July has been hectic with not one but two trips to my hometown. The former included 4th of July festivities, my first White Sox game since moving to Nashville, and our annual family reunion. The latter lasted a mere 30 hours. Being there for Christy's wedding was entirely worth it.
Read and Reading:
I didn't know anything about baseball summer leagues so I was thoroughly fascinated by The Last Best League (Collins). Focusing on the Chatham A's 2003 season, Collins introduced me to the world of college prospects, how minor league teams work, and what players must endure in order to go pro. A must read for any baseball fan.
The memoir What Remains drew me in right from the start. Carole Radziwill is a fantastic addition to the Real Housewives of New York. She was an award-winning ABC News journalist for 15 years and married to Jackie O's nephew. Her husband Anthony was diagnosed with cancer shortly after they married and his cancer treatment became the focus of their next 5 years together until his death. One of the book's notable gems: "'Metastatic' is a clean, unemotional word, but in layman's terms it means, 'You're screwed.'" She really captures some aspects of life with cancer, including insights from the lens of a caregiver- often cancer's secondary victim. Three weeks before Anthony's death, his cousin John F. Kennedy Jr. and his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, one of Carole's closest friends, died in a plane crash. Tragedy upon tragedy. Radziwill writes sparsely and respectfully, avoiding name dropping and the sort of gossip easily attached to the Kennedy family. Her recollections are often warm and witty and she writes of grief in a way only fellow mourners can understand.
Kate Morton unveiled her new book! I cannot wait to read The Secret Keeper.
(I read 7 books this month.)
TV: Must-see TV: So You Think You Can Dance, Bunheads
Project Runway is back. I'm not sure how regularly I'll be watching, in spite of my love for Tim Gunn. Last season fell flat for me.
Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea were childhood staples. My friend Rachel and I must have watched each hundreds of times. But I hadn't watched them since until this past weekend. A few friends and I gathered to watch Anne of Green Gables and it more than stood the test of time. This had nothing to do with the drinking game we played and everything to do with the wonderfulness of Anne Shirley, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, and Gilbert Blythe. Cue dreamy sigh.
This might only make you laugh if you're a Papa Roach fan. I died.
Found via Knox McCoy's excellent Monday Morning Meatloaf.
I loved watching Bob Ross when I was a kid. I'm so impressed with what PBS created here. It made me feel nostalgic and inspired. "Paint freedom on a canvas." I will, Bob Ross. I will.
Mumford & Sons has a new album coming out. I can't wait!
If you read the Mid-July links or follow my FB page, you'll be familiar with baby Pearl. A couple of weeks ago I attended the Pearl Joy Brown benefit, with artists including Sandra McCracken, Derek Webb, Griffin House, and Leigh Nash. Great music, great cause. I love how the music community supports one another! Pearl was born last week and continues to amaze everyone. She came home yesterday! Thanks be to God. Please continue to keep this family in your prayers.
While home for the second time, my parents and I had dinner in downtown Wheaton and then walked around for awhile, fortuitiously stumbling into a band festival. I was especially impressed by Salvation Story Steelpan Orchestra, an inner city ministry began by a South Side Chicago Salvation Army. I'm a sucker for steelpans.
If you have Spotify, you have got to check out Josh's summer playlist. I think he's my music kindred spirit.
My friend Clay Morgan is launching his new site tomorrow! Be sure to check out ClayWrites. And in the meantime, check out this fun video. His book Undead releases in September (you'll be hearing more about this). I'm so proud of him!
Ever since reading Under the Banner of Heaven, I've been extra fascinated by the LDS church. The Mormon Child Bride wrestles with the intersection of her faith, politics, and feminism, something the Mormon Church does not often encourage. I can't imagine having to choose between my faith and my beliefs because they equally inform one another.
Biking for Baseball followed me on Twitter the other day, the same day they attended a White Sox game. Naturally I was curious about these guys so I browsed their website and was quite impressed. What an amazing experience and a cool way to give back!
While I was in my hometown, I had my favorite green curry chicken from Thipi Thai and stopped for penny candy at the Popcorn Shop for candied grapefruit slices.That's just the tip of the iceberg of all the eating that goes on while I'm home.
Caribou Coffee also broke my heart by discontinuing the best Tea Latte ever invented: Black Thai Tea Latte. What to do without good tea latte options? I've turned to Hazelnut Lattes in my sorrow.
In the Blogosphere:
Here are the Mid-July links.
A few of my dear friends (Allison, Joy, Laura, and Shawn) are going to Sri Lanka with World Vision August 26-September 1. I am so excited to follow along on their trip and support World Vision's child sponsorship efforts. Are you familiar with World Vision? You should be. If you aren't, reading the posts by the 8 bloggers going on this trip is a great way to learn about the organization's mission.
Join me in praying for Titus Haines? (Update from Amber here and this one from Seth is worth reading, too.) I'll tell you this much: Seth Haines knows how to tell a story. His guest post for Ann Voskamp about his friend Strat and harvesting rattlesnake beans mesmerized me.
Eye-opening piece from The New York Times on why it's harder to make friends once you're in your 30s. Good insights. I'm so grateful the limitations of this season of life haven't stopped me from making amazing friends in Nashville.
This church bulletin gave me absolute goosebumps. What an amazing message for visitors and the congregation alike.
Kelly at Love Well kindly provided us with her notes from the Orphan Summit on Transracial Adoption. Great information.
"It is not a well-behaved plant, but it is a Kelly plant. It is chasing the light, living real life just as it was meant to live without care for anyone’s approval. It’s filling up my garden with passion." Loved this post (and the pictures!) from Kelly Sauer.
This excellent piece on finding a church from Quiet Anthem felt like sacred ground to me. I love Renee's perspective.
Poignant reflection from Micha Boyett on saying goodbye to her grandfather.
Good thoughts on the "gay lifestyle" from Justin Lee. "But see, there are also many straight people who live promiscuous lives based on sex and pleasure-seeking, and yet we would never call theirs a “straight lifestyle.” Why? Because we know that they don’t represent all straight people. They are a subset of straight people."
On Ye Olde Blog:
I teased you all by telling you about a Big Idea and then not revealing what it is. (Maybe a few months from now? Fingers crossed.)
I posted a picture of my first ever homemade refrigerator pickles on the FB page. After 10 days of brining/marinating/pickling, quite a few friends have tried them. The verdict: delicious. Second verdict: I need to fry those bad boys up. Now hunting for a good fried pickle recipe- an on-going quest the past several years.
What have you been into this month?