THANKSDAY #98

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Well, well, well. So we meet again. It’s been a minute, and I’m not gonna lie, it’s always so weird to come back to this blank page. I stare and wonder if I’ll ever write regularly again, or if my creative cup is full enough with Be Still Be Free. I wonder if my mind will marinate on words like they used to; or if God and I will process issues together through written words like we used to; or if His word was true to me all those years ago, “Don’t be so focused on the method that you lose sight of the message.”

Maybe there’s a new method now. Maybe written words will come back to me in force when I least expect it. Maybe I should quit wondering about the future and just focus on the here and now. Be present and all that jazz.

So for now I feel like I want to do a Thanksday post, and so I’m going with it. Onward and upward, y’all.

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1. Podcasts. Yes, I do listen to podcasts even though I podcast myself. (Why are people surprised by this?) I’m infatuated with them and listen to approximately three billion different ones. I listen after I take the kids to school. I listen while I’m working out. I listen while I’m getting ready and while I’m cleaning the kitchen. And I’ll be the first to admit they are not all Christian or even spiritual, for that matter. (Gasp, shock, awe.) Be warned: some have some language (especially that Christy Nockles) (sarcastic font). But I’m an adult and you’re an adult and to be honest I’ve heard worse in PG-13 movies, so there you go.

I’m not providing links to these because I don’t know which podcast app you prefer, so you’ll have to type them in to search if you want to give them a go. I know, so old school.

Here are my newest faves right now:

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  • How to Be Amazing with Michael Ian Black. This is an in-depth interview podcast where comedian Michael Ian Black sits down with some of today’s writers, entertainers, artists, innovative thinkers and politicians (similar to Alec Baldwin’s really). They dive into the creative process and the intricate minds of some of these people. Michael (Michael Ian?) is so funny, a great interviewer, and the guests (that I’ve listened to so far) are insightful and entertaining.

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  • Reel Conversations. Bryan Coley sits down with various guests and dissects their top 10 favorite movies of all time, and uses them as a way to gain insight into the values, character and passions of the guests. I am FASCINATED by this podcast and am trying to self-diagnose my own personality based on my favorite movies, of which I only have five on my list right now. (Which of course, says enough.)

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  • Glorious in the Mundane with Christy Nockles. This podcast is as sweet, tender and humble as you would expect. Christy has such a gentle way of speaking, of interviewing, and of talking about the ways the Lord has moved in her life. I love it.

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  • The Popcast with Knox and Jamie. Knox and Jamie admit this is a show about “delightful idiocy,” and it couldn’t make me happier. They discuss all manner of things pop culture, make me LOL and help the time on the treadmill speed up exponentially.

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2. Pumpkin Spice. Let me be the first to say I’m a big fan of pumpkiny things. However, I will absolutely admit that as a nation we have jumped the pumpkin shark. Not everything needs to be flavored or scented in pumpkin. I’ll give you muffins, doughnuts, pancakes and coffee — but outside of that we need to maintain some integrity. #amiright

Now then, since I’ve stated the aforementioned pumpkin-approved foods, I give a kudos this week to McCormick’s Pumpkin Pie Spice. I’ve started adding just a hint to my coffee grounds before brewing, and it warms me to my bones. And then I’m not getting all those pumps of sugary sweetened pumpkin spice. I also use it for making pumpkin pancakes and muffins, which my family reminded me yesterday I haven’t made in ages. To which I replied, get off me.

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3. Decaf Green Tea. So I’m trying to drink tons of water all day, but plain water is so boring. I’ve started making a big pitcher of this as iced tea to keep in the fridge, and then in my water bottle I mix half tea, half water. This flavors my water just  enough, gives me a metabolism boost (because truth in advertising) and now water doesn’t feel like a chore. Bam.

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4. iTunes Radio. You know what I’m sometimes in the mood for? French jazz. Or rather, any jazz where there’s French speaking happening in between songs or French words in the song. And thanks to iTunes Radio, I can just search it and start listening. And if I happen to be drinking french press coffee with pumpkin spice while listening, I can close my eyes and pretend I’m at some little café à Paris wearing red lipstick and a trench coat.

5. An Ode to Autumn. I was texting with a friend the other day and she mentioned how ready she was for fall, which we all know I agreed with wholeheartedly. Thus began a text exchange of fall poetry that both tickled us and made us eager for cooler weather. So I guess this is a two-fer; I’m thankful for both the friend and the poem. Here is the masterpiece:

Dear Fall,

You may now descend like a gentle dove upon us,

Give us boots of pure leather and rich textures like corduroy and tweed.

May your hot toddies warm our bellies like a shared laugh with a friend.

May your colorful leaves reflect the palette of all I plan to partake around a warm fire,

And your crisp nights like the snap of a honey crisp apple drizzled in warm caramel.

Or maybe like the black chimney smoke that roasts when I indulge in s’mores…

And then I don’t eat the marshmallows.

Amen.

6. Books. I went on a reading bender this summer (and all the people said amen), and even discovered how to check out e-books from the library for instant download on my Kindle. Say whaaaa? It was amazing. Out of all the books I read (probably 20), here are two I am recommending to everyone:

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  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows. This book is fiction and written entirely as letters back and forth between the main character and the others in her world. It takes place in London just after the WWII, and is just such a sweet, fun and tender story. I was grieved when it was over. I wanted to keep reading forever.

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  • The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty. I’m late to the Liane Moriarty game, but I can tell you that I’m fangirling hard and already devoured three of her books this summer. This is my favorite so far. It’s the most fun, delightful and fun read — I think I finished in 36 hours — and almost fell into a depression that it ended.

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7. Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker. I’m pretty sure this is supposed to make a concentrate that you dilute with water for your iced coffee. But I don’t like it diluted. So I have a cup of this in the afternoons and am WIDE OPEN for the rest of the day. I ordered mine at Amazon. #mountainlife #ifcoffeeiswrongidontwannaberight

8. Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. I’ve mentioned this before, but I just noticed the other day that season 8 is out! It includes Jim Gaffigan, Lorne Michaels and Judd Apatow. It’s a web show, so just go to the website to watch. Each episode is about 12-15 minutes so it’s a perfect mid-day pick-me-up to watch with your pumpkin spice or iced coffee.

9. Celebrating. I love to celebrate the little things, the big things, and the little things that feel like big things. And so when my husband or my friends celebrate those things with me, it feels like the biggest gift. Being able to shoot a text to say, “This just happened!” and to get responses that show how excited they are for me is the greatest. Even though in the grand scheme of things the thing we’re celebrating isn’t a huge deal, the fact they’re supportive and care is a huge deal. You can’t put a price tag on that. I just hope they think I reciprocate in the same manner.

10. NASA’s Instagram Account. You guys. If you’re not following NASA on Instagram, you’re missing out completely. They’re incredibly consistent about posting images of real live things in space, and if after seeing these images you don’t believe that there’s a Holy God who created the universe, then there’s no hope for you. The images are stunning, almost mystical, and take my breath away. It might have something to do with the fact that I’m a wannabe astronaut (that couldn’t hang with the math or science). Here are a few of my recent favorites:

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Saturn’s shadow stretched beyond the edge of its rings for many years after our Cassini spacecraft first arrived at Saturn, casting an ever-lengthening shadow that reached its maximum extent at the planet’s 2009 equinox. This image captured the moment in 2015 when the shrinking shadow just barely reached across the entire main ring system. The shadow will continue to shrink until the planet’s northern summer solstice, at which point it will once again start lengthening across the rings, reaching across them in 2019. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

 

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A maelstrom of glowing gas and dark dust within one of the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. This stormy scene shows a stellar nursery that’s over 150 light-years across. It contains many hot young stars. These stars are emitting intense ultraviolet light, which causes nearby hydrogen gas to glow, and torrential stellar winds, which are carving out ridges, arcs, and filaments from the surrounding material. At the heart of this cosmic cloud lies the Papillon Nebula, a butterfly-shaped region of nebulosity. This small, dense object is thought to be tightly linked to the early stages of massive star formation. Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

 

Alright, my friends. That will conclude my bi-annual revival of Thanksday. I hope you enjoyed it.

I’d love to hear the things you’re thankful for this week! Leave a comment and share the love!