What I’m Into: February (2016)


It’s common for bloggers to share various “what I’m into this month” types of posts, recounting books they’ve read, movies they’ve watched, artists they’ve listened to. Often with links and witty commentary.

To be honest, I often delete or only skim these posts. I have no idea how some of these writers have the time to read not just one – but three or four or more books every month. I have no idea how they manage to watch so much television and so many movies (mostly I’m in awe of their ability to stay awake past the first 25 minutes, which I can’t seem to do). And when I’m reading blogs, I mostly want to read their stories, hear their voices.

But – the things these writers love and are inspired by and challenged by also make up their voices and their stories.

So I thought I’d try. Maybe I’ll do this every month. Maybe it will fall by the wayside. But there are so many little things to love and laugh and think about – good blog posts, challenging New Yorker articles, a recently-discovered song, a great coffee maker. And what can I say? Nearly every book I have managed to read is one that I read about on someone’s blog post. So, here goes. I’d love to hear what you are loving, too. Won’t you leave a comment with a link to something you’ve enjoyed this past month? 

Blog Posts & Articles

I Did Not Run. By Bronwyn Lea. I love this for her honesty. And because the hard part often is simply staying put during the hard times. And because love often calls us to do the things that are hard.

Teach Yourself Italian. By Jhumpa Lahiri. This is the most amazing piece on self-realization, identity, writing, language, personal transformation, culture, and so much more. And it is beautiful. (And I bet that by next month I’ll have re-read her first book of short stories.) Yes, it’s from the December 7th New Yorker. I’m a little behind. Please, please read it.

Size Up. By Addie Zierman. Nailed it. Again. Just click on over (and it’s a fast read).

Abandoning Surrender Language in Worship Songs. Edited by Matt Boswell. This is intelligently written, and I really appreciated reading about all the thought that goes into examining the theology in worship lyrics. Plus, I’m always talking about this stuff with my husband.

In Sickness and In Health. By Tanya Marlow. I love this picture of what a church can look like, carrying a family through something they cannot bear alone. “It is a strange and holy thing to consider that when we turn up at our local congregation, we are in some way kneeling under the great archway of the nave, promising to love that stranger in the pew next to us as Christ has loved us and gave Himself up for us.” Amen.

Behind the Veil. By Cara Strickland. You guys. This is amazing, and especially for the way her piece makes you realize your own fears, insecurities, and biases. You’ll just have to read it; I’m not writing a summary.



Every Good Endeavor. By Tim Keller. I read this when it first came out, and loved it. I’m reading it again and loving it again. A fantastic examination of God’s plan for work, the brokenness of work, and how the gospel impacts our work.

All the Light We Cannot See. By Anthony Doerr. I’m halfway through and love it. Except for the parts I hate (why did I think that a book set in WW2 Germany and France would be a good idea for me?). But the strong narrative sucked me in, the writing is clean, and the characters compelling. What else can I ask for?

The Fault in Our Stars. By John Green. I’m not entirely sure why I read this (and maybe it was technically in January? I can’t remember), but it was a quick read and I enjoyed the characters and their relationships. I did not fall in love with it, but after All the Bright Places, maybe my heart just needed more time. 😉 (If you read my blog post about that book, you understand.)


Kids Books

Let’s be real. It’s likely that I spend more time reading aloud to my kids than I spend reading on my own many days. So, briefly, here’s what he and she are into:

The Little Red Lighthouse. By Hildegarde H. Swift and Lynd Ward. As you might have guessed. (Or read my post about it if you haven’t already!)

The Best Nest. By P. D. Eastman. A sweet book, essentially about how there’s no place like home.

The Tale of Tom Kitten. By Beatrix Potter. I mean, come on. It has words like “rockery” and “pinafore.” What could be better?

Curious George. By. H.A. Rey. Always and forever, all of them.

Early reading phonetic books. (Even thought he doesn’t quite get it yet. Maybe he finds it interesting that 8 pages can be filled with words made up of the same sound?)

Lift-the-flap books with words and pictures (like this one).

Sesame Street books that have words identifying objects in the pictures. (She’s into words!)

Anything with pictures of ducks, dogs, and balls.



I’ve mostly been listening to whatever I’m performing each week (Carter: Symphony No 1; Schubert: Death and the Maiden String Quartet in D minor; Beethoven: Mass in C Major; Arvo Paart: Te Deum; Mozart: C Major Viola Quintet) or I’m listening to kids music. In that realm, our family loves the Itty Biddies, Okee Dokee Brothers, Wee Sing Bible Songs, and Raffi the best.

I recently made a new spotify playlist of worship music that has resonated with me lately…you can access it here. (I recommend listening to it on shuffle.)


Movies and Television

Well, we watched a movie back in January, so I’m going to cheat a little and bring it up in this month.

Chef. I’m bringing it up because I really loved it and can’t stop thinking about it. Such a sweet story, and plus I’m a wannabe foodie (is that a thing?). And I like to eat. And think about starting a business and following your dreams.

Friday Night Lights. Perfect for chopping vegetables (when I’m not talking to my mom or grandma-in-law) or 10pm after I’m done working and need to unwind while I wait for hubby to come home. Sorry it’s kind of a horrible show to recommend. After my third go-round with The West Wing, nothing else holds a candle.


In My Life

My “automatic on” coffee maker. My husband bought me this coffee maker for my first Mother’s Day. And lately I’ve been trying to be more disciplined about getting up early so that I can have a bit of quiet(ish) time alone before the kids are allowed to get up. So I set the coffee maker to start five minutes before my alarm goes off… and the smell of coffee wafting down the hall in the dark of morning is AMAZING.

Aunt Sadies Candles. I’m a smell person. Smells that I dislike really bother me (like, a LOT). And like my three-year-old, I’m mesmerized and calmed by a candle flame. My husband bought me two of these candles (after much research into the authenticity and non-fake-ness of their smells) last year. When he realized that I loved them so much I was severely rationing their use, he bought me four more this year. (Or maybe it was just to get free shipping?) Anyway, I LOVE them. And I’ve been burning one nearly every day. Especially as I write. Check them out!

Baking with my three-year-old. Tickling my 19 month-old. Watching my kids tackle each other. Totally loving how my littlest is learning new words literally Every Single Day. Going for long walks when it’s 40 degrees because 40 is way better than -20.


And that’s all, folks! What about you?


{Linking up – for the first time! – with Leigh Kramer and her February edition of What I’m Into.}



Filed under blogging, books, music, What I'm Into, writing

8 responses to “What I’m Into: February (2016)

  1. Thanks for including my post, Leah, I’m honored!

  2. kristen

    I always love these posts, too, and of course it’s so much more fun to read yours! (And I’m also impressed that anyone blogs, let alone reads books! Ha.) Amelia and I are really into the “Billy and Blaze” series of books by CW Anderson. And we love listening to “Curious George” in the car (all the classics!). On the music front, wish I had more to offer, but I’m loving some Dan Forrest church choir arrangements. “His Robes for Mine”…check it out. Amazing words!

  3. Erica Chen

    Wow, non-kids books…it’s been a while since I’ve cracked one of those. But I like your kids’ favorites–those phonetic books are catchy! Recently we’ve been reading “Dream Animals” every night, and during play time J enjoys what I think is called “Hooray for Hat”–I picked it up from a bargain shelf at a local bookstore, and it’s adorable and the art is colorful and fun!

  4. epgillins

    Enjoying Tim Keller’s Encounters with Jesus, when I have a moment to read. And the book of Proverbs:)

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