Too Thrifty Chicks

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Food for Thought Friday: Quiet Time

“We need quiet time to examine our lives openly and honestly. . . spending quiet time alone gives your mind an opportunity to renew itself and create order.” -Susan Taylor

IMG_9515In our house, each of us has a quiet time space. Ricks has a yellow recliner chair that she thrifted, and I have the window bench I built at the beginning of the year. We wanted to have places designated for reading, journaling, etc., but the truth is, they hadn’t gotten much use until a few weeks ago.

It happened sort of spontaneously. Every morning, each of us got up –around 5:30-6am–went to our quiet time spaces, and started our respective quiet time rituals, which include thinking, reading, praying, and writing in silence for an hour or more. There’s never a specific agenda other than to have a deliberate, calm start to the day. Everything in the house is quiet until we’re both done. Neither of us interrupts the other….and though we do almost everything together and share so much, it’s not hard to respect that space, because we know the clarity and peace it offers and wouldn’t want to deprive the other of that.

“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.” -Edgar Allen Poe

We let our thoughts roam, our dreams take root, and our pens write as much as IMG_4451they’d like (I swear we’re each gonna go through 10 journals this year).  It isn’t an agressive time.  I just let myself be present, engaged, and open to whatever the universe wants to share. For me, that might mean listening to the birds sing to each other, paying attention to my visceral reactions to what I’m reading, or writing down my thoughts and feelings without judging them.

This week, we’ve been working hard on separate work projects and teaching vacation bible school at night, which has made it challenging to get up early to have that quiet time. And each of us has felt every bit of it. I missed how it slowed me down. I missed offering the praise and worship that has now become the first thing I want to do each day. I missed taking the time to journal thoughtfully and honestly at length about whatever BIG dreams and goals I have. It’s not that I didn’t do these things at other points in the day; but by the time I got around to them, they were competing for time with other thoughts, feelings, and responsibilities that seem to crowd the day as it wears on. The morning time when each of us first wakes up–before the sun rises for me, when the light hits the window for Ricks–is the golden time. For whatever reason, when Im sitting on my bench at 5:30am, looking out the window as I read, write, or think, I feel like I can accomplish anything.

How do you start your day?  Do you give yourself the opportunity to have a quiet time (no matter how long or what time of day) that you can spend however you want?

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Food for Thought Friday: The Ever-Growing Reading List

When I was a kid, one of the things I loved to do most was read. I was the kid who would check out the maximum amount of books from the library….and when I got tired of reading to myself, I would go outside and read to the cows in the pastures (no seriously, I did that).  As I grew older, the love for reading was threatened by the litany of academic articles and books I HAD to read, forcing out the things I wanted to read.

But no more! In the last year or so, I’ve prioritized reading all the things I love: from fiction to inspirational to allegorical to autobiographical. If it interests me, I’m probably going to pick it up. Ricks is the same way. I wish you all could see this mental list of books she’s going to read this year. There seems to be a new book added on a daily basis.  As she put it, “I did say I wanted to read more this year.” And indeed that’s what will happen. We’ve already read some incredibly inspiring things,and look forward to reading more.

Books that inspire us:

  • The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho. This is one of those books most people can read over and over again and always take away something different. On the surface it’s a simple story: a boy journeys out to find a treasure that he’s been told is out there waiting for him. At it’s core, it is a story about faith, sacrifice, decision making, and purpose. I highly recommend this for anyone, especially folks who are trying to make some sense of the world. I’ve read it three or four times so far, and I’m always amazed at how it speaks a new language to me depending on my journey of the moment.
  • Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert. One day, I will write the black girl’s version of this book, but for now, I get lost in Gilbert’s travels to Italy, India, and Bali. I revel in her willingness to put an immediate stop to things that don’t/won’t work and her eagerness to find herself in unfamiliar places.
  • The Shack, William P. Young. Just like The Alchemist, this is a book I’ve read several times. It challenges me to think about God and relationships in a different way. There’s so much I want to say about this book, but I won’t, because it’s one of those you really need to experience without anyone else’s opinions coloring it for you. I’ll just say this: it’s a book that I think most people could relate to if they’re willing.
  • Sister Outsider, Audre Lorde. We heart Audre Lorde. This collection of essays is personal, raw, emotional, and beautifully intellectual. If you’re looking for feminist readings that examine the intersections of power, race, and sexuality, I highly recommend this collection.

On the TTC reading list:

  • Drown, Junot Díaz
  • Lost in the City, Edward P. Jones
  • Teaching My Mother to Give Birth, Warsan Shire
  • The Warmth of Other Suns, Isabel Wilkerson
  • Twelve Tribes of Hattie, Ayana Mathis
  • Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin
  • The Anthropology of News and Journalism, edited by S. Elizabeth Bird
  • The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros
  • The Thing Around Your Neck, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee
  • Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, Cheryl Strayed
  • Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity, Adam Hamilton
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander

There’s one thing we know: there’s really not much that compares to the magical moment when you’re so into a book that you’re oblivious of your surroundings. The sky can turn from light to dark and you not even realize it.

 reading gifs photo: Reading 1240479220_baby-reading.gif

When people say they hate to read, I usually think to myself, maybe you just haven’t found anything worth reading. There are soooo many good books in the world….something for everybody. There’s no shame in picking up a book and tossing it aside if you don’t like it. Go find another. If you need help, check out http://www.goodreads.com. It’s a great community of readers who review books….or you can do it the old school way: go to the library and roam until something captures your attention, or get recommendations from friends and swap books. Whatever you decide, we hope you find something that engages and/or inspires you!

~R&R