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.
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.”