Summer Reading List |

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Today I’m linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy for her monthly Twitterature series. The idea is to share short reviews of what we’ve been reading lately, and I hope to start doing this regularly!
Click here to check out the link-up and find even more great reads!

You might have noticed I recently (re) discovered the library. The New York Public Library is absolutely fantastic. They have a really great app that allows you to put books on hold from any of their bajillion locations and send it right to your local branch. So last week I went on a rampage and put tons of books and dvd’s on hold.

With that said, my reading this summer has been less than ideal. I find myself getting really into ONE thing at a time, and for this summer, it’s mostly been TV shows (most recently True Detective, Jonah of Tonga, and Long Way Down). I get fixated and then I have to spend every spare second absorbing it in. (Maybe I should do a top TV shows post. Would that be interesting?) Well I’m back to books and am glad to share some of my favorite reads from the summer and some books I’m currently reading!


Summer Reading List|

Girl at The End Of The World

I devoured this book. Elizabeth Esther’s memoir of her life in a fundamentalist cult is just fascinating. Spiritual, but not heavy handed, and just plain old interesting. My mom and sister read it after me and they too gobbled it up (in less than two days!)

Jesus Feminist

Going to be one of my all time favorites. A new classic. A beautiful, gracious book about women in the church. A must read. I want to type more, but I know this one will be in the top 5 at the end of the year, so I will write more in-depth then and give it a proper praise-bath.

Traveling Mercies

My second Anne Lamott book, after reading Help, Thanks, Wow earlier this year. This one was more of a memoir so I got a better sense of Anne. I enjoyed it, I underlined it, but for some reason this won’t go down in history for me as an all-time favorite. But I can definitely see how she is beloved by many, and how this book has impacted others. Definitely plan on reading more Anne Lamott in the future.


I’m late to the train. This is a best seller from years ago but I’m glad I picked it up. An easy, approachable book that discusses some crazy connections with how things work, and answers crazy questions like “What so school teachers and Sumo wrestlers have in common?”

Dinner: A Love Story

This is a narrative/cookbook/memoir thing. REALLY wanted to like this, because I love the idea of championing and protecting the capital F capital D Family Dinner, but I just found the tone off-putting and stuffy. (Eek! Too harsh?)


I loved this cookbook! My copy was from the library but I marked so many recipes I plan on buying it. My idea of a good recipe is around 7 ingredients or less, and this cookbook was full of them! So many simple classics in it that I can’t wait to try.

Currently Reading:

My Summer Reads |

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work

This read is really impacting me. The author shares the daily routines and rituals of over 200 different artists. It has inspired me to structure my day better and find a way to do my best work. I’m almost finished with it and can’t wait to write more about how I plan to add more ritual and routine into my life!

The Divine Hours

I’ve started the Prayers for Summertime and I’m in love. This is basically a devotional, liturgical prayer book. It feels ancient and holy and I am falling in love with liturgy. Hope to write a full post about my new-found love of liturgy soon.


A quarter-of-the-way in and I know I already know I really like this. This is the memoir of a self-labeled cranky, sarcastic female Lutheran pastor. Her thoughts on faith and her approach to life and grace are going to stick with me for quite some time, I know.

Want to Read:

My Summer Reading List |

A Generous Orthodoxy

An Altar in The World

Think Like a Freak

The Husband’s Secret

And even more on my

Goodreads to-read list!





What did you read this summer? Any favorites? Anything to stay clear of?  I have an endless Goodreads list that I’m itching to put a dent in, but am ALWAYS looking for recommendations!


This post does NOT contain affiliate links.  I just like these books and linked them so you could find more information about them!

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Weekly Life Update 9.12.14

The highlight of my week? The Beyoncé-themed bathroom I encountered in a Midtown restaurant complete with Beyoncé Single Ladies Mosaic, Barbie Beyoncé shadow box, and a looping track of her top singles.


Hello and welcome to my most thrilling blog post yet! I have given it a title that will get your heart racing: Weekly Life Update.

I am sure it will blow your mind, so please contain your excitement, pull yourself together, and start reading.

This week was a hard week. But pretty good. All sorts of different things. But I’ve found that I live in the extremes.

Extreme Number #1: HOPEFUL! Joy! Excited! Life is beautiful! We can do this! This is fun! WOOOHOOOOOOOO!!!!

Extreme Number #2: HOPELESS. All-is-lost. Death. Hatred. Despair. Crying-for-hours. Angry. Yelling. Bummed out.

I don’t know if my extremes are good things or bad things, just that they are things. And I’m learning how to deal.

I’m not sure if I love or hate the extremes. I know that I’m a feeler, I feel things REALLY intensely, good or bad. So I have the feels, and cancer definitely highlights all those feels.

Ok, now to the Life Update part. This week I got some good housework done. Cooking, cleaning, organizing.

On Monday I met with a family I am going to start babysitting for twice a week. It will be nice to make some extra money and get out of the house regularly.

On Tuesday I can’t remember what happened. I think I cried. Also, my cats spilled water on my laptop that weekend and I was laptop-less and sad.

On Wednesday BJ and I went to the Apple Store and Trader Joe’s together. I bought a basil plant. We got the good news that my laptop works and I lost NO data (HURRAY!) just that it had a few little quirks like a non-functioning trackpad and some sort of wireless issue. That evening I lead some prayer time for friends who are in the middle of the adoption process. I loved praying for them and supporting them and hearing all about their journey (You can donate to their adoption fund here!)

On Thursday I played with my friend Jessica and ate Jeni’s Ice Cream (Sweet Corn and Black Raspberry + Sweet Cream Biscuits and Peach Jam Ice Cream. I DIE.) That night I had a sleepover with my hubby in the living room. We pulled out the sofa bed, ordered pizza, and watched Wolf of Wall Street.

On Friday morning (aka THIS morning) we woke up at 9 and ate leftover pizza and coffee for breakfast. We talked, we did the dishes, we sorted our laundry. And now I’m writing things.

So yeah. That was our week. You’re welcome, internet. You KNOW your life is better now that you know how my life was this week.

But actually, in all seriousness, I think peeking into people’s daily life is fascinating. I would actually love reading about people’s week. (Remember what I said here?) And now that I have a fully functioning laptop, I plan on blasting you with blog posts all next week. YA READY?

Have a good weekend, folks.



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Twice in one day I was given unsolicited advice about BJ’s cancer treatments.

I won’t go into details but people made unprompted comments about how BJ shouldn’t do chemo and suggestions about reversing cancer with nutrition.

I was able to respond firmly and directly (thank God) but I still am thinking about it.

YES. I would LOVE to reverse BJ’s cancer with nutrition. I would LOVE to eat that way, and I honestly think that would help BJ.

But you know what? I am on the fringe of my emotional capabilities. I am dealing with WAY WAY WAY more than I can handle, and there isn’t any more room on my plate, literally and figuratively.

I need to learn how to not cry at every given moment of every day and how to wake up not feeling devastated- not how to juice turnips and cure cancer with acupuncture. I am barely surviving, and I need prayers that I don’t fall back into a deep depression, not your concerns about my husband’s medical treatment. (Comfort in, dump out, remember?)

And I would love to cook better food- but I’m not a cook, and now is not really the time for me to completely change our eating. And it’s not like we’re eating frozen pizzas for dinner every night. I’m home cooking, shopping at the farmer’s market, cutting carbs and sugar and upping the protein and greens. I am doing THE BEST I can. I swear to you. THE BEST. And there isn’t anything else I could do unless you plan on hiring me a personal chef (please do) or bringing me three meals a day for the next five months.  So in other words, your advice was hurtful, not helpful.

And YES I understand chemo is toxic drugs. Oh I know. It makes me angry. But that is what we have talked about with our doctors and that is the course of action we are taking and GUESS WHAT- we’ve already started. BJ is doing chemo. He’s not going to stop. So right now I could use support instead of commentary.

(Oops. Now I’m afraid I might scare people off from talking to me for fear I’ll blog about it. But I think if you just stay away from unsolicited advice you should be ok.)

I’m just doing the best I can. And I’m just trying to have a real life. An as-normal-as-possible life. And when someone casually suggests we stop chemo in favor of nutrition, they are not only dismissing everything I AM doing to help my husband, they are asking me to completely change my life and eating habits and just eat grass and kale and organic grass kale. And that makes the shitty thing that is cancer even worse because not only do we have cancer but NOW WE HAVE TO EAT GRASS. No thank you.

Oh and are YOU juicing 2000 carrots each day and hand preparing organic and macrobiotic fresh kale salads? Or are you just telling ME to do that?

Now sometimes I DO ask for help. I asked people for ideas about nausea and I was grateful for the responses. And I will sometimes pull aside close friends and people I trust and ask them their opinions on our cancer treatments. But that is for ME to ask, not for others to offer. I promise you, I PROMISE YOU, I have enough going on without now ALSO having to wade through everyone’s opinions on everything I am doing.

So here’s a piece of unsolicited advice- don’t give out unsolicited advice.

And in my humble opinion, I think going out to dinner with friends and eating bowls of ice cream heals cancer just as much as anything else.

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The only picture I

The only picture I’ve ever taken of boats.

I need BOATS.

And not just a boat, but BOATS.

Lots of them. Days of them. A lifetime of them.

Let me explain.

I wrote this prayer yesterday.

And I talked about (though vaguely) just needing a fishing boat to sit silently in with God. Because I was just too exhausted to do anything else.

And I realized I tapped into something deep about me.

I think DOING more is BETTER.

The more I do the more I get.

The more I pray, the more God does.

Doing more, well, equals more.

But the more I learn about walking a spiritual path, the more I learn that is a ALL about less.

Do less. Say less. Want less. Be less.

And my tightly spun brain goes really? REALLY? Like REALLY really?

But then I un-spin and I think yes, yes, yes.

Cast your cares on the Lord
    and he will sustain you


Do not be anxious about anything


Remain in me,
    and I will remain in you

(Just remain, do less)

So instead of trying to weave elaborate prayers and pull my boot straps and DO things-

I’m just going to sit in that boat with God

and do absolutely nothing

And just remain.

Will you pray that for me? More boats for Andrea?

Because I have a feeling that will be the key to absolutely everything.


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An Open Prayer |

Sorry Jesus I don’t want to talk to you very much.

I guess the Good Christian Thing to do is pray fervently for BJ’s cancer to go away.

But I just can’t deal.

Praying about it means thinking about it.

Praying for BJ to live means I’m praying because BJ might die.

And honestly- I just can’t deal.

You’re giving me more than I can handle.

And I am just surviving.

And there doesn’t seem to be room for you.

I know you can make things better. For me. For BJ. For our future. For our lives.

I believe it, I do.

But every time I sit down to pray, it doesn’t feel official enough.

Ugh I am tired HELP MEEEE

That’s all I can say.

I can squeak out a phrase and then I’m done. My brain is done.

Is that ok, Jesus?

No one ever taught me how to pray when you feel like you can’t breathe. How to pray when you’re sad. How to make room for you when all I want to do is wake up each morning with two people alive.

Jesus, do my blogs count as prayers? Because I feel like I pour more words into them, and into daily conversations with other people, than I do with you. Is that ok?

I think it might be. You’re pretty cool and understanding that way. I think you’re much more accessible than people think. And WAYYY less fussy. You’re definitely chill.

So yeah, I’m cool, right? I’m getting that vibe.

But I’m also getting that vibe that I DO need to be alone with you more. We should talk one on one. Or just SIT one on one.

Yeahhhhhhhhh. THAT’S what I need. Just you and me sitting next to each other on a fishing boat, Jesus.

That’s what I need. You and me and silence.

And in the silence, please help me feel known. Please take the desires and prayers of my heart and hear them- though my mouth and brain are too tired to articulate them. Even say-it-in-your-head prayers are too exhausting for me.

What I need a silence-and-just-let-God-be-God kind of prayer.

Yeah, Jesus, OH YEAH. A silent prayer. That’s what I need.

You got that?

Of course you do.




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