A Few Books on Race

A Few Books on Race

Source: Oh Happy Dani

I share a lot about books so it only makes sense to me to share several titles that have helped me have a deeper understanding and clearer perspective on racial issues and the history of racism in America. This is not even remotely an exhaustive list, but it includes books for almost all ages and covers multiple eras.

This is so important. We cannot even begin to do the work that needs to be done for reconciliation if there is not a knowledge and context for what has already taken place. Today’s weariness and outrage is not tied to isolated events. A long history of injustice and evil has perpetuated these feelings.

I’m praying for the courage to listen and learn and let those who have experienced injustice lead toward the light of Christ’s redemptive power and saving grace. ❤️

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson https://amzn.to/2XFnlL7

Blood at the Root by Patrick Phillips https://amzn.to/3gz3Psj

Under Our Skin by Benjamin Watson https://amzn.to/3dnW9Hm

Buried in the Bitter Waters by Elliot G. Jaspin https://amzn.to/2X97Ufl

I Never Had It Made by Jackie Robinson https://amzn.to/3dbC6w3

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor (and the rest of the series- these are middle grade fiction) https://amzn.to/3gxeQKV

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson https://amzn.to/2X9uuo1

Books for a Graduate

Books for a Graduate

Welcome to my new series that has been highly anticipated by zero people but that I am excited about because it will give me an organized way to share some of the many books I've read over the last several years. I hope you'll follow along, and if you have any topics you're interested in, please suggest them! (A few exceptions: horror, most sci-fi, thrillers, etc. I don't do scary. =)

First up- graduates! It's May, and despite Covid-19's best efforts, graduates are still graduating (even if it's via Zoom). More than ever, launching out into the world feels very scary: what a world to launch out into! Jonathan wanted to buy a book for a few of his golfers who are graduating, and as I was thinking of recommendations for him, I ended up with a whole list. Each of these books is full of practical and/or spiritual wisdom for the graduate in your life (but would be a good read for anyone).  I chose these specifically because their content is especially applicable to young people seeking guidance on their new paths (These could all work for high school or college graduates). Here we go! *Cue the Pomp and Circumstance...*)

Undergrad graduation in 2011. My graduate school graduation was supposed to be last week. Ha! Covid and my newborn had other plans. =)

1. The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman- This book might pop up on several of these lists because it's just that good, but as you can tell from the title, this is an excellent choice for someone who is about to make a whole bunch of big life decisions. I can't recommend it highly enough. Emily gives practical advice in such a loving way, and the wisdom in this book will serve you long past graduation. (Bonus pick: her book A Million Little Ways is also a wonderful option- the subtitle "Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live" is so timely for graduates.)

2. You Learn By Living by Eleanor Roosevelt- You don't have to fully agree with Eleanor Roosevelt's politics (I don't!) to appreciate the wisdom in this book. It feels incredibly fresh and current for today despite the fact that it was written 60 years ago. It covers topics like maturity, time management, and public service that are useful no matter what your graduate plans to study or pursue.

3. Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin- I love everything Gretchen writes, but this book in particular is so great for graduates because they're at a time in life when forming good habits is crucial to future success. Her advice is not one-size-fits-all but instead gives ideas for all kinds of personality types for implementing healthier, happier habits in their daily lives.

4. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis- I think that if there's ever a time that someone needs to be reminded in a powerful way of the reality of spiritual warfare, it's a young person leaving home for the first time! This book is entertaining and even funny at times, but the message of it is loud and clear. Graduates on the edge of their next steps are going to face opposition and doubt from a very real enemy, and reading about it from the perspective of an admittedly witty demon makes it a little more accessible than yet another sermon. =)

5. The Road Back to You and The Path Between Us by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile- I include these as companions to each other because the first one is such a great introduction and the second one is just as important as it is in the context of relationships. SO- say what you want about the enneagram (actually, don't, unless you actually know what you're talking about =), but it is an amazing tool for people, especially young people, to help understand how God made each of us and how to best use our strengths (and weaknesses) for His glory. These books teach the enneagram from a Christian perspective--no weird or woo-woo stuff-- and are invaluable to the process of self-awareness that all young people need to experience. I so wish I had known about this as a young adult!

There you have it. I know it's kind of a lame time to be a graduate and feels anticlimactic to walk across your living room or yard in your cap and gown. But I think this time is a pretty good starting point for graduates as they realize in a big way that life definitely doesn't always turn out like you planned, and that's okay! The Lord sees and knows it all and He has big things in store!

 Congrats, grads!

Amy Jane- Two Months

Amy Jane- Two Months

Well, it's nearly 10:00 PM on the day that Amy Jane turns two months old and I'm just sitting down to write this post because I didn't even think about it until this morning and then this afternoon I could have written it while Alice was asleep but I chose to take a nap. (#priorities) Even tonight I thought about skipping it (mainly because practically zero people care and despite the nap I'm still tired) but I was so faithful to do these with Alice and I'm thankful to have the written record of her first year because goodness knows I've forgotten so many things. Plus I'd hate for Amy Jane to grow up and be like, "Mom, where are my tediously long blog posts detailing every moment of my early life?" and I'd just have to shrug and say, "I was napping." (I mean, I was napping, but I'm trying to do both.)

I can't believe this baby is two months old because, weirdly enough, it doesn't seem like it's been that long. I mean, the actual day she was born and the time leading up to that feel like forever ago, but I think that's mostly because during the last few weeks of pregnancy time just stands still and your life is a blur of groaning, sleeping, and going to the bathroom every three minutes (thank goodness the toilet paper shortage hadn't happened yet). But the actual time she's been here has just flown by and has seemed shorter than two months. Well, April flew by. March did feel like its own year, didn't it? Good grief. What a time to be alive.

Anyway... on to happier things.

Weight and Length: I actually know this because she finally got to see the doctor today for the first time since she was a few days old. She is 10 pounds 2 ounces (up two pounds from birth) and 23.75 inches long (almost 4 inches from birth!). For reference, she is one pound lighter but one inch longer than Alice at the same age, who was already turning into the little butterball she would later become. It looks like for now Amy Jane is going to be tall and skinny like her daddy!

Nicknames: Sisert (Alice's pronunciation of Sister), Dot (from A Bug's Life... it's the eyes!), Bean, Little Nugget, and many other obnoxiously sappy and ridiculously terms of endearment that usually reference some type of dessert

Happy girl!

Sleep: I hesitate to even write about this because I don't want to make anyone hate me, especially other moms of newborns, but she's sleeping about 7 hours consistently every night. I KNOW. It's such a gift and I think the Lord just really knew what I could handle right now and chose to give me a baby who slept well. (See multiple references to naps above.) She is sleeping from around 12:30-7:30 (give or take about 30 minutes). Like Alice, she sometimes struggles to actually fall asleep, but then stays asleep all night. Such a gift and one I am genuinely grateful for.

Eating: She's on a good 3 hour schedule right now... occasionally she needs it to be 2-2.5 but it's almost always 3. (Although last night's cluster feeding would suggest otherwise... so thankful those are few and far between. Yikes.)

One day I'll get a picture where they're both happy, but for now this seems to sum up their relationship pretty well. Pure joy and total confusion. =)

Clothing: Because she's so long, she's outgrowing most of her newborn sleepers, but her 0-3 ones are hilariously big because she's so skinny. Ha! I need to get her a few from Carter's because they run much slimmer. I've tried to hold off on buying her very much since we're still not really going anywhere, but it's too warm for her to wear sleepers while we're outside so I'll probably pick out a few little things for spring and summer (all of Al's 0-3 clothes are winter so hand-me-downs are out). It's a chore to shop for baby clothes, but I guess I can take one for the team.

Mood: She has gotten SO smiley in the last few weeks and I love it. She was very stingy with her smiles until recently but now she loves to smile at us, especially her daddy! Unfortunately, her witching hour seems to be between 10-11 at night, but thank goodness Alice is a sound sleeper and the crying doesn't wake her up. She's pretty content unless she's hungry or wet!

Lots of these lately.

Loves: Daddy (specifically being held in the carrier)
Her paci
Being swaddled
Her bouncy seat (in small doses)
Alice (in small doses =)

Doesn't Love: Tummy time (Alice hated it too)
Riding in the car
Being wet
Being ignored (aka not being looked at or held) for long
Having her clothes changed

What I Want to Remember/Milestones: She is really starting to show her personality... like I said, she has been smiling so much more and has been super alert and starting to recognize each of us more  distinctly. She's especially interested in following Alice with her eyes and being interested in what IN the world she's doing (don't worry, honey... she bewilders us all on a daily basis. =) She discovered herself in the mirror, so that was delightful. We don't do it every day, but as often as we can before her nap, Alice will lay on the bed while I feed the baby and I'll read or we'll listen to an audiobook. I love how Alice is so affectionate with her and is constantly saying, "Oh, my baby. It's okay, my baby. Come here, my baby." (Ironically, she becomes my baby and Alice rejects all ownership when any work is required of her regarding her sister. Ha!) I am thankful for all the time we've had together as a family to walk, swing, and play without needing to rush around to the next thing all the time.

What I'm Looking Forward To: Oh, man. Ultimately, I'm looking forward to this crazy virus getting under control and things moving toward a safe return to places reopening (I might have cried a little when the governor authorized libraries to open back up soon). We miss our church family, our friends at the Y and the library, and (obviously) just the chance to go out to parks and normal places. So even though we are proceeding with caution (especially with the baby) and maintaining all the safe practices that are being recommended, you better believe we will be thrilled to get back to at least part of our normal routine! (Ask me how I feel when Jonathan eventually goes back to work and I actually have to solo parent for the first time in months.) Other than that, we are going to North Carolina in June (fingers crossed for no more flight changes!) and we are so looking forward to the rest of our families meeting Amy Jane for the first time! (Also, good barbecue. Don't @ me, Texans.)

Me: I'm okay. I'm a lot better than I was a month ago. It is still risky business for me to spend much time online or looking at the news because I can spiral pretty quickly, but I think I've gotten to a pretty good place of staying informed without overloading myself. I've also started exercising again after finally getting back to my doctor to be checked out and she says I'm back to normal (that's debatable... =) I'm ready to get back in shape and for all my pants to fit again... that said, I'm starving all the time thanks to breastfeeding, so I'm trying to eat well while also giving myself permission to enjoy the occasional treat (and by treat I mean handful of Golden Oreos. You quarantine your way and I will quarantine mine).

I think in terms of parenting, I'm still navigating having two kids and trying to figure out how to really give the best of myself to both of them. Alice still needs a lot from me and even though she doesn't act jealous about the baby, I can tell when she is wanting more one-on-one time so I try to make it happen as much as I can. Amy Jane's needs are pretty simple (and I can't really physically give her any more than I already do!) but I still feel like we're getting to know each other, if that makes sense. It's so funny to have a daughter who is four and a half and who I know like the back of my hand and to have one who is two months old and is still very much a mystery to me in a lot of ways. Sometimes I just stare at her and wonder what she's thinking and who she'll become. I didn't know that about Alice either but now I do (as much as I can at her age) but I just have to wait and see.

It's a little hard for me not to know what's coming, but honestly, it's for the best (and I say that as a 6!). If I had known the road we'd walk down with Alice's speech before it all happened, I would have just curled up in the fetal position and cried. But of course it was the best thing that could have happened to me as a mom, and I'm more thankful than ever than it was with my firstborn. I was talking to one of my sisters today about expectations with your kids versus with your students (since I've had both) and I got to thinking all over again about how wildly different (in many ways) this whole motherhood journey has been from what I imagined. Motherhood is such a collection of paradoxes. It's natural but incredibly difficult, joyful and terrifying, exhausting and empowering. And as I watch both my girls become who they will be, I find more often than not that they are making me more fully who I am in the process.

She is such a sweetheart.

Anyway, that's enough deep thoughts for tonight. I'm sleepy and rambling...never a good combination. And I'm just getting this in under the wire for the actual 2-month date, but Amy Jane, never let it be said that your mom didn't love you enough to write way too much about your sizing needs and sleep habits on the internet.