I loved this book. As someone who embraces the female lifestyle empowerment movement at times, I worried it would be unnecessarily cruel, but it targeI loved this book. As someone who embraces the female lifestyle empowerment movement at times, I worried it would be unnecessarily cruel, but it targets what needs to be targeted while still leaving room for mercy. Selecky has a beautiful voice and I could not put this book down. ...more
Another fabulous read from Nicki Koziarz (I'm read this after reading Why Her.) This book is both inspiring and comforting. Koziarz has a wonderful voAnother fabulous read from Nicki Koziarz (I'm read this after reading Why Her.) This book is both inspiring and comforting. Koziarz has a wonderful voice that makes you feel like you have a new friend....more
I loved Spread Too Thin: Opting Out of Frantic Living. Opting In to Lasting Peace, a 90 day devotional by Ellen Miller (thank you, Tyndale, for the adI loved Spread Too Thin: Opting Out of Frantic Living. Opting In to Lasting Peace, a 90 day devotional by Ellen Miller (thank you, Tyndale, for the advanced copy, which I was slow to read since I’m spread too thin!) This is a wonderful book for anyone who feels too busy to enjoy God’s grace and abundance. Miller writes from a personal and relatable place (plus, she’s funny.) I felt myself nodding in agreement as I read the text. Each day gives a short and sweet reading to remind you that it’s easy to get lost in busyness. It’s a perfect book for if you’re battling schedule stress and want to find a new approach to living. ...more
The next book has a more personal connection for me.
Back in late 2003, I was a new mom living in Toronto. Although I lived a hop, skip, and a jump froThe next book has a more personal connection for me.
Back in late 2003, I was a new mom living in Toronto. Although I lived a hop, skip, and a jump from the Rosedale subway station, they had no elevator: meaning I had to push my daughter’s stroller to St Clair or Bloor if I wanted to take the train somewhere. And then, sometimes, the elevator at the stations would not be working. I wanted to let other mamas know not to make the long walk, only to be disappointed. So I made a website. I started to write about other baby friendly places in the city and chronicled my mothering experience, which was something not a lot of others were doing at the time.
I looked around for other mamas in other cities who were doing similar things and found Andi Buchanan, a Philadelphia mom who was a few years ahead of me in her parenting. She was a pioneer in the mommy blogging scene. She’d written Mother Shock, a book that, to me, felt like oxygen. Her work launched me on my own mothering writing journey and, over the years, we loosely kept in touch.
Now, she is pioneering in a new area: writing about her year recovering from a serious illness. In 2015, while sick with the flu, she had had coughing spell and ruptured her dura mater, which is the tough membrane covering the brain. Apparently, it’s more common than you might think. From that, she developed a CSF leak: the same thing that causes George Clooney’s debilitating headaches. In Andi’s case, the leak was much more severe and she ended up losing a year to pain, bedrest, and medical procedures.
She has captured her experience in her beautiful new book, The Beginning of Everything: The Year I Lost My Mind and Found Myself. She is forging a path yet again.
The writing is exquisite: she brings the same discipline she cultivated as a concert pianist to the page. She explores the way our narratives – about our trauma, our healing, our lives – affect the way we live. She challenges herself – and the reader – to question the things in our lives we believe to be true, and to ask how well that truth serves us:
What’s the payoff for believing this particular story right now? What’s in it for me to believe the story I’m telling myself?
This kind of self-analysis can be freeing, particularly if your experience has been shaped by trauma, grief, or pain. Her biggest breakthrough comes when she lets go of her belief that she could have prevented her injury. She writes, “I didn’t have to keep holding myself accountable for failing to prepare for a thing that I didn’t even know could happen.”
This is a book about resilience and restoration. It’s about grabbing on, and at the same time, letting go.
She realizes that even if there is not a reason for suffering, there is purpose to our pain: “I have had a million second acts, each one evolving out of complicated periods of pain and worry and vulnerability and acknowledgement that I didn’t know exactly what to do next, and each one of them bringing me to a new, deeper understanding, of realizing that I never feel more like myself than I do when I’m in the midst of learning what I need to do and where I need to go by doing it, by going there.”
Writers are always terrific observers of others, but its takes particular skill to be able to observe your own experience with both detachment and self-compassion. Buchanan is a master. If you know anyone coming back after a significant setback, this is a perfect book....more