10 Things You May {Not} Know About Me

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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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  1. I took the personality test. My personality is the same as yours. Either we are both unique or the test is off :).
  2. Oh my! That was such a cool test. I am an INFP - the Idealist. The description was so accurate. I loved visiting with you and never felt like you were shy, but then that is explained in my profile ... hmmm. I don't have a dream vacation - I have a dream lifestyle. A cabin in a wooded area, but with pasture and garden too, by a stream or lake raising a few chickens, and dairy goats - for eggs and milk. And there must be a large dog around. This was a fun posting - enjoy the conference - can't wait to hear all about it.
    1. Hi Patti! I hide my shyness much better now than I did when I was young. I think being a pastor's wife and being forced into so many unfamiliar situations has helped! :) I can talk to anyone now, but I still struggle finding things to say sometimes. I'm very quiet most of the time - most of the words I speak are in written form! A cabin in the woods by a lake... with chickens and a dog sounds like a perfect life to me too! :) Oh, but I'd need a horse, too! It's a lot of fun discovering more about yourself... and those you know and love! Thanks for sharing. I'll have to read up on your personality.
  3. Thank for for sharing about yourself, it's so nice to get to know the people that write the blogs I love better. I am an introvert as well. I love to make things. All kinds of things. :) I love to cook and try to live as simply as possible.
  4. I loved this post! So interesting to read about another person and their interests, family, etc. Thanks for sharing your heart here with us! I'm an INFP. Finding that out has been freeing in so many ways. I don't feel limited by knowing my personality, but actually FREED from trying to be something I'm not. I think everyone should take the MB test. The last year or so has brought me more freedom to be myself than any of the 30 years prior. I just started working on my blog. My passion is giving families practical ways to connect, play and worship together in their own homes. I've had so many people tell me they don't know where to start with things or ask about how to parent with more grace and I finally decided God was trying to tell me something. ;) It's a work-in-progress, but I'm excited to share my heart. It's been really hard though because every time I would try to start writing, I would hear a voice in my head saying, "Who do you think you are? Look at your home...it's a mess! You snapped at your kids last week...you can't say anything about parenting with grace." But that's part of the journey, I think. Learning to be authentic in my sharing and overcoming the paralyzing fear and anxiety I've lived with since I was a child. Ok, enough about me...loved your post, love your site! It's always encouraging to me!
    1. Hi April! It's so nice to meet you, too! It is freeing... knowing who you are. I'm okay with myself! And let me tell you. I've been writing here at A Virtuous Woman for nearly 14 years. I STILL struggle to stay on top of housework. Especially the last few years with our hectic schedule. Also, so often, the things I write about are things that God has shown me {spoken to my heart} through my own personal struggles. God uses broken people! God bless you!
      1. I used to struggle with Social Anxiety but as I've aged (57) I'm becoming much more talkative. I just seem to feel like I don't really care if I say the wrong thing or worry what others think about me. There is a confidence that comes with age. You will notice what I'm talking about when you get my age!
  5. I have followed your blog for some time and we are connected on Facebook and Instagram.. I loved reading this! Thank you for sharing! I attend weekly womens bible studies through my church in Vancouver and just did a 10 week study recently with one of the pastors wives who is so wonderful, but it was a great reminder to love her more with the pressure she must feel at times. You are always an inspiration as I home school my 2 youngest sons (they are 3 & 5), I do have a teenager in public school, but being a self employed photographer and single mother to my sons, I can not imagine trying to fit our abundantly busy lives into that system! Thank you for all of your posts, they are always uplifting! ~Jessica
  6. It was great to get to know you better. I'll be taking the personality test, thank you for sharing that. I am encouraged and inspired by your living in God's purpose for you via this avirtouswoman website. It's great to know that God uses our gifts to touch the lives He wants us to impact for him. Here's my about page,some little stuff is in there about me- http://www.imperfectlyperfectlives.com/about/
  7. Hi Melissa I'm 38 yr old I've been married to a wonderful man for 10 yr no kids I'm from a small resavation called San Carlos i was doing a bible study of palms 31 when I came upon your web site and just had to add myself to this page lol well hope to hear from you soon your new pal Tina
  8. When I was reading about you I begin to think that we were a lot alike. I am a former backpacker, canoe camper and love the outdoors. I also can be an introvert, preferring being away from social situations, etc. So it was no surprise to me I am an INFJ. I also love God and think a lot of what I have become is trying to be His hand extended and be like Jesus. I'm sure as a pastor's wife, you are doing the same. God bless!
  9. Thank you for the link for the personality test! My results were cool but very interesting as I have 2, YES 2, personality types!! Both were spot on, which makes sense to me because I'm a Gemini and have 2 side to me, lol. ENFJ and ENFP. Loved this!
  10. My husband and I are both INFJs. It all makes sense now, I have failed horribly at all my assistant position s however the bosses loved me. Because I could always see the big picture even when I realized I wasn't going to be able to fit in to it. Thank you for your kindness and your ministry. Your marriage blogs have really helped in my world. Thank you
  11. I just happened to stumble upon your blog following a pinterest link (daily organizer). I'm a single mom to a 5 year old and a special ed teacher but what really caught my attention was that your really want to do the Camino trail in Spain. I just recently heard about the trail and found it very exciting and something pulling me. I'm not a Christian really, but seeing your post gives me one more reason to try and make it happen for myself. I know it will be difficult logistically to leave my daughter for a month but this seems like further proof that I need to do it and was meant to do it. I really hope that you get to go on your journey and enjoy your kids and grandkids!
  12. Thank you for sharing parts of your life.. Your family is beautiful, and The Lord has blessed us through your blog ministry. Please keep writing!!! I enjoy your blog very much.
  13. Hi Melissa, I'm also an INFJ! I've always struggled with making lasting friendships. I express myself better in writing than speaking, so I enjoy social media because I can interact without getting overwhelmed. I follow you on Instagram as @holley_mamabear. I immensely enjoy your blog! There are so many posts I need to comment on. I am a homeschooling mom of 4, two boys, 11 and 5, and two-month old twins, another boy and a girl. I'm interested in joining the Seventh-day Adventist church, but don't know how to go about it. I was a member of a Unitarian Universalist congregation, but found myself drifting away from it. I watched a lecture by a Seventh-day Adventist and really found myself drawn to the lifestyle. Anyway, I've gone all over the place with this comment, so I'll end here and comment on other posts!
  14. Hi Melissa, I found your blog in September 2015 and fell in love with it since then. Just last week i purchased your Martha planner and i am a fan of it. I printed it and got it bound at Staples and started using it quite well already. I took the test and i am an ENFJ. Its pretty cool that i match with David,King of Israel and Yes, Barack Obama! I wonder what i am doing here...:)) Your online blogging is soo helpful and i am amazed how God is using you inspite/because of your past. I am hoping for something like that myself. I recently took courage by the grace of God and posted my story here @ Heaven Bent Women! "32 meets 16" https://www.heavenbentwomen.com/college/2017/3/24/32-meets-16 Its very inspiring to now your story...Blessings to you and your family! Love, Saroja.