I Want To Make Pies

I want to be the kind of mom that makes pies. I've never made a pie in my life (unless mud pies count?), so I know this is quite the optimistic endeavor, but there you have it. I want to make pies. I'm aware that I'm probably romanticizing the idea of being a woman who carefully and lovingly places each slice of fruit inside the perfectly flattened homemade pie crust and expertly creates a basket weave crust around the  ... pie pan? Is that a thing? Clearly I'm on the path to success here. 

Somehow I've convinced myself that if I can make a habit of making pies, I'll be one step closer to being the kind of homemaker I want to be. Teenage Kristen would be so embarrassed at almost 29 year old Kristen because being a stay at home mom/wife/homemaker is just so archaic. But things change! I want to make pies! (How many times will I say 'pie' in this post?) 

not my pie! click the photo to jump to the recipe  by pretty plain janes

not my pie! click the photo to jump to the recipe  by pretty plain janes

Homemaking is not something that I ever aspired to do or be, but now I'm growing up and realizing the value in having a home that is cared for. As Zach is the full time bread winner in our family, the bulk of the housework falls on me. I resented it at first and I still have my days where I want to scream "I am more than this!", but I'm learning to embrace the Suzy Homemaker life. I'm actually finding joy in making where we live a place that my family wants to come home to. 

So all that to say, I want to make pies. Pies of all kinds! Apple, cranberry, rhubarb, chicken pot!  Because pies make a house feel like home. Because I want to see the look on Zach's face when he comes home from a long day of work and sees a warm apple pie on the kitchen counter. Because I want to bake with my kids and get flour all over the place and I will laugh joyfully and the mess won't bother me a bit because women who make pies don't mind a little flour on the floor. 

So that's what I'm going to do. I'm jumping head first and fully embracing my homemaker role and it starts with pies. But don't worry, this isn't me telling you that this is now going to be a baking blog. No way would I ever subject you to that. I burn biscuits on the regular, so don't trust my baking advice. Ever. Or maybe wait a year from now when I've baked a few (ok last time, I promise) pies!

|| Just go ahead and leave your favorite recipes in the comments, please and thank you! || 

On Being Content.

The other night, I was reading through this post that I wrote in October. I remember crying as I was working through the writing process and feeling so embarrassed and just waiting for the opinionated people of the internet to tell me all the ways I'm a terrible mother, a selfish wife, and a lost child of God. Those were all the things I was believing about myself and on top of that, I was in the middle of a serious crisis of faith. Zach and I both were. That was such a messy month for us. We're barely three months out of that and things are so completely different. We are both in a completely different state of mind and heart and I'm so thankful that we climbed out of that fog zone. That life of BLAH. Always waiting for something, always questioning, always wondering. It's amazing to be past all of that.

We are so content where we are right now. Not that we don't want things to change, we definitely do, but we finally understand that where we are right now is a season. Admittedly, it's a much longer season than we intended and we've made some not so great choices to make this season last longer than necessary, but here we are. Once November hit, and we decided not to try to rush out of my parents' basement, my mind and my heart were completely at peace. I know that's some cheesy jargon I'm using, but I don't know how else to describe it. One night, I was sitting on the couch, looking around the basement and I thought to myself, "We have to stay here until the baby is born. This is where we live. This is our home." As soon as I thought the words, it was like a million bricks were thrown off my back and I could breathe again.

We've been in this basement for a year. We've dealt with comments and whispers for a year. We know we've disappointed our family and friends by stepping down from ministry and pursuing other avenues of God's work. We know that from the outside looking in, our life looks like it's a mess. We live in a basement with our two (almost three) children. Zach's been through several jobs this year and he just quit his full time job to pursue starting his own business. And because I write pretty openly about our life, people tend to assume that's there's nothing left to the imagination, so a lot of assumptions are made about our financial situation that are just simply not true. This past year, it has been so difficult to hold our head high and have confidence that we were doing the right thing. We had so many people throwing opinions and suggestions and advice at us and it was so disheartening.

But now things are different. We still hear whispers and comments and we know that the majority of people in our lives just don't get it, but we are 100% content and 100% confident that we are making the right choices for our family. It's so amazing for me to be able to say that I am content.

Getting pregnant so soon after Emery completely threw me. Still living in my parents' basement embarrassed me. Writing ebooks that all but flopped discouraged me. Well meaning Facebook messages from concerned friends emotionally drained me. Strangers on the internet commenting about my financial and life choices angered me.

And now, none of those negative emotions are left to take room in my life. Having confidence about our lives and our path and our choices has completely revolutionized our home. There are so many amazing things that are going to happen to us this year. We know that without a doubt. But those amazing things and those circumstances won't be the reason we find happiness and contentment and peace. We've got that right now, in the valley, as we climb our way out.

And it feels stinking good.

It's Not My Job To Keep My Husband From Looking At Porn

Once upon a time, I was in a healthy relationship with a boy that I loved very much. We had no secrets. We talked about everything, were completely committed to each other and were even discussing the possibility of getting married. We dated for two and a half years and not once during our relationship did I feel the need, nor did he ask, for me to send him naked photos. In fact, during our entire relationship, we never saw each other naked. Not once. That is ... until our wedding night. I am proud and have been told that I'm a little too braggy about the fact that the first time Zach and I shared the most intimate thing a man and woman can share was on our wedding night. We'd said our vows, celebrated our commitment to each other, and then we got our hanky spanky on. It was amazing and I am so thankful that I found a man who valued my worth and his own worth enough to wait for the goods until we'd honored Christ first with our marriage.

This whole celebrity nude scandal is a mess. What happened to these women was nothing short of a sex crime, fully deserving of imprisonment and whatever else our judicial system decides to do with the criminals. I hope they catch them and I hope they never see the light of day again. These women's privacies were invaded on a level I can't even comprehend and I am horrified and embarrassed for every single one of them. While I don't think sending nudes to anyone (even on snapchat-come on, people.) is a wise decision, I would never condemn someone for doing such a thing. I know most of the women whose photos were stolen were in long term healthy relationships and their photos were sent within the "privacy" of a healthy relationship. What happened to them is in no way their fault, or the fault of their significant others. Just because I don't think sending intimate photos through technology is a great idea, they didn't give anyone permission to view their naked body other than the person they sent those photos to. Shame on every single person who looked at those photos. Shame on you a hundred million times.

Jennifer Lawrence recently made a statement about the whole ordeal. I feel like the world has been waiting to see what she would have to say since her photos have been the most talked about out all of the women who were victimized. I loved her statement up until she said this :

"It was long distance, and either your boyfriend is going to look at porn or he’s going to look at you" 

Come ON, J-Law! Are you kidding me? I'm so beyond disappointed in that one sentence. I'm ticked off about it and I hope she comes forward and recants it because not only is it sexist against men, it perpetuates this idea that it is the girl's responsibility to keep her man away from porn.

It's Not My Job To Keep my Husband From Looking at Porn
It's Not My Job To Keep my Husband From Looking at Porn

Girls. Women. Ladies. Please do not believe this lie. It is not your responsibility, nor your job, nor your service to your spouse, to keep him away from porn. If you ask your boyfriend, fiance, husband, whatever, not to look at porn and he says, "Well then I need some photos of you cause I need to look at something..." just. Run. As far away and as quickly as you can. If you're married, get that man in to see a counselor because his sexual addiction is way beyond your help. That is a self control problem and your naked photos won't solve it. I have known many a boy who has played the victim to his sexual addictions and I'm so over it that it's nauseating. "It's the way we're wired.", "At least I'm not cheating on you!", "Well you're not putting out, I have to get it from somewhere!" I've heard it all. And they are all lies straight from the pit of hell.

Shame on every woman who thinks the man that they love is so weak in his sexual impulses that he can't refrain from opening up a website and wanking off to other women. Guess what? HE CAN. And guess what else? You don't have to be his porn. Don't think for one second that by you sending him nudies that he's not going to go back to his favorite porn sites and visit his favorite bodies. Now. I'm not saying that it's wrong for a wife to send her husband a little playful photo every now and then. Definitely not. In fact, I'm pretty sure my husband wishes I trusted the internet and my photo sending abilities enough to send him a little look-see once in a while, but if your purpose in sending vulnerable pictures of yourself to anyone is to keep them from looking at someone else, you've got it all mixed up.

My wonderful husband is very open about his pre-Jesus struggle with porn addiction. It didn't disappear when he chose to commit his life to Christ, but it no longer controlled his private time. He has never, and will never say that he's not tempted to go back to that addiction. A struggle is a struggle and he has gone to great (almost laughable) measures to ensure that he never walks back to that temptation. And if your husband is struggling with those things, Zach would be happy to chat and give him some suggestions on how to guard his mind against sexual sin. All that being said, Zach's commitment to keep himself pure empowered him to help keep me pure as well. He never crossed a line in our relationship. Well. I say he didn't, he might disagree, but our ideas on what is crossing the line vary a little bit. The point is, his love and respect for me always beat out (no pun intended) his personal desires. Because of that, I have never once doubted him, suspected him, or distrusted him. The fact that he was able to keep his pants zipped until our wedding day gives me full confidence that I married a man who will always love me and respect me, even when sexual temptation is staring him in the face.

But lest you think Zach is arrogant in his sexual purity, let me clarify. While he says he'll never cheat on me (and I believe him with all of my heart), he doesn't convince himself of that because he refuses to get lazy in his fortitude with keeping his temptations and former addictions at bay. It's an area of his life that he consistently submits to Christ and prays about and he is quite literally always taking measures to protect his mind and his heart from sin.

So, I say all that, not to brag (maybe a little bit), but to say that it is possible to find and marry a man who hasn't given himself over to the way they're "wired". You don't need to put out, to send photos, or to emit any kind of sexual energy to keep your man from looking or lusting after other women. I'll say it again : IT'S NOT YOUR JOB. That responsibility rests solely on the man you're with and if he's not man enough to control his urges, he's not man enough to be with you.

I'm writing this from the perspective (obviously) of a Christian woman married to a Christian man, but this is truth that is truth regardless of the reasoning behind it. I don't care if you're in a healthy sexual relationship with your boyfriend of however many years. I'm not going to judge you and I'm not going to tell you you should stop and get to the church to get forgiven of your fornication. I'm not going to hold you to the same standards that I hold myself because you don't believe what I do and that would just be pointless, right? I'm not interested in starting a debate about morals and ethics and values. I'm just talking to you, woman to woman, and begging you to please stop believing the lie that your boyfriend will look at you or he'll look at porn. It is definitely not a one or the other type of thing. Men are stronger than their sexual desires and anyone that tells you otherwise is either lying, misinformed, or is just trying to get a little glimpse at your goods.

Women should never use their bodies as a tool. Ever. Your body is amazing and does amazing things and I hope that you will never cheapen it by snapping a naked selfie and sending it over the extremely unreliable internet as a means to keep your significant other from wandering. Men can be better than that, I swear to you.

Here is my proof on our wedding day 6 years ago :

When Your Love Story Isn't Perfect

I write a lot about mine and Zach's relationship, and I probably always will. We have something special and we are well aware of how blessed we are to have found each other at such a young age. Zach is my best friend, my soul mate, my absolute everything. I'd be lost without him. For real. And I think that's a good thing. Our lives and our hearts are so wrapped up into each other that it would take a lot ... and I mean something catastrophic and extreme ... to rip us apart. Are you done gagging yet? Ok good. I'll carry on then.

Our relationship is great now, but it wasn't always. In fact, by all logic and reason, we should have never made it to the dating stage. Not through the dating stage ... to the dating stage. Zach broke up with me before we were even officially together. I was a psycho overly attached non girlfriend that called him 14 times in a row until he picked up. He was struggling with feeling like he was breaking a vow he made to God not to date for a year and I was struggling with getting over a toxic two year relationship that destroyed all my self worth. We were a mess, but for some reason, we fell in love and decided to make things official and then everything was better and we lived happily ever after.

Except that's a total lie because things just got messier and messier. About two weeks after we made things official, I took off to Paraguay and he took off to Ohio for our summer internships. That was our first awesome decision : to begin a relationship thousands of miles apart. Good job, guys. We almost broke up twice before I even got on the plane. Once I was in Paraguay and he was in Ohio, things got worse. He thought maybe God brought him to Ohio to meet his future wife. I thought maybe God brought me to Paraguay to test my patience with this boy because he was throwing some serious shade. Our relationship was 95% on instant messenger and that was all we had to keep in touch. Every now and then I'd walk to the store and use my calling card to talk to him, but that was rare and it almost always ended in a fight because, as previously stated, I was psycho. If he had to get off the phone before I felt like the appropriate love emotions had been communicated, I'd go ballistic. Poor guy...

That summer was crap. We almost broke up more times than I can count. We spent hours on instant messenger talking about all of our insecurities about our relationship, our fears, our failures, our ugly feelings and all the bull crap that people don't usually confront until they're engaged or married. We just took it right on. He told me he was doubting our relationship and I told him I was doubting him. We didn't work stuff out until the summer was over and we were face to face again. And even then, things were messy.

Our relationship was always messy. Always. And if it wasn't enough that we were struggling with finding our identities, our callings, trying to figure out if our relationship would ever work, we had a pretty painful departure from a youth group we were working with, someone on staff at our school decided to tell a few people that they thought Zach and I were fornicatin' and it pretty much just crushed me. Cause we weren't. Not even close. I was lucky to get a make out session once a semester cause Zach was just always so careful and respectful of the boundaries we'd set up. So for someone to say we were doing the hanky spanky when we'd never even wandered below the neck line was just ... well. It sucked.

As all the crap was happening, and daggers were being tossed, and rumors were flying, our fights got worse and my doubts grew heavy. And then ... like a break in the clouds ... I was sure. On our one year anniversary, Zach got down on one knee and asked, "Can I keep you?" And then I was unsure. And then I was sure. And then I was unsure. And then I was sure.

And then our wedding day came and when the doors opened and I saw him standing at the end of the aisle waiting for me, I was never more sure of anything in my life before or since. Until that day, our relationship was held together by strands, it seemed. We were young and immature and we were both a mess. But after we said our vows and signed a paper and finally got our hanky spanky on, our relationship was golden. And every day, our relationship is better than the day before.

Sometimes things still get a little messy. We've had our fair share of dark days and long nights. We've gone days without really talking to each other, and we've had times where even the idea of intimacy of any kind is just a joke. Things have been bad, but even when they were bad, we were good. Since the day I said "I Do", I've never doubted our relationship. Not for a second.

I think a lot of women (and maybe guys too) think that love has to be this Twilightesque perfect thing. And maybe that if your man isn't sweeping you off your feet every day, he doesn't really love you, or is cheating on you, or has a secret alternative wife and family somewhere in Canada. But love is messy, ya'll. It doesn't always start off pretty. If it does start off pretty, it's not going to stay pretty. If it stays pretty, somebody is hiding something. If somebody's hiding something, that doesn't mean the love story is over. When your love story isn't perfect, just try and remember that it's probably because people aren't perfect. But your story can still be incredible. Ours is.