I went home this past weekend to be in a dear friend's wedding. What a whirlwind! Recovery is going to take awhile but it's completely worth it.
Read and Reading:
Laura has recommended Tana French for awhile. Murder mysteries set in Ireland? Sounds good to me. I knew she liked The Likeness best so I started there, not realizing it's out of order. Then I promptly tore into In the Woods. These are character-driven books, which some readers have found to be slow. The style completely captivated me. French is a genius at bringing readers along to her desired conclusion, without tipping them off until it's actually happening. Reading The Likeness first made me appreciate French's efforts all the more when I read In the Woods. She alludes to her first book's story in The Likeness but doesn't disclose what happened with the investigation. When details do emerge, they enhance both books. I'm ready to dive into the next one! Oh, and for the record, I thought In the Woods resolved as it should- messy and true to life.
Ever since I read Shauna Niequist's Bittersweet, I've meant to read Cold Tangerines. I finally tracked down a copy and realized I read both books at the perfect seasons of my life. Her books feel like a good conversation with a friend. Honest, authentic, real. She asks good questions and provides soul-stirring responses. Because of how intimately I react to her books, if you want to know more, you'll have to ply me with my drink of choice first.
OK. So I don't read parenting books but my friend Megan Tietz and her friend Laura Oyer wrote Spirit-Led Parenting. I'm so proud of Megan that I had to at least flip through it a bit. And wouldn't you know? Their stories sucked me in and I read the book in one sitting. It is so grace-filled and relatable. I've already gifted one copy to a friend, I'm sure the first of many.
I finished reading 7: an Experimental Mutiny Against Excess (Hatmaker) for Marla Taviano's Read-Along. I had high expectations based on the way everyone raved over it. As I said in our final discussion (which Jen herself joined), I already actively regulate my possessions so it was sometimes hard to know how to respond after each chapter. That’s not to say there’s not room to grow- there is. 7 reminded me of some things I’d meant to do but hadn’t yet followed through on. Jen brings up great points and raises awareness of important issues. For me, the most impactful chapter was the final one on Rest.
I reviewed Shawn Smucker's fantastic ebook Building a Life Out of Words here.
(I read 7 books this month.)
TV: My must-see TV: Once Upon a Time, Revenge, Parks & Rec, The New Girl, The Vampire Diaries
Psych's season finale left me sputtering. WHAT??? I am on pins and needles as to how they'll resolve the cliffhanger. In the meantime, you should read Clay Morgan's assessment of why you should watch Psych.
I have to say The Vampire Diaries has been on fire lately. It got a little weird with Alaric's split personality (or inhabitation?) but those twists and turns keep me coming back for more. It's the best guilty pleasure. And hello, Elena and Damon!
I don't think I've mentioned before how much I love Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. I take notes on restaurants in various cities on the off-chance I'll visit there some day. If only I could get paid to travel the country and eat!
Much has been said about Blue Like Jazz in various circles so I'll keep this brief. At times, it veered toward artsy, in a way that could disconnect with the audience. Overall, I found it to be compelling and moving. The confession booth scene alone is worth watching this film. It's a great discussion starter, whether you're in or out of the church. It may not be for everyone but it was certainly for me.
Baseball season is here!!! Much has been said about the Cubs-White Sox rivalry. You can't go wrong with this Funny or Die video featuring the incomparable Nick Offerman and Craig Robinson.
One of the highlights of the wedding weekend was a private performance by Ryan O'Neal of Sleeping At Last. Laura and Mike are both huge SAL fans and had chosen an instrumental version of Watermark (off the October session of Yearbook) as their processional. Laura's brothers and sister-in-law were able to hire Ryan to perform that very song before the rehearsal began. Amazing! This sort of made up for SAL having a show in Naperville the same night as the wedding.
If you are in Indianapolis, you absolutely positively must stop at BRICS for ice cream. My friend Kim lives in Indy, which is a convenient stopping point when I drive to or from my hometown. The moment I arrived Sunday night, she suggested we get ice cream. Naturally, much arm-twisting was involved. I got Chocolate Peanut Butter (my all-time favorite flavor) and Red Velvet Cake (my obsession of the past year). Both flavors were divine. In fact, the Red Velvet Cake might be my favorite version thus far. Plus, the portions are gimungous.
Most Interesting Doppelganger Comparison
Out of the blue, my friend Sarah compared me to the beautiful Queen Elizabeth, circa age 25. What do you think?
In the Blogosphere:
I loved Shauna Niequist's post about responding to criticism. Even when I end up not liking something, I try to remember that someone worked hard on creating it and that helps me filter my words.
Oh, how I needed this from Mandy. I don't have to make everyone OK. Let the truth of it sink in.
Shawn Smucker has truly been on fire lately. Since I can't list every single post of his, go read this one to start and then peruse the rest of his offerings.
On the bloggy front, be sure to read up on what you're allowed to say if you administrate a Facebook page. Emily Freeman's For Those Of You Who Don't Comment On Blogs is so gracious and lovely. We bloggers love a good comment but I certainly don't ever want someone to feel guilty about not commenting here.
I was fascinated by this article about actor Peter Dinklage. He happens to be a dwarf and has been conscientious about the roles he'll take. He notes that dwarf jokes are "one of the last bastions of acceptable prejudice." Why is that?
"You and I, we're shaped by ideals, ethics, theology, and practices and I guarantee not one of us arrived there on our own. We all carry the residue of what came before us." Loved this piece from Lore Ferguson.
If you've read blogs for awhile, chances are good you've found many of your favorite lifestyle bloggers are Mormon. I didn't realize the Mormons have a rich history of journaling. Blogging seems to be a natural progression of that discipline.
Jess Buttram wrote one of my favorite Good Friday pieces: We Are the Waiting.
Somebody retweeted this article and I recognized the author's name as someone with whom I went to Grammar school. Small world! And then I read Josh's post and was undone. The Crumbs We Haven't Been Waiting For.
A few dear friends write weekly Marriage Letters. I found one of the most moving to be this one by Joy about the losses she and her husband Scott have faced.
Most people don't understand that cancer has become an industry. It's imperative to do your research before supporting any charity, no matter what emotional plea they offer. This Marie Claire article illustrates why.
Along those same lines, here's why Toms shoes doesn't work but how it could. Full disclosure: I bought a pair of Toms because it sounded so nice: buy a pair, give a pair. But since then, I've looked at the long-term effects of such endeavors and it was rather disheartening.
I love the distinctions Suzannah made between legalism and grace and how healthy boundaries protect those they should, instead of the abuser.
Chad Gibbs tells us how to travel the world for FREE. This is amazing.
"What if this very area, this area of such difficulty, such pain, such shame, what if it is this specifically that I have been using to speak to you? What if this is the area in which I have been most after your heart–not because there’s something wrong, but because I know how very important it is to you? What if my intention is to bless you and not curse you?" Incredible piece at Prodigal Magazine.
On Ye Olde Blog:
I kicked off my new series The Insecurity Project and unveiled a list of Top 25 Lady-Bloggers Who Love Jesus and Happen to Be Single. There were so many great suggestions in the comments- I look forward to checking them out sometime soon.
What have you been into this month?