Let me give you a peek behind the curtain of my blogging brain: these monthly intros? Out of all the writing that I do each month. . . the thousands of words. . . these are the most difficult for me. I can hammer out a 600-word book review, no problem. A ten-minute read on some philosophical theory or world view? Piece of cake. But a single-paragraph summary of the month? That’s where I get stuck. I’m a woman of many words and weighty thoughts, and these shallow waters of introductory chitchat are where this deep-sea dweller starts to flounder. (This is also why I’m terrible at small talk. Truly. I’m much more comfortable delving into your past traumas and deep soul wounds than attempting discourse about the weather.) That said, I think I’ll skip the intro this month and move right into our June recap. (<—-And apparently even my non-intros somehow become wordy and longwinded. I told you this was tough for me!)
// READING LATELY //
June was a great reading month for me that included THREE epistolary novels (good, better, best) and an unexpectedly lovely romance novel. I had fun revisiting three favorite books from my childhood (this and this with Charleston and one for myself) and was delighted with this recent Middle Grade release. This essay collection is my favorite yet from an author I love, and this book (though a difficult read) opened my eyes to some issues I needed to know more about. Full reviews of all of these titles are headed your way next week!
// WATCHING LATELY //
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone ~ After reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone together, Charleston was eager to watch the film! (Actually, he wanted to watch the movie before reading, but I insisted we finish the book first.) We made it a special Friday night treat once the twins were in bed, and Charleston created elaborate Gryffindor banners and signs to wave at key moments in the movie. He liked the movie quite a bit, but afterwards told me, “the movie was pretty good, but the book is definitely better.” And that, my friends, was one of my proudest parenting moments. (For what it’s worth, I’m okay with the movies but think the books are far superior. Charleston knew my feelings going in, but I’m certain he was not swayed by my opinion—if anything, he likes to go against my own opinions in these sorts of things, ha!)
Downton Abbey: A New Era ~ I never got around to seeing the last Downton Abbey movie, but I loved the show. When a friend invited a group of us to see this latest installment with her I jumped at the chance. It was the first movie I’ve seen in a theater in almost three years, but I don’t think it was just the theater-going experience that made me love this movie. It was genuinely great! The costumes, music, and cinematography alone were worth the cost of admission, but I also enjoyed revisiting favorite characters and getting “caught up” on their lives.
The movie, set in 1928 (which makes for awesome 1920s outfits!), begins with Lady Violet revealing that she has inherited a French villa. Most of the family travels to France to see the estate, while Mary stays behind to supervise the production of a silent movie being filmed at Downton Abbey. I found both storylines engaging (I was especially fascinated by the filming scenes and their glimpse into early days of movie making) and enjoyed the French and English settings equally. There are so many delightful “happily ever afters” sprinkled through the movie that had me swooning (plus one or two I didn’t especially love), and though I didn’t care for the movie’s (sad) ending, there was much to appreciate about the satisfying tying up of various story threads. Also much appreciated was the restraint shown regarding sensuality and language: even the more scandalous bits are subtle, and there are a couple of beautiful instances of characters taking the moral high ground—so refreshing!
This movie brought all the feels: tons of happiness and laughter, and some sadness too, but overall this was a feel-good movie in all of the very best ways.
My Rating: 5 Stars.
// LISTENING LATELY //
Here’s a sampling of some podcasts that got me thinking this month.
// MONTHLY KID-ISMS //
+ When I offered to help him out with his chores while he was at day camp all week: “Thank you, Mommy! I just don’t know how I would ever live without you.”
+ “One of the gifts God gave me is to help Kali and Sully not have a bad attitude.” Me: “Do you think you can use that gift for your own attitude?” Charleston: glares at me, no comment.
+ Sitting on the porch watching the birds one morning, he asked why they sing more in the early hours. A Google search told us that it was the male birds’ mating calls: “Oh, it’s like the opposite of Bible times when the girls tried to get the boys to like them.”
+ “Mom, is this camp Christian-based? Because if it’s not, I’m just not sure I’m comfortable with that.”
+ ”You want to know a cheat code to not get frozen in freeze tag? Pretend you’re already frozen!”
+ Describing a plan he concocted with a friend at church: “She didn’t want to do it, but I told her I would pay her a dollar if she did it. Hiring’s the way I get people to do things.”
+ While waiting a while for his Kindle to wake up: “Yeah, that’s about how long it takes me to wake up, too.”
+ When I learned He had shared his faith with a friend at camp and I asked what he said: “Well. . . um. . . let’s just say that I told him what his future will look like if he doesn’t follow Jesus. . . . and I’m pretty sure he really doesn’t want to see hell.”
+ Pointing to a photograph of a piglet in a book: “That’s me when I was little! When I was a baby pig!”
+ Her prayer before meal time: “Thank you, Jesus! Thank you sparkly pink friend!”
+ Pointing to a girl at the library wearing shoes Kali also owns: “Mama, those are my shoes! My shoes!” And she proceeded to try to take the shoes away from the girl and bring them to me!
+ Whenever I am leaving for a bit, she gives me a hug and holds my face in her hands: “I’m going to miss you so much. But (begins singing the song from Daniel Tiger) grooown-ups come back!“
+ After nursing, when the milk was running dry: “Go to the grocery store and get some more! That IS how it works.”
+ “Baby Brooke had a blowout. Oh yeah, I had a blow out of my nose.”
+ When our car was stopped a stoplight. “Mom, why’d you stop? You can’t go? You got a flashlight?”
+ The day after Luke cut his hair: “My hair’s growing really fast. I think I need a new haircut.”
+ Other funny terms Sully uses: he calls the pool a “cool;” the library is a “library books;” his hair is his “hair cut;” and when he needs a new diaper he tells me, “Mom, I got a blue line.”
// HAPPENINGS & HIGHLIGHTS //
Charleston spent the first full week of June attending a wilderness day camp that was an absolutely fantastic experience for him! Each day Charleston and his fellow campers hiked, swam in the creek, and learned various outdoor skills such as how to start a fire, identify various plants and insects, track wild animals, and catch a fish using poles made of sticks and reeds. They even pet a wild snake! Charleston is not exactly an outdoorsy, adventurous kid, but each day when I picked him up he was blissfully filthy and giddy to share that day’s adventures. Charleston will be attending this same program one Saturday per month in the coming school year and he’s already counting down the days.
In other camp news. . . Charleston also got to participate in a fun church camp (extended VBS) at his grandparents’ church last week. We signed him up at the last minute (literally the night before camp began) and his grade level was the only one with spots left—it was meant to be! He had an AWESOME time! It was five full (8:30-5:00) days of crafts, PE, games, storytelling, worship, and more. He came home each day exhausted but eager to share stories about the performing magician’s illusions, and won games of dodgeball, and Bible verses learned. We missed having him gone so much during the week as this was the most time he’s ever spent away from home, but it was nice to get some solo time with just the twins, and I love that Charleston got to participate in such a fun and life-giving camp.
// IN CASE YOU MISSED IT //
My roundup of posts from this month, for your belated reading pleasure.
FAITH & REFLECTIONS:
Foreign Territory “What aspects of this world and this life reflect God’s intended design? Where am I (or, more broadly, we as a culture) living wildly outside of how we were made to be? And is there a way to ease back into habits and lifestyles that are more reflective of God’s original intentions for human flourishing?“
Impossible Love (Sermon on the Mount, Part Six) “This love is the hard kind that does not come easily or naturally. It is a love that butts up against our comforts and innate desire for fairness and nicety. It is a love that won’t look normal or possible to the watching world, because it is an altogether supernatural kind of love.”
(D)Advice for Life “But my heart also lies with those who have never known an earthly father’s love, never received a daddy’s bear hug or sat through a corny dad joke or been the recipient of a painful-but-vital lecture about responsibility and hard work.“
Becoming an Up-looker “We elevate the inconsequential to the detriment of what truly matters, giving VIP status to secondary issues while relegating all that is truly important to the sidelines.“
Is It Just Me? “In the face of what we presume will be societal ostracism (i.e., canceling) we keep our mouths shut, not realizing that everyone around us is doing the same. We are unknowing members of a silent majority whose existence is buried beneath layers of cultural conformity and a refusal to emerge from our ideological comfort zones.” (<— MY MOST POPULAR POST OF THIS MONTH)
FROM THE BOOK CORNER:
JUST FOR FUN:
QUOTES OF THE MONTH:
“The heart of a father is the masterpiece of nature.” ~ Antoine Francis Prevost
“Where there is discord may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. Where there is despair, may we bring hope.” ~ Francis of Assisi
“We are born homesick, every one of us. We who live in this fractured world have eternity written on our hearts; we are longing to be home and are digging the tent pegs of our lives in as deep as we can get them until we arrive on eternity’s shores.” ~ Lore Wilbert
This weekend we have some fun Independence Day celebrations planned, with more camps and church activities to look forward to later in the month. How about you: how was your June? What are you loving about this summer?