I keep meaning to do a weekly Bits’n'Blogs post, and never getting round to it. And then I saw that the wonderful Leigh Kramer does a monthly ‘what I’m into’ post, and I thought that was a fab idea! So I’m linking up with her, and do take a while to look round her blog- she’s one of the nicest people in the blogosphere.
Best of the blogs:
- It’s gonna be a bit of an Addie fest cos that girl is on fire at the moment. Addie Zierman wrote this month mainly about cynicism and recovering from it. Her story of slowly moving away from cynicism is fab: Making your faith your own. Lots of people read her excellent Open letter to the church: how to love the cynics, but this follow-up was even better: The church and the cynics. She just writes my heart.
- Brandee Shafer – The instrument- her #concretewords short story about her flute was haunting, in the very best way. I’ve treasured it up.
- Cat Caird – Glory of God – glory is about weakness, not strength. YES!
- Sarah Markley for A deeper church – Doubting God is good. Such a helpful reflection for those battling with doubt.
- Sarah Bessey – in which I bless the merciful. Loved this prayer for the wounded healers.
- Tamara Hill-Murphy was a new blog I discovered this month, via Micha Boyett. Her Lent series is a beautiful set of meditations; I have been soaking in them.
- If God is good and powerful, why is there suffering? – Dave Bish answers this classic question as it should be answered: tired and simple and beautifully-broken.
- Finding God in a little white pill – Amanda @ Life Edited – a must-read, gripping piece about depression and Christianity.
On men, women and sex
- Two important and incredibly moving posts about the effect of past sexual abuse on marriage – and how Christians need to be careful to bear these stories in mind when talking about sex and purity. Elora Nicole: when there’s always another story and Mary De Muth for A Deeper Story: The sexy wife I can’t be. These both stopped me in my tracks – must-read.
- When we need women behind the pulpits - Preston Yancey. I cheered all the way through it. And this, too – when purity culture hurts men, too.
- Creating space – Ed Cyzewski. I read this a while ago, and all this month this little gem of an e-book has stayed with me. It is very short and can be read in one sitting. It’s a great motivation to be unapologetically creative. If you’re feeling guilty for wanting to make time to write or paint or play music or bake, this is the thing to read.
- Hailstones and halibut bones – I received this as a gift (thank you, Mark!). It’s a fun introduction to poetry for children, looking at colours. Or a fun introduction to colours, using poetry, (depending on which way you look at it.)
- 1000 gifts – Ann Voskamp. I know, I know – everyone who’s anyone has already read this book, so I’m so very late. It’s a remarkable piece of work – so beautifully written, it’s delicious. Her challenge to overcome the weariness of suffering by identifying concrete things to thank God for sounds like it could be twee or reductionist, but the way she writes about suffering is just brilliant. She gets it. So I will listen to her challenge. Still working through how much of the book I fully agree with, but this is an astounding book, both in terms of writing and the theology, and you should really get it. (If you haven’t already – it seems like most people have!)
- Amber Haines – My Love Songs. It was Valentine’s Day this month, and it made me think of an incredible work that I often go back to, when I need beautiful words to feed my soul and hopeful theology to lift my spirit. Amber Haines’ Love Songs are a series of short blog posts that read something between poetry and prose, and tell of her love story (with Seth Haines). Her writing is not just ‘blogging-good’ but ‘literature-good’. It’s up there with my favourite writers of all time – Silvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, WB Yeats – she has a magical way with words. And her story is the best kind: real about the mess and full of redemption. Just – read them. Treat yourself.
- Alia Joy – roses and thorns together in this love story: In which I love you
- Alice Buckley – With Dave. (10 years). (I had myself a little happy weep reading this love story).
- Online course – Story 101
“Write what disturbs you – be willing to be split open.” Elora Ramirez
This month I attended my first writing conference! Okay, so it was from my bed and via a video-linky-uppy-thingy (that is the official technical term), but it was still amazing. Elora Ramirez and Preston Yancey teamed up to host Story 101, an afternoon of writing inspiration. Look out for their future courses – I found it to be really inspirational (and surprisingly emotional!)
- They recommended this article – Posthumous from the New Yorker – to write as though you were writing posthumously. SO helpful.
- From two to one – Results of the Blogger Personality Survey - may be of interest to anyone who enjoyed my post for Vicky Beeching on Introverts and Twitter.
- Amber Haines – When your writing doesn’t fit. So much hesitation in my writing comes from my fears. This was a really helpful exploration of that fear of not belonging.
- Date Night – understated but hilarious. A married couple with young kids are trying to spend quality time with each other to bring back the romance and get kidnapped by the mob. It’s genuinely heartwarming and funny. a sort-of anti-romantic romantic comedy.
- Skyfall – I didn’t get to see it in the cinema, so I was super-excited to see it on DVD. It didn’t disappoint. There’s usually a bit of a dull or more-than-slightly unrealistic bit in Bond films, but this was all first class drama. (And apparently the car in it was kind of iconic, but that passed me by.) It has officially transcended the genre. Could it be the best Bond ever?
Two of my tweets got retweeted multiple times:
“Number one thing you can do for someone with M.E. = believe them. Number two = trust them to know their own illness better than you do… “Both of these are huge. Most ppl with ME are dealing with the fallout of medical abuse & poor treatment as well as a debilitating illness.”
And here’s one example of that medical abuse:
On my blog:
Anyway: Confessions of a recovering perfectionist was unexpectedly the most popular post of the month, with How I became a feminist a close second. If you’ve been enjoying the Ruth series, you may also be interested to know that my husband has summarised the four chapters of Ruth in Haiku on his blog. (You’re welcome to do the same – link up in comments in my blog or his!)
In the house:
There’s been some Les Mis floating over the baby monitor at night while the boy goes to sleep. His favourite is the opening dialogue between Javert and Valjean, and he sings certain parts with great gusto. With the monitor volume turned down to the minimum so that only the loud bits come through, it sounds a bit like this:
“Look DOWN!…Boke a window PANE!…MEANING OF VA LAW!…SLAVE of va LAW!…my name is DON VAL DON!…I’m CHAVVAIR! …my NAME..DO NOT FORGET ME! 2460- waaaaan!”
We’ve also been all about Aladdin this month. It was Pinocchio in January, and I was the blue fairy. Now I am Aladdin and the boy is Princess Jasmine. (Yes, you did read that the right way round). I have been on many magic carpet rides – we can go anywhere in the world but we always seem to end up at Torquay, to visit the penguins. The blanket also doubles as a magic lamp if you roll it up and rub it – brrrrring! You get your wish, instantly. I ask my boy what he wants from the lamp, and the answer is usually a chocolate caramel doughnut. I love this stage – to be able to keep your child happy with an invisible doughnut? It’s genius. (Just unintentionally punned – genie-us…)
Over to you:
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