Five on Friday: Recent Reads

Friday, June 22, 2018

Happy Friday!

How was your week? Ours felt extra busy for some reason. Besides work (including an office day for me on Wednesday), we had our new air conditioning installed on Tuesday (hallelujah!), ran a bunch of errands, and even made a trip "home" (to my hometown) for a yearly tradition yesterday. The older I get, the harder longstanding traditions are to keep and yet the more important they are to me. 

I'm excited for a relaxing weekend. Chicken enchilada soup is in the crockpot for this evening's dinner and pool time, house stuff, and groceries are on the agenda. What are your plans? 

For today's Five on Friday, here are five things I've read recently:

1. Why children aren't behaving, and what you can do about it. I groaned when I read the title of this piece on NPR because, honestly, I'm pretty burnt out on parenting articles. I always end up questioning myself after reading them, so many of them are contradictory, and often judgmental. And I'm not about that life. BUT I read over this one while we were at the beach and really appreciated the perspective. I think it's a good one for parents of young kids, like mine. If you check it out, let me know what you think (and forgive the click-batey title!).

2. Learning to live with, and even embrace, "pockets of emptiness." I thought this was such a raw, special, and true blog post by one of my more recently discovered favorite bloggers, Courtney at A Thoughtful Place. Her dad recently passed and her mom has advanced-stage Alzheimer's (follow along on her touching "tuesdays with mom" stories on Instagram), and she talks about her first birthday without them both. If you have a chance, give it a read.

3. Thoughts about getting your kids to eat (almost) everything. Gasp, another parenting article! But another one I thought was well-written, interesting, and insightful. What do you think? I'm in agreement with this perspective, although I think that phases (won't eat anything green, throws every piece of food on the floor, suddenly over their favorite food) are all too real, too... and likely will pass.

4. The Woman in Cabin 10. I saw this book recommended all over the place and I really wanted a new mystery to get sucked into, so I picked it up and dove in. I thought the first half was a little slow, but it did keep me coming back for more (although, I'll admit, I flipped to the end a few times -- I just love spoiling things for myself, haha). The last half of the book was much quicker-paced and I stayed up really late one night to finish it. I'd give it a 7.5/8 out of 10.

5. And finally: Important words. 

Take Care of Each Other (and Yourselves)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The news has been really difficult to watch lately, hasn't it? The reality of what's going on around us -- the way others are struggling -- is painful. I was drafting a post about mental illness in the wake of recent high-profile suicides, and now my heart is breaking for these families being cruelly separated at our nation's border.

I think I'm speaking to many of you when I recognize that you are trying to keep your head above water most days. Each of us has a battle we're facing -- maybe a sick parent, trying to make ends meet, children who need us every minute of the day, or anxiety. When we read about, listen to, or watch what's going on in the world, and right in our own country, no doubt our hearts ache and our minds race: how can this be happening and what can I do? It's easy to feel helpless. It's also easy to look away, to avoid the news because it's sad and it's hard.

But I believe there is always something we each can do. Even if it's something small. Even if you can't make it to a protest, or you don't have the means to donate money. Even if you simply can't take time away from work or your family to participate in a walk. Even if you're not on social media. Even if the people struggling seem far away. 

I also believe that, despite these  "even ifs,", we can each take a moment to recognize that while it's difficult to watch and digest what's going on, it is so much more difficult to be the people struggling. 

Finally, I believe that no matter your political views, if you're reading this: we can agree on basic principles of humanity.

Thousands upon thousands of children being torn from their parents' arms (parents who are leaving everything and everyone they know in search of a better life for the very children who are being taken from them -- right here. Right here in our country.)

Suicide, mental health, bullying. 

Shootings. Kids in danger.

So much more.

It's all hard. So what can we do? What can you do? What can I do? 

Step 1: Repeat to yourself that you are not helpless. The worst thing we can do when facing tragedy, trials, or distressing news is throw up our hands and roll over. By saying "I can do something," and taking one small step, you not only benefit others but your mental health benefits, as well. Doing things for others not only helps those people, it is empowering. And empowering yourself creates an energy that will help you take the next step after your first.

Step 2: Find resources. Sometimes it's easiest to start locally. 

5 Things You Can Do About Family Separation:

Ending Gun Violence:

Suicide Prevention:

Mental Illness Support: 

Step 3: Keep your eye on the big picture: in the end, we are all in this together. We are all alive, together, sharing a planet as our home. We are all the same species, no matter where we're from or where we live. 

Take care of each other. Take care of yourselves.

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