The first month of this year was already better than pretty much any month of last year, so that’s a big thumbs up from me. I’ve really been focusing on what I tell myself and what thoughts I let live in my head; thoughts are physical things in our brains that we either plant, water, or remove, and they affect how we live and how we interact with the world around us. As a result of learning that, my media intake has become a bit more sparse as I’ve been growing a bit more picky about it. These were some things that made the cut.
- Post Animal. I know I mentioned them last month, but I’ve still been listening to all their work pretty consistently. If a modern take on psychedelic 1970s rock sounds like your thing, you’ll love them. Some of my favorites include “Goggles” “Eel” “When I Get Home” and “You Were Not There.”
- John Mayer’s “The Search for Everything” album. I’ve loved it since it came out last year, but this month it was something I listened to as a long lullaby as went to bed. The ones special to me lately are “Emoji of A Wave” “Theme from ‘The Search for Everything'” (I’m a sucker for a good instrumental interlude) and “Changing.”
- “I Want U” by Joseph Tilley. Happy, fun, young vibes I can’t get enough of. I also like his song “Mad,” too, for similar reasons.
- “Morning” “Scream So Loud” and “I Won’t Lie to You” by Francis and The Lights. They’re all about two minutes long (like most of the album) and for some reason that’s just magical. I love his sound and his simple but punchy lyricism. It makes me want to make more music myself.
- “Jack and Jill, Pt.2” by The Gray Havens. So joyous and uplifting to me.
- Joey Stamper’s medley of “Perfect” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” I just need him to cover every song in existence, please, because he makes even the best songs better. His voice and his arrangements are simply incredible. And I love how seamless the medley is, down to the lyrics. Yes, yes, yes to every bit of this.
- “Call It Home” by Jillian Edwards. Calm and sweeping and lovely.
- Pretty much anything by Shakey Graves, but his iconic Audiotree session might be my favorite (though there’s an unsavory word in one song, if that bothers you). Every performance of his is a different take on his songs, so he just never gets old and his whole-heartedness continually shines. By the way, he just announced that he’s releasing a new album for the first time in four years!
If you want all of this music in a playlist, I already made it! It’s on Spotify and YouTube.
- Esmee Heebing’s 2017 bullet journal flip-through. I love seeing inside other people’s journals and getting inspiration for my own. Her style is so lovely and fun.
- You’ve Got Mail. The Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan rom-com we deserved.
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I’m not a hardcore Star Wars person so I don’t have a strong opinion about it in that sense, but I liked it! It was a really enjoyable movie experience and I thought it had a lot to offer.
- Beat Bobby Flay. Am I saying it’s great? Not really. But did I watch it for hours and die laughing as we made absurd jokes about it? Oh, yes.
- The Greatest Showman. The soundtrack is so so good and the visuals are colorful and gorgeous. The plot is pretty basic, but it’s still entertaining and definitely worth seeing. Hugh Jackman can adopt me.
- The Spider-Man: Homecoming panel at ACE Comic Con with Tom Holland, Laura Harrier, and Jacob Batalon. I’ve missed getting new interviews with them! Watching this felt like a reunion with my friends.
- The Office. A season and a half in one afternoon. So bad but so good.
- Continued watching The Good Doctor and The Mentalist regularly.
- The Nutcracker Mice by Kristin Kladstrup. A cute concept and story. I wasn’t incredibly engaged, but I think it was just due to the fact that it’s meant for younger readers (ages 7-10, which I didn’t notice was clearly stated on the back, oops). This would be a fun book to read as a family.
- The 21 Day Brain Detox program by Dr. Caroline Leaf. There was a toxic, painful thought that had been lingering in me for far too long. I wanted it out, but I just felt too haunted by it and tied to it. This program my grandma and aunt recommended and sent to me was such a helpful, eye-opening process to go through. I don’t feel haunted anymore, and that honestly is something I didn’t think I’d ever be able to say. I am so grateful to be transformed by His mercy and the renewing of my mind.
I’m on Goodreads if you want full reviews and bookish updates from me.
What has been feeding you lately?
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?