Making Room for Contemplation
I’ve noticed more recently that I’ve become increasingly distracted and my attention span hasn’t been as good as it was. I put it down partly to getting a new iPhone (my old one didn’t do much and was often unreliable). When you’re using your phone for texting, emails, appointments, reminders, timers etc., it’s too easy to be distracted and one thing leads to another if you’re not careful.
We’re also in the throes of bathroom renovations that have dragged on for over 7 weeks (update that to 9 weeks!) & that’s made life a little chaotic, too…burst waterpipes, cement dust, tradesmen not turning up when they said they would or arriving when you aren’t expecting them, plumbing supplier sending the wrong parts…blah, blah, blah. Besides that, my morning walks have come to a halt because of these renovations, which is a sure recipe for a scattered brain for me.
I haven’t listened to any podcasts lately but then I came across this one on the Circe Institute website – an interview with author Alan Noble. I haven’t read the book they mention but the podcast discusses making room for contemplation in the context of living in a distracted world. It’s well worth listening to. I’ve been thinking about ways I can cultivate this space – technology can be a great tool and I know I won’t be getting rid of my phone so I need to work around it. Distractions aren’t going to disappear even when our renovations are done – something else will jump in, I’m sure, but I’m considering how I can allow space for contemplation regardless.
My older girls read these books by Elizabeth George when they were in their teens. Moozle has read one and is most of the way through the second. She reads a chapter a few times a week as a sort of devotional, apart from her ‘official’ lessons, and has been enjoying them. The author covers relationships in general and content-wise, they are just right for girls aged about 12/13 years and up. The author also has a book for younger girls (ages 8 to 12 years). I’ve read a few of her books myself and thought they were very good.
Her husband, Jim George, has written a few books for boys on similar topics. I like the fact that they don’t venture into the ‘too much information’ side of things and leave it up to the parents to decide when to introduce these topics.
The Green Years by A.J. Cronin – this is the second book I’ve read by this Scottish author and I do like his writing very much. The Keys of the Kingdom was the other book and while The Green Years was not quite as good, it was, nevertheless very enjoyable. The setting is Scotland, in the same area I came from, so that was a great attraction for me. Cronin often substitutes a fictional place name for the one he’s writing about but I recognised some of the places from his evocative descriptions.
I’ve started to read the books above in preparation for a Women’s Retreat in mid-September. I’m speaking on The Friendships of Women & I want to look at this from a couple of different angles.
Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer – a classic by the German theologian who was martyred by the Nazis. I read Eric Metaxas’ biography of Bonhoeffer two years ago so it will be good to hear from the man himself. It’s only a short book (my copy is 96 pages) & was published in 1954. From what I’ve read so far, it’s very good and fairly easy to read.
The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield. I first heard about this book via Brandy @ Afterthoughts and have since read a couple of articles about the author and was intrigued by the impact made upon her life when a couple drew her into their lives by an act of hospitality. I bought my copy at Koorong (an Aussie Christian bookshop). I usually buy new books via BookDepository but they only had the audio book in stock when I tried to order it. Koorong has a 20% off sale a few times a year so it’s worth waiting for one if you want to get a few things.
The Gospel Comes With a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield – here the author looks at ‘radical hospitality’ using her own life as a backdrop and shows us how to enact this in our own homes.
The Barefoot Investor by Scott Page – financial planning, money management in general, investments…a hands-on approach that walks you through the process. Page is an Aussie author and some of what he covers would have to be adapted if you’re not living in Australia, but it is a worthwhile book and would be helpful for anyone. My husband read it earlier this year, as did our married son, and it was passed on to another son who shares a house with three other young fellows and they’re all reading it, and actually putting it into practice. There’s some Aussie slang and corny humour in places, and of course, the situation here is different in regards to superannuation, loans, health funds etc., but his general financial strategies may be used anywhere.
This would be a great book for an older high school student or any young adult, or those struggling with debt to help them manage their finances and plan for the future.
The book below has been updated for the 2017-2018 financial year.