Dr. Becky Lang
January 19, 2020
One of my 2020 “goals” is to read at least 2 books a month. I love listening to podcasts but sitting down and reading a book is little more challenging for me as I like to be moving. I could listen to books on tape – but for now I want to turn off the sound of life and just be still with a book.
I belong to ASPIRE a professional women’s group led by Dr. Christi Hegstad. www.christihegstad.com Christi is an avid reader, reading over 50 books a year! She and others in the group along with Shauna Niequist and Emily P. Freeman have inspired me to read by listing what they are reading and recommend.
In the first two weeks of January this year, I have completed two books. Both were recommendations. They are both very similar and yet very different. They both have taken me on a journey – not really “learning” anything new (maybe some future hiking adventures) but rather seeing things with a new perspective. These two books may not be for everyone however they were just perfect for me this season and especially this wintery January.
Wilderness – The Gateway to the Soul by Scott Stillman. Scott is passionate about the wilderness; getting out in it and the importance of saving this special place. Each chapter represents a time he spent hiking and/or backpacking in a specific wilderness spot out west: Oregon, California and Utah. He writes less about the specifics of the spot and more about his reflections as he spends time outside in the wilderness and experiences the silence.
A few passages include:
Then one moment, if we are lucky, we experience a sense of clarity. Perhaps it’s on a beach in Hawaii, or on the edge of the Grand Canyon or high in the Rocky Mountains. We say, ”how long have I been sleepwalking? Where have I been?” Then perhaps for only a second, we see that everything, absolutely everything is beautiful.
I must warn you though, do not bring your world into the wilderness. Leave it behind like an old pair of sneakers at the door. And if you can, go it alone. It is all too easy to drown out the holy wilderness silence with chit-chat.
Placemaker - CultivatingPlaces of Comfort, Beauty, and Peace by Christie Purifoy.
These are stories of joy and sorrow, rooted in both natural history and Christie’s own history as she has moved from state to state and house to house. Working to make each place, each space her own by cultivating and planting seeds in a variety of ways. She calls placemaking a form of peacemaking. I found this an interesting perspective as so many of us have physically lived in several places, homes, and worked in different jobs and had various office spaces. How have we made it ours? How have we become placemakers?
A few passages include:
Is it possible to care for a place with open hands, always ready to give it away like so many fishes and loaves?
We are all gardeners of a sort, and most of our lives are dedicated to tending, keeping, and making.
For me, both of these books bring a sense of wholeness and awareness of how we create sacred spaces in our homes, our yards and work places. In summary, a quote from Christie Purifoy, “the work of wholeness and the cultivation of peace will carry us right on out and into the realm of chaos. It will lead us to the edges – in the land, in our hearts, in our memories.”
No matter where we “plant” ourselves today, whether permanent or temporary, in our homes and in our work, may we be Placemakers.
Placemakers of peace, hope and love.
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