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5 Quick Things #307 🦃
pancakes, traditions, photographs, & a mysterious island
It really is hard to believe it’s almost Thanksgiving… It’s one of my favorite holidays, yet it’ll be strange this year with our daughter up in Ohio for college and not coming home. Not bad or wrong, just—different. We miss her like crazy. 💛
Note: This email originally went out incorrectly, with missing links and other such sundry… It looks like it’s fixed now. Apologies! Not sure what happened.
I can’t say enough good things about cultivating a daily, cultivated, habitual practice of gratitude. For several years now I’ve started my mornings naming three things I’m grateful for, and all the things They™️ say happen when you’re more grateful have happened to me: better sleep, improved mood, less depression and stress, and even fewer bouts of getting sick. I’m sure there’s a correlation vs. causation situation going on here, but nonetheless—gratitude has been really, really good for me, and I don’t plan to stop.
If you’re not in the habit of daily gratitude it can sound hokey or woo-woo, but there’s no harm in trying... This next week is a great time to start! After you read this email, find a scrap of paper and a pen, a sticky note, or even open the Notes app on your phone, and start an ongoing list. Today, think of one small thing. Tomorrow, add another. Add another and another and another, and keep them small (so they’re specific!)—keep the list going until next Thursday, when you’ll have written seven small things you’re grateful for this Thanksgiving. …And who knows, you may want to just keep on going.
(Psst… I know of a book that could help with that.)
Happy almost Thanksgiving!
5 Quick Things ☕️
1. I got to chat with my friend Keith Little again! In this episode of The Cordial Catholic, he and I chat about Advent: trying new traditions and letting go of ones that don't work, the beauty of waiting, the gift of the liturgical calendar as a whole, and more. He's salt of the earth and his show is so very good.
2. I’ve been intrigued by the recent interest in analyzing the cultural boom of homeschooling (notably from The Washington Post). But something has been ...off with their exploration of this time-tested “trend” (it's the oldest form of education!)—and Nadya Williams has hit on it with this piece: “The tone and methodology of this series is at times pitying, other times condescending, and other times just baffled. Altogether, however, the overall message is: here, readers, we have discovered a whole new mysterious island filled with these strange savages, previously unexplored. …So now we’ll count them for you (can you believe there are so many of them?) and tell you their savage, uncivilized ways. Because we’re scientists.”has written about what it’s like to straddle that middle bit of parenting, with some kids out of the house and some still in it: “The house feels empty, for a moment, and I think of the family we created and raised, the family that is now moving out into the world, quicker than I could have imagined, beyond my grasp.”
4. Why do we take photographs? Since I left Instagram over a year ago I’ve taken far fewer photos, which tells me something about why I used to take them… I do miss taking photos, though.touches on something about this here: “I love photos. ...But without the outlet of social media to update and seek validation, I realize also how limited photos are in their ability to capture the wonderful chaos that is my life. I don’t want to export my memory—to become so reliant on the phone or the camera that I forget to simply watch and remember.”
5. And finally, in case you need it (and who doesn’t need it?), here’s three hours of beautiful, spiritually-rich encouragement. Love Fr. Boniface Hicks.
Currently Reading, Watching, Listening 📚
The Practice of the Presence of God, by Brother Lawrence
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"You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the play and the opera, And grace before the concert and the 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
It's 7 a.m. in the morning and you're the only one awake. What are you reading? 📚
My habit is pretty set in stone: non-fiction in the morning, fiction in the evening. Lately I've been chasing my typical Bible reading with a really great volume of Church history (mentioned in the 5QT from two weeks ago), and I think about it all throughout the day. And then I can't think of a better way to cap off a day than with reading fiction all cozied up in bed. I'm about to enter my lighter-fiction season, too, and I can't wait!
Find this week’s poll here.
Advent Countdown: 16 Days ✨
I’ll be talking up Advent in the coming week or two, but in the meantime, here are two quick and easy things you can do now in preparation:
Register for this upcoming webinar—I’ll be speaking about Advent along with a few other lovely people. Mark your calendars for Saturday, December 2, from 1-3 pm EST!
Bonus: If you’re a member of Read-Aloud Revival, I’ll be speaking with you about Advent tonight! Looking forward to it.
Quick Links 🔗
Question(s) For You to Ponder… 🤔
What’s been a hard lesson that you were grateful to learn?
Have a great weekend—don’t forget your gratitude list!