Inspired Favorites – Summer 2012 {an end of summer wrap-up}

Where did the summer go?

As usual, I’m a little late to the party when it comes to a summer wrap-up as school has already started for me and all of the other students in Kansas a few weeks ago.   However, considering the temperatures (until yesterday – hallejuiah!) have felt like the surface of the sun, I felt I could not push through to the deliciousness of autumn without an end of summer wrap-up…

Proudest Accomplishment:

I PASSED ALGEBRA!!   After years of feeling insecure, ashamed and befuddled when it came to Math, I bit the bullet this summer, and took my college Algebra course with fingers crossed, breath held and prayers abounding!  Part of the reason I never completed my undergraduate degree was my inability to pass College Algebra.  Never mind the fact that I was a classical voice major with a theatre minor….apparently the powers that be at my institution of higher learning felt the key to theatre success was somehow held in mastery of linear equations or logarithms.   I finally wised up and took my remedial Math course at a local community college, where I studied under the most helpful fantastic instructor.  A short Indian man with an infectious smile, Mohammad Houssein peppered his lectures with jokes and helpful advice,  made a point of writing out everything he said on the board (for a writing gal like me, this was invaluable!).  I found myself coming home to my husband’s tutorials and yelping “That’s not how my teacher taught it!” to his exasperation when I couldn’t understand his math-mind-brillance.  Though it’s not a class that has had anything to do with my professional work for the last 10 years, it is a course I couldn’t be prouder to say I mastered, and with a B, no less! (Usually I aim for an A…this time around, I just wanted the course credit!).  Though I am still completing the rest of my degree coursework, this was a MAJOR stepping stone in that process…and I’m sooo thrilled it’s DONE!


As soon as my spring semester was over in the last 2 weeks of May, my husband and I galavanted about Europe like nobody’s business.  It has and continues to be a dream of ours to travel there together, and due to seredipitous timing and resources magically being aligned, we took the plunge and never looked back.  We started our trek in Rome, and ended in Paris.  In between we went to Tuscany and Switzerland.  The trip was absolutely one of the favorites of my life, and I must blog about it in earnest to give it it’s due.  (Fun Fact: I took every picture in this blog header on our trip!)   Travel is one of my favorite things to do, and I thank God for every opportunity I get to do so.  It was a little surreal however, walking the streets of Paris on a breezy Saturday afternoon in June, and 36 hours later, finding myself in an Algebra class and a Weight Watchers meeting – reality check!

Books I read:

My first post on this newly designed blog a few weeks back centered around some of my summer reading list titles.  Since I have become such a “promiscuous reader” (my new favorite way to describe my serial reading tendencies, completely stolen by blogger Mischa Boyett), I really didn’t finish a huge number of books this summer, but the ones I did were fantastic!

 ~One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp: I was probably the last woman in Christendom to finish this lyrical and poetic book. I read it in bits and pieces for most of the year, and was tickled that I finished the book (the last few chapters describe Ann’s experiences in Paris–including the Notre Dame cathedral) a few short days after our trip to Europe – which also ended with a visit to Paris and Notre Dame on our last day there.

~Still by Lauren Winner: I devoured “Girl Meets God” and “Mudhouse Sabbath” a few years back when those books first came out, so I leaped at this book when it released this spring.  The wisdom of her words spoke to me almost as much as Anne Lamott’s “Traveling Mercies”, and I really resonated with her chapters on anxiety.

~James: Mercy Triumphs by Beth Moore: The first Beth Moore Bible Study I completed was Breaking Free, and it was life changing.  Say what you want about her effervescent personality (I love it), or her style of teaching, Beth’s videos, podcasts, blog, and Bible & Lecture studies have  impacted, convicted and led me to deeper spiritual growth almost more than any other Bible teaching.  James did not disappoint, as this particular study had the added bonus of Beth’s daughter Melissa supplementing the study with more scholarly articles.  I also loved handwriting the entire book of James in the back of the book.

Must Read blog:  

It’s my 2nd summer in a row to fall head over heels for the Canadians! Last summer, I discovered Ann Voskamp’s captivating blog, A Holy Experience.  This summer whilst blogsurfing, I discovered the incomparable blog of Sarah Bessey   Through a random link to one of her posts in the 10 Books A Day for a Week series (Blog book-list posts are my favorite and draw me in like a moth to a flame), I found a kindred spirit in her book titles, and was captivated by her writing voice.  Hers is the one new blog I found this summer I find myself checking regularly for new posts.  (This summer wrap-up post was modeled in part after her own summer list)  I love how she views the world.  I love how each post starts with “In which….”     She has a recently acquired book deal in the works, and I can’t wait to read her first title due out, entitled Jesus Feminist.  (Let the shameless novice blogger begging commence: Sarah, may I read an advance copy before it’s release and feature it here??  )    Her blog is inspiring and original, and her raw honesty so incredibly refreshing.  Give a click-see to her page – trust me, it will become a must-read.

TV Show

My husband and I already confess to watching way too much T.V.  Our DVR has a tendency to become overrun with our favorite shows, especially in the fall and spring.  Luckily for us, there really wasn’t much that wet our telly appetites this summer, except for the new Aaron Sorkin show on HBO, The Newsroom While I don’t always see eye to eye with the politics of this show–and the flashy shock value of some of the season finale political storyline annoyed the bejeebees out of me (though sometimes I do agree with some of the social justice points made), the show is chalk full of Sorkin writing brillance, and fantastic acting by some of my new favorite actors.  Regardless of what political side you camp on, or your thoughts on the newsroom reporting angle, the stories of the individuals on the show are captivating – I cared immediately about the characters from the first episode, and as a sometimes jaded critical actor, that’s rare for me with television writing.  I loved every single episode, and I will be setting my DVR regularly for season two.


Though I don’t usually listen to a lot of musical theatre on my down time from performing (which I know is weird for a musical theatre geek), I was captivated this summer by the current Broadway smash of Once, The Musical.  The movie and soundtrack by folk musician Glen Hansard have been translated beautifully to the stage.  I am kicking myself for not seeing it when I was in New York this spring when it was in previews.   I have been particularly obsessed this summer with my favorite song in the show, “Gold” and the spot-on-perfect vocals of Steve Kazee. (I have Glen Hansard on the playlist below, but check out the video of the Broadway cast–it’s truly exquisite!)

Along with Once, I’ve been spinning a few tunes round my ipod like Mumford & Sons “I Will Wait” from their forthcoming album (who hasn’t?), a fantastic cover of “Somebody That I Used To Know” from an unknown band, Walk Off The Earth, and for the first time in memory, I actually like the music of an American Idol winner…perhaps the apocalypse is near???

Soon-To-Be- Favorites

I’ll be posting daily next month with a new series!  Next to book lists, my other favorite is:

I am so excited to link up with one of my favorite bloggers, The Nester next month for a 31 Days of Playlists!  Last October, I attempted this series for the first time and wrote about waiting, which, if I’m honest, wasn’t one of my favorite things!   This year, I knew I wanted to write about something I’m truly passionate about, in an area that’s near and dear to my heart.   (That music degree’s got to count for something, right?)  I’m planning on featuring many genres of music, as well as ‘practical playlists’ – like music to listen to while writing, working out, falling in love, etc.  I’m working hard on these posts even now, so I hope you’ll come back in October and discover new-to-you music, as well as old favorites!

I’m also thrilled to have been cast in an operetta this fall, The Pirates of Penzance!

This has been a fixture in my reading/study stack…you can see my geeky label tabs of every scene…when it comes to research for a role, I’m ridiculously nerdy!

When I was a kid, I watched the movie version of ‘Pirates’ incessantly – I was obsessed with Kevin Kline as the Pirate King! (As my parents didn’t listen to classical music, it was years before I learned the movie was even based on an operetta!)   I’ll be playing the role of Ruth – played in the above video clip by Angela Lansbury.   I hope to blog about the performing  process this month, in between the 18 or so credit hours and afternoon rehearsals – Lordy!  It’s going to be a jam packed fall – here we go!

I’d love to hear about your summer adventures, and fall plans!

(linking today with Ann, Michelle and Jennifer)




5 comments on “Inspired Favorites – Summer 2012 {an end of summer wrap-up}

  1. Hi Sarah,

    Congrats on your “B” in algebra, your trip to Europe, and on your role as Ruth: thanks for sharing the music clips: I love to discover new music…Nice to meet you 🙂
    Linked up behind you at Michelle’s Graceful blog 🙂

  2. 1. Algebra – my literature-loving hat is off to you…
    2. Europe sounds (and looks) ah-mazing.
    3. Had to check out Sarah Bessey (Thank you.)
    4. I’m giving the 31 days my first go this year. Eeek!
    5. Break a leg. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for your comments and well wishes Stacie! Checked your blog out, and really enjoyed the honesty and writing! (I also love the the song your blog title came from – I bet we have alot of similiar music tastes!)

  3. Sarah,
    I loved your recap of your summer…such a great idea to do that!
    Math was my most dreaded subject —Congrats to you on making a B!
    What a dream of a vacation! I’ve been to Rome . I could go again and again and again. ..
    And we definitely share some book loves! One Thousand Gifts, girl meets God, and Anne Lamott is wonderful. Although, I haven’t read the book you mentioned but I have it waiting for me to read : )
    I’m currently teaching James by Beth Moore and its been a great study — I feel convicted and wrung out (but in a good way)

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