Cheers to New Beginnings...

I have been planning for weeks, well maybe months, to get back to blogging. Being away has been a torment to my mind and heart as writing is such a natural part of my being and helps bring peace to my heart as I discovered the love in fifth grade.

The blogging though, seems to come and go. Time is always an issue. But I guess that’s to be expected when one is a wife and homeschool mom. Hopefully, I’ve gotten to the point of getting a better handle on things and can balance everything a little better now. But life does have its ups and downs so we shall see.

I have decided to narrow my focus a bit. Most of my focus will be on homeschooling. I have really changed gears over the last couple of years in my approach.  I’d love to share what we are doing in our days and my thoughts on education. And since homeschooling is an everyday experience, not just 180 single days, it stands to show that there’s a lot to write about.

And of course, there’s our faith. Our faith is as much a part of our lives as the air we breathe. It is the air we breathe. And I want to share that truth with you.

And my last focus will be on health. Health obtained by food, physical and spiritual nourishment as God provided to us. My family has changed so much over the last 12 or more years.   A lot of that has been through God’s provisions,  bringing us to sources that have educated us about our food and nutrition. I wish to share that with you as well.

In the past I have done book reviews, written about writing and other subjects. I’m sure over time I’ll touch upon those subjects but they are taking a backseat for now. I’ll still be reading of course.   And hopefully I'll get back to the manuscripts, but for now the blogging will be my main writing and I’ll weave the reading into my homeschool posts.

I actually considered wiping out all of my past posts and starting fresh... new beginnings and all.  But I guess that doesn’t necessarily serve a purpose other than wiping the slate clean for a symbolic gesture of starting over.  Of course it would also erase the past work I’ve put into this. So at least for now I’ll let it stand. I might go back and delete or edit some posts that I don’t feel apply to where I stand in life now, but for the time being,  I’ll focus on "New Beginnings."

I hope my past readers have hung in there and will send me a note as to how they are doing and what they are looking forward to seeing from me. And I hope some new readers will stop by and decide to hang out for a while and share with us too. I love you dear readers!



This quote really struck me today.  There is so much truth in this.  SO MUCH TRUTH!

I had some extra time this morning and just thought I'd share a few things of what's been happening in the life of this Orthodox Mom.

Well, maybe it's not so much as extra time as time I carved out while the rest of the morning rests in chaos around me.

Well maybe it's not so much chaos as just not what I planned.

I tend to look at things that way.  If it's not what I planned I go into chaos mode.  Can anyone relate?

So I'm going grocery shopping on my own again this morning. Anyone else dislike grocery shopping?  It's not so much that it's a terrible task; but they are remodeling the store and it's a mess right now and I kind of got used to my husband going with me but that routine has been lost for some time now and while I enjoy the alone time there are so many other things I'd rather be doing during alone time than grocery shopping.

Of course, the chimney sweep guy is here and has disrupted my schedule and he's still working on the upstairs pellet stove and hasn't even gotten downstairs to the big pellet furnace, so I may not get to do the shopping today.... hmmmm.....

There's so much going on that this post will probably be a big rambling mumbo jumbo kind of post but maybe we just need to do that sometimes.

I have two graduations coming up soon-  no , not my own but if feels that way.  My daughter is graduating from college and my son is graduating from high school.  He's essentially done other than a few lose strings so I really should get around to making sure that diploma gets ordered.  It's amazing how time flies.  And then we have our youngest who is???  Technically, according to age and public school junk, would be labeled first grade but I don't really call him anything according to grade level because we just don't do things accordingly to that.  What does grade level really mean?  It's just a label for public schools because they do things a certain way for all kids regardless of their needs or interests.  I don't go by that.

I have an appointment this afternoon with a new practitioner - new to me anyway- she has a practice right here in Williamsport PA that I didn't know about and offers quite a selection of 'unconventional' testing including the ALCAT food sensitivity testing I just had done.  I'm awaiting those results with anticipation and dread.  Solving  my health issues is a BIG priority as it relates to EVERYTHING in my life  but I dread the results that will tell me to give up foods I love or make my life more difficult with food prep, especially when it impacts our ability to travel or go and do things we love to do.  My heart is already heavy this week as we are unable to go somewhere that is a yearly family event for us simply because of food.  And the lack of understanding from others of how difficult that is is also disheartening.  It's not a choice.  It's not something we WANT.  It just is.

I'm trying to get back into the mode of homeschooling too.  Everything was going smoothly and then Holy Week came which, naturally and in a good way, causes disruption, but then I had a downslide with the fatigue and pain and really didn't get back into this past week either.  Except for one lesson with nutrition (it's time to start teaching him why we eat the way we do and I'm using Food Renegade's nutrition book for young kids as my guide to get started) and we finally finished the second Life of Fred book- which he absolutely LOVES!  He and Dad went for a walk in the park yesterday as well and looked at some plants and seeds so I guess he got some science/nature study in as well.  And Free Play is wonderful.  We parents of school aged kids tend to forget how important that is and that a day of play really is education and learning.  So I need not feel guilty for lack of planned learning activities, but should relax and rejoice in our freedom to learn as is appropriate.

I'm trying to reorganize my day to day plans....how I go about my plans in a more relaxed but organized in a simplistic manner so to speak.  I'm eyeing up some books on simplicity, organization and getting things done but am hesitant because I don't want to buy a book and feel like I HAVE to do it exactly the way they say it should be done.  Does that make sense?  Am I the only soul in this world that can buy a book to make life more simple only to make it more difficult?

Anyway, I have my schedule of the things that have to get done.  And I have my list of 7 projects to work on when time allows.... but it's simplified.  I only write a small step of what the next thing to that project needs to be.  It's a new approach I'm trying.  So instead of writing "Clean Closet", the next step is simply to make sure I have all the clothes off the floor.  Once that's accomplished, I can plan the next step for the project.  I'm much more likely to go get the clothes off the floor then clean the whole thing.  That my friends, is the beginning of stopping procrastination.   Or so I hope.

Another example is my kitchen.  I keep wanting to reorganize and declutter  the whole thing.  Well writing Kitchen Reorganization of my list of things to do has been ignored for months.  But when I write "Clean out papers from junk basket", it's more likely to get done because it's a focus of just one thing.  And note, I didn't say clean out the whole basket (thought it did eventually happen), but just the papers.  One small step, but so gratifying when you can cross it off the list.

I'm trying to figure out where I want to go with my Lemongrass Spa business and this blog.  I'd really like to at least make enough with the LGS business to pay for my own products and maybe at least pay for the occasional book or clothing purchase and feel like I'm bringing something in to help my overworked and overstressed husband.

And I'd love to make a bigger impact on my readers and get more interaction here at the blog.  I've worked on some changes already and obviously, working on being more consistent with the posts.  It's a work in progress and I enjoy it.  I wish I had time to write everyday but-  well, you know 😉

Well, I guess that's all for my musings and ramblings today---  time to work on the ever growing laundry pile and that to do list!

I'd love to hear from you.  What are your thoughts on the blog these days and what is going on in YOUR life?



Welcome to the Many Hats of an Orthodox Mom! 

I know.  Many of you have already been here, so what's the 'welcome' for?  Well, because I feel like I'm at a NEW BEGINNING.  I'm excited and  I'm welcoming you, friends and newbies, to that beginning.

I've really wanted to get back into writing here.  There's soooo many times I read something or think something and think, "Oh I could write a blog post on that!"  But time passes and, regretfully, I haven't and I've really missed the writing and I've missed connecting with my readers.  So I am trying to muster up the courage and time (mostly it's the time thing) to get back on here and make another go at it.  I will definitely NOT be posting 3 or more times per week as I was before.  I'll be lucky if I can stick to my new goal of once per week but....  one time a week would give me the goal of consistency and I'm giving it a shot.

I'll be sticking to my main categories/topics as I have before:  Faith, Homeschooling, Natural Health & Food, Books, Writing and General Life....pretty much everything that sums up me, who I am and what I'm passionate about and feel I can lend a helping hand with to you- my reader!

As you can see, I'm making some other changes too....  like the new Theme and the photo.  Do you like it?  I'm not 100% satisfied with that photo but I like it better than the old one... we'll see.  I'll be making a few other changes to on the design here but nothing major.  I'll be making some updates to the side bar, the About Page, updating the Book Review page, and occasionally, when time allows, updating old posts.

I can't wait to interact with you, my readers, again and hopefully make some new friends along the way too!

Drop by and let me know what you think!


Last year I wrote out a list of 15 Resolutions.  I've learned a lot about goal setting since new-years-day-234805_1280 (1)then so I know that my list was really too cumbersome  and probably did not necessarily stick to my main priorities in life- so I didn't do so good in keeping them.  Still, I made some improvements in some areas and I personally feel that if people don't make that list of goals- whether it's called resolutions, goals, or whatever one chooses to call it, those improvements are much less likely to occur.  So I'm going over last year's list and the goal list I made in the fall to develop a plan of action for 2015.  So here's a brief review of how I did on my 2014 resolutions.

1.  Stick to the Paleo Diet at least 93% of the time.  -  We did really well with this for the first part of the year, not so good these last few months.  We haven't totally failed it; but it was more likely to be in the 70% range if I were to give it a number and YES- I've noted quite a difference so I WILL be focused on getting back to that 90% range!

2.  Exercise, on average, 3 times a week.   - Uh, well.......ooops.  Kind of failed this one.  My exercising tends to go in spurts and while I got myself really motivated about 3 months back to start again, it lasted about 2 days before I sprained my foot and well, yeah.  You get it.

3. Add Evening Prayers to my Prayer Routine.  Hmmmm.   I did it for awhile.  My problem is really  lack of routine at bedtime anymore and keeping my prayer book or bible by the bedside.  It tends to get moved a lot.  Maybe I just need to print out a copy of the ones I like for night and put it in the book I'm reading as the book tends to stay by the bedside more than the bible does.

4.  Read at least 3 books that are of Orthodox content over the course of the year.  Ooops.  Maybe I haven't done as well with these resolutions as I originally thought.  While I worked on several, I did not complete any from cover to cover.

5.  Read at LEAST 12 Newberry Medal Books.  Well, I didn't get in 12 but I do know it was my resolution to read them that kept them present in my mind and was the reason I did get through seven of them!  (Yes, I did finish Flora and Ulysses just the other day!)

6.  Read:

  •  2014 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market   YES!!!!  I did that!
  • A Family of Readers:  A Book Lover's Guide to Children's and Young Adult Literature - well, almost.  It got misplaced in the move and I still haven't unpacked all the book boxes as we're still awaiting for the man to complete our built in shelves for the library.
  • Honey For a Child's Heart -  Another one in a box somewhere, but I believe I got at least halfway through that one too.

7.  Watch my Charlotte Mason Videos -  YES!!!  I did that too!  And I read a lot more about the methodology!

8.  Research for a Preschool Curriculum and make a decision by April.  Yes!  I did this too.  I didn't go with a preschool curriculum though.  I realized he was already beyond preschool and I didn't want to go with just one set curriculum this year.  I went with a variety of things including Simply Charlotte Mason's Delightful Reading program which we are taking very slowly and truly enjoying it!

9.  Break 3 Bad habits.  Well , I did break one!  (Nope, not telling- just saying it's done- you'll have to trust me on that one)

10.  Maintain my Gratitude Journal.  My journal, no - though I did add to it here and there. But I did keep a list of things I'm grateful for for my husband and presented it at Christmas.  So I DID work on gratitude and will continue to keep that as a daily goal.

11.  Maintain This Blog!  Well, it's still here so I guess I did it!  I didn't make the huge strides I had hoped for but I did gain viewers and didn't lose them so I'd say I'm still successful.  🙂

12.  Keep Writing!!!  Well, yes, I did do that.  Again, not as much progress as I had hoped for but I haven't given it up.  I think I need to really set more definite and attainable goals for the blog and my other writing.

13.  Set more time aside for ME.  I have done better with this.  This year I have really kept this in my mind as something I need to do and am making progress.  With that comes guilt though and I need to work more at overcoming that and setting my boundaries and reactions to others when they don't understand my need to do this.

14.  Spend more quality time with my children and husband.  I think this year was a definite improvement.  There is still room, of course, for further improvement.  But I would definitely say my husband and I have had many more date nights and time together than previous years and that I've spent more 'fun' time with the kids without feeling pressed for time.

15.  Work on Easy and Quick Paleo Meals that will ensure that I have time to do all of the above.  Yes, I've worked on this and the biggest realization I've made is that I need to stop trying to please the hubby and kids with all their favorite meals and something different so often. I need to make ease and time efficiency my priorities (after HEALTHY of course).

Photos by Pixabay
Photos by Pixabay

So in all, I feel successful.  No I didn't carry out every single one 100% or even half of them- but I think the list kept me on track to make progress.  And sometimes progress is all we can ask for!

How did you do this past year with resolutions?  Are you making a list for 2015?



I love reading the wrap-up posts for the other blogs I follow.  SO.... I thought I'd give it a shot and see how it goes.  It may give me an opportunity to cover some things I might otherwise leave out during the month or a chance to send some of my readers back to read some posts they may have missed. 🙂

My Writing World

I'm proud and feeling accomplished.  I kept my goals this month of sticking to writing a least 3 posts a week and an additional post (a blog hop on the writing process) which is a definite improvement over the month and a half or so before that.  I've reached 220 posts on the blog. I also finalized my 65149-froghoppingquery letter and sent it off to my first choice publisher.  While I wait to see if I get a positive response (prayers and finger crossing please!) I've been working on revisions of some other fictional picture book manuscripts and thinking about a few new ideas.  I'm working on figuring out some realistic goals to help me get back on track and stay on track - one of them being to actually write out a PB rough draft every month because, after all, that is why I signed up to 12 x 12.....and I actually DID accomplish writing one up last week!  Woot!  🙂  In addition, I took the plunge and sent one manuscript off for a professional critique...WOW...what an amazing critique - so much insight.  I'm still overwhelmed by it, but know after I take some time to digest it all, it's an expense that will help me fine tune my writing, not only in this manuscript but in others as well.

My Book World

wpid-IMG_20140104_120558_332.jpgWell I have been reading but not as much as I'd like to from my book list which I updated last week.  I did post a couple book reviews on some of the books I have read recently:  Missing May and Walk Two Moons.  I will be posting about The Giver soon! I've also purchased the next Newberry book I want to read.

Our Homeschool World

Our daughter, our oldest child, is home from college for the summer.  She was tremendously successful during her first year away.  She succeeded in earning the dean's list both semesters.  I am proud of her hard work and effort.  She did discover that finding a job in today's world as a college student is not as easy as she thought it would be. After much time and effort, however, she did obtain a job and while it's not her perfect cup of tea, finds it to be an alright position to earn some spending money and gain experience.

My older son finished school at the end of May, a few days early despite how far behind he had gotten in the middle of the year.  I'm proud of his accomplishments.  I set up the school calendar for next year and am currently working on developing his 'lesson plans' for his tenth grade 180 day school year. (I fill out forms that I create myself, assigning him what to do with each subject on that day - time consuming but saves me sooooo much hassle and time during the school year!)

My younger son continues to explore his world as he should.  We occasionally sit down to a reading lesson with our trusty Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Lessons and we constantly sit down to good quality books. He's enthralled in his world of cars and trains lately and wpid-img_20140624_100518_129.jpgwas proud to add Cranky to his Thomas the Train collection with his birthday money.

Our Food/Health World

We continue on with Paleo for most of the time as I posted about here. My monthly menu plans are becoming easier to create as I stick to an easy template of sticking to the same basic meals (limited variation) over the course of a month, leaving space to try new recipes on Saturdays and always using up wpid-img_20140624_101629_983.jpgthose leftovers on Sundays to allow for an easy carefree day and making sure nothing goes wasted.  I only had one day this month of 'messing' up a meal which turned into a really tasty dish and a great post!


Other Parts of Life

Some major new developments have been underway in our home.  The house we currently live in was put on the market for sale back in mid-May and someone made a very reasonable offer on it just a couple weeks ago.  This sent us into an excited frenzy of anxiety as we really had not expected to have it happen so soon! (Good thing I already started that massive decluttering I posted about back in this post.  Since then I have sold quite a few things.) We hurried to go see, FINALLY in person, the house we've been eyeing closely on the internet.  We were relieved to find that we did indeed love the house and property - the kid bedrooms are a bit smaller than what we are used to but we believe they are quite doable...maybe it's time to teach the kids about decluttering and living a bit more minimalistically- is that a word??  The house is very nice and the setting is lovely...surrounded by woods and halfway between the town my husband is now working in and the town where we go to church and do the majority of our shopping.  Only about 15 minutes from all of this!  WOOT!!


I haven't posted much in this area lately other than some quotes here and here.... but I was very happy to celebrate my eleventh anniversary of converting to Orthodoxy yesterday on the feast day of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.  🙂

So how was your month?







I feel really excited and honored to be tagged in the Writing Process Blog Hop!  It's always hugely humbling and flattering to be recognized by a fellow writer for your writing.  Compliments from friends and family are always nice and meaningful, but a fellow writer gets it...they genuinely know that it comes from the depth of your soul and how much time and effort it really takes.  So thank you to Brenton Dickieson over at A Pilgrim in Narnia for tagging me in this hugely fun activity! Be sure to check out Brenton's blog - he's a fantastically talented academic writer who also works in creative writing.  As the blog title hints, he has a passionate love for C.S. Lewis!

The Writing Process Blog Hop invites bloggers to answer four questions about what, how, and why they write. The bloggers are then encouraged to recommend three other bloggers to do the same.  I love hearing about other writers discuss their writing so I totally love this!

So here goes!

1.  What are you currently working on?

Though I do have an interest in middle grade books and even have part of a rough draft started for a young adult book, my current projects all fall into the picture book category.

I'm actually working on quite a few things. I used to have this incredibly naïve thought that writers/authors only worked on one project at a time.  Ha!  Thank goodness we don't or I think I'd have been stuck back on my first project still and would have given up!  So yes, I have several WIPs (Work in Progress) in the works but there is one that is my primary love and takes up the majority of my writing time. (I have another primary love - I call him my husband and he comes first, even ahead of writing and the kids ).  I'm not going to go into a lot of detail on this one because maybe I'm a little superstitious and don't want to jinx myself being that I'm on the edge of attempting a submission with it.  But I will say it is a picture book about an Orthodox Saint very near and dear to my heart.

In addition to that particular picture book manuscript, I have several others going.  Some of them are works I began a few years ago and have finally dusted them off and began the revision process.  Others are stemmed from ideas I got through PiBoIdMo last November.   One is a sort of  reminiscence of a childhood into adulthood place my family has spent much time in... a cabin in the woods....well, not so much the cabin as the activities and memories of being there.  Another  one involves the antics of a small white duck and another involves a girl in need of a friend and another....well...there's several others.  These are all of a fictional genre but I do have ideas and the beginnings of a few non-fiction projects as well.

2.   How does your work differ from others in its genre?

I guess what pops into my mind with this question is that it comes from me.  That seems obvious but is an honest answer.  It's my story and my perspective.  You could assign me and the other bloggers I'll name below or any writer a particular piece to write about and our final works will be extraordinarily different because it will be told from our own experiences, backgrounds, beliefs, and personalities.   A little part of myself, whether it's the introvert most people see or the little extrovert child inside that's dying to get out, will shine through in a character , description, emotion or other portion of my work.

3.  Why do you do what you do?

It's who I am.  It's really simple really.  When I don't write, I'm not me.  The process of writing seems to soothe me...makes me feel alive, gives me purpose, completes me.  I get a lot of this from other things I do too - being a wife, being a mom, being a homeschool mom (yes - being a mom and being a homeschool mom are different), cooking from scratch, etc. are all a part of me and makes up who I am....but there's something about the writing.  I gave it up for several years when I got pregnant with my 3rd child...he was quite the surprise you see and at age 40 pregnancy sort of overwhelmed me with nausea and fatigue and I put the writing on the back-burner (more like a box that I hid from myself) and left it there for several years.  I often felt unproductive despite all that I was doing...I felt like something was missing.  I felt uncompleted.  Writing is a part of me that started from long ago... I think it's a sort of self-therapy I discovered all on my own.  I do it because I need to. It truly is who I am.

4.  How does your writing process work?

Well it's certainly not how it's taught in the public schools(I know...I used to teach it).  While I may follow the steps of 'The Writing Process' (Prewriting - choose a topic & gather ideas-, Writing, Revising, Editing, and Publishing) the time (ESPECIALLY the time) and approach to those steps I take are often far from what we expected those poor kids in 6th grade to produce.

It starts out with random thoughts for the most part and can be triggered by the most unusual circumstances.  It didn't occur to me to write about my childhood memory of a cabin in the woods until I saw a man in a Sam's Club gas station that reminded me strangely of someone very special to me and at the same moment had several triggers of memory of events at the cabin and I thought...hmmm... maybe I should write about it. These random thoughts are often written in a notebook and thought about or revisited at a later date, often blending together with other ideas.  Others start by the simple recognition for a need.  My current love that I mentioned above started that way. Sometimes this step is totally skipped because the thought leaps into my head and if I have paper in front of me I immediately start with the next step.

The next step is ....  well, that's difficult to say.  There are times that I brainstorm a list of ideas and thoughts, a little like we taught in school.  But most of the time, honestly, I'm hit in the head with inspiration and I just write with no necessary idea list or organization.  Sometimes I can get out a whole rough draft (for a picture book) or sometimes it's just a paragraph or two or a bit of a conversation that leaps into my head.  Sometimes the whole piece is ditched...but usually I keep it even if I don't like it... to look at it again later, sometimes MUCH later.

The next step is the most challenging. The REVISE and EDIT part of the process is brutal!!!  This is especially true if I try to revise right away.  I'm still too attached to the emotions that went into the original writing and can't be totally unbiased about the needs of the story to make it a hit.  So, for me, I need to pull away from it for a while4 year hiatus with the birth of my son.  When I finally started blogging and paying attention to my inner voice telling me I needed to write, I pulled out an old WIP and reread it and the notes I had from a few critiques I had gotten on it.  WOW.  I could so totally see what my critique friends were saying whereas at the time my thoughts were "What?!  Are they KIDDING ME??"  When time distanced me from the raw emotions I put into the original draft, I could easily whip out a pen and start crossing out, adding and taking away from the manuscript.  Now... I do NOT need three years for every manuscript.  LOL.  I have learned that putting it down for just a week or two has a really good effect as well!

Usually the toughest part for me is the word count.  I like the words - the high volume and challenging vocabulary of classics make me happy - you know, like Winnie the Pooh and Peter Rabbit - stories with detail, rich words and ... well, today's market isn't looking for that.  Word Count is DOWN, especially for new beginning writers.  So I usually have a lot to cut and that's hard to do and still keep the beauty or original feel of the story.  I also need to make sure the story organization flows and that I'm doing more 'showing' than 'telling'.

At this point in my writing, I do use the help of a couple of critique groups.  I try to wait that week or two so their comments don't come across to me as, "What?! Are they out of their minds? That completely changes the story...."  and it's getting easier for me to listen and look at the manuscript through someone else's perspective and gain meaningful insight from the experience.  I really enjoy and appreciate the feedback which makes me feel that I am ready to get solid advice and suggestions from my future editor(s)!

And then, well, then I pretty much go through the whole revise and edit phase again, and again, and again... it's not that simple one-two day process we taught to elementary students (no wonder they got frustrated).  I have been in the revision stage for this current manuscript for several months!  Of course, I don't have time to work on it every day.  I try to work on it at least once a week if not more, but my time segments are usually on the small side so that does increase the time span of the revision process.

And now, now that I THINK it might be there...or at least ALMOST there... I put it aside and begin the query process.  Wow.  Writing query letters are more intense in some aspects than writing my manuscript.  You can read more about that here and here.  In the process of writing the query and going through the revising and editing of that to get it JUST RIGHT for submission, I still glance at the actual manuscript from time to time to see if anything else leaps out at me that might still need tweaked.

And then...well...I go onto the next project as I wait on pins and needles to see if my editor of choice will request the manuscript and then wait and see if the manuscript itself will be accepted.

It's quite the process, isn't it?  But so exciting and wonderful... I say that and I'm not even published YET!  🙂  I can't imagine how wonderful it is for those that are - but I hope to be able to tell you one day in the future.

And now...... to tag three other bloggers!

There is not any obligation to participate (but oh I sure hope you do!).  Take some time to visit their blogs (see if they participate) and see what incredibly talented writers they are!

1.  Kathy Temean's blog, Writing and Illustrating, is the most recent writing blog I have stumbled upon thanks to the people of the 12 x 12 challenge group which posted some links on query letters from her blog.  Kathy shares information about writing and illustrating for children. She  a published author and is the former Regional Advisor in New Jersey for SCBWI. Her blog is full of wonderful information and tips on the writing process, agents, and more!

2.  Juliana Lee of Crafting Stories  is a connoisseur of children's literature and is an aspiring writer.  I enjoy reading her book reviews and other posts.  I look forward to hearing about her process and most of all, her future publications!

3.  Heather B. Costa of Trials of a wanna-be-published-writer is another aspiring writer who writes about her writing journey and other things in her life.  I've enjoyed reading her blog and believe that you will too.

Tag!  I so hope you'll join in the fun!!










Well, it's pretty obvious to my faithful readers that I am not doing so well in keeping up with what used to be my goal of 5-6 posts per week.  It's been far from it.  I'm lucky if I have two.  🙁   Life just got a bit too overwhelming and balancing things became even more difficult. But things are getting better (I think).  So I'm setting new goals... trying to be more productive here and with my other writing but trying to be realistic too.  So I'm shooting for three.  I hope I can make it work.

Just to note: not all of my distractions are bad.... some of them are good - like doorbells ringing as I sit and try to post and then getting greeted by this!  wpid-img_20140513_154811_698.jpg

How sweet is that?!

I'm keeping, thus far, the same topics:  Orthodoxy, Writing, Reading & Books, Homeschooling and of course, more on the lines of our Food Story  and natural health related topics.  Of course, I'm sure I'll throw in some other miscellaneous topics from time to time as well.

I'd still like to switch over to WordPress.org but just have not had the time to figure out how to go about doing that.  I was going to go through a site that offers to do it for minimum cost but never seem to even figure that out so......  for now, I'm still here.

In the meantime, I have read a few posts about setting goals and making a schedule to help me figure out what I want to accomplish.  Here's a few sources if  you want to read more on it for yourself:

How to Set Blogging Goals You Can Actually Achieve

101 Different Blogging Goals To Help You Grow Your Blog

How to Create a Blogging Schedule You Will Stick With

Creating and Sticking to a Blog Schedule

Thank you to my faithful readers for standing by me as my posts dwindled.  Thank you to my commenters because, really and truly, your comments inspire me to do more and help keep the motivation!  And thank you to all the bloggers that motivate me too!  I love reading your posts - though I haven't done as much of that as I'd like lately either - but know that I still love your blogs and pray you keep it up!  🙂

Now..... onto posting this first of hopefully 3 posts for this week!  Pray it continues!

Blessings to you all!







It's Incredible!  Another Award!  YAY!  I needed the extra motivation today too--  I'm moving incredibly slow today....   Thank you sooooo much to Jenn at The Overcoming: An Uphill Battle With Inspiring Intent!  And congrats to her own Liebster Award after only blogging for a little over two weeks and gaining 70 followers already!  Her story and blog are just that awesome!  WAY TO GO Jenn!

I am very grateful too, not only for the award from Jenn, but that I have reached over 100 followers on my own humble little blog here.  🙂

One of the highlights of my day is going to the Dashboard and seeing how many people I've reached that day and all the various countries they are from.  And the biggest happiest part of that time is reading the sweet comments from my readers.  Today, since I was away for a couple of days and didn't really read the comments, I had several to read and was very happy to read the one from Jenn telling me about this award!  I really do feel honored.

So here's what I need to do to accept the award from Jen and for other bloggers to accept the award from me:

  1.  Each nominee must link back to the person (blog) that nominated them.
  2.   Answer the 10 questions which are given to  you by the nominator.
  3. Nominate 10 other bloggers for this award who have LESS than 200 followers.
  4. Create 10 questions for our nominees to answer.
  5. Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.

Here's the questions (with answers) that Jenn has asked me:

  1.   If one movie could describe your life, what is it?  What are the elements of this movie that remind you of yourself? Wow...this one is really hard!  I don't know that there is one that describes my life at all... but there are elements of several movies that resonate with me.  I always liked "When a Man Loves a Woman" with Meg Ryan because while I never struggled with alcoholism as her character does, there were many elements that she struggled with that I could easily identify with... gee, it's been years since I've seen it though...but I really remember thinking, "Wow, I could have said that!"...then there's "Beaches" --  the characters struggle with elements of their lives and friendship and I can really relate to both characters in so many different ways.  There's more but I haven't enough time to ponder or write them all! Of course, after I post this, I'll probably by lying in bed tonight and think,  "Oh!  That one!  Why didn't I think of THAT one??"
  2. What are your biggest pet peeves and how do you react when faced with them?  Right now the biggest thing that comes to mind is when people that have wronged you, whether intentionally or even by accident and they don't ever apologize.
  3. What is your favorite day of the year and why?  What do you do on that day that makes it special?   Oh this one's easy!  PASCHA!  Pascha, to put it in easy terms, is Orthodox Easter.  Though it doesn't always fall on the same day as when western Christians celebrate Easter, it is the celebration of our Risen Lord!  What makes it so wonderful is that it is the celebration of Christ rising from the dead, trampling down death by death and bestowing life!  The service we attend that night is a very long service- about 3 hours- but is so absolutely beautiful and emotional - the joy lasts for days and days, weeks.....  it's the heart of Our Faith.
  4. What is the biggest dream you are still striving for?  Oh good!  Another easy one!  To be a published children's author  🙂
  5. If you could travel back in time - what era would you want to live in or experience?  Why?  Hmmm....I'm not sure on this one.  Perhaps the times of the Civil War...  Wouldn't you just love to (assuming you're a girl reading this) to dress in those Southern Belle gowns??  LOL...  probably not if I had to do it daily but....   and really, it's just a fascinating time of history - so many changes.
  6. Who is it that inspires you the most - famous, or close, anybody - and what is your message for them?  Another easy one.  I've already written about The Greatest Woman Who Ever Lived - the Theotokos - Mary, the mother of our Lord, Jesus Christ. She was the first to consent on Jesus coming into her life, accepting Him without hesitation - regardless of the undoubting chaos it added to her entire life and changing everything for her.
  7. What would you do if you came face to face with a person you've always wanted to meet - living or passed?  Who is that person and what would you say? So many people come to mind here, but for whatever reason, Dave Pelzer came up first.  If I came upon Dave Pelzer, I would congratulate him on his victory in surviving child abuse to such an excessive extreme and having the courage to use his past as a way to write and reach out to others.  If you don't know, Dave Pelzer is the author of the book, "A Child Called It" and several others.
  8. Describe your motivation in blogging and how they have changed - if at all. Well, it started out as just a place to write some thoughts and to get my wriing back on track after not writing at all for many years.  It started out slow and as my motivation to write grew, the number of posts grew to where I knew I wanted to post almost daily.  Now that I'm reading about social media and the role it plays for want to be and already published authors, it motivates me further to keep it up and hope for  even more followers!
  9. Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?  What makes you so?   Oh, definitely an introvert.  I always have been- almost painfully so as a child and into my teens.  I have gradually come out of my shell through the years - I think my husband has helped me a great deal in that area - but still remain an introvert.  Large crowds, especially if they are full of people I don't know, still cause me much trepidation!
  10. What's your favorite weather condition?  A sunny Spring day!  Not too hot - not too cool...  just right...about 70... and SUNNY!!!

Okay....THAT's it for my questions!   NOW - you can go take a look at these wonderfull blogs!  They are the next receipients of the Liebster Award as I am now nominating them!

  • FCubed  Aspen writes about Food, Family and Fitness....in no particular order.  I love reading her posts and I LOVE her recipes!  Check out her EASY fudge recipe!
  • A God Coloured Girl in a Grey World Staci writes about Faith, family, fitness, food and fun.  She's living in Brazil!  I just love how we can connect so closely with others of similar thoughts and values on the internet from places all over the world! I love her outlook on so many aspects of life!
  • A Bit Behind On Books - I love reading her book reviews! She offers reviews and many other thoughts on her love of reading.
  • TaylorMadeItPaleo  This girl is amazing.  She's only 21 but she's talented at taking foods that are of our modern day 'diet' and turning them into sensational treats that are "paleo" - using quality ingredients so that an occasional treat isn't quite so bad for us!
  • Trialsofawannabepublishedwriter -  I started following Heather because she's an aspiring writer like me.... but am blown away by her posts and continue to look for more!  She's an amazing writer!
  • TheKhouriyehSaidWhat?! The Khourieyeh cracks me up.  🙂  She's an Orthodox homeschooling mother of three sharing things about the life she loves.  The funny thing is, I started following her blog before I realized who she was--- and later realized I knew her!
  • Paul Czajak Children's Book Author -  I really like Paul's blog.  Monster Needs A Costume came out this past September.  His second book is coming out in April.  Congratulations Paul!
  • AlayneKayChristian - Alayne's blog is wonderful.  She strives to give writer's a whole life perspective and she does a great job at it!  If you are a writer, you'll love the important and valuable information she offers!
  • TravelSizeFamily -  this woman is amazing -  I love reading of her adventures.  Her posts are mainly about traveling, travel tips, HOMESCHOOLING, and much more!
  • LittleBears - This is a homeschool mom and I love her writing style!  Right from her 'About Page', she states :  "‘Little Bears’ is a family that home educates, and has done so since 1999, using a range of different styles, methods and resources, including Charlotte Mason, literature-based (mainly Sonlight), lapbooking and notebooking. We aim for a wide range of traditional subjects, but aim for non-coercion".

So there it is - my list of wonderful blogs I decided to nominate for the Liebster Award - though it was a hard choice to make!  There are several others I follow that deserve the award and recognition!  Hopefully you will hop over and take a look at the sites and what they have to offer.

I'll be contacting them myself with messages on their About pages to let them know about the award and hopefully, most if not all, will have time to accept the award and post the answers to the questions and give us another list of ten bloggers with 200 or less followers that deserve this award so we can check them out too!

Here are the questions I am asking THEM to answer:

  1. What was your favorite book as a child or young adult and what made it your favorite?
  2. What do you consider your biggest accomplishment in life?
  3.  What is your idea of a perfect day or night?
  4. What do you consider your biggest challenge in life?
  5.  What is your favorite food?
  6. What is your biggest dream or goal you are working on or wish to reach?
  7. Give five words that describe a best friend.  Do you have one?  Tell about him or her if you wish.
  8.  What's the one place in the world you would want to visit?  Why?
  9.  If you several million dollars in the lottery, what's one thing you would do with it?
  10.  Tell one more thing about yourself that isn't here and isn't obvious by reading your blog.

I'm eager to see how many of my nominees answer the questions so I can learn more about them!  Even if  you're not a nominee, perhaps you'd like to share some of the answers with me anyway.  I'd love to know more about my followers!

Now, after making dinner and eating and spending some time with the little man.... I'll get to go back, let everyone know about their nominations and take a look at the other blogs recommended by Jenn at The Overcoming!  Please check her blog out - you will be amazed at her story and inspired by her honesty and her Overcoming!!!


So I have a good reason for making a second post today:

versatileblogger113So how awesome is this?  I've been nominated today for The Versatile Blogger Award!     A really big thank you goes out to  http://heatherbcosta.wordpress.com/2014/01/11/versatile-blogger-award/   .  Heather has a great blog titled Trials of a wanna-be-published writer and I can see why someone would nominate her for the award!

So I guess there's a few rules for accepting the nomination:

  1.  Thank the person who gave you the award 🙂  Thank you Heather!!
  2.   Include a link to their blog.  Done!  (see above)  Do check out her blog...she's an aspiring writer with wonderful posts...I especially like her Thoughts for Friday posts 🙂
  3.  Select 7 other bloggers to nominate for this award 🙂   Okay....here they are:

I'll try to get around to actually letting them know about this later... but maybe some will see their names listed before I get a chance to do that...

Check out these blogs if you don't follow them already!  It was hard for me to choose because I really like all of the ones I follow which are definitely way more than 7....too many for me to read each post unfortunately.  But these are some of my favorites!

Okay, now for the next part:

4.  I must share 7 things about myself:

  • I've been married for over 21 years.  They haven't all been easy years... but so worth it 🙂
  • I do not like winter...it is too darn cold!
  • My new favorite tea is YOGI Rejuvenation....and I didn't even use to like green tea at all.
  • It is really hard for me to drink water.... I'm just not naturally thirsty...unless it's cold......and then I want tea.
  • My favorite moment of my entire life was holding my baby daughter in my hands....because she was my first and it was the most amazing thing in all the world... a tiny little brand new life... and she was mine... and I had carried her for 9 months...wow
  • I want to go to Maui.  Because it's warm there. Oh, and pretty too.
  • I am constantly reorganizing things...constantly...always trying to find a better way....

So that's it...   Those of you that have been nominated, I am looking forward to your posts - I love learning more things about the people I'm following, plus it will give more links of more wonderful blogs to check out!

Thank you to all of my followers - you make blogging fun 🙂


Wow....  things are progressing - I hope that's a good thing!  Part of me feels like I'm in a whirlwind but another part is very excited and motivated.

The blog is doing well.  Today will be my 128th  post and I have over 80 followers.  I'm still enjoying the writing though cramming the time in every day to work on future posts is sometimes daunting - but feels so natural and good! I really must figure out how to make it all work and not be so stressful - and still have time for other things I enjoy like spending time with my family!

I've been doing quite a bit of reading on the craft - though it's hard to drag myself away from the fiction books I love - Doctor Sleep is calling my name and of course I have Laurie Halse Anderson's newest book lying here begging to be opened!  What I've read has encouraged me to learn more and become a part of the whole social media thing.  I started this blog as an outlet for my desire to write and to feel like I was at least working on the goal of being a writer - little did I know that blogs and other social media (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest) can actually assist one in making a platform if one becomes a published author.  So I've joined Twitter as well - I keep that mostly for following other writers - and am trying to learn the ropes of that and everything else!

In the meantime, and probably the greater of it all - I have signed on to Shannon Abercrombie's  Start The Year Off Write Challenge of 2014  as well as Julie  Hedlund's 12 x 12!  I am really excited to be doing these!  Shannon gives out a writing assignment each day for 21 days while Julie's Group is a HUGE challenge to write 12 PB manuscripts in 12 months and involves a big group of PB authors - also giving us an opportunity to really get to know one another and offer a ton of support and inspiration!

I have to admit, I was a little hesitant to dish out the money to join the Silverstein group of 12 x 12.... but I've decided to face it... I'm not 21 anymore (no matter how many "It's your 21st Birthday Cards my dear husband has given me - thank you dear) ....  If I'm going to do this, the time is now to BEGIN and begin strong!  So Shel Silverstein and Julie Hedlund, here I come!  Everybody wish me luck and PRAY!!!!

Who else is out there with me for Start The Year Off Write and 12x12??