healthy approach to food

We interact with food daily. Our relationship to what we eat reflects so much about who we are, and lately I’ve been paying attention to how my habits, attitudes and perceptions of food have changed.

This topic has been on my mind because in the past few months, as I’ve approached food in a way that’s healthy and entirely new to me. More on that later, but first:

For most of my adult life, I’ve approached food from a few different angles: as performance, as self discipline, and as comfort. 

Performance

I cooked all the time in my first apartment, usually for an audience. My roommates and I hosted dinners and parties, and I always volunteered to bring something to group gatherings.

I wasn’t particularly talented as a cook or baker, but I could follow directions. I followed recipes meticulously, preferring to make things by myself so I didn’t have to worry about someone else messing it up or taking credit. 

When Mike came to visit for the first time, he was sitting in front of a meal I’d prepped ahead of time within the hour his plane landed. 

I don’t remember enjoying the process or using food as a creative outlet. The result meant everything to me: the words of praise, the finished work. 

Self discipline

I’ve never dieted, exactly, but at times I’ve deprived myself from food instead of nourishing myself with it. 

By “deprive myself” I mean that I would cut out sugar, dairy, alcohol, or carbs. I don’t mean I tried to live on 200 calories a day or starved myself. I did try to do a juice fast once, but that only lasted a day and a half before I ate some pasta.

Mike says I enjoy depriving myself of things. I argue that I always have a purpose beyond self denial, but it’s true that I like the accomplishment of self mastery and discipline. It’s a reward in itself. 

Continue Reading…

why blog when you can tweet

I try to quit this blog about once a month. I mean, I don’t really try to quit, but I ask myself why I should keep going. 

It’s time consuming, hard work that I do mostly for free. On days when I’m feeling Internet fatigue, and other people are writing more eloquently in prettier type with better images, it feels pointless. 

More and more, I’ve thought in these moments about the way people interact with online content. We are a world of skimmers, myself included. 

I rarely sit down to read something online anymore, because there is so much to read. Instead, I scan articles that draw me in, looking for the key points. 

As a writer, I spend considerable time crafting how I convey information. When I publish a blog post, I intend to communicate a nuanced, distinct perspective as beautifully and concisely as I can. 

But subtle points and descriptive sentences don’t get retweeted. The internet requires bold, sweeping conclusions that we can digest quickly.

Combine short words to make short sentences, and if you can do it in list form, all the better. I know this is true because this is how I read the internet. 

The proliferation of online images has shortened our attention spans even more. Why painstakingly piece together black and white text that will only be scanned (if read at all)? Why not learn Photoshop, how to use a DSLR camera, and start publishing infographics and pretty Pinterest quotes instead? 

I’m not trying to be cynical here. These are questions I genuinely ask myself. 

Clearly I haven’t quit yet, since I published this (with a pretty image!) instead of scrawling it in a journal.

When I ask myself, “what’s the point,” here’s how I answer:

  • The point is that words are still powerful. The God of the universe chose to communicate Himself to mankind primarily through the written word. If He has given you the opportunity to use that same medium with even a shred of talent on a platform as versatile and gigantic as the Internet, you take it.
  • The point is that you have to write to know what you think.
  • The point is whoever may be reading. I started my blog with many dreams in mind, but promised myself that I’d only publish things that would serve readers. I do plenty of self serving things in life, and wanted this blog to be a place of service to others. Service is by nature sacrificial, which means it has to cost me something to make this blog a genuine act of service.

I can’t write for retweets, applause, or approval. It’s an addictive, futile way to live, and I can’t survive it. I can only write with the hope that someone reads and is encouraged, even if I never hear about it. 

That’s the only healthy way for me to keep showing up without burning out. And you know what? The maker is always more changed by making art than the consumer is by consuming it. So maybe it’s all about me after all. ;)

To end on a productive note, there are a few things I do to try to help the skimmers (like me) find and consume my blog posts quickly:

7 quick fixes

If you’re a blogger, how would you answer the question: why write when you can tweet? If you read blogs, why read blogs when you can scan Twitter? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

If you could use some guidance in starting or taking your own blog to the next level, check out the self placed online course Jessi, Hayley and I made!

6 small steps toward relaxed mornings

As summer melts into fall, I find myself craving peaceful mornings. Here in Charleston, the weather hasn’t transitioned one bit, but my pace, schedule and responsibilities are quickly taking their fall shape. 

Mornings are my favorite time of day, but they’re easy to miss, especially in the busier seasons on the horizon. A slower morning sets the tone for a less rushed day ahead, even if there’s a lot to do. 

My daily goal is to get up earlier than absolutely necessary so I can enjoy a relaxed pace, fit in a workout, pray, and eat a real breakfast. To make the most of that time, I’ve been thinking about what works for me now and what has worked in the past. 

Here’s my short list of little things that make mornings go much farther:

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debt free almost missed the point

When we first started digging ourselves out of debt, I realized a glaring error in my view of how God should take care of me. 

I was angry with both He and Mike, because I didn’t think I should be in this position – weighed down with debt and stressed about money – if they were doing their jobs. 

I expected God not to fulfill His promise to meet our needs, but to remove me from consequences. Though our choices had landed us in this position, I expected God to bail us out.

When we first woke up to the reality of our debt, we’d often daydream about the entire balance showing up in an unmarked envelope in our mailbox, or gifted by some unnamed benefactor. We understood grace, and figured if God could forgive us for the more serious, eternal debt we were once in, what’re a few (tens) of thousands of dollars to Him?

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So you work on the Internet

My work life is unconventional. I’m part of the growing contingent of women (and men) who work primarily online.

My self driven schedule allows me to hit Trader Joe’s at 1:00 on a Wednesday, successfully avoiding the weekend crowds. On the other hand, I’m writing this on Sunday morning before church, because work of some kind is always within reach.

My work days are split between writing and blog related tasks, virtual assistant work, customer care for The Influence Network and managing the Naptime Diaries shop. All together, this combination of “work” takes 35-40 hours a week.

Notice how I put “work” in quotations? It’s not that I’m operating from a “love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life” philosophy, but because I’m still insecure about the nature of my work.

This post is part of the How She Does It series on Anne’s blog, Modern Mrs Darcy. Read the rest of the post there!