Mother's Day Shout Out

I'm so honored to be Eliza's mom, and she is certainly the one responsible for making me a mama, but there's a lengthy list of mothers who have shaped me, influenced me, and encouraged me as a mother.  So I thought I'd give credit where credit is due:

Lindsey, Katrina, Wendi, Kathrine, and Ashley - We all became mommies together!  I love commiserating over nap schedules, snuggling your babies, and swapping war stories with you girls.  I'm so blessed to have my sweet friends to walk with as we begin this journey as parents, and I can't wait to see our little ones grow up together!

My supper club ladies - I love having you wonderful group of women that are just a few years ahead of me in this area!  Thank you for bestowing your wisdom, sharing practical advice, and telling hilarious stories about your kids.  You make me excited about the days to come!

Merry - You so beautifully model for me how to joyfully submit to God's plan for your children.  I'm so grateful for the support you've shown our family as our mothers aren't in town.  You Culps are one of the main reasons that Westover feels so much like home to us!

Melanie - I love that you are constantly learning, exploring, challenging the status quo, especially when it comes to parenting.  You are a tireless advocate for the things you are passionate about, and you encourage me to embrace the messy, tiring, glorious calling that is motherhood.

Cameron - You held my hand as I doubted my maternal instincts and gave me the confidence to trust God to turn me into the exact mommy that Eliza needs.  I pray that I will be able to return the favor for you when your precious little boy arrives next month!

Kellie - The most spirit-led person I know, you are so faithful to the call to teach your family about the beauty of God's love.  You encouraged me tirelessly as I (fearfully) began my journey toward motherhood, and I couldn't ask for a sweeter friend to "do life" with.  I know I can't hand pick Eliza's future in-laws, but I can't imagine anyone I'd rather be a second mother to my daughter, and so I'll keep on asking God that Jake and Eliza will fall madly in love one day.  :)

Charis - You are such a beautiful example of patience, humility, and peace - all qualities I'm so desperately in need of in my life!  Your consistent effort to teach your children about what's truly important in life is inspiring to me, and you are raising some pretty amazing kids.  I can't wait to see the amazing adults that Colt, Levi, and Tatum turn into - I know they'll do the Dishman name proud.

Ginny (Meem) - Your devotion to your family and famous wit are two of my most treasured qualities in my husband.  I hope with all my heart to keep your punny sense of humor in the family for generations to come!

Cosette (Mãe) - I'm so grateful for the heritage of faith and Christian service that you've passed down to me and my daughter.  I've always been proud of my missionary grandparents, and hope to instill your love of the nations in my children!

Juanita (Grandma) - My mama's mama, and my (middle) namesake.  I couldn't ask for a better matriarch to model after.  I know I got your love of lipstick, and wish desperately that I got your love of sewing.  My mom always says you're the best mommy in the world.  Who am I to argue?  ;)

Patty - The model of a Proverbs 31 woman, I so aspire to your dilligence, your devotion to your family, and your deep love for others.  You've welcomed me, loved me, and accepted me from the very beginning, and I will be forever indebted to you for raising the most amazing husband, tender daddy, and godly man I've ever known.

And my mommy, D'Ann - I could never list all the things you have been to me over the years: changer of diapers, baker of cookies, planner of birthday parties, counselor through middle school drama, boyfriend breakups, and bad hair days.  You listen to me go on and on (and on and on) about every single detail of my life, and always make me feel better when I'm overwhelmed, sad, or sick.  You've taught me so much - how to serve others, how to love and respect my husband, and how being a mother means putting your children first.  You love me with a sweet, honest, silly, consistent, unconditional love, and I hope that Eliza and I share just half the wonderful memories that I've had with you.  You're my bestest girlfriend and (I'm sorry, but I've got to say it) the best mommy in the world.

Happy Mother's Day to all of the sweet mommies in my life.  I love you all and thank God for you each and every day!


Why I'm Vegan

People ask me all the time why I’m vegan.  It’s an understandable question - I’m sure for many of them, I’m the only vegan they know.  While veganism is gaining a lot of attention nationally and the number of people eating plant-based diets is growing like crazy, it is still a definite minority, and one that is mostly associated with angry PETA activists and pot-smoking hippies.

I LOVE that I don’t fit the typical vegan mold, and I get really excited to talk to people about it.  But I also get stage fright.  It’s a lot of pressure to be the sole representative of something, especially of something that’s so close to my heart.  Disappointingly, I usually end up downplaying the depth of my conviction for the sake of being inoffensive, brief, and to avoid seeming too much like a crazy hippy-activist.

So for the sake of my own clarity, I thought I would write out an explanation for why I am a vegan and how it’s impacted my life.


I’ve always been a tad bit squeamish about meat - pork and raw chicken in particular have always grossed me out.  I also had a few lovely roommates in college who are vegetarian, so I was exposed to the concept of a meat-free diet for a good long while.  I always thought it was interesting (and knew by the ever-present spinach in our college fridge that they were eating pretty healthfully!) but never really investigated the dirty deets of what/why/how.  I think I knew that if I really explored the idea of vegetarianism, I would face some pretty harsh realities about animal treatment, so I just avoided learning about it.

But a couple of years ago, after spending a weekend with my lovely vegetarian friends Lauren and Chris, I started talking more seriously about the idea of going vegetarian.  Meanwhile, my sweet husband was tracking down some podcasts for me to listen to during my commute, and added one to my iPod that seemed fairly harmless - along the lines of “5 Ways to Cook Chickpeas” or something.  Unknown to either of us at the time, the author of the podcast is a vegan, and while I did learn about chickpeas, I also learned a LOT about the treatment of factory farmed animals - the torture that chickens and cows and pigs experience during their lifetimes as well as their slaughter.  I was exposed to a lot of information about the dairy industry, the cruelties that those sweet Borden cows are subjected to, and the ties between the dairy industry and the veal industry.

Most importantly, I heard for the first time about another way to eat - one that could free me from ignoring exactly what I’m touching when dressing a Thanksgiving turkey, or what I’m chewing when I bite into a burger.  For me it really was truly eye-opening - there’s a reason I’ve been uncomfortable handling raw chicken or eating rare steak!  I’ve always loved animals so it makes sense that at my core, I’m uncomfortable eating them.  And to learn that you can have a tasty, satisfying meal without animal products (and that it wasn’t all alfalfa sprouts and carob) was kind of a revelation.

So... I just stopped.  I really wasn’t planning to quit meat cold-turkey (haha), but I just couldn’t bring myself to eat the leftovers in the fridge.  I spent MANY a night bawling my eyes out to Cody, wrestling with my emotions about the realities I was learning about animal treatment, but also my desire to not be a wierdo, and maybe I’m just being too sensitive, but also I JUST CAN’T EAT MEAT ANYMORE!  Cody was wonderful, never once getting defensive or frustrated or even worried about what this meant for his future hot dog consumption.  He has since told me that he felt the Holy Spirit moving in him during those weeks, telling him that this is a holy conviction for me, so instead of fighting back he encouraged me to follow my heart and to live according to the convictions that I felt were being so strongly impressed upon me.

As I did further research, I decided that as an ethical vegetarian, I really should cut out dairy and eggs as well.  (I flirted with eggs for another year or so, sourcing from a free-range farm that I felt was a step ahead of others, but I’m now basically off of eggs as well.)  It took about a month from my last bite of meat until I was 100% off of dairy.

My last bite of meat and cheese was two years ago this month, and I can’t tell you how great I feel!  How LIBERATING it is to know that I’m making a choice every day, at every meal, to live in line with my values.  To walk through HEB and just totally bypass the meat and cheese section.  To try things like tempeh and kale and nutritional yeast because a whole new world of cooking has opened up to me.  To watch documentaries like Forks Over Knives and read books like Diet for a New America and know that the things I’m learning about nutrition and disease prevention and the environment all align with the way I’m choosing to feed myself and my family.  To know that because of the choice I’ve made for my family, no animals would be harmed or killed on my behalf.

There’s a lot (LOT!) more I could say about being vegan.  About the health benefits that I’ve personally seen and that truckloads of research supports.  About the deliciousness that is tofu (for real).  About how much more I now enjoy cooking, and perusing blogs and Pinterest for new recipes.  About going through pregnancy, natural childbirth, and breast-feeding without eating animal products.  About the challenges of finding non-leather shoes.  About eating lentil loaf for Thanksgiving dinner.  :)  It’s been a wild ride and I’ve had so much fun learning and experiencing so many new things.

But all of that is secondary.  Because the real reward of veganism is the peace I’m walking in, knowing that I am following a conviction that God has impressed upon my heart.  The book of Jeremiah talks about the Rekabites, a group of people in the Bible who abstained from drinking alcohol because of a calling of their forefather.  God honored their family’s commitment to their conviction in a big way, blessing them and saying that “Rekab will never fail to have a descendant to serve me.”  Of course, not everyone is called to abstain from alcohol, but we each have certain convictions that we feel weighty in our hearts.  Those aren’t there by accident - it’s the Holy Spirit’s prompting!

I’m so grateful that I stopped turning my back on this particular call in my heart.  Facing the realities of the suffering that is associated with our food culture is scary and overwhelming at first, but knowledge really is power, and there are tons of resources out there that can educate you and empower you to change your dietary habits.  If any of the things I’ve mentioned piqued your interest, I would just encourage you to explore the idea more for yourself and PLEASE feel free to talk to me about it.  Like me, you might be surprised to find that becoming a vegan is one of the most joyful decisions you’ll ever make!!


My Thoughts on 2012 Oscars Dresses

I really love looking at dresses from awards shows, and I especially love seeing the Oscars dresses, since it's the fanciest event of the year.  As Cody could care less, and Eliza's too young to know what I'm talking about :) I thought I'd post my thoughts here!  Mine is definitely not an informed opinion, and my taste is probably pretty conservative, but anyway, here are my thoughts:

Reminds Me of My Prom Dress, Only Better:
 I love this beautiful sparkly navy dress!  It reminds me of a real life version of the dress from the cartoon Anastasia, which I dreamed about wearing to my senior prom.  My choice ended up being similar in color and sparkliness, but not nearly as glam as this dress on the stunning/hilarious Leslie Mann!

Dress That Made Me Do a Double Take:
I freaking love how perfectly this dress matches Ellie Kemper's gorgeous hair color!  The bead work is beautiful and the accessories are so perfect - it just all makes me so happy.  :)  Plus it makes her figure look amazing.  BUT her bangs are DRIVING ME NUTS!  How can she stand them at that terrible resting-on-your-eyelashes length?!

Best Color:
If I had olive skin and beautiful dark hair, I would wear this color all the time.  However, this seafoam-olive is probably in my top 5 Colors That Make Me Look Like Death.  So it's always fun to see someone pull it off so beautifully.  I think her hair and those amazing earrings perfectly complement this flowy foamy dress.  Way to rock it, Maria Menounos!

Craziest Dress That I Actually Liked:
I'm a pretty traditional gal, and if I ever wen to the Oscars (ha!) I would definitely go classy over edgy or bold.  But of all the dresses that I would consider "risky," Nancy O'Dell's bright yellow gown is my fav.  I love seeing blondes rock yellow like this.  Though, in general, I'm not a fan of this much cleavage.  Haven't you heard that modest is hottest, Nancy?

I cannot say how much I love this 50's vintage polka-dot gown on Natalie Portman!  She looks just stunning, and it's accessorized perfectly.  I would love to wear this dress!  Maybe a tea-length version?  Sigh.  I'm not really digging Natalie's hair here, but I'll forgive it because everything else is so perfect.

Best Plus-Size Fashion:
Silver is another color that just makes me look terrible.  And somehow I keep wearing it (sophomore homecoming, bridesmaids dress, and most recently, my brother's wedding - what was I thinking?!)  But this color looks so beautiful against Octavia's skin!  And I love how the beadwork on the dress accentuates her hourglass curves.  Most formal gowns wouldn't do such a good job of playing to her strengths, but this one totally does!

Most Disappointing:
I think Tina Fey is so so beautiful, but this dress is super boring!  It looks like a mother-of-the-bride dress from David's Bridal!  I do like her eye makeup though, and the color looks good on her.  But I think she played it way too safe and ended up looking matronly and blah.  Tina certainly wasn't the worst-dressed - not by a long shot - I just know she could do so much better.

Sexiest Dress:
I think Angelina is looking a bit too skinny here, but hot dang, she is working that dress!  I love the way she lets her beautiful hair & face (and leg!) be her accessories instead of distracting with jewelery or a handbag.  I usually think that Brad Pitt is the better-looking one in the pair, but tonight Angelina blew him out of the water!

Best Dressed:
Emma Stone looks just perfect in this awesome gown!  It's the ideal balance of youthful and classic - I mean, that bow!!  I particularly love that this dress isn't one you'd see worn outside of a red-carpet event - the proportions are just too much for a "regular" person to wear for any special occasion.  But it's perfectly Oscar-worthy and suits her to a T.  And I totally love when red-heads wear red - the color looks amazing on her and re-affirms for me why she's the current Hollywood it-girl.

What are your thoughts?  Did I miss anything amazing?  Or hideous?  :)


Couscous, Black Bean & Corn Salad

Couscous, Black Bean and Corn Salad

Adapted from a recipe on


1-cup Israeli couscous, uncooked (sometimes called pearl couscous, it's larger in size than normal couscous, but you can substitute regular couscous if you prefer, just follow package directions for cooking)

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1-15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 yellow or orange bell pepper, diced

3 small or 2 large avocados, diced

4 scallions, chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

2-3 tablespoons lime juice, (more if you like it tangy)

2 teaspoons cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp garlic salt

salt and pepper to taste

handful of cilantro, chopped

a pinch or two of chili powder


Bring vegetable broth to a boil in a medium pot. Add couscous, stir and cover. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until couscous is al dente and water is absorbed.

Prepare the dressing in a large bowl by whisking together olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, cumin, coriander & garlic salt. Pour over couscous and toss to coat. (This prevents couscous from getting sticky and clumping together.)

Add the black beans, bell peppers, avocado, corn, and scallions to the dressing and toss all together. Season with more salt and pepper if desired.

Sprinkle a bit of chili powder and add cilantro at the end. Toss again and refrigerate to let the flavors blend. Serve chilled or at room temperature (my favorite).

This recipe is super adaptable. Change up the amount of spices in there as you see fit. You can bulk it up with another can of beans, or reduce the amount of couscous to lower the carbs. I like to use whole wheat couscous when I can find it. Cody likes to eat this on tortilla chips, but I think it's awesome straight from a bowl. I hope you enjoy it!!