Writes and Reads 2013


Here we are at the cusp of another new year, looking back at the 12 months we’re finishing as much as we look ahead to the 12 we’re about to begin. We’ve been given another year of life, and, with it, joy and sorrow, expected and unexpected, old and new. We’ve changed. That’s one of the things I’ve thought the most about as I’ve read through archives from 2013—how much my heart and head have been shaped and transformed through the things I’ve read and experienced this last year, how they’ll continue to change in what comes next. And in that spirit, here are some highlights of words we remember when we look back:


12 Favorite Posts We Wrote in 2013

  • Charleston + Savannah (january)

    “Staring at the awe-inspiring, complicated, often beyond-my-understanding work of landscapes and oceans and marshy grass has pushed my thoughts to even greater levels of talent, the kind that comes from an even greater Creator, and given me a renewed desire to keep growing and keep pushing to reflect Him in the way I pursue my little projects, from pictures to recipes to posts.”

  • Maple Ginger Tea Lattes (february)

    “We don’t do this because we’re sappy or silly or romantics—we do it because we’re not. We do it to purposefully seek connection, even when what motivates us is realizing how we’ve forgotten to seek it again. We do it because in those moments of facing each other, seeing eye to eye, asking questions and listening to answers, endeavoring to both know and be known, we remind ourselves of the gift right before us, the one we find too easy not to stop and see.”

  • The Value of Blogging (march) Reading the thoughts I was wrestling with in this one feels a little hard to me now, but I’m glad to have it to look back on to contrast with how I feel today.

    “In fact, there are few things in my life that haven’t been shaped, at least in some part, by blogging, from my job to my book club to the four-by-six-foot paper photo of me and Tim hanging in our bedroom (tutorial here!). Blogging changed my life. Blogging changes my life. And I’m so grateful for it, saying I’m grateful for it sounds cliché.”

  • Butter Lettuce Salad with Mango and Avocado (april)

    “Today is my birthday. Ordinarily you would be reading a post from Shanna, and so I apologize today, because I know it sucks when you don’t hear from her—I know because I enjoy reading her writing more than you do. But for some reason, every now and again on my birthday I get strange feelings to do something out of the ordinary. I think it stems back in part to the kind of birthdays I had with my mom.”

  • The House Salad with Cucumbers and Tomatoes (may)

    “I’d eaten at Tim’s approximately two times when I started to sense a theme. When that guy makes a salad, he makes it a particular way. Maybe everybody does this? Over the following years and months, I’ve eaten this same basic salad with him alongside grilled cheese sandwiches, at fancy dinners we’ve thrown for friends, during Sunday night barbecues, on lazy weeknights and in many spaces in between.”

  • Garlic Scape Pesto (june)

    “In order to take the trip, I was away from Tim for the longest time since we got married, and, kind of like Mary in Downton Abbey, I have to say that it’s amazing how another person can become so a part of you that you almost can’t remember what it was like to be without him. If I wrote every post on this site from here on out just telling you about what a kind husband I have, I still wouldn’t do him justice.”

  • Braised Roma Beans (july)

    “It seems to me that one of the kitchen’s best gifts to us, aside from being a place to connect and find nourishment, is that it is a place that reminds us of truths we forget. Like the book I finished, the kitchen vividly demonstrates that life is dynamic. Things are in flux. Like the green beans we braise on the stovetop, we are, all of us, ever transforming and moving and being made new.”

  • Einkorn Pizza Pastry (august)

    “But whatever your life looks like, whomever it’s with, whatever work or school or family needs take up most of your days, your empty hands are being filled with it all, like my hands are being filled with it all, and, the truth is, a lot of what fills them is outside our control.”

  • Is It Too Slight a Thing? / Apple Cream Cheese Streusel Pie (september)

    “Is it too slight a thing
    To have lived long in September,
    To have caught the golden light,
    To later have these days, ‘Remember?'”

  • Greenville Anniversary Trip, Part 1 (october)

    “Here is something I’ve learned from these first two years of marriage: Marriage reveals you. When you live your life in honesty alongside another human being, he knows all about your flaws.”

  • Stovetop Squash Pudding with Toasted Hazelnuts (november)

    “I love Thanksgiving because I need thanksgiving. I need to practice gratitude, and I need to do it every moment of the day. I need to see my full hands. I need to stop and offer thanks. I need thanksgiving because I need to taste joy—oh, how I need to taste joy!—in the midst of the days that don’t go my way and the days that do.”

  • Tricolor Christmas Cookies (december)

    “The Christmas season is a joyful season because it a story of Light coming into darkness, of Hope being birthed in a stable stall. Perhaps it’s no coincidence it falls a few days after Winter Solstice, the day when light starts lengthening each day, when months of things growing darker and darker finally breaks through to light.”

12 Favorite Posts We Read in 2013

  • We’re the Same, He’s the Same / Joanna Linberg (january)

    “There’s no difference in humanity in Jesus’ time and humanity now. We’re still a planet full of broken people. We still get discouraged. Bad things still happen to us. But Jesus doesn’t ignore that. He sees it. Suffering means something to Him.”

  • Why I Blog / Natalie Freeman (february)

    “i am not sure where this little blog will take me, but i do know that the time i spend writing here is valuable. it allows me to record our lives in such precious detail. this space also reminds me to seek beauty in even the simplest of moments. it has also taught me to find joy & share it with you.”

  • To Feed and Be Fed / Sara Forte, Sprouted Kitchen (march)

    “I can’t exactly explain how in the hustle of feeding 17 people, I felt alive. Like I was supposed to be doing this. Nourishing people. It took time and money. It always does. It is always worth it.”

  • Goodbye Mom, Edith Schaeffer 1914-2003 RIP / Frank Schaeffer (almost april)

    “Mom was a wonderful paradox: an evangelical conservative fundamentalist who treated people as if she was an all-forgiving progressive liberal of the most tolerant variety.”

  • The Psalms / Kyle Steed (may)

    “That even in the midst of all our technological advances, we are still only human. “

  • How Not to Be Alone / Jonathan Safran Foer, New York Times (june)

    “THE problem with accepting — with preferring — diminished substitutes is that over time, we, too, become diminished substitutes. People who become used to saying little become used to feeling little.”

  • Revision of the List / Erica Crotts (july)

    “There is rest in knowing I am not the sum of my accomplishments on a list.”

  • Cuddle Alarm / Kathryn Davé (august)

    “When I married Jivan almost four months ago, I didn’t expect all sunshine and roses. But neither did I expect hospital stays and funerals just a few weeks in. Jivan’s lung collapse was complicated. We were separated by first by hospital bed, and then by great physical pain, for weeks. It is only now, ten weeks after the first collapse, that I can nestle up to him to again. It is only now that he can hold me again. And it is only now that I realize what a great, gasping gift it is to be loved and to be held by this man.”

  • Daily Bread / Unending Mercies (september)

    “Inside the mailbox were the two paychecks we’d been waiting for. I pulled them out, turned around, and had to stop behind the brick pillar to pray. Oh, Abba, today you have given the double portion.”

  • Me, the Overly Sensitive Child (october)

    “There were entire books written on the subject of the overly sensitive child. What the term meant was that you noticed how unhappy or crazy your parents were. Also, you worried about global starvation, animals at the pound who didn’t get adopted, and smog. What a nut. You looked into things too deeply, and you noticed things that not many others could see, and this exasperated your parents and teachers.”

  • Giving Thanks with My Half Heart / Micha Boyett (november)

    “It’s Thanksgiving. And I can’t help but consider how the giving of thanks is, in reality, the giving of ourselves. Each weather fair, each calm, each wild, this ancient Celtic prayer says. In every situation, we are allowed to give from what we have been given.”

  • Importance, Real or Perceived / Ray Ortlund (december)

    “How do I need to become more honest and less impressive, so that the only reason people pay attention to me is the power of Christ resting upon me?”


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