July felt more like 2 or 3 months for me- emotionally, circumstantially and in my heart. At the same time, it also felt like it literally melted into a smattering of a few sweltering days that held so much weight, and then poof – it was gone.
I started the month with a simple and much needed trip home, and I came back refreshed.
The very next morning I was unexpectedly thrown back into the world of permanent farewells I had just left behind in May. I said goodbye as a loving family member departed this Earth. I leaned into the grief with the support of my husband’s strong arms and the miracle that is the Hospice community. I helped honor my loved one’s memory the best I could with a heartfelt memorial.
I grew older and wiser this month. I grew closer to God.
I ate shrimp and grits.
Here’s the Cliff-Notes-Meets-My-Blog version.
what i read
Just call this book the third in the trinity of Reichl’s memoirs that NO self respecting foodie should miss! I first read Comfort Me With Apples (at the suggestion of Shauna Niequist in Bread & Wine), followed by Tender At The Bone. Garlic & Sapphires follows the adventures of Reichl as the head food critic for the New York Times, as she acquires and creates various disguises to keep her identity hidden as she dines. Full of fun stories, delicious recipes and Reichl’s signature descriptions of food that make me swoon & underline like a madwoman, this book was the perfect summer read.
I was captivated by this amazing story of an African-American woman in the 1930’s whose cells (taken without her knowing during cancer treatments) are known as a ‘miracle’ of sorts, in that they multiply and for all practical purposes, refuse to ‘die off’. They have helped scientists all over the world in research of all types. The ethics of what was done to Henrietta and her family, as well as the story of what really happened is brilliantly and compassionately told by the author who became friends with the Lacks family during the research & writing process. This book is hard to explain in a few sentences, but a mesmerizing and fascinating read I highly recommend.
what i’m reading
what i read online
Say yes to jumping off a cliff. Literally. Say yes to telling the ugly beautiful raw truth about your life. Say yes to friendships that are built in an instant. Say yes to scrambling over rocks so that you can scream up into a waterfall, voices swallowed up in the roar of the water. Say yes to middle of the night conversations and jumping in with your clothes on.
And say yes to God’s whisper and yes to hope and yes to possibility. Say yes to a new future.
all i want is to rest. to open wide this moment and step into it, to sit on a beach chair and hold my babies and breathe in their skin, and funny how, once you get what you want, all you can think about is the other.
…but i am learning to write, in spite of summertime.
…because i want to honor the call.
…how do we balance the laptop with the laundry and the liturgy?
There is always more you can do. Turn your computer off. I can tell you this much after surviving our media fast: space to breathe and create will recharge you. Be with people, not screens. Unplug. It will make you a better blogger when you’re back to the keyboard.
Here is how it happens: you wake up one morning and think, today I want to accomplish something. Today, I want to do something hard and a bit impossible for me. Today, I want to climb a mountain. Why is that something that seems so hard to you is seemingly easy to everyone else? Starting something hard is way more fun than finishing it well. Only the pines witness the resolute courage to keep moving.
The only way out is up. You are in charge of your own rescue.
You keep going.
At some point, every reader faces the impossibility of reading every book he or she wants to read. But this does not stop us from imagining a world in which it’s true.
This summer is full of glory moments. And there are also the moments where my chest tightens like a vice and I wonder how to feel safe again. And they come together. The glory and the pain. And I think that’s just how it is. And I think I’m slowly learning how to live there, in the gap between the promise and the reality.
what i listened to
My download additions to my personal collection included Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors and 2 new tracks from the upcoming Civil Wars album. I also started listening to the new-to-me-music heard on my guilty pleasure T.V. show, So You Think You Can Dance. (Expect a playlist from me soon). My favorite playlist I made for the blog this month was Music for Doing Hard Things.
Sara Bareilles’ single Manhattan from her new album The Blessed Unrest haunted me with its beauty and heartache.
what i watched
I’ll admit, I’ve become an avid fan of some favorite shows this summer. I am LOVING The Newsroom, as well as my old favorite, So You Think You Can Dance. My hubby and I have been watching the end of the cancelled show Zero Hour, (not the greatest writing, but since the end of Lost & Flash Forward, we’re always on the lookout for decent sci-fi t.v.). I also like Food Network Star (though I’m not a fan of hardly any of the contestants this season–Damaris for the win!) and Covert Affairs. Movie-wise we saw Man of Steel – which both of us enjoyed, despite its terrible reviews, and I saw The Heat, which may have been the funniest movie viewing experience ever! A man in the theatre would periodically guffaw the LOUDEST, MOST HILARIOUS laugh you’ve ever heard, which would make all of us in the theatre roar with laughter as well. Add to that Melissa McCarthy’s comedic skillz, and stick a fork in me, I was d-u-n, done. (I may have snorted and started a coughing fit, I laughed so hard). Some needed humor and happiness this month.
where i went
The first week of June found me and my sweet little family unit at home celebrating the Fourth of July.
After weeks of soul-numbing goodbyes, I travelled with my Man to the beach for his family’s reunion that was healing balm to my soul.
what i ate
Who knew that a meal of shrimp and grits could be a revelation? My first meal at the beach was grilled shrimp on a bed of gouda cheese grits, with a mushroom sherry cream sauce that was every bit as scrumptious as it sounds. In between potlucks of family home-cooked creations including the likes of the chef of the family’s homemade crab dip, a creamy & flavorful chutney, green bean casserole made fresh with home grown beans from the garden, and a catered dinner of chicken, a killer macaroni and cheese and homemade peach cobbler, I attempted to make a virtuous breakfast for my hubby and in-laws by making homemade blueberry crisp for breakfast. On our way home, I ate maybe one of the best turkey burgers ever at The Grind House in the Atlanta airport terminal. Carmelized onions and sauteed mushrooms on a tiny brioche bun helped hit the spot. Honestly, I was very good on my diet for most of the month, but as you can see, the two weeks of travel pretty much blew my healthy food diary to pieces. C’est la vie, onward & upward…
moments of joy
The weekend after losing my grandmother, my best friend coming to visit was a pure Godsend. We talked and laughed, and she helped me organize my cluttered self. We also visited my Aunt, who took us to a fabulous Greek restaurant where we laughed until we cried. Serendipitously, my sweet sister-in-law and precious niece were already scheduled to visit. Cuddling my niece and introducing her to the wonders of the piano made me giddy. Time with my loved ones truly turned times of grief to grace.
what i’m looking forward to
A trip to NYC to visit my spiritual family and one of my best friends, trips home, going to the gym like a mad woman, the musical production of Hello Dolly at my church, piles of books and trips to the library, more writing and being proactive about pursuing opportunities for work and growth!
As always, its pure joy to link up monthly with Leigh.