|My family spent Christmas here in Grand Lake, CO with my parents, brothers and their families. It was breathtaking and good for my soul.|
Hygge, “woke,” enneagram, writing, submissions, edits, rough drafts, pregnancy, depression, minivan, lament, Jesus, racism, election, baby, church-hopping, twitter and podcast are all words I would use to distill down the essence of 2016 for me. I have written at length about some of these, will write about some others in 2017 and may keep some of these things to myself as I continue to learn and process.
Which words characterized your year?
I’ve been planning posts for the year and will have a series soon called 12 Days of Books where I’ll be sharing all my favorite books. I’d love for you to join me and if you have a blog, you are welcome to share links to your book posts in the comments section!
Here are some of the books, podcasts, recipes, articles and writing I have been into this month:
On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction, by William Zinsser
The first time I read this was for a writing class in college, so I was due for a refresher. It was just as helpful as I remembered and is a book I will return to in the future.
Blue Horses: Poems, by Mary Oliver
I’m still experimenting with poetry and I read this one in one sitting. A friend of mine advised that poetry be read and enjoyed like a glass of wine, but I don’t always have that luxury these days! I want to pick up some more books by Mary Oliver. I liked this one, but I still feel like an amateur when it comes to poetry, so I’ll refrain from giving too much of my opinion since I don’t feel qualified yet.
Parenting Without Borders: Surprising Lessons Parents Around the World Can Teach Us, by Christine Gross-Loh, Ph.D
I’m adding this to my list of favorite parenting books. As someone who has lived overseas and studied culture in grad school, I love books that explore non-western ways of doing things. This book has provided fodder for interesting conversations about preconceived notions about parenting.
Several Short Sentences about Writing, by Verlyn Klinkenborg
The first thing you will notice about this book is the structure. Every sentence begins with a new line. This as well as On Writing Well, both emphasize the need for short, clean sentences. I loved this book and it is on my list of favorite books about writing.
(Check out my favorite podcasts of 2016 here!)
I binge-watched every single episode of their second season in a week;-) The episode with Ann Voskamp was very powerful, but I would recommend all of these episodes to anyone who is interested in writing or blogging.
Aside from forcing myself to watch the Gilmore Girl’s reunion on Netflix (I have to), I would highly recommend the much more life-changing, important documentary called 13th, which is also on Netflix right now. It falls right in line with all that I’ve been studying this year and features Bryan Stevenson and Michelle Alexander among others who take a deeper look into the prison system in the U.S.
For a new Christmas morning tradition, I used this cinnamon roll recipe shared by a woman from the Velvet Ashes community. I made them ahead the night before, froze them before the second rise and left them out of the oven 30 minutes before cooking. They turned out perfectly!
We had two familes over and made Chinese hot pot for New Years Eve. Although I probably had hot pot about 30 times in my five years in China, I used this site as a guide for what to buy in the states. I bought this hot pot from Amazon and found the spice packs at our local Asian market. Though it was a bit tricky trying to feed kids who aren’t the best at waiting, it was such a fun, communal meal and I’ll definitely do it again!
Thought-provoking Articles from the Web:
Favorite Fiction of 2016, by Leigh Kramer on her blog (I’m using this list with my book club to pick out some fiction books this year.)
It’s Not Just a Danish Word that Made Dictionary’s shortlist; It’s a Lifestyle, by NPR (an article on hygge!)
Life After ‘The New Jim Crow,’ by Brentin Mock of Citylab (an interview with Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
Where Love Abides, by Leah Abraham at SheLoves Magazine (a reflective practice for the new year)
4 Ways White People Can Process Their Emotions Without Bringing the White Tears, by Jennifer Loubriel of Everyday Feminism
10 Reflections on Ten Years of Reentry, by Ruthie at Rockyreentry.com
30 of the Most Important Articles by People of Color in 2016, by Zeba Blay for Huffington Post
55 of the Best Diverse Picture and Board Books of 2016, by Mrs. G at hereweread.com
In Case You Missed it:
Linking up with Leigh Kramer