I have a confession: I'm madly in love with April. Flowering trees? Check. Awesome conference? Check. Time with my people? Check. Easter candy galore? Check and check. The month kept trying to top itself at every turn. I'm certainly not going to complain.
Given some looming uncertainty beginning next month, April feels like even more of a gift.
Read and Reading:
The Bookman's Tale (Lovett) is a book lover's dream. I was enthralled with the mystery it contained from start to finish and kept wondering how the author came up with the storyline and wove the elements so seamlessly together. (It's clear from his bio he was meant to write this book.) It wasn't perfect but gracious does it have my mind whirling with possibilities. Now who can teach me about the world of antiquarian books...
I expected to be moved by Henderson's memoir Unremarried Widow and I was. I did not, however, expect any part of her experience, so different from my own, would resonate. Sentence after sentence wrapped around my heart and I've tucked those words away for further reflection. Henderson is a stunning writer and she deftly handles grief, loss, and forgiveness. I'm grateful she's lifted the curtain behind the military wives and families and given us a glimpse at the hard road they travel.
Currently reading: Learning to Walk in the Dark (Taylor), Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Taylor), Amazing Grace (Norris), New and Selected Poems: Volume 1 (Oliver), Hazardous (Cyzewski), Wisdom of the Enneagram (Riso and Hudson)
(I read 11 books this month.)
Must-see TV: The Vampire Diaries, Reign, Once Upon A Time, The Real Housewives of New York
I accidentally watched most of Bravo's new show Southern Charm. It was...interesting.
I had high hopes for Anchorman 2. I regularly quote Anchorman and hoped its sequel would be similarly hilarious and quotable. Unfortunately, it fell flat. They may have been going for satire but it didn't work. The exception being any scene with Steve Carrell. Brick is the best.
Things I Love:
- I started using doTERRA essential oils in February. I'm a total believer when it comes to OnGuard's germ fighting skills. I use melaleuca and geranium for my eczema and while I'm not entirely sure they're helping with that, there are a host of other great side benefits. DigestZen works beautifully and PastTense knocks out my headaches. I haven't had good success with any of the oils that are supposed to help with sleep- they have the opposite effect on me- but there are a few left to try. doTERRA isn't cheap but if you do a cost analysis ($/drop) it's not too bad. I try a new oil each month to spread it out. Any questions, let me know. If you're interested in trying oils, my friend Lora Lynn will hook you up here.
- I went a few hours out of my way so I could stop by my hometown on the way to the Festival of Faith and Writing. I got to see my best friend at work, hang out with my parents, and see my Grandpa's place one last time before he moves. Totally worth it.
- Plus, going to my hometown meant I met up with Addie and Kim and we drove to Grand Rapids together. They're the best and I wouldn't trade the extra time with them for anything.
- The Festival itself was amazing. Seriously one of the best conferences I've ever been to. It's been on my radar for YEARS but this was the first time I was able to make it. I left feeling inspired, encouraged, and challenged. It also gave me brand-new direction for my work. I'll be back for FFW 2016 for sure.
- One of the best parts of FFW was time with friends. I didn't manage to see everyone I wanted to see (Shelly, I still can't believe it!) nor was there enough hours in the day to have good quality conversations with everyone. But I loved getting to see and hug so many favorites. Truly, too many to list here. I treasured the conversations that emerged from our time together, whether during a too-short coffee break, skipped session, or the party at Bar Louie hosted by me and my roommates.
- When I read her amazing spiritual memoir Surprised by Oxford a few years ago, I never could have imagined Carolyn Weber and I would end up having lunch at the Festival. But we did! After I read Surprised, I stumbled on to her blog and from there we developed an online friendship of sorts, which has bloomed in to something real and true. Caro is so lovely and I was so blessed by our time together. If you haven't yet read Surprised by Oxford or Holy Is The Day, you need to.
- Also, there were bowls of margaritas. It needed to happen.
- I also had a great time talking to readers! Thanks to each one for introducing themselves. I only hope I was coherent.
- A week after we saw each other at the Festival, Laura and her husband came to Nashville. So fun chatting over coffee. I can't wait to hang out with her again! Next time we will be sure to discuss Joan Didion.
- I observed Lent for the first time this year, challenging myself to go to my church each week I was in town. (If you know about last year's church sabbatical, you know what a big deal this is.) I wanted to get back in the habit of going and I'm glad I can say I followed through. I don't know where to go from here but it's been good to have this routine at a safe place.
- My best friend and I decided to try to get cheap tickets to Wicked via lottery the last night of the show. Luckily, Tracy's name was picked! It's one of my favorite shows and it was her first time seeing it. I've been singing Defying Gravity ever since.
- Last week contained an insane amount of visitors. I'm still glowing.
- I went to my friend Tamara's book reading for What A Woman Is Worth. I'm so proud of her! I still remember the impact of the Deeper Story post that inspired it all. To hear her read passages from the book was the icing on the cake.
- My childhood best friend Ruth stayed at my place one night. She was at the tail end of a work trip. (Read her piece on ERLC for Al Jazeera America.) It's hard to believe we've known each other almost 30 years. We haven't lived in the same state since college but I have no doubt she'll always be a part of my life one way or another.
- Amongst the visitors were some of my dearest people. We saw each other in various configurations but the highlight was when we all had breakfast together one morning. I'm a better person for knowing Sarah, Abby, Joy, Amber, Allison, and Lora Lynn. I'm going to get weepy if I talk any more about our group.
- While Allison ran the half marathon here in Nashville, I took care of her darling 6 month old daughter. Miri and I are now best friends forever and always. She has the best smile and giggle and we had very illuminating conversations.
- I had fried pickles three times last week. Don't question it. Also Burger UP puts some sort of cheddar powder on theirs now and it's even more amazing. (Clearly I ignored my dairy-free limitations.)
- Popbasic started a referral program, which is amazing. If you click on this link, you'll receive a $15 credit and I'll receive a credit as well. I've been a big fan of Popbasic ever since they launched last year. I haven't bought every collection but I wear the ones I have ALL THE TIME. Not even kidding. I especially recommend their basic pieces. The t-shirts are incredible. I'm very happy to share the wealth of awesome clothes.
In the Blogosphere:
If you're at all interested in blogging, peruse my friend Laura's Blogging Is My Favorite series. She's one of my favorite people to talk blog talk with. I'm so glad she finally wrote this out.
This morning I looked in the mirror before I left for work and thought, "I look beautiful." Most days I think I'm cute or at least passable but today I'm empirically beautiful. I love myself more each day! I want to honor the progress that's happened in the past 20 years.
(If you want to follow me on Instagram, my user name is leighkramer. You can usually count on pictures of whatever I'm reading and behind-the-scenes facts, like how I'm a long-time newspaper subscriber.)
On The Blog:
I appreciated the kind response to My Messy, Beautiful Single Life. I started out writing it for myself but it turned in to writing for my fellow singles. This is good to keep in mind as I turn my sights on a new project- or at least new direction for a project I've been working on for a while.
Things will continue to be a little quieter on the blog front while I gear up to launch my Enneagram consulting business. Newsletter subscribers will be the first to know when it's ready (and have first dibs at a spot!) You can sign up for the Enneagram-specific newsletter here.
On the Leigh Kramer FB page, I got a big kick out of asking you were you met your spouse or significant other, as well as how old you were when it happened (if married) or how much pressure you get to marry (if single). I also shared a revealing picture of my house for everyone who wonders how I read, watch, and do so much every month.
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 Friday May 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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