a few things in September

Linking up with Leigh Kramer's "What I'm Into," here are the things that have caught my attention in the last month or so:


I guess I read four middling-to-poor works of fiction this month.  As I closed the last one, I felt sick. I resolved to make the next book I read something substantial and beautifully written.  Now I'm halfway through The Empathy Exams, a collection of essays by Leslie Jamison, and while it's a bit uneven, it's been like moving from a diet of marshmallows to a delicious steak salad. I'm feeling much better.  

I'm nearly finished with Falling Upwards by Richard Rohr, which has to be my most underlined book of the year.  

I'm also dipping into The Sacred Year by Michael Yankoski. We gave this book to the sophomores who attended our silent retreat this month; it's a great introduction to ancient spiritual disciplines for the millennial generation.

Movies and TV

Hey! Students are back in town, which means babysitters are back in town, which means Jack and I actually got to go on a date!  We saw Boyhood and it absolutely lived up to the hype.  Jack says it might be the perfect movie.

We enjoyed Winter's Bone (Jennifer Lawrence's breakout movie) on DVD.

I watched the first twelve episodes of Pretty Little Liars one weekend, and then promptly quit.

Shows I'm glad to have back: Nashville! Parenthood! Mindy! Brooklyn Nine Nine. As for new shows, I'm interested in Blackish and How to Get Away With Murder (which is like Damages meets Legally Blonde and makes you wish that The Paper Chase was still a thing).

In the Garden

Have I mentioned gourds lately?

We're still harvesting cherry tomatoes and zuchinni, a late batch of radishes, kale, chard, lettuce, and arugula.  This week I dug up the sweet potatoes too!

Sometimes when I'm stressed I like to cook, and on one such occasion I made pumpkin soup served in individual roasted pumpkins from our garden.  It was delicious.


I wrote for The Other Journal about my lifelong wanderlust and why Kerouac is actually deeply conservative.  

At Art House America, I wrote about one of my favorites, Rich Mullins.

For Cara Strickland's De{tales} series, I wrote about my relationship with my sister and the songs that make me think of her.

On the blog, the second simplicity series is astounding me with beautiful stories.  Check out these reflections from Micha Boyett, Karissa Knox Sorrell, Cara Strickland, and Stina KC.

I also wrote about why we take undergrads on silent retreats and what I've learned from four years of living in the midwest.


I traveled to the city next door to do a reading for the annual tri-campus writers' retreat.

Jack and I explored Bloomington and Brown County for his birthday (35!).  We hiked and cooked and stayed in a cabin with no wifi or cell service and a very hot hot tub.

The silent retreat was at St. Meinrad's Archabbey in southern Indiana.  It was beautiful!  If you live nearby, you should take advantage of their hospitality.


Planning for my trip to China with the honors freshmen is in full force now.  I want a reading list!  What books or movies should I look into before I visit Beijing, Xian, and Shanghai for the first time?