Tomorrow Will Be Different {A Book a Day 5}

Do you know a transgender person?

In her book, Tomorrow Will Be Different, Sarah McBride quotes activist Faye Seidler as saying that according to some polls, more Americans said they had seen a ghost than knew a transgender person.

We often fear what we don’t know or haven’t seen.

If you read Sarah McBride’s story, you will feel you know her. (Sarah is now a member of the Delaware Senate, making her the first openly transgender state senator in the country.)

I was amazed at the vulnerability with which Sarah shares in her book. And I was inspired by her courage and tenacity. Sarah is working to make the world a more equitable place for all human beings.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a ghost, but a few of my friends are transgender and non-binary people. They matter to me. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

Don’t we all?

“None of us know how long we have, but we do have a choice in whether we love or hate.”
– Sarah McBride

Tomorrow Will Be Different

More Quotes from Tomorrow Will Be Different

“Each of us has a deep and profound desire to be seen, to be acknowledged, and to be respected in our totality. There is a unique kind of pain in being unseen.”

~ * ~

“Transgender people shouldn’t be treated with dignity because of how some of us look; we should be treated with dignity because we are human beings.”

~ * ~

“If our pursuit of equality is built on the ability of some of us to blend in, then we will leave many of the most marginalized behind.”

~ * ~

“Our empathy should require us to acknowledge the plight of others in both its similarities to ours and in its differences.”


You are on Day #5 of the series, A Book a Day {Nonfiction Favorites}.

Each day of February 2023 I’ll be recommending one book a day from my favorite nonfiction books.

The Table of Contents for all 28 books is here, updated daily.

A Book a Day: Nonfiction Favorites

Previous:
Bittersweet” {Book 4}

Next:
“Atlas of the Heart” {Book 6}


Bittersweet {A Book a Day 4}

Do you ever feel sad and happy at the same time? Enjoy a rainy day? Feel comforted by a sad song?

Then you can relate to this book by Susan Cain, Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole.

Cain defines bittersweet as:

“a tendency to states of longing, poignancy, and sorrow; an acute awareness of passing time; and a curiously piercing joy at the beauty of the world. The bittersweet is also about the recognition that light and dark, birth and death—bitter and sweet—are forever paired.”

We recognize bittersweet moments when we watch our young children play, knowing they won’t be little for long. Or when we laugh and cry with family members at a loved one’s funeral, the mixture of sweet and bitter.

We also understand this hard truth about bittersweetness:

The place you suffer is the place you care. You hurt because you care. Therefore, the best response to pain is to dive deeper into your caring. Which is exactly the opposite of what most of us want to do.”

Embracing ALL of our emotions—the easy ones as well as the hard ones—makes us a whole-hearted person.

Susan Cain says: Investigate the bitter. Commit to the sweet.

Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole

More Quotes from Bittersweet

“We’re built to live simultaneously in love and loss, bitter and sweet.”

~ * ~

“No matter how much your culture tells you to smile, it’s not human to simply move on. But this doesn’t mean that we can’t move forward.”

~ * ~

“If we could honor sadness a little more, maybe we could see it—rather than enforced smiles and righteous outrage—as the bridge we need to connect with each other.”

~ * ~

“It’s not that pain equals art. It’s that creativity has the power to look pain in the eye, and to decide to turn it into something better.”

~ * ~

“Everything that you love, you will eventually lose. But in the end, love will return in a different form.”


Have you read Susan Cain’s Bittersweet or her popular book about introversion, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop TalkingShare your thoughts in the comments.

You are on Day #4 of the series, A Book a Day {Nonfiction Favorites}.

Each day of February 2023 I’ll be recommending one book a day from my favorite nonfiction books.

The Table of Contents for all 28 books is here, updated daily.

Subscribe here to get the recommendations via email (if you don’t already subscribe to the blog).

A Book a Day: Nonfiction Favorites

Previous:
Do the Work” {Book 3}

Next:
Tomorrow Will Be Different” {Book 5}


Do the Work {A Book a Day 3}
—Grace & Truth Linkup

We’ve all been horrified by the killing of another Black man in Memphis last week.

Tyre Nichols was pulled over during a traffic stop on January 7. He was brutally beaten by Memphis police officers, then died three days later in the hospital.

I couldn’t watch the video. I didn’t want to see the images. They’re too cruel.

But I know it happened. I don’t want to block that out. I don’t need to block that out.

I need to understand. Only with awareness will I be able to do the work to help change it. 

Books like this one by W. Kamau Bell and Kate Schatz help us understand what’s going on, Do the Work: An Antiracist Activity Book.

Do the Work

Bell and Schatz help us see that racism goes beyond any individual act or thought.

Racism is steeped in systems. When a system is bad, you can plug any number of characters into it, and get the same bad results.

Do the Work takes a look into the bad systems. And helps us see the bad parts that remain in even some basically good systems.

It’s not enough to not be racist. We need to be proactively anti-racist.

This book may look like a fun activity book, but it’s much, much more.

A favorite quote:

“White people: It can be hard to talk about racism. But it’ll never be as hard as it is to experience racism.

May I never forget that.


Do you have a favorite resource on overcoming racism? Who in your life has helped you be anti-racist? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Read more:

You are on Day #3 of the series, A Book a Day {Nonfiction Favorites}.

Each day of February 2023 I’ll be recommending one book a day from my favorite nonfiction books.

The Table of Contents for all 28 books is here, updated daily.

Subscribe here to get the recommendations via email (if you don’t already subscribe to the blog).

A Book a Day: Nonfiction Favorites

Previous:
The Sleep Solution” {Book 2}

Next:
“Bittersweet” {Book 4}

Grace & Truth Featured Post

I have some people I need to forgive right now. You too? And I am always in need of forgiveness by other people (sometimes the two sets intersect).

This forgiveness post by Linda really grabbed my heart. She gives lots of sage advice about forgiveness. But these small paragraphs nestled in the midst of it all are gold:

“But it turns out that forgiveness can be as simple as this:

Finally telling the Lord, ‘I’m done hauling this pain around. You take it. I wish my perpetrator well.’

Yes. That simple.”

Amen.

Read all of Linda’s wisdom here at her blog, then link up your own blog posts below.

Here’s Why You Should Forgive (and 3 surprising reasons you shouldn’t forget)


Review the linkup rules here about adding your most recent Christian Living posts and how to be the Featured Post. Visit all four hosts social media here or websites here: Maree Dee, Lisa notes, Lauren Sparks, Tammy Kennington.

Now Let’s Link Up!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

The Sleep Solution {A Book a Day 2}

I’ve mentioned this book before, but I’m recommending it again this month because it’s had such a positive effect on my sleep.

My #1 takeaway and helpful tip from The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep Is Broken and How to Fix It by W. Chris Winter is this:

If you have trouble sleeping, remember: Never try to sleep.
Just rest.

The Sleep Solution

“It’s important to remember that resting even without sleeping is good for you too. You’re not wasting your time if you are lying in bed and not sleeping.”

This eases my sleep anxiety.

It counters the media noise that I constantly hear that if you’re not getting a solid 8 hours of sleep every night, you’re going to fall apart.

So even though I’d rather not be awake at 2 a.m., I now have a more realistic perspective that it’s not the worst thing in the world.

“Nobody dies from insomnia. You’re fine. You are more likely to die of too much sleep than of insomnia. Stop worrying about it so much.”

And that actually helps me get a better night’s sleep.

In addition to redefining what it means to get a good night’s sleep, I’ve made other changes to promote better sleep hygiene. After 21 years in our house, we put up blackout curtains in our bedroom (and they work!). We also bought a new mattress (but I actually miss our old mattress, so I’m unsure about this tactic). I cleaned off the top of my dresser and now the bedroom looks much neater.

Sweet dreams.

More Tips and Quotes from The Sleep Solution

  • Avoid looking at the clock during the night.
  • Have a consistent bedtime and wake time.
  • Keep your room as dark and cold as possible.

~ * ~

“Sleep is not the absence of wakefulness. In other words, sleep is not a light switch in your brain that is either on or off. Your body is doing amazing things at night while you sleep.”

~ * ~

“For many people who struggle with their sleep, you can almost think of their nightly angst as a mini-PTSD episode….Don’t make your sleep disturbances a defining characteristic in your life. The hour or two it takes you to fall asleep is not that big of a deal. Believe this. Free yourself.”


How is your sleep? Do you sleep soundly through the night? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Read more:

You are on Day #2 of the series, A Book a Day {Nonfiction Favorites}.

Each day of February 2023 I’ll be recommending one book a day from my favorite nonfiction books.

The Table of Contents for all 28 books is here, updated daily.

Subscribe here to get the recommendations via email (if you don’t already subscribe to the blog).

A Book a Day: Nonfiction Favorites

Previous:
The Antropocene Reviewed” {Book 1}

Next:
Do the Work” {Book 3}


The Anthropocene Reviewed {A Book a Day 1}

This is one of my newest favorite nonfiction books to recommend: The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green.

Don’t let the name of this book turn you off. Allow me to explain.

1. First, what does Anthropocene even mean?

Earth’s history is divided into epochs. The unofficial name of our current epoch is the Anthropocene (it’s still up in the air if we’re in a new epoch or not), taken from the Greek words anthropo (“man”) and cene (“new”).

So this is tentatively called the Anthropocene epoch because we humans have made such a significant impact on our environment.

But that’s sort of irrelevant to this book I’m recommending today. It is NOT about geologic epochs, trust me.

2. Instead, this delightful book is a review of everyday things.

It’s about the ordinary items we humans can relate to. Like, Diet Dr. Pepper or teddy bears or the Notes app.

It is called The Anthropocene Reviewed because John Green rates each item on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. For example, John Green gives Piggly Wiggly 2.5 stars out of 5.

Why do I recommend this book so highly?

  1. Each chapter is a fairly short stand-alone essay.
  2. The essays cover a wide variety of everyday topics.
  3. The writing is beautiful. (John Green normally writes fiction but he proves here he’s also an excellent nonfiction writer.)
  4. The trivia you learn makes for interesting thoughts and conversations.
  5. The author shares vulnerably about his personal life.
  6. For me, it fits perfectly with Human, my One Word of the year.

the-anthropocene-reviewed

Here are four excerpts among my favorites.

“Like an expensive painting or a fragile orchid, I thrive only in extremely specific conditions.”

~ * ~

“We are so much the dominant creature on this planet that we essentially decide which species live and which die, which grow in numbers like the Canada goose, and which decline like its cousin the spoon-billed sandpiper. But as an individual, I don’t feel that power. I can’t decide whether a species lives or dies. I can’t even get my kids to eat breakfast.”

~ * ~

“Being busy is a way of being loud. And what my daughter needed was quiet space, for her small voice to be heard.”

~ * ~

“I have tried here to map some of the places where my little life brushes up against the big forces shaping contemporary human experience, but the only conclusion I can draw is a simple one: We are so small, and so frail, so gloriously and terrifyingly temporary.”


Have you read The Anthropocene Reviewed? Does a series of essays on everyday things appeal to you? Share your thoughts in the comments.

You are on Day #1 of the series, A Book a Day {Nonfiction Favorites}.

Each day of February 2023 I’ll be recommending one book a day from my favorite nonfiction books.

The Table of Contents for all 28 books is here, updated daily.

Subscribe here to get the recommendations via email (if you don’t already subscribe to the blog).

A Book a Day: Nonfiction Favorites


7 Books I Recommend—January 2023

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“Read a book without thinking about finishing it. Just read it. Enjoy every word, sentence, and paragraph. Don’t wish for it to end, or for it to never end.
Matt Haig

Here are the first 7 books I’ve finished in 2023. I recommend these 5 nonfiction books and 2 novels from this month’s reading.

[See previously recommended books here]

NONFICTION

1. Learning Humility
A Year of Searching for a Vanishing Virtue
by Richard J. Foster

Learning Humility

I’ve been a Richard Foster fan for years. While this book isn’t as impactful on me as Celebration of Discipline, it’s still an important book because it’s about humility. And don’t we all need more humility? Foster unassumingly lives it as he writes about it.

“Humility is so very appealing when we see it in another person. Conversely, when we watch someone consumed with pride it feels unnatural, deformed, twisted.”

[read more from Learning Humility here, “A Journal Page of Pride”]

2. When Life Hits Hard
How to Transcend Grief, Crisis, and Loss with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
by Russ Harris

When Life Hits Hard

I appreciate Russ Harris’s books for their practical tools. In this one, Harris specializes in walking you through grief. He provides step by step guidance not to eliminate your pain (that’s not possible), but to better live with it.

“The aim here is to allow your thoughts and feelings to be as they are in this moment, while simultaneously bringing in kind self-talk. In other words, rather than trying to get rid of unwanted thoughts, you’re acknowledging they are present, allowing them to stay, and adding some new ones to keep them company.”

3. Curveball
When Your Faith Takes Turns You Never Saw Coming
by Peter Enns

Curveball

We all have unexpected curveballs that impact our life. And impact our faith. How do we account for them? How do they affect our view of God? I appreciate how Pete Enns doesn’t back down from asking the hard questions. And allows space for us to provide our own answers.

“I came to understand that my understanding of God was not adequate for handling reality. My crushed dream was an invitation—actually, an offer I couldn’t refuse—to recognize that I had been laboring under a small view of God.”

4. Gaslighted by God
Reconstructing a Disillusioned Faith
by Tiffany Yecke Brooks

Gaslighted by God

This is another book of difficult topics. Brooks discusses all the big questions we have when God doesn’t seem to act like we expect. Like the Pete Enns’ book above, this book doesn’t provide tidy answers either.

“It is only our old image of God that has proven insufficient. God is not letting go of us; we are being encouraged to let go of our old, outdated, or inaccurate ideas of who he is.”

5. 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing
Proven Professional Techniques for Writing With Style and Power
by Gary Provost

100 Ways to Improve Your Writing

Whether you’re writing a book, a blog post, or an email, this book has simple tips to help you communicate more clearly. I may have read this before, but books like these are good to re-read every few years.

FICTION

6. The It Girl
by Ruth Ware

The It Girl

I’m always excited when Ruth Ware publishes a new novel. This one may be one of her best ones yet. A good mystery book without gore or gratuitous violence. When a college student is found murdered, the list of suspects is very small. Intentionally? 

7. Count the Ways
by Joyce Maynard

Count the Ways

Eleanor and Cam marry, have three children, and then tragedy strikes their family. Author Joyce Maynard does a fabulous job walking us through the realistic challenges that ripple out from there.

WHAT I’M READING NOW

  • The Office BFFs
    Tales of The Office from Two Best Friends Who Were There
    by Jenna Fischer, Angela Kinsey
  • The Lives We Actually Have
    100 Blessings for Imperfect Days
    by Kate Bowler
  • Autobiography of a Yogi
    by Paramahansa Yogananda
  • Please, Sorry, Thanks
    The Three Words That Change Everything
    by Mark Batterson
  • Fear
    Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm
    by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Anxious People: A Novel
    by Fredrik Backman
  • The Light We Carry
    Overcoming in Uncertain Times
    by Michelle Obama

What good book do YOU recommend? Please share in the comments.

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