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A Check In
There's No Rain in our Train (anymore)
Dear Friends, Readers, Skimmers, and everyone in between,
I hope you’re doing well this late July. I wanted to check in with folks and let you know what’s happening here (I hope you’ll drop a comment below or in the substack chat app).
This past week, I was on vacation for a week in Cleveland, Ohio. I have been up to Cleveland 4 or 5 times in the past couple of months, visiting my dad in the hospital, and each time, I fall in love with it more. Earlier in the spring, we had the idea to spend a week there so we could be close to my wife, Emily, while she was doing her Montessori training. So that's what we did. We spent the week with family (a special highlight was my little 1-year-old nephew, who we went to the zoo with), went to a Cleveland Guardians baseball game, hiked, visited multiple bookstores, and every morning walked to a wonderful coffeeshop to read and drink my favorite coffee (besides my own of course!). It was a restful week where I did a lot of reading, sleeping, and just spending time with our kids. I really needed it.
Back at work this week, I hit the ground running. We are only a few weeks away from the start of the semester, so everything is heating up. Besides getting ready for that, we’ve been in the process of moving from our current office space to a new location on campus. Packaging up 8 years of books and supplies not just from one office but an entire house (where our offices are located) has been huge work (I’m grateful for the many folks who came and helped up over the last couple of days). While it’s a lot of work, I really need the change. I’m trying to see this move along with my upcoming study leave (starting in January) as a restart of sorts.
Recently, a friend asked me what was making me happy, and I didn’t have a response. I feel happy and content, but I don’t feel particularly excited about anything in particular. As I type this, I realize that while I don’t feel fist-pumping excited about anything in particular, I have been very invested in my health recently and have been putting time and energy into making some lifestyle changes to help me feel better.
I’d like to hear from you. Where are things for you? What is making you happy right now? Is there something you’ve been particularly excited about that you’d like to share with the rest of us? If neither of those questions feel right to you, is there something that you have been putting your time into recently that is for you?
Thanks for reading,
Haw River Watershed (Greensboro, NC)
Two book recommendations:
I have been reading “How to Write One Song by Jeff Tweedy,” and I love it. I used to be a songwriter and musician, and though I play so little anymore, I don’t feel it is a fair label to apply to myself. However, I do love writing, and I would like to pick up music again in the future. Therefore, I’ve been reading it and trying out the exercises in the book. I’m not ready to share with you what I’ve been writing there (how odd, isn’t it?), but I will say that I got a huge kick out of this paragraph on rhyming:
Another book I’ve been enjoying: “Two Wheels Good: The History and Mystery of the Bicycle by Jody Rosen.” In this sprawling and entertaining history, Rosen tells us about the many origin stories of the bicycle, the fact that rich people were the first to spoil the bicycle's reputation in the 1800s, public debates over how the bicycle was dumb compared to the horse, and even some of its imperialist history with militarized bikes and bikes used as bombs. Rosen argues that the bicycle was born both too late and too early and that it still holds power to help remake society.
Question: Have you found any summer reads you’re really enjoying?
Sponsor This Week: Thee Quaker Podcast
Thee Quaker Podcast brings stories of spiritual courage to your ears each week.
I want to draw your attention to a recent episode with Zachary Moon: A Quaker Pacifist Joins the Military. It is a really great interview with a good friend of mine.
Quakers have always wrestled with big questions in their search for spiritual truth. Thee Quaker Podcast is a continuation of that 400-year-old tradition — we’re digging deep to search for innovative stories that explore themes of faith, conviction, and doubt. Listen and subscribe at QuakerPodcast.com.
If you’re interested in sponsoring or advertising on Nurse Log Notes read more here.
Links from Around the Web Picked Just For You
The Hidden Brain Podcast is one of my all-time favorites. If you haven’t listened to it you really need to check it out. Here are two recent episodes that go together and are hugely insightful. I plan to use both of these in my upcoming “The Practice of Silence Class.”
“All of us think we know what addiction look like. It’s the compulsive consumption of drugs, alcohol, or nicotine. But psychiatrist Anna Lembke argues that our conception of addiction is far too narrow — and that a broader understanding of addiction might help us to understand why so many people are anxious and depressed. This week, we begin a two-part series that explains how and why humans are wired to pursue pleasure, and all the ways the modern world tempts us with addictive substances and behaviors.” - Listen on podcast player of your choice.
“Psychiatrist Anna Lembke explains the neuroscience behind compulsive consumption, and how it alters our brains. She also shares techniques she’s learned from her patients to overcome the lure of addictive substances and behaviors.” - Listen on podcast player of your choice.
Other recommended readings:
Epilogue - Jeff Tweedy
Because one song is all it takes to make a connection. And in my opinion, connection is the loftiest of all aspirations. To my way of thinking, there isn’t much else of any value going on in any song or work of art. At the core of any creative act is an impulse to make manifest our powerful desire to connect — with others, with ourselves, with the sacred, with God? We all want to feel less alone, and I believe that a song being sung is one of the clearest views we ever have to witness how humans reach out for warmth with our art. -Jeff Tweedy p. 11 - How To Write One Song
I’d say this is also very true for me in all the writing I do. Here, on my blog, in my teaching, preaching, and conversations I have. The loftiest of all aspirations is connection.
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