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What I’m Into – Summer Edition

I haven’t linked up with Leigh Kramer’s What I’m Into monthly link-up in a while, so I am just going to make this a “summer” edition rather than just “August” edition.

Books

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As usual, I read a ton of books this summer. Here are my favorites:

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This was a story about a young Nigerian teenager. The story touched on issues like economic status, religious fanaticism, and abuse. However, the author skillfully wove those dark subjects into a hopeful coming of age story. I really like this author!

Lit by Mary Karr

This is a memoir about Karr’s experiences raising her son as an alcoholic mother and her eventual journey toward faith. I wish I could write like Karr. Her use of language is incomparable.

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

I’m a huge Sue Monk Kidd fan, and I loved this dual tale of a white plantation girl and her slave. Both girls, in their own ways, search for freedom. This book lovingly approached feminism and friendship. That said, I ask some of the same questions that were asked of The Help: Must we always suggest that it was whites who helped slaves earn their freedom? And does a white woman have any right to write in the voice of a slave? I am not saying she doesn’t. In fact, in the light of Ferguson, I think we have to stop ignoring the issue of race relations and race inferiority in the U.S. Kidd’s voice has been an important one in my own life. I just think we need to consider these questions.

The Quotidian Mysteries (re-read) by Kathleen Norris

I enjoyed going through this book again and underlined a lot of lines this time! A couple of favorite quotes:

“I have come to believe that the true mystics of the quotidian are not those who contemplate holiness in isolation, reaching godlike illumination in serene silence, but those who manage to find God in a life filled with noise, the demands of other people and relentless daily duties that can consume the self.” 

” The Christian religion asks us to place our trust not in ideas, and certainly not in ideologies, but in a God who was vulnerable enough to become human and die, and who desires to be present to us in our everyday circumstances. And because we are human, it is in the realm of the daily and the mundane that we must find our way to God.” 

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Other books I read: 

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (This was is an honorary favorite. It is a very deep book, and so insightful on race relations in the U.S. I loved so many things in this book, but it also made me deeply uncomfortable with my own privilege. I want to give it a re-read before I claim it as a “favorite.”) 

The Maze Runner series by James Dashner ( I liked The Maze Runner a lot, but I wasn’t so keen on the other books in the series.) 

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

Long Life: Essays and Other Writings by Mary Oliver

The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Toward the Endless Day by Olga Lossky

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

The Delirium Series by Lauren Oliver

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

(Total: 23 books!)

(P.S – I’m reading My Bright Abyss and Behind the Beautiful Forevers right now.)

TV

I have finally started watching Downton Abbey. I just discovered that I can watch old episodes using my Amazon Prime account, and I’ve watched the first two seasons over the course of a week and a half! Now I can be caught up when the new season starts in January!

My whole family has eagerly looked forward to Girl Meets World, a spin-off of Boy Meets World on Disney Channel. Cory and Topanga are all grown up with a daughter in middle school. I might age myself by saying that though I’ve seen episodes of Boy Meets World before, it was slightly after my time. It was on when I was in high school and college, but 1) I was in Bangkok for HS and the only American teen show we had there was BH 90210, and 2) I didn’t watch TV in college. My childhood (pre-Thailand) is full of memories of The Wonder Years with the older Savage brother. Still, Steven and I were looking forward to this Girl Meets World, if only to remember our younger years. I really, really want to like this show. But I just don’t. The writing could be better.

Writing

I finished my book! (Still seeking an agent.)

I was interviewed for 2 podcasts! (Check out the one on Orthodoxy HERE and the one on being a third culture kid HERE.)

I was thrilled to publish essays at Rock & Sling,  A Life Overseas, and my friend Bree’s blog.

I also got rejections from several journals and said “no” to an editor for the first time.

My most popular blog post this summer was “Redefining Success and Failure,” aka How I Flubbed Up the Communion Bread.

Family

I absolutely enjoyed my two months off this summer. I did practically nothing. We joined the Y just for the summer and spent several days a week at the pool. I went off to a cabin by myself for a weekend. We went to the $1 movies. We turned the sprinkler on in the yard. We sweated in the stands at Ephraim’s baseball games. Madeleine and Steven were in a play. We took Steven’s grandmother to the Parthenon and the Farmer’s Market. We went to the beach, and I only took one picture. It was heavenly.

peace path near my cabin
peace path near my cabin
baseball
baseball
my thespians
my thespians
Madeleine was a Holy Myrrhbearer and brought flowers for her saint
Madeleine was a Holy Myrrhbearer and brought flowers for her saint
Ephraim was an acolyte for the first time!
Ephraim was an acolyte for the first time!
Chillin by the pool
Chillin by the pool

Work

I had to be back at work on July 31, so August has been readjusting to work life and busy schedules again. It’s been the longest month ever, and though it’s been nice to feel professionally purposeful again, I’m glad to see August go. It has exhausted me.

This is me in Nashville, standing on Nashville.
This is me in Nashville, standing on Nashville.

What were you up to this summer?

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