What I’m Reading and Listening to This Summer

I mentioned last week that I’m beginning the process of writing a book. I’m currently having an author website built that will house a new blog- I’m hoping it will be live in the next few weeks. My goal is to blog at least once a week and launch a bi-monthly newsletter as well, with recommendations on books, articles, podcasts, and anything else I’m loving. So, soon I’ll probably be asking you to subscribe to the newsletter (I’m learning that email lists are really important if you want to be published). But until I get it going, I’m going to blog those recommendations here.

Books

I’ll admit I do most of my reading via audiobooks these days, because when I have time to myself I’m writing. I can listen to audiobooks while I’m doing other things- shopping, driving, dishes, and laying in bed with my eyes closed. Plus, there’s something about authors reading their own work that makes me so happy- like, how amazing to be able to read aloud the words that took months and years to put together. I’m also loving the Libby app for borrowing audio books from my library- it’s so much more user-friendly than the original OverDrive. I do find non-fiction and memoir much easier to listen to an audio, so those genres are mostly what I’m reading right now.

I’m Just Happy to Be Here: A Memoir of Renegade Mothering by Janelle Hanchett (Read on Audio)

I’ve been reading Janelle’s blog, Renegade Mothering, for years. Four years ago I attended BlogHer and she was one of the Voices of the Year, and have had a total writer-crush on her since. I listened to the entire 9.5 hour memoir in about 3 days and I alternated between total captivation with her story and intense envy of her writing. I love her raw and irreverent style that’s also almost poetic. I’m thinking of starting a GoFundMe so I can attend one of her writing retreats or classes.

Raise Your Voice by Kathy Khang

I’m on the launch team for this book, so I did receive an advance copy. The book is released this Tuesday. I’ve been following Kathy Khang on social media for a few years. She doesn’t hold back…on anything…and this book is a detailed manual on how to speak up for marginalized people and about social justice issues as a Christian. I loved it, and it reinforced my own desire to write about these topics.

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown

This is a book I’ll definitely be re-reading. I learned so much about my own white privilege and opened my eyes to issues and experiences black people face that I had never considered before. At times, this book made me really uncomfortable and even defensive, but I definitely grew in empathy and awareness of my place in this country. I’m not exaggerating when I say this book could change the world if enough people read it. I also loved this interview with Austin on The Beautiful Writers Podcast.

You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero (listened on audio)

This one isn’t a new book (published in 2013) but I finally decided to get into it following many recommendations over the past few years. I don’t read many self-help books, but I love this one for her casual writing style, humor and realistic advice and suggestions. I love her thoughts on intuition and throwing yourself into your dreams.

Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America by Jennifer Harvey (listened on audio)

This is a book I think I’m going to need to purchase in hard copy, because I found myself wanting to “take notes” as I was listening. This is a really overwhelming topic for me- and this book is full of great research and best practices.

Articles

The Midlife Unraveling by Brene Brown

This article has been everywhere the past few months, but it took my breath away when I first read it because I so closely related to every word.

Motherhood in the Age of Fear (New York Times)

I read this one just today and it really resonated with me. I often feel like mothers my age are so scared of everything- and I can easily fall into that mindset too. What a different world my children are growing up in than I did. And, I admit that I do leave my children in the car occasionally when I run into a store for less than 5 minutes, especially when I have all 3 with me. To me, it’s safer to leave a 2 year old, a 5 year old and a 7 year old in a wheelchair buckled in our van than navigating all of them through a busy parking lot. But, apparently I can be arrested in Texas for making that common sense choice.

God, Trump and the Meaning of Morality (Washington Post)

I can’t stop thinking about this article. It’s just so profoundly sad and infuriating that this is normalized and considered Christianity. #notallevalgelicals of course, but I continue to question what it means to the world that I self-identify as a Christian.

Podcast Episodes

Bias: A Black and White Conversation Between Friends Smartest Person in the Room

This is an 8 part series featuring conversations about race from real-life friends. I loved the vulnerability of these conversations and learned so much. I looked forward to the newest release in this series every week- and now that it’s wrapped up you can binge the whole thing.

Roe v. Wade, Part 1: Who Was Jane Roe? and Roe v. Wade, Part 2: The Culture Wars The Daily (New York Times)

This was a super interesting and well done series on the history of Roe v. Wade. Regardless of your position on abortion, I think it’s really important for all of us to understand how and why it became such a divisive political issue (just relatively recently) in this country.

What are you reading and listening to lately?

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Sunday Freewriting

On Sundays, I write.

I wish my younger adult self had known this is what I need to do- this is what gives me life and lights a fire inside me. This is how I prove to the world that no, I’m not the quiet, compliant girl you think I am.

I hate, hate, hate being called quiet. I’ve had that label for at least 30 years, and I just can’t shake it. Being labeled as quiet has been a synonym for many other labels in my life: dorky, stuck up, and bitchy being the main ones. I’m none of these. Ok, I probably was/am kind of dorky, but at this point in life, I’ve accepted and embraced it. I’m really not stuck up or bitchy- I guarantee I probably really like you and want to be your friend. I genuinely like most people.

I couldn’t write this morning – Ryan left for a coaching clinic and I had all 3 kids. I contemplated taking them to church, but quickly threw out that idea. Church is still such a weird issue for me. I don’t really miss it, and yet, I feel pressure to want to go. This morning, Nolan would have thrown a fit if I’d left him in an unfamiliar childcare class, and I would have had to use my limited emotional energy on small talk, which drains me faster than I usually care to admit. It’s awkward, it’s exhausting, and having to “talk” for a non verbal kid in a wheelchair to strangers dials it up a notch. Church leaders: the greeting time in services is torture for many introverts. We dread it. And no, this doesn’t mean we don’t understand the purpose, or want to get to know other people in the church. We just don’t make connections in that way.

So instead of church, I organized my clothes, and cleaned the bathroom. This was indeed the best choice, because I physically felt my constant, low grade anxiety taper down as I finished vacuuming the bedroom and hauled trash bags full of clothes to donate out of the house. There are times I want to just get rid of most everything because of the grip “stuff” has on my emotional self.

I took the kids to an indoor jump place this afternoon. I had considered the pool but the boys can’t swim (and Charlotte isn’t a strong swimmer yet) and it was over 100 degrees today. I wasn’t willing to risk drowning or one or more of us being fried by the sun, so I opted to fork over $18.99 to sit in the A/C for 3 hours while the kids burned off their energy.

PSA for adult strangers: If you are going to stare at my child in his wheelchair, at least smile at him, or me, and seriously, don’t turn around to keep staring at him after you’ve already passed us. Why do I even need to say this?!

The kids are finally asleep- I’ve been listening to them chattering and giggling in their room for an hour, which is equally adorable and annoying. I wonder what time Nolan will come crawl in bed with me- third children break all the rules, and make you eat all your words of “My child will never…”. He told his daddy the other night that he had to come in because “My bed is too crowded.” Ryan thought he meant all the toys and stuffed animals he’d dragged to bed, but no, his sister was in his bed, sound asleep.

I’m probably headed to sleep too- I heard on a podcast the other day that going to bed early is a mom’s version of sleeping in, and it was a total lightbulb moment for me. I do indulge in “sleeping in”, just on the other side of the night. But, I have big writing goals, and I’ve got to discipline myself to write more at night. But I’m just so tired. I need 9 am- 1 pm every day, and I could finish my book in months.

Yes, I’m (in the beginning stages of) writing a book. I took a class this spring/early summer from the literary agent of some of my favorite authors on getting published, and am now full of ideas, goals, dreams, and words. Lots of words. Some days I feel silly and stupid for even dreaming about getting published, but then I remember literally millions of people have already read my words, and I have been blogging faithfully for almost 8 years now.

And I really, really love to write. So maybe going for it isn’t such a stupid idea.