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Hoping for renewal

Books and audio for rejuvenating the weary.

The idea of summer brings to mind popsicles, sprinklers, bare feet in the sand and camping in a tent. Yet those images belong to my own childhood. Summer holds a different flavour now as a mom. Specific to the needs of Rachel and Janneke, it means more time at home and less respite. 

This summer does hold possibility for limited travel for at least three in our family, and lots of time outside in the backyard for all of our family. The garden I crowed about last year has returned, in spite of me. It has been awesome to see all kinds of green plants greet me with, “Yep, we’re not weeds!” each week.

COVID-weary

I suspect we all wonder how COVID-19 will influence these next few months. In our family, we are in the process of becoming fully vaccinated. Our hope is that there will be some more familiarity with school in September, and while we wait in expectation, we will spend as much time outdoors and find ways to rejuvenate our COVID-weary minds.

Part of that rejuvenation for me includes books and podcasts. Looking for some ideas? Here are a few I’m finishing or have recently appreciated…

Suggested reading

Tish Warren’s Prayer in the Night: When words fail and hope falters, fall back on planned prayers. I have found this book to provide such comfort when I feel as though I am stumbling in the darkness of my doubts. 

Kendra Hedaji’s The Lazy Genius: It’s a book that includes 13 guidelines for strategizing your day-to-day. It isn’t specifically for parents who are caregivers of their children and youth with disabilities. But there are parts of her system that fit with my chaos. So, I’m hooked.

A Mind Spread Out On The Ground by Haudenosaunee writer Alicia Elliott: I have so much to learn about our country’s complicated history (and our present day), the land and its people. 

Children’s books – and ones that include characters with disabilities: At our house, repeatedly read favourites include Out of my Mind by Sharon Draper and Wonder by R.J. Palacio. If you liked Wonder, try the companion book (also by Palacio) called White Bird: A Wonder Story. Here’s a list of a few favourites for small children: My Name is Blessing by E. Walters; I Talk Like a River by J. Scott & S. Smith; Hello Goodbye Dog by M. Gianferrari; and God’s Very Good Idea by T. Newbell. Truthfully, reading children’s books is recommended for all ages. 

Suggested listening

Kate Bowler’s podcast Everything Happens: She has great conversations with a variety of guests, including the beloved disability theologian John Swinton. He was a guest for her July 1, 2019 episode entitled “The Speed of Love.”

The podcast The Bible for Normal People: It may have you sometimes nodding in agreement and other times raising your eyebrows, but I recommend Episode 165 “Disability Theology is for Everyone” when the hosts interview Stephanie Tait.

The story continues

I recently had a chance to listen to Canadian author Sarah Bessey speak with the Anglican Diocese of St. Catharines. She referenced the story of the friends on the road to Emmaus found in Luke 24, and she highlighted the words at the beginning of verse 21, “We had hoped.”

Those words have been the theme of the past 17 months for so many of us. The friends on the road to Emmaus needed The Storyteller to come and open their eyes. There is healing and restored hope with storytelling, and our Creator’s story continues to be told and revealed still today. 

  • Sara Pot is a new columnist with CC. She lives in St. Catharines, Ont. with her husband, four daughters and their golden doodle; she welcomes conversation and feedback!

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