It's FALL! 

*cue little happy dance*

Although I start celebrating fall around, oh, September 1st, last night at 9:29 it became official!

Maybe it's the fact that I turned 29 a few weeks ago, but for some reason I'm feeling hyper-aware of the passing of time and the preciousness of each moment. This past weekend Jordan and I flew out to Boulder Creek, CA for a women's retreat where Margaret Feinberg was the speaker. I didn't know all that much about her or her story prior to the event, but I was delighted to have the chance to sit in on each session. We ended up doing a little book/CD swap before we went our separate ways, and when I asked her which book she thought I would enjoy, she instantly answered Wonderstruck. With 4+ hours on a plane the following day, I decided Wonderstruck was where I should start. At one point, Jordan leaned over and asked me, "How much of that are you planning on reading exactly?". As it turns out, I felt so tuned in to Margaret's words that I finished the whole thing, including the footnotes, before we landed in Chicago for our layover.

I have always loved to read, but somewhere along the way life got so full of babies and laundry and grocery shopping and car rides that I shelved much of my deeper content in favor of easy, short interval reads. Blogs, headlines, and flipping through magazines crowded out the stories and truths that take effort and time to consume. Humorous anecdotes that only require a percentage of my attention piled up, while the soul-satisfying words that need time to marinate and require my wide-eyed presence in order to take them in fully were gathering dust. Earlier this year I stopped to ask myself when the last time I finished a book was, and I couldn't even remember. Feeling embarrassed, if only in my own sight, I decided to make a concerted effort to read less of the frivolous and more of the full. I'm slowly making good on that promise to myself, and while reading Wonderstruck, my soul seemed to lighten with each page.

You see, in all of these short intervals, this mental game of ping pong I've been playing has been making me restless. I sit down to work and can't remember the task at hand. I intend to check in on a friend but by the time I've clicked on this or that, I forget to send the text or email that sent me to the screen. I make a shopping list only to realize I've left items on the shelf. I lay in bed at night with the nagging feeling I am missing something, wondering why the day wasn't more productive. As I read Margaret's words, I found they were exactly what I needed to hear. Wonderstruck, at the heart, is about restoring the vibrancy of faith at the very heart of our lives as Christ followers. I'm looking forward to digging in to the challenges that follow the book, which offer 30 days of guidance as you seek to live life wonderstruck.

Have any of you read Wonderstruck? I'd love to hear your thoughts and how you've responded to the call to live wonderstruck!

I would highly encourage you to pick up a copy here if you haven't read it.

Going Back To College (kinda) 

Calling all college students:

Today marks the start of my fall college bonanza! Okay, technically we've got some late summer/early winter dates in there too. Hope to be on your campus soon! 

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9 Years 

Happy 9 years to my one and only love! We've lived a lot of life since then and each step of the way I see more of the beauty of God's plan for us and those beautiful babies. I'm so proud to be married to a man who works tirelessly to make our life what it is, who changes diapers and sings bed time songs and hauls kids around on his back, who seeks truth and heeds wise counsel and guides the hearts of our children. I am so thankful that God brought two young, naive, dream-filled kids together and gave us the grace to grow in love for Himself and for one another.

PS I know that picture is a little blurry but when we got married putting your pictures online was not a "thing" so I took a picture of an actual picture, 'cause the oldest pics on my computer are from 2008, which was 3 years after we got married. I'm old.

Catching Up and an Overnight Chia Bowl 

Whew! The last week has been a busy one with lots of travel. I always feel like I spend at least a day or two playing catch up for every travel day we have—it's so hard to stay on a schedule when every day is different. A few days from the end of my cleanse, and I can say it's as difficult to eat well consistently as it is to maintain any semblance of a schedule. Five days of driving/ flying/ staying in a hotel/ flying/ driving was a good reminder that I really do feel best when I eat what's best for my body. That mindset helps curb cravings for junk food that looks tempting, but that I don't really love, because I realize how not worth it eating junk is if I just feel junky afterward. Save the indulgence for the really good stuff, I say! If you're wondering, I have added a little bit of coffee back in to my routine, because I really do love the stuff, but I am having pretty good success maintaining the dietary changes most important to me, and strategizing on how to continue that long term while we're touring. Any suggestions, other than buying a tour bus and hiring a private chef? ;)

We won't be home for another week, but we're staying with family which is the next best thing. Last morning I prepped some overnight oats with chia seeds, and I was honestly excited to get up and eat them this morning. I'd made them before and loved them, so I knew I would be in for a breakfast that was both healthy and delicious! If you've never tried overnight oats, this recipe is a great introduction with plenty of delicious toppings to go along with it.

Be aware the recipe serves two (you'd probably figure it out pretty quickly if you tried to eat it all!) In the past I've made the berry compote and used all the components, but today I stuck with just some fresh fruit, a drizzle of maple syrup, and a little GF granola for texture. It was extremely satisfying, but if you have time to make the whole shebang I highly suggest it, because it's the stuff cravings are made of. Chia seed is so good for you, and Trader Joe's has little bags for $4.99. You can also heat overnight oats if you're not a fan of eating them cold.

Do you have any favorite overnight oats recipes? I am a recent convert and the flavor combinations seem endless!

Food Allergies & The Restaurant Experience 

Today is my last day of the Ultimate Reset! 21 days of extreme discipline have been a challenge, and I am really excited to have reached the end. I'm excited to be done, but also to continue with some of my dietary changes going forward. One of the reasons I did the Reset in the first place is that it functions as an elimination diet, getting rid of various food groups until you're left with fruits and veggies, giving me the chance to slowly add food groups back in to identify possible food intolerances or sensitivities.

I don't have any major allergies, but I do believe what we eat and the quality of our food has a great impact on our health. Although there does seem to be a trend toward the "intolerance du jour", many people are dealing with life-threatening allergies. At home this may be simple, but eating out can pose real risks. As more people identify sensitivities or simply choose to avoid certain food groups, the restaurant dining experience can either shift to adapt, or choose not accommodate diners requests. Those who are unwilling or who only half-heartedly accommodate can leave diners with severe allergies at risk—something those with life-threatening allergies are understandably concerned about. I found this article about how restaurants are handling food allergies to be extremely interesting. I love food, and I loved reading about the way culinary experts are creating spectacular dining experiences while still catering to those with food allergies or sensitivities. If you have a few minutes to read the article I'd love to know what you think!