How you can prepare for emotional disasters

prepareLast week my cousin spent the day chasing plywood and supplies all over town in preparation for Hurricane Matthew. Store shelves were sparse, gas stations drained, and Home Depot was like Black Friday with the amount of frantic pushing and shoving.

My cousin spent nearly 24 hours securing windows and battening down the hatches. He was just praying his home wouldn’t blow away.

When faced with a natural disaster like the one we saw last week, one thing is for sure. People spring into action. Survival mode kicks in. Some evacuate. Others brace for a fight. But one thing we all have in common?

We prepare.

Whether it be a hurricane, tornado, fire or shooting, our country knows how to band together.

We know what to do because we have prepared ourselves in advance for emergencies. Schools have procedures. Cities have action plans. Families have fire escape routes. When we know a disaster is coming down the pipeline, we sound the alarm and get our gear in order.

And it got me thinking.

If we spend so much time prepping in advance for a natural emergency, why do we not do this in other areas of life?

Because for many of us, the likelihood of experiencing a catastrophic event is much less than encountering emotional disasters like betrayal, divorce, disease, or the death of a loved one. If we spend the time and resources creating action plans for potential heart attacks, intruders or natural disasters, wouldn’t it make sense to also prepare our hearts and minds for the personal experiences we know for sure are coming?

Preparing for disasters of the heart

At one time or another, most of us will find ourselves in a situation where we’ll be tempted to be jealous, compare, gossip, be impatient, resentful, and hold a grudge. Things will happen to make us shaken and afraid. At some point, we will be betrayed, hurt, deceived, lied about and judged.

When those things happen, how will we respond? Will we emotionally wing it and risk the stability of our heart and character? Will we resort to damage control? Are we content to ride the emotional roller coaster every time we experience something hard or heart breaking?

Or is it possible to be prepared? I would argue that we can prepare our minds in advance, giving us the ability to hunker down and survive the storm without the collateral damage. Continue reading

Tomato Basil Tuna Salad


Cooler weather means it’s time to use up those garden leftovers before it’s too late. So I spent an hour last night gathering up all the goodness.

On a random side note, witnessing our first frost last year was most fascinating. One moment my flowers were beautiful and thriving and then literally in 12 hours they were black, shriveled, and lifeless. I was actually shocked how much damage frost can do in an instant. Hmm…feel like there’s a spiritual analogy in there somewhere…

Anyhoo, before the brush of winter is upon us, we harvested our last autumn crop to enjoy for the rest of the month!

Seriously, just look at this basil plant bush. It’s kind of ridiculous. Untitled-13

With an enormous amount of basil and tomatoes, I decided to put them to use! Here is a low-fodmap recipe and a way to use up extra vegetables from the garden! Continue reading

The #1 Thing Your To-Do List Won’t Accomplish

To-Do List Won't Accomplish

When you retreat to a quiet place, it’s amazing how loud everything becomes upon re-entry.

We spent last week in the mountains, nestled in a cabin just above the treetops. Every morning the sun would peek through the blinds, gently nudging me awake. With a cup of coffee in hand, I would snuggle myself into a sweatshirt and pull up a chair to the edge of the pine deck. The sun would rise over smokey ridges and rows of mountain peaks as I stared out into a silent world. The chirping of crickets and rustling of bears in the woods were the only sounds vying for my attention. Crisp, cool air filled my lungs with every breath.

Peace and quiet. Solitude at its finest.


Originally, I had planned to use that “free time” to get stuff done and catch up on the laundry list running in my head. I was tempted to use that quiet space as a chance to get ahead of the rat race so I could go home less stressed.

I thought getting stuff done would give me more peace. But I was wrong.

In fact, I discovered just the opposite is true. Continue reading

Don’t Let Your Past Define You


How many thoughts do you have about yourself? And of those, how many are negative?

It wasn’t until I was suffering from soul-crushing anxiety and felt depleted of all motivation that I started giving my thought-life some…well…thought.

Who says my creative efforts are not good enough?

Who says I’m a major disappointment?

Who tells me that I can never change?

Or says I will certainly fail if I try?

Who believes that I am broken?

I do.

It’s me. My thoughts are to blame.

“For as a man thinks within himself, so he is.” Proverbs 23:7

Whether you realize it or not, your past experiences, other people and your own failures have shaped your thought-life.

The Bible makes it abundantly clear that the way you think about yourself will influence how you view yourself. And how you view yourself will determine your actions, reactions, and habits.

Dave Sumrall sums it up best:

“Your life is always moving in the direction of your strongest thoughts.”

Sadly, our strongest thoughts often come from the times we’ve been wounded most. We continue to allow past hurts and failures influence our thoughts about ourselves, life and relationships. Even when those experiences are long gone, our thought-life is still full of residual hurt, blame, shame and insecurity.

“Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it?” Isaiah 43:18-19

How often do I find myself calling to mind the things of the past? Or thinking about past hurts, regrets and mistakes?

How often do these thoughts produce doubt and insecurity in me? Or convince me that I cannot change?

But the breakthrough will not come through Continue reading

Low Fodmap Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Pineapple Salsa


My favorite part about summer? The gas grill. Throw on just about any meal, toss in a few sides and you’ve got yourself a winner.

Officially on my Make-It-Again List, this recipe gets all three stamps of approval.


That’s right. This fish dish is gluten free, dairy free, and low fodmap! Not to mention full of omega 3’s, clean ingredients, and no sugar added! The combination of jalapenos, Cajun seasoning, and fresh pineapple gives it the perfect balance between sweet and spicy.

This is a great way to enjoy a healthy dinner today without the digestive pain tomorrow!

But enough about that. On to the important stuff. Continue reading

2 Ways to Overcome Your Fear This Week

fearDon’t worry. Easier said than done.

Especially for me. I come from a long generational line of worriers. Anxiety and fear have been constant companions for most of my life. Fretting has become a common pastime around here.

How about you this week?

Because every time I turn on the news fear is being magnified. We fear terror. We fear race. We fear other religions. We fear diseases (Zika? Anyone?). We even fear the upcoming election.

I even find myself worrying ABOUT WORRYING.


I’m even anxious about the fact that I am still struggling with fear and anxiety. I thought I had kicked this habit by now. But faced with circumstances outside my control this week, fear reared its ugly head once more. I couldn’t seem to shake the acceleration in my heart nor the pit in my stomach.

But here’s what I’m learning.

Be fearless. Not less fearful.

This might sound ridiculously simple, but it was super profound to me. I realized that in trying to overcome my fear and anxiety, my focus was all wrong.

My goal was to be less fearful. 

You know, because being afraid a smaller percentage of the time was better than all the time. Right? Continue reading