what i'm into march 2013

books i read

The Sky Beneath My Feet by Lisa Samson :: I’m pretty hard to please when it comes to “Christian” fiction (as in: I don’t really like it) but Lisa Samson is consistently my favourite in this much-maligned genre. I loved this one. Check out this quote: “Confession: I don’t want everybody to be beautiful, not in that unlined, creaseless, symmetrical way. Android beauty, like it comes out of a test tube. Beauty without blemish or mark. Not only do I not identify with such people, I don’t believe in them either. I don’t even find them attractive. This is what makes watching television so hard: they don’t cast actors anymore, only models. When they make a movie of my life, they’d better cast a character actor in the lead. Don’t try to tell me I’m not a character.”

Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim’s Tale by Ian Morgan Cron. I read this just before Pope Francis was elected. When he announced his choice of name, I was hoping it meant exactly what I learned in this book. I loved this one.

The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen by Syrie James. I’ve got a weakness for Jane Austen themed fiction and Syrie James does this genre so well. These are my “curl up on a Saturday night with a bowl of popcorn” books. I won’t re-read this one (it’s not as good as her other two) so didn’t buy it but it was a fun read, satisfying.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I am a banner-waving introvert and this book was absolutely fascinating. The science and research truly sets it apart from the usual “free-to-be-you-and-me” that masquerades as self-help or self-discovery books. Many a paragraph was underlined and then read out-loud to my husband in my “see! see! I’m okay! I’m free to be me!”

A Homemade Year: The Blessings of Cooking, Crafting, and Coming Together by Jerusalem Jackson Greer. I received this book from Jersaulem after she guest-posted here a couple of weeks ago. And you guys, this book is an absolute delight. I dog-eared so many pages and recipes and ideas. It’s inspiring without guilt-inducing. I love crafty and vintage-y goodness and have a monster crush on people like Amanda Soule. But this spin on that whole world puts it in proper perspective and mirrors the church calendar. It’s the best kind of Sunday reading. I trotted it over to my mum’s house and may have said something along the lines of “I want my life to look like this!”

books on my nightstand right now

The Crowd, the Critic, and the Muse by Michael Gungor

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving – slow going on this one. I’m taking my time.

What We Talk About When We Talk About God by Rob Bell

Freefall to Fly: A Breathtaking Journey Toward a Life of Meaning by Rebekah Lyons

television worth watching

Doctor Who – Well, I’m into Series 5 but I hardly have the heart now. It’s been ripped out by the death of the Tenth Doctor and I feel I can hardly go on. I can’t talk about it.

Once Upon a Time –  I caught up on Once Upon a Time. I’m still watching but the big long breaks between a couple of episodes is hard to get into. The whole thing with Neal’s fiancé is quite interesting.

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

Peter Pan – I used to love this Disney classic as a child. It’s such a fun romp, loved the songs, but I admit a big part of me was cringing over the racism and we had long talks about that afterwards. Man, Disney….

Les Misérables – You know I bought this one the very day it came out. I dreamed a dream, baby!

in my ears

Young Man in America by Anais Mitchell – My friend, Seth Haines, recommended this artist to me because he knows I’m a huge Patty Griffin fan. I’ve pretty much had her on repeat for two weeks now.

Without Words by Bethel Music  – I can’t listen to music with lyrics while writing. I am most at home in silence but when I want a bit of background writing music I tend towards classical or Jane Austen movie soundtracks (Becoming Jane is an old favourite). For my birthday this past month, my sister gave me this album of Bethel’s worship songs done reworked instrumentally and I absolutely love it.

in my kitchen

It’s been a very busy month here and so I’ve not been doing very well in the whole cooking department. Many a supper of grilled cheese around here lately. But now that my book’s major edits are in at last, I celebrated by spending the weekend in the kitchen. And ta-da! I have been baking bread. (And now I’m eating all the bread….) I have started with simple white bread and, oh gracious, I’m in love with the process and the work of it. Preston will be so proud of me. I always long to bake bread during Holy Week, so this year, I just went ahead and did it. It satisfied us, body and soul. So worth it.

random thing making me happy

Be Small Studios quietly sent me these water-colours. Annie would probably be embarrassed if she knew I was making a fuss about them but seriously, YOU GUYS. The detail work is amazing, they are so lovely, so meaningful, I can’t help myself. I cannot wait to frame them in the house.


what i’m looking forward to next month

Well, we are glad to have March behind us! It was a very full month. As I mentioned above, my major book edits took place last month but they are finished (hallelujah, praise you Jesus, free at last and all that). I think the majority of the continent likely heard my exhale of relief when that was over.

This month, Evelynn is turning two years old. (Two! *sob*) Brian has his birthday as well and we have many family birthdays to celebrate.

Brian passed his Canadian citizenship exam and his citizenship ceremony is this month. Quite looking forward to watching him swear allegiance the Queen. I’m planning a Welcome to Being Canadian Day – which will probably end up being about beer and doughnuts. He’s also taking a night class in Punjabi to learn a bit of the language for fun (as one does, apparently).

Spring is shaping up to be absolutely gorgeous around here. Everything burst into bloom this weekend, and the tinies smell like dirt at the end of every day.

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 these are the days when we were loved right to the end
In which Jezebel gives way to Deborah
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  • The Rob Bell book has been on my reading list this month – such an awesome book. And agree, Doctor Who hasn’t been the same since Tennant (10th Doctor) left. New series just began (Series 7, part 2) over here in the UK. Don’t worry though – the 10th Doctor (and Rose too!) is coming back for the 50th anniversary episode!

  • Angela

    I also love Jane Austen themed fiction! I think I’m the only person I know who enjoyed “Death Comes to Pemberly.” I just went my library’s site and requested books by Syrie James, and I can’t wait to read them!

  • Aww. Brian is learning Punjabi? He makes me want to sob. Love him.

  • I had such a fangirl moment recently when I realized OUAT is filmed around these parts. A few days after our girls dinner I took the whole fam back to Stanley Park and we explored Third Beach a bit. Later that day I found a website with pictures of a scene being filmed on Thirds Beach a mere DAYS before we were there. Allegiance is a weird thing. I’ve had a hard time getting into this season. But now simply knowing it’s filmed nearby makes me like it more.

  • michaboyett

    Sarah, I just watched Peter Pan at my house last week and was also horrified by the racism. I ended up just fast-forwarding through that part and the song. (I told my kids it was too scary.) But, I’m starting to feel like I can’t trust anything I watched as a child! What the heck?

    • Amy

      I caught Peter Pan on a plane ride and was also amazed by the portrayal of the Indians. (That’s what we’re talking about, right?) I don’t have kids yet, but it me think about how I’ll have to explain that to them…

  • rayhollenbach

    Bethel’s “Without Words” now has a regular place in my writing rotation. Who knows? Perhaps you and I will end up write the same thing! 🙂

  • I bought the Les Mes movie as well, but I haven’t watched it yet…. need to…. want to….

  • Proud indeed! Well done!

  • Michele Minehart

    Oh, I do so hope you do a review on Bell’s book!

  • mizmelly

    Love Patty Griffin too. Her song Useless Desires is my favourite, all time, ever and ever song. I’m transported back to 2007 and a train ride from Santa Cruz to San Francisco. I’ll tell you about it sometime. So I will definitely look up Anais Mitchell. You might also know and like Mindy Smith? She’s good too.

  • i loved Susan Cain’s QUIET …

  • I’m in the middle of Quiet and loving it. I feel like I’m learning so much about the way I operate and it’s been ever so affirming. A Homemade Year is on my To Read list- every time I see it, I think it says A Homemade Life, which is what I’m reading right now.

    (I’m not going to pester you about Owen Meany. I’m not going to pester you about Owen Meany. I’m not going to pester you about Owen Meany.)

    Hurray for bread baking! I’ve been slowly adding more breads into my repertoire. Hoping to tackle sourdough in the next week or so. Love Be Small Studios and the prints Annie sent you. She is so talented!


  • Be Small Studios put a watercolor in each Love Feast swag bag from the Minneapolis event. Talk about blessings.

  • Beth Mathews

    I longed to bake bread during Holy week, too, so I attempted Ahava’s Challah recipe from Rachel Held-Evans’ blog/book (halved it, though). I read aloud the blessing she uses, then Pslam 51 (Create in me a clean heart, Oh God…..) when I put the portion to be sacrificed into the oven to burn. The loaves were beautiful (although a little over cooked). Loved the combination of spirituality and bread making.

  • Missy Kemp

    Loved Quiet, Owen Meany is in my list of top five favorite books EVER, and I finished The Sky Beneath My Feet Saturday night. (I did not think Samson could write a book I loved more than her Quaker Summer, but I am happy to be wrong. Our kinship with pages makes me want to puruse the rest of your list. 🙂

  • Oh, Sarah Bessey! You are too much! Thanks for your kind words. I hope those prints sing to you the same way your words in this space do for us! I love these lists – Leigh’s and yours and the mess of them.

  • TransformingWords

    I just re-watch all the David Tennant seasons.

  • Punjabi for funsies!!!! we would totes be friends. wish i could’ve shared some of that holy week bread with you.

  • I am half way through Downton Abbey season 3 – I know there is pre-eclampsia coming on the next episode so I have been putting it off — I am struggling with writing because I feel too angry to produce words I can share with others … which is related to what I am reading – an advance copy of “the child catchers” – causing me to question many things … March was long and difficult and I am glad to see it go! Happy spring to you Sarah!

  • Also not into Christian fiction, and in fact have been really snotty about those who read it religiously. But right now I’m reading The Thrill of the Chaste, by Valerie Weaver-Zercher, which is an awesome analysis/cultural critique of the Amish romance phenomena that is currently dominating Christian fiction, and has been for about 5-6 years. It’s well-written, interesting, an excellent glimpse into Christian publishing: plus, it’s making me appreciate a genre I’ve tended to malign.

    Still looking for the next Wild (by Cheryl Strayed), the best book I’ve read in the last year plus.

  • Those Be Small Studios water colours look incredible. I might just have to get my paws on some! 🙂

  • Brother Maynard

    re: The Doctor – I know, right? I just got over the departure of the 9th Doctor and still miss Rose. But we’re pressing on, still have some catch-up to do before the 50th anniversary in November.

  • I am loving Quiet. As an ambivert married to in introvert it has opened my eyes to both sides of me and to my 20 years with my beloved. I swear I have highlighted at least one sentence on each page of my Kindle version.

    Bread: Oh Sarah. I can teach you how to go from four cups of flour to a dozen really yummy bagels in about an hour. I do that about once every two weeks for the love of my life. Making bread for the ones we love … holy, sacred, intimate. Don’t stop.

  • carameredith.com

    I do love getting to know people through the “what i’m into” platform, yourself included!

  • What a gem I’ve found in the Without Words by Bethel Music. I love their worship… going to look into this CD now.

    Janelle Marie

  • Debby

    Just read Rob Bell’s book over the weekend and downloaded Bethel yesterday. After all the good things I’ve read about A Homemade Year, I’m going to need to get that. Not sure how you do it all with three little ones but thankful you do!

  • Sarah Caldwell

    SO much goodness on here – as always! I always love hearing about the books you’re reading, because I usually am reading some, and find other books to read on your list. I recently heard Susan Cain speak at the Blissdom conference, and loved it! (Through her talks, I’ve discovered I’m an ambivert – didn’t know such a thing existed! 🙂 Love the pic of your homemade bread – hope to one day attempt to make some. I’m also reading Michael Gungor’s book–though I’m reading it rather slowly. What do you think of it? I like it, but feel it will be another one of those I chew on slowly.