What I’m into (December 2015 edition).

As always, linking up with my friend Leigh Kramer to share what I’m into.

This was a strange December. I was sick most of the month, and felt half-present for most of the Christmas season. I finally surrendered and dragged myself to the doctor the Saturday before Christmas, got some antibiotics, and enjoyed the final days before Christmas significantly more than the rest of the month.

(Related: this fall I finally read Parker Palmer’s Let Your Life Speak, in which he says something like “it’s the things we have no control over that have the opportunity to really do something with us.” I found that profoundly convicting, during my month of feeling extremely loopy and more irritable than usual.)

The weeks before Christmas might be a blur, but we’ve had a lovely week after Christmas. We’ve spent the week hanging out building lego sets, watching football, drinking tea, and reading books.

About those books: Will and I gave our daughter a personal library kit for Christmas, and she and her sister promptly created their own library in the closet under the stairs. This inspired our youngest (age 5) to empty out his bookshelf and create his own library (although his less sophisticated check-out system runs on post-it notes). There are books everywhere (more than usual, even!) but it’s lots of fun.

What I’m reading

A month ago I complained about being in a reading slump: I was abandoning books left and right. This month I feel like I’m on a hot streak. Some recent favorites:

• I’m loving Deborah Crombie’s Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James British mystery series. I just started book 5.
• I finally read Nadia Bolz-Weber’s recent release Accidental Saints. This turned out to be a surprisingly good Christmastime read.
• Also finally: Sara Miles’s Take This Bread.
• Fluffy and kind of fun: Life and Other Near-Death Experiences.
• A little dense, but interesting, and the right book at the right time: Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined.
• Listening to: Angela’s Ashes. (This happens to be in today’s kindle deals, but alas, not for the audiobook.)
• Abandoned: The Book of Strange New Things.

What I’m watching

This is a longer list than usual, thanks to Christmas break.

Will and I are still cruising through Friday Night Lights; we’re approaching the end of season three (for the second time). We’re also impatiently waiting for The Blacklist to resume on January 7.

We loved the movie Chef on Netflix, about a professional chef who quits his fancy kitchen and opens a food truck with his best friend and 10-year-old kid.

We added White Christmas into our family Christmas movie rotation this year, which was a nice addition to our much-watched usual favorites.

coloring book

What I’m making

More decisions about the kitchen remodel, which is turning into “the six week project that will NEVER end.” We started in early August, y’all, it won’t be done anytime soon. We’re currently eyeing soft grey paint samples and halfheartedly looking for bar stools. (I hate these decisions!)

More book page wreaths, because after moving to our new-to-us place 18 months ago the remaining blank walls in our house are suddenly driving me crazy!

Will gave me this coloring book for Christmas, along with some nice colored pencils, and I’ve been filling it in during the college bowl games. I thought I didn’t want one of these (who has the time?) but it’s been surprisingly fun.

I hope you had a lovely December. What have YOU been into lately? 

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Leave A Comment
  1. Heather says:

    I’m SO glad you are starting to feel better!
    For what it’s worth, we have had two sets of bar stools from Frontgate over the years (needed different heights) and they have held up beautifully even with daily use by our son. Anyway, Happy 2016, my dear!

  2. Jeanne says:

    We moved into a new house (mostly still building site actually) on the 3rd of December and I can relate to “missing” Christmas. Getting into a better rhythm now! Book of Strange New Things was almost abandoned by me too, but in the end I persevered. Still unsure of what to make of it…

  3. Janet Miles says:

    Glad you are feeling better! Some friends and I saw White Christmas as a stage play a few years ago and it has been one of my holiday favorites since then. I used to play Library as a child and did not have such a sophisticated set, I just stuck a piece of paper in the front and used my fist as a pretend stamp (I am old – LOL). My first job was working in a library as a page, putting the books away. Good luck with the remodel!

  4. Jaime says:

    For the past few years I have hit a reading slump around the holidays. I’ve abandoned books I ‘ve went back to really enjoy. (The Thirteenth Tale and The Likeness were last year’s casualities that I ended up loving.) just something about that time of year for me. Also was wondering if you have any good political fiction books to recommend. I’m in a political mood, but ready to tune the real deal out for a bit.

  5. Jocelyn says:

    Work was hectic .. and exhausting. I have been eating so much sugar which makes me tired and irritable. My friend and I have resolved to get back into our road race and trail running schedule (she trains, I just turn up on the day and hope I don’t die). I started getting interested in colouring books but the one I bought isn’t really great for someone who feels absolutely drained of all creativity. I have bought some more but they will not arrive till next year ^_~ I am re-reading real books (so comforting) and haven’t looked at my tablet for 2 months. I also listen to the same audio books over and over (so comforting!). I discovered bullet journalling (looks do-able). Glad you are feeling better – you obviously need to rest and build up your immune system. I recommend tea and books ^_^

    • Anne says:

      I was having a similar conversation today about the sugar and am resolving to do better this year. Thanks for the tea and books advice: I think you’re exactly right. 🙂

  6. Dana says:

    Glad you are better. We missed a lot of Christmas as well due to my mom being hospitalized twice between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I managed to get all the shopping, wrapping and cooking done and most of our usual decorating amidst spending 9 days sitting at the hospital all day, but it was all a blur. I usually love and savor all of that but it was all more of “just get ‘er done” this year.We had a quieter Christmas than usual once she was home ( on the 22nd), but it was nice and restful which we all needed.
    I received a coloring book and a set of lovely miniature woodless colored pencils in my stocking. I am enjoying using that while watching sports, Chopped and movies. I also got the new Disney Cinderella DVD in my stocking. I have watched it twice already. Also got Shop Around the Corner which we have watched once so far and Alice In Wonderland which we haven’t viewed yet. Looking forward to all of the games on TV the next few days plus cheering on our Carolina Panthers!

    Got lots of books for Christmas. Just finished The Lake House by Kate Morton which I was immersed in. I raced through it but hated for it to end. That was the kind of book I have been searching for all fall. Ivan Doig’s final book Last Bus to Wisdom is up next, along with Big Magic.I love a new pile of books!

    • Megan says:

      My husband & I feel fortunate to have caught Shop Around the Corner on TCM this month. We hadn’t heard of it, & it was delightful (especially having just rewatched You’ve Got Mail in the fall.) I’m currently reading The Lake House & finishing up the audio of A Fatal Grace, both good & the latter great for a December read.

    • Anne says:

      I’m so glad your mom is home again. I hope the coloring, movies, and Carolina Panthers were therapeutic. I’m with you on the Kate Morton, and I hope you like Big Magic.

  7. Shauna says:

    Why did you abandon The Book of Strange New Things? It’s on my TBR list, but I value your opinion. I recently started Room by Emma Donoghue, but I don’t love it so far. I really liked Take This Bread.

    We are also shopping for bar stools right now. I’m going to order some from wayfair.com. They have a huge selection, so you’re sure to find something you like. And they have very specific search filtering options to reduce decision fatigue!

    • Anne says:

      I found The Book of Strange New Things a bit tedious, and I lacked confidence that my persistence would be rewarded. I may give it a try at a later date.

  8. Kitty Balay says:

    I do a lot of reading for work and don’t have as much time as I’d like for pleasure reading. I’ve been savoring the Inspector Gamache series –just read A Fatal Grace: the perfect holiday mystery read. I love all of those characters so much that I had to read The Cruelest month, as well. My mother has burned through the entire series. We both agree that we want to live in Three Pines. I told her I had to stop this compulsion so I could get some other things done! We had the greatest conversation about Louise Penny’s writing & characters. This morning I was able to tell her, ” Good news! Modern Mrs. Darcy recommends another mystery series!” I set her on the trail of Duncan Kinkaid and Gemma James! Happy New Year!

  9. Kate says:

    I read Take This Bread about six years ago when I had decided to go back to attending church regularly but struggling to figure out where I might fit in. Wonderful read. I also read Angry Conversations with God by Susan Isaacs about the same time and had to be careful not to read it in public because it made me laugh out loud too often 🙂

    Has your family watched Meet Me in St. Louis? It’s not strictly a holiday film, but so heartwarming. Friendly Persuasion is another favorite in that category.

    Please post soon about the book craft houses you teased recently. Hope your New Year is full of blessings!

    • Anne says:

      I got sick and never made the craft book houses, but I did pin lots of inspiration over on pinterest. Maybe next year?

      We haven’t seen Meet Me in St Louis, but you’re not the first person to suggest it so I’m hopeful it’s a good match for us. I’m not familiar with Friendly Persuasion; off to look it up. Thanks for the recommendation!

      • Kate says:

        Forgot to mention too that I just got Let Your Life Speak from the library after your post a couple weeks ago, and I and love it. I had some major career upheaval this year (welcome, but still disruptive) and am going through a lot of vocational and identity examination at the moment. The recommendation could not have come at a better time!

  10. Mindi says:

    Was so excited to discover this site! I saw it on a friend’s Facebook post. I am really looking forward to using the reading journal. I am always reading and listening to books and sometimes forget which ones I have read. I have always kept a list of books that I want to read. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Dawn says:

    I absolutely love season 3 of Friday Night Lights; almost every episode is a winner. The show is at its zenith there.

    I’ve been in a reading slump for months, and I’m ready for that to change.

  12. Anna says:

    The Duncan Kincaid/Gemma Jones mysteries look interesting. My library has digital copies, so going to give them a try. I got a similar coloring book, postcard size. I thought I would carry it to things where I want something to do, but can’t really lose myself in a book. It’s worked well so far.
    This month, I’ve been rereading some Jane Austen, and started the “Lizzy Bennet Diaries.”

  13. Glad you’re feeling better! I had to smile at the picture of your daughters and their library check-out system. I did something similar when I was little, and my brothers still laugh about it to this day. I am currently reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and will start The Happiness Project soon.

  14. Amanda says:

    I’ve been enjoying an unlikely mix of foodie memoir/cookbooks (currently reading My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl, former editor of Gourmet Magazine) and children’s classics that I somehow never read earlier (Anne of Green Gables – gasp! And currently reading Little Women.). I’ve also dusted off my five-year journal from Levenger. Wish I would be more consistent with it. Last, we adopted a new puppy on Monday (after saying goodbye to our first fur baby in mid-December, who, at 15 years old, was in bad shape), so I am REALLY into her. ❤️❤️❤️

  15. Ashley says:

    I dislike making remodel decisions too. At one point when we were deciding on a grey for our house we had six sample squares painted on the living room wall. It was amazing to see how different they all looked next to each other. In the end we painted our house a color that we didn’t even sample first. We (I) were just done trying to figure out the “perfect” grey. Thankfully we like the color. Good luck!

  16. Leigh Kramer says:

    I can’t wait to hear what you think of Take This Bread! I’m curious about why you abandoned The Book Of Strange New Things- it’s on my To Read list. So glad you enjoyed Chef and that you added White Christmas into your rotation!

    • Anne says:

      My church started a food pantry after Sara Miles came to town a few years ago which was why I wanted to read it. I found those aspects so interesting. I did think the first half was stronger than the second. I read about half of The Book of Strange New Things and was really struggling through it. I’m open to being talked into picking it up again later, but when I was reading it over Christmas vacation I just couldn’t make myself care about the characters or the writing.

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