My Favorite Things

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You know that moment when you find something AWESOME and you have to call your sister or your girlfriend and tell them about it IMMEDIATELY?   A few weeks ago, my favorite author/blogger, Jen Hatmaker, did a post titled “Things I’m Loving”, and when I read it, I felt like my girlfriend was telling me all the cool things she’s found in her world in the last 6 months.  Over the course of the last few months, I’ve discovered some pretty cool things, and I’d like to share them today.

Book
A Year of Biblical Womanhood
, Rachel Held Evans
This book is a description of Evans’ year long experiment: taking all of the Bible’s instructions for women as literal as possible.  You just have to read this book.  I cannot even tell you…Evans’ intelligence, hilarity, and easy to read writing will challenge how you view your place in the world.  As she experiences and challenges (Biblical) gender roles, my overall takeaway is the importance of being able to recognize the difference between Christian culture and Biblical truths.  The topic in this book is gender (“womanhood”), but truly this concept can be applied to so very many topics, from environmental stewardship to politics.  I am convinced that a wise person has the ability to decipher Christian culture versus Biblical truths.

I do understand that when you get this book you will read it in it’s entirety, but please-oh-please camp out a bit in the chapter titled January: Valor.  I could not do justice to the way Evans teaches what it means to actually be a “Proverbs 31 Woman.”  You need to read this for yourself.  And then you need to start seeing yourself as a woman of valor.  Unless you are a man…in which case you will probably not see yourself as a woman of valor…

Next on my reading list:  Jesus FeministHalf the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

Band
Judah and the Lion  I am soooo not very cool when it comes to music.  I work around all these college kids who are so totally “in the know”…and then there’s me…a 34 year old mom who has a deep love of the banjo, listens to talk radio pretty much all day, and can’t remember the names of any of the musicians I like.  Enter Spotify.  The other day Spotify told me that because I liked Derek Webb, I would probably like a band called Judah and the Lion.  Ummmm, Spotify, YOU are a genius!  Judah and the Lion is a group of three guys who have a separate history of playing in a variety of worship bands.  They found each other and now make music that is so very ‘Americana’, you’ll never go back.  Check em out:

Kim Ruehl, of The Bluegrass Situation, has this to say about this song: “The song rests on the banjo with a sort of inaccessible ease typically embodied these days only by bands trying hard to sound like Mumford & Sons. But there’s something else there, some uncertain depth to this tune, something wholly individual and decidedly not derivative. As the lyrics pick up, the sound swells, rhythm emerges with such subtlety, you may not even realize your foot is tapping. It’s good stuff. It feels young and daring, passionate, defiantly hopeful. Then come the harmonies, the connecting of musical synapses. The energy rubs off and it’s hard to not want to hear the next song, then the next…”

Etsy Store
IMG_3513I love Etsy.  Jewelry, home decor, clothing… handcrafted by talented men and woman across the country.  One of my recent purchases came from my friend Rachel’s Etsy shop Herald and Highlight.  She makes THE MOST BEAUTIFUL graphic art.  Last Mother’s Day I had her make a 5×7 framed piece of one of my family’s recipes: popovers.  She custom made one for my sister and for my mother (you can see examples of custom recipes on her store’s site).  This picture is of the most recent items she made for me – 2 larger prints for Jonah’s room.  She used a quote from one of his favorite children’s books (Monster Mama) on one and a Bible verse on the other.  I loved how it turned out!  Her prices are extremely reasonable, she has a quick turnaround time, even for custom pieces.  And this year she is starting to offer digital downloads- Buy the image, receive a jped or PDF, and print as many copies as you like- One price. Many gifts.  You want a great Christmas gift for someone, have her do it.  Trust me.


App
Last week we spent way more on groceries that our budgeted about.  When that happens we usually make up for it the next week, by buying less at the store and eating out of our reserves; from what’s in the pantry and the freezer.  But, as you all know, sometimes a person just crams more in the deep freeze, thus forgetting what is in there.  It struck me this week that there has GOT to be some sort of app for meal planning that would really help in this situation.  A simple search at the App Store lead me to PepperPlate.  This free app lets you plan your meals for up to a year out, if you are so inclined.  You can save recipes  that you found on-line or type them in yourself.  You can even make a grocery list from the meals you have planned.

Ted Talk
Are you familiar with Ted Talks?  If not, stop reading this immediately and go to this website.  TED started as a conference where experts from Technology, Entertainment, and Design could speak about what they know.  It has evolved into (in part) a website in which you can listen to experts give 10 minute talks on a huge variety of topics.  I think everyone in the entire universe (ummm, at least the United States) should listen to Brene Brown’s Ted Talk titled The Power of Vulnerability.    For real. I have gone back to this talk over and over and over again as I have shared our story this past year.  Brene Brown gives you insight as to how you can live with a sense of worthiness.  Oh to be truly seen…to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.  Listen to it.  Please.  

There are so very many Ted Talks, and I know I have only skimmed the surface.  I LOVE Kevin Breel’s Confessions of a Depressed Comic and Susan Cain’s The Power of Introverts.  Alex Laskey’s How Behavioral Science can Lower your Energy Bill has inspired some interesting conversations at the office.  I would love it if you would leave a comment letting me know what are YOUR favorite Ted Talks!  I will listen to them- I promise!

“You are imperfect and wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”  -Brene Brown

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