What I’m Into May

The month of May just seemed to fly by. It was a month of new brave things, of big scary and of summer thunderstorms. May marked a year since I left Virginia, which was a sad anniversary. I’ve been without my beloved mountains for a year. But I had plenty of activity to distract me. I celebrated, from far away, seeing friends graduate. I sat with my dog Gracie as she recovered (more on that later in this post). And I spent time with family.

Reading:
I’m sad to say that my reading has slipped this month. *hangs head* I’ve been reading other things (like blogs and a textbook), so my pleasure reading has slipped.

-The Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher. I originally read this book when it was published back in 2009. While I did like it overall, I wasn’t expecting the memoir tone, so I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Rereading it, I loved it. It felt more applicable to the older me. I could connect with her stories and appreciate how she was communicating. I give it 4/5.

-Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. I’m about halfway through this book, which I’ve been reading all month. I wasn’t expecting it to be little mini-essays when I started and I find it is a book I need to soak up slowly. It happens (and this is why I have so many books on my to-read list on goodreads). Nonetheless, I am loving it.

I already have some really good books on my to-read stack for June (including a couple ARCs that I will be reviewing in the future!). Towards the end of June, the book I’ve been anticipating for a year is coming out, The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet.

TV:
Season finales were on point. I loved the Once Upon A Time finale (that ending!), Revenge and The Middle finale. I’ve started to watch House on netflix and I’m really enjoying it.

Music:
-Coldplay. Always and forever.
-Colony House has a new single out. It’s really catchy and I could not stop replaying.

Stuff I just can’t get enough of this month:
-I’ve been a huge fan of Annie’s words for…a long time now. This post hit me on a heart level. I love how she connects with humor and reality.
-I got a pair of Toms this month and I’m in love. If I had known I’d love these shoes so much, I would have gotten them long ago. The price had always kept me away but my goodness, they are comfy. I got my pair from Whole Foods, the design has paint splatters in the fabric and it’s so cute!  that particular pair isn’t on the website but here are two pairs I love here and here (the second is just as colorful).
-I got a tank like this and I wore it all summer long. It’s beyond comfortable and it supports one of my favorite organizations, To Write Love on Her Arms.
-Lexie wrote a post on vulnerability and I wondered how she knew so much about my life. Her words were so true and needed. I love her blog and it’s a must read.
-My favorite new series this month is The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy, a modern take on Peter Pan.
-There was a surprise Lizzie Bennet bonus video. I may have been stunned to silence when I got the twitter notification. I then proceeded to watch it and text everyone of my friends and then watch it again. Seeing Ashley on screen as Lizzie makes me so happy. I can’t get enough. I’m anxious for video two with Darcy.
-This post from Sarah about made me cry. It’s part of a series, which I haven’t finished watching but I’ll bet is incredible.
-And finally a print from the ever-creative, awesome Messy Canvas which reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, “You’re only a minor character if you choose to be.”

Instagram:

My pup had a rough month. We found a tumor and so she had surgery to have it removed. There was more than one and it’s likely cancerous. She’s a tough girl at 16 years and if she remains tumorless, she’ll likely be around til 20. But for most of this month, she was dealing with her stitches and had to wear the cone of shame. She’s resilient, now happily cone-less and back to her self.

Gracie

June is setting out to be a crazy-wild month of summer. I’m excited, nervous, anxious and ready. It’s going to be filled with adventures and memories and let’s face it, probably more anxiety than I’d prefer. But I’m ready, kind of. And I know it will be good.

Thank you, Leigh for hosting this link up. Check out her blog and her twitter, she’s quite awesome. If you’re here from the link-up, HI! Thanks for coming. If not, stop by Leigh’s site and check out the other awesome writers.

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There used to be a tree here.

blooms

On this hallowed ground, this refuge, there used to be a tree. We gathered on cool spring days, to admire her budding flowers. To find comfort when troubles were many. But the blooms made us forget our troubles, and in those moments, we remembered the good. Some days, I’d taking a flower, to go with the grace in my heart, I hoped. There used to be a tree here.

In the summer, we took refuge under her branches or climbed up into them to survey what was around us. She provided us with something we couldn’t provide for ourselves. She welcomed our laughter and held onto our sorrows. There used to be a tree here.

In the fall, we felt new again. We mourned as she began to lose her leaves fell but welcomed the time when they’d come again and bring us the blooms we loved so much. In those prior months, this place had become ours. Her open branches welcomed us to a place where tears were shed, laughter was shared and our friendships grew roots of their own. She had given us a new kind of hope and with grateful hearts, we kept coming back to her. Because now, her presence felt like home. We’d still come and lean on her back ‘til the frosty cold came.  There used to be a tree here.

In the winter, all was barren and cold. The cold kept us inside, longing for warmth and refuge. And yet we would still long to be at that place, under that tree, under her branches. For a brief moment, I would sit on her roots with a chai tea until all I could feel was bitter cold. We would pass by, on our way to somewhere else and long for the warmth of spring. We’d look to her and remember how to be resilient as she stood through the snow, through the bitter cold with bare branches.

There used to be a tree here. But they cut in down last year. We remember the blooms and the joy she gave us. And a hiding place to come together in the seasons. She brought us together. And I miss her more than words can say. There used to be a tree here.

flowers on flowers

When Nature Heals Me

I didn’t grow up in a place with seasons, not in the traditional sense. We did not have the glorious blooming and flowering of spring. The rare leaves that color themselves and fall don’t appear til January. We never have a white Christmas.

When I moved away from my home, up to the mountains, I learned just how much I needed those seasons, how much I thrive with this organic change. To look out my window and see the grandeur of tall trees and looming mountains, to walk in the midst of the color. How much the blooming of the flowers made my smile and their colour amazed me.

mountains

Though everything was not perfect then, nature changed me. It gave me an appreciation for a place I’d never lived in before. I had stayed in the mountains, but now I lived in them. Whether covered in mist or the hazy purple of the sunset, they stood out there, in my backyard. I grew to love walking, because the air was cooler. I grew to really like hiking, because again, the air was cooler, affording me less exhaustion. I saw little salamanders, hiding along the trails for the first time and feel in love with them. I could drive from the city into the nearly empty country in five to ten minutes, depending on the root. I’d never experienced this and home. City and wide open space being neighbors so effortlessly. A community who was not anxious to settle every open space around them.

It’s easy for me to get caught up in the problems that surround me. For the oft slow process of change or quick rattling to unsettle me, for a day. When I lived in the foothills of the mountains, I walked among glory and being in nature, it showed me what truly mattered. Problems are solved, change is adjusted to, things happen in time. Beauty surrounds us every day and this planet we live in is filled with glorious things. I am small but I belong in this world. We are surrounded by nature to enjoy, to delight in. To sit on a lawn and watch the colours of the sunset, a few precious moments unbothered by responsibilities. Phone only in use to capture that sunset and maybe upload it to instagram (okay, definitely upload it to instagram, let’s be real).

skyonfire

To the nature I lived in for two years, thank you. Thank you for being constant and beautiful. Thank you for your refuge. Thank you for making my spirit come alive. I miss you everyday. And I can’t wait to come back.

What I’m Into – April

Aside

What I’m Into – April

This month went by crazy fast. There were so many beautiful moments between Easter, friends birthdays, celebrating four years since I visited Chicago with friends and moments I got to spend with family. Towards the end of the month, my Grandfather ended up in the hospital multiple times working out some heart issues, so it’s been a little crazy. In between job hunting, looking into classes and integrating some needed self care into my life, I feel stretched. Since I missed the March link-up, I’m combining my March and April results.

Reading:
-Places I Never Planned by Aimee Bontreger {a beautiful collection of short stories}
-The Forgotten Rose by Alexandra Laine {a novel written by a friend from college. A great debut!}
-Water Walker ep 4 by Ted Dekker {tied up the series really well}
-The Crowd, The Critic and the Muse by Michael Gungor {a must for creatives}
-The Weeping Chamber by Sigmund Brouwer {an old favorite that still stands up. Historical fiction that’s a snapshot of Holy Week}

I’m currently reading Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton {love it so far} and rereading The Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher. You can follow my progress through my goodreads profile.

TV:
-Fringe {I binge watched while sick in March and the complete series is great. Season four was my favorite}
-How I Met Your Mother {watched the finale via skype with my own gang. Still mixed about the ending but I am in love with The Mother}
-Once Upon A Time {I can’t get into the character of Zelina. She drives me crazy every time I go to watch. But I’m loving Regina’s character development. Thank you writers. And also Hook}

Music:
-John Mark McMillan {Picked up Borderlands after his concert and have been playing that. Favorite song – Future/Past}
-Needtobreathe {Love their new album}

Webseries/Youtube Awesomeness:
-Kissing in the Rain. {A webseries about two actors who find themselves kissing in the rain for their projects. My favorite ep is adapted from Anne of Green Gables}
-Autobiography of Jane Eyre. {The series is in the last 3/4 of the book and oh my feels.}
Clash at the Catina. {If I were to dream about Star Wars, it would be exactly this. Love this from the ApprenticeA team}
Bertha’s Attic Song. {From the awesome Yulin Kuang. Bertha of Jane Eyre fame parodies “When Will My Life Begin” from Tangled. And it is just as hilarious as you’d imagine}

Must Read:
Sarah Bessey’s words on faith and nature. This theme has been in my head (and my draft box) for a while and her words resonated with me.
TWLOHA responds to a post on post secret. This is why I love this organization so much.
Addie Zierman’s piece on When Depression Comes Back.

Instagram:
April, I posted my favorite image from Spring up in Virginia. The tree in the picture was torn down sometime last summer and it makes me so sad. It was a beautiful tree with these blooms every spring. I’m sad its no longer there for future students to love.
April - Spring

March, There were so many images I loved in March but I really like this snap I got of my dog, Gracie. March - Spring

Be sure to check out Leigh’s page and browse some of the others who are linking up this month. Here’s to a better May!

Question: Do you have any ideas where to find more affordable books? I can’t always afford to pay full price and my library selection is not up to par. What do you recommend?