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5 Quick Things #304 🎃
cans to the curb, reading revivals, the requirement of beauty, & all hallow's eve
Lately we've found ourselves watching documentaries after the dinner dishes are put away and the schoolwork is done—that is, when we watch anything at all, which hasn't been much these days. I'm not talking about the hard-hitting journalistic documentaries, nor even the nerdy science types (though we do love those)—I'm talking about the quiet home renovations or the survival-y, off-the-grid sorts. They don't have rah-rah demo day music or the oh no, an argument! dramatic soundtracks, they're the quieter, watch-as-we-live-our-lives sorts1.
I'm not sure why we're drawn to those right now, except that perhaps we're craving a bit of outside-the-box reality. These are lives that do things differently, but they're totally and completely real, a bit of companionship as we also live our quirky, slightly-unorthodox lives. They provide a dash of beauty in the deluge of the hard realities of what’s happening worldwide. Our family’s life is not that unique—we simply live in a small, old house in a small, walkable town—but Kyle and I work for ourselves, we homeschool, and over the past few years we've made some vocational, relational, financial, and spiritual choices that have left us feeling a little ...alone. Not lonely. Just different among our peers.
We're more than okay with this; we love our life and have a deep, deep peace about our path. I think it's simply …nice to find some solidarity when you find others who have made unique choices, too (even if those choices are vastly different from the sorts you've made). It’s grounding to remember the peeks of beauty still being crafted and hewn out of the imaginations of our fellow humans on this planet.
5 Quick Things ☕️
1. 📻 New episode of A Drink With a Friend! 📻 Why hope? Because we have no other choice. We have to hope, even when (especially when?) things are bleak. Seth & I chat alongside his wife Amber about what they’ve been learning the past few years—that hope requires a recognition of the deep-down things.
2. Our chat, above, reminded me of a piece I wrote about a year and a half ago, and it seems fitting once more to dust if off in light of all the atrocities in Israel and Gaza: “Isn’t it wrong to enjoy beautiful things when there’s so much ugliness in the world? …We live in the shadows, and yet the sometimes seconds-long shimmers of beauty hint at the actual reality worth living for. We’re called to notice those shimmers if we want to live. It’s required.”
3. Speaking of ordinary beauty, I loved this piece that reads like a bedtime story for grownups: “So much in this world feels out of our control right now, but tonight on our street, we know that if we drag our cans to the curb, hardworking people will empty them tomorrow morning and we get to start over.” From.
4. Ever find yourself in a reading slump? Me too. Joel ofgives us smart, actionable ideas for when we’re mired in book fatigue. I appreciate the recognition that even us die-hard bookworms feel the malaise of wanting-to-read-but-not-reading-like-we-want. It’s a real thing.
5. And finally, I love that some of my favorite Substackers have banded together to create a joint newsletter to celebrate the liturgical calendar! This was a fun round-up of thoughts for All Hallow’s Eve, All Saint’s Day, and All Soul’s Day.
Currently Reading, Watching, Listening 📻
This Indie Folk for Focus playlist
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“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”
- Nathaniel Hawthorne
What's your take on scary movies? 😱
I vacillate between all three answers besides ‘the scarier, the better’ (NOPE) — it depends on my mood, the kind of day I've had, and what movie we're talking about. All in all, though, I think I'm mostly with Team ‘Little Suspense’ here.
A little suspense is fine, but that's where I draw the line: 43.6%
I have no shame in my chicken game: 37.2%
Spooky is fun, so long as it's not evil: 16.9%
The scarier, the better: 2%
Find this week’s poll here.
Quick Links 🔗
Question(s) For You to Ponder… 🤔
Who could I write a snail-mail letter to this week (stamp and everything)?
Have a great weekend,
p.s. Here’s the furry baby cow trotting in the snow you ordered.