October 9, 2013

Live Hope: Christina of Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe

Hello, hello! Welcome back to Live Hope! Today we get to sit down with Christina. I've thought a lot about introducing you to Christina. I wanted to be able to shine a light on what an encouragement she has been to me. She is so genuine, transparent, kind, inspiring, and encouraging. During times when my blog journey is rough, I think of her. For me she has been someone who... let's her Jesus light shine... super super bright!
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Tell us a little bit about you and your shop?
Hi there everyone! My name is Christina Main and I like to talk! Haha (no seriously)! I am the creator of Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe, but more importantly, I'm a sinner who has been graciously and mercifully saved from death, through the life and selfless sacrifice of Jesus Christ. My story is a story of true redemption. Secondly, I am a Pastry Chef- I've always been in love with anything and everything involving food since I was a little girl. From watching Food Network everyday after school (what 12 year old does that??) to sneaking raw eggs into my room so I could try and whip egg whites like they did on t.v., I couldn't get enough. So naturally, after a few years of college I decided to pursue that love and ended up enrolling and then graduating from the California School of Culinary Arts, in Pasadena, CA back in 2005 with a Le Cordon Bleu degree in all things food. Yay for French cooking!

For the next few years I spent countless LONG hours working in various kitchens as anything from cold food cooking to sauté cook to (of course) pastry work. This is where I really found myself- I couldn't get enough of the pastry work and desserts! I have a lot of burns, scars, and "battle wounds" from those days- and I love them all! I eventually landed the role of Pastry Chef after discovering how much I absolutely loved working with sweets and I have since acquired an even more extreme obsession with all desserts, especially cupcakes and pie!

Thirdly, I am a wife. Now that I'm married, things have changed from heavy fatty cooking and eating to a more healthy route. My husband and I tend to eat at home, almost every night of the week. Now don't get me wrong- WE LOVE TO GO OUT and experience everything the L.A. restaurant scene has to offer- but our health (and wallets) just cannot support that all the time. So I make it my job to provide us with healthy AND DELICIOUS meals that will not only nourish us both, but leave our palate satisfied. Eating healthy tends to want to go down the boring road, but I choose to challenge myself everyday with new and exciting recipes that both he and I will enjoy.

That's exactly what inspired this blog. I wanted a place to be able to come (even if virtually) and sit and chat with you all (my friends) about life, faith, hobbies, loves, and of course food. I wanted to share with you all recipes that we enjoyed, love and adore.


What inspired you to start your blog?
My husband, by far! He knew what blogs were FAR, FAR before I had even ever heard the word! Being an artist himself, he is constantly hearing about "what's hot right now" and is always challenging himself to grow, while filtering those spurts through Jesus. So when blogging started to become a thing, he knew about it and wanted me to try! To say I was skeptical is an understatement. I literally wanted nothing to do with the "blogging" thing….whatever that was. BUT as persistent as he is (which is VERY) I eventually understood the pros of starting a blog up, understood his points, and gave it a whirl. As a hobby of course…. Something I'd do, "whenever I had free time".

Who and what has encouraged you along your journey.
As silly as it may sound, my husband is my number one fan and source of encouragement. He is by far the one person I can go to when days are hard, feelings were hurt, or discouragement has set in and I need a little boost.

Being a blogger is definitely a vulnerable thing and a hard business to be a part of. If you're not bombarded with immense competitive and "way better than me" blogs and ideas constantly, then you're probably struggling with openness- How open do I become? For me, I struggle with both. In order to be personable, one must be real. A few months after I started Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe, the Lord showed me that I was to be as personable as possible- to talk openly about my faith and life, throughout. That sort of realness opens you up for the possibility to be ridiculed and even hurt, along the way. There have been plenty of days where "followers" have commented or emailed me things that…well maybe didn't need to be said- or at least could have been said in a nicer way. Those are the days I say to him, "I'm done. That's it. I can't do this anymore." Those are the days I really need my husband's counsel, wisdom, prayers, and encouragement.
How has your faith shaped this journey?
It's funny because when I first started Sweet Lavender, I had no intention of it becoming what it is today. I envisioned my blog to simply become a place where I would bake or create something, write about it, and be done (and tried hard to continue as such). God had other plans though, and pretty quickly put upon my heart to open my blog up to becoming more. Over time, Sweet Lavender has evolved into a place where I bake and share recipes (of course), but also is a safe place to share about life experiences, hardships, blessings, and prayer requests! Not only that, but this lovely blog has opened up such an amazing sort of blogging community where I have met other Christian blogging women, have found fellowship with, and know I can now lean upon, if need be. I want Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe to be a safe place- a space for us all. I want readers to be able to come, collect as a family, and fellowship with one another. Even if just virtually.

This blog is because of His grace. Honestly. Without it, Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe would never have been. Everything I do, write, post, say…everything is done through His mercy and blessings. I am just thankful that He has given me the ability, strength, and courage to be a part of this crazy journey.

Blogs are like our little virtual homes. If you're wondering what your friend is doing, you head to their "place", read up on what's going on, comment with encouragement and prayers (or in my case, jokes) and stay connected. I've had many many lovely women read certain blogs I've posted and comment saying they're praying for me! I mean…these are women I've never met! It's the craziest but most amazing thing. God has used Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe as an avenue to build Christian fellowship. He has shown me personally that He is bigger than physical distance or crazy conflicting time zones- that He is in control and even if I never "meet" some of my friends face-to-face, we are connected and a family in Christ…and for that I am forever grateful.
What are ways that you live out/share your faith through your blog?
How do your creations reflect that?
God has really been working in my heart this past year. Hard stuff! But gosh, I am so thankful. The changes and fruit that He has produced through me during this process has been seriously life changing. I'm just in awe.

One of the biggest truths I have learned (and am trying hard to do) lately is to make sure that in everything I do, I do for Him. Do nothing for myself. Duh, right? Totally. But also, the hardest thing ever. This means, that in every blog post, Facebook post, Instagram picture, tweet- whatever….I need to make sure my heart is pure and that I am not looking to serve myself but rather I am serving others (you guys) or Him. I need to check my motives and make sure I am posting those things in Him and through Him. For Him even.

Sure I post pictures of dates my husband and I go on, yummy treats we've eaten, places we're visiting, recipes up on the blog- but why did I post those things? Was it to say to my followers, "Look how awesome we are? Look how fun we are? Look how good of a cook I am!" ?? Or am I posting it to stay connected with you guys, be real about what's going on with me (which often includes dates with the hubbie and/or eating fatty treats!), be open, keep that Christian community flowing, and serve others than myself? I am human though, and definitely have failed (and WILL fail)…but I try to really take the focus off of making myself look good and redirect that focus onto Him. There have been plenty of things I've posted and within a few minutes gone, "What was the point of that? You're totally tooting your own horn there! OFF. DELETE!"

Also, I always always always make sure I never post anything that goes against the grain of the Gospel. This one's a little more easy because it's a little more black and white. No cussing, nothing sexual, nothing consisting of anything that could cause harm to someone or cause a follower to stumble. "Live above reproach." --1 Timothy 3:2
What is one of your favorite things about your relationship with Jesus?
I love the amazing freedom and forgiveness I have in Him. What I mean is, because of His death on the cross I am forgiven of my sins. I am given freedom in Christ. Well, because I am a fallen sinner, I sometimes (ok more than sometimes) misuse that freedom and…fall into sin. But because of God's Grace, I'm able to come back into fellowship with Him, through repentance. It's like an astounding loving cycle. How crazy it would be if we lived in those pre-Christ days where there were certain rules and things we had to abide by in order to please Him. I'd fail even more miserably than I already do! I am just so incredibly grateful and relieved…in awe at what Jesus did- what He paid for, in dying on that cross. He died so that I have a chance to live in eternal worship in Heaven with Him! I mean, what????

What encouraging words do you want to share with today's readers about living out their faith. 
There's a quote out there by someone really smart- and I wish I remembered his name. But I'm lame and for the life of me I just can't. Anyway! He said something to the effect of (I'm notorious for butchering quotes, so bear with me)- You have two ways to go about this Christianity thing.  One- you believe with your whole heart and soul that Christ is Lord, that He is real, and that He indeed died upon that cross so that you can be saved. You live your entire life worshipping and praising Him. Then you die and let's say none of it was true. All of this Jesus stuff was a lie. Well, what did you lose in following this lie? Nothing. You lived a life that served others and always strived to put them above yourself. This lifestyle caused you to love, to have compassion, and to serve, serve, serve. Now if it IS true, what do you gain?? ETERNAL LIFE in heaven. Awesome. Ok, now lets say your whole life you just cannot believe it. You go all your days not accepting Him or trusting Him. You deny Him. Then you die. If it's a lie, ok you're dead but IF IT'S TRUE??? You friend, spend eternity in anguish and darkness. In a horrible, horrible, painful existence- forever separated from His presence. Not for the rest of your life, because you're already deceased…but for eternity. Eternity. That's a long time. So, what do you have to lose in just believing Him and trusting Him?

So my encouragement would be: For those that believe- never stop pursuing Him. Every single day worship Him and spend time in His presence and awesomeness. Strive more and more to know Him. You won't be sorry. Don't worry about what others think of you- as long as you're displaying the Gospel accurately, their opinions do not matter. For those that are on the fence- trust Him. Love Him. Let Him in. The time is now. He doesn't need you to fix yourself first, He doesn't care what you look like or what you've done (believe me). He just wants you. As you are. Time to make that first step and let Him in. Don't wait for tomorrow because as we've seen BIG time these last few weeks, tomorrow is NOT promised to anyone. Wouldn't it be the worst thing to keep sitting on the fence, waiting and wondering, and then lose that opportunity to believe?
Favorite Inspirational book or blog?
Easy- Tim Keller's The Meaning of Marriage. Hands down without a doubt.

Maybe this was an easy one because I just finished it earlier this year- but goodness gracious it was eye opening and life changing! So, so good. Not only for those of us that are trying to pursue a Godly marriage currently, but also for those that are single and are open to the possibility of being married in the future. It breaks down struggles and misconceptions of marriage so beautifully and supports everything with scripture! He writes so wonderfully too- kind of like a modern CS Lewis (if you're into him, you'll be so happy)!

What is your awesome factor?
Jesus. Boom.

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Christina makes the most adorable edible decorations! Here are a couple of my favorite.
Hello! For someone like me who is crazy about creativity and art, these little edible paint palettes are right up my alley! And I know someone's birthday who will soon be approaching... hopefully Husband isn't reading this.
One word Christmas! Rock my socks off! These edible snowflakes make my heart happy!

Now stop by Christina's blog and shop and fill her day with encouragement!

Connect with Christina: Bloglovin // Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest // Instagram

{photos via Christina Main}
Follow on Bloglovin

12 comments:

  1. Great interview, Samantha! (And it's so nice to put a face to the name with Christina :P)

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    1. Thanks! Glad you two were finally able to "meet!" :)

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  2. Thank you so much for letting me take over your blog for the day! You are such a blessing!

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  3. Wow!! Such beautiful decorations. Absolutely stunning, and looks do decadent and delicious!!
    Love it.
    Visit me@ http://willfullyelegant.wordpress.com

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    1. Yes! I love her shop! Everything looks so good!

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  4. Love Christina. :) What a sweet and talented lady. I would agree, she's a constant encouragement to me (and probably doesn't even know it!) I cherish both of you ladies, and your sweet hearts.



    also. you look really beautiful in your new blog photo! I love the new look Elah Tree is sporting! :) <3

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    1. Thanks Shayla! You're to kind! Christina is the best, isn't she?! :)

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  5. Love Christina- she is a doll! And i will totally be grabbing up those edible paint palette's for my little girls birthday party in the coming months!!

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    1. Doesn't she make the most adorable edible goodies! So much fun!

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  6. Thanks for featuring her! I love what she says about thinking about your motives when it comes to blogging and social media. Totally going to check out her shop!

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed her feature! She has been such an encouragement to me!

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**I love reading all your sweet comments and love getting to know every single one of you. I do my best to respond to every comment and will do so via email. If you don't receive a response, you may be a no-reply blogger.

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