A couple of years ago I began a week wrap-up. I stopped it during one summer and never revived it. Recently several people have asked me about it. “Remember how you used to tell us about articles and about what you were reading?” they said. “We miss it.” While I can’t promise it every week I’m going to try to do this every two weeks. What I would ask you to do is to use the comment section for your recommendations and why you recommend the piece. That way it becomes a richer conversation all around!
- “Hawk Mountain” from Brain Child Magazine. A death, a hike, and remembering — this piece beautifully explores all three of these as a mom takes a hike with her family.
Excerpt: “The sixth century monk St. Benedict reminded his students that they should live in such a way as to “Keep the reality of death always before [their] eyes.” I think of Louisa as I hike. I think of her family, who in their blinding grief, feel the dark edges of this reality. I think of how my life is small in the ways of the universe, tiny in the eyes of the sun or the shadow of this tree. I glance up and see Grant ahead of me, his strides growing confident and sturdier as we climb. I turn and see Mark behind me with Renee, weary from her fearless exploring, hoisted onto his shoulders. They are all so full of life. The blood pumps through their bodies, the neurons explode, rocket-ship-style, in their brains. Unpredictable, wild, beautiful. Alive, like the trees growing skyward, like the hawks catching the wind, all but a breath.”
- 11 Untranslatable Words from Other Cultures – an Infographic from Mother Nature Network. This is a fun one! Take a look and see which words you can relate with.
Excerpt: “Sobremesa – the time spent after lunch or dinner, talking to the people you shared the meal with.”
- How Cultures Around the World Make Decisions from Ideas.Ted.Com. This article begins with the caption: “Is the American obsession with individual freedom really such a great idea? What other cultures know about how to make good choices.” This is a thought provoking piece that challenges the obsession Americans have with individual freedom.
Excerpt: “THE AMERICAN CULTURAL RESPONSIBILITY TO REVERE CHOICE HAS BEEN PRESENT SINCE BEFORE AMERICA WAS AMERICA. IN OTHER WORDS, IT WAS NEVER A CHOICE.” “The American obsession with choice insists that choice be installed globally, whether through geopolitics or consumer goods. It’s anathema to let people limit their own choices.”
- No Safety for Christians in the Middle East – NY Times. This piece is a sober reminder that what Christians in the West experience is far different from Christians in other parts of the World.
Excerpt: “Rarely, if ever, it seems, has this Western blend of belief and materialism been so remote from the experience of hundreds of thousands of Christians elsewhere struggling to cope with an unwanted and bloody collision with the Islamic exclusivism of jihadists, primarily in Iraq, Syria and Nigeria. And rarely have Western worshipers seemed so reluctant to acknowledge that their faith could be entering the final stage of its long decline in the lands where it was born and first propagated.”
- At A Life Overseas – I posted a piece for the new year “Singing Songs of Joy in a Foreign Land.” Take a look, and while there peruse some of the other pieces.
Excerpt: “Perhaps our unspoken fear is that If we learn to sing songs of joy in this new place, this new land, then we will forget the old, we will lose our identity, all that we know, all that is familiar. As one person put it: “I wanted to preserve my identity, to hold dear the soil in which my roots are settled, to Never Forget who I Am. After all — my identity has come at such a high cost.”
On my nightstand: On Immunity: An Innoculation by Eula Biss. This short book is full of insight and challenge, using vaccinations and immunizations as metaphor. Stay tuned for a book review by this talented author who is also a Creative Writing teacher at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. It was the impetus for me to write a piece on protection in the new year.
Travel Quote: This week’s travel quote comes from Maia Manchester who can be found on Twitter @doubleomoo and blogging The Unlost Wanderer. Maia is a TCK and a post that I love is called “We’re the same, but not” Thank you Maia!