The Simple List for January 2017
This is your Simple List.
The Internet is overwhelming.
I've curated my favorites and sent them to your inbox to save you time and bless you with best of the Truth, Goodness, and Beauty available. I hope you enjoy. I hope you savor the articles and links. I hope you find something you wouldn't have otherwise seen and then share the best stuff with your friends.
Do We Really Live In A "Post-Truth" World? by Sean McDowell -
"Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth."
Sean gives two points in his article that help ease my fears about our current state-of-affairs: 1) this is not a new phenomena, and 2) truth always rises. Living my life according to what's true is my little fight against the culture.
Along these lines, we've been reading through the book of Daniel and I'm amazed, again, at Nebuchadnezzar's continual turning round: Your God is the true God! Worship my idol! Worship Daniel's God or be cut in pieces! I am God!
The truth catches up with him, as it always does.
January is a month of working on habits. If you are the resolution-setting type, what you're really after is either a change in a current habit and/or the addition of a new one.
I'm working on a few of my own--the usual ones like "lose some weight", "eat better", "more books, less screens". They are a bit nebulous and don't follow the S.M.A.R.T. rules (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely), but I'm just interested in making changes and adjustments right now, not a drastic overhaul of my life. If I can make those adjustments in my daily habits, I know they'll add up to long term change.
I've been using this app and it makes me happy. I can track my daily goals and see my progress and be motivated to keep the streak alive. It's the little motivators that keep me going. I'm still a big fan of my bullet journal and pen and paper, but for the habits I want to incorporate daily, it makes sense to me to use an app for a reminder and accountability.
The new habit I most want to build into my life this year is the power of focus. This is a perfect time for me to complain about what children have done to my brain, but the truth is that I've probably done most of the damage myself by allowing distractions and productivity to trump deep work and perseverance. I've lost a bit of my ability to pay attention.
Speaking of deep work, I'm in the middle of Deep Work by Cal Newport. In the introduction Newport discusses how he published four books, earned a PhD, wrote academic papers at a high rate, and was hired as a professor at Georgetown University, all in a ten-year period, all while rarely working past 5 or 6 p.m. during the week.
"This compressed schedule is possible because I've invested significant effort to minimize the shallow in my life while making sure I get the most out of the time this frees up."
I'm not interested in a PhD, but I am looking for ways to minimize the shallow and steward the time I've been given.
A few other good things I've discovered lately:
News Feed Eradicator for Facebook - a Chrome extension that wipes your news feed clean. What good is Facebook without your news feed? Oh. My. I can access my groups, contact friends and see their pages, post and share, and not be distracted by every single thing that gets posted. Because I'm someone who has a hard time seeing words and not reading them all, Facebook becomes a real trap to me. This little extension has been like gold.
Cultivated podcast by Harbor Media - this link could go under Truth, Goodness and Beauty. I've listened to every episode at least once and they are beautifully done, gospel-true, and so, so good.
The Project Life app - because a yearly goal of mine is to print the pictures, always. This app makes it easy (in theory) to keep up my Project Life photo album. I just have to remember to use it! I put off buying it for awhile because I don't normally pay for apps. It was $2.99. That's cheap. Sometimes I am more frugal than logical.
We had snow that stuck around for a couple weeks, which is unusual. It's one of those beauties that is great for awhile but then we're done and let's move on and I miss the green grass.
I don't think I'm particularly prone to the winter-blues. I love the foggy mornings, the fire blazing, a good excuse to dress cozy. But the sun came out this week and I did feel a little spike in my mood. God layers everything in perfectly.
Here are some beautiful things I read this month:
The Price of an Honest Man by Rebecca Reynolds - Rebecca writes "long" in blog-terms, but it's worth it. "As I work, I hear, “Preach the gospel to yourself." And so I preached to my own heart while the thick, black and grey tarnish began to lift, ”Remember what you cost.”"
How to Simplify Anything at Nosidebar - Tips for ordering your home beautifully. "Usefulness isn’t the only thing that matters. Beauty matters. Art matters. Nature matters. Creativity matters. Whimsy matters." Yes, please.
Mothers in the Church by Jen Wilkin - "The church needs mothers to care for the family of God. We must rise to our responsibility, eagerly searching for whom the Lord would have us nurture. There is no barrenness among believing women. Through the gospel, all become mothers in their maturity." I have thoughts and questions about this mentoring. I'd like to be better at mentoring and also better at being mentored--how do you, personally, go about this?
In case you missed it::
Blog posts from the month of January
Making all the lists
Choosing what to refuse
The gifts of the earth
How to tell a short story
January is closing shop. May the Lord fill you with His truth, goodness and beauty as time takes you forward, and may you keep looking for the things that help you focus on what's most important.
I look forward to hearing from you!
P.S. - If you are a writer looking for encouragement and accountability, join me at Hope*Writers. It's a wonderful, safe community to learn and grow in as we offer hope to one another and to our readers.
Thanks for joining me. If you ever have a question, suggestion, or something you'd like to share with me, please hit "reply" and send your thoughts my way.