The year is coming to a close, but thought I would send out one last post before I head off to China (don’t worry…it’s a just a 2-week visit and I’m coming back :P)
Here’s the list of what’s been in my headspace to round out the year:
My reading this month has largely been shaped by wanting to celebrate Advent. So I borrowed a few Advent devotionals which I tried to work through:
Watch for the Light: readings for Advent and Christmas
This devotional had one per day for the entire period of Advent and Christmas, an anthology of writings ranging from the well-known classics – Martin Luther, Thomas Merton – to more contemporary authors – Philip Yancey, Madeleine L’engle, with writings ranging from poetry to expositions of passages.
I didn’t proceed in chronological order, as my interlibrary loan didn’t come in time for me to start Advent with it, but jumping around to devotionals that spoke to me still gave me a great appreciation for how Christians across the centuries have come to wonder at the miracle of Christmas.
A time of fulfillment by Anselm Grun
This writing is a reflection on the “O Antiphons” which are sung at Vespers in the Western Christian traditions during the last seven days of Advent. The earliest reference to them was by Boethius (480 – 524), and by the 8th century, the Antiphons were an integral part of the liturgical tradition in Rome.
Each of the Antiphons reflected on a title of the Messiah (e.g. O Sapentia = O Wisdom, O Radix Jesse = O Root of David) and were written in Latin while sung in Gregorian chant.
I also managed to find a Spotify playlist of the Antiphons, so my morning devotional would consist of listening to Gregorian chant on replay while reading Grun’s reflection on that particular Antiphon.
Apart from Advent, the other two books I have enjoyed this month are:
Reading people by Anne Bogel
I love learning about people through their personality tests – recently, I found out that my Dad is an ESFP (The Entertainer) which would definitely make sense with his predilection to continuously invite people for dinner over the Christmas season.
Victoria encouraged me to take the Enneagram again and we found out that we’re both 2w3 (the Helper with an ‘Achiever’ wing), which she informed me is typical for “the teaching type”.
Anyway, Bogel goes through the major personality tests in her book and teaches you about their background, as well as how to read them – great for anyone intrigued by the plethora of tests out there and need a good place to start!
Paradoxology by Krish Kandiah
He goes through the major paradoxes of the faith – how God can be compassionate and order the wiping out of an entire city, or all-powerful and yet let suffering exist – through the lens of well-known Bible stories. It stretched my theology (always a good thing!) and brings to light questions we normally hide under the table – a great read!
I had a chai latte one time this month – slightly sweet, with a slight peppery kick at the end – and came home determined to make one on my own. So, after digging around in my spice cabinet for my cloves, nutmeg and other esoteric spices, this spice mix came together and resulted in many beautiful mornings with my chai lattes.
Butternut Squash Soup
Tis the season for warm soups! I don’t have a recipe for this one but I simply fry onion in butter until caramelized, add my diced butternut squash, chicken stock and let boil in the creuset until everything is soft and mushy. Then I add my spices (just took out the same spices I used for my chai mix haha), a sprinkle of salt and a dash of coconut milk and voila! Soup to sustain me through the cold wintery days.
I just discovered the magic of aquafaba – the reserve liquid in a chickpea can. Apparently, if you whip it for long enough, it becomes like soft peaked egg whites and you can use it in meringue and macarons!
So, I tried my hand at this science-cum-cooking experiment – didn’t get the ratios entirely right so though the aquafaba whipped up, the macarons were much flatter than they should be. It’s supposed to look like the macarons in the picture below, though they definitely were a far cry from that. Room to improve, I guess.
Minimalist/Vegan/Zero Waste Youtube Artists
As you can probably tell from the vegan macarons, I’ve kind of entered this exploratory phase of the minimalist/vegan/zero waste lifestyle, which I am attempting for the year 2019.
Here are some youtube channels I’ve been watching to learn more on how to do it well:
Other things I’ve loved this month
I’ve been trying to download all the useful applications that McGill has already purchased the license for, and learn how to use them, ChemDraw being one of them. Being able to draw an organic molecule quickly and professionally with its tools, as well as generating a predicted H-NMR spectra has been a life-saver this past month.
Homemade cleaning products
In my zero-waste mindset, I looked up how to make my own cleaning products and found out that you can make a pretty simple all-purpose cleaner with baking soda and citric acid.
In the process of digging through my spice cabinet, I found that I had some citric acid that someone had given to me from the coop (I had used it to make my own mozzarella cheese, then never used it again). So I threw together a mix of baking soda and citric acid and mopped my floors with it 🙂
Qavah – the Hebrew word for hope
In this Advent season, I’ve written two posts about the concept of qavah – that stretching, tension, leaning into the mystery and slow advent mornings. I love that I discovered that word – props to the Bible Project for that.
Being home and not having to worry about cooking/meals/my calendar!
Seriously, it’s been the best. The only real “project-related” thing I’ve had to do is go through our massive collection of family videos and edit/organize them.
And even that is fun (makes me very nostalgic). Here’s a little snapshot of one of our videos from when I was 6:
Singing and playing the piano for my very first gig as a musician
We got to serenade the staff of the Montreal Children’s Hospital at their Christmas party with the likes of “Santa Baby”, “Let it Snow” and other Christmas favorites. I haven’t performed as a musician in ages (since my high school days in the KW Youth Orchestra haha…) so this was definitely a highlight in my (pretty non-existent) career as a musician.
Finally, I wanted to end off this post (and the year) by saying that I’m so, so grateful for this space to write in and for readers (like you) who bother to read my thoughts. It means so much to me that I’m able to put to words what goes on in my head, and have you tell me how it’s been ministering to you.
It was a year and a half ago that the Lord put both music and writing on my heart – as callings he wanted me to be faithful in – and I’m blessed to be taking these baby steps in walking them out.
Since being back home, I’ve tried to make more of an effort to connect with high school friends (saw my high school French teacher yesterday for the first time in seven years!) and I’ve been reminded of the blessing of relationship, because after all, isn’t that what this season is about (that and Jesus, of course ;))
So, feel free to reach out either by email or by comment (even if I haven’t talked to you in forever) – I would love to hear how you are doing – and I promise that I will reply!!
Happy New Year to you all 🙂