WHERE DID JULY GO YOU GUYS. gone. just like that. yikes. Well, it was a good month, so here we go–
I’ve been listening to this playlist again a WHOLE LOT, and have become way obsessed with First Aid Kit’s “Emmylou.” I know, I know, I’m late to the game.
- God and the Gay Christian, by Matthew Vines. To be honest, I downloaded this audiobook with low expectations, but was pleasantly surprised by Vines’s reflections, research, and communication. I see this book as being a good meeting ground for “liberals” and “conservatives” alike, though I hate using those words, especially since I think this book pushes those boundaries. [example: Vines identifies as a gay, LGBTQ-affirming Christian (HOW LIBERAL), but draws heavily from the Bible in his arguments, and holds to the ideal of saving sex for marriage (HOW CONSERVATIVE).] Though I am not the most qualified to review this book, I found it a refreshing read, and would recommend it, easily.
- Another pleasant surprise was The Voice of Matthew, a retelling/paraphrase of the gospel of Matthew by Lauren Winner. I was a little skeptical of the whole project of The Voice series, but loved at least this selection of it. I used it with the youth kiddos at VBS and I think it worked really well.
- Our Selves, Our Souls and Bodies, ed. Hefling. Reading through these essays a little at a time and loving them. I have been recommending Rowan Williams’s essay “The Body’s Grace” to almost everyone. Click here for an earlier version of the one printed in the book. DO IT NOW.
- A Prayer Journal, by Flannery O’Connor. This little book has been life to me this past month. The whole thing is barely 40 pages, but worth. it. Not a page goes by that I don’t write something down or tweet about it or text a friend. As I told someone recently, “she prays like I do, just far more beautifully.”
- I received both Nish Weiseth’s Speak and Matthew Paul Turner’s Our Great Big American God in the mail this month and am so excited to read them!!
- Evangelicalism and the Wilderness and Where I’ve Been, by Ben Moberg. “The wilderness looks different for all of us evangelical expats.”
- A Black Mama’s Dream, by Osheta Moore. “I worry that the stereotype is preferred over the authenticity of my vulnerability. I worry that this fear of being the “angry black woman” muzzles my mighty roar and my fierce femininity.”
- even though it should have been in last month’s post, I can’t miss Recovery Room: First Communion, by Seth Haines: “In that moment, something literal happened to the metaphor. The bread and wine came alive, and I remembered Jesus’ promise, savored it, let it linger.”
- We are Not Alone, by Rev. Jes Kast-Keat. Ok, a sermon not a blogpost but it’s ONLINE ok? and thank goodness because this was what I needed to hear on a cloudy afternoon driving to Nashville.
- I LOVED the flash-blog on #faithfeminisms (“a collection of voices reflecting on faith and feminism”) that popped up one week in July. I have it saved so I can work my way through all the posts, but the following two stuck out–
- Loving Eve and Ham, by Austin Channing. “My feminism began the moment I learned the Bible was not shaming me. If the Divine was not ashamed of me, I need not be shamed either [...] My feminism will always live at the intersection of race.”
- Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be “Allies”, by Abi Bechtel. “Sometimes the best way a privileged person can act in solidarity with oppressed people is to have the hard conversations with fellow privileged people so that the oppressed people don’t always have to do it. [...but also] share the mic.” I also loved her 30-second blurb about body image and feminism and faith.
- I really hope you can open this because this video of piglets actually makes me cry every time.
- We are the 15 percent: a crowd-sourced collection of portraits of American interracial families and marriages. As the child of an interracial marriage, I am grateful that this exists with such variety, toppling expectations.
- basically everything The Militant Baker does lately. She writes on radical body acceptance and it.is.doing.good.things. check her out.
- re: Worship. a great resource for worship-planning.
- What I Instagrammed vs. What Was Really Happening, Or My Entire Life is a Lie, by Olivia Muenter. Hilariously self-deprecating. “I eat healthy food and surround myself with flowers, because my life is centered around positive, beautiful things that are filled with light. I like to describe myself as a hybrid of Olivia Palmero and Oprah. I only eat on plates that match the week’s bouquet.” This post inspired this set of pictures I posted on the web:
- Project Bendypants: Practicing Yoga While Fat, by Tiffany Kell. Tiffany shares her troubled relationship with yoga, much of which I can relate to, though I think I have had far more good teachers than not. “But you know what? If we only go where we’re welcome, we’ll leave a lot of doors closed.”
- In that same train of thought, I discovered the Curvy Yoga site this July. I especially love the page of free videos re: pose modifications. game. changer.
- So, when my family was in town, we stumbled into a Torrid (my first time to be there in a while). A few hours and a number of coupons later, we walked back out with some clothes for the upcoming school year (for which I am very grateful—my goal is to wear Real Clothes (ie Not Leggings) more days than not this semester.) I am also grateful for the body-positive atmosphere created by the manager and other ladies working there (of all shapes, sizes, and styles). Often stores that cater to ‘plus’ sizes are the least affirming, but Torrid’s motto #wearwhatyoulove pushes against that, and I think it’s powerful. I also recommend their instagram account. Aside from the few links I’ve just shared, here are a few of my favorite pieces. (THESE PANTS ARE MAGIC)
- My friend Pilar (aka PALAR. check her out– she’s “on the internet.”) gifted me a few NYX Butter lipsticks and I am obsessed. My favorite shades are Hunk and Mary Janes (both brighter than the swatches show.) I could go for days about these–they’re soft, don’t dry out, and are packed with pigment. Also–they’re on the cheap.
- ok now time for a notsocheap lip option. Leigh Kramer passed on her sample of Cynthia Rowley’s lip stain in ‘Valentine” and I am obsessed and I just lost the little thing so now I probably will buy it for real. Again, points for great color, soft, non-drying and long lasting. I think it is worth the splurge.
- A July 4th evening with a fire and real talk and sparklers and s’mores and chicken and corn and watermelon and fireworks that made all the cows really, really upset.
- Alia and Brandon looped down to Durham on their own 4th of July trip out east. I got to introduce them to a few favorite places around town, and I am honored to say I will be Alia’s maid of honor next year. I love hearing about their dreams for the wedding (and just life in general. these two are amazing) and keep cracking up at the fact that in the 10+ years we have been friends, Alia and I never talked wedding details together. This will be a beautiful adventure, I’m sure.
- July’s biggest task at the church I am working with this summer was Vacation Bible School. Amidst my own personal flashbacks, I taught the lessons for the youth each night. We read stories about Jesus’s dealings with “all the wrong people,” breaking boundaries, bringing in the outsider, reaching into brokenness and shame. (with the stories of the hemorrhaging woman, the centurion’s daughter, the Samaritan woman at the well, and Zacchaeus, they didn’t give me a lot of choice! haha.) I had a sweet group of kids from 6th-12th grade, and even though story time was CERTAINLY IMPERFECT (OMG I cringe at certain things I said), it was an overall good experience.
- I took a whirlwind trip to Nashville one weekend on a semi-whim and got to see some favorite people who I just happen to know from Twitter. Which may never stop being a totally weird and totally wonderful thing to say. Ben, Hannah, Stephen, Emily Joy, Keegan, and of course the amazing Leigh, I am lucky to know you.
- My grandmother, my mom and my sister made their way to Asheville to visit me for the week! Living across the country, it seems like I’m in a season where I only see my family twice a year, so I was so very grateful to be able to spend a lot of good time with them, which involved buying books and shoes and eating AMAZING food — that’s just how we roll. I come from a tribe of powerful, funny, smart, kind, generous women and I’m just happy I’m invited to the party. I know I’m ‘grown,’ but saying goodbye is still hard each time.
- The latter half of this month prompted some exploring which prompted pictures, because I have realized how much I am going to miss living in this part of the state when I move back for school next week.
What I wish I was into:
- getting ready for school to start. lalallalala denial.
- taking the leap with a dramatic hairstyle change. I have been talking about this for about a year now.
Ok, your turn. No, really. What has been going on with you this month? What have you been reading/wearing/doing/whatever?