What I’m Into July 2013


I think I may be starting to mark the passage of time by these blog posts.  Once again, I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer for a recap of some things I’ve been into this month.

P.S. the name of this link-up always makes me think of my favourite Corner Gas Scene.  “I’m not up on that new stuff.” “You’re not up on it? Or you’re not into it?” “I might be into it, if I was up on it. But I’m not up on it, so I’m not into it. What I’m into, I’m up on.”


I went on two road trips this month, so my book count is higher than usual

  • The Lamb among the Stars trilogy by Chris Walley: I’d call this a postmillennial Left Behind, but that’s really insulting to Walley.  Let’s call this a sci-fi exploration of postmillennial eschatology. It was slow going at first, and much longer than my typical fiction read, but I enjoyed it. I was also pleasantly struck by the egalitarian nature of the society Walley depicted.
  • Divergent  and Insurgent by Veronica Roth: I could not put these down.  They’re not the convicting punch in the gut that the Hunger Games was, but they’re a good read.  I’ve already put a hold on Allegiant at the Public Library.
  • An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler: I didn’t love this one.  It was all right, but not my favourite food writing.
  • Are you Waiting for “The One”?: Cultivating Realistic, Positive Expectations for Christian Marriage by Margaret Kim Peterson and Dwight N. Peterson: You guys, this was seriously the first Christian marriage book I read that didn’t suck.  It’s now my go-to recommendation for engaged or soon-to-be engaged friends.  The authors also get props for seriously addressing the reality of domestic violence.  If you’ll indulge the longish block quotes, I think you’ll see why I love this book as much as I do.

“Given the obstacles posed to the development of intimate relationships…perhaps it is not surprising that people feel tempted to throw up their hands and look for ways to have relationships that do not require the tedious business of actually getting to know one another.  One response to this impulse is books that purport to describe the supposedly fundamental differences between men and women, and advise the members of each sex on the proper care and feeding of the other sex.  Following these instructions is supposed to result in relationships that are easy rather than hard, and that are free of misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

It doesn’t actually work. Yes, it is possible to make generalizations about men and women, and some such generalizations have merit.  But generalizations tell you nothing about any particular man or woman. When people try to build relationships based on gender stereotypes, those stereotypes can easily be used an excuse not to have to get to know one’s partner.  Instead of paying attention to one another and learning to talk or work together as the particular people they are, she just treats him as “a man” and he treats her as “a woman,” and they develop no sense of one another as individuals or of their own relationship as arising out of the unique combination of their individualities.  Whatever such a relationship is, it is not friendship.”

“It is no wonder that people find themselves casting about for a strategy to ensure that conflict can be resolved easily and reliably. A strategy adopted by some Christians is so-called traditional gender roles, a primary feature of which is the allocation of decision-making authority to the husband. As one young woman explains, ‘If a husband and wife are in conflict, the Bible advises that the husband should make the decision.’

Does the Bible really teach this?  And does this way of structuring the relationship of husband and wife really foster peaceable marriages? We don’t think so. Construing scriptural teaching on marriage as having to do primarily—or even tangentially—with the allocation of power is fraught with interpretive and theological problems. And practically speaking, it just doesn’t work. At best, assigning decision-making power to one partner in the marriage serves to short-circuit conflict, not to address it. At worst, it sets in place an ideology of control that can serve to underwrite and reinforce abuse and violence in intimate relationships.”

  • Torn by Justin Lee: I’ve already recommended this book to 3 different people.  Justin writes with a grace that’s often missing in this debate, and it’s all the more remarkable given how personal it is for him.  Incidentally, I kind of have a friend crush on Justin Lee.  I just want to have him over for an evening of Dinner and Dr. Horrible.
  • Homeward Bound by Emily Matchar: I read this one on the car ride back from Montreal.  I expected to be a bit offended by her criticisms of the New Domesticity, but she makes very salient points.  I’m particular struck by her point that society suffers if the upper class merely try to make their own households safe rather than lobbying to increase quality of life across the country.
  • The Blue Parakeet by Scot McKnight: I’m in awe of Scot, because he is such a prolific scholar and I don’t know how he does it.  However, I somehow missed the page where he explained the blue parakeet metaphor on my first read-through, so I spent the first half of the book really confused.
  • MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche: This book reminded me that, as much as I miss my friendships back in New Brunswick, I really need to be more intentional about building friendships here in Ontario. I don’t think I’ll go anywhere near as all-out as Bertsche, though.
  • Sacred Word Broken Word by Kent Sparks: There was a lot to think through in this one.  I’m still chewing it over.  Mostly, it’s an ever-useful reminder that the the value of Scripture lies not primarily in the text itself but in the Christ it points to.
  • Out of a Far Country by Angela and Christopher Yuan: I’m a sucker for a good conversion narrative, and this one is intense.  Yuan is gay, but I’m not sure how relatable the average gay person will find his testimony, since it’s complicated by a history of drug-dealing and promiscuity.  At any rate, he’s definitely in a much better place now than before Jesus found him, and that’s always encouraging to read about.
  • Does Jesus Really Love Me by Jeff Chu: I waited months for this to come into the library and I’m so glad it finally did.  I’m impressed by the grace and fairness with which Chu shares the stories of men and women who made choices very different from his own.
  • The Meaning of Marriage by Tim and Kathy Keller: As far as complementarian marriage books go, this one wasn’t awful.  I found much of it good and challenging, and there was a healthy focus on mutuality.  The book floundered a bit when  it got to gender roles, though.


  • Monsters University: I haven’t actually seen Monsters, Inc., but for a 5 dollar movie night this seemed worth a try.  I wouldn’t have paid full price for it, but it was a fun evening.
  • Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing:  I wanted to see this so badly, I paid a full 10 bucks to see it, which is rare for me.  It was absolutely worth it, and Aaron and I enjoyed playing name that Dollhouse/Firefly cast member.

TV Shows

  • Our favourite show of the month is definitely Modern Family.  We’re about halfway through season 4 now, and I think I can safely say that Manny is my favourite character.
  • I also started on Mike and Molly at a friend’s recommendation, and I’m loving Melissa McCarthy as the female lead.
  • Drop Dead Diva uncancelled!  I found this out 2 days ago and binge-watched all 6 new episodes in one sitting.  The show is kind of my guilty pleasure.  Two complaints, though: 1) please resolve the Greyson arc already and 2) can we please bring Fred back?  The guardian angels have only gone downhill since him.


  • I saw the following amazing Youtube video, which reminded me how much I loved the Dr. Horrible soundtrack, so I listened to a lot of that.

  • Also, because I backed Audrey Assad on Kickstarter, I got her new CD 2 weeks early.  It’s a bit of a departure from her previous style, but as beautiful as ever.
  • Finally, I realized that I still know all the words to this rap.  I’m not sure if that’s awesome or sad.  Probably both.


  • We had a heat wave earlier in the month, and I discovered that Teavana’s Sevenberry Sangria Roibos and David’s Tea Pink Lemonade Roibos make fantastic iced teas
  • I made this sausage and potato pie with new red potatoes from the market and it was phenomenal
  • I also turned a basketfull of fresh cherries into a lovely cherry cobbler.  You have no idea how hard it was to find a recipe that didn’t begin with “take a can of cherry pie filling…”  I ended up landing on a recipe in the Betty Crocker cookbook that was simple enough, and actually called for the cherries I had just spent an hour halving and pitting.


  • I made this Turtle Trifle for my husband’s 24th birthday. It calls for an embarrassing amount of sugar, but I was proud of how beautifully it turned out.
  • I also made this nectarine pizza with basil and balsamic reduction and I’ve decided that nectarines apparently go with everything
  • Continuing on my baking with fresh fruit kick, I may need to add plum kuchen to my regular repertoire.  It was so good, and plums are plentiful here
  • I brought this lemon feta cucumber orzo salad to a barbecue and loved it.  It was even better the next day.
  • I also tried this black tea cake with honey buttercream frosting on a whim and was shocked at how delicious it was, since I’m not that fond of black tea.  It also garnered the approval of 7 children under 10, and that has to count for something.
  • Our in-laws came for a visit and, since my mother-in-law loves the combination of chocolate and raspberry, I revisited this chocolate raspberry trifle recipe, this time halving the ingredients and laying them out in four individual trifle bowls.  Everything was just as delicious the second time around.
  • These oven fries are the most delicious ones I’ve ever tasted.  Be warned, though, they call for so much oil they’re hardly healthier than deep-frying.
  • Finally, I was on snack duty at church last week, which I always enjoy.  This time I gave chocolate chip banana baked donuts and mini whoopie pies (which tasted exactly like Joe Louis, as it turns out) a try and liked both


  • Related to the Trayvon Martin verdict that dropped this month, I loved this piece Christena Cleveland on things privileged people can learn from the verdict and this letter from a mother of a black teenage boy
  • As a Christian feminist who’s not always sure what to make of the Christian feminist blogosphere, I loved this reminder from Sarah Bessey that I’m called to be a feminist the way Jesus would be one and this reminder from RHE not to give up hope.
  • This retelling of the story of the loaves and the fishes by Katherine Willis Pershey took my breath away
  • Joy Bennett’s post on Time-Share Charity and God’s Scandalous Grace really resonated with me.
  • I was nodding in agreement to virtually every sentence of this post by Micah J. Murray on why he rejects the Calvinist view of unconditional election.
  • This post on how a man named Kim discovered the reality of gender discrimination was a real eye-opener.
  • These words from Brenna d’Ambrosio are a healing balm for anyone who’s ever been that person who just can’t speak in tongues.
  • The makers of Miss Representation are taking on the messages our culture sends to men!  The trailer looks amazing.
  • Edward Fudge answered two of my questions on conditionalism as part of RHE’s Ask A series.  I was so excited to read his Q&A, because I find the idea of conditionalism fascinating.
  • I thought this reminder from Rachel Marie Stone that rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s means being willing to pay for things that go against your religion was very much needed.
  • And finally, I kind of love Feminist Taylor Swift and Google Poetics‘ Twitter accounts.


  • Friends of ours got married this month and my husband was a groomsman, and we went both to the reception in Montreal (it was my first Vietnameses reception and I have never in my life seen so much food–10 courses!) and the wedding itself.  Both were lovely, and we’re so glad to see what a good match our friend has found.
  • My parents and two of my siblings came up for a visit mid-month and finally got to see our apartment.  My mom has wanted to see it since we moved 10 months ago.
  • I road tripped to Fredericton for one day to attend the wedding, and I squeezed every possible thing I could out of that trip.  Church in the morning, a lunch date, a froyo date, a coffee date, and, of course, the wedding itself.  I may have spent more hours in the car than I did awake in Fredericton, but it was totally worth it.  I’m looking forward to spending a bit more time back next month.
  • My in-laws were up for a visit at the end of the month and we took the opportunity to catch a production of Romeo and Juliet in Stratford.  It was my first time there and, despite the fact that Romeo and Juliet is easily my least favourite Shakespeare play, I really enjoyed myself.  I’m hoping to catch Fiddler before it closes in October.
  • My thesis is slated to go out to my committee pretty much right now.  It’s crazy and a bit nerve-wracking how soon my defense is coming up.
  • I proved conclusively that I have a problem when Leigh Kramer challenged readers to take a picture of their unread books stacks.  At 162, my stack made everyone else look self-controlled by comparison.  Confession: I’ve since drawn down the stack by 1 only to grow it by 2 more…

unread books twitter

  • I’ve been on a baby-bib kick lately with my cross-stitching, and I finished three more.  They’re mostly, but not all allocated.  I still like the owl I finished last month best.

IMG_0262[1] IMG_0263[1]

I think that’s it for July–I do apologize for the length, I spent a lot of the month looking for things to do between thesis drafts and I think it shows.  As usual, for more What I’m Into Posts, head back to Leigh’s blog and browse through the other submissions.

3 responses to “What I’m Into July 2013

  1. Christina, I don’t even know where to start because I just want to gush about everything. I’ve never heard of Corner Gas but that was funny! I am super excited for the final Divergent book! I loved An Everlasting Meal but I get why it’s not for everyone. Her ideas, though, truly have changed the way I cook. Glad you enjoyed MWF Seeking BFF. I found it to be an energizing read. So many of your books are on my To Read list! Would you say it’s worth watching Drop Dead Diva again? I lost interest last season, which was too bad, because I really enjoyed it up til then. I pinned almost every recipe you shared. YUM. I’m still so amazed by your book stack! It’s something to aspire to. 🙂

    • Corner Gas is a Canadian comedy set in rural Saskatchewan. It ran for 6 seasons, all of which are available on Youtube) It was a family favourite at our house.

      As far as Drop Dead Diva goes, I agree with you that the 4th season was not as good as the previous season. I think they’re dragging out the Grayson arc too long, and they need to finally resolve it one way or another. I’m still watching because I want to see what happens, but I hope this is the last season–I prefer happy endings to long tortured star-crossed lover storylines.

      As far as the book stack goes, the key is to get a job at a bookstore, preferably with a great clearance outlet. I spent my college years working part-time at the local Christian bookstore for spending money and the majority of my salary went right back into the business.

  2. justoneoftheboysblog

    What a great What I’m Into post! I loved the book Torn and recommended it to several friends! A few other books on your list are on my Goodreads list. 🙂 This was my first month to link up with Hopeful Leigh – I look forward to doing it again next month! 🙂

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