The Warren & the World is Story Warren's weekly newsletter, providing a round-up of our favorite things from around the web as well as a review of what was on our site over the past week. We're glad you're here!
Around the Web:
When God Loves Me Too Much
Love this post from Tim Challies.
I saw it the other day. I saw that thing I want, that thing I am sure I need, that thing that holds the key to my happiness. With it I will be complete. Without it I will always be lacking.
And there it was, right before me. I saw it. I longed for it. I felt that longing, that desire, in my chest, or was it my stomach? Did my heart really skip a beat? There it was, so close, but it wasn’t mine. It was there, yet just out of reach.
In that very moment the thought flashed through my mind: If God really loved me, he would give it to me. God doesn’t love me enough to let me have it. And in the wake of the thought, a question: What can I do to make him love me enough? What can I do to make him love me enough to give it to me?
What can I do? Read More.
The War on Fun
Kristin Lamb talks about the benefits of fun, not just for kids (but also for them):
Since homeschooling The Spawn, life has shifted dramatically as I struggle along this uncharted learning curve. For instance, it is a gorgeous summer this year. I’ve lived in Texas most of my life and never witnessed weather so balmy and beautiful. This morning, I step out to let the dog go bark at every thought scuttling through her brain (instead of going pee) and it’s oddly quiet. No kids. No squeals of riding bikes or rollerskating or plundering trash piles for construction materials for some ramp or fort or weapon.
When a Kid Could Be a Kid
When I was Spawn’s age, the second cartoons were over, we’d have been out the door for the entire day…willingly. Even though it was always triple-digit heat. Weather like THIS? We might have skipped the cartoons.
Helpful challenge. Get those kids outside. Go with them. Read more.
Why Pastors Should Preach About Body Image
It's easy to write off body image concerns as being our culture's vanity. This helps me to realize the seriousness of the challenge.
- Have you ever heard a sermon about body image?
Aside from the occasional side comment, I've never heard body image given substantial treatment from the pulpit or serious attention from leaders in the church, which is surprising since body image is not a marginal issue in our culture.
Statistics vary, but research shows that somewhere between 80 percent and 90 percent of women are dissatisfied with their bodies. Although the percentage of women with severe eating disorders is between 0.5 percent and 3.7 percent, roughly 3 out of 4 engage in some form of disordered eating.
And in 2013, women had more than 10.3 million surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures, signifying a 471 percent increase since 1997. The top procedures were breast augmentation, liposuction, tummy tuck, breast lift, and eyelid surgery.
Although body image is a predominately female struggle, it does not affect women alone. Approximately 43 percent of men report body dissatisfaction. Among adolescent boys, nearly 18 percent are highly concerned about their weight and physique.
80-90 percent is more than just statistically significant, it's nearly everyone. Read more.
Have You Read All 100 of These Books?
Over at USAToday, they're covering Amazon's recent list of 100 children's books to read in your lifetime.
- When I heard Amazon had made a list of "100 Children's Books to Read in a Lifetime," I had a feeling I'd be familiar with most of them.
It turns out I've read 71 of these titles, which isn't bad — though the list does make me want to reread a few as an adult (which is Amazon's intention) and introduce some once-beloved titles to my daughter, likeCorduroy and Bread and Jam for Frances.
This type of list isn't new, but Amazon does an admirable job of blending classic and modern titles and targeting every age group, from the Goodnight Moon set to more mature Watership Down and Call of the Wild readers.
Around the Warren:
Lilacs and the Scent of Hope
Glenn McCarty writes beautifully about his hopes for his kids.
- My wife has been freshening a vase on the kitchen table with cut boughs of lilac every few days lately, while our trees are in bloom. The scent is delicious and heady, an authentic whiff of spring not found in any bottle. It’s enough to make me invent trips to the kitchen (and trust me, I don’t need that). I’ve even found myself smelling lilac throughout my daily tasks at work, when I’m sure that’s not even possible.
My son wandered into our room last night, a few minutes before bed, singing quietly under his breath, “God put a million, million doors in this world for his love to walk through/One of those doors is you.” I asked him about this Jason Gray song fragment, an equally fragrant and unexpected delivery. He just shook his head and said, “It’s been stuck in my head, and I can’t get it out.” I didn’t know he knew the song; I hadn’t known he was paying attention.
So, summoning my best Rod Serling voice, I submit for your consideration two different anecdotes amidst dozens of others in the life of this parent. For a time, they seemed unrelated, but tonight, as I let the dog in and the lilac scent drifted past again, I was struck by a singular, overwhelming thought:
I hope my children remember this smell.
The Best Way to Prove that a Stick is Crooked…
Quote from the always great A.W. Tozer, image and design from Paul Boekell:
Get a closer look.
Larklight Shines with Imagination
The fabulous Loren Eaton brings us a review of Larklight.
- There’s a certain age where stories reach their peak potency for readers. I’d wager it’s around the early teen or preteen period. Sooner than that, young readers lack the developmental sophistication to really get under a book’s metaphorical skin. Later on, they’ve enough experience with an array of titles that the magic of literary discovery has evaporated. But slip the right book in front of a child at that perfect time and you can fire his imagination for life. For me, that happened with John Christopher’s The White Mountains, the initial volume in a post-apocalyptic science-fiction series in which twelve-year-old boys have to fight for freedom in a world gone to ruin. It had a quasi-feudal, far-future setting, real-world geography simultaneously familiar and strange, and a depiction of the dreams and feelings I was experiencing at that time. That book got into my blood and is there still. I suspect that Philip Reeve’s Larklight might do the same to children of this generation.
The Frightened Young Rabbit
Another story from James Witmer's Big Ol' Garden, with art from Will Kelly.
- It was winter in the big old garden behind the big old house, and Smudge the rabbit hopped through the snow along a stone wall at the back of the property. He went along until he came to a corner where stone wall met a wooden fence, and squeezed under the fence into the vegetable garden.
He was hungry, and all the sweet clover in the lawn was buried under snow. Fortunately, the vegetable garden, though neglected, still had an assortment of green things in it: Brussels sprouts (though their leaves were too rubbery for his liking), leftover onions, and four whole rows of turnips, with their leafy tops poking out of the snow.
Smudge liked turnip tops, but after eating one he felt in need of something less rich. That’s when he noticed tall grasses standing along the far fence. He scuttled over and nosed down through the snow to nip the stalks off close to the ground, where they were still tender.
He munched happily for several minutes, until he looked up, a long piece of grass hanging from his mouth, and found himself face-to-face with another rabbit.
“Hello,” she said.
If you've missed the old ones, go back and catch them too. Great stuff! Read more.
Something to Do with Your Kids:
Over at Spoonful, they've gathered 40 summer crafts. Fun stuff to keep you playing. Check it out!
And Something Funny to Watch
This was everywhere this week, but in case you missed it:
Thank you for reading. We're on your side.