A Random General Life Update

Well, it’s September and Love and Marriage month here on my blog is officially over – not that I won’t write about these things anymore, but the official themed month is done. This was the first time I’ve done a theme for a month and honestly it was hard for me. There were a lot of things I planned on writing about that I never got around to and there were plenty of times that I wanted to write about other things that didn’t fit with the theme.  I’m kind of glad that it’s done now and I again have freedom to write about WHATEVER.

So, today is dedicated to a little “whatever”. This is my random processing about a whole lot of things…

HEALTH

Yesterday I realized that the baby and I have been sick in one form or another (from Roseola, to food poisoning, to viruses, to bad head colds) all but about 6 days this month (and those days were pretty spread out). Literally it has been one thing after another. Usually this is a pretty good sign to me that I haven’t been listening to my body and that there are some emotional/spiritual issues I also haven’t been dealing with. Guess I should start listening…

RETURNING TO PRAGUE

We have now been back in Prague for 2 weeks – most of that time we’ve been sick. Not exactly the best way to return to a foreign country or ease our way through the culture shock. Thankfully we are finally starting to get back on Prague time and get Thaddeus to take naps and go to bed at almost normal hours… almost being the key word there. This has by far been the hardest it has ever been for me to come back to Prague. I miss the states. I miss English. I miss my family. I miss Bryan’s family. I miss all the conveniences of being in a familiar place.

FRIENDS

I’ve missed our friends here. They are what make coming back worth it. But, because we’ve been sick we haven’t seen very many people yet. Those we have seen have been so sweet though. One friend even made us a big batch of soup, which was WONDERFUL. What a blessing to not have to cook our first few days back. Then last Thursday we went over to dinner at some of our closest friends and it was just so nice to be with them and just relax with them. We need friends on this journey and I’m glad that I have the one’s I do.

MOTHERING

Lately I have sort of really hated being a mom. I mean most days this week I just feel like I’m not cut out for this. I can’t do it. It’s too much. It’s too overwhelming. It’s too constant. It’s the worst on days when Thad doesn’t sleep (which is often lately). I feel like I can’t even sit down and have a glass of water without being pulled on or screamed at. Bryan has been a lifesaver and so sweet through it all. He’s taken Thad for a little bit each day so that I can rest and get better. But, he can only do so much – he has to work too. Even with all Bryan’s help there have been multiple moments lately where I have SERIOUSLY wished that I never had a child. I know – I’m a terrible mom for even thinking these things. Like I said, I wasn’t cut out for this. I am not a natural born mama. It’s just not me.

ANIMALS

This is random, but I’ve realized more and more something else that just isn’t “me” – owning pets. I am just not an animal person. I mean I wish I was. I admire people who are. But, I’m not. I just don’t get the whole animal thing.

BLOGGING

I’ve been doing a lot of processing about the blog lately. I’ve been really struggling with what direction I want to take my blog and what type of place I want it to be. I’m realizing more and more than I’m actually not really “a blogger”. I mean I love blogging and have for years, I love writing and I do enjoy the people I meet through it. But, I’m not good at marketing my blog, I’m not consistent with my blogging, I don’t want to write in a specific theme or with a specific focus. I don’t want to spend hours upon hours a day working on my blog to make it into a business. I am realizing that I am not that kind of blogger. But, I also know that I’m not really just a personal blogger who just writes about her kids and she did that day. So, where does that put me? I’m not really sure. I guess I’m still trying to figure it out.

TWO FOR TUESDAYS BLOG HOP

Many of you who are regulars here may have noticed that I haven’t participated in/hosted Two for Tuesdays the past two weeks. I’ve been meaning to give an update on that and just keep forgetting – sorry. So, basically after much discussion and thought I’ve decided that the requirements for hosting are just too much of a commitment for me at this time. I just didn’t feel like I could do the event justice. In general I’ve been trying to weed through what aspects of blogging are really important and necessary for me and which aren’t – I have felt a little bit like blogging has started to interfere with my mothering and I don’t want that to happen. So, Two for Tuesdays was the thing that contributed most to my stress level and thus it was the thing to go. I do still love what the group is doing with it though and really like the other hosts who are involved. I do still plan on participating as a contributor whenever possible and I hope that you all will too. If you want to continue participating visit any of the hosts sites, for example, Alex at A Moderate Life.

FUTURE

I’ve felt very confused lately about the future. It looks so unclear. For so long even though the future was unclear it didn’t really bother me, I felt like I at least knew that I was where God wanted me and we would figure out the next step as it came at us. But, lately I want a plan, I want some stability. I am not 100% sure that we are where God wants us. I don’t know where He wants us to be. I feel less convinced than ever of my ability to discern that and more confused about where we should be and what we should be doing.

MARRIAGE

If you haven’t guessed from all that I’ve written already, Love and Marriage Month wasn’t exactly love and marriage month for us in real life. It was a difficult season, not an easy celebratory one. We loved each other well, and we aren’t fighting or anything, but it just feels like there’s a lot that’s been thrown at us both internally and externally lately. We’ve held hands and faced it all together, but it hasn’t left much time for turning towards each other. That’s been sad for me.

Well, that’s my random update for now. So, how are you all doing??

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.

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.

Summer Blogging Plan

Today I wanted to take a little break from the normal schedule and my normal Admiration Monday posts to tell you a little bit about what to expect from me and this space over the coming months.

July

My husband and I will be traveling in the states for the whole month of July, which means that things may be a little out of the ordinary here on my blog. So, I wanted to give you all a heads up so you know what’s going to be happening.

I value this space and the community that is just beginning to develop around it. I want to continue building that community and make this a valuable and helpful space for all of you who visit me here. I don’t want my traveling to disrupt this space too drastically (as it has in the past). So, I will continue to post regularly while I travel.

IMG_3316But, I also wants to spend my long July days twirlying with my niece (isn’t she cute!), playing hid-n-go seek with my nephews, giggling with my beautiful sisters, eating ice cream with my cousins, sharing stories with my friends, going on long walks with my husband, cuddling with my baby, and generally soaking in the sunshine and beauty that is summer. To balance these two desires I’ve decided to enlist some help, plan ahead and let a few things go.

I’ve asked some dear, beautiful friends to write some guest posts for all of you to enjoy. So, expect to see a few guest posts around here in the coming weeks. Each of the people who will be writing guest posts mean so much to me and I’m really so excited to share them with you. I can’t wait to read what they will write, and feel so blessed that they have agreed to share a little bit of themselves here on my blog.

I have also been doing a lot of writing ahead of time, so that I won’t have to write as much while traveling. Because of this I can tell you I have some fun posts coming your way. I have a series about Traveling with a 9 Month Old that will start this week, recipes like macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup, Fish Burgers, and Olive Oil Cake, posts about How to Tell a Good Bed Time Story and a little about My Education. I hope you enjoy these and many other posts that I have planned for the coming weeks.

Even though guest bloggers and good planning will lighten the load for me I know that I still won’t have as much time to devote to you all. So, I want you to know up front that it might take me a little longer than normal to moderate comments, or respond to them. It might take me a little longer than normal to respond to your emails as well. I might not comment on all of your wonderful blogs quite as often. And I may not participate in all of the blog carnivals that I normal try to engage with. Don’t worry though I will definitely still be doing Two for Tuesday!

So, that’s July.

August

I’m supper excited about what I have planned for August here on the blog…IMG_5173

August 18th will be my husband and my 5th wedding anniversary. I know it’s not really that long, but it sort of feels like the first really significant anniversary we’ve had. I love being married to my husband and I can’t wait to celebrate with him. So, I’m expanding our celebration to include this site by naming August my own personal Love and Marriage Month.

I plan on all of the posts in August having to do with Love and Marriage. I plan on sharing my husband and my story with you – how we met, got engaged and what our wedding was like. My Admiration Monday posts will be about couple’s who I admire and have learned from. I’ll feature guest posts about marriage and love (speaking of which, if you are interested in writing a guest post on this subject please contact me, I’d love to talk with you about it). And maybe also write a bit about wedding planning. But, don’t worry there will still be lots of recipes too – maybe a wedding cake recipe, or a post about foods that can be aphrodisiacs, or a romantic dinner menu, who knows what I’ll come up with once inspiration strikes.

Oh, I’m so excited! I want to go start writing posts for August right now! Focus, Bethany, focus. First things, first!

Well, that’s what the summer will look like around here. I hope you enjoy your summer as much as I know I will! And I hope that you continue to visit regularly. You all are a blessing and encouragement to me!

Rejoicing in the journey –
Bethany Stedman

Photos by Beth 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.

Admiration Mondays: Jenny at Nourished Kitchen

Quite a while back I did a regular series called Admiration Mondays and each Monday I wrote about someone that I admire. Today I’m bringing that back. I want to tell you about someone I admire:

Her name is Jenny and she’s the genius behind Nourished Kitchen.

I don’t know Jenny. In fact I don’t even know her last name, but right now she is someone I deeply admire for a number of reasons.

First, I deeply admire her food philosophy. Jenny is writes about and advocates Real Food – sustainable, unprocessed, traditionally prepared, whole foods. When I first heard about the Real/Traditional Food Movement it just made sense to me and in many ways Bryan and I already ate a primarily real food diet without even realizing it. But, it was Jenny and her beautiful site that helped me to see that there was a whole world of health and real food preparation that I had only dipped my toes in. Hers was the first real food blog that I discovered. She gave me the information and the courage I needed to start soaking, souring and sprouting our grains. She gave me the motivation to try and find natural, real food sweeteners here in the Czech Republic. She gave me the inspiration I was looking for when it came time to start feeding my son solid foods. There are a lot of truly wonderful real food bloggers out there (Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Food Renegade, Nourishing Days, The Nourishing Cook and Kitchen Stewardship are just a few examples that come to mind and I’ve learned so much from each one), but, for me, Jenny will always seem like the Queen of Real Food.

Second, I really admire her blog itself and how she seems to approach blogging. She writes quality posts with beautiful pictures. Her site is clean, easy to navigate, and beautifully designed. She has great branding – I really love the Nourished Kitchen logo. Her site isn’t cluttered with ads, but I know that she does make some profit from her blog, which I think is great and she really deserve its. I also love that she gives away some of what she makes from the blog to a food related charity or organization advocating real food.  I really admire her blog. It’s an inspiration to me and I’m sure to many other bloggers out there as well. I’m quite certain that my blog will never be on par with Jenny’s, but it’s still my “shoot-for-the-moon” bench mark for the place I would dream about my blog becoming.

There are a lot of admirable people in the blogosphere and a lot of admirable bloggers out there, but Jenny at Nourished Kitchen holds a special place in my heart, so I just had to share her with you today.

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 –
Bethany

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.