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April 6, 2014

What I’m Into (March 2014 Edition)

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So, I’m back on the What I’m Into bandwagon again, given the recent resurgence in my life of things like energy and space for creativity. If you’re not a personal directee of mine, haven’t taken one of my eCourses, don’t know me in real life, follow me in Instagram or on Facebook (in which case, Hello! Nice to meet you!), you’ll be surprised to know that I’ve been hibernating away the first three months of 2014 because I’m expecting our first child, due to release in September 2014, slightly before my first book baby releases in December of this year.

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To all pregnant women who have told me that they were “tired” and I nodded sympathetically, I officially apologize. Y’all, pregnancy tired is nothing. at. all. like normal tired. If you’d like to experience the bumping-into-walls-exhausted feeling I’ve enjoyed these past few months, I recommend catching the flu, not sleeping for five days and then going on an all-night bender that leaves you massively hung over (although I don’t actually recommend any of those things.) If you add that all up, you have a general approximation of what the past 14+ weeks have felt like to me, especially during the midday hours. Bring it on, second trimester energy!

All of that said, we’re thrilled, excited, freaked out and completely trusting in the One who is knitting this holy little life together in my womb as I write this. And we covet your prayers, as always.

So, with that, here’s what I was into in March (when I wasn’t zoned out on the couch):

Read & Reading:

As you might imagine, books were slow going this month, but I did make it through I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai, a fascinating read that I listened to on Audible. To me, this is one of those books better heard, because you get to hear the author’s voice in the foreword, and a native Pakastani voice reading the text, which made it come more vividly alive to me. Such an education on this history of that region and the plight of young girls under the Taliban regime.

I also finished The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman for my book club. I really wanted to love it, as several of my book club members do, but I just didn’t “bond with it” as a dear friend of mine says. I loved The Dovekeepers, but one of the narrators of this book just fell flat for me, and despite the vivid depiction of events in and around New York in 1911, I wasn’t emotionally drawn in. I wonder if it’s just a book that doesn’t fit my life stage at the moment.

Now that my pregnancy is more public, I can tell you I’m reading two lovely books that I’m finding very helpful in navigating this new path before me, one recommended in a magazine I love, Brain, Child, and another given to me by my dear friend Laura Brown (whose book, Everything That Makes You Mom is pretty much the PERFECT Mother’s Day gift, especially for the mom who seems to have everything or wants nothing. You fill out the book yourself with memories of your mother and it becomes this deeply personal, lovely keepsake. Seriously, go buy it for your mom now.)

The latter is Creating with God: The Holy Confusing Blessedness of Pregnancy by Sarah Jobe and it’s making me laugh and cry and pray and nod my head, often all at the same time. The former is A Good Birth: Finding the Positive and Profound in Your Childbirth Experience by Anne Lyerly, a secular book with a terrible subtitle that I’m nonetheless loving so much that I checked out a copy from the library so that my husband can read along with me. This one is helping me stay sane amidst the emotionally fraught waters of pregnancy, birthing and motherhood, each of which has had a sea of ink spilled on how to do “right” and “well”, which, in my experience, tends towards a kind of secular legalism and behavioral policing in which nobody really feels good about their choices. This book is the opposite of that, and makes me feel human and empowered.

I’m also working through God For Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Lent and Easter for my Lenten devotional, and I’ve got a number of great books on my nightstand that I’m starting to journey through, like Micah Boyett’s luminous Found: A Story of Questions, Grace & Everyday Prayer, which I can already recommend to you, and Notes from A Blue Bike: Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World by Tsh Oxenreider.

Last month, I asked friends on Facebook for good fantasy fiction reads, because I love a good story, and I’m currently working through Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay. It hasn’t hooked me deeply yet, but I’m only a hundred or so pages in, so I’m giving it a chance.

TV:

Mostly, I’m reading these days, both as a discipline and as a desire, but there are still a few shows that we record (mostly on the Food Network) to watch when there’s time. Shows like Beat Bobby Flay (which is new, and I’m not in love with), Worst Cooks In America (whose finale we’ll be watching with a dear friend tonight), Cutthroat Kitchen and Southern At Heart (which I’m liking more and more). We’re also still into Castle, and my husband is watching The Walking Dead (which I just can’t do). I’m about to start up the next season of Call the Midwife, which is suddenly more relevant to my life. For whatever reason, we’ve just lost interest in the other dramas that we’ve been into, and haven’t watched a single episode of either Downton Abbey or Parenthood during their recent runs. I suspect I’ll catch up at some point, but we just haven’t felt drawn in that direction. Instead, I’m catching up on back episodes of Dr. Who that I never saw (I started watching somewhere halfway through season 3) in anticipation of having to deal with a new Doctor when the show starts airing again. After a rocky start, we are really enjoying MARVEL’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which has been doing some very interesting movie/television crossover stuff with the MARVEL universe characters across the board.

Movies:

Because of the aforementioned Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (whose title is very annoying to type out), we’ve been watching some of the MARVEL movies once more, including Thor, Iron Man 2, Avengers and Thor: The Dark World. I’m not embarrassed to say I’m a super-hero geek, and I’m excited for the upcoming Avengers 2 movie, as well as the next X-Men movie (so sad that the world can’t intersect). This weekend we saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier in theaters (only the second thing I’ve seen in theaters since the Dr. Who 50th Anniversary Special), which was a lot more interesting and complex than I thought it would be. We also caught up on Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which I didn’t adore, but liked, and Frozen, which was a great new Disney movie with an empowering plot line and a way too catchy theme song. (We also loved The LEGO Movie, which is nuanced, engaging and a brilliant story for both kids and adults.)

Music:

Things have been quiet in my house and head recently, as I’ve preferred silence (and sleep) when I can find it, but I’ve been using Spotify a lot more and have been enjoying All Sons & Daughter, The Brilliance and Noah Gundersen‘s music quite a bit. I’m also super excited that the new self-titled worship album by my friends Tim & Laurie Thornton, will be out on Palm Sunday, and I got a bit of a sneak peek of it. They have a free instrumental version here, but I’ll tell you the whole album 100% worth picking up. My favorite worship song this month is Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) by Hillsong United.

Things I Love:

  • The annual Retreat in Daily Life was this month, and there’s nothing I love more than watching God meet people so deeply and intimately in their everyday lives. It’s such a privilege to shepherd this retreat, and this year was no exception.
  • My dear friend and mentor, Sandy Broadus, launched the Emmaus Center this month in Canada, and I couldn’t be more proud.
  • Voxing with my almost 2-year-old niece, Violet, makes my day. Nothing melts me more than when she says “Hi, T!” or “Love you.”
  • We published the next issue of Conversations Journal this month on Wisdom & Aging, and I got to interview Eugene Peterson for it. What a humbling and holy experience.
  • Studying Scripture in rabbinic style with a group of holy wanderers. The way God meets us in the text, through each other, and in study has been truly transformative and full of grace. I couldn’t ask for more, and yet God meets me every time I do.
  • Wunderlist. Pregnancy brain is a THING, and I wouldn’t be able to keep track of my life these days without this multi-platform GTD tool.

On The Blog:

Things have obviously been a little quiet around here, due to some aforementioned hibernation. But I got to announce the title and release date of Embracing the Body: Finding God in Our Flesh & Bone (well, that was in February, but who’s counting) and I’m going to be sharing the cover very soon.

In the next week or so, I’m also going to be launching a series on the Enneagram and Prayer, inspired by Leigh Kramer’s series on the Enneagram and Blogging. I’m super excited about this, as I find the Enneagram a really helpful tool in spiritual growth and use it in spiritual direction, and I’m also happy to be getting back on the horse in terms of blogging and creating here in this space.

So that’s it. That’s my March. What about you? What were you into? What did you discover this month?

  • http://www.leighkramer.com/ Leigh Kramer

    Tara, I was so happy to see your pregnancy announcement the other week! Congratulations. I hope the all-consuming tiredness abates for you soon. Alice Hoffman is hit or miss for me so I haven’t read either of the books you’ve mentioned, though I think I’ll read The Dovekeepers eventually. I love that you watch so many Food Network shows. Have you ever seen Heartland Table? It’s one of my favorites and the second season just started the other week. Looking forward to your Enneagram and Prayer series!

    • http://www.anamcara.com/ Tara M. Owens

      Thanks, Leigh! We’re pretty excited (and freaked out and saying “Weird!” a lot.)

      Alice Hoffman has been hit-and-miss recently for me, too. I do recommend The Dovekeepers to you, though. I always find her beginnings hard to wade through, and that one isn’t much different, but I really liked it in the end.

      I haven’t heard of Heartland Table. What’s it about? I also “watch” The Kitchen, if you can call fast forwarding through the whole thing until I see something vaguely interesting as “watching.”

      And *I* am looking forward to meeting you in person at the Festival of Faith & Writing! Selfies to abound!

  • JEFF EMHOFF

    Tara, I am grateful to you for pointing me to Conversations. I can’t remember how it came about, but it did, and I rec’d the latest edition late last week. I loved reading your interview with Peterson. I have read a lot of his work, and have followed you now for some time…and to see both in print in such a good discussion was enjoyable. I am 65 now, and this issue of Conversations is really relevant. I enjoyed Trevor Hudson immensely. God’s best to you and Bryan as you navigate your pregnancy and await the birth of your child.

  • http://www.tanyamarlow.com/ Tanya Marlow

    enneagram and prayer. That is gonna be GOOD.