Who Am I to Judge?
by Edward Sri
This was very good! It was more philosophy and ethics than religious. (Lots of Aristotle). It took a different approach than trying to point out how moral relativism is self-defeating (i.e. to say there are no absolutes is to make an absolute) because, he points out, moral relativists don’t care about logic. He also brings up that moral relativism has wounded a lot of people and some of their most entrenched beliefs are from those wounds and therefore being empathetic is very important when having a discussion. It was a small book, but completely stuffed with lots of great information. It was like taking a mini-ethics course. I could go on and on about it all day!
The Great Divorce
by CS Lewis
Such a great book! CS Lewis has taken his rightful place as one of my favorite authors.
This was a fantastical story about how souls in hell get on a bus to go visit heaven and once there, souls in heaven, sent to each of the visiting souls, try to convince the visiting souls to stay. I loved it. It was an interesting take on the decision we have to make about our eternity.
I knew I was going to like it when on the bus from hell, a poet was trying to get the main character to read his work. Haha! It killed me that Lewis included that the hell for someone with a literary bent would be having to read amateur poetry for an eternity!
The Great Divorce read so smooth that before I knew it, I’d finished it! Despite it being a fast and delightful read, it was very fruitful. I finished it about a week ago and I’m still spending a lot of time thinking about it. He illustrated very well how subtle our vices can be and how difficult it can be to let them go even if it means that by clutching to them, we’d eternally seperate ourselves from God.
Read it! Even if you aren’t religious, it was still a wonderful book. Lewis is a master at illustrating human behavior with his characters. Makes for some funny and entertaining reading.
One Beautiful Dream
by Jennifer Fulwiler
One Beautiful Dream is essentially Jennifer Fulwiler’s story of trying to pursue her passion, what she calls her blue flame (which is writing), while raising a bunch of small kids, instead of doing what everyone says to do, which is to wait until they’re all grown (and which is particularly hard for those who’ve decided to just be open to whatever babies come along, as she and her husband did, because you might lose decades waiting!)
There was so much I could relate to in her life. The six kids, though hers were spaced a lot closer (I’ve always been thankful for our spacing). People thinking she’s crazy for having six kids. (Ha! I’ve gotten a lot of that!) People thinking she’s even crazier for having a bunch of kids and still wanting to pursue her dream (Yes!).
She has a hard time asking for help and an even harder time accepting it when it’s offered. (Yes! And Yes!)
She and her husband also came across a small house that had just gone up for sale while pregnant and living with parents (I was living with my in-laws) and jumped at the chance to buy it (there’s nothing like living with your in-laws to make any house look like your dream house! ). Then they later realized they were probably going to end up raising a big family in that small house (this is slowly dawning on my husband and me as well).
She had this friend that she kind of hung out with that she thought was super holy and so she was nervous about opening up to her because she was worried she was a little too salty for her. It turned out that the super holy gal was also a convert and had also had a storied life and they got on much better once Jen wasn’t worried that the other gal would find out that she wasn’t a perfect saint. That cracked me up because I’ve had that happen several times now. It always turns out that people who seem so together spiritually 1. Weren’t always that way and 2. Are cool with imperfect people because of the very fact that they’re so together spiritually.
And the extrovert retreat! Ha! Read this book for just that story alone! (Especially if you’re an introvert.)
She pretty much covers everything that comes up for a mother with a dream. The guilt, the feelings of inadequacy, the frustration, the anxiety, the penchant for everything to go wrong at pivotal moments, the hope, the happiness, the fulfillment and the peace that finally comes with figuring out how to prioritize everything and and the peace that comes with letting go of things you probably didn’t need to be chasing in the first place, and the peace that comes with using your God-given talent instead of putting it on hold..
This book was excellent. It read like a long, wonderful, deep, soul-baring conversation with your best friend. She’s very funny and kind of a hot mess and she just really makes you feel better that you’re not the only one out there flailing around in the chaotic life that is being a mother of a bunch of crazy kids and yet still trying to pursue your blue flame.
I would definitely recommend this! Especially to mothers of large families who have particular challenges in today’s world that aren’t addressed in most “having it all” books. And also especially to moms with little littles. This book will help you see that you’re only in a season and that it gets easier.
This book has given me much to think about…
Prayer for Beginners
by Dr. Peter Kreeft
I’m always looking to improve my prayer life and it looked like a quick, easy read that I could get through with pregnancy brain. It wasn’t! It was a very dense book and it was brilliant. I can’t believe all he managed to pack into such a little book. Like everything worth anything in Christianity, it had that contradictory characteristic of being so simple and yet so difficult. Would recommend to everybody, not just people who think they’re not so good at prayer. (Though, is there anyone who thinks they’re an expert at prayer?). And be ready to do a lot of pondering!