Living by Faith (Blog Series): Writer Christina of The Whole Cook

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Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Christina’s Instagram feed overflows with yummy recipes, adorable kiddos, a handsome hubby, and oh those totally relatable Mama posts.  She’s with us in the trenches of toys, diapers and sippy cups. But she is also a woman of deep faith and conviction. I love how Christina encourages us to delve deeper into the Bible and develop an authentic relationship with Christ in her interview. Grab your chai or tea and enjoy!

Christina Shoemaker Writer | Blogger of The Whole Cook blog

Everyone of us must discover faith for ourselves. When did it move from religion to relationship for you? 

I was raised in the church so I’ve always had what I thought was faith in God. I called myself a Christian. I now know that being a participant in church doesn’t make you a Christian. I didn’t know God. Not really. I knew and loved the idea of God. It wasn’t until adulthood though that I truly began to have a relationship with our Lord.

It happened when I began to really study His Word rather than relying simply on the messages a pastor or author might convey. It was through study that I realized I had never really known God or His big beautiful plan. It took falling into the pages of the Bible to fall in love with Him. I devote a lot of my blog to sharing that experience and trying to teach others how to study the Bible.

Before sharing your journey of faith with readers, how do you prepare – prayer, meditation, worship music, etc.? How have these practices grown you in both your walk with God and the craft of writing?

I pray before I start writing out Bible Studies for the blog. We are responsible for what we teach and how we represent Him so I pray for wisdom. I pray for the right words. I pray that He uses me however He chooses to use me. I pray that I fulfill whatever part He’d have me play in His plan.

How do you hear God speaking to you in daily life? 

I believe that God gave us His teachings in the Bible and that it’s through the Bible that we can best hear Him. Often I find myself struggling with a situation or question in my daily life. I pray about it and then I seek the answer in the Bible. I find it without fail. Sometimes it surprises me but I know that this isn’t coincidence. He gives us everything we need in His Word if we’ll only seek Him there.

What advice do you have for readers who want to deepen their relationship with God but feel overwhelmed or intimidated by it all? 

I’d say that to have a true relationship with God you have to be an active participant in that relationship. You can’t just sit in a church pew and listen to someone else describe their own impression of Him. You can’t just make requests of God while you’re in bed at night. You have to listen to Him. You have to pursue Him. You have to live your life in His will.  So where can we find his words and His will? How can we pursue Him? The answer is simple. Study the Bible. He tells us repeatedly that we are to know His Word. His answers are there just waiting for us. Don’t be intimidated by the size of the book or the sometimes confusing language. Set aside time everyday. Start at the beginning.

Work through it chapter by chapter and verse by verse. Use The Companion Bible and The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance so that you know you’re getting the best translation possible. Ask God to grant you understanding and just take it one step at a time.

If you’re struggling with a stale prayer life I bet you’ll see this dramatically change the more you spend time in His Word. Suddenly you’ll find yourself in regular conversation with our Lord.

You’ll start to piece together what’s happening in this world today. You’ll feel less fear and more joy even the midst of the things around us because you’ll know that He is in charge. He holds His people in the palm of His hand. What more could we want?

 

Connect with Christina on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram 

 

Talking Desserts & Creativity with Lick Your Lips Cakes Founder, Natacha

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Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Natacha Rodriguez-Pierre, founder of Lick Your Lips Cakes

I won a yummy dessert from Lick Your Lips Cakes in an Instagram giveaway, and kept licking my lips! I have a real sweet tooth, y’all. I couldn’t wait to chat with Natacha Rodriguez-Pierre, the woman behind all this yummy goodness. Natacha started her home-based biz four years ago in Brooklyn, NY, and she  specializes in creating custom flavors and mastering traditional flavors. Lick Your Lips Cakes ships all over the United States, Europe, and Canada. Grab a cup of tea and a comfy chair, and read about this dynamic woman, who says her desserts are a pleasure so guilty, you’ll eat them in the dark. 🙂

Women of color are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the country. What made you take the leap? And what is the most valuable lesson you have learned so far?  

Why NOT take the leap? There are too many ways to succeed in this world to limit yourself. Even if I were to walk away from what I do now, I know I tried my best. This is some hard shit. Lol! I still have a 9-5, because I enjoy what I do! The greatest thing is I don’t have to choose between one or the other.

Anyone coming into entrepreneurship thinking that it’s going to be like Shark Tank, and you’ll just be a hit, needs to reevaluate their whole structure. I auditioned for Shark Tank, and did an amazing job! They never called me back, but it’s their loss. I still keep it moving. One experience won’t stop me. I have learned that if you really want it, you’ll find a way.

Cheesecake in a jar – brilliant! Why did you choose to focus on that particular dessert and present it in that way? Is baking a tradition in your family? 

Hahaha…. funny story. I don’t have a sweet tooth. I do love to cook, and I’ve been in the kitchen since I was five. Baking is no different than cooking to me. As for the jar, that was a happy accident. I had too much batter, and had jars at home from when I was making peach berry jam. I just made them that way.

Through trial and LOTS of error, I figured out how to get it just right. My Mom is all things wonderful in this world and her hands are blessed in cooking, but I can honestly say, and she’ll back up, that I taught her how to bake. Cheesecake is one of those unicorn desserts, you know? Anyone can make it, but only a select few can get it “just right”, so it’s great that so many people enjoy my desserts. Baking is my happy place! I love to make people happy, and my hands help me to do that every day!

You have so many delicious flavors for folks to choose from on your site. What inspires you to experiment with some of these unique blends?

Oh any and everything. I can be grocery shopping, out with family, or just watching TV, and I’ll see something and say: “I’m gonna cheesecake that.” Not that long ago I was inspired by glitter make up! Yup, sounds funny, but true. Glitter makeup is so pretty if done correctly so I decided to do it! It came out wonderful.

I am always looking for new inspiration, and ways to make people excited about the cheesecake. I created cotton candy cheesecake (see below) another one that sounds weird, but kids love cotton candy, and adults love to reminisce. People loved it!

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some that just didn’t make the cut, and some that I thought would be gross that people LOVE… I mean jalapeño maple bacon? That is a winner,  but you [just] never know. Lol!

What is ahead for Lick Your Lips Cakes? 

Today? Sleep. Luckily I have a very supportive family. Right now I am currently booking dates for events. I cater events – big or small. I add special touches to each event – from custom flavors to custom labels, you name it!

Also, most holidays we have special offers for our customers. Mother’s Day is coming up and we have a great offer (see below). This year I am expanding with some amazing things up my sleeve. I can’t give it all away. Lol!  Stay tuned:)

How can folks stay in touch with you? Where can we find you on social media? 

I’m on Instagram @lickyourlipscakes, Facebook at Lick Your Lips Cakes and Twitter @cheesecake_porn. I’m always around and ready to give out some sugar! Lol!

Living by Faith (Blog Series): Talking with Writer Kami Lingren 

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Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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I met Kami on Instagram, and instantly connected to the beauty of her words; we have become fast friends. The grace she flows in as she heals from a chronic illness is incredibly inspiring. Her social media feeds and blog are daily reminders to walk and live in gratitude for the beauty around us. She has such a heart for people, and cultivating community. I am sure you will enjoy the courageous honesty and depth she shares with us about her faith journey.

Kami Lingren, Writer and Blogger

Everyone of us must discover faith for ourselves. When did it move from religion to relationship for you?

As a child I always believed that God was my friend. I would talk to him all the time, about the silly things and about my dreams. I thought of him as kind and loving, but yet my ever-conservative Christian church’s theology would sometimes clash with this deeply spiritual connection I felt to him.

As a born planner, I was drawn to structure. So growing up in an environment littered with rules and expectations I found myself following along. First to respect the rules, and second because I thought that must be how you get closer to God. But the harder I tried to stay within the lines while also feeling pulled to be a compassionate and loving human, the more I struggled with anxiety over my faith. I felt I would never fully be “enough”.

Throughout these past few years of facing severe health challenges God’s felt more distant. The harder I tried to find him in the ways I had before, the further he would feel. So since my old ways of experiencing God and faith was causing more grief, shame and frustration than healing and comfort, I began giving myself space to wrestle. I started asking a lot of really hard, honest questions.

And in the midst of living the hell-on-earth experience it’s been as I’ve fought for healing – and very literally, my life – I’ve longed for something more. Something deeper. Something less by-the-book and more authentically connected to who I believe God is. And how I want to live in reflection of that.

For me, my relationship with God looks different than it ever has. And I’m okay with that. I’m still wrestling. Wrestling with what I believe about God and how this new faith journey will unfold for me. 

But what keeps me pressing onward is this realm of peace I’ve encountered in the unknown. Something that I never fully had in “I’ve figured this out” land. For now my heart holds on to an image of God and I hand-in-hand, him gently listening while together we move forward. And that is a journey – and relationship – I can comfortably embrace.

Photo Credit: Daiga Ellaby

Before sharing your journey of faith with readers, how do you prepare – prayer, meditation, worship music, etc.? How have these practices grown you in both your walk with God and the craft of writing?

I think one of the most effective ways I fill up before sharing my journey with readers is taking in nature. Whether that’s gazing at the hills while taking my dog out for a break or going for a drive with my husband, I try to soak in the moment. I take in the colors, the hills, the horizon and I try to quiet my mind.

Meditation is newer for me, but I’ve been trying to do it once daily. I love it so much! It’s incredibly soul-healing and calming. I now believe it’s something our bodies desperately need – and crave – if we’re really paying attention. It’s not easy to quiet the mind or be still when you’ve adopted an idea that being productive means you have to be active. (Ahem, hand raised.)

Photo Credit: Arkady Lifshits

My health challenges have stretched me a lot in this idea of resting versus resting well. So these practices encourage me to carve out time for restorative rest. The kind that leads to deeper healing, inspiration, and even connection with God.

How do you hear God speaking to you in daily life?

With how my spiritual journey has changed, I am recognizing God more – and more deeply – in the small things. In the beauty of a neighbor’s flowers. The playfulness of my dog. I feel his love in the embrace of my husband on a really hard health day. I hear him speaking to me in the kindness of a friend. I experience his goodness through words of truth or encouragement or the creativity of someone else.

And I see his words and character in action in advocacy for justice, attitudes of inclusion, hearts that embrace others that may be different than them. For me it’s become a practice of mine to look for him outside of the ordinary. In recognizing he is present in even what’s deemed ‘the mundane’ I’m discovering that he can be found/heard beyond our preconceived boundaries.

What advice do you have for readers who want to deepen their relationship with God but feel overwhelmed or intimidated by it all?

If I could, I’d love to sit down with you in some cozy chairs together at a coffee bar. We’d sip our drinks and I’d gently share these words with you: embrace grace in your journey, friend. In your seeking, give yourself space to be human. In your questioning, allow yourself to sit with any unknowns you encounter.

And for the moments you ever feel overwhelmed with doubt or frustration? Girl, give yourself permission to sit in the uncomfortable and recognize it’s all part of the process…of just about everything!

Our relationship with God isn’t going to look the same for any one of us and there is comfort in accepting the reality that that’s okay.

Keep up with Kami:

Blog: http://www.livinggraceblog.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/kamilingren19

Twitter: http://twitter.com/livinggraceblog

Instagram: http://instagram.com/kamichristina