Saturday, May 9, 2015

What I've Been Into - May 2015

I haven't done one of these since December! Lots to catch up on. 

We are about to say goodbye to good internet connection, so I don't imagine I will be able to enjoy anymore Netflix streamed via VPN. While we had it I finished up the show Parenthood (so good), and got addicted to a new one that I highly recommend – Rectify. It's a guy that gets off of a life sentence for murder and is sent home after 20 years in prison. It's so fantastically and profoundly made that you can't tell if the guy's dysfunctional tendencies are because he's a murderer or because prison life dehumanizes, degrades, and strips people of their innocence. There's an episode (I think episode 2?) that was too much for me, too distasteful, but the rest has been really good. It's a psychological show, but it's also legal and a mystery.

I HAVE to recommend an amazing documentary that just hit Netflix titled Little Hope Was Arson. 10 churches were burned in East Texas over the course of a year. The documentary explores the story and for me it was so fascinating because is thick into Texas culture, the cultural Christianity of Texas, and the social struggles of rural Texas. It's brilliantly made... by someone I know, an mk. I'm so impressed, and it's been winning awards all over the place. I am still thinking about it, about what forgiveness really is, about what grace actually looks like. 

Back in February I watched through The Honorable Woman, which I also highly recommend though it is also at times brutal. It's also also a dramatic mystery, but this time combined with political thriller. It's set in the tension between Israel and Palestine, and Maggie Gyllenhal is really good.  

Tried but rejected were Grand Hotel, Reign, and Peaky Blinders. The first two had great filming and ideas, but it quickly became obvious they had the depth of a soap opera, and I quit. Peaky Blinders is a bit more on the action and a little lighter on the drama, more my husband's style than my own. 

I watched two movies that impressed me. One was The Immigrant. A sterling cast of Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix, and Jeremy Renner play out an Ellis Island theme that actually targets the problem of human trafficking. 

Short Term 12 is a simple film set in a home for troubled kids. It's beautiful and redemptive and real. 

I have been reading some now that language school is over. I read Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas, which was very timely as a parenting book, but it's mostly about being a parent rather than how to parent. I liked it and would recommend it. I really appreciated all of the challenge on the vocation of parenting rather than specifically about the role of a mother. And, honestly, I'm still looking for a how-to book that satisfies me on the discipline front. I also finished Chicago Blues, which is a collection of Chicago crime short-stories which the theme “the Blues”. Fun reads for this Chi-town girl.

I also started reading Through Dust and Darkness by Jeremy Kroeker, which sounded like my sort of book. A spiritual journey from some raised-Mennonite Canadian on his motorcycle through the Middle East. Well, I gave up, which I don't normally do. It wasn't enough story or culture to keep me interested.

I did enjoy Prodigal God by Keller. It's been on my shelf for a while and it's good. It draws out the story of the prodigal son in beautiful ways that I'd never heard before, and was quite convicting. I love Keller because he is never bogged down in the cultural debates of our time but rather intelligently teaches scripture with all sorts of fantastic literary references. He'd make CS Lewis (his hero) proud. His writing deepens my love for Jesus.

Also reading Colossians. I'm terrible at listening to sermons, absolutely terrible. But I heard one this year that I will probably always remember, and it was from Colossians. It spurred me to study the book, and I have been deeply dwelling in the beauty of the centrality of Jesus. So encouraged.

Josh Garrel's new CD, which is good but pretty mellow, and I miss his upbeat years. Mumford and Son's new release is entirely disappointing and I'm not a fan of Joy Williams post-Civil Wars. Sad day.  

Cooking: My post-language school goal was to put together a packet of recipes I know I can make in country and weren't heavy on imported ingredients. I also wanted to start trying to make some Indonesian dishes from scratch rather than from mixes. So, I have a beginning! I will have the packet printed off and ready to begin the massive challenge of being the cook for the four of us in a place where pretty much nothing is instant or frozen or in a can, and I'm making everything from scratch.

Currently I regularly make our own yogurt from milk powder (post on that coming), homemade peanut butter, and my own mix that becomes instant oatmeal for the kids breakfast. For myself I make either black rice porridge with coconut milk or cocoa sesame granola. My next challenges will be breads. I need to get a handle on making our own bread and tortillas. God help us all. 

Homeschooling, because I will be starting that as well. Actually Judah will just be starting his pre-K year in the Fall, so he doesn't really need anything formal. But, God help me if we have no structure to our days at home. I nearly have a mental breakdown after a single afternoon hands on with my kids and no plan, and my anxiety level about being a stay at home mother for a couple of years is, oh, sky high. So, momma must have structure. Looks like we'll go with Sonlight pre-K curriculum for two reasons. First of all, when I order their curriculum they send me all the recommended kids reading books rather than assuming that we will find them at our local library (not possible), and secondly because the My Father's World website won't load for me no matter what I do. Oh, and thirdly, they offer a good discount to those of us doing work like we do overseas.

Kebayas. After 9 months here I've finally figured out some of the in-style clothes and the system of dress. In Papua I will be able to wear my shorter-sleeved shirts again, thus expanding my wardrobe, but I did go out and buy a couple of kebaya tops now that I know where to shop for them, what styles and colors I like, and what might be able to transition between here and the US. On the right, an example of what would not transition. :) 

 Fighting sickness (we've all been sick for the past four days. Fun.), doing visa paperwork, and packing. The packing has been fairly easy. We don't have that much stuff, and it will all go in a crate on Monday. Then we'll be left with two suitcases for the next weeks until we meet our baggage again in Manokwari.

About myself, and being a mother, and purpose. I'm still wrestling through this. It's a daily battle right now. One conclusion that has deeply resonated with me is that this is good. Although I am finding parenting very hard, I know that it is good, not just for my kids but as a necessary thing for me to learn also. There will be so much more to see on the other side of it, but for now... moment by moment.

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