I apologize for my delay in posting today, but my blogging schedule was derailed by some unexpected and exciting news. I can't share quite yet, but suffice it to say, we will not be in the country for New Year's... (!!)

Now that my mind is going a million miles a second, it's sort of hard to transition back into blogging mode. (Travel's like a drug for me...once I start planning, I can't stop!) But I wanted to share with you where I am in the cookbook-writing process, and to tell you about an encouraging reminder I received last night.


Today's news aside, I've been feeling a bit discouraged the past few days. It was a combination of a couple of things: One, I've been coming down off the back-to-back highs of my sister's wedding and then hosting a big Thanksgiving party. When I get into my ultra-busy mode, I thrive (until I crash). I relish that feeling of being busy, of feeling needed, and the instant gratification of doing a task and seeing results right away.

With the cookbook, though I'm loving the process, there is very little instant gratification. (Other than the awesome comments and emails from you all – they mean the world!!) It's a slow, steady, long-distance run, and I'm 6 weeks in (with 14 weeks to go). I figured that weeks into the project, once all the fanfare wore off, I would be faced with doubts: 'Do I have the stamina to finish?' 'Does anyone really care?' 'Am I crazy to think I could get a cookbook deal?' The doubts are here, but I refuse to let them defeat me.


And two, to be totally honest, I've been bummed because my blog traffic isn't growing at the rate I was hoping it would. I hate having to think about numbers - I've always lived with the philosophy that if you do what you love, and do it well, that the rest (be it finances or blog traffic numbers) will just sort of work out. But now I find myself in a game where numbers do matter. Brandon is teaching me, gradually, that strategy is a good thing. He's been so great to help me take a hard look at the numbers and figure out ways for improvement; it's just hard for me not to take my slow progress as a sign of failure. Does this resonate with you? Have you ever had a hard time separating what you do from who you are?


But then I went to church last night, and was reminded of something so simple and profound: there is hope. In my self-absorption, I had forgotten that we are entering into the beautiful season of Advent: a time of waiting, of hoping, of joyful anticipation, of longing, and of wonder. I was reminded that in the coming weeks, leading up Christmas, we are invited into a story so much greater than our own. The story of the birth of a Savior. I get so impatient - I want to live from one high to the next – but God meets us in between: in the waiting, in the stillness, and in our brokenness. Rather than wishing away this time full of unknowns, I want to be present and to soak it all in. I truly do feel I'm on the right path, even when I can't see the outcome.

I was reminded as I picked out pictures for today's post just how much joy I get from gathering people around the yellow table. I'll never get sick of spreading the message of love and family and conversation and homemade food around the table. When I think about my cookbook project in those terms, I have no doubt why I'm doing what I'm doing. It's not just for me - it's for all of us. To inspire us all to eat well, to develop deeper relationships, to confront fears, and to live authentically. And to remind you (as I remind myself) that there is hope.


Tomorrow: a French-style steak dinner in 20 minutes!

(Photos by Brandon Carl)