Saturday, January 25, 2014

some updates and an award

What a busy, exciting last few of weeks it has been in the Curtsinger household! We've had lots of fun, got snowed in for a few days, battled a yucky cold, traveled to Texas, and I've most recently started a new job!

Last week, my sweet friend Jenni from Frankly My Dear sent me a message telling me she had nominated me for the Liebster Award. My first thoughts were "What a sweetheart!" and then, "What does that mean!?" So I hopped on over to her blog to find out... The Liebster Award is basically a way for bloggers with less than 200 followers to share a bit about themselves after being nominated. Then they pay it forward by nominating more new/up-and-coming bloggers! I love learning new things about people so this is so fun for me! I'm also incredibly indecisive so narrowing down my answers to one response has been somewhat difficult... Ha!

11 Facts about Me

1. I am a morning person.
2. I'm an old soul who loves traditions.
3. My Nana first gave me "little girl coffee" when I was a child & I've been hooked since.
4. Cooking is therapeutic for me. 
5. Mutual friends tried to set up my husband and I on a blind date before we started dating. 
6. If my nails aren't painted, I feel naked.
7. Seven is my favorite number!
8. I've wanted to be a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist since middle school. 
9. I love words-- nice, truthful ones.
10. Although I was born in Tennessee and lived there a few years, I will always consider myself a Kentucky girl. 
11. I love reading and studying Scripture.

11 Questions from Jenni at Frankly My Dear

1. What is your dream job & why?
I am so thankful to share I recently became one of the clinical & outpatient dietitians at a local hospital. I will work with inpatients to return to their health as well as those referred by their physician to achieve a healthier lifestyle. Health and nutrition have always been my passions and I am so excited to share that with our community. Working in a hospital with a mission to "continue the healing ministry of Jesus Christ" is an absolute dream come true. I look forward to so much growth in this new position! 

2. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be?
I love to travel and I have been blessed to travel to several countries so far. While several places remain on my Bucket List, I would love to travel to the islands off the Bahamas, The Exumas, where tourists can swim with piggies! 

3. What is the one thing you would change about yourself?
If you know me personally, you know I am an emotional person. Weddings, funerals, movies, commercials, books, baptisms, songs, testimonies, another person crying-- they all make me cry. On one hand, I am thankful for my tender heart-- but sometimes I wish I could toughen up a bit! 

4. What's your biggest goal in life?
I want to share the love of Christ with every person I encounter. 

5. If you could be any character in a book or movie, who would it be?
I have so many favorite books and movies! I absolutely adore Meg Ryan as Kathleen Kelly in You've Got Mail. I love her spunk and devotion to tradition and small businesses. Plus, I think it would be so much fun to own a cozy, little bookstore in New York City! 

6. What is your favorite food?
Ummm... All of them! Seriously, as a foodie, this is too difficult to narrow down to one! Food is my favorite. The flavors, textures, aromas, nutrition, all of it. Maybe I will avoid giving one specific and instead say this: whole, natural foods enjoyed in healthy ways are my favorite! 

7. Where is your "Happy Place"?
Anywhere with my husband and our puppies. I love spending time with them and the fun we have together! 

8. What is your most prized possession?
This is a tie between my wedding rings Dustin picked out and the pearl earrings my momma gave me for our wedding. I feel naked without both.  

9. If you could meet anyone in the world (dead or alive) who would it be?
I would love to share coffee with Ann Voskamp. Her writing is absolutely beautiful and has greatly impacted my life. Plus, she has pigs on her farm so even though it is totally rude to invite myself over, I would definitely ask. 

10. What is the one thing you cannot leave the house without?
As sad as it is, my cell phone. I could try to say it is for safety, but that would only be partially correct. I really enjoy being connected to my people. 

11. Top Reason for blogging? 
Initially, I wanted to post recipes as well as have a way to keep in touch with family back home when I knew we were moving. I have loved having this new way to share what God places on my heart. The blogging community, especially the Influence Network, has been a wonderful source of encouragement and truth! 

Now for my nominees & their questions!

My 11 Questions for You:
1. What verse or quote has been really impacting you lately? 
2. What hymn is your favorite?
3. If you had a farm, what animals would you have on it?
4. Who would you love to meet over coffee/sweet tea?
5. What color do you find most in your closet?
6. What fruits/vegetables/herbs would you plant in a garden?
7. What is your favorite book?
8. Where is your favorite place you've traveled?
9. What are you most thankful for right now?
10. What is your go-to recipe for supper?
11. What is your top reason for blogging?

Thank you Jenni for nominating me! 
My nominees, I can't wait to see what you share! 
Have a great weekend! 

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

7 on the 7th: 2014 edition

Happy New Year Y'all! I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season! We had a great visit back home in Kentucky. We were able to see all of our parents, siblings, and grandparents-- which is pretty much impossible most trips. Both of the weddings were beautiful and we had the best time celebrating with our family and friends. The past few days I have been trying to get back into a routine since being gone. You know how that goes... You leave home for a week and come back needing a break to catch up!

With the New Year, many are thinking about goals and resolutions. I shared some of my planning and dreaming process here last month. Lara Casey has been doing a Goal Setting series on her blog. Check it out here. I have enjoyed reading several posts about other people's goals. Everyone has their own story, path, and priorities. It is encouraging and inspiring to me when I read what others are planning Make Happen in 2014! Each of us are given unique talents, passions, and dreams! It is also a great time to find common interests with others and help hold each other accountable. I wanted to share seven of my main goals for this year for this month's 7 on the 7th.

1. Read the entire Bible
This has been a recurring goal of mine. Unfortunately, each time I fall behind on a plan and then fail to pick up where I left off. What I have learned in 2013 is that God's Word is living and active. It is our daily bread, our manna from Heaven. As believers, it is essential for walking through life with Him. Since making an effort to be in the Word every day, my heart has grown to know so much more love, peace, and gratitude. Dustin and I have been reading together since we got married. However, we have not been very disciplined or consistent with our plan. We want to grow in our understanding of God's word as we aim to live it. Our church is starting a new series in a couple of weeks over the book The Story. I can't wait to start! Basically, it is a companion to the Bible that outlines the events in chronological order. In addition to reading the Bible, I also want to commit scripture to memory! 

2. Follow our budget each month
Last month I posted about beginning The Contentment Challenge. I anticipate this process making following our budget easier. Aside from eliminating non-essential purchases, Dustin and I plan to discuss our finances each week so that we are conscious of where our money is going-- bills, savings, tithing, etc. We are saving our receipts and documenting our spending, all while keeping a prayerful attitude. In addition to following our budget, I plan to be simplifying our home and routine as much as possible- I will share more on that process later. 

3. Send a card weekly
I am a snail mail lover. Always have been, always will be. I want to make a point to send encouraging notes to those I love. Pretty stationary and stamps make me so happy. I want to share that happiness with others! Social media is fabulous for keeping in touch and uplifting those who are near and far, but so is an old fashioned card! I plan to send at least one card a week. If I don't have your address, send it to me in an email. I would love to surprise you with snail mail sometime! 

4. Prioritize my health
As a Registered Dietitian, food is of utmost importance to me as I know it directly impacts our health.  I haven't always had a healthy approach to eating but this year I am making it one of my priorities. I have learned that for me, when I eliminate gluten from my diet I feel better physically and emotionally. Everyone's bodies react to foods in different ways so I am not saying that everyone should be gluten free, I am speaking only for myself. I don't have the digestive discomfort or sluggish feelings when I am careful to eat foods that are gluten free. This is also true for refined sugar. When I load up on sugary desserts and snacks, my sweet tooth cravings just intensify. This year, I am saying "no" to gluten and "yes" to a healthy lifestyle. I will allow myself to enjoy "treats" rather than thinking of special occasions as "cheats" which is a more negative connotation. Isn't that so freeing? I am also making time to rest each day-- whether that is taking time for a foot soak, a bath, drinking some tea, stretching, or cuddling up on the couch with Dustin and the pups. Having time to unwind each day is so important physically and emotionally!

5. Read
Y'all know I am a bookworm. I can't wait to dig into a new book! This year I want to read even more than I did last year. I originally planned to have a list of books I would read for the entire year, but I think for me it will be better to take each month as it comes. I have plans to join the Library in our town so that I am not constantly purchasing every book I want to read -- even though I so would love to add to my physical Library! I do have a few books that I am for sure going to read, but no set schedule. Some that I can't wait to devour are: The Chronicles of Narnia series, finish The Excellent Wife, Gone With the Wind, The Divergent series, Grain Brain and more! What books are on your list? Be sure to check out The Library page of the blog for the books I have read thus far and be watching for more reviews.

6. Go Green
There are so many ways that we can make eco-friendly choices that better the world around us. Sometimes I can get overwhelmed with all of the possibilities but I also know that there are some very doable steps I can take to be more green. I want to be conscious of how my choices impact the environment. We have those convenient reusable grocery bags, however I am not always the best at actually taking them when I go to the store! I aim to do better about this! Another thing I want to do is eliminate paper towels in our home. I am very generous wasteful with my paper towel usage.  I've read of several who made the switch to using only rags that they can toss in their weekly wash cycle. We just finished our last roll so we will be implementing this tonight! Making our own laundry detergent is something I have considered for a while now. I hope to try it out this year. I also want to begin using our compost bin again and start some plans for planting a vegetable garden.  

7. Learn
This year I really want to grow and learn more about the things that fire me up and get me excited. Nutrition and dietetics, new cooking techniques and recipes, crocheting, gardening, reading, writing, the Bible, budgeting, exercise, etc. These are some of the things that either I really care about or want to learn to care about more! For me, I do best when I study up on different topics and surround myself with people who encourage and provide food for thought. This means reading the latest nutrition topics and studies, diving into books about gardening, and seeking out the experts in different areas. Too often in the past, and sometimes still today, I think I know it all--wrong. A fellow Dietitian and blogger, Katie, told me recently-- learning takes patience and humility. So true and so convicting. We have to be life learners. I am excited to see what God teaches me this year!

So those are my main focus this year. I anticipate them growing and evolving throughout the months and I am excited to see where He leads us. The following verse has been on my heart during this season of planning and goal making. I keep seeing it in various places-- usually a hint that I need to keep something in mind!

Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.
Proverbs 19:21

No matter what my dreams and plans are, my ultimate desire is for His plan to prevail, and I know it will. This verse brings so much comfort! Yes, let's make our lists and goals, but all the while, let's seek His will and present our desires and hopes to Him. He is so faithful.

So let's hear your goals! What wonderful things are you going to Make Happen in 2014? I can't wait to hear them and cheer you on towards good deeds!