So this is what I was going to post last week, when I posted Christmas Lament instead. I am not over and past the Newtown tragedy, but I find that I said everything I wanted to say about it in that last post. So while I am not laying it to rest in my life (I plan to participate in the 26 Acts of Kindness campaign, for one thing), I will leave it behind on the blog for now, and bring you something more cheerful – more blogs!
This post, by the way, is six months overdue. Way back in the middle of wedding planning purgatory, I had the enormous privilege of being nominated for the One Lovely Blog award, not once but TWICE! Heee The only rule is that I’m supposed to feed some blog love back to the blog(s) that first nominated me, and then nominate fifteen more blogs for the award. EASY!
Just a note before you begin – upon reviewing my list of blogs, and thinking about some of the people who might end up clicking to some of those blogs, the contradictions of my life have become apparent. I am a progressive Christian mystic in an evangelical church community, for one, and also a skeptic, an armchair scientist, and a poet. If you know me mostly in one context, don’t be surprised if some of these blog choices surprise you. I’m a big believer in interfaith and other kinds of dialogue, so inclusion on this list does not mean that I agree with everything that every blogger on this list says, or that they think the same things I do, or that they even approve of the other blogs I’ve nominated. And if you click on one and find that you’re at odds with it, please just be respectful, because these are my friends. Thanks.
The first blogger who tagged me for One Lovely Blog was the incredible Clare Flourish. I like Clare because she’s both feisty and whimsical, brave and vulnerable, intellectual and personal. A casual reading of her blog can take you through her impressions of gross art exhibitions, morning commute train rides, moments of horrifying self-doubt, and then defenses of both the Bible and homosexuality. Her blog chronicles a life lived with dignity, courage, and compassion. I was really honored and touched that she thought my blog worthy of a recommendation.
The next blogger who nominated me was my dear friend Mindy over at small-letters. Another life lived with dignity, courage, and compassion, chronicled in poetry, musings, wishes, and the occasional stirring rant. I have the enormous privilege of knowing this beautiful, complex person in real life, and she is magnificent. As fully alive as they come.
And without further ado, here are the 15 blogs I nominate for the One Lovely Blog award:
First, three professional blogs that I really genuinely enjoy:
John Shore – JUST FOR THE RECORD, John Shore was already on my list of favorite blogs before he ran “Christmas Lament” on his blog too. It was just a double-dose of awesome for me that my favorite blogger happened to appreciate my writing in return. Anyway. He was described by one of his commenters as “The Dear Abbey of the New Millenium,” and I tend to agree. Mr. Shore is a progressive Christian and writes on topics like hell (“Is Hell Real? What Are We, Six?” – the post that led me to his site and made me a believer), salvation, homosexuality, and now gun control, but to me the most beautiful parts of his blog, and the reason I go back frequently, are the parts where he responds to reader’s questions about their personal lives. He gets a lot of letters from a) gay Christians, b) people escaping fundamentalism in any of its forms, and c) people struggling with abusive relationships. He answers all of these people with grace, verve, humor, and encouragement. The life-giving effects of his insights are evidenced in the faithful community that has extended discussions in the comments section after each post. Seriously, you want to read the comments on this blog. You always want to read the comments; often they’re even better than the blog itself.
100 Days of Real Food started out as a personal challenge for the author to cut out processed food entirely for 100 days. Today, just a couple of years later, it has numerous sponsors, and the blog has oodles of really great information for anyone concerned with eating healthy. They have recipes, challenges, mini-challenges, menu plans, tips for persuading picky eaters, info on various restaurant chains and food manufacturers, and lots and lots of LISTS! It’s a dream for someone organizationally challenged like me, who needs lots of help and support to stay on track with my perpetual food-improvement resolutions.
Health Kismet – Full disclosure: this is my little brother’s blog, but I love it anyway. Health consciousness runs in my family, but Jonathan was always the most interested out of my siblings, and he was enough of a science nerd to actually study nutrition and design his own green food supplement. The blog is great, very informative about trends and research in nutrition and health, if you’re into that kind of thing. And Jonathan is a good soul.
And here I employ shameless nepotism to brag on the blogs of my friends, either virtual or flesh-and-blood, in no particular order:
Lucy’s Dreadful Thought – Written by my friend Maureen, this little gem contains reflections about all things in the space where spirituality, imagery, stereotypes, and human dignity overlap. The blog is named for a moment in C.S. Lewis’s Prince Caspian, and you will find numerous Lewis references peppered throughout the blog, in both macro- and micro- fashion. She also frequently tackles issues around the way the culture and subcultures we live in shape us, women especially.
kvenna rad – Being the blog of one Marie Marshall, who is a regular commenter on this blog (thank you!), I go here when I want a short poetry break. And I do mean short – most of the little gems she posts are haiku worthy, but much more interesting than most haikus I read. I’ve been especially enjoying the Devil’s Diary series of late…
exiles – This is the personal journal of some very good friends of ours (all three of their children were in our wedding), and it’s a fun jaunt for anyone who likes looking at pictures of kids and upstate new york, and pictures of kids in upstate new york, and reading about parenting, etc. It’s full of daily adventures and little moments.
aabsofsteel – a friend of mine from my writing group, Aabs does a lot of personal reflection and memoir, and has a way of painting moments and memories that really sings. I always want to spend more time with my family after reading her pieces.
thelenaraproject - this new blog is written by another friend of mine, and it chronicles the consequences of her and her husband’s decision to leave their nice plush jobs in New York and try out classroom teaching for the first time ever. In Honduras. I highly recommend that you at least read “The Circumcision Discussion.”
Daya Kripalu – Speaking of Honduras, this blog is written by Kristie, a lovely woman whom I only recently met at my wedding because she was the date of Ray, a very good friend. Just before B and I tied the knot, Kristie and Ray unloaded their property, valuables, and jobs, and then left our wedding to fly straight to Central America. They have been on a three-month-and-counting odyssey since then, traveling with open-ended plans through Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Honduras, and will be heading to Hawaii apparently on Christmas Day. Kristie’s blog is really a treasure, chronicling a true journey, inside and out. I can also vouch that she’s a beautiful person and a really, really good yoga instructor.
Lyrics of a Caged Songbird – And speaking of journeys, Cate chronicles some of her inner journey here. I always trust her to bring me into a safe reflective space. She writes a lot on themes of healing, friendship, and trying to follow your dreams. She also happens to be a killer musician, and you can link to some of her music from the blog.
ajummama – This hot Korean mama blogs about family life, Korean-American life, and life as the mother of now TWO small children with humor, warmth, insight, and love.
while waiting – This is the blog of my pastor. I realized that I was actually very reluctant to add this blog to the list, not because I don’t like the blog, and not because I don’t like the author, but because I go so far out of my way to avoid anything that might resemble evangelism, I didn’t want this to be mistaken for the “Come check out my church!” vibe that is so common in evangelical circles. But if Drew were any other friend, I’d be including it anyway, so I decided that reverse discrimination against him for being a pastor would be unfair. I really do like the blog and the person behind it, and I especially recommend his reflections on race and multi-cultural issues in America and in the church.
notsoblindfaith – Blatant push for the hubby . B started this blog in July and then had to temporarily abandon it because wedding planning craziness got the better of him, but it shows much promise and I’m hoping this plug will inspire him to finish some of those drafts and get back in the game. He’s got a lot of thoughtful things to say!
Books Are Wonderful – Shanella, one of my bookier booky friends, reviews books here. She reads a LOT. I read a lot, but I mean Shanella reads a LOT. And she reads a lot of children’s, young adult, and science fiction/fantasy, as well as every other kind of book, so I look here for things I might be missing on my reading list.
tinkering – Last in list but not in love, another newish blog by someone I really admire. Raw truth, so far mostly chronicling the journey out of and beyond Christianity, and the occasional product review This one will be challenging for anyone living the evangelical dream, and I imagine liberating for those who have left, or who are leaving. I discovered this blog because this person is my friend, but I would read it anyway because spiritual abuse runs hard in my family, and tinkering’s insights into the ways we twist people into dogmas, and the shape of the fallout that occurs from that, are really helpful in understanding some of my own struggles with faith and the church. While I have no plans to leave Christianity myself, I find this blog quite inspiring.
That’s 15 – wow! I know a lot of really amazing people who also happen to be good writers. If you are a regular reader here, thank you for your continued support. If you are a blogger nominated on this list, thank you for sharing yourself with the world, and please feel NO pressure whatsoever to respond to this nomination. This was a tremendously difficult post to put together for me, and I don’t want anyone else to feel pressured to put themselves through the same (although it is my great pleasure to feed you whatever small bit of blog love I may).
Happy reading, happy blogging, and happy holidays!