Recommended Books

I am now not going to recommend you any books 🙂 Well I might.

the bloody chamberI am reading a book at the moment, “The Bloody Chamber” by Angela Carter, which was not recommended by someone I know. In fact quite the opposite. She said she had had to read it for her book club but had not enjoyed it. It was too dark for her. I must say I am loving it. In a way she did recommend it because she said that I, and another in our writing group, might like it.

I have just given up, for the second time of trying, on “Ulverton” by Adam Thorpe because I still can’t get into it. It does nothing for me and a long time ago a friend said ‘life is too short to finish a book you are not getting into’ and that is so true. So I’m afraid once again I am going to have to give up on Ulverton, even though I am hoping to write something similar in future, which is why I keep being recommended it.ulverton

Books, like art, like music, like food, like coffee have a certain taste to them and one likes them not because they are amazing but because they fit in with one’s taste. Interestingly both the above mentioned books are Vintage Classics. I did just check that because I was about to say that I don’t like what are commonly known as classics. I do have Dostoyevsky’s “The Idiot” in the pile of books I have from the library. I am plucking up the courage to read him soon.

When I look back on the books I have borrowed from the library I would be hard pressed to give my best 10. There are some I don’t even remember getting, so they won’t go down. I loved Emma Healy, both her books, have been stuck by joy of catching up with “old friends” in a Raymond E Feist novella, learned all sorts of different things, realised how much poetry I have read this year. But faves? Not sure

my study
Random pile of books on the desk in my study that I have to read at some point. They will have to wait until 2019 

So as 2018 draws to a close and everyone comes up with their ‘best of …’ lists. I think we all need to be careful not to think we have missed something just because none of what we liked is on someone’s ‘best of’ list.

Historian and Researcher

So back to the mini-series of Who I am and what I do.

6912b-historian
though I do not have a beard!!

So I’ve done the “biggies” on my business card – writer, airbnb host –  and also the easy to define one, Dog walker, and now it moves down to the ones that are harder to define. What do I mean by a “Historian and Researcher”. Well it was made clear to me the other day when I had some round from the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust to talk to me about doing workshops up there. For one we talked history and threw ideas back and forth but then once he had gone I googled what we’d been talking about, sent emails to friends to ask for information, and then went to the library to gather books. I printed stuff off, made notes all over it and then pondered. Yes that’s what I do after I’ve gathered lots of information – I ponder it all. But also I googled the man I’d met to see more about him.

But I realise that actually I only do this when it comes to historical things. When it comesgwrych-1161 down to other things I go by “feel”. So if someone asks to meet me I first of all go by gut instinct and only after I’ve met them and want to go further with what they have said, and actually only if I feel like I have connected, do I research the subject and then the person. I discovered that, for me, to try to research something beforehand leaves me jaded and uninterested. Something has to have piqued my interest first.

Also with things like History and even Bible study, I do need to see many different sides. So with history I love historical fiction and find that is an easy way to learn things. Often I would like to do it with my laptop by my side so I can google things as I do to check out whether the author is stick to the facts. But a lot of historical fiction is interpretation – in fact so is a lot of historical fact where flesh has to be put on the bare bones of an article – so  it is good to read many different authors stories about the same period in history, covering often the same characters. Some people will have a passion for a certain king, some will have a hatred for the same person. With Bible study what is written is interpreted differently  as I did say before in “It says clearly in the Bible” that it does not say it quite so clearly as one would like. There are few words and what one thinks it says is interpretation, which is why we should hear from many different people; some we will love and agree with, some we wont. A bit like the historical fiction writers. And we will gravitate to an interpretation we like but … I digress!

keep-calm-and-read-everything-9I should have known I was a researcher years ago. When I first became a Christian I read every book I could lay my hands on in regard to what I was now believing and read my Bible 2-3 times a year (not boasting, just showing what sort of researcher I am!)  for the first few years, wanted to go on every course and conference, just wanted to know. When I had my children I bought nearly every child rearing book I could and then borrow from the library. And the same as they grew  older. I think I’ve got lazier but maybe not.

So don’t just tell me something – give me the references and then a bit for me to run with.

And also if anyone out there knows anything about the Picturesque Movement and some suggested books I could be reading I would be very grateful 🙂

Searching For Sunday – book review

I’m really late in getting this out. I should have had the review out by the launch date of 14th April, but life got in the way, as life does. I will stick to the task and then blog later on my priorities.

So I had the great privilege of being on the Searching For Sunday review launch team. This meant I got to read the book in pdf form and put comments up on a special closed facebook page, as well as commenting on my own facebook page. This did mean writing with facebook open which is not ideal for me.

I would say one of the best ways to see the bits that influenced me would be to go on my facebook page and look for #seachingforsunday  In fact there are loads of post across the world from the other reviewers.

For those of you who haven’t read Rachel Held Evans I would suggest reading her “A Year of Biblical Womanhood“, the first one of her books that I read which looks at the things that Church says women should and shouldn’t do. Rachel looks at it with open eyes and candour, not slating it but showing the roots of where these “rules” come from.

In “Searching For Sunday” she looks at her own journey from evangelical church life to exploring congregations, of finding places to question what is meant by what she believes. Like many of us, Rachel has reached a point where she wants to know why she believes what she believes and is off exploring. For many of us we haven’t lost faith in God but want to find a genuine way of working it out. Interestingly I read a piece by Richard Rohr, which I can refind to post, where he talks of how the apostle Paul had to go away and work out how it was this Christ revelation fitted into his understanding of the world. It is like having met Christ we are taking into an already formed world and there comes a time where, not so much we have to question God, but we have to question how we work in relationship to God. Here Rachel talks openly and honestly about her’s. She breaks it down into the seven parts which equate to seven sacraments; baptism, confession, holy orders, communion, confirmation, anointing the sick and marriage. Through these sacraments and Rachel’s journey the reader gets to visit with all sorts of people who are walking out their relationship with God in their own ways. As with “A year of Biblical Womanhood”, Rachel is not judgemental or condemning. This is a book full of exploring, discovering and most importantly hope. As she says at the end

But if I’ve learned anything in this journey, both in writing this book and clumsily living its content, it’s that Sunday morning sneaks up on us—like dawn, like resurrection, like the sun that rises a ribbon at a time. We expect a trumpet and a triumphant entry, but as always, God surprises us by showing up in ordinary things: in bread, in wine, in water, in words, in sickness, in healing, in death, in a manger of hay, in a mother’s womb, in an empty tomb. Church isn’t some community you join or some place you arrive. Church is what happens when someone taps you on the shoulder and whispers in your ear, Pay attention, this is holy ground; God is here. Even here, in the dark, God is busy making all things new. So show up. Open every door. At the risk of looking like a fool buried with his feet facing the East or like a mockingbird singing stubbornly at the night, anticipate resurrection. It’s either just around the bend or a million miles away. Or perhaps it’s somewhere in between. Let’s find out together”

Go buy it. Read it. Get the study guide. There is so so much to explore. If I could afford it I would buy you all a copy but I’m broke, again!

The dilemma of being both relational and an introvert

introvert

Along this journey of self-discovery I am realising that I am an introvert. More and more I am realising that I need time and space alone to recharge. This was why, even though many people felt sorry for me, having New Year’s Eve all to myself was just what I needed.

I am also realising that I am a relational person. I make connections with people easily. People like me. They want to be with me. I love talking with people, encouraging them, hearing what they have to say, connecting. But this then tires me. I love walking my dog but I have connected with many of the dog walkers in my area and most mornings I walk with someone. My dog is uber-sociable and he just wants to be with other dogs, so will look very sad if I try to go off just us two. And there are other dog walkers who crave other people being about and they will look sad if I say I want to be alone. So I have to learn to be sociable and relational but also to get time to introvert and to recharge.

It helps me understand why, much as I did enjoy my job, before the incident that rechargecaused me to leave, why I found it so tiring. I was with people for too long. So how do I make sure I get time to recharge, to introvert, but also have time to be with people. It’s not a job. It is a vocation, connecting with people, and it is what I like doing, but it’s not something that recharges me. Actually it gives me life to hear about other people’s stories, to be able to learn how they see they world, to look at the world from another perspective, as well as encouraging them along their journey. I encourage them, they encourage me. It’s not a one way path but goes back and forth.

My key relationships are with my husband then my children, but if I give too much time to others, because of being on that introvert scale, I can finish up with not enough internal resources left to give to my husband or children. So I would work – which was giving of energy, catch up with friends – another giving of energy, manage a bit of time with family – more giving of energy, and then wonder why I got snappy. I wasn’t angry but I was short tempered, but was because my inner energy tank was empty. People would challenge me on whether I was doing the right thing see people and I would always answer “yes it was the right thing.” And actually I do believe that to be true, but what I wasn’t doing was making sure I had time alone to recharge, either with writing or a book or just a lie in the bath.

As I journey through this I am learning to plan my time better. Not that goal-orientated-time-management stuff where one makes sure one fits in as much “productive” stuff as possible, but actually making sure, as I look at diary for my week, that I have enough time to be alone. Some days will be harder to sort than others. Some days I’ll just have to be kind to myself, tell myself and my husband that I will be more tetchy because I’ve not had space to recharge. It’s ok not to get it right every time.

I do wonder at times if we live in a world that says we should fill it full of things and people, of goals and busyness. I am reading “Quiet –The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” and can see how we live in a world that praises extroverts. I have been given “The Introvert Charismatic” that I need to read too. It will be interesting to see if we can bring about an “Introvert’s Revolution” or whether that is just too much for introvert’s to execute? 🙂

Along this journey of self-discovery I am realising that I am an introvert. Moreintrovert charismatic and more I am realising that I need time and space alone to recharge. This was why, even though many people felt sorry for me, having New Year’s Eve all to myself was just what I needed.

I am also realising that I am a relational person. I make connections with people easily. People like me. They want to be with me. I love talking with people, encouraging them, hearing what they have to say, connecting. But this then tires me. I love walking my dog but I have connected with many of the dog walkers in my area and most mornings I walk with someone. My dog is uber-sociable and he just wants to be with other dogs, so will look very sad if I try to go off just us two. And there are other dog walkers who crave other people being about and they will look sad if I say I want to be alone. So I have to learn to be sociable and relational but also to get time to introvert and to recharge.

It helps me understand why, much as I did enjoy my job, before the incident that caused me to leave, why I found it so tiring. I was with people for too long. So how do I make sure I get time to recharge, to introvert, but also have time to be with people. It’s not a job. It is a vocation, connecting with people, and it is what I like doing, but it’s not something that recharges me. Actually it gives me life to hear about other people’s stories, to be able to learn how they see they world, to look at the world from another perspective, as well as encouraging them along their journey. I encourage them, they encourage me. It’s not a one way path but goes back and forth.

My key relationships are with my husband then my children, but if I give too much time to others, because of being on that introvert scale, I can finish up with not enough internal resources left to give to my husband or children. So I would work – which was giving of energy, catch up with friends – another giving of energy, manage a bit of time with family – more giving of energy, and then wonder why I got snappy. I wasn’t angry but I was short tempered, but was because my inner energy tank was empty. People would challenge me on whether I was doing the right thing see people and I would always answer “yes it was the right thing.” And actually I do believe that to be true, but what I wasn’t doing was making sure I had time alone to recharge, either with writing or a book or just a lie in the bath.

As I journey through this I am learning to plan my time better. Not that goal-orientated-time-management stuff where one makes sure one fits in as much “productive” stuff as possible, but actually making sure, as I look at diary for my week, that I have enough time to be alone. Some days will be harder to sort than others. Some days I’ll just have to be kind to myself, tell myself and my husband that I will be more tetchy because I’ve not had space to recharge. It’s ok not to get it right every time.

I do wonder at times if we live in a world

This explains so much of why I don’t like small talk. 🙂 Clever tortoise

that says we should fill it full of things and people, of goals and busyness. I am reading “Quiet – In praise of Introverts” and can see how we live in a world that praises extroverts. I have been given “Introverts in the Charismatic world” that I need to read too. It will be interesting to see if we can bring about an “Introvert’s Revolution” or whether that is just too much for introvert’s to execute? 🙂