Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Giant List of What I'm Into: 2014

[photo credits]

Already completed the first work week of 2015. With college kids home, we feel a bit like we're still on break at our house.  Nothing like the tension between work and play to highlight one's need for disciplines, rhythms and order.  We drag around these bodies -- lighter feet some days more than others -- hoping for something we can't quite name.  We think it's within our grasp yet.  So we turn circles trying to find the tools that we help us get all that unnamed desire under glass, manageable, less painful.  I'm sure you've all figured this already, but desire comes with it's own exquisite pain.  In fact, the only benefit I can think of for the sort of tragic loss we see around us -- the disease, death, loss, grief, tragedy and crisis -- is that it helps easily name desire. Widows know they want back their spouse, orphans their parents, childless their babies, disabled their health. Those walking through the valley of the shadow know quite well how to name desire.  The rest of us buy planners that promise to help us articulate this unnamed anguish.  

And that's the gift of a new year -- the blank page waiting for fresh ink.  I, for one, am crazy about blank pages.  I hoard notebooks ready to catch words when they finally form in my mind.  And nothing helps me face the new more than a look back at the old.  Here's a sampling of the art, liturgy and relationships I experienced in 2014.  (I'm about as addicted to year-in-review lists as I am to blank pages so please do share your lists with me in the comments!)

5 of my favorite movies

For a whole bunch of reasons Brian and I watched more movies in the theater this year than we've ever done before in our lives.  I was far less discriminating in what I'd normally see for the sheer joy of getting caught up in a story together.  These 5 movies rose to the top of my mind when I thought back over the year.
Even though it didn't come out this year, Brian and I didn't see Thanks For Sharing until a few months back.  This movie impacted us profoundly, and -- while it's rough to watch in a few parts -- portrays a deep truth and grace.  Also, this highlight reel of clips from the best of 2014 movies makes me want to watch a 149-title movie marathon:  149 of the Best of 2014 Video.

6 of my favorite television experiences

I say "experiences" because most of what I watch is not current TV.  I'm horribly illiterate when it comes to current programming.  Still, I've had some powerful experiences watching television -- this year in particular.  Here's what comes to mind at the end of the year.
Seriously considering naming Call the Midwife my favorite television series of all time.  Rectify is powerful, too.  It's hard to watch at times, but so well written.  The Waltons was a total nostalgia binge, but I was surprised how well (the first season, at least) stands up to the test of time -- and even comes across as quite current in many of its themes.  Brian introduced me to 30 for 30 or I probably wouldn't have noticed the ESPN documentary series.  Powerful stories that weave sporting events with the world stage -- 30 stories told by 30 filmmakers.  Broadchurch really is a placemarker for all I love about British murder mysteries (Endeavour, Inspector Lewis, Sherlock, Foyle's War, etc.).  This series, though, is one story told a bit at a time each week. Episodic suspense at its finest.

5 of my favorite recipes 

I've mentioned that nothing surprised me more this year than the food we decided to eat and discovered we really loved.  In addition to the simple and satisfying bone broth that's become an almost-daily staple, here's a few other recipes that surprised us.
This did not mean, though, that I skipped the first-day-of-school tradition that's almost 20 years old:  Pumpkin Chip Cookies on the first day of school.  

5 favorite reads

I listed my favorite reads in a post last week:  My top 5 favorite reads in 2014.

You can see all I've read in years past at the following links (I know only people like me would even want to see these lists, but since a lot of people like me also like to read and write blog posts I think it's fairly safe to included these links for you.)
  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • before I started lists and then after I made lists with shorter summaries, I try my hand at writing reviews for some of the books I read each year and you can find them here:  Book Reviews, 2008-2014
  • For my top 15 life-changing books since I started writing this blog in 2008, click here 
This year, I'm using a fun challenge checklist with a Facebook group of friends (and sisters!).  You can find the checklist here:  Take Our Ultimate Reading Challenge  If you'd like to join our Reading Challenge 2015 group on Facebook, let me know and I'll send you an invite! 
January's hope-to-read list: Lila, The Former Hero, On Looking and Wives and Daughters and The Power and the Glory.  (not all at the same time, of course!)

5 favorite listening experiences

Audio streaming anything makes the daily mundane of my life better:  albums, playlists, podcasts, sermons, live concerts, your kids saying cute stuff on Facebook. On rare occasions (rarer than I'd like) the sound comes alive in a concert or house show or public reading. Here's some of what I heard and loved in 2014.

6 favorite journeys

  • Houston Baptist University Writing conference
  • Laity Lodge Ministers to Artists Retreat
  • My new full-time job
  • hiking to the 360 Bridge Overlook for Kendra's senior pics
  • Saint Simon's Island, GA
  • PA & NY in the fall!

5 10 a whole bunch of communities

  • the 3 women around the world who sneak time to talk on the phone like this
  • house show audience
  • the friends who travelled with me to Houston that one time for that one conference
  • the friend who shared a room with me at that LL retreat
  • our families visiting Austin (+ a cousin reunion in East Texas)
  • mourning friends
  • Passover friends
  • Body Pump friends & yoga friends
  • that kind and generous woman who helped us start eating Paleo
  • graduation party friends
  • 3rd Course Theater backyard audience
  • World Cup watchers
  • fellow Hill Family Vaction-ers
  • our Christ Church family
  • the Think Christian community
  • all the Andrew Stories authors
  • the amazing stranger who momma'd my anxious daughter on that flight from Binghamton to Austin
  • my work friends
  • the people who mostly remain secret about the work we do together praying for healing for sad, broken, lonely, abused, hurting people but who are the bravest people I know
  • the people who joined us for the first annual Murphy Family Weekend Get-Away
  • the group of people who get together at our house each week to talk about spiritual practices and life
  • the people who commented (on the blog and on Facebook) to this exhausted confession
  • the woman who graciously accepted me as a student at Glen Online
  • the Advent and Christmas daybook 2014 blogging community
  • The girls are in serious Christmas crafting mode. They’re making blankets and scarves and notebooks and novels and all manner of things for their friends and relatives. (If you’re one of them, brace yourselves.)

On the blog
My top 4 parenting epiphanies, or My Child Is Not My Property But My Guest that time Henri Nouwen taught me my most important parenting lesson
Parenting is not a covenantal relationship.  Marriage is. [sharing at Think Christian today. I texted my husband 37 times during his seminary class to make sure I wasn't lying about this topic
Kids these days: Parsing that interview with Jaden and Willow Smith [sharing at Think Christian today] I hoped I wasn't the only one who didn't take that interview so seriously

What I'd like my son to say to me on his 23rd birthdayI'm going to keep posting this every year until he forgives me for that bad childhood haircut

We belong to that one over there and isn't she marvelous? I cry every.single.time. 

A stream of consciousness post about shalom found in flat tires and graduation parties and daughter's tears and getting stranded and becoming a priest's wife and messy,broken love.  There may just be hope for me to be a good priest's wife yet.

Five Favorites: Poems for Lent Two of my favorite things seem to be your favorites too.
What were you into in 2014?
Linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I’ve been into lately. 

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