Category Archives: good books

I Think I Have the Assignment

While lunching with my good friend, Jean, yesterday, she commented on my dream post. Her sense was that God is asking me to redefine success. Her suggestion was that I begin to ask God if He wants me to do such-and-such and to listen more closely to Him about what to choose.

It JUST SO HAPPENS that I started reading this book called CrazyBusy and I had already begun to realize some ways to slow my pace down.

As I drove Kepler to the doctor yesterday afternoon, I decided to take that driving time to pray and think rather than listen to talk radio, or text (I know, I know). I asked God what the assignment is. A song came into my mind — an old chorus I learned many years ago, based on Micah 6:8.

8 He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

I’ve been thinking I need a “mission statement” or something similar so that as I make decisions I can quickly ask myself “does this activity fulfill my three-point clear mission statement?” and if it doesn’t I can confidently toss it aside and move onto the next thing.

CrazyBusy pointed out that this way of living modern life — tossing things aside so we can get to the next one — leads to the lack of doing the things we really want to do, and sometimes the things we really should do. God knows I have plenty of days where I do alot of stuff, but miss out on some of the things I really love, and some of the things that are really timely and important.

So, when Micah 6:8 came into my mind, I said, “Oh, God, you must be kidding. That is way too nebulous. I would have to actually sit down and think about what justice and mercy and humility would look like in my life.” And I proceeded to put my thinking cap on again to see what God REALLY meant. But, something made me stop and say, OK. Maybe this IS the assignment.

I decided to consider this the assignment and allow my thinking to be overhauled, transformed, as it were. My “formidable intellect” as my friend Jean calls it, is the easiest thing for me to depend on when it comes to making decisions. But maybe said FI has gotten me into this mess. Being lightning-quick when it comes to making decisions is right handy when driving and needing to avoid something in the road, but can be downright inconvenient when my MO is to say yes to everything except the really hard stuff. Hard stuff like working with Kepler, helping another child learn to eat fewer carbs, helping another child learn to deal with strong emotions, another to deal with his love of being on the computer, another to deal with her tendency to see herself in an extremely favorable light and everyone else in an extremely unfavorable light. All those hard things aren’t things I really want to face because they require persistence and patience and don’t give any of those instant payoffs that the easy, urgent stuff gives.

So I’m off to listen some more and see how to fulfill the assignment today.

Reading Good Books: Good for What Ails Ya

Just finished In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan yesterday. This is one of the best books I have read on the topic of food. He discusses “nutritionism” which is the “science” whereby scientists isolate individual substances in a food and then make pronouncements about them. They find out that beta-carotene is good, and suddenly you see label after label announcing that this product has beta-carotene in it! Much conventional or official wisdom which has been spread throughout the land has later been found to be incomplete in some way. Remember how margarine was supposed to be better than butter? And then, oops, we mean margarine that doesn’t have trans fats in it? Imagine how many people over the years, myself included, slathered on trans-fatty margarine thinking we/they were doing something healthy! Oops!

I am not a conspiracy theorist. Occasionally, I have books recommended to me that clearly fall in the conspiracy camp. I react as strongly to those as I would to be a bee sting. I go for reasonable and rational information. In Defense of Food is both reasonable and rational, and for me, completely believable. I could identify strongly with his assertion that going to the grocery store has become a pretty tough outing for someone who is trying to eat “right.” How many thousands of food items are there in the store? How many do we need to avoid if we are trying to eat healthy food? If you want to just avoid high-fructose corn syrup, that cuts out a HUGE number of foods.

His main thesis: Eat food, not too much, mostly plants. He doesn’t advocate a strictly vegetarian diet, or any extremes, actually. The second half of the book expands on his thesis, in terms of what he means by “food,” (don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food — can you imagine her saying, GO-GURT? What in the world is GO-GURT?), what is not too much (how many times do we stop eating because the show is over, or the bag is empty, rather than based on whether or not we are hungry), and what he means by mostly plants.

For more info, go here.