Thursday, April 18th, 2013
It’s no secret that being an extrovert puts one at an advantage in American culture. For many introverts, they have learned (sometimes the hard way) that in order to be successful, they have to pretend to be an extrovert. Why is the case?
In Susan Cain’s book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, she explains how the “Extrovert Ideal” came to be here in the West, as well as how the extrovert ideal isn’t the “ideal” in other parts of the world. This has powerful implications for the global neighborhood- whether it be doing business with people from other countries, working with NGOs, long-term missions, or simply interacting with neighbors from a different culture down the street.
In addition to HOW this ideal came about, Susan shares some interesting research on temperament (is it biological? environmental? both? can we change it? are all introverts the same?). Also, she shares some great stories about how introverts and extroverts think differently, and how that affects decision making, creativity, sensitivity, etc. I enjoyed learning about how some very “successful” people are introverts, and how their success had a lot to do with their introvert uniqueness.
The most interesting part of the book to me was the section titled, “How to Love, How to Work.” In it, Susan discusses when an introvert should act more extroverted than they are, how to encourage our introverted children, and how extroverts and introverts can communicate in a more effective way (helping meetings everywhere to be more enjoyable and productive!). I not only think this is an important discussion to have in the working world, but also in families and in the church body.
Even if you are not an introvert, this book could be an interesting read for you- because it’s guaranteed that you work, play and live with someone who in an introvert. Being able to understand introverts better can lead to being able to better serve and love those around you. Introverts grow up learning about extroverts, but rarely do extroverts slow down and think about what it would be like to be an introvert.
And see below for a video of her famous TED Talk:
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free for review purposes from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Monday, March 18th, 2013
Bedrooms filled with pink, lace and crowns.
Disney movies showing how wonderful it is to be helpless and rescued by a prince.
Not in my house….but that was before I had a girl who caught the princess bug.
It started out with a dress-up costume. And then some shoes. A couple dolls. Then one night when it was Aly’s turn to pick our movie for Family Movie Night, she choose Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty or something like that. Jake and I decided to go ahead with it, since we’d all be watching together and we could all talk about it afterwards. One thing lead to another, and when it was time to pick out bedding for their new twin beds, Aly wanted [Disney] princess sheets and an Ariel bedspread (but i did think it was funny when, after getting them on her bed, she asked who that person on the blanket was).
*Gulp*. And as I recounted in a previous post, it was a hard decision for me. It weighed on my mind for a couple days, and I spent HOURS thinking and looking for alternatives. I was in the car, by myself, thinking and praying about what the best response would be, when I realized that I needed to allow the princess sheets.
1. Princesses are not the enemy. Disney isn’t necessarily the enemy. Their goal is to tell stories that will capture the imagination of boys and girls of all ages. Some of these stories are ones that I celebrate. Others aren’t. Still others are a mixture of good and bad. While it’s true that I don’t want Aly (or Ada) to get obsessed with princesses to the point of thinking that they are helpless women who just need to be rescued in life, I know that there’s a lot of OTHER factors that create that idea over a long period of time. If our family is living a great story, then I don’t know that I’ll need to worry about the other little competing stories that every child/teenager will inevitably stumble upon as they grow up.
2. Aly has a unique sense of style and the last thing I want to do (or should do) is squash that. Sure, Disney princesses aren’t very unique or stylish, but as Aly is experimenting with what she does and doesn’t like, I want to create an environment that supports her exploration instead of stifling it. So, if she wants Disney princess sheets, it’s fine. I would have chosen something more classic, but it’s not MY room. Aly loves to pick out her own clothes in the morning, and one of her favorite outfits is hideous to me (a busy red flowered shirt with busy lavender flowered pants). But she really loves it, so I don’t forbid her from wearing it. Soon enough she will either realize they don’t look good together, or she’ll make it look good by adding other components to it. I think this is especially important to me because I see how she is drawn to art, fashion, music and the like, and I want to help her to grow in the ways God has created her instead of trying to get her to be like me (who has a different sense of style).
And to be honest, it’s not so bad. Aly enjoys princesses, but she is just as content to be the dragon in the story as well. The princess sometimes needs rescuing, and other times is the one who slays the dragon and protects the queen from being eaten. There’s something about that kind of story that is alluring to young children. How Jake and I interact with it, and play with her in that story is going to speak volumes as she is figuring out her world.
So, my sweet Aly falls asleep with her head on Belle every night. And I’m just fine with that.
Thursday, March 7th, 2013
About a year ago, I reviewed Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life by Emily Freeman. If you need a refresher, you can find it here. Because I liked it so much, I agreed to do a review of another version of this book, only this time for young women (i.e. high school). This one is called Graceful: Letting Go of your Try-Hard Life. While it has been awhile since I’ve been around high school girls, I do remember my own high school experience, and think that I would have really benefited from a book like this.
Again in this book, Emily reveals the behaviors that girls hide behind, why they do it, and what Scripture has to say about the things we hide behind. The main portion of the book addresses each role, and then addresses the issue from all sides. The roles include: actress, girl next door, activist, heroine, bystander, judge, intellectual, and dreamer. I think most girls will connect with at least one, if not multiple, roles.
I was surprised by how non-youth-ish this book was. Emily gave some great stories that I think young women will connect with, and she communicated in ways that respects the readers’ stage of “almost adulthood.” Emily’s husband is a youth pastor, and Emily leads a small group of high school girls at her house every Sunday night. I can only imagine that that small group is incredibly transformative for those girls. Emily seems to really “get” this age and stage, and can communicate truth about Scripture and identity in a clear and down-to-earth way.
If you have a high school girl in your life, this just might be a great book to get for her. I’m considering donating mine to a library so that MANY girls can take advantage of it!
Thanks, Baker Books, for providing me a review copy in exchange for an honest book review! And thanks for letting me take so much time to do it…
Sunday, March 3rd, 2013
Jake and I went to bed at 5:15 this morning because we were at the hospital, trying to convince Baby #4 not to make his/her arrival at 33 weeks. Thankfully baby is obeying, at least for the time being.
Like every night this week, I had fallen asleep on the couch about 7:30p, after a fun and relaxing evening of homemade pizza, Cars 2, and popcorn. Jake hung out next to me, doing whatever he does when he has a tutoring-free evening with no other commitments (which happens to only be on Saturdays). I woke up about 10:00p, feeling crampy in my back and having a contraction. I tried falling back asleep, and realized that although the contractions were short, they were pretty close together. Started timing it on my own- 3 minutes apart.
Tried going to the bathroom. Tried walking around a bit. Tried laying on both sides. Drinking lots of water. Nothing changed. I then started having Jake write down the times so that I wasn’t psychologically making the contractions happen (I know, perhaps that’s not even possible). Every 3 minutes still. I called my midwife, she suggested drinking more, taking a bath, etc. I was to call in an hour if they hadn’t let up. Jake started making a hospital bag. Then we started a movie to get my mind off of it. She called back in 30 minutes, and after talking with her, she said to come on down to the hospital (she was already there with someone else anyway).
Jake and I called a great friend of ours who was still awake, and she agreed to come over to stay with the other kids. (Oddly enough she had gone to bed at 10:30, but hadn’t been able to fall asleep. She was still awake when we called!)
Got the hospital, went to labor and delivery, was strapped to the monitors, got some samples taken of different things to start some tests, and then was given drink after drink, just in case I was dehydrated.
Nothing changed. Contractions kept coming at the same rate. After a couple hours, they ruled out all of their ideas about why these contractions were happening, but we knew they weren’t being productive. They then decided on giving me an IV, after which the contractions slowed down to every 5-7 minutes, but they were significantly stronger- like, “oh wow I remember what labor feels like.” After an hour of THAT, the midwife checked me and I still wasn’t dilated. Whew. I knew at that point that if I had started dilating, the baby would have been a March 3rd baby. One of the tests they did was a fetal something test where they can determine if the baby will NOT come in the next 2 weeks. If the test is negative, there is only a very small chance the baby will come within the next 14 days. If the test is positive, there’s no guarantee the baby would come in the next couple weeks, but it was more likely. It’s one of those things where a negative result says something while the positive result doesn’t really. Mine came back negative!
She was relieved, but still puzzled about the strong contractions. They decided a small dosage of some medicine to relax my uterus would be the next line of action, which I soon discovered I should never take again (apparently I’m not allergic to it, per se, but had an adverse side effect). My contractions stopped almost altogether and after a bit more monitoring of my heart rate, they told me to go home. Whew! We were ready to get out of there.
The kids were pretty good this morning, playing semi-kindly with one another while I laid on the couch, and then after they got tired of doing that, I let them watch Netflix cartoons for a couple hours while I got some more restful sleep. Jake and I woke up at lunch, and have felt pretty good! I feel a TON better than last week (I had been feeling sick), and some of the mysterious pain I had been having all week is gone today. While the nurses and midwife don’t think everything was because of dehydration, I sure FEEL a lot better after the IVs.
I’ve been working hard at relaxing today instead of getting a lot done because it’s the first day I’ve felt decent in over a week. Jakey took off work tonight, which I’m incredibly thankful for. He normally leaves for tutoring at 5:15 on Sundays and gets back around 8:30 (which as you all know is the hardest couple hours of a day with the kids).
All this to say- Baby #4 is still healthy and safe on the inside, at least for another couple weeks!
Thursday, February 21st, 2013
We’re beginning to really “get ready” for the arrival of Baby Malloy #4.
It started this weekend with a trip to IKEA to buy Asante and Aly bunk beds. We went thinking we’d buy this and make it into bunk beds:
But then we ended up buying this:
It required less extra work and would lift the bottom mattress up off the ground (which is apparently a health hazard). I also like that we now have a little under-the-bed storage. Aly and Asante also got to get new bedding since we were going from toddler mattresses to twin mattresses. It was an internal battle for me because they wanted characters (i.e. Super Mario and Disney Princesses) and I SO do not like characters. I wanted something more classic. At first I was going to compromise and say they could have character sheets, but a solid colored comforter. In fact, I did say that (and they were happy), but I couldn’t find any solid colored comforters that went well together. So, after hours of thinking and looking and discussing with Jake, I decided to go ahead and order the comforter character set for each of their beds. Sigh. What can you do? I feel like it came down to me not being so controlling, and them letting them enjoy what they enjoy. They’re kids. This is just the beginning of my tastes being different from their tastes. And while the Disney princess decision was the hardest for me (have you read the book Cinderella Ate my Daughter- because I have), I think it was the right one. This could be a whole post on it’s own, so I’ll leave it at that.
In addition, we moved Ada into Asante and Aly’s room, so now everyone is sharing! It’s been a surprisingly easy transition. We’ve had them all go to bed at the same time, and also at different times, and everyone has been able to deal with it well. Also, when moving Ada into the big kid bedroom, we also tried putting her to bed in underwear instead of diapers. And she did it! We have been completely diaper-free for a whole week!
Since we moved Ada out of the playroom, we were able to put up the crib for the baby. Jake and the kids did it one day while I was at work, and it was SO FUN to come home and see it all set up, totally ready for the baby’s arrival.
Also this week, I worked on organizing all of our kid clothes, sizes Newborn through 5T (by gender), into tubs that are now CLEARLY labeled and easy to access. We washed and folded all of our 0-6month clothes for boys and girls, cleared out some dresser space, and put them in a couple drawers. I also washed blankets, newborn diapers, etc.
Oddly enough, we didn’t start doing this for Ada until about 3 weeks before I was due. We didn’t even have a carseat ready for Ada when she was born because I hadn’t been able to pick one out. For some reason I’ve been feeling a greater urgency to get things ready for this one.
Things still left to do:
And while I don’t HAVE to do the following, I’d REALLY REALLY like to get these things accomplished because I know they will not be happening in the first couple months following baby’s arrival:
On the work front, I’m meeting with HR next week to file the paperwork I might need in case I need to take off more than 2 weeks (unexpected complications, c-section, etc.), and I have started training a graduate assistant to fill in for me a bit while I’m gone, plus to help me out through May graduation and our next May Residency. He’s really fantastic- a great worker (i.e. can follow directions AND can think for himself- a great characteristic to have), catches on quickly, and super reliable. I’m thankful!Lots left to do – and hopefully this baby gives me at least 6 more weeks to do it all in!
Sunday, February 17th, 2013
I am really looking forward to The Justice Conference, coming to Philadelphia next weekend. Eastern University is one of the hosts, and since I work at Eastern, I get to volunteer! I’m excited to not only do my little part in making this all happen, but also to get to rub shoulders with some fantastic people.
A month or two ago, the creator of the conference, Ken Wytsma, came to campus to talk about The Justice Conference to anyone interested. I decided to take my lunch off and go hear what he had to say. I was so glad that I did. Ken is incredibly down-to-earth, “normal”, theologically grounded and interested in helping each and every person to pursue justice in their everyday life. Something else that struck me was that Ken and his family are able to pursue justice even though they are a family of 6 (mom, dad, and 4 girls). I think sometimes Jake and I feel “stuck” (How can we pursue justice? Our lives are full of work and parenting!), but I was reminded of something I already knew deep inside– we’re not stuck. Everyone can pursue justice.
When given the opportunity to review his new book, Pursuing Justice: The Call to Live & Die for Bigger Things, I was open to hear what he had to say. I knew that one of his goals is to help conservatives, liberals, and everywhere inbetween see and understand how justice is a call for every believer, and how justice is ROOTED in the gospel story.
As to defining justice, while there are many facets and a broad definition in one sense, a simplified version is that justice is what ought to be. “Justice involves harmony, flourishing, and fairness, and it is based on the image of God in every person- the Imago Dei- that grants all people inalienable dignity and infinite worth” (p. 9). He also relates justice to righting the wrongs that sin creates.
Depending what circles one runs in, “justice” can be primarily talked about when it comes to the part of God’s nature that demands payment for sin. One may hear something like: “God is just, so he couldn’t just let our sin go unpunished. It was God’s mercy that put Jesus on the cross instead of us, and paid for our sin.” And that’s the end. But, our justification is only a part of the gospel story. This is part one of, say, three acts. The other two- sanctification (becoming more like Jesus) and glorification (being made like Jesus in heaven) also have elements of justice to them, because God is a just God. He is making things right. And after we are justified (part I), we are being invited to become like him, i.e. making things right too. What I consider to be my life verse (and I guess in many ways was Jesus’ too), is Isaiah 61, and it illustrates Jesus’ mission, and hence our mission on earth. It’s filled with justice language!
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
Ken does a fantastic job of theologizing (in a meaningful, yet easy to understand way) about justice, as well as helping us to explore our various biases, misunderstandings, and emotional “stuff” that muddles or stands in the way of understanding justice and how we are to be participating with God in the making right of things around us.
This is book is definitely going to be on my list of “must reads” for all believers, especially when I’m meeting with others and teaching about justice in general (and social justice in particular). Ken’s language is accessible and he does a good job of pulling in a diversity of sources to illustrate his ideas.
I’ll probably have a post or two more surrounding some of the points he brings up in the book. It’s a lot to process in one reading, and promises a rich re-reading as well. I think this would be a great book to have a series of discussions around– lots to talk about, some things to disagree about, and a lot of things to live out. With a skilled discussion leader, one could bring in some other resources to foster some incredible dialogue that both challenges and encourages the participants.
Thanks to Ken for writing such a good book!
Friday, February 8th, 2013
Normally I’m not a “this is the details of my life” blog….but, since this blog doesn’t see much action, I thought- why not?
Today I had my 30 week check-up and everything was looking good. I was pleased to hear my midwife say that the baby was lying very low in the pelvis. This is the first child who has decided to do such a thing . Both Asante and Aly were still unengaged through the beginning of labor….and Ada, well, I can’t quite remember, but I know it certainly wasn’t 30 weeks. So, I think this one is just eager to make his/her debut. On one hand I’m very very ready. I’m not enjoying being pregnant quite as much this time around, and I think I’ll have a lot more energy once this baby is on the outside of me. On the other hand, for all intents and purposes we have done absolutely nothing to prepare yet. Well, I made a “registry” which, for the 4th kid, means it’s simply a list of things I need to get before his/her arrival.
Lots of things I’d like to do– catch up on scrapbooking, organize the basement, organize all baby/kid clothes so I know what I have for each kids for the upcoming seasons (it’s a sea of chaos right now). I’d like to finish up a few books that I have gotten “in exchange for book reviews” because I don’t foresee very much reading in the evenings for a few months.
Our schedule has been hectic lately as well, making the “things I’d like to do” list remain pretty much just that- a list. Jake’s been tutoring a lot (4-5 evenings a week and some on Saturdays), and his “off” evenings are the nights we have small group and the other when the kids have Awana. While I’m glad that we each get good quality time with the kids, it has been hard not to be able to spend very much time with one another. We’re thankful for the extra income his tutoring brings in though.
Life is full, and while I can’t imagine how having another baby will make it any less full, I do think things will slow down a bit. We’ll have “an excuse” to rest more, to stay in more, to work a little less. We’ll have grandparents here to help for a month or so after the baby is born. And hopefully that list will be finished. Or if it’s not, I probably won’t even care.
Thursday, February 7th, 2013
I just don’t really know how to communicate, in a nice, neat blog post, how I feel about this book.
I found it enjoyable.
I was incredibly annoyed and slightly offended at times.
I know. Exactly why it’s taken me so long to start- and finish- this post.
What I liked
What I did not like
When I pick up a book for mothers, I shouldn’t be surprised, I guess, to find this type of attitude. In a way, it’s too bad because the book did have some great things to say about life as a stay-at-home mom. Because it IS really hard (for some of us), especially in those early years as we’re becoming mothers (because some of us aren’t born longing for that and sometimes it’s just a process that takes a few years).
So, do I recommend it? If you are a stay-at-home mom and feeling discouraged/depressed/worn-out, yes, I really think it could offer you some encouragement and good ways to look at things a little differently. If you are a work-outside-the-home mom who is feeling discouraged/depressed/worn-out, don’t read it unless you can take the “stay-at-home-moms-are-God’s-favorite-moms” attitude.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013
About 6 months ago, a few of my girlfriends and I accidentally started a book club. It started with a casual conversation about how two of us wanted to read a book, and why not invite a couple more people who would probably like it too? After a month or so, we got together to talk about it, and then a few weeks later, we get an email from one of the women with another book idea. Sure! Why not?
Next week we’ll be discussing our third (?) book. Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by author, blogger, ministry leader Lysa Terkeurst is one that several of us had heard about through the bloggy world grapevines and thought it might be good for us. I must admit that I was surprised that everyone wanted to read this one. Y’all, this group of women consists of some of the most mild-mannered, sweet women I have ever met. I actually can’t imagine any of them making anything but calm, level-headed decisions, but whatever. Anyone who knows me well knows that this is probably one that I should keep in a handy location.
Lysa describes two ways of dealing with emotions in unhealthy ways- either exploding (Exploding and Shaming ourselves for it OR Exploding and Blaming others for it), or stuffing (Stuffing and Building Relational Barriers OR Stuffing and Collecting Retaliation Rocks). People who are “stuffers” often think they don’t have any issues (because they can “control” them), but in reality, stuffing is no better than exploding on people. I’m pretty sure no one needs examples of these two experiences, but Lysa gives them anyway- many of them funny and almost all of them relatable (she has 5 teenagers- need I say more?). Lysa also wisely acknowledges that many of us do more than one (or all four) depending on who we are relating to.
Lysa helps the reader understand that most of the release of raw emotion is related to unhealthy thought patterns.
“After all, how a woman thinks is often how she lives.”
She also gives some practical advice about how to make good choices even when we are feeling those raw emotions. Having a plan before we are sitting in the raw emotion and needing to make choices is half the battle. Also, making choices of blessing others who have hurt us, and trying to recognize that hurtful words coming at us *may* be an indication of something that is more about them than about us is also a helpful thing to keep in mind.
In some ways, this book doesn’t give a whole lot more depth than others on how to handle raging emotions. However, in this book Lysa offers some practical ways to begin exploring one’s “underbelly”– the deep inside of ourself that always manifests itself externally, in some form. Lysa also offers the invitation to “imperfect progress”…recognizing that success is often two steps forward and one step back. Holiness doesn’t happen overnight, and Lysa is quick to offer grace as we move in that direction.
To read more about Lysa, you can find her blogging here.
Tuesday, December 11th, 2012
It’s been a really long time since I’ve done a book review….but I think I’m going to get back into the swing of it! I have several books on my shelf that I’ve been wanting to read, but between morning sickness, new job, new schedules etc., I haven’t had a whole lot of time to read much of anything.
The most recent book I’ve read is one on leadership….or should I say followership? Leonard Sweet wrote a book a couple years ago called I Am A Follower. Basically, it’s a critique of the general attitude that the church has towards leadership. Why are we so obsessed with leadership? Why does everyone want to be a leader, but no one wants to be a follower? …. Why do we train our leaders by reading books based on leadership in business when many of those principles are falling apart before our eyes?
I have enjoyed this book not because I agree with everything Sweet says (because I definitely don’t), but he does a good job of prophetically calling people (leaders) to be followers of Jesus first and foremost, instead of running after cultural measures of success. He’s asking some of the right questions.
One of my favorite lines is this book:
“In a celebrity culture, leaders are the center of their stories.”
And I think this observation is right on. I can mentally go through a flip file of leaders, and I can tell you who are the center of their stories and who has (as cheesy as it may sound) God as the center. It makes a big difference in how I feel like I can trust and relate to them. While these people may be fun and exciting to follow for awhile, eventually another person comes along who has better stories, and then there’s a new leader to follow.
I do think that Sweet tends to swing a little too far to the other side of the spectrum, though. But, like many who serve as prophetic voices, that kind of thing happens. He tends to think that there is a difference between church leaders and other leaders. I’d argue that there is a difference between leaders who follow Jesus and those who do not. From my perspective, christians who are in business, education, not-for-profit organizations, or the church all have a similar call — to serve, to de-center themselves, to collaborate and create community, to use their gifts and talents for God’s glory and others’ good.
I think his strongest message through this book is that perhaps we don’t have a crisis of leadership in the church, but a crisis of followership. I think while this book is simply one more book that pushes back a little bit against our love for business-style leadership, it’s still another book that is pushing back on something that the majority of leaders haven’t really given any serious thought to. So, if this book reaches a few more, hallelujah.
Would I recommend you read this book? Eh, maybe not. While it brings up a very important question that deserves some serious discussion and thoughtfulness, Sweet’s style of writing is a little too cliche-ish for many of your tastes. I found myself groaning and/or rolling my eyes at some of the “church-sign-like” things he said, and found him to be a bit long-winded. I think this book could have easily been half the size and a bit more distilled.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”