I loved the first part of March with my whole heart. I spent time with some of my dearest friends in the world and experienced tremendous personal growth. The tides are changing, my friends. Maybe spring is waking up my senses but my mind is spitting out ideas faster than I can keep up.
But this month wasn't perfect. One of my dearest loved ones is walking a difficult road right now and this breaks my heart. Also, a news story arose which I still don't have words for but which would easily lead me down the path of cynicism. What I'm trying to say is I'm praying like never before.
Read and Reading:
I have read sooo many good books recently. This is a true treasure trove, y'all.
If I could demand everyone read a book, I'd start with To Be A Friend Is Fatal (Johnson). It is that good and one that needs to be read. My grammar school classmate wrote about his time in Iraq and the birth of the nonprofit The List Project to Resettle Iraqi Allies. The way the US treated the Iraqis who helped us is shameful. I commend Kirk for his tireless efforts. An eye-opening, engaging, and insightful read.
Mary Carver recommended Cinder (Meyer) in her last What I'm Into post. I was intrigued it was 1) YA and 2) a take on fairy tales but I was less intrigued by "robots" and "sci-fi." I couldn't put it down! I figured out the main plot twist immediately but I didn't care because Meyer created such a fascinating world. I love that it's set in Asia (when's the last time you encountered a non-white main cast in a YA book?) I love her spin on Cinderella. I read Scarlet and Cress in short order. Now a whole year until we learn how it concludes!
Not being a fan of Eat, Pray, Love, I'm glad I took a chance on The Signature of All Things (Gilbert). It was refreshing to have an unmarried main character and see how she wrestles with her station and sexuality over several decades, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries. Gilbert's voice is that of a detached narrator, resulting in a book that's neither plot-, nor character-driven, yet it remained compelling. I'll be pondering the inspiration behind the title for some time.
Two friends wrote books and I was thrilled to receive advance copies. Highly recommend Micha Boyett's spiritual memoir Found. Beautifully written, lovely, engaging, insightful, it deeply resonated with me. Truly a breath of fresh air. It was nearly impossible to put down Elizabeth Esther's Girl at the End of the World. I would advise caution if you've come out of a fundamentalist background. For me, it was eye-opening and heartbreaking to learn what EE went through at The Assembly. Proud of her for sharing her story and doing it so well.
I'll share about We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves next month.
(I read 11 books this month.)
Must-see TV: The Vampire Diaries, Reign, Once Upon A Time, The Real Housewives of New York
The Psych series finale aired last week and while it was sad to see it go, it was a most perfect send-off for Shawn, Gus, and the gang. You know that's right. (This article notes the finale's inside jokes and nods to fans.)
As to The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, all I'll say is Lisa deserved much better treatment than she got and Brandi is an absolute trainwreck.
I actually watched movies this month! When the Academy Awards aired, I was ashamed of how few movies I'd seen this past year and am determined to do a better job in 2014.
I watched the Veronica Mars movie via Amazon rental the night after it released and again this past weekend at the Belcourt Theater. I highly recommend the theater experience. As a newly obsessed fan of the franchise, I was pleased. It wasn't perfect but it was super enjoyable and gave us a plausible idea of what Veronica's been up to the past 10 years, as well as laying groundwork for a possible sequel. (Yes, please.) Also Logan looks most excellent in a military uniform. This SPOILERY review captures most of my thoughts.
The best way to watch Frozen for the first time is with kids who have seen it a billion times. I don't like snow and even I was ready to go build a snowman.
Bad Grandpa: I figured if I was going to give any of the Jackass Productions a try, it would be this hidden camera road trip. Plus, my friend's husband directed it. I could not stop laughing! There were moments that went too far (for me) but it was hilarious and well done. Plus, Johnny Knoxville's transformation in to a plausible old man is a thing of beauty.
New discoveries: Hozier
Listened to Nickel Creek's new album A Dotted Line a few times, thanks to NPR's First Listen. SO GOOD. I can't wait to own it, even if this fueled my bitterness toward the scalpers who bought up most of the tickets for their shows at the Ryman.
Things I Love:
- S1NGLE: God's Gifts- Our Plan conference put on by Tim Keller's church Redeemer Presbyterian. I watched via livestream (it's still up). I didn't agree with everything but I was so heartened to see a church caring for their single congregants in this way.
- Super proud of my friends Amanda and Raechel at SheReadsTruth, who started a Kickstarter to raise money to build a Bible and Devotional App. The first phase was fully funded in less than 24 hours! Now they're working toward phase 2, which will build an app for Android. Consider donating? They've got some awesome rewards.
- Another StitchFix winner! I kept 3 items from this fix but the top and skinny jeans above were the clear winners. Those jeans are miraculous. If you haven't tried StitchFix yet, what are you waiting for?
- Reconnecting with my friend Jan Shegda! Jan and I went to grammar school and high school together and also worked at the same Christian Bookstore. We lost touch several years ago but a reader mentioned my Enneagram and Blogging series to her. I can't get over how many things we have in common, right down to our Enneagram and MBTI types. Full circle. So, so fun.
- C3 Conference: I was only able to attend the Thursday evening session but I'm so glad I went. There was a tapas and wine reception, plus a fantastic art show. Glennon Melton spoke- I'll never forget cookie communion. I got to meet people, including reader Sarah who reached out and invited me to attend and was the best wingwoman a girl could ask for. I got to hang out with my friends Melissa and Rachel. You should plan on going next year.
- My friend Kim passed through town and I was able to introduce her to fried pickles. They were a big hit! I love how many of my friends want their first fried pickle experience to be with me. It is only right and fitting.
- Both Hands envelope stuffing party (more on this awesome organization soon!)
- St. Patrick's Day- Irish in my heart, yo.
- Cheap plane tickets so I could visit my friend Ashleigh at Storybook Farm for a few days
- Getting picked up at IAD by the one and only Kristin Potler and her cute son Corban and catching up while we traveled country roads
- I wrote a little about my trip but the whole time was magical and refreshing and healing. I didn't want to leave. Ashleigh's family is the best. Plus, she and her husband let me do the Enneagram flashcards with them. She is the sister I never had, a true kindred spirit. I hate it will be several months before we see each other again.
- Watching random episodes of Ally McBeal with Ashleigh, who'd never seen it before. Brought back good memories of being piled in to friends' dorm rooms. Even though I realized I am now a few years older than Ally.
- Breakfasting with Luke and Jill Harms and their sons. They brought all the fixings for Luke's infamous pancakes to Storybook Farm. I mean, Luke has a dedicated pancake spatula. The man means business. The berry compote, the freshly whipped cream with vanilla from Mexico, the chocolate chip pancakes, the egg, cheese, and bacon pancakes? HEAVENLY. Such a treat to spend time with them.
- 'Tis the season to add Cadbury Creme Eggs and Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs to Mug Brownies. #sorrynotsorry
- BirchBox included a sample of DDF Ultra-Lite Oil-Free Moisturizing Dew and it's about all I've used the past couple of weeks. My skin is super finnicky so I was skeptical but it's super moisturizing and not irritating at all. I'm definitely buying a full-size bottle. I've been really impressed with the products they've sent since signing up last fall.
- The return of baseball! While I hate missing the Home Opener, I'll be cheering on my boys from afar. GO WHITE SOX!
In the Blogosphere:
(If you want to follow me on Instagram, my user name is leighkramer.)
On The Blog:
This month was consumed by the rest of The Enneagram and Blogging series. I loved hearing how the series encouraged people and normalized their tendencies. We're not alone in any of this! I also got a kick out of notable bloggers such as The Nester, The Art of Simple, Shauna Niequist, and Rachel Held Evans sharing the series. Thank you, one and all.
What I'm Into Link Up Guidelines:
1. Today’s link-up will stay up for one week. The next What I'm Into link up will be Wednesday April 30.
2. Link the unique URL of your post, not your blog's home page. Readers peruse link ups months after the fact and you want to make it easy for them to find your What I'm Into post.
4. Visit at least 2 other posts in the linkup!
What have you been into this month?
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