Blog Posts & Articles
How Weeds Become Offerings of Love. by Nicole Walters. Words that I needed to be reminded of this month, especially! A beautiful post about being thankful for the weeds-that-are-gifts in our lives…and also an adorable story about a mother and her boy.
How I Won the Lottery. By Micha Boyett. One of my favorite bloggers has taken a hiatus from blogging to dedicate more energy to her family life after welcoming their third son, Ace, who has Down syndrome, into the world about a year ago. This post is one of the most beautiful, uplifting pieces of writing that I’ve read all month.
Changing the Question. By Sarah Wells. I probably need to read this once a month, just to be reminded that I need to “change my question” from “Why?” to “What now?” I love how she reminds that asking “Why?” always points us to the past, while asking “What now?” points to the future.
A Toast to My Journey with Wine. By Addie Zierman. I may or may not be writing something related to / inspired by / as a reaction to this article sometime in the future, so I won’t say much more now . . . but here’s a favorite quote:
When we do wine right, it’s communion. It’s a holy mystery. It’s a gift. But it’s also possible to do it wrong—and I have. I pour another glass even when I know I shouldn’t. At times, instead of talking about my pain and failures, my exhaustion and frustrations, I drink about them. It’s a fake and temporary solution at best—and a wicked hangover at worst.
On Commitment. Dartmouth College Commencement Speech. by David Brooks (June 2015). This is amazing. If you haven’t read this already, please read it. It sesms like every few months I recommend it to someone and then end up reading it again, so that happened (again) this month. That’s all I’m going to say.
Books & Poetry
Night Driving, by Addie Zierman. Addie packed up her bags and her boys and fled the Minnesota cold outside her home and the interior cold of her heart on a 3000 mile road trip to Florida. This is the story of the journey she took, searching for the sun. I’m only about 30% of the way through, but I find myself wanting to fast forward a bit, past the many trips down memory lane into her “evangelical high school years” (which she wrote about so well in her first memoir) to all the things she is feeling — or not feeling — in the present. I want to read about what she learned on that trip – and what she’s going to do about it. But I love her writing and have this idea that these early parts of the book are setting the stage for self-discovery.
Untitled. By Rachel McKibbens. A precious friend got married this month, and she posted this amazingly moving poem the day before her wedding day.
(here’s an excerpt:)
Know that your first love will only be the first.
And the second and third and even fourth
will unprepare you for the most important:
The Blessed. The Beast. The Last Love,
which is, of course, the most terrifying kind.
Because which of us wants to go with what can murder us?
Can reveal to us our true heart’s end and its thirty years
spent in poverty? Can mimic the sound of our bird-throated mothers,
replicate the warmth of our brothers’ tempers?
Can pull us out of ourselves until we are no longer sisters
or daughters or sword swallowers but, instead,
women who give and lead and take and want
and want and want and want,
because there is no shame in wanting.
On the Occasion of Your Wedding. By Sandra Beasley. I read this poem at above-friend’s wedding and totally fell in love with it. Hilarious and self-serious and true. (And who hasn’t felt that way about drain hair or pan grease?)
Insomnia. By Dana Gioia. I’ve been having trouble sleeping and a friend sent me this. Also so beautiful. (Is it poetry month already at my house or what?!)
The Story of Ping. By Marjorie Flack. My mom sent this in a box with some other things this month – it was a favorite from my childhood – and my son has become obsessed with it.
The Amazing Bone. By William Steig. This Caldecott Award-winning book was also in aforementioned box, and when I first saw it, I got all excited, remembering it (or so I thought) from my childhood. It’s a weird, weird book! So strange. But we keep reading it. I can’t tell if the idea of a talking bone appeals to my son’s tremendous imagination and sense of creativity or if he just likes that the main character is a pig.
Big Bad Bruce. By Bill Peet. I found this on a shelf in my kids’ room one day – I have no idea where it came from – and we’ve been loving it. Especially Roxy the foxy witch.
The Book With No Pictures. By B. J. Novak. I know we are a bit late to the party on this one – I’ve heard about it for at least a year, but friends just gifted it to us and we can’t stop laughing our way through it. I am a robot monkey. I am a robot monkey writing a blog post. And eating Southern Pecan Talenti ice cream.
Mostly we’ve been listening to Jacob holler-sing at the top of his lungs Ho-sa-a-a-na in the high-igh-est! The li-i-ttle child-ren sing!!!! Over and over. And over. And over.
Movies & Television
Friday Night Lights. There may or may not be a post coming up about what FNL has taught me about gratitude and money. But even if not, I finally finished the show. (And prepped some great dinners, if I do say so myself.)
Chef’s Table. Harrison and I have watched two episodes and I’ve realized that while we enjoy the beautiful cinematography and gorgeous food images and hearing the stories of these various chefs, really each one also presents a different philosophy of food – and if you know us, you know we like philosophizing. 😉 so they have been good conversation starters.
In My Life
This month has been pretty hectic, filled with crazy schedules, grief and emptiness, frustration and longing for encouragement. And also, with the season of Lent and the preparation for Easter. (Which I hope to write about soon.)
The best part of my month was a dinner hosted by a friend to “celebrate her friends.” She made us feel like royalty with the meal she had prepared and the beautiful table she had set – but even more meaningful was the way she introduced each one of us (most of us only knew a few of the others gathered around the table). After a heartfelt “thanks for coming” speech (someone joked that it felt like we were at a bridal shower), she thoughtfully introduced us individually, explaining how each of us represented an answer to prayer and filled a unique desire of her heart. (I “always ask challenging questions.” Ha!) She also had place cards for us all, each with a tempting clue about someone else at the table, so the entire night we were laughing over stories-we-never-would-have-guessed and chatting until way too late for our collective 45 kids who all awoke before sunrise the next morning.