But I discipline my body and keep it under control.

My first 5k, 2013.

Or so I hope.


Do you know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27


Man, this section of Scripture screams so many different lessons to me. As a runner, I automatically think of how much running is a discipline! More often than not, it’s really hard! But I persevere because I want to get better, I want to win the race (whether that’s beating myself or anyone else), and I want to remind myself I really can do hard things.

But also, I think about my life in general. I think about how often I want to eat sugary treats when I know I shouldn’t, how often I hit snooze and miss out on what I had planned on doing before work, and how quick I am to spit fire with my tongue instead of first tasting my words.

So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.


I don’t want to run aimlessly. So often those things I described above – speaking harsh words, sleeping too late, indulging in treats too often… it feels like I’m swaying with the wind instead of holding onto the solid rock.

I mentioned in my MMR post this weekend that Jacob and I have made some serious diet changes lately. We’re not eating sugary treats or anything with added/processed sugar. We’re avoiding bread and choosing instead greens and natural power foods. We’re attempting to be more intentional about what we eat, when we eat, and how much we eat.

But it’s hard, y’all. I love sweets – I want something sweet every day.. multiple times a day. It’s a horrible habit and I know my body won’t be able to take that for long! So this Scripture brings me back to the why we’re making these changes. Obviously we need to make changes for our health, but beyond that, we are testing and trying our discipline. We are exercising self control now because we know the rewards to come are much worth the short-term hardship.

Pushing my body to work hard and restraining my food intake are just skimming the surface of discipline. I want to learn to control my fiery tongue, my very un-blog worthy thoughts, and my heart that more often than not lacks compassion. I want to change those habits, which results from changing my heart… And no change comes without discipline first.

Friends, as silly as it is, I would appreciate your prayer in this journey in discipline! And I’d love to pray for you. How are you striving to seek Christ before all else? What hinders you? How would you like to grow in discipline?

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P.S. Head on over to Rachel’s blog to see us talking about our Foodie Favorites today!

When you feel stuck

Necklace : Stitchfix  |  Shirt : Target  |  Deliciousness : Cookie cake by yours truly

Sometimes it’s a great exercise to think back to where you were a year (or two, or three!) ago. Two years ago, I was struggling to find peace in a new church home. It was 100% my anxious heart that made that transition so tough for me, but it was a quicksand that felt endless at the time.

Just one year later, we were so plugged into that church and enjoying where God had us, but anxiously wondering where we’d be this time this year. Around this time Jacob started talking with the leaders of the church we now call home. We were caught in a very “almost, but not yet” stage, wondering where we’d be going. I was a month and a half into my first post-college office job, Jacob was working hard in a position he didn’t love and waiting to see where God would take us in his call to ministry. 
Last year, I remember reflecting on the hardship that engulfed me just one year before. God had been teaching me quite the lesson in his faithfulness, despite my doubt. He took me somewhere that, frankly, I didn’t want to go, and I didn’t expect him to meet me there. But he did in hugely loving ways again and again. When we were contemplating moving to New England this time last year, I couldn’t help but think God had been preparing me for it all along. 
He had already taught me that he will provide community, growth and opportunities to use our gifts wherever he took us. That was the biggest lesson I had learned. Now I get to look back at that time and confirm, to myself, that he has yet again provided those things.
We are knee deep in great community, students looking for something more and conversations and lessons that stir us to desire to know God more deeply. 
Today I’m thankful, truly from the depths of my heart, that our God fulfills his promises. His love is so deep, even when we don’t want to believe it. His provision is coming, even when we don’t expect it (and despite even HOW we don’t expect it!).

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39

Wherever you are today – whatever stage you’re in, whether that’s one full of questions, full of doubt, full of faith, or full of thankfulness, he is with you. He is with you. He is with you.

And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. – Matthew 28:20

Draw near to him today, and hold that promise tighter than anything else. You are loved where you are, right now.

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The dirty truth about my kitchen (& a giveaway!)

I have never liked cooking. In fact, I’ve dreaded it, put it off and felt totally insecure about it for way too long. Baking, though…. baking is one of my favorite kitchen activities. I think that has been impacted by my unhealthy relationship with all things sweet, but still. I’ve enjoyed it since high school.

So for the first two years of our marriage, I tried really hard to be a great wife. I meal planned (with frustration), made tons of meals that were so-so, and even entertained guests for dinner! That last one was the real stressor – I never felt like what I made was up to par, especially compared to my friends who are great in the kitchen!

But over the past couple months, I have actually enjoyed cooking almost every meal! I could almost call it relaxing (gasp!). I’ve even had the nerve to try new recipes that turned out nicely and didn’t stress about having guests over. To be honest, I’m shocked.. still! Here’s the real topper, though, I also successfully made a few pasta sauces from scratch – something I’ve tried to master several times and failed miserably!! It’s the little things.

So today I’m extra excited to be partnering with the sweet ladies below to hook you up with two cookbooks and a copy of a recent favorite book, Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenrieder. These two cookbooks have sent me deeper into the kitchen and have the most beautiful stories to accompany the show stopping recipes!

The winner will be announced this Friday so stay tuned and play fair! All entries will be verified. Have fun!! 

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Magnolia Must Reads | 26

Well, Jacob and I decided last night we’re going to get all healthy and cut back on our sugar intake, get rid of all bread and focus on eating a lot of greens. Oh, and we are going to work out a lot more than we do now… so we will see how this goes. He mentioned juicing, but I’m a little afraid of that, so we are taking baby steps.

On the radar for today (after sleeping in! woo-hoo!) is grocery shopping, a quick run for me (to prepare for tomorrow’s last long run before my race! 10 miles!), going to the gym and then blogging like it’s nobody’s business. Glorious, right?!

For those of you who also get to enjoy a leisurely day today, be sure to check out some of my favorite reads this week!


Faith

Blogging
Relationships
Life
+ On doing what you love, versus what you’re good at.
+ 15 ways to practice self-care.

What you may have missed this week…
+ Creating your own handmade design business.
+ On ministry, having kids & the gift of free time.
+ Put a hat on it: Casual wear.
+ Introducing… Operation Read Your Shelves!!!
+ 12 things I wish I knew as a college freshman.
+ Hospitality as a lifestyle.

P.S. Fellow bloggers – who were some of your favorite blogs to sponsor?! I’m looking to sponsor some blogs in October, so hit me up with your good experiences! 🙂 

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Hospitality as a lifestyle

Truthfully, I once thought hospitality meant keeping the house clean and the fridge full. While I think that’s definitely a part of hospitality, it’s one of the many facets that make up an entire life posture.

Hospitality is one of my favorite nouns. It’s something I strive for, hope to be known by and hope to bless many others through. But it’s much more than a simple noun: it’s a way of life, an attitude, and a practice.

A girl named Meg (pictured above) befriended me in high school. She taught me a lot about hospitality in the sense of doing life together. She invested in a lot of people, but she fit all of them into her life in a way that felt natural. She called friends while driving, invited me along on errands and showed me slices of her life authentically. More and more, I see hospitality as just that – authentically living with others. 
Real life isn’t always inviting a friend over for coffee and a homemade slice of perfectly chocolate-frosted cake. More often, it’s inviting friends over when I still need to grocery shop and my rug needs to be vacuumed. Most often, it’s inviting a friend along while I run errands or need to build a set for the youth group. It’s sharing my life in ways others feel part of it and see me for who I am – an imperfect daughter who is loved by God as I am right in those messy moments. I want to share that with friends because it’s their truth, too, and yours, reading this now. You’re loved right now, in your life that often feels haphazard and oh, so scattered. You are so loved.

We have had nine visitors since we moved to new England this past January. I think first that tell you we have some really awesome friends and family members. It has blessed us abundantly to have our closest people visit us and share life with us for a weekend here and there. But having so many visitors has also shaped my perspective on the art of hospitality.

With nine visitors in a span of 8 months, our lives can’t come to a halt every time someone spends a weekend with us. We have to keep going… so those friends are along for the ride. For example, last weekend our dear friend Erica stayed for five days and she not only helped me sew and paint a set for the youth group kick off, but also spent 13 hours with us at church from the Sunday morning service until youth group was finished. She didn’t sit off to the side, either – she was in the thick of it with us. And, you know what? She loved it! She loved seeing a true slice of our lives here and getting to experience our day to day shuffle.

So for those of you who look at the word hospitality and feel your shoulders getting heavier quickly, breathe a sigh of relief. I have a few reminders for you:

Your house needs to be livable, not perfect. 

I totally get it – I’m a clean freak, too, even when people aren’t coming to stay with us! I appreciate a clean home, but I can’t let myself get bent out of shape over it. Life is too short to worry about the dishes and un-vacuumed rugs. Do what you can and then forget about it – your guests will feel comfortable anyway.

Don’t feel pressured to make a big show. 

Whether you have friends coming into town or are just hanging out with your local friends, don’t feel like you have to set aside additional time to do that. Do things with them like grocery shop, go for a walk, work on that craft you had been planning to finish, or do the dishes together. I understand your desire to do something big for out-of-town guests.. if that is your true desire, go for it! Just don’t feel like every second of each day needs to be that way. 

Be authentically you.


There’s nothing I love more than truly knowing someone. You know that friend who just gets you? You have probably shown each other the real “you” behind all the masks and pretenses. Your friends don’t need you to put on an emotional or physical show to win them over, either. Be you – it’s less work and more rewarding. The sooner you learn that, the sooner you will be able to rush less, worry less and grow more.

Please leave your thoughts in the comments below – I would love to hear what hospitality means to you and how you’ve grown in being YOU recently!


*This post first appeared as a guest post on Banana Grove Designs

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12 things I wish I knew as a College Freshman

You can see full outfit details on this post.

To all of you new college freshman, how are you doing after almost a month in? Have you hit the ground sprinting and slowed to a maintainable pace yet? Are you still struggling to find solid footing?

I hope you are starting to get into a healthy groove for what college life is like. It can be a very challenging transition from the structure of high school to the new responsibility and freedom that comes with college!
I know a few newbie college students this year, and the excitement of them heading off to school got me thinking about what I wish I new in college, now that I’m finished. 

12 things I wish I knew in college:

1.  Skipping class actually isn’t cool. For some reason, I loved skipping class… Despite the fact I was paying 30k per year to go to class… And I’d have some hefty loans to pay back over the 25 years following school. Looking back, I really wish I had not only skipped less, but also paid more attention. 
2.  It’s okay to have an undeclared major for a while, and it’s okay to change your major. I was told going into school that changing my major would be a waste of time and money. I highly beg to differ. I had no idea what I wanted to do going into my freshman year of college. Heck, I graduated in 2013 and I still have no idea what I want to do with my life! While that may be the case for you, too, the first few years of school are a great time to get your feet wet in different areas of study to see what interests you. You may be surprised. 
3.  Along those lines, don’t be afraid to try classes you may not like. I thought business didn’t interest me at all while I was in college. Now here I am with my own online business kicking myself for not taking a single business class. If I had taken one, I may have discovered my interest in business sooner! 
4.  March to the beat of your own drum. Be brave. If you want to try something your friends may think is weird… Do it anyway. I wrote a little earlier this week about learning to accept myself and caring less about what people think – the sooner you learn that, the better. You may just discover something (or someone!) you love.

5.  Don’t settle. Don’t settle for grades, in your relationships, or in your opinion of yourself. Fight for what you want and apply yourself! There’s nothing more wasteful than not fully applying yourself through life… You’ll spend more time being unhappy with where you are and the people surrounding you. Like I said, be brave! Apply yourself! Chase after what’s important… And who is important, both in friendships and romantic relationships.
6.  Be careful how you eat. Those stupid buffet cafeterias really mean you will gain twenty pounds by walking through those doors. All joking aside, take care of yourself. Eat vegetables, exercise and don’t pound down the alcohol. Your future self will thank you.
7.  Life is long, but it can be short. Make decisions wisely. This is really another version of be you! Be brave! 
8.  Don’t wish these short years away. As cliche as it sounds, adulthood will come and you’ll wonder why you ever wished away college. They may not be the best years of your life, but they are the most carefree (even if it doesn’t feel like it now) and carry the smallest weight of responsibility, compared to what’s ahead. Don’t wish that away to get a boring 8-5 job with lots of bills to pay. Soak it up.
9.  Call your parents and siblings. Visit them. You may not come home again after college. (Sorry, mom!)

10.  Avoid credit card debt. Always. It seems like a good idea at the time, but it’s not.
11.  Have fun! Take risks, laugh, try new things, stay up too late and take naps while you still can. Go to campus events, even if your friends can’t come with you and put yourself out there. And if you don’t have friends yet, get out of your room! You won’t make any friends in there – be brave! 

12.  Enjoy the journey. It’s okay not to have your entire future mapped out. Ask God to lead you daily and submit to his guidance!

What would you add to this list of advice?

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