|yay for a new family picture!|
I feel looking back as if July was packed to the gills and yet when people ask me what I've been doing with my summer, I look back and hardly know what to tell them. I've been teaching; not as much as in past summers, but still quite a bit, and mostly just trying to pack every spare moment with time spent with friends. I've been learning to prioritize my time, decide what is important to me in the three weeks before I leave. LOTR marathon? Not so much. Freeport trip? Very important. My weeks start to feel like this:
College group hang out night or coffee with a friend who I might not get to see otherwise?
Hang out with sisters or do homework?
Spend time out with friends in the evening, or stay in and spend time with my family?
And based on the week the answers will be different, but I'm hoping that when I look back on these next few weeks, I hope that I'll be content with my choices and not wishing I'd made different choices with my time.
This has been a bittersweet month, yesterday I finished up my last day of teaching at home and I've only got 18 days left until I fly to CA for honors orientation.
Here's a bit of what I've been up to this month:
Bookwise:This has been a slim month for reading. I started my school reading (the Iliad) and so I really only finished one book this month. One Thousand Gifts was my reading for the month and I loved it so much that I bought it while I was only half-way through the library copy so that I could go back and write in it. While I was at the store I picked up a copy for a friend for graduation because it's so good and it already made the list of books I'm bringing with me to school.
I'm currently trying to finish the Iliad so that I can read the Odyssey and Chesterton's Manalive before I leave for school. I did start Surprised by Oxford last week, it was a gift from a friend and I'm practically devouring it, it's really good. I'll probably finish it by the end of the week. I'm also still struggling through Tale of Two Cities which I really just need to finish already.
Movie-wise & suchThis month we did a few Harry Potter hang-outs with friends and watched the first two movies. I love seeing how the special effects have so drastically changed and grown in just the ten years or so that the movies were created. The first movie has really terrible special effects, but the cuteness of the kids totally makes up for it. :)
We went to the theater to see Despicable Me II, which was cute and fun, but nowhere near as good as the original.
We're still on season 4 of Chuck, and have been watching season 1 of friends. I managed to watch almost no current TV this month which has felt great. Evenings I read before I go to bed and there's been a lot less sitting in front of the TV.
- the spurts of warm and cool weather that keep alternating
- our lovely Independence Day at the beach
- full moon spottings
|sweet time with friends|
- the laziness of rainy days
- late night family games
- morning runs in the forest preserve
|getting the chance to spend some time with my grandma before she left for Colorado|
- six o'clock sunshine while driving with the windows down
- reading the Iliad outside for hours at a time
- Singing the old hymns at church, when you can hear the whole congregation joining, loud and full
|Strawberry Rhubarb pie, for Independence Day|
- the smell of cool water when you're dripping because it's so hot
- Espresso caramel chip cones with Ally
- Taking walks barefoot
|the sweet fragrance of wild purple clover|
- velvet skies spread with stars
- Helping out at weddings, watching the young men dance the little girls
- living room full for a worship night, with doxology sung rich in harmony
- hot coffee on darkly clouded mornings
- late night theology talks with Allison
- evenings outside
|the abundance of wildflowers this summer|
- sweet colorful child drawings
- puddle reflections clean and clear.
- preparing gifts for friends
- wandering in the antique barn
- friend wedding showers
- watching my cousin's play
- getting to use a sparkler for the first time ever at the wedding. They were always deemed to dangerous by my parents. :)
- Sunshine on browning skin, and freckles forming on noses and cheekbones
- Warm homemade bread with honey.
- picking out schoolbooks on Amazon
|time with friends at the beach|
On the blog:messes of eggs, scrambled with green onions and red peppers, sprinkled with cheese.
Last week I managed to post every day as part of a link-up with Jen at Conversion Diary. I did pretty well every day except for Saturday, it was a hectic day and blogging didn't make it onto the list of priorities. I did post-date a poem to that day though. I think that's cheating.
Anyway, here are the seven posts I did:
Monday: Eight Ways to be a Better Friend
Tuesday: Identifying Marks of a Former Homeschooler
Wednesday: On the Power of Words
Thursday: Without Doubts: Thoughts on John 21
Friday: Learning the Present
Saturday: Among the Ranks
Sunday: How to Read and Enjoy a Good Book
The most popular post of the month was Identifying Marks of a Former Homeschooler:
Whether or not you were homeschooled, chances are, you'll meet someone in your life who was. But once you get out of highschool, it becomes harder to differentiate, and people who were once obviously homeschooled now blend in with a crowd. Curious about your roommate? Suitemate? Want to try and figure out if they were homeschooled?finish reading
The second most popular post of the month was my journal from the plane home which I wrote when I found out I wouldn't be able to go to Haiti after all.
Hours and hours ago we took off into the dawn, pink-gold and dazzlingly bright with our eager hopes and shining faith and then, after a few sleepy hours we descended into clouds and rain and little did I know it would not just be literal, that descent, but figurative as well. When we trudged off, baggage-laden from the plane we found out that due to the tropical storm over Haiti our flight had been cancelled and we sat in limbo, time-spending in the gate where we'd hopeful arrived as DeeDee made phone calls to find out what there was to know. All flights to Port au Prince cancelled for the next two days. Mudslides and flooding. No open flights for two weeks. A flight home hours later, for us up since 2am, or since Tuesday morning for some. And a trip rescheduled, tentatively for two weeks from now.
And I can't go.finish reading
And the third most popular post was Eight Ways to be a Better Friend, which you can find here.
On the WebMy links are going to be all over the place this month, but I hope you'll find one or two of them as interesting as I found all of them!
10 things I learned from loving Anne of Green Gables via Los Angeles Review of Books
I feel about like Huck felt about rafts or Proust felt about madeleines or like Virginia Woolf felt about closing her bedroom door: escape, pleasure, self worth. Exquisite in both story and sentence, the books built me as a reader, which is to say: they built me. finish reading
In which I want to be a person via Sarah Bessey
How about this? How about when someone is before us, a real, live person, suffering, we?
Don’t be a defender of an institution. Don’t be an office. Don’t be a title. Don’t be a minimizer, a gloss-over-er, a down-player. Don’t be an oracle or an activist. Don’t be a self-help manual or an encyclopedia or a concordance or a few tactical probing questions to steer the conversation. Don’t be the fault-finder. Don’t be a hero or a cop or a gatekeeper. Don’t be “God works all things for good.” And don’t be “pray harder,” or “more faith-ier.” finish reading
Jeans, Social Justice, and One Small Thing via Addie Ziermann
I come from a long line of Bargain Hunters and Garage-Salers. I knew what a “Sale Rack” was long before I ever went shopping on my own, and to this day, I’m drawn there like a fly to light. I go the back of the store first. To the clearance and the red-tags and the allure of a good deal.Better than finding a cute pair of jeans is finding a cute pair of jeans on sale for 90% off. Better than having someone say, “I love your shirt,” is being able to say. “Thanks! Got it for two dollars!” finish reading
Cascades of Grace via Allison
Grace is supposed to flow through you: an enormous power that fills your smallness beyond measure only to pour out, sloshing and spilling all around you. Experiencing grace for myself means I can't help but leave drips and puddles behind me and splashing a little on everyone I meet. finish reading
Modesty: I don't think it means what you think it means via Rachel Held Evans
It’s no secret that women today are bombarded with mixed messages about what it means to be a woman in a woman’s body.
On the one hand, we are all familiar with the dreaded walk down the grocery store checkout aisle, where magazine after magazine boasts airbrushed photos of impossibly thin celebrities and headlines promising to teach us how to “please our men” with sexier bodies, more fashionable clothes, hotter sex moves and better flirtation skills. Ours is indeed a culture that tends to assign value to a woman based on her sex appeal rather than her character, and that’s something we must work to change.
But many of us are also familiar with the other extreme. We know what it feels like to have rulers slapped against our bare legs so our Sunday school teachers can measure the length of our skirts. We know how hard it is to do a cannonball into a swimming pool when you’re wearing a giant “Jesus Saves” T-shirt over your bathing suit. finish reading
Young Evangelicals Are Getting High via the Christian Pundit
Young Christians are going over to Catholicism and high Anglicanism/Lutheranism in droves, despite growing up in low Protestant churches that told them about Jesus. It’s a trend that is growing, and it looks like it might go that way for a while: people who grew up in stereotypical, casual evangelicalism are running back past their parents’ church to something that looks like it was dug out of Europe a couple hundred years ago at least. It’s encouraged by certain emergent leaders and by other “Christian” authors whose writings promote “high” theology under a Protestant publisher’s cover.finish reading
Starved for the Sacred via Allison (in response to the above post)
But when we sing of God's holiness yet approach Him so casually, sometimes I feel a disconnect. It is good to "draw near the throne of grace with confidence" (Hebrews 4:16), but what happened to "[offering] God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire"? (Hebrews 12:28-29) Can the trust that is strengthened through relationship also be strengthened by a sense of His enormous greatness above and beyond our ken? finish reading
My husband is not my soul mate via The Art in Life
I wouldn’t want to imagine life without James. I enjoy being with him more than anyone else in this world. I love him more than I ever thought you could love someone, and I miss him whenever I am not with him. I wouldn’t want to married to anyone else other than James, which is good, because I plan on being married to him forever, and he has to let me die first.But I reject the entire premise of soul mates. finish reading
Desert spirituality at two o'clock in the morning via Jen
Look at pretty much any culture that existed before the use of electricity, and you’ll see that they had deep superstitions about night. Throughout the ages, it’s been a nearly universal human belief that evil forces gained potency after the sun went down. finish reading
What it means to 'do less and be more' via Emily
It’s been three weeks now since John left his job and we’ve had some uninterrupted family time. We have been doing less. As it turns out this question – Are you willing to do less and be more? – is not a question for your schedule.It’s a question for your soul. finish reading
(I'm almost done, I promise!)
How the church has objectified women via Emily Wierenga
The Bible talks a lot more about love than it does about fear and I think if we were to approach modesty and purity with love for our bodies instead of fear of religion; if we were to treat our skin with reverence and our clothing as symbols of respect for that skin, if we were to believe that we were divine instruments rather than sexual beings, maybe we wouldn’t slouch so much in the pool. finish reading
A Love Song for Delilah via Addie at Deeper Story
You learned that beauty was never really about you in the first place – it was about the boys.It was about who noticed you and who didn’t and about whether you applied the right makeup or combed your hair the right way or wore the right clothes from the right stores. It was about the way you held your body when you sat on a bench, about what you did with your eyes. finish readingCatch his eye and then look away, and wait to see if you are magnetic enough to pull him in.
Rethinking the $3,000 Mission Trip via Christianity Today
Painfully thin for his age, Martin shivered uncontrollably by the side of the city swimming pool. He held his sides in a futile effort to keep warm. I was puzzled. A rare June heat wave had swept through Knoxville, and the temperature was pushing 90. finish reading
I Wonder If Sunday School Is Ruining Our Kids via Beliefs of the Heart
But our Sunday school lessons teach us to be good little boys and girls, and God will love us and use us. It’s the total opposite of the gospel. It’s a counterfeit of the worse kind. finish reading
July has been a wonderful month - hard, bittersweet, but full and beautiful. Now with August here I can concentrate on packing for school and saying goodbye to friends. 18 days and counting!
What have you been up to this month?