Hey, folks. It’s late mid-October, that time of year in Omaha where the weather teases you into thinking you might be able to dress comfortably but then scorches or freezes you to remind you that you can’t. You might need a coat. Or shorts. Or a scarf and mittens. Take your pick.
I thought I’d make a list of things that have been particularly awesome (the hits) and things that are not (the misses.)
- Vacationing somewhere without cell service. We spent the first week of October at a state park in Iowa. It was quiet, chilly, peaceful, and notification-free. At times I forget how oriented I am towards my phone. Just checking this. Just reading that. Just looking something up. Just …just…just. But when I go a few days without it, and my mind settles a bit. My phone becomes a device I use to take pictures and check the time in the night. I can’t help but think that’s a better way to live (for me, at least). In that week away, we played board games, sat around the fire, went fishing, tossed rocks in the lake, counted the deer that crossed the meadow around us, and spent time listening to our kids. And about that…
- Listening to my kids. The great thing about a marriage is that two people bring their unique selves to the table. When heading out on vacation, I want peaceful views, comfort foods, and lots of space to read. My husband (being an Enneagram 8/ INTJ) is like, “Hey, let’s do some strategic planning!” Oh boy. It’s actually pretty awesome to give your kids space to talk. We asked things like What has changed in the last year? What are you enjoying about our family right now? What are you looking forward to or anxious about in the next six months? And my least favorite question, What can mom and dad do better? (Learning to love feedback will probably be a lifelong journey for me, but I am trying to make peace with it. I’m grateful for the marriage teaching of John Gottman that has given me the phrase, “That’s interesting. Tell me more.” Defensiveness impairs growth on all sides, and the truth is, my kids have some really insightful things to say about our family, their relationships, and how they’re navigating the world. I don’t want to miss it because of my own stuff.) We left that time together with a better take on where the kids are at, some ideas for troubleshooting the parts of family life that aren’t working (mainly dinner clean-up), and a renewed sense that their voices matter to us.
- TV Shows I know there’s haters out there that aren’t digging The Masked Singer, but I don’t care. Haters gonna hate. I am here for this season and I am pulling for the Thingamajig. Garrett and I recently finished watching Kim’s Convenience, and we have that “What now?” kinda feeling.
- The Office Ladies podcast If you’re a fan of The Office, you’re probably already listening to Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey (Pam & Angela) recap episodes of The Office and share behind the scenes stuff. Very niche, but I happily fit into that niche, thank you very much.
- Books While at the lake, I read People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau (second book in The City of Ember series) and The Tatooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. I felt the former was entertaining but a bit heavy-handed, and the latter was gut-wrenching and beautiful.
- (Trigger warning- this point contains a reference to sexual assault.) The Poldark Series by Winston Graham You guys. I’ve been on the Poldark bandwagon this summer. I read the first three books. I started watching the show with Garrett. I was Team Ross all the way. Then, in book 4, Ross Poldark appears to rape someone. I say appears because it is written in a vague way. But if you take what is said on the page literally, and you combine it with the way the female character reflects on the experience, it was not consentual. I’ve deep dived the internet theories. I’ve read the author’s son’s take on it. I’ve tried to figure out how a noble character who continues to be the hero of the story can act this way without any consequences, and how in the world can the author assume readers will be ok with it. I’ve concluded that it doesn’t really matter. Either the author didn’t know what he’s doing or doesn’t care, and I’m out either way. Goodbye, Poldark. I’m off to read something that doesn’t see violence against women as a plot point or an expression of “passion”.
- Pumpkin Spice everything. I’m not really a pumpkin girl. Pumpkin bread? Ok. Pumpkin candles. Uh….maybe. But fake pumpkin flavor in drinks? No, thanks. It doesn’t taste good to me. I’m not hating on the season drinks trend in general as I am particularly passionate about the Peppermint Mocha, just not #teampsl over here. You do you.
- The video of John MacArthur mocking Beth Moore. One of the things that’s become very important to me is primary sources. When a troubling quote is attributed to Donald Trump, Alexandria Orcasio-Cortez, or any public figure, I try to search for the interview clip or the transcript of that quote. This lets me see if that person did say it, and it gives me context (which is truly the key to understanding what people meant). Naturally, when I read in an article that John MacArthur was mocking Beth Moore, I figured it was out of context. I found the video and was saddened on so many levels. The incident happened during a panel discussion at the Truth Matters Conference, a yearly conference hosted at John MacArthur’s church this past weekend. Disregarding all the theological points of contention in that short video, what really bothered me the most is that a group of Christians would find it entertaining to bring up the name of another fellow believer and then have everyone weigh in with a “pithy response”. Really? REALLY?!? It’s like, “Hey, I know what we should do. Let’s mock our brothers and sisters in Christ who we disagree with. In front of a huge audience. For fun!” It’s cool. They’ll know we are Christians by our pithy remarks, right? Sheesh. In the words of Mr. Knightley, “Badly done, Johnny Mac. Badly done.”
- Rejection count: 52. I’m trying to find a home for my middle grade manuscript, and the rejections are piling up. I know it’s par for the course. I know it’s normal. I know it’s hard to sell right now and J.K. Rowling got lots of rejections and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But I’m so tired of waking up to rejection emails in my inbox. The last one in particular was quite specific, and that one will sting for awhile.
Well, I hate to end on that downer, but here we are. Our house is in flux right now with some remodeling, room swapping, and general upheaval. I keep reminding myself that this will be worth it, but it sure doesn’t feel worth it right now with the added chaos. It seems like a large part of bring an adult is telling yourself, “This will be worth it.” Am I right?
Any hits and misses you want share? Would love to hear.