What’s Wonderful this Week?

To christen my new website, I’ve decided to take a leaf out of the book of my favorite 30-under-30 Media Luminary, Griffin McElroy and his wife Rachel McElroy who are the co-hosts of the Wonderful podcast.  They have an official blurb on their official website that describes their podcast’s official purpose, but I don’t believe in authorial intent, so I’m going to tell you what Wonderful is to me and why I’m straight up plagiarizing from them.

Wonderful was created a few months after the world realized it was longing for it.  My podcast playlist is constantly peppered with bad news, painful stories, and harsh realities that I, with my weak constitution and position of relative life comfort, usually need to gear myself up for.  Wonderful is one of the podcasts that doesn’t take anything out of me, and in fact, gives me the strength and positivity necessary to deal with the depressing and frustrating truths that surround me.  I also use it to fall asleep because Rachel’s voice is very soothing and if you turn it down, you can pretend Griffin isn’t there.

JK.  He’s great.

So, without further ado, here is the first installment of my own personal Wonderful!

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Moana

I listen to music when I’m at work because, as a millennial, I can’t handle silence.  (But also, realistically, I work in a food pantry with volunteers and shoppers going in and out and around constantly, so silence isn’t exactly the word I’d use.)  This week, I’ve been jamming out to a lot of femme pop anthems in order to fight against the pessimism and fatalism that’s been swirling around my workplace, but that’s a Wonderful for another time.  At some point late in the week, I got Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Almost Like Praying” stuck in my head which prompted me to add it to my work playlist.  But you can only listen to a looped list of Puerto Rico’s cities’ names so many times before you want to add some variety, so I created a mini playlist of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s top songs on Google Play (my preferred streaming service; yet another Wonderful to remember for the future) and wound up getting a sort of disorienting mix of HamiltonThe Heights, and Moana songs all right next to each other.

Moana the movie is, as far as I am concerned, perfectly serviceable.  Not great, not terrible, cool for its branching out into girl-adventure and non-European princess stories, but nothing to write home about really.  But the music.  The music!  Thursday and Friday this week, I listened to the singable songs on the soundtrack while working, and since much of the work I was doing was mindless, you bet I was singing along.  Every once in a while, I’d have to remind myself not to belt out awkwardly while my door was open.

These songs are right up there with the best of the rest of Disney.  They’re peppy and catchy, and they’re also uplifting and optimistic in their content.  I like that a lot.

You can listen to the album here, if you want to join me in my child-like reverie.

Headgum’s Good Christian Fun

Like I said above, I listen to enough podcasts that I have to create a playlist of all the ones I’ve downloaded and listen to them over the course of my week.  This past week, I actually got to the Inbox Zero of podcast subscriptions and had to go back into the archives to find new episodes to listen to while driving around or cooking or painting or what have you.  That gave me the opportunity to listen to some older episodes of Good Christian Fun.  

GCF is a relatively new podcast with only a few episodes to catch up on, which is nice.  I heard about it from the aforementioned Griffin McElroy, who is something of a superfan.  Griffin McElroy and I, as well as GCF hosts, Kevin Porter and Caroline Ely, share the childhood experience of white middle-class Christian Evangelicalism.  GCF is a podcast for that niche of people, recovering Evangelicals who all have intense sense-memories associated with things like the Rube Goldberg opener to McGee and Me and Michael W. Smith’s “Friends.”  This podcast is a wonderful tool for former Evangelical Christians to come together around the shockingly similar touchstone moments of our childhood.  I do wish wish that I had more friends who listened to it so that we could talk about it, because the topics and media that they discuss frequently bring up a lot of faith-questioning, and I have little discussions with myself during and after some episodes.

If you’re interested, I suggest you start with the Stephen Curtis Chapman or DC Talk episodes, because they really get to the heart of what I love about it while also prompting, at least for me, that desire for further conversation.  If you want to start a fan-cast for it, hit me up on my mobile.  I’m into it.

My Morning Coffee

I know, I’m really digging into some obscure stuff here, but hear me out.  I don’t actually care what the coffee is (within reason…decaf and decaf adjacent are really pretty gross) and there is a spectrum of coffee rituals I observe that are all suitably enjoyable.  There’s just something deep-down-soulfully satisfying about sipping coffee as a part of starting the day.  I love when I wake up early while traveling and can share a mug with the friends or family I’m traveling with; that’s probably the most-wonderful iteration of morning coffee for me.  A close second is a chilly spring or fall morning on my own when I can listen to music, or read, or just sit by the window and be only semi-conscious while the coffee slowly permeates every little caffeine-addicted brain cell.  The days when I forgo coffee make my coffee days all the more enjoyable.  The smell of coffee is enough to make me excited for my next cup, whenever it comes.

What’s really funny is how different this is from my younger self.  I didn’t start drinking coffee really until grad school, and I stubbornly avoided coffee all through high school, college, and most of what followed.  So my love affair with the stuff has only really just begun to blossom.  To those of you who told younger Mary that she would eventually love coffee (beer, and wine, as well) I concede that you were right and I was stubborn.

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