In which I share what I’m into these days {Summer 2012}

Evelynn (and her little Africa birthmark) at the Spray Park

Books I’ve Read

  • I loaded up on books from the Bestseller Express shelf at the library for this summer. I wanted to read for fun. (I keep track of my 2012 reading with Goodreads, if you’d like to track me down over there.)
  • The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty. I was surprised by how much I liked this book. Even now, I don’t know why I couldn’t put it down, but I did, I liked it, and I read it in about a day, unable to stop. The best parts of the book are near the end, it made me ask myself some hard questions about truth, and being known, and keeping secrets, right to the grave.
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I liked it, once I got into the rhythm of it. It’s one of those books that you must stay with, or you lose the believability and the thread. Overall, I liked it though even though there are some bits I could do without….
  • The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender. Great writer, but have to admit that the book didn’t do it for me. I wanted to like it, and failed miserably.
  • I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections on Aging by Nora Ephron. I love Nora Ephron’s writing. I haven’t watched a romantic comedy that can stack up to her work. (Almost every decorating decision I make comes down to asking myself this question: “Would it go in Kathleen Kelly’s brownstone?“) And yet, these essays weren’t her best work. I liked them, but I wouldn’t re-read.
Books still on my nightstand, waiting for me:
  • Lit: A Memoir by Mary Karr
  • Women, Food, and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything by Geneen Roth
  • Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffeneger – nothing like a good ghost story now and then.
  • For the Beauty of the Church: Casting a Vision for the Arts edited by W. David O. Taylor (includes essays by Eugene Peterson, Lauren Winner, and others.) I’ll have MUCH to say about this one, trust me.
  • A Woman Called: Piecing Together the Ministry Puzzle by Sara Gaston Barton

T.V. Show Worth Watching:

I’m late to the party (what else is new?) but ZOMIGOD, you guys. SHERLOCK. Yes, the BBC series of Sherlock is so fantastic. The sharp dialogue is rivalled only by the sharpness of Benedict Cumberbatch’s cheekbones. (Just say that name out loud: Benedict. Cumberbatch.)

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

I haven’t been on much of a movie kick this summer. I didn’t see a single theatre-movie. I won’t even me tell you about how obsessed I became with the Olympics…

In My Ears:

Florence + The Machine’s Shake It Out feels a bit like my anthem these days.

In My Kitchen:

Brian manages our family budget, and, in the interest of getting our Eating Out budget down to a squeak, I learned how to make pizza at home. And then I met this little blogger, maybe you’ve heard of her? Yeah, that Pioneer Woman can make a pizza. (My current favourite is the Thai Chicken Pizza from her latest cookbook. I make it almost weekly.)

We’re also eating a lot of variations on chicken salads since Brian’s got the green thumb for lettuce.

Things We Have Done That Might Be Redneck-ish

Meet the Omaha Waterpark. We couldn’t figure out if we were brilliant or redneck-y, but it worked. And the sheer delight of the tinies because we clamped a hose to a tree? UNMATCHED.

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

  • My frentor (friend + mentor, natch) Kelley Nikondeha has FINALLY launched a blog called Doing Theology in Transit. Seriously, this woman. I want to be more like her when I grow up. Read her About page to get just a taste of why I love her so. Now I just need to get her writing a few books… At the end of August, she’s coming to see a few of us (like Idelette, another blog you need to read) here. I’m taking her to the nose-piercing and tattoo place because, well, why not?
  • Jonathan Martin of Renovatus in the United States has been knocking them out of the park lately. I love when crazy charismatics like me can run with the big boys on theology and culture. My recent favourite: Gender, Race, and Pentecost: The World Has Moved On
  • D.L. Mayfield contributes to A Deeper Story with me, she also writes for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. Her blog about living the upside-down kingdom is always a good read.

Favorite Pinterest find:

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest


Actually Made Me LOL

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest



Stuff I’m Painting White:

I’m so sick of the colour brown. Brown, beige, neutrals, BLAH. Almost my entire house is brown. You see why this is a problem. Brian is determined NOT to repaint perfectly fine walls that we just repainted Cappucino three years ago, so I’m stuck. I ended up tackling our gigantic dark brown Ikea bookcases. I tore off the cheap backing, and if I do say so myself, they turned out pretty damn fantastic. I can’t even tell you what a difference it made to the house.


What I’m Looking Forward To Next Month:

  • Anne will starting public school. I have Very Big Thoughts about this, but I’ll save them for later. Also, she’s turning 6 years old *sob*.
  • Joe will be starting preschool next month.
  • A bit of travel: I’ve got a Girls Weekend coming up with a few friends. I haven’t gone away from the tinies since 2008 (when there was just one little tiny), so this is a new experience for all of us. Brian will then wing away to Texas to officiate a wedding, catch up with our dear friends in the area, and attempt to make up for 7 years lack of decent BBQ and tex-mex. (I’m not jealous, I’m not jealous, I’m not jealous…)
  • I will be able to share the details about the book contract with you at long last! And then must finish the writing of it….
  • Finally, I didn’t know when I choose my One Word for 2012 that God would take me so incredibly literally. FEARLESS is changing my life, over and over. (I might choose Rich and Famous for 2013, just to call His bluff….) I’ll have an announcement about this in a couple of weeks…. it’s a big deal. (To me, anyway.)

Do tell – what are YOU into right now?

  • J.R. Goudeau

    That newborn baby picture is brilliant. Great reads, too! I’ll never dig myself out of the pile of books I want to read!

  • Caris Adel

    For the Beauty of the Church is so beautifully brilliant. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say about it. I hear you on the brown house. I’m kind of sick of coffee colored walls too. But all our trim and bookshelves are white, and I painted the backs of the bookshelves brightly colored, India inspired colors, and have brightly colored accents all over, so it’s not too bad. I wish it was easier to change wall color.
    And movies? You need to see Moonrise Kingdom. Best movie of the summer.

    I am avoiding lesson-planning by reading and writing a lot. When it gets to August, I start understanding the appeal of public school, haha. That had to be a hard decision – I bet she’ll love it though!

  • D.L. Mayfield

    Sarah! thanks so much for your kind words (and squee! about Kelley’s blog). I am completely, 100% with you on The Time Traveler’s Wife and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. Exact. Same. Thoughts.
    I have been really wanting to ask you if you have caught the BBC television show Rev. yet. It is BRILLIANT, yet no one I know has watched it. It’s all about an Anglican priest in low-income London, and has all sorts of tension and beautiful, heartbreaking prayers (and it is really, really funny).
    I also thought of you this week because I watched a Canadian film in the theater (don’t think I have ever done that before . . .) It was called Monsieur Lahzar, and it was the best movie I have seen in a long time. Ever hear of it? I recommend it completely.

    Ok, sorry for the long comment, I just like you!

    • Sarah Bessey

      Right backatcha, darling. xo

  • HopefulLeigh

    So much to love about this. :)

  • Mary1912

    I’m into kinda holding on by my fingernails these days. Well, not really “into” it but I have no choice or energy for anything else. I’m praying for something better soon because this is near misery. Aside from that the election is now commanding my attention and I’m hungry to read a very good fiction book…one that will speak to me in spades. Haven’t found it yet.

  • Courtney

    Gosh, right now I’m into figuring out what I’m into. I’m working a job as a community organizer (which I like), then working a full time hobby baking and blogging, then working another part time hobby reading about justice and faith and gender issues. I’m into it all…just not sure how it all fits together. I guess that’s the fun part right?

    So for now, I’m into reading things that make me think..and wrestle…and struggle. Which is one of the reasons I’m so very glad I ended up here. Thanks for challenging me!

  • Ed_Cyzewski

    A friend shared the baby crying picture. That is sort of apt, but I think there’s another side to the awake baby thing that no one mentioned. Sometimes they just wake up in the middle of the night and STARE at you. Ethan is beautiful, but at 4 am I really just want him to shut his eyes! Ha!

    • Sarah Bessey

      Ha! Totally.

  • Tiffany Norris

    Agreed on Sherlock–it’s awesome! And, after loving The Time Traveler’s Wife, I was a bit disappointed in Her Fearful Symmetry. It was fine, but perhaps my expectations were too high. Happy reading!

    • Sarah Bessey

      I’m waiting on Series 2 from the library now and it’s the longest wait ev-ah.

  • Kelley Nikondeha

    Sarah… LOVE Danielle’s blog, too! Just read it this morning and it brought good tears to my eyes – and made me want to plant a fruit tree. You know I finally found Downton Abbey – and watched both seasons in 2 days – so indulgent, I know. Summer reads, while plentiful in Burundi, had only a few true highlights… Scripture,Culture & Agriculture by Ellen Davis (also commentary on Ruth by her), Writing Down the Bones, Insurrection by Peter Rollins (still figuring it out), Disruptive Grace by WB and best of summer was Knowledge in the Blood (on South African dynamics post-apartheid). The one fiction book I tried to read (by John Updike) was a failure.

    Look forward to our Friday night outing… and thanks for mentioning me. You are too kind!

    • Sarah Bessey

      I love your book lists, Kelley.

  • brenda shaw

    the bookcase is fabulous…maybe some great wallpaper on the back ?? oh and paint ..i love to refer to it as making everything born again !!

    • Sarah Bessey

      Wallpaper scares me to death. I need help. 😉

  • shelley nienhuis

    What’s the name of “the tattoo place”? I’m planning on getting a small, meaningful wrist tattoo (first one [and likely the only one] at age 48!) and am looking for a good artist in your area. Thanks! PS I adore your writing.

    • Sarah Bessey

      Memento Mori. And thanks!

  • laura @ hollywood housewife

    I have Lit on my To Read list also. I read Her Fearful Symmetry while I was nursing in the first few weeks of my daughters life, just to prove to the naysayers that one doesn’t have to give up reading post-baby. I loved that book! It didn’t get great reviews, but it cut through the newborn fog enough for me to think about it still sometimes.

    • Sarah Bessey

      I’m about halfway through now. I keep hearing amazing things about “Lit” so looking forward to it although expectations might be too high now.

      • michaboyett

        Expectations cannot be too high! Mary Karr is the greatest memoir writer out there. But I could be biased. :)

  • Renee @ FIMBY

    “and it’s hard to dance with the devil on your back so shake it out, oh oh oh…” oh, yeah baby we love Florence & The Machine around here and that line gets me every time (at least it sounds like that too me, maybe I have the lyrics all wrong!)

  • Tina Francis

    Favourite movie of the summer The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Amazing. Tender. Beautiful.

    I’m wrecked by that first picture of Evelyn’s back. What a cutie. Gash! I can’t wait for our romp around town with Kelley to begin! I could squeal.

  • Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm

    I loved The Time Travelers Wife a lot! Her Fearful Symmetry was kind of meh for me.

    The “Omaha Waterpark” looks pretty genius to me! And, I also became embarrassingly obsessed with the Olympics. I didn’t quite know what to do last night without the tv on…

  • Morag Renfro

    I got a new word on my walk last night as I was thinking about how in Ecclesiastes it says there is a time for everything – and the word ’embrace’ seemed to do just that – embrace me! It feels like for the last year it’s been all about letting go, letting go and finally it might be time to embrace the new and whatever comes next.

  • Erin

    The Time Travelers Wife was one of my favorite books ever….but Her Fearful Symmetry was entirely disappointing. Just putting that out there so you don’t have too big of expectations. 😉

  • Erin Adams

    Thanks for the Sherlock recommendation. We’ll try that for our next netflix streaming series. (We’re almost through with 4 seasons of Battlestar Gallatica.)
    The book I am in love with right now is “Just How Married Do You Want to Be?” I actually finished reading in within a few weeks time. Which is amazing for me. I got back into reading Playful Parenting again & I love it. And, I am picking up Toxic Charity for a read.
    Yes on homemade pizza! Most parlors cannot compare!

  • Gretchen

    Thanks so much for sharing! I friended you on Goodreads and added a few of your book suggestions to my ever-growing to-read list…