DELECTABLES: Cherry-Picked for Wonder and Revitalization. Soul Food and Spa. A Breath of Fresh Air. Vitamins. And other thought-provoking nourishment.
This is a collection of what I am absolutely loving right now like: Bookmarks I’ve saved in the notes on my phone, random blog posts I’ve stumbled upon that made my day brighter, music that echoes my own heart, books I’ve recently finished (or am still reading) and really admired, and more!
1. Annie F. Downs’ That Sounds Fun podcast episode with Amanda Lindsey Cook
My socks are gone. I’ve listened to it twice, and I can’t recommend this enough.
They talk about so many things: forgiving your past self for what you didn’t yet know, how to navigate a winter season in your soul, beautiful quotes from talented writers, etc. *baby pterodactyl screech of happy* I listened to this episode twice all the way through because the first time I was driving and couldn’t drive and take notes at the same time. The second time around I was prepared and wrote down the writers behind the beautiful quotes they both speak about and I can’t wait to read those too.
If you don’t have a Spotify account, this episode is also available in Apple podcasts.
2. Blessed Are The Misfits by Brant Hansen
This book. I laughed out loud so many times because I could relate SO much. I found it at the library (as you can tell by my initial photo of it below) but loved it so much that I bought a copy for myself to properly underline, a copy for my parents, and a copies for my siblings.
Welcome to the mind of an introvert who is looking around at western church culture and trying to figure out if there’s something wrong with them. The answer? No, there isn’t. And you’re not the only one.
What if I just don’t connect as well with emotion-driven worship?
What if I’ve never “literally felt God’s loving arms around me” or heard the voice of God in an undoubtable way?
What if I’m not fully content with my relationship with God right here and now on this earth while I live my life because I can’t ignore the fact that we are actually still here on earth while God is, well, not?
What if my prayers don’t sound like everyone else’s?
Is there a place for those who struggle with depression in a church so celebratory all the time?
I’m telling you, this book is fantastic. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It’s a shout out to all who feel like misfits, and I’m shooting my hand up as high as it will go. He gives you a seat at the table and tells stories with honesty and humor. Really, it’s a great time.
For more information and quotes from Blessed Are the Misfits, visit the review I posted over on the bookshelf part of the blog here.
Brant Hansen has also written a book called Unoffendable (Premise: What if I don’t have a right to my own offense? What if Christians are supposed to be the least offendable people on the planet?) and it is wonderful and convicting, in the best way as he talks about the myth of “righteous anger” and the power of forgiveness. That one is 100% worth reading too!
3. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
Because everyone needs a dark, magical blend of Russian folklore set in the heart of winter. There’s a richness to this one that is vivid and lyrical. Vasilisa sees creatures that others do not, and she takes care of them so that her village is protected from the evil that awakens in the forest. You feel the frost at your fingers as Vasilisa listens to stories about Morozko (the winter demon), and you cringe away from the disbelief that blinds so many of the main characters and wraps them up in fear of the very thing that would save them.
This felt like a marvelous ghost story one might tell around a campfire where everyone huddles closer to the flames, enraptured and uncertain what the next page will reveal. (It helps that the book begins in a very similar fashion.) There are two additional books in this trilogy that I haven’t read yet that continue Vasilisa’s story, but this one stands alone just fine by itself too.
4. Love Hard Even When It Is Hard sermon at Elevation Church by Lisa Harper
I absolutely love Lisa Harper’s teaching, and this is the most recent one I’ve had the chance to listen to. She is wise and funny and convicts as much as she encourages in this particular message at Elevation Church where she speaks about loving those who are difficult to love and what she has been learning. Be ready to take notes!
Watch the video on YouTube here.
5. The Man Watching by Rainer Maria Rilke (Poem)
This entire poem is gorgeous and it stuns me every single time I read it. I am in the process of typing it up so that I can print it out and hang it on the wall, because it is my absolute favorite poem, and I’ve never read anything like it. It’s one of those pieces that make me stand in awe of language and beauty in a way that is difficult for me to describe.
Here are some of my favorite lines:
“I mean the Angel who appeared
to the wrestlers of the Old Testament:
when the wrestlers’ sinews
grew long like metal strings,
he felt them under his fingers
like chords of deep music.”
Those last two lines. My jaw is still on the floor.
And then the finish:
“This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively,
by constantly greater beings.”
While the entire poem is beautiful, those lines alone make me want to read every single thing this guy has ever written. This particular poem isn’t long, and I hope you will go read the rest of it here. I recommend reading it aloud, slowly and more than once. It gets more and more beautiful each time.
6. “Bigger Than I Thought” by Passion (Song)
I heard this one at the church I visited when I was in Georgia a few months ago and absolutely loved one of the key lines in the chorus:
“So I’ll stop all negotiation
With the God of all creation.
You’re bigger than I thought you were.”
I couldn’t get past it and wrote the line down in the middle of the worship service because I feel like I try to do that a lot: Negotiate with God. He’s much better at planning than me, He sees the whole picture, and He knows me better than I know myself. Plus, He’s the creator of the universe. So I really have no place to negotiate. He’s much better at being God than I am. I love how this song reminds me to continually surrender over and over.
When I found the song later and listened to it again I found another wonderful line at the beginning of that chorus:
“I throw all my cares before you
My doubts and fears don’t scare you.
You’re bigger than I thought you were.”
I mean, yes. The best place for my doubts and fears is with God. While I might hesitate sharing my deepest doubts and fears with other people for fear of how they would react, there is no safer place to put them than the hands of God himself. They don’t scare Him or mess up His plans or make Him think less of me.
I can’t remember that often enough, and singing the words out loud helps my mind remember, Yes, you’re trusting Him with these too.
If you missed Delectables: Round #1, check out it here.
“What are you reading right now?” is a question that I get asked on a regular basis, and while I only write reviews for books that I consider 4 or 5 stars, I can share a list of the books I’m in the middle of at the moment (these don’t have a rating yet if they are not rereads).
Books I am currently reading at this moment:
- Is This It? by Rachel Jones
- As Kingfishers Catch Fire by Eugene Peterson
- The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden
- House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
- Falling Upward by Richard Rohr
- If You Find This Letter by Hannah Brencher
- Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
- The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst
- A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
- Brisingr by Christopher Paolini (reread)
- King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
- Spinning Silver by Naomi Novak
If you are looking for wholehearted recommendations, check out my Bookshelf here.