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What I'm Into (March Edition)

Mumford & Sons at the Ryman...

the blurriness gives the night a well-deserved ethereal glow

Read and Reading: 

My friend Elora passed along a complimentary copy of her ebook for me to review. First, I am so, so proud of her for taking this step! Second, the message of When Beauty Pursues You is a mighty one. Elora describes the book as "for the girls who feel damaged and used and forgotten. It’s a manifesto, in the middle of my brokenness, for those who feel like they’ll never measure up against standards set for them.While not geared toward teen girls, it's something I wish I would have read when I was grappling with depression and low self-esteem. And it was a good reminder for the woman I am today and how far I've come. I highly recommend it for women everywhere.

I'm still mulling over The Resignation of Eve: What If Adam's Rib is No Longer Willing to be the Church's Backbone? (Henderson). Review coming soon. 

When I heard about The Year of Living Like Jesus (Dobson), I immediately thought of AJ Jacob's The Year of Living Biblically (one of my favorite non-fiction books). Dobson's journey is as a Christian, Jacobs as a Jew. During Dobson's year, he explores Judaism, Catholicism, and a few other aspects outside the Evangelical community. At times, it read as a scholarly book instead of his experience, though I learned from his explanations of various practices. Dobson definitely went outside of his comfort zone for this project with interesting results, from drinking at bars to deciding how to vote. He also reflects on how he views his ALS because of this undertaking. Thought-provoking and honest, Dobson ends by admitting he has more to learn when it comes to being like Jesus. This could be a good book club read.

Currently reading: 7: an Experimental Mutiny Against Excess (Hatmaker) for Marla Taviano's Read-Along, The Little Friend (Tartt), When Helping Hurts (Corbett and Fikkert) and The War of Art (Pressfield).

(I read 8 books this month.)

TV: My must-see TV: Once Upon a Time, Revenge, Parks & Rec, The New Girl, The Vampire Diaries, Psych

Glad to be back tweeting about Psych's funny lines with my #psychophants friends. If you enjoy the show, just follow the hashtag on Wednesday nights.


Crazy Stupid Love- I expected to like this more than I did. At times, it was very funny. I liked seeing Ryan Gosling's abs and the way his character developed. I like just about everything Emma Stone does. But I thought it had some troubling messages concerning women, which I did not expect given all the glowing reviews that said "this is what a romantic comedy should be!"

I saw The Hunger Games and needed a stiff drink afterward. While it was really well done, it was INTENSE! I honestly cannot imagine watching the movie without reading the books. We miss out on some of the back story and Katniss's inner dialogue (though Lawrence handled this masterfully with her expressions). What the movie did well was play off the theme of us the moviegoers as voyeurs, just as the Society is toward the Games. It also made the dichotomy of the Capitol's disconnection from the outlying districts even starker. Yes, I cried. Yes, I had about eleventy billion heart attacks- and this is from someone who inhaled the books like candy. I would recommend HG fans watch because they'll already know thematically what's in store. If you haven't read the books yet, research first- a little preparation goes a long way.

They're making Madeleine L'Engle's play Camilla into a movie. As a L'Engle addict, I'm thrilled.

Favorite Video:

 If you're a fellow bibliophile, you will swoon over Birth of a Book. All that hard work!


Birth of a Book from Glen Milner on Vimeo.

Honorable mention goes to Bon Joviver. Yes, you guessed it. If Bon Jovi and Bon Iver ever combined forces, it would sound like this.



New discoveries:  All Sons & Daughters (loved the song posted by Jessica Turner)Tyrone Wells (via Jamie Golden, if I recall correctly), Bhi Bhiman (via NoiseTrade- holy haunting voice, go download this now, especially while it's still free), Daniela Mason (via Brite Revolution sampler), Five Finger Death Punch (via radio, they might be too growly overall but a few of their songs are great if you like hard rock), Lauren Pritchard

Going to see Mumford & Sons at the Ryman was like going to church. The show drew me closer to God. Going to see The Head and the Heart at Cannery was like attending a charismatic service, in a good way. Both bands have such piercing lyrics. They may not be Christian bands but man, their words preach.


I stopped by Opryland to see friends who were in town for a certain blog conference. A friend of a friend came over and we traded business cards, hers contained in a lovely bag. Isn't this a genius idea for anyone with a handmade business? I have been wearing these earrings a ton. Love!

Nashville Food:

The thing about Nashville is that you can be enjoying a lovely evening at PM with Dinner Club and all of a sudden this guy will sit down at the table behind you. And because it's Nashville, you'll trade slight glances and imperceptible nods that it is in fact him and continue on with dinner as if nothing unusual had occurred.

I got my token Shamrock Shake this year and while I couldn't drink the whole thing, per usual, it was magically delicious. I got a kick out of reading James Joyce Orders a Shamrock Shake.

I'm very proud of myself for this invention. Take one Mug Brownie and, before you bake it, plop a Cadbury Creme Egg in the middle. You'll thank me later.

In the Blogosphere:

I found out about Trayvon Martin's murder a few days after it happened. I was horrified that his killer hadn't been arrested. A month has passed now and more details have emerged, even as Zimmerman remains free. Kristen Howerton compiled a list of articles on Trayvon's heartbreaking case. There are more out there, such as this one. One of the best articles I've read is Why I Fear "Good" People: Trayvon Martin and Kony 2012. If you are white, this article on White Privilege is a must read if you have never considered the many unearned privileges we have. Good conversation is occurring. Now we need to move toward action. A start? Sign this petition to bring Trayvon justice.

Addie Zierman has quickly become one of my new favorite blogs to read. I love the way she examines and re-envisions well-known Christian vernacular. I read Faith Journey a few times, letting it sink in, thinking about the places I call home and how I ended up there.

My friend Amanda from Life Edited is a phenomenal writer. I love the glimpses of truth she weaves together, especially in this piece The Dance.

You will probably cry while reading Tamara Out Loud's account of briefly foster parenting. It is gorgeously written, heart-breaking, and an absolute must-read.

Rachel Held Evans' Ask A... series has been a tremendous resource. I especially appreciated Tim King's response in Ask a Christian Progressive. You can look at the other topics here.


What have you been into this month?

Disclosure : Amazon Affiliate links included in this post.  If you click through to Amazon from HopefulLeigh, any purchase you make supports this site.

Collecting Feathers: A Story of Hope

Doubt. Jealousy. Anger. Anxiety. Disappointment. They've come in little gasps and pricks this past week, chipping away at my hard-won hope. I knew it wouldn't be easy to re-learn hope. In the last 3 months, I've realized I'm both more hope-full and hope-less.

Even so.

This bears repeating: I love my life. We all have dreams about the way we wish our lives looked and I'm not convinced there's anything wrong with that.

We have dreams for a reason.

I hope for a few things, for myself and for my loved ones. I'm realizing that my hope has another facet as of late: the knowledge that hope is worthy no matter the outcome. Should our dreams not come true, our lives will not be any less worthwhile. This is hard truth. Hoping does something for our internal good.

Any time we set out to hope, life or people or circumstances will take issue with it. Hope is not a perpetual walk in the park. The question is how we will respond to the slings and arrows that come our way.

And the answer comes entirely from Hope itself.

Hope does not shy away from pain and frustration.

Hope acknowledges it and sits with it and lets it be. For awhile. Only awhile. Long enough to ask ourselves the important questions. What does this mean about me? What bearing does this have on my life? How does this affect my dreams?

And then hope chooses to press on in confident expectation. In spite of the lack of a guarantee, hope prevails if we will let it. I've heard that we wouldn't fully know happiness if not for the pain of sadness. Similarly, for hope to fully take root and deepen, it needs to wrestle with the reality of disappointment and frustration and fear. It needs to look pain in the eye and say "I see you but I will not stay in this place."

Hope must look up.

Emily Dickinson wrote "hope is the thing with feathers." The line has stuck with me a long time now. I remember the first time I read the poem, initially finding feathers an odd equivalent for hope. A feather is light and flimsy. It cannot bear weight. We cannot hold on to it should a breeze come along and pluck it from our fingers. How easy it is to lose hope, should that be the case.

And yet, she chose "feathers." Plural. Add enough feathers to a sturdy frame and suddenly it's something else entirely. While birds freak me out a little, there's majesty in watching a bird soar through the sky. Free, living the way they were meant to.

Each time I dare to wrestle, each time I then choose hope, I am collecting another feather.

I experience the levity of believing in myself enough to dream. I experience the freedom of believing in what's possible. I grow a little closer to the person I'm meant to be.

A feather, even if only in my mind, is the touchstone I need. A reminder of the intangible.

One day these feathers will amount to something. For now, they tickle at me with a reminder to keep pressing on.

I'm not there yet. But I'm not giving up either.

A OneWord365 update on my chosen word.

This Is How We Met: Anne Bogel's Story

If you enjoy a good Internet rabbit trail, try this one on for size. Anne commented on a Christianity Today (or one of their other blogs) post. I was so impressed by her response, I clicked on her name and began perusing her blog. We started following each other on Twitter and exchanged thoughts on an article in The Atlantic. Our blog friendship was finally complete when we met last month while she was in town and I plan to visit her in a couple of weeks. The moral of the story: follow those rabbit trails and you'll end up with amazing friends.

The fall of senior year, my high school English teacher broke the class into small groups to do little skits on MacBeth. I was with 5 people I knew, and one I didn't--an unfamiliar boy who, so I'd heard, had transferred in the year before. My friend and I were making the arrangements for the group meeting, dividing up which people to call. I drew the short straw and had to call the boy.

We'd never talked at school; I wasn't sure if he knew who I was. But I called, and explained that most of us could meet before school to run through our skit. I was unprepared for his response: "I can't be there, I have to take my sister to school then. Tell them you couldn't get ahold of me, okay? Just tell them we never talked."

That's how I think we met.

But in order to truly meet I think both parties need to remember, and he later swore he never could have done anything so stupid. (But if he did, he said it's because high school boys are idiots at least half the time.)

I hated to see this boy at school after that. I died of awkwardness every time I saw him, mingled with resentment at the arrogant jerk who asked me to say we never talked.

But his memory was shorter than mine. Later that semester when I was heading down the hall to humanities class, he was lounging outside the classroom door talking to some friends. He smiled at me, said "hey," thought I gotta get to know this girl.

That's how he thinks we met.

But I don't remember any of that.

We both remember this: Later that fall, after the weather had turned colder, we were all packing our bags at the end of last period when my friend said, "Wanna come to the research library with us? It'll be more fun with company..." She was right, term paper research would be more fun with a buddy, so I said yes--and then found out this boy was coming, too.

The plan was to meet up at his house, so he jotted down the address and asked if I needed directions. I stared at the paper, confused. Was his house really right around the corner from mine? We laughed, wondering how we hadn't known, how we hadn't met.

That afternoon we all drove downtown to the library, and to my surprise I found out this boy I'd been dodging for months was actually really nice--if a little reserved.

He turned out to be really good company--he was sweet, and smart, and witty. Soon we were beating a path up and down the neighborhood streets that connected our houses, grabbing a companion for little jaunts to Target or the library or the park on a beautiful day. Before long he'd become my best friend and my boyfriend--I'm not sure of the order. We just loved spending time together.

We have different memories of how we met, but we agree we first connected on that mundane trip to the library. It was a fitting beginning for us--an ordinary event made special because of who you're with.

And that's pretty much how it's been ever since.


Anne's been married to Will for 11 years. He's still her favorite companion for a Target run, but more exotic locations are okay by her, too. She blogs at Modern Mrs Darcy, and you can find her on twitter @ModernMrsDarcy.


"When we talk about settling the world's problems, we're barking up the wrong tree.  The world is perfect.  It's a mess.  It has always been a mess.  We are not going to change it.  Our job is to straighten out our own lives." - Joseph Campbell


She and I sit over a cup of coffee

We're solving the world's problems, we joke

Because of course our solutions are right

Whether world peace or what to wear on our next dates

Lofty goals, maybe

But it's easier to see problems

From the outside looking in

Than examine what's inside


Enough about me, I say

Though, really, I've only grazed the surface

Time to retreat to safety and turn the tables

I stretch my hand across

To comfort, to console

I won't try to fix you, at least I don't think

The questions I ask you, I ask myself

In listening to you, I listen to me

But letting you ask the questions?

I'm not ready


Every time the rain lashes out

I wonder where the homeless find shelter

This question keeps tugging

Systems are in place, to help or to maintain

Maybe even limit

It's not hard to see Contributor vendors

And believe my $1 tip is enough (in)action

Be the change, I admonish myself

Be the freaking change

But it's months later and I still haven't acted


The To Do list is ever long


I stick to the tasks I know, slowly branching out

I incorporate all of life that way

Adding a friend here and there

Trying something new

Dipping a toe into the unknown

Seeing how brave I am the day before, the day of

Voicing in-the-moment concerns out loud

Instead of quietly puzzling through

The easier route needles me

Vulnerability is risky business

Even for me

Especially for me

But it's worth it every time


And so I invite you to iron the wrinkles

Turn the tables on me

It's time for straightening

To be the me I'm meant to be

Change, I whisper within

This corner of the world

Messy in perfection

Invites you in for tea


Linking up to the Gathered Thoughts party at LoveFeast TableI rarely publish poetry here but these words have bounced around ever since my blog friend Laura of Hollywood Housewife asked me to participate. Be sure to see how other people were inspired by their Gathered Thought.

What came to mind when you read the Joseph Campell quote?

Yes, I'm an Introvert

"Our passion for depth also applies to our understanding of ourselves...for introverts there is no end in our journey of self-discovery. Introverts are experts in our internal worlds, aware of the strata of motivations, feelings and assumptions that determine our choices and behaviors." - Introverts in the Church, p. 41

While I was reading Introverts in the Church, much of what Adam McHugh wrote resonated with me. It made me wonder: was I an introvert after all?

Being a people person and being an introvert is not mutually exclusive, in spite of the stereotypes out there. The stereotypes are likely why I identified myself as an extrovert with introvert tendencies for so long.

LK5Family photo, around 4 years old and rather contemplative

People described me as shy when I was a little girl. I didn't like that label, especially when I knew I wasn't shy. I was selectively friendly. I had good friends. I just didn't talk to strangers right off the bat.

I took the Myers-Briggs personality test in a high school psychology class. I don't remember my results but I do know I came up as an Extrovert and that I breathed a sigh of relief. There was a subtle bias that extroverts were preferable.

From junior high through graduate school, a good chunk of my identity was wrapped up in whether I had plans and the status of friendships. Did my friends want to spend time with me? Did I have a date lined up? What party was I planning next? Truthfully I'm not sure how I held up during those frenetic years.

It's been a few years since my identity was tied up in my interactions. I didn't mask myself as an extrovert but I didn't own up to my introvertedness either. Even though I knew extroversion/introversion represented the way we process and recharge. (I'm rather tricky on the introvert-extrovert scale: After most interactions, I crave down time but 1:1 interactions can energize me, which is likely tied in to being an NF and my propensity for counseling and going deeper in relationships.)

Last month I retook the test. I tried to answer what was true most of the time.

My results: INFJ. The Counselor. "Although they are happy working at jobs (such as writing) that require solitude and close attention, Counselors do quite well with individuals or groups of people, provided that the personal interactions are not superficial, and that they find some quiet, private time every now and then to recharge their batteries." Honestly, could there be a more perfect description of me?

I see now that my introversion has been there all along. Contemplating how it has affected the way I view life has been very freeing. It's not a liability the way I'd previously thought.

(And there are so many cool people who are introverts! Yessssss.) 

My point here isn't to elevate one personality style over another. We flourish when we are true to ourselves and the way we were created.

As a fairly self-aware person, I'm a little embarrassed it took this long to own up to my introversion. Reading Introverts in the Church gave me permission to do so. For that, I sincerely thank McHugh. Where some people see weakness, he points to our strengths.

Introversion does not define me but it's a part of me.  And I happen to like myself a lot.


So...what's your personality type? 


Additional info:

Overview of the 4 MBTI Temperaments

Shorter, free version of MBTI called the Jung Typology Test

A fun visual personality test

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