Good morning friends! I feel like I've been going about ten million miles an hour for the past few weeks. (Probably because I have.) I just got home last night after nearly week in Virginia helping my little sister get ready for her wedding. In five days we finished all the wedding details, moved her into her new house, threw her a Bachelorette party, packed her for the honeymoon, and had a rehearsal dinner, bridal breakfast, and of course, the wedding. (Phew!0 All of my extended family came in for the occasion, plus some friends who I haven't seen in forever, so it was fun catching up with everyone. The wedding was beautiful (Maria was an especially gorgeous bride!) and she and Peter are now happily married. Woo hoo!

My time there was so special and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. But in all honesty, I spent a lot of time beating myself up. I felt torn between wanting to be fully there for my sister every waking minute, yet also feeling the pressure keep up with my own work. I ended up staying up really late at night after she went to bed and getting up really early in the morning to try and get it all done. It left me exhausted, and I'm realizing (once again) that I'm not super-human. In hindsight, I should have probably just taken a few days off of blogging, but I'm committed to this and I don't like backing out of commitments. But I'm having to learn my own limits, and to prioritize accordingly.

This week, instead of trying to squeeze in a cookbook photo shoot (which, if you're following this project, you realize is a lot of work!), I'm going to give myself some breathing room. I'm going to focus on blogging and getting ready to host Thanksgiving (which is a big enough task!), and hopefully fit in a yoga class. Also, given that it's Thanksgiving week, I want to take time to be thankful. And I know that if I don't carve out intentional time to reflect and give thanks, it won't happen on its own.


Brandon shared with me a quote from Winston Churchill yesterday that really resonated with me, and I wanted to pass it on to you: "Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts." Wow. Think about that for a minute. If we really believed that quote, how would it reframe our existence? We strive and strive for success - making it the goal of our lives, and yet, even if we achieve it, it's not final. It can change in a moment. On the flip side, we live in terror of failure, as though its a fatal disease, when in fact it can often be life's greatest teacher.

And yet, what actually matters is hidden in the day-to-day. It's the courage to carry on in the path that we've chosen, even when it's tough or just really mundane. This holds true for some many things: pursuing a career, being a parent, writing a novel (or a cookbook!), starting a business or a church. The daily grind can either destroy us or invigorate us, depending on our mindset. If success is all that matters, we'll miss out on the beauty in each day - the conversations, the laughter, and the small acts of bravery that make our stories so unique.

I love that Winston Churchill - a world leader who's known for such grand things - celebrated the courage of simply continuing. It's especially inspiring to me in this project, where both success and failure are equally possible. Instead of obsessing over the outcome, I am just going to take Winston's advice and keep carrying on, courageously, day by day. I'm going to keep doing what I love, celebrating everyday abundance, staying thankful, and creating a cookbook that I sincerely believe will make people's lives better. I'm going to give myself grace to take one step at a time, and to realize that that's enough.

I hope this provides you with a bit of inspiration, wherever you are in your journey. Celebrate those small victories and keep carrying on, courageously. I'm so thrilled to be on this journey with you all - thanks for sharing your stories with me!

(Photos by Signe Birck of my Roasted Winter Squash Salad with Kale, Pomegranate Seeds, and Pine Nuts.)