Versatile Blogger Award

versatile blog award!Guess what? Today I found out that Christy from the wonderful blog Frugality and Crunchiness with Christy gave me my very first blog award. Yay! Seriously, I was so excited. It was the first thing I told my husband when he walked into the room. Christy graciously nominated me for a Versatile Blogger Award! Thanks, Christy!! I feel very honored.

So, here’s how this fun award works:

  1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award.
  2. Share seven things about yourself.
  3. Pass this award along to ten bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic for whatever reason!

I thought this sounded like a lot of fun. So, here are seven random things you may or may not know about me.

  1. My husband and I got married in Italy. It was in a little town about equal distances from Florence and Sienna. It was beautiful and we had tiramisu for desert instead of a traditional wedding cake.
  2. I do not like cats. Maybe it’s the fact that I have a mild allergy to them. Maybe it’s the fact that the cat my sister had when we were growing up was SERIOUSLY evil. I don’t know, but I just don’t like them. Sorry if this offends those of you who do love cats – you are all entitled to your own opinion. But, my opinion is that I would be very happy if I never saw another cat again.
  3. I have a degree in history from Seattle Pacific University. I’ve never used it. I am terrible with dates and names and quickly forget all those details that make a good historian, but I love stories and all of the big picture stories in history fascinated me. Plus I love to read and write so this writing intensive major was an easy choice for me.
  4. One of my favorite restaurants in the world is Sansei in Hawaii. My parents, husband and I went there just last week and I remembered once again why I love this place. I could happily eat there almost every night.
  5. I can’t drink wine. I’ve tried all different kinds, but they all either give me a headache or a stuffy nose or both. I know it’s terribly sad. But, I console myself with a good gin and tonic, or a great Czech beer.
  6. Nine months ago, I gave birth at my parent’s house to my beautiful little boy, Thaddeus. You can read my whole birth story here.
  7. I love being barefoot and wish I could go barefoot every day. Sadly, I live in a climate that doesn’t accommodate that love.

Here are 10 great blogs that I’m nominating for this award:

  • Eats Well With Others – I only discovered Joanne’s wonderful blog about a month ago and I love it. She continually makes me laugh with her random witty banter. Her pictures make me duel and her recipes are delicious. She deserves all kinds of awards – The Versatile Blogger award and many others as well.
  • A Cook’s Library – Karen’s site has become a fast favorite. She lives in London and writes about seasonal, local, sustainable food. Her posts are thoughtful intelligent and one of them has even made me cry. I love her take on food and she continually inspires me.
  • PhD in Parenting – I found this blog maybe a month or two ago and it’s another one I’m really enjoying. The author lives in Germany and writes about attachment parenting and other social and parental issues.
  • Sorta Crunchy – I’ve been reading this blog just a little longer then the two above. The blogs mission statement is “to be a place of discussion and dialogue at the intersection of faith and a life more natural.” Megan writes thoughtfully about faith and family life and I feel I have learned so much from her beautiful site.
  • Forging Fromage – This is a project of my blogger friend, Heather at girlichef. It’s a blog dedicated to home cheesemaking adventures and a must read for all cheese lovers out there. There is a beautiful variety of cheeses represented and there’s always fun new recipes and challenges to check out.
  • How to Cook Like Your Grandmother – I love the idea of this site – cooking more like our grandmothers (or great-grandmothers) would surely improve much of our food habits and overall health. This blog is filled with lots of helpful how-to posts as well as great recipes and info about real food.
  • Real Food in the City – I can’t help but like this blog because not only does this author share my love for real food she also shares me name! I only found this blog a few weeks ago and haven’t fully dived into it yet, but what I’ve seen so far I am really loving.
  • The Coconut Mama – This is another blog that I haven’t fully explored yet and only recently discovered, but am really enjoying. Tiffany writes about real food and her cooking exploits often inspire me.
  • Code Name: Mama – This site is awesome. I’ve found such great information about natural parenting here. I really enjoy the positive attitude of the articles and the encouraging stories that she shares. I also love that she hosts a carnival about a natural parenting topic almost every month of the year.
  • Inspired to Action – Kat’s blog has all kinds of practical advice for parents and I’ve found it so inspiring and encouraging. She is particularly interested in raising children who are capable of changing the world.

Ok, that’s my list of bloggers I have recently discovered and am currently enjoying. Check them out for some great reading!

Thanks again to Christy for this fun award!

Rejoicing in the journey –
Bethany Stedman

If you'd like to help with medical bills or the other expenses related to Bryan's cancer or Sage's special needs click here. Thank you! We are forever so grateful to so many who have gotten us this far and continue to carry us forward. Grace and peace.

Don’t Miss a Post

Well, there are some changes happening at First off, this will be the last post that I syndicate to facebook notes – after this if you want to read the blog you will have to visit the blog or subscribe to it. The good news though is that you now have two ways you can subscribe to to ensure that you don’t miss a single post (oh, and of course, all subscriptions are free). As always you can continue to subscribe through RSS, but now you can also subscribe to me through email.

The RSS Option:

For those few of you out there who aren’t familiar with RSS already (hi, mom!) here’s a brief explanation. Basically, it’s just a format for keeping track of web content that is ever changed and updated. Instead of ‘bookmarking’ a site and having to go back and visit it regularly in order to see new content you can use an RSS Feed Reader, subscribe to a web sites RSS feed and then all you have to do is check your Feed Reader and all of the updated content from your favorite web sites will be right there, available for your viewing pleasure. Problogger has a great and really easy to understand description of RSS that I encourage you to read if you aren’t familiar with this tool already.

Personally, I think RSS is the easiest and cleanest way to keep track of your favorite blogs. All you have to do is set up an RSS Feed Reader, for example ‘Google Reader’ which is what I use. Google Reader provides a help section to get you started, but you can also just start subscribing to sites and playing around with it until you figure it out.

The Email Option:

If RSS is intimidating for you or just sounds like too much work to set up then there’s always the email option. Just click the email button on the right, put in your email address, and you’ll start receiving blog updates right in your email. It’s as easy as that.

The Bookmark Option:

I have a little confession to make, I only started using an RSS reader myself a little over a year ago, I know I tend to be a little behind the times. My husband teases me about it, but the truth is I don’t really like change, even when I know that the new thing is going to be so much better. I knew that RSS was the way to go, I knew it would save me time and effort, I knew that once I got used to it I would probably LOVE it (and I did). But, I can be pretty stubborn and set in my ways and I just didn’t want to learn a new way of doing things. So, I held off for quite a long time. Now that I’ve made the switch, though, I can’t imagine ever going back.

So, if you are like I used to be I’d encourage you to let go of the old and embrace the new, you might be really glad you did. But, there’s no pressure here and if bookmarking is what works for you then by all means continue!

Rejoicing in the journey –
Bethany Stedman

If you'd like to help with medical bills or the other expenses related to Bryan's cancer or Sage's special needs click here. Thank you! We are forever so grateful to so many who have gotten us this far and continue to carry us forward. Grace and peace.

A Recommendation: Holy Experience

A few weeks ago I discovered a blog that has truly touched my heart. I have been wanting to share this blog with you all for a while, but I’m just now finding the time to do it because this blog is different – it deserves some time. I didn’t want to just through something up and say go check out this blog, I wanted to personally introduce you. I wanted to tell you about why “I love this lady!” (as I exclaimed to Bryan after reading one of her posts).

So, why do I love Ann at Holy Experience?

Because she writes with honesty. She opens her heart. She writes with pose and emotion in her words. She writes with beauty. She shares her struggles. She shares her triumphs. She invites us all to growth just as she is growing.

Here are some posts that have particularly touched me lately:

What to Do When You Want to Give Up and Stay in Bed – this post could not have been more timely for me. It conficted me to the core. But, it was a gentle conficting. A conficting that led me somewhere and said, “come, you don’t have to live this way.” Here is an excerpt from the post:

Why can’t I remember: the state of my space doesn’t reflect the state of my soul.

I ring the dinner bell for boys to tumble to the table. This morning, even the cast iron bell in the hand feels like a millstone around the neck.

I eat breakfast in silence and I don’t know how I am going to get dressed for church, rustle up a meal for 10 when we get home from church, make it through Latin and spelling and the early Renaissance and piano scales and fractions and the three meals a day for eight people this week and the 4 loads of laundry a day and all the prayers between now and church again next Sunday.

I do the next thing. Clean off the table.

“Thank you, Lord, for the food that filled these dishes, that I am well and here and I can clean off this table.”

It sounds mechanical. And a tad lame. It is. I am doing the next thing.

Wipe the counters. And I say it aloud,

“Thank you, Lord, for water to wash off counters and that the dust bunnies around here haven’t yet grown into monsters and that the jam stuck sticky all over everything really does just wash off, and for this husband that treats me tender when I’m stuck.”

Can I feel the stirrings… the lifting?

One foot in front of the other and one murmured thanks after another and underneath the everlasting arms will hold.

Wearing a One-Piece: on the road to Calvary – This post is writen from the parspective of Mary at the cross watching as Jesus dies and contemplating the seamless robe of Christ. Here is an excerpt:

How you were slashed that our lives could be seamless — all holy.

That the veil in the temple rents in two because of You, and there is no longer a divide between the common and the hallowed and the whole earth is full of your glory and You are the continuous, unending, divine thread that weaves through all of the world, holding all together… even when you, Son, are rent apart.

And hanging naked and blood smeared and dirt defiled, You nodded slow and You said yes — You gave us your one-piece robe of seamless holiness and You clothed us, the filthy ones, in all your white righteousness.

Has Anyone Seen the Signs of the Easter People? – Here she talks about Easter being more than just a weekend or a Sunday, but a season. Easter Sunday is just the beginning.
I highly encourage you to add this blog to your blog reader. The photos, thoughts, quotes and stores will challenge you, touch your heart, and call you to worship.

Rejoicing in the journey –

If you'd like to help with medical bills or the other expenses related to Bryan's cancer or Sage's special needs click here. Thank you! We are forever so grateful to so many who have gotten us this far and continue to carry us forward. Grace and peace.

Why the Silence

Ok, so clearly I haven’t been very good about blogging lately. There is a small part of me that feels sad by that and wants to change it, but honestly the vast majority of what I feel towards my blog right now is complete indifference. In many ways I don’t really mind that I haven’t written in almost a month. But, this morning I decided I owed it to myself and those few people who continue to check this blog (even with its irregular writing), to process through why I am feeling so indifferent towards it.

When I really think about it there are quite a few things in my life that I normally love, but have lately been feeling very indifferent towards. The two most surprising and difficult being writing on the blog and spending time with friends. I think in general I have felt this growing feeling of withdrawal – an extreme drawing inward, that started almost right away when I got pregnant and has ebbed and flowed, but slowly increased until now. At 36 weeks pregnant with just a few weeks to go I feel like I should be wanting to spend time with friends while I can since soon I won’t be as free to do that, but honestly I’d rather just stay home with my husband and relax or read childbirth books. I feel like I should want to write often on the blog and enjoy the freedom of schedule that I currently have to do whatever I enjoy (which has so often in the past been writing). But, that’s not what I want; instead I have basically no desire to write here or anywhere else. This is all so strange for me, and this sort of recluse hermit-like feeling was not something I expected to feel during pregnancy. I guess it’s just one more thing on the long (and growing) list of pregnancy surprises.

But, I realized this morning that there is something else besides that feeling that is keeping me from writing and that is the previous style and topic range of this blog. Granted, it is my personal blog and I have written about a decently wide range of topics before, but generally I have stuck mostly to writing about my thoughts on church, spirituality, and God (with some occasional thoughts on yoga, art, relationships and living in Prague). Well, honestly those aren’t the types of thoughts I’m having lately. Those aren’t the topics filling my brain. Instead my thoughts are CONSUMED with pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood (mostly childbirth right now). And honestly, I’m not sure how to write about my childbirth thoughts here on this blog, it feels like they wouldn’t fit – plus I think I might scare some of you off with some of my “bohemian/hippie” ideas. And so the blog silence continues.

I write all this I guess to just help me process through it myself and also to let you all know that I am still alive, but it might continue to be a while before I really come back to blog land. And I guess to warn you that there’s a chance that when I do come back I may write about slightly different topics then those that have previously filled these blog pages – there might be a little less theology and a little more practical parenting thoughts. I don’t know yet, I guess we’ll just have to see what happens when inspiration once again strikes and I find myself once again pounding away at the keyboard filling the page with words.

Rejoicing in the journey –

If you'd like to help with medical bills or the other expenses related to Bryan's cancer or Sage's special needs click here. Thank you! We are forever so grateful to so many who have gotten us this far and continue to carry us forward. Grace and peace.

Back home in the blogosphere

Today I realized that I had over 1,000 unread blogs in my google reader. Ridiculous, I know. But, life has been such lately that not only has my blog writing suffered, but my blog reading has been pretty much none existent. But, after a few days of feeling ready to re-enter the blogosphere I think I can now officially say, yes, I’m back. Maybe not for good, and it might still be a little sporadic, but I miss blogging and reading blogs and I’m ready to come back to it. So, I marked all my unread blogs as read and I’m starting fresh, jumping back in starting today and looking forward to it. Smile.

So, expect more posts in the days and weeks to come, there are a few bouncing around in my head already. But, for now I leave you with this quote from the book He Leadeth Me by Walter J. Ciszek, S.J.:

“Now, with sudden and almost blinding clarity and simplicity, I realized I had been trying to do something with my own will and intellect that was at once too much and mostly all wrong. God’s will was not hidden somewhere ‘out there’ in the situations in which I found myself; the situations themselves were his will for me. What he wanted was for me to accept these situations as from his hands, to let go of the reins and place myself entirely at his disposal. He was asking of me an act of total trust, allowing for no interference or restless striving on my part, no reservations, no exceptions, no areas where I could set conditions or seem to hesitate. He was asking a complete gift of self, nothing held back. It demanded absolute faith: faith in God’s existence, in his providence, in his concern for the minutest detail, in his power to sustain me, and in his love protecting me. It meant losing the last hidden doubt, the ultimate fear that God will not be there to bear you up. It was something like that awful eternity between anxiety and belief when a child first leans back and lets go of all support whatever – only to find that the water truly holds him up and he can float motionless and totally relaxed. Once understood, it seemed so simple. I was amazed it had taken me so long in terms of time and of suffering to learn this truth. Of course we believe that we depend on God, that his will sustains us in every moment of our life. But we are afraid to put it to the test. There remains deep down in each of us a little nagging doubt, a little knot of fear which we refuse to face or admit even to ourselves, that says, ‘Suppose it isn’t so.’ We are afraid to abandon ourselves totally into God’s hands for fear he will not catch us as we fall. It is the ultimate criterion, the final test of all faith and all belief, and it is present in each of us, lurking unvoiced in a closet of our mind we are afraid to open. It is not really a question of trust in god at all, for we want very much to trust him; it is really a question of our ultimate belief in his existence and his providence, and it demands the purest act of faith.”

Rejoicing in the journey –
Bethany Stedman

If you'd like to help with medical bills or the other expenses related to Bryan's cancer or Sage's special needs click here. Thank you! We are forever so grateful to so many who have gotten us this far and continue to carry us forward. Grace and peace.