Focus. (Five Minute Friday)

There’s a funny scene in a famous kids’ movie where one of the lead characters is easily distracted.  To this day in my house (and maybe yours?), when someone exclaims, “SQUIRREL!” we know someone’s distracted and off-topic.  Admittedly, that person’s often me.


Why is it that we’re so easily put off track from the things that really matter in life?  Why do we find ourselves so quickly wandering in our thoughts and plans to things that don’t need to be our first point of attention?




As a photographer, I’m obsessed with my images being what we call tack-sharp.  In a never-ending quest for this goal, I’m always checking my gear, checking my shots, and generally being irritable when I have to use a photo that’s less-than-in-focus.  In the same way, I want to have the eyes of my heart and mind laser-focused on the things that are most important.  Spending time studying the character and person of my God,  loving on my husband and children, and connecting genuinely with the people he places in my life; these are the things I want to consume me.  And still I find myself surfing Instagram or Facebook to see who-that-I-may-not-even-know is baking today or what color that-friend-I’ve-never-met is painting her living room.  There’s a time for these mental adventures, but I want them to be with purpose.


So what’s the key?  How do I bring my life into tack-sharp-focus?  I think it’s in putting first-things-first, even if they’re the little boring things.  Even if they’re the less pleasant things like getting a glass of water in the morning before I eat, or helping someone with math before I edit recipe photos.  And especially when they’re the most wonderful things, like my necessary snuggle with my people and my chat time with my Papa before the day begins; I want to put one foot ahead of the next, and focus on what lasts forever.


{On Fridays I try to keep up with a wonderful group of writers who challenge themselves to free-write for five minutes on a shared topic.  Click to Kate’s page Five Minute Friday to see what others are saying!}


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Grain-Free Maple Bacon Breakfast Cookies

I guess I’m all about that breakfast cookie. I like to eat weird things like soup and steak and pizza for breakfast, so why not dessert? (Plus, sometimes it’s cool to give my kids cookies for breakfast.)  When it’s full of grain-free, naturally sweetened ingredients, I think that’s allowed.  So today I’m sharing these grain free breakfast cookies (also naturally sweetened and Paleo friendly).




This one’s a fan.




We tested these on a crowd of unsuspecting mamas and kiddos and they were a hit.  The arrowroot keeps them light and almost biscuit-like, and the sweet-salty combination is perfect.  (He’s such a ham…)




Plus, cookies are super-portable, so they’re easy to grab on the run when we’ve got a busy day ahead. With fruit and maybe an egg cup, you’re good to go.  Print and bake these, k?



Grain-Free Maple Bacon Breakfast Cookies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Grain-free, naturally sweetened breakfast cookies made with bacon and cheddar.
Recipe type: Paleo Breakfast
Serves: 24 cookies
  • ½ package (about 6 slices) cooked bacon, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons reserved bacon fat or coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup cashew flour
  • 1¼ cup tapioca flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two cookie sheets with parchment.
  2. Beat together eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla.
  3. Add flours, soda, and salt and beat to combine.
  4. Stir in chopped bacon and cheddar cheese (omit if you do not eat dairy).
  5. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto parchment lined cookie sheets.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until firm and just starting to get golden.


Do you have a favorite on-the-go breakfast recipe?  Or a way to spoil your kiddos as the day begins?


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joy is our strength – faith and fitness

As part of a calling I sensed this year to step into a brave (oh, this girl has been terrified!) new adventure in encouraging women, I’ve been preparing to lead a group called GraceFit.  It’s a local gathering of women to spend an hour dwelling on God’s truth and working our bodies to grow and stretch into that truth – an exploring together of faith and fitness.


This month, we’re doing a Facebook challenge (feel free to click over and join in!) to set our hearts and minds and bodies to learning that truth and living it out in  JOY!  I realized that what I’m digging into in scripture is something I wanted to share here, too, so here you go.  :)


As I have been studying some of the things God has to say about us as created human beings, one of the things that jumped out at me was a tiny little reference in Nehemiah that has HUGE implications. In chapter 8 of Nehemiah, he and God’s people have just finished rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem after it had long lain in disrepair, and God’s people had been scattered from each other, losing courage, strength, and identity. After receiving permission to rebuild that wall and becoming the leader who would draw the scattered Israelites back together for the purpose of remembering their identity in God and glorifying Him, Nehemiah celebrates with the people that their recent hard job is completed – they’ve rebuilt the wall! He tells them to go and party – to “enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared,” for “This day is sacred to the Lord your God.” Then He tells them this little tidbit: “Do not grieve, for the JOY OF THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH!”




If His joy is our strength, that also must mean without His joy we’re pretty weak. This isn’t to say we have to muster up some kind of mystical “feel good” mentality.  It’s in studying, in knowing, in obeying, in honoring who He is that we find our identity.  It’s in obeying what He asks of us (which, by the way, God empowers us to do with His own strength), that we find freedom and joy.  In this case, God’s people had been through an extended time of brokenness, largely due to their own disobedience. They worked long and hard, and they worked as a team.  They worked in spite of great opposition, and at great personal risk.  But together, they rebuilt the wall around their city, protecting it from invasion and creating a haven for future generations.  And when the hard work was done (for the time being), it was time to rejoice!  In that rejoicing, they recognized the gifts God had given them, and they found strength for the next season of the journey.


Have you noticed that your “walls” need rebuilding?  Is there an area of your life that needs some attention?  For me, it’s the body-part – the “me” that needs to “strengthen my feeble arms” and get healthy and strong.  Want to seek JOY with me in January?  Share here and let’s encourage each other!


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