Monday, March 23, 2015

Spiritual Sisters

Today I am guest posting at Fumbling Toward Grace. The beautiful Sarah is busy moving from one home to another, all with three small children! God bless her! I pray that she and her family have a smooth transition. I was excited when Sarah asked me to guest post for her. I knew what I wanted to write about, how friendship with women has made me a better person. Below is the beginning of my post.

I am an only child. I was born to a teenage mother and absent father. I grew up in my grandparent's home. My grandmother was often depressed and angry. I was her verbal dart board; her words pierced my flesh again and again throughout the years I spent in her home.

The holes of the wounds left me damaged, pocked and ugly. Insecure and unsure, my thin skin let every negative comment and unkind look from others seep into my heart.

Friendships were not easy for me. Through the years, I developed relationships with a handful of girls that I sort of trusted. I enjoyed their company, but I always kept them at a distance, waiting for them to realize how unlikable I was, waiting for them to wound me, too. Often, I struck first by being cold or mouthy, pushing them towards the path that I was so sure they would eventually take. The path that led away from me.

By the grace of God, a couple of these girls stuck with me and through them I added a few more friends to my circle. Most of these girls had grown up in Christian households and faith was a part of their life. I know God placed these girls in my life. He knew I needed them.

You can read the full post at Fumbling Toward Grace.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring Snow, Weight-loss, my Cousin's Art, Missing Teeth, and More {SQT}

Life has been busy, so how about a quick update post!

1. First snow day of spring ya'll!

2. I have been (mostly) following the Trim Healthy Mama diet since February 1st, and I have lost 10 pounds. Plus, I feel good, and my energy level is up. I have exercised almost every day. 

3. I made this Cowboy Cookie recipe from Mrs. Criddle's Kitchen yesterday, and I love it. I didn't make cookies though. I baked it in a 9x13 pan and cut into squares. The recipe is not too sweet. Perfect for a breakfast bar. I ate two squares for breakfast this morning. I did adjust the recipe a bit. I used four eggs instead of three. I used 1/2 cup Truvia instead of Sweet Blend, and I replaced the 1/2 cup of ground oats with 1/3 cup oat fiber. I chopped up a Ghirardelli Intense Dark 86% cacao bar in place of the sugar free chips. 

4. My cousin Aaron has an Etsy shop for his art. I was 13 years old when he was born. He was such a cutie (still is). He was the ring bearer in my wedding. He expanded his talent through college, and I am proud that he is continuing with it now that he has graduated. Check out his art at AaronKeithHofferArt. And it would be wonderful if you made a purchase or shared his shop with your friends and family that may be interested in supporting a young artist. He doesn't know that I am giving his shop a shout out! I just want to support my cousin! 

5. A couple weeks ago I shared my list of things that I want to do before I turn 40. One of the things was that I wanted to try Jamberry nail wraps. I placed my first order last week, and I hope they arrive today or tomorrow. I can not wait to try them!

6. Ralph lost both of his top front teeth! Finally! One hung crooked for several weeks, and we could see the tooth behind it, but it was not loose enough on the one side to pull out. The other tooth fell out several days later.

7. I will be guest posting at Fumbling Toward Grace on Monday for the lovely Sarah. I hope you will check it out! 

Joining Kelly and the gang for Seven Quick Takes

Monday, March 9, 2015

Tell Your Story

We all have a story. If you are in the habit of sharing your story through writing, you have probably heard some interesting comments or been asked impertinent questions. 

"Wow! Your life must be more interesting than mine!" 

"You must have more free time than I do to spend so much time writing about yourself." 

"Why do you think anyone cares about your life?" 

"Why do you think your story is important enough to share with strangers?" 

If you are like me, you may not be sure how to answer these questions, but you are pretty sure that the person means to put you in your place. Knock you down a peg or two. But don't let the comments and questions bother you! I encourage you to keep writing. Keep telling your story. 

We all have a story, and we all tell our stories in different ways. 

We tell our stories through words, photographs, melodies, and art. We tell them through movement, action and reaction. We build relationships through our stories. They help us to understand and be understood. 

Our stories help us process the past. They give us insight into what we should do and what we shouldn't. Stories compel us to move forward and (hopefully) live a better life. Stories are what we leave behind for people that we will never meet. They are our history and our heritage. 

Through our stories we teach, inspire, and transform. 

Continue to share your story. It matters. 

If someone gives you a hard time about you telling your story, don't let it get you down or stop you from sharing your story. They are exposing part of their story to you with their comments and questions, and they probably don't even realize it! 

We are our story because the story is life. 

What is your story? 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Before I Turn 40

I am a month away from my 39th birthday.

I celebrated my 35th birthday the year I started this blog. I know it is cliche to say, but time does fly by so fast. Since I started this blog I learned how to knit, had surgery, miscarried several babies, graduated my oldest son from our homeschool, watched my second son receive communion for the first time, lost my grandfather and then my grandmother. I lost weight, gained weight, and suffered through female health problems and hormone issues. I proudly became the godmother of three cute nephews and one sweet niece. I ran more miles than I had in years previous and fell in love with Zumba.

I experienced an abundance of joy, overwhelming grief, and more physical pain than I care to discuss. I overcame some of my fears and am working towards peace. And I can honestly say that I am a happier and more confident woman than I was before I started this blog.

But it would be a lie to tell you that I am excited about my upcoming birthday, that the thought of living my last year in my thirties didn't cause me to feel sad.

It does.

I have spent more than a little bit of time thinking about how to change decades without turning into a mid-life mess of tears. After some time in prayer, I came up with a list of nine things that I want to do before my 40th birthday. Some of them will require a lot of time and effort, but other things will be easier to accomplish. All of them are helping me to feel excited about my upcoming birthday, and that, my friends, makes them worth doing!

1. Join a Bible study.

2. Take a class, like drawing or sewing.

3. Make Eucharistic Adoration a regular part of my life.

4. Walk or run 20 miles a week - every week!

5. Join the library.

6. Commit the St. Michael prayer  and the Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes to memory. 

7. Hike a part of the Appalachian Trail that I have never hiked before.

8. Try Jamberry nail wraps.

9. Relearn the proper spelling and definition of all the words in 100 Words Every High School Graduate Should Know. Hey this old brain has forgotten a lot - don't judge. (Amazon Associate link)  

I can't wait to get started, but it will have to wait until after Lent. My birthday is April 6th, the day after Easter. I will celebrate Easter and my birthday with my family, and then I will start working on the things on my list. 

Have you ever looked to a birthday with dread? What steps did you take to turn that sadness into joy? 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Yarn Along 2015 {one}


I purchased this lovely lace-weight wool from ewefluffyewe on etsy. The colorway is Mr. Knightley. I am a sucker for Jane Austen inspired anything and love the rich, dark colors in this yarn, so I had to buy it when I saw it listed in the shop. Hannah, the shop owner, will wind the yarn for you for free, which is wonderful for me because I have a ball winder but not a swift. The yarn label includes the names of the sheep and their breeds. Mr. Knightley is 100% wool from Annabelle, Barnaby, Digory, and Dodge. Their breeds include Romney, Blue Faced Leicester, California Variegated Mutant, and Coopworth. Hannah blogs at Redeeming Acres.

The pattern is The Ericka Scarf from Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders: 101 Patterns That Go Way Beyond Socks! It is an easy pattern to memorize and knit. It is perfect for me to knit while schooling the boys, listening to audio books, or while watching a movie. My favorite kind of project these days.


I recently finished Playing Big: Find Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message, written by Tara Mohr. Playing Big is not a just book about inspiring women to stop allowing fear to hold them back from their dreams. It also offers tools and guidance on how to move forward (leap as Tara Mohr calls it) and make changes not only in their lives but the world around them. 

I do not work outside of my home, and I do not have any current plans for starting a business. But I am always interested in learning new ways to build confidence, set goals and fulfill them, and create a better, kinder, happier environment for my family, friends, and people I come into contact with throughout my life. 

In the introduction of Playing Big, Tara Mohr writes: 

"Playing Big is about bridging the gap between what we see in you and what you know about yourself. It's a practical guide to moving past self-doubt and creating what you most want to create- whether in your career, community, or in a passion you pursue outside of work. It's not about the old-school notion of playing big- more money, more prestigious title, a bigger empire, or fame. It's about you living with a sense of greater freedom to express your voice and pursue your aspirations."

I enjoyed reading Playing Big. I especially enjoyed defining my inner critic, learning about the two different fears pachad and yirah, and the action of leaping. Playing Big will inspire you to dig deep, define what is important to you, and help you turn your hesitation into action. 

Linking up with Ginny for Yarn Along

The Amazon links are Associate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a couple pennies. I appreciate when you do that. Thank you! 
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