Today, I wanted to announce that beginning tomorrow, I'm partaking in a new series in collaboration with my friend Abigail. We attended Purdue University together, worked at a coffee shop together, and caught up over coffee amidst our busy schedules. We shared (and continue to share) common interests in food, homemaking, etc. Since then, we've both graduated, gotten married, and moved to new cities, and started our own blogs. A few weeks ago, Abigail approached me with the idea of doing an "Articles Club," inspired by Joanna Goodard's version here. The idea is that each Monday, Abigail and I take turns finding articles that are a) informative and on the topic of either food and/or homemaking, and b) a short, manageable length that can be read over a lunch hour. We'll also post some discussion-based questions with each article, since we'd love for this to be a source of conversation. We'll provide more details tomorrow, and Abigail is up first, so I'll post a link to her article and discussion.

Read more of her thoughtful, well-written posts many of which regard the community of food and agriculture, and the key role of food in all our lives, look here. Her posts challenge me view the food industry from all angles and really be intentional about what food I choose to buy and where I buy it. I hope to learn and become more informed through this series, and we'd love to have you join us in that. For the sake of you getting to know Abigail a bit better, she completed a little Q & A for me!

How were your interests in food and homemaking developed? Was there a distinct moment "aha" moment in your life or did these interests grow over time?

My passion for food and home were cultivated over many, many years. I was homeschooled K-12, so I had a chance to watch the details of what goes into creating a beautiful, loving, orderly home. I learned it takes hard work and thoughtfulness, but the fruit of the labor is so sweet. A home can offer a family, a community, a neighborhood a haven of peace (even when the family is less than perfect).

In terms of food, I always enjoyed experimenting in the kitchen since I was a kid; bless my mom for her patience! My mom, my aunts and my grandmothers are amazing cooks so I learned a lot about the kitchen and creating through observing and assisting. Everything clicked in college when I lived on my own and started cooking for myself. Food became a useful exercise in creativity that allowed me to serve others and express who I am.

What inspires you to keep a written blog?

Everyone has a story, and stories change us. My story is neither great or compelling. But the stories that have changed my heart and mind are those of everyday people living faithfully for the good of their fellow man and the glory of God. At the heart of my blogging is simply telling stories- mine and others. It’s not flashy. My blog -my writing of stories- is simply an instrument in the Redeemer’s hands and something I love to do.

Sum up your current state of life in one sentence.

Adjusting to a new city, a new job, new roles, a new church and a new community is ugly-beautiful work.

How's living in a new city? What are the joys and challenges?

A friend and I would meet for coffee our senior year of college and bemoan leaving our beloved campus and our favorite little places. She would remind me: “Abby, there are other coffee shops in other cities.” She was right. There are little treasures in other cities to discover and savor. It just takes time and effort to find those gems. The discovery process is one beautiful joy of living in a new city.

In this moving process, I’ve encountered challenges too. C.S. Lewis said:

Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.

I moved to Cincinnati with a heart and mind ready to love my new city- the Christian community, neighborhoods, food culture, unique geography, etc. In some ways, Cincy and I have had a rocky start. But through acting as though I love my city, I’m re-learning that great secret of how to love well and faithfully.

Now for fun, what's your go-to breakfast(s)? Why?

Peanut butter toast sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar is my go-to breakfast. I also love oatmeal, cold in the summer’s heat and baked or cooked in the colder months. When I feel like a treat, I scramble eggs with goat cheese and green onions (this also doubles as dinner sometimes :). I'm an avid tea drinker and my husband enjoys strong coffee.

We're looking forward to the first article and discussion, check back on Abigail's blog tomorrow!