November begins with a public holiday here in Luxembourg, which is not a bad way to start a month! It’s definitely winter here now – we got our first snow (short lived), the winter duvet, and all the hats and scarves are back out of storage and I’m writing this with my first cough/cold of the season. Not so fun – I’m really not a winter person. But it’s been a month of good news and good friends too, so I’m grateful.
This month I’ve mostly been…
I finished up Life After Life for my book club (which I then missed from being sick – boo!). I enjoyed it, but got a bit confused each time the main character’s life began again – which events had happened in this life and which hadn’t? And the big event that the book is leading towards is not so dramatic after all. I liked her writing, the many details she included that were so clever and observant, but overall the whole book could have been tighter and more satisfying.
I read The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton (the second book of hers I have read), and really loved it. I’m a sucker for stories that focus on generations of women and the relationships between them. I love how the secret in this one slowly unfolded so that you got it gradually, not all of a sudden. And I loved the theme of escaping and imagination that ran through the pages. Beautiful writing.
Mudhouse Sabbath, by Lauren Winner, has been on my to-read list for a while. I was leading a women’s workshop on spiritual practices this past weekend so this got bumped to the top of the reading list. I was surprised how slim it was when it arrived but I really enjoyed it. Her writing is so accessible but she had me rethinking practices over and over. Definitely recommended.
I’m currently reading A Spot Of Bother by Mark Haddon, but finding it a tad depressing. I’m hoping the end will help redeem it somehow but all the characters seem to be in a hopeless mess right now…
I also have In The Sanctuary of Women on my bedside table after just too many women I love told me I had to read it. So it’s there and I’m dipping in and out and soaking in her rich, poetic words.
My friend Rosie introduced me last month to Chelsea Moon. Her album “Hymn Project Vol. 1” is a collection of beautiful remixes of some of my favourite hymns complete with fiddle and banjo. ‘Tis so Sweet’ has been a frequent choice this month. She has a new album just out that I’m eager to listen to…
I also discovered the band Kye Kye this month and I love their sound. It’s atmospheric and edgy and dreamy all at the same time.
And Sara Barreilles’ song Brave is my happy song for the month.
I’ve been not feeling well much of this month which as sucky as that was, gave me the perfect excuse to rewatch many of the TV series we own – Sherlock seasons 1 & 2 (sooooo excited for season 3 in January!), Call the Midwife, The Good Wife, Modern Family… nothing new but I was happy.
That day I just needed chocolate cake right.now. I went of course to Nigella Lawson’s incredible Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake which makes me smile just to think of it. My bible study ladies loved it too…
We cooked two roast ducks for St Martin’s Day in honour of the Danish tradition and served them up with roast Brussels Sprouts, “Hasselback” potatoes, and the most delicious cranberry apple stuffing.
And Rasmus has been experimenting with Thai and Indian curries cooked from scratch which I am not remotely unhappy about…
(I wrote about baking as my spiritual practise this month too…)
The reactions of 120 young people from across Europe and the Middle East, who during their weekend conference here spent two hours showering our city with Acts of Kindness with Serve the City – free hugs, free fruit and coffee, a “write something nice” poster project… they were so awesome.
Friends who look after me and pick up my slack when I’m not feeling well.
A church that invests in me and my ideas. I got the chance to preach again at the beginning of the month on The Question of Doubt. And on Saturday we pulled off a wonderful all day workshop for the women of our church on Spiritual Practices. What an immense gift they are to me.
Thanksgiving leftovers with good American friends, when we couldn’t make it to their actual Thanksgiving meal.
Afternoons playing with the kids of my friends here. And our weekly morning bible study when I get to snuggle babies. Seriously, how can you not be happy discussing Peppa Pig and fire engines with a two year old?
Our adventpakke arriving from my parents-in-law. Each year my MIL puts together a box for us – one small present each to open every Sunday of advent. It’s such a sweet tradition and I love that it makes them feel closer during this time of the year (we’re heading to the UK for Christmas this year).
I’m linking up with Leigh as normal for her “What I’m Into” post – her special anniversary giveaway edition! Click over there to discover so many other good recommendations.