Sunshine Blogger Award Nominee

The Sunshine Blogger Award

*Quite* awhile back a very kind, wonderful blogger–Amy of Awakening Wildflower, in fact–nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. Apparently, according to Colman Concierge, “The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are creative, positive, and inspiring, while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.” I was very touched and eager to participate (thank you so much, Amy!!), but the past several months have been chock-full of other ideas, issues, and real-world challenges and changes (one example of which is that we’re in the process of selling our house and buying a new one!)… so, unfortunately, this fell by the wayside for awhile (…as did most blogging for me for the past few weeks… if you didn’t notice… aheh heh).

So, in an effort to put SOMETHING new and fun up here, let’s do this Sunshine Blogger thing!


The Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you in a blog post and make a link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions sent to you by the person who nominated you.
  3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award, and then write them 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or your blog


Amy’s 11 Questions:

  1. What is the very first thought you have when you open your eyes in the morning? Arrrggghhhh, nooooo, I’m afraid of the day. I’m afraid of the pain in the pit of my stomach that hits about 4 seconds after I’m conscious. I’m afraid of people needing me all day. I’m afraid of things going wrong. Clearly, I have anxiety issues… something I’m constantly working on. But truthfully, sadly, the moment I wake up is the absolute worst part of the day for me.
  2. If you find yourself in a dark mood, what do you do to brighten things up? The hardest part is motivating myself to try! But if I get past that, I usually take a long bathroom break (a privilege with toddlers… truly!), eat a piece of dark chocolate, drink some water, and pray incessantly in snatched half-phrases. Also, if I have a particularly blessed free minute or two, I stretch out and do some yoga. And if it’s a sunny day, I go sit in the sun for 5-10 minutes!!
  3. If you had to list your top three things that you’re grateful for, what would they be? My husband, my two children, and my cat.
  4. What is something you do when you’re all alone that no one knows about? Oftentimes this is crying… though I usually mention it to my husband if I’ve had some tears. Ummm, I honestly can’t think of anything else! And really, would it still qualify as such if I told you? Ha!**Now, however, I do want to take this moment to add a somber but important note: several years ago, my answer to this would have been porn/masturbation–if I *could* have possibly told you that, which I couldn’t have, of course–because I was addicted to it. And I know a lot of people will read this question and think, “Well gosh, wouldn’t the #1 answer to this be porn–but who would ever say that? I certainly couldn’t!” And I want to give whatever sense of opportunity to break free from this secret to anyone else I can by admitting this struggle was mine, too. There is hope to escape from it. It is possible. And you don’t have to be stuck in the endless cycle of shame and fear and helplessness. There is help for you–real, substantial help. If you have no one else to confide in, I am always available to talk about this and offer resources, compassion, encouragement, and hope. Shame-free. Please reach out. You won’t regret it.**
  5. What is your favorite memory from childhood? This is hard… I don’t have an overabundance of good memories from childhood. Probably the best, though, go back to all the time playing outside that I did with my siblings when I was 11. We had a “fort” in an old gnarled tree root stretched across a dried-out rivulet that ran down the hill out in the woods back behind our house. Afternoons spent out in those woods, or in our yard full of climbing trees and hiding spots, were magic.
  6. If you could come back to earth as an animal, what animal would that be, and why? A cat. Cats sleep all the time, jump and run with tremendous grace and ease, have beautifully plush fur coats, built-in defense systems… yeah, I love cats. 🙂
  7. What is your number one pet peeve? Perhaps that I have too many pet peeves. 😛 Right now, though, it’s bad breath and B.O.
  8. What is the main message you hope your blog conveys to its readers? That life is hard, but that there is hope and help and laughter for the hard days.
  9. If you had to live one week without technology, how would you do? Mentally, that is… Just fine! It’d be a hugely welcome relief to just let go of all that pressure I feel to be plugged in… although I suppose I might miss watching a show here or there. But a week really isn’t long to go without. 🙂
  10. What wish would you make upon a shooting star? That every member of my extended family finds the true love of Jesus Christ for them, accepts it down to the bottom of their souls, and finds life and health and true, deep, identity-defining joy at last.
  11. One of my favorite television shows to watch when I’m down in the dumps is Shaun the Sheep. What’s yours? I have heard SUCH good things about Shaun the Sheep and yet never managed to watch it! I really need to one of these days soon. 🙂 But for me, I love The Great British Baking Show and Parenthood.


My 11 Nominees:

  1. Vernon Miles Kerr
  2. Sheikah Plate
  3. Something to Stu Over
  4. Building the Love Shack
  5. More Enigma Than Dogma
  6. Jason Journals
  7. Peace From Panic
  8. The Things of Every Day
  9. Rachel’s blog spot
  10. InkBlots and IceBergs
  11. Purely Mama P


My 11 Questions:

  1. If you couldn’t drink coffee (or other caffeinated beverage of choice) in the morning, what else would you do to wake up?
  2. What is your dream job?
  3. Who is your go-to confidant when you just need to dump your irrationality off your chest?
  4. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
  5. What would someone need to know about you in order for you to consider them a *good* friend?
  6. Spiders or snakes?
  7. Do you think the traditional 4-year college degree will still be worth anything in 30 years?
  8. What pushes you to keep blogging?
  9. Favorite snack food?
  10. What one global problem would you like to see the human race make significant progress on in your lifetime?
  11. How do you (or don’t you) conceive of God?


A brief update on my mom

Hello again,

I’m sorry that I don’t have much time to create “real” posts this week. As I mentioned in my last post, my mom went in for major surgery on Tuesday, so our family has been putting together what time we can to go visit her at the hospital (where she’ll be til at least Friday). I wanted to give you a brief update on how that went and, honestly, ask for prayer:

The surgery went very well, though it was more extensive than originally planned. They went in for one thing and ended up finding an additional thing in the process: a “borderline tumor.” The initial, “frozen” pathology report suggested that it isn’t cancerous, but we have to wait for the full pathology report to confirm that. In the meantime, my mom is adjusting to 90 staples in her stomach and all the ramifications of that.

…So I would just really appreciate prayer that we receive the pathology report back soon, and that the tumor is completely benign. And that my mom’s recovery goes really, really well (she actually got up and walked today, which I’m not sure she was quite ready to do, but she did! So hurrah!).

Thank you!



The Liebster Award!

Well. Right after I made my “50 Followers! Thank you!” post, I got nominated for The Liebster Award! And I felt rather embarrassed at the thought of following one “yay me!” post directly with another. Ha! So I worked on other things and took my time putting this together because it has a number of fun, detailed steps. Many thanks to From Toddler to Traveler for the nomination!

Apparently the Liebster Award is something conducted by The Global Aussie each year in an effort to promote new blogs and, in the case of one lucky blogger, receive a prize! If nominated, you earn the right to display a pretty badge on your website, and you get to play along–answering questions, nominating other bloggers, and writing interesting questions for them to answer. So, without further ado… here we go!

Liebster Award 2018

General Rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and leave a link to their blog. Thank you so much, From Toddler to Traveler!
  2. Include a link back to The Global Aussie’s original Liebster Award post in your Liebster Award post.
  3. Display the award on your blog. The Global Aussie has several badges to choose from!
  4. Write a small post about what makes you passionate about blogging. (This may not be a part of the original official rules but I’m happy to oblige anyway. 🙂 )
  5. Provide 10 Random Facts about Yourself. (Again, not sure if this is original, but fun!)
  6. Answer 11 questions from the blog that nominated you.
  7. Nominate 5-11 blogs.
  8. Give the new nominees 11 questions to answer.
  9. Inform the people who have been nominated regarding their nomination.


10 Random Facts About Myself

  1. I was homeschooled K-12.
  2. I have six younger siblings (seven, if you consider the one miscarriage my mom had <3).
  3. I have lived all over the U.S. in 8 different states: Idaho, Washington, Montana, Tennessee, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. I’ve visited or driven through a number of others as well!
  4. I’ve taught a few different subjects in a few different capacities: Latin, English writing/grammar/poetry, and Medieval history.
  5. I have a B.A. in three different majors: English, Music, and Classical Studies. The nerdery runs deep!!
  6. My alma mater is Hanover College… which is also the alma mater of V.P. Mike Pence and Woody Harrelson.
  7. I have strong OCD tendencies (better now than they were 15 years ago) and probably some leanings toward BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder–although this also seems to have decreased with time and love).
  8. I volunteer for an incredible organization called She’s Somebody’s Daughter. They work to raise awareness of issues related to sex trafficking and abuse and reach out to women trapped in the adult entertainment industry to share a message of love and hope–that a woman’s worth is so much more than whatever she can do with her body–or has been made to do.
  9. I’m an indentured cat-lover for life.
  10. I LOVE video games. This often creates just a slight awkwardness in mixed company when the men bring up their latest gaming adventures–and I jump right in with mine.


The 11 Questions I Was Given

  1. What’s one thing you didn’t know about blogging that surprised you? That bloggers LIKE conversing with random strangers! I can wander into any blog I’ve never encountered before and start leaving comments right and left, and they’re appreciated and responded to. I don’t have to be accepted as a “friend” or any such thing first–big change in dynamic for someone steeped in Facebook protocol!
  2. What is your least favorite thing about blogging? The anxiety of working on a post I’m very excited about and being constantly interrupted as I write by *coughCertainPeoplecough* so that my train of thought breaks and I can’t just knock it out and finish it. ;D
  3. If you had a superpower, what would it be and why? I thought about this A LOT in high school and college. Back then, it was a tie between being a ninja-type with knives who could melt into the shadows and dodge anything, and a “glass cannon” of some sort. Probably now it’s just the latter: I can wind myself up to make quite an impact on whatever I set my mind to, but afterwards I’m completely spent and liable to fall apart.
  4. What is your “last meal” meal, i.e. what would you eat if you knew it would be your last meal? Gosh, I have WAY too many favorite foods to settle on just one. In reality, if I knew it would actually be my last meal, I would probably completely lose my appetite and not be able to eat anything. What’s the point, after all? Just get it over with! But, if I had to pick a current favorite meal, it’s probably a tie between Pad Thai and my own recipe for fettuccine alfredo with brussels sprouts, pistachios, and roasted grapes!
  5. Plane, train, or automobile? Automobile.
  6. What’s your favorite “cocktail party” story? Heh heh. I’m a mom of preschoolers married to a computer programmer. Cocktail parties are not my native habitat. But, if I were in the highly unlikely situation of being at a cocktail party AND pressed for a story, I might describe the incident in which my mother-in-law spilled a child’s sippy cup full of milk all over herself, the couch, and my son ten minutes before I had to run out the door… because she sucked the lid right off while trying to drink her breakfast. 8D
  7. Tell me a joke (PG, please, there are little ears around). Gosh, I never tell jokes! Most of my humor these days resorts to tickling and making fart noises… or, if I’m lucky, one-liners in adult company where someone else provides the set-up (and does most of my work for me). Here’s my (stupidly nerdy) best attempt off the cuff: what does “Semper ubi sub ubi” mean in Latin? “Always where under where!” 😉
  8. What was your worst vacation and why? Ha! Well, growing up, we **never** vacationed… and I haven’t really had a bad one since moving out or getting married. But I guess you could say the vacation we took right after my favorite childhood pet died was pretty hard, and not at all as fun as it could have been for me… that loss weighed on me terribly for weeks and weeks and made it very hard to appreciate anything else.
  9. Let’s say you could travel with your favorite Disney character. Who would you travel with and why? Emperor Kuzco. For so many nerdy and ridiculous reasons… but let’s keep it simple and just say that llama knows how to navigate a jungle. And waterfalls.
  10. If you could invent one tool to make your life easier, what would it be? A diaper-changing, butt-wiping robot.
  11. What is your favorite kind of candy? Hmmmm, it’s usually a toss-up between Butterfinger and Peanutbutter M&Ms. The use of the word “butt” in these candy names has nothing to do with the answer to the preceding question.


Nominated Blogs: Here are 9!

  • Natalie Greenfield: this is the blog of my childhood best friend–a woman who, as I found out decades after we had moved apart, suffered three years of sexual abuse as a child at the hands of a border in her own home. Since those dark days, Natalie has grown into an incredibly strong, talented, and loving woman who advocates for abuse awareness while raising four young children and partnering in deep vulnerability and respect with her tireless, adoring husband. Her story is well worth knowing.
  • Rachel’s blog spot: I love this girl. I love her poetry, I love her music (y’all, she just posted a BEAUTIFUL original song–and I’m an intense critic!), and I love her message. It’s the sweetness of Jesus melting on my tongue every time I check her blog. Thank you, Rachel.
  • Look for Little Helpers: A cheery, sweet platform for encouraging compassionate, thoughtful community involvement *that includes our children* and teaches them not only to “look for the helpers” (thank you Mr. Rogers <3) but to be helpers. Wonderfully positive message!
  • BlendedDad: I REALLY appreciate this realistic, level-headed, humble, and grace-rooted approach to the hardship of divorce, blended families, and toxic family members. Recommended.
  • Silently Screaming: Valdelo writes with gripping sincerity and vulnerability about her experience of miscarriage after IVF. She conveys a depth and complexity of emotion in startlingly few words. The effect is an immersive, resonant, beautifully crafted narrative.
  • The Things of Every Day: A wonderfully sweet, genuine, minimalistic look at what really matters in life and parenting and how to cultivate it with tender, mindful care. Nikki’s appreciation for the beauty in every moment and her refusal to water down the experience of misfortune at the same time are so refreshing.
  • White Privilege Syllabus: SO GOOD. I’ve had little time to read much here because the posts are *chock full* of important, complicated, difficult concepts that deserve careful attention and consideration. Be warned, it will probably feel like a punch to the gut at first if you’re white. But if you lean into it, I think there is *so much* to be gained by listening to this voice.
  • Sall Good in the End: I love how detailed, thorough, and confident Sarah’s posts are! She writes about mental health–both her personal, cross-cultural experience of it as a second-generation Indian living in Canada, and about what she is learning through therapy/counseling and self-study. She is a strong voice advocating for our global need to treat this as a real problem: with respect, compassion, and understanding.
  • Sheikah Plate: Gotta end with my favorite “just for ludicrous fun!” blogger! Teri Mae is seriously a-*dork*-able (in my family that is a TOTAL affectionate compliment so please take it as such!) with her take on recipes from Breath of the Wild, the latest Legend of Zelda video game, and SO knowledgable about cooking and all-things-nerdery. She has fabulous pictures, spot-on game-referencing graphics, an endearingly cheeky writing style–oh, and did I mention that her recipe for Salmon Meuniere was de-licious?! Yeah, you gotta try Sheikah Plate–even if you know nothing about video games. 🙂


Questions for New Nominees!

  1. What is your go-to technique for calming nerves–your own or others–in stressful situations?
  2. What is your favorite food?
  3. Do you prefer academia or practical skills?
  4. Current favorite TV show?
  5. If you could change one thing about the world you live in, what would it be?
  6. Pet peeve?
  7. How do you cultivate empathy in your relationships?
  8. Dream job?
  9. Go-to catch phrase when you’re pleased with something:
  10. What do you want to be remembered for?
  11. Who do you most want to read your blog?


I enjoyed putting this together so much! And I hope you enjoyed the little peek into my world–but I especially hope you check out the blogs I nominated and enjoy getting to know these fabulous, fabulous people! They have enriched my life in so. many. ways!

Gritty grins ’til next time,