What I’m Into (And a Sad Announcement): June 2013

Lydia mud


eating strawberries

June was strolling along beautifully until this last Saturday, when our beloved Narnia was hit by a car, her body irreparably damaged. We had to put her down.

papillon dog

I’m still reeling from the tragedy and overwhelmed with grief. Just posting this picture here was agony.

Narnia was an intimate part of my and Ben’s life for the last three years, and part of Lydia’s since before she was born. The sound of her bark was a part of Lydia’s in utero sensory experience. She could say “Narnia” (Nana) before she even said Mom or Dad.

I can still hardly talk about it. I’m bawling my eyes out as I write this. I loved her dearly. She was my first baby and a part of our family. She was still so young and full of life. I miss her so much.

But life for the rest of us has gone on. With a heaviness in my stomach that won’t go away, I’m sharing are a few things I’ve been into.


O Me of Little Faith: True Confessions of a Spiritual Weakling by Jason Boyett. I didn’t set out to read this book. I’d convinced Ben to buy/read it, because I guessed he would like it. (He did.) I used to read Jason’s blog, and knew he was a first-rate writer. I just didn’t think the book would contain much I didn’t already know about faith and doubt — it’s a topic I’ve read quite a bit about already (not least via Jason’s blog).

But the book was laying around after Ben had finished it, and I picked it up. I was right: it didn’t contain much for new ideas, but it reconfirmed my opinion that Jason Boyett is remarkably talented, smart, witty, and well-read. He’s got an original and endearing voice and a knack for creating memorable imagery. I’d say he’s like a young, sarcastic Philip Yancey. If the subject of faith/doubt interest you, I highly recommend it.

Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church by N. T. Wright. You GUYS. This. BOOK. I’m calling it a must-read for contemporary Christians. Illuminating, paradigm-shifting, elegant. Love it. Read it!

The main focus of Wright’s book is the Resurrection. He sets out to explain how most Christians have the afterlife all wrong: Jesus and the New Testament writers clearly teach that God’s children will be resurrected into physical bodies, here on Earth, just as Jesus was. (Heaven is, in fact, a temporary holding-place for the departed until the Resurrection.) He then goes on to explore the implications of the Resurrection: it changes the way we understand our mission, and has highly political implications.

I’m only about halfway through, but I recommend it without reservation and can’t wait to finish it. I’m eager to learn how belief in the resurrection shapes the way we ought to live in the here and now. I have so much to learn!

How to Cook Everything: The Basics by Mark Bittman. Inevitably, one of my library books always ends up being a cookbook. I can’t help myself. And this one did not disappoint. In fact, I’m just waiting until my next trip to the bookstore to get my own copy with a gift card I have.

This book is an excellent resource for beginner cooks, but I even love it as a more experienced cook. All of Bittman’s recipes are supremely simple and yet amazingly delicious.

Children’s Books

I Am a Bunny by Ole Risom / Richard Scarry – I happened to pick up this classic Golden Sturdy Book at a thrift store, not familiar with the book but recognizing Scarry’s characteristic artwork. I loved it the first time I read it through, and encourage Lydia to pick it at story time so I can enjoy the lovely artwork. It goes through the four seasons, offering beautiful, nostalgic illustrations of the little bunny enjoying nature.

I am a bunny

Lydia enjoys the simple story and the colourful, realistic pictures. She always pretends to pick and eat the strawberries when we get to spring. (And also the frogs when we get to summer. I don’t get it.) So sweet!


We watched Man of Steel. I thoroughly enjoyed it! Overall, I was a little disappointed (who wasn’t? We were all expecting another Dark Knight, which it wasn’t), but it was a fun date night movie. But please, PLEASE tell me we weren’t expected to believe that Lois didn’t recognize Superman/Clark Kent at the very end of the movie. I can’t abide the thought that she didn’t recognize him. No. Just NO.

We also finally watched Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 on DVD (because, confession: I loved the books). I expected it to be cheesy, but it was worse than I had anticipated. I think the actors are actually getting worse with every movie. In fact, it was downright embarrassing to watch. However, I do think the writers took an interesting slant with the ending, which actually impressed me — they really improved upon the (rather disappointing) ending in the book.

In the Kitchen

Well, in the spirit of seasonal eating, we’ve been chowing down on a TON of salad. Salad for every meal. Strawberry-spinach salad; warm spinach salad with bacon; homemade Caesar salad; knockoff Olive Garden salad; mesclun with mandarins and toasted almonds; you name it.

We’ve also been enjoying lots of fresh strawberries, and yesterday I made a batch of mulberry-flavoured yogurt which was a big hit all around.

We tried garlic scapes for the first time, which we really liked. Are you familiar with garlic scapes? We weren’t, before I did some research. They’re the flowering bulbs that form at the end of a curly-cue on top of the garlic plant. (And remember how much garlic we have growing in my parents’ garden?) Anyway, you’re supposed to snip them off the plant around midsummer to encourage the bulb under the ground to grow, which we did. Apparently, they’re also delicious. We just fried up a pan of them as a side dish. Kind of like a green bean with a mild garlic flavour. Yum!

garlic scapes

I’ve also tried a bunch of Mark Bittman recipes (see Books, above): his barley and kale soup; his Thai-style noodles with shrimp; his vanilla-peach smoothies; etc. All were winners.

So that’s what I’ve been into. How about you?

*Linking up with Leigh Kramer’s What I’m Into Link-Up.*

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. Meaning that if you buy anything from my links,  I get a tiny commission. Thanks for your support!

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  1. (((BIG HUG))) I’m So, SO Sorry for your loss. It’s just Awful! We put our 16 yo Dewey down in May and it still sucks… we just miss him so. It’s amazing what a Blessing our pets are to us! To think that this creature, created by God, with a different ‘culture’ and language, learns to be so tightly integrated into our lives, despite the barrier of being a different species. The only way this is possible is because of LOVE; you Loved your pup and Narnia Loved you all right back. May you and your family find Peace at this difficult time.

  2. Oh friend, I’m so sorry to hear that you lost your sweet Narnia. I remember how painful that separation is. Sending big hugs your way. xxx

    I started reading Surprised by Hope about a year ago and got distracted half way through. I need to go back and finish it because every chapter was an a-hah moment for me.
    Fiona Lynne recently posted..a woman’s workMy Profile

  3. Peter Klassen says

    Hey there Kathleen, I just felt the need to caution you with. N.T. Wright. He is an amazing theologian but, I believe that some of his theology has been compromised. I know that it is possible to read something and get the good with the bad, but I didn’t know how well you know some of his other Theology. When I heard that some of his ideas are changing the way you view evangelism and life style worried me a bit and was wondering if you could elaborate.
    N.T. Wrights idea of ‘imputed righteousness’ is a big deal to me. Most theologian would not agree with this view that we don’t posses God’s righteousness but our own.
    He also believes that baptism is not just a symbol but actually part of the actual process as if is the gateway into that membership. Have you ever read some Piper? ‘The Future of Justification: A Response to N. T. Wright’ I heard is a good one. I think balance is important when it comes to theology, or anything for that matter.
    Just thought I would relay some thoughts.


    • Peter Klassen says

      Wow, don’t mind the grammar! I wrote that in a hurry.

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Peter. I haven’t come across anything like what you mention so far in the book. This is my first time reading N. T. Wright. I’ll have to look into those issues.

      It’s interesting that you mention Piper. I haven’t read him, either, but most of what I’ve heard has been positively alarming (and not in a good way). But I can’t make any judgements based on personal reading. So I admit I’m very wary of Piper, but I’m sure he has plenty of good things to say, too. Maybe I’ll have to balance my reading with some of his work, too.

      My comments on other people’s blogs are always terribly grammar-wise, too. :)

  4. Oh Kathleen, that is so horrible. Our family dog died in a car wreak on New Years Eve 8 years ago, and it still makes me so sad. There are new dogs now, and we love them in new ways, but it is still just so sad. The pain of it reminds me of that beautiful CS Lewis quote, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable. The alternative to tragedy or at least to the risk of tragedy is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell” I too love that NT Wright book, and I hope that as you feel the deep wrongness of the death of your little Narnia, that you’ll feel closer to how we have a deeper hope that all will be made new.
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  5. Sooooo sorry about Narnia. Such a tragic loss! Losing a beloved dog is so painful. :(

  6. Kathleen, I’m so sorry about the loss of your dog. That’s absolutely terrible. :(
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  7. I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. Even though they’re furry, our pets are so much a part of our family and I know how heartbreaking it is to have to make the decision to put them down. I hope peace comes to your heart and that the Comforter is near you.

  8. Thanks so much, everyone, for your support and love. Thanks for understanding. It’s comforting to know I’m not alone.

  9. I am SO, SO SORRY for your loss of your beloved Narnia! My dog is totally like my 1st child (I am not a Mom yet, except to her :). I understand that pain, and I’m sorry she was taken from you so unexpectedly. Praying for you and your family – and lots of lovely good things in this post – thank you! :)
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  10. That’s awful, Kathleen. She’s such a cute little papillon. I always liked seeing your pictures of her. Losing a pet is the worst. I still cry sometimes about my childhood dogs, and I don’t know what I’ll do when the ones I have now pass. :'(

    I saw on Facebook you asked about animals being resurrected. I haven’t read the Wright stuff you’ve been reading, but when our first dog died and I asked my mom this, she said that since in heaven you will be perfectly happy and content, if you need your dogs there to be happy, then they’ll be there. Perhaps it’s theologically suspect, but I always found that thought comforting.

    Haha, I read and enjoyed the Twilight books but never watched any of the movies. But now I’m kind of intrigued by you saying they improved the ending…probably not intrigued enough to sit through two hours of Stewart and Pattinson, but intrigued. ;-)

    Here’s to a happier July.

  11. So sorry to hear about your dog. We lost our 7-year-old dog a week ago. She was hit by a truck and died on the spot. It took me a few days to be able to post anything about it on Facebook without crying my eyes out. I still tear up from time to time when thinking about what happened.

  12. I’m so, so sorry to hear about your beloved dog. My Norman is so precious to me I can only imagine how heartbreaking this must have been. Love to you. xo
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  13. Picking up my own kitty Lucy off the road is one of the most painful things I’ve ever done. I’m so sorry for your hurt and loss. It’s wonderful, though, that Lydia got to have a canine friend so early. Baby/dog connections are the best!

  14. Losing a pup is so, so hard – there are no two ways around it. As per Wright’s Surprised By Hope, might this life after life after death give you HOPE indeed!
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  15. Kathleen, my sympathies for the loss of your beloved Narnia. You are very brave to write about it here, so soon after.

    The Boyett book sounds like something I’d like. Faith and doubt are pretty huge for me. And go hand-in-hand, unfortunately.

    Bittman’s How to Cook Everything is my cooking bible. I pull it out all the time, often as a reference for oven temp, etc.

    We watched Man of Steel, too. My husband loved it more than I did. It was good, but didn’t you think it could have been about 30 minutes shorter and been better?! And, yeah, Lois HAD to recognize him in the final scene!

  16. Just wanted to let you know that I’ve been thinking about you and that I’m so sorry for your loss. My husband and I just lost our parakeet on Saturday and we are so heart borken over it. He was very much our little baby as we don’t have kids yet and has been a part of our marriage from the start. It’s so devastating to lose our beloved pets :(

  17. Oh how sad! I’m so sorry to hear about what happened to Narnia! How is Lydia handling things? Does she seem to understand at all? I can’t imagine losing one of my cats :(
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    • Thanks, Michele. Thankfully, Lydia doesn’t seem to really understand. She’ll go looking for Narnia every once in a while, but when she can’t find her, she just kind of goes oh well, and moves on to something else. She knows that talking about Narnia makes me sad, so she’ll turn very solemn and say, “Mommy so sad. Narnia so sad.” But she doesn’t understand why we’re being all serious.

  18. I don’t know if I ever commented but I have been thinking about you and losing Narnia a lot over the last two weeks. I’m so sorry for your loss, and what you probably went through in her final moments. I haven’t had a family pet since childhood but I remember the ache that remained after losing each cat. I know how special Narnia was to you and the void she helped fill at a very important time in your life. Mike and I had a deadline, so to speak, about when we would get an animal (he was the one that needed the convincing) but i admit that a part of me was a little scared, as much as I wanted one, because I felt like I would love it TOO much and it was inevitable that it would leave me and/or I’d watch it die. Its a risk you take when you love anything, right? I think you are better for having loved her, though I’m sure that’s not much consolation.
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    • Thanks, Alison. I went through something similar, actually — I hesitated when it came to adopting Narnia, because I knew I would probably see her die someday (either in an accident or of old age), and I didn’t know if my heart could take it. But just like you said: that’s the risk you take when you love something. I think you’re right — I’m better off for having loved her, but it’s hard to believe when you’re still experiencing the freshness of grief.

  19. So sorry to hear of your loss. Our family dog died this past fall and every time I return to my hometown, I’m stunned when he doesn’t greet me at the door.

    I’m in the middle of O Me of Little Faith and really enjoying it. I liked your description of Jason as a young, sarcastic Yancey. That’s rather fitting. I’ve heard great things about How to Cook Everything. I should see if my library has it. Thanks for linking up with What I’m Into!
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