a few things in July

Every now and then, I post a list of things our family is doing. (This is a big help when it is time to write a Christmas newsletter and you suddenly think, what in the world have we done this year?)  Here are a few of the things that have marked my summer:

I've been re-reading missionary biographies written for children, examining the rhetoric they use, and whether the harder bits of missionaries' lives are left out in children's accounts.  (If you follow me on Goodreads, you can see my ratings and occasional reviews.)


I enjoyed Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor and Park, about teenagers falling in love over mixtapes and misfortune in the 1980s, and hew newest novel Attachments, which is a book for lovers of You've Got Mail. Which is to say, it's a book for people who love comedy, romance, or the 1990s.

Making my third summer book named in this way (after Frances and Bernard and Eleanor and Park) was Kate DiCamillo's Flora and Ulysses, a totally delightful middle grade novel for adults.  That is, I don't know if it would be totally delightful to middle-graders - maybe the narrator is a tad too precocious - but I loved it. Also - do the girls always get to go first in these titles?  I'll name mine Jack and Amy, just to buck the trend.

I happily checked out Lauren Graham (yes, Lorelei Gilmore)'s Someday, Someday, Maybe, and happily read it on the drive to Georgia. Fun.

A Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection by Robert Farrar Capon.  I know I'm late to the game on this one, but it's so beautiful, and so surprisingly funny. The book is a recipe for cooking lamb. Yes, the whole book.

Chimamanda Adiche's Americanah was another highlight - read DL's review over at SheLoves.

I'm about halfway through Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life by Richard Rohr, and while I'm fiercely underlining and nodding my head, I'm placing some question marks in the margins too.

Movies and TV

We've been waiting a long time to watch True Detective, and finally got it on DVD from Netflix this month.  We can talk about the woman problem in this show, and we probably should, but for real, the acting was just gorgeous.

I also watched the second season of Orange Is The New Black, mostly on nights when I couldn't sleep.  The second season was even better than the first, I thought.

All the babysitters are out of town for the summer, so we haven't been to a movie theater even once.  I fell asleep in The Grand Budapest Hotel, but before I did, I felt annoyed at Wes Anderson, for never (rarely) having any female characters with interesting, full-fledged personalities. They're always just symbolic objects in men's stories.

I thought Her was ok, but not as good as the hype. (But maybe the OS Samantha had a more well-rounded character than any of the women in Wes Anderson's films?)

Short Term 12, a drama about working in a group home for teenagers, was amazing - certainly one of my favorite movies of the year.


We watched Star Wars episodes 4,5, and 6 with Rosie and Owen.  That was fun. I think I can convince them to dress as Luke and Leia for Halloween.

I almost forgot Girl Meets World.  How could I forget the lovely, ridiculous, heartwarming, mindless pleasure of Girl Meets World.


Jack has our anniversary playlist just about ready to go.  I've been listening to that (and soon, you can too).  When I write I like to listen to Nils Frahm and Philip Glass, especially the soundtrack of The Hours.


I spent a week at a writing workshop at the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research. I think I'll say more about this later this week, but it was a very profound, difficult, and moving experience.  I listened and learned. Here are my new friends:


Jack took the kids on a trip to Cincinnati while I was at Collegeville. Rosie wanted to see the aquarium. They spent a night camping, too.

Earlier in the summer, we visited Jack's family in Georgia - Macon, Tybee Island, Savannah, and North Georgia. Just lovely.

And on Saturday we visited Rich Mullins's grave, something I'll write more about in September.


At Christ and Pop Culture, I wrote about the problematic reality-dating tv show It Takes A Church.

I also finished the first draft of my book manuscript.  So... ten percent of the way there?

Oh, and you may have noticed that my blog has moved (to add it to your reader, click the RSS link on the right hand side).  Thanks very much to Chris Baker for the layout and design.

In the Garden

So many delicious cherry tomatoes.  So many things.

I can't tell you how amazing it is to come home, after a week out of town, and go to the garden and the henhouse to find your dinner. (Swiss chard, sauteed with garlic and onion and a bit of dried red pepper - bacon, if you have it, - and a fried egg on top.  Perfection.)

Two weeks ago, we found our four hens lying dead in their yard. It seems they were killed, probably by a weasel, for sport.  I would write more about this, but I feel kind of sick writing even this much.  When I saw their stiff, feathery corpses in the grass, I crossed myself - and realized that I've become much more Episcopalian than I even realized.

Any recommendations for me?