Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Simple Pleasures of Summertime


It's pretty unreal that our family actually gets two full months of 24/7 togetherness every year, and I can't help but feeling that it's a little rude somehow, seeing as how everyone else is still mostly trekking off to work every morning, but I'm trying to just soak up the last bits because I know August is going to feel like the world's longest Monday. Also, in a few weeks, we will have a one-year old, so there's that.


Two sets of some of our closest friends got married this summer, so it feels like a very special season in our community of friends near and wide. When we first got married, we knew almost no other married couples our age, certainly not in our close circle, and now our once-single friends are suddenly dropping like flies. I'm a big fan of marriage so I'm excited to see all of them start that journey. It has been good for me too, to witness those exciting, holy, blissful first hours and months of two becoming one. Life can start to feel so mundane, a blur of chores and work and baby, that you forget about the holiness and beauty and mystery of it all, about all the little choices you make each day to keep the vows you made, about how every morning you are writing a new line into the story of your family. So I am thankful for the weddings.


A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'Engle - This was a very leisurely, slow read for me, but I'm glad I stuck it out because it was good for me in a lot of ways, some of which I wrote about here. In addition to that, the sentence "A journal is a notebook in which one can, hopefully, be ontological" has helped me get back into journaling as a form of self-care and I found her writing somehow made me excited to be middle-aged someday, so that was nice. I've also been dwelling a lot on her thoughtful interpretation of kairos. I can't explain it all here though. You'll have to read it.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty - I read this all the way back at the beginning of the summer, and it was unusual for me because I'm not usually a beach read, modern day fiction kind of gal, but I had read several good reviews of it that intrigued me, and, like 90% of the books I read, it was at the library. As other people have mentioned, it really made me think about my life and marriage, and the person I want to be in 10 years.

Evolving in Monkey Town by Rachel Held Evans - So so good. I don't have a big sister, but if I could choose one, it would be Rachel Held Evans hands down. We live less than an hour apart, so I'm going to leave that open as a possibility. But seriously, where do I even begin? Her views on theology and life were so affirming to me. In the book (and on her blog) she gently refutes so much modern day religious dogma in a way that is so truthful and graceful and always leaves me thinking, "Of course, why didn't I look at it that way?" As a doubter learning to evolve in my faith as well, I (along with a lot of other people) am truly so grateful for what she does.

Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott - As a new mom to a baby boy, it was fun to read about Anne Lamott's adventures raising her son and her brutal honesty definitely made me feel a little less crazy. I was hoping to move on to Some Assembly Required next, but was disappointed by the reviews I found. I think I'll stick to her faith-centered memoirs from her on out.

Is Everyone Hanging Out without Me? by Mindy Kaling - Just a quick, fun read. It was cool to learn about her life and career, but I think I'd personally rather watch her be funny than read her be funny.

Ollie and I have been loving Who's Hiding in the Pond? and I am a Bunny. On a related note, I also read parts of Diaper Free Baby, and am following it casually, with mild success.


We were lucky enough to find audio versions of both Bossypants by Tina Fey and A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans at the local library, so the 20+ hours we spent in a car with a baby this summer actually flew by. No, seriously. Bossypants was hilariously entertaining (the breastfeeding chapter made me especially glad) and I can't even count how many aha moments I had during A Year of Biblical Womanhood. I like to think that O enjoyed them as well.

As far as music goes, baby and I have been listening to a lot of Head and the Heart, because we both love it and O smiles real big when "Cats and Dogs" comes on. And, kind of embarrassingly, I've been a teensie bit obsessed with Get Lucky by Daft Punk because it's really catchy and I feel like it says something profound about the human expereince. I just haven't figured out what that is yet.

In other news, been loving visits with family and bike trips with this guy. 

The Office- Also kind of embarrassingly, we rewatched the entire series (minus season 9) in three months, basically by watching very little else. It was enjoyable, and we always end up choosing terrible, unexpectedly depressing Netflix movies anyway. Also, it was worth it to realize that the true love story of the last few seasons is the developing friendship between Jim and Dwight. So precious.

Masterchef- We started watching this because a very talented local food blogger from our city was a contestant (seriously, her photos and recipes are amazing, check them out). Unfortunately, she's no longer in the running, but we're hooked on the ridiculousness now anyway.


We kicked off the summer with our church's VBS, which is less VBS and more like a week of nightly community-wide parties for all ages, dinner included. It's always amazing to see it come together, everyone doing their part. It was my third year teaching corralling the preschoolers. Each year, as my doubts have become heavier and heavier, I always start off thinking, "Should I really being doing this?" but each year I end the week feeling wonderfully exhausted and loved and where I am meant to be. When we first started attending our church, it was mostly a mix of young middle-class singles and low-income families from the neighborhood, but now the singles are marrying and having their own kids, so all the children's classes are becoming this beautiful mix of classes and races and personalities. I know diversity doesn't mean that reconciliation is happening, but it's nice to see that we're all here, showing up, and slowly pushing through the awkwardness, and becoming family. I'm so glad to know that our son will grow up loved and known by the people of our church.


There has been so so soooo much goodness on the world wide web this summer. I thought about shortening this list down, but then I didn't:

Parenting: These much-needed posts on adoption ethics. Two posts on how to answer the school question when you're seeking to live intentionally in a low-income neighborhood: this one by Abby Norman on D.L. Mayfield's blog, and this one on Motherlode. It's a question I've been thinking about for a long time, so I'm especially grateful for their thoughts.

MotherhoodThis battle cry for the warrior mamas, this defense of creativity in motherhood, and this mama's perspective on the Treyvon Martin verdict, which is the most touching and thoughtful response I've read.

MarriageThis beautiful letter and this one remind me what it's all about. And this post by reminds me that teaching is our calling.

Faith: O modesty. If you read one post about it, make it this one. Another question I've been thinking about, the effects of sunday school on kids, is addressed in this one. This one is spot on about what 20-somethings really need from the church. And one sentence each from this and this one have been following me all summer: "When our churches have building budgets and our sisters have dying children." and "Hospitality means if there is room in the heart- there is always room in the house.

Simple Living: This funny, but levelheaded view on the idea of emergency preparedness.

Writing: I wouldn't actually call myself a writer, but I frequently find myself in the act of writing anyway and found these pieces encouraging: this one by Ester Emery and this one by D.L. Mayfield.

Whew. I think that's it. But in my defense, it was two months worth. Thanks for sticking it out!

What I'm Into at HopefulLeigh


  1. I didn't love Evans' A Year of Biblical Womanhood but Evolving in Monkey Town will always have a special place in my heart. Adore it. :)

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Adele. : )

  2. I read Bossypants in two nights, laughing very loudly in my room. Glad I didn´t choose it for the commute!

    VBS dinners - what a great idea! Have you always done them in the evenings? I have neer heard of that. I´ve helped at mornings, mornings with lunch, and 9 to 5s, but never a dinner. Sounds really cool. Hmmm, something to suggest for next summer.

    1. In the four years our church has been around that's how they've always done it, so whole families from the community can attend, not just children. After dinner, everybody breaks up by age. It's always a blast. Tell them it comes highly recommended! :)

  3. What Alice Forgot definitely stimulates conversation! I'm looking forward to discussing it with Book Club next week. RHE would make a great big sister, I'm sure!

    Thanks for linking up with What I'm Into!