What I’m Into 7:14

July is a month of celebrations in our family. We celebrate our anniversary, Daisy’s birthday, my mom’s birthday, and Bea’s birthday. This year, in honor of our 5th, Frank and I took five days to explore Ouray in southwestern Colorado. We spent quality time hiking trails we can’t do with Bea, conversing uninterrupted, driving through beautiful scenery, and reconnecting.

For Bea’s birthday, my brother and cousin flew in from California to celebrate. Because we have a small house, we created a guest room behind our garden using our tent. With the room divider set up, it was about as spacious as our proper guest room, if a bit less convenient. It was a good lesson in hospitality with small spaces.

No guest room? No problem!
No guest room? No problem!

Bea continues to adore all things Daniel Tiger, so we decided to recreate a “Tigy” cake and she was over the moon. She absolutely loved having all her friends over and it was fun to see her understand that she was getting bigger. She kept shouting, “Happy Birthday, Beatrix! I’m two ‘ears old!”

Bea with her Tigy cake
Bea with her Tigy cake

We just dropped our last guest off at the airport and now the house seems a bit quiet. Even though a full house can have its stresses, I love being able to open our home. When we were all packed in the living room, eating leftover cake, Bea sighed and said, “My whole family is here!” There’s something special about instilling that importance from the very beginning.

Books: Finished and In Progress
I decided to read the rest of C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy as part of our Reading Challenge. Upon reflection, I think Perelandra was my favorite and, as Frank is reading Surprised by Hope, we are finding connections, which is fun. Next up is Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire.

A couple five-star reads this month were Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman and An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor. We are just barely into Season 1 of OITNB and the book helped me connect with Piper’s character. Though it doesn’t follow the series, the book brings up important issues around prison reform and has started conversations between Frank and I about ways we can help. An Altar in the World may be my new favorite book. I’m thinking of buying a few copies to give away, as I know I’ll be recommending it! In the midst of blog-style Christian memoirs, this is a refreshing, deeply written series of reflections.

Currently, I’m reading The Meat Racket by Christopher Leonard, about Tyson chicken. We only buy local, organic chicken, but it has made me question what I’m eating when we go to restaurants. Definitely an eye-opening, thought-provoking book, though it is a bit dense and slow-going for a July read.

You can connect over at Goodreads and Pinterest for all of my reading activity.

Many bloggers seem to be taking a summer break, which has been nice for me and has freed up reading time. Over here, my most popular was Freedom. My own favorite was Bagging Peaks. I’m still trying to figure out this blogging groove and have been really pondering what this space is about and for. Thanks to all who read, respond, and encourage. I do appreciate it!

Around Town
The Denver Botanic Gardens has a Dale Chihuly exhibit up right now. I love his whimsical style and have only seen it displayed in museum settings. The way the sculptures are integrated into the gardens is fun and natural. If you haven’t yet been, I’d highly recommend. Get there early (they open at 9:00) because parking fills up quickly!

What about you? What are you into these days?

Linked with Leigh Kramer’s What I’m Into. Head over there for fun books, activities, and goings-on from July.