Sunday, May 31, 2015

Breakfast Cookies (yes, really!)

I am not sure how I'm going to make it until I have this baby in September.

She feels so high, I can already barely breathe well. If I sit down, I feel like I'm suffocating slowly! Girl needs to drop down a little and give me some space in my lungs...

Anyway, a month or so ago, I made the mistake of buying a package of gluten free cookies to have around as the occasional treat for Declan. Let's just say it didn't take him long to figure out they were in the pantry and pretty soon he was standing at the door all day long demanding COOOOOKIE. (He makes the cutest little duck face to form the 'ooooo' a mini Cookie Monster)

Someone posted this recipe and I had to give it a try. I have to admit they are really good, and my kids have already eaten half the batch. Oops.

Sure, you may not want to make this a regular breakfast but how fun is it to offer a cookie at breakfast and know that the ingredients are pretty darn uh...breakfast-y. And even though they are healthy, you could totally chow on one or two of these for dessert and be just as satisfied.

You'll need:

- 3 large bananas, ripe (peeled, and chunked)
- 1/2 c. creamy natural almond butter
- 1 Tblsp butter (I actually used coconut oil)
- 2 Tblsp honey or maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2.5 c. oats  (We used Bob's Mill gluten free)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
Add ins:
1/2 c. dark chocolate chips/dried cherries/dried cranberries/nuts, coconut flakes, etc
(We used about 1/4 c. dark chocolate chips, 1/4 c. dried cranberries and pecan pieces)

Mash bananas with a fork, add next 4 ingredients and mix well, until smooth.

Add dry ingredients, stir well and then add your chocolate chips, dried fruit and/or nuts.

Bake at 350 degrees on a parchment lined or oiled cookie sheet for 12-14 minutes. Makes about 2 dozen cookies. (via Self)

I will totally be making these again - maybe throwing in some flax or hemp seeds for even more nutritional benefit.

Get $10 off your first Vitacost order by clicking HERE. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Every Morning

(Do you know what it's like to try to keep a toddler from playing in the toilet and licking the bathroom floor of a pediatrician's office while trying to get a 4 year old to pee in a cup for a urine sample??)

Yesterday was...a day.

It started out ok, but by bedtime everything had gone rapidly downhill. The kids were ridiculously overtired and thrown off by a messed up schedule and I had the bright idea (desperate idea, really) to start bedtime early. 

They had an early dinner, in the bath by 5:30 and bedtime routine started at 6:15. Declan fell asleep quickly and I found Beckett in my bed, watching TV. "Can you watch tv with me, Mommy?" 

So I sat next to him and did a little work while we watched (what else) Peppa Pig. Just as I was about to start his little bedtime routine, Declan woke up.

I won't go into the details because they don't matter but it was basically whack a mole for the next 2.5 hours. They couldn't settle. I had been up since 5:30 that morning, no one had napped, I was so physically and mentally exhausted (pregnancy insomnia is the worst) that I couldn't decide if I felt like throwing up or crying or heck, maybe both.

The kids cried, I cried, I raised my voice, they raised their voices...

It wasn't pretty, ok?

By 9:30 - FOUR hours after their bath, I was finally eating for the first time since 10am and sitting alone for the first time since 5:30am and I'm not sure I did much beside stare at the wall in a daze.

I hate when nights play out like that. I go to bed feeling guilty about my lack of patience and about anger being one of the last emotions felt in the house before everyone falls asleep.

This morning, Declan woke up at 5:30 as he always does and we've been hanging out in my bed, sharing a Larabar and snuggles. I think he's forgiven me for my impatience and exhaustion last night because he's giggly and chatty and happy.

I'm glad that after the darkness falls - and some nights are really dark - the sun always rises, a new day begins and we can all try again. Thankful that no matter what, His mercies are new every morning. And these stubborn, high maintenance littles of mine might push me right to the very brink of absolute mental breakdown mode some nights but their smiles and hugs every morning teach me so much about unconditional love and forgiveness.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

What I Eat in a Day

Got a lot of positive feedback the first time I posted this so here goes #2!

This is actually from a couple of weeks ago (oops)...maybe even over a month. I'm pretty sure the next time I do this, you may see some Chick Fil A in there because I gotta be honest - it's getting to be a little more common than I would like when I'm so exhausted I want to cry. I'm not proud but survival is survival and this is real life, right??

Here's where I'm going to wax all poetic on you before some crappy iPhone food pictures, ok? Most of you know that I just finished up getting some health coaching certifications. My focus will mostly be on families with children and pregnant/new mamas.

I've been learning about nutrition since Beckett was born 4 years ago. It is an overwhelming, never ending, very confusing field of study and everyone has a different opinion on what you should and shouldn't eat. I've tried every way of eating out there (vegetarian, vegan, paleo, clean eating, etc...) I have come to believe there is no one size fits all way of eating that works for everyone. And I am here to tell you that I KNOW the crap in fast food and with everything going on in my life right now, we visit the CFA drive thru sometimes.

Being pregnant and exhausted and taking care of littles alone and knowing what I know - even I sometimes need a break. I can't always spend a couple of hours prepping food in the kitchen for the week. And I can't stand here and pretend that it's 'so easy' to do that and act as though I never take the easy way out at times. Life gets in the way occasionally - and my rambly point here is: don't let that stuff derail you from learning about nutrition and educating yourself.

I really hate when I hear people proclaim that eating well is so cheap and so easy because I am here to tell you - it is not. It isn't. There is crap all around us, it's hiding in food and written in labels in intentionally deceptive ways. It is NOT easy to sift through it all if you don't understand the basics. It IS more expensive to eat well, unless you have the ability to be some kind of super human mama who can coupon her way through life and visit 5 different grocery stores to find the best deals.

It DOES take more time to eat well. Not always, but when I am on track I spend time planning meals, shopping well, prepping for the week, etc. I don't know about you, but there are many days I need something I can grab quickly. In order to do that in a healthy way, I have to plan ahead and it takes time and thought. And I don't always do it.

So that's my confessional. I say it because I think a lot of people think that if they aren't perfect, they shouldn't bother. I am in no way saying I approve of Chick Fil A as a healthy option (ha - I KNOW it isn't, even if it feels like it is better than other places...) I'm just saying that I get it. I get that sometimes perfection is nowhere close to attainable.

I've thought a lot about what I want to do with my certifications and I really hope that I can convince people perfection is not the goal. Being a size 2 is not the goal. Having a perfect body is not the goal. It might be for some, but for the vast majority of us it won't be. Education, making small, gradual changes and trying again tomorrow are the things I hope I can convince people to do. When you fuel your body well, you will be amazed at how different you feel. I know people who have gotten rid of what they thought were seasonal allergies with changing their diet. I know people who have alleviated many of the symptoms of fibromyalgia or reversed PCOS through their diet. It can be a powerful tool for your life. my soapbox. Ahem. 

I have a small addiction to this Crunchy Flax cereal from Enjoy Life. It is free of the 8 most common allergens (wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish, shellfish and it doesn't have casein, potato, sesame or sulfites) I eat this with sliced fresh fruit, a tablespoon or two of hemp seeds and cashew milk. It's so good. Hemp seeds are a great source of omega's and easily digestible plant based protein. You can get 13g of protein in 3 tblsp of seeds! I'm not a vegan but if you struggle with eating meat, this is a fantastic addition to your diet.

Ok, I admit this is kind of a weird concoction but it was easy and good. I just made some sirloin burgers, a baked sweet potato and some steamed zucchini and summer squash. I make 4-5 burgers and keep them in the fridge for easy lunches/dinners for me and the kids. 

Dinner out with a friend! This is a terrible picture - but you get the idea. Love how my dinner was basically another version of my lunch? Ha! We went to 131 Main and I just can't resist the veggie burger. It has havarti cheese, a super yummy glaze and a quinoa salad that'll make you want to slap your grandma. (I am pretty sure it's a crime to use that Southern phrase in the same sentence as quinoa salad)

Ahhhhh Talenti. You are so bad for me, but so delicious. At least I can pronounce all the ingredients?? I am totally blaming the baby...

Happy Eating! 
For $10 off your first Vitacost order click here:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Why Does Nourish Work?

Last year when I wrote this post about my desire for a community of women that was authentic, so many of you responded with your own desire for the same thing.

So, a friend and I listened. I sifted through all the comments and private messages and we prayed and thought and decided how we wanted to proceed.

We presented a CRAZY idea.

We wanted women to get together and...have dinner.

That's it. Just dinner. Ok, maybe drinks and something chocolate too if you insist. But mostly? Dinner.

No forced discussions, no book studies, no bible verses to read and memorize. It wasn't going to be a group for young women or old women. Not a group for moms or singles. Wouldn't matter if you believed in God or not. The only way we intended to organize groups was by location.

It was risky, so we were told. No common denominator? No big goal? No mission? How could that possibly work? Why would women jump into a group with strangers and open up?

And to be honest with you, we didn't have all the answers. At all. We stammered and stuttered and confessed we weren't exactly sure but we DID know this is what we were being led to do. God was in control of this.

June is our 5th month meeting together as a community and growth has been amazing.

Obviously, we are where God wants us to be because it's kind of as baffling to us as it is to you that this concept is working. But in addition to the whole God thing, here's what I've discovered as I sit around the dinner table with other women.

We are all fragile in our own ways. There isn't a woman I've come across in this process who isn't insecure in some way, broken in some way, afraid in some way and dying inside to share her true self without fear of rejection. This is buried so deep in who we are as women, and it is screaming to come out.

When we presented this idea publicly, we tried to make it pretty clear exactly what it was about. And because of that, women have come to this group ready and willing to be open about who they are. They know they don't have to hide behind discussions or books because there isn't any of that. We are all here because we all want to be real. Shaunna and I worried that because we were planning monthly dinners, it might take months and months for bonds and friendships to form. But that fear has melted away as these things have happened in many cases by the FIRST meeting.

Because so many women have come ready to share of themselves and be vulnerable, a quick bond is formed. I don't even know how to explain it other than - when one person starts and shares, another person feels like they can share, and then a domino effect occurs and suddenly everyone has been very open and vulnerable and no one dares mess with that. Somehow, so far, everyone seems to understand that this is a little golden pocket of community - a really special and sacred place and please, please do not destroy it.

As women, we've all been victim to someone backstabbing, lying, gossiping or competing with us. We've done it, and we've had it done to us.

I'm so BEYOND proud of this community because we strive to break free of those stereotypes and live in a way that is brave and free.

And when I say brave, I mean it. I have listened to women cry and discuss pain. Broken marriages, body image issues, blended family struggles, depression, suicidal thoughts, abuse...I am amazed at how brave you all are. And don't worry, it's not all hard stuff. At our last dinner, I laughed so hard my face actually hurt from smiling so much. And yeah, there were bras hanging from light fixtures (no, no one was drunk). We have FUN together but we do hard stuff.

Are we perfect at this? Of course not. Will there be hurt feelings at some point? Most definitely. We are women and we are emotional beings. It's how we were created. But 5 months in, this community is growing in leaps and bounds and in the words of my co-founder Shaunna, "I don't know how I haven't known these women my whole life"

Me. Neither.

To all of you Nourish women: you make me laugh, you make me cry, my heart is bursting at the seams
wanting each and every one of you to experience true sisterhood. We can't say it enough - thank you for trusting us. For jumping into an idea that a lot of people thought was crazy and going along for the ride. Thank you for being willing to set aside the temptation to be competitive, to gossip, to backbite, to judge. Thank you for looking at each woman in your group as an equal and taking a leap of faith in trusting each other. 

WE LOVE YOU FOR IT! Big things in store for you, Nourish. Big things. You can get involved by emailing us at

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Easy Summer Pops!

Time to lighten up this blog a little bit, eh?

It is getting straight up hot here in the South and that means it's popsicle time!

Beckett is at the age where he wants popsicles now every time we hit the grocery store - and it's hard to find any that aren't full of weird ingredients or food dyes.

If I *am* lucky enough to find a decent brand with ok ingredients, it'll cost me $6 for about 4 of them. You feel me?

I saw this recipe online and knew it was a winner. Easy, healthy and look how pretty - heck, I might even steal a few for my pregnant self this summer while I stick my feet in the baby pool.

Here's what you'll need:

- popsicle molds (obvi)
- coconut water
- fresh fruit (I used raspberries, blueberries and sliced kiwi)

That's it. I love the idea of coconut water - if you get a decent brand, there are some good benefits to it. I cannot stand the taste of it alone, but I knew my kids would love it in popsicle form. We used Harvest Bay brand which you can find on Vitacost for a great price...I used the pineapple flavor, which isn't certified organic but some of their varities are.

Fill your popsicle molds about 3/4 of the way full, add your fruit and freeze!

You can find these popsicle molds on Amazon - I love them. They are really, really great. 

These popsicles are super yummy, nutritious and not full of junk. Just make sure you read the labels of your coconut water! Some of them are deceptive...

My kids loved these. (so did I, really...)
Friday, May 15, 2015

On being a misfit for Him

I'm beginning to think that a big plan for my life is to live for God as a 'misfit'.

Church is really, really different down South than it was up North - for one, it's everywhere. For two, it's a lifestyle, a culture, a career that isn't as prevalent where I'm from. When I first moved down here, I was completely turned off by the whole thing. I dreaded the question that everyone asked me first, "So...where do you go to church?"

But over the last 11 years here in the South, my life has changed - I've grown up a little bit and I've realized that the foundation I had as a child that taught me about God and my Savior - is really at the core of who I am.

It's made for some tough situations though, in an area where being a "Christian" is almost a given and where churches can sometimes seem to compete in popularity contests.

What happens to those of us who aren't part of the 'in' crowd?

I look at blogs and organizations centered around Jesus and I see no one like me. I see happy, smiling families with beautiful children. I see doting husbands and happy wives.

It feels like I just don't fit there. With these complete, happy, fulfilled families who can't possibly understand pain like I do. Deep down, I know this isn't true - I have been around long enough to know that behind every smile is a story of pain and brokenness.

But I know there are other stories. I know there have to be families like mine. Stories like mine. Other people who are misfits like me.

I think of what my family picture would look like - so much dysfunction, so broken. Pasts that include divorce, scandal, single parenthood, an unwed mother, step children, half siblings, separation, a heart so broken it feels it will never be whole again, addiction, anger, resentment... and yet a love for Christ so big and so great my heart desires for you to know that you don't have to be perfect to love Him and to be loved BY Him.

I am living proof y'all. My life is a hot, broken mess. It has never and will never be a straight line pointing to Him. It's more like a toddler scribble than a straight arrow.

I read this post recently and man, it resonated with me. While I do think that God desires us to be happy in some ways, I believe that the happiness He wishes for us is so much different than what we imagine happiness to be. This paragraph hits the nail on the head for me "If I have learned anything over the last few years, it’s that God is out for one thing and one thing alone – His glory. I think it’s hard for us to swallow and digest that fully, because we associate glory with things like pride and selfishness. I think it’s also hard because we’ve never seen a perfect love lived out in an earthly person. But it doesn’t make the characteristics of the Father any less true." 

I have started to see that through the sharing and telling of my story, my brokenness, my pain and struggle that I can bring God glory. I can sit across the table from someone who doesn't believe and say honestly - I am so far from perfect, you wouldn't even believe it. My life is so far from perfect and typical and easy. Most days I feel like I'm slogging my way until bedtime. Marriage is hard, life is hard, parenthood is hard. Pain is present, heartache is present and you will never see a happy, smiling picture of my family summed up by a husband, wife and 2.5 well behaved children.

For much of my life, I have just wanted to fit in. I haven't wanted to feel different, be different, look different. I have wanted to be a 'normal' wife and mother and raise a family. And for some reason, those things remain out of my grasp. It is hard to wrap my mind around why I can't live the life *I* want to live and why I'm stuck in this life that seems like it should belong to someone else.

And also - I'm really frickin tired of being so sad. I bet some of you can relate to the feeling that grief seems to follow you around all.the.time.

I'm a 36 year old mother to 3, almost 4. I have been an unwed mother, a single mother, a married mother, and a separated mother. I have been a child, a teenager, a college student, a college drop out, an employee, a wife, a stay at home mother, a work at home mother.

I have lost my way many times. But I'm not going to lie to you - in some of my most faithful moments, life has taken a good swing at me. Some of the times in my life I have felt the closest to God, I have not been spared pain and heartache. In fact, if I'm being honest - it's in those times that I have experienced some of my darkest and loneliest moments.

But it's also those dark and lonely moments that have brought me to my knees in search of Him. Those are the moments that have sweetened my relationship with my Father in Heaven.

I don't want to contribute to the notion that Christianity = perfection. I want to live my broken, messy, imperfectly painful life out loud for His glory. Jesus loved those on the outside. If you're on the outside, there's a good chance you're closer to the inside than you think.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

To the Woman who Feels Like an Outsider on Mother's Day

Ah, Mother's Day weekend...

        You and I are somehow foes again.

My Facebook news feed is already exploding with the pictures that used to drive me insane with jealousy. For 10 years my job as a mother went mostly unrecognized...or at least it wasn't recognized the way I wanted it to be. I wanted a doting husband who would shower me with flowers and breakfast in bed or make reservations for brunch. I wanted someone to tell me to sleep in late and not worry about anything else. I wanted someone to send me off on a girls weekend, or maybe a day at the spa. But single motherhood and I were together for 10 long years.

And then I got married and Mother's Day was much more fun for a few years.

But then, I lost a baby and became familiar with International Bereaved Mother's Day - the Sunday before 'normal' Mother's Day.

A few years later, I sit here with a marriage that is broken and once again feeling acutely aware that there is nothing 'normal' about this Mother's Day. I have been dreading this weekend - and I know there are many more of you out there that feel the same.

You, who are estranged from your own mothers or have lost mothers. You, who desire to be a mother but cannot conceive. You, who are struggling with secondary infertility. You, the mother who has children far from home or who are not speaking to you. You, who have lost babies or children. You, who are hoping to adopt but have children caught up in the bureaucracy of the adoption process. You, who are fulfilling the role of both Mother and Father. You, who long for a family of your own but haven't found someone to be your partner in life. You, with the husband or partner who always forgets to recognize you on this day.

I know there are many who feel the same feelings I feel about tomorrow. Loneliness, sadness, bitterness, regret, anger, disappointment, longing...

My thoughts and prayers are truly with you. I am not just saying that. I will spend this week fervently praying for those of you with broken hearts as you head into tomorrow. I know what a hard obstacle some of these holiday weekends can be for so many of us. I cannot speak to all of the above categories because I haven't experienced many of them. But I can speak to those of us facing Mother's Day alone, with no one to tell us to sleep in and bring us breakfast in bed.

There are articles floating around about how not to be disappointed with what you do or don't receive on Mother's Day. There are articles telling us what Mother's DO want for Mother's Day. Every opinion or thought about how to celebrate Mother's Day right and well for your situation is out there.

I steeled myself for sad feelings to overwhelm me this weekend but I sat out on my back deck this morning and watched my children play in the backyard and I felt at peace.

My beautiful children who trust and love me enough to call me Mommy...the children who depend on me to care for them, love them, provide for them, be a safe place for's really what Mother's Day is all about. What an honor it is to be their Mother. What a privilege to have these amazing little people in my life.

Logan, my eldest - the one who made me a Mommy for the very first time. I am watching you grow into a man. You are my right hand in so many ways. You are always willing to help me around the house or with your younger brothers. You are such a loving sibling who has taken on the role of big brother better than I could have ever imagined. I am so proud of you.

Beckett, my almost 4 year old. You came into this world 9 days later than you were supposed to but you have been such a joy ever since. A calm baby who seemed content to just watch the world around you, you have morphed into a curious preschooler with an appetite for learning that is hard to quench. You have questions about everything. Although you can be stubborn and strong willed, you have a joy that is hard to contain. One Volume Beckett is what I call you - always loud and the most extroverted child I've ever known with THE most infectious cackle laugh to boot. I am so proud of you.

Declan, my toddler. You have tipped me upside down since the day you were born. You have made me question and doubt everything I ever thought I knew about being a parent. You are so bright, so much quicker to pick up things than your older brothers ever were! You learn fast, and you want to do everything just like a big boy. You love music and I have so much fun listening to you sing and watching you dance. Yours has not been an easy ride so far, and I am so proud of you.

Lilia and Harper - my two girls I have not yet met. Lilia, I know I will meet you someday and I think of you often. My first daughter, your name means 'what belongs to me belongs to God' and though you were never born you have left a mark on this family and on my heart that will never be erased.  I am so proud of you. Harper, you are growing inside of me and have been one of my most active babies! It is amazing to feel you moving and getting bigger and I am trying to cherish these moments with you in the midst of the chaos. You will be born into circumstances I am still unsure of, but I know you will be a blessing. I am so proud of you.

While I can't say that I wouldn't love to be able to sleep in tomorrow and have someone shower me with flowers - I CAN say that I know someday, I will be able to sleep in again. Those tiny voices that wake me up with the sunrise will be gone from my home and I will be celebrating Mother's Day with a phone call.

It's easy to feel that your Mother's Day celebration should look like everyone else's, but I have begun to realize that if I expect my life to look like the lives of others I am forever disappointed. My life is my own, it belongs to me and it is a beautiful story being woven together by the Creator of the Universe. It's painful and messy at times, but it's also full of joy and laughter and toddlers and preschoolers and teenage boys.

Tomorrow I will wake up and go about my day like it is any other day. But I will remind myself that my race isn't yet finished. Keeping my gaze focused on eternity, I know my moment of rest and celebration will be glorious and rewarding.

For all of you struggling this Mother's Day I leave you with Philippians 3:13 "No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead" We can all find hope in that, right?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Hostess with the Mostest: Meet Holly

Shaunna and I thought it would be fun to do a series of posts where you got to meet some of our hostesses and members, to hear straight from them what Nourish is all about. We are kicking off this series with Holly! She has quickly become someone we just love and adore and think you will too. Can't wait for you to get to know her.

Q. Hey Holly! Thanks for doing this - why don't you start by telling us a little bit about yourself.
A. I'm a 38 year old mom of 2 and stepmom of 2 that live with us half time. We are the modern day Brady Bunch of sorts, minus the Alice! (Sure wish I had an Alice) I got married at the wise old age of 19 and quit college.That lasted 6 years and I have 2 beautiful kids to show for it. I was a single mom for 4 years, and they were the toughest of my life. But I decided I wanted more for my life, whether I got remarried or not, so I went back to school and became a Nurse Practitioner. During my last year in grad school, my life changed forever when my 8 year old son was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It was a whirlwind of a summer and I barely finished school but I made it and met my now husband shortly after. My son has gone through a lot, but he's alive and well at age 17 now and stable according to the last scan (my, how time flies). I've been in Charlotte for 7 years now, came here after I met my husband online and fell in love. He is a chiropractor that owns a small business and I work both in his office and an outside job. We really don't have a lot of time for hobbies, but in the last couple years I have made it more of a priority and we have taken up shooting guns. I attend a ladies night at a local range and I can't tell you how therapeutic it is! I am a Christian and believe solidly in God, although I have strayed many times. I have run away from him, not the other way around. I was raised Southern Baptist but now we attend a great non denominational church. My husband was actually born and raised Catholic and left the church when he was 36 to pursue a closer relationship with God. I believe we are all here for a purpose and part of that is to be the hands and feet of Jesus and love one another unconditionally. I think the "church" can drive so many people away with their legalistic views, shallow and fake facades and part of the reason I love this concept is because it strives to break free from those chains.

Q. How did you get involved with Nourish?
A. I am Facebook friends with lots of different people, and one of those is a pastor, Robbie McLaughlin, who posted something on his page about being real and encouraging that thought. For many years I have felt out of place and frustrated because I see so much shallowness and superficial crap in every venue from church circles to female circles, moms at school, etc. So I posted a comment about how I felt like nobody wanted real and that when people see "real" they back away. He acknowledged my feelings and we were having a discussion about it when a Nourish member chimed in about Nourish and that it would be a great place for me. She and I did not know each other, but struck up a conversation and it felt so right. I was invited to the March dinner and I was ecstatic! I did not know anyone on the guest list, but reading the mission statement of Nourish literally made me cry because I felt like somebody else "got it!" When the week of the dinner came around, the host and her family got sick and had to cancel. After asking if anyone was willing to volunteer in her place, I took the leap and said "I don't know a soul, but I will!" It was a great decision and such a wonderful opportunity.

Q. What about the concept of this community resonated with you?
A. Being real as a female in this world is so hard. From every avenue, from the time we are small girls we are told we need to be different. Just take a look at media, fashion, movies...we need this product, this item of clothing, this type of house, this type of education, I could go on forever. And never mind the Pinterest ideas for making the best, healthy, organic snacks for your angels. You get my point - but none of this is real! We are not always beautiful, not always nice, not always on time, our kids eat junk sometimes, our house is a mess, our relationships are strained in many ways because of this pressure we put on ourselves. The concept of Nourish resonated with me because I'm tired of it all! I want to be real. I want you guys to know that I sometimes lose my temper, my house is a wreck most days, my hair is not naturally like this and is 50% grey. I have to spend an ungodly amount of time on it to look this way. All these things, I am suspecting and taking a chance on, are things we all struggle with. And if one of us just stands up and shouts to the world, "I'm so tired of this! Can't we just be real?" maybe others will hear and open their hearts too because they are not afraid.

Q. Tell us about your past experiences with trying to find a group of women who are authentic.
A. Ohhhh, this one touches a nerve! I've attempted to be a part of groups with my kids schools, groups at church, etc and never felt comfortable. I would reach out to someone, only to have her brush me off or not come through like she said she would. It really hurt me and caused me to almost give up. I have attended some local parties and never really heard anyone be authentic. I hated it! And I guess it showed because I didn't get many invitations. I'm not very good at shallow, small talk. It's like when you show up at church and everyone is saying hello and how are you and everyone says "good, and you?" when in reality we are NOT fine. We are broken and need help! Especially women, the pillars of our families, one of the most important pieces of the family unit and so influential.

Q. What do you hope to gain by being a part of Nourish?
A. I want to learn about other women, learn to share with them openly and honestly, to support one another, learn to be myself, laugh, cry, love and learn to be truly authentic. I want to show them that there IS a place you can go where you are loved and accepted, even if you are not perfect. Actually BECAUSE you are not perfect! It's here, with us.

Q. To the woman on the fence about attending her first Nourish dinner, what would you tell her?
A. Go for it! Don't wait! It will be the best thing you've done for yourself in a long time, I guarantee it!

Q. What about someone thinking about hosting for the first time? Is it difficult or time consuming?
A. Hostessing to me is a privilege and a gift. My kids are older and I enjoy giving the mothers of young ones a break. I don't think it's difficult because the women that come are only seeking acceptance. I tell people, leave the mask at the door! I enjoy trying to make my home a place like that and hopefully people feel that. I spend a couple of hours on Saturday getting ready between cleaning, shopping/cooking. I really should stop the cleaning part, I guess I'm a hypocrite! I'm a work in progress too, that's the point of Nourish, to help us grow and support one another. To nourish one another in body, soul and spirit and band together as sisters on this amazing journey of life and womanhood. It doesn't matter if your house is large or small, new or old. Love doesn't care! When you are vulnerable, you open the door for others to be vulnerable and that's what starts the chain reaction of sharing, learning and healing. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us, Holly!

If you are interested in attending or hosting a Nourish dinner, please email us at

Saturday, May 2, 2015

About a Girl

On Thursday, I had a level 2 ultrasound done at Maternal Fetal Medicine, apparently standard practice when you reach the ripe old age of 36. I gave myself lots of extra time to find the building, knowing I would inevitably get lost. I arrived at the address with 15 minutes to spare, but got so turned around and flustered with trying to find parking that I was actually a few minutes late to my appointment. 

I find myself on edge a lot lately, easily angered by small logistical details that I hate having to navigate alone. I find myself feeling self conscious as I sit, visibly pregnant and alone, in the waiting room and I dread the unspoken pity when I lay down on the table in the ultrasound room with no one accompanying me. I've had many really awesome people offer to attend appointments with me, but I guess in a way I feel less like a freak if I'm there alone.

The guilt and shame that accompanies single parenthood is one I'm already quite familiar with. I did it for 10 years. I have no doubt that most of it I am projecting onto others because of my own feelings of inadequacy.  It's a difficult feeling regardless. But, this baby was conceived at a time in my marriage when I was unaware of many, many things. 

I battle the need to be authentic and real and also protect the story that belongs to someone else so while I attempt to choose my words carefully, there is no denying the overwhelming sadness I feel right now.

Yesterday marked 20 weeks of pregnancy. At times it feels like these last 20 weeks have flown by and at times it feels like it has been 20 long, excruciatingly painful weeks. 

Yesterday's ultrasound showed a perfectly healthy, strong and incredibly active baby girl. I had hoped to get a perfect little profile picture of her like I have of all my boys but she was stubborn and almost stood straight up, facing out instead of sideways. The more I think of this, the funnier it is to me. The more I already admire this strong, determined, fierce little girl. I love picturing her as if she's already trying to see what's going on out here because she can't wait to be a part of it. 

Finding a name for your child is probably one of the most fun and most challenging things about pregnancy. At first I searched all the names for girls that meant beautiful, precious, sweet, gift - but nothing spoke to me. My boys middle names all belong to either family or close friends, so it seemed appropriate that her middle name come from family or friends as well.

Adeline is my grandmother's name, and it means 'noble'. The more I think of the qualities I want this baby girl to possess as she grows, the more fond I become of the idea of her being a noble woman. I was curious about the definition of noble, and found this "having, showing, or coming from personal qualities that people admire (such as honesty, generosity, courage, etc.)"

This just resonates with me. Of course she is a precious, beautiful gift but I want her to be more than that. I want her to possess qualities people admire such as honesty, generosity and courage. 

So, Harper Adeline Hahn, I cannot wait to meet you in September. I think of seeing you during that ultrasound, standing up and looking straight out and know that you will indeed be noble and brave. And I am already proud of you because you are coming into the world in a crazy time. It is not an easy time to be a child, both within this family and in the world we live in. I pray you grow into a courageous woman who speaks truth and beauty and knows who she is, a daughter of the King with worth far more valuable than jewels.