What I’m Into – December 2013

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This month was FANTASTIC.

And flew by in a flash.

Whether it was unpacking moving boxes, getting plugged back into our church family, traveling to family for Christmas, or a leisurely New Year’s with friends – December was full of abundance.  And I am so very, very grateful.

 

In The Blogisphere

Rachel Held Evans: 101 Christian Woman Speakers  

Michelle DeRusha: One Small Thing Done in {Slightly Irritable} Love  

Leigh Kramer : The Red Couch: Introducing the SheLoves Book Club 

Emily Freeman at Incourage: A Lamp Who Would Light The Whole World 

Jen Hatmaker: The Duck Thing: Is There Another Way?

Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience:  Dear Kids: What You Need To Know About Duck Dynasty, Justine Sacco & Christmas

Tsh Oxenreider: What If We Got All Worked Up About This Instead?

Jeff Goins: How To Get Ahead During The Holiday Season {Or Anytime of Year} 

 

My Favorite Telly Commercial

My husband and I were probably WAY more amused by these commercials than the average Joe, but man–I love them!  We undoubtedly called each other TOTES MCGOTES way more than any couple ever should, but we laughed and loved every moment of our goofiness.  I’d loved to have been on set the day{s) these were filmed – and can you even imagine the hilarity of the outtakes???

James Earl Jones & Malcolm McDowell’s Brillance!

Runner-up Fave  {for James Earl Jones’  facial expressions!}

 

Books

What I Read

The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth {Divergent, Insurgent & Allegiant}

I have to say, I was spellbound by this trilogy so quickly that I read all 3 books in less than 2 weeks. A lot of bloggers thought they were poorly written compared to The Hunger Games, but I was swept up in the story too much to care.    I was fascinated by the concept of factions in the dystopian world  – the idea that you were born into, and later chose a specific group of people based on how they live their lives, and your own personal characteristics.   I also love the names of the factions – Amity, Erudite, Abnegation, Candor and Dauntless.  I think the first novel was my favorite.  I was surprised that I liked the 3rd and final novel, Allegiant, as much as I did.   I’m not usually a fan of the type of ending in this book, but I respected the author’s choices.  I don’t know that the movie will do the book justice, but I’m looking forward to seeing Divergent this spring.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

It took me forever to finish this book, but only because it took awhile to copy long passages in my journal and my notes on writing.  This was the first {and probably only} book I’ve read by Stephen King, and I see why he’s sold millions of books and people love his writing – it’s catchy.   There was a lot of food for thought in this book – and I loved the combination of both writing instruction and personal memoir of King’s life.

What I’m Reading

A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman, The Voice Bible,  A Year of Writing Dangerously by Barbara Abercrombie, Writing Away: A Creative Guide to Awakening the Journal-Writing Traveler by Lavinia Spalding , Food Rules by Michael Pollan and Prototype by Jonathan Martin.

On My Blog

I had fun with a flurry of last minute end-of-year posts.  I shared my annual Christmas playlist and my favorite reads for Advent.   I also guest posted on my friend Mimi’s blog about Christmas traditions.  My most read post was my 2013 Reads Booklist Linkup – there’s still time to share a post with your reads, or just say hello in the comments.  There’s so many good reading suggestions–your reading list will explode!

 Movies We Saw

Hunger Games, The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, Saving Mr. Banks–I loved all of them.

Christmastime 

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This Christmas felt so full, so joy-filled and so restful!  A few weeks after moving back home, we were iced in for about 4 days, which initially cancelled our Christmas cantata at church.  Luckily, they rescheduled it for the next weekend, and I spent every service that weekend singing at the top of my lungs in one of my favorite choirs on Earth.  I love that we always end the cantata with Handel’s Messiah, and this year, the principal violinist of the orchestra played an arrangement of O Holy Night that brought us all to our knees–truly glorious.

We spent the holiday with my husband’s family.  They are a fun Southern brood, and love to have the kind of holiday parties I never had growing up.    My husband’s parents hosted a huge gathering where we ate their traditional Christmas homemade gumbo and this delectable salad recipe. Growing up, my family never consciously got together with so many other extended family and relatives, so the close-knit nature of my husband’s family really is a gift to me.

Christmas Eve was probably the most fun I’ve had on that night in my entire adult life.  One of my husband’s cousins is an incredible chef, and he made the BEST CHRISTMAS EVE DINNER I’VE HAD IN.MY.LIFE.  Seriously, people.  I’ve never been one for prime rib, and his 14 pound, salt rubbed and rosemary version showed me what I’ve been missing all these years.  He sautéed vegetables in butter and garlic, made homemade corn pudding, horseradish sauce for the meat that you wanted to lick off the plate, and au jus from scratch.  I’m also not a big apple pie person, but his homemade desserts, which included a streusel dutch apple pie, and bread pudding with caramel sauce were slap-your-grandma-good.  Even the drinking water in beautiful red goblets felt fancy and more refreshing.  We went around the table, and shared our favorite meals, and laughed and laughed.  We took pictures around the Christmas tree, and I had a ball reading books and playing with the newest baby in the family, a gorgeous 18 month old girl with a ruby red Christmas dress that was off-the-chart cute.

Favorite Christmas Gifts

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While I loved every gift of my loved ones, my husband did particularly well in the gift department.  {Thank you, Amazon wish list.}   My book gifts included  Pastrix, The Voice Bible &  the Well Fed 2 cookbook.  My main favorite gift was a throw pillow handmade by my niece.  It’s gorgeous, and even matches our bedspread perfectly, though she didn’t know the color beforehand.  And truly, my favorite present wasn’t a thing, it really was the gift of spending quality time with family.  

We then drove home on a sunny and beautiful day on the Natchez trace.

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What I’m Looking Forward to in January

So much goodness.  I’m doing a Paleo Whole 30–which both thrills and scares me.  I’m volunteering at church for our day of prayer.  I’m thrilled and humbled to be writing my first post for the She Loves Book Club – The Red Couch on one of my favorite reads of 2013. I’m also completely over the moon excited to be accompanying my husband on one of his work trips to Montreal!

What were you into in December and what’s on the docket for the New Year??

{As usual, Leigh’s linkups are the best.  Affiliate links in this post support this blog – thanks!}

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4 comments on “What I’m Into – December 2013

  1. Your Xmas Eve dinner…. YUM. And Whole30? Good luck! It couldn’t do it but a lot of people do, I’m sure you’ll do great. I had an amazing Christmas Eve too, the worship service we went to was absolutely beautiful then the kids went to sleep fairly easily and I stayed up and stuffed stockings and staged “Santa presents.” It was so much fun.

  2. I love driving the Trace. so peaceful. many thanks for guest posting again : ) You had likes and views on the blog and FB. Like you, Allegiant was ok for me. Enjoyed reading the post and catching up on the rest of your December.

  3. Enjoyed this very much, especially your book list and the description of how you spent your Christmas. It is true the best gift is time spent with family. I always enjoy our Christmas celebrations as we have a big family, but this year, my mom is sick, and we did not have our usual noisy picture taking and what have you. Would appreciate your saying a prayer for her healing! Have a blessed new year! patsy

  4. I’m with you on liking the ending of Allegiant more than I thought I would because I saw and respected the reasons. Also on LOVING the Spring commercials, though my absolute favorite part is “…but I probably won’t…but I MIGHT.”

    I also received Well Fed 2 for Christmas. We’ve made several recipes from it, and it is fantastic! So far my favorite thing is the BBQ brisket on sweet potato waffles (though we don’t have a waffle maker so we just cooked them in a skillet). Sooo yummy!

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