I’ve been able to go on a few adventures this month, both with my feet and my spirit. Here are some of the things in the art and media world I found a long the way.
- Kina Grannis’ cover of “The Middle.” I took it with me in my heart, without meaning to, on my first plane trip. It was a hug all day long.
- “I Think I’m in Love?” and “Times Goes By” by Phangs. I’ve loved Phangs since I first discovered him at the beginning of the year, and I’m so happy his first album is now out! These two songs are my favorites from it; meaningful and fun to listen to.
- “Fineshrine” by Purity Ring. An especially brilliant gem from Colony House’s Summer Jams playlist. Psychedelic and modern and emotional, like it came from a fairy land.
- “Good Girls” by LANY. Kind of a guilty pleasure song for me. “Nothing is better than what we felt together at home…”
- Andy Mineo and Wordsplayed’s “Magic & Bird” album. The basketball references go over my head but I don’t even care; they manage to pack a lot of good ideas in with the fun. Every track is honestly a jam. My favorites (apart from the singles) might be “Say Less” “Break Bread (ft. Beam)” and “Team (ft. Beam).” I got hear some of it live when I saw Andy in concert this month!
- “I Like Me Better” by Lauv. An adorable, infectious summer anthem, one to put on repeat and dance to.
- Civil Twilight’s acoustic version of “Dancing With Myself.” Just lovely. I want to lie on the floor in my bedroom after sunset and listen to it over and over.
- “Everything Has Its Place” by Young Mister. Beautiful and introspective.
- “Open Your Eyes” by Alter Bridge. Okay: I have no clue how I found this. Did someone tweet it? Did I hear it in the background of something? Did Jesus omnipotently put it in my “watch later” list? Who knows. But I’m sold regardless; this is the soul-moving kind of rock I grew up loving.
- “I Disappear” by Pen Pals. Their music has meant so much to me, and I am thrilled that they’re releasing new things. This first single is already a home.
- “We Find Love” by Daniel Caesar. A lovely slow-jam with a classic, polished feel.
- “I’ll Find You” by Lecrae ft. Tori Kelly. An encouraging anthem I needed.
- St. Woods’ cover of “The One That I Want.” Talk about transforming a song and making it your own! I didn’t even recognize it. So, so good.
- “Darkness” by Josh Schott. Moody, unique, infectious.
- Andrew Belle’s “Dive Deep” album. I’ve been looking forward to this for so long, it’s been four years since Andrew released an album, and I can now say– this was so worth the wait. I am completely enchanted with it, and it’s masterful, emotional substance. It captures a piece of the fear and glory that come with learning to be vulnerable. I genuinely love every song; I tried to pick favorites and I just can’t. I urge you to give it a listen.
- “Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)” from The Hamilton Mixtape. Makes so many good points.
If you want all of this music in one place, I have a playlist! You can find it on YouTube and on Spotify. Simply scroll to the bottom for the newest additions.
- The Money Pit. I love Tom Hanks and this oldie of his is super funny and cute.
- Star Trek Beyond. Not normally a Star Trek fan, but this was a cool film.
- Timeline. My aunt recommended it; I watched it at her house during my visit. A fun adventure with a little sci-fi, a little history, and a good amount Gerard Butler.
- This video from “I’m With the Banned,” a campaign by Spotify. Inviting musicians from the countries on the travel ban and musicians from the US to collaborate in Canada was a great idea, and displays the humanity in a situation that should not be this complicated. We are all the same. We belong to one another.
- Rise of The Planet of The Apes and Dawn of The Planet of The Apes. I did not expect to like these as much as I did. Compelling, well-written, and thought-provoking. Andy Serkis is a powerhouse. Can’t wait to see the third film!
- This wonderful episode of Tell My Story. This series can either be fun or frustrating (I guess anything focused on assumptions and connection can be), but these two are hands down my favorite pairing we’ve seen. They’re respectful of one another, they’re honest, they’re fun, and their chemistry is so visible. I was embarrassingly giddy.
- Spider-Man: Homecoming. Yes, I did go see it again. And yes, I still love it so much, in so many ways. Shout out to Rachel for inviting me!
- Riz Ahmed on The Tonight Show. Because he’s intelligent and hilarious and I could listen to him tell stories all day.
- Speaking of Riz Ahmed, I also listened to this speech he gave about the difference between diversity and representation, and our need for both; so interesting and informative, not to mention well-spoken. [It was a speech given to British politicians so a bit of it may not apply to everyone, but still a worthwhile listen.]
- Stuart Little. I forgot how badly I want Geena Davis and Hugh Laurie to adopt me into their adorable New York City household.
- “Don’t Be a Sucker,” a short educational film produced by the US military department in the 1940s about detecting fascism. The title is a little silly, but the content is so right on and uncomfortably relevant. I encourage you to watch at least the first five minutes. “You see, they knew that they were not strong enough to conquer a unified country, so they split Germany into small groups. They used prejudice as a practical weapon to cripple the nation.”
- “Jimmy Fallon Addresses the Events in Charlottesville.” Important, straightforward, and well put.
- Sleepless in Seattle. Another Tom Hanks one. Crazy but cute.
- Inception. I never get tired of it; the symbolism stuns me more every time.
What fed you this month?
We’re two-thirds into summer now, and I’ve consistently run into beautiful, fun, soul-feeding things that I would absolutely love to share with you. I’ve been taking a break from my regular writing (last month it was unintentional, this month it was on purpose because self care is real), so thank you for sticking around and enjoying some good art with me in the meantime.
- “13” by LANY. I have a few friends who listen to them so I tried out their new album, and this was the song that hit me in the right spot. Their sound is fresh while also being synth-infused and nostalgic, I really like it, but most of the time I was a bit torn lyrics-wise.
- “Lovely Child” by Ghost Friendly. I’ve loved Nick’s voice since the Two Worlds days, and it’s wonderful to see him continue to make music; he’s always been fantastic and he only gets better.
- “Cobalt” by Jessica Frech ft. Sarin.Us. Such a lovely, happy vibe to this! I’ve listened to it over and over.
- “Fleeting Moments” by Nick Primuth. Came on while I was listening to my comfort playlist on a night I couldn’t sleep; it was a hug.
- “Honey and Milk” by Andrew Belle. He’s one of my favorite songwriters, both lyrically and in the feelings he manages to capture in his sound. This new song stole my breath; there is something so special about it. Seriously can’t wait for his upcoming album.
- “Goodbye” by Echosmith. I’ve enjoyed their work in the past and their new single is definitely up to par. I love how they mix gentle acoustic guitar with fun modern pop. “When you finally find yourself, tell him I said goodbye…”
- “Stay Happy” by Broken Social Scene. It feels like I’m at a concert every time I listen to this. Passionate and fun with a bit of a 70s vibe.
- “Wall” by James Droll. Moody in the best sense, laced with his smooth voice and thick with a kind of resolute emotion. “And my tears won’t fall for you, like I did…”
- “Beth” by Kina Grannis. Stunning in every possible way. I am obsessed with this lullaby-like ballad.
- “Judo” by Magic & Bird (Andy Mineo and Wordsplayed’s new project). What. A. Jam.
- Relient K’s “Forget and Not Slow Down” album. It is always an essential summertime album for me. The vibe is fun and energetic, but lyrically it is so bittersweet, and I love how well that contradiction works. My favorite song from it is “Over It,” but I love all of them; one of the best things about this album is the story to be found in listening to it front to back.
- “One More Light” by Linkin Park. In memory of frontman Chester Bennington.
- “Moonlight” by Grace VanderWaal. This girl’s voice paired with her candor in songwriting… it’s a magic spell that makes you feel what she’s feeling. I love everything she puts out.
- “Part of Me” by Good Old War. Their music is so often a home for me. “There’s always a place for you here in my wild heart…”
- “Looking Too Closely” by Fink. Reminds me of thoughtful summer evenings. Beautiful and sweeping and something I needed.
If you want all of this music in one place, I have a playlist! It’s on YouTube and Spotify; scroll to the bottom for the newest additions.
- Spider-Man: Homecoming. I told Twitter all about how deeply I love this movie. I am so, so happy with it. Spider-Man is my favorite, and this film does it right.
- Iron Man. I hadn’t seen this film since around the time it came out, so I wanted a refresher. I really enjoyed it, and knowing what all the Marvel movies since have grown into made it extra special to see the first piece of the puzzle.
- “Rogue One Stars Answer the Web’s Most Searched Questions.” Every single one of Riz Ahmed’s answers kills me, and Diego Luna is precious.
- Spider-Man 2. I glean something from every viewing of every Spider-Man movie. This time, Peter’s struggle to choose between what he wanted and what the world needed from him spoke loudly, as did his words that solidified his choice: “There are bigger things happening here than me and you.”
- “You Are Not Your Sexuality,” a talk by Sam Allberry. Not everyone is going to like this, but I promise: it is so empowering. So many things we associate with our identity (whether it be our sexuality, our addictions, our hobbies/talents/occupations, anything) have no real say in who we are. You are not defined by anything apart from His love for you. Period.
- Johanna Clough’s art journal flip through. I love seeing inside these things! She also has a series where you can watch her process as she makes individual pages in her journal, and I so enjoy it.
- Collateral Beauty. A few friends came over and watched it with me after I raved about it; I love this film so much. Love’s second speech sticks with me.
- Various interviews with the Spider-Man cast, such as: this one with Tom Holland that is just super fun; this one with Tom and Zendaya hosted by an adorable child; this one with Tom and Jacob Batalon that cracks me up (and also gives me big sister feelings, haha!); this one with Tom in which he admits “I am a walking meme”; this one with Tom in which someone finally gets him to sing; this one with Jacob in a comic book store that made me want to go comic shopping…
- The Amazing Spider-Man, both the first and the second film. I wanted to rewatch them after all the recent Spider-Man hype. While they are probably the least Spider-Man-like of the different movies we have to choose from, I can still enjoy them if I don’t think too hard about it. I still want to cry with Peter at the end; Andrew Garfield is a solid actor, despite the writing.
- “How Emotional Abuse From My Childhood Makes It Hard to ‘Take Up Space’ Now” by Juliette Virzi. Relatable and articulated so well.
- A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. Enjoyable and thought-provoking, though I’m not sure how much I actually agree with the main thesis. I wrote a full review on Goodreads if you’re interested in that.
- “That Time I Said, ‘Yes,’ When I Really Meant ‘No'” by Rebecca Reynolds. The circumstances that brought this piece about are messy, but I just love the way the author captured what confusion through our convictions is like and shared what she’s found to be true there. So aptly worded. “I didn’t wonder if there were exceptions to the rules because I wanted to defy God. I didn’t waver because I wanted to be a relativist. I wavered because I was overwhelmed watching someone I loved suffer at close range.”
What fed you this month?
This month was a weird one for me. Thank you for being patient and gracious as I’ve been taking a little non-intentional break from publishing any of my writing. Be assured that I am still writing and will share again soon. In the meantime, here is a look at the media and art I’ve enjoyed this month.
- “Down” by Andrew Belle. He’s one of my favorite songwriters and I’m excited about the new things he’s releasing!
- “Release The Panic” by Red. I rediscovered the album while looking for something to play as I baked banana bread; I’d forgotten how much I like heavier music.
- The La La Land soundtrack, especially “City of Stars” (both the duet and the first solo) and “The Audition (The Fools Who Dream).” There’s magic in it; influenced by classic instrumentation and laced with emotion.
- “Just For The Record” by Lucie Silvas. Beautiful and emotional. The vibe reminds me of cloudy summer days in my lakeside hometown.
- “Nothing Can Separate” by David Baloche. Simply rich.
- “Altar” by Sweater Beats ft. R.LUM.R. What. A. Jam. I love R.LUM.R a ton.
- “Fields and Pier” and “Sweet Adeline” by Avriel & The Sequoias. The first line of the first song I heard from the ep was enough to capture me and make me a fan.
- “KIDZ” by Andy Mineo and Wordsplayed (Magic & Bird). Such a tight song, just straight up fun to listen to.
- Christian Collins and Kurt Hugo Schneider’s cover of “Malibu.” Such a lovely, moody rendition that elevates the words. “I always thought I would sink, so I never swam…”
- “Native” by KYKO. I’ve been listening to KYKO’s entire catalogue, actually; I’m convinced he can’t put out a bad song. But this one in particular is relevant to me right now and has a pleasant anthem-like quality to it.
- “Good Rain” by Trevor Hall. So beautiful and uplifting and cheerful. An immediate mood boost.
- “I Should Go / Thinking of You (Live)” by Good Old War. Really their whole “Live From The City of Brotherly Love” album has been playing through my house recently. I love their calm, homey sound and their sincerity. “I can only think of one reason why I should go, but I should go…”
- “Run” by Foo Fighters. When I was growing up, my dad would introduce me to his my favorite bands and we’d listen to them together. Most of the time it didn’t end up being my style, but Foo Fighters always struck a chord with me. This is their new song and it’s dang good.
- “You Might Be” by Autograf ft. Lils. One of the new additions to my work out/dance playlist, with a lovely emotional undertone.
- “Something Just Like This (Tokyo Remix)” by Coldplay and The Chainsmokers. I love Coldplay with my whole heart. Something about the live version of this song just adds some extra magic.
- Michael Bolton’s version of “Yesterday.” I found his covers album on tape at a thrift store, and it is definitely my go-to for car singing right now. This song in particular melts me.
- “Sometimes I Wonder” and “Knock Kneed & Lead Lunged” by Zach Winters. His new “To Have You Around” album comes out today, actually! These two songs he released beforehand are lovely and poetic and deep, as I’ve learned to expect of his work. Excited to become familiar with the rest. “Our love won’t survive on the words of others…”
If you want all this music in one place, I made a playlist! It’s on YouTube and Spotify; scroll to the bottom for the newest additions.
- Tom Holland visiting a children’s hospital as Spider-Man. He’s my favorite. I love how passionate he is about visiting children in hospitals everywhere he goes; he’s already done it numerous times, in numerous countries, and the movie hasn’t even come out yet.
- This video that I’ve watched probably a hundred times but still laugh at. “IT’S TROY BOLTON’S DADDDDDD”
- The Shack. I read the book in high school, and (from what I remember) the movie does it justice. Beautiful, healing thoughts and truths illustrated.
- La La Land. Visually gorgeous, musically sweeping, carrying a story that leaves you pondering when it’s over. I love Emma Stone and she does some fantastic work here.
- Cheyenne Barton‘s bullet journal plan-with-me videos. Her creativity and style always inspire my own journal spreads, and I also enjoy her chats she adds in. Her Instagram is great, too.
- Now You See Me 2. An enjoyable watch. I have fun with films about clever people who commit clever crimes for non-malicious reasons. Also, Dave Franco is significantly less creepy than James Franco? Like, not at all creepy?
- “A Fan’s Guide to Spider-Man: Homecoming.” This convinced me I’m gonna cry through the whole movie and I’m so excited about it.
- The Spider-Man: Homecoming Audi commercial. So cute!
- Various interviews with the Spider-Man cast, like this one with Tom Holland, Laura Harrier, Zendaya, and Jacob Batalon (“Let’s go! Gotta get riiipped!”); this one with Zendaya, Jacob, and Laura (“Did he really?! What a loser!”); and this one with Tom and his dog. Tom was also on various TV spots and I really enjoyed tuning in to those. The movie comes out July 7th, you guys! I’m just a little excited.
- CNET’s interview with Tom Holland. Because he’s my favorite.
- “One Christian’s Reflections on Encountering Death” by Russ Ramsey. Beautiful. “Suffering is not an event. It is a path.”
- “Finding Lost Things” by Casey Tygrett. Incredible and truth-filled perspective on our theology of “the lost.”
- When We Were on Fire by Addie Zierman. I am so thankful this book exists, if for no other reason but to prove that spiritual abuse is often subtle but still so very real. I have mixed thoughts and feelings about the book as a whole, mainly because I am currently in a process that somewhat resembles the one Zierman expressed so well. I love her unabashed honesty. I also wish that some things had been spoken into after they were spoken about. But that’s my selfish desire; I know the book is a memoir, meant to tell me a story and not to directly teach me.
- If you want to get regular book updates and full reviews from me, I’m on Goodreads!
What fed you this month?
This month, the word “interruption” was showing up everywhere I looked. Soon it started becoming reality, and I am now learning to face the unexpected boldly and with resolve. This is some of the media that came with me and helped me find a sense of steadiness and companionship.
- “Frustrated” and “Love Less” by R.LUM.R. I discovered him when he was featured on Phangs’ new single, and wow he’s good. Passionate and full of slow-groove.
- “First Love” by Holly Ann. Came up on shuffle on my comfort playlist and met me right where I was. “In your perfect goodness, you pull me out of where I feel safe…”
- “Don’t Cry, 2020” and “Are We Alone?” by COIN. I have a few friends who really like COIN so I listened their new album when it came out. These two songs were my favorites; fun to listen to while also somehow a little sobering.
- KYKO’s “Wildlife” ep. I enjoyed his first ep a lot so I was excited to see he’d released another! He mixes happy electronic vibes with thoughtful lyrics carried by his unique voice, and I’m into it. The live session of “Dive In” is wonderful, too.
- “Meet Me in The Hallway” and “Sweet Creature” by Harry Styles. Moody and interesting. I didn’t end up liking most of his new album lyrically (sorry, Harry!), but these two hit me in a sweet spot.
- “Seven” by Authentic Fiction. Authentic Fiction was the name taken by Jordan Watts, whom we lost four years ago this month. He saved my life. I will always listen to his voice and hear his words, telling me the kingdom is right here in my chest.
- Cimorelli’s cover of “Symphony.” These sisters all have such beautiful voices and nail their harmonies. This song was a perfect choice for them. They also covered “The Night We Met,” a song I’ve loved for a few years now, and it’s equally stunning.
- “May I Have This Dance” by Francis and The Lights ft. Chance The Rapper. Overwhelmingly lovely vibes and some beautifully poignant lyrics. I’m obsessed. “All the things we carried, now we’re down to our bare feet…”
- I also checked out Francis’ album, and “See Her Out (That’s Just Life)” and “Friends (ft. Bon Iver)” were stand-outs. He’s like a reincarnation of Phil Collins and James Blake. Both of whom are still alive and making music but whatever you know what I mean.
- “Immanuel” by Loud Harp. Something to soak into and harmonize with.
- “Wasted Time” “Hindenburg” and “Excuses” by Cereus Bright. Cozy indie-folk to spend an afternoon with.
- Caleb’s “To The Ends of The World” album. These guys are now known as Colony House. They’ve been my absolute favorites since this ep from 2011. And rediscovering it was so special for me. My favorite song from it is “Better Off,” followed closely by “The Hardest Part of Losing You,” but all of them are so, so good. Please do give it a listen.
If you want all of these songs on one playlist, I already made it! It’s on YouTube and Spotify. Scroll to the bottom for the newest additions.
- “Why We Should Share Our Stories of Loss and Disappointment,” a TED talk by Rebecca Peyton. Moving and full of truth.
- Tips on creativity in songwriting from Tessa Violet. Solid advice and perspective.
- Hidden Figures. Such a powerful film! I’m so glad these amazing women are being highlighted so that more of us can be inspired by them and learn from them, as well as so that more can see the realities of what they went through.
- Tom Holland’s interview with Ellen. He’s precious, I’m over the moon for him, his dog has the same name as me, everything’s great.
- Katie Gregoire taking on the purity movement. She nails it. Wow she nails it.
- Tessa Violet’s video about the Enneagram. I love personality studies, but I never really “got” Enneagram. After seeing her passion for it, I decided to follow her advice and read the descriptions until I found my heart-tug– and I found it! I am a six. Here’s the website with the type descriptions she mentioned if you want to explore. Make sure to share yours with me if you find it!
- This wonderful simplified explanation of the overarching story of the Bible and humanity, courtesy of The Bible Project. Their work is incredibly valuable and I highly recommend pretty much every video they’ve made.
- Cinderella. The original animated Disney film is a masterpiece. I also watched Cinderella II, and I don’t care if it’s cheesy and not at all on par with the original; it’s nostalgic and I still love it.
- Kati Morton’s video on repressed memories. Kati is a licensed therapist, and her videos are so helpful and informative.
- “How to Road Trip! 48 States in 110 Days.” A little less than eight minutes of living vicariously through these fun people.
- Basically everything by Brad and Hailey Devine. Their travel videos are amazing, their Instagrams (his, hers) are gorgeous, and their relationship gives me butterflies. And their wedding video? Ugh. Swoon.
- Andy Mineo talking about anxiety and self care. I love when people with influence talk openly about their mental health experiences. Andy’s perspective is important and he shares it eloquently.
- Hacksaw Ridge. I’ve wanted to watch it since I first heard about it, but I didn’t think I ever would because I’m so sensitive and the unanimous report was that it is horrifyingly graphic. But the story sounded so special (and I am such a fan of Andrew Garfield) that I finally decided to try it. And yes, the reports are true. But getting to witness the remarkable actions of Desmond Doss? Worth it. Because the story and the love all over it are also true.
- Continued watching Scorpion and Designated Survivor, and both had their season finales this month. The latter’s was good, the former’s was “meh.”
- “You Know How Hurt People, Hurt People? How To Stop The Cycle of Hurt” by Lauren Casper. So, so good. “That’s what love does in the face of cruelty. It surprises, confuses, and then teaches.”
- “About Who’s In Charge of The Blogosphere: An Ongoing Conversation” by Ann Voskamp. I’d been eavesdropping on this conversation from the beginning, and Ann’s insight is spot-on. When we say it’s okay to silence someone because we don’t agree with them, we create a dangerous gray area where anyone can silence anyone, and soon no one has a voice except for those in power. Censorship does not bring healing.
- Random comic books. It was Free Comic Book Day on May 6th, so I found and read the new edition of Marvel’s Secret Empire and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic. I also read a bunch of random classic Spider-Man comics my brother passed down to me. I didn’t realize how into comic books I could be; I might seek out more.
- Undaunted by Christine Caine. Good, just didn’t leave any lasting impression on me. However…
- Unashamed, also by Christine Caine. Such a timely, helpful book for me. It’s so important to be able to recognize shame so we can reject it and move forward into abundant life without it, and this book has some helpful insights for that process.
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Volume One) by Akira Himekawa. I don’t normally read manga, but my brother owns the Legend of Zelda series and I’ve really enjoyed them (plus I was in the mood for a graphic novel after Free Comic Book Day). Pretty artwork and interesting concepts.
- “Sermon Notes for Cynics” by Addie Zierman. It was good for me to read something from someone a bit further into the process of healing from church baggage than I am. I’ve been using her print-out, and it truly does help.
- The news that we found a dinosaur fossil that still has armor, skin, and guts! I cried.
- If you want regular bookish updates from me, I’m on Goodreads!
What fed you this month?
Sunshine-filled spring days met me somewhere deep this month. I found a lot of light in the art I consumed, too. Let’s talk about it!
- Knox Hamilton’s “The Heights” album. I saw them live at the end of last month when they opened for Colony House; I got back home from my trip, then downloaded their album and started listening to it on repeat. They are so much fun, and not without being meaningful, too. My favorites from the album are “Washed Up Together” “Set It On Fire” “Pretty Way to Fight” “How’s Your Mind” “Sight For Sore Eyes” and “The Heights.”
- “Rapper” by Heath McNease ft. Keyes. In my head for dayzzzz.
- Isla Roe. Her voice is stunning, and she pairs it with poetic songwriting and simple, haunting arrangements. She has an album called “April,” and I can’t pick favorites from it; they’re all so lovely. I also enjoy her songs “Still Your Girl” “Thirty Thousand Feet” and “Hazel (demo)” scattered across the internet. She is just incredible.
- “Goodbye” by filous ft. Mat Kearney. I’ve been obsessed with Mat for such a long time and nothing he does changes that; he is so consistently good. A huge inspiration to me. “My heart is on the table; somebody’s gotta try. I’m willing and I’m able, don’t you know it? I don’t wanna say goodbye…”
- “11:47pm” by Montell Fish. Good vibes, especially in the second half. Just something to sit with.
- Elvis Presley’s version of “In The Garden.” My car only plays cassette tapes, and my Elvis hymns collection is becoming my go-to. This song in particular captures me every time. One of my favorite hymns.
- “Time Flies” by Lykke Li. Makes me feel like I’m in a fairyland, a somber but still lovely one. So beautiful and stirring.
- “In The Blood” by John Mayer. His new album “The Search for Everything” came out this month. He released it in three separate waves, so only four of the songs were new to me, but it’s such a great album all around; I listened to it almost exclusively for a while. The song I’m sharing is my favorite new one. It hits so deep.
- Derek Minor’s “Reflection” album. I found a list of rappers who were Christians and checked them all out, to find that I enjoyed Derek far above the others. Relevant, convicting, and uplifting all at once, surrounded by solid beats. My favorites from this album include “Look At Me Now” “Hold Up” “You Know It” “Until I’m Gone (ft. BJ The Chicago Kid)” “Judo” and “Good Enough (ft. Camille Faulkner).” That’s like half the album but shhhh it’s fine.
- “In The Name of Love” by Martin Garrix and Bebe Rexha. Emotional and heart-thumping at the same time. I turn the volume way up on this one.
- “Always Been U” by Phangs ft. R.LUM.R. If you saw Relient K on their last tour, you also saw Phangs in their band. His new single just dropped, and what. a. jam.
- “Fallen Short” by Youth. Such comforting spring vibes in this. If you follow Fleurie on all her social media, your playlists will quickly fill with her shout-outs.
- “On A Night Like This” by Dave Barnes. I spent a late night with it and it was just what I needed. Dave writes so beautifully.
If you want to listen to all of this music in one place, I have a playlist on YouTube and on Spotify. Scroll to the bottom for the newest additions.
- Andrew Garfield dancing for charity. No comment necessary.
- John Mayer’s interview with Charlie Rose. This made me want to go for coffee with John to chat about music and personal growth. I didn’t know if I’d watch the whole thing, but I was so engaged that the time flew by before I knew it. One of my favorite things he said: “There’s a difference between writing a song because of somebody and for somebody.”
- Guardians of The Galaxy. I know it’s been out for almost three years now, but I just had never been able to see it until this month! I think it’s a great marriage of a comedy and a cool superhero/sci-fi movie. Looking forward to volume two soon!
- This Tom Holland interview. He’s one of my favorites. All his interviews are fun to watch because he’s just charming, but this one was also a genuinely great chat (shout out to skilled interviewers who ask good questions) about Marvel and the upcoming Spidey film. And I swear: he gets more handsome every week.
- Jen Campbell’s analysis of Peter Pan. The day I declared I simply didn’t like Peter Pan, I watched this video and repented. It convinced me to put it on my re-read list.
- Brad & Hailey Devine’s “Kyoto Travel Guide.” Goals.
- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and Battle of The Five Armies. Why not part one? Because I’ve seen part one a hundred times, y’all. Also I had to google who the fifth army was.
- This video about falling in love, heartbreak, and learning to be firm in who you are. I love the way she tells her story and how much wisdom she has for us to glean. “I was a different person, and that person didn’t need him, she wanted him.”
- The cast of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries playing Marrying Mr. Darcy. I need this card game and I need to play it with these people right now, please.
- Continued watching Designated Survivor and Scorpion.
- “Hard Holy Week? What He Asked Us on Maundy Thursday Changes the World, the Church, & Every Broken Heart” by Ann Voskamp. So many life-shaking truths in this. I filled two pages in a journal with quotes from it.
- The Complete Fairy Tales of George MacDonald. George is one of my all-time favorite writers, a poet even in prose. I swoon every time I read his work.
- This lovely thought from Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin & Hobbes, about building your life. We need the reminder sometimes.
- “When You’re Trying to Love Better: What Nobody Tells You About Love Being a Verb,” also by Ann Voskamp. A stunning piece.
- Two hashtag campaigns: #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear and #ThingsChristianWomenShouldHear. Participating in these was such an impactful, life-building experience for me. If you click on the links, you’ll find the collections I made of my favorites from both. I’d love for you to take a look. Also, let me clarify: when we say “only Christian women,” we mean “not Christian men.” Other women can definitely experience these things, too. Consider this post by Sarah Bessey if you’re not sure what to make of what you find.
- “Looking at God’s Creative, Redemptive Work Through The Eyes of A Mother” by Catherine McNiel. I didn’t expect to connect very deeply to this piece, since I’m not a mother. But it was such a good read, turned on a few lightbulbs in me. “God’s most powerful acts, His Incarnation and redemption, did not break out of these most human of actions and identities—but rather worked within them.”
- “The Lost Art of Abiding” by Daniel Emery Price. Right. On.
- If you want to watch my reading progress and hear my thoughts in the midst of it, as well as read my full reviews, you’re in luck: I’m on Goodreads!
What fed you this month?
So many lovely things came with this month for me. Some of them are works of art and media; let’s talk about them!
- “Perfect” and “Hearts Don’t Break Around Here” by Ed Sheeran. I never really got on the Ed Sheeran train, but I’ve been trying to listen to the new albums the people around me get excited about, and his latest is one of them. I definitely understand why he’s so widely loved. While there are occasional things content-wise that bother me (aka romanticizing excessive drinking/clubbing), he is a wonderfully genuine songwriter and I think he meets a generation where they are in a lovely way. I’m sharing my two favorites from the album. The man can write a love song.
- I’ve also been listening to Ed Sheeran’s older song “Kiss Me.”
- “Call Me Out” by Sarah Close. Happened upon it and immediately put it on repeat all day. Chill and a jam at the same time.
- “Falling Into You” by Hillsong Young & Free. Dancey and positive. “I wanna love you like you love me…”
- “Dreaming With a Broken Heart” by John Mayer. Yeah, I’ve mentioned John Mayer every month this year; his new album comes out next month so he’ll probably be in that one, too. Deal with it.
- Mat Kearney’s version of “Dancing In The Dark.” Wrap up in a blanket, close your eyes, and lean into this one. His version brings out the sadness behind the desperate words.
- Lindsey Stirling’s “Brave Enough” album. Violin + dubstep/electronic vibes + a good handful of talented guests + exploring love and loss = a stunning album I should not have waited so long to lend my ear to. My favorites from it are “Brave Enough (ft. Christina Perri)” “Those Days (ft. Dan + Shay)” “Gavi’s Song” and “Love’s Just a Feeling (ft. Rooty)” (also, definitely watch the music video; it’s unique and sweet and tells a huge story in under four minutes, and was what got me to listen to the full album).
- Jetty Rae’s “Can’t Curse The Free” album. Her voice is one of my favorites, period; she manages to do so much with it. I enjoy her organic style interlaced with the beautiful melodies and poetic, honest songwriting. My favorite from her latest album is “The River” (stunning songwriting), but I also love “Can’t Curse The Free” “Another Town” and “Coast to Coast.”
- “Diazepam” by Turnover. An interesting story inside an infectious song. I really like the 70s/90s soft rock vibe that carries it.
- Andrew Belle. Basically everything by him. I love the entire “Black Bear” album, and his single “Dive Deep” is amazing, too. He can combine feel-good tunes with a perfect amount of moodiness, and I think it’s unique and lovely.
- “The Best Things in Life Are Free” by Sam Cooke. I’m learning that classic big band music is one of my favorite genres out there! This short and sweet recording gets me every time. His voice is killer.
If your music taste is all over the place like mine and you want to listen to every song I’ve talked about today, I have a playlist on YouTube and on Spotify. I use this playlist for the whole year, so the latest additions will be near the bottom.
- Dinotopia: The Series. My favorite show from middle school. It’s so cheesy and cringey but the nostalgia still makes it super enjoyable for me. I also still kind of want to live there.
- Sho Baraka’s response to being removed from Lifeway Christian Bookstores. So well stated and respectful. Ironically, this situation is what led me to listen to his album, and I think it’s pretty powerful.
- Doctor Strange. I had no prior knowledge of his story– and now I think it’s so cool. The process of becoming humbled and looking outside himself was a treat to see unfold. Plus, the film is visually intricate and engrossing, and it’s a superhero movie in my beloved Marvel universe, and it’s just… cool!
- “What’s On My Head? Challenge (ft Mayim Bialik)” on Good Mythical Morning. So freaking funny. “Is it one of those, like… chefs?”
- Andrew Garfield holding a baby while on the set on Amazing Spider-Man 2. Because why I would not watch this if it exists?
- Father of The Bride. Ridiculous yet heartwarming.
- “Hoping for an Airport Reunion: One Refugee Family’s Story.” We need these stories to be shared everywhere. We need everyone to know the facts and humanity behind the refugee crisis.
- Designated Survivor. It just returned this month after a winter hiatus, and the suspense is still high for me.
- That Thing You Do. Super cute and witty film about a rock band finding stardom in the early sixties. Tom Hanks is a favorite of mine and he’s great in it.
- “What Winter Feels Like” by SoSonia on SoulPancake. I have friends who deal with seasonal affective disorder; hearing these words from that perspective was inspiring.
- Moana. I didn’t have expectations for it, really; I tend to be cynical about things that have a lot of hype. But I ended up loving this film. Beautiful music, fun characters, and inspiring lessons about being fully present in the powerful person you are.
- Collateral Beauty. Holy. Cow. You have to see this. It is so poignant and powerful and lovely. I don’t cry over movies beyond a moment of watery eyes, but this? Sobs that lasted into the credits. I will keep thinking about it, and it will be an enduringly important film to me.
- Waaaaay too many videos about running an Etsy business (because I started my own!). I collected some of the more helpful videos in an unlisted YouTube playlist if that’s something you could use.
- The new Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer! I squealed over/shared every new poster they revealed, friends tagged me in the trailer when it was released, and I already have people I’m seeing the movie with when it comes out in July, because I am not playing around, this is Spider-Man, you guys! I’m elated.
- Continued watching The Mentalist and Scorpion.
- Eve by Wm. Paul Young. Refreshes an air of magic and wonder for the story of Creation/Eden/The Fall to those of us who grew up with it, and breaks down lies we believe about God and ourselves to replace them with the truth of what Love is and does. The sweet and dynamic characters and the gripping plot are an added bonus. I’d take a little bit of the content with a grain of salt, but it is a work of fiction so I’m not sure the author is asking us to believe some of the elements of the story to be reality in the first place. Definitely worth a read.
- “Good News: God Will Not Use You” by Carolyn Watts. I think it’s important to refine platitudes from our personal theology, and am grateful for writing like this that helps us do that. “God made us not for his use but as an overflow of his love. “
- “The Church We Leave Behind” by Amy Sondova. I have been going through a similar process; hearing someone speak into my situation with clarity and a “me, too” was a deep need met. “Change can’t happen in hardened hearts, so sometimes we need to dust off our sandals and move on. It happened to Jesus and the apostles and we can expect the same.”
- The Violet Fairy Book edited by Andrew Lang. Weird and wonderful, with illustrations that give me heart eyes. I spent a whole year reading it, though, not gonna lie.
- “Dear You Who Feels Wounded” by Ann Voskamp. Ann writes warm embraces you can crumble into. This is so, so good.
- This review of The Parent Trap. So. Freaking. Funny.
- “So I Quit Drinking” by Sarah Bessey. Beautiful thoughts on conviction, holiness, and finding balance in the extremes. “Conviction is less about condemnation than it is about invitation.” [She also wrote this post-script which is important, too.]
- “Lie #3: God is in Control” by Wm. Paul Young. I’m not sure about my full thoughts on this yet. But it sure has made me think. I think agree with a lot of it.
- “Of Lent and Emptiness” by Addie Zierman. Her writing always seems to put words to the hidden tensions we might feel. “’This year,’ she suggested. ‘I think you should give up trying to muster up any response at all. Say to yourself I am free to have emotions, but I refuse to generate them.‘”
- You can keep up with my reading progress and see my full book reviews on my Goodreads if you want to!
What fed you this month?
This was a wild month in my life, filled with pretty much every emotion one can feel. I am so grateful to my family, my best friends, and the Lord, who have walked me through it. And maybe these songs and stories helped a bit, too.
- Kina Grannis’ cover of “You’re Gonna Live Forever In Me.” This song has meant so much to me and her serene voice does it such justice.
- “In The Cold” by Haley Klinkhammer. Her voice is so pure and the emotion she puts in it hits just the right spot. This song reminds me of looking back on being a teenager and feeling bittersweet toward who you were.
- “Bummin'” by Relient K. I saw them live at the end of last month, and it spurred me to listen to their latest album a bit more.
- John Mayer’s “The Search For Everything – Wave One” ep. I mentioned it last month but it’s been a constant companion for me lately. So good. “Wave Two” just came out, too, and “Still Feel Like Your Man” is my favorite from it.
- “Love Grew Legs” by Brolly. Ethereal. I’d listened to one song of his upon a recommendation, but only recently began listening to the rest of his catalogue. Stunning work; nostalgic, original, heartfelt.
- “The Garden” “Speak to Me” and “Miracles” by Kari Jobe. Her voice, in terms of both singing and influence, is one of my favorites in CCM. While our styles don’t totally match up, her sincerity is so apparent and I think it inspires sincerity in the response of the listener. Her new album recently came out; these three are the songs from it that hit me in that deep place. Especially “Speak to Me.”
- Jeremiah Daly’s “The Darkness Will Be Over Soon” album. I’ve mentioned it many times before, but it has become a pretty consistent presence in my life. I listen to it when I can’t sleep; it just calms me and leads me into sentimental thoughts I can soak into. He’s a wonderful songwriter. Lately the track sitting with me has been “In Those Days.”
- “Let Go Of The Wheel” by Mako. Emotional, but in a way that lets you dance it out. “Leaving me behind was everything you feared…”
- “Heartbeat” by The Fray. It came up on shuffle in my giant playlist and reminded me how much I love wildly dancing around to it.
- “Forever Like That (Acoustic)” by Ben Rector. A sweet background for a long writing session I had, and late night journaling times for the next week, too. I’ve also been enjoying and connecting to his song “Moving Backwards.”
- “See Me Through” by Theatre Breaks Loose. A bit cheesy, but in a way that connects me to old emotions, so I still think it’s lovely.
- “One & Lonely” by Phangs. Infectious and emotional.
- “Replay” by Zendaya. I don’t even remember how I found this but I just think it’s a jam.
If you want all of this music in one place, I’ve made a playlist! It’s available on YouTube and on Spotify, and the newest additions are near the bottom.
- “OMG We Bought A House!” A super fun couple decorating and renovating their house to be lovely and quirky and cozy, bit-by-bit. Their creative instincts are on point and I love watching the process.
- KeKe Palmer ranting about Titanic. Cracked me up so bad on a hard day.
- Alice in Wonderland (the animated version). One of my favorite films, a familiar place for my spirit to rest.
- “Chattin’ About Therapy With Tessa Violet.” And what a solid chat! I remember when I made my first counseling appointment; I was deeply upset because I thought it proved something was wrong with me. But the person I was with when I made the appointment told me: “Tessa– I am in counseling. Not for the same reasons, but I am in counseling. It’s not something everyone does, but honestly it’s something everyone needs sometimes.” She was right. I’m so glad I did it.
- The Rescuers Down Under. I hadn’t seen it in years, so I wanted to refresh my memory. It’s delightful.
- The newest volume of Craftversations with guest Clayton Snyder. So so so fun! I always enjoy the show, and Clayton definitely brings some extra charm to it.
- An embarrassing amount of Tom Holland interviews. Most notably this one and this one from when he won at the BAFTAs this month. But here’s one about The Lost City of Z in which he explains how he broke his nose in the jungle, one about In The Heart of The Sea in which he’s just so intelligent and respectful, and I’m not hiding this crush very well am I
- Angel’s Egg. My brother sent me this Japanese animated film, and I’ve been thinking about it since. Gorgeous artwork and score, and so rich with complex symbolism that leaves no definitive answer, leading you as the audience to bring your own interpretation to what’s there.
- The Rocketeer. A feel-good classic I hadn’t seen before.
- This video discussing whether or not the end justifies the means. Honest and thought-out and just good.
- Always watching The Mentalist; currently in season two.
- “Learning to Pray From a Place of Desire, Not Duty” by Trent Sheppard. A lovely story and some beautiful reflections from it.
- “Why Lent Matters to Me” by Sarah Bessey. It matters to me, too. Sometimes, a little liturgy can do a lot of good.
- “One Surprising Way I Found Relief From Anxiety” by Emily P. Freeman. Such a beautiful and encouraging piece.
- Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore with Lynn Vincent. A startling illustration of the underlying privilege and prejudice still present in our culture. It’s difficult to read at times because of the painful memories relived in the pages, and because it forces you to look in the mirror at your own biases and misconceptions. But it is so important, I think especially in a season like this. Very thankful to have read this book.
- You can keep up with what I’m currently reading and see full reviews I write by visiting my Goodreads!
I am continuing to work on different, more in-depth things for this blog, but none of them are saying it’s their time to be shared yet. Thank you for being gracious with me.