Now Available on Bloglovin ;)

13 Jan

With Google putting its RSS feed reader out to pasture late last year, I was forced to find a new hub for keeping up with my favorite blogs. Enter Bloglovin, which allows you to find your favorite blogs (and even discover new ones!), and places them into a nice, clean, chronological feed 🙂 It even allows for the option of viewing those posts in order from their actual site (my favorite way of catching up on posts) allowing you to jump continuously from post to post in order of newest to oldest without having to click back to the abbreviated feed.

Apparently, though it may be small, inconsequential, and in great want of new posts (I’m awful at sitting down to do this), Beauty and Wonder Lit is on Bloglovin now, too 🙂 Maybe this will prompt more posts? In all seriousness, though, I hope to make the building up of this blog a pursuit for this year. Until then, thank you for reading—I hope to give you more to read as the year unfolds 🙂

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

P.S. All above opinions are my own; I was not compensated in any way for this post. I just really appreciate Bloglovin for providing a simplified way to read all my favorite blogs!


Going Gluten-Free.

20 Jul


About a month ago, after years of fighting against what I knew I really needed to do, I cut gluten out of my diet. When I was in high school, I asked a doctor about these bouts of bloating and fatigue I’d struggled with since childhood. He asked me what I typically ate in a day—and before we even got to dinner, he suggested I cut gluten out of my diet. What? Cut gluten out? What is this going to mean?

My wonderful, supportive parents helped me create a new way of eating that was wheat- and gluten-free, which lasted for a while. But after that while, it was just too easy to slip out of eating strictly gluten-free. My mom and I began commuting into a county that was over an hour away from our home around two or three times and week and our lives just became so full that I think we slowly let the discipline of eating wheat-free/gluten-free be carried away by busyness and convenience. Let’s face it: it is NOT the easiest diet in the world to maintain—there are many more gluten-free options available in restaurants and regular grocery stores than there were even 8-10 years ago, but it still takes a lot of discipline to not only avoid gluten or gluten-contaminated food while eating out, but also to make certain gluten-free foods at home (as many pre-made foods are still somewhat expensive—though many are not!).

As time wore on, I knew that deep down, despite the lure of Twinkies and cupcakes and Pop-Tarts and all those other wonderful gluten-full items (yes, former junk food junkie here), I harkened back to the suggestion of that doctor and knew I needed to go gluten-free to be finally rid of the bloating, the digestive issues, and the haze of tiredness that consumed my world. In fact, after only a few days of eating gluten-free (once I stuck with it completely), I felt so much better. I no longer feel bloated after eating, I’m not feeling yucky after eating pasta or pizza (though I don’t eat them all that often anymore), and I have more energy. I’ve noticed that I’m also forced to eat healthier, actually, substituting a lot of the gluten-y snacks and sides I used to eat with vegetables and fruit. It’s been a little hard finding healthy snacks with substance (I’m a grazer, so snacks are essential) as I’m also somewhat lactose intolerant, aaaand want to avoid soy as much as possible, but I’ve found some great ways around that: veggies with peanut butter, lactose-free cheese and milk, and alternative yogurt (thank the Lord above for COCONUT!). My husband isn’t exactly on board with a gluten-free diet, which I completely understand, so oftentimes I make two different ingredients for some dishes (but other times I just make the whole thing gluten-free and, you know, forget to tell him…shhh). Baking has been an interesting experiment thus far; it’s a bit of a gamble trying to find the right gluten-free all purpose flour, and even to try and make one myself, so I haven’t actually baked a whole lot since starting the diet (something which I’m sure my husband is thankful for, as it’s been too hot to use the oven, and he can’t resist sweets!). But I’ll be experimenting a little more in the Fall (which I’ll hopefully be posting about!).

In time, I know I’ll learn to make a gluten-free version of many of the items I miss. My parents aaaand my wonderful husband all gave me great gluten-free cookbooks for my birthday this year and not only have I enjoyed reading them and learning more about all the great things I CAN eat, but the recipes I’ve tried so far are all so good! I just need to spend a little more time in the kitchen now, is all 😉

Overall, though, it’s been a good change. It’s made me appreciate the food I eat a lot more than before, to savor the new (and old) flavors of different ingredient combinations and gluten-free substitutes. It’s a lot harder to eat out, but so many restaurants have specifically marked gluten-free options and others will try to prepare your food with as little cross-contamination as possible. Those options are mainly, however, for someone who just has an intolerance for gluten; I know that for someone with celiac disease, it’s nigh near impossible to eat out. And it’s always a gamble, not knowing whether you will encounter cross-contamination. But it’s also a great encouragement to make and eat more homemade food, food with no mystery ingredients, no chemicals, no artificial additives… just the good stuff, because you put all those ingredients in there yourself.

I haven’t gone completely gluten-free, including personal products in the lineup as well, as many I know have. Perhaps, in time, I will. But for now, it’s just the food.

It can be done! And enjoyed 🙂

[As a side note, I’m not a healthcare professional and I’m not promoting the diet. As always, consulting with a healthcare professional about drastic diet changes is a good idea! Going gluten-free may not be for everyone. I’m just posting about my experience as an update on what’s going on in my life at the moment and hopefully as an encouragement to someone else going gluten-free, too :)]


28 Feb

Irony is a funny thing. And so can the gifts we’ve been given when their exercise contrasts with our personalities.

I’ve been a shy, introverted, awkward person for some time now (let’s say pretty much all of my life). It’s hard for me to share my feelings, let you know what I’m really thinking, and, well, stuff like that (…see). Except for this period of time between kindergarten and first grade… I used to get in trouble at school for talking too much. Yep. Don’t know what happened there.

Anyway. Fast forward to mid-February.

About a month or so before, a friend asked me if I wanted to participate in a writing project. A gal she is good friends with is putting together a program to produce at our church, and she wanted to gather a group of people to write the different parts. Each person was to choose a specific Bible character to research for the purpose of writing a conversational monologue based on a particular period of time when their faith was being tested. After spending some time digging into the text, writing, rewriting, and correcting, I sent it for submission. Then, a night passed. I looked it over and rewrote (bad habit) a few sections and, again, sent the piece for submission. Another night passed. Then a day. Then another night and day. A reply had not yet come. Aaah! Then I reminded my neurotic self that people have lives, jobs, social calendars, and I’m sure other projects going on. Oh, yeah. Yes, I am ashamed.

(My friend did get back to me, and very quickly in light of all that she has on her plate. If you’re reading this, friend, please, please forgive my paranoid and neurotic behavior…I’m utterly ridiculous.)

Then, as I was washing the dishes and pondering over my ridiculousness one night, a funny thought occurred to me. How ironic it was for God to instill in me the raw (and constantly being refined) talent of writing, knowing that I would grow and form into a shy, nervous, approval-seeking person. As a writer (at least for me), a part of you goes into whatever project you create, whether it be a blog post, a short story, a novel, etc. Each piece has a bit of you in it, and sending that out into the world to be read and scrutinized is like having a part of yourself put on display in a shop window for all to critique. I appreciate that God has a sense of humor, and that He’s also instilled in me a skill and urge to step outside of myself to talk about Him and give Him glory through the written word. No matter how reluctant I may be to speak and share verbally, He’s given me a chance to do that through writing—only something He could do through shy, awkward, ridiculous me.

Thank you for giving me a skill for employing the written word in the place of diction, Lord. May each word, sentence, and paragraph be glorifying to You by reflecting the artistry of their Architect.

Importance of a Good Home Life

19 Aug

I know we can’t choose the home life we grow up in, but we can kindly, thoughtfully facilitate the one in which we grow old and raise our children.

“Strength of character may be acquired at work, but beauty of character is learned at home. There the affections are trained. There the gentle life reaches us, the true heaven life.” (Henry Drummond)

Dante and Jeremiah

1 Aug

Several days ago, my daily readings included the fifth chapter of the book of Jeremiah. While reading, I came across this verse:

Therefore a lion from the forest will attack them,
a wolf from the desert will ravage them,
a leopard will lie in wait near their towns
to tear to pieces any who venture out,
for their rebellion is great
and their backslidings many.

Sound familiar? Those are the same three beasts Dante meets in the forest before he takes a guided tour through Hell, then Purgatory, and finally, Heaven. Needless to say, I minorly geeked out at discovering the correlation. And it makes me wonder… perhaps this verse inspired Dante to write his Divine Comedy? Although it quite possibly could have been the whole chapter. It’s a timely read, for any lost generation.

Nostalgia and Sentimentalism

23 Apr

I’ve always been sentimental, even before I could spell the word. However, my sentimentality has typically been defined by quiet moments of reflection upon seemingly insignificant events. But this recent bout of sentimentality is of a different kind—a new kind for me.

Last evening found my boyfriend and I on a late-night In-N-Out run. As we stopped at a stop sign while leaving the parking lot, a compact car passed in front of us, heading toward the exit. Inside was a mother and daughter who had apparently, like us, just visited a drive-thru in search of late-night sustenance. The sight of this mother and daughter, out late getting junk food together, gave me pause. At this moment in time I’m finishing my freshman year of college and will return home this summer to live, and then return to on-campus housing for the fall and spring terms. But my boyfriend and I are planning to be married next May, meaning that this summer will be the last time I live at home, probably for the rest of my life. I’ve been itching for independence for such a long time that I never seemed to make much room for the thought of what it would feel like to not be dependent any more. My family has been such a tight-knit little group (with my mom being my best friend) for the entire extent of my short life, and within a little over a year’s time everything has changed—I started dating my boyfriend, was accepted to university, moved to said university, and now am planning to get married. All this to say, I’m still eager to make a home and my own family with my boyfriend, but I now feel the gravity of the situation as I never have before. As my boyfriend put it, after I relayed all this to him, now I’m heading down the road to being the mom in that car—leaving my role of the young daughter behind.



25 Mar

In the short course of my time on this earth I’ve learned that, during each stage of life, there will be people (some you know, and even some you don’t) who feel the need to subject you to a timely–although sometimes unfair to the answerer, as some of us are clearly still in process of getting everything together–question. Elementary age: “what do you want to be when you grow up?”; middle school: “what do you want to do with your life?”; high school: “what college are you going to attend/when are you going?”; college: “what is your major? can you make any money with that degree?”; dating: “so, when are you going to put a ring on that finger/is he going to pop the question?”; engagement: “when are you two getting married?”; marriage: “when are you two going to have a baby?”, and ETC! Frankly, I’m tired. I’ll know when I know, and then you’ll know too–I promise, you won’t be left in the dark. When I’m choosing a college, when I’m attending that college, when I apply for a job, when I’m working, when I have a ring on my finger, when you see a wedding band with it, when I start gaining awkward weight, believe me–you’ll know!

Thankfully, I’m [finally] in college. But then again, I’m a history major. Please, you’re not the first to ask me what on earth I’m going to do with that, or even whether I’ll be able to make decent money at it. As for the first, I’m a freshman–I’ll figure it out soon enough. In answer to the second, my choice of the major itself should speak to the fact that I’m not in it for the money. Although recently I have also found myself at that awkward dating phase: a year in, definitely headed toward marriage, but no ring. This particular subject, however, is more sensitive to me.

Ninety-nine percent of the time, I’ll just smile at all of the usual questions (I apologize to you, reader, as this post betrays that one percent of the time), but this one is becoming harder to brush aside. To be married to the love of my dreams is one of the two things I’ve truly ever wanted from life. Now, I’ve found him–or rather, he found me. And I am content in knowing that he wants to marry me, and that the usual events will proceed in due course. But please, please–stop asking when. I know you think it’s cute, and it’s funny, and it’s sweet; it was, the first several times. Five couples in our acquaintance got engaged over this one-year span. That’s fine; I am content with his promise and our mutual desire to be married. Four couples got married. That’s fine; I am content with his desire to “put a ring on that finger,” as he says, and to spend the rest of his days with me. Most couples we know see each other four to five times more during the week than my Cugar and I are able. That’s fine; I am content with his voice and conversation. But please–don’t ask if I became engaged at Christmas, at New Year’s, on Spring Break, or since you’ve seen me last, and PLEASE, don’t grab my hand and physically check my finger. If you haven’t received a frantically joyful text from me recently or you don’t visibly see a ring on my left hand, the answer is no. So until then… please, don’t. Just, don’t.