on my nightstand

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
by Brene Brown :: Her book, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
, has given me a whole set of language for the work God has done in my own life and heart over the past few years. It’s a weird/fun thing to see your own breakdown spiritual awakening reflected back at you. This book takes it even further and I’m about to run out of ink from all of the underlining and “yes!” margin-scribbling.

Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament
by Peter Enns :: I’m just cracking this open as part of the amazing Reading in Transit book club for theology nerds. There’s still time to jump in.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn :: I tried twice to read it and finally put it aside. Just not my style or interest.

Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption
by Katie Davis :: Katie Davis really interests me. I confess I struggle with some aspects of the book but it’s interesting and inspiring, absolutely. I keep thinking I’d read the book her mother and father would write – how did they possibly let their barely-graduated high school daughter take up solitary residence in Uganda without losing their minds? As a mother, she is stressing me out; as a believer, she’s challenging me.

Harvesting Fog
by Luci Shaw :: Latest volume of poetry from my favourite poet. And *sigh* it’s gorgeous.

Prototype: What Happens When You Discover You’re More Like Jesus Than You Think?
by Jonathan Martin :: This is an advanced copy of Jonathan’s book and can I just say: AMAZING. So good. I’ll do a full review of it later but seriously, it’s worth a pre-order.


television worth watching

We cut our cable again this month (we do this every once in a while). I never miss it – I just don’t watch much TV.

So I’m watching Series 2 of Call the Midwife online thanks to the BBC iPlayer. Also, Once Upon a Time but I’m kind of losing interest and momentum with this one. Feeling rather meh about it now.

The biggest ZOMIGOD of my television life right now: Doctor Who. I heard about it forever but I don’t like sci-fi or alien stuff. But I grabbed the first season (starting with the ninth doctor) and decided to give it a go. After the first episode, I thought it was a horrible show with cheap special effects. I watched another couple. Brian gave up in disgust; he rolled his eyes so hard at this show, they nearly fell out of his head. But when I mentioned that I didn’t like it on my Facebook page and on Twitter, I was swarmed by assurances that NO ONE likes the first few and I should stick with it. Well, I believed you. And I did it. And all of a sudden, right around episode 9, I lost my mind and became completely addicted. I’ve blasted through Series 1 and I’m halfway through Series 2. I’m a converted New Whovian, drinking from a firehose. (The only reason I’ve been able to watch so much Doctor Who in a short amount of time: the tinies are all disgustingly sick and I’ve been housebound for a week. In between laundry and baths and my rants about the levels of bodily fluids I’m required to address, I’m escaping to the outer edges of the universe.)

movies i’ve watched – in or out of the theatre

I haven’t been to the theatre this month and I haven’t watched any movies. See: Doctor Who.

in my ears

The extent of my musical taste lately has been the soundtracks for Jane Austen movies. I prefer quiet most days. Or Jian Ghomeshi.

in my kitchen

Our kitchen lately has been the scene of the BRAT diet, thanks to the sickies. But I did make Jamie Oliver’s perfect roast beef with Pioneer Woman’s mashed potatoes as a special treat. A girl can only eat so much toast.

favourite pin

(You can follow me on Pinterest here.)

random thing making me happy

The delightful and creative Melody Joy sent me a necklace as a special gift. This is called the Mama Bird’s Nest necklace, one little pearl for each of the tinies. I cannot tell you how many people stop me to rave about it. You can pick one up here. It is so lovely.

what i’m looking forward to next month

Right now, I’m simply looking forward to having a healthy family again. From this blog to God’s ears, eh?

We are also spur-of-the-moment moving the tinies around. Anne is getting her own room, and the two littles will move in together (which thrills them both – they worship each other). So my innocent suggestion of a coat of paint has resulted in my midwestern husband tearing the room apart, retexturing the ceiling, replacing the baseboards, planing the window casing, painting the ceiling, and relaying the carpet pad. His motto for almost everything is “if you’re going to do it, do it right the first time.” So the room is torn up, Evelynn is sleeping with us, and I’m pinning little girl room ideas madly, printing free printables of Anne Shirley quotes, and longing for the thrift stores. I think I might post about it when we’re done – it might be fun to do some light and fun posts for a while. #NoVirginityFollowUpPostsThankYouVeryMuch


So what about you? What’s on your nightstand? What television show has captured your imagination? What are you pinning or cooking or planning?

Linked up with my lovely friend, Leigh for the monthly “What I’m Into” round-up.

What I'm Into at HopefulLeigh
In which I am damaged goods
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  • i’m over OUAT, too. been watching downton and haven’t felt the need to hulu the other. i tried to cancel our cable last year, and they were like, how bout we drop the price in half? i told them i was only paying $22, and they were like, yeah, would you want it for $11? so i said yes please. having bare bones below basic cable means there is literally nothing on quite a bit, which is perfect for undisciplined me:)

    i hope you all are well soon! it’s been such a long season of sick. to rest and health and clean laundry and spring waiting in the wings:)

    • Oh, man, that’s a great deal. Things are so much cheaper in the States….(don’t get me started about car insurance…)

      And yes, OUAT is just not moving forward or something. It feels stuck and boring.

  • OUAT is losing me too. I skipped it the week of the Golden Globes and never watched that episode and didn’t feel that I missed much.

    Dr.Who has been sitting in my netlix queue forever. I’ve felt I should watch it b/c there must be something compelling to make it such avid fans out of everyone, but I am not into sci-fi at all….so your reaction was disappointing. Because now I think I really should watch it, haha.

    • Well, I get why I didn’t like it. and my husband checked out on it. I still can’t believe I like it. I’m sitting there on the couch with my knitting, and an alien comes on screen and I’m all “I cannot believe I am watching – and loving – this show…”

  • Sarah, Sarah, Sarah. We need to talk. You couldn’t get into Gone Girl and you’ve lost interest in Once Upon a Time?! I am shocked by both of these. Gone Girl got inside of my head like few other books ever have. I’m still thinking about it months later. And I know the pacing can be uneven on OUAT but I love the characters and love learning their backstory and how it intersects with their Storybrooke lives and so on. Plus: Captain Hook. Enough said.

    I’m so jealous you got an advance copy of Prototype! I’m looking forward to reading it. I’m skeptical about Doctor Who but I need to watch Friday Night Lights before I can indulge in any other show. I love that Anne is getting her own room! How fun and grown up. I can’t wait to see how it turns out! Thanks for linking up with What I’m Into. I heart you.

  • Jill W.

    It’s so nice to see someone else losing steam on OUAT. I feel like the character development is a spluttering, splattering mess, not worth my time. Did you ever watch Slings & Arrows? Canadian, and Shakespeare!

    • I never have watched Slings & Arrows. I feel like i”m already at capacity with tv – too many good ones, I guess!

  • suzanne

    this is fun! i am reading les miserables because i saw the movie when i was in the states for christmas and fell head over heels in love. i am loving the book even more than the movie because of the GORGEOUS words. kisses from katie is next on my list. my friend is finishing it up now and i’m next!

    i’ve been watching heroes for a while on netflix. i can’t watch too many episodes at once (like i did in the beginning) now that i’ve started season 3 because there’s just too much going on. i don’t know if i’d recommend it, but i’m enjoying it. i’ve also been revisiting glee seasons 1 and 2 because watching glee is fun.

    this month i watched prince of egypt for the first time and quite enjoyed it. i like being reminded that the old testament stories actually happened to real people. and to remember how vastly different moises’ culture was from my own. and to think about how hard it would’ve been for him to go against the family that raised him.

    i’ve been listening to these 4 songs for the past 2 weeks: between the lines by sara bareilles, last kiss by taylor swift, on my own by samantha barks (from les mis), and what hurts the most by rascall flatts. i’ve just been wanting to wallow in some feelings of unrequited love lately.

    i don’t go in the kitchen. i’ve been blessed with a roommate who loves to cook.

    random things that are making me happy are trips to the beach, watching the student i tutor round correctly without my help, and hearing 2 year olds shout “te quiero, tia!”.

    i am ever so looking forward to house sitting for a family that has a tv (complete with netflix from the states!), microwave, oven, air conditioning and an invertor. i’m going to be living the high life!

    happy february!

    • What a great comment, Suzanne – loved reading this. And I haven’t read Les Miz since, gracious, high school. I should re-read it.

  • I actually love the first episodes with the Ninth Doctor and Rose. As soon as he said those immortal words, “I’m the Doctor,” I was hooked! Plus it helps that Billie Piper’s really cute.

    • Me too! (His little speech he gives while they’re holding hands still gets me, ugh.) I mean, I get why people are put off by the effects (or lack thereof), but personally I prefer the early seasons and the character development we got, than the more recent stuff that’s (in my opinion) all flash and not as much substance.
      (I have a lot of Big Opinions about Doctor Who, sorry.)

      • I am still pretty early in the second series. I like the new doctor (10th) but I do miss the 9th one. He was FANTASTIC. πŸ˜‰

        • Hah. πŸ™‚ Oh, what I wouldn’t give for a second series with Nine.

    • You know, what I really liked the Doctor, too. He’s terrific fun. I was so sad when he disappeared.

  • It’s funny, but I did the same thing with Gone Girl. Set it aside twice for the reasons you share. But … I kept hearing the voices of everyone who sang it’s praises, so I gave it one more chance … and, like you with Dr. Who, I am so glad I did. About halfway through it really starts to blow your mind. I still don’t think it’s “my” kind of book, but it is so well written, so clever, so surprising …. reading time is precious, sure, but I’m just here to say you might consider giving it another shot. πŸ™‚

    • Hmmm…well, maybe I’ll grab it back from the library and try again then…

  • Your nightstand looks like mine. Only I can’t highlight in my Daring Greatly book because I’m afraid someone else will pick up the book and see what my issues are. Why, yes. I am having trouble with vulnerability, thanks for asking. I am so looking forward to reading Kisses from Katie.

    Also reading preview copy of Ken Wytsma’s Pursuing Justice. I hope this one reaches the souls of others like it is reaching mine.

    • That one sounds brilliant, Andee – can’t wait to hear more about it.

  • I’ve just done my what I’m into post… I’m very thankful that you kept on going on about. call the Midwife – I am SO into it now! And yiu’re the second person this week who’s recommended Brene Brown…

  • Catherine T.

    At some point, it wd. very interesting discuss Kisses w/ Katie. I admit, I have this cynical seed rooted hard inside me that wonders how cd. such a young person, barely graduated college be well equipped to do what she’s doing? And what does it say about my faith that that’s the first question I ask, instead of being awed by the work of the holy spirit through her. All missionaries learn as they go; I imagine Katie is no different. Is anyone ever β€œprepared” for extraordinary service? And yet… I’m ashamed that I’m not more inspired.

    • That is something I read in a few of the reviews, Catherine, I don’t think you’re alone.

    • Abbie Kampman

      I feel compelled to respond to this, as someone who went to Africa for a year post-college (it was a missions experience). You are right- nobody is ever prepared for this kind of service, but God equips us for everything He asks us to do. I didn’t feel equipped or prepared at all for what I was doing, but once I arrived I knew that was exactly where God had placed me for that time and He used my husband and I greatly (we married our junior year of college and went to Africa for a year immediately after). We left the country a year later, feeling mightily used and desperately broken for the people (and with a completely different worldview). Africa, and missions, are not so very scary- and you don’t need to have much of anything before you go except for a heart to love others and a desire to be used greatly for His Kingdom work πŸ™‚ It’s one of those things that always seems unfathomable to those who haven’t done it- but trust me when I say, it really isn’t so extraordinary, but rather just an ordinary person serving and extraordinary God. People probably thought we were crazy, going straight to Africa immediately after graduation instead of looking for jobs or settling down here. People likely thought we were bonkers because we actually got pregnant while in Africa. We were probably seen as nuts coming back to the states a year later, 6 months pregnant with no jobs, no health insurance, and no home- but God provided all within the first 3 months post-return πŸ™‚ He provides, He equips, and He leads. So thankful. Bravo, Katie Davis. I pray that she keeps pressing forward with the task set before her, while listening to God alone. He is blessing her work mightily, as He does all those who don’t seek to please mere men, but Him alone.

  • I’m so glad you stuck with Doctor Who! I wasn’t 100% sold on it until I watched The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances. It takes a few episodes to get its bearing but from then on it’s amazing. I can’t wait to hear what you think of some of the characters.

    • Yeah, once you suspend disbelief and fall into the story, that’s it. Once I started to realise they weren’t “one-off” stand-alone episodes but everything is connected, it got way more interesting and complex.

      • Gloria

        In case you have the time (I know with tinies it’s hard) to watch the original Dr. Who’s, they’re on DailyMotion.

  • I already mentioned this to you on twitter, but I’m still obsessed with BBC’s Miranda. It’s just completely hilarious and highlights how a love story should be written. (And! It’s a conventionally-attractive man and a not-conventionally-attractive woman which NEVER HAPPENS.) I’m not even exaggerating when I say I have never rooted for a couple this passionately before. (And that’s saying a lot, for me. I’m a shipper at heart.)

    • I feel like I can’t get started with that yet. I know I’ll fall crazy in love (I already love her wildly because of Chummy) and I need to finish with the Doctor first. Too much great tv!

      • Oh I totally understand! I’m just literally unable to stop raving about it. (It’s even gotten me back into writing fanfiction, which I haven’t done in probably 8 years.)

  • We just finished Fringe. *sniff* We’re contemplating Sherlock next. Or maybe a rewatch of BSG? I have Call the Midwife on hold at the library!

    I’m obsessed with Kate Morton – have you read any of them? As addicting as Gillian Flynn, but without all the swearing. And the way Morton has with words, oh how I love her writing. I’m also struggling through Anna Karenina for my own Classics Catch-Up Challenge. (What was I thinking?!)

    You remind me that I should pull out my Sense and Sensibility soundtrack. I especially love “My Father’s Favorite”.

    Finally, in the kitchen – I’ve suddenly gotten in to meal-planning & batch-cooking/freezing with a vengeance. I feel so smug, it’s bound to fail soon. πŸ˜‰

  • Sara Harless

    My two and half year old Anne was named after Anne of Green Gables, too:)

  • “Daring Greatly”. Hellyeah! On my second time through (Kindle edition) to re-think my highlights. That last chapter on parenting blew me away — and the contrast between fitting in and belonging is going viral in my heart. Also, Jonathan Martin is awesome. What a man of the Spirit!

    Combine “Daring Greatly” with “Being Wrong” by Kathryn Schulz. Journey through doubt -> uncertainty -> empathy -> vulnerability -> shame resilience -> unconditional love. Amazing women. Love it!

  • Kelly

    I am with you on Gone GIrl. Everyone raved about it. I finished it…because I have completion issues. But I really did not enjoy it. I don’t mind the storyline, but I just want to have at least one character to root for. So after two psychological thrillers, I needed something lighter.

    And now I recommend this book to everyone. Wonder by R. J. Palacio. Oddly enough, it’s about 5th graders. I LOVED it. It is a grace-filled beautiful story. So, so good. I’m halfway through The Kitchen House, which is really good so far as well.

    As for TV, all things lead to Downton Abbey. πŸ™‚

  • I’m being very good and very patient (okay, not so much the patience!) and waiting to watch Call the Midwife Series 2 when it comes on TV. Pause for applause. What’s this season like so far? As good as the first?
    I was given Jennifer Worth’s memoir for my birthday and it’s amazing. Have you read it?

  • ChristieEsau

    Glad to know I’m not the only one with a large stack of ‘currently reading’ beside my bed. I’m in the midst of Madeleine L’Engle’s The Irrational Season (and woman, I see what you mean about her being your patron saint!), and a tome of a teen book–Brisingr by Christopher Paolini. I picked up the first two books of his fantasy series for my precocious nephews, and I’d like to see where the series ends up, thankyouverymuch.

    “Television” means “that giant cube thing on top of the fake fireplace”, aka: we do not have any channels (and have not had any since getting married). Best EVER. This, of course, is what the internet is for! Also, my husband and I have found great joy in playing Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune on our Nintendo Wii. πŸ™‚

    In the same realm as your Doctor Who experience, I’ve been watching Battlestar Galactica–thankfully, not quite as space-oriented (and, thus, geeky) as it sounds. ‘Tis more like the West Wing in space sometimes.

  • I can understand why you gave up on “Gone Girl: but, I have to say, I’m glad I stuck with it. Probably on my best read list of last year.

    I just finished “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down” by Anne Fadiman. It was originally released in 1997 but was re-released last year in an anniversary edition. Anyway, it is one of the most fantastic books I’ve ever read. It tells the story of Hmong refugees in California in the early 1980s. Their daughter, only 18 months at the beginning, is diagnosed with epilepsy but the story is really about the cultural clash between American doctors convinced of the rightness of their protocols and parents who have little understanding of those protocols and come from a significantly different viewpoint. The way Fadiman tells the story is so superb, you come away with real sympathy for both sides of the story and, honestly, it’s hard to say how either side could have changed the things they did. I am still thinking and raving about this book and I finished a week ago!

    Now I’m reading “The Wife” by Meg Wolizter because I just needed something fun for a bit.

    As for TV and movies: nothing new here. My usual TV watching is done while sitting beside my husband but with a book in my hand. Can’t remember the last time something really interested me. (I can’t even get in to Downton Abbey, which I’m sure disqualifies me from personhood or something.)

    Our family is planning a trip to Oklahoma to visit my grandparents next week. My kids are super excited because it’s their first plane trip but we’ve had the sickness too. Just praying that we are all healthy for our voyage!

    • Catherine T.

      For what it’s worth, β€œThe Spirit Catches You” is one of my top three non-fiction books of all time. It lays out a very complex issue so beautiful and intelligently and fairly. The writing is top notch too. Read it everyone!

  • I felt the exact same way about Gone Girl, though I (shamedly) couldn’t put it down. But when I did, I thought, “Well, good riddance.” Not a single redeeming thing about it. Not a one. On the other hand, now that we’re back in ireland, all my friends are telling me to get on the Doctor Who phenomenon. We shall wait as I’m girding up my loins to watch the downton Christmas Special. #lordbeermestrength

  • lindseyfoj

    Love that you tried out Dr. Who….Love that show so much!

    That necklace is AMAZING ….. seriously!!

    Working on my What I’m Into post now…..

  • Just found your blog and think its a wonderfully positive and inspiring voice in a very harsh and negative world.

    on my nightstand-

    I am a “slow reader” and am working through Anya Seaton’s Katherine and then hoping to begin the 3rd book in the Hangman’s Daughter series. Also have Ourlander book 1 on my kindle to read while being a mom-taxi.

    television worth watching-

    We don’t have cable either and have very little time so just Downton Abbey and I am looking forward to getting Walking Dead going again. Both lunch hour treats. Project Runway too. Lawsy, i do sound shallow πŸ™‚

    movies i’ve watched – in or out of the theatre
    The last “adult” movie i saw I think was the Black Swan and the last kid’s was the Monster Hotel or whatever. So.. not a good authority on this, which is strange because I love movies. I am seeing a disconnect in myself in this exercise.

    in my ears
    Kraftwerk, OMD and Echo and the Bunnymen in the car. I stream WNKU regularly too, so i prefer a mix-tape.

    in my kitchen

    I successfully made chocolate pudding cookies yesterday and am impressed with myself.

    random thing making me happy

    My daughter is 4 now and she seems to be using reason more and is a cuddling phase. And, i’m enjoying singing.

    what i’m looking forward to next month

    Being closer to spring, Understanding my role at work (long story) and hopefully becoming healthier. I really just need to wake up- maybe this is the month.

  • Abbie Kampman

    Oh man, as a mother I can only pray and hope that my children will have the passion and sacrifice that Katie Davis has. I’d love to read her parents’ biography, if only to see how to raise my children to defy Western ideals and sacrifice your life for others. On another note, I also disliked Gone Girl- the latter half was ridiculous and too trippy and not great writing. Another thing I didn’t like? Silver Linings Playbook. SO many raving about it. Curt and I spent a valuable date night to go see it and left the theater halfway through in disgust. The amount of times the F word was used is astronomical (and unnecessary- it totally distracted me from the acting and plot) and the crude humor was absolutely disgusting. I was not impressed. I cried that we wasted money and could’ve seen Les Mis (again) instead. Love reading what you are into, as always πŸ™‚

  • We are WAY into Doctor Who in my house. I not only don’t have cable, but I have no TV service of any kind. We only watch DVDs, and we are working our way through DW. My boyfriend got me started on them. We loved, loved, number nine and still miss him. We really liked number 10 and are struggling with all the changes that come with Doctor Eleven. You are in for some really fantastic episodes soon!

    I’m reading “Deep and Wide” by Andy Stanley to prepare for a leadership retreat with my church staff and Shepherds. Good (and challenging) stuff there. I just finished “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Skloot, as well as “A Thousand Days in Tuscany” by Marlena De Blasi. . .and I now want to move to Italy and live on a farm. . .sort of–grin!
    Mostly I’m into baking and working these days. Our church’s Baby Dedication Sunday is coming in a few weeks, and it’s my very favorite thing.

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  • On my nightstand: A Year of Biblical Womanhood (finally!) (Rachel Held Evans, of course), Slaves, Women and Homosexuals (Webb), The Blue Parakeet (McKnight), Parenting with Love and Logic (Cline/Fay) and about 3 others that I can’t think of without moving my tired feet to see…and about to order Half the Church (Carolyn Custis James), because obviously I don’t have enough awaiting me.

    Watching: Trying to limit the TV time, so currently only Castle and Elementary. But I’m chomping at the bit to catch up to the rest of the world with Downton Abbey, and really wanting to check out Call the Midwife.

    Listening: Very much loving my crooners of late…Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, Nat King Cole, Ella Fiztgerald, Ertha Kitt and the like. And Jesus Culture.

    Wanting very much to see Lincoln and also Les Mis, but the entertainment budget deems we wait for them to arrive in Redbox. πŸ™

    Looking forward to…continuing my Year of Courage and seeing what new opportunities it brings…and embracing them instead of running from them, and turning 40…at which point I plan to celebrate in grand style. πŸ™‚

  • Caitlin

    Currently reading: Say Her Name by Francisco Goldman. Beautiful, etchingly beautiful.

    Watching: (always watch Grey’s Anatomy. Just can’t stop.) Impatiently waiting for Smash to begin again, and for the second season of Downton Abbey to arrive at the Public Library for me to pick up πŸ™‚

    Movie: saw Silver Linings Playbook last night, very interesting! I love Jennifer Lawrence ever since she depicted Katniss in real life πŸ™‚ I’m also in the disability field in Winnipeg, MB, and the idea of mental illness is huge in my field. So I could relate to some of their struggles. Also, of course, Les Mis, and the Coldplay concert DVD of Mylo Xyloto I got for Christmas which I’ve watched about twice a week since I’ve got it.

    Listening: Mumford. Always & always. Regina Spektor, Coldplay, Gungor, Josh Garrels, Josh Ritter, etc.

    Cooking: soup! Gotta love it! Homestyle dishes like meat pies and casseroles. Also, potato chip & skor cookies. Possibly the strangest but tastiest combo of things melted in one cookie that creates something incredibly delectable. Anything from Smitten Kitchen, really and Joy the Baker.


  • I read “Kisses from Katie” this past year and definitely struggled with parts of it. I do admire her commitment to Christ though. Lots to learn from her willing and obedient heart.

    I haven’t been to a movie theatre in – oh, about…5 years. πŸ˜‰

    RE: television. Tim & I are enjoying “Call the Midwife.” That show trumps the more popular Downton Abbey on so many levels.