Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Word of the Year 2013

This blog post delves into the personal and what will surely be the longest blog post I'll ever write. 
So, if you want to keep your view that I have it all together and my life is perfect, you might want to skip this post.
Some bloggers want their readers to believe that.
Me?
Not so much.

I'm human.

And completely, totally IMperfect.

In fact, some of my favorite bloggers are the ones who keep it real.

I realize I've gotten sucked into the blog trap of portraying my life in a way that makes it appear like I've got it all together and then some.

Or as one of my clients put it to me when I confided about some  personal stuff that was going on, since she had confided in me...

I see you online and I read the blogs...and I see your work and I think "here is one woman who has her @#&@ together" and but I've never thought about the things you must go through in the other half of your life.

So, if you want to maintain that illusion, you might want to stop reading now.

LOL!

*****************************************************************************

Last year, the big thing around blogland was the "Word of the Year".

I don't know if that's going to be the trend this year, but regardless...

Trend or otherwise...

I need a word.

Big lists of resolutions have never worked for me.

Shoot...

I haven't even been successful with small lists of resolutions.

Will power...

Pfft.

What's that?

So, this year I have a word.

And my word is a reminder to myself,
more than an ideal I want to achieve...

My word is...


I don't know about you, but I've been doing a lot of that lately.

More so since the Sandy Hook Tragedy.

I hold my children a little bit longer.

I take things a little slower.

I've slowed down.

I cherished things this Christmas a little bit lot more.

And not only Christmas, but every single day.

Isn't it terrible that it takes such a horrifying act to wake us up?

To make us think?

And even more than that, is the sad reality that in 6 months we will have forgotten that evil morning, repressed the horror we felt, and put aside the promises we made to ourselves.

And that's even worse.

So...

My word this year is a reminder.

A reminder to take stock and reflect.

If you could look inside my mind and my thoughts were words,
this is a small portion of what you would see:


I know I'm not the only woman
who juggles all these thoughts and To-Do Lists.

We all do.

It's WHAT we do, as women.

All the daily stuff mixed in with the worrisome stuff,
compounded by the ridiculous...  The pointless.

Well before the Sandy Hook Tragedy, I had already begun the process of separating the wheat from the chaff.

Two years ago, I made the tough decision to not be one of those women that people pat on the back and say, "I don't know how you do it."

Yep, I have been there.

Honestly...

I reveled in it.

But let me put it out there...

Let me tell you...

The ONLY thing that was getting done
was the stuff that people were seeing.

Our faith was non-existent.

Our marriage was a mess - one step short of a visit to Dr. Phil...

or a divorce attorney.

And our children were caught in the cross fire.

In short...

Our personal lives were a disaster.

Because I put more emphasis on things outside my home, than in it.

PRAISE GOD, we've come a long way since the days
where we could have lost it all.

It has been a long road and things weren't fixed overnight.

And it has been a team effort.

We turned back to our faith.

We put our focus on our family.

And we made our home our priority.

But we still struggle with keeping our eyes on what matters.



 Since I'm competitive by nature, I want to be the best...

I want to succeed in everything I do.

I am forever striving to reach a bar I set for myself...  

and when I get there...  

Pass it.

...And then set another bar.

Unfortunately, some of those things most of those things, 
aren't what truly matters.

I confess, I am easily distracted by the things of this world.

In the past couple of years, I have had to ask myself some 
hard questions about what's truly important to me.

Is it important to fill every waking moment with something?

Is it important to volunteer for everything?

To have my children be a part of everything?

When it became apparent that my family was on the line,
I had to answer:  NO.

So, I started the winnowing process.

I quit committees.

(Goodbye 4th of July Committee and the PTO)

Resigned from lead positions.

(Goodbye PTO President, Book Fair Chairman,
MS Cookie Sale Chairman, Sunday in the Park Celebration Chairman)

Set limits as to what my children were involved in.

(2 Sports per child, no exceptions)

Volunteered less.

Stayed home more.

A lot more.

And I was amazed at how much I was able to accomplish 
simply by being here.

Finished.

Finished with it all.

I pretty much dropped off the face of the earth in society.

Sometimes it's lonely...

And frustrating...

But sometimes the right decisions are.

For me, I simply could not raise a large family AND
be involved in everything else on top of my children going out
for every sport under the sun.

Something had to give...

Before we did.

I took stock of my personal life.

I made my faith a priority.

I made my husband my priority.

I made my children my priority.

But after Sandy Hook, I've had to admit something.

Blogging...

Blogging had now become my new priority.

All my time and energy were directed here.

And even after I began to recognize it...

I justified it to myself...

"At least I'm home."

"At least I'm focusing on making our home 
a place our children will want to be."

Oh, I had TONS of excuses that 
my crafts and my blogging were...   

Well...  

Justified. 

But, the Lord has a way of waking you up when you need it.

While what I was doing was GOOD, my motives were NOT.

Again, I was seeking that pat on the back.

And what I have been doing for my home wasn't for my family.

It was for my blog.

For that elusive, "I don't know how you do it."

And when I started getting those again,
it should have been a wake up call.

Don't get me wrong.

Blogging itself is good.

It's a great outlet for a stay at home mom, like me.

But becoming consumed by it to the point
it is part of your every waking moment is not so good.

Please tell me I'm not the only one who goes about the house and composes blog posts in their head.

LOL!

I found myself spending hours behind the computer...

Behind the camera...

Staging...

Changing...

Photo editing...

Thinking ahead...

Raising that bar.

Wasting money to make crafts that were boxed up 
and were taken to the attic.

Why?

Because I was making and doing things 
that I didn't necessarily like, 
but I thought my readers would.

Yes, I am THAT stupid.

LOL!

No, not everything I've done, but some.

Scott, to his credit, never said a word.

And what's hilarious is that the stuff that I made
that was true to me got the most views and pins!

Go.  Figure.

But in all seriousness...

I needed a wake up call.

I needed to once again...



and in a hurry.

Sandy Hook only emphasized that time is fleeting.

We are not promised tomorrow. 

And sometimes, you don't get a chance to realize
that your focus is skewed until it's too late.

In life, there are no re-do's.

So, I took an unannounced week off.

No Facebook.

No blogging.

No crafting.

No decorating.

Nothing.

Kid time.

Husband time.

Reconnecting time.

And reflecting time.

A time to re-prioritize.

Am I going to stop blogging?

No.

Am I going to stop doing things around house?

Nope.

But am I going to be a little more realistic?

Yes.

More of what I like, less about what I think my reader's will like.

More of what NEEDS to be done...

Whether it's blog-worthy or not.

No more obsessing over visiting other blogs, posting constantly on my facebook to generate page views, and being sure I comment on other's pages/blogs - and feeling unbelievably guilty when I don't.

No more trying to keep up with the Jone's...  

errrr... The successful bloggers.

No self-imposed deadlines.

No feeling like I need to post every.  single.  day.

No more seeking that "I don't know how you do it."

So...

My new set of priorities looks like this:


I'm taking off the pressure I have put on myself.

And you know what?

It feels pretty darn good.

Maybe I've been a little bit too honest here.

Maybe what I've decided to do is a little archaic for this day and time.

Maybe it'll be a turn off to those of you who follow me.

I don't know.

But I do know that I needed to change and to re-direct.

So, here's to a:

New blog look.



No, not professional, but it's me.

And a subtle reminder every day that my heart lives in my home.

New blog voice.

To be myself and to not give in to the illusion of perfection.

New blog schedule.

I will post what I can when I can.

Because seriously...

I can't take care of my husband, 5 children, my home, and churn out 5 blog posts a week - and still sleep. 

HA!

So...

I hope you'll stick with me through the changes because even though we'll never meet, I do consider each and every one of you my friends.

I hope you'll stick around even if all I do is three blog posts a week...

- or one - 

or none.

A lot of you make my day 
  with your sweet comments and words of encouragement.

Thank you for sharing the day-to-day with me!

And my blog besties... 

You know who you are...

I can't imagine never having met you.

Here's to a new year, a new direction, and new priorities!

I hope you'll stick around for what promises to be a great new year!

Happy 2013, y'all!












14 comments:

  1. Laura ~ God bless you and good for you for following your heart. Blogland can get demanding. Your priorities are in the exact place that the Lord wants you to be ~ Happy New Year ~ I'll be back whether you post once a week or once a month ~

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  2. Hmmm... Blogging came for me as an aide to recovery ... I was very ill and on bed rest, thus blogging , reading them and then creating one was a therapy.
    I blog when I can :-), when I feel like it. After 5 months I only have 49 followers and that's ok with me. My outlet is being fulfilled. Still doing it for me. My pictures are , me.. lol.. not perfect, but me. My Blog posts reflect my thoughts in the moment.
    I hear you Laura... I have always been in awe of the Bloggers that seem to live in Blogland. How do they do it??!!
    Family, home and luv!!! Always first. I will look forward to your posts when you do them , and enjoy them knowing ..... here's a Mother, a Wife, a Woman going through some of the same things I am.
    My reality check in 2012 was my swift decline in health. Scared me and my men. That is one reality I will never forget. Health is fragile... life is fragile!
    ((HUGS)) and always the Best in 2013!
    Gee

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  3. Ahhhhhhhhh!!!! I totally thought you were going to say that you weren't going to blog anymore, and then I was going to have to drive myself to your home and convince you otherwise!!! Luckily, I don't have to do that... well, I might one day! :) I totally understand all of this!! Thanks for being so real. I love that about you! Of course I will always stick around. Your blog was one of the very first ones I stumbled across when I first started blogging and definitely one of my favorites to read. So.. I'll be here. Trying to keep it real right along with you. Hugs!!! Claire

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  4. Forgot to say... LOVE your new blog title!!! The way your post had the hearts in it, and you put the little heart in the house... sooooo creative!! I'll always remember what that little heart stands for each time I see it! LOVE!!!

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  5. At the end of your life, what do you want to remember... that you blogged? or that you spent time with your family? I know which one I choose. I think you do too :)

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  6. Faith, family, home - that's the perfect order. We all get off track now and again. Thanks for sharing your journey so that others will know they are not alone.

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  7. What an honest post, I so understand what you are saying and so glad I read it! Your right in not being promised tomorrow and the tragedy in Sandy Hook really woke me up too! Family first, always!

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  8. Laura,

    You already know I love the REAL you. The real, REAL you :) As long as you and your family are happy and taken care of all the rest will fall into place as it should. I enjoy your posts and seeing the wonderful things your talent produces but I am happy to read when it fits in to your life :)

    Happy New Year my friend!! Love Shannon

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  9. Hi Laura, I can tell you, you made the right decision here! Not that you need to hear that from me but it's true. I've started blogging because my focus was ONLY on my familie and nothing else. I blog when I can and what I want to share with the world. This doesn't give me a lot of followers but I do enjoy it. I met 1 person, an incredible woman on the other side of the world, who became my blogging friend and I will always be greatfull for that. It's not about numbers, it's about the joy and fun it's adding to your live and if that means you lose some followers, well, it doesn't matter in the end does it? Goodluck Laura, I wish you all the best this coming year. Greetz Dee

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  10. More than three cheers for you my friend!!! I commend you on being real. I too have taken a look back. I think as a blogger we all struggle with trying to keep up with the Jones's per say but I had to step back and say hey I am who I am and I am not going to do a project like you said just so that I have a project to share. I could do a lot more crafty things because I know that there a lot of people out there that LOVE that kind of thing but really I just do not have the time and honestly it is not me. I enjoy decorating not necessarily crafting. So even though I am not some mega blogger and not sure I even want to be I enjoy keeping my blog real. i enjoy keeping it truly me. So again I commend you for brining this to the forefront. Not many will say it and honestly I feel like sometimes when it is said it is looked down upon which I think is crazy. Yeah, we all would like to have our work recognized and receive that pat on the back every now an then but in the real world what matters most if our families and friendships.

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  11. Powerful, powerful post, touching on some many of the things I'm currently struggling and wrestling with. Not so much with blogging -- though I'm guilty of doing projects just for the blog, too! -- but that feeling that I am doing too much and yet not enough of the important stuff. I'm trying to figure out what to let go of -- and I've been trying to figure that out for a while though.

    Work? My booth? My blog? Housework? The need to appear to be superwoman?

    Those last two, definitely. The others? Still deciding. Contemplating. Weighing which bring me the most joy and fulfillment without taking away from those things that really matter.

    Thanks for sharing your story and pushing me to think about this again.

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  12. You might not have read it lately .... but do it; go to my blog, scroll all the way to the bottom, to the boots. Read the saying on the boots and live it.

    Bliss

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  13. Amen and AMEN! :) I hear you. And I have to admit. I saw your new header before I read this and thought, man, Laura, I will never keep up with you. You always have a fantastic header, and I still have one from when Tori was a baby because I don't know how to change it.... haha! And I've always wondered how you make SO many blog friends, when I have like ummmm 3.... But THANKS for being real and I think this will do ALL of us good to remember - WHAT IS IMPORTANT!!!!!!! I wish I could hug you right now. Thanks for being bold and brave - you always have been in my mind though!

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  14. Good for you! I had the same feelings earlier this year and my decision to stop blogging, although hard, has been the best decion for me and my family. Seriously, the guilt over not reading/visiting hundreds of blogs, leaving comments so someone doesn't feel bad, that's a bit obsessive - lol, I'm glad I'm not the only one. :). I wish you all the best in your finding balance this year.

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My followers are fantastic! I read each and every comment... They make my day! :)