Summer holidays officially start today, but our June was so full of merriment, half our July will be single-parented, and our actual holiday just two days squeezed into a work trip in August, it doesn't really feel like summer at all. Not really. So I'm taking these last three quiet hours to do a bit of work and put a little bit of order before the chaos.
Here is a lamp-lit office, emptied now of friends who came to visit, and instead filled to the brim with woodworking projects and shuffled school papers.
Now it is much colder than the date on the calendar would lead you to believe. We bundled up the littles for the last day of school on the last day of June, and grey sky is threatening to make the day even darker.
I promise it's not as melancholy as it sounds. On to the rest:
I finally began reading Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad series. I'd heard rave reviews of French's work for years, but our tiny library is bereft of her titles. I eventually figured out that I can "place things on hold" and read In the Woods and The Likeness within the course of a couple of weeks.
I found it difficult to fully hear the voice of Rob - the male narrator of In the Woods, a Dublin detective, and the lone survivor of a childhood trauma - and when things came to a climax in the final quarter of the book, I really really disliked him and found the ending somewhat fruitless.
The Likeness was a welcome change, and narrator Cassie (who was featured in the prequel) an easier character to believe. Still, I enjoyed reading books set in the city I call home, and though I'm not as effusive over the series as my literary peers, look forward to reading more.
I also read The Lake House by Kate Morton (an overly-long, but still-lovely, harmless mystery), began reading At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider (a family travel memoir), and Silence by Shūsaku Endō (historical fiction and Matt's favourite book of all time).
The last few months have been unusually busy in the freelancing department, a blessing I'm extremely thankful for, even if it means my house is a lot messier and I've gained some croissant weight. I'm also working on a follow-up to my RNS piece, this time on the Orthodox Church in Ireland. My editors have been great - encouraging and patient - and I'm hopeful to file it in the next week or two.
Here's a few links for you:
- In the Shelter of Each Other
- Five Characteristics of a Family on Mission
- Be Careful What You Wish For
- Mourning With Those Who Mourn
- If you clean it, they will come
- Pastoring, Parenting and Priorities
After this last day of school, Asher decided to sit down and complete the rest of his maths book. "Can you check my sums?" he asked before bed. No, sir. I cannot. IT'S SUMMER NOW. The end.
Oh man, can we talk about The Handmaid's Tale? I read the book over Christmas, finding it engrossing while still keeping it at arm's length. But the series is a whole other thing: visceral, realistic, horrifying. I watch an episode and then take a several-week break. But oh my, is it good.
to Arcade Fire, mainly, because of this:
Such a gorgeous night - and venue! Malahide Castle! - to see them live. There was a lot of dancing, as you would expect. This was our anniversary present to each other, and it was perfect.
Also listening to The Popcast, On the Media, and the NPR One app.
Asher lighting candles and saying prayers.
A trip out west with some pretty great little people, one of which belonged to the lady below. She came, too, and spent her 40th celebrating with me.
How her daughter attached herself to my son, despite the fact that he dropped her on her head.
And also how she'd wander into our room in the morning, just to say hi and fill us in on her sleep schedule.
And hours and hours and hours of catching up with my dear friend. What a joy it is to see your friends grow up to be mamas, leaders, and saints.
Afternoon tea and late night pubs.
Finally meeting this lovely face in person! Thank you, Leigh, for letting me show you around my city for the day. I'm so thankful we got to finally meet in person, weigh out who wore it best - the White Sox or the Cubs - and have you diagnose me as probably... Enneagram 2? 6? I can't remember what we settled on. Either way, turning internet friends into real life friends is my favourite 21st century perk. Thank you, Al Gore. Also, this photo was taken in a bathroom. I regret nothing.
Getting published in Religion News Service for the very first time! Related: working on assignment in Dublin, taking photos of religious art, meeting priests and immigrants and sojourners.
The long grand stretch in the evening.
Sabbaths on the beach.
Running with Ella.
The refurbished National Gallery of Ireland.
A new coffee shop opening up in our village.
Our kids' school. I'll never get over how great it is, how the mums hug me on the last day, how happy my kids are to be there. I don't remember ever loving school like the do, homework and all.
Watching Radiohead and Foo Fighters at Glastonbury - with all the other middle-aged Gen-Xers - on BBC2.
Watching Jackson forge ahead with his friends (small and tall), serving his city, exploring cliffs and seas.