Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Reading, Writing, & Domesticity #4

Making Room for Contemplation

I’ve noticed more recently that I’ve become increasingly distracted and my attention span hasn’t been as good as it was. I put it down partly to getting a new iPhone (my old one didn't do much and was often unreliable). When you're using your phone for texting, emails, appointments, reminders, timers etc., it's too easy to be distracted and one thing leads to another if you're not careful.

We're also in the throes of bathroom renovations that have dragged on for over 7 weeks (update that to 9 weeks!) & that’s made life a little chaotic, too...burst waterpipes, cement dust, tradesmen not turning up when they said they would or arriving when you aren't expecting them, pluming supplier sending the wrong parts...blah, blah, blah. Besides that, my morning walks have come to a halt because of these renovations, which is a sure recipe for a scattered brain for me.

I haven't listened to any podcasts lately but then I came across this one on the Circe Institute website - an interview with author Alan Noble. I haven’t read the book they mention but the podcast discusses making room for contemplation in the context of living in a distracted world. It’s well worth listening to. I’ve been thinking about ways I can cultivate this space - technology can be a great tool and I know I won't be getting rid of my phone so I need to work around it. Distractions aren’t going to disappear even when our renovations are done - something else will jump in, I'm sure, but I'm considering how I can allow space for contemplation regardless.




My older girls read these books by Elizabeth George when they were in their teens. Moozle has read one and is most of the way through the second. She reads a chapter a few times a week as a sort of devotional, apart from her 'official' lessons, and has been enjoying them. The author covers relationships in general and content-wise, they are just right for girls aged about 12/13 years and up. The author also has a book for younger girls (ages 8 to 12 years). I've read a few of her books myself and thought they were very good.
Her husband, Jim George, has written a few books for boys on similar topics. I like the fact that they don't venture into the 'too much information' side of things and leave it up to the parents to decide when to introduce these topics.




The Green Years by A.J. Cronin - this is the second book I've read by this Scottish author and I do like his writing very much. The Keys of the Kingdom was the other book and while The Green Years was not quite as good, it was, nevertheless very enjoyable. The setting is Scotland, in the same area I came from, so that was a great attraction for me. Cronin often substitutes a fictional place name for the one he's writing about but I recognised some of the places from his evocative descriptions.




I've started to read the books above in preparation for a Women's Retreat in mid-September. I'm speaking on The Friendships of Women & I want to look at this from a couple of different angles.

Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer - a classic by the German theologian who was martyred by the Nazis. I read Eric Metaxas' biography of Bonhoeffer  two years ago so it will be good to hear from the man himself. It's only a short book (my copy is 96 pages) & was published in 1954. From what I've read so far, it's very good and fairly easy to read.

The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield. I first heard about this book via Brandy @ Afterthoughts and have since read a couple of articles about the author and was intrigued by the impact made upon her life when a couple drew her into their lives by an act of hospitality. I bought my copy at Koorong (an Aussie Christian bookshop). I usually buy new books via BookDepository but they only had the audio book in stock when I tried to order it. Koorong has a 20% off sale a few times a year so it's worth waiting for one if you want to get a few things.

The Gospel Comes With a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield - here the author looks at 'radical hospitality' using her own life as a backdrop and shows us how to enact this in our own homes.


The Barefoot Investor by Scott Page - financial planning, money management in general, investments...a hands-on approach that walks you through the process. Page is an Aussie author and some of what he covers would have to be adapted if you're not living in Australia, but it is a worthwhile book and would be helpful for anyone. My husband read it earlier this year as did our married son and it was passed on to another son who shares a house with three other young fellows and they're all reading it, and actually putting it into practice. There's some Aussie slang and corny humour in places, and of course, the situation here is different in regards to superannuation, loans, health funds etc, but his general financial strategies may be used anywhere.
This would be a great book for an older high school student or any young adult, or those struggling with debt to help them manage their finances and plan for the future.
The book below has been updated for the 2017-2018 financial year.











11 comments:

Sharon Wilfong said...

I just finished reading a book on the Tudors in England and they mention Mary, Queen of Scots. It reminded me of A.J. Cronin's experience in A Song of Sixpence when he has to write a paper defending to the best of his ability the reign of Queen Mary. It was pretty funny.

I look forward to reading your review of Butterfield's book. I read it a year or two ago. I found it to be less developed than it could have been but apparently she has written a follow up. My pastor really likes it.
Have you listened to her on YouTube. I like her talks much better than the book.

Carol said...

Cronin is one of my recent discoveries so I will hunt up a copy of the one you mentioned.
I never thought to look up YouTube to see if she had any talks there. It makes sense considering she was a uni lecturer. Thanks for the heads up, Sharon.

Brian Joseph said...

It is interesting how digital devices might be having an adverse effect on our attention spans. These days life without them seems so long ago.

Though I am familiar with the basic deltoid Bonhoeffer’s life I would like to read his biography. I am curious as to what your impressions of Life Together are.

Amy Marie said...

I love these posts, Carol. I hear ya on the phone distraction. I leave my phone upstairs in the mornings and it has really been helping me not mindlessly check things or scroll. I love IG so much because I'm very much a visual person, but the time can just waste away if I'm not careful!

Thank you for the heads up on the George books!

Amy Marie said...

PS - You are Scottish? :) I'm confused! Ha. (which isn't very hard!)

Carol said...

Hi Brian, I’ve resisted technology for a long time but it’s almost impossible to function without it in the western world, at least in relation to anything financial. My husband & one of my sons work in IT so it’s ever present & they are always updating & trying out new stuff.

Carol said...

That’s a good idea, Amy. I need to have it at hand while these renovations are going on but after that I might try it out. I’ll just have to tell all the family I’m only going to check my phone at certain times of the day. I was born in Scotland and my family emigrated here when I was 8 yrs old. I don’t think I have a great memory generally but my childhood in Scotland is something I do remember - or maybe it was because my Grannie lived with us for a while & I imbibed a lot of it from her.

Karen in KY said...

The Secrets of an Unlikely Convert is memorable, for the hospitality part, anyway. It seemed radical then, and now, and I love that. Thanks for the mention of her book about just that - I'll have to get that one now. If I can stay focused...lol. I think I need to listen to that Podcast. I broke my phone in April - total shatter - and decided to experiment and not replace it for a while. It was blissful. But my oldest - who's been in public school for a few years now - absolutely hated it. So I'm on an old iphone now and I just don't use it as much as I did pre-shatter in April.

Carol said...

Yes, keeping in touch with older kids is so much easier with an iPhone. We have a family ‘what’s app’ my son set up for everyone to use so there’s a lot of banter to & fro, which is fun. I actually smashed my old so my husband got me an updated one with a much bigger screen! Maybe I should have held off like you did :) I blame it all on him...

cleopatra said...

I've been completely distracted lately as well but I think I'm coming out of it, although housework, not reading, is first on the to-be-accomplished list. Thanks for a reminder about the Circe podcasts. I've been meaning to check them out!

Carol said...

Mmmm...housework...after 10 weeks of upheaval getting bathrooms done we have a major clean up to do. It hasn't helped that I've had a pinched nerve in my neck for 3 weeks & haven't done much at all of anything.