September has been such a full month, but a good one. We were away two weekends, organised two big Serve the City events, and with everything starting back again after the summer, my weeks have been packed with meetings and catch ups. Not that I’m complaining. I’ve found myself in such a good place with my work life this September and so the busy is a feeling of productivity and purpose that I am happy to have accompany me.
And yes, the cold and rain is threatening but we’ve also had so many gorgeous crisp sunny days, that I was happy to welcome the autumn equinox last weekend. I’m ready for Autumn and all it’s promises…
This month I’ve been mostly…
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green – this was our September book club read and I really loved it. It’s about two teenagers who have cancer, so it’s not exactly light reading, but I found it an incredibly insightful and moving account of two people trying to figure out who they are independent of their cancer diagnosis. I highlighted about half of the book, and when I finished the last page I texted my friend Anneke saying “JUST ALL THE EMOTIONS. TOO MANY THOUGHTS.” Which about sums it up.
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion – our October book club read (I finished early this time) and I think I loved this even more. It’s the story of a middle aged genetic’s professor’s search for a wife. Only he has Asperger Syndrome and so his approach to that search is slightly different than that of many people. It’s giggle-out-loud funny in many places (just ask Rasmus) but really draws you in until in the final chapters I could not put it down for caring so so much what happened to the cast of characters.
The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard – I’m doing some reading for a workshop on spiritual disciplines I’m giving at the end of November. This one so far is a little dry but quite a lot of useful comments. I’ve already read Celebration of Discipline and the life-changing (for me) An Altar in the World, but if you have other books/articles/sermons on spiritual practices and disciplines, I’d love your recommendations.
Thanks to my friend Rosie for introducing me to Savannah Moon. Her melodies are dreamy and her lyrics are powerful.
We’ve sworn off bread and pasta as an attempt to re-balance our diet again after a less than healthy summer. Our best approach so far is to advance-plan lunches: we bulk cook lots of roast vegetables (butternut, sweet potato, aubergine, courgette, turnip…) grilled chicken, and pearl barley or millet at the beginning of the week. Then every day it’s easy to create a delicious warm lunch in no time and the temptation to grab a brie baguette is minimised.
I also made this Buttermilk Cake with locally picked blackberries rather than raspberries (delicious).
Kelley shared her amazing plum crisp recipe with me, with a crumble made from brown sugar and polenta that was demolished by our book club.
When friends came round we made pork tenderloin stuffed with pear, hazelnuts and blue cheese (just. wow) and followed it up with my mum’s legendary stick toffee pudding (it is impossible for this dessert not to instantly enter your top ten).
And it’s autumn, so we made pumpkin soup of course.
Our tomato plants all turned bright red this month and to date I’ve harvested about 6 kilos. From our 8 square metre urban balcony. I am just the teensiest bit proud!
So two Saturdays this month were spent roasting and canning big batches of tomato sauce which I’m expecting will see us through the season (after we give away a few in return for a big bag of plums, and to our garden-babysitter). My recipe was not much more than 1) roast quartered tomatoes and a few red onions, 2) blitz them together with a dash of balsamic vinegar, a spoonful of sugar, garlic and s&p.
Family weddings. My cousin Win married the lovely Katherine at the beginning of the month, so we flew back to England to join in the celebrations. My family on my mum’s side are all close so it was fantastic to see everyone again and spend the day catching up (some spreading over into breakfast the next morning). Even my Grandpa had made the long trip down from Scotland to be there, and his grin as we took photos of him with nearly all of his grandchildren was priceless.
Old friends. We drove across to Bonn to see my uni friend Hannah and her family (including newest arrival baby Miriam). A weekend of apple picking, play equipment building and tea drinking with someone who’s known me so well for ten years? Love.
Apple Picking. It was my first time and I’m a little in love. I’m not the biggest apple-eater (I’ll take a banana or a pear any day) but this was a bio farm and the applies tasted ah.maz.ing. We bought about nine kilos and they’re stored in our cellar now so we have delicious apples to eat for the next couple of months.
The moms and tots bible study I lead started back last week and it makes me happy (I’m neither a mom or a tot but they let me in anyway). We’re studying the gospel of John and we’re all pretty excited to just focus on JESUS for a whole term.
Volunteering. Serve the City spent a week redecorating the entrance and hallways of a local children’s home and I got to join in three days. And then we organised a volunteer social last week and the enthusiasm of our volunteers about blew us all away. I love getting to be a part of this.
on the blog.
Summer over, I managed to keep up with some semi-regular posting around here. I joined in with She Loves’ synchroblog on “I am from”, bringing back happy memories of Uganda. My most-read post was Stretching into Myself.
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I’m linking up with the lovely Leigh again this month. It’s always the best source of recommendations and ideas each month to read through some of the other links and find out what everyone’s up to. Jump over there to join in…