It’s time for the monthly round-up again. If you are into this kind of post, check out Leigh Kramer’s monthly link-up to find other bloggers’ posts or submit your own.
What I’m Reading:
My plan was to tackle some non-fiction books this month, but I ended up going in a different direction. This month turned out to be more stressful than I thought it would be, leading me to devote most of my reading time to fun, easy reads that served as a mental break from some of the stressors of real life. You can follow me on Goodreads if you want the play-by-play.
Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, Helen Fielding. The return of Bridget Jones as a 50-year-old widow with just as much personality and all the same quirks we either loved or hated about her in the first place. Basically, if you loved Bridget before, you’ll find her not much changed (in a good way). If you found her annoying, this probably isn’t the beach read for you. I read this during our weekend at the beach at Namhae and it was fluffy and charming.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? Mindy Kaling. Ok, I’m pretty sure Mindy Kaling is my spirit animal. Again, I guess it depends on whether you generally find her funny or not, but I do and I thought this book was hilarious. And I also wanted to be her best friend. I can’t wait for her second book to come out.
The Husband’s Secret, Liane Moriarty. For the most part, I really enjoyed this book. I found most of the characters to be interesting and complex and I’ve always enjoyed the types of narratives that start with different characters in different places and slowly intertwine. It was interesting and held my attention from beginning to end. And for the first time I considered the phenomenon that Easter happens IN THE FALL in Australia (and the rest of the Southern Hemisphere). Mind bomb.
Daring Greatly: How to Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, Brene Brown. I won’t say too much about this now since I am planning a blog-post review of it in the next few weeks, but I highly recommend it to everyone. It’s different than I expected it to be – for some reason I was thinking it was more creative non-fiction whereas it is true non-fiction written by a real researcher. I believe everyone struggles with shame and vulnerability and I also believe the ideas and strategies in this book about embracing vulnerability and developing shame resilience has the power to change people’s lives. You should read it and be open to finding yourself in it.
Currently reading: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (pen name for J.K. Rowling), Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, and American Gods by Neil Gaiman with an eye on Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt for the near future.
What I’m Watching:
I know I’m behind the times, but I just started watching The Good Wife and I’m totally hooked. I also spent some time this month getting all caught up on my Pretty Little Liars, which of course, has become more and more absurd and convoluted with each passing season, but which I can’t stop watching because I need to know what the heck is going on. Also those girls have great hair and I feel like I could learn a lot from them.
Jonathan and I have been watching the new season of 24 and catching up on Scandal now that Netflix just released new episodes. We also have been excited about the return of Graceland – we really enjoyed the first season and hope the second one is just as good.
I also saw Maleficent a few weeks ago and I really enjoyed it. I thought it was an interesting take on the story and Angelina Jolie was fantastic. I really, really want to see The Fault in Our Stars even though I know I will cry buckets, but unfortunately I don’t think it’s going to make it to Korea so I might have to wait awhile.
What I’m Eating:
Curry curry curry. I’ve liked curry for a long time, but I suddenly find myself wanting to eat it always. Indian curry. Japanese yellow curry. Thai green curry. I love them all. I still haven’t gathered all the necessary ingredients for completely homemade curry, but I’ve been rocking the packaged stuff I can bulk up with veggies and the restaurants in town that serve it.
I’ve also been really into this super easy, melt-in-your-mouth delicious almond sheet-cake recipe. I made it once as an experiment, then again for a baby shower, and again this weekend as Jonathan’s birthday cake. This thing is scrumptious and soooo easy. (Though I do but about half the amount of powdered sugar called for when I make the frosting and it’s still so sweet you’ll get a headache if you aren’t careful).
Oh, and I also made the discovery of this super easy and delicious way of doing pork loin! All you need is steak seasoning, balsamic vinegar and oil. Soooo delicious!
You can follow me on Pinterest if you want to see what else I’m cooking.
On the Blog:
This month has been a doozy. I started out with a post about the title of my blog, Such Small Hands. Then I had this article about sex published over at Relevant and received a ton of messages alternately praising and berating me. I wrote this response post about my experience. Jonathan and I celebrated our anniversary and I wrote a short post reflecting on that. And I wrote a post challenging myself and others to live a life of extravagant generosity.
I have some exciting upcoming writing opportunities in the pipeline as well – first of all, Brett Fish Anderson has given me the opportunity to do a series of guest posts on his site expanding on some of the thoughts in my Relevant article regarding purity culture and pre-marital/post-marital sex. I’ll be linking to those posts here as they go up over the next few weeks.
Secondly, Explore God, a website that focuses on creating thoughtful content that engages with spiritual doubts and questions, has invited me to join their team of writers. Check out their website and keep an eye out for something from me sometime in the fall.
On the Internets:
This tongue-in-cheek piece “When Suits Become a Stumbling Block” is the funniest thing I have read in a long, long time. If you grew up in the Evangelical Purity Culture like I did, this will make you laugh. Please remember that this is a SATIRE and don’t get your panties in a wad.
“Cough. Breathe. Cancer. Dance.” by Shawn Smucker at A Deeper Story. This beautiful piece about mortality and suffering and beauty hit very close to home as this month I received news from home that one of my loved ones is losing one of her loved ones.
Jamie, the Very Worst Missionary’s post “A Million Ways to Say it Wrong” about her recent trip to Thailand and the near impossibility of finding the right words to talk about things like human trafficking, prostitution, and human rights violations, but also the absolute necessity of trying.
Also, this video which just makes me all kinds of weepy.
What I’ve Been Up To:
Jonathan and I took a long weekend trip to Namhae, which is an island just off the coast of southern Korea (connected by a bridge) where we explored some terraced rice patties, lounged at the beach, and went kayaking. He wrote a blog post about it here on our Korea blog.
On June 13th we celebrated our anniversary and Jonathan surprised me with a trip to the Busan Aquarium. Fun fact about me – I am, for no discernible reason, obsessed with aquariums. Second fun fact – the lighting in the main tank of the Busan Aquarium turns out to be the prime place to take the most hideous/evil-looking pictures of all-time. I gave myself nightmares when I saw this one.
Yesterday was Jonathan’s birthday so we celebrated with cake a presents and dinner at a restaurant. It was low-key, but I think still a good way of honoring the wonderful man he is and who he is becoming. In case you didn’t know it, I really love that guy.
Other than that, we are winding down the semester at school. My students have finals this week (even though there are still 3 more weeks of classes after this) and I’m in crunch time for planning our English Festival and the two camps I’ll be working before our official vacation time. But today is July 1st which means we are 43 days from being home for vacation. I’m considering making a paper chain to count down. As we say in Korea, “Fighting!”