Hello! My kids are mentally done with any kind of official “school” work, but we only have one week to go. I’m psyching myself up to finish strong, and trying to wrap my head around what summer is going to look like. The short answer is of course: who knows! So here are some things I do know right now:

What I’m Reading…

I’ve been talking about Jane Harper all over the place recently and it’s because I read all three of her books in two and a half weeks and I’m OBSESSED. She writes vividly descriptive, atmospheric mysteries with tight, intense plots and interesting, layered characters. She has definitely moved to my list of authors whose books I’ll read as soon as they come out.

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it here before, but a few months ago I started re-reading the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan in anticipation of the planned television series. It’s been fun because there are so many things I’ve forgotten about, so many characters that I’m loving even more this second time around. I’m listening to the audio books, which is perfect because if I get briefly distracted it’s not too big of a deal. I used to listen to audiobooks all the time when I had a daily commute, but got out of the habit when I stopped working. Now I often listen when I’m doing chores, or sitting in the front yard watching the kids ride their bikes, or while I’m running.

I also just started the historical fiction novel Sorrento Girl, by Dawn Klinge. Dawn’s one of my new critique partners, and I’m enjoying her work in progress so much I thought I should pick up one of her finished novels! 

What I’m watching/listening to…

Are we all watching John Krasinski’s Some Good News on You Tube? If you’re not, you should. Each episode is kind of like a warm hug. I also recently watched the Netflix series Never Have I Ever. It’s about an Indian-American teenage girl navigating her sophomore year of high school a year after her dad suddenly dies. The characters are so realistic, and for once actually seem like real teenagers (in both the good ways, and the awkward, cringy ways). I love stories that can manage both laugh-out-loud moments and sadness, and this show does it well (one content note since the show is about teenagers: I’d give it a PG13 rating for language and talk about sex).

I was looking for some new music to listen to recently, and my good friend Ryan recommended The High Kings. Suffice it to say, it’s right up my alley, and I’ve got their albums on repeat right now. They’re upbeat and mellow at the same time, which seems like it shouldn’t be possible, but it is! And it’s just what I want right now. Another musical high note the past month or so has been Songs with Strangers by Johnnyswim. Here’s these songs go: the band goes live on social media, picks a complete stranger, and writes and records a song all in 24 hours. I am obsessed with this kind of creativity, and the songs are also really beautiful.

What I’m grateful for…

Lately the things I’m most grateful for have to do with the outdoors, like our backyard and the sidewalks in our neighborhood. Last week, I added to that list the nearby park with a really nice walking/running/biking trail that I can go to with the kids. The outdoors is my happy place, and I do not take it for granted that while all our extra curricular activities are put on hold we live somewhere where we can at least get outside regularly.

A little inspiration…

I came across this poem on a social media post from author Sally Lloyd-Jones. According to Lloyd-Jones, it was read by King George VI in his radio broadcast to the British people in December of 1939. I hope it encourages you as much as it did me!

“The Gate of the Year” (aka “God knows”)

By Minnie Louise Haskins

“And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:

‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’

And he replied:

‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand in the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.’

So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.” . . .

Words assurance to a nation at war,

Words of comfort for those who’d lost loved ones,

Words of hope for war to end,

Words of peace in the face of fear,

Words of truth that our God is in control and we need not fear.

Words for us this new year, too.

He will light our way.

He will guide our steps.

He will hold us by the hand and lead us.

The future is secure...not because we’ve thought of everything, not because we have done everything right, not because we’ve been so clever or so strong or so good or so perfect, but always & only because of this:

He holds it in His hands