Simply Tuesday (on a Friday)

I’m reading a book on smallness. Or rather, “small-moment living in a fast-moving world.”

It’s called Simply Tuesday by Emily Freeman. I’ve probably referenced her writing a dozen times on this blog over the years.

I’ve underlined and boxed in lots of text so far, but I wanted to share one of the prayers that she writes at the end of every chapter. I think we have this tendency to want to know that what we do matters. We like to be recognized for our good efforts and get a lot done in a day and call ourselves productive. And maybe this isn’t entirely wrong until we start believing that big accomplishments are more valuable than the un-fancy movements of our daily life.

The reality is we can live well and glorify God in what feels like really small ways. I’m dwelling on these words this weekend and pray them for you, too.

“May we stretch out in the fullness of small and move downward with gladness rather than upward in fear. May we let go of the constructed life and embrace a connected life, even if it leads to less. May we be marked more by our small moments than by our fast movements. May our small moments do more lasting good than our fast movements do harm. Be gracious to remind us that our souls aren’t made for fame. May we receive the gift of obscurity with joy, gratitude and a light heart” (p. 112).


A Word to the Planners

Hey, hi, hello. I hope September has been good to you so far.

The past few months have been wild, working in campus ministry during the start-of-the-semester hustle and attempting to create healthy rhythms in the midst of it.

Photo Credit: Andrej Chudy

Days are full, and although they sometimes wear me out, they’re also full of purpose. I’m continuing to process all the changes of this year – job shifts and two houses and new friendships, and I hope to share those with you in time.

But for now, I wanted to tell you about a blog post I recently wrote for Deeply Rooted Magazine about releasing expectations and seeking Jesus instead. You can find it right here!

I discovered Deeply Rooted this spring and was immediately captivated by the lovely design and honest content. I’m humbled for the chance to write for them and hope you’ll meander around the site to explore it for yourself.

Thank you for reading, and for hanging out with me on the journey.


The Best Things That Happened When I Didn’t Have a Job

In three days, I start working again after a five-month hiatus.

That means I’ll use the slow cooker a bit more and should try to refrain from starting movies late Sunday night. But it also means there is a role in the world of campus ministry that I can fill, and I’m excited to devote myself to something I care about so much.

IMG_3831I’ve savored the quiet days in this season more than I could’ve imagined. I was reminded that my value does not come from my job. It doesn’t hinge on having a pretty house or plans that go accordingly. I’ve learned how to change a tire, how to not feel guilty for reading for pleasure at 10am. But things weren’t sunshiney the whole time, and I often fought against the very reasons why this time was a gift – the quiet schedule.

And even though I’m ready for another change, I don’t want the lessons and memories of the last five months to fall away. I want the patterns and meditations to stick, so the following list is just as much for me as it is to share with you. It’s a list of things I’ve read, tasted and experienced that left an imprint, marking where I’ve been and (just possibly) where I’m going.

1. Humiliation & Exaltation. At the start of this non-work time, I wanted to instantly settle in – to fit and be heard and matter here. Then this: “Sometimes we want to be recognized as valuable to God in the eyes of others more than we want to be seen by God Himself.” I wrestled with this on a snowy Sunday morning and returned to it many times since.

2. The 36 Questions That Lead to Love. A study sought to determine if two strangers could fall in love based on this set of questions. One night, Thomas and I meandered through them and determined that if we could have a dinner party with anyone, Brad Pitt and Shauna Niequist would be at our table.

IMG_39963. Dexter. He wrecks my house but makes me laugh, and that’s a fair trade-off, I think.

4. The Last Granola Recipe. I haven’t made another since I found this one. I use it as a base for whatever random dried fruit/nuts/seeds are in my pantry, and I replace some of the olive oil with coconut oil. On the days I felt aimless and like nothing I did was worthwhile, granola kept me grounded.

5. Campus House. My new work home in a few days and the place where we met our Wednesday night crew. We babysit their children and eat each other’s food weekly, and I’m so thankful for these new friendships that formed right when I needed them.

6. South Carolina. The visit south to see family in May was just what we needed – full of beach time, no responsibility to four-legged ones, and this Asheville gem on the trip down reminded me why I love food so much. I say that shamelessly.

7. Beautiful Ruins. A lovely summertime book that drew me right in.IMG_4008

8. Thom’s Birthday. The night before, we celebrated with an all-request birthday menu and a big yellow cake. Then Sunday came around, and after church, we sat wondering how to make the day more special. “We can play putt-putt, or we can go home,” Thomas said. So we called our parents and somehow managed to get home in time for a carry-out pizza dinner with all of them. It was completely impractical and entirely fun, reminding me that most restrictions I perceive in life I create myself.

And that’s only a sampling. I could also mention the seven pounds of strawberries we picked yesterday, Ann Patchett’s essay collection, or how I almost like running…almost. Maybe the point is that I had the time to pay attention to all these things, so I did, and now I don’t want to let that habit go.

Here’s to something new – and recognizing the people and things that are no-nonsense good to us.IMG_4053 (1)

In Defense of Moving

For Mark, Gina & Nora; Jimi & Shannon; and those in transit. When in doubt, get more boxes.

Moving gets a bad rap. I always picture the mess – the utter chaos – in our living room on Brown Avenue as we packed up to move in the couple days following.

We all tend to picture boxes on boxes and begging recruiting family to save the date and refrigerator clean-out, and I won’t deny it; I don’t particularly like any of these things. But it dawned on me that I have been married not even two years and can claim three addresses post-wedding.

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That makes me feel restless and unstable until I think about Brown Avenue, Springdale Lane and Naschette Parkway and appreciate each home for what it was and is. How each address served us uniquely. Each house, in some way, symbolized growth and ownership (yet we’ve never owned a house; we’re seasoned renters).

Maybe you haven’t moved in 20 years, like my parents…I’m fairly certain we’d all riot if they tried to sell that house. If you haven’t moved yourself recently, you’ve surely been on the other end of the couch, awkwardly lugging it through the doorway. The joy.

But, in defense of moving, here’s what I’ve found to be true:

1. Moving encourages you to get rid of junk.

If you’re the disciplined type, you address this during spring cleaning. If you’re me, you use each move to finally shred old bank statements and high school English papers you thought would help in college. You also finally toss the exorbitant number of glass bottles you vowed to use as flower vases. We don’t want to pack/haul/unpack this stuff, so we lose it. And with each home, we notice it’s filled with more things we actually care about, and less that we don’t.

2. Memories and seasons of life are distinct. 

One evening on Springdale, I opened up the back door and the front windows to let the early fall breeze drift through one end of the galley kitchen to the other. The slow cooker had been on since that morning, sending the glorious smell of fresh herbs all around me as I lint-rolled the couch and set the table. It was another Friday night, and I waited for Thomas to get home from a week of training, initiating a restful weekend. I remember the anticipation I felt, parents checking in to see he arrived safely, and dessert. Lots and lots of dessert.

Here on Naschette, we routinely host euchre around our coffee table. We get excited about the drives back to see family and have a place to grill that doesn’t involve breaking apartment safety codes. Horrah!

When I recall specific memories – the gems I don’t want to lose – from the last few years, I remember the house, and that grounds them in my memory more deeply.

3. You’re forced to think. 

You learn new parts of town, quickest routes, most convenient grocery stores. I like to think my mind benefits from these spatial check-ups now and again.

4. You realize what “home” actually is.

It’s not the fabulous windows, or the storage or the backyard – even though we invest so much in aesthetics, inside and out. I’m learning every time that it’s the people who fill the home who count, followed by the stuff that makes it uniquely yours. The photographs and summer mantle decor, your dutch oven and favorite blanket and dogs.

Moving out of Springdale, the heat was off and my parents and I went back for a more thorough cleaning. It reeked of smoke from maintenance workers and was completely bare, save for a grocery bag of trash hanging from a cabinet knob. At that point, it was definitely not home.

A house is just a house. “Home” tends to go with you.

I’ve also found that, in a miraculous way, it’s possible to have multiple homes – to have the places you grew up be as steadfast and beautiful as they were when you were ten. I’d argue they can even become more beautiful when you’re gone for a while. It’s a gift, simple and solid, and one I don’t take lightly.

I understand the desire to settle and stay put, and I eventually want that for myself. Moving can be hard.

But it, too, is a gift. Not always found among the bubble wrap, but absolutely when you look back and see how you’re growing, how you encountered a season of newness, how generous an address can be.

How Lent Is Going

It seems like most years, the season of Lent comes and goes pretty uneventfully. The weeks in between Ash Wednesday and Easter pass by normally, with routine work schedules, pleas for warmer weather and maybe revamped mantle decor.

In many ways, the same has been true for this year. But, in a way, not.

Still taking advantage of my non-work days, I’ve settled into a morning rhythm. After feeding the dogs, I make coffee (or heat it up from the previous morning), and I sit in the middle of the couch. It’s still dark, and I’m still tired, so I just sit. Directly in front of me, the window points to the sky that begins to lighten in ribbons, folding into vivid colors before the sun pops over the fence and nearly blinds me.

In this time, I may read a little. But in the last week I’ve let myself wonder. And it’s nice, but it also stirs me up.

My whole life I’ve heard that Jesus died for my sins and the sins of everyone. That this is a gift, not earned. I’ve read again and again that Jesus’ death and resurrection paved the way for our salvation and restored us to God. That the God I follow stripped Himself of dignity to get us back.

For a long time, I heard and recited the phrases, but I didn’t really consider them. I didn’t let them roll around in my head to stir up questions because the questions seemed so big.

But this Lent, I find I’m more eager to be pushed toward understanding, toward the why of the gospel. Why death? Why an empty tomb? Why us now?

My earthly brain is not capable of fully comprehending the death and resurrection a Savior. That is why we’re called to faith.

But here’s what’s encouraging to me: even biblical authors didn’t just recite the phrases. After Jesus’ death, the people wanted explanation; they craved understanding.

The writer of Hebrews, for example, frames up the why of the gospel in various ways to give new followers an anchor point of understanding…something that resonated and reminded them, “Oh yes, that’s why we needed Jesus,” (See Hebrews 8-10).

I guess I’m like them. I want to talk about it and wrestle with it and have somebody spell it out for me so plainly that I feel its weight. And this isn’t just a Lent thing; for the believer, it’s a forever long process that doesn’t stop at Easter.

Push me toward understanding.

That’s my prayer these days.

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Redefining Value

Something of magic happens when the weather turns a few degrees warmer, hinting at spring and open windows.

I know we’re not the only ones who dragged our grill to the back deck, swept off the front door mat and walked around sockless. We moved here in deep winter, and even the slight uptick in temperature has us refreshed, hopeful and craving more. We’re coming up on three months in this house. I’ve not been working, which has been a great blessing in that I’ve been available to support Thomas through sleep-altering schedules and nutty stories.

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So I think about these fast three months and wonder at them. The freedom of un-rigid days that sometimes, somehow, still felt daunting. The idea that I’d use this season to do or make progress on, or, at least, plan something substantial for my writing or other another big idea. Like a productive sabbatical where the stars would align, bolstering my ambitions and hindering obligation to other people’s needs. It was going to be my time.

In an ironic turn, a different message keeps pressing into me. In our church small group, through sermons, blogs, books and hard conversations, what I’m hearing has nothing to do with goal-setting, productivity or self-preservation.

Instead, I’m asking questions like:

“How can I give more of myself away?”

“What actions and pursuits have long-term value?”

“How can I love those directly around me and tend to this small piece of the kingdom I’ve been placed in?”

My body fights it. I want to protect myself and my season of freedom so I can accomplish something concrete. I don’t want to be taken advantage of by always taking care of others. Every ounce of culture tells me I’m entitled to pursue what I want, like we’re all little soldiers fighting for our rights.

So again, I think of these fast three months and see a lot of small, seemingly inconsequential actions…dinner-making and dog-bathing and candle-burning on the nights our friends come over. In terms of things I’m doing, it all seems average.

But the idea that it’s not all about me and what I accomplish has been refreshing and satisfying. The quiet days with tiny victories, un-pressured and un-hurried, have been generous to me.

I’m redefining what’s valuable and learning that even the inconspicuous and intangible have worth. I’m reconsidering what is pleasing and good, productive far beyond me and not just about right now.

Every meal made, every person cared for, every prayer uttered, every dream chased and every idea set aside for now – I think God uses all of this, shows up in all that seems small, so we don’t need to worry about what we’re not accomplishing by the world’s standards.

And for that, I am so thankful. It’s exhausting to always lead the charge, to always feel the need to achieve, to feel that our achievement is who we are.

This is ongoing for me. Releasing what has no place here, pursuing what is good, and differentiating between the two.

That’s the journey I’m on. And, maybe, the one we’re all on together.

P.S. I’d be lying if I told you the only thing on my horizon was more cookie-baking. This June, I’ll begin working at Purdue Christian Campus House, a church that primarily serves college students and a growing number of young professionals. I’m thrilled for the opportunity and will certainly keep you posted!

To Remember

We got a new puppy last week.

His name is Dexter, he likes to chew on the leaves of our fig tree and our carpet is a new level of dirty because of him. But he’s an excellent snuggler.

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In part because of him, and in part because of Thomas’ new shift at work that has severely thrown off sleep schedules, I’m coming out of a place of mental exhaustion. Last week, I was especially tired, anxious and homesick. Weary of demands and lacking creative motivation. Craving more.

I’m emerging, slowly, surely. One thing that’s helped has been the act of remembrance – reflecting on what was and noticing what is. Emily Freeman recently wrote in this post, The practice of paying attention serves as an anchor for the soul in a fast-moving world.”

If you’re in a phase of just trying to keep afloat, maybe these practices will help you like they help me. Partnered with some crying, good reading, and a group yoga class to reinforce you’re not alone, they’re pretty much infallible (disclaimer: I’m not a therapist).

1. Remember your “first things.”

A recent sermon at church outlined how Jesus frequently directed people to the one thing that they needed (see Mary and Martha). Instead of being burdened with the distractions of wealth, tasks, popularity or worry, he encouraged people to simply seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness. As a follower of Christ, this one thing should be my first thing. Under the realization that Jesus is all I need to thrive, my anxieties can be rightly minimized. Not saying this is easy, but it’s the hierarchy I’m seeking after.

2. Remember to be grateful.

I may not get eight hours of continuous sleep each night. I may be cooking dinner for one most evenings. I may feel confused about what’s next, or nervous to ask myself how our marriage is adjusting to a new season, but at least I feel safe where I live. At least I can eat until I’m full and have socks to cover my cold feet. Life is undeniably kind to me once I get out of the way to notice it.

3. Remember (and trust) your path.

I choose to believe, through any doubt, that God paved the way for where we are right now, in this city, with these jobs and friends and dogs. To back down in fear of what’s foreign would be to deny how He’s worked in us the last two years, and beyond. We’re on a path we like. It’s scary sometimes, but we trust it.

4. Remember your vision.

When we moved to this new-ish place, I had very specific daydreams about cooking in a bigger kitchen, taking walks in the park and hosting friends often. I imagined volunteering and writing and abiding in things I really cared about. When I start thinking negatively and my mood swings low, it’s helped much to remember what I originally desired of this season. Although some of these may take stronger shape than others, it keeps me focused on using time intentionally…not letting days slip by unannounced.

5. Remember weakness is not an enemy.

In fact, weakness is the very thing that keeps us able to relate to other people. I guess two twenty-somethings could bond over their impeccable decorating taste (with what budget?) or how preparing and slicing a perfectly crisp roasted chicken is soooooo simple. But the riskier conversation – the one about loneliness or big choices – will surely lead to a deeper relationship. And that’s the one I want. Expressing even small pieces of what I’m feeling helps. It’s like passing a little palmful of vulnerability to someone and praying they won’t drop it. I’ve found that most of the time, they don’t.

So there you have it. What would you add?

I’ll Leave the Porch Light On

To the person who enters our home:

I’ll leave the porch light on, so you can be sure you’re at the right place. Feel free to knock and come right in, or maybe don’t worry about knocking at all. But if you don’t, announce yourself so we don’t get spooked. Preferably in a funny accent.

You can leave your shoes at the door, or keep them on. Nothing here is too pristine for dirt, but some people have a thing about others seeing their socks. Hopefully you don’t mind our dog shoving her face in between your legs. We think it’s darn adorable and never discouraged it, so that’s our fault, I suppose.

I’ll try to have some music on and drink options ready. And we’d truly be happy to give you something other than water. We may or may not have time to lint roll the couch, so do expect a trace (or so) of dog hair…part of the glories of pet ownership. Push aside the pillows or prop one behind your back. Put your feet on the coffee table or tuck them under you. You are welcome here.

Our dining chairs are super creaky, so you may immediately feel the need to sit very still; this is unnecessary. We’ll all be there together, creating a big creak-fest, so don’t let that bother you.


Let us tell you that we love hosting stuff. Football games and weeknight dinners and weekend breakfasts. We think these things keep families together and friendships constant. So in this, we have a few goals.

1. We’ll try to be as accessible as possible. We’ll try to remain open enough to not have to schedule out dinner two weeks in advance. We’ll agree to be spontaneous with evening plans to make this relationship thrive, even if it means running to the grocery store for more chicken at the last minute. If it’s 8pm and you need dessert and company, say so. If you need a change of scenery on a Thursday and our house is your only hope without going to Target and spending money (been there), tell us. We can’t guarantee that our floors will be glossy, the counters cleared off and laundry won’t be in progress, but we’ll try our hardest to be available.

This is a good practice for me, too, you know. I’m working on being less rigid and more flexible, so you nearly surprising me will be an exercise in rejecting balled up fists for a more serene, joyful and open frame of mind. It’s a win-win.

2. We’ll ease into the mess. We’ll chat you up about all the snow we’ve had, new babies in the family and how work is going. But then we’ll tell you how it’s challenging for us to be on opposite schedules, or no schedule at all. We’ll bring up homesickness and hope and church, and that’s our invitation to you to let us in on your life. We’ll feed you and laugh with you, but we really want to know you. So we’ll ask you questions and sometimes backtrack to rephrase our words and ask a better one. We’ll hope you’re not too uncomfortable and wishing you picked up a pizza for dinner by yourself instead.

We won’t be the perfect hosts. I may be distracted trying to time the meal so the potatoes come out of the oven as the meat’s resting. Thomas might talk your ear off about dog training or the code book of Indiana law. We might have an ant problem. But we hope you can look past these things and come over anyway.

We want you in our home. We love each other, sure, but we also love having different voices in the conversation; different stories and quirks and laughs. Taking into consideration humans’ innate desire to connect, we need you in our home.

I’ll burn the candles, then make make sure the porch light’s still on when you leave.

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What I’m Reading

I won’t lie. I often struggle to finish things I start.

Just last week, I got around to completing a scrapbook of our South Africa trip from 2+ years ago. I’m still dragging my feet to put a wedding album together. That dining set makeover from last fall was my game-changer in the world of Get Your Projects Done Already.

But so far, 2015 has graced me with this ability in the much more relaxed world of reading. And because I’ve directed all my free time to these books, I thought I’d share what I’m loving right now. Maybe you’ll love them, too?

delicious1. Delicious! by Ruth Reichl

Recommended to me by Mom, this was a foodie book – lots of talk of cheese and spices and lengthy meal descriptions (not complaining). The language is elegant and rich, yet playful, and the book blends stories from present day New York City with Midwestern tales of World War II. A thoughtful and charming read.

2. Date Night In by Ashley Rodriguez

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Thomas gave me this cookbook for Christmas, and I proceeded to read it for a week straight, much like a novel. Ashley writes at Not Without Salt, and the woman has so much skill in pairing flavors, not to mention her stunning photography. The recipes are slightly more adventurous than what I’m used to cooking, which I believe is a good thing. I’ve already tried a handful and may have found a second love in the tarragon aioli.

The recipes are divided first into four seasons, then broken down into date night menus that include a cocktail or drink, appetizer or side, main dish and dessert. Ashley also gives an introduction to the menu based on her own date nights in.

“Together we are eclectic, introspective, creative, and funny – basically one hell of a person. A decade into this thing called marriage, I no longer wish for Gabe to be different, or more like me. Instead, I’m able to see the very reason why we are a team. Our differences attracted me to Gabe, drove me absolutely crazy, and made us strong. Gabe and I are soul mates, but we worked damn hard to get here” (p. 37).

This book is special, and I’m marking it up with joy.

3. The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smithnesting

My sister gave me this one, also for Christmas. The Nester is not a DIY blog, but Myquillyn instead focuses on loving your home in its imperfections – not waiting for the next house to be the dream house. It’s filled with practical tips (like where to save and where to splurge), but the greatest value of this book is its reminder of why we create inviting spaces and rooms in the first place.

In one section, she writes about the apology trap:

“I always apologized for my home to protect myself so people wouldn’t think I was a slob, or at least so they would know that I acknowledge I can be a slob and that I’m not okay with it and that really I have much higher standards than this and my house does not meet my requirements. But that day, I realized that when I apologize for my home, I’m declaring to all within earshot that I’m not content. That I’m silently keeping score. That I put great importance on the appearance of my home and maybe, just maybe, I’m doing that when I visit your home, too.

“Don’t apologize for what you have. It makes guests feel uncomfortable, it encourages discontentment, and if you’re married and your husband hears you apologizing for what he’s provided, it could be hurtful” (p. 61).

Other tidbits:

  • Buy a plant. If it dies, that’s okay. Buy another kind of plant until you find one that lives (p. 193).
  • For the love of all that is lovely, don’t be afraid to make a nail hole (p. 82).
  • Live in and enjoy your space. Don’t fret when something breaks or gets scratched, because that is a sign of a life well lived. Yippie, you are doing it right! (p. 194).

4. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple


This book. I heard about this bestseller probably a year ago, picked it up for cheap at the bookstore and flew through it. The story is pieced together by emails and letters interwoven with narrative and dialogue. It centers on a mother-daughter relationship (that, of course, has its dysfunctions) and had me laughing out loud at 7:00 in the morning and 10:00 at night. It has a ton of wit and soul, even in the serious parts. Loved.sweet paul

5. Eat & Make by Paul Lowe (in progress)

Again, another Christmas cookbook. It’s written by Norwegian Sweet Paul, namesake of the quarterly print magazine. Flipping through, the book is filled with recipes, many of which will push my tastes (again), and kitchen crafts, like jam jar salt and pepper shakers and coffee filter paper flowers. I’m excited to really dig into this one.

6. Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider (in progress)

blue bikeI can’t get away from non-fiction for long, can I? I discovered Tsh through her podcast, found here. The tagline of the book is “The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World,” and it centers on living consciously by way of small choices that make up a life. I’m like a sponge with these kind of books; should be a good one with many wise words.

Side Note: A few weeks back, I wrote about our transition to a new city, a new home with new coffee shops and schedules and one-way streets to memorize. This season, despite its tough moments, is doing a lot in my soul. These books have undoubtedly helped me make space in my brain and heart for both wisdom and whimsy. Words change us, you know?

How We Talk About Our Bodies

This is the time of year when everyone and their uncle talks about kale chips, pilates class, “easy” ways to lose 10 pounds and keeping health resolutions going – at least through January.

I get it. And I’m with them (except for my research yesterday on homemade puff pastry. The butter, Lord help us all).

Last week, I saw that some bloggers were gearing up for a prayer event that happens once each month called 12 Prayers. Each month focuses on a designated issue or topic. The goal is to read truth and attack the issue with prayer throughout the day, in 12 prayers.

This month’s focus was, rightfully, body image. Here are a few prayers from the day:


“We pray that we would stop trying to grasp perfection for a vessel that is weak and dying.” 2 Corinthians 5:2-4

“Help us see where YOU find beauty.” Proverbs 31:30

“We pray that our souls would know the dignity we possess because we are made in your image.” Matthew 22:37-40

“We live our lives convinced these bodies are about us and our identity but we ask that you would take them back for your glory. When we forget their true purpose, remind us that these bags of flesh are tools for advancing your Kingdom, nothing more and nothing less.Romans 12:1

I loved this mini-study for a few very different reasons.

It went straight to the heart of what our bodies are made for. We like to like our bodies. This study did not claim that liking our bodies is bad. But it can be futile. We’re so critical of ourselves, scrutinizing dimples and shapes and the hair on our arms.

And our culture has competing ideals – we’re expected to strive for the (albeit often unattainable) flawlessness we see on magazine covers, yet raise the white flag and sign body peace treaties, accepting ourselves for who we are now. What? As long as perfection is the metric of success that society pushes, real body peace is hardly an option – by earthly standards.

What if we bypassed this confusion and celebrated our bodies for what they were made for? Not just high cheekbones and tiny ankles. What if we didn’t “settle” for what we have, didnt’t over-eat or under-eat to meet the expectations in our heads, didn’t say we’ll be happy when we have visible abs or triceps?

I’m under the impression we have every right to celebrate our bodies because – for heaven’s sake – we were given bodies with breath! To worship, and to fulfill God’s purpose of advancing the Kingdom while we can.

What this tells me is that my vision and purpose for my body is not about working out. But it’s not about not working out, either. What I’m saying is that I should eat the kale chips AND the puff pastry. We can’t abandon caring for our bodies (we were entrusted with them, after all). But the obsessions and critiques and wars with food and super close-up mirrors don’t rule us. They can’t, because we’ve already established a higher calling for our bodies.

The study also opened my eyes to the encouraging power of Instagram. No, really. A while back, one of my favorite authors wrote an article about Instagram’s Envy Effect, or how it’s tempting to project our lives in idealistic and inauthentic ways. While I know plenty of that goes on, I love seeing examples of how media can be used for encouraging and building. The idea of 12 Prayers relies on scripture, a group of writers’ honesty, and a dedication to spiritual movement. Now it has me wondering how I can implement something similar in my circle.

On a related note, I came back around to this blog post that advises how to talk to daughters about their bodies. Should I have a daughter one day, I hope I communicate some of these things to her.

And thanks, Mom, for frequently singing the ‘Miss America’ song when you heard me walking down the stairs in the morning, before you even saw what I was wearing.