Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Spring Top 5

It's spring. Sure, it's 37 degrees and there may or may not be snow in the forecast, but I promise--according to the calendar anyway, it IS spring.

SO, here's what is happening in my SPRING world right now.

1) Books
I'm still plugging away at my long list of books. Here are some of my faves. :)

Scot McKnight's A Fellowship of Differents was recommended by a couple of friends and it did not disappoint. He writes about church and community and what those things have become and what they're supposed to look like, based on the apostle Paul's teaching.

I don't remember where I recently heard about Richard Rohr's Falling Upward, but something I read had referenced or recommended it, so I requested it from the library. I haven't read anything of his before, but I loved it! From the book jacket: " Rohr offers a new paradigm for understanding one of the most profound of life's mysteries: how our failings can be the foundation for our ongoing spiritual growth....We grow spiritually more by doing it wrong than my doing it right."

A couple weeks ago I got on the library waiting list for Anne Lamott's new book, Hallelujah Anyway. But in the process, I stumbled upon Small Victories which I had somehow totally missed. I've read all of Lamott's nonfiction (and a few of her novels), so I was excited to have a "new" one. :) But I was a little nervous for two reasons. One, I did not love Lamott's two books before this one--Help Thanks Wow and Stitches. They were okay, but they felt a little forced and they were both super short. Second, it's "advertised" as "new and selected pieces." (I feared that this would be like reading Glennon Doyle Melton's Carry On, Warrior, which was literally almost ALL previous blog posts that I'd already read). Anyway, Small Victories is a wonderful collection of essays, most of which were new to me (and the couple of stories that were familiar were fun to read again). I adore Lamott's writing and it's been a while since I read anything by her, so this was a fun few days of hearing her voice again. :)

2) Call the Midwife
I've been reading more than crocheting lately, and therefore watching less TV. But over the last few weeks, I did manage to catch up on season 5 of Call the Midwife on Netflix and have also caught up on the season that's currently airing on PBS on Sunday nights. I started watching this show when it started in 2012 and it's still one of my favorites. It makes me want to live in London in the 1950s and 60s. :)

3) Goodie Girl Mint Slims
Jack and I were SUPER excited to find a gluten-free version of thin mint girl scout cookies! They weren't cheap (a little better deal online if you ordered a case of 6 boxes--which we did and have been slowly rationing). ;) Locally, they're available at HyVee and--rumor has it--Walmart. (The brand has other types of cookies as well). :)

4) Beauty and the Beast
I took Jack and Leah to see this the weekend it came out last month and we ALL loved it. (And I'm tempted to see it again while it's still in theaters!) Seriously, it's so lovely and well done. A beautiful nod to the animated original. The music is sublime. And such a fantastic cast (including all of the voices of the household objects!)

5) Cold remedies
Okay, this is pathetic, but I'm two weeks into a ridiculous head cold/cough and this stuff is quite literally saving my life. Or at least my sanity.

So it started as what I thought was seasonal allergies (and I still think that was at least part of what was going on). So I dutifully alternated Benadryl at night and Claritin in the morning. And it worked until I got the worst sore throat of recent memory. So I added ibuprofen to the mix and took a trip to the Minute Clinic to rule out strep. Then I woke up the next day to find that this head congestion/whatever had set up camp in my lungs. 

This meant that I was coughing up a storm, day and night. Luckily I had some Robitussin with Codeine left from a few months ago, so I added that to the nightly routine. Unfortunately, it didn't do much. So I started researching "dry cough remedies" online and tried lots of fun things like dark chocolate, almonds, tea, gargling, and steam. Nothing helped.

Then a very wise FB friend said "Albuterol?" and I thought, "Why not?!" We have a nebulizer for Will, and Leah was recently prescribed albuterol for a lingering cough, so I knew I had some and decided to give it a try. And lo and behold, it actually helped a little bit. I'm still coughing and congested, but this darling seal does at least bring some relief before bed so I don't curse my lungs as soon as I'm horizontal.

So, happy spring! May your skies be sunny, your windows open, and your seasonal allergies short-lived. :)

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Steven Curtis Chapman | 2013-2016

It's our final day of Steven Curtis Chapman music, and quite possibly my favorite. :)

As I mentioned in my original post, while Chapman's album Beauty Will Rise was very meaningful in our grief, Glorious Unfolding was extremely helpful in our healing. I should really just say go here and listen to the entire album, because every song is incredible. But I did manage to pick out my absolute favorites. ;)

Glorious Unfolding was released on September 30, 2013. I know I haven't shared the actual date on any other release, but I had to this time--it's the day our sweet Will was born! How fortuitous for that new chapter of our lives and our grief journey to be marked with this incredible collection of songs about God's faithfulness and the hope we have in Him.

First up from this album is the title track. I seriously can't hear this song without getting chills or crying. Or both. "God's plan from the start for this world and your heart has been to show His glory and His grace. Forever revealing the depth and the beauty of His unfailing love." So good.

Next is "Love Take Me Over."

And "Something Beautiful."
"God's gonna turn it into something different,
He's gonna turn it into something good.
He's gonna take all the broken pieces
And make something beautiful like only He could."

Next is "Only One and Only You." I can't even quite describe what this song touched in me after losing two babies without getting into another very long blog post. Maybe another day. ;)

Finally is "Together," which is one of the best songs to describe our marriage after losing Hannah and Charlie. "And if it wasn't for God's mercy and His grace, there's no way we would be standing in this place. But because He has been faithful every step along the way, Here we are together." Amen.

And of course, honorable mentions to the entire rest of the album, but especially to "Take Another Step" and "SEE You in a Little While."

Chapman's most recent album is Worship and Believe, and I'm not familiar enough with it yet to have a feel for all of the songs, but I can definitely recommend the single that's been playing on the radio! "More Than Conquerors." :)

Thanks for journeying with me this week! I had fun putting these posts together. Hopefully you were blessed or encouraged by some music along the way. :)