How to Write: A Year in Advice from Franzen, King, Hosseini, and More, by Joe Fassler in The Atlantic.
Modern Mrs. Darcy’s favorite books of 2013.
A 9-Step Guide on How to Dress for Winter, written by a Djibouti resident helping her kids adjust to Christmas weather in Minnesota.
A wrap-up of the year’s writing prompts over at Ploughshares (a new literary-focused online magazine I’ve recently begun following): For Those About to Write (We Salute You) #16: Bring on the New Years.
David Marshall’s short essay on Christmas wishes: All I Want at Signals to Attend.
“There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,” returned the nephew. “Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round — apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that — as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”
— Scrooge’s nephew addressing Scrooge, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol
Let us remember, this Christmas and every day, that we are all fellow-passengers in this life and treat each other kindly, with generosity and respect.
A very Merry Christmas to you and yours.
I am quiet now.
[forgive the absence]
I feel the pain of friends and family more deeply than before.
I’m making plans for the coming year: plans for a great year, my twenty-eighth.
I’m thinking of the future but also the present, thinking of long-term goals (a down payment maybe? a cozy home with a fireplace?) but also looking at the immediate (vegetable soup for lunch and an outfit I like).
I want to use my minutes more wisely and to pour myself into my friendships.
I am sorry for how long it has been since I phoned you. I am sorry for not coming to visit more often.
This will be the year of visits instead of cards, phone calls instead of text messages.
It is one week until Christmas, two weeks until the new year. We wait, together, for Christmas to bring Epiphany, for the hope nearly covered by sorrow to bring forth joy.
Come quickly, hope. Come quickly, joy.
Well, NaBloPoMo kicked my butt (as expected). I planned to take a few days off to rest after blogging every day for the month of November, and ended up taking off nearly an entire week! It’s been a good week, long and busy. I’m preparing for things to start moving very quickly over the next few months in the office, cleaning up after a week of guests (who were remarkably clean for boys), and decorating our apartment for the holiday season. This weekend I have wreaths to hang, Christmas cards to write, and shopping to do. Also, now that we are a Pepsi family, I need to find a recipe for Christmas ham that doesn’t use the competitor’s product.
The internet was full of beautiful things this week.
I enjoyed readings surrounding the opening of Advent, which began on Sunday, December 1st. In the background of the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations, there is a strong and steady hope for God to work, waiting for suffering to end, waiting for justice and peace to come. We’ve lost Nelson Mandela this week, we are surrounded on all sides by death and sickness and darkness and sadness. It’s a dark and stormy world, but we hold fast, waiting for God to work in our world.
Advent: a Prison Story, Richard Beck, Experimental Theology
In which Advent is for the ones who know longing, Sarah Bessey
Blessings for Benton. My friend is writing through her journey in the NICU as she sits and hopes and prays while her son fights for his life. Please sit and wait and pray with me, with her.
And now it’s time to start shopping.
I planned to make you a gift guide to help fill your Christmas shopping needs, but as it turns out there are so many excellent gift guides out there that there’s really no reason for me to try to add to the portfolio of great shopping ideas. Instead, I’ll mention the sites that I’ve been using for my own shopping inspiration:
A Cup of Jo, check out http://www.joannagoddard.blogspot.com for excellent gift ideas from this year and previous years. (I’ve linked to one post in particular but there are others for moms, sisters, etc.)
Sarah Bessey gave us a Christmas gift guide where each item empowers women.
Kendi Everyday. She started with the “fancy lady” gift guide but has more coming.
How Sweet It Is. I shared these guides last week but they are still awesome and at least one of the items on my own Christmas list came from here.
Thanks for sticking with me over the last month of daily updates, and during this past week of quiet.
Well, it’s a holiday weekend and so I really only have three gift guides and two posts for you, but I would love to read your recommendations so if you read something awesome this week please link to it in the comments (even if it’s something you wrote yourself!).
#4: D.L. Mayfield posted her year in books, and I loved them all! I also spotted several books from my own reading this year on her list.
#5: Tasha Golden for Ploughshares Literary Magazine with Four Reasons to Write the Hell out of (What’s Left of) 2013.
1. We still haven’t found a great Chinese takeout place in Chicago. We live really close to Chinatown and we’ve tried a few places, but none of the places we’ve tried has been all that delicious. It makes me really miss DC because we had a really delicious Chinese restaurant right by our apartment and it was the best for a lazy faux-Friday [Thursday] evening.
2. This week at work we had a baby shower for one of my coworkers and it was the most fun I’ve ever had at a shower [wedding or baby]! It was co-ed and not awkward at all. I’ll be taking over some of the work of my coworker while she is on maternity leave and I’m pretty excited about it.
3. Lisa Kudrow is killing it on Scandal lately. I really like her in this more serious role. Also, she has almost convinced me to eat Yoplait yogurt again. Almost.
4. I CAN’T WAIT FOR CHRISTMAS! AND THANKSGIVING! It’s been freezing out for weeks now and I’m feeling like it is already appropriate for Christmas music and Christmas lights and Christmas cookies. Also, I’ve learned that there is a huge difference between my wool socks and my regular socks. Wool socks are clearly superior.
5. I’ve been making a lot of reports at work lately and I really like doing it. I always struggle to name the tasks I like to complete, because I honestly like doing anything that needs to be done and keeps my days busy and exciting, so I’m very happy to add “prepare official reports to Congress” and “develop explanatory and instructive materials for employees and stakeholders” to that list of things I enjoy.