Monday Inspirations: Read, Make & Listen

Dec 30, 2019

Despite a long road trip, a few too many mornings full of biscuits and gravy, and a pinched-nerve inducing guest bed, I found some inspiration over the Holidays.

If you're looking for something inspiring to read, make or listen to this week...

Like, right now, read: Educated by Tara Westover.

Educated is the memoir of a girl raised by Mormon survivalists in the mountains of Idaho. With no formal education, she taught herself into college at BYU. A professor helped her into a study abroad program at Cambridge, while another helped her actually get into Cambridge. She then went on to earn her PhD in History at Harvard.
This searching, beautiful book resonated so clearly with me. Here are the themes still swirling in my brain…
The struggle to find your own identity. How do you untangle yourself from your family’s expectations? How do you justify becoming who you want to be when it hurts them? Or when it goes against their beliefs? What are your beliefs?
The guilt of wanting, pursuing and achieving a life that’s entirely different from the one your parents have. This passage near the end of the book is powerful:

"But vindication has no power over guilt. No amount of anger or rage directed at others can subdue it, because guilt is never about them. Guilt is the fear of one’s own wretchedness. It has nothing to do with other people.
I shed my guilt when I accepted my decision on its own terms, without endlessly prosecuting old grievances, without weighing his sins against mine. Without thinking of my father at all. I learned to accept my decision for my own sake, because of me, not because of him. Because I needed it, not because he deserved it.
It was the only way I could love him."

The lasting power of your imperfect memory. How distance and time can both soften the hardest moments of our childhood and make them more and more raw. You get to decide how to remember those moments, what to learn from them and how they affect you today.
The battle to fit in. To be invisible but still be seen. To belong. To feel safe. To feel normal.
The fight to be the kind of person you want to be, not the one everyone else says you should be.
Teachers can change everything! They have the power to unlock unknown potential and bring the world to someone who’s seen just a tiny sliver of it.
I loved what a BYU professor said to Tara:

“The most powerful determinant of who you are is inside you.”

Make: America’s Test Kitchen’s Classic Apple Pie with homemade crust. I know, I know. It's the New Year and you might be making all kinds of resolutions to get your beach-bod back on. But, bake this, eat at least one slice and take it to someone else's house. This was my very first apple pie with real crust. I'm not gonna lie, it was touch and go.

First, I used twice as much shortening as the recipe had called for and ended up with this gooey blob of “crust” that definitely could’ve patched the hole in the wall I wanted to punch. When I got it right, the crust was super-crumbly and came together looking terrible rustic. I tried to do the whole zig-zaggy edges thing, but gave up and used a fork, so that doubled-up the horrible rustic look. Lastly, I sliced at least 3 more apples than the amount that would actually fit into the pie plate. But the result…an ugly, insanely delicious, homemade apple pie. A little tart, a little sweet, a little spicy, flaky, buttery…fantastic pie. Top it with 2 scoops of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream (shout out to my Texans!) and it’s worth every second in the kitchen.

Listen to the podcast Ear Hustle - Episode 36 - Tell Christy I Love Her.

I've been a fan of almost every episode of Ear Hustle, but this real-life story of Tom, a police officer, and Jason, the teenager who shot him, left me speechless (and teary). I've never heard a more powerful example of empathy, redemption and forgiveness. If you're struggling to let go, forgive or be forgiven, you need to hear this.

Wishing you so much happiness and success in 2020!

Jenna, Generous Change

P.S. Have some of your own inspirational reads you want to share? A podcast you can't get enough of? A show you're binging? A recipe you love? Write it up, email it to us at [email protected] and be a guest blogger! Can't wait to hear from you!