A Few of My Favorite Things {September/October 2017}

by Elizabeth


Full disclosure: Life has been bumpy around here. We’ve had some health issues (which are as-yet unresolved) and some financial concerns (which are thankfully resolving) and some noise pollution issues (for over a month now) and some just plain too-many-things-on-the-to-do-list issues. I’ve been living with a lot of worry and fear, and I’m working on my issues, but these things take time. It’s been nearly two months since I offered you any reading, music, or other recommendations, so here I am. But please, if you think of it, say a prayer for the six of us Globe Trotters.

Did you know you can use coconut milk as coffee creamer? It’s delicious, with a fuller flavor than cow’s milk (well, if you like coconut, which I happen to like very much). But be careful, you don’t need much. I add a little extra dairy milk too, to balance out the heavy flavor. I don’t need sweet coffee, but I do like it creamy.

Teaching math/art class at home school coop. It’s been a joy to discover that these teenagers are interested in the concepts and in the projects. As every teacher knows, interested students make teaching much more exciting. I’m also thrilled that my own kids have a natural curiosity (including for subjects I myself am interested in), and as they get older, they become better and better conversationalists.

#6 pencil leads. These are way better than #2 pencils. Not for standardized testing of course, but for doing regular school and art work. We’ve also discovered the best little Faber Castell pencil sharpeners (at the IBC, for those in Phnom Penh).



Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers. I grabbed this detective novel when it was on super duper sale. The dialogue, let me tell you, it’s delicious. Intellectually I can’t keep up, but it’s still delicious. The book was surprising proof to me that women’s worries (including working women’s worries) of today are exactly the same as they were nearly a century ago.

The Light Princess by George MacDonald. I needed more time with this story, so I reread it. For me, The Light Princess is a metaphor for my life. If I ever find the time, I’ll share the reasons why in a blog post. Until then, if you want to know more about why I love this George MacDonald story, just ask me in person!

The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris. I’m still working slowly through this. Many selections (and their personal reflections) end up in my journal.

Classic Poetry (selected by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Paul Howard). From my children’s Sonlight curriculum. I haven’t been successful in convincing my kids to like poetry, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it, right? Particular favorites from this collection are Rudyard Kipling’s “The Way Through the Woods” and “The Deep-Sea Cables”.

Napoleon’s Buttons by Penny Le Couteur and Jay Burreson. I first read this book when I was pregnant with my second born, and I wanted to re-read it. It’s not a history of chemistry (that’s been done elsewhere), but rather a profile of various chemicals’ impact on human history. This second read-through is much more sobering than the first, after having seen so much suffering overseas and after having studied so much world history in our home school. After reading about the sad effects of the spice trade, sugar trade, and cotton trade on human souls, I was ready for a break. But I will return later.

Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin. An important read for the free peoples of Middle Earth. A Sonlight read aloud.

How To Survive the Apocolypse: Zombies, Cylons, Faith, and Politics at the End of the World by Robert Joustra and Alissa Wilkinson. This is dense, and I do not pretend to understand all of it, but I’m absorbing the social and theological commentary I do understand. I first discovered this book when I heard an interview with Alissa Wilkinson at CiRCE a couple years ago. She was formerly the critic-at-large for Christianity Today.



This is for All the Lonely Writers by Jennifer Trafton. Long but worth every word. Tear-inducing.

Around the World, Girls are Taught the Same Limiting Lesson by Emily Peck. I think this is what I was pushing back against in my Paul/breastfeeding article.

Kepler Pursued God. He Found Him in Pomegranates. By David Hutchings. On curiosity, science, and God.

The Ethics of Aesthetics by Andrew Kern. On art, pleasure, and understanding. Short but worthwhile.

Dear Mamas, This is the One Thing That Will Destroy Your Home by Meg Marie Wallace. Long, gritty, honest, true, and gospel-centered.

When You’re Sure God Loves Ann Voskamp More Than He Loves You by Marilyn Gardner. Super important and applies to all people, but especially women and especially those working in ministry.

At the intersection of a Messiah-Complex Friendship and Depression. Helpful insight and advice from the always wise Rebecca Reynolds.



What Did I Do Today? I Made a Copy. Woohoo! By Craig Thompson. Hilarious but incredibly true.

More on the topic of inconveniences overseas: Why things take so long, or ‘something always goes wrong’ by Tamie Davis.

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Anisha Hopkinson. Also hilarious and true.

I Am the Ugly Duckling (Part 1) by Lauren Wells. Help for distorted TCK thought processes. Also Part 2: Avoiding Terminal Uniqueness.

Where Your Story is Held by Amy Young. At the intersection of the physical and the spiritual. Wow.

No to cheese pizza, but yes to green pastures. Renee Aupperlee does it again! Reading her words is like meeting with a spiritual director.

Mental Health on the Field, an interview with Dr. Barney Davis from Michele Phoenix. Illuminates why we global workers are so stressed out.



Angelina Stanford on why she loves fairy tales. A powerful 2 minutes.

And here’s a longer interview with Stanford on fairy tales. For the child within. On transcendent truth. I cried at several points. Touches on some of the same ideas as Wilkinson’s Apocolypse book but heads mainly in a different direction.

Taking Imagination Seriously, a 10-minute TED talk by Janet Echelman. At the intersection of art and engineering. Unbelievably beautiful.

Nate Bargatze on The Standups on Netflix. I’ve been told that other comedians in this series are NOT clean, but this guy is. And hilarious. And I need hilarious. (Don’t forget the Ryan Hamilton Netflix special from last month. We’ve let our kids watch both.)

The Crown. I rewatched the entire first season while my husband was traveling. It’s that good. Seemingly about royalty, it also has implications for marriages in ministry.

Arrival. I’d been wanting to watch this film and was able to watch it with my son while my husband was out of town. It opened up some great conversation about free will and predestination.

Andrew Peterson on Rich Mullins. What’s not to love about both Mullins and Peterson??

An interview with Susan Wise Bauer on Brave Writer. This is SWB at her best — candid and wise. For the home school parents.

What the Scholastic Reading Report Means For You at Read Aloud Revival with Sarah Mackenzie. For all parents.



“You are chosen. And so you must choose.” This sentence from a Sonlight read aloud, to me, explains so much about predestination and free will.

Most mornings lately I wake up and sing Job 1:21 from the Scottish Psalter, to the tune of either the “Doxology” or “The Lord’s My Shepherd.” I try to give God my expectations for quick answers. Then I read Philippians 4:11-13 and ask God to teach me how to be content in times of trouble. I have to do this practically every day, and even then I still get discouraged.



Man of Sorrows by Hillsong. Packed with theology and written in beautiful poetic verse, on first hearing this song I thought it was going to be from the Gettys. Nope. It’s Hillsong, something I realized when we got to the chorus. Lyrics here.

Doxology/Amen by the talented and ethereal Phil Wickham. We regularly sing the Doxology as a family; I love it. Oftentimes when a new chorus is added to an old hymn, it doesn’t seem to fit either lyrically or musically. This one does. Lyrics here.

King of My Heart by Sarah Macmillan.

“Polyvetsian Dance” from Alexander Borodin’s Prince Igor. I have loved this song ever since my 5th grade clarinet days, when we performed a version of this in concert. There’s a sad, minor quality to it in my piano arrangement of the song that I return to again and again. In my piano book there’s a bit of biographical data given — for instance, that the Russian composer’s day job was chemistry professor and that he was painstakingly slow to finish his musical compositions. I relate to him on all three counts — having another day job, being a chemist, and being slow to finish my work.

Arise My Soul Arise, a Charles Wesley hymn set to new music by Twila Paris. I have always loved these gospel words and was listening to them again this month.

Oh Love That Will Not Let Me Go, a hymn by George Matheson with updated melody. I’ve been singing it to myself for the past month or so, especially that third verse about the “Joy that seekest me through pain.” Lyrics here.

I was struggling so much with discouragement that last week I asked for prayers at church. At the end of that prayer time, my prayer partner told me to pay attention to the songs that “bubble up” in this time, that God will be speaking to me through them. And so I have, and so I am. These next three songs “bubbled up” this week.

You Satisfy my Soul by Laura Hackett Park.

Do I Trust You Lord by Twila Paris. I can’t find a link without distracting video. Paris wrote this song in the wake of Keith Green’s death in the early 1980’s. The part that always gets me is this: “I will trust you, Lord when I don’t know why, I will trust you Lord till the day I die, I will trust you Lord, when I’m blind with pain, you were God before and you’ll never change, I will trust you, I will trust you, I will trust you.”

I Shall Not Want by Audrey Assad.


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