thursday 13.

This week: Thirteen things you’re looking forward to about the holidays/the rest of the year.

  1. Seriously, I love all of those year-end best-of lists. (You can bet I’ll link to a bunch in upcoming Saturday Sessions.)
  2. The small group I’ve tried out at the church I’ve settled on is going to Zoolights in a couple of weeks.
  3. I got a ticket to the Behold the Lamb of God concert on the 7th and a bunch of people I know are going.
  4. The last week of December, I only have to work three days, glory to God.
  5. Not going to lie: The Last Jedi.
  6. Advent and Advent songs and Advent practices and all that.
  7. Christmas music!
  8. I have a thing at work this Saturday that promises to be a lot of fun.
  9. Oh, and the music department of the college we share a building with is coming to sing carols next week.
  10. I might make it a point to go drive through this neighborhood that is famous for its Christmas lights…
  11. I’m such a nerd for saying this, but I’m looking forward to telling you about some good books I read this year in my own year-end list.
  12. The annual McClendon Christmas tacos. (Yes, my family eats tacos for Christmas, because we’re awesome.)
  13. I might also go out and look at the meteor shower that’s supposed to happen on the 13th; stay tuned. 🙂

saturday session (11/25)

Good evening. Did everyone have a good Thanksgiving? I managed to actually not buy anything yesterday but am now in search of some Christmas decorations for my apartment. Advent’s right around the corner–not tomorrow, though, tomorrow’s Christ the King Sunday–so I’m queueing up some playlists and making lists and pondering going to Dollar Tree to get some wreath-making materials.

But anyway, here are the links:

  • You may have seen this already, but there’s a Japanese tv show called All-Star Thanksgiving (who knows why, it airs twice a year in April and October) and they recently did a bit where six guys had to climb up some slippery stairs to reach a treasure chest, and it is gold. (The poor guy in the red uniform just can’t catch a break.)
  • New OK Go video! This one involves a wall of printers.
  • Movie dance scenes set to “Can’t Stop the Feeling”.
  • Lake Street Dive does an excellent cover of “Take On Me”.
  • It’s that time of year when we start getting best-of lists, and one of the first is the Tournament of Books Long List from The Morning News. I’ve been meaning to tackle quite a few of these.
  • Speaking of book lists: Parents of kids, here’s a list of 121 books recommended by the great blog Dinner: A Love Story. Lots of classics, but also some other titles you might not have heard of. (I’ve bought several of these as baby shower presents.)



thursday 13

Obvious theme today. Happy Thanksgiving.

1. I am a relatively healthy woman in my early 30s and live a middle-class lifestyle in my first-world country, and none of this was my own doing.

2. I have a pretty great job and I like my coworkers a lot.

3. Continued connections with people from my old church.

4. Future connections with people from a church I’m pretty sure I’m going to join.

5. Thomas Cranmer and the wisdom and foresight that he had to write the Book of Common Prayer, which has been a lifeline for me in my spiritual formation.

6. The created order continues to hold a lot of cause for wonder, despite all the stupid things that we humans are doing to it and to each other.

7. The publishing industry continues to soldier on.

8. The existence of good music and good books and good art.

9. I mean, I know that “Internet friends” are not the same as in-person, IRL connections, but the ones I have are really cool and I hope to turn them into IRL friends eventually.

10. Also, I’m just grateful the Internet exists. I know it’s also the cause of a lot of problems, both personal and corporate, but it’s also a helpful tool and a way of connecting with other people, and my job would be way harder without it.

11. I am grateful for all the people who make it possible for us to eat–farmers, truck drivers, pickers and harvesters, butchers, people who work in factories and processing plants, people who work in grocery stories, bakers, cooks, bartenders, brewers, winemakers, distillers, waiters, busboys, dishwashers, and everyone in between. A lot of these people get forgotten about in our culture, and a lot of them work under less than great circumstances.

12. The city of Houston and the great nation of Texas.

13. There is, in fact, a God that is both mighty enough to sustain the universe by the word of His power and near enough to know us down to a subatomic level. And more than that, He cares for us. He cares for me. Amen and amen.

saturday session (11/18)

Super low-key this week. We’re supposed to get a cool front in and so things’ll be nice and cozy for Thanksgiving (well, as cozy as things ever get around here). I just bought a new coat, so we’ll see if I actually have occasion to use it this winter.

  • This week in “songs I learned at church”: “Grace and Peace” from Sovereign Grace Music.
  • Four college guys juggle, which sounds unimpressive until you actually watch it. (There’s a trick at the 4:48 mark that astonishes me every single time I watch this, which has been…more than I am comfortable admitting.)
  • At the Museum of the Moving Image, they have a Jim Henson exhibit(!), and I can’t think of a better person to send to tour it than Adam Savage from Mythbusters. They also sent a camera guy.
  • Bon Appetit‘s YouTube channel has a series on it where one of their test kitchen staff guys makes random fermented stuff and it’s *so* goofy but anyway in this one he makes kimchi and I wanna try now. (I know, I am the worst Korean. Can’t be helped.)
  • I’ve been watching one episode of Stranger Things per night this week and I feel like I need this mug.

That’s it. Y’all have a nice rest of your weekend getting prepped for the holiday.

thursday 13

I used to do this thing back in the day called Thursday 13 where I’d make a list of 13 things and then invite you, good readers, to leave your list of similar things in the comments. I figured I’d try to revive it and see what happens.

This week: Thirteen fictional places you wish were real (or: in which you discover how much fantasy fiction I read).

  1. The Burrow. (I really just want to be friends with the whole Weasley family, tbh)
  2. Not a place so much as a traveling entity, but the Dawn Treader.
  3. Same: The Cirque du Reves (if you haven’t read The Night Circus, I would commend it to you).
  4. The Shire.
  5. And Rivendell, for that matter.
  6. Malacandra.
  7. I can’t think of the name of the house off the top of my head, but the house where all the people of Logres hole up in That Hideous Strength.
  8. There is a place called Gilead, Iowa that actually exists, but I want the version from the Marilynne Robinson books to be real.
  9. Aerwiar, the kingdom from the Wingfeather Saga.
  10. The University near Imre, in the Kingkiller Chronicles.
  11. Needsville, TN. (There’s a series I stumbled upon called the Tufa novels that takes place in a fictional magical small town in Tennessee. It’s really great.)
  12. Three Pines, Quebec, Canada.
  13. The whole VR world from Ready Player One–not the circumstances under which it exists, I guess, but I think it’d be cool to mess around in.

saturday session (11/11)

Good morning. It’s a fine Saturday here in southeast Texas–cool outside, a little grey, but it’s not mindblowingly hot. I’m sitting here on my couch, still in my pajamas, with the Milk Street Radio podcast on; they’re talking about the science of bread, and it’s a nice respite from all the terrible news this week.

I wonder sometimes if we’re all suffering from collective trauma in this country. There seems to be something awful happening all the time now–a mass shooting, the revelation of multiple men abusing their power, and so on and so on and so on. Some of us who claim the title “evangelical” are watching as that title turns into something we would not ever claim, a voting bloc instead of the mark of a people that loves and declares the euangelion, the good news that Jesus is King. It sucks. And I wonder if it’s not going to get worse before it gets better.

But God is not silent, and He’s not sitting on His hands doing nothing. Look around for truth and beauty; look around for the ways He’s at work. The signs are always there.

Anyway. Here are the links:

Okay, y’all, that’s it for this week. Be kind to one another and be kind to yourselves. If you need to turn off the news cycle for a while, please do. Have a sit down with your beverage of choice and watch some Stranger Things or something.

Have a nice rest of your weekend.



on the problem of theodicy

I make no attempt to understand the
logic behind all the tragedies of the week–

a shooting in this city, a suicide bomber in the next,
dying children, young people with cancer,
the homeless woman on my street corner every morning,
the prisoner being tortured, the birth defect gone awry,

and a million other things I could list
like a liturgy and litany of all the ways
the world is failing us
and we are failing each other.

We all want to say that
if we were God, no one would suffer
and everything would be great.

But You do the surprising and–
dare I say it?–completely illogical thing
and come down to suffer and die
alongside us instead.