What I’m Into: August 2014

Lydia three years

harvesting honey

honey comb frames

harvesting honey 2


canning tomatoes

August never fails to be a full month. It’s always the busiest time for harvesting and preserving.

Just in the last week, I was over at my parents’ house helping to harvest potatoes and onions, pick and can tomatoes, butcher meat chickens, and harvest honey. (We still have lots more canning to do.)

We also celebrated Lydia’s third birthday and our ninth anniversary this month. Oh, and I’ve reached the third trimester with this pregnancy! Entering the home stretch!

So much work! So much fun!

On to the Stuff I’ve Been Into!


10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story (Dan Harris).

I’ve been feeling for a while that meditation might be a key element that’s missing from many of our daily lives, which, if practiced, could vastly improve our physical and emotional health. (And, by the way, I believe it can be perfectly compatible with Christianity.)

So when my friend Rebecca practically begged me to read this book exploring meditation from a non-spiritual perspective, I thought I’d give it a try.

First thing to note about this book is that the writing is absolutely superb. So much so, that I couldn’t shake the suspicion it was ghost-written. I know professional writers who have had their work published for years who don’t write this well. Very absorbing and bitingly clever.

This book is more of a memoir than a self-help book. Harris traces his journey into meditation from cynic to awkward evangelist. I really valued the chapters exploring the science that is beginning to demonstrate meditation’s impressive power to transform the brain. The practice actually strengthens parts of the brain in ways that can be seen through brain scans, increasing an individual’s capacity for contentment and self-control. Cool stuff.

He gets a little into how-to’s, but I would really like to go deeper into how to practice meditation. Any recommendations? I’m also deeply interested in any books that might explore Christian meditation.


Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) (Mindy Kaling).

Ben and I kind of went on an obsessive spree watching The Mindy Project this month (more on that below), so I was eager to check out Kaling’s book and get to know the brain behind the show that had so captivated our attention.

This book is fun, quick, light reading. It’s terribly smart and funny, just like the author. I particularly enjoyed the early chapters about her childhood and how she got into comedy writing, eventually landing her job writing for The Office. Some of the essays later in the book are witty and illuminating, too, though a few of them kind of bored me.

I really wished that the book was more recent — at its writing, she hadn’t even begun The Mindy Project. I would have LOVED to learn more about the show and how it came to be. Regardless, it was very interesting to get a glimpse of the person behind the show. I think it really helped me to better understand what she’s trying to do with the story, too.


As I mentioned, we got a little obsessed with The Mindy Project and binge-watched the second half of the first season and then the entire second season. It is so good, you guys. Absolutely hilarious. Especially the last episode of season two. It made me happy for a week.

And if you find yourself in the middle of season two thinking, “Man, there is a lot of sex in this show. Does anyone know how to have a relationship? Is this all this show is about? Why does everyone suck so much?” . . . I feel you. I felt the same way sometimes. But I really think Kaling is trying to do something that you’ll only really get once you’ve watched all the way through. Either way: the last episode makes it all worthwhile.


We scored some free movie tickets that expired this month, so we went out to see Guardians of the Galaxy. I love (almost) all the Marvel movies, and this one didn’t disappoint. The opening scene actually made me bawl like a baby, but I was quickly swept up by the humour, action, clever plot, and awesome special effects. And as usual, completely lovable characters. Even the green lady, the tree-man, and the raccoon. I loved them all.

And we’ve continued to occasionally watch classic romances I’ve never seen. This month it was When Harry Met Sally. It was all right. Funny and awkward and sweet. It really took me a while to warm up to both Harry and Sally, though.

With the Munchkin

Sandpaper letters

We’ve started to work with the sandpaper letters I made last month. As you can tell from the pictures, Lydia loves them! In stages, we’ve learned 8 different letters so far with their phonetic sounds, using the three-period lesson. Sometimes we practice writing them. Here, you can see her playing the little game I made up — I’ve drawn pictures of things that start with the letters on little sticky notes, and she matches them up with the right sound. She adores this game. Little nerd.

That’s what I’ve been up to! How about you?

As usual, linking up with Leigh Kramer.

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  1. I loved Guardians of the Galaxy too! I really enjoy these link ups and glad I landed on your site. Talking about Christian meditation, have you read Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. It’s a classic and covers several basic practices of faith. I’ve been reading Wherever You Go There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn. This book is a daily meditation guide to cultivate mindfulness. I’ve enjoyed it so far and one of its best aspects is that you read one practice at a time. Best wishes for you and your new one coming.
    Mimi recently posted..Summer ViewpointMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by, Mimi! I’ve had my eye on Celebration of Discipline — I should definitely try it! And Jon Kabat-Zinn sounds like a winner, too. If a fellow Christian enjoyed it, I will have to give it a try. Thanks so much for the recommendations!

  2. This is all great and everything, but what *I* would’ve been into is another photo of your Cutest Pregnant Woman Ever self! Hugs to you and Baby Blueberry! XO
    Rebecca recently posted..Red Carpet: Emmys, 2014My Profile

    • Ha! Thanks, Rebecca. I intended to include one, but I didn’t have any decent/recent photos. I have to put on nice clothes and get Ben to take one for me. It’s a hassle. :) I’ll get on it, though.

  3. KATHLEEN! I am so enamored with your life. I know it takes a lot of work and effort but I am constantly amazed by what you’re making, cooking, canning,butchering, and so on. If I didn’t live in the city, I’d be sitting at your feet and basking in your wisdom. Such as it is, I’m taking notes on what’s possible for this city-dweller to be a more conscientious consumer. I can’t believe you’re in the 3rd trimester already. Time flies! I’m racking my brain for meditation book suggestions. Meditation pairs really well with the Enneagram and I’m positive there’s a chapter toward the end of Wisdom of the Enneagram that delves into the practice and also offers at least one guided meditation. I first learned to meditate while I was in grad school for social work, through studying Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Unfortunately, I cannot remember any of the texts we used. I’ll keep thinking on it.
    Leigh Kramer recently posted..The Red Couch: Overdressed introductionMy Profile

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