I am Leah, a simple conundrum.
Nice to meet ya.
I am the co-creator of the world's most wonderful and curious little boy and wife to the most top-notch human ever to roam the face of the planet. In my spare time I am a non-profit pioneer who also happens to be a photographer and kitchen adventurer. I am a product of the place I am from- a girl born and raised in the gloriously unique Louisiana. The kind of place where the heat of a summer day is matched only by the spice in the food. Growing up in a place steeped in its own rich and unique food culture, its hard not to fall in love with the art of food you are constantly surrounded by. Perhaps it is this very place which has given me such a fascination with how we nourish ourselves and care for others through food. From a young age I began helping my grandmother in the kitchen of her Bed and Breakfast on the weekends. It was there I begin to see the power of connecting to others through feeding them.
At my very core I believe my purpose in the world is to offer others a hand to hold as they jump into the life they were called to live in the fullest. Because of this my husband and I have started a nonprofit, Juniper Table, to offer strategic planning, communications consulting and refreshment to those working in hard places of the world: missionaries, non-profit workers and International pastors.
I believe the most powerful way to connect with a person's story is at a table over a shared a meal prepared with love (and usually hot coffee). I am inviting you into my kitchen because I want to share what I am learning and cooking with others, because I believe in the power of food to gather. So here I am, cooking for people and encouraging others to do the same. One of my favorite scriptures in the Bible is John 12:21, "Jesus said to them, 'Come and have some breakfast.' None of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord.".
I like to think His very closest friends knew who He was because he was offering biscuits, that is how I would like to be recognized too.
The world could use a lot more love and a little more good food.
Let's get to it.
Whats the name about?
The name Juniper Kitchen is borrowed (stolen) from the nonprofit my husband and I started in 2017. Why? Well, I believe the idea behind both go hand-in-hand. The name was inspired by a story in the Bible in which the prophet Elijah's restorative encounter with God under a Juniper tree in 1 Kings 19. In the story, Elijah had accomplished a great victory, yet still met opposition. Scared and tired, he fled into the desert and asked the Lord to go ahead and take his life. He laid down under a juniper tree to rest and an angel met him right there. He fed a discouraged Elijah to give him strength for the journey to Mount Sinai, where he had an encounter with God. We saw ourselves and so many other people doing important work in the story of Elijah. Doing wonderful things yet completely discouraged. Our purpose as a nonprofit is to set the table for others to have a “juniper moment” as well. We exist to create opportunities for hungry leaders to be strengthened. You can read more about that HERE.
My husband and I spent three years living in Africa (South Africa + Tanzania) just one year after we were married. It was in our time living overseas that I began to connect my love of people to my love of food, seeing the beauty born over shared meals with others. My hope is that the food we create together at Juniper Kitchen would gather people, nourish them + create space for good conversation. The kind that fuels the souls. Elijah was ready to die when God showed up with some hot bread. I am pretty sure there is something healing about a hot biscuit.