Monday, September 30, 2013

31 Days

As I am jumping feet first into the the blogging world, I needed some help with my determination to be consistent in my writing, but also to enjoy the process. That is one reason why I am participating The Nester's 31 Days during the month of October. I am looking forward to discovering other blogs and hopefully some readers will find me.

What to write about for 31 days? Several things came to mind, but I had to keep telling myself that it was 31 days and not to choose something overwhelming. So I am going to write about this wonderful season we are in...Fall!

To help keep my rambling on track, I have tried to categorize my posts based on the day of the week.

Mondays - Autumn Musings
Tuesdays - Decorating for Fall
Wednesdays - Random Wednesdays
Thursdays - Thinking of Thanksgiving
Fridays - Fall Favorites
Saturdays - Weekend Links
Sundays - Taste of Cookies

Keep checking back throughout the month of October.

1. Autumn Welcome
2. Becoming a Couch Potato
3. Thanksgiving Traditions - Old and New
4. Autumn Beauty 
5. Weekend Links 
6. Pumpkin Snickerdoodles 
7. Autumn Musings 
8. Easy Peasy Fall Project 
9. AppleFest Galore 
10. Giving My Thanks
11. The Taste of Fall 
12. Weekend Links - Books Edition 
13. Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies 
14. Autumn Musings, Part 2 
15. Pumpkin Palooza
16. Football Fanatic 
17. Thanksgiving Hosting Pains 
18. The Scent of Fall
19. Weekend Links - Food Edition
20. Pumpkin Spice Cookies with Pumpkin Kisses
21. Autumn Musings, Part 3
22. Great Expectations
23. Pumpkin Spice Latte
24. Holiday Disappointment
25. Keeping Autumn Clean
26. Weekend Links - Pinterest Edition
27. Candy Bar Cookies
28. Autumn Musings, Part 4
29. Welcome Halloween
30. Candy Bar Cookie Redo
31. Boo!

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Church Hop

When I lived in Illinois, I loved my church. It was fantastic - the music, the preaching, everything. It was also a very large church, some would say mega-church, but it still felt like home. I was involved in a small group and went to their singles ministry meetings. So although thousands of people might be there on a Sunday morning, I didn't feel like a face lost in the crowd. I can't accurately describe it, but there is something very special about that church.

After I moved to Pennsylvania, I knew I would have a hard time finding a church because I would want to compare it to my previous church. That would not be a fair assessment. No two churches are the same. For a year I struggled with finding a church. And then I found out my church in Illinois was planting a church right near me. I was beyond excited! I got involved right away before the church had even launched. After the church launched, I volunteered and hosted a small group in my home. But after almost 2 years, something just didn't seem to fit.

So for the last several months, I have been looking for a new church. It feels like I am back at the beginning again. Finding a church is hard. Now, with the convenience of technology I can check out a church before attending a service. I am able to look at their website to see what they believe, what kind of ministries they have, etc. I can even listen to a full Sunday service. This has been helping me narrow my search. Before I even step in the door, I can see if they are a church that is Bible-believing and Bible-teaching.

Another aspect of my church search is that I don't know where I am going to be in a year. There is a high probability that I may not even live in the area next year. That makes it hard to want to get involved knowing that I am not going to be able to fully commit. Lots of praying needed to go on here.

Thankfully, I serve a God who is everywhere and not just in the four walls of a church building.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Blanket

As you can imagine, when I found out I was going to be an aunt, I was beyond thrilled. As a relatively new knitter, I wanted to take on the challenge of making a baby blanket for this new little baby. I pinned several ideas, but this was by far my biggest project yet. Up to that point, I had only made dish cloths and a few scarves.

I found a pattern I liked, but wanted to modify it a little bit. The blanket was like a rainbow and a little girly if the baby was going to be a boy. So I started with green. A good baby neutral color. When we knew the baby was a girl, I chose pink as the alternate color.

Although I didn't work on the blanket consistently, it took about 6 months to finish. Toward the end, I was ready to start on something new. The blanket is much larger than I thought it would be. It is definitely bigger than a typical baby blanket. According the the instructions, the final size should be about 36x42. It would say that is about accurate.

Whether or not Brynley likes it is not really the point. She is only 4 weeks old, so I don't think she will have much of an opinion about it anyway. I wanted to make her something because I love her and this is a way I can show her that. I choose to spend my time making something that I hope will someday be special to her because her aunt made it just for her.

Next week, I will finally get to hold Brynley and give her the blanket. She lives about 10 hours away from me, and this will be my first opportunity to get up there to see her and her newly minted parents. I am so happy she is a part of our family and love her so much.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Too Many Projects, Too Little Time

Can I just say that my job is getting in the way of me finishing up the projects that I really want to do? This time next week, I will be on my way to Wisconsin to see my niece for the first time. I am beyond words excited! But I am trying to finish up some projects before I go. Being gone from home for 5 days is going to put a crimp in my motivation, so I am trying to finish as much as I can now.

There is really only one project that I have to finish before I go. It is a knitted baby blanket. I have been working on this blanket for months. Even before I knew if Brynley was going to be a boy or girl, this blanket was in the works. The finished product is green, white and pink. I started with green since I could go either boy or girl from there. Once I found out the baby was going to be a girl, I had to choose between pink and purple as the other main color. I am pretty girly, so my choice was easily swayed to pink. It so happens that this blanket coordinates perfectly with the colors in Brynley's room. I am the I know all!! :)

Another project I want to finish before I head out is for my mom. She is turning my brother's old room into a Steelers theme bedroom. I am sewing two valances for her to put up. I have already started them, but need to finish them up. It won't take too much time to do, but they are still sitting on my to-do list. I wanted to finish them before my mom was here a couple of weekends ago, but they just didn't get done.

My last two projects are for me. One I could have done a very long time ago, but of course, I am waiting until the last minute. The other one is a time consuming project.

I have a small landing with a window that leads up to my apartment. My mom bought me a little table and I decorate it seasonally. Right now, my fall stuff is up. October is right around the corner and I want to change up my decorations for Halloween. I bought Halloween fabric last year, but didn't make my valance.  Again, not a huge project, but another one that needs to be done.

To go with my valance, I am making a Halloween wreath. This is the time consuming project. Of course, it was another Pinterest find and I know the end result will be great. Getting to the end result is what is so hard. Since it is taking the most time, I want to spend more time on it. Which then takes away from the other things I want to finish. I will be posting about making this wreath later in October.

Instead of being able to dedicate a large amount of time on finishing all this up, I sit for 8 hours at work stressing over everything that I want to get finished. And to be the responsible adult, I should probably throw some cleaning in there somewhere. But with all the busyness, at least the time will go fast until I can hold my beautiful niece!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

What's in a Name?

The name of this blog has changed. Originally, it was Hidden in God's Heart. At that particular moment, that name felt right. As I have continued post blogs, it didn't seem to fit, but that doesn't mean it is any less true.

Not every post was going to be faith-based, so the title seemed a little misleading to me. It was time for a change, which then presented the next challenge. Now what should the name be?

Since I had already struggled with feeling like the name did not represent the blog, I didn't want to fall into the same rut and want to change it in a few weeks yet again. I started a list of names and then would check it against blogger to see what was taken and what was available. The first day I did this, nothing seemed to stick. There was one I liked, but wasn't completely sold on it. To be honest, I don't even remember what that name was and it was only a few days ago. It definitely wasn't the right choice then.

I looked at other blogs to see how they were named and what they wrote about. How closely associated was the name and the content. Some were very closely aligned and some didn't even appear to have a relationship. I had looked at some blogs that included geographic locations. Mostly these came from the South. I am from the Midwest, also known as the Heartland. As I had been thinking of names, inspiration and various forms inspire was sticking in my brain.

Then it came to me and Heartland Inspired was born.

I live in Pennsylvania now, which is just outside of the Midwest's reach. My mom still lives in Ohio. My brother lives in Wisconsin. The majority of my life has been spent in the Midwest. I really like Pennsylvania. I love the rolling hills, which was such a change from the flat terrain I came from. And of course, I love the sports teams! Go Steelers! But the Midwest will always feel like home. It is who I am and its influence in my life is part of what inspires me.

I hope you will stick around and enjoy Heartland Inspired.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Day to Never Forget

On Facebook and Twitter, people have been sharing where they were when they heard about the terrorist attacks on the United States. I was getting a massage. I was in massage therapy school at the time. Our teacher was giving us a break from normal classroom time and allowing us to practice on other students. The husband of one of the girls in my class called the school. Since a TV was not readily accessible at the moment, we didn't see the initial coverage. However, the days afterward were filled with coverage of lower Manhattan, the Pentagon and rural Pennsylvania.

September 11 has become a day of remembrance. Remembering the lives that were lost. Remembering the people who are living victims. People were going about normal activities when their lives were forever changed. As a country this date has a new meaning.

I have had the opportunity to see Ground Zero since the attacks. It is a somber experience. I can't even imagine the horror that happened at that place 12 years ago. I would like to see the memorial that has since been set up in place of the twin towers, as well as the memorial at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania. These are now national landmarks just like the battlefields in Gettysburg or monuments in Washington, D.C.

What can my response be to honor those people whose lives were forever changed? Make sure my family and friends know how much I love them and don't take them for granted.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Trip to Amish Country

It is finally fall! I love this time of year. Leaves changing, colder temperatures, football season, pumpkin is fabulous!

To start off the season, my mom and I went to Shipshewana, IN for some shopping. Shipshewana is in Amish country. From May to October, a flea market is held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Because of the holiday, it was also opened on Monday. It is fun to walk around and see all the stuff for sale. Some are really good deals like the autumn welcome sign I got for $12. I also got mini muffin tins for $3.75 a piece. Not bad either. Some prices aren't that great, so it pays to shop around a little bit.

While it is fun to look around at all the vendors at the flea market, my absolute favorite place to stop in Shipshewana is E&S Sales. It is a grocery store, but they sell dry goods in bulk. And the prices are really good. They have so many things in there that it is best to go with a list because it is really easy to overspend because the prices are so low. They added a huge new section that basically doubled their store size. Because of the crowds on Monday, I told my mom that we weren't going to mess around. Just get in and out.

Our last stop of the day was at Das Dutchman Essenhaus. The food at this restaurant is unbelievable. It is so good. I get the same thing every time, a roast beef manhattan. It is a roast beef sandwich and mashed potatoes drenched in gravy. YUM! And of course, the meal must be finished with a piece of pie. They have so many to choose from. My choice this time was the chocolate peanut butter banana pie. My mom had pecan pie a la mode. They also have a bakery there was so many yummy things - breads, cookies, whoppie pies. It is such a great last stop to make on our way back home.

All in all, it was a fun day. Seeing all the fall decorations gave me the nudge to move a little more quickly to get my summer stuff down and my fall stuff up. I am looking forward to a very busy fall season. Before we blink it will be Christmas, but I want to enjoy this season first.