Always, Katie: July 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 14: Outfit Photos

Day 14. Style 31. Post an outfit pic!

Well... as you can probably tell, I'm "live" again.  All out of pre-scheduled posts!  So... sorry about the lateness of the hour :-)

I got these dark skinny jeans and the shirt (both on clearance!) at New York & Co.  I so love that store :-)  I kept trying to keep the ties in a bow, but they didn't cooperate well. 

This was a pretty basic necklace to make... I bought the Swarovski pendant (crystal-colored crystal and mother of pearl) and popped some pretty chain on it.  Easy-peasy :-)

And the earrings are about as basic, just added two little coordinating crystals under a pre-made pendant.  Easy, dressy, simple... love 'em :-)

Charley was feeling a little left out of all of the picture-taking... isn't he precious?


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 13: Changing for the Better

Day 13. Write about something you would like to change about yourself for the better.
I am actively trying to adjust to being happier.  Because of the recent changes in my medication, the oppressive, heavy wet blanket of depression has lifted from my brain for the first time that I can remember.  It is hard to explain to someone who has never dealt with it, but I can be happy--OVERJOYED, even--and still depressed.  I had always wondered what it would be like to have my depression gone, how much of ME the depression was... it was daunting.  Would I even recognize myself?  

With the medication cocktail that is making such a huge difference, I finally have my answers, and the perfect metaphor in the blanket.  My life is good, and has been for a while.  I am happy.  But the depression smothered the happiness, made it hard for me to feel it fully, and hard for me to express it.  Now that I am feeling the relief of that considerably heavy blanket being lifted, the only task that is left seems to be integrating the happiness in my head into the joy of my heart.  Again--this is so hard to explain! I have always had great joy, and great happiness, but the depression somehow kept them from integrating.  What I most want to change is to be a fully happy woman, with no depression gaps--scars?--in the way.  

I'm feeling very much that way, the scars are fading... I'm looking forward to the future as they continue to fade and I continue to grow.  :-)


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 12: Worn Out?

Day 12. Write about what wears you out as a woman.

This is a funny prompt!  I mean, really... what doesn't wear me out?!

Seriously, though, if we're talking female-specific stuff... my fertility issues are pretty exhausting.  Both the physical discomfort, and the constant thinking and wondering.  Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed and worn out by constantly trying to "keep up," too... which is something I'm working on.  I think once I can truly accept and internalize that I don't have to meet magazine or Stepford standards (and get home to implement the change!), I will be less tired.  

This prompt kind of sounded like an invitation to gripe, which I really don't want to do--all of the things that wear me out are either blessings, or require a change in my own perspective. You know?  I wouldn't trade my life for anyone else's, and I doubt you'll find another woman who is less worn out than I am :-)


Monday, July 11, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 11: Yummy Recipe!

Day 11. Post a recipe. Or if you don't cook, try a new recipe and write about how it turned out (pictures please!)

I am really more of a baker than a cook, so I have about a dozen dessert recipes I'd LOVE to share!  (And will at some point, I'm sure!)  Recently, I've discovered this blog--Our Best Bites--and have found several yummy recipes, including the PERFECT sugar cookie recipe.  Perfect.  Perrrrfect... 
But anyway.  I made individual pies in jars for all of our dads and granddads for Father's Day this year (an idea that I, um, also got from Our Best Bites.  Have I mentioned that I love them?)  and had some leftover pie crust.  I used their galette crust recipe, so I figured I could go ahead and make a mini galette for Ethan.  Here goes:

Pastry Crust:
2 C Flour
11 T Butter (they say no exceptions, but I used margarine!)
1/4 t Salt
4-5 T ice water

Measure flour and salt into a bowl. Cut cold butter (straight from fridge) into small chunks and throw on top of the flour.
Cut the butter into the flour. Until butter is in small crumbly pieces.
Add ice water a tablespoon at a time while stirring dough mixture with a fork.
Bring it all together and pat into a ball.

Fruit Filling:
4 C prepared fruit (peeled, pitted, diced, etc)
up to 1/2 C Sugar (less if your fruit is super-sweet!)
3 T Flour (Less if your fruit is less juicy)
2 T Butter
Cinnamon, vanilla, almond extract.... to taste, if desired.
Roll out the dough into a circle, plop the fruit into the middle of the circle, dab some tiny pieces of butter on top of the fruit (1-2T total) and fold and crimp the edges up around it.  Brush with butter, sprinkle with sugar.  Put it in the oven at 375* for 50-60 minutes. 

I made Ethan's with strawberries and blueberries, and several different concoctions for the dads... so far, I've gotten rave reviews on the apple cinnamon pie, and on Ethan's berry pie.  :-)  I haven't actually tried it... but it looked and smelled divine, and my boys seemed pleased.  When we get back to town, I think I'll have to make another. :-) 

You guys should definitely check these girls out--you can lose yourselves for hours in their yummy pictures and descriptions!


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 10: Lessons

Day 10. What is Jesus teaching you as a wife, mom, or friend? (Or just woman in general?)

This week, I have been learning a lot about my role as a wife and future mother.  What God has pressed on my heart most of all is that I need to nurture my family in a way that is pleasing to Him and authentic to me.  I cannot be my mother, mother-in-law, or either of my grandmothers... but I can and will be a Godly and wonderful wife and mother!  

I can look to wives and mothers I'm related to or friends with for inspiration--I would love to keep house as effortlessly as my mother, or welcome "extra" children into our home like HER mother... be my daughters' confidante like one friend's mom, or raise best friends like Momma H... raise a wonderful, active and loving brood of six like KK, or dote on an only child like my mom-in-law... but in the end, I can only draw inspiration, then do my own thing. 

And... as long as I meet my family's needs and raise my children to love and honor God, I am doing fine!  


Saturday, July 9, 2011


Hi friends!  We are having a surprisingly great time in VA :-)  Surprising because this school stuff is EXHAUSTING, not because I don't love it here!  The mountains are sooo beautiful, and people are nice (and talk cool)!

Anyway.  For the last week, I went to class, came home, slept, ate, and slept... woke up in the morning and did it again.  Since this was a counseling class--and it was very hands-on--it was an emotionally draining but satisfying week of class.  I am amazed at how many examples I saw of God working... both over the short-term, and long-term.  Giving us experiences and qualities that would help us help our classmates... even as long ago as 20 years.  And, while I can't go into detail (obvi!), let's just say that there is no WAY most of these could be coincidences.  We were meant to be in that class, with that professor, and in those small breakaway groups.  Period.

Speaking of period (yeah, nice segue, huh?)... we're in the middle of our first Clomid cycle!  Please pray for us, and that this works!  

We have the next week off (except for preparing for my next class and working on Ethan's online class), and we'll get to celebrate our second anniversary, which is Monday.  Two years... seems like a lifetime in someways, and yesterday in others :-)  You can probably expect a mushy post in the near future.

Speaking of future posts (Woo! 'Nother segue!)... I have almost run out of the Proverbs posts that I had prepared in advance, so they may not be quite as regular as they have been.  I'm still going to try and schedule them for the next class week I have, but homework is kiiiiiiinda important!

I'm going to leave you with a picture... we get a kick out of taking "first day of school" pictures of each other. :-)  Funny story--I'm not wearing a bit of jewelry!  I didn't have any that would be perfect for the outfit, so I took "ingredients" to class, intending to create something on breaks.  Turns out, my classmates were too friendly and interesting, so I made friends instead of jewelry.  No regrets! ;-)  Also, bear in mind... I hate mornings, and have a slightly smart-alecky streak.  I give you... the thinker.


Proverbs 31: Day 9: A Virtuous Woman?

Day 9. What virtues do you value in yourself?

This is a really difficult topic for me!  I am very grateful to be me, flaws and all, but it can be tough to talk about my strengths :-)  I have to admit--I cheated.  I asked Ethan to name some of my virtues (nothing like a little compliment-fishing)!!

One he mentioned that really resonated with me was my perseverance.  While I am easily overwhelmed, I very rarely give up, and this virtue has served me well.  I finished my undergrad program despite some serious health obstacles, and married my wonderful husband despite reservations from some people close to us.  I suppose the flip side to this virtue is being a bit stubborn, but in general, I do value my stick-to-it-iveness. :-)

One that I am recently learning to value my passion.  I used to view it as a negative, because it meant that I experience emotions intensely--which can be painful!  But now, as I learn to deal with the negative emotions more effectively, I am glad that I have the ability to feel empathy so strongly.  I think it makes me a better friend, a better wife, and a better potential counselor.  It has also enriched my prayer life, because I feel motivated to ask for God's blessings on those for whom my heart is heavy, and on my interactions with them. 


Friday, July 8, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 8: Beauty Secret

Day 8. Have a beauty secret (e.g. hair tip, make up tip)? Share, please!

My favorite newly discovered makeup trick is clear lip gloss!  I used to think that it was just to be a subtle shine, and had nothing to do with color.  However, I learned that it is the perfect way to have a lip gloss that coordinates perfectly with your skin tone... It's so annoying to buy a lip color that looks gorgeous in the tube, and garish on my face! Clear gloss can actually enhance the natural color of your lips, and intensify it.  What color could possibly match your skin tones than the color God made your lips?!  Basically, clear gloss creates a glossy version of that color!!! 

Seriously--this was Earth-shattering to me :-)  Try it!!  Get a good, high-quality (ie non-sticky) clear gloss and look perfectly coordinated in 15 seconds!


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 7: Hey Meagan

"Write a blog to encourage another beautiful woman."

I have a facebook friend (friend-of-a-friend) who I don't know super-well, but have been majorly inspired and impressed by over the past couple of years.  She is gorgeous, but also has a sweet and tough spirit that I respect so much!  I love how much she and her husband love each other--so cute, and totally God-centered.  She's young--a little younger than even I am--and had a really rough pregnancy, ending in a premature birth.  While her son was in NICU, she was an amazing trouper.  She handled the health concerns in pregnancy and the NICU stay with more grace and beautiful strength than some women 10 years older with fewer challenges!  She now has the glow of a confident woman who knows that she and God can meet any challenge life throws her way.  Like I've said before, I find strength to be strongly correlated to beauty... and this young woman is one of the strongest and most beautiful examples I know.

Meagan is not the only person I know to have gone through a similar experience, and I have so much respect and empathy for people who have to fight for their children... maybe it has something to do with all of the questions surrounding my own fertility?  But both of the women I am thinking of have been super-supportive and encouraging to me whenever I go to a doctor or have a set-back.  That they can be so generous with encouragement, when my problems probably seem so insignificant compared to theirs, speaks so highly of both of them.

I am so blessed to be able to interact with them!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 6: Jaded Beauty

"Has the world's definition of beauty ever jaded you?"

I would be shocked if any woman answered this question with a no.  I know I often look in the mirror and feel discouraged.  Certain parts of my body are too small, others are too big.  I have lots of scars from acne/bug bites/etc (which I tended to pick as a nervous habit).  My face is rarely clear.

Make-up skills came relatively late in life--like, after college--and I have only recently begun dressing my age.  I doubt that many people consider me beautiful, but this does not bother me nearly as much as it used to!  My husband calls me beautiful, and I find myself feeling more confident as I grow older.  Now, when I pretty up, I want to look good so that I make adequate arm candy for my handsome husband. ;-)


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 5: Thank You

"Write a blog thanking someone who has made your heart come alive."

The first person to really make my heart come alive was my niece, Emma.  

You were expecting a mushy husband post, weren't you?  I figure everyone who follows this blog even casually knows that I have the most amazing husband in the world... but the first time I knew selfless, die for you kind of love was when I met the prettiest little girl in the world.

Dear Princess Emma,

I was fifteen when your mommy was pregnant.  I remember all of the fun of shopping for you (including Poppy's attempt to help you "try out" mattresses in the store by holding them up to your mommy's belly!), and talking about baby names (on the white board in Gram and Poppy's basement... Grammie pushed for Frankie for a girl... aren't you glad your mom picked Emma?). 

You were born on Palm Sunday.  Gram went into surgery with your mom, and got to put your very first diaper on you, and even carried you into the nursery.  Because I was a candystriper, and one of the doctors hanging out was our neighbor, I got to slip into the nursery, too.  I was overjoyed and overwhelmed when I got to hold your teensy tiny hand when you were only a few minutes old.  And I fell head over heels in love with you. 

You and your mom stayed at our house for a few weeks when you were brand new, and you were a noisy little thing!  You were actually a really good baby, but even a good baby makes a LOT of noise!  We also got to babysit when your mom worked, so I changed bunches and bunches of STINKY diapers, fed you lots of formula, and played with--er, I mean helped YOU play with--your toys.  

You didn't like me very much when you were a year old, until you were about three.  Your first phrase was "No, Katie, stop it!"  I was singing in the car, and you weren't happy about it :-(  I had a really hard time getting you to call me Aunt, which was kind of a bummer, because Aunt Katie was my favorite "me" to be.  I was sooo proud of you (still am!) and loved to talk about you to my friends at school.  I was convinced (still am!) that you were the smartest, cutest baby ever born.  

Things that used to be pretty sad gained new meaning for me, now that I had a little person who had my heart.  Do you remember when I called your mom after class sometimes and asked to talk to you?  I was in a class that talked about some of the bad things that happen to little kids, and they made me so heartbroken and angry.  I needed to talk to my sweet princess.  It's hard to explain exactly what those phone calls meant to me; I just knew I needed to talk to you and it always made me feel a little bit better.

You read me a book over the phone while I drove home from class one night.  I cried.  You were the flower girl in my wedding.  You give the best hugs and kisses, and have the best giggle in the world.  I don't like to see you cry, but I do like that I can usually snuggle the crying away.  We play with tickle buggies, and that one mean old tickle goose that poked you in the belly when we were trying to feed him.  You always hold my hand when we pray in a circle, and I always squeeze your hand 3 times for "I Love You."  You squeeze back 4 times, "I Love You, Too."  When I taught you about communion at church on Christmas Eve, I was so proud of how you understood.  When you explained it to your cousin in front of the nativity scene the next night, my heart almost exploded with joy, pride, and thankfulness.  

You are the coolest, Miss Emma.  Being your aunt is one of the most important things to me (right up there with being Uncle Ethan's wife), and has given me more hope, joy, fulfillment, and love than I knew was possible before you were born.  

Love you!

Aunt Katie

Monday, July 4, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 4: Style 31

"Post a picture of you in your favorite outfit."

I really don't know that I have a favorite outfit... I have favorite pieces: most comfortable, most flattering, most confidence-boosting, best for church, best for shopping, best for hanging out at home, most/best memories made in, most fun/versatile to accessorize (woo!)... but not really a favorite outfit.  

That said, lol, I really love wearing this.  Any dress I can toss on, throw a random set of jewelry on, whip my hair into a ponytail, add a dab of lip gloss and look like I actually put time and thought into my outfit?  Priceless.  Bonus: It has pockets.  Double priceless!


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 3: Someone I Know Who Inspires Beauty

"Who is someone you know who inspires beauty?"

My hunny... :-)  Even though he tells me I'm beautiful always--even when I am CLEARLY not (sick, sloppy, grungy, etc)--he also makes me want to be beautiful.  I pick my clothes and style my hair to please myself (which pleases him, which pleases me, which pleases him...), I want him to find me gorgeous, to love showing me off.  Although I firmly believe that my self-worth has little to do with how I look, and that women should not be entirely focused on looking and being good enough for men... I still enjoy looking nice for my husband.  And I hope that my appearance reflects how happy and beloved I am.  :-)


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 2: What Makes Me Uniquely Me?

"What makes you uniquely you?"

Welllll... this could be an interesting list!  Beyond the fact that I was created to be me, with my own soul, here are some characteristics, the combination of which you probably couldn't find anyone to match perfectly.  :-)
  • I am Katie R-- B------ Hodge
  • I have spent my entire life in Southwest Ohio.
  • I have a B.A. from Miami University, where my parents met, dated and married and where my little brother is a senior.
  • I earned this degree three years after graduating high school... I took a full freshman year of college during my senior year of high school, at a branch campus of Miami.
  • I am an aunt to a beautiful niece and a rascally (cute-as-a-button) nephew, thanks to my big sister.
  • I have my daddy's nose, and my mom's expressive face.
  • I seem to be the only person in my family with green eyes.
  • I have a few more medical conditions than seem really necessary--Type I diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, ADHD, major depressive disorder, allergies (don't laugh--this might be the crappiest on the list when they get bad!)... blahblahblah...
  • I met my husband on an online dating site.  It's okay to look :-)
  • All of my grandparents are still alive and feisty! 
  • Spiders give me nightmares.  Literally.
  • The key to my heart: office supplies.
  • I love a crafting challenge, and can usually meet it.  I made a sea shell bouquet for a friend's wedding... and had no idea what I was doing.  It turned out great!
  • My favorite color is blue, which is a big surprise to a lot of people.  I wear a lot of pink, decorated my dorm room and my room at my parents' house in pink... Love blue.  
  • I have a dry, slightly morbid sense of humor... funeral director's daughter.
  • I love to bake... it makes me feel domestic.
  • I hate most other domestic tasks.
  • I love being a teacher's wife... just conjures up a cute, smart, conservative little woman, no?  And I love my teacher <3
  • I'm a pretty good mix of mountain and city folk, with some ancient regal and Native American thrown in for good measure.  And Irish... can't forget the red highlights and temper. ;-)
  • I kill plants.  I just do.
  • I have the heart of a servant.  I used to volunteer as a Rape Crisis Victim Advocate, and for years as a candy striper.   I hate to see anybody lonely or scared, and will do everything in my power to change that.
  • I have been employed as: a yogurt girl, cashier, mall cop, and substitute teacher.  And they're not as different as they sound.  
  • My first career ambition was to teach pigs how to cut hair.  After that, to be a stay-at-home mom like mine.  I've come back around to SAHM, but not back to the porcine cosmetology instructor... we'll see.
That's long enough, I reckon... I may or may not have told you anything you didn't already know, but... I had fun writing it :-)


Friday, July 1, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 1: What Does Beauty Mean to Me?

The first prompt in my Proverbs 31 challenge is "What does beauty mean to you?"

While there is definitely a worldly type of beauty that I wish I had a little more of... clear skin, trim build, shiny thick hair... real beauty to me is closely tied to strength.  

When I think of anything beautiful, I tend to think of it in terms of strength.  Beautiful scenery is majestic, and shows the strength of The Creator, the power of the elements, permanence, steadfastness, but also the power in change.  

  • Snow flakes are beautiful for their individuality... it is a powerful, staggering thought that none are ever identical. Ever.  Thinking of the massive snow storms we saw this winter, imagining how MANY tiny, individual snowflakes were there... mind-blowing. They may look sweet and delicate... but guess again.  Get a bunch of snowflakes--or women--together and it is amazing what can be accomplished.  
  • Mountains... I loooove mountains.  The mountains we saw from our ginormous hotel in glittering Las Vegas are the same ones brave pioneers struggled over centuries ago.  Roads are built, trees are cleared out, cities grow... but those mountains are there.  Beautiful, no?
  • Waves... if you know me relatively well, you probably know that I. Hate. Water.  I can swim...ish.  I just don't like it.  But I love to go to the beach, smell the ocean, collect shells, and watch the waves.  Constantly changing, but relentless. 
  • Music... the most beautiful music to me is soft, with an underlying strength.  I walked down the aisle to Canon in D rather than the traditional "Here Comes the Bride" because I love the combination of these qualities.  The traditional procession song is so... brash.  Here I am!! Look at me!!! I'm the bride!!!!  This isn't really me.  I wanted a piece that reflected how beautiful I felt (married friends, have you ever felt more beautiful than on your wedding day?), the beauty of our love and marriage, and the strength that came from knowing that I was making the biggest, most important and BEST commitment of my life.  
I think a beautiful woman is strong.  Maybe she seems meek, but there is a quiet strength that shines in her eyes.  Maybe she is a passionate, fiery fighter.  A momma protecting her babies, a bride on her wedding day, a grandmother providing an example of grace, faith and strength for her family... it's the strength in these women that I believe make them absolutely beautiful.


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