Reading, Writing, and Listening:: October 2018

October was book-heavy for me; I haven’t done much writing but finished nine books, most of which profoundly challenged me.

Books I Read

Love Undocumented: Risking Trust in a Fearful World by Sarah Quezada: Shannan Martin (see next book) recommended this to me, and I’m so thankful. This book should be required reading for all American Christians. It’s an excellent overview of the challenges immigrants face in the US immigration system to come here “the right way” and a call for Christians to respond with love and grace. This book was a true education on our broken system and gave me even more empathy and compassion for those trying to make a better life in America.

The Ministry of Ordinary Places: Waking Up to God’s Goodness Around You by Shannan Martin: I got to meet Shannan last week when she rode with us from Nashville to Montreat, NC to attend the Evolving Faith conference. In her book, she calls her readers to listen and learn from their neighbors and build community right where they are.

Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement that Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free by Linda Kay Klein: This is a memoir and collection of stories of women damaged by the purity movement, and I could relate to so much of it. I especially recommend this book for those who do not understand those of us who have deep wounds from purity culture.

Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger by Rebecca Traister: This book was so interesting and informative- it’s a history of how women’s anger has been able to achieve social and political change throughout our country’s history. It was validating and gave me a lot of hope.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert: The best thing about this book was Gilbert’s challenge to keep creating, whether or not you think what you are producing is any good. Shitty first drafts are better than not writing at all.

Dare to Lead by Brene Brown: All of Brene’s books are so good. The best takeaway for me was her discussion on becoming really clear on your core values.

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult: To be honest, this one wasn’t my favorite of Picoult’s books. I didn’t particularly care for the structure (the story is told backwards, counting back by hours) but the story was compelling on an important topic (reproductive rights). I really enjoyed seeing Jodi on her book tour and listening to her message on the topic.

American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures by America Ferrera: This is a collection of 36 first person accounts of American public figures on their experiences growing up between cultures. I think it’s important we hear as many stories like this as we can develop deeper empathy and understanding of all kinds of people.

Seriously, I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres: Someone recommended the audio version on a Facebook thread, so I checked it out from the library. Ellen is just funny. I really enjoyed this one.

Podcasts I Listened To

Escaping NXIVM and Dr. Death : I binged both of these in one weekend. Yikes. They were both entertaining…and disturbing.

I am done modulating my emotions to protect. you from my rage– Impolite Company: From the description: …We talk about why calls for civility in the wake of injustice are often calls to silence underrepresented voices. This is such an important discussion in light of all the injustice in our nation right now.

Gun Violence and Political Rhetoric in America– Pantsuit Politics: An important discussion on the violence of the past week and how President Trump’s rhetoric has contributed.

Articles I Wrote Elsewhere:

Without the Affordable Care Act, Texas Children May Miss Life Saving Healthcare: Reform Austin

No Excuses, Moms: You Need to Vote in the Midterms: Houston Moms Blog

Leave Me Alone! 4 Ways I Recharge as an Introvert Mom: Houston Moms Blog


  1. Elena Valentine on November 28, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    Excellent, brave, and thoughtful work. I totally relate. You put it into works beautifully and succinctly. Keep doing what you are doing. The world needs your voice- especially now!

  2. JudyT on November 30, 2018 at 5:02 pm

    Damn, lady. You’ve taken on a big handful of this stuff, and I hope you don’t go under because of it.
    My advice (I’m old, I can do that) is to back way way off of church, religion, all of it, and get yourself some personal perspective. Life is, as they say, too short to waste on this stuff.

    I stopped believing in anything except myself about 30 years ago, and haven’t missed it at all. Once you walk away, it gets easier and easier to keep walking.

    Good luck with it.

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