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 the last month when they opened for Colony House; when I got back home from my trip I 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.
The first month of the year brought some wonderful new media my way. Let’s talk about it!
- Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” album. I’ve loved Coldplay for years but never actually owned one of their albums, so owning this one now is special. Such rich and layered songwriting with sweeping melodies. I love pretty much every song on it, but this month “Lovers in Japan” really spoke to me. “They are turning my head out, to see what I’m all about; keeping my head down to see what it feels like now. But I have no doubt: one day we’re gonna get out…”
- “Magic” by Thomas Gold ft. Jillian Edwards. Jillian is one of my musical inspirations, so to see her collaborate with a DJ was especially cool to me; it reminded me of how limitless the possibilities are for artists. Plus, what a great jam.
- “Why Georgia” by John Mayer. There’s just something about it. “Four more exits to my apartment, but I am tempted to keep the car in drive, and leave it all behind…” I was led to this song by a lovely John Mayer acapella medley, also worth checking out. When they hit those harmonies on “hearrrrrtbreaaaak…”
- “You’re Gonna Live Forever In Me” also by John Mayer. New and incredible, laced with emotions. “Parts of me were made by you…” His entire new ep is great.
- Kenzie Nimmo’s cover of “It Ain’t Me Babe” (ft. Harris Heller). So calm and melancholy, with beautiful voices. Love it.
- “The Perfect Parts” by Shakey Graves. I’ve had this album for like two years but I still go back to it and find more to like about it. Story-telling and solid jams. The Audiotree session of this song is great, too. My dad and I listened and gushed.
- Colony House’s “Only The Lonely” album. They are my boys, and I am elated to have new music from them. They go a bit more retro rock-n-roll on this one, but I’m into it. And lyrically? Masterful and soul-reaching. My favorites are “Where Your Father’s Been” “You & I” “You Know It” “3:20” and “Cannot Do This Alone.” I think I just named half of the track list but it’s fine.
- “Ocean Eyes (Blackbear Remix)” by Billie Eilish. Beautiful, emotional, with cool beat-driven moments. I can’t listen to it just once.
- “Vibes Vibes Vibes” (ft. Aha Gazelle and Chris Durso), “Usual Suspects” (ft. Willow Stephens), “Time 4 That” and “Extra Wavy” by Social Club Misfits. I’m always kind of torn about these guys. The tracks they produce are super fun and get me hyped up, but lyrically it’s almost all reminiscent of a messy humblebrag. I’ve been listening to their new album trying to figure out if I like it; I’m still not sure. But these songs are the ones I end up enjoying in the midst of that conflict.
- “Hold On” by Jet. This song is in Spider-Man 2 and hit a sweet spot in me the last time I watched it.
If you want to listen to all these songs in one place, I’ve made a playlist! It’s on YouTube and on Spotify (neither are complete, which bothers me, but I had to work with what was available).
- Pete’s Dragon (the 2016 version). I had no expectations for it, but it was lovely and magic-filled. I loved the gentle and soft yet powerful design of Eliot.
- The Joy of Painting. I grew up with Bob Ross’ art; my grandparents were both certified instructors of his and taught classes in oil painting, and we have many of their pieces hanging in our house. I feel such an affection for him and his work. This month, watching episodes of his show was an accidental daily thing for me, so I decided to make it a purposeful routine. Every season is on this YouTube channel in playlists; I’m on season one right now. I love his positivity and how deeply he appreciates everything. He truly created his own world. Plus I just enjoy the solid painting advice. “You have the fun; let the brush do the work.”
- This bullet journal flip-through. Though I don’t follow a bullet journal format, this inspired me to try out some more creative ideas in my own journal.
- “Amy Adams & Andrew Garfield – Actors on Actors.” Two wonderful people (Andrew is one of my absolute favorites) sharing such interesting thoughts. I want to sit in on their conversations for hours.
- Bull. It gives me a few vibes like The Mentalist did, in a courtroom instead of a police station. Though no character comes close to Patrick Jane or his crew.
- This video about a man who paints without his sight. Stunning and inspiring.
- George of The Jungle. My ridiculous favorite. “Thor! Are you arguing with the narrator?!”
- “OMG We’re Coming Over!” I was obsessed with interior design shows when I was little, and watching this cute couple continue on that legacy with their series makes my heart happy.
- Spider-Man (the 2002 version), Spider-Man 2, and Spider-Man 3. My ever-present Spider-Man love has been extra powerful lately, so watching the films that started it all for me was almost necessary.
- Captain America: Civil War. Because Spider-Man.
- Continued watching Scorpion and The Mentalist regularly.
- “In Which I Write a Letter to Women’s Ministry” by Sarah Bessey. Spot. On.
- Jesus Outside The Lines by Scott Sauls… and I didn’t like it. Which was so disappointing, because I thought I would find such a life-speaking voice in it. I wrote a full review on Goodreads if you want specifics.
- Quite a few Andrew Garfield interviews, because his spiritual journey was making me giddy. His interview with The New York Times is a stand-out.
- The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. I wanted to read it purely because Wells was such a gem in Poe Party, but I ended up really liking it! Engaging and interesting, just the right amount of sci-fi for me.
- “Have We Overplayed the Sermon Card?” by Wayne Jacobson. A hearty yes to this.
- “The Phenomenon of The Dones” also by Wayne Jacobson. I have been aching to hear someone say these words for such a long time. So grateful for this and what it spoke into me. If you know me personally and we’ve talked about church-going before, I’d love for you to read this; it articulates everything I’ve wanted to and more.
- The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp. Sometimes, a book looks you in the face and tells you what it sees in the depths of you. It shows you things inside you that you’d suppressed for so long you weren’t even aware they were living in you anymore. And once it does that, it tells you– you have the capacity to live abundantly even with those things. You are broken, and you are loved for it. Life changing book. I cannot recommend it enough.
- “Nobody Wants To Be a Refugee” by Ben Stiller. Nails it. “Compassion and security are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, they are mutually reinforcing.”
What’s been feeding you lately?
Another year completed! I am so ready for the new things. But first, I’m ready to talk about some of the art and media I consumed during the final stretch of 2016.
- The Goo Goo Dolls’ “Boxes” album. I’ve loved them for years but I recently discovered their latest album, and not only did I greatly appreciate it for what it was, but I also appreciated that they’ve still never lost the comforting perspective and soft-rock vibes that make them the Goo Goo Dolls. My favorite from the album is “Flood” (ft. Sydney Sierota), but I also love “Over and Over” “Souls in The Machine” “The Pin” and “Lucky One.” Honestly, I’m fond of the whole thing. They’re one of my favorites.
- “Put A Label On It” by Ryan Follese. Not the typical style I listen to, but it’s just so sweet and fun. In a time where people are afraid to fully commit themselves to much, a guy declaring he wants to put a label on a relationship is literally music to my ears. Also, the music video is one of the cutest I’ve seen in a while.
- “Things That Keep Me Up at Night (Live)” by Brolly. So, so gorgeous.
- “The Love You’re Given” by Jack Garratt. Such a cool groove, laced with emotion. “If you won’t take the love you’re given, then at least let me go…I’ve been trying to give you my love, but you won’t let me…”
- “Northbound Train” from the “North and South” soundtrack. My best friend and I were talking about our favorite songs at the moment and she shared this one; it had met her spirit more than songs with words could. And wow I love it, too.
- “Go Alone” by Colin & Caroline. Dreamy, lovely, calm yet full of life.
- “Ain’t Ready” by Christian Collins. My guy released another jam– and the video is on his own Vevo channel. So excited about all the crazy stuff he’s getting to do.
- Twenty One Pilots’ MUTEMATH sessions. Amazing. I discovered it late at night, and the passionate sound mixed with being able to see them create it met me somewhere deep. Making music is magic that doesn’t stop wowing me.
- “Billion Years” by Trip Lee (ft. Taylor Hill). Makes me smile and makes me want to dance. So good!
- “At Last” by Jeremiah Daly. I listen to his album when I can’t sleep, and this song is the one that makes my heart feel the lightest. So special.
- “42” by Colplay. Obsessed. I got the “Viva La Vida” album for Christmas, and this is my favorite song I hadn’t heard from it.
- My Christmas playlist! The full thing is on YouTube and a lot of it is on Spotify. But Christmas is over now so don’t listen to it for the next eleven months (hahaha).
- Amy Stroup’s “You Make The Cold Disappear” Christmas ep. Some of my absolute favorite Christmas music for the past two years now. The second half mesmerizes me.
All year, I’ve been collecting my music favorites from these monthly lists into one big playlist. You can find the final product on YouTube and Spotify, and let my 2016 jams be some of your 2017 jams!
- The Amazing Spider-Man. My favorite portrayal of one of my favorite characters.
- This interview with Rhett & Link about what’s on their phones. Cracked me up so bad!
- Jordan Taylor’s video about alcohol. Describes and explains my own experience so accurately.
- Eloise at Christmastime. Possibly my favorite Christmas film; humorous and heartwarming.
- Ann Voskamp’s videos for advent, especially the one about joy. So many vital life-truths.
- Tom Holland’s Facebook live Q&A. I’m hesitant to be excited about the new Spider-Man movie based on the trailer, but the young man playing him is so funny and charming! This Q&A is thirty minutes long but it flies by because he’s so enjoyable to listen to. [Also I found out his dog is named Tessa, WHAT]
- Tessa Violet’s video on music copyright. A super informative introduction to the copyright world for songwriters and recording artists, explained in layman’s terms as much as possible. Definitely saved it for future reference.
- “Christmas Time Boy,” from Olan Roger’s live story tour. So. Freaking. Funny.
- Rogue One. I’m not a huge Star Wars person, but wow this film is good. I didn’t expect it to make me feel so deeply.
- Bas Rijksen’s “Why I Don’t ‘Go to Church’ Anymore” videos, Parts One and Two. A non-angry, reasonable explanation that I relate to in my depths. Please: put yourself in an open-minded place, and listen. For me.
- It’s a Wonderful Life. George Bailey continues to be one of my favorite characters in film.
- Mike Donehey’s “No One Can Steal Our Joy” video journal. So important!
- In The Heart of The Sea. A sad, heart-wrenching, sometimes gross film, but wow it is good. I might not be able to watch it again, but I really think it’s well done.
- Continued watching Designated Survivor. I am super invested and awaiting the return in March!
- And of course I watched The Mentalist all the time because I always do.
- “The Secret Truth That Cures Feelings of Abandonment & What Has to Be Said About Advent” by Ann Voskamp. “You are never abandoned in a place to be forgotten — you were placed in this place to be found.”
- “12 Reasons Millennials Are Over Church” by Sam Eaton. Please read this. I don’t relate to every reason, but so many of them are right on for me and other people I know. We aren’t trying to be rebellious or heretical; we just want what’s real.
- Anne of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery. This was my first ever read-through of the series, and it has now become a treasure to me. I love it so, so much.
- If You Feel Too Much by Jamie Tworkowski. Jamie is a wonderful writer and has some important things to say, I just didn’t come close to tears or a heart-wrenching moment like everyone I’d heard from who read this book. Worth the read, just not the life-changing experience I thought it would be. My hands-down favorite chapter was “Telling Ghosts to Go.” [If you want to keep up with my reading progress and see full reviews, I’m on Goodreads!]
- “The Best Habit to Cultivate When Joy Is Eluding You” by Dandi Daley Mackall. Such a powerful, convicting concept. “And I prayed that God would show me how to share joy in other areas, instead of competing for only one joy—mine.”