What I’m Into – September 2013

It’s been awhile, I know.  I skipped the link up for August, and writing all summer, because I needed to just live and be with my people and re-orient myself to the things that are most important. And while my faith walk has often been filled with quick flashes of understanding followed by quick decisions to do things differently, that’s not how things have worked this last year.  Sanctification this time around has been a much slower process, and this summer required a lot of sitting in prayer and a lot of being quiet.  And I’ll tell you what, there’s pay off to all the sitting still and praying because September rolled around and I feel settled on a fundamental level, in a way that I haven’t before. Maybe it’s just part of getting older, but I think it’s more about having the bottom fall out and finding that God is good and that the people I’ve surrounded myself with really love me.

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know that I turned 30 in September and that I pretty much spent the month drinking and eating and being merry with my pals.  And you guys, *that* is the way to turn 30!amber sign GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAGEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

 GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA30 candles A + A GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA laughter (Photo creds to the BFF’s mom and my dad)

Reading

Priscilla Shirer_GideonAfter a summer-long hiatus, my Bible study girls and I started meeting again and Tuesdays are right again.  We’re working our way through Priscilla Shirer’s study on Gideon, and it’s awesome! I’ll be the first to admit that I usually enter studies pretty cynical and prepared to argue an opposite point a lot, and I suspect that’s because I’ve had my teeth sharpened on Lifeway curriculum pretty much my whole life.  But you guys, purchased at Lifeway or not, the story of God using Gideon is working its way into the deepest places of my wounding and helping me continue to heal.  And based on the kinds of conversations were having on Tuesday nights and the emails we’re sending each other throughout the week, I think the same is happening with my girls. To God be the glory.

Also read: Cloud & Townsend’s Boundaries, Lucado & Frazee’s The Story, and E.B. White’s Trumpet of the Swans.

Watching

I watched and homeschooled my friend’s ten year old for two weeks this month (hence Trumpet of the Swans), which means I also watched a lot of Cartoon Network and Disney Channel.  Shows I like – Phineas and Ferb, Good Luck Charlie, and old school Tom & Jerry cartoons.  Shows I despised – Uncle Grandpa and Incredible Crew.

In the grown-up world, though, all the good shows started their new seasons and you can bet I’m watching Castle, Parenthood, Modern Family, and New Girl.

Listening

Because I skipped the link-up last month, I didn’t get to tell you about how INCREDIBLE Audrey Assad’s “Fortunate Fall” is, or about how much I’ve been playing this album on repeat since its release on August 13th.  She released a series of videos on her YouTube channel to go along with the albums’ release, and while “Bridge Over Troubled Water” isn’t on the album, her cover might be my favorite song of all time.


Doing

Turning 30, partying and eating cake, homeschooling, and being still – that was September. And you can bet that I’m pretty excited to see what else comes this Fall, because I’m sure it will continue to be a season of change in all the best possible ways.

HopefulLeigh_What I'm Into

What I’m Into – July 2013

My friend Carrie texted me a couple of days ago and scolded: “It has officially been over a month since you posted on your blog. I’m issuing a complaint.”

I knew it had been awhile,  but I didn’t realize I’d crossed over the month mark.  I think when you take that much time away, it’s hard to know how to come back. Should I explain myself? Should I write about what happened in the month all at once?  It’s kind of like when you don’t see a friend in a few weeks and it isn’t necessarily that you’d been purposely avoiding her, but life got busy and you got distracted, and now you’re in the place of being just kind of like “It’s time” again. It’s time to give your friendship some energy and life again. Apologies aren’t necessary, though it’s probably helpful, but now you have this understanding that the season of silence is over and it’s time to put things back on track.

Like it is with an old friend, I’m hoping things pour out again organically, one story and one post at a time. And with a whole lot of grace.

So, let’s start here, where it’s easy, where I link up again with my friend Leigh and share What I’m Into right now, where we have some fun.

HopefulLeigh_What I'm Into

Reading

My friend Beth, knowing I have a thing for Nathan Fillion and knowing that the new movie is coming out in the next couple of weeks, told me I had to read the Percy Jackson series.  “They’re just fun,” she said.  And she’s right. Percy Jackson is a loveable hero with ADHD and dyslexia, and Riordan writes in such a way that you can visualize what Percy and his pals are up against on every page.  (The movie, btw, is nothing like the book.  Though Logan Lerman is well cast as Percy, it’s helpful to think of them as their own thing because the plot lines aren’t even close to how situations play out in the books.  Fun movie, though.)

Castle...er, Hermes.
Castle…er, Hermes.

I also re-read Lauren Winner’s Still. I read it so fast the last time and so much has happened since then that I find that it’s meeting me differently this time, in the best possible way.  I know what it is to sit in a place and not know if you’ve left God or He’s left you.  I know what it is to be in a spiritual “middle.” I know what it is to ask these questions.

What happens in conversion – at least, what happened in mine – is that a person concludes that the truth is in Jesus. That conclusion will carry you to baptism; it will carry you to church, or back to church, or to your knees. But then where does it take you? Or, more precisely, how does it take you? How do you continue to allow the truth that is Jesus to be your rudder?

I didn’t read a ton of blog posts in July, shying away from even some of my favorites, the ones who tell their stories and ask their questions with such honesty that you just know God is working in their hearts. It’s all just felt like too much pressure on my heart, which in the last couple of months hasn’t had such bravery. Maybe next month I’ll have some good links to throw out there, but not this month. Not this month.

Watching

I have been in full-on geekdom this month.  Two of my girlfriends and I have been getting together on the nights that our Bible study would meet had we not taken a sabbatical for the summer, and we’ve taken down the first season of New Girl (which I watched through again already) and have started in on Firefly.  Now I don’t know if I love Nathan Fillion more for Richard Castle or Capt. Malcolm Reynolds.  Also, five seasons of Chuck in two weeks.  I don’t know whether to be appalled or proud that I caught more jokes than I missed.  Also, I could marry a man like Zachary Levi.  So, I guess I have no choice to admit that I’m one of the Nerd Herd.

Nerd Herders unite!
Nerd Herders unite!

Also, the BFF and I went and had a BFF date to see Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in The Heat. First of all, it was the perfect movie to see with a girlfriend because the friendship between the characters is the heart of the story – and you know I’m a sucker for that.  Second of all, it’s just funny.

The stuff of friendship.
The stuff of friendship.

Doing

For all of the traveling I’ve been doing, I hadn’t yet made it to the beach in a place where I didn’t need a sweatshirt (Maine in early June is cold).  So, three of my girls and I decided to change that and spent a day at Bethany Beach. And it was perfect! It was the kind of day where we laughed from the moment we left to the moment we got home; it was the kind of day where we just enjoyed being together. It was the kind of day that reminded me when I most needed the reminder that pouring into the lives of students matters, that it’s worth it, and that while it would be easy to write that season of my life off as tainted…it isn’t.  It was a time as beautiful as the young ladies I got to share it with.

Beach Day

What I’m Into – June 2013

HopefulLeigh_What I'm IntoHappy almost-July!  I missed last month’s link-up with Leigh, so I’m feeling a bit like I’m playing catch-up.  I fell off the grid because I’ve been traveling and generally trying to figure out what I’m doing with my life, so my mind has been otherwise occupied.  I recently discovered, though, that when I’m not reading and listening to music, probably at the same time, my internal spiral becomes infinitely worse, so I’m back this month with all kinds of new discoveries, including that one about myself.

 I’m thinking this summer has some serious potential for some “good,” thank the Lord.

Reading

Last Christmas my friend Rachel gave me the first in the series of Jan Karon’s Mitford novels.  When we were in college we both became more than a little obsessed with Lauren Winner’s Girl Meets God, and Winner talks about God using the Mitford novels to draw her into a deeper relationship with Him, and so Rachel and I decided we had to read them.  Now, I struggle to read most Christian fiction because the cheese factor is just so high, but I’m enjoying the story of Father Tim and the little town of Mitford.  The writing is simple and slow and lovely, and I think in this year that has come with a lot of chaos that simple and slow and lovely is exactly what I need.  And, as much as my restless military-kid heart balks against it, the idea of a small town life with a dog by your side is, I think, one of my root desires.

I’ve also been neck deep in Brennan Manning’s The Ragamuffin Gospel.  Manning passed away several weeks ago and because I saw so many great quotes pop up on my Twitter feed on the day of his death, I decided it was probably time to read his work for myself.  I bought a used copy on my travels, busted out a highlighter, and have been letting Manning’s words infiltrate my jaded heart.  Just yesterday, I read this bit on prayer:  “In prayer Jesus slows us down, teaches us to count how few days we have, and gifts us with wisdom. He reveals to us that we are so caught up in what is urgent that we have overlooked what is essential. He ends our indecision and liberates us from the oppression of false deadlines and myopic vision.”  How I made it to nearly thirty years old without reading Manning, I have no idea.

I took a breath the last several weeks from all the blog reading I usually do. It was too much to sort through my own thoughts and the thoughts of so many amazingly deep people.  But, there are a couple stand-outs that I can’t not share:

My pal Leigh has been blogging like crazy about her time in Africa, and it’s giving me the best kind of flashbacks to my time in Haiti.  You want to talk about why trips like this matter, it’s because of stories like these: Sisterhood and the Beauty of Sharing Your Story, Walking Straight Paths, Dancing at the Well.

I guess since we tweeted about the Bachelorette this week, I can call Addie Zierman a pal too.  Her blog still remains one of my favorites, and you guys! She has a book coming out soon. You can bet 10-1 that I’m going to be obsessed.  She wrote about getting author photos taken and how “It is the most intense kind of vulnerability to show your real face to the world.” Now come on people, that’s just good stuff!

Also, Jamie the Very Worst Missionary wrote some awesome, gut-check things this month.  Her honesty and realness have drawn me in and make me want to do better, as a writer, as a person, as a Christian. You have to read Where’s the Sanctuary and Taking Back Eden.

Watching

I’m pretty convinced these days that Modern Family is the best show on TV.  It’s that funny-poignant thing that I love so much in TV, and that I’m finding is very hard to produce well. (Hence the cancellation of Go On, which I still maintain was a stupid move on the part of the NBC head honchos.)  Modern Family, though, nails it on tPaul-Walker-Fast-and-Furious-6-scenehe head, and I thought that especially true of this season’s finale.

In my mopey this month, I may or may not have binged on a re-watching of all the seasons of Parenthood. There were so many pieces of the early seasons that I had forgotten, and I’m finding I really love the dynamic that Lauren Graham’s character, Sarah, has with her kids. It’s the best kind of weepy.

Oh, and you guys – Fast 6 was AWESOME! And by awesome, I mean…Paul Walker. I don’t need another reason.

Listening

So, because I’ve been in my car so much the last couple of months, I busted out all my old CDs from high school and college. It’s funny how many memories I have that are intimately connected to Tim McGraw and Dashboard Confessional and Matchbox 20 and JoDee Messina and Dave Matthews Band and Jars of Clay (the first album, from 1995, the one with Flood on it).

And one of my favorites, Audrey Assad, announced this month that her new CD, Fortunate Fall, is coming out in mid-August.  She’s released snippets of lyrics and some of the art work that will be used, and you can bet I already have a countdown going.  This is the first album that isn’t produced by a major studio, so she’s had a lot more freedom to move in this project.  And I. Cannot. Wait!

 Doing

Traveling. In June, to Kennebunk, Maine and Deep Creek Lake in Western Maryland.

***All photos of Maine (except the one that we’re in together and was taken by my mom) were taken by my pal Joy, owner/camera woman with RAW Photography in Michigan.  She’s amazing and available for hire!

*** Photo of Deep Creek taken with my iPhone. You could hire me too if you wanted, but you probably have your own iPhone.

Maine 4
(This photo has nothing to do with Maine except that’s where we were when Joy snapped it. Isn’t my pup the cutest?!)

Maine 1 Maine 2 Maine 3 Maine 5 Maine 6 Maine 7 Maine 8 Maine 9 Maine 10 Maine 11 Maine 12 mAINE 13 Maine 14 Maine 15 Maine 16

Deep Creek_June 2013
Deep Creek from the lake house. Not too shabby for an iPhone, eh?

What I’m Into – April 2013

HopefulLeigh_What I'm IntoAs I write this, I’m in Michigan, more than 600 miles from home.  I love Michigan for a lot of reasons, but mostly because of the people who’ve remained my friends even though I haven’t lived in this place in more than 5 years.  Getting together with them now is always sweet, and always fun, and always does good things for my heart. This month’s visit was extra special because my goddaughter was baptized, and when she came up out of the water her parents laid her in a towel in my arms, and I got to pronounce a blessing over her that she be someone who hears God throughout her life.  And I committed myself to this person, just two months old, and to helping her grow up in the church and in God.  And I committed to helping her parents parent well.

This visit, this month, this weekend, I have felt the weight of all of that.  This weekend is working its way into the deepest places of my heart, and I think maybe it’s helping me grow up too.

Reading

The Prayer of Owen Meaning – per the recommendation of my friend Leigh, whose been telling me I need to read this novel for two years.  It’s an awesome story of friendship and growth and faith, and I can’t say enough good things about it.  It’s long at over 600 pages, so it’s a commitment, but it’s one worth making:

“It’s a no-win argument – that business of what we’re born with and what our environment does to us. And it’s a boring argument, because it simples the mysteries that attend both our birth and our growth.”

My buddy Alise wrote a great piece at the start of the month about friendship (Why I Don’t Want Diverse Friends) and then capped off her month by speaking at a conference about friendship.  That she talks about friendship as much she does, and that she’s intentional about her friendships and why she’s making friends is exactly probably why we’re friends:

“But I want to be open to friends. Just…friends. The kind of friends who gets excited about the new season of Arrested Development. The kind of friends who can argue about feminism with me and then go for coffee. The kind of friends who stay up late at night quoting movie lines and sharing a bottle of wine. The kind of friends who know what pictures on Facebook will crack me up and is sure to tag me in them. The kind of friends who see what I’m not saying and don’t let me get away with that.

And if they’re gay or atheist or male, then that’s fine…”

Shauna Niequist, who I talk about so much it probably seems like she’s my friend and not simply an author whom I love, wrote about life around the table on Donald Miller’s Storyline blog this month. I’ve talked before about how I’m not much of a cook, but Shauna’s got me thinking about becoming one because…people and community and caretaking and Jesus:

“These are things I can’t change. Not one of them. Can’t fix, can’t heal, can’t put the broken pieces back together. But what I can do is offer myself, wholehearted and present, to walk with the people I love through the fear and the mess. That’s all any of us can do. That’s what we’re here for, the presence, the listening, the praying with and for on the days when it all falls apart, when life shatters in our hands.

The table is where we store up for those days, where we log minutes and hours building something durable and strong that gets tested in those terrible split seconds. And the table is where we return to stitch our hearts back together after the breaking.”

Rachel Held Evans wrote about why she doesn’t witness on airplanes. And all I can say is YES!:

“Somewhere in my mid-twenties, I drifted off the Romans Road and stumbled onto a bigger, wilder Gospel in which salvation is less about individual ‘sin management’ and more about God’s relentless work restoring, redeeming, and remaking the whole world.”

Addie Zierman wrote about going to a Chris Tomlin concert this month, and her experience echoes mine from February in so, so many ways:

“At the Chris Tomlin concert it’s late and I’m tired, and this is not the kind of concert I go to. But he starts singing an old hymn, and I’m singing too, and I feel it all the way through.

I am one of the broken and beloved, and I have been all this time looking for an anthem. And the one we are singing is grace.”

Jen Hatmaker wrote about knowing when to walk away – from relationships, churches, careers, friendships, expectations, roles, tasks, organizations, whatever.  She offers that we need to trust ourselves, pay attention to the red flags, and recognize there is bravery in walking away:

“Locked in a toxic relationship or career or ambition or community, the levels of unhealth and spiritual pollution can murder everything tender and Christlike in us, and a watching world is not always privy to those private kill shots. It can destroy our hope, optimism, gentleness. We can lose our heart and lose our way. And here is the key: we can pour an endless amount of energy into the chasm, and it will never matter.”

Sarah Bessey wrote a piece on the “theology of staying,” and this woman is speaking my language! I swear, I have said these same things to my closest friends over the last two years, and have even written my own blogs about why I made the choice to say.  Sarah, however, says it better than I ever could:

I used to live the Gospel beautifully in my own head; I thought about it all the time. But the radical act of staying put, the theology of place, the making of my own home, is teaching me–the over-thinker–that thinking isn’t quite the same thing as doing.  My intentions and beliefs and pontificating about community matters not one iota if I am not engaged in living out the reality of it.

Watching

Castle, Psych, and the Mindy Project.

My friend Beth and I went and saw 42, the movie about Jackie Robinson, because I love baseball and Beth loves me.  And it was so much better than I expected! Harrison Ford does a rockin’ job as the curmudgeon owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and he proves to be as likeable as he’s ever been.  Also, the team dynamic among the Dodgers as Robinson joins the team is really interesting to see play out.  I have new found affections for Hall of Famer Pee Wee Reese.

42 movie poster

Listening

I’m officially obsessed with The Weepies.  How have I not heard of them until now?!

A good friend texted me lyrics to this Matt Redman song this week.  Because I know my friend and I know that when she heard this song and thought of me that she also prayed for me, this song is my new favorite.

What I’m Into – March 2013

HopefulLeigh_What I'm IntoSo, March, eh? I know most people are all pumped because of the warming weather, and starting to wear flip flops, and driving with the windows down. I, however, am not most people. Because for the next month or so my sinuses are gonna hate me and Benadryl will be my best friend. You call it Spring, I call it Allergies.

But, I do like listening to Dave Matthews with the windows down. So, there is that.

And so begins Spring…

Reading

Jen Hatmaker is my new favorite person in the Twitterverse, and her blog is awesome too.  She wrote a couple of pieces this month that resonated with me deeply.  If you only read one of her posts, read And then the Conference Uninvited Me to Speak. But, also read A Broken Hallelujah and More Grace: On Not Being Mean, Hateful, and Horrible.

Sarah Bessey camped out in a verse in the book of John for a post this week: In which these are the Days When We Were Loved Right to the End.  She focuses on a single phrase, and for as many times as I’ve read the Gospels, I have never paid attention to the phrase.  And this is the kind of thing that reminds me that the Bible is not just a book. That is it the Living Word of God.

Also, speaking of Easter, this new blogger I’ve started following, Micah J. Murray, wrote an awesome piece, The God Who Bleeds. It’s a kind of response to a something stupid Mark Driscoll said but really…it’s so much more than that.

Micah’s blog is called Redemption Pictures, and I’m so glad I found it, and if you don’t follow it, you should.  His article When We Criticize the Church gave words to things I’ve been thinking for months.  Thank goodness, because now I don’t have to try so hard to find them.

If you want your world rocked hard, you should read Rachel Held Evans’ Ashamed. And then camp out at her blog site, and spend some time sorting through the series on Spiritual Abuse.  Because…well…because it happens, and now the conversation’s on the table, and we can’t ignore it anymore.

And just for funsies… one of my roommates from my Grand Rapids days wrote about what life was like in our house in the dodgy part of town. And the way she talks about it is so the way it was, and it made me nostalgic for that season of my life. Because we laughed a lot and enjoyed each other, and it was good.

In other news, I’m seriously slacking in book reading.  I’ve finally decided to give A Prayer for Owen Meany a go, and I love it so far.

Watching

I know I basically talk about the same shows, but….have you been watching Castle?! Seriously, it just keeps getting better.  A slow start this season, but it seems like Andrew Marlowe and his creative team have found their groove again and it’s awesome. The 100th episode airs Monday, and is going to pay homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window.  I pathetically can’t wait.

Also, the Six Nations rugby tournament is over now, and Wales won in case you were wondering. And my boy, Leigh Halfpenny, took home tournament MVP.  Now that it’s over, though, I have no idea what to do with my Saturdays.

Stolen from her mother's Facebook page, without apology.
Stolen from her mother’s Facebook page, without apology.

Doing

For the first time ever in life I have become a godmother! Ari was born last month, but still…her mom didn’t call and ask me until this month, so it totally counts for March. Plus, I get to fly out to my old Michigan stomping grounds next month for the christening, so…ridiculously cute pics to come. I would apologize in advance, but I’m not even a little bit sorry. She’s sweetness personified, and I’m totally smitten. 🙂

Also, I’ve slacked a bit this month working out and I’m feeling it.  I figure as much as I wanna beat myself up for lost motivation, I’m not going to because the feeling “bleh” again has taught me truly how good it is for me to be at the gym. No apologies for that either.

What I’m Into – February 2013

HopefulLeigh_What I'm IntoA week into March and I’m finally getting around to writing my What I’m Into post for the month of February.  February was just that kind of a month — there wasn’t enough of it.

Even so, lots of people in the blogosphere wrote lots of really great posts that are resonating with me on deep levels, wise sentences and turns-of-phrases working their way into my bones, and I’m excited to share that with you.

So, off we go…

Reading

Addie Zierman wrote a great piece on prayer and coming to God weary, and another about making your faith your own.

Sarah Bessey wrote about how she will not be silenced, which for her meant she drove into the country and “wrestled my life into a Jesus-shape all over again.” (This would be one of the those phrases finding its way into my bones.)

Emily Maynard, who I found because she writes for Prodigal Magazine, started her own blog. And in its first month, she wrote about listening to young women as they wrestle through issues of sex and purity (and as a former youth leader, this one speaks to me on a d.e.e.p. level).  And she wrote about being an angry feminist, which she realized when she kicked a boy in youth group in the shin. (I have been there. Actually, I decked my youth minister in the jaw, but that’s another story. This convinces me that Emily Maynard and I could be friends in real life.)

Ally Vesterfelt wrote a really great piece for Prodical this month about how becoming a good Christian made her a bad person. “God never asked me to be a good Christian. He asked me to be more like him.”

Alise Wright came back from a trip to Moldova, and wrote a piece for Deeper Story about who her family actually is.

And I was totally taken in by Megan Phelps-Roeper’s story of leaving Westboro Baptist Church.  Like, I read this from Christianity Today and then proceeded to blog and Twitter stalk her like it was my job, because she and her story are just that fascinating.

Watching

Jesse, Amy, and I are late to the party, but we’ve jumped on the Downton Abbey bandwagon.  We demolished the first season on Netflix, and then I stole without her knowledge borrowed the DVDs for seasons 2 and 3 from my mom.  (And because I’m on Twitter, I already know what happens at the end of 3. And I’m already traumatized by it.)

My friend Beth and I had a good ol’ fashioned, stayed-up-too-late-talking kind of a sleepover one weekend, and in the midst of she got me totally hooked on Psych.  I seriously should have been watching this one years ago, because hello!  It’s hilarious with the bad puns and we know how I love bad puns.  But, it also centers on a best friend crime-solving duo, and I could not love the interplay between Gus and Shawn more.

Beth has just moved Stateside again after living in Scotland for the last five years, and one of the things she brought back with her is a love for rugby.  And after spending most of my Saturdays in February watching the Six Nations tournament with my friend, I now mostly understand the rules and am a die-hard fan of Leigh Halfpenny the Welsh team.

Listening

JJ Heller and Chris Tomlin, live and in person, in one weekend.

There was a Friday this month where I joined 9,000 people at the Baltimore arena and sang hymns and worship songs, and truly was ushered to the feet of Jesus in that space. Because singing “Crown Him with Many Crowns” with that many people who live into those words is a profound experience.

The Monday after that Friday, the BFF and I headed to see one of our faves, JJ Heller.  She played a split set of familiar and new, since her and her guitar-playing husband, Dave, have a new record coming out in March. (Although, I have to confess that JJ played in the middle of the concert set, and the BFF and I bailed before the headliner finished their first song. It was, after all, 9 PM and we were tired. But, I figure we win our cool points back by the lengthy discussion we had at intermission about Rachel Held Evans’ Year of Biblical Womanhood, and dating and marriage, and Jesus. Or at least, we win them back in our eyes.)

Doing

Because watching rugby and finding new TV and going to concerts wasn’t enough, I’ve also been continuing to work out, getting very excited about the marks-toward-getting healthy that I’ve been seeing.  Mostly, none of my pants fit anymore and I have to buy a new little black dress for my friend’s birthday in a few days. And I’m running a twelve minute mile, which means I’m on target to run a 5k in less than 45 mins, which I know is nothing to brag about. Except I was a fat kid who crapped out on a hike in Haiti last July, and now I’m running 5ks.  It’s not much, but it’s something.

What I’m Into – January 2013

HopefulLeigh_What I'm IntoExcuse me, but how is it already the end of January?  One month down in 2013, and I feel stuck in the mire.  My head is still so foggy and confused by the transition that came to me at the end of last year, 2013 is already teaching me to be kinder to myself.  I suppose you can say that’s what I’ve been into this month when it all boils down: self-care.

Again, I’m joining up with my friend Leigh for her monthly What I’m Into lovefest, which means I can break down all this self-care into neat little categories.

Reading

Shamelessly, I’ve been reading the Nikki Heat novels made famous in the TV show Castle.  While not great literature, they’re fun, quick reads.  And my guess is that if you’re a fan of the show, you’ll be a fan of the books.

Also, because my brain feels like it needs a little exercise, I’ve started reading the Blackabys’ Spiritual Leadership and Mark Noll’s Scandel of the Evangelical Mind. Both of which are helping me answer a bunch of questions rolling around my head about how church works…or should work…or why it isn’t working…or something like that.  (I told you: foggy and confused.)

In the blogosphere, I’ve found a kindred spirit in Shauna Niequist this month.  She’s wrote a great piece about coming back to Prayer, Rest, and Self-Care and another about how committed she is to living at an Anti-Frantic pace.

Watching

Shamelessly, I’m watching the Bachelor again.  My friend Amy and I have decided that my lackluster love-life is a direct result of my not being crazy.  Because according to cultural norms evidenced on the Bachelor, if you want to win a guy’s affections you have to be cuckoo-bananas with a side of wackadoo. And it doesn’t hurt if you’re catty, self-destructive, and cool with hanging out in a bikini. Awesome.

Also, the season finale of Parenthood was so good!  It was probably a mistake to watch it at the gym though, because crying in public is just so unbecoming.

Listening

Great band covering great hymns: Sojourn, Before the Throne.

Also, lots of Imagine Dragons. How does this song not get stuck in your head?

Doing

I’m working out even more this month, and I’m starting to notice the payoffs. I’m just about at the half-way point to my healthy goal-weight. And I can almost lift the 42 lb kayak over my head without assistance.  Bring on Spring!