Ahh, sweet August. I never thought I’d say that about summer’s (usually) hottest month. Most summers, I just bide my time inside with the air conditioning until August gives up to September, October and finally FALL. But this August was truly life-giving, relaxing, and healing for me. After an emotional and difficult summer, August wooed me for one of the first times in my life. I took a trip to NYC to visit my Godparents and one of my best friends, and it was 4 1/2 days of perfection – truly a healing grace and total bright spot in my summer. I got back to a daily routine, and enjoyed the slower rhythm of my days.
Where I Went
My first few days of August in New York City were simply magical. I simply can not remember a trip I took by myself in recent memory that was so full of grace and delight. Long talks with my loved ones, incredible Broadway theatre, delicious food and jaunts through sacred spaces did miraculous wonders for my soul and spirit. Even the weather showed off–I was flabbergasted when the last day of my trip was a balmy 75 degrees and breezy. My first night there I wrote this short post trying my best to articulate my joy and gratitude.
Tsh of Simple Mom at Incourage: 11 of the Greatest Hymns In Church History
Plato once said, “Music is… wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” God has created music similar to certain extravagant parts of creation, like the redwoods and the turquoise Mediterranean waters and the northern lights: it begs us to stop everything and pay attention.
And when truly excellent music angles our attention heavenward? It changes you. And when enough lovers of God collectively listen to the words and the music—it can cause a shift in the Body, the Church. It changes us.
Emily Freeman of Chatting At The Sky At Incourage: What To Do When Your Art Is Rejected
Rejection doesn’t mean your idea is bad or lacks potential. It could mean that, but it doesn’t automatically mean that.
What it does mean, though, is there is still work left to do. I’ve read that Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”
Angie Smith at Catalyst Conference Blog: What Does It Mean To Be Known?
There are plenty of people who are satisfied with their likeness being known rather than their character, and they choose environments where this tendency is reinforced. We can spot them from the cheap seats, and they eventually turn into caricatures instead of shepherds.
It’s easy in this day and age to make the mistake of exchanging depth for exposure, but it’s costly and dangerous to do so. The scariest part is that more often than not, we actually feel like we are pursuing something noble; we are sharing the portion of our story that we’re comfortable with and calling it community.
Rachel Held Evans: You Don’t Hate Me, You Hate My Brand
We are not our brands.
We are human beings—little bundles of cells and relationships and hopes and fears that can never be crammed into images or words.
The truth is, that dude whose blog posts totally rub you the wrong way may be the best person in the world with which to watch a football game or talk theology over beer. That acquaintance on Facebook whose pictures make her life seem perfect may struggle with self-doubt, depression, and fear. That stuffy Calvinist you love to hate may melt into a goofy, delightful playmate when he’s tickling his kids on the living room floor. The feminist you always imagine shouting other people down may have an unbelievably tender heart. The pastor you think is always wrong probably gets a few things right. And the pastor you think is always right definitely gets some stuff wrong.
Amanda at Hill + Pen: Small Graces & Odd and Curious Thoughts About the 2013 VMAs
I think sometimes it’s easier to rot in our own self-pity than force ourselves to prop open our eyelids and see the protection around us. The fact that our legs are strong, and the log came floating by, and there’s a stranger fishing for carp that heard our cries. The fact that the rains stopped, and the boat came, and you looked up to see sunlight streaming like laser beams through the parting clouds. Maybe God’s the one who’s yelling, and we’re so busy wallowing that we don’t even notice.
My dear daughter: Everyone has a rebellious phase. I get it. But instead of going all Miley Cyrus on me where you feel a need to shave your head, dance around in your skivvies in front of millions and gyrate next to overstuffed life-size creepy teddy bears whilst sticking out your tongue, please just write out your heartbreak into best sellers like Taylor Swift so at least your angst has some purpose instead of generating pity. Plus, Taylor makes more money, wins awards, has trouble finding dates hence the TMI, and wears 1950′s-esk unflattering swim apparel. That’s a win/win for mom.
Michelle DeRusha: Living Feeds Writing
My relentless focus on writing, social media and platform-building produced results. I finished writing one book and started another, launched a newspaper column, published five blog posts a week and grew my Twitter following. Google Analytics tracked a slow but steady increase in visitors to my blog. I was pleased.
Until, that is, I suddenly had nothing to say.
August found me still reading a lot of wonderful books like a total maniac, which continued to be a writing education while soothing my psyche. I actually finished 4 books in 1 month – which is almost a new record for me. (Especially when you consider I’m usually reading 5 or 6 books at once). I’m loving my current stack of reads – in particular, I can not wait to tell you more about 3 books that are releasing this fall and early next year. Notes From A Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider is quickly becoming one of my favorite books of the year, and Sarah’s Bessey’s Jesus Feminist–well, let’s just say I’m a big (feminist) fan! Her writing is perfection, and this book is an important read. Dani Pettrey’s Stranded is the 3rd in a fictional series, and I’ve come to love the family of characters she writes about.
what i read
My Berlin Kitchen by Luisa Weiss
This memoir was another food memoir I savored this summer, chronicling Weiss’ life growing up between Berlin & Boston. The romance, the German recipes, and her easy free-flowing prose made this one so enjoyable.
Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham
I absolutely loved this book! Yes, it was a perfect summer read, and yes, Lauren Graham’s book heroines are just as funny and witty and full of banter as her award-winning character on Gilmore Girls. But what I really loved about this book was its heart. It brought me right back to my days as a struggling actress living in NYC, but it helped me remember the wonderful moments when I usually only remember the hard parts. I wrote about how this book affected me this summer here.
The Body In The Transept by Jeanne Dams
If you love mystery series, Agatha Christie or Miss Marple and an English countryside locale, this book is for you! I loved the narrative voice of Dam’s main character Dorothy Martin. This book charmed my socks off, and I’m already scouring the library for the next one in the series.
My Year With Eleanor by Noelle Hancock
This memoir was perfect read for me this summer. I felt like I travelled alongside Noelle through all of her adventures in facing her daily ‘Year of Fear’ tasks with Eleanor Roosevelt as her main inspiration. She provides wonderful background on Eleanor’s life throughout and peppers her personal adventures with fantastic quotes from Eleanor herself–it really helps this book’s narrative soar. I really appreciated how she protected the privacy of those in her life at the time, but still allowed herself to be unflinchingly honest about her journey–I wrote down a lot of great quotes from her. I wanted to know more about Noelle after I read it–I hope she’s writing another book!
what i’m reading
Notes From A Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider, Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey, A Year of Writing Dangerously by Barbara Abercrombie, Stranded by Dani Pettrey, Blue Plate Special: An Autiobiography of My Appetites by Kate Christiansen, The Artist’s Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul With Monastic Wisdom by Christine Valters Paintner
On My Blog
I had yet another month of not a lot of posting, but regardless, I am happy to report I have been writing like crazy! (There, ahem, may or may not be around 7 or 8 half-written posts in my wordpress cue…sigh). It took awhile for me to get the creative juices flowing again after what I call ‘a summer of loss’. I finally blogged about how it felt like reading saved my life this summer and I shared a fun SYTYCD playlist.
What I Watched
This video slayed me. I love Kristin Chenoweth – and I love the fact that my husband and I met her the night we got engaged. (On the Broadway stage she was performing on. But that’s another fabulous story for another day). Sarah also wrote a blog post about her out-of-body-no-doubt-amazing experience. I love the richness of her lower voice and the way she and Kristin’s harmonies meld so beautifully together. I cry happy tears when I see other artist’s impossible dreams coming true.
I’ve loved watching So You Think You Can Dance (of course–Team Jasmine, if you please–I mean look at those legs!), The Newsroom (which I think is even more riveting this 2nd season) and Covert Affairs (Auggie will always be Ugly Betty‘s Henry for me…sigh). My hubby and I also usually watch more reruns of The Big Bang Theory during dinner than we care to admit. (Best comedy on t.v. as far as we’re concerned.)
What I Ate
I discovered a lovely local farmer’s market, and loaded up on delicious produce. One of my favorite things to eat in August is a huge, gourd-size home grown tomato – sliced and dusted with salt and pepper–delish. I also found the gorgeous handmade bowl pictured above at one of the market stands.
What I Listened To
Like the rest of the blogisphere, it seems, I’ve been continually listening to The Civil Wars new album. I think its just as good, if not better than their debut record (though that one will forever be my favorite). I also discovered some wonderful new-artists-to-me on a Noisetrade compilation record – The Saint Johns. They have some touring dates this fall with Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors (one of my favorite new-to-me bands) – if you are lucky enough to live near the tour cities – you should check them out! I must also take a moment and plug an album I’ve yet to hear in its entirety that I can’t wait to get. My blogger friend Reeve (of reevewrites.com) is releasing her new album any day now and I’m so excited for her! She’s written about the experience and showed off the stunning album artwork over at her blog – check it out when you can. (I’m hoping to feature her album sometime this fall on my blog).
Other Inspired Moments This Month
- Taking a fantastic 1 hour webinar lecture class from Blaine Hogan. He is an artist that always inspires me – I interviewed him here. Check out his fantastic book Untitled here.
- Spending some lazy end-of-summer afternoons writing at the library.
- I’ve been making Shauna Niequist’s Blueberry Crisp recipe from her book Bread & Wine nonstop this summer–for breakfast and a healthy snack. I decided one day on a whim to change it up and make it with extra sweet strawberries and it was a hit at our community dinner.
- I always get inspired on my visits to Anthropologie, and this month, they didn’t disappoint. I think this book wall decor display may have be my favorite decor in any store ever! (Also check out the interesting wall sculpture/bookshelf art). They are now selling books cut into letters for home decor as well – how fun would that be to create your own DIY version of that? (Not to mention cheaper than their $20 price tag).
- I also have been working out with a personal trainer weekly – its been exhausting and wonderful all at once.
What have you been into this month?
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