Soul Food

Soul Food {May 2017}

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.

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  • “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.

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  • “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.”

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  • “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?

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On Cinderella, Choices, & Saying “Thank You”

I woke up to quiet. I’ve been restless inside myself, begging for quiet mornings. This morning I got one. If only for a few minutes, I got one.

And I didn’t say thank you.

I had a small breakfast and dressed in comfy clothes. I carried my laptop under one arm, books and journals under the other, as I made the short trip to the living room. There, I listened to music I love; I laughed and read stories; I had a satisfying lunch.

And I didn’t say thank you. Because I didn’t see why I needed to.

I decided to go out into the yard, to find a secluded place I could read. The sun was out but not blazing, a soft whisper of summertime’s end. I was looking for the right spot, but along that journey… I began taking photos. Of the bushes my neighbors have tried to destroy only to see them flourish more; of the overgrown trees and plants that don’t allow me to visit the pond anymore but somehow hold an air of mystery now; of my cat, who sat calmly next to her favorite hiding place; of the single apple fallen from the tree. I just kept taking them.

And I wondered if this was a way of saying thank you.

I know that gratitude holds power. I know it does. But it’s hard to do. It’s hard when I don’t want to be where I am, when all I can think about is leaving because everything I want to do is not here. Ann calls it the hard eucharisto, the painful thanksgiving. She knows it well. I know I have no excuse for my stubbornness. Yet I persist in it. Secretly, even to myself, I think I pray for patience and for trust. Because Ann also says my lack of thanksgiving is evidence of my mistrust in who He is. And I know she’s right. I know that I am angry at Him because of where I am.

I watched Cinderella this evening, the version that came out this year. I was charmed by the imagery. I remembered one of my best friends telling me how much it had meant to her, what the movie taught her. And I awaited being able to see what she spoke of.

I didn’t think it would teach me something different, something of my own.joyous cinderella

Ella was gracious, gentle, loving. Her mother’s words lived with her: “Have courage, and be kind.” She did everything by these words, told them to herself more than daily. They were her guard rails, to help her carry on when she grew weary and to guide her choices, big and small. I kept seeing her live them out, kept hearing her whisper them to herself, and I eventually thought: “I wish I had a simple set of words like this to help me remember, to shape my habits and my heart.”

Then I remembered that I do have that.

He told me, “Just be with me. I’ll teach you love, to love me and others and yourself.”

I’m almost crying. Oh, I need to learn love. And only He can teach me.

He is to be my guard rails. He and His love are to carry me when I’m weary and to guide my steps– if I allow Him to be the central piece of where I am. Allow Him to teach me love. Because He loves me enough to allow me to say no. He doesn’t have to do any of this for me; He does not owe it to me and I am not deserving of it. But He’s the one who knows love. And love does things like this. Love is grace-filled. Love is a continual giving. Saying yes to Him and His consistent presence with me is an acceptance of grace, of His gifts to me.

It’s saying thank you. Something I need to learn. Something He teaches in His love lessons.

Ella’s circumstances did not determine if she would live in her mother’s words or not. She chose to. Every day, she chose to serve others. She chose to be gentle and humble, yet strong, in all her interactions. She chose to find magic in the things around her. She chose hope. She chose forgiveness. She chose to be genuine, even if it made her different from those around her. Sometimes things became too heavy, yes. But her faithfulness served her. She kept choosing to have courage and to be kind, no matter the darkness and hopelessness she lived in. And it was that faith and steadfastness that brought her out, brought her into love and safety and opportunity to live.Cinderella wedding

My circumstances don’t matter– my choices do. My choice to be with Him, my choice to thank Him for all His gifts to me… my choice to learn love from Him. I can do that every single day, no matter where I am or what’s happening to me. I can be faithful in that. And I can see the grace here, and I can have hope for somewhere new someday.

And I can say thank you for all of it. Because He’s in all of it.