Each month we will ask Mended Collective members what is giving them life. Below is a compilation of what we are reading, listening to, watching and practicing in our lives right now.
Fake Girl Scout cookies from Aldi that taste like REAL Girl Scout cookies. You’re welcome.
Wild sunflower season in Houston!
This book had me laughing in solidarity, in tears as I grieved, and shouting YES! page after page. Science Mike has brought me much comfort as well as challenge as I spend this season wrestling through key pillars of the Christian faith I have always accepted. This was a tough but needed read for me, and allowed me to enjoy intimacy with the Spirit of God all the way through. If you are in a refining and rebuilding stage in your faith journey, I cannot recommend this book enough!
Everything about Summer
It’s officially above 90 here in Oklahoma City, and that means my general sense of well-being has skyrocketed. I love summer and everything that comes with it. No matter the amount of sweat and public pools this summer requires, I will always love the sunshine and community summertime brings my way. This year, we were blessed with an abundance of garlic from our refugee friends that tend our backyard garden. There was plenty to share with our neighbors, friends and church community. My husband and I are looking forward to whipping up some delicious meals with all this garlic!
My favorite thing about Rob are the questions he asks. I like questions, and I love that I follow a God who welcomes questions. I love how God gave me this fascinating mysterious organ called a brain and that somehow my questions and doubts and big feelings reflect the God who made me in His image. This book is a book of questions. A book that reminded me that mystery is not the enemy. A book that made me take big breaths, release my need for control and revel in the big wonder and awe that is God. If you need a moment to stop searching for all of the answers and positions and to just sit in the mystery of the Spirit this is your book. Also BONUS I found this at my local library. Guys libraries are the greatest and why the heck aren’t we all practically living there? Free books and movies and QUIET. THE BEST.
What Makes You Healthy & Happy List
Recently Morgan challenged each Collective member to make a list of what makes them feel healthy and happy. This exercise has rocked my world. I took time with my journal, a comfy chair and complete silence to ask Holy Spirit to help me answer this question. What makes me feel healthy and happy? And the list below emerged. I have since left my journal open on my bedside table so that every time I pass by I glance at a few of these things and ask myself where I am fitting these good things in to my day. My counselor and I recently talked about how much progress I have made in taking an intentional sabbath each week, but that when it came to rest and self-care weaved throughout my day-to-day I still had some work to do. This list has been helpful in continuing to grow in this area. And I need to keep remaking this list regularly because I am always changing and growing. What makes me healthy and happy now may change come this time next year. For this moment here is what makes me healthy & happy:
- Deep, rich, real relationships (people who love & challenge me and who share their whole selves with me to be loved & challenged)
- Good food around unrushed tables
- Made beds, candles, intentional spaces
- Closed eyes and tummy breaths
- Not jumping straight into work or social media in the mornings
- Audrey- how I am important in her life, how she loves me, how she asks Cait to stop by my house when she is riding her bike
- Time with Jack- playing or cuddling
- Rhythms & Structure
- Instrumental music & other fun/chill/catchy music my friends know about and share with me
- Getting Up Early (which means going to bed early)
- Reading without my phone
- Staying in the moment
- Words of Affirmation
- Grace- actively pushing into it as a tangible reality
- Sitting still
- Patios w/ cool breezes
- Hot Tea
- Going to the theater or ballet/dance performance
- Remembering that I am not stuck or a victim
- The sound of women connecting
- Fighting co-dependency
- Having a focus quote or phrase (my go to for a couple of years has been “make progress”)
- Good chairs with good throw blankets
I remember the first time I heard Jo Saxton speak. I remember the way she talked about discipleship and women and leading. I remember the man who stood beside her. How he raised up her voice and how she stepped in to everything he spoke over her. Jo is still as level and empowering a voice as when I first heard her teach. In this podcast she joins her friend and fellow pastor Steph to talk about women, leadership, the church and culture. This month I have been enjoying their discussions about the stigmas of being a strong woman and the stigmas around mental illness. This is a podcast that I am not only telling my girlfriends about but also passing on to men in my life, particularly men leading in the Church.
Academy Award Winning Movie Manchester By The Sea
I just watched this movie Saturday. The way I know a movie is good is when I stop multi-tasking and just lean in to the story. This beautiful piece of film drew me in and made me ache in that way that reminds you you are human. This story reminds you that to be human is impossibly difficult and impossibly lovely. This movie has gotten a reputation for being “really sad”. I think that is a bad description. To me this film is a creative, well executed picture of real life. A life that is heavy and hard and confusing but also full of tenderness, love, strength and self-sacrifice. If you have Amazon Prime you can watch this for free so you have no excuses. And usually if something wins an Oscar (or two in this case) it is worth your time.