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.

Admiration Monday: Vina of A Nourishing Home

Today I want to tell you about a woman who has constantly encouraged me over the past few months since I found her blog. So often when I read something Vina has written my heart and soul just sigh a deep, “YES!” I feel like I can relate to her on so many levels. Today I was reading the About page on her blog and all I could think as I read was, “I want to be her friend.”

Do you ever meet someone and just feel right away that they are a long lost “bosom friend” as Anne would say, an “anamchara” (soul friend) as the Celtic saints of old would call it. I’ve never really met Vina, but that’s how I feel when I read her blog. We could be friends; I wish we were friends, and not just blogger friends. She’s one of a very small handful of bloggers who I would love to actually meet – sit across the table from and learn from in person. Although, honestly, I probably would feel way to intimidated to really meet her in person.

Vina inspires me. She is thoughtful, intentional, and intuitive. Her posts are beautiful, insightful, and intelligent. She writes with clarity and purpose. She is relatable and doesn’t hide her own insecurities, or struggles. She describes herself as a “domestically-challenged-freak-of-nature” who sometimes forgets to brush her teeth and “doesn’t really notice the dust that accumulates on top of [the] furniture.” Oh, how I can relate!

I can also deeply relate to how she describes her beliefs. I’ll let her say it because she says it so well:

I am a follower of Jesus, but I don’t readily identify with mainstream American Christianity, nor am I a huge fan of institutions and organized religions. I believe that there is more to be learned from each other, more Wisdom we can ever possibly possess if we venture out of the confines of Tradition. I am more an advocate of mothering from the heart and of listening to our children. I like the idea of growing through motherhood and marriage more than perfecting my roles in either. I advocate questions and doubts alongside faith and trust. I have a need to look to the Creator and his entire creation as my Guide. I am hopeful that I can live out the messiness of my life in a beautiful way. I trust in Redemption. I want to learn from Life with grace and humility.

Isn’t that beautiful?

Vina is also someone I feel I could learn a lot from. I feel like I can learn a lot from her parenting style, her writing style, her marriage, and all of the little stories she shares. I can relate to Vina in “my own little quiet introverted intuitive feeling perceptive way” but I also feel like she is a bit farther along in the journey than I am, so there’s so much that I can learn from her.

She has four words that guide what she writes about and that influence the journey of becoming that she is on. They are Simplicity, Authenticity, Creativity, and Generosity. Here’s what she has to say about each of them:

Simplicity

I’ve grown quite a lot in simplicity the past few years especially after having lived overseas during my post-college years. It’s also my natural bent because I am an idealist at heart and I seek after the essence of things. I want to cut through the fluff, get down to the core of Life and live from the Center. Back to the Simple and the Basics, that is all.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci

Authenticity

Authenticity is something I am just beginning to grasp on a heart level. I’ve always known the kind of person I am, but only recently am I becoming truly comfortable in my own skin. To truly embrace who I am, the good and bad, the beautiful and the ugly. Because I’m all those things.

“This above all: To thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day. Thou canst not then be false to any man.~ Hamlet, Shakespeare

Creativity

Along with that is a rediscovery of my creativity, embracing the artist and the child in me who I have lost somewhere in life. When I participate in the act of creating, I come alive. Part of our calling as human beings is to add to the Beauty in this world.

“Creativity is knowing how to hide your sources” – Albert Einstein
Generosity

And lastly, but not least is a journey towards generosity, an other-centered life. Simplicity, authenticity and creativity leads to abundance and when it overflows, it demands to be shared. I want our family to be a Life-giving force in this world. I am interested in looking at home management from a social justice and world perspective. How do our choices in our spending, eating and parenting affect the members of the bigger human family that we are all part of? How can we nourish our families in ways that are nourishing to the rest of the world as well?

“Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

(As a side note, just the fact that she included these quotes made me like her even more – I have a secret love for good quotes and have sort of collected them throughout the years).

Each of those words already had a special place in my heart before I ever discovered Vina’s blog and I really admire how she writes about them and the insight that she lends to them.

Last week Vina wrote this post about how she will be unplugging a bit for the summer. She has decided that she will be going “off the grid for the entire months of July and August except on Mondays.” On Mondays she’ll blog, comment, tweet, etc. But the rest of the summer she wants to spent time with her family and enjoy a little bit of an Internet Detox. I really admire this, and admire how she approaches unplugging for the summer. I so admire what she is doing for her heart and her family.

I unplugged from almost all social media and barely blogged at all through most of my pregnancy and firsts few months of motherhood. In many ways it was so good for me and exactly what I needed at that stage in my journey. But, lately, I’ve also been so glad to come back to it with full force.

I know from personal experience that when you don’t write often you start to lose traffic and subscribers. I don’t want that to happen to Vina and her beautiful blog. Vina is a writer who deserves to be read. So, even though she won’t be writing or commenting all that much this summer I really want to encourage all of my readers to go check out her blog. Look around, dig through her archives, read her about page, leave a comment, and SUBSCRIBE.

Vina is one of my all time favorite bloggers and I admire her so much.
A Prayer of Blessing for Vina of A Nourishing Home

Circle Vina, Jesus,
Keep peace within
and discouragement out.
Circle Vina, Spirit,
May these long days of summer be filled with laughter for her.
May all her days be filled with love and deep joy.
Circle Vina, Father/Mother of us all,
Sustain her growth in simplicity.
In authenticity, reveal to her new depths of herself, her daughter, her husband and You .
Inspire and breathe life into her creativity.
May her abundance overflow into abundant generosity.
Circle Vina, Jesus,
protect her deep heart,
guide her dreams,
quite her insecurities.
Circle Vina, Spirit,
Keep joy near,
and turmoil afar.
Circle Vina, Father/Mother,
Nourish her being,
fill her heart and home with Life.
In the name of the eternal three in one,
Bless Vina, that she might continue to bless others.
Amen.

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.

Recently Discovered Blogs

In the past week I have added a number of blogs to my Google Reader that I’m really enjoying and would love to share. But, let me start with a little preface…

In the past I have primarily read blogs about Christianity, church, theology, and the like. But, lately I don’t have much time or energy to spend thinking about theology or theorizing about church. My mental energy is instead spent on thoughts about when to start my baby on solid foods, how to get him to take good naps, what to make for dinner, and other homemaking topics. Because of this shift in focus the types of blogs that I read have also changed.

Don’t get me wrong on the rare moment when my son is sleeping soundly or my husband is watching him I still love to read and learn from blogs like Godspace and The Carnival in My Head. But, for this season in my life when I have a spare moment the blogs that I go to first have been blogs that deal with the day-to-day stuff that I’m currently thinking about. They are blogs that deal with what it means to be an intentional and thoughtful parent, what it means to eat healthy and feed your family real food, they are blogs that deal with strategies for getting organized and keeping an organized home. A few of them are food blogs that are just so beautiful that taking a few minutes out of my day to look at the pictures and dream about the food can change my whole mood.

So, here are the blogs that I’ve recently discovered and keep coming back to whenever I can between laundry, nursing, and dishes:

Nourished Kitchen

Simple Mom

A Nourishing Home

Cannelle et Vanille

Smitten Kitchen

Cooking Books

Baked Bree

Peaceful Parenting

Passionate Homemaking

Enjoy!

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.

Hopping through the Blogosphere

Ok, so today I have spent a lazy morning/afternoon catching up on blogs from some of my favorite bloggers. Because the rhythms of my life have changed a lot since the end of July I haven’t spent as much time reading people’s blogs and I realized today that I have missed out on a lot of great thoughts and ideas. It was fun to rediscover some blogs and to see what God is stirring in people. So, here’s a little round up of some of my favorite blogs from this week:

I was very moved by this Broken Blessing posted on Jonny Baker’s site. I have always been inspired by Jonny and his community’s creativity in engaging with God and with each other and I was especially touched by this blessing which was improvised during a gathering they had where they gave each person a broken piece of ceramic and then had them put it on a table making a table top out of all their broken pieces. They then served communion from the broken table. I just loved this imagery and loved the idea of giving tangible expression to inner truth like that.

I love anything that speaks about community and ways in which community is formed and things that contribute to authentic community, so it’s no surprise that the post “How Do We Form Community?” on Christine Sine’s blog caught my attention. Just last night Bryan and I were talking with some friends at dinner about interdependent in community and what community can look like. I don’t know exactly how community is/should be formed in this unique urban cross-cultural setting we live in, but I think that Christine points to a good starting point that works in any setting – cooking and sharing a meal together.

I recently read “On being a Neighborhood Church” on Jesus Manifesto where Mark Van Steenwyk explains their rather “narrow” ministry focus. They have chosen to focus their ministry on just one neighborhood in Minneapolis and I found his explanation for why to be really interesting. The thought of living in close physical proximity with the people of my spiritual community has always been appealing to me. The other day I was talking with a friend after yoga and she made the remark “it’s too bad that we don’t all live closer to each other” and I realized that it really is too bad. Engaging in true authentic day-to-day interdependent community becomes a lot harder when your community members are spread all over the city, even when that city is a city like Prague, which is fairly small and manageable with great public transportation.

I also discovered today that Amber at Homeschool Diva is “Calling All Artists”. She wants to start an Etsy store with a collection of creative work from different artists and then donating the proceeds to Lemonade International. So, if you like creating things and are interested in an opportunity to collaborate with other artists in creating for social good, check out her site and drop her a note.

Here are two companies that I found today that I thought were interesting. The first is an accessory and jewelry seller, called Sweet Notions. They clean up and repair old donated accessories to resell and then they donate the profits to charitable and socially responsible, sustainable enterprises. The second is an eclectic enterprise call The School of Life which I found INCREDABLY interesting. They describe their shop by saying it is “a place where you can try out a variety of cultural solutions to everyday ailments.” They “sell books, artworks, courses, holidays and therapeutic services.” They even offer something they call Bibliotherapy – where they will meet with you and recommend/”prescribe” books that they feell will be perfect for you. They also offer organized group meals with strangers, because they believe that “knowing how to have entertaining and meaningful conversations is a skill worth practicing.” During these dinners they provide a “specially-designed conversation menu, an easy to use guide that helps you get the most from talking to a stranger.” I found their site and the concept very entertaining and interesting.

 Well, that’s it for now. Enjoy blog hopping! J

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.

Saturday Links: All sorts of Goodness

I guess I’ll just jump right in…

My friend Tara, wrote a prayer on her blog this week. She drew from the Psalms of Ascent and the result was a beautiful psalm of her own. I encourage you to check it out as well as her other blog entries.

Chad at Blooming in Bullock wrote a blog titled A New Thing this week.  It is basically about different reactions people have to God doing “a new thing.” He writes about Isaiah 43:18-19 and I found it to be a really interesting and challenging post.

Kathy Escobar wrote on her blog this week about being safe people and safe communities. I thought she had some really good points and it was challenging to think to myself, “am I a safe place for those around me?”

Julie Clawson wrote on her blog, Onehandclapping, about Questioning God. I loved her thoughts on this. I have for a long time been a firm believer that questioning God and wresting WITH him can be a very powerful and necessary experience in the life of the believer. I also love Julie’s honesty in sharing her own life.

I recently started reading a blog called The Margins and I have really enjoyed the thoughts that I’ve found there. This week there was a post called Narrow is the road. It was a story taken from a driving experience and I found it to be a really interesting analogy. I encourage you to read it.

The Homeschool Diva is a blog that I am quickly coming to love. This week she wrote two posts about Giving children perspective on Jesus. You can find part one HERE and part two HERE. I found these very interesting and I really respect how thoughtful and intentional she and her husband are in the spiritual formation of their children. I want to be that kind of parent some day (when I have children).

I found a new blog this past week and so far I’m really enjoying the thoughts shared there. The blog is called Stepping Out of the Grey. I especially liked this post entitled Change of Plans. The thought that really stood out to me in it was “How many times do we drive or walk past someone who is experiencing the hardest or worst day or their life?”

 

Alright, I think that is it for this now. Hope you enjoy!

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.