Soul Food

Soul Food {March 2017}

So many lovely things came with this month for me. Some of them are works of art and media; let’s talk about them!

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  • “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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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?

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Soul Food

Soul Food {October 2015}

I tried to narrow these lists down this month, but October brought a lot of good things to feed my soul with! It was a full month in a lot of ways. These things helped me ride the wind through it a little more smoothly.

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  • “Climbing Clouds” by Jetty Rae. Not only is it gorgeous musically, but this song has a radiant heart in it. I haven’t been able to make it through the video without breaking into tears. I’ve cried to the song itself for my own reasons, too, reasons that don’t really make sense, but the tears can’t lie. I can’t express how special it is.
  • Nick Pitera’s cover/mash-up of “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes and “Should’ve Been Us” by Tori Kelly. I looked up both of those songs (because I’m uncultured and only hear popular music through covers), thinking they’d be incredible because Mr. Pitera’s mash-up was beyond captivating– and they were “meh” in comparison. He nailed it.
  • “Down” by Dodie Clark. Maybe you’ve heard me say my favorite kind of music is the kind that inspires me to make my own. This is like that. Beautifully raw.
  • The Piano Guys’ cover of “A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay. Sweeping and lovely. I didn’t know I could like Coldplay more.
  • Aaron Tveit’s cover of “One Song Glory.” Because it’s Aaron Tveit, duh. This is my morning jam and starts me out happy.
  • Following the Aaron Tveit theme, he did a cover of a song from Wicked with current Broadway cast member Rachel Tucker, and it’s very good. I have basically zero exposure to Wicked, but I’ve heard the song before, and this version is such a lovely take on something that didn’t really pull me in before.
  • “The Oak Tree” by Emily Hearn. A hug. “I’m old enough to leave home, but way too young to know what I should do. I’m treading water, I’m trying to keep my head above the ground…”
  • Andy Mineo’s “Uncomfortable” album. I’ve mentioned my respect for his music before, but my mom gave me his new album for my birthday and I’ve been listening, grooving along, and pondering over it ever since.
  • Heath McNease’s “Salem Songs” ep. He wrote, recorded, and released this in practically a week– and it is brilliant. A little brooding, a lot thoughtful. “Rev. Hooper (The Minister’s Black Veil)” made me gasp. Get it!
  • “Hello” by Adele. Just stunning. You’ve probably heard it and been enraptured by it already.
  • Jon Foreman’s “Dawn” ep. I know I’ve mentioned Jon Foreman’s “The Wonderlands” project multiple times, but it’s completely released now and I’m just taken aback by the way it’s come together. The final ep may be my favorite of all of them; multiple songs on it make me laugh out of the purest joy. And the full effect of all 25 songs together, in order, is almost like a journey I get to embark on. This project is going to stand the test of time.
  • “Ghosts” by August Burns Red, featuring Jeremy McKinnon. This song hits hard, with sound and with truth. Hardcore music can be so special; I think it’s a powerful way to deliver something. “You and I, we were once the same.” Huge shiver. [The video is heartbreaking, so be warned.]
  • “Be Kind to Yourself” by Andrew Peterson. Some of us forget this; I have recently. His songwriting is like a reassuring arm around my shoulders.
  • Andrew Ripp’s cover of “Mirrors” by Justin Timberlake. He is so talented; I’m obsessed.
  • “Good Good Father” by Chris Tomlin. Because I need this perspective daily.

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  • “Mat Franco’s Got Magic.” I forgot to share this last month so BAM! His magic tricks are mind-blowing and he’s adorable. I’ve been a fan since his America’s Got Talent audition. Maybe my favorite trick from the special was the one with the ramen. How?! How?!!
  • The “Craftversations” Series by Mary Kate Wiles. I enjoy each episode so much! Genuine conversation between two creative friends that I get to listen in on. As a bonus, the things they craft always look so cool and inspire me to make my own! [Occasional innuendo? Maybe? I’m not really sure I just have such a good time!]
  • “Heroes: Reborn.” I started watching it because of Zachary Levi’s presence in it, but the premiere was genuinely gripping. I continue to watch all the different story arcs within the one grand plot and feel invested in nearly each. [Violent. Quite violent. It’s the thing I don’t like about it.]
  • This video from Schizophrenia Awareness Week. Ever since reading a novel written from the perspective of a girl with schizophrenia when I was young, I’ve cared a lot of about those who suffer from it and wanted to combat the misconceptions/carelessness most people carry about it. This video is a great introduction.
  • “Animated Explanation of The Law” from The Bible Project. The videos they make remind me of Bible college courses I’ve taken; I highly recommend them! This one about The Law is one I wish a ton of people in the world would watch.
  • Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. This is one of my favorite films. I always relate to Mahoney in some aspect, and the way she learns about life and the joy to be found in it is a light to me. Plus, there are so many lovely lines and special little story-telling devices the filmmakers implemented. I just love it. We watched it on my birthday.
  • Tom Hanks and Jimmy Fallon performing skits written by children. I laughed so much! Tom Hanks is a gem.
  • Tomorrowland. I didn’t really have any expectations for this film, but I ended up being enamored by the ideas it shared with me. Those who hope are those who make the future bright; power lives in dreamers. I can get behind that.
  • This video on Myers-Briggs types and figuring it all out. This explains it in a way I’ve never heard before, and I ate it up. I took notes on a YouTube video, guys. [A little language.]
  • “The Lion’s Blaze 3” by Olan Rogers. It’s hilarious no matter what, but if you like video games/know gaming lingo you will want to give this a hearty hi-five.

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Psst: I’m taking part in Leigh Kramer’s “What I’m Into” link up this month, so feel free to check that out if you like these kinds of posts! Lots to explore there.