Sunday, January 19, 2014

Dear Diary

You know how sometimes things change slowly and almost imperceptibly? Like last night our youngest slept on the top bunk, our middle son spelled out "napkin" and our oldest read us a story--after asking about molecules at supper and proclaiming he wants to be a rocket scientist when he grows up. (Thanks Uncle Luke!) How did they grow up so fast? Where did our little kids go?

Sometimes I do that around the house. Last week I erased my dry-erase calendar in my kitchen. I don't really use it--I check the scribbled up paper calendar in the cupboard for schedules and birthdays and obligations. Now I use the dry-erase board for small goals for the day. Love it!

Then there's the big things, like on Friday when I was tired of an ugly bedroom so I took a couple hours to move it around. We're not planning on living here long, so I didn't hang anything, and if we were going to stay here we'd have some projects to do and maybe some furniture to move down there. But it's prettier!

It's the third week of the year and I haven't blogged for a month. I do that sometimes. I get overwhelmed by too much to do so I start cutting back. Blogging is just a fun hobby; it doesn't pay the bills or help homeschool my kids. It can inspire projects and give me motivation for keeping the house clean, but when my schedule is too full, it has to go.

I'm also struggling with direction, to be honest. My blog doesn't really have a niche. It's part DIY, part mommy blog, part makeover, part... I don't even know. I'd really like it to be a home blog, you know, about renovations and projects and DIY and stuff, but we're renting and have no need or budget for that. I'm also homeschooling and babysitting and the boys don't nap as long, and I'm just not into google analytics and trying to keep every picture/project pin-worthy and original just saps all the fun out of blogging!

We're looking ahead in 2014 with lots of changes on the horizon. We're missionaries in training and have summer school to look forward to, and hopefully a move to the British Isles to plan for (tentatively next fall/winter). That means not only will we be relocating (again), but my focus this summer will be on my classes and squeezing out any extra time for my boys. We're super excited about our move, but we don't know when it will happen for sure. We're fine with that, but it makes it hard to blog about projects. In the meanwhile, there's homeschool and babysitting and meal planning and laundry and not much of me left over for projects and blogging!

I also need to confess that competition was taking all of the fun out of blogging. I was nursing a spirit of discontent. There, I said it. I used to read blogs any chance I could. I had my reader chalk full of inspiring reads. And they are! I love blogs! But I was starting to feel that my home was never enough, that my projects didn't amount to anything, that they were just copies of what I'd seen on Pinterest, that I wasn't real or dedicated enough, and I started to resent it. I'd look at numbers on my blog and get jealous of your blog and your success and your projects. I'd read testimonies of moms making tons of money from blogging and wonder when my big break would come.

And then we moved.
And moved again.
And again.

Then Google Friend Connect turned into Google + and my reader with a million blogs shut down and I don't really like Bloglovin' or Feedly or Google +. So I stopped reading a million blogs. And stopped checking my stats. And stopped comparing myself to the blogs I was no longer reading.

And I started to feel better about me.

I have a long way to go. I have a lot to figure out. I'm still not sure where Beauty4Ashes will land when all of this is said and done. Or maybe it's never done. Maybe it's just evolving. Like my kids suddenly not being babies.

I still like to decorate. I have an innate NEED to make spaces around me feel pretty and inviting. Some say it's a talent. Well, I'm trying to figure out how to help people with it. You know? Other than them looking at my house with my staged pictures and free photo-editing and thinking that I have it all together when you can't hear my boys fighting because they're hungry and neglected because mommy's taking pictures or reading blogs. Or blogging instead of taking a walk or reading my Bible, or developing a post instead of chatting with my husband.

So with that said (and so much more still stuck in my head), welcome to Beauty4Ashes, version 4.0. I'm going to make a conscious effort in 2014 to blog about real life, to keep it simple. To keep a record for my kids to read or family 1000 miles away to keep a finger on our life. I'm going to blog less for you than for me. Wow, that sounds selfish, but if blogging is something I do with my spare time about subjects that interest me or real things in my life, I think I owe it to me to be authentic about it.

Now, before you give up on me, can I share something else? Oh yeah, this blog is now officially for me and not my "target audience". My personal goal for 2014 is this:

Do you dare to join me?


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