Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Wedding and an Award

Last weekend we had a wonderful get-together with my family, to celebrate the wedding of my baby sister's youngest son.  All five Harding siblings and spouses were seated together at one table at the reception, and it was such a blast.  We had the best, most fun table at the party, that's for sure.

It's such a blessing that both my husband and I have brothers and sisters that truly like each other and love spending time together.  I think I can speak for us both when I say that our siblings are our best friends.
We are family!  I got all my sistas with me!

We were able to get a nice family photo taken after the ceremony.  Unfortunately, my dad was not able to make it to the wedding because he wasn't feeling well, so there's a space where Bigfoot should be.  (That's my dad's handle, in lieu of "Grandpa" or "Papa," in case you're new here.)  My poor dad ended up in the ER yesterday and had to have emergency surgery to remove another infected toe, which had caused him to become septic.  Bigfoot is down to three toes out of ten now.  (More on that at a later date.)  He'll be recovering in the hospital for about a week and could really use your prayers!  My younger sister's husband was also not there.  But otherwise, this is us:
Before I left for the weekend,  I was notified that I'd been nominated for a Liebster Award by my Aussie friend Erin at Seven Little Australians and Counting.   I love Erin!  She's a homeschooling mother of ten, an avid reader and writer.  I love how she writes, too, using terms that we Americans don't really hear too often anymore, like "fortnight" and "whilst."  I admire how she labours at home with a smile, savours life to the fullest, cooks flavourful healthy meal for her troops.  She's one of my favourites!  And the opportunity to make friends like Erin--someone I would never have had the opportunity to know otherwise--is one of the amazing and wonderful outcomes of becoming a blogger.  It's something I never imagined would happen when I started out almost four years ago, writing for a tiny handful of followers (who were also family members).  You really should click over to Seven Little Australians and Counting, if only to see the beautiful picture of Erin's family on her home page.
Okay now, on to the Liebster, which Erin aptly describes as "a high five in recognising and supporting the work of fellow bloggers."  I'm pretty psyched to nominate some people, I must say, because there are a number of blogging ladies I used to follow quite regularly, but whom I've been ignoring too much lately.  Not because I don't love their blogs, but because between traveling hither and yon for family events and working to finish my YA novel (coincidentally titled Erin's Ring), I just haven't been reading as many blogs as is my wont.  I haven't been blogging as much as I used to, either.  But I'm closing in on the final chapters, and then look out, people.  Daily blog posts will be comin' at ya.  Comments will be appearing in your comboxes, my friends.  Oh yes, that. will. happen.

Okay, before I nominate others and come up with some questions for them, here are my answers to Erin's questions:

1. How do you express yourself creatively?
Writing, painting, drawing, baking (and decorating cakes), sewing, crafting.
2. What is your favourite genre of books?
Once upon a time I was a college English major, and I fell madly in love with 19th-century English lit.  I've always loved good historical fiction, too, especially novels set in WWII.  I also love young adult books, the kind of classics that are assigned in junior high and high school, but are every bit as inspiring for adults--like To Kill a Mockingbird.  (When our oldest son graduated from Notre Dame in 2006, Harper Lee was an honored guest and paperback copies of her book were given to every graduating senior.  I was thrilled to see IRL the author of one of the most significant books of my girlhood days.)

3. What is a favourite childhood book?
I remember loving Stuart Little when I was really young.  And then in middle school, I adored Little Women.  But the book that made me want to become a writer was To Kill a Mockingbird, which I read when I was about 11.

4. If you had a whole day to 'yourself' what would you choose to do?
I am your quintessential introverted bookworm, so I would probably curl up with a good book.  And if I wasn't reading, I'd probably be writing.  Basically, I really like spending time with words.  (Now if this whole day of which you speak included my husband, this would be a totally different answer.)

5. Would you consider yourself an introvert, extrovert or somewhere in the middle?
Introvert!  I've heard that if you're an introvert, you get energized by having quiet time to yourself, whereas an extrovert is energized by engaging in social activity.  I do enjoy social activities.  In fact, my husband and I are almost always the last ones to leave a party, and though I don't seek them out, I always have fun at them.  But if I have nothing but one party after another, it exhausts me and I crave a little "down time."  Coming up with small talk overwhelms me after a while--I'm not naturally good at it, like some people.  I think most people fall somewhere in the middle, but I know I lean much closer to the introvert side.

6. What is your preferred method of exercise?
"Turbo Jam" work-outs (with lots of punching and kicking--but I'm not a violent person, I swear!).  You can get them on CD's from Beach Body.  I also like to take 3-4 mile walks.

7. Share a quote that has 'spoken' to you.
From The Story of a Soul, these words by St. Therese of Lisieux: "God would never inspire me with desires which cannot be realized; so in spite of my littleness, I can hope to be a saint."

Today just happens to be St. Therese's feast day, too!
8. What is your favourite genre of movies?
I would say romantic comedies--but they so often disappoint me when they include the gratuitous scenes that all PG-13 movies seem to have in them.  Unnecessary sexual innuendo (and then some) really wrecks what would otherwise be a fun, enjoyable movie experience.  So I guess I'll say clean, inspiring sports movies like Rudy, Remember the Titans, and the new one that's out called When the Game Stands Tall.  (And as the mother of five boys, I have learned over the years to really go for a good action/adventure movie as well!)

9. Share one blog you 'must read' regularly?
That would be my daughter-in-law Regina's blog--because it's filled with pictures of our three granddaughters and keeps me up-to-date with the goings-on in our oldest son's family.  I would share a link with you, but it's not a public blog.

10. How many bloggers and whom have you met irl?
Fun question!  The answer is TWO.  First, I met Katrina of Cedars and Tiny Flowers.  My husband and I were traveling out to Notre Dame for a weekend about a year ago, and I got in touch with her ahead of time.  We met for a few minutes at the lake across the street from the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, just before Mass.  She was expecting her second son, glowing with pregnancy, and had her older boy (the most adorable toddler) with her.  She was as sweet and beautiful IRL as she appears on her blog.  And then my husband and I were down in VA with our second-oldest son and his fiancée some months ago, and during Mass I recognized Rosie of A Blog for My Mom.  She was there with her oldest daughter, and this was before she announced that she was expecting child #5.  I felt like a blog-stalker/crazed fan when I went up and excitedly introduced myself to Rosie on the way out of the church.  Like Katrina, she was just as lovely and grace-filled in real life as you'd expect her to be after reading her blog.  Isn't it funny that I met both of these Catholic bloggers in or near a church, before or after Mass?  How apropos.

Okay, then--that's it for me.  Thanks again, Erin!

Now I'd like to nominate some gals whose blogs I really enjoy (but which I haven't been reading lately nearly as often as I'd like to).

Madeline of A Dash of Snark
Beth of A Mom's Life
Sarah Therese of Cherishing Everyday Beauty
Erica of Saint Affairs
Joy of Joy in the Morning
Tiffany of Life of a Catholic Librarian
Christina of Filling my Prayer Closet
Iris of The Starving Inspired
Nancy of The Breadbox Letters
Kate of Something Ivory

I would've nominated Erin, too, but she just went through this so I'll give her a rest.

Now here are my questions for you, ladies:

1. Do you have a favorite saint, and what drew you to him/her?
2. I think every Liebster questionnaire includes a question like this; but I'm crazy about books, so I just have to know: do you have a best-loved book that you've read multiple times?  (And will you probably read it again?)  Or do you always just read a book once and pass it on to others?
3. What is your family's Christmas Eve tradition?
4. When you dress up in heels, do you wear panty hose/tights, or do you go bare-legged?
5. How did you and your husband meet?  (And if you're not married, what's the most important quality you're looking for in a spouse?)
6. What's your go-to prayer in times of distress?
7. Where is the one place in the world you would visit if you could?
8. How many siblings do you have?
9. Are you a worrier?  (I'm worried you'll think that's a weird question.)
10. What, if any, sport do you enjoy watching the most?

I look forward to reading your answers!


  1. Thank you for the nomination! I am very honored, and am REALLY looking forward to answering your questions. (I'll admit it - I truly enjoy questions in blog awards).

    I love your answers to the questions you had, and more than ever I wish we lived next door to each other so we could chat and watch movies together :)! I think I could answer just as you did to almost everything, and I am so very with you on the romantic comedies. It's my favorite genre of movies also, or would be except for the things you mentioned .. which send me clicking out of films I might otherwise enjoy. My husband and I walked out of one in a theatre once - and there were young teens there (it was a PG 13); we felt so sad that they were being subjected to what was clearly garbage.

    Thank you again! Your blog is always so much fun!!!!!

    1. Hooray! I look forward to reading your answers, Nancy.

      I know--aren't PG-13 movies awful sometimes? But sometimes they aren't, which makes them dangerous; just when you think you've found yourself a sweet winner, you can get blindsided. (I shudder to think of what most kids these days think is "normal" behavior for young people in love.)

      And I wish we lived next door, too. It's nice, though, the way blogging connects people who wouldn't otherwise ever know of each other's existence. I think of my blogging friends as today's version of "pen pals." :)

  2. Looks like you had a great time at the wedding! And thanks for nominating me for the award!

    1. Beth, you're one of the people I've been missing lately. But within a month or so, I should be finished with the book, my son will be married, and life will begin to slow down quite a bit. Then I hope to start blogging/blog-reading as often as I used to!

      I look forward to your answers. :)

  3. Thanks for the nomination!
    Will be praying for your dad.

  4. Definitely keeping your dad in prayer.

    And thanks for the nomination! I had a few minutes last night and decided to respond to your questions before it escaped my mind completely... :-)

    God bless!

  5. Thank you for the nomination! Yay! I don't participate in the awards anymore, but I did one of these back in the day (can you imagine?) I will keep you close in prayer today! xo

  6. Just home from our second Wedding within 3 weeks! Like you we are enjoying Wedding Season:)
    Such kind, kind words, I'm touched!! and humbled.
    Really had no idea that you don't use words such as fortnight and whilst! Knew you didn't use the letter u in many words. This topic could be worthy of a blog post!! Fascinating!
    Loved your answers!!! and great questions too!!

  7. Weddings are great! Looks like you had a blast!

    Thanks for nominating me! :)

  8. Just wanted you to know I finally got the Liebster post together at I'm afraid I wasn't very "official"about it, and hope you'll forgive me - but I loved your questions!! Thank you again.

  9. We so miss your daily blog. Can't wait for it to start again. :)

    1. I'm back now. For good (I hope!). That's the longest break I've ever taken!