Spring has arrived… in theory. In reality, the rains have barely stopped, only slightly punctuated by brief pockets of sunshine. Maybe my state of activity is tied to the weather, or perhaps there is more to the story, but either way September has not been a very productive month. Though I did get a hair cut…
Writing has been slow and not so steady, and I’ve made meagre progress on my novel, though the queries from my family as to when I will send through the next chapter help a little to keep me on track. The Five Minute Friday community has been so great to be a part of and I have so enjoyed getting to know friends on the other side of the world better each week, as well as the weekly accountability to keep writing. Next month I’m trying the exciting five minute version of the challenge of #Write31Days which will be hosted by the talented Christina Hubbard.
What I’m Reading
Present Over Perfect (Shauna Niequist)
It is no secret that I love Shauna’s writing, I devoured her previous books and they have each considerably shaped my thinking in a myriad of ways. Her latest offering was well-written and clearly came from a place of keen personal experience as she learned the hard way how important it is to slow down and savour the reality of life and family. I feel like the message of slowing down is a crucial one for our culture right now and it echoed a lot of what I have been listening to in podcasts recently.
Jane Steele (Lyndsay Fay)
This was a wild ride, to say the least. I love the story of Jane Eyre, though I must say the ending, while profound is not my favourite part of the tale. This modern twist on the classic is an enjoyable read (mostly) though considerably graphic in many parts. The characters and plot are very well conceived and executed.
Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
I love the idea of this series, and I did try and watch the television dramatisation of it, though I found it a little too explicit for my tastes. The book, while easier to digest and skim over the more colourful parts, is a little hard going and I’m not desperate to finish it.
Big Magic (Elizabeth Gilbert)
After listening to Elizabeth’s interview with Krista Tippett last month, I was very keen to read this book. It finally came up on my library queue and I was hooked instantly. Inspiring, profound, insightful – a definite must-read for anyone interested in following the spark and honouring creativity as a powerful form of human expression.
What I’m Listening to
A little slower on the podcasts this month, but I continued to enjoy episodes from my favourites, including Ann Kroeker’s Writing Coach and Ann Bogel’s ‘What Should I Read Next’.
On Being with Krista Tippett
I love how diverse Krista Tippett’s interviews are – from internet curators (Maria Popova ‘Cartographer of a Digital Age’ and Jimmy Wales ‘The Sum of All Human Knowledge’) to documenters of silence (Gordon Hampton ‘The Last Quiet Places’) to indie-pop bands (The Indigo Girls ‘Music and Finding God in Church and Smoky Bars’) and students of Persian Sufi mystics (Fatemeh Keshavarz ‘The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi’) – Tippett always manages to elicit deep and thoughtful answers from her subjects and illuminate threads of profound concepts.
Like I’m a Six Year Old with Tom Ballard
You wouldn’t think that an athiest podcast could produce subject matter for a ‘church’ conversation starter, but Ballard’s interviews with Jarrod McKenna and Brad Chilcott were so fascinating and compelling that we couldn’t help ourselves. Both are keen advocates for refugees and asylum seekers and deal with the the issue with such compassion and peace.
The Road Back to You – Looking at Life Through the Lens of the Enneagram
I have been waiting for so long for an interview with my ‘type’ on the Enneagram and Christopher and Amanda Philips conversation with Suzanne and Ian was so great. There were a few tears and feelings of ‘you are so in my head right now’ and I love the insights that both hosts bring to the program. I also listened to interviews with Sarah Thebarge (Type 6) and Don Chaffer (Type 4).
I had my mind blown at the start of the month by the Liturgist’s episode on Spiral Dynamics. I had no idea there was a way of viewing the world and people in colours! I cried my way through the Lost and Found series as Science Mike and Michael Gungor told their stories of their spiritual journeys.
The Robcast with Rob Bell
Last month I spoke about how much I was loving the interview series with Pete Rollins, philosopher. The final two parts of the series were no exception. Pete and Rob together have an incredible dynamic and a way of reducing complex ideas in ways that make them seem simple and so compelling.
The Simple Show with Tsh Oxenreider
Listening to the ‘Present Over Perfect with Shauna Niequist’ episode currently and it is a good one. Interested to see how this podcast will change with the next co-hosts that will be involved as of next month.
What I’m Watching
Love & Friendship
As a big Jane Austen fan, I was really hoping to love this one, and there were a lot of elements to like – exceptional acting by Kate Beckinsdale, beautiful settings, costumes and scenery. At the end, however, I felt flat and like there was a twist missing, or a character that you could really get behind and root for. I did laugh out loud almost every time Sir James Martin came on screen, however, so maybe it was worth it just for his performance.
Not ever been a fan of science fiction or suspense/thriller type shows, but this was a true exception. Apart from the vivid nightmares that were induced as a result, the story, characters and unfolding events were so compelling and Dave and I increasingly enjoyed each episode. Looking forward to season 2.
A friend recommended this and we came to the conclusion last night that there is simply no way you can write a blurb for this show that captures what it is about or like. It is a hugely driven character drama and we were so drawn in (after a reasonably slow start) and very disappointed when it was over. Will Arnett is a genius and plays the main character of Chip so freaking well. He also produced the series. I really want to visit Venice Beach now.
The Secret Life of Pets
We went to the drive-in with the kids for this movie and while the kids loved it, I wasn’t so moved. An interesting concept, but not very well executed and the story line had more than a few holes. Not my favourite kids movie.
The Fault in Our Stars
Having read this book only a few months ago, I was keen to see the dramatisation of it. The book is still my favourite, but Dave and I spilled many tears during this one, and we may have found our new favourite genre. Such a meaningful and poignant story.
What We’re Eating
While I’m generally a proponent of menu planning in cuisines, this month has been more like menu planning via appliances. Or let’s be more honest – I’ve basically just used my slow cooker! I shared a couple of our favourite simple and delicious meals in this post here. A picture of the Greek Lamb Salad recipe is below.
When I say this month was a little lazy, I guess I don’t mean in terms of our adventures. We had a mammoth month of plane trips, zoo excursions, catch ups with friends, a visit from my Grandma, a wedding, the drive in movies, a Maths/Science night at Dave’s school, our first unofficial Neighbour’s Table, birthday gatherings, and a Beer & Cider Festival to top it all off.
Here are a few of the photos of our trip to Sydney and the wedding:
Maths/Science Night with interactive experiments and demonstrations:
A visit to Earthly Pleasures in Belgrave:
And a random collection of other shenanigans: