What I’m Into, March 2014 Edition

After all the intensity on the blog last week, I’m happy to have an excuse to talk about books and flowers today via Leigh Kramer’s “What I’m Into” linkup.

What I’ve been reading:


I’m faithfully making my way through the dozen books I bought at Powell’s Books in Portland at the beginning of the month. (Aside from a 24-hour love affair with a rush order copy of Elizabeth Esther’s Girl at the End of the World. Totally worth it.)

Strength for the Journey: A pilgrimage in faith community, Diana Butler Bass.
Butler Bass is a deep thinker and great storyteller. I very much related to the first section of the book, as Butler Bass chronicles her migration to The Episcopal Church. It’s given me food for thought as I contemplate my own journey to liturgy.

Notes from a Blue Bike: The art of living intentionally in a chaotic worldTsh Oxenreider
Now this was just a nice and gently inspiring read. I especially liked Tsh’s section on education, and the dilemma over homeschooling vs. public school education. I would recommend this book to any parents who want to incorporate learning and discovery in their family life. Tsh also gave me permission to sit on the couch and read my own books in front of my daughter… Because apparently it’s good for her to see me lost in a book. Awesome.

Girl at the End of the World: My escape from fundamentalism in search of a faith with a futureElizabeth Esther
This memoir of Elizabeth Esther’s escape from the Christian cult of her childhood is the definition of a page turner. I stayed up until 1 a.m. to finish it in one sitting. I plan to write a personal response to the book on the blog later this week, so look out for that.

A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other StoriesFlannery O’Connor
I am ashamed to say I haven’t read much Flannery until now. I’ve read a few of her more famous short stories in the past, but sitting down with a whole collection has made me fall in love with her prose and her characters. A true master.

Pastrix: The cranky, beautiful faith of a sinner & saintNadia Bolz-Weber
I’m halfway through with this one and am trying to slow myself down to savor it because it’s going too fast. Bolz-Weber is Anne Lamott’s Lutheran cousin, seriously. Love how she can be so reverent and irreverent in the same breath. Love the humor, truth and confessional style. All of it.


What I’ve been watching

House of Cards
Yes, I’m finally watching House of Cards, behind trend as usual. We just finished the first episode of the second season and OMG! That’s all I’ll say in case you’re behind me. I am intrigued by the series but I’m not shouting “IT’S AMAZING” like the rest of the Internet. It takes me awhile to get over a love relationship with a television series. I feel like professing my love for House of Cards would be cheating on Breaking Bad. Always and forever, Walter White.

If I’m being honest, I am getting kind of tired of these whiny rich white girls. But I can’t stop watching. Lena Dunham, you are magnetic.

How I Met Your Mother
This season has dragged on. Thin plots, tired jokes. But because the series is ending tonight after 9 years, I’ll probably cry a teeny bit.


What I’ve been breathing deeply

Springtime and all that it brings, such as:

Wine tasting with friends


Family strolls on the weekend.


Fingerpainting outside.

photo 1-3


What I’ve been praying

Screen shot 2014-03-31 at 11.47.38 AM

“We pray that we would be given eyes to see you at work in the world: healing reconciling, and making all things new…”

Yes. May we be given eyes to see it.


What I’ve been writing

At the beginning of the month, I got to meet a bunch of rad writers at Faith & Culture Writers Conference. I also met with a literary agent who told me to fix up a book proposal for him. So that’s what I’ve been working on (kind of obsessively). I am scared and excited and exhausted and all that stuff.

In between, we’ve had some good conversations here about World Vision. And I started a series called “From Grape Juice to Red Wine”, stories from evangelicals migrating to liturgical churches. If you have a story you’d like to share on that series, write me. I also have a major vulnerability hangover from this post about when I hated gay people in God’s name. 

Earlier this month, I wrote a post for “On Pop Theology” about the rampant and dangerous trend of putting pastors on pedestals.

So what are you into? What books can you not put down? What shows are you staying up way too late to watch “just one more”? How are you spending your weekends? What kind of things have made you smile?



  1. on March 31, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Carly, it’s great to see what you’re reading …probably because I have read or would love to read nearly everything you mention. And POWELL’S – it’s maybe my favorite place on earth! Are you guys in PDX?

    • Carly Gelsinger on March 31, 2014 at 7:49 pm

      I live in California but make it up to Oregon semi-regularly to visit my husband’s family. And YES! I sure wish I lived closer to Powell’s. It is my grown up Disneyland.

  2. Nicole Jeannette Phillips on March 31, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    I LOOOOOOVE Flannery O’Conner and I’m getting more and more interested in Tsh’s book! I’ll have to check it out! Also, your post about hating gay people in God’s name is fabulous! Thanks for posting! Love your blog!

    • Carly Gelsinger on March 31, 2014 at 7:52 pm

      Thank you so much Nicole. Flannery seems to have magical powers over her followers. I’m falling under her spell. The post about hating people in God’s name was tough to write, but I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  3. lthompson513 on March 31, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    You are a busy busy girl! I’m inspired by your book list. I’m not sure I would be willing to share mine. I have a penchant for chick lit along with a flirtation with sales and marketing literature. It’s a weird combination best kept to myself probably.

    • Carly Gelsinger on April 1, 2014 at 7:39 am

      Haha that is quite the combination! I’d love to see your reading list!

  4. Leigh Kramer on April 1, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    I am going to have to track down a copy of Strength for the Journey posthaste! I love the 2 other books I’ve read by Butler Bass but this one sounds particularly up my alley. Your picture from wine tasting is divine!

  5. Sarah Caldwell on April 2, 2014 at 6:40 am

    I don’t mean to be a copycat, but my favorites in this post are the same ones Leigh just mentioned! 🙂 (In addition to loving your writing style, and enjoying all of this post! 🙂 Congrats on the opportunity to submit a book proposal to an agent/editor – yay! I definitely want to check out the book by Diana Bass. And your photo of wine is stunning! 🙂 Glad to find your blog through Leigh’s linkup!

  6. Donia Monetha on April 12, 2014 at 8:52 am

    I loved Girls and am just getting into House of Cards ~

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