What I'm Into : Sarah Bessey

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?

Linked up with Leigh Kramer for What I’m Into.

affiliate links

The Story that Makes Room for All of Us
You're already so loved
thank you for sharing...
  • Pin this page3
  • 119
  • Falling Upward may be the best book I’ve ever read.

  • Orton1227

    You must check out Pete Holmes’ interview with Richard Rohr on his podcast “You made it weird with Pete Holmes”. It’s amazing. Caution: Pete is a comedian and thus a little loose with language not meant for little ears. But it’s worth it. He’s also had Peter Rollins on the show, which was just as fantastic.

    • Orton1227

      Oh, and as far as shows for older kids, I went online and bought all the old TV shows I watched when I was a kid. They’re cheap and my kids actually prefer them! (They still love Magic School Bus though). We’re talking Scooby Doo (original series and Scrappy Doo, too), Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers, Ducktales, Talespin. And there’s actually some education/life lessons in there too.
      Also, the Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That series on Netflix is wonderful.

    • Perfect – thanks for the reco!

  • Kelli

    Phineas and Ferb for the win!

  • lizzybef

    I’m a massive Neil Gaiman fangirl. AMERICAN GODS is my favorite of his, but really, all of it’s wonderful. THE GRAVEYARD BOOK is fantastic. Looooved his episode of Doctor Who!! And you’re right, his mind is something else.

  • Brenda P

    I’ve been re-watching The West Wing on Netflix. It’s so dialogue-heavy that it’s perfect to watch/listen to while I knit. It’s just so well-written and wonderfully acted, plus I feel smart because they talk about political stuff but it’s understandable (even though it’s fiction, it has a basis in reality).

    I’m reading Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess, and as horrified as I am by her stories I nearly hurt myself trying to hold in my laughter while reading it at work. It’s disturbingly hilarious.

  • All the Light We Cannot See was amazing. The writing! The story! Reading Own Your Life right now too.

  • John D Blase

    Hi, Sarah. Thanks for the nod my direction. And yes, Doerr’s book is a masterpiece.

  • Elizabeth

    I just put library holds on about 70% of the books you mentioned in this post…thank you for the ready-made reading list!

    Our kids like Magic School Bus, too. They’re also fans of Paw Patrol…(would be a bit young for Anne but my 8 year old with very young/innocent taste still watches it). Do they like Curious George? It is a nice balance of funny, sweet and educational.

    Go Flames! (Fellow Calgarian here)

    • Our preschooler love Curious George and even though the big kids complain, they usually end up sitting down and watching it out of the corner of their eye. 😉

  • JennaDeWitt

    LOL I love that you include that comic relief video. It’s my go-to remedy every time I feel out of sorts. Then I spiral into watching all of their chat/game show appearances. Ah, YouTube…

    Kids shows – How about Kim Possible? Yes, it’s like, over a decade old, but they are so funny and clean and intelligently written (and the parents, while nerdy, are actually smart and helpful unlike most Disney shows). I know the episodes were still up a year or so ago…

    Music – Paper Aeroplanes, Jhameel, Daughter, Amanda Opelt (best book bonus gift ever!), Fleurie and Ed Sheeran. Loving 8tracks for music discovery. 🙂

    • Hmmm…never heard of Kim Possible, will have to check it out. Thank you!

      • Laaur

        Kim Possible is the BOMB. I highly recommend it.

  • I could watch that Tennant/Tate skit a million times and still laugh.

    You should try Wild Kratts with your kids, too. We love it! My kids are ages 5-9 and know more about animals than I’ve ever known.

    As for Phineas and Ferb – they have occasional Doctor Who references you’ll like. 🙂

    • Oh, yes, I forgot about Wild Kratts! That is a great show!

  • Missy

    you should read ALL IN by Mark Batterson…encouraging, convicting and AHHMAZING.

  • Pingback: » What I’m Into (Spring 2015)()

  • Another one your whole clan might like- Wild Kratts (on Netflix). Our range 2-7, boys and girls, all like it! 🙂

    Also, I have the Falling Upward waiting for me at the library, upon your recommendation. thanks for sharing that!

    • OH, just kidding. I just saw someone else recommended it too! 😉

  • Laaur

    I’m finally reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown and it is a book that makes me cry about 2x a page, and also makes me go find my husband and read a paragraph aloud about every ten minutes. So important.

    • That book changed my life, no lie. I did the same thing.

  • Marjorie

    OH!! So love Josh Garrels!!!!

  • SaraAW

    I read all the Liane Moriarty books after you suggested them before. I loved them all, but Big Little Lies was my favorite. Have you read any Alice Hoffman? She writes women beautifully too. My favorites by Alice are Dovekeepers (Historical fiction about Masada) and Probable Future. I think Dovekeepers may be one of the most beautifully told weaving of women’s stories.

  • Kristin S

    Micha introducing Ace last week? Favorite post of the week and maybe the month. So beautiful.

  • Nicole Baart

    Thanks so much for the mention, Sarah. I’m so glad you enjoyed THE BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS! In the realm of children’s television, I have to recommend “Gortimer Gibbons Life on Normal Street.” It’s an Amazon original series and only available through Amazon, but it is a six-star show in a five-star world. Love, love, love this beautiful series about friendship and community. It’s wholesome and sweet without being saccharine; a big-hearted show that’s gorgeously acted and sprinkled with magical realism. Can’t recommend it highly enough. Perfect for ages 8+. (Though I should mention that there are some scenes that feel tense–but always pan out to be very un-scary. My boys might be known to hide their eyes from time to time only to realize that the rustling behind the bush is indeed a bunny and not a monster.)

  • Sarah! 🙂 Thank you for this.

  • Chelle

    I have been watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt! Love it! I always feel like I am half way through 10 series at once BUT my go to for comic relief after a loooong day with the kiddos are: Miranda (seriously convulsing with laughter), The Vicar of Dibley and New Girl. Also, Josh Garrels is comin to my neck o the woods in July and I can’t wait!

  • Bringing Up Bates on UPTV is fun and inspiring, as is Fixer Upper with Chip and Joanna Gaines on HGTV. The Set Apart Woman and Set Apart Motherhood: Reflecting Joy and Beauty in Family Life by Leslie Ludy are excellent recently released books! Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now by Ayaan Hirsi Ali is exceedingly enlightening. Counter Culture by David Platt, also new, is inspiring. Josh Garrels’ new album Home is fine listening.

  • Hahahaha…I didn’t even know you’d written this when I tweeted at you this morning to see if you’d share the giveaway I’m doing for 3 of Nicole’s books!

  • DJ Brown

    Huge THANKYOU for this resource!

  • Michelle

    I’ve been working through the Liane Moriarty books per your recommendation – Loved “What Alice Forgot”. I’m appreciating your 2014 reading list as well – so many great books on the list! Have you read any Jodi Piccolt? I feel like her writing has similarities to Moriarty and so many of her books are wonderful and thought-provoking.

  • We tried to watch movies so many times when my oldest was a newborn, but I would just fall asleep. My husband started asking…”you wanna nap while I watch a movie tonight?”

    Also, Sorta Awesome in my new favorite thing.

  • I’ve been hearing so much about the Sorta Awesome podcast. I guess I sorta have to check it out!

    And, as long as we’re having #ConfessYourUnpopularOpinion time, I actually was not a huge Shauna fan girl. And then I went to her book release event for “Savor” in the Chicago suburbs. And I was completely won over, both by her and by this book. It already has worked its way into my daily routine when I’ve been so crazy busy I’ve needed somebody to spoon-feed me a few verses and a thoughtful question or mantra as I move through my days.

  • I haven’t read much of him but Neil Gaiman is certainly one of those authors that makes me wonder about how he comes up with things. So glad you enjoyed An Everlasting Meal! That book changed the way I cook in the best of ways. Also, so jealous you got to read Amber’s book!!! Love the way you wrote about Sorta Awesome- sheer perfection there.

  • Are you liking Sally Clarkson’s book? It looks like something I might want to pick up.

  • Thanks so much for being honest about the Donald Miller book. Gives so much credibility to your other reviews! Are you on goodreads, by chance? Find me here: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/28852943-stephanie-sheaffer.

  • Rachael Ann Gilley

    Have you ever watched “Call the Midwife” on Netflix? It’s about midwives during the 1940’s and it’s a BBC show. I feel like you would like it

  • emmeline

    what about Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty? Have you read it? She is my favourite author.