What I’m Into…May 2017

I’m excited to link up with Leigh for her monthly “What I’m Into” series and share what I’ve been into this past month. I LOVE this month, and this year it did not disappoint. I always thought I’d like to have an outdoor wedding in May. Then Bryan proposed in May, and I thought, “Do I want to wait a year to get married? Nah.” 🙂 Now I just think back to his awesome proposal at this time every year! But I digress…

I finished three books this month (and abandoned one). I also want to give a shout out to this children’s book that has been a huge hit at bedtime in our house recently. GGCS

We checked it out from the library, and now I need to buy Ben a copy because he’s completely in love with it.

My MOPS group did the Restless study together this spring and finished it up this month. I got a lot out of it and really appreciated that it required a good deal of self-reflection and some critical thinking. It was definitely more my speed than some others I’ve done. I loved revisiting the story of Joseph and thinking about how I can use my gifts to have a positive impact and be more intentional within my sphere of influence.

Although I struggled at times to get into some of the stories in The Tucci Cookbook, the food was beautiful. Since reading this cookbook, I’ve been inspired to make risotto and tried two different kinds this month. RisottoNote: This photo was taken about halfway through the cooking process. I can’t wait to try more. I really enjoy Italian food. Also, Stanley Tucci. Who’s seen this?

Unbroken got a rare 5 star review from me on Goodreads. I listened to it on audio which helps me deal with violent scenes. On the page, this true story of a WWII plane crash and POW camp survivor might have been too tough, but with the resonant and steady voice of the late, great Edward Hermann narrating (and a task distracting my hands), I made it through. I’m so glad I did. At times, it was hard to believe that these were real events. What Louis Zamperini endured is unfathomable, and his hope and endurance will stick with me for a long time. I also learned some things about the war that I’d never known before, and it made me feel closer to my grandparents who lived through this challenging and redemptive time in our country’s history. My Pawpaw was a radio operator stationed in Senegal. He communicated with the pilots crossing over on their missions. My grandmothers both lost a beloved older brother. Hillenbrand sets an engaging pace as she lays out Zamperini’s story, and the details she includes give a wholistic picture of a live well lived. I was overwhelmed when I finished this book—in a really good way. I didn’t intentionally read this one right around Memorial Day, but it was nice how the timing worked out.

Favorite Spotify listens this month include: Ashes and Wine—A Fine Frenzy, My Offering—Nichole Nordeman, Glory to Glory—Bethel, You Are the Best Thing—Ray LaMontagne, Home—Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros and Blame It on the Boogie—The Jacksons. We had some epic family dance parties this month.

Speaking of “Blame It on the Boogie”, I discovered a really fun Instagram story series this month that I’m excited to share with you. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and in honor of this, a mom in Utah decided to record a dance move (almost) every day because dancing is how she relieves stress and improves her mental health. I. love. this. What a great example of self-care, and honestly, she’s just delightful and fun to watch. You can’t help but smile. Here are a couple of my favorites.

This month, I got to celebrate being mama to this little love of my life for the 3rd time. 18278541_10100845231581477_4815928551278859178_oHe is a delight. My dad was traveling, so my wonderful mom spend the weekend with us. My sister and I took her to see Beauty and the Beast in a fun downtown theater. It was perfect movie to see with my two best gals…although, now that I’m thinking about it, there aren’t many mothers in it. Mrs. Potts! Mrs. Potts is an awesome mother. Also, my sweet husband brought me a hydrangea plant (my fave), and so I’m now a plant mom to several potted plants both indoor and outdoor. I’m trying desperately to keep them alive. Advice is welcome. This beauty from the front yard seems to be doing just fine.IMG_0697 2

Thank you, May. You’ve been good to me once again.

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What I’m Into…April 2017

I’m finally joining the link up with Leigh to talk about what I’ve been into this past month. What fun!

In April I finished four books and actually enjoyed all of them.

I read My Life in France for an awesome new book club and was completely captivated by Julia’s spirit of determination and deep passion for the food, people and culture of France. I, too, have fallen head over heels for a place I was living temporarily (although my story took a different turn). 🙂 I also enjoy cooking and have secretly always wanted to go to culinary school. It was fun to live vicariously through her as she ate and cooked excellent food.

The Dry was brought to my attention by Laura on the Sorta Awesome podcast. Go for the  audio version with the Australian accent—it really draws you into the story. It was a riveting mystery that stuck with me for days after I finished it and seriously gave me chills. Jane Harper does a stellar job of setting the scene, and I quickly fell for the reserved, tough protagonist with a sensitive side. His steadfast loyalty and compassion keep you rooting for him as he works diligently to uncover a mystery from the past as well as the truth behind the tragedy that brought him back to his hometown in rural Australia. I will be looking for the follow up set to release later this year. Also, Reese Witherspoon bought the film rights, so that’s exciting.

I read His Needs, Her Needs for an intensive marriage class that we started back in February. It finished this month, and I am so, so glad we did it. Honestly, we were forced to have some tough conversations, but it has helped us learn how to better meet each other’s needs and communicate more effectively. If you have the opportunity to take Dynamic Marriage in your area, I highly recommend it. FullSizeRender 4I will say that the book was originally published in 1986, so be prepared for a bit of outdated terminology. For me, it wasn’t a huge distraction. I think the book would be helpful on it’s own, but the workbook and class we took along with it certainly made this one more impactful.

I referenced Help, Thanks, Wow in an earlier post. This book has a beautiful, lyrical quality, and it’s full of helpful bits of wisdom and anecdotes from Anne’s life. It was a timely reminder to be still, present…intentional.

I am the poster child for being late to the party, so please don’t be too shocked when I say that I recently got Spotify. I have some truly great playlists on my iTunes account, so I’ve been creating a playlist on Spotify that has some of my favorite songs from those. It’s nice to have access without having to use up storage on my phone. I’m also exploring new music with Spotify. A few favorites I’ve enjoyed this month are Buena Vista Social Club, Rachel Yamagata (check out “Reason Why”), Travis (an all-time fave is “More Than Us”), and the song “Something in the Water” by Brooke Fraser.

Speaking of being more intentional, I’m trying to support more ethical brands these days. In April, I enjoyed doing a little online window shopping to send my husband a list of links for potential Mother’s Day gifts.  These earrings are a favorite from my wishlist. I love what this company does for women in Uganda.

I’m always looking for new recipes to try. Variety is the spice of life, as they say. My friend, Cara, shared this yummy (and healthy) recipe several months ago, and I’ve been making Red Lentil Dal a lot lately since accidentally buying a huge bag of lentils, like I do. This Creamy Red Curry with Turkey Meatballs was a big hit with all the boys in my house when my brother came to visit. I served it over jasmine rice with green beans. I’d been wanting to try Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon roll recipe for a long time, and a brunch baby shower was the perfect occasion. I didn’t even make the glaze because I ran out of time, but they were delicious without it.  IMG_0474 2

Watching Parks and Recreation again on Netflix recently has been so enjoyable. To me, it’s one of the most re-watchable shows out there. The character development and chemistry of the cast add a lot to the hilarious writing. We are allowing a little bit of screen time now for our toddler, so I introduced him to Mulan. It’s still such a powerful story, and the animation is gorgeous—the colors, the architecture, the panoramic views of the mountains and the Great Wall. I’m excited that a live action version is coming next year.

Lastly, this time of year in Texas is glorious. My deep feelings about spring are right there in the title of my blog. Of course, we sometimes have Easter in April—a joyful time to remember and celebrate our Savior. Now, for my family, the beginning of April is a special time to celebrate the birthday of this darling boy. IMG_0483I’m soaking in the bright greens, planting flowers and watching our giant roses bloom.FullSizeRender 3

Thanks for following along as I reflect back on April! Click here to read what others have been into. 🙂