10 Things You May {Not} Know About Me

Me, along with my three youngest girls. This picture was taken yesterday after Hannah's {wearing the white sweater} ice skating performance.

Me, along with my three youngest girls. This picture was taken yesterday after Hannah’s {wearing the white sweater} ice skating performance.

So, tomorrow morning, bright and early I’ll be setting off for Greenville, South Carolina to attend this year’s Allume Conference for women bloggers. This is my first year attending and I am so excited! I’ll be sharing a room with three other bloggers I’ve never met before. I’ll share more about my experience next week, but for now, I thought I’d share a little bit about myself.

10 Things You May {Not} Know About Me

1. I’m an introvert. I have struggled my entire life to make friends and fit in. It’s easier for me now that I’m about to turn 39 years old {in November}, but I still have my days. A few years ago I took my personality test and found out that I am an INFJ, which is apparently the rarest personality – making up only 1% of the population! You can read more about my personality – if you’re not already bored to death – here.

If you’d like to take your own personality testthe Meyers Briggs Personality Test is the best – and you can leave a comment below and let me know which personality type you are!

2. I’m a vegetarian. I’ve been a vegetarian since November 1998. It’s one of the best decisions I ever made!

3. I have 5 kids of my own: James {23 yo}, Sarah {20 yo}, Emily {18 yo}, Hannah {13 yo}, and Laura {11 yo}. I also have four step kids who are grown and married. And I have 14 grandkids so far – they call me Grandarlin’. I had my first child at a very young age. I love being a mom more than anything in the world. I adore my kids. I mean, I really, really like being around my kids and never feel like I need a break away from them. They are such amazing people. My husband and I have been married for 15 years now – our wedding anniversary is September 19, 1999.

4. I love to cook. When a friend asked my kids what they liked to eat {she was trying to figure out what to cook for them} and ate on a regular basis… they couldn’t think of a single thing. I cook new recipes constantly. We eat a wide variety of foods – mostly vegan, but sometimes we eat dairy too. I love to cook mostly because I love to eat. And my kids are not picky. They love to eat, too!

A family dinner from a few days ago.

A family dinner from a few days ago.

And I love feeding my family. I love the times we spend laughing and talking around the table. I love the holidays and the traditions, the cheese crackers and date balls I make every year. I love knowing my family feels loved when I cook and serve them.

5. I’ve been homeschooling for 17 years now. I was homeschooling before homeschooling was cool. Homeschooling is such a part of our life that… well, just the thought of being tied down to someone else’s schedule? Scary. In fact, not a month goes by that we aren’t on the road some where. Our suitcases stay half packed all the time.

Me wrapping one of our horse's leg after she had a bad injury.

Me wrapping one of our horse’s leg after she had a bad injury.

6. I love adventure. I consider life an adventure. When I die, I want to know I lived life to the fullest and at least tried to make all of my dreams come true. These days if I’m leery about trying something new… all my girls have to say is, “Mom, you should do it before your too old to do it.” And that’s pretty much all it takes. And I’ve done some pretty cool stuff – like archery, tubing, and rock climbing.

Camping and backpacking are my favoriteoh and hiking. I love hiking.

Me and my three youngest girls at the top of Knobby Rock in Harlan County KY.

Me and my three youngest girls at the top of Knobby Rock in Harlan County KY.

I love being in nature. I love waking up in a tent… or on a tarp. I love cooking over a camp fire. I love everything about car camping and love primitive camping too.

Left to right: Me, SIL Bianca, and DIL Winnie

Left to right: Me, my SIL Bianca, and my DIL Winnie

I love canoeing, kayaking, tubing, roller coasters, water parks, traveling… I love life.

Out with my kids on the lake.

Out with my kids on the lake.

I also love to encourage my kids to get out in nature and explore. My daughter Emily, just this past weekend as we climbed this steep rock face of a mountain, reminded me of a comment I had made years before…. about how parents teach their children to be afraid of nature.

Me, with my kids after we crawled up a slick rock into a "cave like" place in a rock. Trying to take a group "selfie."

Me, with my kids after we crawled up a slick rock into a “cave like” place in the rock. Trying to take a group “selfie.”

That’s why, when my girls catch snakes, or lizards, or spiders I get excited with them. Or when they want to climb a rock face, I teach them to be careful but to have fun doing it. Or when they want to dig in the creek for salamanders I wait patiently and take photos and encourage the exploration. And that’s why I took my girls on an all girl, 24 mile, backpacking trip in the wilderness when they were still young.

You can follow along in my everyday adventures on Instagram. I love instagram and post almost every day!

Out on the trail of our All Girl, 24 Mile Backpacking Trip in the Wilderness.

7. I’m a pastor’s wife. I love being a pastor’s wife, but it can be a real challenge too. Being a pastor’s wife means that everyone you know watches you. It means that you can be criticized for things that ordinarily would be overlooked. It also means that making close friends is almost impossible. You can never share personal problems or family issues with anyone because the reputation of your husband is always at stake and the “flock” can be very critical.

Pastor’s families are generally expected to be “perfect” even though pastor’s {and their families} are imperfect humans. It’s often referred to as “living in the fishbowl” because you’re always being watched. Thankfully, I’ve been very blessed to be a part of congregations that have loved and treated me well and I dearly love each one of our church members!

Just remember to love your pastor’s wife! She needs love and understanding and compassion! And a true friend would be nice, too.

8. I wrote a novel a few years ago called Coming Home to Amazing Grace – a love story. It’s been rejected 5 times with no hope {maybe a little} of ever getting a contract with a publisher. Since then, I’ve been working more on A Virtuous Woman and have let my novel writing go – at least for the time being. I’m not sure if I’ll continue to pursue getting the novel published. When I landed a literary agent, I never expected to still be waiting years later for a contract. It’s been a little discouraging, but at least I know I gave it my best shot – and I did write whole a novel that at least landed a contract with an agent. So, that’s something. Getting published is difficult, especially in this day and age and maybe when my kids are all grown I’ll go back to writing fiction again. Or sooner. We’ll see.

My whole life writing was my dream… it was a dream that started when I was just 10 years old. I spent all of my free time as a child either reading or writing stories. I didn’t know then that God would use my love for writing for ministering to women, but I have no doubt that writing is gift He bestowed upon me. I never finished high school and I didn’t get to go to college, and yet, here I am. God is so good!

9. My dream vacation is to backpack along the Camino Trail – a 500 mile trail in Spain. It’s a pilgrimage of sorts. I may never get to do it in my lifetime. If not, backpacking the Appalachian Trail would be amazing! My biggest hurdle beside money? Finding someone who wants to do it with me. My kids are game… except half of them are in college now or working and that puts a crimp in everyone’s fun.

10. I’ve been running A Virtuous Woman since 2001. In 1997 I had a dream to start a website, but I had no education, no experience with computers at all. In 1999, at the age of 24, I started a “homepage” called Keepers of Their Homes and began to learn HTML code. By 2001 I knew I wanted to purchase my own domain and make it “official.” KeepersAtHome.org was already taken {my first choice} and my husband came up with the domain name AVirtuousWoman.org – it was available! Had I known then what I know now, I would have purchase more than just the .org – I would have also purchased the .com and .net versions, but I didn’t realize back then!

Nearly 14 years later, A Virtuous Woman is still my life’s passion and I have no doubt that God called me to this ministry. I love working here at A Virtuous Woman, and it never gets old and I never run out of ideas. Currently, A Virtuous Woman has more than 100,000 visitors a month and I am so grateful to all of you readers who have supported me over the years!

I’d love for you to share a little bit about yourself in the comments below. If you have a blog page about yourself, leave the link and I’ll check it out!

I’d love to get to know you better!

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