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That voice, the one that encourages you to quit a high-paying job for something more meaningful, the one that tells you to go home and spend time with your kids, to try to quit drinking for the 6th, 7th, 20th time, the voice that says “Write the book. Your story matters...” . That whisper that inspires you to check on a loved one in the exact moment they needed you, the times you randomly turn on a podcast or pick up a book and it proves to be the exact thing that fills a hole in your heart... . The instinct that makes you look up just before you get hit by a car, the spark of insight that comes mid prayer, meditation, sermon or sun salutation... . I believe that’s the voice of God. . And you cannot find it outside of yourself. It is within. “I am with you always,” is the promise. And I believe that to be true. . We cannot receive ALL the voices in the world. Some need to spend less time with their kids and some vice versa. Some need to have a glass of wine and relax. Others need go the rest of their days without a drink. Some need to leap. Others need to sit and wait. . The only way to know the path that is intended for us is to hear the voice that comes from within. . What idea comes up over and over? What do you feel led to do year after year? What idea or curiosity keeps showing up month after month, seeking your attention in the midst of all the worldly distractions? . The answer is there, in THAT voice, in OUR hearts. . We only have to get still and listen. And then trust that it will show us the way.

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We can reach across the political aisle with curiosity and compassion. We can lend a hand to our neighbor, even if they blow leaves on our lawn. When we talk about others to a friend, we can be gentle and generous. . This is what is ask of us. To be merciful even when we have not been shown mercy. To forgive without being asked. To love in spite of our differences. . It’s a hard calling, but it’ll burst your heart wide open. It will free you from the heaviness of bitterness and lift you from underneath the unbearable weight of resentment. . Try it. . Lavish them with mercy. . Love, Nat

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And everyone you love is made of stardust, and I know sometimes you cannot even breathe deeply, and the night sky is no home, and you have cried yourself to sleep enough times that you are down to your last two percent, but nothing is infinite, not even loss. You are made of the sea and the stars, and one day you are going to find yourself again.” -Finn Butler . @laura_mckowen thanks for posting this quote. . Blessings, all. . Love, Natalie

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My mom always says that people are a unique blend of their genetics and their experiences. If I want to accept her wisdom, two things are required of me. 1. To acknowledge that I can never fully understand another human. And 2. To recognize that I don’t have the skills or knowledge necessary to judge them. . The world right now (our country in particular) is heavy with difference. Political differences, religious differences, how to get from point a to point b differences. Despite all that, I think we are loved and worthy of love right where we are. . Beautiful, isn’t it? This belief that we’re beloved. . But what about loving others where they are? Loving someone who goes against what we believe and experience to be true? Someone whose beliefs or behaviors are oppressive or even dangerous? . Yes. Even then. Loved and worthy of love. More importantly, I believe that learning to love is the only way to heal our wounds. I believe it is the only way to make real and lasting progress. . How do we start? I think, with humility. With this understanding that we can never fully know another person and therefore are neither skilled nor knowledgeable enough to judge them. If we approach every journey, every life from birth to death as unique, and acknowledge that we have no basis of understanding from which to know If we would act similarly given a similar set of circumstances, then compassion comes more easily. From here, we see an outward expression that we may not understand but behind it a human that breathes and bleeds and sufferers and celebrates and is desperate for love just like us. . When confronted with difference, what if we start with humble statements about our unique experience. Then ask genuine, curious questions about the understanding and experience that is unique to them. This approach gives us room to be where we are in our process and offers others an equal opportunity. . “In my unique experience with [fill in the blank] I believe...” . “What is your experience with that?” . “Based on what I know about... I feel like...” . “How do you understand...?” . Friends, we can love & are worthy of love despite our differences. . Lean in. Dig deep. . Love, Nat