Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Should I Keep Blogging? A (Somewhat) Rhetorical Question

I've been an absent blogger recently...........has anyone noticed ;)

"Life" has hit me pretty hard these past few weeks and forced me to take a step back and do some re-evaluating. To be honest, it was more a full-on assault than a gentle nudge. A close friend is sick and also facing a family crisis, other friends have been thrust into a life-altering situation with their young adult son, and my own family continues to struggle with issues that we've been working on for a few years now.

For the ten months that I have been blogging, I've also been pretty heavily involved in several other pursuits...serving on the board for my college sorority, preparing for a craft show, helping my daughter plan her upcoming wedding, and giving a large time and service commitment to a family support group.

If it sounds like I'm tooting my own horn by listing all of my busyness, please ride this out with me. I assure you that's not the direction I'm going with this. You see, that family support group that I mentioned told me that "if I got busy, I'd get better". So, I mistook the advice and I started volunteering, creating, planning, organizing, designing, serving, and participating. And, Boy Howdy, I thought I was really becoming some sort of "healed" Superwoman! Friends told me how proud they were of me. My daughter noticed some healthy changes in my attitudes, and I was riding the wave of "doing it all".

What I didn't notice was that by spreading myself so thin and juggling too many balls, not only could I not give enough attention to any one activity, but I lost sight of why I started "getting busy" in the first place.

And now, your minds are probably replaying many things you've each heard, read, and considered about trying to do too much vs. finding your authentic self and your way to true fulfillment. I mean, how many times can we revisit this subject, ladies? Over and over and over, we try to crack that elusive code of finding happiness and balance!!!

Whether you believe in God, kharma, the universe, spiritual maturity, or another force providing you with the lessons you need to learn in life, those lessons do come to us...and they don't always arrive peacefully. Sometimes we have to be smacked in the face to recognize what changes we need to make (as in my case.)

When I really searched my soul, I realized that even though my motives were pure and that I am, indeed, worthy of doing things "just for me", my original and truest intent was to heal myself from the effects of my childhood, thus offering a better version of myself to family, friends, and others.

So.........I've been evaluating my endeavors and activities. What, if anything, should be eliminated? How should my time be divided? Just how skewed have my priorities become? What is the best way to honor my commitments to my family while still maintaining my authenticity and autonomy?

I've come to a few conclusions, I think. Firstly, I know for sure that I need to invest more of myself into the family support group that has greatly improved the quality of my life and continues to teach me how to be a better wife, mother, and person. I also realized that I may have been a bit over-zealous in my part of the wedding planning. I've decided that it's time to step back and genuinely respect the bride's vision of a simple, non-traditional event.

Next on the priority list would be those areas where I have to finish what I started (i.e. my term on the sorority board.) For now, I'll honor my commitment, and later, I'll reconsider my dedication to those pursuits.

Finally, the things I do to "stroke" my personal identity, my creativity, and my confidence. These include crafting, blogging, and home design projects, so it would be hard for me to completely give them up as selfish or unnecessary. What I have concluded is that I will continue to blog and work on home and craft projects, but the time and energy I intend to invest will decrease...for awhile, at least. Instead of trying to emulate all of the amazing home decor bloggers and Etsy shop owners that I idolize, and racing to keep an unattainable schedule and striving to become an income-earning blogger, I've decided to return to the real reason I began all of this in the first place.

Sure, it would be awesome to work with sponsors, earn money, have a room featured in a magazine, or quit my day job. Truth be told, though, the real reason I started this blog was to regain a part of myself that I allowed to get lost along the way and also to share some of my life experiences and growth with anyone who might benefit or relate.

So, I hope you'll continue on this journey with me, even though I will be posting less frequently and occasionally writing posts such as this one. I truly value the friendships I have formed with all of you.

Bless you :)


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

I hope you're all savoring these last few weeks of Indian Summer (is that even a politically-correct term anymore?) I have caught myself on several occasions, lately, thinking "What a glorious day!"...and, "I just love this time of year!"...and, "I've got to file this amazingness in my memory bank before winter gets here!"

As Mother Nature paints the world with her colors of fall, I can't help but greedily go out and collect flowers and branches from the yard to heap into vases, baskets and trays in our home. This vignette is an example.

I clipped some branches from our curly willow tree, which I love to use all year long in arrangements for visual interest and movement. When placed with a vase full of Autumn Joy Sedum in front of an open frame on the dresser in our sunroom, it creates a simple, but beautiful, fall display.

And what would Fall be without all of those amazing pumpkin-flavored treats? I seem to have a slight "problem" with the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte (by problem, I mean borderline addiction.) But thanks to Kathy at Smile for No Reason, we can all make our own at home! Check out her recipe here.

After browsing Pinterest (my favorite guilty pleasure) I decided to bake this pumpkin chocolate chip bread this past weekend.

I tweaked mine with some flax meal to try to add a little nutritional boost. You can find the original recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction here.

Can you even believe it's the second week of October already? And now, I have a confession to make...I'm a Halloween Scrooge. It's true. Now that we are empty nesters, the days of costumes, jack-o-lanterns, and scary movie nights have come to a screaming halt (no pun intended, haha.) To be honest, Halloween never really was a favorite of mine. While I do miss making memories with my two favorite "goblins", I can do without the zombie apocalypse and the late-night toilet paper wielders and pumpkin smashers.

I never really overdid the Halloween decor, even when the kids were still around. And now that it's just my hubby, the dog, and I, it's not too festive around here. But I still like this piece that I had bought years ago, so it suffices as our entire display of holiday decor. Obviously, I prefer niceness to horror for a theme.

And finally, to prove to you that not all bloggers are related to Martha Stewart, I want to share a couple of photos of a gorgeous, full mum plant that I put in the ground last year with a plan that it would add some gorgeous fall color to the landscaping by our patio. I have included a blurry shot of Mario near it for proportion purposes (Mario doesn't like to stand still.) If you put your "readers" on and squint really hard, you can see it below his collar :)

OK, that pretty much sums up my skills at gardening ;)

Enjoy the season, everyone!

Sharing with Shabby Art Boutique, The Charm of Home, French Country Cottage, Nancherrow, Dwellings the Heart of Your Home, Between Naps on the Porch, Cozy Little House, Coastal Charm, A Stroll Thru Life, StoneGable, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Ivy and Elephants, Lamberts Lately, Share Your Cup Thursday