I feel like it’s been October for months. Maybe because we fit a lot in – a trip to London, a big Serve the City event, a theatre trip, an international rugby game, my first time on the radio (airs in November!), our fourth wedding anniversary…
The autumn is always so busy. September kicks everything off after the summer and suddenly we’re in top gear, fitting everything in and feeling guilty for the things that didn’t fit in all the madness. This autumn it is hitting me that maybe this is the wrong season for that frenzy of activity. Maybe the autumn is meant to be about a winding down, a collecting and preparing, a dropping of all those leaves that we no longer need, the beginning of a season of rest as it gets colder and darker. It’s hard to give up the long to do lists of course but I’m trying to listen to my body a bit more and let it rest these days.
This month I’ve mostly been…
I had a little more time to read this month, or maybe it was just that my “work” (preparing a sermon and a women’s seminar for church) required reading research, which is always a nice excuse…
When We Were On Fire, by Addie Zierman. I bought it the first day it was available (after having been a little green at all my friends with advance copies) and read it through in three days. Despite having grown up in UK evangelical youth culture rather than US like Addie, there was so much I could identify with. It brought back a lot of memories (some good and some bad) and an awareness and gratitude for the way my faith journey has evolved and grown and changed as I have. (You can read my contribution to her synchroblog here).
Just a few weeks earlier I read The Unlikely Disciple, by Kevin Roose, after a friend passed it on to me. This is the story of a secular Brown student’s year undercover at Liberty, one of the most conservative evangelical universities in the US. It was another fascinating look at the “culture” that builds up around this part of the American church, and the way it impacts people on the inside. Roose was always honest but was generous and fair with his observations and stories. An interesting read, especially right before reading Addie’s book.
O Me of Little Faith, by Jason Boyett. I’m preaching a sermon on the topic of doubt in two weeks time, so some of my reading has been inspired by that. This is a good book on the subject, light and conversational in tone but dealing with some interesting thoughts and aspects of how we consider and deal with doubt and faith. I took pages of notes which shows how useful I found it.
I started reading Brother Lawrence’s The Practise of the Presence of God. This is one for reading slowly (I’m doing that more these days) so I just dip in and out. But I like it. It’s a beautiful picture of faith in every moment.
I’m about 3/4 through reading our next bookclub novel, Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. I like it a lot so far. It’s an original premise and although her writing style is quite gentle, I’m definitely drawn in to the character’s story. I’m curious to see where she’ll take it (no spoilers please!).
On Monday night I went to see The Butler at the cinema. It was the first time I’d been to the cinema on my own in ages and I quite enjoyed it. I got ben and jerries maple pecan ice cream and really loved the film. It highlights a part of American history that I only know vaguely (we didn’t do much American history at school so most of my knowledge is informed by Forrest Gump). It was heartbreaking to watch and realise again just how hate-filled we humans have the capacity to be. But also how much power there is in love. (I did keep thinking “when did he marry Oprah?” though…)
Rasmus also bought me Despicable Me earlier in the month and I laughed so hard. What a funny film! I love how clever “kids” films are now, that adults can enjoy they almost as much (maybe more?!).
We also started watching Modern Family to round out our lazy-evening options of The Office and Big Bang Theory. It’s pretty funny! Rasmus is also watching Breaking Bad (which I mistakenly called Baking Bread one day – that one sounds so much more interesting to me) and confirmed it is not my kind of program. So we stick to the light hearted comedies together 🙂
This was the month Rasmus made me pulled pork from the Cooks Illustrated (where else?) and I happily ate it five days in a row (there was a lot).
We also had Butternut Squash & Bean Chilli which was delicious.
I made leek and potato soup for these cold days.
And canned the last of the balcony tomatoes as roasted tomato sauce (we’ll be good for six months at least!).
We cooked spaghetti squash and ate it one day with Chicken Marsala and another day in an omelette.
And last weekend I baked Rasmus’ fruit bread, the one he won my heart with (ask me that story one day…).
Skype calls with new friends and the She Loves editors. So many of my friends live far too far away but what a blessing it is to make connections across the miles, to be able to keep up and share life together through the funny world of technology.
My slippers. I have pretty bad blood circulation so from September until March my feet and hands are nearly permanently cold. The big fluffy slippers got pulled out of storage this month and I’m so happy for them.
Long weekends away with my man. To enjoy each other without distractions and do what we love best: walking and exploring and eating our way through new-to-us areas. London was good to us this month.
Sunny autumn days. There have been a fair amount of grey and dreary days too, but on those days when the sun comes out and the trees just glow? I love it.
Elderflower cordial. I bought a bottle from a local Luxembourgish producer earlier this month and it’s delicious. Mixing this with sparkling water is my favourite drink at the moment.
Easy-hospitality. We love love love hosting people but I’m not so much the napkin-ring-aperitifs-mutliple-cutlery kind of woman. Instead, if you get invited over, prepare to be given a chopping board and a knife and told to get stuck in. We chose an open-plan flat (not so common here) precisely with this kind of hospitality in mind – the easy, cook-and-chat, do-it-together way.
That’s about it? I’m linking up with the lovely Leigh Kramer as usual for her What I’m Into posts. I get so many new book, film and music recommendations from this link up each month. It’s well worth clicking over there and getting some for yourself!