Saturday, August 4, 2012

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Very recently, we hit 100,000 page views on our blog. Compared to the "professional" bloggers out there, that number represents about a day's worth of visits. It took us just over a year. Considering that we started this blog as a way to keep our family around the world up-to-date on our build and as a visual reminder of why we made the decisions we did, a hundred thousand is a pretty big deal to us.

Thanks to Pinterest, posts like this one and this one have brought a new visitors to the blog, but for the most part, we really didn't know if anyone was checking in on a regular basis. This morning, I received a comment notice that made my day. HH6 at Household 6 nominated me for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award. First of all, how cool is that? Second of all, it's proof that someone is actually reading our blog. And, as a former writer her mourns her loss of influence, I loved what she wrote on her blog about our little home on the web.
This woman inspires me in two ways. First, through their blog, she and her husband have chronicled the building of their dream home. They have built a eco friendly green home that looks just as beautiful as any home could be. What I find amazing is that they've done it in a way that still allows them to live their normal life. They haven't let their desire to have an earth friendly and energy efficient home get in the way of having the home of their dreams with all the little extras that fit their lifestyle and vice versa.When the LT gets out of the Army and we are able to settle in one place we want to build our dream home and I would LOVE to have it be as eco-friendly as their house. She is also crafty and loves DIY projects and getting to re-use or re-purpose things which I love. The other way she inspires me is that she has taken her battle with her body and health in stride and doesn't let it stop her from being the person she wants to be.
If I had been asked to describe how I hoped our blog (and my challenges) would be viewed, this is it. A big part of why we built our home was so that I could enjoy more good days, despite my disability, Granted, I don't post on my bad days, but I'm glad that I am coming across well when I do post.

So here are the "rules" of accepting the Very Inspiring Blogger Award:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them in your post. 
  2. Share 7 interesting things about yourself. 
  3. Nominate 7 bloggers you admire. 
  4. Leave a comment on each of the blog’s letting them know they have been nominated. 
So, as I mentioned, I was nominated by HH6 at Household 6. I don't actually know her name, or even if she has commented on our blog before. I learned that Household 6 is a military term that comes from two things: 1) household is where a military spouse spends most of her time, and 2) 6 is the designation for a commander. The term "Household 6" or "House 6," for short is sometimes seen as degrading, but she is taking it and reclaiming it with a badge of honor. Thanks for nomination! I look forward to learning more about military life from you.

Seven Interesting things about me/us. (These may not be big news to those of you who follow, but may be interesting to those who are new).
  1. Niels is a Dutch citizen. He's been in the States since 2003 when he was transferred to his company's IT headquarters.
  2. I (Jen) sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in 2004 and have been unable to work productively full time since. I have a fantastic medical team that allows me to have more good days than bad at the moment, but Niels and I are very intentional about how we structure my days to keep it that way. We built our home to be a safe, quiet place for me to live for the rest of our lives, with accessibility features to making aging in place easy for us.
  3. I have written two books. The first was completed just before sustaining my TBI: Generation Ex: Adult Children of Divorce and the Healing of Our Pain. The second was written in the middle of the night when our son was six months old. It was a total gift from God, because I was really mourning that fact that I couldn't write for D. I recently signed a contract for its publication. Look for But I Don't Wanna Go To Bed on Amazon very soon.
  4. I love being a mom more than I ever thought I would. I'm grateful to my TBI for taking away the option of not being at home with my boy. It's exhausting, but the best job I ever had.
  5. I love thrift shops. I love looking for a bargain and finding a new use for my treasures. I think it reminds me of all the hours I spent with my dad on our visitation weekends at the local flea market.
  6. I love to cook. I got started when our son was a baby and I wanted to teach him to have a healthy relationship with food. The best book I've read on the subject is My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus
  7. I was always afraid to get married. Gary Thomas' book, Sacred Marriage, made me want to get married. With five years of marriage under my belt with Niels, I can't remember what I was afraid of. I can't imagine a better partner in life.
My Seven Favorite Blogs (in no particular order)

House of Hepworths
I can't remember the first time that I visited Allison's fabulous home decor blog. I suspect it may have been around the time I was drooling over West Elm's Capiz Shell Chandelier, which we did install in our dinette. I love Allison's style, decor tricks, and love of Barney Stinson. I also blame her with my obsession with wanting to win (or eventually buy when I save enough nickels) a Silhouette Cameo.

Stay At Home-ista
I found Jessica when I started participating in linky parties. I keep clicking on her links. She has a great sense of style that leans toward transitional, like us. It can be challenging at times to create DIY projects for your home when you aren't into the rustic, weathered look, so Allison inspires me on a regular basis. She and her family also recently built there home so we are in the same place of making our house of home. I especially drool over her library.

Kayotic Kitchen
I found Kay's blog one day when I was looking for one of Niels' favorite Dutch recipes. The blog is in English, but she writes of all things Dutch, including some of my new favorite Dutch recipes. I am especially grateful for her Ketjap Manis recipe, which is an Indonesian soy sauce that is very hard (and pricey) to find here in the States.

Budget Bytes
The blogger at Budget Bytes combines two of my favorite things: cooking healthful meals for my family and saving money. Hers was one of the first food blogs I followed, when I was still stocking up on my pantry staples, so I really appreciated that she broke down the cost of each ingredient. I also like that she takes photos of every step, which has been really helpful in growing my confidence in the kitchen. My all time favorite recipe for Budget Bytes is her cinnamon raisin bread which I have made dozens of times.

What Megan's Making
Another food blogger I follow is Megan at What Megan's Making. In addition to introducing me to lots of delicious recipes, I like her blog because she lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where I lived for eight years before moving to Ohio to get married. (We never met, but we have mutual friends). She also includes several posts about her adorable white pup named Scamp, who joined her family just after we lost our adorable white pup. I had to take a break from her blog for a while as my heart healed, but I'm now back to drooling over her sweets. I really appreciate her idea posts, like this one with Easter food ideas.

Eco Karen
I can't make a list of favorite blogs without mentioning at least one green blogger. Since we moved into our new home in February, I've enjoyed experimenting with making my green cleaners. I've learned a lot from Karen about what works and what doesn't. I found EcoKaren when I pinned her "Front Loading  Washer Maintenance" post. I've saved myself from a moldy laundry room by following her instructions. I also use her recipe for laundry detergent.

Not Your Average Widow
Finally, the most inspiring blog I follow belongs to Erin at Not Your Average Widow. Erin and I "met" online through a forum for December 2008 mamas. Her son and mine were born a day apart. Erin's brave husband of six years, EOD Staff Sergeant Bryan Berky, was killed in action on September 12, 2009, when our sons were only eight months old. She started the blog when her grief was still overwhelming her, and through the following months, she has shares so graciously her process of healing, the joy she finds in raising the son that reminds her so much of his father, her deepening faith, and her stunning photography. Every time I see my son's face light up at the sight of his daddy, I say a prayer for Erin and H. I love reading Erin's blog because I love seeing how she has found joy in life again and can't see where God takes her next.

I encourage you to take some time to check out each one of these fabulous blogs!

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  1. Congrats on your 100,000 views!

  2. Congratulations on the success of your blog Jen! And thank you so much for nominating me for the blog award, and for your kind words. You made me tear up! I'm so thankful for the support and friendship of amazing people like you.

    1. You are so welcome, Erin. It's an honor to journey through motherhood with you!

  3. OMG you are so awesome! Thank you so much. You have made my day. xoxo


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