what i’m into :: august & september 2015.

Just today I looked at the calendar and realized my son is – to the date – 13 months old. Here I was, telling everyone he’s a year old, that he’ll soon be 13 months …and lo and behold, IT’S ALREADY HERE. Do you ever feel that way about life in general? Linking up with the lovely LOCAL Leigh for this month (and last’s) What I’m Into. 

We had some fun, this time at the Bay Area Discovery Museum:

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The highlight of the past couple of months was hopping on a plane to the middle of the Pacific. This pretty much captured our everyday world:

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The HBH (Hot Black Husband) and I celebrated our fifth anniversary, and cheered on Papa John and Aunt Tina’s ten year vow renewal:

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I wrote every day – and completed four chapters! – and we swam, lots. We grilled fish most every day, used Yelp like it was nobody’s business, read and rested. And we celebrated this little dude’s FIRST birthday:

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I also read a few books, including these four and five star favorites: 

Jacob Have I Loved (Paterson), 5/5 – This was my favorite book when I was twelve, and it’s still just as good.

Go Set a Watchman (Lee), 4/5 – Y’all: just read it. But don’t read it with TKAM in mind.

Loser (Spinelli), 4/5 – Jerry Spinelli is a magical weaver of children’s literature. I can’t wait to introduce my boys to his writing someday.

The Whole-Brain Child (Siegel), 5/5 – This might be the best parenting book I’ve read TO DATE.

Tiny Beautiful Things (Strayed), 5/5 – Wow. Wowwowwowwow. I couldn’t stand Wild, but this book rekindled my faith in all things Cheryl Strayed.

A Man Called Ove (Backman), 5/5 – Grumpy Old Man. Hilarious. Heartwarming. And true. So, so true, for there is a story behind every hurting, angry human.

The Girl Who Fell from the Sky (Durrow), 4/5 – The book I feel like I need to read a second time in order to truly understand.

Wild in the Hollow (Haines), 5/5 – Quite possibly the best spiritual memoir I’ve read this year. And y’all, I read a lot of them.

Orphan Train (Kline), 5/5 – Absolutely fascinating and fun and captivating from start to finish – and unbelievable that this is based on a part of American history.

How to Be a Woman (Moran), 4/5 – Snarky. Witty. Funny. Crass. Caitlin Moran is one brilliant lady.

The Girl With All the Gifts (Carey), 4/5 – Let’s call this one “The Most Unexpected Book I Found Myself Reading.” I would not have chosen this in a million years, but y’all: fascinating.

Out of Sorts (Bessey), 4/5 – Sarah’s second book is sure to strike a chord with a whole new flock of readers. I felt like we were sitting down to a cup of tea together, it’s that personable.

Maisie Dobbs (Winspear), 4/5 – While it’s well-written, I really don’t think it should be hailed as a mystery novel.

Astonish Me (Shipstead), 4/5 – A terribly fascinating look into the last place on earth most of us have probably ever encountered: the world of ballet. (Well, but for my performance in “E.T. on the Moon” when I was four).

Also read: The Cultivated Life; Amsterdam; The Seven Good Years; The Book of Forgiving; The Last Anniversary; Lunch in Paris; Three Daughters; A Tale of Two Cities ; Sailing Alone Around the Room.

Currently reading: Rules of Civility; The Magician’s Assistant; The Boys in the Boat; Simply Tuesday; The Beginning of Desire.

If you’d like to unite as book nerd friends, forever and ever, amen, then let’s be friends on Goodreads!

Otherwise, here’s a bit more of what we’ve been up to: 

Cancan officially started preschool, and y’all, he is AMPED.

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Then, two weeks ago, in a moment of brilliancy, I spilled half a glass of wine on my laptop. It sat in rice for forty-eight hours, and then hung out at hotel de la M.A.C. store for a week …where it was found to not have an OUNCE of damage! We were all doing a happy clappy, praise Jesus dance over here.

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This man and I went on another (!) date (even if it did end in parent happy hour):

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And the cookie cups that were supposed to look like this…

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But ended up looking like this…

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Landed these pictures an upcoming highlight on Tyra Banks’ new show! (No, I’m not joking. Yes, I’m totally serious. Keep on failing, friends, keep on Pinterest Failing).

So, that’s it, in a nutshell. We’ve entertained and we’ve watched football. We’ve had moments with some of our dearest and never snapped a picture because the moment was that good. We’ve tried our hardest to lean into love and into life, and that, if you ask me, is what it’s all about.

xo, c.

What about you? What have you been into this past month? What have you read and watched and listened to? What’s struck your fancy, and what’s just sent a shriek of terror through you? Join in the conversation!

what i’m into :: may 2015.

I seem to be getting into an every-other-month “What I’m Into” update, which is fine by me, given LIFE and LOVE and all that glorious stuff.  We’ve settled, for the most part, into life on the other side of the bay, and we’re getting to know our neighbors and the neighborhood.  We seek to lean into each other as we continue to swim in a sea of change, but in all actuality, it’s pretty dreamy fit of a place for our little family.  xo.  

First in pictures, here’s some of what we’ve found ourselves doing the past couple of months:

Going to the zoo with our friends (while the littles pose for what is sure to be their future cover album):

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Getting hugs, inside and out, from family for Easter:

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Living the actual, day-of Easter dream in our own living room:

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Doing a bit of speaking, here and there:

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Cheering on soccer studs (who’d rather mass-tackle the net):

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And wearing Superman and Strawberry Shortcake capes for a date night gala supporting this organization:

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Otherwise, including April’s picks, I read a few books…

To Kill a Mockingbird (Lee, 5/5) – This is quite possibly one of the best books of all time.  If you haven’t read it since 9th grade English, do yourself a favor and dust it off the shelf (and read yesterday’s post about four essential books on race here).

The Girl on the Train (Hawkins, 3/5) – This obviously got a lot of hype (including a brilliant publicity campaign, to boot).  And I liked it, but it didn’t quite enthrall me like Gone Girl.  

God’s Forever Family (Eskridge, 4/5) – Given my family’s connection to the Jesus People movement (and my own history in the Evangelical church), this book was a terribly fascinating must-read.

Dinner: The Playbook (Rosenstrach, 4/5) – I mean, it made me do this, so that’s something!

IMG_4960Embracing the Body (Owens, 5/5) – Be sure to check in next week for the intro discussion at the Red Couch Book Club about this book (which I’m leading).  I’m also giving away a copy!

Some Girls (Lauren, 3/5) – Jillian Lauren is a talented memoirist, and her story of life in a harem is crazy-unbelievable-wow.

Between You & Me (Norris, 3/5) – I typically like nerdy English grammar and punctuation books, but this one was just a bit off.  

We Were Liars (Lockhart, 4/5) – You know me, I’m a fan of YA, and this book, although the subject matter is heavy at best, was fabulous.

Lila (Robinson, 5/5) – Marilynne Robinson is a master weaver of All Things Story.  Can I be just like her when I grow up?

Brideshead Revisited (Waugh, 5/5) – Another five-star read, wit + historical fiction + intriguingly edible characters make this one a sure winner.

I’ll Give You the Sun (Nelson, 5/5) – Seriously, I can’t get enough of Jandy Nelson’s use of figurative language in this YA read.  You can read more about four five-star reads here.

The Paying Guests (Waters, 3/5) – Les lit meets murder mystery.  Who knew?

Searching for Sunday (Evans, 5/5) – Rachel Held Evans does it again in her best book yet.  If you’ve ever found yourself searching for Sunday, this is a must-read.

And the following books are currently on my nightstand…

Go Tell It on the Mountain; Babyproofing Your Marriage; 11/22/63

I’m staring at this on the boob-tube…

Thanks to a rec from Micha, we consumed The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt last night; otherwise, I’m slowly making my way through 30 Rock.  Because, it’s national All Things Tina Fey in my house and in my world.

And I’m writing…

Posts.  Articles (some of which you’ll see in the next month or two).  A new book proposal, set for full attention come July.  So, if you want to read more, click here for eight ways blogging made me a better writer.  Or, if you want to laugh, read about how Frodo has FOMO.  Cry: check out my post on rewriting a picture of motherhood.  Think differently: yesterday’s discussion on whether or not kids see color.

Finally, we’ve been leaning into life on the home front, with each other and with our neighbors: 

In the front yard:

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In the back yard:

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And on our block:

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As usual, I’m linking up with the lovely Leigh Kramer, who’s moving to my neck of the woods in less than a month …Yippee!  Hooray!  Huzzah!  Bam!  Pow!  Yes!

What about you?  What have you read in the last month or two?  Where have you gone, and what have you done?  And mmm …what have you eaten?  Do share!

FYI: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links, so if you click on a link and buy the book, you go to support my nasty reading habits!

what i’m into :: march 2015.

What a month: packing, sorting and moving.  Birthdays and BBQs and sunshine and newness – All the New, All the Time.  So, even though I opted out of “What I’m Into” last month, I’m linking up with the lovely Leigh Kramer for this month’s edition.  Join the fun!  

First things first, we hopped on a plane and flew to Oregon, my home state, at the end of February for some good old-fashioned family fun.  The cousins enjoyed hours of entertainment with the Best Reader in the Land, otherwise known as (Lady) Gaga:

IMG_4582And Cancan enjoyed soup and tea, Hook-style, with Papa:

IMG_4603(If you’re ever in Salem, Oregon, do pay a visit to the Gilbert House Children’s Museum – it’s epic!)

We ate soul-numbing food, and saw dear friends of the heart, like this woman…

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And the Friday we were up there, I got to speak to a group of a hundred or so college women on a topic I’m most passionate about: Empowering Women in the Church!

11012624_10153122784109709_4700179412017464234_nNeed a speaker for an upcoming event, retreat, or Sunday morning?  I’d love to see if my words and style might be a good fit for you …and I’m excited for some upcoming speaking events this month!

Otherwise, including February’s picks, I read a few books…

A Letter to My Congregation (Wilson, 5/5) – Our church made recent headlines …and along with Jesus, we have this beautiful book to blame for All This Inclusion.

Into That Forest (Nowra, 2/5) – Two girls.  Two tigers. Four years.  I get it, but no.

Oriented to Faith (Otto, 4/5) – You can’t argue with someone’s story.

Just Mercy (Stevenson, 5/5) – I mean, wow.  A must-read for anyone passionate about issues of racial reconciliation and prison reform in America.

Small Victories (Lamott, 5/5) – Annie, bringing it home again (and this, the first book of hers I’ve loved in a while).

Travelling to Infinity (Hawking, 3/5) – Our book club pick of the month for March, it really wasn’t my favorite.  Stick to singing, Jane.

The Burgess Boys (Strout, 3/5) – Loved Olive Kitteridge, meh on this family saga.

Speaking Christian (Borg, 4/5) – Borg teaches me to look past the literal, into the metaphorical.  I don’t have to agree with everything he writes to love his mind.

Everything That Rises Must Converge (O’Connor, 3/5) – Is it bad to desire just a dash of Disney at the end of a Flannery O’Connor story?  (For the love of my Seven-self).

Small Talk (Becker, 5/5) – Yes, yes, yes!  If you’re a parent of small children, practicing the Christian faith, please pick up this gem.

The Spectacular Now (Tharp, 4/5) – another hard-but-good YA read.

Light Upon Light (Arthur, 5/5) – As I’ve said time and time again, I can’t recommend Sarah Arthur’s compilation of Advent and Epiphany readings more.

Food: A Love Story (Gaffigan, 4/5) – Food: ha ha!  Food: funny!  Food: let’s all be eaties togethers.

Lessons in Belonging from a Church-Going Commitment Phobe (Lane, 5/5) – Another yes, yes, yes.  Erin S. Lane is a delightfully witty and intelligent discoverer of truth.  And I, for one, am a huge fan of her writing.

And I’m currently reading…

Searching for Sunday; I’ll Give You the Sun; The Paying Guests and Lila.  

Tonite we’ll put the boys to bed early, and bust out an at-home celebration for this guy (even though we did get to do a pre-birthday date last night, living it up at this more-than delectable spot):

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I’m staring at the boob-tube…

And just finished season five of Parenthood, folks, which can only mean one thing: More Tears.  There is only one more season of this heart-palpitating show, and it’s probably healthy that it’s not available on Netflix quite yet …otherwise, I’d be binge-watching over the course of the next 48 hours.

And I’m writing…

I’ve had a few pieces featured on The Gift of Writing, like this and this, and I have a couple of articles featured elsewhere that you’ll see in the next month or so.  Otherwise, I continue to query and wait and call myself Writer, hoping and trusting and leaning into the now.

And just in case you need to Let it Go, watch this…

//

We are all this mom.

Posted by What The Flicka? on Saturday, February 21, 2015

If nothing else, might you know that you are not alone.

So, that’s about it. What about you? What have you been up to, and what have you been reading and celebrating and eating and writing?  Join in the conversation, and leave a comment below!

what i’m into :: january 2015

I’m not really sure how another month has gone by, how writing “2015” on checks to the babysitter has become an afterthought.  But, such is life.  So, as per the usual, I’m linking up with Lovely Leigh for her monthly “What I’m Into” series – to provide a recap and a look into books and the other microscopic normalcies that make up our days.  Join in the conversation, will you?

This is my favorite memory of the month:

I flew to the western side of Virginia to marry dear friends "Jeffnie."
I flew to the western Virginia, honored to marry my dear friends “Jeffnie.”

What flight would be complete without a traveling companion?  Baby Brother came along for the ride (and the food).

My hot date (who showed off his lungs SO well on the airplane as well).
My hot date (who showed off his lungs SO well on the tin can of an airplane).

Otherwise, I’ve read some books (including December’s books as well)…

The Secret Place (French, 5/5) – One of my 2015 reading goals is to read more mysteries, and this selection for the Sassy Ladies Book Club was just perfect!

The Grand Paradox (Wytsma, 4/5) – I read Ken’s book as part of his launch campaign, and his writing – and the overall question of paradox within one’s faith – is solid.

Disunity in Christ (Cleveland, 5/5) – Seriously, if you profess Christianity, YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Shaffer, 5/5) – One of the first letter-themed novels I’ve ever enjoyed.  Absolutely delightful, with strong characters.

My Ántonia (Cather, 5/5) – Perhaps one of my favorite representations of setting  captured in a novel …and a classic, at that!

All the Light We Cannot See (Doerr, 4/5) – World War II + a creative mix of 50,000 Leagues Under the Sea = a more than intriguing story.

Yes Please (Poehler, 4/5) – Amy, can you, me and Tina be besties, please?  I’ll buy the three-way necklaces.

The Fringe Hours (Turner, 3/5) – Also read as part of a launch campaign, Jessica’s book includes practical, life-giving advice for every woman out there.

Truth & Beauty (Patchett, 4/5) – I feel a new favorite memoir writer coming into my life.

Fierce Convictions (Swallow Prior, 3/5) – A beautifully written biography about a very powerful woman, although a little too dry for my taste.

The Snow Queen (Andersen, 5/5) – Does the fact that Frozen was partially based off this tale hold any weight for you?

Frances and Bernard (Bauer, 3/5) – Meh.  This is one of those letter-novellas that didn’t really work for me.

Outlander (Gabaldon, 5/5) – Yes, yes, yes.  The romance novel I didn’t know was a romance novel.  Surprise!

Committed (Gilbert, 4/5) – I love Elizabeth Gilbert’s easy-going style, and but for the politics that overwhelmed the greater story at times.

I’m currently reading…

Food: A Love Story; Lessons in Belonging from a Church-Going Commitment Phobe; Brideshead Revisited; Babyproofing Your Marriage; Light Upon Light.  

Also, SUPER exciting, people, but we potty-trained our oldest.  See also: the sweater tucked into his big boy underwear.
Also, SUPER exciting, people: we potty-trained our oldest this past month. See also: he began dressing himself and loves to tuck his sweater into his big boy underwear.

I’m staring at the boob tube…

And watching season three of Call the Midwife on Netflix, because – announcement, announcement! – I finally finished all seven seasons of The Gilmore Girls.  Let us now pause for a moment to remember that witty pair of Loreleis …and to hope that Baby Brother’s caloric intake of solid foods helps him sleep through the night so I can calm down on the episode intake.

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I know, edible.

 

And I’m writing…

I’m querying agents.  I’m diving into the work, even if I don’t feel like it, even if it doesn’t feel like I’m very good at it sometimes.  And I’m letting this little one-minute clip featuring the words of Ira Glass speak to my insides, over and over again:

If you’re a creative type, pretty please take a minute and watch the above clip.  You can thank me later.  But in the meantime, just keep doing the work.  It matters.  You matter.  Your words matter.  Keep up the hard.

That’s about it!  What about you?  What have you been reading and watching and doing the past month?  Let’s dialogue – join the conversation and leave a note below.  

FYI: Amazon Affiliate links included!

what i’m into :: october 2014.

We continue to settle into life with two littles …and oh, the full, crazy, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed life it is.  We’ve been to the zoo about a million times, and we’ve relished quality time with friends, and we’ve eaten more than our share of yummy meals.  But mostly, we just stare into the wonder that is our newly-smiling Baby Brother: 

I believe the word for this is ...smitten.
I believe the word for this is …smitten.

So as I link up with the lovely Leigh for this month’s “What I’m Into,” be sure to tell me what YOU’VE been into in the comments below!  

I’ve read some books this month… 

Crossing to Safety (Stegner, 5/5) – This book, about a four-way relationship between two couples over the course of time, was absolutely lovely to me.  Maybe because I yearn for this for the HBH and me, or maybe because I’m drawn to Stegner’s vivid descriptions of the little details.  Either way, I think it’s a bit like Annie Dillard: you either love or hate the woman’s writing.

A Christian Survival Guide (Cyzewski, 4/5) – Ed knows his stuff, and he’s got some of the best sarcasm-filled one liners ever.  I’d recommend this to those exploring the Christian faith, interested in a basic seminary understanding.

The Hardest Peace (Tippetts, 2/5) – Not my favorite, for a variety of reasons that I’m not going to go into here, but you can still win a copy through Friday!  (WORST PROMOTION EVER, I know).  

Not That Kind of Girl (Dunham, 3/5) – I admire and respect Lena Dunham, even if her book wasn’t my favorite thing ever.  Her voice is unapologetically hers, though, and that I’ll strive after myself.

On What Grounds (Coyle, 3/5) – Because sometimes you just need a slightly cheesy, java-filled mystery read.

Tell the Wolves I’m Home (Brunt, 5/5) – YES!  Lovely, haunting and beautifully written, this was hands-down my favorite read of October.  I highly recommend if you’re into YA lit.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Capote, 4/5) – I’d seen the movie, but I hadn’t read the book – and since it was the 99-cent Daily Deal on Audible, I went for it.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Smith, 4/5) – I read this book a number of years ago, but didn’t remember it enough to actually discuss it in the Sassy Ladies Book Club.  So, I read it again, and while Smith’s style isn’t my favorite, her content is right up my boat.  Because life is all about finding Beauty in the most unlikely of places. 

And I’m currently reading: 

Lila; Outlander; Jane Eyre; Light Upon Light; How Language Works; The Enneagram.  Also, are we friends on Goodreads yet?  Hit me up!  

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I’m staring at the boob tube…

and quickly becoming besties with Lorelei and Rory (on Gilmore Girls), given our three am hang out times when Baby Brother gets hungry.  How did I happen to miss this show fifteen years ago?  Be still my late 90’s heart.  Otherwise, besides getting the daily dose of Curious George and Thomas the Train, the HBH (Hot Black Husband) and I found time to watch The World Series, Blackish, How to Get Away with Murder and Scandal.  

And I’m giggling heartily at… 

(Our beloved Neighbor Mark has consistently thrown his name ideas into the hat for our kids: Eva Destructshun.  Anita Zaminashun.  Sharon Needles.  Although he’s never actually won a bid, when he sent me this video, I DIED).

I’m consuming calories…

and friends, stop the presses because I actually started meal planning.  Like, once a week, I sit down and look through our refrigerator and cupboards, and actually plan out what we’re going to eat for dinner the coming week.  And it means we’re eating things like this:

One of the favorite new meals.
One of the favorite new meals.

And I’m starting to write again…

I’ve taken a self-imposed maternity leave and therefore a writing moratorium the past two months, but I’m starting to get itchy for WORDS!  On the blog, “how i read,” “to not produce,” “the 2 am boob tube,” and my post for BBT’s An Altar in the World got a bit of traction on She Loves.  Otherwise, I have three speaking engagements in November, so I’m in the midst of sermon prep now – go go go!

Finally, lest you think I’ve forgotten the cuteness of my first-born, let it be known: he’s a darling, still.  Mostly.  Especially during nap time.  Did I just say that out loud?

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Livin’ la vida loca, I tell you. But in the meantime, what have YOU been into? What have you read and eaten and watched this past month? What’s made you laugh and giggle and snort with glee? Do tell!

what i’m into :: september 2014.

Every month, whether I make the deadline or not (Welcome to the New Normal), I join in with my friend Leigh’s “What I’m Into.”  If nothing else, it’s a fun recap of …well, what I’ve been into.  So without further adieu, here’s a small glimpse at a pretty big month.  

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So, first things first: we had a kid (as evidenced by the potentially cheesy, absolutely perfect picture above). And having a newborn is all-consuming and life-changing and up-all-nightish in all the best – and worst – ways possible.  Oh, and I’m also thoroughly convinced that juggling a newborn and a toddler is not for the faint of heart.  It’s getting real in these parenting parts, y’all.

But in the meantime…

Books read: 

Three Wishes (Moriarty, 3/5) – Not my favorite of hers.

Notes from a Blue Bike (Oxenreider, 3/5) – Although I’ve heard of Tsh, I hadn’t ever read anything written by her.  So, I appreciated her style and content.

Veronica Mars #1: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line (Thomas, 4/5) – Mystery Books in General, where have you been all my life?  I’m also going to have to check out the show come 2 am one of these days.

A Million Little Ways (Freeman, 4/5) – Maybe I have an easily gagged Christian book reflex, but like Oxenreider’s book above, I was pleasantly surprised at Emily’s lovely writing.

The Circle (Eggars, 2/5) – Did Eggars’ writing make me delete Facebook and Twitter from my phone (again)?  Yes.  Did I feel like the flat characters and predictable plot line could have done the satirical deed in a quarter of the time?  Yes yes yes.

The Metamorphosis (Kafka, 3/5) – This satire was the perfect length: short. I GET IT.

Current readsOn What Grounds; A Christian Survival Guide; Crossing to Safety; The Enneagram.  

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The boob tube: y’all, get ready to wave your flags of cheer in my general direction.  Because not only did I watch all six seasons of Mad Mendue to that blessed thing called middle of the night feeds, but I’m currently making my way through The United States of Tara.  The Wild Card Giants-Pirates game is also currently on television, and the HBH (Hot Black Husband) and I have also enjoyed Black-ish, Scandal and Red Band Society.  

Life in general: 

I’m not writing a whole lot, for obvious, self-imposed maternity leave, must-soak-up-this-little-one reasons.  Though I miss it {writing}, the break is good and necessary and full of messy holiness.

Our life is rather all-consuming right now due to Exhibit A: a toddler and Exhibit B: a newborn.  So my expectations remain rather low right now.  (For instance, Did you take a shower today, Self?  Ding ding ding, you win!  Try my method: you could very well be a winner most every day!)

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In my fourth trimester state of meh, I also decided to sign up for Stitch Fix.  Should I wait? That is the question.

We are so, so very grateful for friends and family who have come around us during this transition into one-on-one parent-kid defense.  We’re grateful for the food and the coffee, the offers to babysit and the games of basketball with our favorite miniature Michael Jordan “basketball!  basketball!” star.  We couldn’t do it without you, our heart-tribe.  

And, really, that’s about it.

xo, c.

What about you?  What have you read and watched and absorbed and soaked in this past month?  What middle of the night shows must I watch?  Any parenting advice?

what i’m into :: august 2014.

Y’all: Love you, love your show.  I’m making this quick for obvious baby-was-due-four-days-ago reasons.  Check back for the inevitable birth of our second son!  But otherwise, if you’re new here on a “What I’m Into” monthly check-up, I link up with the Lovely Leigh for a recap of the past month.  Who am I kidding?  It’s mostly about the books I’ve read and the two-year-old kid I already think is pretty cute, as I’m not the best about recording everything else.  Enjoy!  

38.5 weeks pregnant (i.e.: two weeks ago).  What's the little bugger going to look like?!
38.5 weeks pregnant (i.e.: two weeks ago). What’s the little bugger going to look like?!

I read…

Devil in the Details (Traig, 4/5) – I mean, how can you go wrong with a memoir involving OCD and Judaism?  Bam.

Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? (McLaren, 4/5) – While I would have preferred something meatier, I think this is a necessary read for people of the Christian faith.

We Need New Names (Bulawayo, 3/5) – this African writer explores super tough issues in a coming-of-age novel. Definitely hard to digest at times.

The Bible’s Yes to Same-Sex Marriage (Achtemeier, 2/5) – I don’t give it a low rating because of the content per say, but more so because of the way he went about exploring the topic.

A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island (Putman, 2/5) – I just needed a brainless Kindle read during those insomniac nights. Mission accomplished.

Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child (Gottman, 4/5) – A definite must-read for parents.

Big Little Lies (Moriarty, 5/5) – Friends, this is the PERFECT summer beach read. Moriarty’s best one yet!

Reclaiming Eve (Burden, 3/5) – I am so proud of my friend Suzanne’s words and simply have some other theologically-minded pro-women books at the top of my list.

Life After Life (Atkinson, 3/5) – K. I’m not sure if pregnancy brain just SUPER set in upon reading this book, but it took me a good while to feel like I actually understood the plot line. If you loved this book, tell me more, tell me more!

A Prayer for Owen Meany (Irving, 5/5) – Do not do as I did, and that is for YEARS judge a book by its title. Instead, head to your local bookstore and pick it up ASAP. This is one of the best fictional books I’ve read in years.  Also, click here to join in the discussion on She Loves magazine, as it’s this month’s Red Couch book club pick!

Animal Farm (Orwell, 3/5) – I’m a sucker for 99-cent deals on Audible …what can I say? And, considering I’ve known all about this book, but hadn’t actually read the book, I needed an excuse to read it. Done.

I’m reading… The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective; The Preaching Life; Crossing to Safety; The Circle.  

I wore… big, stretchy womb-filled clothes.  Not a whole lot to write home about, folks.

I wrote… Oh friends, I edited and revised and revamped and rewrote last month’s “three more chapters.”  The book writing process never ends, I say!  It was also fun to write for Jen Pollock Michael and Suzanne Burden, fellow Redbuds, and to pour my heart into an article for an upcoming digest, Theology of Ferguson.  

I ate… lots of heartburn-filled food.  (This baby must be rather hairy with all the heartburn he’s giving me come 9 pm each night!)

Le bebe?  Check back here for details – he’s arriving soon, soon, soon!

And otherwise…

My kid and one of his besties.
My kid and one of his besties.
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My love and a celebration of life together …although we didn’t go out the night of, we did make it out of the house, kid-free three nights later!

Finally, I laughed a hearty belly-laugh at this… awkward parenting story from our girl, Glennon Doyle Melton.  LUB.  

Much love!

Knocked-up mama and soon-to-be baby

What about you?  What have you read and digested and seen and done this past month?  What put a HUGE smile on your face?  What left you disgruntled?  Do share!

what i’m into :: july 2014.

Watch out now – IT’S gettin’ real in these-here Bay Area parts.  For us, the month of July has morphed and woven and at times dragged its lovely, uh, frame through central Oregon and the Willamette Valley and back down south to California again …where we await the pregnancy homestretch, not leaving town until long after Baby Boy is born!  (Come visit, come visit, come visit!) In the meantime, I’m linking up with Lovely Leigh for this month’s “What I’m Into” – consider doing the same!  

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We celebrated someone’s two-year birthday, complete with homemade dunce cap he wore for five days straight.  PS: when you come over, I’ll let you scrub the kitchen grout for free!

 I read…

Landline (Rowell, 2/5) – I was sadly disappointed with this book, as author Rainbow Rowell has been one of my favorite discoveries of the past year.  But alas, not my fave.

The Writing Life (Dillard, 4/5) – Annie Dillard is the bomb.com in my book, and this short little nugget on writing did not disappoint (even if she did, as per her usual, lose me every once in awhile).

Prayers of a Young Poet (Rilke, 4/5) – I’ve had poet Rainer Maria Rilke on my list for awhile now, as I’d heard he dabbles in “Dark Night of the Soul” poetry.  I especially love that this book came with a strong introduction, conclusion and minor notes about each poem.

Delancey (Wizenberg, 3/5) – Again, another slight disappointment, as the “Orangette” blogger’s A Homemade Life was one of my favorites of last year.  It really picked up at the end, but otherwise I had a hard time with the first two-thirds of the book.

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk (Faber, 3/5) – This is Counseling 101, made for the miniature population …but as it’s the parenting bible, make me review it again in a year or two and see if my review stats have gone up.

Atonement (McEwan, 3/5) – I’ve had this book on my shelf for awhile, and having never seen the movie, I liked it but didn’t love it.  His writing is like walking through a flower festival all day long – it’s just a little too much for me.

Glitter and Glue (Corrigan, 5/5) – OH SNAPS …I’ve found another memoirist to call my own and take home in my pocket.  If you have a mother or have had a mother or have someone you’ve taken to calling Mother, read this book!

Sold (McCormick, 5/5) – This was a random find, but when Audible ran a 99-cent special on it, I had to say yes.  Although it’s technically YA fiction, it’s based on the true stories of young girls trafficked in and around India …and it’s POWERFUL.

Night Music (Moyes, 4/5) – I am happy to say that this was not nearly as tear-jerkingly DEPRESSING as You Before Me, thankyouverymuch.

Handling the Truth (Kephart, 5/5) – Are you harboring a secret desire to write memoir?  Read this now (and fall in love with Kephart’s cheeky style).

To the Lighthouse (Woolf, 2/5) – Maybe I had other things on my mind.  Maybe Virginia Woolf is overrated, but I was not a fan of this classic. Sorry, Sassy Ladies Book Club.

Leaving Church (Taylor, 5/5) – As someone who’s left full-time ministry, this book was sadly, gladly appropriate to my own experience.  Team BBT, all the way.

Everything Belongs (Rohr, 5/5) – YES.  Yes, yes, yes.

The Titan’s Curse  (Riordan, 3/5) – I read these for the love of a relationship with my niece …but I’m glad this book-lationship is over.

I’m reading… Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? We Need New Names; Devil in the Details; Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child; A Prayer for Owen Meany.  

I wore… Dresses, lots and lots of dresses, over and over and over again.  And my Birks.  Yup, that about covers the clothing for overheated me in the month of July.

I wrote…  Three more chapters, because the process never ends.  This month’s edits are only just the beginning because sometimes writing is just a BEAST.  But I also wrote for Ginger over at Just One of the Boys, and interviewed with Callie at This Glorious Maze – thanks for the opportunity, ladies!  We’ve also had some awesome Tuesday Guest Posts this past month, so be sure to check out the writing of Kaitlin, Kate, Marlene, Melissa and Jen!

I ate…  Lobster Crab Louie – that we invented ourselves!  Friends, get yo’ bums to your local lobster-faring locale [here’s our favorite], then add lettuce, bacon, cheese, tomatoes, avocados and whatever else your green-savvy heart desires.  And EAT.

Le bebe? I am a hearty 36 weeks pregnant, which means that both Baby and I are growing by the day, and have an extreme desire to not get off the couch.  Like, ever.  But according to some, Little Caramel is about the size of a head of lettuce, weighing in around six pounds.  He likes to wake up and start his jolly inner-womb dance party around 10, 11 o’clock at night making for one insomniac of a mother.  (And in other news, I really, really think Pregnancy Insomnia should be banned by Baby-Growing Makers around the world – shouldn’t we be hibernating in preparation for real late nights?)

And otherwise…

Where in Cancan and his cousin learn to hold hands (with Uncle Monkey).
Where in Cancan and his cousin learn to hold hands (with Uncle Monkey).
We hosted Nana for a night!
We hosted Nana for a night!  She’s a strong & beautiful woman, I say!
And we laughed, lots.  (Here's Cancan with his favorite person in the world, Dada).
And we laughed, lots. (Here’s Cancan with his favorite person in the world, Dada).

Finally, I laughed a hearty belly-laugh at this…

Nothin’ but the truth, I say!

xo, c.

PS: What did you read this past month?  What put a smile on your face, and where have you traveled?  Do share!

(Disclosure : Amazon Affiliate links included in this post.  If you click through to Amazonany purchase you make supports this site).

what i’m into :: june 2014

Oh friends, it’s been a lovely-wonderful-busy couple of weeks here on the homestead – so much so that you’ve probably noticed I’ve been a little absent as of late …which is exactly what should happen in these summertime months, if you ask me!  You will see Guest Post Tuesday every week, and the occasional other post that happens to strike my fancy – but in the meantime, I’m linking up with Lovely Leigh for the monthly What I’m Into series.  Join us!  

Speaking at camp!  Love Frontier Ranch.  Love middle school kids.  Love this staff.
Speaking at camp! Love Frontier Ranch. Love middle school kids. Love this staff.

I read…

Holy Is the Day (Weber 5/5) – I heard her speak at the Festival of Faith and Writing, and loved what she had to say.  Her book did not disappoint.

The Goldfinch (Tartt, 4/5) – LONGEST NOVEL OF MY LIFE.  Well, Les Mis still wins, but this is a close second.

The Prophet (Gibran, 3/5) – While I wanted to like this better, it just wasn’t my favorite.

God’s Hotel (Sweet, 3/5) – The idea of writing a book about Laguna Honda, an alms hospital is fascinating – in actually, it got a little too political for my taste.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1 and #2 (Riordan, 3/5) –

Attachments (Rowell (4/5) – RAINBOW ROWELL FOR PRESIDENT!  I’m happy to note that she doesn’t just stick to YA.  Loved it.

Free (Scandrette, 4/5) – Read this if you want to step into financial freedom, with a spiritual background.  Don’t read it a) on Kindle or b) if you feel like you’ve already got a hold on this in your life.

The Honest Toddler (Laditan, 4/5) – Okay, seriously – HILARIOUS.  Thank you, Honest Toddler, for your excellent parenting advice.  I will never try and put myself first again.  Ever.

I’m reading…  Handing the Truth, Everything Belongs, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, Percy Jackson and the Olympians #3, To the Lighthouse, Night Music.  

I wore…  Oodles of maternity gear.  But – be not afraid! – I’m currently sporting a non-maternity summer dress that normally rests at my knees but for pregnant purposes is currently hiked up halfway up my legs.  (It’s also a we’re-not-leaving-the-house-for-the-rest-of-the-day kind of afternoon).

I wrote…  Six talks for a week at camp!  The homily for my dear cousin’s wedding!  Among other articles and the slow chapter-by-chapter book progression (exclamation point).  

I'm a marry-er and bury-er!
I’m a marry-er and bury-er!

I ate…  Veggie polenta.  Shrimp scampi.  Blueberry muffins with Greek yogurt.  Popsicles, ice cream and other delectable summer treats.

Le bebe?  Little Caramel in the womb still doesn’t have a name.  But he is 32 weeks along and growing like a champ.  (According to Baby Center, he weighs 3.5 pounds and is the size of a jicama …which I’m pretty sure is a vegetable no human on earth has ever purchased, but for the already-prepared slices in your local grocery aisle).

Old friends are the best kind of friends.  (Oh, and pregnant, too).
Old friends are the best kind of friends. (Oh, and pregnant, too).

And I laughed a hearty belly-laugh at this: 

Cuz, well, I am.

What about you?  What have you read and wrote and DONE this past month?  And how’s your belly, pregnant or not, looking these days? (Do some abs for me – thanks!)

what i’m into :: may 2014.

Friends!  It’s that time of month again …which always sounds a little weird right when I type the words, but you get the picture.  Time to see – mostly – what I’ve been reading, along with some other musings and pictures from the month of May.  Link up with us!  

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The HBH (Hot Black Husband) and I got away for a baby moon! Mendocino, CA.

I read…

An Altar in the World (Taylor, 5/5) – wowzas. I’m not sure how I’m just now finding Barbara Brown Taylor, but I’m a huge fan already. Truly, there is Beauty in every sentence.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (Cain, 5/5) – I may not technically call myself an introvert, but if you are an introvert, if you live with an introvert, if you work with an introvert, or if you – in general – realize that introverts make up a huge portion of the world’s population, you should probably read this book.

Comic Poems (Washington, 3/5) – Meh. I’m trying to read more poetry, and while this got me headed in the right direction, it wasn’t as comical, per say, as I’d hoped it’d be. (Want to read it? First person to send me their address – it’s yours!)

A Homemade Year (Greer, 3/5) – I really like Jerusalem Jackson Greer’s writing – as per her DIY projects and recipes, I’m not a huge fan. But the woman is zealous!

Fangirl (Rowell, 4/5) – Rainbow Rowell brings it home again. A YA writer, this time she captures that freshman year of college voice – as always – better than any other YA writer I’ve read!

Lit (Karr, 4/5) – It’s a first-time-for-everything month, and that includes author and poet Mary Karr. While I wanted to like her writing more, I’m still in the land of mostly-liking her …it’s a style thing, I suppose!

When You Reach Me  (Stead, 4/5) – Winner of the Yearling Newbury, this YA book received high marks …and again, I mostly liked it. Excellent use of the young voice.

Lean In (Sandberg, 4/5) – Were I to find myself donning the power suit in Corporate America everyday, I think I’d give this book 5/5 stars – but as per the overall message of women “leaning in,” YES. Fabulous.

The Death of Bees (O’Donnell, 3/5) – A Sassy Ladies Book Club selection, it was another “meh” to me – I loved the Scottish voice and world, but did not love the overall dreariness.

Soil and Sacrament (Bahnson, 5/5) – I’m having a pure love affair with the tangible reality of dirt + spirituality. (PS: This is next month’s SheLoves Book Club selection …join us!)

Americanah (Adichie, 5/5) – Wowzas. While it took me awhile to get through the book, I was captivated from start to finish. (And another PS: This is July’s SheLoves Book Club selection …join us!)

Reading… Handling the Truth, The Goldfinch, God’s Hotel and The Prophet.  What?  Only four books right now?  What is going ON with me?    

I designed - maybe - the world's best Donut Olympics trophy.  (And just finished a stint as a part-time youth pastor.  Bam).
I designed – maybe – the world’s best Donut Olympics trophy. (And just finished a stint as a part-time youth pastor. Bam).

I wore… More and more (…and more) maternity clothes, along with this comfy non-maternity dress from Target.  [Note: I purchased a cute black and taupe striped dress, which is for some reason not actually coming up.]

I wrote… A finished book proposal (including three sample chapters) ready for submission to publishers.  Bam!

I ate… These amaze balls turkey burgers, complete with chili slaw and creamy gorgonzola spread for a little feast with friends this past Sunday.  Do yourself a favor and eat them tonight for dinner.

turkey-burgers-2

Le bebe? Little Man growing in my womb is now the size of a head of cauliflower – which given all the wrestling boys in high school plagued with cauliflower ear, is a little gross to imagine floating around my insides.  Alas, we’re excited for the end of August to near, and in the meantime whatever shall we name the bugger?  Convinced he was a girl, we’re still waiting on PNC (Perfect Name Confirmation).

And I went to my first baseball game of the season - while I usually cheer on the Giants, you can't beat free tickets to the A's!
And I went to my first baseball game of the season – while I usually cheer on the Giants, you can’t beat free tickets to the A’s!

And I laughed a hearty belly-laugh at this…

Okay, and this…

That’s it – for now!  We’re off to San Diego this weekend, so I’m sure there will be a hoard of pictures and stories to follow.  Otherwise, what have you been into this past month?  Do share!