July has been a glorious summer month. We’ve had wall to wall sunshine nearly the whole month for which I am so grateful. We had a visit from my parents, multiple long evenings on the terrace and discovering rivers to swim in with friends. And my spirit feels light. All that vitamin d is doing me good.
This month I’ve been mostly…
I read and LOVED The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky. I don’t read much young adult fiction but this was brutally beautiful. The characters are all broken and flawed but you find yourself desperately wanting them to be ok. It’s written with deep perception and vulnerability. (I’ve not seen the film btw)
I also (finally) read and really enjoyed Daring Greatly by the wonderful Brene Brown. I’ve watched her two Ted talks over and over, and my sister had given me this book for my birthday back in April, so it was about time I cracked it open. I’ve been underlining every other line, and reading whole paragraphs out to Rasmus (who then asks me to email them to him coz he likes them so much too). Everyone’s been reading this recently, so I’m not sure what to add, except that this is pulling together so many thoughts I’ve been having/reading over the last year on vulnerability and living with courage and wholeheartedness.
Most of the rest of my reading this month has been for the two sermons on Abraham (last Sunday and next) that I’m preaching at our church. I finally got my hands on Walter Brueggeman’s Genesis commentary and it was worth the search – his approach and comments were exactly what I needed (thanks Kelley for the recommendation!).
This has been the month of long nights spent drinking wine on the balcony. Hence, no films seen, no TV watched. It’s rather marvellous actually.
I did watch this TED talk this month by Pico Iyer. He talks about what it’s like to live in a country that’s not your own, to not even find it easy to pin down where “home” is. I found a lot of his thoughts really interesting, especially when he explored the idea that “movement is only as good as the sense of stillness that you can bring to it to put it into perspective.”
These fish tacos with avocado-mango salsa (which was a revelation! so good!).
There was this peach frozen yoghurt.
The night Rasmus cooked up a huge shoulder of pork on the BBQ there was also this white bean, pea and mint salad.
This roasted aubergine (*eggplant) and pepper dip was devoured in minutes.
And then the red wine burgers. Yum.
And the best little lemon hazelnut cookies in the world, from a Danish cookbook.
in and around Luxembourg.
We enjoyed the Nuit des Merveilles at Bettembourg Castle when my sweet blogger-friend Amanda and her husband came into town for the weekend. Lots of acrobats, tightrope walkers and some naked chefs (no it’s not just a turn of phrase, they were actually naked. it’s a long story.)
We’ve paid a number of delicious trips to Bargello’s, the newest ice cream parlour in town. But this is “l’arte del gelato fiorentino”. The pistachio is to die for, I promise you.
We took a day trip north to Maastricht in the Netherlands. It’s a fantastic city: the river, the ancient walls and churches, the great shopping – and what has been voted the world’s most beautiful bookshop, in an old church!
When my parents were visiting this past weekend we took another day trip south into France to Metz. It’s such a lovely town – the shabby grandeur of so many French towns. We wandered around the churches, found the old battlements, enjoyed the covered market, and were very relieved to find somewhere serving ice coffees when we were about to collapse of heat-exhaustion.
There was also the Blues & Jazz Festival, and the Rock am Knuedler festivals to enjoy. Luxembourg really comes alive in the summertime!
in the garden.
This month I got to eat our first radish, straight from the ground. It was a happy moment indeed! The second batch of radishes though have been decimated by caterpillars. This means war. Four caterpillars have already been dispatched over the side of the balcony…
Our tomatoes have gone CRAY-ZEE! We’re still waiting for the first green tomatoes to turn red but there are going to be dozens!
After my first sermon at our church back in February, our pastor asked me to cover two Sundays while he is on holiday. The first was last Sunday, the second is next Sunday. It’s such an honour and a joy to preach. It’s hard work pulling together all my reading and research into one twenty minute sermon that will make sense and be useful and helpful to the people listening. I know I still have a lot to learn, but goodness I love it. I feel so alive when I’m speaking.
(And in case you’re interested – and I’m a really nervous to give you this – but here is the link to the podcast of my sermon last Sunday, on Genesis 15).
things I love.
- ice coffee, with frozen coffee ice cubes (thank you pinterest).
- staying out until the last rays of light disappear from the sky.
- knowing I need to put the kettle on for cups of tea from my parents as soon as they walk in the door.
- skype calls with good friends far far away and the promise of more.
- our new bio bin. In the absence of a compost heap, we ordered a bio bin from the city council. They pick it up once a week. I feel about ten points greener already.
on the blog.
I’ve been a lazy blogger this month with all the sunshine to distract me. My most-read post was the only one I got around to writing last week: Glory Days: “This summer is full of glory moments. And there are also the moments where my chest tightens like a vice and I wonder how to feel safe again. And they come together. The glory and the pain.”
That’s about it. What have you been up to this month? I’m linking up again with Leigh’s fabulous monthly What I’m Into post. If you blog, link up there too, or let me know in the comments what you’ve been reading/watching/listening to/cooking…