We’re two-thirds into summer now, and I’ve consistently run into beautiful, fun, soul-feeding things that I would absolutely love to share with you. I’ve been taking a break from my regular writing (last month it was unintentional, this month it was on purpose because self care is real), so thank you for sticking around and enjoying some good art with me in the meantime.
- “13” by LANY. I have a few friends who listen to them so I tried out their new album, and this was the song that hit me in the right spot. Their sound is fresh while also being synth-infused and nostalgic, I really like it, but most of the time I was a bit torn lyrics-wise.
- “Lovely Child” by Ghost Friendly. I’ve loved Nick’s voice since the Two Worlds days, and it’s wonderful to see him continue to make music; he’s always been fantastic and he only gets better.
- “Cobalt” by Jessica Frech ft. Sarin.Us. Such a lovely, happy vibe to this! I’ve listened to it over and over.
- “Fleeting Moments” by Nick Primuth. Came on while I was listening to my comfort playlist on a night I couldn’t sleep; it was a hug.
- “Honey and Milk” by Andrew Belle. He’s one of my favorite songwriters, both lyrically and in the feelings he manages to capture in his sound. This new song stole my breath; there is something so special about it. Seriously can’t wait for his upcoming album.
- “Goodbye” by Echosmith. I’ve enjoyed their work in the past and their new single is definitely up to par. I love how they mix gentle acoustic guitar with fun modern pop. “When you finally find yourself, tell him I said goodbye…”
- “Stay Happy” by Broken Social Scene. It feels like I’m at a concert every time I listen to this. Passionate and fun with a bit of a 70s vibe.
- “Wall” by James Droll. Moody in the best sense, laced with his smooth voice and thick with a kind of resolute emotion. “And my tears won’t fall for you, like I did…”
- “Beth” by Kina Grannis. Stunning in every possible way. I am obsessed with this lullaby-like ballad.
- “Judo” by Magic & Bird (Andy Mineo and Wordsplayed’s new project). What. A. Jam.
- Relient K’s “Forget and Not Slow Down” album. It is always an essential summertime album for me. The vibe is fun and energetic, but lyrically it is so bittersweet, and I love how well that contradiction works. My favorite song from it is “Over It,” but I love all of them; one of the best things about this album is the story to be found in listening to it front to back.
- “One More Light” by Linkin Park. In memory of frontman Chester Bennington.
- “Moonlight” by Grace VanderWaal. This girl’s voice paired with her candor in songwriting… it’s a magic spell that makes you feel what she’s feeling. I love everything she puts out.
- “Part of Me” by Good Old War. Their music is so often a home for me. “There’s always a place for you here in my wild heart…”
- “Looking Too Closely” by Fink. Reminds me of thoughtful summer evenings. Beautiful and sweeping and something I needed.
If you want all of this music in one place, I have a playlist! It’s on YouTube and Spotify; scroll to the bottom for the newest additions.
- Spider-Man: Homecoming. I told Twitter all about how deeply I love this movie. I am so, so happy with it. Spider-Man is my favorite, and this film does it right.
- Iron Man. I hadn’t seen this film since around the time it came out, so I wanted a refresher. I really enjoyed it, and knowing what all the Marvel movies since have grown into made it extra special to see the first piece of the puzzle.
- “Rogue One Stars Answer the Web’s Most Searched Questions.” Every single one of Riz Ahmed’s answers kills me, and Diego Luna is precious.
- Spider-Man 2. I glean something from every viewing of every Spider-Man movie. This time, Peter’s struggle to choose between what he wanted and what the world needed from him spoke loudly, as did his words that solidified his choice: “There are bigger things happening here than me and you.”
- “You Are Not Your Sexuality,” a talk by Sam Allberry. Not everyone is going to like this, but I promise: it is so empowering. So many things we associate with our identity (whether it be our sexuality, our addictions, our hobbies/talents/occupations, anything) have no real say in who we are. You are not defined by anything apart from His love for you. Period.
- Johanna Clough’s art journal flip through. I love seeing inside these things! She also has a series where you can watch her process as she makes individual pages in her journal, and I so enjoy it.
- Collateral Beauty. A few friends came over and watched it with me after I raved about it; I love this film so much. Love’s second speech sticks with me.
- Various interviews with the Spider-Man cast, such as: this one with Tom Holland that is just super fun; this one with Tom and Zendaya hosted by an adorable child; this one with Tom and Jacob Batalon that cracks me up (and also gives me big sister feelings, haha!); this one with Tom in which he admits “I am a walking meme”; this one with Tom in which someone finally gets him to sing; this one with Jacob in a comic book store that made me want to go comic shopping…
- The Amazing Spider-Man, both the first and the second film. I wanted to rewatch them after all the recent Spider-Man hype. While they are probably the least Spider-Man-like of the different movies we have to choose from, I can still enjoy them if I don’t think too hard about it. I still want to cry with Peter at the end; Andrew Garfield is a solid actor, despite the writing.
- “How Emotional Abuse From My Childhood Makes It Hard to ‘Take Up Space’ Now” by Juliette Virzi. Relatable and articulated so well.
- A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. Enjoyable and thought-provoking, though I’m not sure how much I actually agree with the main thesis. I wrote a full review on Goodreads if you’re interested in that.
- “That Time I Said, ‘Yes,’ When I Really Meant ‘No'” by Rebecca Reynolds. The circumstances that brought this piece about are messy, but I just love the way the author captured what confusion through our convictions is like and shared what she’s found to be true there. So aptly worded. “I didn’t wonder if there were exceptions to the rules because I wanted to defy God. I didn’t waver because I wanted to be a relativist. I wavered because I was overwhelmed watching someone I loved suffer at close range.”
What fed you this month?
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?
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?
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?