Friday, May 30, 2014

5 Favorites: Books I Read in May + great online finds this week

before the book list, here's a a favorite image from our week

My daughter Natalie took and edited this photo of my husband and me for a school project.  Sweet.

5 Favorites: my 2014 reading list

-- 1 --

16  Selected Stories by G.K. Chesterton, edited by Kingsley Amis(Faber & Faber, 1972. 284 pages which include 13 short stories) 

Oh, Father Brown -- you unassuming and wise detective-priest.  

Best book blurb ever:
"Mr. Amis has chosen well...The result is an attractive, entertaining, and instructive book, packed with little reminders of what a poet Chesterton could be so long as he stuck to prose...And what a pioneering Goon...And above all what a devoted, witty and skillful expositor of reason, reason as a religious principle, reason as a power that will go down to the roots of the world." -- Robert Nye in the Guardian

-- 2 --

17  An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor: (A Tom Doherty Associates Book, New York, 2004. 351 pages including a glossary of Ulster dialect and recipes from the Irish cook Mrs. Kincaid) 

I've been a bit Anglophile in my reading lately.  (also television watching!)  I found this series through the delightful monthly book lists at Cake, Tea and Dreams.   The book jacket says this tale of a young new doctor learning from the wisened country practitioner Fingal O'Reilly in the backwards Ballybucklebo:  "a warm and enchanting novel in the tradition of James Herriot and Jan Karon".  

-- 3 --

18  Hello Goodbye Hello: A Circle of 101 Remarkable Meetings by Craig Brown(Simon & Schuster, 2012. 332 pages)

I often tell people that I prefer to get my news after enough time has gone by for a balanced, researched perspective published in a variety of sources.  This might just beat all -- celebrity gossip that is in some cases over 100 years old.  And I found this concept a highly entertaining read.   The author gives us the (highly-researched) scoop on 101 celebrity meetings in the fashion of six degrees of separation so Truman Capote meets Peggy Lee, Peggy Lee meets President Richard M. Nixon, President Richard M. Nixon meets Elvis Presley and so on.  Perhaps most telling of the author's wink-and-a-nod approach to celebrity-ism, the book starts and ends with none other than Adolph Hitler.  

Just a fun concept and a guilty-pleasure sort of read.

-- 4 --

19  Henrietta's War: News from the Homefront 199-1942 by Joyce Dennys(Bloomsbury Group. 1985. 158 pages)

Just plain fun reading!

From Publishers Weekly:
Small wonder that the weekly installments of these endearing letters purportedly written to a friend at the front were eagerly awaited by the British during World War II. For the vignettes of "coping" in Devon are often so hilarious that you are surprised to find yourself wiping away a tear. Henrietta is an engaging character, with a son and a daughter in the services and a doctor husband who gives lectures about the digestive system and snores through air-raid alerts. There's also rotund, indomitable Lady B, ready to plunge into the ocean in pursuit of what looks like a mine; siren-like Faith, growing masses of geraniums to pat on her cheeks in the wartime absence of rouge; Mrs. Savernack, fainting dead away in a first-aid course and nearly killed in the crush of students avid to practice on her.

-- 5 --

20  Booked: literature in the soul of me by Karen Swallow Prior (T.S. Poetry Press, New York, 2012. 199 pages + discussion guide)

I really, really enjoyed this book.  My sister received it for Christmas from her in-laws and recommended it to me.  For one thing I love reading books that are about books.  For another, it's a memoir woven within the framework of a book about books.  My favorite sort of thing.  And Karen Swallow Prior did not disappoint.  There was nothing soporific or too matchy-matchy about the way she wove together her story of growing up formed by good parents, good community, good church and, yes, good books.  

A tiny excerpt:
"I know that spiritual formation is of God, but I also know -- mainly because I learned it from books -- that there are other kinds of formation, too, everyday gifts, and that God uses the things of this earth to teach us and shape us, and to help us find truth."

*Go to my Book Pile page to see my reading lists from previous years.*


Other good words online this week

          • Lowland Hum: A Tiny Desk Concert at NPR: Another great beauty-break at work.  If all singer/songwriters would take note and provide lyric books like this lovely, earnest couple I'd be one happy concert fan.  Also, listen to the song Lowland Hum wrote for their commission on the theme of poverty from the creative curator Spark & Echo Arts.


          A book and music-filled weekend for us all, dear ones.

          For more Five Favorites, visit Moxie Wife!

          Thursday, May 29, 2014

          Celebrating Ascension Day (again) with Tintoretto, Austin's Blue Lapis Light and a Shaker hymn

          Sharing again a post from last year's Ascension Day.  I find such hope in this celebration.  See two other years:  and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father (2012) & making space to wait (2011)

          Meditating this week on the beautiful feet of our risen, ascended, reigning Christ.
          The Christ who sits at the right hand of the Father, 
          the whole earth a footstool for his (resurrected) human feet.

          The Ascensiondetail
          Tintoretto, 1579-81

          Read:  Acts 1:1-11  

          The Promise of the Holy Spirit

          Dance: Austin's Blue Lapis Light, Heaven ~ Earth ~ One , Septembe 2012 at the Long Center.  (This video shows rehearsal, go here to see video of the actual performance.)

          Sing a hymnLord of the Dance written by English songwriter Sydney Carter , to the Shaker tune "Simple Gifts" (listen to the Choristers of Wells Cathedral Choir)

          I danced in the morning when the world was begun,
          And I danced in the moon and the stars and the sun,
          And I came down from heaven and I danced on the earth;
          At Bethlehem I had my birth.

          Dance then wherever you may be;
          I am the Lord of the dance, said he,
          And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be,
          And I'll lead you all in the dance, said he.

          I danced for the scribe and the pharisee,
          But they wouldn't dance, and they wouldn't follow me;
          I danced for the fishermen, for James and John;
          They came with me and the dance went on.


          I danced on the Sabbath and I cured the lame;
          The holy people said it was a shame.
          they whipped and they stripped and they hung me high,
          And left me there on a cross to die.


          I danced on a Friday when the sky turned black;
          It's hard to dance with the devil on your back.
          They buried my body and they thought I'd gone;
          But I am the dance and I still go on.


          They cut me down and I leap up high;
          I am the life that'll never, never die;
          I'll live in you if you'll live in me:
          I am the Lord of the Dance, said he.

          Dance, then wherever you may be;
          I am the Lord of the dance, said he,
          And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be,
          And I'll lead you all in the dance, said he.

          (found via The Rising: Living the Mysteries of Lent, Easter, and Pentecost by Wendy M. Wright)

          Saturday, May 24, 2014

          5 favorites: surprise discoveries in 2014 + good words online this week


          Paleo diet

          Believe it or not, eating from a Paleo menu has been a game-changer for us.  My daughter Kendra led the way and, thanks to the beautiful inspiration from Rachel Brown, we've been discovering a way of eating that fits our need for health and simplicity.

          I should add that we are quite gentle with ourselves in this pursuit.  I'm not interested in legalism when it comes to food, and thankfully, none of us have the sort of illness that requires strict food observance.  The truth is, though, that my body feels best when I limit grains, dairy, sugar and processed foods from my daily meals.

          Emeals Paleo menu plan

          I am not a confident cook.  Not only that, it's not really a priority for me to master cooking, baking or food preparation.  Still, I value healthy food and dinner together.  When we were exploring Paleo, I had one deal-breaker for our family.  I needed it to be OK for us to use emeals to plan our shopping and cooking.  I've loved emeals for a long time -- thanks to my sister, Kaley.  

          Emeals benefits anyone who wants an organized, simple, cost-effective tool for planning meals, grocery shopping and cooking.  It's just an added bonus that one of their 14 meal plans is for Paleo families like ours.

          Do me a favor?  If you decide to sign up for emeals use my sister's referral link?  It helps me show her how much I love her!

          Lucy Wainwright Roche

          We saw Lucy Wainwright Roche open for Over the Rhine a few years back in New York and loved her.  Then somehow, just forgot to follow her after that.  A fun surprise then to discover she was opening for Over the Rhine again as they visited Austin a few weeks back. 

          Here's the thing:  you listen to her music and enjoy her voice and her sweet, intelligent lyrics a lot.  But if you can ever see her live, it's the way she tells stories and connects with the room that is downright charming.  Or should I say -- down-Wright-- charming.  (Also if the name Wainwright sounds familiar, you'd be correct.  She's related.)

          Enjoy this cover of Robyn's hit "Call Your Girlfriend".  See what I mean about Lucy??

          Chiropractic Massage

          Someday I'm pretty sure I'll look back at this season of me trying to re-find my true physical self and I'll say it wasn't the exercise or the food I ate (or didn't eat) that made the difference.  It was the chiropractor and massage therapist that were the catalyst. 

          I'm not intelligent enough -- nor do I have the time to tell you statistics or medical proofs.  I just know it's working for me.  And, if you live in Austin you couldn't find a friendlier place than the hospitality Dr. Michelle and her staff offer at Rosewood Chiropractic and Massage Therapy.  (p.s., if you visit them, tell 'em I sent you!)


          Lately I can't get enough of British drama.  Also, this is David Tennant and Olivia Colman.  I watched this mini-series on Amazon Prime, but I'm guessing you can find it other places too, because the show just won a BAFTA.


          Other good words online this week

              • An Anglican Pastor's Grief by David Roseberry at  Anglican Pastor: "I need to find a time when I can stop speaking my words and instead, experience and pray at a personal level. I find that I need to wait for God to speak His healing Word to me. Enough of my words, Lord. Speak Your Word to me. Only say Your Word…and it is I who shall be healed…” as the Centurion might have asked."


              A good-find week for us all, dear ones.

              For more Five Favorites, visit Moxie Wife!!

              Tuesday, May 20, 2014

              A Chronology of Paying Attention (18): winning the Brian Murphy lottery

              In this chronological remembrance, we're in the newlywed years.  Lord, have mercy (and thankfully He did!)  Today I'm re-sharing a poem I wrote for my husband's 43rd birthday last year. ...............................

              43 years

              A poem* for my husband on his birthday

              Ninety-two, ninety-three, I most remember   
              As the winter a blizzard shut us in and we are   
              Broke from a hard two years as newly wed  
              Where the meager provision of being   
              Student, employee, father for our first born
              Son and now another one on the way, we've
              Neither a degree nor cash. Dreams die in   
              Fatigue and bank accounts give way as you and your    
              Muscle and sweat and hope fall in to make   
              A loss. We lived in two bedrooms down the   
              Hallway from kind friends in their nice  
              Neighborhood. Or that has all really   
              Happened and we go to Johnson City where,   
              Thanks to Rick Jindra and Steve Conroy,   
              You get a job cleaning cars at Dependable   
              Auto Sales. It’s all a backwards dream, a slog
              To get a life and home before the next
              Arrival of another son, your dogged days 
              Of honor. A church acquaintance  
              Has encouraged us that giving when we   
              Don't think we have anything to give keeps the   
              Scarcity of our mindset overwhelmed by
              The bounty. I love the mentors, at least I   
              Think I do, in their wisdom, their attempt   
              To find ways for us to find a living from the WIC   
              Office. Otherwise the early years seem   
              Like a country music ballad. A stunned   
              Twenty-something man runs from school to work   
              And home up three floors of the apartment house on Frederick Street,
              Chasing a toddler with the second-born in hot
              Pursuit where otherwise you sat up late writing  
              Required lines, planning for your next degree  
              And child, a daughter. We were waiting to get our   
              First salary and listening to the Yankees win the pennant
              On the radio. You worked, you dreamed, you wrote the   
              Fifty-two pages of your thesis, the new baby  
              Arriving near the end. I slept on the couch and  
              healed and nursed and cried while you stayed up
              Thirty-six hours straight, determined. Then that   
              Summer there is the day of the great Teaching Job   
              Offer, we move to Conklin -- Richard T. Stank
              Middle School, beloved George Schuster  
              Down the hall. You read “Goodnight   
              Moon” to your children and Teddy Roosevelt
              To your students, and Rick Patino for the team.   
              Then it’s winter again. My water breaks   
              And we head back to Lourde's Hospital   
              And we welcome another daughter, and   
              Sometime just about then you must have almost   
              Seen yourself as others see or saw you,   
              people like Dr. Jagger and Scott Gravelding, but could not quite   
              Accept either their affirmation
              Or their equally anointed naming. Uncertain,   
              Afraid, you kept at it. A few years later
              Crisis and pain and forgiveness fall in to make   
              A calling. You lived into yourself, a man named.   
              You are still the father, student, teacher, much the same,
              but now also mentor, pastor, friend.
              Now you are happier, I think, and older.
              Those of us lucky enough to know you say
              That we have won the Brian Murphy lottery.

              *ADAPTED FROM "YESTERDAYS", 

              In this season that I do not have time to write, this is the idea God gave me:  For me to ponder and notice again the words I've already written once, to keep praying the beads of memory to discover this sacramental life.

              Won't you join me?  
              I'd welcome your company along the way.

              Saturday, May 17, 2014

              5 favorites: surprise discoveries in May


              stitch fix
              Stitch Fix

              When my Mom visited in April she mentioned I might like this personal shopping service.  I signed up then and there, have already received my first shipment and can hardly wait for the second.  I did not take the time to take pretty pictures of the shipment or the pretty clothes inside.  For other bloggers' great photos click here, here or here.

              I told my kind-but-quizzical husband "It's like Netflix for clothes!"  Well, it is.  Sort of.  

              And while I'm a bargain basement shopper (read: "Good Will") for most of my clothes I like the idea of supplementing my wardrobe a piece or two at a time with quality, curated items.  

              [While I don't receive any compensation for this blog review the post does include a referral link that gives me credit if you sign up and schedule your own style fix!]

              body pump

              Add this to the long list of things about my life that surprise me.  I'm not only taking a group exercise class (yay for the YMCA!) but it involves lifting stuff, a lot of times in a row.  

              And I love it.  I'm trying to go twice a week on my lunch break from work.  It's a long lunch break and I hope my employers will continue to be gracious.

              Read what my friend (and inspiration) Katie had to say about her own surprise relationship with Body Pump.


              I'm participating in group exercise.
              With the word "holy" in the title of the class.
              On a yoga mat.  
              In Austin, Texas.

              Wonders never cease.

              And I'm so grateful for the generous hospitality our instructor Sara provides.  I am a total beginner and haven't stretched this much since high school cheerleading days.  I never realized how good it would feel to incorporate breathing and balance with strength.  My body is soaking it up after too many years of neglect.  

              I also underestimated the power of physical movement to provide physical rest and quiet.  The final moments of each class are reserved for us to do nothing but lay still, breathe, pray, rest.  Healthy for mind, body and soul.

              A couple of months ago I joined 21st century and purchased an iPhone.  Around the same time I stumbled on this photo app and wish I'd had a smart phone and GrooveBook app for the 22 1/2 years I've been a parent.  

              In short:  you can download the app for free and then get your phone photos made into a photo album each month for $2.99. (That includes shipping!) Really, it's that easy.  

              If you're interested in trying it out, feel free to use my coupon code to get your first GrooveBook free: MURPHY1287

              The photos are not the best quality I've ever printed (the photo paper is a bit thin) but what with the price, the simplicity of uploading from my phone it's a worthy trade off for me. Did I mention the photos are perforated so you can take it out of the booklet and use however you'd like?  Also, you can choose to have the book sent to someone else or order more copies (at the same price) for friends and family.

              Really, it's a no brainer.

              West Austin Studio Tour
              I've never been able to attend one of the annual East Austin Studio Tours and barely noticed that the part of Austin west of I-35 had their own event (this is the 3rd year) UNTIL, well it's a kind of long story. But it involves a power outage in my neighborhood last Friday night in which everyone stood around in the street outside my neighbor's house, sharing beers and gossip.  And that's where I met Scotty Stevenson whose backyard meets our backyard at a chain link fence.  And that's when I found out Scotty is an artist and that he was #39 on the West Austin Studio tour.  When I walked over Sunday afternoon I found 2 other locations in the tour on my very same street:  Chris Chappell and Yost Custom Wood.

              Y'all.  This is one talented city block.  

              You live in Austin?  There's still time to check out what artists in your neighborhood are hosting open houses during the West Austin Studio Tour.


              A good find week for us all, dear ones.

              For more Five Favorites, visit Moxie Wife!!

              Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...