Introduce yourself! Who are you? Hi! My name is Meaghan Dawson and I run a fun little food blog over at www.beautyfromburnttoast.com. When I’m not blogging full-time, I’m momming my 3 kids (10, 8, and 6) and hanging out with my husband of 11 years, Jeff. I’m an East Coast girl who has managed to live all over the country but settled in good old Texas, where I’m learned to love the heat and Tex-Mex cooking.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? This is a tough one. I’ve been blessed with so many good role models and mentors over the years that I have been the recipient of many great words of wisdom. My favorite, though, is actually my life verse from the bible, given to me by a dear friend and bible study leader. “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) Through the hardest times in my life I recite this to myself daily, putting it in post-it notes all over my house and car. It reminds me that God is in control, that’s He’s working all things for my good, and that I am loved and cared for beyond measure. It can’t get much better than that when it comes to advice, in my opinion!
What would you say to 16 year old you? Oh gosh! Don’t cut your hair! Just kidding! (Well, not really. I did get a terrible haircut my junior year.) I think I would tell 16 year-old Meaghan to love herself more. That’s it ok to stand up for herself. And that in order to be the person she’s meant to be, she needs to move past the fear. And also, don’t date that boy!
Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel? Absolutely! I don’t think you can get to any place of value in life without encountering those that are going to doubt you. Whether it’s just because you’re a woman, or because of how you look or the clothes you wear, people will doubt you. I am going to be honest and say that doubt used to cripple me, mainly because I didn’t fully believe in myself. I’ve learned, now, though, through the years that doubters are my fuel. “You don’t think I can because I’m a woman?” Challenge accepted. Realizing that it’s absolutely more about the doubter than it is about me, I take their negative and turn it into a positive for myself. I love to prove people wrong all of the time. It’s a joy to be an overcomer.
What do you love most about yourself? Gosh. This is a toughie. Don’t we train ourselves not to brag? Ok, if I must….Above all else I love how I love people. If I love you, I LOVE you, through good and bad, thick and thin. I tend to be very optimistic and always look for the best in a person, sometimes to a fault. I believe in the true heart and soul of a person and won’t give up on them unless they give up on me, and even then I stay true. I’ve learned how to be a good friend and I’m a fiercely loving mother and wife. And I think that is the most important thing to be in life–loving.
Do you remember a specific time you overcame adversity? I sort of feel like a lot of my life has been adverse. Maybe that’s an exaggeration. But I think the hardest time of my life was the year my middle son was born. We found out at 20 weeks pregnant that he was going to have some birth defects and that he would need multiple major surgeries throughout his life to repair them, two of which would be in his first year of life. During this time my husband was also laid off and we were going through a lot of emotional and financial changes. It was just hard. But, in retrospect, that time built me and built us all. What I thought was going to be the defining thing of my sons life turned out to be something minor. Not that he hasn’t gone through a lot, but he’s so much more than just a birth defect, he’s such an amazing kid. I learned in that year to love harder than I thought possible, to fight more for those that I love, and I really learned what true beauty is.
What motivates you most? My belief that I am doing the work that God has planned out for me to do. My love for my family. My desire to share my story to possibly help others. Gosh. I guess I have a lot of motivations. My biggest one is to be real, maybe. I feel there is so much out there right now that people compare themselves to that’s unattainable, especially as a woman and a mom. I want women to know that it’s ok to just be you. Beautiful, imperfect, fabulous YOU.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement? 100% my marriage and my children. We’ve gone through some hard times, all families do, but we are stronger now than we ever were and I love them so much. They are my homebase, my compass and my flashlight (Yay Pitch Perfect reference!). Without them nothing else I do makes sense. I am grateful everyday for them!
What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward? My non-negotiable Bible study time each morning. It’s how I start my day. I pour a cup of coffee, get out my journal and write out my prayers. It is my centering moment and without it, my day never quite gels the way I want. I really believe that the whole self-care movement going on in social media right now is a call for everyone, regardless of belief or religion, to take this time. It can look different for everyone, but it’s the quiet when we shut out the world and listen to ourselves or our God that helps us all grow, for the better.
What is something on your bucket list? To go to Ireland. I’m predominately Irish and this was a big part of my identity growing up as a girl on the East Coast, where everyone LIVES their heritage. My husband and I want to take a trip there soon for an anniversary but we’ve got these pesky kids to take care of! Oh well…only 12 more years until they’re out of the house and we’re good to go!
What are your biggest passions? Where to start? I’m a woman of many. My family, my God, cooking, reading, good wine, good music….I think beauty can be found in all of these things and I’m passionate about finding the beauty, finding the real. It’s what I live for. Those moments that time seems to slow down and you breathe in, reminding yourself to remember this moment, because it’s beautiful and real and true. Those are my passions.
What/Who are your cooking inspirations? My mom. I come from a family of cooks. My brother is probably the best cook I’ve ever had the pleasure of being around. All of my favorite family memories involve a meal. I am inspired by the love of food that I grew up with.
What is your favorite meal? My death row meal (not that I ever plan on being on death row) is just good old fashioned spaghetti and meatballs. I’m almost embarassed to admit it, too, because the meatballs I love aren’t even fancy or homemade. They’re from Costco. Why are their meatballs so good? I just don’t get it. But I LOVE THEM!
What’s your latest food/health obsession? Matcha green tea. I’m probably late to this trend, but I love it. I add it to green smoothies and it’s just such a great health kick.
Where do you get inspiration for the content you share? It depends, I like to share recipes that I recreate from chefs and bloggers that I follow and admire, to share them with my readers but also to show them how much I appreciate their work. So that inspires me. But then also, I like to create my own meals and when I have a wild hair to create in the kitchen and it turns out, I’m going to share it! I’m also a bit unique in the food blog world because I don’t just share the recipe, I always write a life story or life lesson to tie into it. I honestly don’t know where that inspiration comes from. Sometimes I know it’s the words that God wants me to share, others I just think it’s funny and a cute story and want to share it with people. Either way, it’s an amazing feeling to write something and know that it’s going to resonate with people. I get so excited and nervous when I post something from the heart. I actually have to walk away from my blog for a few hours so I don’t obsessively check to see if people like it. I’ve heard that gets better with time. We’ll see.
What is your favorite type of food? I am a ramen noodle fanatic. I like the fancy kind that you get in a restaurant best, obviously, but I’m not a ramen snob. Give me a packet of the noodles, toss out the flavor packet, add some soy sauce and a fried egg and I’m in heaven!
What feelings does cooking bring to mind? Contentment. My favorite thing to do EVER is to pour a glass of wine, put on some great music, and cook a great meal for my husband and myself. Better than any date night at a five star restaurant. To me, that is love. It’s nurturing. And that’s what I want to share with others.