I needed some hugs this month, so a lot of my media intake was feel-good or life-speaking. Maybe these things will be pseudo-hugs for you, too? There are also a few random, fun things thrown into the mix, because life is still good.
- “Truce” by Twenty One Pilots. Speechless. Just listen.
- Tow’rs’ new album, “The Great Minimum.” It came out last month, and I listen to it all the time; folksy singer/songwriter fans (my kindred) will fall slowly in love with it and it will be a wonderful experience. I think my favorites from it are “The Kitchen” “Solace” and “Porcelain.” Download the album here!
- “Merewif” by Willow Beats. This song is written from the perspective of a siren, and written brilliantly, because it’s persuasive and you want to believe it. Combined with the modern melodies, strong-yet-lovely voice, and water-inspired instrumentation, I think this is an artful piece of music.
- Jason Gray’s “A Way to See in The Dark” album. I wrote a review of it years ago (so it’s probably written badly, let’s be real), but this album just holds a lot of truth and encouragement in it and I always come back to it. I think the title is so fitting; the song “Without Running Away” is an old friend who would hug me in the deepest dark, and still does when I need it.
- “Prone to Wander” and “Sometimes Love” by Chris Rice. He’s my favorite artist and I recommend everything he’s ever made, but these two were especially big for me this month.
- “The Truth is a Cave” and “Valley (Reprise)” by The Oh Hellos. These songs are the last two on the album, and although they’re both excellent on their own, listening to them consecutively is so satisfying. It feels like a glorious conclusion that makes me want to dance.
- “Ready to Be Myself” by David Dunn. His voice is killer, and this song is a blast to sing along to loudly when I’m in the car by myself.
- Louisa Wendorff’s mashup of “Stay With Me” and (her original) “Every Little Thing.” I’m just obsessed with her. She is gifted in so many aspects– singing, writing, bringing sounds together– that lead her to create gorgeous music. She shines so bright, straight from the inside. Huge fan.
- Colony House’s “When I Was Younger” album. When people ask me what my favorite song is, I mention three albums, and this is one of them. This band has helped me hold onto hope and truth and joy when things are oppressive and hard. I recommend them with all my heart.
- Madison Cunningham’s cover of “Moon River.” I first heard her this spring, and her homey voice is a warm mug of tea to me. I love her style. This cover is simply beautiful.
- Chris Collins’ cover of “Where Are U Now.” It’s hard to find an upbeat cover of this song, but this one is fun while still maintaining some of the melancholy, and his voice is unique and cool.
Plus he’s adorable.I also like his take on “Fight Song;” it’s lovely and has a moody vibe.
- I can’t forget to mention my Christmas playlist, here for you to enjoy if you’re looking for some new holiday jams! I only just now started listening to it again, but I’m finding new stuff I love already and I’ll definitely be adding more throughout the month.
- J House Vlogs. They are such a sweet family, and they’ve found a golden balance so that they don’t overshare but still feel like your friends. If getting a daily glimpse of family life is something that interests you (like it interests me, for whatever reason), their videos are one of the best in the category.
- This video that touches on why validating someone’s feelings, even if they’re not completely reasonable, is so important. Validating does not equal enabling.
- The “That’s What He Said” series by Soul Pancake. I am fascinated by each video of these diverse men coming together to talk about their insecurities, their pasts, their feelings, their journeys of emotional health, and other subjects that men aren’t commonly encouraged to talk about. I think this series matters. [Occasional language. And I don’t agree with every view expressed, but there’s a lot of value in listening anyway.]
- “Kid President’s 25 Reasons to Be Thankful!” Because we all need to make lists like this, and sometimes seeing someone else’s opens us up a bit to more of the world.
- This illustrated video featuring Brené Brown speaking about the difference between empathy and sympathy. She is so eloquent, yet real; I love what she has to say. The visuals in the video help things click in my brain a bit more, too.
- “Green Gables Fables.” I mentioned this a few months ago, but season two is happening right now and I’m getting more and more invested. My favorite literary-adaptation web series, hands down. The actors are wonderful and make me feel a lot of things. Each main character has a channel where episodes are featured: Anne (main channel; if you only want to watch one, watch hers) – Gilbert – Diana & Fred – Philippa – Ruby
- Kit Kittridge: An American Girl. Kit was one of my favorite American Girl stories when I was little, and not just because I adore the 1920s; she was tenacious and brave and joyful even when her circumstances were hard. The movie based on her is a delight.
- “Breathless Choir.” This… I am so glad this exists and that it happened. The man who said he hadn’t sung since 2001 hit me hard; I can’t even grasp how painful that would be on someone’s soul.
- “Tongue Twister Challenge” on Good Mythical Morning. I was in tears laughing at this. “UNH”
- Inception. This is film is just so thought-provoking. I love the conversations it incites about the mind, reality, dreams, and the power of an idea. The score is wonderful, too. [Quite a bit of language and violence.]
- “When You’re Facing Giants… & You Need More Than Some Good Advice” by Sally Lloyd-Jones. I’ve never heard these thoughts about the story of David and Goliath before, and that saddens me, because maybe this is one of the main things it’s meant to tell us. Overwhelmingly encouraging.
- “On Learning to Love My Cynic Voice” by Addie Zierman. “My faith has turned out not to be a straight path at all but a spiraling mountain road full of switch-backs and turns….and maybe my Cynicism was never a road-block that I needed to get past…but rather, an essential part of my heart. Maybe she is more beautiful and complicated than I thought.”
- “How Controlling People Use Fear to Manipulate” by Donald Miller. Manipulation comes in many forms, some that are hard to detect. This article addresses fear-based manipulation churches/Christian communities subconsciously use, and wow it hits home.
- Sarah Bessey’s synchroblog spurred by her new book, “Out of Sorts.” So many honest people here, sharing about perspective/heart changes they’ve undergone. Honest people are my favorite. I browse this list sometimes and read a blog or two from it. Always good.
- “The City of Ember” by Jeanne DuPrau. I’d seen the movie so I knew what was coming, yet I still was itching to keep reading to see what happened. The characters were engaging and drew empathy from me; the descriptions were easy to visualize and written in a lovely voice; the setting was dystopian, but not like the rest of the genre because it was simple and non-violent and almost comfortable. I just loved it. So ready to start the next book in the series!
- “A Prayer for The Waiting Times” by Emily P. Freeman. I needed this. “May we hear Your silence as kind company rather than as rejection. May we see our sorrow, our grief, and our difficulties as they are without trying to extract meaning or closure before their time has come.”
- “Causes of Students’ Emotional Fragility: Five Perspectives” on Psychology Today. I found this super interesting and read it attentively. Having recently come out of the academic/university system myself, I have a few opinions about its relationship with emotional health. Maybe I’ll get back to you on that.
Psst: I’m taking part in Leigh Kramer’s “What I’m Into” link-up again this month, so feel free to check that out if you like this kind of content! Lots to explore there.