I think I’ve probably lost it and cried from being overwhelmed almost as many times as I’ve been hugely inspired and exhilarated.
Oh, and our coffee machine broke.
What I’m Reading
A very light month of reading this time, for a change! The frustrating changes in the subscription for the Scribd book app that I was using has made it impossible to consume books at the same rate I’ve been used to. I relished the unlimited structure of the old system, and am finding it hard to commit to ‘spending’ a limited credit on a book before I’m sure that it is worth the read.
The Cuckoo’s Calling (Robert Galbraith)
This was my first experience of J.K Rowling’s detective fiction and I had mixed feelings. I love her development of characters and learned a lot from the way that she incorporates colour and memories into her unveiling of the plagued but likeable Cormoran Strike. I also found the ending a (mostly) compelling surprise, but found the rehashing of events surrounding Lula Landry’s death to be a bit tiresome at times.
The Silkworm (Robert Galbraith)
Actually still reading this one, but enjoying the different style of the investigation and the development of the complicated platonic relationship between Robin and Strike. Will report back next month with further thoughts!
What I’m Cooking
We toured through Germany and Malaysia with our culinary forays this month.
German fare was a big hit with the family, with recipes like Bratwurst & Sauerkraut, Pork Goulash, Sauerbraten with Spaetzle, Beef Rouladen, Bierock Pie, German Meatballs and Stuffed Capsicums. I was initially convinced the ‘secret ingredient’ of Ginger Snap cookies was a typo in the Sauerbraten recipe, but the addition created such an interesting smoky, spicy, sweet flavour in the gravy.
Malaysian fortnight coincided with a rash of sleep problems and chest infections and my motivation towards cooking was largely depleted. Meals like Chicken Satay Quesadillas, Malaysian Burgers and Satay Pizza ended up being replaced with the more pedestrian versions. We enjoyed the Rendang Curry, Curry Puffs and Sweet & Sour Meatballs but found the Ayam Goring, Fragrant Butter Rice and Nyonya Curry less interesting.
The garden is laden with eggplants, jalapenos, capsicums and pumpkins and we have been heaping this spicy eggplant and capsicum chutney on everything.
What I’m Listening To
Dave introduced me to the wide world of podcasts this month and there’s no going back! It began with Richard Rohr’s homilies – ten minute, perpetually profound thoughts on the nature of life, spirituality and existence.
Then, on the stunning drive to the Yarra Valley to celebrate Julie and Matt’s wedding we shared headphones and wonder as we took in the rich insights of Rob Bell’s interview on the Robcast with Richard Rohr.
Now, instead of turning to mindless scrolling or other numbing activities when frustrated, I flick on a podcast on my phone and soak it all in. The kids have become accustomed to the rich baritone of Rohr underpinning their playing as I am now freed to just sit – rather than frantically cleaning around them – practising both learning and being.
I’m almost embarrassed to admit that this was my first encounter with Tippett, but I enjoyed hearing her lyrical voice and the journey of her wrestle with spirituality as inspired by and in reaction to her grandfather. I’ve now subscribed to her podcast ‘On Being’ and looking forward to learning more from her.
I’ve been a reader of Momastery for a long time (though I must say I miss her ‘this is real life’ blog posts that were previously more common) and this was a beautiful discussion held on Glennon’s back patio. I was inspired by the idea of Glennon’s dad writing letters to her every birthday and Christmas without fail, sharing how proud he is of his daughter even when she was all but lost to addiction for 15 years.
I can’t remember why, but this podcast had me grinning widely and laughing out loud as if I was a part of the conversation between the two. There were so many great thoughts in this one, included a lot about being able to accept our own feelings and emotions and speak out our love for the parts of ourselves that disappoint or shame us as a powerful antidote.
This was less inspirational in practical application, but interesting hearing the niche work of Dr Paul in her field of science researching Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum. I liked her description that she was following the curiosity wherever it leads.
This Month at Open House
Just for something simple we focused on the problem of evil over a Mexican Fiesta at our monthly gathering at the start of April. The topic proved a catalyst for many robust and hearty discussions and disagreements as we each wrestled with our past experiences or understandings of the supernatural and began to figure out where we stand now.
There were bountiful Persian feasts, a meet-up at the Old Cheese Factory park, fiery house church discussions, crazy hour dinners, Mainly Music sessions and a beautiful new baby boy added to our midst!
It all began with our City Adventure when we whisked the kids off to the Melbourne CBD for a night away, break-dancing under the glow of the city lights, exploring Degraves Street and hidden arcades in the rain, and discovering mermaid fountains despite the drizzle.
Then Ivy and I hopped on a plane to Ballina to celebrate my Aunty Louise’s 60th birthday. We had a rich and beautiful time with family, reminiscing, laughing, decorating and feasting together under twinkling lights.
I’ve joined the Kinder Fundraiser Group to help plan the calendar for this year and we had our first event during the month- a Mum’s Night Out. There were numerous presenters of wares from jewellery and make-up to bedsheets and cupcakes and we discovered random facts about each other in get-to-know-you games. The wine was flowing and the table groaning under the weight of the delicious food! It was so lovely getting a chance to chat with the other mums and Eli’s teachers and I really enjoyed myself (despite being in the throes of some horrid kind of chest infection).
My side of the family celebrated an early Mother’s Day lunch at Beaconsfield degustation restaurant, O.My. We were all impressed with the attention to detail in each of the courses and the way our expectations were exceeded, in terms of the additional canapes served, the homemade crusty sourdough bread for soaking up the delicious juices and the samphire caramels as a surprise at the end. There was even a brown-paper bound piece of feijoa and honey bread for savouring later.
(Thanks to Mum and Dad) Dave and I were lucky enough to be able to escape our usual duties for the day and head off to the Yarra Valley to celebrate Julie and Matt’s wedding. We breathed in every moment of the perfect Autumn setting, talking deeply about Rohr related epiphanies, potentials for seeking mentors, visions for the future and hopes for spirituality. It was one of the most memorable and open-hearted days I think we have ever spent together. The wedding itself was stunning, deftly pieced together by creative bride Julie and the light-filled venue was perfect.
The rest of the month included a visit to Myuna Farm, the celebration of our niece’s 10th birthday, Family Day at the Rhododendron Gardens, playground hopping with the discovery of three new local playgrounds and many adventures in the rain.
What a month! Here’s hoping for a little more sleep and less sickness in May… and coffee, oh how I miss you coffee.