TGIF // 01


happy friday, friends! it’s been awhile since i last wrote here…and not for lack of things to say, but lack of energy to put my rambling thoughts in to comprehensible words and sentences. sometimes i just feel like keeping my swirling thoughts in my head, and sometimes i’m just plain lazy…BUT it always feels good to check in here and get some things down on “paper.”

i started reading the gifts of imperfection by brene brown recently, and it’s so good! i recommend it to anyone who enjoys self-reflection and wants to live a more wholehearted life. in one of the chapters she talks about doing a gratitude exercise every week that she calls TGIF, hence the title of this post. every week she writes down what she’s Trusting, what she’s Grateful for, what Inspires her, and how she’s practicing her Faith. i love this so much that i’m going to copy her and start doing my own TGIF post each friday. so here goes…

this week i’m trusting that real change takes time. i’ve had a lot of ideas and fantasies about how i want my life to look, and every time i stumble or fall short i feel disappointed. but i’m trying and (slowly) learning to extend grace to myself, and trust that progress is more important than perfection.

lately i’m feeling grateful for my free time. i work a 9-5 and often resent the lack of flexibility…but i dont have children yet, and i have every weekend off work, and i get to spend all my free time reading, writing, and creating (or binge-watching netflix with my husband). and i’m so so thankful for that privilege.

this week i’m feeling inspired by all the books and podcasts i’ve been devouring. i’m always on the look-out for new and inspiring things so if you have any suggestions send them my way!
books: present over perfect, the forest house, the wander society
podcasts: happier, the smart passive income, and this vox veniae message on contentment

this week i’m practicing faith by defining it, and getting comfortable with it. in her book, the gift of imperfection, brene brown defines faith as this:

“faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty.”

She then goes on to quote the theologian Richard Rohr:

“my scientist friends have come up with things like ‘principles of uncertainty’ and dark holes. they’re willing to live inside imagined hypotheses and theories. but many religious folks insist on answers that are always true. we love closure, resolution and clarity, while thinking that we are people of ‘faith’! how strange that the very word ‘faith’ has come to mean the exact opposite.”

AMEN. i dont know everything, and i dont need to. the whole point of faith is to believe something despite not having all the answers. and i’m not going to bring other people into my joy by listing off all the “answers” that i think they should live their lives by. it’s personal. it takes time. and some things just aren’t clear. some things are – yes. but a lot of things aren’t. and that’s ok.

welp. that’s all i’ve got for you this week. i’m hoping to make this a weekly series. it’s good to meditate on these prompts and really get in touch with what i’m thinking and feeling. if you decide to do something similar let me know! i’d love to hear your thoughts. i hope you all have a beautiful weekend!

xo

marci

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book report // 2015 recap


guys, i read a lot this year. i think i read more than usual knowing i would be “reporting” at the end of each month…but not really much more than usual because i’ve always loved to read. and when you hear how many books i read you’ll be like..marci, get a life. because that’s kind of what i thought when i saw the number. and my husband told me i should take a break this year, haha. but really, if i hadn’t spent all that time reading i probably would have spent at least half of it watching tv or looking at my phone – so i say time well spent.

i read 47 books in 2015. maybe that’s not even that impressive but it feels like a lot. so in no particular order, here they are:

  1. gilead by marilynne robinson
  2. the history of love by nicole krauss
  3. the dirty life by kristin kimball
  4. wouldn’t it be nice – the making of pet sounds by charles granata
  5. essentialism by greg mckeown
  6. the life changing magic of tidying up by marie kondo
  7. the art of asking by amanda palmer
  8. station eleven by emily st. john mandel
  9. my faraway one by georgie o’keefe and alfred stieglitz
  10. my antonia by willa cather
  11. a visit from the goon squad by jennifer egan
  12. sacred marriage by gary thomas
  13. you are what you eat by gillian mckeith
  14. how the garcia girls lost their accents by julie alvarez
  15. never let me go by kazoo ishiguro
  16. tiny beautiful things / dear sugar by cheryl strayed
  17. how to love by thich nhat hanh
  18. a field guide to getting lost by rebecca solnit
  19. crazy love by frances chan
  20. may cause miracles by gabrielle bernstein
  21. the book of ruth by jane hamilton
  22. stitches by anne lamott
  23. to the lighthouse by virginia woolf
  24. love does by bob goff
  25. actual air by david berman
  26. indian killer by sherman alexie
  27. not that kind of girl by lena dunham
  28. transcendence by norman rosenthal
  29. 1984 by george orwell
  30. my salinger year by joanna rakoff
  31. why not me? by mindy kaling
  32. a poetry handbook by mary oliver
  33. a praying life by paul miller
  34. one thousand gifts by ann voskamp
  35. the namesake by jhumpa lahiri
  36. happier at home by gretchen rubin
  37. red rising by pierce brown
  38. golden son by pierce brown
  39. a prayer journal by flannery o’connor
  40. the silver star by jeannette walls
  41. a grief observed by c.s. lewis
  42. a room of one’s own by virginia woolf
  43. letters to a young poet by rainer maria rilke
  44. m train by patti smith
  45. the hours by michael cunningham
  46. h is for hawk by helen macdonald
  47. the bible – literally! beginning to end!

obviously i had some favorites, and some not so favorites…but generally i enjoyed most of the things i read. if you’re wondering which of these you should read here are my top 10 (i just tried to do a top 5 and it was impossible).

  1. the namesake by jhumpa lahiri
  2. a field guide to getting lost by rebecca solnit
  3. my antonia by willa cather
  4. to the lighthouse by virginia woolf
  5. the bible (ecclesiastes was particularly beautiful, i thought)
  6. actual air by david berman
  7. the history of love by nicole krauss
  8. gilead by marilynne robinson
  9. the hours by michael cunningham
  10. never let me go by kazoo ishiguro


honorable mentions:

why not me? by mindy kaling
sacred marriage by gary thomas
tiny beautiful things by cheryl strayed
may cause miracles by gabbrielle bernstein

annndd that sums up my year of reading. hope everyone is having a good start to 2016.

xoxo,
marci

 

book report // 12

laguna

it’s the end of december and my last book report for the year. i’m also going to compile a list of everything i read this year, and as of right now i’m totally clueless as to how many books i read in 2015. i’m pretty eager to find out. snort snort.

i read a lot less this month than most others because we were moving. so that means weeks spent packing, a weekend spent moving, and weeks spent unpacking and settling into the new place. but i did manage to read a few gems somewhere in there.

m train by patti smith: i love patti smith. some of her music is good, some isn’t…to me anyway. but her writings?? i love them all. she wrote a memoir a few years ago called “just kids” and it’s still one of my all time favorites. this one wasn’t quite as good but it’s always interesting to get to peek inside the mind of a beautiful soul and true artist. a lot of it seemed like i was just reading her inner dialogue (kind of like virginia woolf at times) and it was oddly comforting to know my thoughts aren’t all that strange.

the hours by michael cunningham: there’s nothing i can really say about this book other than you should read it. i started it a few years ago and it must not have been the right time because i never finished it. this time, however, i was completely engrossed and loved it all. just an absolutely stunning piece of literature.

h is for hawk by helen macdonald: i’m only about halfway through this one but again, another stunner. the way she writes is effortless and intriguing and entirely beautiful and desolate. if you’ve ever felt alone or depersonalized..which is all of us, really…then you’ll enjoy this book. this author articulates those peculiar feelings that are so hard to put into words while simultaneously writing about nature in a way that is refreshing and brilliant. can’t wait to finish this one, but i’m also trying to savor it.

so that’s it for december! next up, year-end recap. i was going to write it all in one post, but i think i’ll make a separate one. it deserves it’s own space. ❤

xo

marci

book report // 10

b&w cactus

i read so much in october…i read a lot in general but for some reason i went a little crazy last month. i think it’s the season, fall seems like a good time to curl up with a book and get cozy. the funny thing is it’s like 80 degrees here because i live in texas, so i’ve just been pretending it’s fall. whatever.

here is a list of the books i read in october (and one from september because i forgot one last time i wrote a book report). each book is a link, so if you’re interested in learning more about it just click 🙂

a praying life by paul miller

one thousand gifts by ann voskamp

the namesake by jhumpa lahiri *this was one of the best books i’ve read…ever. highly recommend!

happier at home by gretchen rubin *this author has a podcast that i like to listen to. she hosts it with her sister and it’s fun, positive, and short. it’s called “happier” if you want to check it out.

red rising by pierce brown *book 1 of the red rising trilogy – similar to hunger games. it’s futuristic, dystopian, and action/adventure. not usually something i like, but i ripped through this and the second book in a few days.

golden son by pierce brown *book 2 of the red rising trilogy.

a prayer journal by flannery o’connor *didn’t know this existed…a prayer journal of flannery o’connor’s from when she was 22 years old. interesting, inspiring, and relatable.

pink

i told you a read a lot this month. eep. as always, let me know if you have any suggestions…always looking for something good to read. ❤

yours,

marci

book report // 07

this was a slower month for me, i think because i didn’t really get into anything…they were all just ok. i basically read these books in the last week and a half…i started a memoir by simone debeauvoir and it’s going pretty slow – i like it a lot, but it’s not something i can read a lot of at once. here’s what i read in july.

wouldn’t it be nice – the making of pet sounds by charles l. granata: i put this book on hold at the library thinking it was brian wilson’s autobiography (which has the same title, “wouldn’t it be nice”). i was pretty disappointed when i realized that wasn’t what i got, haha. but i read this anyway and it was pretty good. i think i would have preferred to read the autobiography, but i learned a lot about brian wilson and the beach boys by reading this. i also learned a ton about the album, pet sounds, and wanted to listen to it over and over again. if you’re into learning about recording and/or the beach boys, then i’d recommend it.

wouldntitbenice

essentialism by greg mckeowninitially, i was really into this book. the author gives a lot of good advice about cutting out things that aren’t important in order to make room for the essential things. he talks a lot about saying no at work, and saying yes to time with family (because that’s what is essential to him, and i agree). after awhile though, i felt like i got the point and didn’t need to keep reading all the stories he told about other people…it was kind of ironic that i felt like so much of the book was nonessential. he even talks about editing at one point, and how it’s really hard to edit a book down to what’s important…and i think he should have taken his own advice. this book could have been much shorter than 236 pages, but it did inspire me to focus on what’s really important in my life, and start eliminating things that aren’t.

essentialism

the life changing magic of tidying up by marie kondo: i’ve been seeing this book all over the internet lately, it seems like everyone is reading it. as someone who hates clutter, and likes to be organized, i was interested in seeing what this had to say. it kind of pertained to the essentialist theme from the previous book – it talked a lot about getting rid of things that you don’t love, or that don’t spark joy. i look forward to putting into practice some of the things the author suggested, but i do think she’s a bit crazy and goes too far sometimes. she mentioned how at the end of the day she empties everything out of her purse and puts it away…who has time for that? i do think the minimalist mindset suits me well, not just because of my personality but also because i think it’s a good spiritual practice. it’s not good to accumulate stuff – and this book inspired me to try to remove even more clutter from my life.

tidying

i’m still reading through the bible as well, i’m into acts now and i’m really enjoying it. we’ve had some lively discussions lately in our church group, and reading through the bible has helped me get my own grasp on the topics that have come up. i grew up having the bible read and interpreted for me, it’s really refreshing to read it as an adult with my own perspective.

what have y’all read lately? hope you’ve had a good summer so far. we leave for wisconsin in a week and half and i’m so excited to see all my family, take time away from work, and get out of the texas summer heat. the forecast over the next week has multiple days in a row of 100+ temps…so i’m looking forward to wisconsin summer days/nights.

p.s. this is the face that often is looking at me while i sit on the couch and read. 😉

elsi

you can see previous book reports here.

book report // 05

i realize it’s almost half way through june already (which…how is that possible?) but i wanted to post the books i read in may. better late than never.

i’ve been on a gilmore girls kick since january or february…and i’m finally into the last season. so…i’ve been reading a little bit less. i’m looking forward to getting my life back once i finally finish. also, it’s summer! brent and i have been going out more after work and getting that restless feeling that generally comes when you’re not a student anymore and there’s no such thing as a summer break. i wish we got a summer break. oh well. check out this sunset. nothing beats a texas sunset, but maybe i’m biased.

sunset copy

ok, on to the books.

a visit from the goon squad by jennifer egan: i’ve seen this book around a lot. and i’ve heard that it’s good…a lot. but, i have to say i just didn’t love it. i got through it pretty fast, within a couple days, but wasn’t blown away. the characters were kind of cliche, and the whole thing seemed a little try-hard. i also felt like i never really fully was able to get to know any of the characters because it jumped around so much. a few of the characters are really into the punk scene…and i guess patti smith’s “just kids” was a much more honest, gritty, interesting representation of that. anyway, this book didn’t live up to the hype for me.

sacred marriage by gary thomas: i loved this book. sure, there were parts that made the feminist in me cringe…and there were parts that were corny and a little off color…but the overall message really hit me hard. gary thomas talks a lot about how a marriage isn’t necessarily about making you happy, but holy. he talks about the ways you can grow within a marriage, and grow closer to God. he also talks about the beauty of true commitment and love. i’ve been married for about 2.5 years now, and have learned more during the last few years than any other time in my life. marriage really makes you face your demons, imperfections, and desires. luckily, i’m with someone who’s willing to stick it out and love me despite all the horrible things i do and say. hi, brent. ❤

you are what you eat by gillian mckeith: i spent a few hours one night reading through this book. i’ve had it for years but have yet to really commit to it’s recommendations. i’d like to start, but it’s really hard to change habits…as everyone knows. anyway, it has good suggestions and gives a lot of good advice. it’s one of those books that’s good to have around for a little shot of inspiration.

flow

i’m also still reading through the bible..in a week or so i should be into the new testament which is exciting. i’m really glad i’ve stuck with this plan for almost an entire year now…and i’m looking forward to going back and studying different parts/books more in depth once i finish.

what have you been reading? as always, open to your suggestions.
you can read all previous book reports here.

photos: iphone | austin, tx

book report // 04

here is what i read in april…

how the garcia girls lost their accents by julia alvarez: i read a book by this author while i was in college. i didn’t love it, and so although i’d heard that this one was good i was hesitant. i found it at goodwill in the beginning of april and decided to give it a try. i think i read it in a day or two. it’s an easy read, and i really enjoyed the way it was written (from the perspectives of all the daughters in the family). i liked it…i don’t think i’d give it five stars, but it’s worth a read.

neverletmego

never let me go by kazuo ishiguro: i really enjoyed this book. i haven’t read a ton of fiction lately…i like my memoirs a lot…but this was pretty good. a dystopian novel that slowly reveals more and more as you go. it was good, though pretty depressing.

dearsugar

tiny beautiful things (advice on love and life from dear sugar) by cheryl strayed: i’d have to say this was by far my favorite read of the month. i loved cheryl strayed’s memoir, “wild”, and i loved this book just as much if not more. it’s a compilation of advice columns that she wrote anonymously years ago, and she writes with such heart, honesty, humor, and humility that it’s hard to not fall in love with her. i cried through a few of the letters..and laughed at others. all in all a beautiful read.

how to love by thich nhat hanh: i think i first read a book by thich nhat hanh while i was still in high school. he encourages mindfulness, acceptance, and love. i learn something, and am reminded to be more compassionate and loving, every time i pick up one of his books. i haven’t quite finished this one yet, but it’s very small and doesn’t even have chapters, just little thoughts on how to love. it’s a good book to pick up every few days.

that’s all for this month. i found “a visit from the goon squad” at a thrift store a few weeks ago, and will probably start that soon. i’m also still trying to get through the bible in a year – i’m currently in jeremiah. i think one of my favorite books so far has been ecclesiastes, which was a surprise. it’s beautiful.

IMG_1209

brent and i went camping in big bend last week/weekend. it was so beautiful! i’m going to try to post some pictures sometime later this week (here’s a sneak peek). as always, feel free to leave reading suggestions in the comments. xo.

see book reports 1, 2, and 3 here.

book report // 03

this post is a little late, but here’s what i read during the month of march. i liked them all but “a field guide to getting lost” was by far my favorite. i checked this one out from the library, and am now determined to get my own copy so that i can highlight, underline, and mark it up as much as i want. there were so many beautiful lines and insights…i’d definitely recommend it to anyone looking for one of those books that shows you the world in a beautiful new light. i can’t wait to check out her other books, her intelligence is palpable.

a field guide to getting lost by rebecca solnit:

field guide

crazy love by francis chan: this one was good, the author’s way of writing/speaking kind of annoyed me at times, but the book definitely caused me to have some revelations. if you’re feeling in a rut spiritually, then it might offer some inspirations.

may cause miracles by gabrielle bernstein: this book was so cheesy. but i loved it. it’s not really about any specific religion or spirituality, but it helped my spiritual life so much. it focuses a lot on the ego, and letting go of jealousies or selfish ambitions. it also focuses on surrendering to your higher power and really trusting that you’ll be taken care of. being the control freak that i am, this was a good exercise for me. I hope to continue to use some of the exercises, meditations, and prayers that were in this book.

the book of ruth by jane hamilton: the only way i can describe this book is beautifully tragic, which might sound like a cliche. but if you read it…you’ll know.

march books

it’s spring here in texas. today it’s foggy and gray, and the wildflowers are in full bloom. it’s become my favorite time of year in this state. the blues, oranges, yellows, and pinks of spring make up for the lackluster color in the fall. it’s beautiful. hope you have a relaxing weekend, and if you have any book suggestions please leave a comment below!

blues

xox

Marci

book report // 02

here is what i read in february…

i’m in the middle of a few other books – but i’m trying to read them slowly because i want to really absorb the content. they’ll be posted whenever i finish them, but here is what i did get through last month.

feb

stitches by anne lamott: this was a really short book, and i read it in an hour or two. her books never last long enough for me…she’s funny, smart, and very connected to the human experience. i’m always able to find a few pearls of wisdom whenever i pick up one of her books.

to the lighthouse by virginia woolf: i had never actually read a book by virginia woolf in its entirety. i read excerpts of hers in my women’s studies classes in college – but had never made it a point to read her work on my own. i have to say…i hated this book..at first. but then something happened about a quarter way in. i’m not sure if something clicked or if i just started to understand the characters a bit better, but i loved the rest of the book. it was so well written, and i totally was able to understand the genius of woolf.

love does by bob goff: i liked this one. it’s filled with stories and adventures about the author, and how he’s learned that love is something you do, not something you talk about doing. he’s a christian…which is something i almost dread saying because of the connotations, but he seems to embody the true sense of the word. there were some parts that seemed a little off to me – but overall i enjoyed his perspective and appreciated the reminder that “love does.”

dog books

actual air by david berman: this may have been my favorite read this month. the author is the lead singer in the band “silver jews” and his poetry did not disappoint. my husband had been wanting to read this book for years, and finally ordered it online. i’m so glad he did. poetry can be really hit or miss for me – there is some that i love, and some that i find incredibly boring. this..i love. i laughed out loud a few times…which was a nice surprise, but it also made me see things in a different/magical/illuminating way – which is the sign of good work, in my opinion. i’m sure i’ll revisit over and over again.

ezra, nehemiah, esther, and job: i’m still doing my daily readings of the Bible, and hoping to get through in a year. i’m behind right now – but looking forward to catching up. i’m past the levitical laws and getting into the stuff i find more applicable, so i’m looking forward to what’s to come.

what are you reading?? suggestions please!

book report // 01

i’ve always thought it would be cool if i could see a list of all the books i’ve read. there’s a lot, i wouldn’t be able to list them if i tried – and i know there are lots of books i’ve read and probably completely forgotten about. so this year i’m going to start the list. better late than never. and yes, i’m fully aware that i’m a nerd.

here’s what i read in january:

indian killer by sherman alexie: this book was ok. i’m not a big fan of murder mysteries, and this book defines that genre. it’s about a serial killer terrorizing seattle – hunting and scalping white men. this spurs a wave of intense violence and racial tension throughout the city. throughout the book you meet a handful of characters who all have the potential to be the killer – and you’re never really sure if they are or not. it was interesting…i liked the subtext about racial tension, but i could have done without the gratuitous violence.

cawfee

not that kind of girl by lena dunham: i read this book in a day or two. lena dunham is extremely brazen and honest – which i appreciate most of the time. sometimes it did seem that she was saying things solely for the purpose of shock..which, meh. but overall i did really enjoy her writing style and humor. particularly when humor would seem inappropriate to most. i didn’t laugh as much as i thought i would – but in the chapter where she lists her top ten health concerns i was laughing so hard i was crying. i’m a hypochondriac, so i could relate. we’ve all thought we were having a stroke, right? no?

transcendence by normal rosenthal: i didn’t read every word of this book. i read the first few chapters and then skimmed the rest. it presented a lot of factual evidence for why transcendental meditation is good for you (in a myriad of ways), and after the first quarter of the book i got the point. if you’re interested in meditation i think it’s worth a look through.

january

1984 by george orwell: somehow i have completed 17 years of schooling and have never read this book. i enjoyed it – despite it being a major downer. hah. it’s always interesting to see the similarities between a dystopian novel and our current societal situation..(another favorite is the handmaid’s tale). everyone should read it once…it’s a classic for a reason.

1&2 kings and 1&2 chronicles: back in september of 2014 i decided to start a reading plan that would get me through the bible in a year. during january i read through these four books. there’s some little nuggets of gold in there, but mostly i’ve found it tedious and boring – if i’m being honest. it’s a lot of history, and it reads like a history book. i’m really glad that i decided to do it though, it is nice to gain perspective on all the stories and people i learned about as a kid.

so that’s what i read in january. what have y’all been reading? any suggestions? favorites?

xoxo