may 2021 favorites

by | Jun 8, 2021 | Favorite Things | 12 comments

I can’t believe it’s June already!  In just a few short weeks, 2021 will be half over.  I remember a friend saying years ago, as I held an infant Marshall in my arms, that I just pressed the fast-forward button on my life.  There is something about living in the cycle of the school year, watching your kids mature and grow taller than you (Marshall just passed me by almost 2″), and the bustle of an active household, that makes time seem to pass just a little quicker.

May was also a full month.  Busy with work, busy with the end of the school year, busy with getting ready for a trip, and getting settled and caught up when we got home.  But it was full and busy in a good way.  I feel like I’m settling more into my routine and workflow more than I have in months.  As always, though, there is so much I want to do and not enough time to do it in.  I know I’m not the only one who feels perpetually against the clock.

Anyway, months that are full usually bring a lot of favorites along with them and this May was no different…


Of course, I loved the entire trip to Isle of Palms (you can read those posts HERE), but shelling was a highlight.  We went every morning and a few times throughout the days and evenings when the tide was right.  I enjoy the process of looking for shells just as much as finding good ones.  I love the water lapping at my feet, the feeling of the sand between my toes, and the constant crash of the ocean waves.  I like being slightly windblown and sunkissed.  I become pretty much oblivious to everything but those sensations and the piles of shells washed on the shore.  I don’t know if I would ever want to live on the ocean, but I always want to make regular trips to get my fill of walking in the surf.


Jeff introduced me to this app a long time ago, but over the past month, I’ve been making a point to listen to it every day.  It’s part devotion, part guided prayer, and meditation, and it’s such a good way to start my day.  I’m guessing it’s a British-based app based on the variety of English, Welsh, Irish, and Scottish accents who read and speak.  In a way, that makes it even more fun to listen to!  The central topics of the devotions are prayer, creativity, justice, hospitality, mission, and learning.  Each devotion is accompanied by scripture reading, some thoughtful response questions, and a time to pause and pray.  You can listen to the daily devotion or can go back through their library and listen to ones that speak to something happening in your life.  If you prefer, you can read through the devotion instead of listening to it.

You can download the app for free from whatever app store you use.

LECTIO 365: a devotional tool for 2021


I just finished reading the book Effortless right before we went on vacation.  I loved Essentialism (also by Greg McKeown), so I was on board as soon as he came out with another book.  While I think that Essentialism is a stronger book on the whole, Effortless is also wonderful and will have you rethinking the way you do things.  In our culture today, we seem to celebrate hard.  We wear it like a crown and put it on t-shirts.  Doing hard things can be rewarding, but that doesn’t mean that everything has to be hard or anything worth doing is hard.  If something is hard, does it really need to be?

This is a good book for anyone, but it’s particularly good for people who make things needlessly complicated or overthink habitually.

effortless book review | miss mustard seed

made you look

I think I watched this documentary on Netflix, but I’m not 100% sure.  Anyway, Made You Look – A True Story About Fake Art was great.  It was something I watched to pass the time when I was up late monitoring Calvin’s blood sugar and I was sucked in.  Not only was it interesting to see how a team of three people were able to con experts into buying their fake art, but I learned all about catalogue raisonnés and the provenance of paintings.  It really made me think about how I approach my own art.  Should I be cataloging it?  Should I take it more seriously than I do?  Will it be worth more one day?  I really don’t know who decides that or how that happens.  It seems like it comes down to recognition from the right person or group of people, but it’s a bit of a mystery to me.  This documentary pulled back the curtain a little bit and I found myself thinking about it days after I watched it.

made you look documentary | miss mustard seed

trader joe’s mini chocolate chip ice cream cones

I know I’m not the only one who likes these because they fly out of our freezer drawer and they are out of stock half the time at Trader Joe’s.  These are the mini chocolate chip ice cream cones called “Hold the Cone.”  They are just the perfect size to hit that summer ice cream craving without being excessive.  When we have them stocked, I’ll eat about one a day as a treat.

trader joe's hold the cone | miss mustard seed

at first light

At First Light – two centuries of Maine artists, they homes and studios.

Our Barnes & Noble store recently rearranged, moving their art books to a section with a large display area.  This book was on that display and I was immediately drawn to it.  First of all, it’s blue.  Second, I have never seen it before.  Third, it’s about artists and their homes and studios!  Does that sound like a book that’s perfect for me, or what?  This book didn’t disappoint and I read through it several times already.  It features a few of my favorites including Frank Benson & Fairfield Porter.  Of course, it also features three of the Wyeths and introduced me to some more recent artists.  It’s a beautiful book, even if you’re not into art.

at first light book review | miss mustard seed

wyeth studio | at first light | miss mustard seed

I loved this image of Frank Benson’s studio.  He used to wipe the extra paint from his brushes on the wall!  I just might do that in my next studio!

frank benson's studio | at first light | miss mustard seed

Escape to the Country

If you’ve been watching Escape to the Country for decades then you’re going to wonder what rock I’ve been hiding under!  I had never seen it, but with the acquisition of the Kitchin sketchbooks as well as discoveries of my own English roots, I’ve been more interested in historic English homes as well as getting more familiar with the geography of Britain.  And this show is so good.  I can’t wait until I can travel overseas again and this show is a little consolation.

escape to the country | miss mustard seed

Wild Mountain Thyme

Now that our boys are older, they are often outside with friends or doing an activity in the evening, so Jeff and I have been watching more movies together.  A favorite that we watched recently was Wild Mountain Thyme.  It is a very quirky movie, but we both ended up enjoying it thoroughly and feel like we need to watch it again to catch all of the nuances in the humor and the undercurrents of the story.  Oh, and the farms and English cottages are lovely to look at.  It’s available with a Hulu subscription now, but you can also rent and purchase it on iTunes, Amazon, etc.

wild mountain thyme movie | miss mustard seed

Those were some of my favorite things in May.  What were yours?


  1. Claire

    The other day I was in a lighting store. They had accessories for your house too. I was drawn to this set of four ceramic or clay coasters with pictures on the top. The coasters sat up in a little box. I lifted the coasters and thought “Could this be Marion’s artwork?” I turned it over and it was! Needless to say the miniature paintings of fruit came home with me and will go to our new house with us when we move.

  2. Lola

    Thank you very much for sharing your favourite May things. I truly enjoyed it! I find other people’s interests quite fascinating. My favourite May things are all the colours of the flowers and all that Spring brings.

  3. Jennifer

    in the month of may, many books were read including The Book Woman of Troublesome County. My mother and daughter both read and loved it too! It’s beautiful, truly. Have also enjoyed baseball and warm weather, flowering trees and antiquing!

    • Kris

      Jennifer, I agree, that was a wonderful book!

    • Toni

      I loved that book too Jennifer!

  4. Laurie

    Love Escape to the Country. I watch it while enjoying a nice cup of tea, just getting into the British spirit. Can’t wait to check out some of your favourites too. Thank you.

  5. Julie | Home On The Hill

    Nice round up Marian.

    I have watched Escape To the Country for years but find it annoying that the majority of people never actually go through with buying a home in the show, they seem to be dreamers more than doers quite often.

    Also find it hilarious how the British buyers will say a property is too far from the city & it’s a 40 minute drive! LOL
    People who live in big countries like Australia & the USA have a totally different perspective on distance than the British.

    When I was in England one time visiting my Aunt, we asked about how far it was to Stone Henge from their place & she replied, “Ooh,it’s quite a long way”, so by Australian standards I’m thinking 4 or 5 hours drive. My Aunt then says “It’s at least an hours drive”. She was mortified when us Aussies replied, “Great, we can do that & a few other places of interest in the same day” !!!! 😀

  6. Deb Plapp

    Did you happen to watch “Escape to the Château”? I loved it. It was on a PBS channel. I won’t go into it too much, in case you have seen it.
    A British couple Angel and Dick buy a run down Château in France and refurbish it to live in, and to host weddings and other special occasions.
    They are such a hoot. Her design style is so cool. Their kids, Arthur and Dorothy are so cute. Arthur cracks me up.
    If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. I would think it is streaming on some channel.
    I enjoyed your post. Thanks so much.

  7. Deb Plapp

    Oops, I goofed. Escape to the Château was on HGTV.
    I’m trying to watch Escape to the Country.

    • BJW

      You were correct. PBS first aired it then HGTV picked it up later. I missed the first few showings on PBS and was so happy to see it on HGTV. My husband really liked it too.

  8. Karen B.

    I am particularly interested in the book recommendations. I overthink everything. Haha. Escape to the Country is of interest as well. I love England and miss traveling there. This program is perfect. I’ll look for it and start watching. Thanks for your posts. I love finding favorites from my virtual friends with blogs.

  9. Betty Bashaw

    Thank you for sharing your May favorites. I always check out your favorite books and movies. The books stretch me to read things I would not naturally gravitate toward. I’m going to check out this movie tonight! Happy June!


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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