November. proper noun. The month in which fall ends and snow comes to Minnesota and we eat all the turkey and stuffing.
Here’s what I squeezed into the month of November, which flew by me this year. As always, I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer.
Truest – Jackie Lea Sommers. Oh my heavens, this book. Jackie Sommers works at my university, and though I don’t know her, this book makes me want to be her best friend. The Hart family moves to small-town Minnesota, and Silas and his mysterious sister Laurel shake up the summer for Westlin Beck, the local pastor’s oldest daughter. Silas Hart is the perfect literary boyfriend, who wears sassy t-shirts and memorizes poetry while he runs (holy hotness). I’ve also never read YA fiction that has such theological insight alongside a realistic portrayal of a complicated, rebellious teenager. Prepare yourself to read the entire thing in one night.
Out of Sorts – Sarah Bessey. My life (and writing) has been a bit out of sorts this fall, as I work through what adult-ish life looks like. This book is the perfect companion for this time in my life as I wrestle with changing ideas and expectations about faith and God and life. It deserves more than a little blurb here, and I hope to write more about it as my thoughts percolate.
The Running Dream – Wendelin Van Draanen. Van Draanen is one of my favorite YA authors. (She penned the cute he said/she said story Flipped and the sassy Sammy Keyes mysteries that my sister and I still read when home on holiday breaks.) This book is about a girl who loves to run, but loses her leg in a bus accident. It’s a good pick when you need a reminder that your own struggles aren’t that insurmountable and that people (even young ones) are capable of amazing things.
The Anatomy of Wings – Karen Foxlee. This book, the story of a young girl and her sister’s death, is tender and sad. Jenny tries to solve the mystery of how her sister fell apart and why her own singing voice has disappeared. If you like coming-of-age stories and complicated family dynamics and sweet, innocent narrators, you’ll be touched by this book.
The Jazz Palace – Mary Morris. An interesting story about a boy growing up in the Jazz age in Chicago. It’s mostly tragic throughout the entire story until suddenly everything resolves very quickly and very sweetly. Okay if you love jazz and historical fiction and underdog stories.
Currently Reading: Lost & Found – Brooke Davis; Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith – Anne Lamott
Crowder – Lift Your Head, Weary Sinner. It’s been out for a while, but I still sing (loudly) whenever it comes on the radio.
Pitch Perfect 2. Because sometimes you need a silly movie with a pointless plot and fun music and incredibly awkward romance. (See: Benji attempting to flirt, and every interaction with Fat Amy and Bumper.)
I tried watching Jane the Virgin, which is not nearly as awkward as the title or premise (about a girl who gets accidentally inseminated at a doctor’s appointment) would have you believe. But there were so many ridiculous plot twists that I couldn’t stick with it, even though I liked Jane’s character a lot.
Elf. We waited until after Thanksgiving. It’s okay.
I love Addie Zierman’s posts on faith. She’s never cliche and always honest. This post on cynicism resonates, especially this quote: “It is the most surprising, beautiful thing when God uses a part of us that feels dangerous and threatening to bring Life.”
Knitting. ‘Tis the season. Send more yarn.
Exploring 1 Corinthians with the girls in my small group.
Wearing gray and burgundy. Those colors are my fall uniform.
Ending my elementary ESL student teaching placement. Here’s how a 3rd grader sees me after 10 weeks.
I’ve now started a new placement with 7th grade Language Arts kids. In the 7 days that I’ve been there, here’s what I’ve learned:
- Kids don’t grow out of being fascinated by tall people. Seventh graders just want quantifiable information, as my cooperating teacher has been asked multiple times how tall I am (though the kids are too scared to ask me directly).
- Middle school boy hair is hilarious. Some look like they hire Justin Bieber’s personal stylist circa 2010, some look like their moms dictate their haircuts, and some look like they got their hair wet, put on a stocking cap, and went to sleep.
- YA LIT IS THE BEST, Y’ALL. So is working with a teacher who has all of the best book recommendations.
- The biggest way to impress/scare middle schoolers is to know all of their names by the end of week 1.
Flying to Washington, DC for a long weekend. I got one extra day off in between student teaching placements and celebrating by going to see the boyfriend. We squeezed lots of long talks, sightseeing, quality time, and great food into our few days together. I’m thankful for him.
Driving home for Thanksgiving. Highlights: mashed potatoes. Amazing Danish cream dessert that is like classy vanilla pudding on steroids. Hanging out with all of my siblings, who have their own particular brand of weirdo hilarity. Celebrating my youngest brother turning 17 (what). Wearing pajamas for an entire day. Cleaning and decorating with the fam to prepare for a holiday open house. (If you live in the area, go on the Tour of Homes to tell my mom that her Christmas decorating looks stellar and to admire what a sparkling job I did on the bathroom sinks.)
- CHRISTMAS. Music. Decorations. Lights. Baking. Wrapping gifts. The whole shebang.
- Taking on a more active role in planning and teaching at my student teaching placement
- Officially graduating from college. (Though it will be anticlimactic. I graduate on Friday and go back to student teaching on Monday, and for four more weeks in January. The perks of being a double education major.)
- Winter driving. JUST KIDDING.
What are you into this month?