Highlight Reel (July 2018 Favorites)

I thought it would be fun if I took a moment each month to let you know what things are currently striking my fancy, so here goes the July installment! 

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I finished reading Jess Connolly's Dance, Stand, Run, and it was SO GOOD! As was Erin Loechner's Chasing Slow. I love spiritual memoirs that share the author's story and the lessons they learned along the way, especially when they relate to my life and something I could stand to learn-- like freedom, grace, and identity. I read Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic, too, which was a fun read about the nature of creativity and how to live a creative life without forcing it to be something it's not, but celebrating it for what it is.

I listened to Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple, and it made a great accompaniment to a long drive I had and some walks-- audiobooks are my favorite way to pass long drives!

I picked up The Real Me by Natalie Grant, too. Although I've read it before, it was good to read it again, as she talks about learning her identity in Christ through her own personal struggles. I LOVED Ree Drummond's book The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels- A Love Story, and identified with parts of her story so well that I got completely swept up in it and just about finished it all in one sitting. To top it all off, I read Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence, which was a charming and humorous (and sometimes enlightening) nod to other books and their relationships with readers, or one reader in particular. It was fun to reminisce about how various books have affected my life, and I even added some to my to-read list!

I finished Stephanie May Wilson's Lipstick Gospel Devotional and Lipstick Gospel Prayer Journal, too, and I'm sad to see them go! I loved these two books and had a great experience incorporating them into my morning time with God. The devotional was full of experiences from Stephanie's life that demonstrated how she's seen God in her life and reflection questions, and the prayer journal was full of unique prompts for me to focus on communicating with God about different things each day, which was a fresh way of looking at prayer!



"You are worthy, dear one, regardless of the outcome. You will keep making your work, regardless of the outcome. You will keep sharing your work, regardless of the outcome. You were born to create, regardless of the outcome. You will never lose trust in the creative process, even when you don't understand the outcome." -- Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic



I'm still watching Parks and Rec here and there and loving it!

I also watched the new episodes of Anne with an E, which is right up my alley. I didn't realize the last episode was the last one, so I was disappointed because I hadn't gotten to prepare myself. But I'm looking forward to more in the future (they're doing more, right? Someone please tell me they're doing more!). 



"Forever On Your Side" is the newest single from Needtobreathe, and I'm loving it! Of course, I love all their music, and I have a field day with anything new from them, but this one is a little different AND it's a collaboration with Jonnyswim, which just makes me excited to see them both in concert in September!



I made a delicious cherry crisp that went over well with paleo and non-paleo eaters alike, which I consider a big win! And the recipe made far too much topping (not such a bad problem!), so I'm thinking of making it again here soon!

I made a really good Hawaiian fried cauliflower rice recipe, along with walnut chorizo tacos with pineapple salsa (hopefully you know by now that I'm unashamed about my love of tacos-- sorry not sorry).



I can't believe July is over! I feel like summer is just FLYING by! My family is traveled to Nebraska for a family reunion, and it was so good to see my extended family that I haven't seen in a few years. I also got to see my "second family" for the Fourth of July, which was so sweet! We maintained our Thanksgiving tradition (until now the only time we saw them during the year) of getting dinner at Champps, and we watched fireworks from a roof. So fun!

I also got to spend a few days up north at a cabin with friends, which provided some much-needed mental rest. I worked my tail off to get my work done before I left, and the reception up north wasn't the best, so I got to take a few days off from emails, blog posts, and social media. Instead, I got to go for paddle boat rides, play ladder golf, go tubing, gaze at the stars (which is hard to do here in the suburbs with all the lights), and sit around a bonfire. It was so restful!



I'm going to my dad's softball tournament, which is always fun to watch! I also have a baby shower for one of my college roommates, which is exciting in its own right, but she's the first of us to have a baby, so it's extra special!


What were some of your favorite things this month? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

Later, lovely!Jessie (1).png