right now: january 2021

Making: Still working on the blanket. Almost done, though; it should be finished in the next couple of weeks, hooray. Making plans for projects, time management, things to get done in the next few months and the next few years.

Cooking: I made something the other night that was pretty decent–ranch-style beans, corn, cheese in a baking dish, topped off with cornbread batter and baked off like normal. Eat with hot sauce or jalapenos or chili crisp, depending on how you’re feeling that day.

Drinking: I have coffee, water, and strawberry mango fizzy water on my desk at the moment, and I think I might make myself a smoothie when I get done here.

Reading: Creation Regained by Albert Wolter for class; Their Eyes Were Watching God for a book club; The Vanishing Half for fun.

Wanting: Someone else I know to watch In & Of Itself on Hulu so I have someone to talk to about it–it is phenomenal, in multiple senses of the word, and I need badly to process my thoughts about it with someone…

Looking: At my syllabi for the upcoming week.

Deciding: How I’m going to structure my time now that I’m working full time and taking two classes.

Listening: Rufus Wainwright’s latest album Unfollow the Rules. Also been playing a lot of Chris Thile, Yo-Yo Ma and Edgar Meyer’s album of Bach trios when I’m trying to do work.

Buying: Textbooks, mostly…

Smelling: Coffee, and the white tea & ginger body spray from Bath & Body Works that I bought almost six years ago and am trying to use up

Watching: In & Of Itself (see above); The Dig (on Netflix–low-key lovely film with some solid acting); One Night In Miami (same, but on Amazon Prime); Chef (I’m slowly working my way through Jon Favreau’s entire filmography, I guess); reaction videos to the last season of The Mandalorian. (I’m saving WandaVision for a future time in which I can binge the whole thing at once.)

Wearing: Green pants, a Ravenclaw Quidditch t-shirt

Noticing: Maybe I shouldn’t wait until 10:30 in the morning to eat, yikes.

an observation

when we have been trained

by the ones that we love

in the art of using God

as a tool as we try to carve the world into

a shape that we want it to hold forever

as a flame to burn away what we deem impure

as a slave to follow our commands or suffer our wrath

is it any wonder

that we use and are used

the same way

by the other makers in this workshop?

epiphany: a magus.

The chronicles told us about a handful of our predecessors,

Men with foreign names, even though they advised our king,

Exiles from a conquered land. One of them had a vision

Of a stone that would fall to earth to crush the powers in its path.

Our own nation is no longer the great empire that covered

Half the world–it has been pushed back by another, the same

Whose shadow haunts this village.

Who knew that we’d find a royal house in poverty,

The great stone such a small gem in the rust and clay

Of Judaea?

2020 book list.

Y’all know what’s up by now. Asterisk means I’ve read it before, stats come after the list. Links are to Bookshop.org (except for one) because Jeff Bezos doesn’t need my help, but also don’t forget to support your local indie bookstores and public libraries. (Or buy from Amazon if you want! I don’t run your life!)

(Previous lists: 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007)

total: 50

fiction: 30

nonfiction: 20

graphic novels/memoirs/comics: 13

e-books: 16

library books: 33

re-reads: 12

books written by women: 23

books written by Black people, indigenous people, or people of color: 22

most read author: Bryan Lee O’Malley, with 6, followed by C.S. Lewis and Suzanne Collins, with 4 apiece

top 10 (in no particular order):

The Glass Hotel

The Nickel Boys

On the Road With Saint Augustine

Circe

All You Can Ever Know

Caste

Handle With Care

Piranesi

Glorious Weakness

Reading While Black

2020

  1. Going to see Little Women for the second time in the theater with a pair of girlfriends
  2. One of the last things I did before going into lockdown was the Banff Film Festival Tour at the Alamo Drafthouse–I sat next to a guy who worked at Memorial Hermann in the Med Center and now I’m wondering what became of him.
  3. Going slightly insane and stir crazy for a month and a half while living alone in my old apartment
  4. Moving in with my friend from church (and her dog) and becoming slightly less insane and stir crazy
  5. Following the news coming out of Bon Appetit in July (and all the aftermath)
  6. George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arberry. Elijah McClain. So many others. Too many others.
  7. Becoming more and more aware of how divided we are as a country, and wondering how we can get put back together, if at all
  8. Helping my roommate build a patio in the backyard with the help of a rotating cast of characters–margaritas may have also been involved
  9. Hangouts in backyards, front lawns, parks; walks through neighborhoods
  10. The first Sunday my church had a service in our new building, in mid-March
  11. There was a huge water main break in south Houston in February, and campus closed and I ended up going to a Barnes and Noble to hang out for a while
  12. My dad had a somewhat minor procedure done in the summer and I acted as his chauffeur to and from the hospital, which was a super-weird day
  13. Watching someone else shoot off (illegal) fireworks in the park across the street from my house with my roommate on the Fourth of July
  14. The weird New York Times mini crossword league we had going on Twitter for a while
  15. Broadway.com did a thing for Stephen Sondheim’s 90th birthday that was both beautiful and hilarious because the tech broke down so many times
  16. Dropping off foil-wrapped packages of cake in people’s mailboxes
  17. Marfa (but I wrote about that already)
  18. Standing in an insanely long line to vote on Super Tuesday
  19. Theater! (Remember that?) Hello Dolly and Come From Away at the Hobby Center; Hamilton, when it got released on Disney+; Three Kings, over Zoom(!) thanks to the Old Vic in London; Heroes of the Fourth Turning (again, over Zoom)
  20. Virtually attending the Revoice conference this year and having good and necessary conversations with friends who did the same, and good and necessary conversations with other friends in the months afterwards
  21. So. Many. Zoom. Calls.
  22. Starting up a chapter of the And Campaign in Houston. (Stay tuned for more details!)
  23. Opening my acceptance letter from Covenant Seminary–it was sealed with wax, and that was when I knew I had found my people
  24. The (virtual) Ecclesiastes Bible study that we did in the spring, during which I met people at my church I hadn’t had the opportunity to meet before
  25. The Monday night Zoom book club for Divided By Faith
  26. Knocking out dry wall at my friends’ house that they remodeled
  27. Leading music at a women’s retreat for my friends’ church in February–got to meet a lot of really sweet ladies and get out of the city for a weekend
  28. Things that I did not go to: The Festival of Faith and Writing; Fiddler on the Roof, and so many other shows I was looking forward to seeing; a concert in Austin that I was looking forward to
  29. I helped throw a baby shower for a one of my best friends!
  30. Speaking of: So. Many. Pregnant. Friends. (Not to be crass, but, like, when you’re around each other all day…)
  31. Playing Four On the Couch with the Droxford crew after being spontaneously invited to dinner after our church’s 10th anniversary party
  32. My friends’ backyard happy hours with our bubble
  33. I went to a wedding in February, I forgot!
  34. Voting early in a hotel lobby–the ambient music while I was there just happened to be a Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit song, which elevated the experience for me
  35. Sitting in a Chick-Fil-A parking lot listening to Joe Biden’s and Kamala Harris’s acceptance speeches on the radio after a week of being stressed out about the election
  36. Watching Miscast (an annual theater fundraiser) on YouTube with my friend Hannah and texting each other the whole time
  37. The utter delight that was #ShareYourWishList on Weird Christian Twitter
  38. Counseling sessions over video every other Wednesday with my excellent counselor (she’s so good that I’ve recommended her to three other people)–said sessions have involved a lot of crying, but that’s a good thing
  39. Having a COVID exposure and my roommate and I staying on opposite ends on the house for a week and a half and wearing masks in the common areas
  40. I think we can all agree it’s been a heck of a year, right? I had it fairly easy, to be honest, much easier than a lot of people, and I’m grateful for that. The year’s forced me to sit with myself and pay more attention to all the ways I try to distract myself or numb myself out, and to be honest as I’ve stopped doing that it’s been hard to look at all the stuff I hadn’t been dealing with. I always say I don’t want to ever take my people for granted, and how I want to be more intentional about my relationships; 2020 elevated how important that really is. Here’s to 2021–even though it’s still going to be hard, and our problems aren’t going to go away overnight, but maybe we can start fixing some things where we can, and celebrate what we can.

20 goals for 2021

  1. Finish five knitting projects (including the two I have going right now)
  2. Go on a freaking vacation
  3. Pass all my seminary classes
  4. Write a poem every week
  5. Go on at least one date
  6. Use the rest of my stationery
  7. Read 40 books
  8. Finally clean out the parents’ garage
  9. Use up all of my yarn before buying more
  10. Write for half an hour every day
  11. Read all the books for the ToB
  12. Have people over at least once a month
  13. Pay off my credit cards
  14. Save more money (I have a specific goal, but I’m not going to post it here)
  15. Establish a better morning and evening routine
  16. Write down something that I’m thankful for every day
  17. Actually get all my health appointments done–well woman, dentist, vision, all of it
  18. Go on a walk every day–during my lunch break on weekdays, and in the morning on the weekends–unless I’m sick or otherwise indisposed
  19. Write an EP’s worth of songs and record them
  20. Learn how to crochet

right now: december 2020.

Making: Still working on the blanket–trying to get it done before Christmas, although that’s looking increasingly iffy

Cooking: I made a batch of this pasta, and I have a whole bunch of stuff in the freezer, too.

Drinking: The spiced chai from Trader Joe’s plus oat milk and honey. Trying to remember to drink more water, too.

Reading: Reading While Black by Esau McCaulley and Teaching a Stone to Talk by Annie Dillard. I also just finished The Hunger Games because I needed something fluffy.

Wanting: To do something for New Year’s Eve–trying to figure that out.

Looking: At the year that’s almost passed and the year that’s coming, plus some things I’m trying to process with my counselor.

Deciding: What kind of goals to make for 2021.

Listening: Right this minute, the John Legend album Wake Up, which is all covers of Civil Rights-era soul

Buying: Christmas presents, but also stuff for Twitter folks thanks to #ShareYourWishList!

Smelling: The Cranberry Cider candle from Eleventh Candle Co.

Watching: The Mandalorian, of course. I’m trying to finish as much of The West Wing as I can before it leaves Netflix (boo). And I just watched Wolfwalkers the other night–it’s beautiful art and a great friendship story.

Wearing: Joggers, a t-shirt, and this hat (which I got thanks to #ShareYourWishList and my friend Hannah!).

Noticing: I should definitely not have taken a nap so late today, yikes.

right now: september 2020

Making: A blanket, a hat, and plans for the future…

Cooking: I made this soup yesterday and it’s pretty good, even though I accidentally burned the garlic by starting it on too high a heat, oops.

Drinking: HEB’s lemon sparkling water, a lot of water in general, coffee (always). It’s cooled off enough in Houston that it’s tea season again, so that’s nice. Got a very nice bottle of wine for when some friends came over last weekend and we socially-distanced hung out on the back porch, and I’m going to work on finishing the leftovers this week.

Reading: Caste by Isabel Wilkerson and Glorious Weakness by my Twitter friend Alia Joy

Wanting: Voting season to get here!

Looking: For a good pullover hoodie; I am taking suggestions.

Deciding: On a few future endeavors that I don’t want to discuss on my blog, haha. Nothing super major, just not fit for public consumption.

Listening: Right this minute, I am listening to the Mary Poppins soundtrack. Haven’t heard the new Sufjan album yet, but I’ll be doing some driving later this week, so I’ll give it my (mostly) undivided attention then.

Buying: Books for my friends who are having babies in the near future, plus I have the new Marilynne Robinson coming tomorrow, hooray. I also just bought some wool dryer balls, which I am weirdly looking forward to using.

Smelling: The season has changed and so has my candle scent–it’s currently Spiced Chai from Eleventh Candle Co., it’s great.

Watching: The Chef Show‘s new season on Netflix, and tonight the roommate and I watched Enola Holmes, which is delightful, I recommend it.

Wearing: Sweatpants and a t-shirt (I’m going to bed right after I finish this)

Noticing: I shouldn’t wait until 10 PM to eat dinner, yikes.

50 nonfiction books by women

Want to read more books written by women? Here are 50 titles to get you started.

  1. The Crucifixion by Fleming Rutledge
  2. Finding Holy in the Suburbs by Ashley Hales
  3. One by One by Gina Dalfonzo
  4. Party of One by Joy Beth Smith
  5. Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin
  6. Humble Roots by Hannah Anderson
  7. The Epic of Eden by Sandra L. Richter
  8. Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren
  9. Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton
  10. I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown
  11. Everything Happens For a Reason by Kate Bowler
  12. United by Trillia Newbell
  13. Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner
  14. The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
  15. The Next Worship by Sandra Maria Van Opstal
  16. The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris
  17. Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
  18. Talking Back to Purity Culture by Rachel Joy Welcher
  19. Is the Bible Good for Women? by Wendy Alsup
  20. The Evangelicals by Frances Fitzgerald
  21. Glorious Weakness by Alia Joy
  22. His Testimonies My Heritage by a whole bunch of women
  23. Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle
  24. When Life and Beliefs Collide by Carolyn Custis James
  25. Suffering and the Heart of God by Dr. Diane Langberg
  26. Assimilate or Go Home by D.L. Mayfield
  27. Sinners Welcome by Mary Karr
  28. Raise Your Voice by Kathy Khang
  29. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  30. Disunity In Christ by Christena Cleveland
  31. All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung
  32. Keeping the Sabbath Wholly by Marva J. Dawn
  33. Pilgrim At Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
  34. We Will Feast by Kendall Vanderslice
  35. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
  36. Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist
  37. On Reading Well by Karen Swallow Prior
  38. A Sojourner’s Truth by Natasha Sistrunk Robinson
  39. “Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria?” and Other Conversations about Race by Beverly Tatum
  40. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
  41. A Vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft
  42. A Woman’s Place by Katelyn Beaty
  43. Beyond Colorblind by Sarah Shin
  44. Handle With Care by Lore Ferguson Wilbert
  45. The Liturgy of Politics by Kaitlyn Schiess
  46. Worthy by Elyse Fitzpatrick (and Eric Schumacher, but we’ll let him in here)
  47. Be the Bridge by LaTasha Morrison
  48. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  49. Mother to Son by Jasmine L. Holmes
  50. Born Again This Way by Rachel Gilson