Hi! I’m Kristen, and I’m the woman behind the curtain! It’s nice to meet you!
If you have landed here, then you want to know a little more about me, so here we go!
I have lived in 5 states for various amounts of time. I was born in Texas, grew up in Indiana, spent my summers in Tennessee and Mississippi (Memphis and its Mississippi outcroppings in the country), and after college, I moved to St. Louis, Missouri to be with my then-boyfriend and now husband of 10+ years.
I’ve been a city girl my whole life, but big on outdoors, and I dream of a house on a lake near the mountains someday. Until then, you can usually catch us camping and / or hiking in parks near and far in the summers.
My husband and I have two sons who keep us on our toes and bring us so much joy and wonder, as well as a healthy dose of reality and candor, which I enjoy sharing occasionally on Instagram. We love traveling and exploring together, even if it’s something in our own backyard. One of the marvels of having children is experiencing the world through their eyes. Needless to say, Halloween and Christmas are my two favorite holidays, and I’m not sure I could pick between them. The next couple of pictures are definitely older, but I can’t take them down because they’re just so dang cute and I miss their chubby little cheeks LOL, and also, because ghosties.
Growing up, I lived with my mom, older brother, and my maternal grandparents. When my grandparents retired, summers were for travel. We would get in the camper and head off to places far and wide, and while I don’t necessarily remember everything we did or saw, I remember the feeling of adventure, and it has stayed with me my entire life, fueling my love of travel. I hope to kindle that same fire in my kids.
Summers spent with my dad meant 9 hours in the car to and from Indiana, horse shows, camping, boating, and the outdoors, especially when he made the move from the city to the country. My dad was in the Coast Guard on the Mississippi River, and I remember many a July 4th spent on the river watching the fireworks shot from Mud Island, while Dad patrolled the river. My little brother and I roamed wild across the property, playing pretend and getting up to some mischief. All of this time outdoors gave me a love of wide open spaces, and furthered my sense of adventure. Some day, I want a small house made of stone and wood, with a big fireplace to read by, a wide porch where I can sit and crochet, backed up to the woods, water nearby and the mountains off in the distance. That would be a little slice of perfect to me.
I didn’t always love reading. It took a while to find something I really wanted to read, but once I did, I was always in trouble to reading by flashlight under my covers when I was supposed to be asleep. My mom used to complain that between the three of us (Mom, my brother, and me), she couldn’t go into the bookstore without dropping $50. It was only natural that as soon as Borders was hiring for holiday help, I applied in high school. Hands down, my favorite job ever (outside of the house that is).
I’ve always been a bit crafty. My paternal grandmother was very crafty and a real DIY-er, often attending craft fairs to get ideas or passing up an expensive item in the store because she could make it. She was always buying me crafting kits for gifts. My maternal grandmother taught me to sew and embroider when I was around 8 or 9. Between the two of them, my course was set. Soon after graduating college, I inherited many of my great-grandma’s old sewing tools, including a very tiny and intimidating set of lace crochet hooks, which I put aside in a “aren’t those
scary pretty?” kind of way. It wasn’t until I was expecting my youngest son that I picked up a hook again.
My mom would tell you that I owe my crochet habit to her. She likes to mention how I teased her for her granny ways when she said she wanted to learn how. It’s true, I teased her for weeks before I thought to myself…hmmm, maybe I could make my baby a blanket! And off I went to YouTube and Pinterest. I owe most of my know-how to the tutorials of Stephanie at All About Ami and Tamara at Moogly Blog. I proudly presented my mom with new potholders almost daily. You’re never too old to give your mom hand-made gifts…promise ;).
Not even a year after the birth of my youngest, I was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer (read more about my cancer story here), and subsequently went through chemo, surgery, and radiation (the works!). I know it seems cliché, but those kinds of experiences really do open your eyes to experience life. For me, La Belle Vie means living life to the fullest, savoring every moment, even the unsavory ones, because each experience is an opportunity: to show kindness and spread love, to take stock of your life and be thankful, or grow as a person. It’s taking time to smell the roses and appreciate the little things. It’s finding the joy in everything and doing that which gives peace to your soul. It’s important to live each day, carry on with your responsibilities, sure, and not every day in life is a picnic, but when you try to live more in the moment, try to find the positive each day, start and end each day thankful that you were able to meet it, you start seeing things a little differently.
That’s it really, my whole life in a short novel. I started the blog to share the things that give peace to my soul and to inspire others to pursue what eases theirs. I’m thankful to my Father in Heaven for everything He has given me, and I hope to use this platform in a way that glorifies Him.
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