Read, Watched, Listened

I love reading just about everything, watching comedy and documentary-type things, and have wholeheartedly embrace the podcast.  I also enjoy hearing about what other people are reading, watching, and listening.  Here's my two cents worth.


Present Over Perfect
I am a definite Shauna Niequist fan, and this latest work was another beautiful read.  She has such a gift for storytelling and stringing words together.  It should be obvious from the title, but Present Over Perfect emphasizes a turn away from the rush and the spotlight and towards what's actually important; family, friends, home.  Choosing where and what we say yes to.  However, I do have to say that as an average mom with a messy playroom and an abundance of sticky fingerprints and not all that many engagements to keep in the first place, it was a bit hard to relate to.  I still love her storytelling, but I just can't relate to saying "no" to such big opportunities in life that she is experiencing (i.e. speaking engagements, interviews, books etc.).  I still appreciate her perspective, but it definitely wasn't relatable for me from that standpoint.

Simply Tuesday
This made a bit more sense to me.  Emily P. Freeman's idea that it's in our "Tuesday moments" - Tuesday being the most ordinary day of the week - that we can really thrive and find ourselves.  So much of our life is made up of the Tuesdays, not the big grand sweeping moments that we might like or think it to be.  I loved her perspective about being a bench sitter, someone who embraces the small moments  and marks them as something important.  This book was a breath of life, especially for someone in a season of raising very small children.  Also check out her hashtag #itssimplytuesday on Instagram for some lovely, ordinary, inspiration.

The Life Giving Home
Okay, I guess my books had a theme this month.  Being present, embracing small moments, the importance of the home, etc.  I've been listening to Sally Clarkson's podcast for awhile, and was excited to finally dive into one of her books (which was co-written with her oldest daughter).  She and I have a lot of the same opinions on the correlation between home life and the health of our families, and the importance of rituals and routines to mark our seasons and our days.  I love her idea of daily teatimes.  Her book is full of inspiration (she is definitely an idealist, which helps this self-proclaimed realist to dream a little bigger) and practical stories and ideas on how she breathed life into her own home.  From listening to her podcast and some other interviews, many of the stories were familiar to me, but reading the book was a good reminder and nudge at the beginning of the year to keep up and create some rituals of my own.


Top Chef
Tyson and I are diehards.  We love it.  We catch up with each week's episode and Last Chance Kitchen online.  This season, half of the competitors are repeats (or "veterans" as they call them) so if you've watched previous seasons, you'll recognize some familiar faces.  There's been some decent drama this season, too, though not in a dumb way, that have made a few of the episodes even more fun to watch.


The Axe Files
My political-minded cousin recommended this one to me and I can't get enough.  David Axelrod, a former senior advisor to President Obama, interviews people in the political sphere from both sides of the party lines.  Even when he interviews someone that I disagree with (I'm looking at you, Sean Spicer) I come away with a greater understanding of who they are and where they are coming from.  If you're scratching your head and feeling despair over the last election (#allthewailingandgnashingofteeth), I strongly recommend listening to Axelrod's well-reasoned, articulate, intelligent conversations.  Start with his post-election chat with Doris Kearns Goodwin.  Or his interview with President Barack Obama...but you just might need some tissues for that one.  (Side note: also has the classiest intro music I've ever heard for a podcast.)