Eeks. It appears I haven’t been posting these like I thought. But I have still been doing them. Anyway…
A little backstory. It’s rare for me to know what scripture I’m going to use before it’s time to post these. I thought I was going to use one from Lamentations a few days ago, but it never felt right. Well, a few days late, but yesterday, Sarah Bessey posted this verse on her Instagram and I instantly had to look it up and read it. (I just realized she wrote about it much more eloquently that I will ever be able to on her blog. So go check that out.)
It’s from John 13 and I’m not entirely sure what it was, but I started crying, sitting in my car reading that chapter. Verse 1 speaks of his love for us to the end. The very next sentence says that the devil had already prompted Judas to betray him. Through betrayal, desertion, denial, and doubt, he loved us to the end.
Verse 3 says “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God.” So what did Jesus do? He took off his coat, put on an apron and started washing his disciples feet. His love for us and his humility astound me. How I long to love as he loves me.
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. John 13:1
My book reading has been a bit slow lately. I’m trying not to feel too much guilt over not constantly reading and finishing books. Looking back, I’ve actually read more than I thought I had, so that’s always a plus.
Low Country by Anne Rivers Siddon– This is an author whose name I’ve heard over and over, so I grabbed this one from Goodwill. It was a like, but not love. Caroline owns part of an island that the Gullah have lived on for years and she learns that to save her husband’s business, he will need to develop the island. I probably won’t re-read this book, but I would definitely read more by Siddon.
Covering Home by Heidi McCahan,- Admittedly, I’m slightly biased because I know the author, but I loved this book set in Japan about a high profile baseball player and a reporter trying to get the scoop. Their story of togetherness was sweet and a page turner. I’m a sucker for happy endings.
Serve God, Save The Planet by J. Matthew Sleeth- I read this as part of our possessions/spending month of Seven. It was okay, but really, some of the things he talked about were just too extreme to be practical for my life.
The Queen’s Fool by Philippa Gregory– Typical Philippa Gregory formula. I did like that this one focused a little more on Queen Mary than strictly QEI or the Boleyns. Not my favorite, but didn’t hate it either. How’s that for a review?
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky– In all truth, I picked this one next because it was short. The year of a boy in high school and the friends he makes. It definitely took on a different, darker turn than I was expecting, but I enjoyed it.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio- Without a doubt, the best book I’ve read this year. Auggie is a boy with severe facial deformities who has been home schooled through 4th grade because of the number of surgeries he’s endured. He enters a small-ish private school for 5th grade and this is the story of his first year of school, dealing with making new friends, betrayals, and bullies. It’s told from the point of view of Auggie, two of his friends, his older sister, his sister’s boyfriend and sister’s oldest friend. It is definitely written for middle-school aged, so the prose isn’t anything ground-breaking, but it is a beautiful story that had me crying several different times- happy and sad tears. I would recommend this book to anyone.
The Paris Wife by Paula McClain– Everyone was raving about this book several years ago, but I’m honestly not sure why. It’s about Ernest Hemingway’s first marriage and gosh it was so slow. I thought about abandoning it, but eventually, I was invested in the characters. I never thought I would get through it, though.
Next up for me is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Laura at Hollywood Housewife is going a Read Great Books Challenge and book club this year. I missed the first two and so I’m hoping to join in to this next one. However, I better get to reading because it’s not a short book! I’m also hoping to go back and read Frankenstein. After that, I’m not sure. Big Mama’s new book, Nobody’s Cuter Than You, is coming out soon and of course I’ll be reading it. I also bought Daring Greatly by Brene Brown because every blogger I read has recommended it, so it’s on my TBR pile as well. However, I haven’t even begun my “long book challenge,” so I need to begin that sooner or later….
So many books, so little time.
Well, here we are again. Life has been busy and normal. I’ve been off and on sick for the past three days and that has just been annoying. I rarely get sick, so when I do, it’s like I don’t know what to do with myself. You mean I just need to watch TV and sleep? Weird. Oh, and still take care of Jolene because apparently dogs like to use the facilities even if I don’t feel like getting up.
It is currently in the middle of March Madness season at our house. Georgia lost in the first round, but Arizona is still in. On Friday, Ryan took the day off work and invited about 12 people over to come watch basketball all day. I think they had fun. Rebecca and Lady came over to keep me and Jolene company and we stayed upstairs and ate brie and bread while the guys ate hotdogs. I also made BBQ and baked beans, which are never as good as Mama’s.
On Saturday, our church had a Great Day of Service so our Sunday School class did a landscaping project a City of Refuge. It was a lot of fun all working together.
We finished pretty early so I decided that I would keep working in our yard. We have a small area for flowers and it’s pretty bland, so I’ve been trying to make it prettier. I dug up a bunch of monkey grass, bought a flowering quince, put in a few Lenten roses, and hung some ferns. It looks better, but it super green. I need some more color.
I planted this guy by the mailbox. He makes me super happy.
After all the yardwork, our SS class met up at Taco Mac and watched basketball. And Ryan actually joined us and watched Arizona win! He doesn’t like to watch around people, so this was kind of a big deal. After TMac, we went to a local bar/dance club and hung out and danced. It was so much fun! And truthfully, we never do anything like that, so it probably made it that much more fun.
Sunday, we had soccer practice. Yes, I have joined a soccer team. Our first practice, I had to ask what the positions were, so that’s a good place to start. Then Ryan and I spent the rest of the day relaxing on the sofa and hanging out. He took a nap and I watched a few episodes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix. It was super cute and I want to watch the rest. Towards the end of the night, I started feeling bad and well, I ended up at the doctor with a mask on.
It’s hard to take a non-obvious selfie in a doctor’s office.
And that’s where we are.
My birthday’s on Friday, so we will be at Tanaka Friday night. Mama and Daddy are coming up Saturday and are going to help me lay some flagstone in the path in our front yard. Right now it’s just peat gravel which is so hard to walk on and they had some extra from when they redid their yard years ago. I’m so glad they like to come and help us do that kind of stuff. And on Sunday, we are going to brunch with a bunch of friends and family.
So, I need to feel better. And soon.
Ryan was gone all last week at a conference and then visiting friends. He left Monday and didn’t get back until late Sunday night. Because he is the one in our relationship that is the healthy eater and neater one, I had a little bit of “the cat’s away, the mice will play” going on. Just a few of the things I like to do when I’m alone- my “secret single behavior,” to borrow a phrase from Sex and the City.
1. Eat ice cream for dinner- Oh, yes. I have been enjoying lots of chocolate chip cookie dough. It takes me right back to childhood. This would never fly for Ryan. He wants healthy food. In fact, he just ate a head of broccoli for dinner last night and declared it one of the best meals he’s ever had. Blech.
2. Wear a lot of lotion- I usually put on some thick handcream before going to bed, but I recently found out that lotion freaks Ryan out. We all have our things, right? But I made sure to apply extra to make up for the times I’ve missed lately.
3. Snapchat too many selfies of me and Jolene to Pease and Michelle- This is pretty self explanatory.
4. Sleep with Aquaphor on my face- Yes, this is pretty weird. But wrinkles come from dryness and aquaphor is super hydrating. However, doing this is super weird so I try to do it when I’m alone.
5. Fall asleep to Friends instead of SportsCenter- ESPN is by far the most watched channel on our TV and because I usually read in bed while Ryan watches TV, we typically fall asleep to SC. However, Friends will always be my first choice when it comes to “background noise.” Well, after Hello, Dolly!
This month of our “7” has been spending and possessions. We decided to combine the two. Truthfully, I’m not at a place where I feel like we have so much stuff to get rid of, but there is some that still needs to be cleaned out and donated. But I have loved (not sure that’s the right word…) the no-spending challenge. There have been many moments where I’ve thought it would be so easy to just drive through CFA, but I perservered and came home and made a can of soup or a sandwich. And I feel so much better about it.
I spend so much money on convenience, when it’s not that much more difficult to cook something or make a sandwich. As Kate, one of the girls I’m doing this with, said, it’s made me so much mindful of what I’m buying.
But I still have a list of things I want to buy when this is all over with. And most of it comes from Boden. My friend Michelle is getting married in May and I think I need some stuff for that.
I’m in love with this gray-purple. My new neutral.
I also think these are so cute and fun.
I also have several things I want to do around the house. We are hosting our Sunday School class in April, so I have several things I want to do before then. Not because I think anyone will care but because I need a deadline. I have some art that needs to be framed, I want to have our dining chairs and chairs in our living room recovered and curtains made. I also have a chandelier that needs to be replaced.
And now I’ve decided I want to change the doorknobs in our house.
And I want new house numbers.
And some fake lemons for my trifle bowl. These are from Dollar Tree. Is $1 a lemon a reasonable price? I’m trying to decide. You have to buy 36, which I could probably use that many. But spending $40 on fake lemons seems kinda crazy.
Let’s just add to the list.
I’m having a difficult time reconciling what we want to buy and spend on ourselves versus what we should give. We are wealthy and it matters. I guess the questions is what are we going to do about it?
If a man shuts his ear to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered. Proverbs 13:21
What a week. Well, what a past two weeks. Well, really, what a past two months. It’s hard to believe it’s already March.
Ryan and I went to Charlotte for the Belk Bowl and got to watch with Michelle and Trey. Such a fun game and great watching Grantham getting his butt kicked. :)
We spent New Years’ Eve with Pease, Ross, and Sheldon. It may have been my favorite ever. Totally low-key. We played cards until 11:30 and then figured we needed to watch the ball drop and drink a glass of champagne. So we did and then we were in bed by 1.
On New Years Day, we had a big group of friends over for lunch. We had the traditional New Years lunch and I hope we can make it an annual tradition. Just lots of food and friends. It was perfect.
The next week, I went to Philly for work and started our food fast. Being out of town makes it hard to eat chicken for every meal.
When I got back, Ryan finally did his eating challenge. He didn’t finish, but he got really close.
Mama made Ryan and me this amazing quilt! I can’t wait to get our room finished so we can show it off properly.
I painted our hall bath…
and chose paint for our bedroom. (Neither of those colors, actually.)
We had a great time at the Hawks game with Jay and Rebecca. Ryan is so happy he has someone in his life that cares about the NBA.
Mama and Daddy came to town and painted our bedroom while I was at work and Ryan was in Nashville. They’re the best.
And Mama did all of our laundry. Seriously. The best.
I painted spots in our hall bath and Ryan didn’t hate it! He called it weird, which is exactly what I was going for. Normal houses are boring. :)
Ross, Ryan, and Daddy moved Mimi and Papa’s pool table to our basement. We’ve played quite a few games down there. Sometimes, I actually play okay.
I got Heidi’s 2nd book in the mail and devoured it! So good!
On Valentine’s Day, we went to Charlotte and celebrated Papa’s 85th birthday!
Jolene watched the Westminster Dog Show. She’s the cutest.
We went to Arizona for a long weekend to see Ryan’s grandfather, including going to an Arizona game.
It was so nice and warm there.
And we came home to snow. I’m not sure this winter will ever end.
We had the 8th Angels on Earth lunch for work. It’s amazing to see how much it’s grown.
They’re my favorite.
Kathleen hosted a couples shower for Michelle and Trey. Callan and Jimmy drove up all the way from Miami. I love these girls.
And now I’m sitting here watching Georgia battle Kentucky. The game is in Athens and Charles Barkley, Bill Belichek (sp?) and Ashley Judd are all there. Fingers crossed for a win! Kentucky is currently undefeated and this would be a HUGE win for the Dawgs!
Sheesh. It’s been a while since I’ve updated my book list. So here goes.
Gone Girl by Jillian Flynn– Obviously by now, most people have read this book or seen the movie. The story of a missing woman and did her husband kill her. Love the twists and the mysteries, but agree with Mama that there weren’t any likable characters. And Ryan (we watched the movie) hated the ambiguous ending but that was part of what I found intriguing.
Allegiant by Veronica Roth– The final book in the Divergent series, I found some of the story lines died out with no real resolution. The ending made me sad, but I definitely liked it better than the end of the Hunger Games series.
The Maze Runner by James Dashner– Rebecca loaned this to me as she couldn’t decide if she liked it or not. The story of a boy who is dropped in the middle of a large maze with a group of other boys and they are trying to get out. I think I would have liked it more had I not just read several other dystopian series. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t like it enough to want to see what happened next.
The House at Riverton by Kate Morton– I have read two others by Morton, even though this is her first book. They all are somewhat slow to me at the beginning, but this one was the slowest of all. I couldn’t make myself care for the characters until the very end. Skip this one, read The Forgotten Garden or The Distant Hours.
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant– When I posted this book on Instagram, several people told me how much they loved this book so I had really high hopes for it. Which it definitely lived up to. It’s the story of Jacob and his wives and his one daughter. For me, it was great from an entertainment standpoint, but I couldn’t take the Biblical interpretation to literally, otherwise it would have driven me crazy.
The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers by Amy Hollingworth– Amy became friends with Fred Rogers and this is the story of their friendship, mostly through written correspondence. I enjoyed this book, but it was a little long as far as the subject matter for me and it seemed a little worship-y. But it definitely made me want to watch old episodes of Mr. Rogers.
Home is Where My People Are by Sophie Hudson– I love BooMama’s blog and this book was a story of her friendships throughout her life. I liked it and flew through it, but I have to admit I liked her first book better.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver– During my 7, I’m trying to read some of the books that Jen Hatmaker references and recommends. This is the only one I got to during the food portion, but I very much enjoyed it. The Kingsolver family resolves for a year to either grow their own food or eat food where they know it came from. I loved their mission, but it’s not something I could apply to my own life. However, I do want to make more of an effort to buying local and small farm. The book itself was good and entertaining, but some of the information, especially in the first few chapters, was a little dense.
The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne– Listen, don’t read this book unless you are prepared to have your toes stepped on and be a little uncomfortable. But I like that because that’s when I am stretched and challenged. I liked this book a lot, even though I didn’t 100% agree with his politics. This was mostly autobiographical and told about his life and his friends and how they strive to love at all costs- protesting the death penalty and friending those on death row, going into Iraq during the middle of the Iraq war to meet with people, living communally in the inner city, etc. I’m a fan.
I’m currently trying to finish Low Country by Anne Rivers Siddon. It’s been in limbo for a while now because I’m terrible at reading two books at once. Then I’ve got Covering Home by Heidi McCahan, Consumed by Benjamin R. Barber, and Serve God Save the Planet by J. Matthew Sleeth. Fortunately, we’ve got some plane rides and long car rides coming up.
So I’m slightly behind on posting my verses. Oops. Will catch up soon! My last verse was this one from Acts:
For in him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, we are his offspring.
As I have been repeating this to myself, I have been praying what does it mean to LIVE and MOVE and literally have our entire BEING in him. Between this memory exercise and 7, I can feel that God is getting ready to do some big things for us in 2015. I’m praying that we will have the courage to say yes to what he is leading us to.
For the last four weeks, I have been participating in a fast with two of my friends from our Sunday School class. Actually, we will be doing several fasts over the course of the first seven months of the year but this first one was food. And I think this one will be the hardest. Well, until we get to media. But we’ll cross that bridge later.
Food is 3 times a day. Every time I would finish eating, I would only be able to wait a few hours before I started thinking about it again. This wasn’t something that I chose once during the day and then I just phoned it in the rest of the day. Nope, 3 times a day, about every 5 hours.
Food is also so social. We love having people over to eat and hang out and extend hospitality. But how do you do that when you have such limited things you can offer? And you can’t really go out to eat very many places or order much.
My foods were chicken, eggs, bread, tomatoes, rice, beans, onion, potato, spinach, and oranges. And water. Truthfully, I didn’t do it perfectly. If we went out to eat, I wasn’t going to be that pain in the ass that ordered plain spinach and chicken, but I tried to keep with the spirit of the fast at least. The water was hard. My tea in the morning is such a ritual. And I did indulge in a glass of wine a few times. But overall, I felt better drinking so much water.
Ryan saved me, though. Although he wasn’t technically participating, he cooked and made it easy for me because I would have come home and eaten rice and beans every night and cried. But he made it exciting and happy and experimented with food. I’m so thankful he likes to cook.
I didn’t get all the books read that I wanted to this month. I specifically wanted to read In Defense of Food by Michael Pollen, Year of No Sugar (I’m not 100% sure who wrote it and I’m being lazy and not looking it up), and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I’m currently about half-way through Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and I’m loving it. The first few chapters were super dense and I thought there was no way I’d be able to read it, but now I’m loving it. Kingsolver (who wrote The Poisonwood Bible) and her family set out to grow and provide their own food for a year and anything they couldn’t grow, they sourced locally. Yes, including meat. I’m currently very excited for the Farmer’s Market to come back and am thinking about reordering our Fresh Harvest basket. And I can’t wait for summer to eat a ripe tomato!
In the middle of this, Ryan decided to do a food challenge. But basically the opposite of my food challenge. For years, every time we’ve watched Man vs. Food, he has said, “Oh, I could totally do that.” So finally, I looked at him and said then do it. He found one and one Saturday, we headed to Cheeky’s so he could try to eat a 7 lb burrito. He wasn’t able to do it, but our waitress was very impressed with how much he ate. She said he ate more than she and 4 of her friends did. I pointed out to him on the way there how ironic it was that while I’m in the middle of this food fast, praying and thinking about how we eat and food insecurity around the country and world, that he is going and eating 7 lbs of food in one sitting. We’re so American. And I don’t mean that in a good way.
I’m still not sure what my final takeaway is from this month. I’m praying that God can help us see what a privilege it is that we have so much food and that we don’t take it for granted. That we use this privilege to help local farmers and eat more real food and that he opens doors for us to help those without access to real food. And that convenience isn’t my first priority anymore when it comes to food. And that God may be glorified by the choices I make.
But I’m especially praying that I don’t make this about me. This is about God and his kingdom.
“Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Isaiah 58: 6-8