What I’m Into – August

It has been a beautiful, heavy, horrible month and I’m ever so glad to see it go. The highlight was that my beautiful “nephew” Calvin was born. My friends are now parents, it’s crazy and so so awesome. He’s the cutest ever and I’m so glad he’s here. I love getting pictures of him and seeing just how cute he is. A week later, my beloved pup Gracie passed away. We had her for seventeen years and she was just the best. Even at the end, she was in good health until she wasn’t. I miss her so much.

And so, my month has been filled with grief, loss, pain and as much substance as I could manage (ie: not a lot). It took me a bit to get back into reading. I watched a lot of youtube videos, because that was all I could take. I’m looking forward to September with it’s newness and coming Fall. Linking up with Leigh and the other lovelies to talk about what we’re into.

What I’m Reading:
-Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mendel (5/5). SO GOOD. My favorite book this year. I love the writing style and the way she took the genre.
-Armada by Ernest Cline (3/5). I’d heard mixed reviews prior to picking this up, so I was unsure how I would feel about it. The book felt like a screenplay, to me and I finished reading feeling like I would have preferred it as a movie. As a book, it just didn’t do it for me. It was hard to visualize at times, it fell into too many tropes and it lacked the spirit I loved so much in Ready Player One.
-You’re Never Weird on the Internet by Felicia Day (4/5). My heart wasn’t in it, reading this book. It was the first book I picked up on that terrible week, when I could barely do anything. And it was perfect in the sense that Felicia’s writing style is light and humorous. I liked reading the background of her story and hearing about all the hard work she put into The Guild.
-Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple (4/5). I loved the style of this book, I enjoyed reading through this story.
-Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (4/5). I am Jean Louise, that’s what I came away from this book feeling. I loved this story for what it was, the first drafts of what became To Kill a Mockingbird. I loved the characterizations of Jean Louise, Atticus, Henry and Alexandria. I loved the flashbacks, callbacks and stories. Take into account that this is very much a first draft. It still needs editing in places and I think without that connection to TKAM, it doesn’t stand up as well. But it’s a good little story and a great study.

I’ve read 12 books in August, bringing my total for the year to 88 books. For more books I didn’t mention, check out my goodreads account.

What I’m Listening to:
-Noah Gunderson’s new album is amazing. Halo and Jealous Love are on repeat.
-The playlist of the month is “Gusty Skies” is filled with all kinds of music. Some of my favorites are Make You Better by The Decemberists, Vie En Rose by Pomplamoose and Halo by Noah Gunderson.
-I picked up The Civil Wars “Live with Eddie’s Attic” after years of not listening. Oh boy, so good. The Civil Wars are their prime, when they were just starting.

I’ve got Gungor and Jon Foreman’s latest in my queue, along with Nichole Nordeman’s new ep.

What I’m Watching:
I did not watch a lot this month. Except for Super Mario Wii Let’s Plays. And Taylor Swift’s new video repeatedly.

In my queue: Doctor Who series 8. Mixed feelings about this one. Girl Meets World season 1. I’m excited about this show. I caught episode 1 when the series premiered and liked it. I’m anxious to see what the show grows into.

What Else I’m Into:
-Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. I think I found a new fall drink.
-Oiselle has some of the cutest women’s workout apparel I’ve seen. I have a few of their pieces and just love the colors and fits. This new tank just released. Purple and birds, it’s too much to resist. (No, they didn’t pay me to say this. I just really like their clothing. But if they want to pay me…)
-The end of August is when I start to get achy for Fall. Give me all the pumpkin coffees, candles and recipes. Also the cooler breezes. (To all of you with nice northern summers, I’m sorry.)
-I reached a big personal accomplishment in August and though it’s been hard to celebrate, I’m still glad for it.

I have two favorite photos of the month.

I got up early and was rewarded with a spectacular sunrise. I plan on reuploading this to show the full picture, thanks instagram upgrade!

Up at the crack of dawn has some advantages. #nofilter

A post shared by Megan (@girlwithasong) on

And here is the last photo I took with my pup. I wanted to have a last photo of our memories. I’m so glad I do. She was the best.

Here’s to a beautiful month of September. There’s a lot for me to look forward to and I’m grateful. I hope this month finds you filled with beautiful moments and favorite activities.

An Ode to The Civil Wars

Today The Civil Wars officially called it quits, ending a two year hiatus and putting a period on a beautiful career as a duo. This is a very sad day for the fans who fell in love with their music. Not to mention the duo themselves. It was a quite a ride.

I remember when I first fell in love with the duo and their music. I was following Joy’s now dufunct blog. She had been teasing a new project she was working on with someone. Then in February 2009 she uploaded a blurry youtube video of her coveringĀ Dance Me to the End of Love with a Johnny Depp look-a-like playing guitar and matching her harmonies. I must have listened to that cover hundreds of times after it was released. There was something magical about the way their voices matched together. It was just their voices and the guitar, but that was enough. I was hooked.

The next month, they released another video. This time, it was of an original song they had written called Falling. This duo was something very special. Even with a low quality video, their passion showed through and their voices shined. Those two beginning videos are still some of my favorites. And I actually prefer those versions of the two songs over the recorded ones. I suppose that’s because that is when I first fell in love with them. They gained traction over time, preforming their first concert at Eddie’s Attic in Atlanta, GA. From that first concert came a live album, which recently released on vinyl. For a long time, it was available for download on noisetrade, even after their large success.

They released a small EP called Poison and Wine. I thinkĀ Poison and Wine is one of the most powerful songs I’ve ever heard, the deepest kind of love. It was that song and the accompanying video that connected with so many. “I don’t love you, but I always will.” I connected with the their words, with the feelings embedded in that story. It was my favorite song, on repeat for two years. The music video is still one of the most beautiful I’ve seen.

They released their first album Barton Hallow in 2010. It was acclaimed by so many and propelled them forward, as they hit morning news shows, late night and everywhere in between. It made its way onto best-of lists for the year and was nominated for many awards. It was crazy to see these two, whose video I had fallen for, now becoming a nation wide, then world wide hit. But that is a testament to the kind of music they had. It connected with audiences, by word of mouth of friends.

They continued to get bigger and bigger, touring it seemed non-stop. They were in the middle of a European tour when they suddenly decided to cancel and take time off for their remaining tour dates. Sadly, a date I was going to was on the chopping block as well. I never got to see them perform live, which is so very sad. I’ve heard from others that they had an amazing energy in concert, that they brought out the best in one another.

For as long as the band existed, there were always jokes that with a name like The Civil Wars, things were destined for failure. And if that didn’t turn out to be true. But that is the nature of life itself. The unexpected happens. And sometimes, it cannot be mended completely. No matter how much time and work, it doesn’t work the way we want.

In the midst of my own crazy two years, I waited with bated breath, hoping this amazing duo could work things out. That their beautiful music could continue. It wasn’t meant to be. It doesn’t mean that nothing can ever be mended, no matter how hard we work. But some things, some things need to be separated to heal.

Their final album showed the pain that they were in, in lyrics, in studio videos, in voices. But it still contained the beauty, the passion that made the band. I listened to it on preview, the week before it dropped. I hoped and prayed that this would not be the end for the band, with each song that poured through my speakers. Dust to Dust reminded me so much of Poison and Wine, that same longing, that same love.

I can’t tell you how grateful I am to Joy and to John Paul for the music they made together. This world is better because of their music. I wish them nothing but happiness in this next stage of their lives and careers. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for this music. For the gift of loving it for the past five years. For the joy that it was brought me. It was not wasted. It means so much.