In which I share stuff I’m into [May 2012 edition]



Books Now Re-shelved Alphabetically Because That Is How I Roll:

  • Gilead by Marilynne Robinson – haunting, lyrical, it made me fall more in love with life. And damn, that woman can write.
  • The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht – loved this book. It kept me up a few nights, even after I put it down.
  • Also read You’re Already Amazing by Holley Gerth and The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, Quiet by Susan Cain
  • And of course, all of that poetry I just won’t shut up about these days.
Books still on my nightstand:
  • Love Does by Bob Goff. If you’re read A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, you already know and love Bob. I know I do.
  • Home by Marilynne Robinson – this is the follow up to Gilead above.
  • Certain Women by Madeline L’Engle – found this for a buck at a thrift store and so far, I am really enjoying it.

T.V. Show Worth Watching:

I haven’t watched a thing since Downton Abbey ended its season. I simply haven’t the heart. How could anything be topped by that final scene between Matthew and Mary? It could not. Of course, the Stanley Cup playoffs have started. I’m cheering for the Kings because westerners stick together, and I have a soft spot for Darryl Sutter.

Movie I’ve Seen (in or out of the theater):

I watched a documentary called Freedom Riders about an aspect of the American civil rights movement. Very well done, very compelling. We did manage to get to the theatre to see The Hunger Games, too – first movie that Brian and I have watched together in a theatre since I was pregnant with Anne, if you can believe it.

But have you SEEN this? The trailer for Les Miserables was released and Christmas feels very, very, very far away now.

In My Ears:

We’ve recently fallen in love with Seeds Family Worship. I tend to just listen to one or two albums in a month so that the tinies can learn the songs well. These are just Bible verses, set to a music that does not make me want to barf, and now we’re all memorising Scripture like a boss. When Anne and Joe are working around on their little projects, particularly their art, they are usually singing these songs, these Bible verses, to themselves and it makes me happy. (Our current favourite is Seeds of Faith.)

For my own self, I’ve got the soundtrack for Midnight in Paris on repeat.

On my knitting needles:

I’ve been working on a few baby related projects, and my favourite pattern remains the Plain Vest (pattern link). This one below went to my friend, Ashleigh, and her third little boy, Sheldon. The yarn is so unbelievably delicious and knobby. I have another one on my needles now for our children’s pastor. I just love this pattern.


In My Kitchen:

It’s no secret that I would rather bake than cook, and I could live on the results. I picked up a bunch of rhubarb in a fit of nostalgia at the Farmer’s Market this past weekend and then I made this recipe, Cinnamon-Topped Rhubarb Muffins. And then I died dead of the goodness of it.

Brian’s plot at the community garden is coming along nicely so I better start getting my kale recipes ready though.

New (to me) Blogs that have caught my eye:

  • How to Talk Evangelical – Addie Zierman has been a favourite of mine for a while but she’s been kicking them out of the park lately. Check out Organic Christianity.
  • Hollywood Housewife – Laura went from a one-stoplight Oklahoma town to Hollywood. She’s married to a Hollywood producer/director, she writes about motherhood, fashion, lazy beauty, books, and life. She’s also become a good friend.
  • Dear Abby Leigh – Abby is a poet and I love how she sees the world.
  • Simple Design – I’m falling in love with thrifting, and I blame Arianne entirely for this. She’s now editor of the newest member of the Simple Mom family with this site.
  • Rachelle Gardner – if you are at all interested in becoming a published writer, you can’t find a better resource than Rachelle’s blog. (She also happens to be my own literary agent.)
  • Frank Viola – I’ve loved Frank’s books for a while but only recently discovered his blog. Check out How Not To Correct Another Christian and God’s View of a Woman


Favorite Pinterest find:

I’m curating a board for my OneWord, Fearless.

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest


Signs I Made:

My brother (in-law-but-really-my-bro-because-I-love-him-so) did an amazing half-marathon today for the Run for Water. We went to the finishl ine to cheer him on but apparently sarcastic cheering signs are not as popular as one would have thought. Well, I thought they were funny.


Stuff I’m Painting Red:

Speaking of my preoccupation with thrifting these days (I want to wax philosophical about that – the theology of repurposing and reusing and so on…but I won’t….you’re welcome), I found this maple rocking chair for $28, brought it home, and promptly spray painted it bright red. It makes me so happy.

What I’m Looking Forward To Next Month:

Well, I’ll just say I might have an announcement about that little book of mine….

Do tell – what are YOU into right now?

*Some affiliate links.


  • Stephanie

    I *always* love hearing about the things that you’re into, Sarah.

    I’ll have you know that I now have season 1 of Downton Abbey on hold at my local public library…mostly because of you.

    Tell us: Did you like the Hunger Games movie? Tim & I plan to see it when it debuts on DVD. 

    Also? Les Mis! Can’t. WAIT. 

    • Sarah Bessey

      I did like it – it’s very well done. But it definitely is “disturbing” in the same way of the books and opens bigger discussions about violence etc. Brian did not read the books or know the storyline when he watched it and he was gobsmacked. But it was really good. And Les Mis! Les Mis! I hope you like DA, too. It can be slow going for the first few episodes but then you get addicted and then you can’t sleep at night wondering about Anna and Bates… oh, man. 

  • Sarah Askins

    Love all of these! I too have Gilead on my current reading soon to be have finished, and Rachelle offers such practical advice that makes this writer happy(I don’t subscribe to that many blogs but I love hers in my inbox). 
     This month: I’m writing short stories and poetry, reading Gilead and The Left Hand of Darkness, looking forward to seeing Brave, and sipping iced coffee from real glasses with straws because I’m classy like that.

    • Sarah Bessey

      So glad you’re concentrating more on poetry, Sarah. You have a real gift. 

  • Christie Purifoy

    I second the vote for Seeds Family Worship (especially Seeds of Faith). I’m also thrift-store obsessed (which is why we have books piled up in every corner of this house – who can resist 25-cents a copy?). I painted a thrifted child’s rocker recently (it looks like the  mini-me to your red one). I never have much luck with spray paint though – I suppose, it’s my technique, or lack thereof, because I always get those hardened drips. I used a rustoleum enamel in gray, and now it’s as smooth and glossy as a mirror.
    And, in the category of baking triumphs, I learned how to make amazing bread with a sourdough starter. It looks straight out of a fancy-schmancy bakery, but I can’t take the credit. The Tartine Bread Book is incredible. I’m recommending it to everyone who wanders across my path (shoving it in their faces, actually). It’s that good.

    • Sarah Bessey

      Oh, man. That bread sounds AMAZING.

  • dre

    those signs are AWESOME! :) hahaha

  • dre

    you can come to my half marathon and holds those up in Chicago in Oct! :)

    • Sarah Bessey

      haha! Will do! 😉

  • Cherry

    Wow, I love this post and your blog. Looking forward to reading Gilead too.
    This is the first time i’ve visited and am subscribing from now on! Thanks!

    • Sarah Bessey

      Thanks, Cherry! Good to “meet” you! 

  • Abby Barnhart

    imagine my little surprise when i’m reading through and see my name. you made my day. also – i read home first but haven’t read gillead yet – for shame! it’s on my shelf and in my hands asap! i love robinson. and you.

    • Sarah Bessey

      ditto, baby.

  • Heather

    Yay books! Yay new blogs to read! And Seeds is really great.

  • Linda Stoll

    Just started making my way through season 1 of Downton Abbey.  I’m hooked!

    • Sarah Bessey

      Oh, heavens, Linda! Wait til Season 2! You won’t sleep.

  • Caris Adel

    “set to a music that does not make me want to barf” – yes!  We love Seeds too…I love that they do 2 cd’s, so you can share with a friend..or buy 2 different sets and swap, haha.  Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is hilarious! is that….stew?

    I just read a new biography about Margaret Sanger, by Jean Baker, and it was amazing.  I knew nothing about that time period of history and the discrimination was just unbelievable.  It did a good job of showing her crazy eugenic side, but also showed why she was so passionate about birth control for women, when they had none.  “Surely it was an unjust
    world that afforded women in their married state only celibacy,
    abortion, and too many children as their reproductive choices.”   It was so eye-opening. 

    • Sarah Bessey

      Wow, that sounds fascinating, Caris! 

  • LoveFeast Table

    We’re into that sweet little sweater your knitting! Adorable! …and surviving the end of year activities with all our people! We’ll all our creative things we’ve put on the shelf, on the other side of June!
    Chris Ann & Kristin

  • Megan (FriedOkra)

    Oh, Sarah!  That little vest is so ADORABLE!  I hope we get to see pictures of Shelton in it…. 

    • HopefulLeigh

       Agreed! Hint, hint, Ashleigh.

  • laura @ hollywood housewife

    I’m blushing and beyond flattered to be included here.  Thank you, friend!  

    • Sarah Bessey

      You’re welcome – I feel like i”m tapping into a part of myself I haven’t indulged in a long time, thanks to you!

  • Kathie

    I’m a first time visitor – I have The Tiger’s Wife on request at the library – thanks! And, if you loved Downton Abbey, I would recommend The House of Elliot. I found it on youtube. It’s quite good.

    • Sarah Bessey

      Ooooo…that sounds good! thanks for the head’s up.

  • Kathie

    PS – love your red rocker. You’re helping me overcome my “never paint natural wood” phobia.

    • Sarah Bessey

      My husband has the same phobia. You’re not alone. He doesn’t mind if it’s an old beat up thing from the thrift store but he’ll chain himself to anything else.

  • the Blah Blah Blahger

    I can’t wait for Les Mis, either…SO haunting!!!

  • Francesca

    Gilead is on my top 10 list of favorite books of all time. So haunting and beautiful – I’ve gifted it to a number of people. And we are recent converts to Downton Abbey – just watched the Season 2 finale last night, in fact, and OMG! Can’t believe we have to wait until NEXT YEAR to see what happens to poor Anna and Bates.

    Looking forward to Les Mis because I love the musical, and a little apprehensive about it because the casting seems so off to me. Hugh Jackman as Valjean? I hope I’m wrong – I want to love it, a lot. (If you haven’t seen the non-musical version of Les Mis with Liam Neesom and Geoffrey Rush, you absolutely must. Beautifully done.)

    Mostly, I am focusing on taking classes in June to learn some new metalworking techniques for my jewelry-making, and cramming in as much studio time as I can manage. And I’m doing an online bible study over at Chatting at the Sky, which starts next week.

    • Sarah Bessey

      I love the non-musical movie, too, but singing! I’m such a geeky fan of musicals. I am hesitant about Anne Hathaway but hopeful. I’ll give her a chance. And that online bible study sounds great.

  • Tara M. Owens

    You’ve inspired me! I’m going to have to write up something a little more formal (which I know will take me into June so I’m just going to give into that), but here’s a quick answer:

    Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (yum!)
    The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwarz
    House of Prayer No. 2 by Mark Richard

    To Read:
    Love Does by Bob Goff
    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

    TV Show Worth Watching:

    I have FALLEN. IN. LOVE. with yet another BBC series: Sherlock. In the tradition of all odd British television, there are only three episodes per season, and there are only three seasons so far. However, each episode is at least an hour and a half long. The characters are amazing, and the stories engaging, plus it’s delightful to see how they imagine how Sherlock Holmes would be if he were a modern Londoner.

    Can’t Wait To See:

    Yes, Les Miserables.

    But I am REALLY looking forward to the new Pixar movie, “Brave”.

    The tagline from the most recent trailer gets me deep: “The bravest journeys are never taken alone.”

    Music I’m Loving:

    Mercyland: Hymns for the Rest of Us (just came out… so soulful and wrestling and true, plus it has Emmylou Harris on it)
    Honeycomb Tombs by Karla Adolphe (a CD of songs for a time of grief, inspired by the artist witnessing the death of a friend’s daughter. She’s giving it away for free right now. So good.)

    In My Kitchen:

    My husband has just taken a pastry class. He has been making croissants. I now need to take up marathon running.

    Favorite Pinterest Find:

    Rachel Held Evans’ board of Women of Valor. (

    What I’m Struggling With:
    Getting the writing done on the book project that I’m passionate about.

    What I’m Delighted By:

    The robin’s nest in our pine tree out front. I have seen two little heads, but I think that there just *might* be a third there.

    • Sarah Bessey

      I’ve had my eye on Sherlock for a while. And that Hymns for the Rest of Us sounds AMAZING. I’ll have to get it.

      • Angel Haynes

        Sherlock is so good, really clever writing. Each show is about an hour and a half, so it’s like getting to watch mini movies. 

  • pastordt

    LOVED Gilead. Loved the next one, too, but not quite as much. Did NOT love Certain Women – thought is was a mish-mash – only thing of hers I have not loved. Reading The Artist’s Way with an online book club and am terribly whiny about it. John Donoghue’s To Bless the Space Between Us, and a couple of mysteries. LOVED Sherlock on TV – season is too short at only 3 episodes, though. Trying to make space to assemble a writing project for the denomination – not succeeding. Sigh.

  • Maya Resnikoff

    Right now, I’m rereading some old favorites, looking forward to another library trip, crocheting a band of elephants around the edge of a kippah (skullcap) that I’m making, and just starting a blog.  (  I’m very excited about it, although there isn’t tons of content there yet.  

  • HopefulLeigh

    I hope I get some rhubarb in my CSA box this weekend so I can make those muffins!

    I love that you have a Stuff I’m Painting Red category this month. You are fun.

  • Janae Maslowski

    Love the peek into your world, Sarah.
    That baby vest makes me want to knit. 
    I had rhubarb in my fridge and was inspired to make the muffins – they are wonderful, perfect with a cup of coffee. 

  • Heather

    Okay, so now I’m hoping this next little one is a girl so I can knit that vest for her.

  • Leanne Penny

    Great list, gotta love a renaissance woman who lives life on so many fronts!

    I have “Love Does” in my queue forever and I Just finished “7” by Jen Hatmaker and it rocked me and sent me back to a less cluttered closet and kinder earth practices and I have a sense it’s still not done changing me.  On a totally opposite note I’ve been flying through Elin Hilderbrand novels, “The Island” especially did it for me, a great easy summer read.
    I cried a tiny, respectable bit when Downton Abbey closed and they shared that breathtaking kiss.  Can it be season three yet?  We have been catching up on Dexter now, totally dark in a naughty and rich chocolate way. 

    I’ve also been making, straight up classic chocolate chip cookies for the kids and my afternoon nap sanity treat and they turn out simple and perfect every time.  I’ve found my forever cookie recipe, but my toddler does follow me around yelling “cookie!”… so there’s that.  

  • Rain

    So much good stuff here. I just ordered a Seeds of Faith cd for my littles. Thanks! I love your blog, it speaks to my heart, a real balm. Blessings!

  • Destiny

    So fun… Well, I must say I love your red rocker! You had such success with the spray paint… I just tried to spray my garden latices; just didn’t turn out the way I envisioned. Sad. But I did plant some purple beans, so that should add a fun punch of colour to the yard. I am also going to try my first ever dahlias!! On the home front, I am totally into my new clothesline :) Just a-waitin’ on the sunshine. On the exercise front, I am loving my double bike trailer, and man, that is a good workout! & the only books I’ve been reading lately are with my kiddos but I will recommend this one score from the library (super cute for the kids!): When you were Small by Sara O’Leary. 

  • Deborah Beddoe

    I need to use this post as a template for writing to my mom! 
    And also, my internal debate over painting my porch swing is over. Decidedly red. 
    Very inspiring, Sarah.

  • Frank Viola

    Thanks for the shout-out, Sarah, and the kind words. Can’t wait till your new book comes out!


    Psalm 115:1

  • Helen

    Oh you are a knitter, too. I like you more and more. :-)

  • Lisa

    Just found your blog- love your take on life.