reading round-up (5.30.14)

Happy Friday! This week held a very noteworthy celebration: The first “real” piano student sign up of my Minnesota piano studio! We toasted this occasion with the most despicable-tasting sparkling cider available in the Target clearance aisle. (Seriously. It was awful. We both said something like, “We should have just had champagne. I think pregnant ladies in Europe drink sometimes and their kids are okay…”)
photo 2 (1)

Here are some reading suggestions for the start of a beautiful weekend…

[One] You guys, it’s been legitimately sort of HOT this week. We haven’t turned on the AC yet (we rebel against that sort of thing for a while), but it’s toasty enough to reschedule Max’s mid-afternoon walk so we can go to the basement for downstairs chores and naps instead. I have been really happy with my strategic door-and-window opening plan, which was inspired by this old post about “Living without A/C and Liking It!” from Like Mother, Like Daughter. We actually don’t know if the air conditioning unit works in this house, so we’ll get it cleaned out and hope for the best when it starts getting hotter! (I keep thinking… if you can’t make it until June for a/c when you live in Minnesota, you’re in serious trouble.)

[Two] I’ll probably whack out a whole post about how ridiculous the “mommy wars” are, especially in evangelical Christian subculture, but this post from Jen Wilkinson was particularly encouraging as I gear up for being a part-time working mom.

[Three] This look at the stairway to wisdom from David Brooks includes some great thoughts about the personal stories behind statistics, especially in relation to teen pregnancy.

[Four] I’ve seen this post about homeschooling popping around among friends quite a bit. I’m not going to deny that if I wrote an article about homeschooling (as someone who was homeschooled, has worked closely in tutoring other homeschool families in upper grades, is married to someone who was homeschooled, and will need to make some decisions about educating my own kid in the future) it would say the exact opposite of this one. In general, my opinion is that 85% of homeschool families need a more serious attitude about academics and a lot less restrictions for everything else. But it’s worth reading and reflecting critically whether you agree with it or not!

[Five] I love these thoughts on “scruffy hospitality” and welcoming people into life as you are!  Good, good words from Jack King.

“Don’t allow a to-do list disqualify you from an evening with people you’re called to love in friendship. Scheduling is hard enough in our world. If it’s eating with kind, welcoming people in a less than perfect house versus eating alone, what do you think someone would choose? We tell our guests ‘come as you are,’ perhaps we should tell ourselves ‘host as you are.’ …Friendship isn’t about always being ‘excellent’ with one another. Friendship is about preparing a space for authentic conversation. And sometimes authenticity happens when everything is a bit scruffy.”

[Six] Two different friends have recommended the “Hillsdale Dialogues” series to me for combating intellectual decay. These lectures on literature have provided some mental stimulation lately, so they are worth checking out even if you’re a little intimidated (or not immediately interested) in hearing about The Illiad or Sir Gawain.

[Seven] Maybe especially because, finally, some things are really coming together —PhDbaby, duckling, puppy… what else could we want?– we’ve been battling a lot of thoughts about hopes, both the ones we felt were dashed so many times in the last few years, and the ones we’re still not sure about for the future. There are questions about calendars and things that don’t look like we thought they should at this point, birthdays that came before all the things we wanted to do by that age were done, and uncertainty about how to redream for some of life. I loved this encouragement from Ann Voskamp:

Time can’t dictate dreams or hijack hope or determine destination. Time may have hands on the clock but it’s arms are too weak to rob anybody of hope, steal anybody’s prayers, destroy anybody’s joy. And so what if time’s got hands on a clock — it’s God who has His Hands on the universe. Every little thing is going to be okay because God is working good through every little thing. All that’s happening is just happening to make miracles. There are miracles always unfolding under the impossibles.
“Joys are always on their way to us,” writes Amy Carmichael. “They are always traveling to us through the darkness of the night. There is never a night when they are not coming.”
Because there is never a night where joys are not coming to us, there is never a road that can’t arrive at Hope.Circumstances can go ahead and run out of time — but the courageous refuse to run out of hope. We can always hope because there is always joy traveling to us down the unexpected roads.

“The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” – Psalm 147:11

The mosquitos are particularly nasty, but we’re hoping for another weekend of bonfires, laughter, Max adventures, and some more painting. (I can tell it’s making a big and beautiful difference in this house that needed a lot of “lipstick and rouge,” but will it ever end? I think “soft flipping” a house and getting a puppy effectively eradicated the possibility of ‘relaxing weekends’ before the baby arrives. )

(You can enjoy more quick reads at Conversion Diary!) 





6 thoughts on “reading round-up (5.30.14)

  1. Hey Abby! I had a hard time with the Jen Wilkin link and the homeschool link! Thanks for sharing 🙂 I ‘ll check back later so I can read them!

    • Thanks for the heads up! Fixed them… lesson learned: Don’t try to write a blog post while on the phone and managing a dog who is overdue for a walk.

      On Fri, May 30, 2014 at 9:30 AM, abby hummel wrote:


  2. I couldn’t get to the article on homeschooling. I am always interested in varying opinions on the matter. We were academically intense with our first and second children. We have come to realize that it is more important to work on their hearts and have become more easy about their schooling. We have also realized that we should play to their strengths and push them in those areas instead of trying to force-feed them every subject.
    It seems to be working as our younger children are performing even better than the older ones did on their standardized tests.
    I’m not suggesting there aren’t parents out there who need to make a greater academic push; I’m just saying that no pushing is worthwhile if the heart is not turned toward Christ.

    • I fixed the link! Hopefully you can check it out now. 🙂

      And on one hand I totally understand what you’re saying about your kids’ hearts… but I also struggle with that because I don’t think it’s a parents job to make their children godly or Christians. Set a good example, pray for them, have reasonable standards that line up with your beliefs while they live at home. etc., yes, but scripture clearly says a heart of faith comes by the work of the Holy Spirit, not by “awesome parenting.” I have seen so many friends devastated, just floundering to figure out how to be a grown-up because their parents used homeschooling to focus on rules and some arbitrary standard of “getting their hearts right” without setting them up with the education and life skills they needed for whatever was ahead. (This is especially noticeable in guys who joined the military and the girls who didn’t prepare for a career because “their place was in the home.”) I guess I’m just saying we can’t keep relying on the belief that “homeschoolers turn out great!” and ignore the real responsibilities that go along with it, things that not every homeschool parent is actually doing. All this to say — Of course, I am NOT implying that you and Steve are doing a bad job, by any means. You know your kids better than anyone else, and you obviously aren’t afraid to adjust your parenting/education plans when you need to, which seems like one of the most important skills needed for raising kids. Blessings! 🙂

      On Fri, May 30, 2014 at 9:35 AM, abby hummel wrote:


  3. We’re holding out with our air conditioning too! The two times I’ve gotten desperate the weather has cooled off the next day, thankfully…but it’ll be on as soon as it gets hot again! 🙂

    • I’m planning to scrub the air conditioner out tomorrow and clean the filters… and we’ll hope for the best with this machine when June hits!

Comments are closed.