Category Archives : Beautiful Life


Finding Rest

It feels more apparent now than ever that our world is a messed up, broken place.

Walking into a movie theater, mall, sporting event and even church can give me the heebie-jeebies, constantly turning my head to see each new person who enters and make sure they aren’t toting a gun. This is not normal. This is not how it should be. But I’ve so easily crept into the behaviors that it’s starting to feel natural.

There have been many nights that I’ve laid in bed for sometimes hours, wide awake, fearful of all the horrible possibilities of random tragedies that could occur even in my small town, no amount of self-talk able to get me to sleep.

I have made the mistake of watching the news before bed and been awoken several times with nightmares of guns, terror and violence.

As my pastor said in his last message (Redemption Songs, Pt. 2: The Benedictus), every day we are met with another tragedy. Evil is running rampant in our world and it makes us scared. In our fear we clamp down. We want it stamped out. We think we can eliminate the threat and stay safe, but what keeps us up at night is knowing deep down that we can’t. History says that we can’t educate sin out of people and we can’t destroy evil permanently. The longing that we have for safety is good and natural, but ultimately, it can only be found fulfilled in Jesus.

As a control freak, I admit that this makes me crazy.

But as a Christian, there is good news.

Paul says in Col. 2 that on the cross Jesus didn’t just atone for sin, but as he hung there, rejected by both heaven and earth, he also defeated evil.

He took the worst that evil could dish out—he bore death, and then he defeated it.

As my pastor said, “Our hope for a world or peace, safety and security is not more legislation, it’s not closed borders, it’s not less guns or more guns. Our hope is in a savior that has already defeated death, who has  given those who have faith in him that same victory–that death cannot permanently touch us–and has promised to come again to be the one to put evil down fully and finally.”

As we approach our next election with debates and campaigning, I will remember that as a Christian, I need not put my hope in a stronger ruler.

Our king has come and defeated our greatest enemies and he will come again.

I have to rest in this or I may never sleep again.

💛


A Redemption Song

Last week I drove home from a meeting and it suddenly hit me that I was just not measuring up.

Anywhere.

Not as a mentor to the teen moms I work with.

Not as a leader in my business.

Not as a friend.

Not as a woman.

And most importantly, not as a wife or mother.

Every which way I turned I was bombarded with awful thoughts about what a failure I was in every aspect of my life.

Each time I tried to think of something positive I was reminded of yet another example of a time or place I had recently failed.

I’m not mentoring anyone specifically in YoungLives. I’m a failure. 

I haven’t been working my business enough. I’m a failure. 

I feel like none of my friends like me anymore. I’m a failure. 

I’ve gained 5 pounds. I’m a failure. 

I’m not paying enough attention to my husband. I’m a failure. 

I’m not spending enough time with my kids. I’m a failure.  

I sobbed the entire drive home. Then for another thirty minutes in the shower. And maybe another hour or two (especially after trying to watch Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors….#allthetears). After a glass of wine and venting to a good friend I was feeling a little bit better but still about 80% failure.

I had listened to our most recent sermon (Redemption Songs, pt. 2: The Benedictus) that day but hadn’t finished it, so the morning after my mini-breakdown I turned it on and the last 15 minutes took my breath away.

It was like our pastor was speaking right to all those fears and feelings of failure.

He said, “We may try to deny it through distraction or effort but we know deep down that we don’t measure up.”

Yes,  how did you know?! I don’t measure up!

We know that something isn’t right. The bible says we feel that way because we are in fact sinners who have in fact betrayed God, so, yes, we are guilty. It’s true. We feel guilt and shame because we have broken our relationship with God. We are sinners by human nature. We can’t help it.

But there is good news…God has promised to deal with that sin. He has decided to freely forgive us. Through Jesus, God is coming to do what He promised to do–redeem us, be our forgiveness, bear the weight of our betrayal, bear our guilt before God.

As my pastor said, there is no amount of self help, positive thinking, or therapy that can deal with the problem of sin. And as I learned that night last week, there is no amount of tears, wine or venting to friends, either.

The only thing that can reconcile us to God is the finished work of Jesus.

This is what Christianity is about. And this is why I keep going back to Holy Cross PCA every week.

Every Sunday I hear the message that Jesus didn’t come to teach me how to get to God. Jesus came to GET ME to God. (So it’s okay to place my trust in Him).

Every Sunday I hear that it isn’t about better rules for me to keep, it’s about a better keeper of the rules. (Who is FOR ME).

If you trust in Christ then your sin has been removed for you.

So, DON’T TAKE IT BACK.

Rid yourself of the shame, the guilt, the failures.

Because Jesus is enough.

How refreshing! How freeing! To hear this good news for what felt like the first time.

To know that…

I am no  longer defined by my failures. I am defined by Jesus’ successes.

I may be a sinner, but  because of Jesus, I’m not a failure!

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Paleo Diet Update: It’s All Good 1

So, I’ve been doing the Paleo diet for a little over a week. I haven’t had time to do a full post every day and I’ve realized that keeping a food diary on a blog can be BORING (for myself and my readers), though keeping track of the foods I eat and the reactions I have to them helps a lot so I’ve been trying to take photos of most of my meals. I post my meal photos on Instagram and Tumblr for those who are interested in following my journey or looking for meal ideas. Taking pictures helps to keep me motivated and accountable to the diet that is ultimately making me feel A LOT better!

Here is a little summary of what I’ve been eating:

Breakfasts–Raisins, nuts, bananas, apples, bacon and eggs

Snacks–Mostly fruit or nuts. Lots of raisins, almonds, walnuts, grapes, blueberries, bananas and apples.

Lunches–Lots of lettuce wraps or salads with chicken or turkey (and sometimes bacon…yum!). I like to add avocado, tomatoes, onions, cilantro sea salt, pepper, lemon juice and lemon pepper to everything. Here is a yummy beet salad I got at a local restaurant. Beet salads will always remind me of my time in Germany, which I look back on fondly!

beet salad paleo diet

Dinners–I’ve done some baked lemon pepper chicken, tilapia and turkey with sides like kale, and broccoli. I also did turkey burgers with fresh guacamole and caramelized onions which was totally different for me! Here are some of my favorite recipes so far:

Crockpot Creamy Chicken and Tomato with Spinach Soup

Chunky Paleo Guacamole

Loaded Paleo Turkey Burger 

Kale with Bacon and Onions

Drinks–Teas with lemon and sometimes half a stevia packet

Biggest Cravings–CHEESE, Pancakes and a super-buttery, brown roll from a local restaurant!

Overall feelings— I have felt pretty good most days with minimal cramps/gas issues. The only time I really have these issues is when I “cheat.” I haven’t had any gluten (that I’m aware of) since the spaghetti but the few bits of rice I had didn’t rare very well with my tummy! I’ve also  “cheated” twice with cheese and I did okay, but had some cramps and gas. Overall, this diet isn’t very hard because I know it works! When I follow it, I feel good. I’ve even noticed my anxiety to be a bit better and am finding myself a bit more patient and just overall HAPPY, which is awesome!

Feel Goods of the week

it's all good

-Getting Organized! We’ve been purging and reorganizing which feels great. I also got this amazing planner from Erin Condren which makes me super excited about keeping my life in order!

erin condren planner

-My husband joining Facebook! He has held out for so long, but I’m really glad he finally bit the bullet. In a weird way I feel like it’s one more thing for us to “bond” over. Lame, I know.

-Our girls! They are quickly becoming the best of friends, which brings us so much joy.

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Miss Hattie eating solids! I think she really likes sweet potatoes!

sweet potatoes