Wrapping up the Week – January 9, 2015

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!

Worth reading:

  • “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.”

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.” 

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.”

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! 

star-clusters wit quote


Wrapping Up the Week

It’s Saturday so grab a hot drink, sit in your most favorite spot, and spend time reading and relaxing!

On the woman behind Roe v. Wade: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Jane Roe. I found this an interesting look behind the curtain. Every law suit has a person with a story behind it. Norma, the woman who is ‘Jane Roe’, has an interesting story and a bit of it is told in this article.

On Egypt: The second anniversary of Egypt’s Uprising was yesterday. There was a massive demonstration in Tahrir Square with police and anti-Morsi protesters but otherwise, a country that occupied everyone’s thoughts and all the media spots two years ago remained almost off the radar. That seemed sad to me. In the midst of this I read a blog post from January 7th (Coptic Christmas and Epiphany) written by a friend of ours. It will give you a perspective you won’t hear in other places. Take a look at A Remarkable Sign of Hope During Christmas in Egypt by Ramez Atallah.

On Grace: The Lesson of Grace in Teaching is an essay written by a Professor of Mathematics, Frances Su. The essay is the text of a talk he gave. If you’ve followed this week’s posts, you’ll know that I’ve needed Grace. My favorite quote from the article:

The Lesson of GRACE:

  • Your accomplishments are NOT what make you a worthy human being
  • You learn this lesson when someone shows you GRACE: good things you  didn’t earn or deserve, but you’re getting them anyway.

first they killed my fatherOn What I’m Reading: First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers is a memoir from a Cambodian woman that covers 5 years of her life. For fifteen plus years I’ve worked with the Cambodian population in Massachusetts, sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly. I remember a few years ago sitting with one of my Cambodian colleagues over lunch, asking her about the Khmer Rouge and her journey from Cambodia to Lynn, Massachusetts. Her story had my throat catching and I wanted to weep. This memoir is long overdue for me and while I’m partially dreading it, it’s important that I read it. And yes, Crime and Punishment is still on my bedside table……

What about you? What are you reading and how is it affecting you? Join the conversation through the comment section!