The Fuzzy Line of Vulnerability + Breakfast Ideas (Share Yours!)

The Fuzzy Line of Vulnerability + Breakfast Ideas (Share Yours!)

I tend to cringe at posts on social media that only show the perfect things in life. It’s not real life.

Recently, after another cringe fest, I realized–I do the same! We all do, right? Who wants to post about when we lost our temper, cried buckets while grieving, or had a tough day where things just kept going awry. No, we save those thoughts and feelings for the Lord and for those close to us whom we can trust with vulnerability.

How are my newsletters any different? Ouch. Do I really only write about the great things happening? We know there’s pressure from some that may lead us to share numbers or specifics about what we’re doing to serve and love the locals. That is our job, after all.

But where is the line? How much should I share about all the days that stink? What if my days look pretty much the same and there’s not much to report? How do I tell people that pray and support us that sometimes I just plain don’t feel like being here anymore?

The line is fuzzy.

I tend to want to be more vulnerable in our newsletters and updates because I want others to see our real, real life. I want to show them that yes, it’s my job to love on others and share the Good News with them, but in this culture, that takes years, sometimes decades! I want to share how we’ve built deep relationships with those around us, but with 5 major moves in 9 years, it hasn’t been easy! I want them to know we know we’re called here, and there’s amazing comfort in that, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy. I want them to realize this pseudo-rock star life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be some days.

I’ve tried to find a balance in sharing. This amazing God story happened, but guess what? My kids are really struggling living here right now. The Father sent this Sister to knock on my door at the perfect time and a new friendship blossomed. You know what else? We’re really struggling with some teammates right now. Could you pray for all of these things?

Not only does sharing the hard/sad/bad stuff show we’re real-life sinners running this race right next to them, it may also lower this false pedestal so many have put us on. I never wanted to be on it! The only way to knock myself off is to humble myself and share some of the tough things we experience.

We all know not everyone will understand some of the things we go through. If they haven’t lived in another culture themselves, even if they’re amazingly empathetic and supportive, it’s just not quite the same. I’m thankful to have a line of people I can turn to when I need to lament, be angry, cry, or collectively shout “WHY?” at yet another culture clash.

In that line are 5 women I met in a VA connection group nearly 5 years ago! We don’t connect as much anymore, but just the other day, one of them started a chat about how we’re all dealing with this global pandemic. It was refreshing to be able to talk with others who completely understand what it’s like to go through something like this while not living in our home country. Where the borders are closed. Where supplies were already hard to get, and now even more so. Where our local neighbors are scared to death, and we’re wondering how to reach them in a culturally appropriate way.

From social media to newsletters, we all filter what we share with whom. But maybe it’s time to reconsider if we need to let the veil down a little with some of these groups. It’s always refreshing to read raw honesty when others share, why not us?

How do you choose what to share on social media or in your newsletters? Do you feel freedom to be vulnerable?


I don’t know about you, but with the blessed children home all day, e’ry day during “quarantine,” we’re blowing through some food! I’m not a huge fan of getting up early to make breakfast, but I want them to have a filling start to the day so they’re not begging for snacks 23 minutes later. Since they’re waking up earlier than me these days, I made a “breakfast schedule” for them to follow so they’re not begging for expensive, hard-to-get, cereal every morning! My oldest is old enough to cook some simple things, so I try to keep it simple! I do try to change it up so it doesn’t get so monotonous!

I’d love to see your breakfast ideas! I’ll make a list below to get us started. I usually give them an option of milk or yogurt to go with it, and they’re always welcome to fruit.

Hulk Muffins

Banana bread oatmeal

Toad in the hole (slice of bread with a circle cut out of the middle, then an egg cooked inside the hole)


Protein smoothies

Dutch pancakes

What ideas would you add to the list?


  1. Tina April 5, 2020

    Love you Ashley and these words you have written are so very true. Vulnerability is so important and a good stick-to-your-bones breakfast equally important, in my opinion! With two teens at home they are definitely looking for 2nd breakfast 23 minutes after 1st breakfast if it’s not hearty enough.

    Sharing my breakfast idea as requested 🙂 We love these breakfast cookies – We are not gluten-free peeps so we use regular flour. Also, I add raisins, cranberries and any seeds I have in my pantry for extra staying power. Enjoy!

    1. Ashley Felder April 6, 2020

      These look good!! And my kids will flip at the privilege of eating a cookie for breakfast. 😀 Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Stephanie Clarke April 6, 2020

    This is so on point! Thanks for your honesty. And as an overseas worker AND pastor’s wife, it becomes harder to be vulnerable with others, even though you often feel you live in a glass house. I was blessed with two mentors that I was able to be completely open with, but both passed away unexpectedly 4 years ago within 3 weeks of each other. Since then, I’ve only shared those spaces of vulnerability with the Lord. It’s not been easy, but I’m trusting the Lord to fill in those gaps that I miss from their presence.

    And I’m in the same boat with breakfast. Supermarkets have been closed here “until further notice”, so I’m trying to tap into what is not even close to my niche and be creative with what we have in the cupboards. I haven’t always had smiles, but my kids are learning to appreciate that you have to be grateful for what you have.

    1. Ashley Felder April 6, 2020

      Stephanie–wow, they both passed so close to one another?! That must’ve been very hard! May He fill that gap soon!

      And tell me more about the fact that your markets are closed?! Everywhere I’ve heard of, grocery stores have stayed open, but they encourage people to come only if needed.

      1. Stephanie Clarke April 9, 2020

        Last Thursday evening, the Government announced a 24 hour curfew to begin at 5 PM the next day, with all supermarkets to be closed until further notice. Needless to say, it was absolute pandemonium as people tried to secure enough groceries to last the long haul of “until further notice.” They have permitted small village shops to remain open from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM, but of course your village shops do not have everything you need, only the very basic necessities. This past Tuesday, the Government eased restrictions, somewhat, announcing that supermarkets would be accepting orders via e-mail and telephone from Wednesday to Friday of this week and people could opt to curbside pick up or have their ordered delivered for a fee. Again, people have taken it to the extreme and supermarkets have been bombarded with orders. One supermarket owner alone said that he has received over 7,000 orders in one day to process with some people ordering completely non-essential items like make-up. Seriously?! Anyway, it’s a complete trial and error and while I believe different systems work for different places, we’ve yet to find the one that works here. Ironically, I spoke about the village shop owner up the road from me in my last posting here on VA and the Lord has taken that simple pleasure of an acquaintance and used it for good. The store owner has been kind enough to give me a number to order the things I need so he can set them aside and I can just collect them at the door. I’m having to be more creative and the kids less picky, but the good Lord continues to make a way!

        1. Ashley Felder April 16, 2020

          WOW. I haven’t heard of anywhere else closing grocery stores! Glad He is providing! The stories you’ll have to tell…

  3. Sarah Hilkemann April 6, 2020

    Thank you for these words, Ashley, that can both challenge and encourage. 🙂 I’ve noticed it is harder to be vulnerable now that I am back in my passport country. I fear being misunderstood/judged/hurt when I speak from a changed place, or when I struggle to communicate what I have seen and experienced in my time overseas. I have to push hard and find those safe-enough people who are willing to try to understand, or willing to listen, just listen, without needing to get all that I am talking about. It’s something I need to keep processing and working on.

    It’s just me at home, but I need variety in my meals and a good breakfast is really important to me! I love building a hearty savory bowl of stir-fried greens and tomatoes, a grain (leftover rice usually), egg, avocado, and feta cheese. It takes a bit of prep but it so delicious!

    Also these Peanut Butter Banana Muffins are delightful!! They call for oat flour, which you can make yourself by putting oats in a blender or food processor if you don’t have them on hand.

    1. Ashley Felder April 6, 2020

      Sarah, I can understand your sentiment. I felt some of the same while on HA last year. Asking that you can find a few close friends that will be that listening ear!

      Savory bowls sound delish! I never even considered them until recently. My go-to for myself (but often for lunch because I’m just too lazy that early!), are scrambled eggs, sauteed peppers, maybe cheese, and hot sauce in a warm corn tortilla. So yum!

  4. Bayta Schwarz April 6, 2020

    Thanks so much for your thoughts, Ashley! It’s not an easy tension to live in. I do think it plays out slightly differently in different cultures. I remember a friend getting very different comments about her newsletter from supporters in the US and in Germany. Though over here we tend to talk about the hard stuff a lot (sometimes at the expense of the positive), that does not necessarily mean sharing very personal struggles (more hard circumstances etc). Might need to ponder this more, I’m realising!
    Also, one thing I found in what was probably my hardest year overseas, is that sometimes not wanting to sound too negative in a newsletter actually made me notice the positives that were there! Day-to-day they would often be drowned out by the misery of culture shock, team conflict, etc but around newsletter time, I tended to be a little more aware of the good things that were also happening.

    1. Ashley Felder April 9, 2020

      Good thoughts!! A good reminder to look for the good things each day—they ARE there!

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