5 Quick Things #260 🦃
conversions, traditions, medievalists, & gratitude (of course)
Sounds cliché and perhaps it is, but I woke up so dadgum grateful for so much this morning. I love our quirky, too-tiny, fixer-upper home in the most delightful walkable neighborhood ever. I love that cold (for Texas) days are finally here. I love that our world is overflowing with good books and good stories, especially the old stuff that's stood the test of generations and centuries and is still here. I love good food. Food doesn’t have to taste good for it to sustain us — but it does! I love our goofy dog. I love my kids, full of gifts and foibles. I love crunchy leaves. I love my husband. I love Jesus and his gift of the Church. I love good coffee and tea. I love our life.
I love you guys and am so ridiculously grateful you're here, reading these words. What an honor to write. What a gift to be called to use whatever scrap of skill I've been given to hopefully make your day just a smidgen better. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being a reader of this quirky weekly letter, which I've been doing for ages and have only grown to love more.
You're the best.
5 Quick Things ☕️
1. A well-known evangelical YouTuber, who's been asking a lot of good questions for years now, has just become Catholic — and has decided to share his experience as of this morning (and he happens to be in Rome at the moment!). He admits the challenges and difficulties, both personally and professionally. I really appreciate this. It's not easy to convert.
2. I agree with Carl Truman that there is currently an Ingratitude Industry that thrives on our discontent — and that the way to best fight it is to conscientiously, intentionally, habitually practice gratitude. Daily. “I was the recipient of privilege. But the appropriate response to such privilege is not to feel guilty. It is to feel gratitude. To do otherwise would be to sin against my parents.”
3. What do we assume about the medieval period? Lots, I think. I've been so intrigued by this era for a while now and I want to learn more... I enjoyed this conversation between Dr. Grace Hamman and Charity Hill about the Middle Ages: the roles of women, the work life of peasants, and how we moderns can learn from both the good and the bad. Bonus points for all the literary and bookworm love.
4. I always appreciate Leah Libresco Sargeant's mind, and this recent piece is no exception — how do we lean in to the good of traditional thinking and living without simply wishing we lived a century ago? How do we let traditions do what they do best — be “tutorials in practical wisdom. At their best, they are desire paths, wearing a clear trail to follow through the landscape, shaped by the experiences of many prior walkers”? For one, it looks like taking part in work that's bigger than us, that will hopefully, preferably outlast us.
5. And finally, we're bringing the Turkey to Thanksgiving this year, and Kyle always does a great job with the bird. We're gonna try this method — fingers crossed it goes as well as all the comments lead me to believe it will!
Currently Reading, Watching, Listening 📚
The Comfort Crisis, by Michael Easter
This week I shared with subscribers a bit more of the fiction I’m working on:
I never knew my Grandma Heidi, Henry’s wife and my mom’s mom, because she died before I was born. So once he really and truly retired from teaching—he finally felt his age in his bones which made marble rollercoasters and balloon cars simply too exhausting—he’d spend most every morning with his fellow widower friends, kindred spirits he’d known for forty years, minimum. At 7 am they’d nurse black coffee, newspapers in hand, at the neighborhood coffee shop, four gray-haireds talking politics and sports and retelling the same stories. When the weather suited, they’d go fishing together at the watering hole off of Lake Sanderson, hardly catching anything but reveling in the view of long-necked herons and their kept company. They’d reminisce about the war and the days when their knees worked properly. They’d admire each others’ wives, each of them no older than thirty in their imaginations and still wearing tea-length dresses and red lipstick.
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“You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.”
— G.K. Chesterton #
When is Christmas Music “Allowed”? 🎶
Even though I’m Team Advent, Team Respect the Holidays When They Arrive, I’m actually a fan of Advent-focused Christmas music as soon as Advent shows up. This year, I may even start playing it the day after Thanksgiving, who knows? I’m just in a festive mood this year. But I’ll definitely keep it less celebratory and still play the Advent music much more.
Find this week’s poll here.
Quick Links 🔗
Become a paying subscriber of The Commonplace (and thank you!)
8 Days Until Advent! 🕯
It’s almost here… Advent begins Sunday, November 27, which is the Sunday right after Thanksgiving this year. When that happens, it tends to sneak up on us. Do yourself a favor and order Shadow & Light now so it’s ready for you! Or if you have it, perhaps order more copies for friends and families so you can enjoy the season together. (And thank you for that, by the way.)
I wrote this book specifically for someone like me: spinning many plates but still wanting a simple-but-rich, open-and-go Advent guide for reflection. If that’s you, you’ll probably appreciate S&L.
(p.s. Here’s the candle-making kit we use!)
Question(s) For You to Ponder… 🤔
What are you thankful for right now? Perhaps make a list of ten things that quickly come to mind and re-visit it this next week.
Have a good weekend,
p.s. A sweet poem.
So much to be thankful for!
Our family does a simple “thankful wall” with butcher paper taped to the wall in November. We each jot down something we’re thankful for at dinner. I love how it teaches us to pay attention throughout the day. And, of course, I love the insight to what my four-year-old is thankful for.
I really enjoyed the Chesterton quote. Thank you!
I find myself giddy to read “5 quick things” each week because it gives me so much to ponder... until the next week! Thanks, Tsh! I’m grateful for your yes.