Becoming truly literate is a choice. Reading done well is not a passive activity like sitting in front of a screen. It requires a degree of attention, engagement, and active questioning of which most of our children currently have a deficit. The core question is not whether you hold in your hand an old-fashioned paper book or a new electronic book, but rather that even when you read from a screen, you develop the self-discipline to ignore the temptation to check email or scores or social media every few minutes. Reading done well requires a forward-leaning brain. Our culture’s ever-present distractions–the obsessive appeals to immediacy (“What ‘news’ might I be missing?”)–conspire to blunt our curiosity and distract us from sustained thought. The relentless pull of the digital world, with its demands that our kids submit to the shiny and the immediate, threatens to make them not just less literate but also more like subjects than citizens.
I’m late to the party on this one, I know, because Kevin DeYoung’s Just Do Something was published in 2009. It’s been on my shelf for ages, and I finally got to it earlier this month. It’s a short book – a quick read – but it’s meaty, y’all. The full title is great — Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will OR How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Impressions, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, Etc.
This book is packed with wisdom. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard professing Christians talk about waiting – and waiting and waiting – for a sign before doing something. When you hear a Christian talk about finding his soul mate? Hand him this book. Worried about not being in “the center of God’s will”? Read this book. Afraid you have missed the path God laid out for you before the foundations of the earth? Yep, get this book.
It’s solid teaching that truly takes so much pressure off a believer. God doesn’t expect you to figure out His hidden will before you make decisions and act. Whew!
If you haven’t figured out by now, I highly recommend this one. And it would make a terrific graduation gift.
Last year I happened upon bullet journals, and the organization nerd in me loved the idea. I promptly purchased a new Moleskine and set about creating one of my own. I used the advice here and other tips I found on pinterest, but I just didn’t love it. Therefore, I didn’t keep it handy, and I eventually abandoned it altogether. I’d kept it very simple, but it wasn’t visually appealing to me, and I didn’t like the size of the journal or the way it felt.
I kept seeing bullet journals referenced and recommended, though, and the idea still appealed to me. With a birthday gift card to Amazon (thanks Will & Anna!), I ordered a Leuchtturm1917 notebook, and I scoured the internet for potential layout ideas. I got out my Sharpie pens and Prismacolor pencils and set to work.
So far, so good. I’ve kept it out and open on my desk at work, and it’s always close by at other times. I’ve been careful to update it in the evenings. I find that I’m checking off more to-dos , and I’m dumping stuff out of my brain and onto pages in the journal. Ahhhhh. That feels so much better than keeping stuff in my head.
The size – especially the width – of the pages in the Leuchtturm is just more user friendly in my opinion, and I love the dotted pages. I also added color to my layouts, and therefore I’m more drawn to keeping the book open. I’ve added pages for lists I want to keep – quotes, Christmas gifts, books I want to read, books I’m reading, etc. I’ve got weekly layouts through December so far, and there are plenty of pages left.
It’s not super fancy – and if you google you’ll find bullet journals that are works of art! – but it works for me so far.
Anyone else out there keeping a bullet journal?
I’m skeptical about most studies I see reported because so often the conclusions can be reached by using plain old garden variety common sense, without spending millions of dollars. And others have such a small sample size that any conclusion must be held loosely. While this one may be one of those, it works in my favor so I’ll share it:
The study, which is published in the September issue of the journal Social Science & Medicine, looked at the reading patterns of 3,635 people who were 50 or older. On average, book readers were found to live for almost two years longer than non-readers…
…“When readers were compared to non-readers at 80% mortality (the time it takes 20% of a group to die), non-book readers lived 85 months (7.08 years), whereas book readers lived 108 months (9.00 years) after baseline,” write the researchers. “Thus, reading books provided a 23-month survival advantage.”
Bavishi said that the more that respondents read, the longer they lived, but that “as little as 30 minutes a day was still beneficial in terms of survival”.
The paper also specifically links the reading of books, rather than periodicals, to a longer life.
That’s really the best news I’ve heard all day!
And speaking of reading, I finished a fun book last night — The Swans of Fifth Avenue: A Novel by Melanie Benjamin. Set in the Mad Men era of (mostly) Manhattan, it tells the story of Truman Capote and his “swans” — high society ladies who confided in him only to see him betray them by publishing their secrets. While it’s frivolous reading in some ways — the fashion, wealth, yachts, and gossipy stories — the author offers some keen insights into human nature and behavior. I really enjoyed the writing and will be reading more by Benjamin and adding some of Capote’s works to my to-be-read list.
Now I’m reading A Three Dog Life, a memoir which Stephen King says is his favorite. That, along with the $2.99 price for the Kindle version, made it a must-read.
It’s for my health, y’all!
As we all know, December is crazy busy. Paul and I have thrown a potential house purchase into the chaos, and today we had a set back there. It was also another super busy work day, and I was easily annoyed by interruptions. When I heard my phone ding, I grumbled and expected bad news. Instead, I saw this:
Awwww. As I recently told him, if we’re good, it’s all good. It’s all good.
Another round-up of links that make me think:
~ I’m feeling quite world weary these days. Everything, and I mean everything is politicized. Doug Wilson articulates this well:
…it is unseemly to politicize these horrors when the families are still weeping. Whether the issue is gun control or something else, whenever a hard sell comes in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy, the only thing it makes me want to do is wonder at how boorish some people can be. If this the case when the political issue is arguably connected, as with gun control, how much more is it the case when it is so obliquely related? Did the alleged shooter even know about the [Confederate] flag? Boorish behavior can be exhibited by either side. If one man starts a roaring debate in favor of gun control the same day of the shooting, the situation is not improved if an advocate of open carry does the same thing the next day. The families involved, who include godly Christian people calling for repentance and a turn to Christ, ought not to be distracted by apparatchiks trying to make some political hay out of their grief.
~ I recently made this crispy baked okra, and it was soooo good.
~ If you use Chrome as your browser, you may want to reconsider.
Well, that’s 3 days in a row of blogging. And I pulled my camera out of the cabinet. Baby steps. 🙂
Are you wondering what God’s will is for you today?
pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
my Sturdy Brothers waxed canvas tote was hand-delivered today.