books of 2018

2018 Reading List

I keep track of the books I’m reading each month. Some take me a few months to finish! The asterisk means started but didn’t finish. I’m a big believer in books having a right time. So, maybe I’ll finish those books someday, or maybe life’s too short to keep reading a book I don’t want to read. YOLO.

Before we get too far into 2019, I wanted to record my books from last year. This is really only for me to look back at. I’m not even writing out thoughts about each book. Just some observations from this year – I found a couple new authors (Sigrid Undset, Alice McDermott, Elizabeth Strout) and read several books by them. Kristin Lavransdatter was my whole July and it was glorious. I also spent six months listening to Harry Potter in the car (a great life choice). I trailed off in December and haven’t been reading at all lately, which is weird, but oh well. I cracked open Middlemarch and have read half of the intro – does that count?

January

  • The Tech-Wise Family – Andy Crouch (audio)
  • *Animal, Vegetable, Miracle – Barbara Kingsolver
  • *A Severe Mercy – Sheldon Vanauken

February

  • *Animal, Vegetable, Miracle – Barbara Kingsolver
  • *A Severe Mercy – Sheldon Vanauken
  • The Ninth Hour – Alice McDermott

March

  • Anything is Possible – Elizabeth Strout
  • A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle
  • Zeitoun – Dave Eggers
  • *Jesus of Nazareth – Pope Benedict

April

  • The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
  • Housekeeping – Marilynne Robinson
  • *Jesus of Nazareth – Pope Benedict
  • *An Immovable Feast – Tyler Blanksi

May

  • Someone – Alice McDermott
  • One Beautiful Dream – Jennifer Fulwiler
  • An Immovable Feast – Tyler Blanksi
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J.K. Rowling (audio)
  • *Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J.K. Rowling (audio)

June

  • Hannah Coulter – Wendell Berry
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J.K. Rowling (audio)
  • Anne of the Island – L.M. Montgomery
  • Anne’s House of Dreams – L.M. Montgomery
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling (audio)

July

  • Kristin Lavransdatter – Sigrid Undset
  • Harry Potter and the Triwizard Tournament – J.K. Rowling (audio)

August

  • Olive Kitteridge – Elizabeth Strout
  • The Price to Pay – Joseph Fadelle
  • Gunnar’s Daughter – Sigrid Undset
  • *Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J.K. Rowling (audio)

September

  • Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan
  • *No Drama Discipline – Daniel Siegel and Tina Bryson
  • *Mystery and Manners – Flannery O’Connor
  • *Catherine of Siena – Sigrid Undset
  • *Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J.K. Rowling (audio)

October

  • *Catherine of Siena – Sigrid Undset
  • The Grace of Enough: Pursuing Less and Living More in a Throwaway Culture – Haley Stewart
  • Pachinko – Min Jin Lee
  • *The Lowland – Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J.K. Rowling (audio)

November

  • The Lowland – Jhumpa Lahiri
  • The Burgess Boys – Elizabeth Strout
  • *Catherine of Siena – Sigrid Undset
  • *Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J.K. Rowling (audio)

December

  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J.K. Rowling (audio)
  • *Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling (audio)
  • *Anne of Ingleside – L.M. Montgomery
  • *Interior Freedom – Jacques Philippe

end of september quick takes

Well, it’s fall now and if I seem obsessed with seasons it’s because summer in South Bend is HOT, fall is crisp and gorgeous but FLEETING, and winter is grey and freezing and ETERNAL. And I don’t do well with change. But before September is gone I wanted to reflect on how back to school went and other random thoughts/things.

1)  Evangeline starts her fifth week of school this week and it’s going really well. She’s made friends, likes her teachers, and loves the playground and snack time (of course). I spend the five minute drive home peppering her with questions about the “works” she did, but she rarely is able to tell me much about those. Understandable. She was exhausted after school for the first week or so but has adjusted and now she’s her normal three year old self the rest of the day. I try to make sure she gets a car nap once or twice a week because she needs it every so often, but girlfriend will not nap in her bed anymore.

2) Evange in school means mornings look different for me now. If she’s not up, I get her up by 7:20 and get her dressed and do her hair so we’re eating breakfast by 7:30 and she has plenty of time to eat before hopping in the car at 8, to get to school before 8:15. We have not been late yet! Woot! Zelie is along for the ride but by the time we get back she’s nearly ready for her morning nap. (She’s been waking up at 5am… blerg.) But I’m so glad she still takes two naps, because I get to finish my tea with a book on the deck and it has been glorious. I usually have time to shower, too, and get some things done around the house. I sometimes feel like I should do more with that time, but I got a part time job that will start soon, so I’m just enjoying the freedom for now.

3) Which leads me to books! I finished Crazy Rich Asians (I dropped my library copy in the bathtub – oops), read six or so essays from Flannery O’Connor’s Mystery and Manners (highly enjoyable), and now I find myself working through three non-fiction books, which never happens. Catherine of Siena by Sigrid Undset (really enjoying as spiritual reading), The Grace of Enough by Haley Stewart (reminding me I want to go further with gardening next summer, and also maybe be open to backyard chickens again), and No- Drama Discipline (which I’m reading v v slowly but is good). Oh and I’m on Harry Potter #5 audiobook for those car naps.

4) Fall! We went apple picking, the weather was perfect, I was so happy.

5) We’ve lived in our house for six months now and I feel pretty settled here. I found this bench at a rummage sale and decided to give it a chance and I’m pleased with the results. My favorite part of the house is the backyard, though, so I want to get more use out of the fire pit and just soak it all up before it’s covered in snow (gahhhh). I had the chance to host a group of mom friends for a prayer and playdate time twice this month and both mornings were warm so we were outside. I really enjoy being able to practice hospitality and get more use out of all this space. Different note – we’re renting out the house for a few football weekends and that made us decide to buy a TV. I am equal parts horrified that we own one, proud of myself for navigating Best Buy and setting up Chrome Cast, and guilty that our house feels too luxurious now. But it has been nice for college football viewing. (And Evange got some Silly Songs With Larry when she succumbed to the miserable cold we’ve all been fighting this week).

6) Speaking of the house, life with a housemate has been swell. He’s super busy so he’s not around often, but when he’s home he is great with the girls and they love him. And if he’s around for dinner and Chris is still at class, he does the dishes while I put the girls to bed and it is the best thing ever. Highly recommend.

7) I’ll end with a little pat on my back because this month marked one year of cloth diapering, and I’m still going strong. Well, actually, several of the hand-me-down diapers with velcro fastens need the velcro replaced, which has made me use more disposables in between washings, but once I get that sorted it’ll be smooth sailing. I even took them traveling – to NJ for Christmas and to RI this summer – because we drove and would be in a house with washer/dryer so why not? I’m still finding satisfaction in the re-usable-ness of them and I don’t mind the work involved, so we’ll see how long it goes.

Anyway, Happy Monday! Any good fiction recs? I’ll take em!

 

school’s out

One. Chris finished finals and we did our 2018 inaugural beach trip! Grandma got the girls super cute suits. We found a playground and had a chill time. Evangeline had fun running in and out of the very cold water until she fell over and got soaked and that was the end of that. Zelie was content climbing on Chris and eating sticks and being just way too stinking cute.

Two. Chris’s roommate and best man from Stanford has been staying with us for the last week and a half. For Chris, it’s meant a buddy to watch the playoffs with. For me, it’s been a taste of living in community and I’m reminded that I like it. It’s nice having someone else with us for dinner and to play with the girls (and Kevin does the dishes while we do bedtime – praise!) We’re planning to rent a room to one of Chris’s fellow M.Div’s next year and I’m looking forward to that more now.

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Three. Kevin got us tickets to Hamilton! I think as a thank you for letting him stay? Setting the bar high for future guests! JK, JK. JOKES. But it was awesome. Even the phenomenon that is Hamilton aside, I was struck by how amazing live performances are. We were asked (ushers yelled at people during the first song) to put our phones away and just sit and enjoy being present to these men and women who are brilliant at their craft. Refreshing. And a treat for me to be away from the girls and in Chicago for a day. I’m super grateful to my friends who watched them – when Kevin first told us he wanted to buy tix I thought, there’s no way we can go, but I asked anyway and ROSE AND KATHERINE ARE THE BOMB. #FRIENDSHIP

Four. I’m reading this and I see a lot of my own conversion story in his, and he reminds me of a lot of my friends. It got me working on a post on my conversion, which is fun to write, but still in my drafts.

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Five. My friend Julia requested that our local library buy this new book that we both want to read (didn’t know you could do that!) and I’m next in line when she’s done. I spent some time journaling through a free ebook of Jennifer Fulwiler’s called A Guide to Your Gifts and it was so great. Her new book is about pursuing your passions while having a family and I was like, hm, I love the sound of that, but … what are my passions again? (Classic Enneagram 9, lol). So, this ebook was great for that and it got me all fired up. I have passions to pursue! I want to write a book! I want to get better at handlettering! I want to change the world! And then I felt like I kind of hit a wall. (I want to learn how to edit photos of my handlettering, but Photoshop/Illustrator/Whatever is so expensive! If you know how to do this for free, can you tell me how?) But I took a small step and committed to write each day for one week, not blogging, but seeing what came out (it was mostly poems). I missed some days and don’t know if I even made it a whole week, but it was something! Finding community with writing is something I would really love … waiting for that.

Six. One of the questions in that ebook was, “who are you jealous of?” Because we’re often jealous of people we see fully living out their gifts. And it got me thinking, man, IG often feeds my jealously/envy. And envy is the least fun sin. If you have any tips on combatting that, please share. I usually want to throw my phone away until I have a cute pic to post, which is terrible.

 

Seven. Inspired by Sarah and also Julia telling me that they can survive the winter here, I think I’m thinking about backyard chickens?? Part of me is like, ugh, chickens are gross. And the other part is like, we have this giant backyard, why not jump on that homesteading bandwagon and learn a lot and get some eggs out of it?  #LAURAINGALLSWILDER4EVA #livingthedream

But, we shall see. Maybe I’ll wait til next spring. Oh and the seeds in our garden are growing!! So cool.

Happy Weekend!

Linking up with This Ain’t The Lyceum.

one week of Lent (or, what I can’t Instagram)

1. I CANNOT WAIT FOR WARM WEATHER. This impatience is manifesting itself in various ways, the primary ones in the past week: new, sudden interest in gardening, and online shopping for summer shoes.

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2. I’m still trying to fully enter into Lent. Saw this quote and I don’t fully understand it, but it resonates. Giving up IG, I had hopes for using that time better, but it’s a strug fest. I find I keep checking my email compulsively, and no one emails me except Gap and J.Crew, so…. see point #1.

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3. Fridays are the best. I finally figured out where to park for the free babysitting on campus. They only take kids two and older, but God sent another Adrianna into my life who loves my babies, so I am child free for 1-3 hours and it is glorious. I swipe my spouse ID and get in a work out at the brand new gym on campus (which is GINORMOUS) and feel like the red dress lady emoji. And I usually get to see Chris too, either for lunch or for mass, and that’s a nice treat in and of itself. La dee dee.

4. Knowing I’m going to exercise around undergrads has made me exercise more leading up to Fridays. Fitness Blender is my new jam. It’s free and easy! I can do a 15 minute HIIT in my tiny living room. No excuses. It is hilarious, though, when I try to do it with the girls awake. I wish I could video it somehow. I’m doing planks and push ups with Evange on my back and Zelie standing, holding onto my shoulders. And squats, onto Evange’s head. But, fitness!

5. Minerva, our amaryllis, gifted from Molly’s wonderful mother, Mary Jean, and the Dr. Burr Field Scholarship Fund, is a joy. We opened the box she came in on February 13, the day before Ash Wednesday, and I thought I had killed her by waiting too long to check the mail. She was all white and dead-ish looking. But she is thriving! Literally growing before our eyes. Every day one of us comments, “Look, Minerva is getting so tall!” Evangeline is very curious what color flower she will produce. It’s nice to have a living plant in the apartment in this eternal winter.

 

6. I finished The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott – enjoyed it. Good writing. Something slightly strange at the very end left me with weird feeling about it, but overall, good. I’ve been almost done with A Severe Mercy for several days, just need to finish it off. A good one, too. I recommend. Especially enjoyed getting to know C.S. Lewis better through the letter he exchanges with the author. And on that note, I read his essay, The Weight of Glory, this week. Chris read it for something and lent it to me. “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal … Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses.” Oh, Clive. Zeitoun by Dave Eggers is next on the list.

7. The other night, Evangeline organized a little dance party. She found a silly hat for each of us, including Zelie, and played music out of this toy barn she has. She is very particular and a bit bossy, and I love it. (Most of the time.) There’s been several moments lately when I’ve thought, “Wow, you can do that by yourself now?” She’s getting to be a big girl. Pancakes are her favorite food to make and eat, and she eats more of them than Chris does.

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It was 60 degrees and we played in the pouring rain for an hour. (Pretending it’s spring). What a cutie bug.

books of yesteryear and building my 2018 reading list

I started keeping track of the books I read a couple years ago and I thought it’d be fun to share what I ended up reading in 2017, with a top 5 fave list. And then, if you make it through, what’s on my list for 2018!

2017 Reading List

(I keep track of the books I’m reading each month. Some take me a few months to finish! The asterisk means started but didn’t finish. I’m a big believer in books having a right time. So, maybe I’ll finish those books someday, or maybe life’s too short to keep reading a book I don’t want to read. YOLO.)

January

  • Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
  • The Girls – Emma Cline
  • The Enneagram: A Journey of Self-Discovery – Maria Beesing, Robert J. Nogosek, Patrick H. O’Leary
  • The Story of A Soul* – St. Therese of Lisieux

February

  • Lila – Marilynne Robinson
  • We Should All Be Feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
  • The Road Back To You: An Enneagram Journey to Self Discovery* – Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile
  • Transitions* – William Bridges (reread)

March

  • Transitions* – William Bridges
  • The Nightingale – Kristin Hannah
  • Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life – Tish Harrison Warren

April

  • The Outlander Series – Diana Gabaldon (my post-partum nursing reads)
  • Lilac Girls* – Martha Hall Kelly (could not handle concentration camps anymore)

May

  • The Blue Castle – L.M. Montgomery
  • Everyday Sacrament: The Messy Grace of Parenting – Laura Kelly Fanucci
  • The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead
  • Father Brown: The Essential Tales* – G.K. Chesterton 

June/July – either I didn’t read anything, or I just didn’t write it down. that’s when we packed and moved and drove cross country with 2 babies under 2 so it’s possible I didn’t read anything.

August

  • Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi
  • Father Brown: The Essential Tales* – G.K. Chesterton
  • Oh Crap! Potty Training – Jamie Glowacki
  • Spiritual Lessons from St. Francis* – John Michael Talbot
  • Born a Crime – Trevor Noah

September

  • The Sympathizer* – Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • The Righteous Mind* – Jonathan Haidt

October

  • The Sympathizer – Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • The Righteous Mind* – Jonathan Haidt
  • Station Eleven – Emily Mandel
  • Ginny Moon – Benjamin Ludwig
  • Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng

November

  • I Let You Go – Clare Mackintosh
  • Reading People – Anne Boyle
  • Devout Life* – St. Francis de Sales

December

  • “Wonders Never Cease” – essay by Marilynne Robinson
  • Til We Have Faces* – C.S. Lewis (reread)
  • The Hate You Give* – Angie Thomas
  • My Life With The Saints* – James Martin, S.J.

Top 5 Faves from 2017

  • Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi
  • Station Eleven – Emily Mandel
  • Everyday Sacrament: The Messy Grace of Parenting – Laura Kelly Fanucci
  • The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead
  • Born a Crime – Trevor Noah

2018 Reading List (so far)

  • The Tech-Wise Family – Andy Crouch (Chris and I listened to the audio book on our drive home from New Jersey)
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle – Barbara Kingsolver (started on Hoopla, already feel like I can’t shop at our cheap-o grocery store anymore…)
  • A Severe Mercy – a love story by C.S. Lewis’s friend whose wife died young. my neighbor lent me this and I’m convicted/challenged by how much they loved their love.
  • The Ninth Hour – Alice McDermott (haven’t read any of her novels yet, but read an interview in Commonweal that had me intrigued. nuns!)
  • My Absolute Darling Gabriel Tallent (don’t know anything about this, Maya just recommended it)
  • The World Will Be Saved by Beauty  Kate Hennessey (Dorothy Day’s granddaughter. recommended by my friend, who also recommended Station Eleven, which was amazing. Kathleen, if you read this, you really should share all the books you read with the world.)
  • and I want to read my way through Obama’s fave books of 2017, starting with these: The Power by Naomi Alderman, Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout, and Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward.

What else should I read? What’s on your list? Gimme yo recs 🙂

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our fabulously curated bookshelf, ft. mostly Chris’s theology books.