A great reminder and tough challenge from Alan Jacobs:

We’re off to Texas next week and I’m so happy I’ve discovered the “stories” feature of WordPress so I can quickly share snippets of our travels via my mobile, then get back into real life!

Happy weekend everyone!

Jen

Five Books for Your Summer

Happy to share with you all my summer reading list! Whether you like to read poolside, inside in the air conditioning, on a park bench, or at the beach, these five books will get you through the “Dog Days” of summer, and beyond.

A couple of these books I’ve read recently, some a few summers back, another I read as a child and recently reread. There’s a variety of books; some more serious, others hilarious. Any books you buy with my Bookshop.org URLs gets me a 10% commission.

Without further ado, my 2022 summer reading suggestions!

1. We are Never Meeting in Real Life | Sam Irby

I discovered Sam Irby on a whim while browsing Solid State Books in DC back in 2017. The cat on the cover was enough for me. Inside I was delighted to find the most clever, hilarious, and heart-warming (also vulgar) essays ever. Since that day I’ve read many of her books, support her substack, and have written about Sam on Mockingbird’s Blog. The essays are short and so funny you’ll pee your pants from laughing, or do you also suffer from incontinence like Sam and I? Great lighthearted summer material.

2. The Five Wounds | Kirstin Valdez Quade

I read The Five Wounds earlier this year as part of Overdrive’s Together We Read bookclub. It was wonderful! I didn’t know when I started it that it would be such a great pregnancy book, or how much it would be a reminder of grace in everyday life. My friend Cj Green wrote up an amazing review of Quade’s book here | ‘THE FIVE WOUNDS’ BY KIRSTIN VALDEZ QUADE: NO SUCH THING AS SACRED PERFORMANCE

3. Sarah, Plain and Tall | Patricia MacLachlan

This one is a bit odd, but stick with me! I read through the entire Little House series during the early days of Quarantine (also highly recommend those). After finishing those up I wanted something similar, something familiar. Enter, Sarah, Plain, and Tall. I had read this book in 4th or 5th grade and really loved it. It still holds up today! I think it’s a great summer read because it’s so short. A novella really! Pick it up and read it in a single afternoon while drinking lemonade and laying in the grass!

4. One Summer, America 1927 | Bill Bryson

Until a few months back I had never heard of Bill Bryson, now I have read almost his entire body of work. It feels like my pregnancy was helped along in some strange way by Bryson. I devoured many of his books, and I am still working my way through a couple of his amazing titles.

For those who haven’t had a chance to discover Bill Bryson, this is the one I would recommend most for summer reading, for obvious reasons! This book kindled in me a deep(er?) love for baseball and made me curious about many other events in American history. It was just pure joy to read!

Honorable Bryson mention: A Walk in the Woods; Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

5. Cherry | Nico Walker

Once again the cover art is what drew me to this book, purchased back in 2019 at The Wild Detectives in Dallas, Texas. This autofictional novel from Nico Walker was an absolute page turner. Part true crime, part romance, fully engaging in it’s narrative, Walker takes the reader on an unforgettable journey of despair and a life broken apart by trauma. It’s a heavy read for sure, but I enjoyed reading it poolside in Palm Springs, thus making it a summer book in my mind. ps. Before you ask, I haven’t seen the movie version!


What are yall reading this summer? Please send me your recommendations!

Happy reading!

love,

Jen


I compiled this list while listening to this playlist; really takes me back to high school and the days of listening to my Paste Magazine CDs over and over and over again! | Twee on Spotify

Breakfast is better (after having a baby)

I promise I haven’t forgotten the book list I promised a couple posts back, things have just been busy around these parts!

We’ve switched to cloth diapers, adding to the already large laundry queue. Plus I’ve been happily spending lots of my free time during naps in the kitchen. I’ve also taken a couple naps myself.

This article came across my lap yesterday and I can say I agree with about 99% of it!

Showers, And Other Things That Actually Get Better After Having a Baby

“Cooking” is among the first items listed as feeling gloriously better after having a baby, and it’s true!

Small tasks, such as making a loaf of my favorite bread, or making pesto in a food processor feel like gold metal achieving events!

And, it’s not because bread or pesto are difficult, or even because I’m feeling overwhelmed, but cooked anyways. I think these accomplishments feel extra special because the prevailing message from other people (families, bloggers, media, etc) is that life, and the things that brought you joy, are left for dead when you become a parent. Proving them wrong adds the sugar on top of any accomplishment.

Today I had the grand feeling of fulfillment making an exceptionally basic breakfast: soft scrambled eggs with fried toast, topped with cracked pep and flaky salt.


What else has been going on in my life?

I’ve been listening to Suzanne Vega a lot (bandwagon fans of Kate Bush check her out!)

Watching Keep Sweet (Netflix)— omg I love a true crime religious cult story.

I heard it’s a trend on Tik Tok to try out hot rollers and so I bought some to try on my hair

Really looking forward to our trip to Texas in a couple weeks. We’re planning to do some renovation to the guest house there and I’ve been going crazy saving ideas to this Pinterest Board.

Knitting this Anker Summer Shirt.

Last thing, I discovered Charlottesville has a collegiate baseball team, the Tom Sox and I’m now obsessed. We’re going to the game tonight and I can’t wait!

Alright, time to feed my baby and then get outside!

Jen

Fleeting Veggies {Wallpaper download}

Yesterday when I picked up our weekly Bellair Farm CSA veggies we received a couple fun and unique specimen: fennel bulbs and some garlic scrapes. Fennel I’m quite familiar with, but I wasn’t sure what to do with the fronds. I know they’re edible, but I had a better idea! After lobbing the fronds off the bulbs I decided to make use of their fun frilliness and make a simple bouquet, very inspired by Alison Roman’s bouquet(s) of dill!

Next fun item: Garlic scrapes! I haven’t done anything with them yet, but I plan to make garlic scrape pesto. I think they’re just so lovely and fun with their twisty wildness!!

The fleeting nature of garlic scrapes reminds me of ramp season, another allium, or cousin of garlic. Fleeting time has been on my mind for a couple days; ever since Robbie had to go and point out that E (see new photos!) will never be as small as she is this very day – cue the tears!!


Inspired by thoughts of fleeting veggie season and fleeting time I made another iPhone wallpaper – this time veg themed! I chose this verse from Isaiah

The grass withers, the flower fades,

    but the word of our God will stand forever.

Isaiah 40:8

Here you go –

And here’s what it looks like on my phone

Happy Thursday!

xo

Jen

Bookish: My Theological Journey

A couple days ago Robbie and I had a discussion about our theological journeys through the years. I asked him what book defined his first few years of being interested in God, personal faith, theology, etc. and what book or author would define him now.

Interestingly (or maybe not?) we both said Blue Like Jazz was our “starter” book. I’ll let him tell you his current book, if he wants, but for me I couldn’t think of a single book or author.

For me, my “faith journey” has actually become less about books and learning about God and more about experiencing God. And not in big ways, rather in small everyday ways.

When I think back on my “early years” (2009-2015ish) as a Christian they’re defined by big feelings, deep thoughts, and a depth of exploration.

If I’m being honest, the books I read when I was starting to become more interested in ministry and vocation, as well as theology and faith, were more about arming myself with knowledge, which isn’t inherently a poor pursuit. I was excited about my faith, and many of the books I read helped encourage that excitement! But, they were also a great way to show off to other christians!

In 2015 I was introduced to Henri Nouwen’s book In the Name of Jesus (the namesake of our daughter!!), this book helped me pivot from ostentatious reading to reading as soul care.

It was really when I met Robbie, also in 2015, and I was introduced to Mockingbird Ministries that I began to care less about books, but also feel more cared for.

I hope I don’t have to say this, but God doesn’t care about your books or your theological journey. He cares about you.

These days you’ll find me reading the occasional book about faith, but mostly I read my Bible in short increments daily-ish and I read Paul Walker’s Almost Daily Devotional every morning.

I’ll listen to the odd podcast about theology, and I’ll do a little reading if I know it’ll help me leading Bible studies. On the whole though, I find that I’ve much come to prefer relational and devotional small groups vs Bible Studies.

As Henri Nouwen writes in In the Name of Jesus

“The Question is not how many people take you seriously? How much are you going to accomplish?… But: Are you in love with Jesus?… In our world of loneliness and despair, there is an enormous need for men and women who know the heart of God, a heart that forgives, cares, reaches out, and wants to heal.

Knowing God’s heart means consistently, radically, and very concretely to announce and reveal that God is love and only love, and that every fear, isolation, or despair begins to invade the human soul, this is not something that comes from God… Very few people know that they are loved without any conditions or limits.

In the Name of Jesus, Henri Nouwen, Chapter I

Let me again say concretely, God loves you, completely. Christ was crucified for you; through His sacrifice we have been justified.

Now get out there read* whatever you want!

XOXO

Jen

*ps. Look for my summer reading list very soon 🙂

Mommy Blogger

Two weeks ago yesterday we welcomed our daughter Etta into the world! Born May 12th, 2022!

After many highs and lows we’ve settled into a happy rhythm.

Going to church for the first time!

I’ve filled most of my free time washing bottles, reading yet another Bill Bryson book (A Sunburnt Country), watching Raising Hope (perfect postpartum viewing!), and trying to keep up on laundry. Having family around has been so helpful. And having friends come around has been such a treat.

Out to a brewery with out newborn!

We’re so thankful for how easy she’s been, and for our hospital experience! Breastfeeding was the only hoop we really struggled with and we’ve happily moved to “team formula” and it’s made us all pleased as punch.

Currently…..

Listening to: Harry’s House

Viewing: World of Stonehenge

More to come!

xo

Jen