What I’m Into: January 2015 Edition

* Links to books in my posts may contain affiliate links, which means that if I recommend a book and you click on the link to order that book from Amazon, I can receive a commission for that sale  
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What I’m Watching:

Unbroken – My family and I went and saw Unbroken while I was home for Christmas, and it was just about what I expected. It’s an incredible story of a man with seemingly inhuman amounts of persistence and strength. The dialogue was a little cheesy for me at times, but I truly think that the story of Louis Zamperini could be told in any form, any time period, and give great hope and inspiration to so many. (My vote – get it from Redbox and watch when you need to be reminded that your life isn’t so bad)

Wild – I had been waiting and anticipating this film since I heard that Reese Witherspoon was heading up the project, based on a book I adore. Sean and I saw this one around New Year’s in a fabulous theater in Carlsbad with reclining seats, it was a blast, especially while watching a movie about this woman’s grueling emotional and physical journey of grief and hiking alone. (My vote – avoid this one unless you’re already a fan of the story, or just read the book)

You’ve Got Mail – I’ve seen this movie a bajillion times, but I came to an important realization while watching it a few weeks ago – my idea of what the single adult life would look like formed somehow from Kathleen Kelly’s New York apartment. She has plenty of room for books and a window seat and a huge, lovely bed, and most importantly – plenty of table and counter space for all her vases of daisies, the friendliest flower.

There were two movies on my “To-Watch” list that I nabbed from Redbox and watched with Melissa in one night. The first was Edge of Tomorrow and the second was Snowpiercer. EoT was pretty cool, definitely entertaining and Emily Blunt is awesome in it. Snowpiercer was bizarre and I think, over my head. (My vote – Please watch them and then call me and explain it to me.)

House of Cards – Several close people whose taste in movies and TV have recommended this show, so I started watching it slowly, just one episode at a time. This is very different from my usual binge-watching of great shows (Read: Friday Night Lights and Scandal) I’ve really been enjoying this one so far. The writing and political drama is deep and twisted and morally questionable. THe acting is phenomenal and though I find myself so far from anything political, the characters seem real and anchored. I love Kevin Spacey as an actor, and this character seems like it couldn’t be played by anyone else, and his breaking of the fourth wall is bold and unique and makes watching the show even more enjoyable. I’m not far into it, but I’m looking forward to continuing.

I’m currently reading the book American Sniper, and I’m dying to see the movie, but haven’t gotten a chance to, yet!

What I’m Reading:

How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits” by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline De Maigret, and Sophie Mas – I got the chance to housesit for a friend of mine who has a beautiful home in Glendora with natural light and a gorgeous garden, and I sat in the sunshine with their super cute, cuddly dog and devoured this whole book in one sitting. It’s a fun commentary on being Parisian women written by four of them, who are also best friends. It explores every rule and trend among this unique culture of people in a very laissez-faire, effortless kind of way. At the end of it, I felt a little envious for their minimal-makeup-effortless-beauty regimen, but mostly happy that I don’t have to think as much about the philosophy and pressures behind that. This was a great vacation read that  think many would enjoy!

The Dance of the Dissident Daughter: A Woman’s Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine” by Sue Monk Kidd – I grabbed this book at a library used book sale last year, and then set it aside for a bit. When I found out about the several different speaking engagements approaching about the idea of gender and following Christ, I thought this one would be a great guide to my journey, and I was so right. This book inspired me and challenged me in all the right ways, and I will continue to call Sue Monk Kidd my favorite author, adding this to the list of books the impacted my feminine journey dramatically.

Fight Back With Joy” by Margaret Feinberg – I got to read the first few chapters of this early, and wrote this post about it on the day it was released for purchase. I just received my actual copy in the mail a few days ago, and I loved reading the rest! Margaret’s battle with cancer was terrifying and torturous, and in all honesty, frightened me to read about. But her commitment to find ways to fight back with joy were beautiful and anything but kitschy or cliche. She is real and writes with a power that jumps off the page. I wept with her at the final prognosis, and will carry the perspective of fighting back and helping others do the same through every day of my life, because of her words. I am so thankful for this book, and I have already given away one copy, and know several other people who I’ll be giving it to. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude to Margaret for sharing this journey with all of us readers.

How People Grow: What the Bible Reveals about Personal Growth” by Cloud & Townsend – I read the first half of this (long) book leading up to an important counseling conversation with two friends, and then tried to cram in the rest before it was due back at the library, but was unsuccessful. So I committed the cardinal library sin – I put a hold on the book, returned it, and immediately went back to re-check it out and finish it. This is an incredible book that is chock-full of insight about human beings and relationships and growth. Cloud & Townsend are so wise and their directions and explanations about people have built the foundation for my counseling education. I highly recommend this book to anyone who cares about growing spiritually or helping others grow spiritually. It’s incredible.

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed – This came highly recommended by several people who heard how much I loved Cheryl’s book, “Wild”, and its subsequent movie starring Reese Witherspoon. It’s definitely the same person writing kick-ass advice to people as the one who walked a thousand miles alone along the Pacific Crest Trail. That being said, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I thought I would a book written by a voice I was so inspired by in her other adventure, due mostly to our vast philosophical differences. Her advice was refreshingly blunt and honest, but a bit distasteful and faithless for my take on things. 

What I’m Eating/Cooking:

Energy bites – This has quickly become my go-to snack with coffee in the morning. These delicious little bites are the perfect amount for the morning not-quite-hungry appetite level, and my coworkers all love when I bring them in!

Spicy chicken – I bought chicken thigh instead of chicken breast, and let me just tell you, it is NOT the same. The seasoning on these were great, but the meat was just gross. I’m going to try this one again tonight!

Broccoli with balsamic – My mom cooked broccoli with balsamic vinegar and a little garlic while I was at home visiting for Christmas, and it was such an effortlessly delightful flavor combo, I’ve found myself cooking this up a few times a week for a light and delicious snack or dinner addition.

Apples with goat cheese – Another gem from visiting family over the holidays, I never thought to spread honeyed goat cheese on apples, but whoa buddy, this is a go-to! So delicious!

On the Internets:

To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This by

On Books And Feeding Yourself by Glennon Doyle Melton

‘Parks and Rec’ Saw the Best in Millennials by Jesse Carey on Relevant

My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward by Mark Lukach

What Happens When We See Women Teach the Bible by Sharon Hodde Miller

What I’m Writing:

2015 (sort of) Resolutions – 2015 is about doing things differently. I might not know exactly how at this moment, but I know it’s going to be different.

#fightbackwithjoy  – I’ve mentioned this a few times, already, but this book rocked my world and I was so excited to write about it.

Working on a review of the aforementioned movie, Wild.

I also wrote a whole piece about the peculiarity of anticipation, and then deleted it. Because insecurity.

What I’ve Been Up To:

I’ve spent a lot of January worrying about the future in my job and relationships, and about my ailing grandmother, so let’s focus on the fun things, instead:

I had the chance to speak at some fantastic events this month. The first was The Women’s Resource Center’s Semi-Annual Women’s Night of Worship, which was humbling and overwhelming to share the stage with some incredible women leaders and singers. I shared about stepping out of shame and into the light, and I was so thrilled to hear how God continues to bring people into His light in a way that is life-altering and bondage-breaking. The next event is this weekend, where I get to spend some quality time with the women attending the D-Groups Arrowhead Retreat and share about what it means to be a woman of God in a community of imperfect people.

This month was also our four-week series on Gender and Imago Dei with the high schoolers at Cornerstone. I had the chance to partner with our incredible High School Pastor, Matt, and share a bit with the students about being men and women who follow after God in a way that is as fully and beautifully unique as each of them are, created in the image of a God bursting with creativity and diversity. These weeks have inspired some great conversation, and hopefully a foundation for question-asking and investigation for our students as they grow.

Finally, one of the most exciting things that happened this month – for Christmas, Sean got us tickets to see WICKED! It’s one of the few plays I’d never seen, and I loved it! It was a perfect night out in LA, and the cast blew me away. The story and music are so incredible, it’s hard to imagine that the plot of the play hasn’t always been a part of the classic story. It was SUCH a blast!

WIcked 2

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