August came and went in a whirlwind. It’s technically still summer, but it feels like August is all about school. My high schoolers had weeks of school-related camps before the first day ever began. We shopped for shoes and supplies. We figured out what lunches would look like this year. We set our alarms earlier. And we did it. We are back to school. Along the way, I discovered a few new things that have quickly become favorites!
The Bible Without Verses.
For my husband’s birthday, I gave him The Bible Without Verses. I’m not sure if this is the official title, but it’s what I call it. In this book, the entire Bible is published as you expect a novel or other printed book to be…paragraphs of prose without chapters or verses. It is meant to be read and received as a complete piece of literature.
Seeing the words of scripture in a physically new format, without the predictive divisions and numbers brings a freshness and new angle to the familiar passages. It is a thoughtful gift for the Biblical scholar or for those in ministry who may have a collection of Bibles, but nothing one quite like this.
If I asked you to tell me how you feel at any given moment, what word bank would you draw from to describe your feelings? For me, I would tend toward a rather small group of adjectives: happy, sad, angry, afraid. A few months ago I was introduced to the emotional wheel, and my mind was blown. This diagram breaks down emotions into different color-coded segments. If you start at the center of the wheel and work your way out, you can hone in on exactly how you are feeling.
Why does this matter? For one, being able to verbalize how you are feeling is a step toward being able to process through those feelings in a healthy manner. But it is also a helpful tool in relating to those you are in relationship with. To tell someone you are feeling sad is one thing. To tell someone you feel agonized is another. Sadness is one of the words at the center of the wheel. Agonized, hurt, melancholic, regretful, anguished, and neglected are examples of words that stem from sadness, each with its own nuance and more fine-tuned description associated with it.
I love this tool. I use it in my own life, and I have begun to use it with my children. I want them to be able to look inside themselves and express how they feel in a very descriptive way. Training them in emotional intelligence will benefit them as they continue to grow and mature.
I did not read Eat, Pray, Love. I think I saw parts of the movie, but I genuinely know nothing about the story other than it was a cultural phenomenon and the movie starred Julia Roberts. Over and over lately though, I kept hearing different people reference a book called Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote Eat, Pray, Love. I decided to check it out.
This book was a breath of fresh air. It speaks to the idea of creative living, and without giving too much away, the author introduces her radical and innovative beliefs on how inspiration and the creativity work. It is like nothing I have ever read before, and so far fetched and fantastical that it made me smile with delight as I listened to the audiobook.
Full disclosure, her ideas are a little out there, and I am sure we operate from different world views when it comes to the divine. However, I loved this book and what it offered. I love being reminded that creating anything is difficult work, worthy of the process no matter how arduous. I loved hearing from someone who had “made it big” talk about how accidental her success was and how most of what she created didn’t “make it big.” If you create anything, or think you might want to, give this book a read (or a listen).
Do you need a new show that won’t scar you with violence or offend you with graphic nudity? Are you looking for an easy watch that requires very little mental or emotional energy, yet is compelling enough that you could easily binge the entire season in one setting? May I suggest you check out Derry Girls. This show follows four Irish Catholic high school girls through the ups and downs of their life in the small town of Derry. The accents are fantastic, the characters charming and hilarious, and the story lines are easy to follow and fun to watch.
Clear Sleeve Binder.
I love back to school. I hate all the papers. I must admit, as my children get older, the ocean of papers has decreased a bit, but they still bring home a lot of paperwork in the form of assignments, calendars, announcements, permission forms, and artwork. The question of how to manage all this in a thoughtful way without losing your mind is a common parenting challenge. I have tried different solutions over the years, but this past month I discovered something I wish I had found years ago. It is a spiral bound collection of plastic sleeved folders. You can find them with a variety of different quantity of folders, but I chose the one with five.
I am using this to hold Lillian’s school papers this semester. One folder is for things I want to keep (poems or artwork or essays she created), one folder is for important calendar-type papers, one folder is for things that require action (permission forms, sign ups, birthday party invitations, etc.), and one folder is for anything else that may need a home. The school-year application for this tool is obvious, but it would also work well for other life projects like remodeling a home, or collecting paperwork for taxes, or planning a big event, or keeping track of warranties and paint colors when you move.
Have a lovely week!