that all too familiar struggle

The thoughts of insecurity came flooding in; the thoughts about all the things I don’t like about myself, the thoughts about all the things I wonder if people think about me, the thoughts about all the things I wish I was better at. The thoughts of comparison quickly followed; the thoughts of wishing I looked more like _____, the thoughts of wishing I was as creative or as well-spoken or as witty as ______, the thoughts of wishing I had someone else’s opportunities. It was a rollercoaster of thoughts, full of loops and hard turns and sharp jerks to the side. All those thoughts hit me like a ton of bricks, seemingly out of nowhere.

I knew that wasn’t true, though. I knew all those thoughts sprang from a place where they had found roots somewhere in my heart. The circumstances of the social settings or the form of the picture that was taken or the conversation that took place may have been different than before, but the thoughts themselves were nothing new. I knew those thoughts very well. All the familiar thoughts, the well-known lies that I was tempted to believe, were back in full force and it was awful.

It had been a while since I had struggled this intensely and, frankly, that was one of the hardest parts. I was so discouraged by the constant barrage of thoughts, the minute by minute battle to get outside of myself, the tears that would insist on falling. I was tired of this. I was over every bit of hearing those same thoughts circle around in my head. I was weary of this path I had walked many times beforehand because I knew where it lead, I knew the emptiness of it, and I knew what was so much better.

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That last phrase there is where the shift happened. It happened because of the better thing. It happened because the better thing, the better Being shed light on the roots of this all too familiar struggle and reminded me again of what truly defines me. He showed me Himself. This struggle is what He died to save me from; the struggle of being absolutely gripped by the lies of sin. It doesn’t define me anymore. The constant barrage of thoughts doesn’t have to be where I stay, the minute by minute battle has been ultimately conquered by Him, the tears can truly turn into joy when I remember what is truest about me.

God is so kind to meet us in those low places, to open our eyes to the truth that is so beautiful and so good. On one day last week when this struggle was especially painful I left my Bible open on the kitchen island all day. It was opened to the Psalm I had read that morning, Psalm 116, and the verses that I read multiple times that day were 5-7:

“Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful. The LORD preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.”

That last sentence, verse 7, was on repeat in my mind and out of my mouth that day; it was the prayer I prayed all day long. I wanted to know that rest again, the kind that rests because of what He has done, because of who He is, because of who I am in Him. He HAD dealt bountifully with me! I knew it to be fully true! Speaking those words of truth to myself, reminding myself of the evidences of His grace and goodness that truly abound in my life, began the shift of pulling my gaze off myself to something so much greater and more lovely. And then when I remembered that that greater and more lovely One made me His and that is the very definition of my worth!? That shatters every single lie that would say something different.

Trying to find my security in a picture, or a conversation, or someone else’s thoughts about me will always leave me wanting. No matter if the picture is a good one, or the joke well-timed, or the compliment is received, I will always always want more. It doesn’t satisfy and I have to keep reminding myself of this. Those insecure thoughts will return, ready to fight another day, but their roots in my heart have loosened some more, with healthier ones taking their place.

C.J. Mahaney writes, “Humility isn’t thinking less of ourselves, but thinking about ourselves less.” As I’m sitting here typing this my AK is listening to a song and the line that just played was, “Lift your eyes! We are His radiant bride!” That’s a rather beautiful picture, and that’s what we are. We are prized and treasured by our God. He doesn’t call us to think less of the very ones He created to be His clearest imitators, but He calls us to do that very thing: to imitate Him. To make much of Him and less of ourselves. I want that to be the truest thing about me.



in my kitchen || journal #1


"Cooking well doesn't mean cooking fancy." 

Julia Child

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Such good words. Wasn't she just a wealth of culinary wisdom? I think I should frame this for my kitchen. It's a good reminder for me, for what I want the heartbeat of our kitchen to be. I want to cook well; to learn and love the art of it, to stretch myself, to know my ingredients, to get comfortable creating on my own, to make good food, whether it's scrambled eggs, a simple salad, or a charcuterie board.

A part of this comes from the atmosphere we create in our kitchen, I think. I want to bring people into my kitchen, to let my kids make messes -- heck, to let myself make a mess, to be brave with flavors and attempt new things like homemade pasta. I want our kitchen to be a place where people desire to be, to nurture that atmosphere of good food and great conversations. I want to do things well, just as Julia said. 

This kitchen journal is my desire to document not just the new recipes we try and love, but much more than that, the scenery that's going on behind those recipes. I want to document what we were doing, what was the atmosphere in our home, who was present, what was my heart feeling, what did I notice in that moment on that day in this sweet sacred space: our kitchen.


On this particular evening, I was craving some alone time. The afternoon had held a very fussy baby, a sad Anna Kate who had spilled hot chocolate on our off-white carpet (the day we finally get to rip that carpet out will be one met with much rejoicing), and a needy puppy annoyingly begging for her dinner. I was feeling a bit frayed.

Enter some evening sunshine and that superhero man I'm married to. Once I got the babe asleep, he took the fur-child and our big kid out for a walk in the brisk February air and said, "enjoy yourself, love." A calm fell over the house. I'm learning in those first moments of calm to just be quiet for a minutes, to reset my heart a bit, to ask the Lord to help me make the most of the time and bed ready to meet my people well when they walk back in the door. 

With Sinatra and a glass of moscato as my companions, I set to making dinner. Greek Chicken Souvlaki and Potatoes from Half Baked Harvest were on the menu that night. It was chopping, tossing, and sneaking bites of feta and kalamata olives as the evening light poured through the window. The pan went in the oven (this recipe is delightfully simple), the rice cooked up, and I set the table, swaying to "the way you look tonight" as I laid the plates and forks on the table.

J and AK walked in at just the right time, red-cheeked from the chill and ready to settle into a warm dinner. The meal itself was a winner, but more than that, it was conversation around the table, hearing about the walking adventure, a peacefully sleeping babe, and the faces of the ones I love most. It was a real evening of "us", marked by the still very new adjustment to life with 2 little ones, a reminder of where I must always draw my strength, and a sweet husband handing me a bit of time.

The Lord is so good to meet us in our imperfect ordinary. He doesn't waste a thing.

in the last 3 months.....

Hi, lovelies!

Oh, I'm so happy to be back filling these blank white pages with tiny black letters and putting the stirrings of my heart into words. How I've missed it. I'm in the midst of putting together my Friday post and it has made me so happy to sit and piece together some of my little loves to share over the past week. Ah, sweet routine. 

We have been slowly coming out of what was, truly, the busiest season of our lives. From the time we moved into our house on April 1st until the end of June our home has been a blur of visitors and roommates, wedding planning and showers, continuing to settle ourselves in the house, and the weddings themselves. We titled that season as thoroughly happy and unendingly busy. So much was wrapped up in those 3 months.

We watched our baby sis get married and gained the sweetest brother. We then watched one of our dearest friends marry the man we've prayed for years for her. We were able to see almost all of our precious family in a months time as well as many of our closest friends. We were able to host loved ones in our new HOUSE. We had extra special time with my oldest brother and sis-in-love and darling nephews which was so refreshing. We had a lovely visit with Momma Coobs and, thanks to her, a small getaway just the two of us for the second wedding. We found out about several new little ones that the Lord has gifted to friends who have walked through so much over the past years, hoping for this day. We celebrated, we were exhausted, we were stretched and tried, we had many laughs and happy tears, we lived the past 3 months to the fullest and were thankful. 

photo via pinterest

photo via pinterest

We did breathe a sigh of rest, though, when we could begin settling back into normalcy, and when it could just be us. We stocked our memory tanks full and we've carried them tightly back into our everyday. By nature, we are homebodies. We thrive in routine, we prefer when every evening doesn't have plans, when we have the freedom to just be us in a day. Constant going isn't easy for us, it stretches our introvert selves and pushes the limits of our little one. But this uniquely busy season was good for us, for a number of reasons.

It pushed us outside ourselves in many ways. It made us realize, again, that we are far from self-sufficient and we must must must depend on that daily grace and strength of our Father. It ripped out selfishness from our hearts and made us realize, "hey, we can do all things through Him!" It gave us greater insight into our Little and taught us to be even more bold in guarding her needs. It taught us to ask for help. It caused us to practice saying, "no" when we needed to, which isn't the easiest word for us to voice. We learned to find the beauty in the busy and focus on that, to be grateful for it and not wish it away. And we learned how to take the pockets of rest we were given and make the most of it. 

Even amidst the non-stop days there are those pockets. You have to pay attention to their coming and savor them when they arrive, we learned. And when they come other things need to be set aside: the cleaning can wait, emails can sit one more day unanswered, the phone can be left in another room. You take those pockets and you live them well, being with your people and taking in those moments you're experiencing with them right then. Then those little pockets quickly become the very best kind of hours and days that weren't written down on your calendar, and the ones that fuel you up for the next dose of busy. I love those pockets.

Each season of life brings its own unique mix of the beautiful and the hard, all of it having passed through the perfectly wise hands of a loving God. I want to live them all well, with honesty, with an eager desire to love those around me so well, and with "eternity stamped on my eyeballs" because that makes all the difference.

Thanks for letting me share. I'm just so glad to be back with you dear ones.