December 14, 2018

the tree and me

I haven't had much success, recently, finding clothes in my size and style at our local thrift store. And the happy-busy doings of late have filled my days as full as can be... thus, I haven't had a chance to fabric shop or do any sewing for awhile.

So my dear hubby, knowing that I am *excited* to put together a lasting wardrobe filled with the kinds of cute clothes that I love to wear in this plus-size that I enjoy so much (my body's natural happy place) and that I hope and believe will remain "my size" barring any unforeseen changes, suggested I do some online perusing and find myself some clothes.

And I did just that! I chose two long and flowy prairie-style denim skirts, some underthings, a fitness top with built-in support, a flannel button-down shirt in a feminine orange-y plaid, and two tunic tops. I even treated myself to a package of headcoverings in solid colors. {smile}

The things I ordered have begun to arrive and I couldn't wait to try them on. Oh, joy! Clothes that fit the way I love, in colors that make me happy, that adhere to my modesty convictions and style preferences, and feel authentically like me. Bliss indeed.

My boy snapped a photo of me this morning in my new yellow top (love!) and purple headcovering (again, love!) by our Christmas tree. I already had the maxi skirt. A cute outfit, I thought.

I hope to get back to sewing some of my own clothes very soon... and you just never know what treasures the thrift store will hold... but what a fun treat it was to choose and order a few new items.


December 12, 2018

six words

That's Christmas.


December 10, 2018

that coffee {and more!}

I wanted you to see my morning indulgence with your own eyes. That coffee I have been telling you about... the yummy pumpkin spice whipped cream topped first cuppa morning coffee that my man has been spoiling me with during this season of cozy flavors and holiday goodies. Oh my.

As I was yet bleary eyed and slurping (yes, literally) the first few sips of that deliciousness (how could I tip that towering cup without dipping my nose in fluff?) one morning last week, I felt my hubby's eyes upon me. So I smiled at him and said in the sweetest voice I could muster at that early hour, "Not sorry." Ha! He knew I was being silly and we both laughed *so* hard.

And another part of my morning routine, as y'all know, is my daily body positive activity - workout - dance - hooping - whatever sounds fun - time! So blessed I am to have a few moments for self-care before my children get up each weekday... before all of my regular homesteading and homeMaking and homeschooling tasks clamor for my attention.

Here is how I spent the time last week ~

Monday: 40 minute walk + 20 minutes hooping (memory review Psalm 119:1-64)

Tuesday: 2 mile walk (used weights for 1 mile) + hooping (ASL review)

Wednesday: 30 minute power walk + 20 minutes hooping (watched NYC treadmill scenery *and* listened to part 10 of the sermon series that I am studying about spiritual depression)

Thursday: 40 minute indoor walk + hooping (memory review again, Psalm 119:1-64) + a fun strength/mobility training class

Friday: 40 minute indoor running/walking intervals + hooping + 10 minutes boxing

Saturday: 30 minute walk + hooping + boxing (I love boxing!)

Sunday: 30 minute dance-walk (Christmas songs!) + an afternoon homestead walkabout with my dear hubby and Jack (took a rest day from hooping)

It has been fun, on the days I am waist hooping or working on hoop tricks (rather than hoopdance flow) to also use those minutes to work on reviewing the verses I have memorized in Psalm 119, or to continue and review my sign language studies. And there are often days when I choose to listen to an online sermon during my walking and hooping time, too.

One thing I was *very* happy about last week was being able to once again get my dance hoop up from my knees to my waist. One of my knees has been bothering me for awhile and affecting my mobility in varying degrees at times... so being able to use my knees for that level change hoop trick again felt quite amazing.

My youngest boy was happy for me, too. He was coloring nearby while I was hooping and when the hoop zipped up to my waist he looked up and said... "Oh wow, Mama!"... so thankful for his sweet and simple encouragement, I am!


December 7, 2018

favorite things

Ten favorites from this week . . .

Coffee with pumpkin spice whipped cream on top. A delightful way to begin the day!

Walking up the driveway with my daughter (and Jack) when she got home from work.

Watching the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" for the very first time.

Colorful Christmas lights everywhere I look.

Realizing as I listen to sermons about overcoming that - praise the Lord - I already have.

Reading aloud to my children each and every day.

My dear hubby finding and buying for me the cinnamon scented pine cones I wanted.

Bagels for breakfast.

Celebrating eighteen years on our homestead.

Daily deliveries of treasures-for-gifting found and ordered online.

Good things, those!


December 3, 2018

run hoop 50 {and more!}

Happy Monday to you, friends. Well, it has been just over two weeks since I began my run hoop 50 streak of self-care during the two months leading up to my fiftieth birthday in January. Woot! I am having so much fun with it...

Two miles (30 minutes) of walking/running per day is bliss. It is just the amount I have time for during my morning workout, and it is just nice to get back to the basics - the very foundation - of my body positive fitness habit.

Recently, one of my favorite online walking "friends" uploaded to her channel the very first two mile walk that I ever did with her when I began my fitness journey way-back-when (twelve or so years ago). Wow, what fun, what memories! I suppose I have done that walk at least a hundred times before. It is neat to add it back into my indoor walking rotation.

And giving myself an excuse to hoop for twenty minutes every day was simply a grand idea. {smile} I have done a lot of waist hooping, some dance-flow, and I am working on twin arm hooping. I just love it! Young at heart I will always be in some ways... appreciating the value of play-time, relishing the art of dance. Good things.

Here is a look back at my fun body positive fitness activities and hooping from last week ~

Monday: 2 miles + 20 minutes (run hoop 50) and a total body strength/Pilates fusion class; evening - belly dance + yoga

Tuesday: total body conditioning and dance warm-up + 2 miles + 20 minutes (run hoop 50); evening - cardio dance (so fun!)

Wednesday: 2 miles + 20 minutes (run hoop 50) + strength/mobility class; evening - several minutes of outdoor run/walk intervals

Thursday: 3 mile indoor walk + total body conditioning + boxing; afternoon - 20 minutes hooping

Friday: 2 miles + 20 minutes (run hoop 50); afternoon walk in the out-of-doors

Weekend: 2 mile walk + 20 minutes hooping (at least) both days

I don't usually log it as a workout, but I have sure been enjoying getting outdoors with my dog Jack each day for a nice (sometimes short, sometimes longer) walk in the fresh air. That dog is good for me for so many reasons... {love}.

In other news, I graduated from my ASL 101 class at last! It took me just over a year to work through the syllabus and complete all of the videos and tests. And friends, I ended with a grade of 99.7%! What a thrill, I am so pleased with my increasing fluency and thankful that the Lord blessed me with the time and motivation to finish the course. {smile} God is so good!

I originally became interested in learning sign language after seeing some ASL music interpretation online. I am working to incorporate the language into my artistic hoopflow praise dancing endeavors. I see it as another way to glorify God with my body and keep my mind stayed upon Him as I hoop.


November 28, 2018

Snowshoeing in a Skirt

It was a sunny and slightly breezy weekend afternoon. We had piles of fresh snow covering our long, hilly driveway and the pastures of our homestead. I simply could not resist strapping on my snowshoes for a walkabout in Creation... feeling the warmth of the sun upon my face, breathing deeply of the crisp wintry air as my feet crunched atop the drifts.

I was wearing a flannel top and my long, flow-y, colorful skirt. So modest and comfy that skirt is! Before heading into the snowy out-of-doors, I pulled on a pair of leggings for warmth and donned my winter coat, boots, crocheted hat, and fleece mittens. Then off into the wintry day I went.

Christian modesty and head covering are issues that have grown increasingly dear to my heart since I first decided to wear dresses and skirts exclusively twenty-or-so years ago. And while my skirts-only journey has included a few brief returns to wearing pants and jeans, and other fleeting experiments with my look and style, my preference for long skirts and jumpers and my personal conviction for modesty are simply an entrenched part of who I am. Praise the Lord for self-acceptance and authenticity!

And my long held conviction has grown and bloomed to include a desire to celebrate femininity and to praise God for creating me as a woman... a strong and smart woman who willingly and joyfully submits to my kind and wonderful hubby, who seeks to develop a quiet and gentle spirit, and who embraces traditional values and a simple life.

I earnestly pray that my outward appearance reflects a contented heart that loves the Lord and desires to glorify Him. God is so good! Modesty may not mean wearing skirts-only for *every* Christian lady... none of our many daughters has yet chosen to wear dresses and skirts exclusively, and I leave the decision between them and the Lord... but for me, it does. I joyfully sacrifice my pride, the approval of others, the desire to fit in, and whatever else is necessary to forsake in order to become everything that God created me to be.

We are saved by God's amazing grace, not by what we wear or any good work that we do, but I do think it is important to have and live by Biblical convictions, even if others do not. Humble obedience to God's word from a devoted heart is not legalism.

Yes, it can get mighty cold and windy on our mountainside homestead during the winter. But I stay pretty comfy in my long and loose-fitting skirts and dresses. I wear leggings and knee-high socks when I need an extra layer of warmth, and especially when I do my homesteading chores and other outdoor activities. I stay nice and cozy in my skirts, whatever the weather.

Wearing skirts, dresses, jumpers, and a headcovering is such a blessing to me. They are a reminder, a celebration, a proclamation, a joy. How lovely it is to be a body positive plus-size woman of God, completely unconcerned with the world's fashion and beauty standards. And when my dear hubby takes my hand and compliments my simple dress, my apron, my headcovering... oh my, it does make me giggle.

For more of my thoughts on the topic of Christian modesty and headcovering, please do visit my Homesteading in a Skirt series on my Happy Gentle Homestead blog. {smile}


November 26, 2018

of Thanksgiving week

Snowshoeing season has arrived on our homestead. *Squee!* And the wind has blown just enough to create some drifts in our yard that will ensure proper snowshoeing terrain upon my yard-walking path should the snow melt or blow away from the driveway or pastures.

Yesterday, my dear hubby and Jack and I enjoyed a lovely walkabout around the homestead on a wintry, sunshine-y Thanksgiving weekend afternoon. It was so nice to hold hands with my man while Jack sniffed and explored along the driveway and the kids did some sledding and played in the yard.

We found tiny mouse tracks, so light that they barely made an impression in the snow. There were many deer tracks along the edge of the driveway, and especially in the bottom pasture. And we saw cottontail tracks near the house and jackrabbit tracks (I especially love jackrabbits!) down the driveway and off the side into the field.

We traipsed through some of the low-lying bushes on our property (much to Jack's delight) and then wandered up to the back pasture to have a peek at my cow-friend Matilda and her Shadow (our miniature horse) as they grazed in the distance.

And then, my hubby plowed the driveway and took our teen boys hunting one last time on the final day of hunting season. I made cookies and knitted on my current Christmas dishcloth-in-progress, and those of us at home watched Christmas movies together.

It was such a nice way to wrap up the four day Thanksgiving weekend! {smile} Here is a look back at all of my body positive and run hoop 50 activities from last week ~

Monday: 2 mile indoor walk + 15 minute total body strength + 10 minute meditation ~ evening hooping (20 minutes)

Tuesday: 2 mile indoor walk + cardio dance class + 10 minutes hooping ~ afternoon hooping (arm focus) ~ evening yoga

Wednesday: 1 mile indoor walk + dance/hooping + total body strength and stretch ~ 1 mile afternoon walk ~ evening yoga

Thursday: 20 minutes hooping in the morning ~ 2 mile indoor walk in the evening

Friday: total body conditioning + 2 mile indoor walk and 20 minutes hooping, both done while watching treadmill scenery from Central Park in New York City while my dear hubby kept me company...💕

Saturday: 1 mile indoor walk + dance ~ 1 mile afternoon walk + hooping ~ 10 minute evening indoor run + yoga

Sunday: 1 mile indoor walk + full body conditioning (easy) ~ homestead snowshoe walkabout (1+ mile hike) + evening hooping (20 minutes)

I am really enjoying the decision to do two miles of walking/running + twenty minutes of hooping each day (Lord willing) until my fiftieth birthday in January. Prior to run hoop 50, I hadn't been hooping as much... I wasn't taking the time to flow or work on my tricks every day.

So I am thanking myself daily for the giving myself the gift of regular playtime! *giggle*


November 21, 2018


I was so blessed by kindness and thoughtful generosity yesterday...

Many times, as our big tribe grocery shops together, one of us will notice an item on the shelf and say, "Oh, that looks good!" or "I would like to try that sometime." But we stick pretty close to the list in order to keep from overspending our allotted grocery funds. I do a lot of frugal cooking from scratch, and we aren't often swayed by advertising or tempting displays.

But I've done it plenty of times, myself. Eating without rules or restrictions and shaking off diet culture for good has opened my eyes to the blessing that food is, the pleasure of enjoying food without guilt or numbers or worry, and true gratitude that we have the means to easily purchase and eat whatever we want within our grocery budget.

Just last weekend, as we filled two shopping carts brimful with the food and other items on my list that day, I spoke of a bean-and-cheese dip I happened upon that looked delicious, a new cracker that sounded quite yummy, and the desire to make peppermint bark covered pretzels together as soon as our store restocked the white candy coating. And I held up a jar of my favoritest kind of olives and mentioned how glad I am to *not* have an eating disorder anymore... last time we bought those olives, I only allowed myself to eat one or two of them.

It was all just casual conversation. Part of our big family's comfortable and ordinary way of talking about anything and everything together.

We came home that day with everything on our list and perhaps an extra treat or two, and it was all stored away and the earlier shopping conversation seemingly forgotten as we discussed all of the cooking and baking that needed to be done for Thanksgiving.

Then yesterday, our grown daughter who works in town mentioned that she was going to stop by the store after work for a few things, before she came home. Could one of her teen brothers please meet her at her vehicle with a sled to help her get the items up the hill to the house, since she is choosing to park near the bottom of the driveway in these snowy days and hike up the hill. Sure, I said. Perhaps she wants to choose another new flavor of ice cream for us to try, I thought.

Soon, she was home with her purchases. And as she unloaded the bags, I realized that she had used some of her own paycheck to purchase every food that I have recently mentioned that I would like to try one day... the new flavored crackers, the bean-and-cheese dip, some pumpkin spice cookies, chocolate peppermint flavored coffee. And the olives.

She also got a few extra treats and goodies for Thanksgiving, things that the whole family enjoys.

Oh my, her kind and thoughtful generosity brought tears to my eyes. And not only that she bought those yummy things, it was that she listened and heard me. I felt so valued and loved by my girl.

And then my dear hubby got home from work with his own bag of treats. Amongst them were the ingredients I need to make the peppermint bark pretzels. (I wondered why he had asked me what I would need to make them.) He had gone back to the store especially to see if they had restocked the white candy coating. What a sweetie my man is. {smile}

I am thankful for my family... and kindness.


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