Sunday, June 26, 2011

Inspirational reading

Iattacked my feed reader over the weekend, catching up on a number of posts I didn't have time to read during the week...

Probably like most people internet addicts, I have the blogs and sites that I subscribe to organized by topic: Daily Reading (the ones I really don't want to miss), Crochet/Craft/Quilt, Information (technology and trivia), Work (this is very vague and encompasses everything from marketing to social media), Writing, Design, Food... etc. You get my drift... some weeks it can add up to too much information, and I end up flipping through pretty quickly to see if anything catches my eye (and/or needs to be pinned to Pinterest, of course!). But there are always a number of sites that, when they update, I look forward to seeing what's been added. Always.

As I went through my Inspiration folder of feeds, a number of posts popped out to me this weekend as sites that I've wanted to share for awhile... so my reading round-up this week is specific to inspiration. These individuals all write from the heart, and, for a few of them, their circumstances at times boggle the mind; how they move on and through life seems remarkable at times. That being said, there's a lot more to each person/post/site than just the sum of their struggles; it would be insulting (in my opinion) to assume inspiration based on their circumstances alone. Oh, a big heaping bowl of tribulation? Must be inspirational... not their style, and mine either.

You won't get to know any of these blogs by just reading once, but maybe you'll see a bit of what drew me in, and be inspired as I've been.

Pray for Ian. I first started reading of Ian's accident soon after it took place, when he'd survived but had a very long road ahead. Since then, Ian and Lara have gone on to get married and settle into life together; sadly, Ian's dad, a real source of strength for both of them, passed away rather quickly after a cancer diagnosis, but before he could witness their wedding. Their faith is constant and heartening, even in the face of Ian's continuing medical issues.
Wedding post 1
Wedding post 2

Aubrey's blog. This one came my way rather recently, the wife of a friend's former co-worker... and her struggles with her cancer diagnosis are real and persistent. But her desire to look outside herself and her current health issues is also persistent, and inspiring. Her recent post included two poems, this one stood out to me:

The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
-Wendell Berry

Every Day Is Awesome. I first discovered Paul Overton's blog when something he wrote (I think maybe even on a different site he sometimes contributes to) seemed quite controversial and everybody (i.e. kottke, etc.) linked over to the post, where the comments got wild and inflamatory, as only happens on the internet. Now, for the life of me, I can't remember what that issue was about. (It must have been about gender; that's what seems to get people riled up.) But I subscribed to the blog, and have really enjoyed his writing over the past few months I've been reading. This post about humble confidence and this other one about his daughter are both recent posts I enjoyed.

Jamie the Very Worst Missionary. I love this woman and her take on what it means to serve God in a foreign mission capacity. She and her family are in Costa Rica and her honesty is heartening and bold. This most recent post about sending her son to live with her sister over the summer made me smile and also gave me a little heartache for her.

Zen Habits, Leo Babauta. This is one of those biggy blogs that have been around for a while and everyone seems to know about, he gets quoted by a lot of people, linked to, etc. He also takes a lot of heat for his approach to things, his minimalism, his celebrity for being a minimalist, etc. Doesn't everything have a backlash, really? Anyway, I can't say I agree with him 100% of the time, but that's not really the goal... he's thought-provoking and inspiring to me to break out of ruts of thinking and doing and experience life in a very present way.

Katherine Arnold Wolf. This dear woman suffered a brain-stem stroke about three years ago. I found out about her blog in much the same way I found Ian's--word was spreading about her tragedy, and prayers requested. The internet sure has proved a powerful way to spread the word about good and bad stuff. Katherine's approach to her recovery has been remarkable, but even as she continues to improve she is also frustrated by the struggles and the slowness of her progress... of course.

Her site has links to her background story, and essays marking the one-, two- and three-year anniversaries of her brain-stem stroke.

Here, also, is Katherine talking about her journey, last fall:

Leah Dieterich. I can't remember when I first heard of the THXTHXTHX site, but I've enjoyed her daily postings for a number of years. Leah set out to write a thank-you note every day--not just to a person, but to a place, a thing, something that stood out to her in the course of her day. They are very often humorous, and always put me in the mental place of looking for thanks in everything around me. I'm thrilled that she's even gleaned a book deal out of the project--THXTHXTHX is now available to purchase!

I would love to hear who inspires you. Let me know in the comments. (Tis true, I am always up for a new blog find, though the reader is full!)


  1. Ha! Just what I need: more blogs to read. Regardless, I just added Every Day is Awesome and Thx Thx Thx to my reading list.

    One man's inspiration may not be another (wo)man's, but I'd recommend:

    Naked Pastor. An ex-pastor writes and cartoons about the issues he struggles with.

    Seth's Blog. Yeah, Seth has it too together and that irks me sometimes. He's earned it, though. Worth a read.

    Surviving the World. Pithy sayings on a chalkboard, with the author standing next to it making funny faces. It's really better than that (it would have to be).

  2. Thanks, Brent, I'll take a look at those--always up for good sites!

    I used to follow Surviving the World, but for some reason he's not in my feed right now... might have to fix that!

  3. These are fabulous- I need a little more brain candy and inspiration in my life that's not just about art.

    I wish there were a Pinterest for words- I'd love to take chunks of text/phrases/quotes from blog posts I find inspirational and "pin" them. Thank goodness for my daily planner- when I read something that sparks, I jot it down and read it during the day.

  4. well, hmmm...YOU inspire me, but...reading yourself is kind of weird. Jehara inspires me, too


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