The Good Things of August
Albums, Indigenous Canada course, Change Your Life Chicken, Flowers, Podcasts, A Time Lord and so much more.
Hello my friends:
It’s time for our monthly round-up of a few good things to enjoy. Chief among mine is that our eldest daughter just turned fourteen. Fourteen! Many of you have been with me since my old blogging days when she was just a tiny wee thing and now here she is starting high school and six feet tall. I ask you, who gave her permission?
She’s just the best girl in the world and I’m so grateful to her mum. We celebrated with a little family-bubble party with my parents yesterday which was a nice bit of joy in what has been a rather heavy season. We baked a cake, we took pictures in the backyard, we prayed over her as we gathered around our kitchen table, made her try on her new clothes for a fashion show (how is that all my ‘93-era fashions are now so in style! Who knew I was supposed to hold onto mom jeans and corduroy?), and celebrated her thoroughly.
It is such a discipline to practice goodness in these days, isn’t it? And when I say “practice goodness,” I certainly don’t mean “stick your head in the sand” or “ignore everything that makes me sad, boo-hoo.” No, I mean that we are connected, we are engaged, we are co-creating justice and goodness with God in this tired world, AND in order to sustain that engagement, we also make room to practice and notice the good things that help us out, open us up, heal us, bring us joy and rest.
So in that spirit, once a month I like to share the small - and not so small - good things helping me out right now and then open up the floor for you to share yours in the comments.
P.S. Books aren’t on this list because this email is already too long. Books come separate. You can click here to check those out.
Listening to new albums straight through
New albums from Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Kathleen Edwards, Brandy, Alanis Morisette and The Chicks all in the span of a moment? YES PLEASE.
I don’t usually listen to a lot of music, to be honest. As an introvert who is parenting four VERY talkative children and married to an extrovert, I often prefer silence when I’m on my own. I mean, I like music but I’m not INTO IT.
But this summer, I’ve found that turning on an album in the evening and listening straight through, properly, like we used to do (am I showing my age?) has been actually quite lovely and helped me to better appreciate it. It’s moved the art from “background noise” to a real experience. Since the pandemic began, I’ve had a harder time reading in the evenings with feeling rather exhausted and worn out physically so listening to music quietly has actually been quite nice. I can listen with my ear buds out on the deck while I watch the sunset or for a few moments while everyone else is engaged elsewhere.
^^^ Me, listening to Tay-Tay.
This free e-course called Indigenous Canada
Dan Levy (you all KNOW my great and unreasonable love for Schitt’s Creek) recently shared on Twitter about this amazing educational opportunity being offered by the University of Alberta called Indigenous Canada. I immediately signed up and I’m already progressing through the work.
It’s a go-at-your-own-pace twelve week entirely online course that you can take for free, pay money for a certificate, or pay full tuition for course credit. (If you can pay for it, please do. It takes so much energy, planning, and time to put together courses like this.) From the website: “From an Indigenous perspective, this course explores key issues facing Indigenous peoples today from a historical and critical perspective highlighting national and local Indigenous-settler relations. Topics covered include the fur trade and other exchange relationships, Land claims and environmental impacts, Legal systems and rights, Political conflicts and alliances, Indigenous political activism, and Contemporary Indigenous life, art and its expressions.”
If you’re Canadian (or even if you’re not!), I hope you’ll get signed up and paid up and take the course with me and thousands of others. I’ve learned so much the past few years that I’ve been engaged with decolonizing my faith and this is such a wonderful accessible opportunity for all of us.
Swimming In Lakes
A Conversation with The Allender Center
I sat down with Dr. Dan Allender and Rachael Clinton Chen to have a conversation about my book Miracles and Other Reasonable Things along with my own story and engagement with trauma, and the ways in which I’m learning to embody faith, hope, and love while holding the tension of being human. I hope it serves you well! Here’s the link to listen or just search for The Allender Center podcast in your podcast app and look for my episode there.
I’ve also recently appeared on:
The Good List with Tsh Oxenreider to tell her one good things right now (hint: it’s a mantra helping me get through this weird time),
10 Things to Tell You with Laura Tremaine (who happens to be a very dear real-life friend) to talk about what we’re reading right now,
and just in case you missed it, I was also the resident Enneagram 9 in Jen Hatmaker’s popular Enneagram series at her podcast For the Love. Come for the Enneagram, stay for two friends cackling and chatting.
I just love saying that over and over. Jesús Feminista! Jesús Feminista! Jesús Feminista! Yes, the little yellow book has been translated into Spanish and now widely available. If you know someone who is a Spanish-speaker, I hope this is a blessing to them. Also, isn’t that new cover SO pretty? Here’s the link.
Fresh Flowers in the House
My husband dug up our front yard last year and planted a gorgeous flower garden, now we are reaping the rewards of his efforts. Our front yard is a riot of cosmos, dahlias, snap dragons, and sweet peas. The marigolds are coming up now. It has made me ridiculously happy to go outside and snip a few flowers every couple of days and then stuff them into a jam jar on the kitchen table. I cannot tell you how happy this small thing has been making me.
Doctor Who Initiation Rites For Children
Most of you know that I’m a slobbery fan girl for Doctor Who, the long-running BBC tv show about time and space. I even wrote a “beginner’s guide” ages ago … which I really should dust off and republish sometime. (Ha!) Anyway, we have established a tradition that when our kids are going into grade four, they can join us in watching Doctor Who. (We’ve found that’s a good age for our kids but yours may be different so don’t take that as a blanket statement, true for all circumstances.)
Our third child, Evelynn is headed into grade four this fall and you cannot underestimate her joy at FINALLY being allowed to join in the Whoniverse with us. She literally wears a brown trench coat and a necktie while she watches it like she invented cosplay. Our older two kids are her guides and every evening we watch one or two (sometimes three) episodes. It’s been a nice way for them to bond, too.
She’s almost through the Tenth Doctor’s tenure and so your thoughts and prayers are appreciated for her at this time. It has been such a fun family thing for us this summer and my love for this silly and profound programmed deepens even though this is my fourth straight-through never-skipping-an-episode rewatch.
Speaking of good shows to watch with your kids, we all loved The Baby-sitter’s Club on Netflix. It’s been updated so beautifully without losing the core things us girls of the 80s and 90s loved about the books.
Hockey is Back
I am just loving the new format for the playoffs - it’s like March Madness for hockey. And of course, my teams are the Boston Bruins and the Calgary Flames. I’m just a happier person when there is hockey on the tv. If you’re watching the playoffs, who are you cheering for? Also, THANK YOU BABY JESUS that Elliotte Friedman finally shaved off his pandemic beard, good gravy. There were mice living in there, right?
New Evolving Faith Podcast episodes!
We’ve had so many amazing episodes of the podcast since I last mentioned it to you. I think Jeff and I are finally getting the hang of this and relaxing into it a bit more. (I think?) If you haven’t listened yet, you can search for The Evolving Faith Podcast in your podcast apps and just start listening but here are the latest ones:
Change Your Life Chicken
I’m late to The Lazy Genius way of things but after reading Kendra’s book (I was genuinely happy to endorse it), I’ve been converted to her methods for adulting AND to this signature recipe.
Change Your Life chicken is a great, quick, family meal with minimal clean up I will make again and again (and again). Here’s the recipe.
Your Comments On This Post
When I read Stephanie’s question about moving out of survival mode, I knew this community of readers would be a good friend to her. And even knowing that, I was so blessed by your comments. Your ideas, encouragement, practices, tips, links and hacks were a treasure trove for so many of us. Seriously, thank you for showing up for Wisdom From The Field every month but particularly this month.
Your turn to tell us: what are the small things, the ordinary work, practices, the food, shows, or books, and other good things saving your life right now?
In the midst of everything, I do wish you good things - rest, joy, music, books, tasty food, the laughter of those you love, and the warmth of the sunshine even in the midst of the world’s realities. These things are real, too.
I’m working on a brand new essay for you all and hope to have it ready for you soon. Your support of Field Notes means I can take the time to really create something good for you all. And I’m already thinking of our Advent series if you can believe it!
In the meantime, I look forward to hearing from you all in the comments as always. I’ll be back next week with some fantastic links and clicks from around the Internet.
P.S. All of the August Field Notes are open to all of our subscribers and to the wider Internet as a way of putting some goodness into our lives right now. If you do want to subscribe for the year, you would have access to the entire back catalogue of Field Notes including our other Wisdom from the Field conversations, exclusive essays, special devotional series, the book club, and lots more. You can also gift a subscription to a friend.
And in case you missed these Field Notes:
Wisdom From The Field: How do you move out of survival mode - for everyone
My Fave Parenting Books + What I’m Reading Right Now - for everyone
Help, Thanks, Wow - a prayer circle for everyone
Do It Anyway - an AUGUST exclusive essay for everyone