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?

thursday 13

This week: 13 things you want to buy or otherwise obtain.

  1. Dutch oven.
  2. Camping gear.
  3. A Jokers and Marbles board.
  4. A coffee grinder.
  5. Cowboy boots.
  6. Pie pans.
  7. New dishes.
  8. A really good chef’s knife
  9. A pocketknife.
  10. A stock pot (for making big batches of soup).
  11. New sunglasses.
  12. I don’t really know why I want this, but the extended edition DVD sets for the Lord of the Rings movies.
  13. There’s this dress on Modcloth I’ve had my eye on for a while; I think I might just go ahead and get it soon…


thursday 13

This week: 13 things you want to cook.

  1. These meatballs.
  2. This Korean dish, called andong jjimdak, which looks amazing.
  3. These muffins.
  4. Pho!
  5. Hotdish!
  6. More hotdish!
  7. Chile relleno casserole, omg.
  8. There’s a recipe in this month’s Bon Appetit that’s not online yet, but it’s coconut-apple dal, which sounds really autumnal and delicious and I want it now.
  9. Hasselback butternut squash.
  10. This will probably not ever happen, but something to aspire to is cassoulet.
  11. Upside-down cherry cake.
  12. Chocolate-peppermint cake roll.
  13. This pumpkin pie.

right now: october 2018.

Making: I’m in between projects right now–I just started a new job and I’m still kind of reconfiguring my daily rhythms and such. I did start my annual music top 50 list, so that’s something I guess.

Cooking: I made this the other night and it was tasty; I had some sauce leftover and I’m planning on trying it mixed with some rice to see how that goes. I also have my eye on this black bean soup now that it’s no longer blaring hot outside.

Drinking: I’m at my local coffee place drinking a soy milk latte right now and it’s delicious. (It’s also my third cup of coffee today and I am never sleeping tonight.) I’ve also started drinking a mix of hot chai (from the Tazo tea bags) and french vanilla creamer and it is awesome (and way cheaper and less sugary than Starbucks).

Reading: Just started Little Fires Everywhere. Casting about for a nonfiction book to read; might start Dorothy Sayers’ The Mind of the Maker.

Wanting: A jacket that’s about hoodie-weight but isn’t actually a hoodie (maybe in denim or twill, I haven’t decided yet).

Looking: At armchairs–working on building a reading corner in my living room.

Playing: Lots of nertz on my phone, especially when I’m vegging out listening to podcasts and not doing anything else.

Deciding: Which streaming service to get for Doctor Who and college sports.

Wishing: That I knew what I was going to give people for Christmas…time to start figuring that out.

Enjoying: The cool, rainy weather, which means that I am wearing a 3/4-sleeve shirt and not dying. Also, my parish/small group/whatever your church calls those is doing a thing called fight clubs, which is smaller groups for people to meet in for life stuff, accountability, and prayer and such. (I actually am still in one of these from Kaleo, even though we’re at different churches now.) Anyway, mine’s met twice and I’m very much enjoying getting to know those women and opening up to them more. I’m still very new to our church and I feel like there’s still a lot I’m getting to know about people (and vice versa), so this is a nice format to do it in.

Waiting: For the concert I’m going to tonight–Sandra McCracken’s playing a free show at a local church and I’m pretty excited.

Liking: The fact that the guy who took my coffee order recognized me and was like “hey, haven’t seen you in forever!”

Wondering: What I’m going to do to celebrate Advent this year.

Loving: My calendar is full for the next few months and it’s very good for me and my ambivert self to get out and be with people.

Pondering: What to eat for dinner tonight (thinking about getting curry fried rice from a local place that does it excellently).

Considering: Future plans–I’ve got the bones of a plan to finally start a second master’s degree in the fall of 2020, which isn’t as far off as it seems. I need to work out details (especially the financial ones), but yeah, I have concrete plans to make it happen now, which is exciting.

Buying: Finally bought a couch–it’s a dark gray with some bluish undertones to it, and it’s long enough for me to take a nap on and it’s great.

Watching: Not really anything at the moment. Heard great things about Salt Fat Acid Heat and I need to catch up on Doctor Who. I do want to see A Star Is Born and The Hate U Give (although I might wait on that one until I’ve read the book).

Hoping: That the cool weather sticks around for a while and that we actually get some cold weather soon.

Marveling: I recently found out that my mom has never seen a dinosaur skeleton in person and am now wondering how the heck that happened.

Needing: To figure out what I’m going to wear to my friends’ wedding in December, but I’ve got a while, thankfully. I think I know, but it’ll depend on weather.

Questioning: Whether or not I can pull off wearing a jumpsuit–I’ve tried on rompers and they make me look absurd, but I don’t know about jumpsuits. I kind of love this one (and it looks good on their plus-size model, which is important for me).

Smelling: Lavender, thanks to my leave-in conditioner.

Wearing: Coral-pink 3/4-sleeve shirt, jeans, gray TOMS.

Admiring: This poem by Robert Pinsky.

Giggling: At this fantastic review of Pacific Rim Uprising.

Snacking: It’s apple season, which means that I have been buying them by the bag and devouring them in my car on the way home from work. I also recently discovered moondrop grapes, which are very grapey and sweet and juicy and were to be had for a ridiculously good price at HEB last week.

Hearing: Directly in my ears, Jars of Clay’s album Who We Are Instead, which is one of my favorites. Underneath, all the sounds of this coffee place: The Shins on the radio, conversations at other tables, the espresso machine hissing.

thursday 13

(more substantial post coming soon!)

This week: 13 songs from contemporary musicals (i.e., from the past 20 years) that aren’t Hamilton.

    1. A double-header: “Before and After You” and “One Second and a Million Miles” from The Bridges of Madison County.
    2. “96,000” from In the Heights.
    3. “Omar Sharif” from The Band’s Visit.
    4. “Wish I Were Here” from Next to Normal.
    5. “Touch Me” from Spring Awakening.
    6. “Gold” from Once.
    7. “Chant II” from Hadestown.
    8. “Waving Through a Window” from Dear Evan Hansen.
    9. “Michael In the Bathroom” from Be More Chill.
    10. “I’m Here” from The Color Purple.
    11. “She Used to Be Mine” from Waitress.
    12. “Balaga” from Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812.
    13. “I Can Do Better Than That” from The Last 5 Years.