It was my month of rest and I fully enjoyed it. The temperature stayed above 15ºC and even 20ºC a lot of the time and it didn’t rain for weeks until 16th July. I even marked that day in my diary.
My first two weeks were mostly in the Lake District. I have posted too much about my trips to the Lakes, so I won’t say more about those, except, it was really good to see old friends from nine years ago who were lamps on my journey of faith (I will always remember how Jonathan lifted Kah Foon up from the floor like a plant pot). If you haven’t seen those Lakes posts, go to the home page, or my newly-created “Lake District” tab under “Outdoor” on the top of my webpage.
Photos: The view on the way up Skiddaw. A mini photo session with Pearl, shooting with my phone. Random shots around Keswick. If you’ve been following my Instagram, you have seen most of these already.
My slight regret is I didn’t read as much I’d like to (especially the first half of the month). I discovered that summer is not the best time for reading, especially as it didn’t even rain much this month (therefore no reason to stay indoors). Christmas holidays are much better suited for that. To counterbalance that, I have a new plan.
After I unsubscribed from STACK, my collection of independent magazines stopped growing alarmingly. But I got five last month and three this month (many of which are from my husband who decided to spoil me in this way, and every other way). I read in Lit! that Tony Reinke will buy as many books as his children want as long as they will give a “presentation” about their “five favourite pages in each book”.
I decided to adopt this approach for my magazine reading with a slight adaptation. I’ll introduce each new magazine briefly from this month onward, talk about the design of the magazine (might be geeky I warn you), and share some thoughts on one or two articles that stand out to me most. I won’t buy anything else until that’s done. That way I won’t buy indie magazines just to hoard them and collect dust. Hopefully it’ll add some variety to my blog too. The first one will probably be Popshot Quarterly. Please hold me accountable dear readers!
I finished Expositional Preaching by David Helm and Preaching by Timothy Keller. Both are very interesting. Not that I’m preparing to preach at all. I’m just very interested in all forms of gospel communication and want to know how I can make use of them more effectively. A comparison post is coming. I’m also reading The Trellis and The Vine in preparation for the new JPCi year.
(500) Days of Summer. A great inspiration for a photo shoot. I actually found this film while searching for college / campus photo shoot ideas on Pinterest!
The Beguiled. I found the Chinese translation of the film title very clever and interesting: Under the Peonies. It’s half of a sentence from an old Chinese saying. The full sentence can be roughly translated as “one would be content to die under the peony” with peony referring to a beautiful woman. About the film itself, it’s a new make of an old film with the same name and same story (1971). The director and screenplay is Sofia Coppola, who is one of the famous female directors at the moment. The three leading roles are played by Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Funning. To be honest, the names were what lead me to watch it. The storyline is pretty ridiculous. What I like most is the cinematography.
Becoming a Part-Time Vegetarian
This has been surprisingly controversial! So much so that it has been my very useful conversation initiator recently.
For a few reasons, I have taken this into serious consideration. But the problem is I’m not confident I’ll manage feeding myself and my husband without meat. I have never done it and veggie meals always seem to me a bit of a “second class” option… I have a bland and unsatisfying impression for veggie dishes in general. So that’s hurdle one.
Hurdle two is that I also don’t like the label of “vegetarian” as if it’s something I’m committed to and if I don’t stick to it, I have failed. So I wasn’t going to announce it until I tried it out for a bit longer – until two things happened. Firstly, one YouTuber in a similar situation mentioned that they had “no labels, we are just having a bit more veg and less meat”. Secondly, I came across this cookbook called Part-Time Vegetarian with the sub-title of “Nearly Not Eating Meat”. I thought it was brilliant!
One last encouraging factor arrived just today: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Veg Every Day! He explains in the Introduction that this is a vegetable cookbook (rather than a “vegetarian cookbook”) with the purpose of persuading people to eat more vegetables. I look forward to experimenting with the recipes and being happily persuaded that meals are not “incomplete without meat” through “sheer temptation”.
So now I can comfortably announce this news to all of you: I have become a part-time vegetarian, trying to eat a bit more veg. My new favourite this month is hazelnut milk. It tastes like chocolate flavoured milk but I know that it’s good for me (as in, tomato juice might be good for me but it tastes awful). Any good veggie recipes, please send my way! I would also love to improve the veggie meal options at church too.
I started the day opening presents in bed and spent the day with Andy in the Lakes. We attempted swimming in a new spot in Rosthwaite area and sat at the back of a room full of passionate British men and women watching the World Cup semi-final. That was quite an experience.
Congratulations to Nathan & Kristen!
The third week of July passed with great excitement in anticipation of our good friends’ big day. It was a truly international day. There were some touching tearful moments (because the wedding is one-third American), fried rice and fried noodle in addition to tea and coffee served at the back of church after the ceremony (because it’s also one-third Chinese and one-third British!). The garden for the canapé was a dream. It was my first time watching guys playing football with complete passion (because it was the UK vs the US) in smart jackets and shoes. That was one of my highlights of the day.
There were many other wonderful things and moments during the day: Receiving a friend’s message who watched the wedding ceremony in Indonesia and saw us waving to him on live stream was definitely one. Singing with good friends and with such a talented and skilful band was certainly another one. The message from our minister was one. Just when you think there couldn’t be any fresh message from him on Ephesians 4 that would be better than the last wedding, he surprised us with an even better one. The Pimm’s was one. The wedding cake was another one. It was so elegant and tasteful on the outside and so delicious inside I’m regretting not eating more. The last and biggest highlight had to be the dances. I love ceilidh!
I was also delighted not to be on photo duty therefore was able to wear something inconvenient and not need to constantly look for photo opportunities like a meerkat for once. That said, I still couldn’t keep my hands off the camera for some part of the day (just because everybody was so beautiful and happy) and if you would like me to take photos for your wedding day, I would love to chat with you!
Week Three & Four
Week Three and Four were pretty intense, involving a lot of meetings, then waiting and email-checking. Talking with those people was an entirely brilliant experience. How often do I get to talk to them for an hour without being interrupted at all? Not very often at all! My proofreading proved to be problematic – relying on Grammarly and JOURNEY proofreaders too much! But the result is absolutely happy and exciting. I’ll leave it there for now because I still can’t quite believe it’s true!
It was also graduation week, a few JPCi friends from the last year came back for their graduations! Congratulations to you all and it was a pleasure to meet your friends and families!
Happy 10th anniversary!
It’s not our marriage; it’s my life in the UK! Really hard to believe that I’ve been here one third of my life. I have a long list of thank-you’s but this post is getting ridiculously long. So just briefly, I’m very grateful for the past ten years and I thank God for all of you. My biggest prayer is to know God more through the Bible and have him as my supreme treasure every day. And may the truth and love overflow to all the people around me.