Riddle from the Middle

real life with a side of snark

Adult non-fiction

5/31/18:  Hey, look! I didn’t even realize I was doing back to back Jen books until I wandered over to this sadly neglected favorite non-fiction page. Whaddya know. Today’s post is about Jen Hatmaker’s Of Mess and Moxie, a really terrific read if you’re looking for a summer pool/beach/front porch/lazy day on the couch book. It’s heartfelt without being precious and faith-filled without being preachy. I really love a book that makes me tuck a new life lesson into my worn out pockets.


1/2/18:  Jen Hatmaker’s Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity is a peek into what it looks like when Jesus turns your life upside down.  Her bio can sum up her life story far better than I ever could – to say she’s unusual is an understatement.  What I found fascinating in Interrupted was the story of someone who, for all intents and purposes, was going about doing the Lord’s work as a pastor’s wife in a very large church only to find God telling her she had to go.  Go where?  Nope, no word on that front.  Just “go.”  It’s the story of her family’s leap of faith, leaving the life they knew for whatever might come next, trusting that God would tell them what that would be.  Eventually.  This is a terrific book for anyone who’s ever wondered if they’re where they’re supposed to be.


11/30/16:  Glennon Doyle Melton has become one of my very favorite people-I-don’t-know-in-real-life-and-don’t-have-a-chance-in-hell-of-meeting.  She’s brutally honest, funny, and real, and I’m hooked on her blog and Facebook feed.  I read her first book, Carry On, Warrior, last year and found myself on a roller coaster – crying, laughing, crying until I was laughing.  It’s a powerful collection of essays that invites women to be brave and kind and to let go of the idea of perfection.  Her latest book, Love Warrior, is a highly personal memoir about her journey through marriage.  She writes about facing infidelity, confronting pain, and claiming a more authentic life with a grace and wit that takes us with her.


3/7/16:  Today’s post focused on Inquiry, a process that helped me evaluate the problems I’d been having with T-man’s birthmother.  I used Byron Katie’s Loving What Is (©2002) to guide me as I worked through my thoughts and feelings about Miss C, and one by one each stripped down to a clear reality.  This process helped me see the truth and find a way to escape the pain. (The author also has a website called The Work of Byron Katie where you can find all of the same resources detailing the process.)  It’s difficult to describe the change this made in my life. Before the work I was conflicted…angry…in pain.  Jealous, possessive, frustrated, and scared. My mind was filled to overflowing with negative emotions that twisted and tangled until I couldn’t find my way out.  By taking each thought apart and holding it up to inquiry, I learned how to release the pain and embrace reality.  I highly recommend trying this in your own life.  It will help you break down any thought causing you pain and lead you to the truth.


7/16/15:  I’m blogging this week about our trip to Kauai and feel I’d be terribly remiss if I didn’t link The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook: Kauai Revealed by Andrew Doughty to this page.  I haven’t been a big fan of guidebooks in general – I find them dry and often pretentious – but Doughty’s book is fantastic.  For one thing, it’s actually a great read in and of itself.  He writes in an easygoing, natural style that probably appeals to me in particular because of his humor (which is often sarcastic, much like my own).  Even better, he gives you the real scoop on all of it: sightseeing, beaches, activities, adventures, restaurants, and hotels, without any of the glossy b.s. (no relation, BrightSide) sometimes found in guidebooks.  They do all of their visits anonymously and are vigorously candid with their reviews.  We’ve visited Kauai three times now using this book and have never felt like we were steered wrong – not one time.  There are also editions for Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii The Big Island.  If you’re heading to one of these islands and are looking to experience the best that island has to offer, I’d strongly recommend bringing along one of Doughty’s guidebooks or purchasing the app.  We’ve found the resource to be truly invaluable.


4/10/15:  If you’re looking for a brutally honest perspective from an adoptive parent, Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother by Jana Wolff is an excellent place to start.  Unlike many adoption books (valid in their own genre), the author isn’t afraid to talk about things many people in the adoption community shy away from.  Her willingness to lay bare her thoughts and feelings on so many areas — infertility, birthmothers, open and transracial adoption — is inspiring.  It’s a lighthearted (but not fluffy) and often cheeky look at the roller coaster of emotions experienced during the adoption process, and the author isn’t afraid to tell it like it is.  Chapters include — The Home Study: Mr. & Mrs. Perfect: Your house will never (and need never) be this clean again.; Family Trees Without Roots: Hoping blood isn’t thicker than water.; Spit-up is Spit-up: Adopted poop doesn’t smell any different.; Friendly Racism: Are they starting, or am I paranoid?  

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