5 Quick Things #315 🧐
keep trudging, keep studying, keep misnaming movies, & keep kids off phones
I normally try to stay out of my way to begin any form of communication, written or oral, with the weather. Not only is it trite and cliché, it’s also boring. Who cares? …But I’m breaking my rule today because WHAT A WILD WEEK OF WEATHER, eh? At least for many of us in the U.S. This semester I teach an online high school English class with kids from all over North America, and it sounded like every one of us had a freakish dip in temps except for the Floridians (who nonetheless were under a hurricane warning). At the beginning of this week there was frost on the ground and temps in the teens here in Central Texas. Now, today’s high is 70 degrees. Weather is drunk.1
In the meantime, these random freezes are usually my bat signal to start garden planning, so that’s on my agenda this weekend! Green beans, zucchini, peppers, herbs, and tomatoes, here I come. And this year, I want to get better at flower gardening — it’s tricky on my little slice of land because where I’ve got lots of direct sun I use for my raised edible beds, yet the areas that’d be most aesthetically lovely for flowers are almost completely shaded. Anyone have any tips for drought-friendly, shade-friendly flowers in a zone 8 area with 60-80% clay-ish soil? I’m here for ‘em.
5 Quick Things ☕️
1. In case you missed it, I started the week with some thoughts on being fully where you are, in the life you have and in the life stage you’re in: “Hard doesn't equal wrong. Challenges in life aren't a sign that you heard God wrong, or that it's time to do something else, or that you should consider a change in your situation. In fact, the presence of challenges are often signs that you’re exactly where God wants you to be.” Head here to read the rest.
2. My local new-ish friend and fellow parishionerwrote an essay that was apparently handcrafted just for me and my family, describing pointedly how it feels to be past the novelty of a thing but still fighting the routine that’s not yet a habit: “It’s true that in some areas of life, we have an option to give up. But with many of our struggles, there is no choice whether or not to continue trekking. And while the steps downhill can make you feel in that moment as though all your past efforts were in vain, the only way to make it all truly meaningless is to stop trying, stop caring, and just…stop. … It may take a bit of trudging, one tired step at a time. But as long as you’re going forward, you’ll get there eventually.”
3. Feeling the itch to grow intellectually in your ordinary life? Especially if you’re a busy mom? Secretly wish you could go back to school but it’s just not the season for you? I love’s series on Mother Academia, and the latest installment is no exception. Make a plan to study at home! And then connect with other like-minded non-student adults who want to learn, too. Believe me, it’s worth it.
4. I really appreciate Jonathan Haidt at’s work over the past decade-plus studying adolescents and what our culture is doing to them—and I love that he’s channeling a lot of his energy now into shouting from the rooftops the dangers of smartphones in their hands. This was an excellent talk and accompanying notes + outlines.2
5. And finally, watch first before showing your older teens (language warning), but these misnamed movies are weirdly funny. Homeless Bug Boy, indeed.
Currently Reading, Watching, Listening 📻
Indie Folk for Focus (lovely both for focused work and simply having on in the background)
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“As life-giving as is solitude, so paralyzing and sterilizing is isolation. …Isolation is inhuman; for to work in human fashion is to work with the feeling for man, his needs, his greatness, and the solidarity which binds us closely together in a common life.”
-A.G. Sertillanges, O.P. // The Intellectual Life
How do you shelve your books? 📚
Boy howdy, are there strong opinions on this one! I particularly like this from a friend of mine who texted this after reading the options (you know who you are): “Ahem, where is chronological to trace the consequences of ideas?!” I then mentioned this to my 16-year-old son, who commented that in this scenario, you’d then need to shelve Nazis (such as Heidegger) right after Nietzsche. I passed this idea back to my friend, who then replied, “Tell him it gets really difficult when you want to consider the translator’s time. Is a mid-20th-century translation of Plato to be placed in the BCE (when it was written) OR is the translator too formed by his time and place (best he tries to translate well) and thus the translation must go in the 1950s?!”
All this to say: Because of this conundrum, and for many other reasons, it makes the most sense to shelve alphabetically by author. A second option could be by subject then by author, but then you’d have to shelve Narnia and the Space Trilogy separately from The Abolition of Man and Mere Christianity, and that just doesn’t sit right (pun intended).3
I’m fairly certain I’m objectively right here. This might be the first time since I’ve started these polls that my answer is in the distant minority.
By subject, then author: 30.3%
By appearance: 14.7%
Dewey decimal: 0.8%
Find this week’s poll here.
Quick Links 🔗
The Summer 2024 Pilgrimage: An Update 🇬🇷
Our Greece 2024 pilgrimage is officially sold out! You final six folks really went after it this week — I’m so glad to have you on board (literally, since we’ll be on a boat for four days).
I’ve got more upcoming pilgrimages simmering on the back burner, and I can’t wait to tell you more soon. In the meantime, I hope to meet each of you on one of these adventures someday!
Question(s) For You to Ponder… 🤔
In what specific area of study or life do you plan to grow in throughout this winter? How will you do this?
Have a good weekend,
Here in Texas we’ll most likely get two more sudden freezes, if previous years are any indication, typically in late January and again in mid-February. We’ll see.
Though I’d go farther to say adolescents don’t need smartphones at all—stick with flip phones or flip phone equivalents until they’re at least 18, when they can then buy a smartphone for themselves if they want.
Plus, where would you put Screwtape Letters?