It’s late and the thunder is grumbling at me outside, little cracks of heat lightning here and there, and the proverbial crickets are still chirping.

The world moves when I am still. Life doesn’t stop when we wait.

How does that even work? I’ve been attempting to co-exist with God over the past few weeks, waiting in his silence, and life as I know it hasn’t disintegrated. I’m shocked. Part of me actually believed that if I stopped moving, if I stopped actively propelling myself forward, the time-space continuum would collapse and I would spontaneously combust.

Nope. Didn’t happen. Bummer.

Because now that I know that, I’m obligated to learn from that lesson and I just haven’t come to terms with that yet. Am I really old enough to be patient now? Yeah, I guess I am.

I haven’t been writing. I turned down a job offer. I stopped spending my time dreaming up amazing, fantastic alternate futures in which I save the world. I’ve just lived one day at a time. And you know what? I was happy today.


And not only was I happy, I was at peace.

I was in my car this morning, parked and preparing to meet a buyer, when a woman parked next to me and started getting her two young kids out of the car. The youngest (a ridiculously adorable little boy about 2) somehow slammed the car shut on his finger. I had ice packs to keep my wine samples cool so I grabbed one and jumped out of my car with it to give to him. The mom was so sweet and her son soon calmed once he had the ice. We chatted for a bit. She was interested in the wine business, her oldest–a little girl–is the same age as my daughter and had hair just like hers; we had things in common. I ended up giving her my business card.

Maybe nothing comes of it. Maybe she’ll call me to say she got a job in the business in 3 months. I don’t know. But I left that situation feeling like something real had happened. I held that feeling nestled in my heart all day.

Last Sunday, our church met at a new location–a dedicated church building–because we’ve been invited to share it with the current congregation. It would be a huge change from meeting in an elementary school, but I think it would be a positive step. So we had a trial service. Everything about it was lovely, especially communion which my friend, Bonnie, got to serve.

If you’ve read any of the comments on my blog, you know Bonnie. She’s one of my favorite people in the whole world. Her joy, her passion, and her love for others is awe-inspiring.

I hugged Bonnie before I took the Bread and I felt at home worshipping there. It was special to receive communion from someone so dear. But I found out after the service, it was much more special than that. It was Bonnie’s first time serving communion. She told me she’d always wanted to be asked but over the past 2 years or so just hadn’t been. Not being asked was a disappointment to her; she’s been a part of that family since day one. But when she arrived at the church last Sunday, they chose her. On a very special day. She said it was infinitely sweeter and more meaningful that her first opportunity wasn’t until then.

God did that for her. Bonnie waited. She didn’t ask, she didn’t assert her wishes, she just waited. And it was so much better this way, His way.

He loved her enough to not only give her what she wanted, but to make it better than she imagined it could be.

Bonnie’s experience helped me reconcile myself to this season of waiting. Do I believe that God has something big in store for me? Yes, yes I do. I really felt like it was happening soon. That tomorrow or the next day there would be some big POOF of Holy Spirit glitter and my life would be more meaningful and important. That I could figure out where I’m supposed to go and what I’m supposed to do because I’m actually trying to be committed to my faith and seeking God.

Yeah, it’s not that complicated.

It’s actually quite simple. I typically reject the notion that anything worthwhile could be simple but this concept I like.

Here it is: God loves me. I don’t have to decide. I make decisions in stress and anxiety, that’s not what God wants for me. I don’t have to figure it out; God ALREADY has it figured out. (Although, Big Man, I am cool with you sharing the plan sooner rather than later!) I kept telling myself that I could wait on God and still search for the right way to go. That was in fact code for “still retain some control and mentally jackhammer myself into a rubbled mess.” That’s not resting in Him, that’s not waiting, and it’s definitely not being still. I mean, have you seen a jackhammer in action? That is the opposite of stillness.

So it’s not some big magical overhaul. It’s little moments. Like being there to give a little boy ice for his finger. Like getting to serve communion on a special day. Like being the kind of person that lives one day at time. It’s less stressful and more meaningful. I’ll take that today. And probably tomorrow, too.

Container Garden Week 7

Almost everyone is doing pretty well! We’ve got some baby zucchini and quite a few tomatoes. Unfortunately, the bell pepper plant is trying its best and failing miserably. Probably going to write him off soon. Still keeping hope alive for the cilantro, my only seedling pseudo-success. We had a gully-washer of a storm come through a couple weeks ago and the tiny shoots haven’t quite recovered.

Can’t wait to see some red creep into the tomatoes! And (perhaps the most exciting win) Eva is anxious to eat some of her zucchini! A 4 year old pumped about veggies? Yes! Thank you, Garden.


“Brave” Lacked Conviction

I don’t normally write movie reviews, but I feel so strongly about Pixar’s newest release, I’m making an exception–especially since a recent post centered on the value of princess stories.

We were incredibly excited about Brave. Pixar Studios has consistently released films that are not just fantastic movies, but challenging tales that reach both children and adults. Up, Finding Nemo, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and Toy Story 3 (just to name my top 5) have taken us on unexpected adventures with characters we love to places we never thought we’d go. Pixar has been a pioneer not just in animation, but in story-telling as well. I grew up with these films. Toy Story was released when I was in 5th grade; Finding Nemo, just weeks before I graduated high school (and you better believe I saw it in the theater). I love sharing these stories with my daughter because these movies tell stories as well as a novel (and BETTER than some popular novels _cough cough *Twilight* cough cough_)


Stories like those, no matter what the medium, need to be told.

My deep appreciation and love for Pixar films obviously led me to have extremely high expectations for Pixar’s first female protagonist and princess, Merida.

Brave" poster

The posters looked compelling.

The trailers felt compelling.

“If you could change your fate, would you?”

The tagline is compelling.

We were ready for an epic princess adventure.

But it wasn’t compelling. Instead of a vibrant, fresh approach to what Disney has been doing for nearly 80 years, Brave felt forced and flat.

Really, Pixar? Why even produce this movie? It clearly panders to the merchandising department…”Oooo, now we can sell bows and arrows on the girls’ aisle, too!” and perhaps was an attempt at capturing young female and male viewers.  Brave was far more violent than I expected it to be. (Concerned mothers: the 4- and 5-year old girls I had with me were frightened by the bears of which the previews make no mention.)

What purpose did the story serve? A “feminist” attempt at a princess story in which the princess doesn’t end up married? You don’t have to see the movie to know it won’t end with the traditional happily ever after. There aren’t any prince dolls on the shelves with Merida at Target, thus there couldn’t be a prince in the movie. (Merchandising 101)

I’m perfectly happy without the prince. Smash the stereotype to your heart’s content, John Lasseter. But the “fate” of which the tagline speaks is marriage. There’s nothing wrong with marriage! Forced marriage, sure. But not marriage itself! Do we really want to teach our little girls that turning their moms into bears and nearly causing a tribal war is what you have to do to get out of marriage? Really?

Unfortunately, though the visuals were stunning and it was certainly different than anything they’d released before, the characters were one-note and the story lacked depth. Merida was her own antagonist and they didn’t explore the issues enough to make her struggle convicting.

It was a huge opportunity to shift the paradigm and all they managed to do was make me appreciate Tiana, Rapunzel, and the traditional princesses more.


I get really irritated when God is silent.

There, I said it.

We were doing really well there for a hot minute. Thoughts were churning, mind was turning, heart was burning… then POOF. It all went a bit flat. Maybe it’s my fault. I can be a tad manic with projects. I’ll get really, really excited to begin and then just lose all my oomph. Perhaps the product of never training myself out of procrastinating? In college, I was always a wait-til-the-last-possible-moment kind of girl. Deadlines–and nothing else–made me move.

Now, without enforced due dates, without anyone to impress, and without grades to earn… I kind of fail. Unfinished blog posts in my queue. Ideas for businesses, non-profits, and books. I have not finished one of them. (Although, to be fair to myself, once this is finished, I will have a finished something. Yay?)

Admittedly, the majority of the responsibility rests on my shoulders. But on top of that, the past week or so, I’ve just had a sense of silence. I had moments of, “Ok, here we go…” that felt like the precursor to a “big” moment. But, no. I was wrong. It’s been quiet. Quiet with no indication the Big Thing I’ve felt approaching is any closer.

What does it mean when God is silent? He’s not less present. He’s not punishing me (I think) and He’s not abandoning me. So what is this about?

I don’t know. Honestly. I don’t get what this is about. What lesson am I supposed to be learning? Trust? Faith? Perseverance?

Are my desires getting in the way? I have a deep, deep longing for a home right now. A little house with a big yard where I can plant a big ol’ garden and have play-dates and sleepovers and dinner parties. I’m also just really, really losing my interest in working a traditional job (call me crazy, go ahead). It’s time to start thinking about where Eva will go to Kindergarten (cue mommy tears). I’ve sort of come to terms with staying in North Carolina (now you can really call me crazy). There’s a lot of stuff to think about right now!

Is it that none of the stuff matters? No, I don’t think it’s that extreme. The details of life can be just as meaningful in our interactions with God as the big picture is.

Is that I am going the wrong way? No, I don’t think it’s that either but it could be that I am getting ahead of myself (happens all the time).

Is it that I just need to be still? Yeah, could be that.

Am I not listening hard enough? Maybe? Ok, ok… PROBABLY.

I don’t think God begrudges me my irritation but He probably does take issue with my worry….

Man, that really bites me in the butt every time! Worry! (insert lightbulb clip art here)

Worry gnaws at joy, ruins productivity, stifles creativity, and is just an all-around buzzkiller. Who’s got two thumbs and is guilty?? This girl!

Worry also interferes with worship. Do I believe God cares about all the little details in my life? Absolutely, without a shadow of doubt. Do I also believe that He is way bigger than the  details? Absolutely, without a shadow of doubt. Worry is like making a to-do list for God. “I need _____, _____, and ______ dealt with and while you’re at it, could you please take care of _____ and _____, as well? Thanks.” That has been the majority of my approach to Him lately.

Worship puts everything in perspective. Worship is that part where I step back, lay my concerns aside, and just wonder at the splendor of creation, the unfathomable depth of grace, and the limitless reach of love.

When I think about Him that way, I feel kind of silly complaining about… all of it. And when I think about silence in terms of worship, it all comes together. Be still and know: be silent and learn.

Alright, Lord. I see where you’re going with that. Well-played, sir.

I’m going to go enjoy the sounds of crickets chirping now, thanks.

Raising A Princess

This blog was originally written for and posted on my friend Kate’s site. As I am currently drafting a handful of other posts and guest blogs, I thought I’d use it as a cover for my otherwise disappointing lack of new content…


I’m a self-identified feminist in that I believe women are equal to men, but each gender—and more importantly, each individual person regardless of gender—has innate value and distinct identifying characteristics.

That said, I am also a girly-girl and so is my daughter.

Eva loves lip-gloss, dresses, jewelry, and having her hair done. Thankfully, she also loves to run around outside, play with sticks, and dig in the dirt so I’m not too worried about her becoming too prissy, but there was a time when I was concerned about her love of princesses.

Eva started picking out princess toys, wanting to play dress up, and asking for my make-up almost as soon as she could speak. Maybe she was born loving princesses or maybe I let her watch Disney’s Sleeping Beauty too many times. (It has a GREAT soundtrack, ok!) As the Cinderella, Snow White, and Tiana toys began to accumulate, I stared at our toy box and wondered,

“Do I really want my daughter growing up believing that marriage is the answer to her problems?”

Uh, no.

Isn’t that what most modern women think of fairytales: just a beautiful woman waiting on a man to save her from a life of misery? I certainly thought so, especially after growing up in a very Protestant, very Southern community. I was taught marriage and eventual motherhood are a woman’s highest calling, so as an adult I viewed fairytales and princesses as prime enablers of that stereotype.

But in fairness to my daughter’s preferences, I gave the animated ladies a second look.  I found that when you step past their unrealistic body dimensions, pretty faces, and the inevitable crown in the final sequence, you find women who share one rare and precious character trait: integrity.

Cinderella and Snow White both remained sweet, loving, and caring despite years of abuse and enforced servitude.
Ariel knew that humans and their culture were her passion, not just a passing fancy.
Mulan may not technically be a princess, but she cared for her family and her country over her own life.
Jasmine probably had the most overt stance in that she wasn’t going to marry a pompous narcissist, her voice and opinion mattered.
Tiana proved that hardwork mixed with commitment and love goes a really long way.
Rapunzel trusted her own intuition before she trusted Flynn Rider and found her way home.

Each princess had to show enormous amounts of integrity and commitment to their values to overcome their respective obstacles.

When you look at it that way, they really are beautiful.

The stories our daughters hear from our lips, from books, and from movies are the stories and the memories that will guide them when experience hasn’t yet led the way.  I hope Eva learns from these stories and from my example that compassion, strong self-esteem, and resilience in the face of danger and disaster help a woman hold her head high.  Especially considering when you ask her what she wants to be when she grows up, she answers,

 “A Princess!”

Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast, 1-6

“I’m just one hundred and one, five months and a day.”
“I can’t believe that!” said Alice.
“Can’t you?” the Queen said in a pitying tone. “Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.”
Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Through The Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Draw a long breath and shut your eyes. What do you see?

I see a house on a farm. Inside the house lives a brave little girl who happens to be coloring and singing to herself right now. Her mother’s in the backyard feeding the chickens. The goats are farther back on the property. There aren’t that many acres but their first harvest will probably be decent. On Saturday, they’ll host a middle school class to visit and learn about how to grow the right produce and ways to cook inexpensively. There are herbs drying on the back porch for homemade spice mixes and seedlings just starting to sprout in the greenhouse. It smells of fresh bread and sweet breezes and the sun is playing peekaboo with the treetops.

That’s the first impossible thing. It’s the first thing I see when I close my eyes because it is the hope filling my heart. I know, I’m too girly to live on a farm, but that’s kind of the most beautiful part of the picture.

Second impossible thing: I could overcome my pride and my flaws enough do whatever crazy thing it is God is calling me to.

Third: Everything will turn out okay in the end.

Fourth: If I never get married, I will not waste time regretting it.

Fifth: We will somehow find a way to provide Eva with everything she needs.

Sixth: I can stop procrastinating.

What impossible things can you believe when you close your eyes and breath?

Setting a Table of Plenty

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. –Virginia Woolf

A good meal is one of life’s greatest pleasures. In a world of fast food, quick service, and complimentary bread baskets, we can quickly lose sight of the joy in planning, preparing, and sharing a meal with others. Having worked in the restaurant industry for a number of years, I’ve seen this first hand. Parents neglecting their children in favor of their iPhones, friends talking to each other without actually having a real conversation, and kids coloring on the windows (even my child has snuck an errant doodle past me). It’s discouraging to see the way people interact with each other in restaurants. Don’t even get me started on their interactions with servers. Many days I left work with no hope for humanity because I’d seen such rude and insincere behavior.

One shared meal banishes thoughts of restaurants and always reestablishes my love for people: church Potluck.

I have vivid memories of potluck meals at my grandparents’ church. A tiny church in a tiny town. Their congregation couldn’t have been more than 100 people of whom the average age was well over 50. But there was always plenty of food, home cooked food. Five kinds of bread, rolls, and biscuits. Three kinds of potatoes. Fried chicken. Casseroles. Green beans. Deviled eggs. And dessert to end all desserts. My mouth starts watering just thinking about them. But the most striking part of the meal wasn’t just how great the food was, but that there was always more than enough. There is nothing more disappointing (even as an adult) than being at the back of the line and finding all the macaroni and cheese pans empty. Never happened there. They made plenty.

Our current church home won us over with their potluck. They share lunch together every Sunday, I don’t know of another congregation that does that. Our first visit, people introduced themselves and made sure we stayed for the meal. Immediate and meaningful hospitality to me; kind words and food. I saw the huge bounty of food prepared and could instinctively gauge the health and vigor of the church. Big potluck = big hearts. They planned on having visitors, on having enough to give to whomever walked through the door. They made plenty.

This past Sunday, the sermon was actually about potluck and how sharing a meal expresses Christ in so many ways. Which initially caused me a little guilt; I’d made cupcakes Saturday from a new recipe and did not take them to church because I thought (a.k.a. my pride and perfectionism told me) they were overcooked. Once I got past that little pang of conviction, I sat through the rest of the message absolutely buzzing.

Remember how I said here the last sermon I heard was one of those indirect answers to my prayers kind of sermons? Well this one was the arrow to my heart, the frying pan to my head, and the chord at which I resonate.

God has not just made me enough, he has given me plenty.

Wait, what crazy thing did I just say? I, single mother living with my parents because I can’t afford an apartment, I have been given plenty?

I have never gone hungry because there wasn’t food available. Thank the Lord, Eva has never gone without a meal because we couldn’t afford it. There are people in this country and many others that go hungry every day. And I just can’t live with knowing that and not do anything about it any longer.

Feeding the hungry is one of the most basic and most loving things I can do. I’m sure it could be as simple as volunteering at the Food Bank but I think God may slowly be revealing something bigger. And it starts with me setting a table of plenty.

It’s been so long since I could visualize my future and now these hopes are bombarding my mind. I have been so hungry for purpose! I thank God for the walk in the desert that has made me long for His plenty. The closer I get to sitting at His table and seeing the bounty there, the more equipped I feel to set my fear and pride aside and say, “Ok, let’s go where you want me to go.” And the more I can affirm that, the more clearly I can see a way.

Help me set the table. I need your support, your thoughts, your prayers and your love. I am terrified of the crazy obedience this journey requires. I’m tired of the bad rap Christians have because not enough of us live in the radically loving way Christ calls us to live. I want to go there even though it’s scary. Once the plans I’m working on come together a bit more, I will share more, but for right now just hang with me and pray that I am going the right way.