What I'm Into {August 2013}

31 August 2013

Another month is over and this one was nearly as wild as the last. We had visitors, travelled to Germany, started school back up again, and celebrated a couple of birthdays. In the midst of all this, we missed our old home in Kansas City just a little bit and missed our stateside family much more than just a little bit. And I wrote a little bit. And then I didn't. I submitted some stuff and I waited (still waiting, actually).

This month was more than I bargained for, but isn't it always that way? Then before you know it, the wind turns and there's tiny golden leaves hiding in your backgarden. Summer is over. Autumn come quickly.


I'm sure this will come as a shock, but Christian Fiction, as a genre, generally disagrees with me. Or I with it. I don't know if it was all the Karen Kingsbury novels I binged on in the early 2000s or the Janette Oke(eydokey) young love reads. If I were to defer to any type of "Christian" fiction, give me Greene or Lewis (images of Christ abounding, the former of which hidden among scandalous love and despair), and if I were to be honest, give me some Francine Rivers (love her beautiful, touching Lineage of Grace series).

So it was with a bit of trepidation sprinkled with optimism that I read Shades of Mercy, by Anita Lustrea and Caryn Rivadeneira. And I've got to tell you: I liked it. A lot. More than I thought I would. This is a story where simple (in the best way) characters come up against difficult issues of race, discrimination and doing what's right in the face of societal odds. The heart of this story is Mercy, but the compass is her father, Paul, who does more than tolerate those who are different. He leads in love (more than words) and depth of character (more than pity). Not only did I enjoy this read, but I could give it to my 10-year-old and discuss the themes, the calling, and the obligation we have to show mercy, grace, and compassion on everyone. I also deeply appreciate the research and sources the authors took advantage of in writing the story of the Maliseet... those of us who grew up in the boom of the 80s haven't really been encouraged to comprehend (or even discover) the plight of Native Americans, then and now. [you can see a trailer for the book here]

Also... Painted Ladies, by Siobhán Parkinson. This was my Germany read, which actually suited it quite nicely. Spanning Copenhagen and Paris in the late 19th century, Painted Ladies follows the young life of Marie, the real-life wife of artist Soren Kroyer. It's beautifully written, ironically tricking you into coveting the same romantic artist lifestyle that is a sweet mirage, cut with sharp edges. It's hard to root for the lovers, though (he's standoffish, she's willfully ignorant) and the ending is ultimately unsatisfying, but despite these more-than-minor-details, Painted Ladies was a summer read I could not put down.

And an e-book: Take Courage, by my friend Jennifer Ebenhack, who bravely welcomes us into her shifting world as she struggles with panic, anxiety and fear culminating in the Haiti 2010 earthquake and lingering as she and her family make a new home and life in the States. I'm so thankful she took the time to share her journey, write down her hopes, and remind us where true reality is found. And I'm so grateful to see how God brought her through, brings her through still, as she heals and moves forward as a mother and writer. Not many of us would be this transparent and honest, but with Jennifer's testimony, we all may have a little more courage to be so.


So, we're only watching one show this month and it's Broadchurch. I'm a sucker for emotionally intense crime dramas and this UK series fits the bill to the max. Only 8 episodes tell the story of murdered boy Danny and the family, town and police dealing in the aftermath. Who killed him? I think it's Joe, the husband of Detective Ellie. But we're only halfway through (spacing it out, so as not to experience David Tennant overload - and then withddrawal - like we did with Doctor Who), so don't tell me!


Last night we finally saw Star Trek Into Darkness. It was so intense, I spent most of the movie curled under Matt's arm hiding my eyes (a rarity, as you are aware of my aversion to cuddling) and then couldn't sleep for an hour. Also, I'm devoted to Benedict Cumberbatch. There, I said it. And he was crazy, scary good.


All of our new music this month came from Noisetrade, a music download service that offers you the chance to download EPs (and sometimes whole albums) for free, but with a tip-leaving option. We got music from Jars of Clay, Audrey Assad and Derek Webb. 

And for my birthday? Tickets to see The Lumineers in Dublin in November. Hooray!


  • skipping through Dublin
  • after dinner walks
  • a trip overseas, just Matt and me
  • cool, fresh, mountain air
  • a visit from my mom and sister, graciously babysitting for a week plus a couple of days of pure fun
  • summer field trips with the kiddos
  • Jack having a brilliant time at kids club
  • birthday dinners with friends (who bring pressies, and flowers, and cake!)
  • the first day of school coffee with matt (without kids)
  • our giant sunflower in the back garden, finally in bloom
  • lunch in the playbarn with the wee lad, on our final day together before preschool starts
  • new friends
  • old friends
  • hearing about the history, culture and love of words among the Irish as they celebrate the life (and mourn the passing) of Seamus Heaney... I can't get over how art and Ireland are so intertwined... they breathe words here. I am in love.
...for more things I love, you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

posing in front of the American Ambassador's Residence... somehow we always make a scene.


Most read... this old post on Equally Shared Parenting, due to a very nice retweet from Rachel Held Evans
My favourite... On how God's way is a beautiful mystery, revealed to me on my birthday

SCRIPTURE (new addition)

All sunshine and sovereign is God,
generous in gifts and glory.
He doesn’t scrimp with his traveling companions.
It’s smooth sailing all the way with God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

Psalm 84:11-12 [the message]


So that's it for August. What are you reading, watching, listening to? I'm in need of some new book inspiration... would love some ideas!


  1. 1. LOVE the Scripture at the end.

    2. OH MY GOODNESS on The Lumineers. How fabulous.

    3. I share your feelings about Christian Fiction. Actually, it's honestly been awhile since I've read any fiction. SADLY. Shades of Mercy sounds amazing- looking into it now.

    1. Thanks for visiting, Sarah! I'm right there with you with fiction... feel like my attention span has dwindled into five-minute facebook visits. Shameful. I'm on the hunt for the next read, though!

  2. I loved your Christian fiction disclaimer! I remember when I was 8, I graduated to "grown up" books, which included Janette Oke. This may be why I couldn't stand more than a few pages when I tried to reread one of my old favorites in college. There is good Christian fiction out there- it's just trickier to find. But it seems like publishers are starting to take more of a risk. I hope so! Have such a good time at The Lumineers show! I've heard it's a good time. Also, I want to skip through Dublin! That sounds magical. Must get back to Ireland one of these days.

    Thanks for linking up with What I'm Into!

    1. Thanks for visiting again, Leigh! I'm glad you could resonate with my Christian fiction disclaimer. Point me in the direction more hard to find good Christian fiction. :) And skipping in Dublin IS magical!