books i read
The Beautiful Daughters: A Novel by Nicole Baart. I’ve always liked Nicole’s work but this is her best one yet. I couldn’t put it down and was genuinely surprised by the turn. It’s spiritual without being cloying, dark without being hopeless.
Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are by Shauna Niequist. I’m a big Shauna fan girl, it’s no secret. I adore her. This devotional gathers her best writing into a daily devotional centred on the theme from the title. Plus it’s just a beautiful book.
Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman. I’m rather new to Neil Gaiman’s work, I became a fan after watching an episode of Doctor Who he wrote that I simply loved (The Doctor’s Wife). This work of short fiction is stunning and freaky and wonderful. I mean, I was skin-crawly and fascinated. His mind is SOMETHING ELSE. I especially liked “Diamonds and Pearls: A Fairy Tale” and “The Truth is a Cave in the Mountains.”
Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy by Donald Miller. #ConfessYourUnpopularOpinion time. Even though I have loved most of his prior work, I didn’t like this book very much. Sure, there were parts I liked and I know many people will love it but I found it big on name-dropping, and a bit simplistic. Plus I had a hard time suspending my disbelief to receive relationship advice here – it’s not yet earned. That might be my smug-married coming out but I figure relationship books, particularly marriage books, are best after a few years under your belt (like, say, 25).
An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler. I picked up this book at the recommendation of Jen Hatmaker and it is just as good as she said. I’m not a foodie in the least. I mean, I’m a good cook and I feed my family just fine but I’m never above Kraft Mac n’Cheese, if you know what I mean. But this book was so beautifully written, it made me love how this woman loved food.
Wild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home by Amber C. Haines – I had a chance to read an advanced copy of this book. And I want people to read it for dozens of reasons: Amber’s voice, her writing, is incomparable to anything you’ve read before. But even beyond that gift, she writes about desire, our longing for home, with a deeply orthodox and yet mystical and sensual soul. This book made me feel homesick and at-home all at the same time. Only Amber could so beautifully and rightly write into the parts of our human experience that usually defy words.
I have done a lot of re-reading of last year’s favourites. Maybe it’s the late-night nursing talking, but I have just been in the mood for every single Liane Moriarity book ever written and I have indulged accordingly. Sometimes you just need a good story, right? I re-read them all: What Alice Forgot, The Hypnotist’s Love Story, The Husband’s Secret, The Last Anniversary, and my new favourite, Big Little Lies. I just love how she writes women so fully.
books I’m reading right now
Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life by Richard Rohr. This book might be saving my life right now. Sometimes revelation arrives slow and steady and sweetly. Other times, it’s like the wind blows in and breaks all the windows. This book is the latter. Whew, it’s ferociously good.
All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by Anthony Doerr
The Royal We by Heather Cocks adn Jessica Morgan
The Rosie Project: A Novel by Graeme Simsion
Own Your Life: Living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love by Sally Clarkson.
Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin
television worth watching
I actually binge-watched for the first time! Again: newborn. I hit all 13 episodes of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and loved it. Loved it! I can’t remember the last time I’ve enjoyed a sitcom so this was noteworthy for me. I loved the premise, the strain of darkness under the jokes, Titus has my heart forever, and Kimmy, well, she is just so believable, so earnest, so real even though the whole thing is utterly unreal. (It’s on Netflix.)
I gave up on Gilmore Girls. I am still slowly watching episodes but I don’t feel much urgency.
Otherwise, it’s all hockey playoffs – Go, Flames! – and Love it or List It here. HGTV, my heart you.
Oh, the tinies and I have just discovered Phineas and Ferb, too. I was rather stumped for TV shows for the kids once they grew out of the preschooler shows. (Little Bear, we love you.) Everything seemed either too violent or too dumb or just plain annoying. But my friend Kelly at Love Well told me that her kids liked this Disney XD show and since I trust Kelly implicitly, we gave it a go. It’s funny, complex, creative, weird, and smart – we’re big fans now.
Our other kid favourite is The Magic School Bus. We have the DVD set of the complete series and it’s a perpetual favourite with the preschooler and the big kids, so that’s a win.
movies worth seeing
I haven’t watched a movie in a dog’s age. We keep trying but I simply lack the time and the attention span right now. See again: newborn.
music worth hearing
Home by Josh Garrels – I’m a big fan of this guy and his new album is stellar.
Born and Raised by John Mayer – I just can’t quit this guy. This is the album I listen to when I’m cooking on Sunday afternoons.
podcast worth downloading
Sorta Awesome – Megan Tietz of SortaCrunchy was one of my very first Big Blogger crushes back in the dark ages of blogging (think circa 2007). Anyway, years later we’ve become dear friends and so of course I was so sad when she quit blogging earlier this year. I mean, I was happy FOR HER but I was sad for me, you know? But she has branched into podcasting! And this is the perfect medium for Megan. First of all, I could listen to her read the phone book, she has such a great voice. But then she is so good at making you feel like you are just hanging out on her front porch, talking about life and everything that’s interesting or sorta awesome. It’s like being her neighbour. Sorta Awesome is available in iTunes (I’ve already subscribed) but you can also listen from a browser by clicking this link, or search “Sorta Awesome” wherever you listen to podcasts and you’ll find it.
stuff worth reading on the Internet
On Being a Woman After God’s Own Heart by Jenny Rae Armstrong
My 22 Best Practices After 22 Years of Pastoral Ministry by April Yamasaki
Consider by Richard Beck
This is Ace by Micha Boyett
Tools for the Highly Sensitive Mother by Amber C. Haines
What We’re For by Kathy Escobar
A Hidden Opportunity in Your Church by Nish Weiseth
Born This Way by John Blase
For God So Loved by Kelley Nikondeha
10 Ways to Support Women of Colour in Leadership by Austin Channing Brown
And just because it makes me happy to watch it now and then:
pins worth re-pinning
The text of an entire book on a t-shirt? TAKE MY MONEY.
My sister made this kale and potato soup with turkey sausage and SWEARS it’s amazing. She is much more the foodie than me.
The Best of Ted Talks for women right here.
No, you cried when you looked at these pictures of women one day after giving birth.
And finally, 40 Pinterest Complete Fails to make you feel better.
So, friends, what about you? What’s on your nightstand? What television show or movie or music has captured your imagination?