Books

Seven Years Later…

7 YEARS LATER - YOU NEVER KNOW WHERE YOUR STORY WILL TAKE YOU...

 

I was looking at my calendar last week, and I realized that it was seven years ago that my world came crashing down around me. My mind wandered back to that awful night in November when I discovered the heartbreaking truth about my first marriage. I had been so busy working on exciting new things that I had forgotten about that particular anniversary.

 

Seven years. Wow.

 

Chapter 5

 

I’ve taken some time since then to ponder all that has happened in the last seven years, and I am in awe. I never would have dared to dream about where this story would take me.

 

Seven years ago…

My Littlest Gift - justoneoftheboys.com

 

I was broken.

The future seemed hopeless.

I felt so alone.

I had three scared little faces looking up at me for reassurance.

I had to be strong… for them.

 

Seven years later…

Boys at St. Louis Arch

 

My heart has continued to heal a little more each day.

I have hope – wild and beautiful hope for the future – and now I get to share it with others.

I have learned that I’m not alone, and sharing the darkest parts of my story lets me help others know that they aren’t alone on this journey either.

There are three growing boys smiling back at me.

When I can’t be strong, I have my faith and the arms of my Beloved, family, and friends to hold me up until I can walk again.

 

Family at the Chicago Bean

 

The world which once felt so dark, scary, and lonely is opening up right in front of me! Somebody needs to pinch me, because I can’t believe what I’m about to tell you – 2016 is shaping up to be an exciting year…

 

I’m going to KENYA in July!

 

And then I’m going to southern INDIA in September!

 

Everything has happened so quickly – but I am beyond thrilled to be joining our church in the work they are doing in both places. After years of learning about the situations and struggles that women and girls face in both countries, praying, and wondering what in the world a little mom from Kansas could do to help – I feel like it’s all getting plopped down right in my lap! I get to work with amazing women who are going through some of the very same struggles that we face. These women are just like us – they need to feel that they are seen, loved, and accepted for who they are. They need friendship, community, and security. Many of them are in abusive relationships. Many of them know the pain of their husbands being unfaithful in their marriages. These are male-dominated societies where women and girls are not valued, and my heart is aching for them.

 

My friend Joy told me stories of women who have to attend secret church services so their husbands do not realize that they are Christians. Sometimes the husbands will follow the wives to church – and beat them right in the middle of the church service. For their faith. It was when my friend told me about this that I immediately felt my heart drawn to these women. Seven years ago I didn’t have a voice, but healing, growing, and those who poured into my life were my voice until I found it again. My heart’s desire is to be the voice for others who can’t speak up for themselves, and to give them hope while they find their own voices again. Joy’s sister Elishba let me use her photo of one of these secret church services…

 

Madurai church - women

 

This is Nalini. She is one of these precious ladies. When her husband found out that she attended church services, he would beat her and lock her out of the house at night so she had to sleep in the street. Thankfully, her husband has been changing and she has been able to attend services without any trouble from him recently.

 

Nalini

 

Dear friends, these women and girls are our sisters, and I hope that we will all stand with them in support. We’re all on this journey together!

 

Joy and Ginger

 

Another exciting piece of news is that my lovely friend Joy is translating many of my blog posts into her native Tamil language – to be a book!!! Her father is the pastor of the church above – and they want to share our story with the women in their city. I am still in awe of how things are coming together! I have been busy editing and putting together our blog posts into a manuscript for Joy to translate – and then share with whomever can be encouraged by it.

 

This is what I’ve been doing lately – printing, playing around with the order of the chapters, and editing with my handy red pen…

Manuscript

 

*Sidenote – Isn’t my new African journal beautiful? My friend Toni from Red Pen Travelers did a fabulous job – and I can’t wait to take it with me on my travels! She will be making leather India journals in a few months to help support my trip to India! Check them out for yourself – her notebooks would make perfect Christmas presents!

 

African Journal - Red Pen Travelers

 

I am so excited to share all of this with you because you NEVER KNOW what the future holds. You never know how your story can be used to touch someone else’s heart. To you, my friends, who are hurting right now – when you feel like you’re being pulled under by the unrelenting waves of your own pain, please know that there really is hope. There’s no telling who you might help by sharing your story with someone going through their own storm.

 

Seven years ago I never could have dreamed that one day my story of feeling so broken and alone would help anyone – especially women in other parts of the world. I feel so humbled that this Kansas girl gets to take a message of hope to our sisters in India and Kenya next year. I can’t wait to throw my arms around them and let them know how loved they are. Just like you, my friends, I want them to know that they are seen, they are loved, and they are not alone.

 

I am so honored to get to spend part of your day with you. Thank YOU for going on this journey with me!

Love & hugs,

~ G

 

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What I’m Into ~ June 2015 Edition

What I'm Into ~ June 2015 Edition

 

Happy July, friends! Are y’all having a good summer so far? I’m wishing that these summer days would slow down a little. It feels like it is flying by much faster than I’d like – but I guess that’s just a challenge to be present and soak it all in!

 

It’s that time again – time to join the lovely Leigh Kramer in rounding up what we’ve been into in June. I love checking out all the awesome blog posts to find new ideas for books to read, movies to watch, and things to enjoy! Grab a glass of lemonade, curl up in the air condition, and check them out!

 

 Pretty Things ~

 

I could give up shopping, but I'm not a quitter! ~ justoneoftheboys.com

 

I saw this sign at a local consignment boutique, and I just had to snap a picture for Instagram!

 

Purple GUESS booties ~ justoneoftheboys.com

 

 

And speaking of consignment stores, I found these purple GUESS booties on clearance at one of my favorite local consignment shops for only $8! They were begging me to bring them home – and I just couldn’t resist! Now I can’t wait for cooler weather so I can wear them!

 

Vintage train case turned into a makeup case! ~ justoneoftheboys.com

 

 

I’ve been looking for a better way to store my makeup. I don’t have very much in the way of cosmetics, but I was outgrowing my little antique bowl. I hated that brushes and blush would fall out of the container, and it was leaving me feeling disorganized – which is not now I want to start the day.

 

I started browsing Pinterest for ideas, but nothing seemed to fit my needs. It was then that I remembered a vintage train cases! Many of them had small mirrors and trays – perfect for a retro woman on-the-go! I found this one on eBay. It’s faux leather, and in awesome condition! Someone replaced the fabric in the bottom of the case – it’s rather groovy now – but once I set my plastic tiered organizer inside, I couldn’t see it any more. It’s been the perfect solution to my makeup organizing woes. It has plenty of room for my small-ish collection, and a little more room to grow. *Wink* And I couldn’t be more thrilled!

 

Date night decisions - boots or wedges? ~ justoneoftheboys.com

 

We had a couple of date nights this month! I sent out a plea for help on Facebook and Instagram one night when I couldn’t decide which shoe to wear to our mystery date with a group of friends from church. I ended up picking the boots because I learned that our date was outside, and I didn’t want to be teetering around in heels when I didn’t know what we were going to do. We ended up going to an awesome little airport that also has a restaurant attached. We watched bi-planes take off and land as we devoured burgers and visited. What fun! Have you ever been on a mystery date?

 

What I’m Read in June~

 

Scary Close, by Donald Miller – I was excited to finally get my hands on his newest book! I’m introverted by nature, and tend to be pretty guarded – too guarded – to protect myself from the hurt of others, but this helped me to see that I am not gaining anything by keeping people from getting close to me. It was an eye-opener, for sure!

 

Still Alice ~ justoneoftheboys.com

 

Still Alice, by Lisa Genova – Wow. This one really got to me. I felt as though I was getting an unveiled look into what it must be like to have Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. I’m a stickler for reading the book before seeing the movie, so now I’m excited to finally see the film soon!

 

The Life-Chaging Magic of Tidying Up ~ justoneoftheboys.com

 

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo – Now I know what all the fuss was about! This was a fabulous little book – so challenging and inspiring! I wasn’t even through the book yet when I purged a large portion of my closet. I have been hanging on to clothes and jewelry that I never wear. Even though my things were well organized, I didn’t realize how much the “clutter” of having more things than I need was affecting me. I love walking into my newly purged closet and seeing ONLY the clothes that I enjoy wearing. There’s also something much less stressful about knowing that whatever you pull out of your closet is going to feel good, look good, and boost your confidence.

 

Dear Mr. Knightley, by Katherine Reay – This had been sitting on my Kindle for several months, but it wasn’t until my friend Crystal from Money Saving Mom recommended this book to me that I finally started reading it. It was perfect to read by the pool when the boys began swimming lessons. It was heartwarming, thoughtful, and kept me engaged through the last page. It was just light and fluffy enough for summer, while inspiring me as a writer!

 

 

Reading in July ~

 

What I'm Reading - June 2015  justoneoftheboys.com

 

Love Walked In, by Marisa de los Santos – I’ve spent the last 10 nights trying to read this book before bed, but I kept falling asleep and losing my place! I picked it up this morning on our way out the door for swimming lessons, and by the time our hour was up, I thought the story was pretty promising!

 

The Husband’s Secret, by Liane Moriarty – I finished (and LOVED) Big Little Lies over Memorial weekend, and decided to dive into this one in July!

 

Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – I keep hearing over and over again what a wonderful book this is – so I used our Audible credit for the audio version to listen to this month! I recently watched Chimamanda give a commencement speech online, and was so moved, that I had to move it up on my to-read list!

 

Stories I Only Tell My Friends, by Rob Lowe – I’ve had this one on my radar for a while. I enjoy celebrity memoirs, and I’ve heard this one is especially good. I remembered recently while ordering other books from the library – so I just added it to the ever-growing stack. So many books, so little time!

 

The Kill Artist, by Daniel Silva – This one comes highly recommended by my friend Ashley. She loves spy books, and it sounds like this is the first one in the series. I loved the Bourne books, so I’m excited to step into this series!

 

A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness – Our oldest has to do a book report over the summer and hand it in when he starts middle school in August. The book has to be over 150 pages, have literary merit, and be written between 2005 – 2015. We looked up lists of the best YA books, and this one piqued his interest. He flew through it, and was excited to get started on his book report – so I had to add it to my list to read this month!

 

Feathering My Nest ~

 

I finally tackled our middle son’s room this month. I’d only put it off for nearly *cough* four years *cough*! I had procrastinated because the former owners had put up a wallpaper border (blue flowers, btw) near the ceiling, and THEN painted the rest of the walls up to the line of the wallpaper. When I steamed and removed the flower border, it left a definite and unsightly line of demarcation.

 

That’s when I got out the spackle and filled in the area around the line, and the other areas that needed a quick layer.

 

Boy's room mid-project - rock wall, hanging ladder ~ justoneoftheboys.com

 

Then I sanded the whole room – and ended up with gray hair to show for it! Thankfully it washed right now. Whew!

 

DIYers gone wild! Gray hair! ~ justoneoftheboys.com

 

I put up a few paint samples around his room, and let him choose his favorite. He chose this gorgeous color from Benjamin Moore – Hudson Bay.

 

I love Benjamin Moore colors, but I’ve always been so impressed with the durability and coverage of Behr’s Ultra primer and paint in one, so I had it mixed at Home Depot. I finished it in one day, and applied a few touch-ups the next morning before moving his furniture back into place. Now he has a brand new room!

 

And look how good his Ninja Warrior equipment looks against the new wall color!

 

Navy blue boy's room! A rock wall and a hanging ladder are a great way for little boys to get out their energy! Benjamin Moore Hudson Bay ~ justoneoftheboys.com

 

I’ll be sharing more about Aiden’s room makeover soon! Next up, Quinn’s room is going to get a fresh new look! I just might get started weekend!

 

What about you?

 

What have you been up to lately? Have you read any good books? Watched a fantastic movie? I can’t wait to hear about it!

 

As always, thank you so much for spending a little bit of your day with me. Your encouragement and comments mean the world to me! You can also find me on FacebookInstagramPinterest, and Twitter. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Until next time,

*Hugs*

~ G

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What I’m Into ~ May 2015 Edition

What I'm Into May 2015

 

Once again it’s time to link up with the lovely Leigh Kramer and gab about what we’ve been into this month – (er, the past couple of months in my case)! Be sure to check out all of the wonderful links for the best book ideas, movie and tv reviews, and more!

 

My Birthday ~

Last month I celebrated my 34th birthday. The thirties have been hard for me, but this year wasn’t so bad. I welcomed it – and somehow 34 didn’t feel quite as daunting. Maybe that’s because I’ve been working so hard to take better care of myself, pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and finding out who I really am as a woman.

 

It probably helped that I had started an exercise routine 30 days before my birthday. I was feeling squishy, tired, achy, and self-conscious about how my clothes weren’t fitting very well. I had melted into a puddle of tears more than once, but I have a wonderful Beloved who pulled me into his arms and assured me that he loved me exactly how I was. I was inspired to stop moping and actually do something about it, so I began the 30 Day Shred exercise program, then progressed into trying PIYO.

 

I’m getting stronger, leaner, and more energized – which helped me to usher in this birthday with a smile.

 

Book Exchange Parties ~

 

I wish that I had snapped a picture from the other night! I hosted a white elephant book exchange party for the ladies of our new church – and I think everyone enjoyed themselves! My friend Kaila and I handed out invitations printed out on vintage-ish library check-out cards, and everyone brought snackies to munch on. We took turns picking out a wrapped book and finding out which books had impacted our friends.

Here are some of the AWESOME books that were shared:

The Chronicles of Narnia

For Men Only

For Women Only

The Pact

Sacred Marriage

Gods at War (I ended up with this one!)

Harriet the Spy

The Best Yes

One Thousand Gifts

Me Before You (This was my contribution to the evening’s festivities!)

 

And Speaking of Books…

 

Look at what my Beloved and our boys gave me for Mother’s Day!

 

Unfinished bookshelf

 

They really do know what speaks to my heart – a special place for my antique books!

 

Finished bookshelf

 

Future Hope ~

 

I am so excited about the work that my friend Katie is doing in Haiti with Future Hope Haiti! Her heart has been moved and she is working toward bringing hope to the people of Haiti! I love supporting them any way I can, and I won a t-shirt! One look at it, and my oldest son asked if he could have one, too. I’ll probably end up giving him mine. I love that he’s excited to spread the word of the work going on in Haiti!

 

Future Hope shirt

 

I love wearing my coconut earrings and bracelet from Future Hope! They go with absolutely everything!

 

Future Hope Jewelry

 

I love mine so much that I gave away a pair of coconut earrings on Facebook last week for my birthday! The giveaway went over so well that we just might have another one! Stay tuned!

 

Future Hope Earrings

 

 

Celebrating Being Seizure-Free!

 

Our middle son is officially finished with taking his epilepsy meds! He was declared seizure-free at his last EEG, and has been weaning off the medication. Our family celebrated this HUGE milestone with him – and we couldn’t be prouder for all of his hard work! He helped me write this post:

 

5 Things You Should Know About Absence Seizures

Crashing Into Grace ~

 

I had the unfortunate experience of backing into my Beloved’s car last month. I felt absolutely horrible about my mistake – and I managed to flog myself pretty well for not being more careful. It was my family who surrounded me with love and forgiveness that taught me the most important lesson of all:

 

Sometimes the best thing a mom can do for her family is to give herself grace. ~ justoneoftheboys.com

 

The End of the School Year ~

 

Quinn hat

 

Things have been pretty crazy around here lately! We finished up our school year, and it seemed even busier than in past years. My blogging took a back seat, but as life slows down a little this summer I’ll be able to share a little more of our story with you!

 

 

Books I’ve Read in April & May ~

 

I didn’t get to read as many books as usual. With getting up so early, I’ve found myself going to bed earlier and earlier – unable to keep my eyes open to read at night, but I did manage to get through a few!

 

The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett – LOVED IT! Can’t wait to finally watch the film!

 

Glitter and Glue, by Kelly Corrigan – Another great book by Kelly Corrigan. This memoir focused more on her relationship with her mom, and it made me laugh and cry.

 

Hands Free Mama, by Rachel Macy Stafford – I’m going through this one slowly and soaking it up… Convicting and inspiring at the same time, and it’s helping me to stop and really be in the moment with my family.

 

Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty – WOWZERS! I loved her book What Alice Forgot, but when I started her newest story, I couldn’t get past the first few chapters. I had pretty much given up, but I’m so glad that my friend Jeri encouraged me to push through and keep reading. I’ve shared parts of my story with y’all, and I could relate to each of the three main characters in some ways. When I clicked past the last page on my Kindle, I couldn’t move. I couldn’t even cry. I just sat and soaked it all in – there were so many memories and emotions flowing through me. It was a good thing, honest! A fascinating page-turner, it also nudged me to dig deep and face some painful corners of my past.

 

Reading in June ~

 

Do Over, by John Acuff

 

Scary Close, by Donald Miller

 

Love Walked In, by Marisa De Los Santos – and if I enjoy it, I have the sequel ready to read, too – Belong to Me.

 

Gods at War, by Francis Chan

 

The Marriage of Chani Kaufman, by Eve Harris

 

 

What About You?

 

What have you been into lately? Have you read any good books? Watched any must-see TV? Found any great bargains? I’d love to hear all about it! I’m always looking for good recommendations for books, movies, and more! You can find me here, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest! I’d love to connect with you!

Wishing you an exquisite month of June, dear friends!

*Hugs*

 

~ Ginger

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What I’m Into ~ March 2015 Edition

Is it really that time again? The month of March has come to an end, and we’re back with the lovely Leigh Kramer and sharing what we’ve been into this past month! Are y’all ready for spring? As much as I love boot and leggings weather, I’m pretty happy to feel the warmth of the sun on my skin and soak up the feeling of everything being new and fresh again!

 

What have you been into this month? I just love seeing what everyone is reading, watching, and up to! Call me nosey! I’m always looking for a new movie or series to watch with my Beloved, or on my own for some much-needed girl time! And I love adding to my GoodReads list with new books to devour. Are we GoodReads buddies yet? I hope so!

 

So here’s what I’ve been into this month…

 

Spending time outside ~

 

Since the weather has warmed up, everything is getting green and lovely again! I’ve been perching with a book on my bench outside while I listen to the boys play basketball in the driveway or ride their bikes. I love this time of year… until my allergies hit! Ahhhhhh…CHOO! Have you found anything to help with seasonal allergies? I’m trying Claritin this year, but I’m thinking I might have to get out the dreaded NetiPot!

 

What I'm Into

 

Taking Back My Health ~

 

In preparation for my 34th birthday coming up this month, I decided to tackle the 30 Day Shred and 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene! I shared a few of my thoughts on the first week earlier this week… Will this help me welcome the next year with a bang, or will it kill me first?!

 

Take a Little Time for You! header

 

Read in March ~

 

I’m a little in awe of how many books I read this past month. I had been feeling a little homesick for diving into good books, and I spent quite a bit of time getting back to one of my first loves – reading. I felt like I had been given an IV and felt so much more refreshed, invigorated, and like myself when I give myself time to read. Do you know what I mean, or am I just a weirdo? Anybody? Bueller? Nevermind. *wink*

 

Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, by Laura Ingalls Wilder – I have been waiting my whole life for this book! I can’t tell you how much I loved reading her original Pioneer Girl manuscript, and the added notes on each page that went into deeper detail of the history of Little House and the interaction between Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane.

 

Pioneer Girl, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

 

Unstoppable: Running the Race You Were Born to Win, Christine Caine – An amazing friend mailed me her copy after she read it, knowing how much this book would touch my heart. I could have underlined every word. There were so many areas that were convicting, encouraging, and inspiring – and it really lit a fire in my heart!

 

Unstoppable

 

Surprised by Motherhood, by Lisa-Jo Baker – This one had been on my radar for quite a while. I put out a plea on Facebook to see if any local friends had it to borrow, and people ended up suspecting that I was pregnant! Yikes! A dear friend sent me a copy, and I have really treasured my early morning quiet time reading this sweet book every morning. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and have been recommending it to every mom I know! This would be a PERFECT Mother’s Day gift for the special ladies in your life!

 

Surprised by Motherhood - an awesome book by Lisa-Jo Baker

 

Surprised by Motherhood, by Lisa-Jo Baker

 

On Writing, by Stephen King – I read this back in 2013, but decided that it was time for a refresher. I loved this book EVEN MORE this second time through it. I am a very new King fan. I’ve never read any of his scary books. I started 11/22/63 a while back, but had to take it back to the library before I got into it, but I think I’m going to give it another try soon! His years of honing his craft, the advice for new writers, and learning more about his life was surprisingly both entertaining and inspiring!

 

On Writing

 

Fooling Houdini, by Alex Stone – I’ve always been curious about magic. I mostly flipped through this book before I had to take it back to the library. I found his explanations pretty interesting, and I’d love to know more about the way our brains see what they want to see when it comes to illusions!

 

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, by Caitlin Doughty – I’ve seen this pop up on many to-read lists recently, and it was finally my turn on the library hold list. She had some really crazy stories about working in cremation!

 

I’ll Drink to That, by Betty Halbreich – Shauna Niequest recommended this in a recent blog post, and I was excited to see it available at our library. This lady is the fashion guru to the NYC elite, and she has led a fascinating life.

 

Astonish Me, by Maggie Shiptstead – I always love learning more about the world of ballet. This story jumps around to different dears and lives that all intertwine. There’s a love triangle, drug use, depression, and the Nutcracker. Kinda crazy. I skimmed through the last few chapters, wanting to know how it turned out, but not wanting to read through every single line. I’ve been in the mood for more comedy lately, and this one just wasn’t cutting it.

 

The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You, by Jessica N. Turner – This was another great book! I loved reading it at night and thinking about how I can better use the “fringe hours” in my own life as I fell asleep at night. I’ve already recommended it to a friend, and I’m sure that my copy will be out on loan quite a bit!

 

The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart about Money, by Ron Lieber – A very different look at teaching kids about money! Loved mulling over different ideas and talking with my Beloved about them. I think this is one we should get for our collection someday. I was sad to take it back to the library!

 

The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins – I listened to half of this book while I was on a road trip by myself, and then I finished it while going on walks or doing the dishes after the boys were in bed. It’s in the same family as Gone Girl, but not quite as messed up. If you’re looking for a page-turning thriller, this is a good place to start!

 

The Middle Place, by Kelly Corrigan – This is the first book I’ve read from Kelly Corrigan. I really enjoyed her Medium Foreword interview series, and I wanted to get to know HER a little better. I’d heard awesome things about this book before, but I had avoided it because it dealt with cancer. Because of how cancer came into our family, I hadn’t wanted to “go there” just yet, but I’m really glad I went ahead and read her story.

 

Help Me, Jesus! I Have Nothing to Wear!: The Go-To Guide for All Shapes and Sizes, by Shari Braendel – A fun look at clothes, fit, and color! This stuff fascinates me. I love the science behind why our bodies are the shape that we are, and why color does or doesn’t work on a certain skin tone. With my olive-ish complexion and a straight up and down shape (complete with a bit of a muffin top), and it can be difficult to find the exact shade or fit for my body. I loved her explanations and ideas on new colors. It is easy for me to get stuck in a rut – but she inspired me to shop my own closet and use things in new ways!

 

 

Reading in April ~

 

The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett – I saw my friend Andrea reading this a few weeks ago and it piqued my interest!

 

The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood – I can’t believe that I’ve never read Margaret Atwood, but I recently watched her interview with Medium Foreword, and decided that I had to remedy that in April!

 

Emotional Blackmail, by Susan Forward

 

Glitter and Glue, by Kelly Corrigan

 

Unfamiliar Fishes, by Sarah Vowell

 

In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote

 

 

Screen Time ~

 

This month my Beloved and I watched House of Cards, Blacklist, and March Madness! I’m a Kansas Jayhawk fan, so I was pretty disappointed when they were knocked out by our in-state rivals Wichita State University. Humbug.

 

I finally got around to watching Capote. Philip Seymore Hoffman is beyond amazing in it.

 

I tried to watch The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, but I fell asleep. It seemed to interesting that maybe I’ll give it another shot this month when I’m not so tired.

 

On the Blog ~

 

I shared a very personal and painful look at forgiveness

 

Forgiveness

 

 

I shared my very first VLOG with you and asked for your help

 

We talked about what THEY don’t tell you about parenting

 

What They Don't Tell You - Parenting Over the Years

 

 

I shared 7 simple ways to help when a friend is hurting

 

Dear Ginger

 

Gave you a peek into a day in the life of a #BoyMom

 

It takes a lot more than that to scare me - I have boys!

 

 

And had fun designing several #boymom photos! (Click here to see more!)

 

Yes, I do have my hands full... #boymom

 

If I step on one more LEGO, so help me... #boymom

 

Put your weapons down and eat your breakfast! #boymom

 

No, Mommy doesn't have one of those... #boymom

 

 

What About YOU?

 

I’d love to know what you’ve been up to this month! Have you read any good books? Watched a must-see movie? I’d love to hear all about it!

You can find me here, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest! I’d love to connect with you!

 

Wishing you an exquisite month of April!

*Hugs*

 

~ Ginger

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What I’m Into ~ February 2015 Edition

What I'm Into February 2015 Edition

It’s that time again! Time to link up with the lovely Leigh Kramer and dish about books, movies, and so much more of what we’ve been into in February!

 

What I’ve Been Into ~

Time with friends.

A friend and I went to see Nadia Bolz-Weber speak at Bethanny College this month!

I also had coffee with a treasured friend recently, and came away with my heart so encouraged.

And I enjoyed a monthly dinner with a group of women that have become such gifts in my life. We are memorizing the first chapter of James together as a group – and check out the cute bookmarks our friend Ashley made to help us during the month!

Bible Verses

 

Copper mugs.

My Beloved gave me a beautiful set of copper mugs for Valentine’s Day. Copper. It’s my love language. And so are Girl Scout cookies.

copper mug

 

Taking better care of myself.

I came up with a list of 101 ways to take a little time for ourselves – and each week I am focusing on 5 simple and free (or nearly free) ways that I can do just that. It’s helping me in so many ways!

Click on the photo to receive YOUR free copy!

 

101 Ways

 

Counting my blessings.

I recently began writing down or taking pictures of three things I am grateful for throughout the day. I love my little Gratefulness journal from my friend in Zambia!

African journal

 

What I’ve Been Reading ~

Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott – Perfection. Enough said.

Books that Stick ~ Bird by Bird

 

The Ship of Brides, by Jojo Moyes – I’ll be finishing this one up over the weekend. I didn’t know much about the war brides from Australia in WWII before reading this story. Me Before You is still my favorite book by Jojo Moyes, but I still enjoyed this one!

 

Love and Respect, by Emerson Eggerichs – My Beloved and I have been reading this aloud to each other, and it has been so helpful to understand how each of us perceives love from one another!

 

Shoal of Time, by Gavan Daws – I’ve learned way more about Hawaiian history than I ever thought possible. The stories and the legends about these beautiful islands are captivating.

 

The Betrayal of Liliuokalani: Last Queen of Hawaii, by Helena Allen – Queen Liliuokalani has become one of my heroes. She led a fascinating life, and I wish that more people knew about this incredible lady!

 

An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith, by Barbara Brown Taylor – This was my first Barbara Brown Taylor book, and I enjoyed the reverent and intentional look at faith as I read it each morning during my quiet time.

 

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography, by Neil Patrick Harris – I’ve been a fan of NPH for a long time, and his “choose your own adventure” approach to writing his memoir was refreshing and so entertaining!

 

Reading in March ~

Surprised by Motherhood, by Lisa-Jo Baker – This one has been on my radar for quite a while. I put out a plea on Facebook to see if any local friends had it to borrow, and people ended up suspecting that I was pregnant! Yikes!

 

The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood – I can’t believe that I’ve never read Margaret Atwood, but I recently watched her interview with Medium Foreword, and decided that I had to remedy that in March!

 

On Writing, by Stephen King – I read this back in 2013, but decided that it was time for a refresher. I am continuing my quest to do my “homework” each month and read/learn more about writing.

 

Fooling Houdini, by Alex Stone – I’ve always been curious about magic, and this book is supposed to reveal how we see/don’t see the tricks they are doing right under our nose.

 

The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett – I saw my friend Andrea reading this a few weeks ago and it piqued my interest!

 

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, by Caitlin Doughty – I’ve seen this pop up on many to-read lists recently, and it was finally my turn on the library hold list!

 

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, by Ann Patchett – Another story that has been on my radar for a while…

 

I’ll Drink to That, by Betty Halbreich – Shauna Niequest recommended this in a recent blog post, and I was excited to see it available at our library!

 

Screen Time ~

My Beloved and I watched the latest installment of The Hobbit (which I thought was so-so), The Imitation Game (Excellent!), and The Theory of Everything (Fantastic!).

We watched the Parks & Rec finale last night. *sniff*  I fell asleep for a few minutes and missed Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe, so I’ll be going back to watch that part!

Anybody else excited for the return of House of Cards this weekend?!

I mentioned earlier that I discovered Kelly Corrigan’s interview series Medium Foreword last week, and I quickly went through the few videos they have so far: B.J. Novak, Margaret Atwood, Jason Segel, Mary Roach, and Anne Lamott. I read somewhere that an interview with Nicholas Kristof is coming up soon. That should be good!

 

What About You? ~

What have you been into this month? Read any good books? Watched a must-see movie? Anything I should check out on Netflix once we’ve devoured all of the new House of Cards season? I’d love to hear all about it!

 

Wishing you an exquisite month of March,

~ Ginger

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What I’m Into ~ January 2015 Edition

Hiya, Friends! It’s that time again – time to share in Leigh Kramer’s fabulous link-up – What I’m Into! I just love going through the other links and finding out what everyone has been reading, watching, eating, and into over the last month! I’ve found some of my new favorite blogs and people this way! So grab a fluffy blanket and a cup of tea, and let’s dish about January!

 

Mama’s Got a Brand New Bag!

My Beloved and our boys gave me an Etsy gift card for Christmas – and I finally found the perfect thing to get with it! It’s a purse/messenger bag that just happens to be made out of a coffee sack! I had another purse sort of similar, but it wasn’t as well-lined as this one. This one has pockets inside, plenty of room for my laptop, and a sturdy strap! I get compliments whenever I take it out – and I couldn’t be happier!

new purse

Check out the Etsy seller Sublime Surprises for more of her beautiful bags! Shipping was super fast, and she was a dream to work with!

 

Last Month’s Reading ~

 

January books

 

Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen, by Queen Liliuokalani – Wow. I’m a history nerd, but I had no idea about the incredible life this woman lived! Definitely one of my favorite memoirs, and it has fueled my interest in learning more about Hawaiian history and culture!

Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint, by Nadia Bolz-Weber – Y’all. Now I understand all the fuss around this book. This book is not for everyone, but I really enjoyed her rich storytelling and fresh look at life, pain, addiction, and the church! And guess what??? She’s coming to Kansas THIS WEEK!!! And guess where I’m going??? Yep! My friend Andrea and I are going to have a little mommy road trip to go listen to her speak, and I couldn’t be more excited! Some girl time with my wonderful friend AND getting to listen to Nadia speak – Sounds like an awesome night to me!

Plot and Structure, by James Scott Bell – I learned so much about structuring a story this month! I probably highlighted straight up half of this book for future reference, but I feel as though I have a better grasp and understanding of what goes into a GOOD story, and why some things tend to work while others don’t work.

Essentialism, by Greg Mckeown – While I learned quite a bit about analyzing whether or not things in my life are essential, it wasn’t my favorite read of the month. I wanted so much to love this book – but it just didn’t hit it out of the park for me.

The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield – I breezed through this one. Full of quotes to get you fired up about living creatively, it was fine – but it’s probably not going to be one of my all-time favorites.

 

February’s Reading ~

Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott – I’m continuing my quest to grow and learn as a writer. You can’t go wrong with Saint Anne! Every time I read her book I learn something new, and I’m already absorbing new things as I’m only a few chapters into it!

Books that Stick ~ Bird by Bird

 

The Ship of Brides, by Jojo Moyes – My friend Jan (Hi, Friend!) lent me her copy of this book yesterday at PE class. I love everything else that I’ve read from the author of Me Before You, so I’m excited to get started!

Love and Respect, by Emerson Eggerichs – I mentioned HERE that my Beloved and I are re-reading this one together.

Shoal of Time, by Gavan Daws – A history of Hawaii, this one looks captivating!

The Betrayal of Liliuokalani: Last Queen of Hawaii, by Helena Allen – I’m telling you, I can’t get enough of this Queen. Her life was fascinating, and I can’t wait to learn more about this brave woman!

Liliu08

And if I finish those books, I have plenty of books to dive into:

A Prayer for Owen Meany, Found, Hands Free Mama, Essentialism, Fooling Houdini, and more! So many books, so little time…

What have you been reading lately? I’d love to hear all about it!

 

Screen Time ~

Like almost everyone else on my Facebook feed, I watched the Parenthood finale last night. *sniff, sniff*

My Beloved and I watched Unbroken and American Sniper. Both were pretty difficult to watch – American Sniper especially for this military wife. But I thought that both were very well done. I’ve read and enjoyed Unbroken, but I might see if I can borrow my dad’s copy of American Sniper to learn more about Chris Kyle’s life.

I watched the first part in the documentary A Path Appears this past week, and again my heart feels so burdened by the stories that Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn! I love seeing the work that people are doing all over the world to free women who are enslaved in trafficking, and I can’t wait to see what things are spotlighted next week.

 

On the Blog ~

(Just click on the photos below…)

This month we revamped a series – Take a Little Time for YOU!

Take a Little Time for You! header

 

My friend Tammy shared 25 things she learned in 25 years of marriage ~

25 Lessons Learned from 25 Years of Marriage

 

I shared a few of my favorite links from around the web ~

This & That

 

We began a new series – Yours, Mine & Ours: Blending Families. This first part in the series focused on my 10 Favorite Books on Remarriage and Blending Families!

Yours, Mine & Ours- Blending Families

 

I shared a peek into our family’s evening routine – that has become a memory that I will never forget. A big thank you to my friend Cara Meredith for letting me share it as a guest post over in her corner of the world!

A Mommy's Love - To Infinity... and Beyond

 

I shared this post from last year for my little man’s birthday ~

Camden

 

And I was thrilled to join my friend Alysha in a video chat/interview where we talked about being intentional with our families while in the midst of trials.

BE-INTENTIONAL-WITH-FAMILY

 

Screen Time ~

Like almost everyone else on my Facebook feed, I watched the Parenthood finale last night. *sniff, sniff*

My Beloved and I watched Unbroken and American Sniper. Both were pretty difficult to watch – American Sniper especially for this military wife. But I thought that both were very well done. I’ve read and enjoyed Unbroken, but I might see if I can borrow my dad’s copy of American Sniper to learn more about Chris Kyle’s life.

 

What About You?

What have you been up to this month? Found any must-read books? Anything on Netflix catch your eye? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!

Wishing you a phenomenal February!

~ Ginger

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Take a Little Time ~ Take 4

Take a Little Time for You! header

 

Happy Monday, Friends! How was your week? Did it fly by like mine did? I’m not sure where the weekend went, but it’s a brand-spankin’ new week and I’m ready to take it on… after I have one more cup of Earl Grey tea. *wink*

 

Last week I set a goal for myself to do at least ONE little thing for myself every day… just because. I shared my goals a few days late last week, but I was able to find just a few minutes here and there to do one little thing that made me smile. Best of all – they were free!

 

Wednesday: I turned on Pandora to enjoy one of my favorite stations (Glenn Miller’s In the Mood) while getting the house ready for our Home Team to come over that night. Cleaning is much more fun when you have swing music to help lighten the mood! What kind of music do you like to listen to while you clean?

 

Thursday: I shared this on Facebook and Instagram – “Know who aren’t getting much-anticipated root beer floats this afternoon? Three grumpy boys who shall remain nameless. Know who IS getting a much-deserved root beer float instead? ME! A mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do! *wink*”

Root beer float

 

Friday: Curled up with one of my favorite writing books, Bird by Bird, before bed. I’ve been savoring its words for a few minutes each night ever since.

Books that Stick ~ Bird by Bird

 

Saturday: I wrote a story out about my boys that is very close to my heart to share with you this week!

A Mommy's Love - To Infinity... and Beyond

 

Sunday: I woke up with a hankerin’ to wear animal print. I remembered a retro-ish leopard print swing jacket that I hadn’t worn in a long time – and it became the basis for what I wore to church that morning! I don’t know why, but it made me smile, and it felt good to step a little bit out of my comfort zone!

 

Last Week’s Goals ~

 

  • ~ Drink 60 oz. of water each day, and coconut water once or twice this week. I missed my goal one day this week with regular water, and only drank coconut water once this week – but I feel like I’m getting better overall! 
  • ~ Eat a healthy breakfast (or brunch) each morning. Yep!
  • ~ Take multivitamins each morning. I’m pretty sure I forgot these on Saturday, but I remembered the rest of the week.
  • ~ Put on real clothes during the week, and post pictures to The Pleated Poppy’s What I Wore link-upI wore my Jayhawk sweats on Saturday during the basketball game, but otherwise I stayed out of my shlumpy clothes! 

comfy outfit

  • ~ Work out for at least 10 minutes five times this weekCheck! And I have the sore abs from Pilates to prove it!
  • ~ Remove my old polish and apply new polish to my toes. Would you believe that I still haven’t tackled this? I went to dig out my favorite winter polish and found that the lid was sealed tight. I guess I need to work on that so my toes can be a pretty peacock blue color this week!
  • ~ Memorize. Work on James 1:1-4 with a group of friends.
  • ~ Do at least ONE thing for myself every day… just because.
  • ~ Tackle that one project I’ve been dreading. I’ve started on it, but it isn’t finished. That will happen this week.
  • ~ Go easy on myself and my injured handThe swelling has gone down quite a bit, but I still can’t fit my wedding ring over my knuckle. My dad, the x-ray man, says I probably tore a ligament in it and have an evulsion fracture – and that I just need to be careful with it as it heals. It throbs when it gets bumped, but otherwise is  getting better – slowly, but surely!

 

This Week’s Goals ~

 

  • ~ Continue to drink 60 oz. of water each day, along with coconut water once or twice this week.
  • ~ Work out 5 times this week for at least 10 minutes each day.
  • ~ Remove my old polish and apply new polish to my toes.
  • ~ Memorize. Keep working on James 1:1-4 with my group of friends.
  • ~ Spend some time outside enjoying the gorgeous (unJanuary-like) weather we’re expecting this week!
  • ~ Continue tackling that one project I’ve been putting off.
  • ~ Take multivitamins each morning.
  • ~ Put on real clothes during the week and stay away from my shlumpy sweats or workout clothes unless I’m actually working out.
  • ~ Do at least ONE little thing for myself each day… just because!
  • ~ Continue to read Love & Respect with my Beloved.

 

What About You? ~

 

I’ll keep sharing even more of my progress on Facebook and Instagram this week, and I’d love it if you joined me. It would be way more fun with you! Let’s find a second to actually take a minute, SIT DOWN today, and just breathe. Let’s put our health, our hearts, and our heads back on the to-do list – and let’s start taking better care of ourselves today!

*Hugs*

~ Ginger

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Take a Little Time…

Take a Little Time for You! header

 

Happy Monday to you! And Happy New Year!

I love looking at the new calendar and wondering what hope and possibility lies in the coming months. Everything feels fresh and new, doesn’t it?

I didn’t ace my goals for last month – and even though I thought I was doing an okay job of self-care, my Beloved let me see that I need to take more time for myself. I’m just like you – I spend my days running around and taking care of everyone around me. Sure, I found little ways to start caring for myself last year – and after a lifetime of neglecting to put health, heart, and mind on the to-do list, these baby steps were pretty huge for me – but I’d like to take it a little further.

I suspect that many of us go about our day running from one project to another, from one loved one to the next, without actually sitting down to take a deep breath. We want to be there for our family and friends. We need to be there for them. But we can’t keep running ourselves into the ground.

That’s why I gave this little series a slight change-up. And who doesn’t love a makeover? Let’s call it our place to – Take a Little Time for You! Let’s set out to find a few more ways we can take a little time for ourselves – so we can be the very best us that we can be!

 

Last Month’s Goals ~

  • Keep hydrated with water and coconut water!  Ladies, let me tell you – there’s nothing like drinking coconut water right out of the coconut! Just wish they would grow here in Kansas!

Hawaii 1

  • ~ Unplug, relax, and enjoy our long-awaited honeymoon in HAWAII!!!Nothing will help you “unplug” more than having a wave come up and ruin your phone. I used my Beloved’s phone to snap pictures for the rest of our trip. He called the death of my phone a minor inconvenience. I called it an national emergency. To-MAY-to – To-MAH-to.  In all honesty, not being “plugged” actually grew to be pretty nice over the rest of the trip. My phone was fixed, we had the most wonderful time, and now I’m not in a rush to be quite that plugged in back home. 

Hawaii 9

  • ~ Get dressed in real clothes, and not stay in my comfy sweats. So, I wasn’t so great at this in December. Once we got back home, I traded in my shorts and flip-flops for sweats and fuzzy socks. Yeah, I know… I know I’ll be better this month – my Christmas boots are calling my name. No more sweats for me! Well – maybe not quite as often. *wink* 

New Boots

  • ~ Get my heart pumping at least 4 days each week with exercise. My Beloved and I went hiking a few times in Hawaii – and I found that I loved it! Unfortunately there aren’t many volcanoes to hike around in the Midwest! I got back into working out after Christmas. Oww! 

Hawaii 4

  • ~ Do at least one thing every day just for me – play the piano, listen to a podcast, take a walk, call a friend, etc.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast/brunch each morning.
  • Take better care of my nails and rough feet – the purple pumice sponge is coming back out!
  • ~  Get up early most mornings to enjoy quiet alone time before the busy day begins. I’ve been enjoying sleeping in over the Christmas break – but that ended this morning when we slipped back into our normal routine. It sure was fun while it lasted – but there’s something invigorating and welcoming about getting back into a regular schedule! The Best Yes was recommended to me by several friends – and it was the perfect book to read during my morning quiet times. 

The Best Yes

 

 

  • Curl up in bed or on the Story Chair with a book by 10pm most nights.

On the Story Chair

  • ~  Do something special with each of our boys individually. This will be a busy month, but I’d like to have individual time with themI was going to take one out to Game Stop to him spend his Christmas money – but somehow all three came along. I shared on Facebook how this is the mom equivalent of Dante’s 7th Ring, and y’all let me know that I’m not alone! 

Boys at Game Stop

Aiden and I spend some alone time by playing Battleship and watching Duck Dynasty at 4 o’clock in the morning while we got him ready for his sleep deprived EEG later in the day. 

Come to think of it, most of my alone time with all three of our boys revolved around playing Battleship. That’s life being just one of the boys!

Aiden at midnight

 

New Goals ~

  • ~  Keep hydrated with water and coconut water.
  • ~  Eat a healthy breakfast/brunch each morning.
  • ~  Get my heart pumping at least 3 days each week with exercise.
  • ~  Get dressed in REAL CLOTHES and not stay in my comfy sweats.
  • ~  Do TWO things every day just for me – (listen to a podcast, read a book, play the piano)
  • ~  Make an appointment to see my counselor.
  • ~  Plan a “Mommy Playdate” with other grown-ups.
  • ~  Make a list of free or inexpensive ways we can all take a little time for ourselves to share here on the blog.
  • ~  Get up early enough (5:30-6:00AM most days) to have a quiet time before the day begins for the rest of the house.
  • ~  Curl up in bed with a book and my Beloved by 10pm most nights to get a good night’s sleep.

 

How About You? ~

I’ll be sharing my progress on Facebook and Instagram, and I’d love it if you joined me. It would be way lonelier without you! Let’s find a second to actually SIT DOWN today and just breathe. Let’s put our health, our hearts, and our heads back on the to-do list – and let’s start taking better care of ourselves today!

*Fist bump*

~ Ginger

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What I’m Into ~ December 2014 Edition

It’s the most wonderful time of the month! Today I am once again joining Leigh Kramer’s What I’m Into link-up! Heat up a cup of cocoa, grab a fuzzy blanket, and be sure to check out the other awesome links on her blog! It’s my favorite place to discover new books, movies, and blogs!

 

Aloha!

 

Hawaii 1

 

My biggest news from December is that my Beloved and I finally went on our honeymoon! We’ve been married for over for years, but this was our time to relax, recharge, and let the stress of the last several years melt away in Hawaii!

 

DSC_0009

 

 Here on the blog ~

 

My Beloved and I worked around the clock in the days before our trip to change up some behind-the-scenes things on the blog and fix the issues that came up. I redesigned the look of our space here, and I hope you like it! A big thank you to my friend NZ Portraits by Joanne for taking new photos for me!

 

Fashion ~

 

I spent most of our time in Hawaii dressed in shorts and flip-flops before heading back to cold and damp Kansas. It was heavenly while it lasted!

While we were there, I found a few souvenirs ~

Earrings made from real Hawaiian orchid petals…

 

Orchid flower earrings

 

And another pair made from sea glass that washed up on the shores of Hilo…

 

Sea Glass earrings

 

The only perk to living in cold weather is getting to wear boots – and I spent my Christmas money on these funky numbers this week! Gotta love clearance sales!

 

New boots

 

My friend Katie started a non-profit group that focuses on helping families in Haiti – Future Hope. They are giving Haitians an opportunity to earn a fair wage while making beautiful artisan handiworks! I am excited to spread the word of what they are doing in Haiti, and I so excited about the bracelets that I bought to support the work they are doing!

Psssst… Look for a giveaway coming up soon! *wink, wink*

 

Future Hope

 

Bookworm Time ~

 

This month I actually finished all of the books on my to-read list, and then some! Long plane rides to and from Hawaii helped tremendously!

A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from Around my Kitchen Table, by Molly Wizenberg – What a lovely foodie memoir! I loved reading how food and family shaped her life!

Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage, by Molly Wizenberg – The scrumptious sequel to A Homemade Life! This book will leave you craving gourmet pizza and wanting to visit Seattle!

#GIRLBOSS, by Sophia Amoruso – This author is also the founder of Nasty Gal Fashions, and shares how she built her wildly successful eBay business from the very beginning.

Save the Cat, by Blake Snyder – A fun and insightful look at what it takes to write screenplays. I love learning about how movies are created, but I am also hoping to grow as a writer.

 

Save the Cat

 

All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr – Wow. Probably the best fictional book I’ve read in 2014. The story of a blind French girl and a German orphan boy… it will leave you breathless. Such a beautiful story!

Unremarried Widow, by Artis Henderson – The memoir of a military wife who lost her husband (a helicopter pilot) in Iraq. This was hard for this Air Force wife read – but Artis wrote her heartbreaking story so beautifully.

The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands, by Lysa TerKeurst – This book couldn’t have come at a better time. I am a recovering people pleaser, and I have the hardest time saying NO. Lysa’s vulnerable look into her own struggles really helped me to look at my own life differently. I’m planning on looking over my notes and highlighted parts in the book again this week so I can better recall some important parts as I step into the new year.

 

On My Nightstand ~

 

I’m diving into these books in January…

 

January books

 

Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen, by Queen Liliuokalani – I became obsessed with learning about Hawaiian history during our honeymoon, and I found this book right before we returned home. Queen Liliuokalani was the only female monarch, and the last Queen before Hawaii was annexed to the United States. She led a fascinating life, and I am devouring the story of her life that she wrote in her own words.

Liliu08

 

Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint, by Nadia Bolz-Weber – This one has been on my radar for about a year, and I finally remembered to request it from the library!

Plot and Structure, by James Scott Bell – It’s my goal to read one writing book as my “homework” each month. I love learning more about composing and structuring stories – and I hope that it will help my own writing here on the blog!

First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen, by Charlie Lovett – I keep seeing this book pop up on must-read lists, and my library had it waiting for me this week!

There are others I want to start reading, if I get through these first – A Prayer for Owen Meany, Found, Hands Free Mama, Essentialism, Fooling Houdini, and more! So many books, so little time…

What have you been reading lately? I’d love to hear all about it!

 

Screen time ~

 

My Beloved and I did our patriotic duty and watched The Interview online recently. It had funny parts, but I felt like I needed to bleach my brain (and ears) after finishing it.

I excitedly watched the Downton Abbey Christmas special – happy sigh – and I started season three of Call the Midwife on Netflix.

The menfolk in my house sat through a Star Wars marathon over Christmas, but I either read or dozed my way through those movies. Zzzzzz.

Because I’ve always loved learning about real people, I’m making a mental list of biographical movies and books that I should experience again/for the first time. Can you help me out? Do you have a favorite biography that I should add to my list?

 

All in the Family ~

 

Right now it’s 4AM and I’m up with one of our sons who is going in for his sleep-deprivation EEG later this morning. He has epilepsy, and this is our check-up to make sure his meds are still keeping his seizures away. This is will be a tiring day – my Beloved stayed up watching superhero movies with him until his prescribed midnight bedtime, while I am taking the eeeeearly morning shift – but we’re hoping for good news at our appointment later today!

My Beloved has settled into our home, and we are loving not having to say goodbye every week! We have had some plans change, disappointments, and good surprises so far, and he’s only been home a month! This transition of becoming “newlyweds” is stretching me and making me grow as a wife, mother, and woman. I am so grateful that we can finally snuggle close at night, knowing that he is safe and that he’s finally home for good.

 

How about you?

I’d love to hear how your month is going! Have you read any good books lately? Watched any must-see TV? Where did you go on your honeymoon? Drop me a line in the comments – You will make my day!

Wishing you a most exquisite January!

~ Ginger

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A Happier, Healthier You ~ December

A Happier Healthier You - justoneoftheboys.com

Hello, friends! How was your month of November? Were you able to find ways to take care of YOU? I didn’t follow through with all of my goals – but now I know the areas where I need to try a little harder. This isn’t just a pampering session – it’s a way that we can remember to put our needs back on the to-do list, so we can take better care of our loved ones!

Your encouragement, support, and stories of how you are caring for yourself really inspired and challenged me this month! Let’s keep it up!

Limiting Sugar ~

Last month I set the goal of limiting sugar during November. While this was a good goal, I think I need to be a little more specific with myself! I DID limit it, but maybe not as much as I should have.

I have completely stopped using sugars in my tea, and I have replaced it with local honey. I became used to the taste, and now I wouldn’t have it any other way. I don’t miss using raw sugar in my morning tea any more!

Simple Ways to Take Care of Yourself TODAY!

I did start craving sugar one day – and I decided to quietly roast a few mini-marshmallows over a candle in the kitchen. It was a good way to satisfy my craving without going overboard. I probably only had three or four total. Shhhh…don’t tell my boys!

A Happier Healthier December marshmallow

I had a few Chew Spree candies during a movie night on the couch, and made a yummy Cool-Whip fruity salad for my family’s Thanksgiving meal, and had a sliver of the pumpkin pie my Beloved made last week – but that’s about it as far as sugars go.

I could have been better, but I’m learning to be glad for the progress that I am making. I am my own worst critic, so I need to give myself grace when I don’t do as much as I think I should.

Last Month’s Goals ~

  • Stay hydrated with water and coconut water I did a pretty good job, but there is always room for improvement. Next month I’ll try to up my daily water intake.
  • Eat a healthy meal each morning I should probably define healthy. Some mornings I eat a grapefruit or oatmeal. Other days it’s more of a protein-ish brunch.

A Happier Healthier December breakfast

  • Buy myself new socks to wear with boots for the winter. Hmm… I still need to do this, and fast. Another pair (older than at least one of my kids) developed a hole in the heel – so I cut them up to make boot cuffs!
  • Get my heart pumping with exercise at least 4 times each week. I didn’t do so great at this either. 
  • Get up early most mornings to enjoy quiet alone time before the busy day begins I’m reading Lysa TerKeurst’s new book, The Best Yes, during my early morning quiet time. 
  • File my nails and care for my cuticles – and polish them with fun colors. I painted my nails a few fun colors last month! I need to be better at filing and cuticles in December.

What I'm Into Nov 1

  • LIMIT SUGAR 
  • Have board game nights with the boys We taught Quinn, our 6-year-old, how to play Battleship this month – and he wiped the floor with me! Battleship tournaments, Super Mario Bros. championships, and Multiplication War duels abounded this month! We’re a game-loving family – and looking for ideas for other great games to add to our collection this Christmas!  
  • Curl up in bed with a book by 10pm most nights I was able to be curled up in bed early most nights. I shared HERE about the wonderful books I read. Definitely check out my favorite book of the month

A Happier Healthier December Bella

  • Write two special posts for the blog: Not Wasted Time, and Chapter 12 of Our Story I shared how forever can finally begin. I also shared the next two chapters in Our Story. (Click on the photos to view each story…)

Once upon a time

Chapter 12 ~ My New Friend

Chapter 13

 

This Month’s Goals ~

  • Keep hydrated with water and coconut water!
  • Unplug, relax, and enjoy our long-awaited honeymoon in HAWAII!!!!
  • Get dressed in real clothes, and not stay in my comfy sweats.
  • Get my heart pumping at least 4 days each week with exercise.
  • Do at least one thing every day just for me – play the piano, listen to a podcast, take a walk, call a friend, etc.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast/brunch each morning.
  • Take better care of my nails and rough feet – the purple pumice sponge is coming back out!
  • Get up early most mornings to enjoy quiet alone time before the busy day begins.
  • Curl up in bed or on the Story Chair with a book by 10pm most nights.
  • Do something special with each of our boys individually. This will be a busy month, but I’d like to have individual time with them.

What About You?

How do you show yourself grace as you grow as a person?

Does your family have a favorite board game? I’d love your recommendations!

What small things are you doing to start taking care of YOU? I would love to hear all about it!

Who’s with me? I LOVE our little community of friends helping and encouraging each other to take a little time for ourselves! I would be so thrilled if you would come on this journey with me!

I’ll be sharing pictures of my progress, and of our Hawaiian vacation), on Instagram and Facebook throughout the month! And even Twitter, even though I’m still pretty new at tweeting! Have you signed up to have my new posts delivered straight to your inbox yet? Just go to the Subscribe Now section right under the picture  on the right – and type in your email address. You won’t miss a thing, and you will make my whole day! It’s as easy as that!

Let’s get back to taking better care of our bodies, hearts, and minds – so we can better care for those that we love! Let’s finish out this year healthier than ever!

*hugs*

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I’m Ginger ~

I'm a wife to my Beloved, mom of three boys, bookworm, survivor of a broken heart, and Kansas Girl. It is my desire to encourage you. No matter what storm you're going through right now, you are not alone. I promise.

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MY GIFT TO YOU!