Speak: How Your Story Can Change the World by Nish Weiseth {Book Review}

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In Speak: How Your Story Can Change the World, Nish Weiseth explains why, when we bring real peoples’ stories into a discussion, hard and fast rules of society fail to apply across the board. We can use story to show how vast our experiences are and how meaningless it is to make assumptions without knowing where someone is coming from. Telling our stories helps us to build bridges instead of walls.

In Weiseth’s words, “It is a call to engage with others based on what we have in common rather than what divides us.”

I really loved this book. Even just reading the introduction had me nodding my head in agreement. We need to hear what people have to say. We need to see our similarities as we discuss our differences. And talking about what we think or what we believe as it relates to our story, instead of a separate piece of knowledge or theology, gives us a way of connecting as people instead of conflicting opinions.

And I loved the way Weiseth wove her thoughts and beliefs and convictions into the flowing ease of stories. She used her own model of connection to teach us about connection instead of employing the standard point by point argument style of teaching. A point well made and well-recieved. I hope you all can take the time to read it. Excellent book.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

“The hard and beautiful thing about following Jesus is that we are invited and called to act like Him. Following Jesus is an ongoing, transformational process, and, as believers, we’re invited to be a bit more like Him every day. Sometimes that means having conversations that feel uncomfortable.”

“And though you may be living what seems like an ordinary life, faithfully doing what God has place in front of you to do means you are actually living an extraordinary story.”

“What you’re doing may not be as important as the how. If you’re being faithful in what God has called you to do He is transforming you and molding you to be kore like Christ today than you were yesterday. And that is the greatest story you could ever tell.”

Nish Weiseth in Speak: How Your Story Can Change the World

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{{disclaimer: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Also: this post contains amazon affiliate links.}}

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For you: do you find it easier to connect to a list carefully worded arguments or someone’s story?

If you’re an argument driven person, how do you think your attitude toward opposing viewpoints change if you knew the person’s story?

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Updated to add that the winner of Spiritual Misfit is commenter #2: Chantel! I’ll send an email your way and we’ll get that to you!

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What I’m Into | August 2014

August is one of those months I feel like simultaneously flew by and took forever. Israel travelled a ton this month. And we managed to go camping twice! It was lovely to get out of the hot valley and into the mountains.

This month I was randomly into (obsessed with…):

Parenthood on Netflix. This overdose had a direct correlation to israel being gone an inordinate amount (12 days this month I think?) so I got through more than a couple seasons.

Wasabi peas. Because they were in the bulk food section at my grocery store. And they’re yummy. My only complaint was that they are too hard and could only have a half-month obsession, but maybe that just means I should go to the dentist.

Words other people wrote:
Resolution by Deidra Riggs

Learning Karate, Writing Words, Creating Reality and It Hurts to be Someone’s Project by April Fiet.

Black Bodies White Souls By Austin Channing Brown

Books:
Read:
– More Ready Than You Realize: The Power of Everyday Conversations by Brian D. McLaren – loved this and really appreciated his point about evangelism being a part of everyday. Not something you go and do.
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter – this was a beautiful book told in a variety of times with an intriguing and well done plot line.
– Spiritual Misfit by Michelle DeRusha – see my formal review here and don’t forget to enter the giveaway if you’re interested in reading it! I’ll pick a winner on Monday or Tuesday.
Persuading Annie by Melissa Nathan – loved this. Well-written. Believable relationships.
Nice Girls Don’t Change the World by Lynne Hybels – I expected this book to be longer, but she said what she needed to and well.
Speak: How Your Story Can Change the World by Nish Weiseth – I loved this book and will have a formal review up sometime in the next couple weeks.

Abandoned:
– Story by Robert McKee – so long.
– Free to Learn by Peter Gray – too science/anthropology based. Not enough practical/psychological/ spiritual for me.

Reading:
– Let’s All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs
– Good News for Weary Women by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick
– Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne

Very Slowly Reading:
– Women in the Church by Grenz
– The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee
– Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton
– How to be a Writer by Barbara Baig

13 Reasons to smile:

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In my home:
– I finally put up a laundry room shelf. You can walk on the floor now. It is great.
– I also put more pictures in frames but I have not hung them.
– The front planter flowers magically came back to life.
– I had very little to do with it.

Fave Facebook Moments (if I knew how to easily blur out names on an iPad I would let it look more like facebook…but alas, I am lacking in skills.)

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On my blog:

I wrote a reflection on Ferguson, about my current running, an update on Ali, a coffee induced chatter-st, a book review and giveaway, and a few other things.

It’s been a little more quiet here as I’m trying to take the pressure off to always write. It’s been a nice.
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What have you been into this month?

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Time

The band on my watch is cracking.

After five years of nearly constant use it’s finally giving way.

That’s a long time to wear a watch.

The tan lines deeply engrained across the skin of my wrist make me wonder of perhaps I should go without now and again.

vanity or sanity.

How attached to time I am.

Thinking of going without makes me realize my dependence on chunking out the day.

Piece by piece.

The seconds tick by.

Maybe my deteriorating watch band is a challenge to go without and learn to linger in, instead of constantly count down, the moments.

How to know.

Wonder.

Wait.

Awe.

All held back by a constant awareness of time and the next momentary and artificial landmark in my life.

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Do I live by time or live in time? Do I live for time or for moments in time? My thought for the day.

You?

Spiritual Misfit by Michelle DeRusha {Book Review and Giveaway!}

This is where I start formally reviewing books a bit more often.

Because.

I just found out that there are quite a few websites/publishers that make it really easy to choose from a selection of books (which they send you for free free) in exchange for a review on your blog. In order to make it worth our time, I’m going to stick with books I either wanted to read in the first place or that seem to be related to topics I’m talking about here.

And since I’m sure you think books are fantastic too, every now and then I’ll pass on the love. If it is not a book I’ll go back to over and again, I’ll just wrap it up put a label on it and send it off for someone else to enjoy. :)

This week’s book was sent to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

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Spiritual Misfit: A Memoir of Uneasy Faith by Michelle DeRusha

In Spiritual Misfit, Michelle DeRusha outlines her journey from growing up a confessing every sin as a Catholic girl to a doubting faith and God in her college years, then finding and consequently growing to claim God as she learns to understand her own faith story as a unique and completely personal experience. She learned the questions she asked that seemed to challenge her faith completely actually lead her to God.

Sometimes it is hard to put yourself in the place of another person and actually feel like you understand what they’re going through. DeRusha has a relatable way of speaking about guilt, and doubt, and growth, and discovery that makes it easy to feel like you know her by the end of her story. I loved the way she dealt with doubt and how she carefully outlined that process from doubt to asking questions to a gradually deepening faith. I identified with many pieces and appreciated seeing the similarities between her own growth as a Christian and my own.

DeRusha’s voice is clear and insightful with a wry humor suited to her questioning personality. I would say, yes, read this book. You’ll find someone you know in it and have a little more idea of what is going on inside the head of someone finding their way to faith. Or you might even see a bit of yourself and be encouraged.

BTW: Her story about buying a Bible was my favorite. So funny. :)

My favorite quotes:

“Not only did I begin to understand a belief in God as altogether something more than I could ever fully degine, contain, or pin dow, I began to accept and embrace this understanding, in spite of the fact that it didn’t fit well with my everything-has-a-place-and-an-order-and-a-rational-explanation expectations.”

“Questioning, I came to understand and accept, is part of who I am. Skepticism is woven into my fabric. But I had shifted my approach. Instead of grappling with the questions, wrestling them and trying to wrangle definitive answers out of them, I simply began to strive, as the poet Rainer Maria Rilke advised, to live with and in the questions.”

“In fact, I’ve come to realize the opposite should be true: I should not have it all figured out. And if I think I do, I should take that as a red flag because it probably means I have crafted a God of my own design, a God whom I can control. Living the questions and relinquishing control is so much more challenging than fashioning a God who is entirely fathomable and comprehensible. But living the questions is also more real – a truer, more honest approach to discovering and nurturing a relationship with God.”

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Read a sample chapter or check out Michelle’s blog if you’re interested in more!

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So for the giveaway.

Earn up to three entries by:

1. Commenting here!
2. Sharing on facebook or twitter and then leaving a separate comment saying you did.
3. Following me on facebook or twitter and then commenting again to say you did.

I’ll draw a random number let you know who won when I post my next review in a couple weeks. :)

(sorry to all my international peeps, but shipping gets expensive outside of the country so this is just for U.S dwellers.)

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It’s not about me.

That’s what I have to keep telling myself as I stumble for the right words to say about Ferguson.

Have you heard of it? I hope so. (If not, here are some facts) My instinct is to be silent and let others speak, but something tells me I can’t. Even if I say things poorly, my own discomfort in speaking up is much less significant than the problem at hand.

We can’t deny that things are wrong with this country and the situation in Ferguson only amplifies it. Some people blame it on the overreaching government, some on racism (overt and institutional).

Whatever you blame, it is a problem.

It’s a problem that the police force and government have so much influence on innocent civilians lives.

It’s problem that black people have to worry about whether any incident (or even crime against them) is because they’re black or just a fluke.

It’s a problem that just chilling out isn’t an option because of all of the underlying history and systems that bring us down would still exist.

We can’t just forget about it.

Ferguson brings up questions about racism, profiling, government, police, freedom, privilege, justice, and a multitude of other things.

And we should be thinking about them.

Especially if you’re white. Or you don’t ever encounter racism. Or you think racism isn’t a thing. Or you think the government only does good things.

Read about it. Think about it.

If you’re white, moving forward in a positive way after Ferguson isn’t about you. It won’t make your life easier to talk about racism and systems of privilege, but we can’t just ignore the many many voices of our fellow citizens who are saying there are problems in this country that happen based on skin tone.

If you’re white, it’s easier to take racism on a case by case basis and say oh, that must have been an unusual situation. But then the studies show otherwise. It’s easy to take things we get/earn for granted and assume that everyone has the same experience. It’s easy to say people have been racist to you, too. It’s easy to ignore the problem and move on with life.

Because it’s not about you. It just isn’t. Nothing could change and your life would be fine.

It’s harder to speak up and say: “Wow. That is a problem. I don’t know what to say. I’m sorry. What can I do?”

We can’t keep sidelining other people’s stories because they don’t line up with our own experiences, or because admitting their validity makes us uncomfortable with our own identity.

Whatever we think the problem is, it’s not really the time to point fingers or argue hot button issues.

We need to hear the stories, resist the urge to mitigate the experience, and then stand alongside.

It’s not about us.

It’s time to step beside so the future doesn’t stay the same.

We can process our own reaction on our own time and it may take a while to really come to grips with what is going on. It will take grace to admit we can’t know and understand perfectly. It will take time to form opinions – and then more to really be able to support those opinions – but, in the meantime, we can listen, we can stand up and use our voices to at least mention the distress in another’s story, and we can lean into the discomfort caused by the search of answers and justice.

We can’t ignore those stories.

Things need to change.

But we need to listen and acknowledge before we can act or speak.

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Here’s a good list of resources for this situation and learning about racial reconciliation in general.

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What has been going through your head as you watch these events play out? Do you think silence can be misunderstood as condoning things you don’t agree with?

How many barrels of worms have I opened up?

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Run more!

Running has been going alright. I have more days than I’d like where
O just don’t want to, but usually if I make myself go I’m glad I did. And if I don’t fall into a groove within ten or twenty minutes or my legs are just dead, I let myself take it easy and shorten my loop or just walk home. These things happen and they make the next day easier and more enjoyable.

My knees are starting to hopefully feel better from my issues with runner’s knee. Otherwise known as tendonitis. Woot. Israel has me doing lunges and I’m working on my core strength and that seems to have helped. It is so nice to go from constantly hurting to minimal pain. So yes. If your knees hurt, try lunges? It’s a little counter-intuitive.

I started running barefoot some and I really like it. It’s like a reset for my feet. It helps me to be able to feel how my feet should be hitting the ground even when I’m wearing shoes. It also gives me a better way to evaluate and change up my form. And it helps to add some interest if I just don’t feel like running.

I also switched to minimalist shoes. Merrells. Omm drop. 8mm cushion. They made my feet are extra tired the first week or so. But I am really liking how I can feel where my foot lands. I can feel the ground a little better and know it if I step on a crack in the sidewalk or a rock. And just knowing I don’t have loads of wonky foam messing up my stride is nice to. They don’t squeeze my toes or make my ankles turn in weird ways. I know. I should have gotten new shoes sooner :p

There are about 8 weeks left til my half marathonh and I am excited! My longest run to date is 9.4 miles with my double bob and its occupants. I feel encouraged by the fact that I will not be pushing an extra 90lbs during my half! :) I haven’t really been following a training plan this time around. I’ve just been gradually lengthening my long runs and evening more gradually upping my weekly mileage (at about 15-18 miles now). I run almost every day. I’m going to try to add a tiny attempt at speed work in on saturday’s (and therefore sans stroller) per my husband’s coaching. :) it should be fun. not. But it should help me even out my form a bit and learn how to run a bit faster.

Speaking of form, that has been a process in itself. Last time I talked about running I was focusing on opening up my stride by lifting my legs a little more (called using my quads). I finally felt like I was the hang of that a tiny bit.

And then my husband took me on another run.

We went in the hills and since he had the double stroller I felt much less pushed than I would have had he not been weighed down by our offspring-mobile. It was fun. :) relatively you know. Hills can be painful…and who knew downhill could be painful too? We ran and ran and ran. 7.25 miles. And it turns out I had another running tweak to make. Just minor. It turns out I don’t really use normal running muscles (which is why, at its worst, my run looks more like a shuffle). My favorite part about running tweaks is that it makes me faster.

So now, these next couple months I’ll be trying to open up my stride a bit more by actually using my hamstrings and glutes, extending my long run to 12+ miles, and just working to stay injury free!

So that is running now!

The only race I have on my calendar is my half, though I might see about adding one between then and now if our busy lives permit.
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(During a 10k with my aunt..having better form for the camera!)