you might have hit snooze a few too many times (like me, every. day. this. week.)
  5. So true.

 

Photo by Ethan Robertson on Unsplash

Bobby’s World: Heroes – CS Lewis

I present to you Bobby’s World, monthly musings from the one and only Hubby!  Its been a while, but a few months ago he introduced us to his Hero series. Check it out here is you want a little refresher.


 

The Apostle to the Skeptics

If there was one person I could meet up with and have an hour long conversation over a cup of coffee, it would be C.S. Lewis.

Now, let me be clear. Lewis would be drinking tea, not coffee. His habit for smoking a pipe would be frowned upon by whatever local coffeeshop I suggested, and we would be thrown out. And he would probably reject the invitation of going out in the first place, unless it was to The Eagle and Child pub for a strong pint, poetry recitations and some story-telling.

If you have never heard of the great C.S. Lewis, you’re not alone. The Montclair Library has not heard of him either. However, you may be more familiar with his most popular mainstream piece of children’s literature, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe which is part of the larger fantasy series known as The Chronicles of Narnia.

I’m actually kind of glad that I don’t have the opportunity to meet Mr. Lewis, because I would lose my mind and probably fall apart in front of him, providing him with ample writing material for a small, foolish character in his next book (which upon second thought would be awesome). Think Leslie Knope meeting Joe Biden… then cube it. I have this guy’s poster in my classroom, his headshot reigns on both my school Google account and classroom Twitter account, I consistently Google search “cs lewis reenactments near me” and I have a pair of Narnia-character patterned pajamas. (Ok, I don’t actually have those pajamas, but only because they don’t exist… yet. I am not above that).

So how in the world am I going to sufficiently explain my admiration for a hero of such personal magnitude? The short answer: I’m not, because I can’t. But regardless, my hope is that you walk away knowing a bit more about me by knowing a bit more about Lewis, and that you learn a bit more about yourself.

Clive Staples Lewis was born in Ireland at the turn of the 20th century. Called “plain Jack” by his friends, Lewis was anything but ordinary, with his wild imagination and tall tales that he and his brother created in their childhood. His mother died when he was ten years old, and actually became an emotional source for his agnosticism and later atheism. His father shipped him off to England to receive a proper education through various boarding schools, and therefore we remember Lewis as being “English” when in actuality he was “Irish” and identified himself as such. He would never forgive his father for shipping him off to foreign England after his mother’s death, and their relationship would be somewhat estranged up to his father’s passing.

Lewis excelled in school and eventually landed himself a scholarship to Oxford, but was soon conscripted into the British army during WWI. He would be wounded on the frontline, which would lead to depression and homesickness, and Lewis would soon be discharged and sent back to Oxford. There, he flexed his intellectual muscle in philosophy, Greek and Latin literature, ancient history and general English. Noticeably gifted, he was hired in an adjunct role for a year at Oxford, and then offered a full-time position the following year. He would teach English Literature for the next 29 years as an Oxford Fellow and Tutor.

During his early years at Oxford, C. S. Lewis would develop friendships that would alter his life, namely J. R. R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. A devout Catholic, Tolkien would play a vital role in leading Lewis to becoming a Christian and developing an intellectually strong faith. Lewis would also enjoy the friendship and support of a literary circle known as the Inklings. A collective of fantasy authors, the Inklings would gather at the local pub every Tuesday to recite old poetry and read their own original work for collegial constructive criticism. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to have been surrounded by the likes of Lewis, Tolkien, Owen Barfield and Charles Williams, as they discussed ideas, told stories and debated concepts as a group of friends.

Lewis’ teaching career provided him the time and financial support to engage in his love of writing and storytelling. Though best known for his The Chronicles of Narnia series, which are a lot of fun and worth reading, Lewis cranked out a slew of strong works over the course of his life. Some of these include:

  • Screwtape Letters – A fictional story that centers around the one-sided conversation of an elder demon attempting to guide his demon nephew in how to lead a young man’s soul to damnation.

 

  • The Great Divorce – A fictional story about a busload of citizens from Hell who get to experience Heaven, and are quite surprised and sometimes upset by what they find.
  • The Space Trilogy – A powerful, Sci-Fi adventure tale makes the reader ask questions about mankind and human nature from the outside perspective from inhabitants of other planets.
  • Mere Christianity – Originally written for BBC radio broadcasts during WWII, these talks were converted into a book that discusses why Christianity makes sense and offers easy to understand apologetics for the skeptic to consider.

 

Perhaps one of Lewis’ shortest works, A Grief Observed, was one of his greatest triumphs. Originally released under a pseudonym, Lewis recorded his experiences and internal turmoil in the aftermath of his wife’s death. They had been married for roughly four years late in Lewis’ life, and her death came as quite a blow to Lewis. A Grief Observed chronicles his grief, his wrestling with God, and his process of coming to terms with his own selfishness and emotional needs. Ironically, some of Lewis’ friends suggested the book to him as a way of processing his loss, not knowing it was he who had written it.

Lewis lived a full life, and it came to an end on November 22, 1963, the same day of the Kennedy assassination. (Interesting fact though, Lewis was technically declared dead earlier that July when he passed into a coma on a hospital bed. He awoke to the surprise of his doctors, checked himself out and enjoyed some beers later that evening with friends).  

 

So why is this dead author my hero?

More than any other author I’ve read, I’ve always felt like C. S. Lewis “got me,” as if he knew me and was writing to me personally. It’s just something about his approach to writing that is so attractive and seems to connect with me. His logical arguments are presented through such palatable means: fairy tales, fictional stories and some of the most incredible analogies that make perfect sense. In fact, one of my favorite things about Lewis is that he has an extraordinary ability to take something complex and confusing, and explain it in such simple and clear terms. That has to be the teacher in Lewis, and our shared profession also probably makes me like him all the more.

I’m a bit embarrassed to say this, but if I am honest, I’m in awe of his intelligence and its influence on his faith. For better or worse, I’ve always been swayed and won over by the intelligentsia in the room, and C. S. Lewis takes the day. The man was brilliant, and he left a legacy that has supported a strong, reasonable faith. Nicknamed “the Apostle to the Skeptics,” he appeals to the common sense and reason of those who doubt or oppose God’s existence, and offers incredible insight and logic as to why they should reconsider their views, as he did. For a Christian, intuitive-thinker (NT) as myself, Lewis writes with a bold and powerful intellect, and ultimately champions a faith that is strong, reasonable and right. It was once said best…

“Lewis, perhaps more than any other twentieth century writer, forced those who listened to him and read his works to come to terms with their own philosophical presuppositions.”

But C. S. Lewis does not only appeal to the mind, but to the heart as well. At the end of the day, the strongest reason why Lewis is my hero is because whenever I read any of his works, it makes me want to love God more. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at Barnes & Noble reading one of his books and I have to put it down and say to Megan, “This guy makes me want to follow Jesus more closely.” Without fail, when I read Lewis, I am moved to love God more deeply, pray more often and live with greater awareness of eternity. Do you have a friend who, when you’re done hanging out with them, makes you want to be a better person or go achieve something great? For me, that is C. S. Lewis, and even reading just a quote of his has the effect of pushing me closer to Jesus Christ.

Speaking of quotes, Lewis is king. I would suggest perusing over here… at your own leisure just to see what I’m talking about. The guy sure can spit a strong one-liner. If you like what you see, I would recommend following some of his fan-based Twitter personalities.

Another suggested link that I stumbled across is a Youtube channel that is devoted to adding time-lapsed sketch art to readings of some of C. S. Lewis’ works. “CS Lewis Doodle is the title of the Youtube channel and it is incredibly helpful to see someone supplement Lewis’ words with engaging artwork. Nerd moment… I like to take my lunch break everyday at school by watching one of the videos while I eat. They’re short enough (10-15 minutes) that I can handle one or two as a great way to have a thinking, reflective and restful lunch. If you’re a Lewisian disciple, you need to check it out. If you’re not there yet, you need to check it out.

As I was thinking how to close this out, I felt it would be appropriate to quickly list and briefly highlight some other heroes of mine that I look up to for similar reasons as Lewis. Maybe you’ll be interested to check them out as well, or maybe you already look up to them!

  • J. R. R. Tolkien – Pioneer of medieval high-fantasy, Tolkien gifted the world with another world: Middle Earth. His works The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and a host of others really laid a great deal of foundation for the fantasy world. Game of Thrones owes him a nod of appreciation.
  • G. K. Chesterton – Famous Christian apologist and jack-of-all-trades with regard to academia, Chesterton gave the world his powerful work Orthodoxy and was the second voice that shaped Lewis, (Tolkien being the first). If you read Lewis, know that Lewis read Chesterton. (He was specifically shaped by The Everlasting Man).
  • Andrew Wilson – Teaching pastor at King’s Church in London. Introduced to me by a very close friend (to who I am eternally grateful!), Andrew Wilson essentially shaped and formed a great deal of my theology over the last three years through his sermons and writings on a blog that he contributes to; www.thinktheology.co.uk. Ridiculously bright, strong in reasoning, cordial in disagreement. And the only time I met him, he complimented Megan’s glasses. What a guy.
  • Jon Tyson – Lead pastor of Trinity Grace Church in NYC, the Australian native theologian and pastor is a recent addition to bright, humble, Christian thinkers that I look up to. He’s included here because of his genuine love of people and deep, nuanced thoughts on how to reach a city and a nation with God’s love. I’d recommend listening to his story at http://citycollective.org/podcast .

Who are your heroes? Who do you look up to? If you could sit down for a conversation with one person, who would it be? What do you think your choice says about you?

 

It is good to have heroes, and perhaps C. S. Lewis said it best when he wrote, “Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.”

 

*Next Hero Hint… This hero of mine married his high school sweetheart, currently resides in Philadelphia, and earned the nickname “The Kingmaker.”

Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash

Friday Finds 7.21.17

Hey hey friends. Friday is upon us. Hubby and I are attending a conference in Massachusetts. I am looking forward to some fun time with friends.

What do you have going on this fine weekend?

A few things from the web:

  1. *scratches head with a puzzled look, but also considers this may be very good.
  2. Count me in.
  3. As I am now an expert mover, I can say with confidence, this is a helpful question (for moving or just de-clutter-ing).
  4. I tried to watch What the Health, and at the risk of being controversial, I was pretty bothered by some of the claims they made. So I will just leave this here (and this if you want a bit more humor and don’t mind some choice language).
  5. Feeling all kinds of convicted.
  6. oh yeah, and if your still waiting, go buy the things.

Friday Finds 7.14.17

Happy Friday friends!

Today is a special day, it is indeed mine & Hubby’s 5 year anniversary.

Its incredible how fast the time goes by. Keep an eye out on Monday for some musings on our nuptials.

For now lets do our Friday thing and share some finds from the web,

  1. If you follow my social media, you have already seen my sister-in-laws amazing apparel and hopefully already snagged something, if not, what are you waiting for?
  2. Love him or hate him, Rob Bell had me really thinking about some things on the Liturgist Podcast this week.
  3. Speaking of marriage
  4. & a little laugh for those not married.
  5. Oh the giggle that would be had if you could only see my attempt at that roll

Friday Finds 7.7.17

Happy Friday folks! It’s the freaking weekend and though it was a super short week with the holiday, I am pumped for some r&r at the beach with my sisters in law!

Saved By The Bell GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

What are you up to?

A few links for your clicking pleasure:

  1. Keep not quitting: holding fast in the face of the storms and the silence and the sorrow is its own sort of victory.”
  2. You already know how much I love Chance, his Tiny Desk concert had me fangirling so hard.
  3. A little craft project going on my to do list.
  4. How to create little readers.