Books · Music · Wonderings

~Picking Up ~ Mixed Media

I have been really into feeling empowered lately. Feeling capable is a kind of high I enjoy, particularly because its goodness doesn’t expire like that buzz from the last of that bottle of wine. Confidently taking action feels better than wondering why things don’t just simply change. Mostly because the answer, “They just won’t,” is useless.

The actions I am taking seem small on their own: exercising, finally buying frames for prints to hang on our walls, cutting back on booze, tagging everything in that extra room for a garage sale, letting my husband file down my (new, eek!) bike frame so I can attach the trailer. They’re little tweaks that are shifting me away from the way things have always been.

I’m choosing to fill myself with positive messages and inspiring stories to keep the momentum. So, I present (again): Mixed Media, the formerly semi-regular posting of the media I’m consuming that I really, really like. You know, now that I have time to do stuff like that.


I love reading books. Actual books, with pages in my hands. My bedside pile of books was starting to look a bit tall, so I decided to tackle it. (Never mind that I’ve joined a very fun book club, too.)

Dinner with the Smileys and Wild

“Dinner With the Smileys” by Sara Smiley, a memoir of the author’s experience inviting a guest to have dinner with her and her sons each week of her husband’s one year deployment with the Navy. It’s possible I could be in her shoes one day. I’ll remember this when the time comes. In the mean time, I’m inspired by the idea of hosting dinner guests as a way to teach our sons about belonging to a community. Perhaps I might at last finally consider myself grown-up enough to do this?

“Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed, another memoir, of Strayed’s experience hiking the Pacific Crest Trail alone after the loss of her mother. It’s beautiful, at once heartbreaking and uplifting, and now my favorite book. I think I’m permanently altered by it.


“The Nazi Officer’s Wife” by Edith Hahn, retells the author’s experience of survival as an educated Jewish woman in Vienna during the Holocaust. My words can’t bring it justice; it’s simply a must-read for understanding the preciousness of life and of peace. It makes clear the good fortune we bear in being alive in a time and place without war (on our soil, at least) as well as the desperate misfortune of those who currently live in war zones.

Now “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert is at the top of the stack. I saw the movie with some friends and kind of hated it, but I gained the book at a swap so I’ll give it a second chance. The books are always better anyway.


I don’t really watch TV on a regular basis. I much prefer to binge on entire seasons of shows on Netflix. Thank you, America, for Parks and Recreation! You have to watch this clip. (It IS Amy Poehler’s birthday today, after all. Have you checked out her Smart Girls, too?)


Years ago I discovered that turning off NPR and cranking up pop music from time to time makes me a little bit happy. OK, a lot bit happier than hearing about the Ebola outbreak. These are the songs that make me smile biggest of all right now.

What are you reading, watching or listening to that makes you feel pretty awesome right now?

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