Primitive Pleasures {June}

A day late, but here are some good things from around the interwebs that I found in June!

JuneI have yet to develop a green thumb, so this is only possible in my dreams, but I love Natasha’s guide to growing a backyard herbal tea garden.

Despite my inability to keep my plants alive, I do love flowers! I stumbled on Sarah von Pollaro’s video tutorial on transforming a $10 supermarket bouquet into four beautiful arrangements and then got sucked into the vortex of all her awesome video tutorials. She makes flower arranging seem accessible.

Throwing a dinner party can be stressful, but so also can being a dinner party guest. Shauna Niequist (one of my favorite authors) wrote a superb post about how to be a great dinner guest.

I’ve worked several retail jobs and by far my favorite was my stint at Anthropologie. This is a phenomenal list of DIY Anthropolgie products. However, don’t ever pass up an opportunity to roam an Anthropologie store – they are truly inspirational.

Unfortunately, decisions about motherhood and everything that goes along with it have divisive tendencies in the Christian subculture. Instead of coming alongside women and families, we tend to judge and snub. I deeply appreciate this perspective and call for grace. If you don’t read the whole article, please read the last section!

It’s no secret that I love book lists. The Gospel Coalition has a great column called On My Shelf, “designed to help you get to know various people through providing a behind-the-scences glimpse into their lives as readers.” Kathy Keller, Tim Keller’s wife, had wonderful thoughts on finding Christ in fiction (which is why she’s not likely to have the latests Christian title on her nightstand).

Along the same line, this is a great article on finding God’s truth is literature.

And because this made me smile…

Primitive Pleasures {May}

MayOne of the very best things about this May is having a mini family reunion this weekend to celebrate the marriage of my cousin. Since not everyone gets to enjoy such a fun gathering, here are some other good things trolled from the interwebs this month.

Simplicity:

People who chronically multitask have lost the ability to focus on one thing – and they’re actually terrible at mutlitasking…. Interesting article on NPR (man I love public radio) about the myth of multitasking.

When -est should be -er and how that gives us the freedom to live simply.

Books:

I’m a book list junkie. Relevant Magazine has a great list of 10 books everyone should read by 25-ish. I think one of them might be our first book club book. Have you read any of them?

I love Heather’s idea to reinvent what classifies as classic literature for her 25 in 25 list.

Michael Hyatt’s podcast about how to read non-fiction was inspiring.

Marriage:

A New Kind of Sexy is honest and we need more of that when talking about marriage.

So we fought for it. We stumbled on redemption in the unlikely sexy acts of taking out the smelly-diaper trash, going to marriage counseling, and texting each other apologies for misspoken harsh words.

Beth of Red and Honey

And more honest reflection from Tyler Ward with 3 Things I Wish I Knew Before We Got Married.

Etc:

I’ve been there – wanting someone to fully understand why I left my heart overseas…

Because I’m a sucker for articles about the twenty-something stage of life – here’s a good one by Anne Bogel.

Hysterical iMessage version of Chapter 5 in Jane Austen’s Persuasion. 

I LOVE McGriddles. Can’t wait to try these.

Life Changing Books

Books That Have Changed My Life

If you follow Primitive Roads regularly, I bet you’ve noticed I’m a bit of a bibliophile. My cookbook collection is monstrous and I’d say half the boxes my husband and I moved from California were filled with books.

Curling up with a good book – alone with the pages – is my idea of a perfect evening, but I also love that reading isn’t just a singular pursuit. Some of my favorite conversations with friends have been about books we both have read. My childhood memories are peppered with hours spent reading aloud. Mouse books at Gramma’s house. Bible stories with mom before bed.

I’m linking up with Katie of Cardigan Way (you all know how much I like her!) with a list of books that have changed my life. This is by no means an exhaustive list and I’m sure I will forget some super important ones, but these are the books that popped into my mind first.

Enjoy and keep reading!

The Secret Garden and The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett (just now realizing they were written by the same author…) and Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt are old-fashioned coming of age stories that I read with my mom.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins are both phenomenal young adult/adult fiction crossovers that made me think more deeply about good and evil.

I think The Nancy Drew mysteries by Carolyn Keene (a pen name for multiple authors) contributed to my sense of adventure growing up. I feel like Nancy, Bess, George and I are all chums. I always hoped I came across as spunky and smart as Ms. Drew.

The works of C.S. Lewis and Jane Austen were formative. I dissected both while studying abroad in Oxford – which was, in itself, life changing.

My definition of a Christian was challenged by Lauren Winner in her memoir Girl Meets God.

I will never look at excess, in any form, the same after having read 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker or on a more practical level, Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider.

Redeeming Love was profound, but Francine RiversMark of The Lion series gave me a beautiful example of a gentle and quiet spirit in it’s grace-filled heroine Hadassah. She is my fictional standard for memorable Christ-like humility.

The Giver by Lois Lowry (Gathering Blue and Messenger, too) was a poignant look at pain versus perfection and which one is necessary to live a complete life.

Life changing authors: Brennan Manning, Ann Voskamp, and L. M. Montgomery.

I know I will instantly regret leaving a certain book out when this goes live. Maybe a second addition will be coming soon. In the meantime, ask someone at your Memorial Day BBQ what books they have read that have changed their life.

I would love to hear some of the books that have changed YOUR life.

Cardigan Way
Disclosure: This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. To learn more abut the books mentioned in this post, click on the images. Thanks for supporting Primitive Roads!

photo credit: azrasta via photopin cc

Grace For The Good Girl

I have never found myself so accurately portrayed in a book before I read Emily P. Freeman’s Grace For The Good GirlI tweeted as much in the midst of reading it and Emily responded with an apology. It made me laugh, but it was indeed a reminder that being a good girl isn’t always a good thing.

Emily P Freeman TweetYou see, what I was meaning as a compliment to Emily spoke more than appreciation for her writing and message. I had unintentionally admitted how much I struggle in my good girl identity. Finding myself in every word of her book meant that I still desperately cling to perfection. I’m still seeking value from other people’s perceptions and base my worth on living up to an impossible standard.

One of the most encouraging things about this book was discovering that I’m not alone. I certainly don’t wish the stress and anxiety of being a good girl on anyone, but I spent many years wondering if I was the only one who felt shackled to an image that didn’t necessarily portray reality.

I believe being a good girl is part nature, part nurture. It’s one thing to be inherently sweet, thoughtful, and compassionate; but it’s another thing when you surpress normal emotions, desires, and needs to appear that way.

My natural good girl tendencies became my own enforced norm when I discovered smarts and an illusion of perfection could get me attention. Little did I know that a dangerous pattern of internal pressure was developing. When my natural good girl failed, I had to kick my nurture good girl into high gear or I wouldn’t feel good enough. My classmates wouldn’t like me as well if I didn’t get an A on that chemistry test. I wouldn’t be the apple of my Sunday school teacher’s eye if I didn’t find Malachi 2:5 first. No guy would ever ask me out if I didn’t stay a size 4.

Of course, I didn’t begin to recognize this corrupted train of thought until a few years ago when my circle of friends grew into a community of honest and authentic sisters who weren’t adverse to showing their brokenness.

Emily reveals that same brokenness in Grace for the Good Girl. She is honest about the time her husband found her curled on the couch sobbing because she felt inadequate, how she felt like less of a woman because she had c-sections instead of natural births, and how she is sometimes crippled by anxiety.

I felt as if an invisible good girl was following me around wherever I went, showing up without permission to shame and blame and scold. She was omnipresent, like a pretty little goddess in a pink, shadowy corner. She embodied the good girl version of my current life stage and shamed me accordingly; good student, good leader, good wife, and good mom. She represented the girl I wanted to be but didin’t know why. I felt the heavy weight of impossible expectations and had the insatiable desire to explain every mistake. My battle with shame was constant and hovering.

Instead of recognizing my own inadequacy as an opportunity to trust God, I hid those parts and adopted a bootstrap religion. I focused on the things I could handle, the things I excelled in, my disciplined life, and my unshakeable good mood. These masks became so natural to me that I didn’t even know they were masks.

Emily P. Freeman ~ Grace for the Good Girl

 

Even in those broken moments, Emily offers hope and encouragement for all good girls no matter where on the spectrum they land, whether they are recovering or still covered by the mask of perfection.

Emily also wrote a second book, Graceful, geared toward younger women. When it launched in September, Emily encouraged people to write letters to their teenage self. Mine sheds light onto my good girl history and explains more about Graceful.

Find more of Emily on her blog Chatting At The Sky.

 

Primitive Pleasures: what balanced out the rustic this month

There’s this blog that I really love called Cardigan Way. Katie, the lovely author behind the blog, and I connected over a shared love of Eustace from The Chronicles of Narnia. She is also a pastor’s wife, loves literature, and has a keen sense of style. As I was catching up with all the truth, goodness, and beauty on Cardigan Way the other day, I came across her January Goodness post and loved it. It’s a retrospective of what she’s been into for the past month.

Primitive Pleasures is the Primitive Roads take on a “what I’m into” post.  So, here goes a lot of good things that got me through the rustic moments of February…

Primitive Pleasures February

Homemade

February was my turn to provide a meal for the elder’s meeting at our church and Tim’s birthday, both of which gave me reasons to make cupcakes. I have 5 cookbooks specifically dedicated to cupcakes, but I went for recipes I’d made before from one of my favorite food blogs – Annie’s Eats. She makes a ton of delicious things, however, the cupcakes are unreal. {My photos don’t do them justice…}

Annie's Eats Cupcakes

One of the things Tim and I miss most about California is really good Mexican food. Since my word for this year is intentional, I decided to push past the intimidation and start making Mexican food at home. I’m addicted to bean and cheese burritos so my first project was refried beans. The first recipe I tried {Crockpot Refried Beans} was a huge success. We also enjoyed the Sweet Corn Chicken Enchiladas and Baked Tacos from One Good Thing.

Baking is an outlet for me and when it’s cold, it seems like I really need an outlet for my winter blues. I made Joy The Baker’s Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls twice, Rosemary Lemon Sugar Cookies, and Martha Stewart’s Cream Filled Chocolate Sandwich Cookies. Maybe my best baking discovery this month was the PERFECT chocolate chip cookie: Alton Brown’s Chewy – tender, chewy {because of bread flour} and chock full of chocolate chips. Just wow.

Cookies

Crafted

My friend Kristina is doing a month of craft therapy on her blog The Blissful Bird. She made the cutest cross-stitched likeness of her and her husband. I’m inspired to break out my needle and thread.

I made another version of the Paper Bag Christmas Card for Valentine’s Day {plus I made my first ever video tutorial} and then saw this Paper Bag Book variation and can’t wait to adapt it for upcoming holidays.

CraftedLovely Ideas

I’m spatially challenged, but my mom was able to replicate this awesome way to braid your scarf.

In and effort to fight back against the cold on a trip to Chicago last week, a friend and I held the first Humidity Saturday. We went to the Garfield Park Conservatory and enjoyed the warm, damp air, earthy smells, and greenery knowing it was below freezing just beyond the glass walls. I enjoyed it so much, I’m looking for ways to do it in Idaho. Even a day where you turn up the heat to 80 and wear shorts in your house would be a huge tre

Lovely IdeasRead

My new job offers me plenty of travel time to read. Some of my favorites from this month were Grace For The Good Girl by Emily Freeman, Losing It by Erin Fry, and Death Comes To Pemberley by P.D. James. {a note on that last one – not necessarily my favorite Jane Austen sequel, but worthwhile for the interesting way James developed the character’s life after Pride and Prejudice}

It’s fitting that I stumbled upon a couple awesome posts on marriage this month since 1. it’s the love month and 2. I was participating in a collaborative series called How To Maintain Your High Maintenance Marriage.

Closing Thoughts

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Enough said.

Downton Abbey as a Metaphor for Church Life by Adam McLane {who we are so excited to host at CBC in April!}

Speaking of good things to watch, it’s time for Psych Season 7 premiere! Time to sign off…

I’m linking up to What I’m Into at HopefulLeigh.