“Me Likee” Link Up – It’s Inspiring

Stories that Inspire
Stories that Inspire

I’m a sucker for the stories that make me think, make me want to be a better human, or encourage me to never give up. I’ve come across a few that inspire me lately — here are the links:

 

1. Couple Loses 538 Pounds. We watch the Biggest Loser and are always so inspired by the tremendously hard work people complete in order to live a healthier life. This article is similar — and the couple is ridiculously attractive!

 

2. You’re a Stay-at-Home Mom — What do you DO all day?! I haven’t had many people give me a hard time for being a stay-at-home mom, but occasionally I get knuckle heads who can’t understand why we have laundry on the sofa or grapes smashed on the floor when I’m at home all day doing nothing. (Ha!) I loved this husband’s defense of his wife’s career choice… and it inspired me to work harder at being the mom I know I can be.

 

3. 25 Things Every Woman Needs to Know. There are some nice tidbits in this article that rank right up there with making sure a woman always has access to a power drill. And a plunger.

 

4. When Life Feels Like It’s Stuck on Repeat. I’m a big fan of Lisa-Jo Baker. Her writing encourages me often. This post gave me the extra needed boost I needed (in addition to a cup of coffee).

 

5. There are no “cool moms.” Another from Lisa Jo Baker that reminded me I’m pre-approve (and so are you!) and that’s… well… that’s just awesome.

 

6. Seeing A Woman. I’m realizing more and more that pornography and sexuality is a crazy serious issue. I adored this wisdom from a father to a son on how to really see a woman.

 

7. Less is More. Have you ever wished your marriage possessed just a little more attention? This post helped me think through the ways I can study my husband in order to know him more.

 

8. Marriage Advice from a Divorced Man. They say regret can be a powerful motivator; this heartfelt blog post from a divorced man looking back at 16 years of marriage almost made me cry in its beautiful simplicity.

 

9. A Week of Food Around the World. A photographer set out to showcase cultural differences by taking pictures of families with a weeks worth of groceries in different countries. It’s hilarious… and sobering all at the same time.

 

10. The Prize for Motherhood ISN’T Great Kids. It’s funny how much better my life is when I take the spotlight off of my own issues and realize I have a sphere of influence I can control and a whole lot more in this life I can only observe. Reading this post helped me realize my reactions to events are 90% of the fight.

 

What are some of the stories/articles/blog posts you’ve read that inspired you?

 

 

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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

Hot Mess Tribble

ericaI’m friends with a lady who befriends Tribbles.

 

OK, I admit it. That’s an overstatement in the “I caught a fish this big,” kind of way… so let me start over.

 

There’s this picture floating around the World Wide Web these days:

 

Betty Chu's English Angoras
Betty Chu’s English Angoras

 

No, it’s not a picture of the result of cotton candy machine in gastrointestinal distress! But I wish it were. Cotton candy is my very favorite of all treats designed to make your body shut down in sugar shock and just looking at this rabbit makes my mouth water.

 

But it’s not to be. That is not cotton candy.

 

It’s false cotton candy advertising — kind of like those plastic grapes people use as centerpieces on their tables. They look so good! My mom had these and they were a constant temptation throughout my childhood. Sometimes I just couldn’t stand it and would gobble one of the plastic globes down.

 

It was always a disappointment.

 

Back to my story and the picture, I know the woman beaming next to that big ball of fuzz – her name is Betty! I know someone famous!

 

Well, maybe I don’t know her precisely, as I certainly don’t know her in the Biblical sense of the word and also wouldn’t be able to pick her out of a crowd unless she was carting her big ball ‘o rabbity fluff, but I’ve been in her general vicinity and I’ve said, “Hi.”

 

So it’s like we’re best friends.

 

Anyway, Betty raises some of the most beautiful English Angora rabbits in the country and I met her earlier this year when we traveled to national rabbit show. Each of these rabbits takes an amazing amount of care to keep the hair clean and unmatted, although they can be shorn like sheep and their fur used for spinning and other lovely yarn-ish items.

 

It’s definitely not a rabbit breed for me, as I like low maintenance. Half the time my kids walk around looking like they just stuck their finger in a light socket and earlier this week I found a bit of dried apple sauce acting as a fixing agent in Tres’ hair.

 

There’s no chance I’ll be able to keep up with the grooming needs of an animal sporting a hot mess ‘do like this, but I can still point out my near brush with fame and give a nod to all the Tribble fans out there.

 

You know you want one.

 

 

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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

Unicorn Mancave

Where to start?
Where to start?

It’s not every day you discover a piece of trivia that startles you so thoroughly you make a strange barking like a Pier 39 sea lion to catch your breath.

 

But, lucky me, I have experienced such an event. The news that caused my mirth?

 

The national animal of Scotland is a unicorn.

 

I don’t know about you but my picture of Scotland as a country has been highly influenced by Mel Gibson in blue war paint and Diana Gabaldon in the Outlander book series. These are both solid bits of media that portray the Scottish people as tough, possibly smelly, and rather austere.

 

When I think of a unicorn I have visions of Despicable Me and want to squeal, “It’s so pink and fluffy I COULD DIE!!!!!”

 

I couldn’t help but share this sweet portrayal of sugar and spice and everything nice a unicorn is made of:

 

e5a7_canned_unicorn_meat_parts_diagram

 

Scottish warriors and unicorns are so opposite on another it’s hard to even imagine a kilt-wearing, horn sporting equine.

 

… or is it?
When this conversation appeared in my Facebook feed regarding the unicorn/Scottish national animal discord I cracked up:

 

“No one ever believes me when I tell them this: unicorns are manly. Also, I learned that Viking wore pink. 

That means that four-year-old girls are pretty masculine.

Just think about it: their rooms are covered with pink and unicorns. It’s a total mancave. Also, if you think about it, rainbows are pretty full of testosterone and what not. I mean, God made them after wiping out almost an entire humanity’s worth of bad guys…”

 

Now… isn’t your world just a bit brighter?!

 

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Homeschool Blog Awards

 photo HSBA2013AwardsNominateMe250x250_zpsdb90eecf.jpg

 

It’s that time again – the Homeschool Blog Awards! It’s been an awesome honor that Stealing Faith has been nominated the last two years. Can you help keep the streak going?

 

Go on over and nominate Stealing Faith for the Humor and Variety categories (there are 20 categories, so be prepared to nominate all your favorite blogs) – and when it comes time to vote… vote!

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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

Extra Large Portion

Grace like a Hershey's bar.
Grace like a Hershey’s bar.

Today a guy I don’t personally know posted this status update on Facebook:

 

“Grace doesn’t come in different sizes. You can’t give a small serving of grace. It either comes extra large or doesn’t come at all.” ~Carlos Whittaker

 

I follow Carlos, who is a pastor in California (I think), because a few months ago he wrote a blog post I adored. I enjoy following him but wasn’t expecting to be stopped cold in my tracks while scanning my newsfeed this morning… and his insight has had me thinking all day long.

 

Grace comes in extra large.

 

Let me say that again: Grace — the reprieve from the negative consequence  truly deserved — comes in extra large or not at all.

 

You see, as a perfectionist I don’t see grace in extra large. I feel I need to earn my way into a state of grace. If I’ve done a good job homeschooling today, I have the ability to look at the laundry pile and feel like it will be okay — eventually. If I’ve managed to get all the dishes done and a batch of bread baked then it’s acceptable that the bed is not made and the kids wore pajamas all day. If my husband has acted like a buffoon I can tell him I love him but leave an unspoken, “But if you do that again…” hanging over our conversation.

 

My grace hasn’t typically come in extra large. It’s come in little portions of sweetness, kind of like a Hershey’s bar. Hershey’s bars are scored so it’s easy to break into those little squares… but do you know a single person who eats only one square?! I don’t! I gobble a whole row in one sitting if I’m particularly controlled, and the bar is my preferred method of excess when I indulge. It’s just not good enough to have only one little square. You can’t even make a decent s’more with only one square!

 

I hadn’t realized until this morning that I’ve been dishing out my acceptance one square at a time. Sometimes my grace has been extended in a size small, occasionally a large. I can’t remember a time when I have relaxed my guard toward myself or others in a way that could truly be termed gluttonously, largely, extravagantly extra large.

 

And a smidgen of grace is no grace at all.

 

Grace extended with hesitancy or an unspoken, “Well, just this one time,” is no grace at all.

 

I feel like I’ve been hit across the face with this cold truth and will be chewing on this for quite a while as I try to change my natural reaction to something that is much, much more beautiful.

 

Thank you, Carlos Whittaker.  That’s all I have to say about that.

 

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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

No Knead Artesan-Style Sourdough Bread

milspa / stock.xchng
milspa / stock.xchng

Suzy Homemaker over here.

 

I’ve been trying for a few years to get a recipe I can use to make sourdough bread without needing dental work after for the teeth I’ve broken on the crust. I’m not a fan of the snaggle-tooth look, although there are certain segments of the country whose residents can certainly rock the look. I’m just not one of them.

 

I love cooking with sourdough, thanks to my mother. She introduced it to me and at this point we only do waffles and pancakes with sourdough – but the bread. Oh, the bread! It has defied my desires… until now.

 

So my requirements for the recipe are that 1: it tastes good, 2: won’t break my teeth or cut my gums when trying to gnaw through the crust, and 3. is easy… very easy is best.

 

I’ve tried a ton of recipes and even gave up once or twice, but I’ve finally come across a winner! This is actually a combination of three different recipes I just got to feeling all frisky with the recipes last week and experimented. So far the finished products have been gobbled up within an hour of coming out of the oven. I’m calling that a success!

 

Here’s the recipe – I hope it works for you, too!

 

No Knead Artesan-Style Sourdough Bread

¼ c. sourdough starter
2 c. flour
1½ c. water
1½ t. salt

1. Combine starter, flour, water, salt in glass bowl and leave on counter for 16-17 hours. I’ve let it sit as few as 12 hours and not noticed a negative affect.
2. Place dough on well-flour surface and turn a few times. It’s not necessary to truly knead the dough, but get it a little less sticky in consistency.
3. Let the dough rise for 1½ hrs. in a greased bowl.
4. Turn out onto a buttered pizza stone and cook for 55 min. at 375°. (I sometimes spread melted butter on the top of the loaf so it will brown pretty.)
5. Cool on wire rack – and enjoy!

Makes 1 smallish loaf.

 

 

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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

Someone’s Worst Day

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These days we live near an ambulance transport service. It has become common to hear sirens at all times of the day and night as the emergency vehicles respond to a call.

 

Tonight the sirens went off as I was sitting, disgruntled, looking at the sink full of dishes, feeling pressured to update the family calendar, and knowing the pile of clothing sitting in front of the washing machine wasn’t going to pick itself up and enter the tub of its own volition.

 

And then the sirens went off and I realized, “That’s the sound of someone’s worst day.”

 

When I was in college a friend of mine rather bashfully admitted that every time she heard ambulance sirens she would say the Lord’s Prayer. It inspired me to utter a simple prayer when I hear the noise: “Lord, please be with whomever is involved in this situation. Please help everyone involved to do their part to the best of their ability. May Your will be done and please allow peace to invade this moment.”

 

It’s gotten to be such a habit our kids will stop what they’re doing when they hear sirens and say, “Oh! Mommy! We need to pray!” but we hear sirens so often now I think I forget the significance…

 

  • That siren means someone is in danger… and I’m worried about dishes in the sink.
  • That siren means there’s a chance someone’s life has just changed irrevocably… and my thoughts are consumed with putting events on a family calendar.
  • That siren means someone’s nightmares just came true… and I’m busy thinking the laundry needs to do itself and just leave me alone.

 

It’s the sound of someone’s worst day. And I have so very much to be thankful for in my own life and I’m pretending this is my worst day ever.

 

Really? Really?!

 

Sometimes my life gets put into perspective by the wailing of a siren.

 

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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

Easy Lessons

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Engelmann
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Engelmann

Today we had a turbo load of reading lessons because Dos has decided she wants to get her ears pierced and I’ve told her she can’t until she can read.

 

Doesn’t anyone else see the connection between artificial holes in the ears and language comprehension?!

 

I’ve heard other parents say they don’t reward their kids for accomplishing what should be expected behavior. I understand this concept and in a few ways I agree with it, but when it comes to the stuff that causes a reduction in the whine factor around here or simply makes my life easier – bribery all the way, baby.

 

Before we started homeschooling I never really understood the physical process of reading. To me, it was a magical process that just happened, kind of like outgrowing your clothes overnight or getting freckles in the summertime.

 

Little did I know there was a reading Bible for homeschoolers and parents who want their kids reading at 18-months-old and are known for shouting, “Rah! Rah!” and shaking pom-poms.

 

I don’t know what that pom-pom reference is about. I don’t own a pom-pom. Just a chainsaw.

 

Back to the issue at hand, I do know the reading manual of choice (at least in my circles) is Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Englemann.

 

 

At the most basic level, it’s written by a guy named Siegfried and anything coming out of a guy named Siegfried has got to be decent. And possibly German.

 

Second, it’s filled with words that are color coded. If the kid is supposed to say something it’s in black type. If the adult is supposed to say something it’s in pink. That’s pretty much dummy-proof. They even give you a pronunciation guide just in case you’re a little fuzzy on the exact sound an “r” or “o” makes when in isolation. (It’s not as simple as you might assume.)

 

All of these are lovely additions and speak highly of the book.

 

However, may I suggest that Siegfried may have underestimated the easiness of repetition 100 times? And that these lessons are not exactly easy-peasy? At least, according to Uno and Dos they’re the worst sort of punishment a child can face.

 

They groan and moan and whine and complain and basically roll around on the floor in despair… unless they think pierced ears are connected to the whole process.

 

I’m sticking with it because I’ve heard many, many parents credit this book with their child’s reading success and ability to explore the worlds a novel opens. I also just read the blurb on the book cover and discovered my friend Siegfried is also the author of a book called Give Your Child a Superior Mind.

 

I told you Siegfried was cool – now I know he’s superior! And maybe, just maybe, my kids will be superior, too.

 

But only after they’ve gotten their ears pierced.

 

 

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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

Bugle Call of the Wild

je1196 / stock.xchng
je1196 / stock.xchng

I have moved one step closer to being a real hunter. (Please, oh please, read that phrase again while imagining Pinocchio.)

 

I’m a real girl!

 

OK. The truth is I’m not really much of a hunter although I’m completely in favor of it if you eat what you kill. Personally, I have only killed a few rabbits and that doesn’t seem to be on the same grand landscape as taking down a 500-pound elk that could feasibly feed a family for close to a year, but I’m inching that direction after our weekend activity.

 

What has caused this character growth, you ask? I’ve been elk bugling.

 

Now you may (like me) be naive when it comes to what elk bugling as an activity looks like, so let me give you a run down of my own experience:

 

  1. Go on a ridiculously beautiful drive out into the woods.
  2. Eat popcorn and throw rocks down an abandoned well.
  3. Walk a toddler’s mile at dusk.
  4. Whistle and make high pitched grunting noises in hopes a randy elk will respond.
  5. Wait.
  6. Get told not to wander off in case an elk in rut wants to… you know… rut you.
  7. Walk a toddler’s mile back to the car.
  8. Drink hot cocoa.
  9. Be at peace with the world. (Or go through the five stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance — over the fact that elk didn’t find you attractive and stop by to check you out. It’s all part of the experience.)

 

Real wildlife people described an elk bugle like this: “The typical bugle of the bull elk is a surprising, distinctive sound that begins deep and resonant, and becomes a high pitched squeal before ending in a succession of grunts.” You’ll notice that, contrary to what vocabulary words might lead you to believe, there are no small musical instruments involved in this bugling, nor are the monstrous elk likely to wake you up to a revelry in the morning.

 

I needed my friends to clarify that at the time they issued their invitation because I really couldn’t understand why they would want us to come play in a band with elk.

 

Like I said, I’m one step closer to being a real hunter now.

 

Now, real hunters go elk bugling for a variety of reasons. They may want to locate the elk for hunting purposes, have a fetish about massive bovines and mating season, or  think it’s cool to be close to nature and in the wild and stuff.

 

All I know is it was awesome and highly recommended. Maybe next time I’ll bring a trumpet.

 

 

 

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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

Lead Pooper Scooper

The face says it all...
The face says it all…

There are so many things I have found unpredictable about parenting.

 

The hearing your child laugh and feeling like your whole world just brightened? Never knew that was coming.

 

That feeling in your chest when you see them sleeping and they look so, preciously, dang perfect? I suspected it might exist but until it happened to me it was an unsolved mystery.

 

Finding your kid pooped in the bathtub when you wonder what’s all over his hands? That’s another little gem I would never have expected even a split second before it happened!

 

And yet, there it was, the evening activity: scooping poop from the bath. It was such an exhilarating experience I’m considering adding it to my resume:

Mom. February 2006 – present. Demonstrates problem solving techniques and visible desire for best hygienic practices, particularly when confronted by situations where the poop literally hits the fan. Exhibits flexibility and exceptional management skills while supervising a four-person team prone to sudden mood swings and emotional outbursts. Proven ability to work under pressure with limited resources and minimal rest periods.

 

What would you add to your resume if parenting skills seemed relevant?

 

 

 

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If you like this post, feel free to share it (with attribution).
Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

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