Hi, friends. Been a while, hasn’t it? What a wild ride this year has been so far. We’ve been pretty much hunkered down since March (side note — I don’t know who needs to hear this but: COVID IS NOT OVER JUST BECAUSE THE WEATHER’S NICE NOW!), and even though New York is opening up, we’re still playing things pretty safe. And then there was distance learning (any other parents feel like there is just NO good option for school this fall??), and Breonna Taylor/George Floyd/Elijah McCain/SO MANY OTHERS (Black lives still matter even if your feed is back to normal, FYI). Oh, and I also started seminary during all this because *shrugs* why not, right?
In all seriousness, it’s been a tough season in so many ways, and I know I’m not the only one who’s been feeling alllll the things lately. A few months ago, I started sending out a monthly newsletter called The Good Stuff, which yes, is exactly what it sounds like. (If you’re not a subscriber yet, you can sign up here!) I wanted to give you a peek into my little pocket of the world and show you that yes, things are really hard right now, and yet there’s also a lot of beauty and joy in the midst of it. The two can coexist. Both/and, as my Poppa B always used to say.
So let’s get to it, shall we? Here’s all the good stuff that’s been filling up my soul lately.
What I’m Reading:
- If you follow me on IG, you’ve probably heard me talking about The Lazy Genius Way, a book by Kendra Adachi (aka The Lazy Genius, who I am a TOTAL fangirl for) that’s available for preorder right now! A quote by my beloved Jenna Fischer is on the front cover (squeallll!) and it’s all about narrowing in on what is really important and meaningful to you — and ditching all the extra stuff so you can give what matters your full attention. It is LIFE. CHANGING. No word of a lie. Preorder now and get a whole bunch of goodies for free!
- The Dragons, The Giant, The Women by Wayétu Moore. Wayétu is Liberian, and this book chronicles her family’s journey of escaping Liberia during the Civil War and settling in the United States. As someone who lived in Liberia and now has a Liberian daughter, I think knowing the history of that beautiful nation is so important. Wayétu is a beautiful storyteller, and I definitely would recommend this (as well as her other book, She Would Be King.) You can find out how to order by visiting her website.
What I’m Watching:
- Hamilton. That’s pretty much it. Over and over, Hamilton. I am in love with the Mulligan/Lafayette/Laurens trio. Jonathan Groff as King George is pure genius. I cry during ‘Quiet Uptown’ every. single. time; Phillipa Soo, man. Her performance as Eliza is stunning. Daveed Diggs’ rap skills leave me speechless. And turning cabinet meetings into rap battles? GENIUS.
What I’m Cooking:
- Hazy summer days means I have zero motivation to stand in front of a hot stove. These days we’re eating a lot of what we call chopped salad. Basically, we shred a head of lettuce, add cherry tomatoes, diced red onion, cut up cucumbers/bell peppers/whatever other veggie I want to use. Then we cut up a pound of bacon and a pound of chicken breast tenderloins into bite-sized pieces; fry them up and add to the salad. We cook half a pound of ditalini or elbow mac and throw that in there too. Toss everything up, serve with some fresh bread, and bam. Dinner’s done.
- My daughter’s favorite dish is Liberian pepper soup, so I try to make that regularly as well. I dice up an onion and add it to a stew pot with a little bit of oil to start frying it up. Then I add four-five diced jalapeños (or two-three habaneros, but we can’t always find those in stores), 2 tbsp. minced garlic, two vegetable or chicken bouillon cubes, about 1 tbsp. tomato paste, and chicken legs or thighs. Add enough water to cover the meat (maybe 4-6 cups; I am so bad at measuring), salt and pepper to taste, then start cooking on medium heat until the meat is cooked and there’s about a quarter of a pot of broth left in the post. Serve over cooked rice; we also like fried plantains, mango, or pineapple!
What I’m Listening To:
- The Hope and Hard Pills podcast with Andre Henry. If you don’t follow him, you should. He writes, speaks, and sings about racial justice and social change, and his voice is so important during these times. His podcast is at fanlink.to/hopeandhardpills
- Lisa Sharon Harper’s Freedom Road podcast. Lisa wrote one of my very favorite books, The Very Good Gospel, and is the founder and president of Freedom Road, which helps equip people and groups in justice work. You can find episodes of the podcast on their website, freedomroad.us
- The Evolving Faith podcast with Sarah Bessey and Jeff Chu. Labeled as “a podcast for the wounded, the misfits, and the spiritual refugees to let you know you are not alone,” the first season is covering the talks and sermons from the very-first gathering in 2018. You can find information on it at https://evolvingfaith.com/podcast.
Other Things I’m Loving:
- I’ve posted a lot lately about how I’ve started tuning in to my body’s cycles, not only as a woman but also as a human being who’s been given the same 24 hours per day as everyone else in the world. I’m an Enneagram 1 with a tendency to overwork and have perfectionistic tendencies, and in the spring, I had a bit of a wakeup call when I ended up in the ER for a panic attack. That’s when I started realizing I needed to work smarter, not harder. (Nevermind that the hustle-and-grind culture is deeply tied to capitalism which makes you forget you’re a living being and tries to work you like a machine…but that’s a post for another day.) Anyway, I just started using the Do Less planner by Kate Northup, which helps women plan and achieve in a way that works best for them, their cycles, and the cycles found in the natural world. It’s awesome. I ordered the digital version for $25 but you can also get a print copy and supplementals if that’s your thing. Check out this link for more info.
- Black Coffee with White Friends. I started following her account a little over a year ago and have found her to be an inspiring Christian and a voice of truth-telling when it comes to justice issues and race. She has a Patreon account for her some of her writings called Mockingbird History Lessons, which are hugely helpful if you’re a white person looking to learn and dismantle your personal biases.
- Since January, the kids have gotten monthly boxes from a subscription service called KiwiCo. They’re full of science, technology, and art projects that you can customize based on your children’s ages. Each box is $20 but you can try your first one for half off by using my referral code!
- We’ve been reading and/or listening to books found in the Black Lives Matter Instructional Library. Both kids have copies of many of these books in their own personal collections, but it’s also really fun for them to watch a read-aloud video. Bonus: they introduce kids to diversity, self-love and empowerment, activism and more!
- I’m running a Christmas in July special for any new members who buy a premium kit and enroll on my team this month. You’ll get to pick a number to reveal an awesome prize, and that’s on top of an already-amazing welcome kit you’ll get (+ a great community of oilers that I absolutely adore.) You can find out more info about oils + some of my fave products right now on my site.