saturday session (1/19/19)

Hello! It’s back! Hope y’all are doing well. I have left my apartment today only to go to the gym and I am looking forward to having an extra day in this weekend (although I will be spending it getting new tires put on my car, but what can you do). The Houston Marathon is tomorrow and I know several people running in it, which I find admirable and also thoroughly exhausting just to think about. I, on the other hand, am probably going to binge watch The Good Place and get into weird headspaces as a result.

Anyway, here are the links:

    • Fascinating article about a new translation of the Hebrew Bible. (Shout out to The Bible Project for teaching me about the word nephesh!)
    • THIS IS INSANE.
    • SO IS THIS.
    • Art restoration videos are incredibly satisfying and also really chill. This channel has some good ones, and you can get them with or without narration.

That’s all I have. Have a good week!

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thursday 13

(I’m going to try to be better about posting regularly, y’all. Like, for real.)

This week: 13 songs that get stuck in your head frequently.

  1. Emperor Yes, “Wasps”–or more specifically, the first 20 seconds or so because it’s also the theme song to No Such Thing As a Fish
  2. “Baby Shark”, but the version of it where one of my internet friends replaced the lyrics with the name of our mutual friend Richard Clark
  3. “Rise and Shine”–you know, “The Lord told Noah to build him an arky arky…”
  4. any part of the first movement of Handel’s Messiah during Advent
  5. “The Book Report” from You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown
  6. “Satisfied” from Hamilton
  7. “Ridente la calma” by Mozart–which is weird, because it’s a song one of my high school classmates did at competition our…senior? year. And for some reason I get hers stuck in my head and not the one I did (“Bist du bei mir” by Bach, if you must know)
  8. “Once In a Lifetime” by the Talking Heads
  9. “15 Steps” by Radiohead
  10. “Rye Whiskey” by Punch Brothers (OH BOY!)
  11. “Birdhouse in Your Soul” by They Might Be Giants
  12. “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by the Proclaimers
  13. “The Boy in the Bubble” by Paul Simon

Thursday 13.

This week: 13 goals for 2019.

  1. Learn how to swim again.
  2. Go to at least one yoga class at the Y.
  3. Memorize a Bible verse a week.
  4. Read 50% of the books on my TBR shelf.
  5. Finish all the book series I’m in the middle of.
  6. Finish all the TV and movie series I’m in the middle of.
  7. Cook at least five new things.
  8. Have people over for dinner at least once a month.
  9. Pay off my credit card.
  10. Do something creative at least 30 minutes every day.
  11. Knit five things.
  12. Go on vacation.
  13. Go to two conferences–one work-related, one church-related.

2019.

While walking into church this past Sunday, I out of nowhere had a phrase drop into my head: Fill up the dry wells.

Lots of things to unpack there.

I have to admit, in 2018 my spiritual life was pretty dry. My creative life was, too, at least for the back half of the year. I spent a lot of time sitting around watching TV and feeling tired. Socially, I felt kind of dry, too. And while I like the job I have and am learning a lot from the work, it feels like the culture of that place is a dry place as well–a lot of doing and getting things done without a lot of flourishing, if that makes sense.

And there’s also the verse in Jeremiah that describes God’s people as seeking water in broken cisterns, looking for satisfaction from leaky wells. I look back on 2018 and I see so many broken cisterns where I’ve gone to drink, and walked away unsatisfied.

In 2019, here’s what I want: To engage in more things that cause flourishing not only in my life, but in the lives of people around me, too. I want to work for the good of my workplace and, more importantly, for the good of my colleagues and the students and faculty we support. I want to be more engaged in the lives of my friends and neighbors. I want to do more creative work using the talents God’s given me for His glory, and to steward my time and my resources well so I can love other people well. I have a set of concrete goals written down (those are coming in the Thursday 13), but I want to aim my whole life in the direction of going to God and the means He’s ordained to fill me up and have me spill over.

What about you guys–what do you want out of this year?

2018: 50 things.

  1. I joined Sojourn Heights!
  2. Turned 33
  3. The icepocalypse happened and turned my usual 3-day birthday weekend into a 5-day one
  4. I flew to California and taped an episode of Jeopardy, which was bananas
  5. Watching my episode on YouTube TV with a couple of my coworkers in our workroom
  6. We did a mini-comic con at my library and it ate our lives for a few months
  7. My friend Nicole graduated from seminary!
  8. My parish did a weekend at my friend’s parents’ lake house and it was a blast
  9. I got introduced to the game Jokers and Marbles and I will never be the same
  10. My friend Ephrem bought a house
  11. My friend Ashley had a bunch of us over to have a cheese and wine night and it was a blast
  12. I finally met the lovely and talented Laura B. in person after being internet friends for well over a decade
  13. There was a Winter Olympics this year, remember that? I ugly-cried during the South Korean national anthem during the opening ceremonies
  14. Talking soccer with my coworkers during the World Cup
  15. Got a new job! It’s been challenging, but it’s also been a lot of growth and there’s a bunch of opportunities for more in the future
  16. I got paid for my writing for the first time, what
  17. bunch of my internet friends published books
  18. Anthony Bourdain died and it had me feeling some kind of way about it
  19. My friends Josh and Jenna got married!
  20. Hamilton OMG
  21. So at my public library job we got to deal with this patron that was a thorn in all of our sides (Tomball people, you all know who I mean)…they might still be dealing with them, I don’t know
  22. I went to the National Day of Action March with my friends the Dobbs
  23. My friends Payton and Angela had an epic Cinco de Mayo party
  24. Watched Calvary and it blew my mind
  25. Oh, yeah, I moved!
  26. Dealing with bedbugs that migrated from my old apartment with me to my new apartment
  27. My parish started this thing called fight clubs–basically, smaller groups within the small group, like 3-4 people–and I’ve met with mine a few times and I’m stoked about it
  28. Some of my colleagues and I ran a robotics program for teen girls, to mixed results (although we did meet the mayor of Tomball, and it seemed like the girls really enjoyed it)
  29. My friend taught a bunch of us how to arm-knit on one of the first cold nights of the year
  30. Ooohh, I got a stomach bug earlier in the fall, and that was thoroughly unpleasant (especially since it coincided with the bedbugs)
  31. Playing Just Dance on a new friend’s Switch (and somehow miraculously winning the round?)
  32. I finally got an inkling of a plan for the future–the next couple of weeks are going to be spent working out details for it, stay tuned
  33. This introvert made a lot of friends and it’s been really good and life-giving
  34. I started singing in the band at church (people have been really kind about it and it’s been really good to be back doing that)
  35. Before that happened, Jenna (one of my new friends and one of our music leaders at church) and I went to get drinks one night to talk about writing liturgy and it ended up being a conversation about everything
  36. I also got tagged in to go help sing at one of our church’s plants and it was fun but also really weird because it reminded me so much of my old church
  37. My friends Lach and Kari had a couple of us over for a game night, which was fun
  38. My mom and dad came to our Christmas Eve service
  39. American political news continues to be a garbage fire
  40. Sandra McCracken concert at my friends’ church and ending the night with the Doxology
  41. My friend Hannah visited her brother and sister-in-law in South Korea and was texting me pictures and such (and we both are now obsessed with Kakao Friends).
  42. Hannah and I also had a conversation (after we went to go see Spirited Away at our local theater) where she told me that I tend to want to do things without actually doing them, and that has had me thinking a lot about my life
  43. Crazy Rich Asians OMG
  44. I also went to see Black Panther twice in theaters
  45. Random stuff besides Jokers and Marbles I got into this year: The Good Place, Salt Fat Acid Heat, sheet masks, chai with vanilla coconut coffee creamer, reading more by Asian and Asian American writers, the game Code Names
  46. Watching Hello Dolly with two completely different groups of friends
  47. A crew of us went to watch my friend Angela’s dance studio’s Christmas show, and then we went straight from there to a Christmas party, and it was fun
  48. This is a random one, but a gal at my church needed her and her husband’s wills notarized and they and their witnesses and I all sat around and chatted and stamped and signed stuff one random weeknight
  49. Oh, so my church does a birthday party every year, and it was cool because I got to chat with people that I had met but hadn’t had long conversations with before
  50. So yesterday while I was walking into church a phrase just popped into my head: Fill up water in the dry wells. If I’m being honest, my spiritual life this year has been kind of dry. I’m thirsty in ways I haven’t been before, or not for a while. I think 2019’s going to be a year I need to be filled up in, and find ways to help fill other people’s dry wells. So we’ll see. Tomorrow I’ll be working on making some goals for the new year, so stay tuned.

2018 book list

It’s that time of year again, gang. An asterisk means that I’ve read the book before this year. Titles are links to Amazon so you can see what they’re about for yourself. I’m in the middle of three that I’ve just accepted are going to get finished in January, so I’m not going to worry about it. 🙂

(Previous years: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017.)

1/5: Rhys Bowen, The Twelve Clues of Christmas
1/8: Gabe Habash, Stephen Florida
1/19: Tom Hanks, Uncommon Type
1/27: Lidia Yuknavitch, The Book of Joan
2/5: Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night
2/5: Rachel Khong, Goodbye, Vitamin
2/6: Dorothy L. Sayers, Busman’s Honeymoon
*2/11: James K.A. Smith, Imagining the Kingdom
2/18: Gregory Cole, Single, Gay, Christian
2/21: Dorothy L. Sayers, Striding Folly
3/14: Kate Bower, Everything Happens For a Reason
3/19: Sue Grafton, X
3/29: Jessica B. Harris, My Soul Looks Back
4/1: Gina Dalfonzo, One By One
4/15: Min Jin Lee, Pachinko
4/25: Elizabeth Peters, A River In the Sky
4/30: James K.A. Smith, Awaiting the King
5/11: Celeste Ng, Everything I Never Told You
5/15: Catherine Coulter, Blowout
5/22: Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow
5/23: Joy Beth Smith, Party of One
6/3: Alex Bledsoe, Long Black Curl
6/6: Louise Penny, The Cruelest Month
6/7: Daniel Coyle, The Culture Code
*6/10: Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle In Time
6/11: Alex Bledsoe, Chapel of Ease
*6/12: Nnedi Okorafor, Binti
*6/19: Madeleine L’Engle, A Wind in the Door
6/25: Vince Flynn, American Assassin
6/25: Edward Lee, Buttermilk Graffiti
7/3: Louise Penny, A Rule Against Murder
7/13: N.D. Wilson, Notes From the Tilt-A-Whirl
8/2: Suzanne Stabile, The Path Between Us
8/6: Dennis Lehane, The Drop
8/9: Charlie Jane Anders, All the Birds in the Sky
9/1: Austin Channing Brown, I’m Still Here
9/5: Tim Peoples (editor), Never Satisfied Until Satisfied In Thee
9/6: Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince
9/11: Jan Karon, Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good
9/22: Priya Parker, The Art of Gathering
9/28: Benjamin Spall and Michael Xander, My Morning Routine
9/29: John Fea, Believe Me
10/1: James Baldwin, If Beale Street Could Talk
10/12: Leif Enger, Virgil Wander
10/17: Ashley Hales, Finding Holy in the Suburbs
11/12: Celeste Ng, Little Fires Everywhere
*11/14: Nnedi Okorafor, Binti: Home
11/18: Nnedi Okorafor, Binti: The Night Masquerade
*11/30: Andrew Peterson, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness
12/17: Jan Karon, Come Rain or Come Shine
12/28: Tsh Oxenreider, At Home in the World
*12/28: Andrew Peterson, North! Or Be Eaten

total read: 52

fiction: 33

non-fiction: 19

rereads: 7

library books: 37

ebooks: 21

books written or edited by women: 32

books written or edited by people of color: 13 (11 of which were by women, but I could still stand to up this number in 2019)

most read author: Tie between Dorothy L. Sayers and Nnedi Okorafor, with 3 apiece (but Sayers’s books were longer, so I guess her).

top 10 non-rereads (in alphabetical order):

Buttermilk Graffiti

Everything Happens for a Reason

Finding Holy in the Suburbs

Goodbye, Vitamin

If Beale Street Could Talk

Little Fires Everywhere

One By One

Party of One

Uncommon Type

Virgil Wander

(Runners up: All the Birds in the Sky, The Art of Gathering, The Culture Code, My Morning Routine, and The New Jim Crow.)

What were some of your favorite reads in 2018? Comment below!

first sunday of advent (2018)

He comes back home from Jerusalem, smelling like
Smoke and incense and blood, preoccupied in thought.
He is not usually this quiet.

A few times he looks at me, breathes in as if to speak,
Then sighs, some frustration around the edges of his exhale.
Something happened to him, it seems.

Finally, he stands up, gestures: Look, please.
And his hands spell out the story–
The angel, the promise, his question, his voice.

And he stops, sits down beside me:
Am I crazy? Is this all true?
I feel him ask me, rather than hear.

And something in his helplessness, and in his
Echo of my own doubts and spark of faith
Makes me love him even more than I did as a girl.

Maybe we are crazy and it’s true, I tell him.
What’s the harm in taking a chance?