influence conferenceI spent the weekend at the Influence Conference in Indianapolis. (If you aren’t a member, I highly recommend it! $10 a month is totally worth it in my opinion!) It was a huge blessing to be able to go and connect with other women who are striving to serve Christ and share their influence right where they are! I met amazing bloggers, podcasters, artists, and business owners, and that can be intimidating.

If I’m not careful, I quickly fall into the comparison trap, feeling like I don’t measure up to them and wondering what I have to offer. BUT, the great thing about the conference was being reminded that it doesn’t matter how big our influence, how many blog readers, instagram followers, or podcast listeners we have. Each of us has influence right where we are. Our true purpose and identity are found in Christ and his immeasurable love for us, not in how many people “like” or “follow” us..

I’ll be honest. I am insecure about my influence, both online and in real life. While I long to have influence and be a light and encouragement to others, I often second guess myself by comparing my reach or my worth or my value to others. When I do this, I let Satan rob me of my worth, both for myself and the impact I can have to others.

I went to a session by Ruth Simons of about preaching to yourself. (If you haven’t checked out her blog or her amazing artwork, stop what you’re doing and take a look!) She reminded us how powerful our thoughts are and how important it is to fill your mind with truth.

I have to choose to focus on truth.

If that means unfollowing people on instagram who make me feel bad about myself, not reading blogs about cooking wonderful meals and planning educational games for my toddler, that’s what I need to do. Hear me when I say that there is nothing wrong with following people on instagram and being encouraged or reading a blog for inspiration. But when it leads to comparison and making me feel in adequate, I have the power to choose not to fill my mind with it.

Now that I’m home, the real challenge begins. It’s easy to go to a conference and get fired up to change and be the best you can be. But now I’m back in my normal routine, where I probably spend too much time looking at my phone and not enough time engaging in the moment with my husband and boys.

Ruth said that we need to identify the enemy, so we can fight back. I know how easily I become distracted whether on my phone or with all the things that need to be done at home each day. As anyone who is home with young kids knows, the days are a equal parts crazy busy and mind-numbingly boring.

Even if I don’t have as much time to write and create as I would like, I can meditate on scripture while changing diapers, playing with trucks, or making lunch. I know how powerful words are and I want to commit to preaching to myself. For me that starts with memorizing scripture. There are so many tools that make this easy, from lockscreens for my phone and pretty prints to hang on my walls.

These things are great, and I’ve done them, but I think what is going to make the difference is accountability. So, I’m going to ask a friend to kindly ask me each week, what verse I’m memorizing. The people pleaser in me would hate to say I haven’t done it, but I also know, I will need a gentle reminder to make this a priority.

This week, I’m going to memorize 2 Corinthians 10:4-5. Do you want to join me?


Words are so powerful! If you don’t speak truth to yourself, who will?

new mom meal taco boxWhen Adam and I were first married it seemed like we went to a wedding every month. Now instead of weddings to celebrate, it seems like everyone is having babies!

One of my favorite things to do when a friend has a baby is to bring them a meal. I know how hard it is to cook during the first few weeks with a new baby, and I also know how starving you are–especially if you’re nursing. I thought I’d share some of my favorite recipes to take new families. (Usually I try to double whatever I make so we can eat the same thing!)

Before bringing a meal, make sure to ask if there is anything that the new mom is cutting out of her diet. If the mom is nursing, she may be cutting or limiting dairy and in my experience beans and broccoli were two things that made the baby gassy.

You can’t go wrong with a pan of enchiladas (either chicken or beef), a bag of chips, and some salsa. The best part is, they can throw it in the freezer if they want and eat it later.

Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup (Iowa Girl Eats)
This is a staple in our house, especially in the winter. You can throw it together in 5 minutes (I don’t even thaw out the chicken breasts first) and it’s ready to eat in 6-8 hours. If you have an extra crockpot (or don’t need yours for a few days) just take the whole crockpot to your friend’s house and it’s ready for them to eat. Again, just add chips and salsa and you’re good to go!

Pulled Pork
3-4 lb pork shoulder or pork loin
1 bottle liquid smoke
2 cups apple cider
1/8 cup kosher salt (or rock salt)

Combine everything in the crockpot for 6-8 hours on low. Shred the meat before eating and serve on rolls with your favorite BBQ sauce.

Chicken Pasta Salad
This is one of my favorite things to make in the summer. I usually start with a box of Italian pasta salad mix and add chicken, tomatoes, green peppers, and cheese. It’s easy to customize and it’s great served cold.

no bake energy bitesNo-Bake Energy Bites
I realized the other day that I have either been pregnant or breastfeeding for the last 3+ years. I think I’ve had some form of these energy bites (or as Adam calls them “peanut butter balls”) in the refrigerator for most of that time. They are awesome for breast-feeding mama’s because they are full of flax seed and oatmeal and they are easy to eat when you don’t have time.

What are your favorite meals to make for friends with new babies?

top image: Espresso & Cream

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