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.
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.
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.
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!
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.*
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