I considered starting this review by telling you what a buzzkill April was, but then as I looked back over everything we did this month, I realized that maybe my reaction to our less than ideal weather conditions was a little over dramatic.
Sure, we hardly even made it into the 50s most days, but when I really think about it, April brought us more good than maybe I acknowledged along the way.
We (even Jake!) celebrated Easter and threw the girls (not literally) into their very first swimming lesson. We (only Jake, obviously) cut a huge hole in our house for a sliding glass door and are now (all included) basking in all the new light pouring in. We had campfires in the driveway, blew bubbles in the front yard, and drank smoothies in front of a castle.
April, I’m sorry I gave you such a hard time. You didn’t deserve that.
Plus, I also found some good things to read and occupy my time this month. You know, in case you’re interested…
What Articles I Clicked
“Might As Well Laugh, Mama” by Holly Mackle
Sisterfriends are like a good elbow nudge, aren’t they? They’re a gentle shake from the realities of the moment, reminding us to step outside them, to evaluate the unset concrete moments from a different perspective, and oh look that’s actually pretty funny what just happened right there.
I need them when my kid starts purring like a kitten in the grocery checkout line. I need them when my oldest refers to Cinderella as the Old Testament and Cinderella II, Dreams Come True as the New Testament. I definitely need them when The Child Who Must Not Be Named asks if I can write out all her dinner options on a piece of paper and give it to her to choose from.
“Where’s My Daughter? Call Her Forth” by Callie Feyen
The opening line in Act 1, Scene 3 is a question and a command. “Where’s my daughter?” Lady Capulet asks the Nurse. “Call her forth to me.” We can interpret that line literally. Mrs. Capulet doesn’t know where her kid is and is asking the Nurse to help find her.
I think this line can be interpreted figuratively as well. That is, we mothers don’t always understand what’s going on with our children—their experience is not our own. Recognizing this can be scary, when we see them on the brink of adolescence, marriage, motherhood. Where’s the daughter we once knew? Who is she now? How much of this experience do we help her navigate? How do we help her become who she’s going to be? Why not bring in our friends to call forth something in our children.
“Do Good to Your Fellow Mom” by Chelsea Stanley
If we ask God for opportunities to do each other good, he will give them to us at just the right time, in just the right amount, just as he has prepared them.
What Books I Read
More than anything else in this book, I appreciate Brené Brown’s reminders of humanity. In an age of so much hateful rhetoric (coming from a lot of different directions), Brown continually urges readers to move in close. She reminds us of the importance of human connection, listening without an agenda, and living vulnerably. One of her most powerful chapters for me, People Are Hard to Hate Close Up. Move In., contained one of my favorite paragraphs:
As the larger world engages in what feels like a complete collapse of moral judgment and productive communication, the women and men I interviewed who had the strongest sense of true belonging stayed zoomed in. They didn’t ignore what was happening in the world, nor did they stop advocating for their beliefs. They did, however, commit to assessing their lives and forming their opinions of people based on their actual, in-person experiences (64).
A few of her main summative points fell flat for me (a longer conversation), but the vast majority of her conclusions felt so timely and important.
Dance, Stand, Run: The God-Inspired Moves of a Woman on Holy Ground by Jess Connolly
Truthfully, I’m still processing the implications of this one. I basically used up an entire highlighter while I was reading, but here is one paragraph that I keep coming back to:
When we…seek His face and learn His word and trust His character, I believe we’ll become more hopeful and more anticipatory of His return and His rescue. We’ll see people in the correct light, as image bearers of our Holy God; we’ll see world events with more clarity; and we’ll perceive culture not as barren and broken beyond repair but as reachable and redeemable by the healer of all things (182).
The Teacher Diaries: Romeo and Juliet by Callie Feyen
I bought this one after I read the essay excerpt I referenced above and loved so much about it. Feyen teaches Romeo and Juliet to a new batch of 8th graders each year, and this book is basically a collection of essays in which she looks at the key scenes from the play and how they relate to the larger themes of her own (or her students’) life experiences.
I used to teach Romeo and Juliet each year which is maybe why this resonated with me. If any of my teaching friends are reading this, you’ll like this one. It’s quick, thoughtful, and filled with meaningful adolescent insights.
What I Wrote
I didn’t publish much this month, but it feels worth noting that I did attend a writing conference this past weekend at my local library.
I also bought a new pair of glasses because that felt like a writer-y thing to do.
You can find the one article I did push into the world wide web, “You need to Know Why Wordless Picture Books are Worth Shouting Over”, over at Mighty Moms.
What I Learned
It’s hard to learn to swim if you refuse to put your head under water. And, after just typing that sentence, I realize there’s probably a lot more to explore there.
Chicken eggs take 21 days to hatch. Ducks? 28. Helping Lily with her fun fact research homework each week is one of my favorite things.
Gratitude isn’t contingent on circumstances. A recurring theme. Case in point: the April weather.
On that note, I just remembered that in addition to all the other pretty great April stuff, I also won my March madness bracket (sorry, mom) and got to see the Cubs play in person last week (thanks, mom!).
April, you were good to us.
(But May, you’re coming with some warmer temperatures, right?)