about fear and comparison.


I’m at Starbucks on this sunshiney day and I’m still thinking about fear, about how much I depend on it to motivate me. And it does. It can easily drive my heart and take advantage of my insecurities until I’ve made a mess of my feelings-holder and my day.

I’m afraid I don’t stack up, so I serve lists in my day and look for validation there. I end the day defeated and trying to find marrow in a dry place.

I’m afraid someone else won’t do it just right, so I hover. I rob others of joy and myself of the truth of my weakness.

I’m afraid I’ve made all the wrong decisions as a parent, so I walk around with my heart sinking into my stomach and keeping me unsettled and unfocused. I miss opportunities to just move into my people anyway.

I’m afraid that I’m not a good enough friend, mother, wife and child. I’m afraid that a season isn’t just a season. I’m afraid that God’s good thing for others means there isn’t enough for me, even though my brain knows His goodness, His largeness, His beauty.

So, I look around. I watch what happens in other people’s lives. I store away all the ways that they are better, that their life is better, that they have better good things.

I compare.

But, that’s not how God made me to live.

I believe that God’s love for me is the death of comparison. I believe it. And I’m teaching a class on the truth about comparison and the freedom God wants for us tomorrow night. I’m inviting you. Thursday, February 20th. 9 pm (Eastern). The Influence Network (you don’t have to be a member to take the class). Sign up right here.


I wanted to mention that it is my joy to be a part of The Influence Conference again this year. In a turn that only God could design, I’ll be speaking this year. He has already begun to till up my heart soil about this weekend and what His words through me will be.

It’s going to be a sweet weekend of community with a list of speakers that you will want to hear from. There’s a place for you. Tickets are on sale right now. I hope you’ll consider joining this community of women who long for God-bent hearts.

some recipes and an invitation.


Eightish years ago we lived in our first parsonage. Our girl was just a round, brown-eyed baby. There was a sweet simplicity to my life. It was the New Year and I was full of lots of hope and resolve. I knew how to make a few things: variations on casseroles, chicken in the crockpot and bake and break cookies. I decided that year that I wanted to learn how to roast a chicken, how to bake a pie with flaky, scratch-made crust, how to make cookies that didn’t come in a plastic tube. I still cook and cook and cook. That year began something in me and I’ve covered all kinds of ground. Truth? After dozens and dozens of chocolate chip cookie recipes, my husband still loves the bake and break kind the best.

Over the last year I’ve taken such a journey with food. I’ve cut away and added in and examined my heart and confronted my stubborn will. There is a truth I can’t shake: convenience is killing enjoyment. I’ve found myself so angry at how long it takes to make a meal full of fresh ingredients over and over again. But. I’ve also found that the best meals are the ones I’ve worked hard at making. They leave me full and nourished instead of empty or weighed down.

I’m not a chef. I don’t write recipes or experiment much. I’m a cook, one who loves a good recipe and will go down following it. I try new things often and have at least one grand failure every week. This time and love in the kitchen is a huge part of my life. It seems wasteful to let all of that energy go wandering away when the dishes are done and I get to put my feet up. So. Here are three recipes I’ve loved over the past month.

Zuppa Toscana. This is a paleo-version of the hearty classic soup. I love soup, stews, stoups. All of them. I’m alone in my family on this allegiance but I don’t care. This one was so wonderful and I’m pretty sure my children had no clue they were eating turnips. I used ground pork instead of sausage and added some spice and flavor to kick it up some.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Butterscotch Cake. I made this because my children had eaten through all of the cereal and frozen waffles and we had nothing for breakfast. Plus, my mama had sent home some butterscotch chips and I only had white wheat flour in the house. I substituted coconut oil for the canola oil and pure maple syrup for the sugar. This was so, so good. It was. Just good. I don’t have fancy words for it. Although I eat a predominantly paleo diet my family doesn’t and I’m sure they’ve prayed many a time that I’d give up on paleo-ified treats. I’m learning to just let treats be treats.

Sauteed Fennel and Carrots. I am obnoxiously obsessed with fennel right now. This obnoxious: I tried to evangelize my cashier at Trader Joe’s today on the subject of fennel. It’s great made with carrots but it’s also delicious as a stand alone. I like to leave it in the pan long enough to let it get brown and crispy on the edges.


On a sort of unrelated note, I would love to invite each of you to take part in my December class for the Influence Network. I know it’s such a busy month. And that’s why I think we would all do well to gather together around the Word and speak truth over perfection-chasing and expectations. This month’s class is about perfectionism. We’ll be looking at five verses that have been changing me in so many good ways as I slowly learn to rest instead of strive. You don’t have to be a member of the network! Sign up right here if you’d like.


meeting and greeting.

The Influence Conference is just over two weeks away.

Two weeks.

I’m getting all kinds of excited and nervous and so ready.


Here is an awkward picture of me. You are welcome. Smiley face.


1. Dry shampoo. I’ve finally crossed over and it is the best thing ever. It takes me forever to dry my hair everyday. For.Ev.Er. My husband is saying hallelujahs over how quickly I can get ready on dry shampoo days. Seriously. I’m a little embarrassed at how it is changing my life.

2. Little pieces of my world here. I’m an introvert. Shocker. I’m also a shy introvert. When I get far away from home, my heart legs get all wobbly and before you know it I’m ugly crying into the phone while my husband gives his best version of a pep talk.  But I’m in a really lovely harvesting season here and I’m adding some pretty amazing things into my life in the form of relationships. So I’m bringing the truth that the beauty of relationships is in the way God meets us there. Hearts are His currency and I plan on seeking out ways to connect deeply.


1. Actual fall-like weather. I’m so thankful for our mild winters because I’m not really built for bitter cold and tromping through snowy days but this time of year always makes me angry-impatient for cooler nights and days. The thought of wearing AND needing a light sweater in September? Makes me giddy.

2. Being humbled. Anything I can imagine or dream up falls so short of God’s own vision. I know the women who are behind this thing. I’ve seen the beauty of this community in forums and online classrooms. But for it to be in my face? I don’t think I can accurately wrap my brain around the beautiful things He will do in my heart and in community. And the speakers? I’m already torn about which sessions to go to.

I’m linking up today at The Influence Conference blog with other attendees.



I’ve been a fan of The Influence Network since it was a fuzzy dream between two friends. I have the privilege to call both of the founders–Jessi and Hayley–live and in person friends. So. I was going to be a fan no matter what.

I couldn’t go to the conference last year. That’s just my reality. I know it’s yours, too. Sometimes I have to say no when I really, really want to say yes. On the weekend of the conference, I texted with and prayed for my sweet friends. I was so excited for them. A little bit sad, yes. But mostly excited.

I’ve watched something grow since that weekend in October last year that I think is just right. I love that there are so many ways to connect with women through Influence: forums, classes, the conference. And just this week, a relaunch brings discipleship and pursuit groups. Plus, now you can purchase recordings of older classes.

Becoming a part of the teaching team and teaching classes has been a favorite for me over the past seven months. If you’ve never taken a class, I hope you’ll consider taking one soon. I’m super excited about the teachers and subjects the network has lined up for you.

But. I really want to talk to you about the conference this year (It’s September 26-28 in Indianapolis). Listen. Going to a blogging/social media/women’s/whathaveyou conference can be overwhelming, especially for an introvert. At my first conference, I found myself crying on the phone to my husband and ready to come home after a few days. It’s hard for me to be away from my people. But. It’s also abundantly good to sit across the table from a kindred heart or hole up in a hotel room and dream big. There’s nothing like learning that you aren’t alone even when it means that you connect with someone who’s miles away in her everyday.

This year’s conference is going to be a sweet time to connect and focus and surrender. The speakers look amazing (I’m not sure how I’m going to listen to all of them. Because I really, really want to.). There will be smaller, hands-on workshops (I’lm leading the one on writing).  It’s just going to be sweet.

I’m going to be there as a community leader. I couldn’t be more excited even though I am a hermit-like introvert.

How about you? Will you be there?


about last week.


So. I did it. I felt like I might not be able to breathe and I just about melted into a puddle of tears as I was walking up to the stage. But after about five minutes? I got lost in my excitement about God’s Word. What I have loved about this journey through the lessons of contentment is taking the tiny little thing God showed me so personally and then laying His Word over it to see that it was from Him and that His Word is so very much alive.

Thank you for your prayers. I needed them. My community and this little corner are definitely a yes in my life. I still have a painful no in several pockets of my life but the yes of being part of God’s people is so loud and wonderful that I have to honor it. It’s harder for those of us who are introverts but there is beauty in sharing the ways God smoothes the deep set wrinkles in our hearts with His grace.

It’s totally scary knowing that you could mess up or that you could’ve messed up or that someone probably didn’t like what you said. It’s also a pretty great way to be reminded that it’s not your Truth or your Words or your Good News. They’re His and all you can do is step out and trust that He takes our broken mess and makes a beautiful thing.

EDIT: If you’d like to listen, click right here. I want to type a bunch of disclaimers here but I don’t want to discredit who God is through me so I’m not going to even though I really, really want to.

overcoming the lie: where i belong.


I still have the dreams. The ones where I’m 16 again and I’ve just walked into my high school’s cafeteria. And then the anxiety sets in. I have nowhere to sit. No group to belong to.

For most of my childhood I flitted along the outside edges of social groups never really finding a place to rest for a little while. Along the way I found a friendship or two but the awkwardness followed me. In truth, it was more about my fears than anything. I was afraid I’d be too eager or too annoying or too fumbly. I’d be found out, too–the fact that I was too different. I never belonged.

All lies. I didn’t understand this truth: I’ve taken the place of daughter in God’s heart. Paul declares it, that Jesus carried my name on His heart all the way to the cross. That God looks down at me and knows I am His. I belong. He’s shown me is most personal name and I can call it out to Him at any time.

I do belong. Still, as a grown woman I have to go back to this truth and let it seep down to bone level. I still wonder where I’ll sit. I still hope I’m not found out. I still fear how fumbly I can be.

But I have only to call out Abba and I’m reminded of the place that is just for me in His heart.

I’m participating in a blog tour today for Overcome the Lie. Overcome the Lie exists to equip and empower a generation of women to overcome the lie because Jesus overcame the grave. You can read more right here.

a love letter to my city.


When I was 17 and graduation was a hop, skip, jump away and college was a reality and I was ready to leave my awkward high school skin behind, my parents were battling the fear that I might not ever leave. Because while I couldn’t wait to walk away I had no idea where to walk to. On May 1st, 1994 I did what my Daddy told me to. I picked the first place that came to mind as the steam rolled out of a hot morning shower.

Columbia, SC.

I didn’t know that 19 years later, excepting one year after college, I would still be living in this city of cement and pecan trees and red sandy hills. I had grown up with mountains around every corner. I found sticky breezes, flat horizons and low country azaleas. I gave up things. Green tinged evenings that smelled of musty wood and tea olives. Crisp autumns that brought patchwork tree lines. The relief of a soft breeze on a summer evening.

But I gained things. New skin. The relief of a good friend during a hard season. The beautiful aggression of a page of William Faulker. A caramel eyed boy who would understand how much I needed to laugh. Two sons: one with freckles for days and another with an affection for cowboy boots so strong he actually wore them to the pool today. A daughter. A daughter. The weight of that has broken me and mended me. Community.

My city. Yes, it’s hot. Yes, a breeze is a bold hope. Yes, the summer air wraps its vice grip around you until it lulls you into a trance. Yes, it’s still feels small. But it’s also this. It’s gardenia and jasmine surprise. It’s pink sunsets almost every night from May to October. It’s the thunderous roll of a summer born storm. It’s autumn air so mild and sweet. It’s neighborhood church bells on the hour. It’s taking twilight strolls in your jammies.

And this is my love letter to it.

I wonder. Where do you live? And what has it brought you?

I’m linking up with The Influence Network today.

let your heart lie fallow.


In wooden pews on Sunday morning. Stooped over God’s Word at wind-whipped daybreak. Over the kitchen sink as my heart runs ahead. The pricking. Plowing. Tilling. This year has been full of heart preparation, the rocky soil broken and made ready for a planting.

But God let my heart lie fallow. A season of rest for the soil. Nothing planted. Just waiting. My heart has exploded with joy for others as I’ve watched God nurture and grow planted dreams in their lives. And still a bit of sadness tinged the corners as I wondered what my part was. I’ve questioned my significance and I’ve questioned His plan and I’ve wondered aloud about hope.

But when the fallow ground of your heart is ready,  the Lord quietly ambles across rows in the thick of night. He tenderly plants while you’re unaware. And you stay unaware until the first tiny sprout pushes up through the ground.

You look at that sprout. You’re amazed. It isn’t what you had been preparing for. But in His goodness and sweetness, God has chosen a plant that only you could know you wanted deep down. Only He knows how you whisper in your heart and cling to the heady scent of gardenia blooms and honeysuckle vine and tea olive carried on soft breezes. He knows what’s been hidden underneath for years and years. A sweet reminder that He holds your heart.


Recently, I shared that what I thought would be a year of writing became a year of waiting. Something sweet has come out of that waiting: sharing my notes on life with others live and in person with my spoken words. I’m so thankful that the Influence Network keeps letting me come back and share all of my scribblings. I’m teaching again this month on rest and margin. Rest is God’s hope for you; Jesus’ call to you. It IS God’s design for the ebb and flow of life. Margin is the tool to get there. If you feel the call to rest, wonder how to build margin into your life or need to know that the burden of doing, doing, doing is not God’s heart for you, I hope you’ll join me next Thursday night at 9pm (EST). Find more here.

digging and planting.

april5I’ve been digging up portions of my yard this week, moving plants around and trying to figure out what I’m doing. I’m not very good at anything other than potted flowers and we aren’t going to make huge investments outside because we’ll never recoup them. I’d just like to even things out and make everything look neat.

I spent a few hours digging out a bed along our fence line that was full of blackberry vine, ivy and other crawling type things. It was the kind of work that warrants a plate full of steamy spaghetti and an evening on the couch. And now we’ve had a day of rain and lots left to do over the weekend.

This digging mimics a good bit of what’s been going on in my heart over the past few weeks. Sometimes I feel like I’m a tiny baby in my faith, still trying to work out what it looks like to trust and wait. Watching and learning what it means to count all things joy.

When I wrote about home in October something began in me that is still coursing. I’m still going back through each concept and applying layers upon layers. And reading, reading, reading. I have a feeling that it has felt so fresh recently because I’m going to be sharing even more about being settled and at home in your season very soon.

Next Tuesday night-at 9 pm EST-I’ll be offering a class through the Influence Network on all this jumble of heart stuff. It’s more generally about contentment but it still grows out of the Biblical concept that is home. Really, I’d like to call it a conversation more than anything. I’m certainly not qualified to be an expert as I’m still learning how to apply contentment to my daily life. It’s more like I’m sharing notes.

You can learn more about the class and sign up right here (you’ll receive a link on Tuesday to join in).

I’d love to have y’all be part of this conversation!

whole ladies: one month.

Well, it’s time for another awkward screen capture. Every time. But! The good news is that I finished my whole30 yesterday. I’m not sure I trust myself beyond these 30 days as I’ve felt lots of emotional reactions to foregoing many beloved foods. I talk about this in the video but I think I’ll be sticking pretty close to what I’ve been doing this month with possibly a cheat meal once a week.


I do feel great. I have lost weight (got on the scale this morning). It was so freeing to slide that thing away and not think about it for a month. I’m really leaning toward taking the same approach this month: food and heart first and then weighing after really working on the internal issues.

Let’s talk in the comments! Are you an emotional eater? Do you struggle with understanding what really makes you lovely? What were your struggles and victories this month?

Be sure to head over to Jessi’s for her part of this conversation.