Life is mystifying sometimes. I wish it were a little more linear, where one step plus one step equals two steps, where you keep marching along toward your destination, getting a little wiser and braver and better along the way. But actually it's more like two steps forward and five steps back, and then a little detour into the woods where you get lost and eventually wander back to a completely different spot from where you started. And though you may get a little wiser and braver – and hopefully better – along the way, it's mixed in with selfishness and fear and plenty of "what in the world am I doing?!" moments. No, life's not linear at all. And I suppose the quicker we recognize that we're not actually in control, the more we can enjoy the journey.

Sorry for my lack of posts the past few days. I'm processing a lot right now - we unexpectedly spent the day in the ER yesterday, as Brandon had a scary reaction to one of his Lyme medications. The doctors thought at first it might be a stroke, but ultimately aren't sure what caused it. He's back home now, and feeling OK for the moment, but after 10 hours of tests (and waiting on the results), it was a reminder of how quickly things can change. Every day is a precious gift, and I don't want to stay so busy or stressed with my work that I forget to cherish the moments with the people I love most (especially him!). Nothing like a health scare to put things into quick perspective.


It's also been sobering this week hearing the news of Robin Williams' passing, and of the horrific humanitarian crisis in Iraq. There's so much of pain in this world, and sometimes it feels so overwhelming I don't know what to do with it. It makes me feel frivolous posting about peach salads and rooftop rose and summertime fun when I know that so many people are suffering, whether internally or externally. I know this a lot of heavy stuff to dump into one blog post, but the brokenness in our world is real. It can't be ignored, and in fact, I think it's impossible to fully appreciate life's beauty if you don't acknowledge the brokenness first.

But there is hope. I don't have all the answers to the suffering, but I know we can't stay in the pain. We have to keep moving. We have to keep loving those around us. We have to savor every last drop of the good moments, and know that the heartache – when it comes – won't last forever. We have to stay thankful. And when we can help, we should. Organizations like Samaritan's Purse are providing food and shelter and medical care to displaced families in northern Iraq as we speak, and are funded through donations. And we can pray.

Today is a gift. If you happen to live in a place with plentiful running water and great medical care and freedom to worship however you choose and abundant food and housing, you are far better off than most of the world. Rejoice and be thankful in all you've been given! It's so easy to get caught up in the things we don't like about our lives (and ourselves), but when we actually take a moment to look around, we can see that there's still plenty of beauty to be found – or created – even amidst the brokenness.


On a lighter note: I have another post up on Tasting Table, this one about how to throw a summer dinner party without turning on the oven. And...just because I really love you all, here's a super-simple recipe for peach burrata tomato salad, while the peaches are still around. Taking time to celebrate the small things – like peach season or the fact that it's Wednesday – is one of the best ways to keep hope alive.

(Food photos by Brandon Carl; rooftop photo by Mike Gilger)

xo, Anna