Issue 3: embracing change | The Highwomen | shawarma + hummus recipe View in browser
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Issue 3: October 30, 2019
embracing change | The Highwomen | shawarma + hummus recipe

[4-minute read]

"Lead me forth beside the waters of comfort. You see, the water doesn't need to be still, [...] 'cause the best water keeps on moving, don't it? You go get a drink from Telfair Pond up above the dam and tell me it don't taste a slick froggy. Now go get you a drink from Keysville at the head and you'll lay yourself face down and say Lord have mercy. Good water knows it's not done. It's got a race to run along the earth. Amen? It's not home. No. But it's bringing home with it, just not there yet. Who else ain't home? We aren't. That's right."

from "Lipochrome," my favorite story from my friend Nathan Poole's wonderful book, "Father Brother Keeper."

Dear Sisters, 

I keep visualizing this picture of stagnant water in contrast to a flowing stream during an uncomfortable season in which EVERYTHING seems to be moving and changing. I moved to another state, got pregnant and chose to completely change my lifestyle all within the span of a couple months. 

Allow me to elaborate a bit on the lifestyle change. 

For the first time in my adult life, I can say the words I am NOT BUSY. It’s such a strange feeling, and sometimes, I’m not sure if I like it. 

Reorienting my lifestyle away from busyness and toward simplicity has been a much harder adjustment than I imagined. I’m finding it difficult to set daily routines and rhythms for myself without a list of obligations and plans to hold me accountable. I spend way too much time on my phone chasing cheap connection rather than pursuing the activities with which I'd like to fill my time. Sometimes, just mustering up the focus and energy to clean my kitchen feels like an insurmountable task.

But being constantly on-the-go, addressing every need outside my own home before looking my people in the eyes each day, having plans every night and never saying “no” makes it impossible to be the person I absolutely know I want to be. So while it's been harder than I anticipated, this change was absolutely necessary. 

Little by little, I'm beginning to taste that "good water" that keeps moving, and this new life is starting to feel like home.  I can see the fruit beginning to emerge—better friendships, more satisfying work, a richer spiritual life, more healthy relationships with my family and a host of other joys. 


Friend, if you’re on the cusp of a big life change, I want to encourage you to keep moving. Just because change is hard and the transition is rough does not mean you made the wrong choice. Change—even good, healthy, wonderful, life-giving change—is ALWAYS simultaneously difficult AND rewarding. There will always be some grief involved. 

When we get married, we grieve our independence. When we have a child, we grieve the loss of our free time. When we make a career change, we grieve the familiarity of our old job. When we move to a new place, we grieve what we left behind. When we change our lifestyle, we grieve what we formerly clung to for comfort. 

As we’re learning this new version of ourselves, we’ll misstep and mess up, but growing pains are productive. Don’t let the fear of change tell you you're done. Run your race. Find your way home. Don't give up.  

"Good water knows it's not done. It's got a race to run along the earth. Amen? It's not home. No. But it's bringing home with it, just not there yet. Who else ain't home? We aren't. That's right."

Love, Jill 

New music: The Highwomen

Do you, like me, have a long history with country music, but hate what it has become in the past 10 years? Specifically, what happened to strong women singing about women's stuff in country music? Remember Faith, Martina, the Dixie Chicks, Reba?? What happened, y'all? 

Well, our prayers have been answered—a new female country supergroup formed earlier this year and released its first album in September. The members are  Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris and Amanda Shires. YES, PLEASE. 

Scott checks out music from the library on his Hoopla app (we are BIG library people 🤣), and he introduced me to this album this weekend while we were camping. He had already listened to it and loved it, which makes me so proud and glad he is the father of my daughter, but anyway. This music had me laughing and crying, sometimes simultaneously. The songwriting is just SO GOOD. I love that this album is so focused on women without being man-hating or centered on romantic themes. 

Notable tracks

No. 2: Redesigning Women 

Redesigning Women is a modern woman's anthem—proud, self-deprecating, honest and so relatable. My favorite lyrics:

"Redesigning women / Running the world while we're cleaning up the kitchen / Making bank, shaking hands, driving 80 / Tryna get home just to feed the baby" 

"Pulling up the floors and changing out the curtains / Some of us are saints and some of us are surgeons / Made in God's image, just a better version / And breaking every jello mold"

And I can't leave out the bridge: 

"How do we do it? How do we do it?
Making it up as we go along
How do we do it? How do we do it?
Half way right and half way wrong"

I promise this song will make you laugh and make you so proud to be a woman. I'm obsessed. 

No. 4: Crowded Table 

This speaks straight to a mama's heart. God, I'm crying just thinking about it. 

"I want a house with a crowded table
And a place by the fire for everyone." 


No. 5. My Name Can't Be Mama 

You know those days when you just want to run away and not be "Mama" for a day? This song. Hilarious. 

No. 7. Old Soul 

I have never heard a song articulate how I've felt about why I never went through any kind of rebellious phase—I always say "I've been 30 since I was 12" and this song perfectly describes that feeling. I love when music or writing screams "YOU'RE NOT THE ONLY ONE!"

"Weight of the world on these small shoulders / Beyond my years is where I like to stand / My crazy chapter was already over before it began"

No. 9 My Only Child 

*Trigger Warning for those who have experienced infertility, miscarriage or the loss of a child. 

This song is a love letter to the little person a mama has accepted will be her only child. I sobbed through the entire song the first time I heard it. 

 "I know you wish / You had a brother who had blue eyes just like you / I know you wish / You had a sister you could tell your secrets to / Maybe we'll miss / Having four sets of china on the table / But I guarantee you this / You mean more to me than branches to a maple"

Recipe: Pitas with chicken shawarma and homemade hummus

This recipe has been on my menu for three weeks straight. I'm in a major hummus phase right now. I love recipes that can be dinner and then lunch or a snack later. Making a huge batch of this chicken and hummus and having pitas on hand has been keeping me full and happy. 

If you're a vegetarian or vegan, you could totally do the shawarma with extra firm tofu, or just leave out the meat and beef up the pitas with lots of cucumbers, tomatoes and kalamata olives! 

This is the homemade hummus recipe I use. 

I LOVE Cookie + Kate's recipes! If you're looking for vegetarian/vegan recipes, she is a wonderful source. We aren't either of those, but I try to do vegetarian a few times a week. 

Notes on this recipe: I have found that my hummus is a little smoother when I cook dried chickpeas in a slow cooker instead of using canned, but the canned is TOTALLY FINE so don't let that stop you. I double this recipe so I have a ton on hand, because all members of my family are obsessed with hummus. I divide it into three containers and make three variations: plain, sriracha and olive. Bye, Sabra. 

Chicken shawarma (adapted from

I double this always. 

  • Zest and Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3–4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (or paprika)
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • Pinch of nutmeg, cloves and/or cinnamon
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper (or more, as desired)
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat

Whisk together lemon zest, lemon juice and olive oil. Add the spices to make a marinade.

Thinly slice chicken thighs and combine with the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to overnight (the longer, the better).

When ready to roast the chicken, preheat oven to 425 F. Remove chicken from the marinade and place on a greased baking sheet. Roast for 16-18 minutes, until chicken is fully cooked and starting to crisp on the edges.

What else to put on your pitas in addition to hummus and chicken...

  • Tzatziki sauce (easy easy to make- plain Greek yogurt, lemon juice, fresh dill or dill weed. I never measure) 
  • Kalamata olives or olive tapenade 
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Capers 
  • Lemon juice 
Julia's first big girl cup 😭

I wanted to get Julia a non-plastic cup for school because I was starting to have mom guilt about her drinking out of cheap plastic cups I run through the dishwasher every day, so I found this cup on Amazon. I had a $15 budget for this and only spent $12. Yay.

It is *not* spill-proof (when the spout is open, if you turn it upside down it will trickle out), so this would not be a good first sippy cup for the 18-24 month crowd. However, it is a great "big kid" to-go cup for water once your child stops turning their cup upside down and banging it on tables at restaurants. 😉 

I love that it keeps her water cold and holds 10 ounces—she drinks a TON of water. It is also aesthetically adorable, and there are other amazing patterns! 

Budgeting App: Every Dollar (from Dave Ramsey)

This app is worth every penny of the upgrade fee. It links to your bank account and forces you to categorize EVERY expense (thus my budgeting for a sippy cup above ha). I love how this app has brought us back to financial discipline after a season of willy-nilly spending. I know there are other similar apps out there, but this is the one we use. 

If you've never done a zero-balance budget ("every dollar has a name"), I challenge you to give it a try. Once you get a realistic picture of what you spend, it's actually super freeing. Need makeup or clothes this month? Want to go out to eat at a nice restaurant? Budget for it and experience ZERO GUILT when you swipe that card! We have learned to have "fun money" and "miscellaneous" line items to catch those last minute purchases or things we forgot to budget for in advance. 

In our experience, it takes about three months to get your budget right. How much do we *actually* spend on groceries and gas?  When you have to track every expense, you can set realistic goals. I love it!

Y'all really came through with the foundation recommendations last week! Here are the suggestions I received. I haven't made my decision yet, but I have $50 budgeted for makeup this month, so it's happening! I'll let you know the verdict next week. 

Dr. Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment SPF 30 +

Another Dr. Jart- Black Label Detox BB Beauty Balm SPF 30 (I do love a BB cream... ahhhh decisions!) 

Clinique Even Better Foundation 


Young Living Savvy Minerals Foundation

I think that was it—if I forgot to list yours I'm sorry! 


NEXT QUESTION from a READER this time!!! Thanks, Katie Roberts! 

"I'd love to hear people's book recommendations—a book that changed you in some way." 

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