What We’re Really Hungry For :: by Emily T. Wierenga

Today I’m welcoming author Emily T. Weirenga to share from her new book, Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look. I met Emily for the first time last year and the first word that came to mind was gentle. Hers is a gentle, kind soul. Read her words and see what I mean.

atlas girl

We were newlyweds.

I was anorexic.

Trent came home one day to find me crying on the couch about the living room—about how off-kilter and ugly it looked with our second-hand furniture—and I hadn’t eaten since the night before.

He put his arms around me. “Let me make you supper,” he said—this farm-boy I’d met in Bible School, who drove a car he called The Beast and volunteered at kids club.

I nodded, kissed him. Grabbed a bag of marshmallows and headed into the office to paint at my easel.

Half an hour later Trent called me for supper. He had made burgers, corn on the cob, and “fancy” salad (which is what he calls salad with grated carrots, cheese, onions, bacon and croutons).

I emerged from the office, my mouth white, the marshmallow bag empty. I sat down at the table, looked at the plate full of food, and said, “I’m not hungry.”

I don’t know why he didn’t leave me then and there.

I’d been so hungry I’d stuffed myself with marshmallows, instead of waiting half an hour for food that would sustain me. All I could hear was the scratch of Trent’s fork on his plate as he ate.

It was the beginning of a three-year relapse into anorexia which would nearly wreck our marriage, and it wasn’t until we left our jobs and moved to Korea that I would begin to eat three meals a day, again.

Because sometimes it takes moving to another country to see what you have right in front of you.

I’m better now. I’m eating now—I never skip a meal, and I have two little boys whom doctors said I’d never be able to have, because of the damage anorexia did on my body.

And I’m wondering how many of us settle for the marshmallows when what we’re really hungry for is food that will last?

How many of us, sisters, sit down with a pint of ice cream after a stressful day, or binge on Oreos after the kids go to bed? How many of us try diet after diet but end up filling on junk because we’re just so hungry?

I think of Jesus at the well, with the Samaritan woman. How he asked her for water—but then offered her Living Water in return. He offers us Living Bread—his body.

Because this is what we’re hungry for, isn’t it?

A love so deep and long and wide and high it fills every crevice of our souls; a kind of love that would die for us, a kind that sings over us, a kind that walks through fire with us?

We are born longing for the kind of affection only a divine being can offer. We are born aching for the kind of fullness which comes from an everlasting love.

But it’s not a bag of marshmallows. It’s not fast fame or fleeting praise or accolades.

No, it’s a slow cooked meal and we need to wait, to be patient, as this is the kind of love prepared by a gentle pair of hands which feeds our soul.

Trent still makes me fancy salads. He still makes burgers and corn on the cob and I no longer eat marshmallows. Because I’ve tasted real food and there’s no turning back.

There’s no turning back from love.

All proceeds from Atlas Girl will go towards Emily’s non-profit, The Lulu Tree. The Lulu Tree is dedicated to preventing tomorrow’s orphans by equipping today’s mothers. It is a grassroots organization bringing healing and hope to women and children in the slums of Uganda through the arts, community, and the gospel.

emily wierengaEmily T. Wierenga is an award-winning journalist, blogger, commissioned artist and columnist, as well as the author of five books including the memoir, Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look.

She lives in Alberta, Canada with her husband and two sons. For more info, please visit www.emilywierenga.com.


Let’s Share What We’ve Learned This Summer

It’s the end of July and that means it’s time to share what we’ve learned! Remember, this is a place to share all kinds of learning – both the silly and the not so much. So make your own lists and share with us below for my favorite link up ever.

what we learned this summer

Here are 10 things I learned this summer in no particular order:

1. My kids don’t need me to make their plate anymore. When we have a buffet style dinner or when we go to someone else’s house, they can serve themselves and don’t need my help. I think this happened months ago, but I didn’t realize it until this summer.

2. Radio facts: Broadcast call signs in the United States begin with either “K” or “W” (this I knew). Usually “K” is for those west of the Mississippi River and “W” is for stations east of it (this I did not know).

3. Speaking of radio, my dad was nominated for a CMA. It was back in 2002 when he still worked in country radio. He and his morning team were nominees for Broadcast Personality of the Year in the Large Market category. They didn’t win, but it’s an honor just to be nominated, right? (Here’s the proof - his on-air name was Gary Dixon with the KASE morning zoo in Austin). I think I knew this at the time, but forgot until this summer. So it was kind of a learning again.

4. Speaking of radio (again), John and I did our first podcast together for Hope*ologie during the month of July (still available through the end of the day tomorrow for subscribers) and I learned I enjoy experimenting in that format with him. Maybe we’ll have more of that to come in the future.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

5. I don’t like live versions of albums. I reflexively want to shout a collective Shhhhhh to all those clapping screaming annoying people. (realized this once and for all while listening to Guster: Live with the Redacted Symphony).

6. Until July 6, 2014, I thought Kim and Kanye’s baby North West was a boy. She is not.

7. Not having cable has perks. We were forced to watch the World Cup with other people at their house. And this was much more fun than watching it without them.

8. I found a bracelet that doesn’t make me crazy! I admire all the bracelets but I’m like a fussy baby with a bonnet – I will never keep them on. But then I found this one and wear it always. Does this even count as a bracelet?


9. I could power my house with the energy I get from kittens. My sister got three kittens this summer and I forgot until I held one how much I love kitties!

kitten10. Just because you take a break from something doesn’t mean you’re resting. Sometimes you have to work for that. For me, it took a few weeks of a break to finally move into resting. My soul needs an even longer runway than I realized. When I decided to take some time off from writing on the blog, I thought maybe it would be a few weeks. That stretched into seven. And I needed every one of them.

Once I began to move around in this new rhythm, I started to not only read books but finish them, to sit on the front porch at night, to linger on the cul-de-sac bench.

I’ve had to fight the urge to come back and be even more productive. I simply want to come back more fully myself.

For Your Weekend

for your weekend

May I be quiet long enough to stop caring what my own voice sounds like. May I have courage enough to be small, to be still, to wait. May I be gracious enough to forget myself and see others instead. May I be open enough to let go. Enjoy your weekend, friends. Hello!! After nearly seven weeks of silence here on the blog, I'm happy to be back. I'm sharing what I've learned so far this summer on Wednesday July 30 and I hope you'll join me. We've got two months worth of goings on to catch up on … [Continue reading]

Welcoming Summer and All Her Gifts

The summer of 2014 - chatting at the sky

“We stop, whether by choice or through circumstance, so that we can be alert and attentive and receptive to what God is doing in and for us, in and for others, on the way. We wait for our souls to catch up with our bodies.” -Euguene Peterson, The Jesus Way On Instagram, I mostly only follow people I know. But there are a few feeds I can't resist and one of them is a farmer named Ben Hole who lives on The Isle of Purbeck, England. In the tangled trail of clicking, I don't know where I first … [Continue reading]

For Your Weekend


May you enjoy all the blues of summertime and find someone to share them with. May you notice and receive the gifts that present themselves to you in hidden ways, gifts you may not have even known to ask for. Enjoy your weekend, friends. Here are some good reads for along the way. Escape From the Matrix: Can We Break Free From the Fear of Missing Out? by Jacob Burak for aeon Magazine Just Stay and Wait by Hayley Morgan at The Tiny Twig The Work of the Week by Eugene Peterson for The … [Continue reading]

For When Your Soul Needs Whitespace

Bonnie & Ann

With only a few days left of school, I'm planning to take some time off from writing here on the blog beginning next week. For now, I've started a list of things I want to do while I'm taking a break and one of the first things on that list is to finish painting the walls in our living room white. We've started, but we haven't finished, as you can see here. Having a plan to finish painting is a normal thing but it is also revealing. First, I'm making a list of things to do during my … [Continue reading]

For Your Weekend

Local Interest

Before the sun is even high enough for shadows, we wake up to read. This one wakes up, too - reads his Bible next to Daddy, asking questions about pillars of salt. May I be ever curious, open, willing to ask and to learn. May I remember where to go with my questions and rest in God's presence even when I don't understand the answers. *** On the last day of May, some reads for your weekend: The Masterpiece Mom :: A new website and podcast about motherhood created by two lovely women I met … [Continue reading]

Let’s Share What We Learned in May

Iced SF Hazelnut Latte

It's the end of the month so it's time to share what we learned in May! Remember, this is a place to share all kinds of learning, both the silly and the serious. I lean toward sharing the silly since I tend to share the serious every other day. But any and all learning is welcome. Here are seven things I learned in May: 1. What Barbie would look like without makeup (or, evidently, a toothbrush): source  2. When people write LOML on the internet, it means Love of My Life. 3. … [Continue reading]

Why I’m Listening to Jerry Seinfeld

New Rhythms

With barely three weeks left until school is out for the summer, many of us will begin transitioning into a different kind of daily schedule, one where the day-time agenda shifts. I will still do my work, but the pace will slow and we'll all settle into a new kind of rhythm together. I wish I could say I glide gracefully into the summer schedule, but the truth is I limp and fight my way through this transition every year. This year I'm accepting that it will take some time to settle in to the … [Continue reading]

For Your Weekend

A Blessing for the Finishers

In this season of finishing up, of moving on, of celebrations and endings, today I offer a few words of blessing over at (in)courage  for those whose service and work is coming to an end. For the teacher, the graduate, the parent, the artist, the coach, the performer, the traveler, the youth leader, or anyone else who might be moving on . . . a few words for the journey here. Enjoy your weekend, friends. … [Continue reading]