Saturday, October 26, 2013

It's Okay to Gawk! (5 Sites You Need to Know About!)

Meet the Gawker family: Foodgawker, Dwellinggawker, Craftgawker, Weddinggawker, and Stylegawker.

I know the names look ridiculous lined up like that, but hear me out. These sites are pretty fantastic.

I'd say they're very much like Pinterest, except you aren't doing the pinning. A team of people who love good photography and reliable sources curate photographs to give us the best of what's out there. While I'll always love Pinterest for giving us a simple way to organize and share our favorites (and giving my NavBar a break), Pinterest can let me down in a couple ways:
  • First, it is so disappointing when I click on a pin that takes me nowhere...or worse, to a dumb Flickr account.
  • Second, because Pinterest is basically limited to what pinners pin, the search feature isn't always so helpful. 
These sites ensure the photographs come from an actual post from a blogger, and both a search feature and category feature help you refine what you're looking for. You can create an account and have favorites, or you can simply find what's beautiful and inspiring and pin it! 

Below is a tiny glimpse of what each offers. 

1. Foodgawker: Food of all kinds, as well as cooking techniques and how-to's from food bloggers

2. Dwellinggawker: Living and work space inspiration from design and architecture bloggers

3. Craftgawker: Handmade arts and crafts from craft bloggers

4. Weddinggawker: Inspirational styles and ideas from wedding photographers/bloggers

5. Stylegawker: DIY fashion, beauty, and style projects from fashion and style bloggers

Had you heard of these sites before? What do you think?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

National Day on Writing (Week)!

October 20 was the National Day on Writing, so it's a perfect time for me to share my favorite writer's inspiration book these days: 642 Things to Write About.

Wondering if there are really 642 things in the book? There are. I went through and numbered them myself. Don't judge...I had to know! And I've always been quite honest about my Type A personality.

Today's writing inspiration for you, from the first page:

#3: A houseplant is dying. Tell it why it needs to live.

Happy writing!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday Faves

Life has been busy, and to be honest, there has been a lot of sorrow these past days and months. Today I'm so grateful for the sweet and bright moments this week had:
  1. The weather has been unbelievable. I'm thankful for the glorious sunshine mixed with the cooler air. Nothing compares to enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning with my sweetie.
  2. What a gift it is to have photos of the people we love. It's been special sifting through photos of my grandma and remembering her.
  3. Sometimes I'm amazed how easy we have it when it comes to finding a recipe. I'm on a no-sugar, no-carb, no-anything-tasty-at-all diet (trying to kick some persistent problems), and yet there is a world of creative recipes at my fingertips. Thankful for those who take the time to share them!
  4. I'm full of gratitude for the words of hope in Scripture. They truly are life.
  5. And all the little things: my cat who keeps me entertained, the cozy blankets Grandma Rosalie has made for us, sparkling water with lime juice (a great sugar-free drink), the changing leaves... 
There's so much more, but these are making me smile right now. What are you thankful for this week?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

My Grandma: A Legacy of Faith

On Sunday, my Grandma Catherine Gladys Vander Kooi went to be with her Lord and Savior. For the past week, we have spent many hours with family, sharing the stories that made her so special. Yesterday was a true celebration of her life as family and friends gathered together for a beautiful graveside and memorial service.

Somehow throughout the week, we've continued to come back to Proverbs 31. Proverbs 31 is the quintessential description of the godly woman. It begins in verse ten with these words: "A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies."

The following twenty-one verses describe this woman of noble character, one who takes care of her family, makes wise decisions, offers good council. She sets food out for her family and also evaluates some land and buys it. She is loving and generous, while still bold and wise.

This was my Grandma. She was incredibly humble, a woman of few words and simple actions. But she lived her life authentically and faithfully. She served God each day, and in her service to Him, she loved her family with a persistent and constant love.

I have many sweet memories with my Grandma, but I am most thankful for the time I spent with her a couple of years ago. That was the year I left my job, and since I had some time, I would go almost weekly to her home and clean for her. Of course, I did it because I loved her and I knew how difficult cleaning a house was for her, and yet she wouldn't let me leave without handing me some cash! :)

Those few hours were so special. We'd talk about our weeks, what was going on with the family and in our churches. I'd share how Robby and I were doing, and what the news was with our infertility. She'd often have a little treat for me: a piece of cake or a cookie she had saved. And I would bring over anything tasty I'd made recently...she always loved a good sweet! Sometimes we'd go and grab a hamburger together afterwards, or sometimes we'd run a quick errand. It was simple, everyday life, but I am so thankful to the Lord that He made that happen for us. I feel like I got to know my Grandma that year.

Grandma's faith was made sight this week, and we praise God for this! As we spent time together, it was clear that although Grandma may have been a simple and humble woman, her work for the Lord's kingdom has been anything but. She left a beautiful legacy of faith.

Her children arise and call her blessed.
"Many people do noble things, but you surpass them all."
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. 
(Proverbs 31:28a, 29, 31)
From left: Sandra, Grandma holding Ann with Susan in front, Grandpa Pete with little Pete, Rob, Ron, and Bill