Friends, I'm feeling pretty transparent today, so I'm just going to go with it. Mondays terrify me.

Not because I have a super-high-powered job where I have to be in at 7 a.m. to make a presentation to a boardroom of people. Wearing 4-inch heels and a pencil skirt. (Thank goodness.) But because Mondays – being the first day of the week – taunt me with questions like: "So you think you can do this?" "Do you really think you have what it takes?" Mondays tell me things like, "You better not screw up." And: "If you can just be perfect, everything will be fine." Of course, the answers to the questions are "no" and "no." I'll never be perfect, and as far as screwing up, that's a given.

This week is crazy schedule-wise. It's amazing how in just three weeks, this project is beginning to sprout wings. Over the next few days I have multiple meetings - with agents, with publishers, with editors - who are all interested in talking about The Cookbook Diaries(!!). I've got two photo shoots that I'm in charge of prepping, cooking, and styling, and I'm teaching a class Wednesday night at West Elm. Plus five blog posts to write, recipes to test, an article to finish, and my in-laws in town! All this week.


Last night I laid awake in bed for what seemed like hours, my mind racing, trying to measure the week's events against my own (limited) strength. The night before, I had woken up in a cold sweat after a nightmare about totally botching my class. In my dream I didn't have any of my prep done and I arrived to the class late. It was awful. I woke up this morning exhausted, made some coffee, and sat at the yellow table with my Bible and journal. I knew if I was going to make it through this week, I needed some serious refueling.

As I spent time sitting in the stillness, confessing my fears and anxieties, and taking time to be thankful for the amazing opportunities that this week held, a profound realization hit me: It's not all up to me. (And even more so, it's not all ABOUT me!) This week - with its meetings and photo shoots and classes and obligations - is not something just to survive. What good would it be to live each day holding my breath, hoping that I don't massively screw something up? No, this week - and each day in it - is meant to be enjoyed. These are the things I've been dreaming about for years, and they're beginning to happen. And yet, here I've been, totally paralyzed by fear (which of course robs me of all joy).


By laying down my anxieties this morning, and releasing my controlling grip on the week's schedule, I was able to receive strength and joy and peace. I could breathe again. I was able to see that there is so much to be thankful for: I could never have orchestrated the meetings this week holds and God's not going to just abandon me in the midst of it all. He wants me to thrive, not just survive! That realization was so profound, yet somehow so hard to believe.

Do you struggle with these sorts of anxieties? Have you ever had a moment where your dreams are actually coming true, and yet you feel crushed by fear or anxiety? It's funny - we hear a lot about fear of failure, but I think if we're really honest, there's equally a fear of success. What if we find that we don't have what it takes? Or what if "success" doesn't look like what we'd hoped it would? And what it if the responsibility that accompanies success is too much to bear? When we start taking risks, comfort goes out the door. It's scary moving beyond our comfort zone, but if we don't, we'll never know what we're made of.

So friends, this week is not about survival. It's about embracing the unknown. It's realizing that (as Brené Brown says!) I'm enough no matter what gets done or is left undone. I'm going to take this week day by day, have grace for myself, and try and be present enough to actually enjoy all of the exciting things each day holds (rather than letting myself get overwhelmed by it all).


I'll leave you with one last thing: Brandon and I have committed to something kind of radical, but kind of amazing. We're trying to put some technology boundaries in place so we don't go to bed on our phones and wake up to them. (Which sadly, is what tends to happen.) We've put a "no technology after 9:30 pm" rule into effect, and in the mornings, we're not even checking our phones or computers until after having time alone in prayer. Today was the first time I've actually done this and it was amazing!! It completely reframed my day.

Thanks for letting me so raw today - I'd love to hear from you all if any of this resonates with you. This is a journey, and there will be ups and downs - glad I can share both sides of the story with you. :)

Thanks to the amazing Elise Inman for taking all of these great behind-the-shots from last week's shoot! Here are a few more...


Tomorrow: I'm sharing a recipe for my favorite cranberry orange walnut tea cake...stay tuned!

All props featured in this shoot are courtesy of ABC Home; photos by Elise Inman.