Looking back at 2017

posted in: Uncategorized | 1

I’ve not always enjoyed having a birthday that was so close to Christmas.  Hint: most of the time we were out of school for my birthday which usually would be great, but that’s how I saw people and got anything for my birthday (other than from family), so if you were out of school most people forgot about it.

But, now I thoroughly enjoy it because it prolongs that year just a bit for me.  Most of my new year’s resolutions don’t start until after my birthday because you know, you want to eat cake! 🙂

So, 2017 wasn’t really a great year for lots of people, and it wasn’t a stellar year for me though it had highlights.

Let me first tell you about the highlights:

  1.  We bought a home.  We moved to the Augusta, GA area and were able to buy a home.  We had owned a home before but not since living in ATL, and now we can get settled.  I like being settled (as long as I get to travel).
  2. I was asked to do many cool lettering projects including a styled shoot which was published twice (here and here) and to letter t-shirts for a concert tour/album release.
  3. I surpassed my reading goal.

Ok, but really, 40 was not my favorite year.

I had to start again, again.  Building community at 40 is hard.  And ATL was hard enough as it was.  When you are 10-20 years older than most of the people in your same creative field, its difficult to feel like you fit in.  Social media doesn’t always help, but it also has been good to build community.

Fear was the word that permeated 40/2017.  Insecurity in my health (colitis flare ups, autoimmune diagnosis, weight gain).  Insecurity in my relationship with Christ.  Fear of failure as a wife and a mom.  Fear of how my boys will turn out.  Fear of not being liked.  Not in a 13 sorta of way, but in a 40 sort of way.  Fear of never being good enough to measure up to anything.  Fear of always being mediocre at everything I do.  Never excelling at anything.  Fear of loss: both my grandfather and my mom have been in the hospital and just sick in the last few months.

So, when people ask me what I want for 2018 and 41: just please be better than last year.

For 2018: Peace is my word of the year.  I want peace in my relationship with Christ.  I want peace in not-striving.  I want peace in our home.  I want peace in my body.

My verse for this year you will find above:

Since God created the world and everything in it is upheld by his words and his power – there should be no chaos in it – only peace.

Isaiah 45:18

I’m Not A Scaredy-Cat

posted in: Books | 2

Seriously, a book with a donut on the cover?  Yes, give me that book!

My kids loved this right away for the very same reason.  And because we ate donuts while reading it for the first time.

I’m definitely a Max Lucado fan, and have been ever since high school when I started reading his books.  He encouraged me in my faith so much during those first years of really growing in the Word.

And, raising boys, I think my boys need this book.

Boys need to be brave to grow into men.

Boys need to be brave to fight injustice in the world with the justice of God

Boys need to be brave to stick up for their siblings on the playground, or that boy who is getting picked on, or that girl who is getting teased.

Boys need to be brave when its not cool to do the right thing.

Boys need to be brave to work hard when it is more popular to be lazy.

Of when they are afraid of the dark and want their door cracked at night.

And this cat in the book reminds us, and our children of great truths:

God is good – always. (Our older son’s life verse says this very thing)

God is near – so good to know that.  When we pray we acknowledge that.

God is here – part of his perfect character.

And that He loves you.

If you’d like to win a copy of this book for your favorite little person – makes a great Christmas gift – then just leave a comment telling me your favorite kind of donut.

Thanks to Tommy Nelson Mommies for this book and the giveaway book!


Fear in the Kitchen & My Life with Bundt Cakes

Fear in the Kitchen and my life with bundt cakes

The kitchen is one of the most beloved spots in almost anyone’s home.  People tend to gravitate toward the kitchen : hanging out at the kitchen bar, sipping coffee, talking, or helping bake cookies (or eating them).  One of the mindsets I tend to hold to is everything important happens around the table.  And, when we do move into a house of our own we will get my parents’ wedding table (solid oak 8 foot long) where I ate most of my meals until I went to college.  Can’t wait.

everything important happens around the table

But, until then, I sit at an oval table that I’d love to DIY and think about everything I can learn about myself from being in the kitchen.  Why am I thinking about this today?

Because I just put a bundt cake in the oven.  I love bundt cakes but hate making them.  They are easy to make but usually, no matter how much I butter and flour the pan, I can never get them out perfectly.  Why?  For the love of butter, why?

So, I’m facing my fears today because I saw this delicious recipe over at Laura’s blog earlier this week and had everything in my kitchen to make it.  Now, I have doubly greased and floured the pan, and I’m holding my breath for an hour to see if it will come out or not.

Here are some fears of mine in the kitchen (and as you can probably relate – to the rest of life):

Chocolate Ganache Yellow Cake with Fruit

  1.  I’m not good enough. With the advance of social media and my love of photography, cooking, baking, farmers markets, local eateries, and cookbooks, I fear I will never live up to what I see on my phone, computer, or little cafe I go to. But, I’m also learning is that I never will be – but I certainly can try.  I should be competitive with myself, and not with everyone else.  I need to keep trying and learning and improving.  Progress not perfection.
  2. I will fail.  Yes, you know what I will fail.  So will you.  We are not perfect by any standard.  Even the best in home or restaurant chefs burn something, can’t capture the food with the lens, or have to throw out an entire recipe because it didn’t taste right.  Failure is a part of life.  You know what, that bundt cake might stick.  But, I guarantee my husband and two littles will eat most of it and the people I give it to will like it.  They won’t care what it looks like.
  3. Someone else will win.  I’m a very competitive person.  And, you know what, with so many bakers, photographers, runners, wives, mothers, handletterers around me – I will never be the best.  Someone will always be better than me.

When I list out these fears – sometimes they sound silly.  But I know how very real they are.  So, I press on.  I keep on baking.  I keep using my bundt pan.  I keep trying new recipes and taking photos.  I dream of one day having my own story-cookbook or having a photo in a magazine.  Maybe one day.  Until then I will keep cooking for my family, making food as gifts to people, and stick with my motto of everything important happens around the table.

What are your fears in cooking, your hobby, or other areas of life?

The Hand Model – and Us

posted in: Women | 1

Most of us are not hand models…but if you saw this video on the CBS Evening News with Katie…then you might have seen a glimpse into your own life (or my life: which I did). Here is why I say that. And please, click the video above, watch it, then come back and read below…
( I assume now that you’ve watched the video) – thank you Tim Challies by the way for pointing it out…

Here are four points (some specifically for women, some for all of us).

1. Pride. I was once told that we see the sin in others when it is a sin that we also struggle with. The glaring sin of pride is the first thing that stood out to me when I heard this woman’s conversation with Katie. This woman may have the world’s most visible hands…but she didn’t create those hands. The Creator God gave her those hands…and not once did I hear her turn around and pay compliment to Him? All creation was made for God’s glory…including hands.
2. Dismissing Responsibility/Laziness. In order to protect her hands, she can’t do many of the things that God has commanded us to do. Specifically as women we see in Titus 2 and Prov 31 many responsibilities that women/wives are to do with their hands: cook, gather material, work, provide clothing and food, take care of the household’s needs, etc. This requires use of hands. May require different things for different people, but at some point – we need to use our hands. She isn’t. She is relying on other people, and in turn, dismissing the responsbilities given to her. Do we really need our husbands, children, maids to open a can for us?
3. Fear of Failure. She is so afraid of taking off her gloves, cooking, etc because she feels that if something happens to her hands, than she will be a failure. I wonder when this obsession with her hands started? Wonder what role her parents had in this overarching theme of her life? I wonder what would happen if she broke her hand, or got a splinter, or a nail chipped…would her life be ruined? Do we NOT do things because of fear of failure or do we do the easy things because we know we will succeed and we don’t have to worry about someone doing it better? What happens when this woman ages and her hands wrinkle?
4. Wrong Dedication. I am working on a church Sunday School curriculum called Treasuring Christ. It is designed to teach students that Christ is more worth anything we can live our lives for: that God, through Christ, is all that is worth living for. He is everything. Her life is about her hands and her work. She goes about her whole life in seeking protection for her hands and a spotlight to be shown on her hands. Where is Christ? Ok, we may not be hand models – but what area of our lives is more than Christ? Is it your family? your career? Your sports? Your hobbies? Your money? What? Take inventory.

Here is the grace of Christ:
Colossians 2:6 “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taughts, abounding in thanksgiving.”