Best of February

that china pattern belongs to Your HOme Public library in Johnson City, ny. Could this display at their book sale be any more charming?  

that china pattern belongs to Your HOme Public library in Johnson City, ny. Could this display at their book sale be any more charming?  

Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.
— Martin Luther King Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?

February moved along at a fairly happy clip.  Some of the sadness that always falls in January lifted a bit and made space for us to enjoy time with our daughter (who's moved back home for the semester), new and old friends, family and our new town.  As much as I need great blocks of quiet aloneness, I'm finding there is a limit to how much of that is healthy for me emotionally.  I'm also getting reacquainted with the darkness and starkness of winter in the Northeast, which, on the whole, is something I actually enjoy.  It's been six years since we've experienced this sort of winter, though, and we're a bit rusty!  

A few more things we enjoyed in February:

  • A prayer walk with a local college campus ministry leader that led us to the on-campus masjid (mosque) to hear stories of immigrants and/or Muslims. While we visited, one of the students made us tea and we learned some about the Muslim community on campus. The mosque director expressed to us how much the students in his community have felt welcomed by the university and the city of Bridgeport in recent weeks. It was an encouraging, hopeful meeting.
  • We drove to Church of the Cross in Boston to attend the ordination of a new Anglican priest.  It was good to be with this sister congregation, and fun to be in Boston the night of that crazy Superbowl!
  • More winter beach walks!  (those sea shells amaze me)
  • Our first major snowfall in Connecticut, and then a week of enjoying its beauty.
  • Our once-a-month visit with our parents back in NY.  This time we squeezed in a few minutes to see my youngest brother.  Oh!  And that spontaneous afternoon trip to Philadelphia area and back so I could have dinner with 2 of my sisters.
  • A library book sale love story: part 1 & part 2
  • Our second get-together with our reading group at church (see book below).  It's been an honor to host meaningful conversations with such thoughtful people. 

In addition to time spent with people, I'm grateful for some new writing and ministry projects that have come my way.  I'll keep you posted, and in the meantime, we'll begin walking through the season of Lent here on the blog.  I'll be posting a daily journal of Scripture selected from the Book of Common Prayer lectionary along with a song, prayer, image and spiritual exercise for each weekday in Lent.  You can receive each post in your blog reader or by subscribing to the email list in the sidebar on the right of the website.  

Another way to keep up to date with the Lent daybook posts is to follow the blog's Facebook page.  Once you've "liked" the page, click on the "following" button and then in the drop-down box, underneath "notifications" click on.

How about you?  How'd February treat you?  How are you planning to observe the season of Lent this year?  Drop me a note in the comments below.  I love to hear from you.

May you know more and more the gentleness of Christ's presence and the faithful friendship of his people,


What I Read

5. Andy Catlett: Early Travels (Port William) by Wendell Berry - I read this as part of my goal to read all of Berry's fiction, and as recommended by some of the criticism I received for the essay I published in Plough magazine's winter issue.  Andy Catlett: Early Travels tells the story of young Andy's first solo visit to both sets of grandparents.  It's a story of a nine-year-old's rite of passage and a recounting of all the small, but poignant details a child remembers from time spent with loving grandparents.  This will now be the book I recommend as an introduction to all of the Port William novels. 

6. Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - We read this together with our church's reading group (Apostles Reads).  Written in 1967, this is the last book Dr. King wrote before being assassinated in 1968. The title alone felt important for our current political climate in the U.S. I will write a longer review soon, but for now I'll say that this as provocative and prescient as anything I've ever read/heard from Dr. King. I'm grateful for the group of thoughtful people who were willing to read along with me, and engage in the deep conversations the book initiates.

7. How the Light Gets In: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penny - I kept hearing about Inspector Gamache, and enjoyed everything about this book.  I'm hooked!

8. Speaking of Faith by Krista Tippett - For the past year or so, I've been listening to the On Being podcast with Krista Tippett.  This is my first time reading her, and I feel like I've found another important mentor.  Tippett is eloquently skilled at communicating her own faith while intelligently engaging people of all faiths to share their own stories.  This is a rare skill, and I want to grow in it.

9. The Way of Letting Go: One Woman's Walk Toward Forgiveness by Wilma Derksen (for ERB) - I read this newly-released book for a review at one of my favorite book recommendation sources, the Englewood Review of Books.  Once the review is published, I'll update here. In the meantime, if you are hoping to become a person able to live in the freedom that comes with radical forgiveness, add Derksen's book to your must-read pile.  It's a hard and redemptive story, as characterizes most profound Gospel stories. (update:  The book review can now be found at ERB's site here).

Go to my Book Reviews page to see reviews from 2016 and previous years.

Here's my Goodreads page. Let's be friends!


  What I Watched

Father Brown (season 4)

Woman in Gold (2015, starring Helen Mirren & Ryan Reynolds)

Chef's Table (season 3)

What I Heard

february rainy night vibes

february rainy night vibes

For my funny Valentines playlist on Spotify

Epiphany, 4 & 5 playlist on Spotify: Beatitudes - We spent a few Sundays in the Sermon on the Mount this year, and this playlist kept me reflecting all week.

from Art of Simple on Spotify: Deep Work playlist - I love this playlist that Tsh put together!  It's just the right kind of background music when I'm needing to focus.



A few of my favorite podcasts lately:

What I Wrote


keep calm and write something. jpg


I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!  

What are you reading, writing, watching and hearing these days? 


p.s. there are all kinds of affiliate links in this post because I'm trying to be a good steward, and when you buy something through one of these links you don't pay more money, but in some magical twist of capitalism we get a little pocket change. Thanks!