A Fresh Look for the Blog and Five Lessons Learned
Updated: Jan 8
This is a day I’ve been looking forward to for months! You might’ve noticed things look a little different around here. When I first started blogging at the end of last year, I had a vision, but I had no idea what I was doing. It's been humbling to take on something I don't consider myself to be naturally good at. So after fumbling around for months, I finally decided to bring in a professional, my dear friend and one-of-kind film photographer, Hannah Mann. Her images helped bring a big piece of that vision to life.
It's funny how nervous I was before taking these (as in, sick to my stomach!), and truthfully, I still feel a bit self-conscious, but it's exciting how it all came together. I’ve always felt drawn to images that tell a story (I have my grandpa to thank for that), as if they're moments frozen in time. I really wanted to evoke a sense of slow, peaceful living, so you can place yourself in those moments, walking carefree through a fragrant meadow or quietly sipping a cup of tea while you devour your book. These are the kinds of soul-satisfying experiences I crave, and from talking to many of you, that’s your idea of a good day, too.
In other words, these aren't just styled images, I truly seek to live this way, however imperfectly and awkwardly at times.
We all know that motherhood is often anything but quiet and carefree, and that’s why I believe it’s so important to create a sense of stillness, to balance out the chaos and confusion that can so easily consume our day. Yes, there are sweet moments, along with the squabbling, screaming, and the sheer logistics of feeding, clothing and getting everyone where they need to be. It isn’t easy, but it can also be the means by which we reach for something greater within ourselves.
Likewise, it hasn’t been easy to figure out how to manage my time as a stay at home mom and build this blog, but it’s been extremely satisfying to challenge myself and explore my creativity. Along with this new look, I’m learning photography, and I plan to feature my own images here on the blog from time to time. My goal isn’t necessarily to show the “real” side of motherhood, because I think there are so many moms already doing this well. Rather, I hope to share what inspires me and bring a little more beauty to your day. (Be sure to sign up for Simple Greetings for my weekly musings on how to feel more calm and content.)
Sign up here for Simple Greetings, my weekly mailing.
Another goal in partnering with Hannah was to curate my own "stock" of images (while I hone my own photography skills), so that I can make this space feel personal without having to share personal details about our family or constantly take photos of our day-to-day lives. I used to do this on Instagram and my first blog, and as I gained more followers, I began to realize that I was crossing a boundary I didn't feel comfortable with. As a private person, I wanted to be able to share what was in my heart without sharing more than was necessary, and protect my children's privacy, too. That's when I decided to start this blog, with the simple goal of helping moms have more good days.
In a broader sense, my goal is to help moms experience the same kind of transformation and growth that’s brought so much happiness to my life. That can feel very daunting at times. It was embarrassing to publish those first few awkward blog posts with stock photos (which, by the way, I'm going to be republishing one by one in this new format). I thought, who would ever be interested or inspired by that? Still, it was progress, and you seemed to want more.
I wanted to give more too, but I wasn’t sure how, and I struggled with the fear of putting myself out there. In fact, I still struggle with that. A year ago, I’d only ever blogged as a hobby (you know, one of those free platforms for family blogs), so building a website, curating images, and attracting a following was completely new to me. It was terrifying, but I decided to dive in and learn whatever skills I needed to: web design, photography, writing, social media, and SEO, just to name a few.
Today, I’m one step closer to where I want to be, and there’s still so much to learn and do. It’s been humbling to take on something that I don't consider myself to be naturally good at. I’ve tried and failed over and over, and sometimes it feels as if I’m making no progress at all. Sometimes, I think I'm never going to be good at this, and I want to give up. But, at the heart of all this, those are exactly the messages I hope to share. Here are five lessons I've learned:
It doesn’t have to come naturally. You can learn to be good at anything, whether that’s keeping calm around your kids or feeling deeper love for your husband. (Or building a blog...all things that haven't always come naturally to me, which is the very reason I write about them.)
No matter how many times you fail, you can keep trying. That’s much more important than getting it right every time, so don’t be afraid to admit you've got it all wrong sometimes.
If you want to be, then be. Be realistic, or be romantic. Be modern, or be old fashioned. Be outgoing, or be an observer. Be busy, or be still. Be a writer. Be an artist. Be a crusader. Be a strong partner. Be patient. Be forgiving. Be resilient. It’s your choice, always. Figuring out what and who is half the work, but half the fun, too!
You’re the creator. You can’t choose how other people act or how every circumstance plays out, but you can decide what kind of person you’re going to be and how you’re going to live your life, and that’s where happiness comes from.
Peace doesn’t come from everything falling into place, but from learning, growing and never giving up hope.
Truthfully, I’m doing this for myself as much as for you, because we all need these reminders, don't you agree? So if you’re here, I hope you feel inspired by the same messages and simple pleasures that inspire me. (Namely sunshine, stacks of books, steaming cups of tea, and family, just in case you missed that.) And, as always, I'd love to hear what you think, so please feel welcome to share a comment or email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s to more good days,
Photos by Hannah Mann