Four Years in Five Paragraphs

In my last post, I explained some of the reasons I left blogging four years ago and why I came back. I’m excited to jump into my new vision for this blog, but before I do that, I wanted to “catch up” on what has happened since my last post.

In 2014, we were living in West Virginia while my husband, Justin, finished school. In 2016, he graduated and we packed up our home (and our sweet dogs) and moved to Northern Indiana where Justin and I had both found jobs. We were so sad to leave our friends in WV but we have enjoyed building a new community here in the Midwest. And our dogs were thrilled that we moved to a home with a fenced in backyard!

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Celebrating the end of Justin’s schooling with a trip to Italy in June 2016.

In the early fall of 2016, we decided we were ready to start our family. I got pregnant and we were over the moon! Unfortunately, that pregnancy was ectopic (not inside my uterus) and ended after eight weeks. I will share more about that experience at a later date, but suffice to say it was devastating, traumatic, and a very dark time for us.

2017 was a big year for our family. We learned that we were once again expecting a baby and after a lot of prayer and weighing our options, Justin and I made the decision that I would leave teaching to become a stay at home mom. After 6 years of teaching special education, it was bittersweet to walk away from the classroom but I was very excited to be able to spend more time with our little one. Then in November 2017, our little LJ was born. He has been the sweetest gift! I have been staying home ever since and spend his nap times doing some part-time administrative work for a nutrition counseling company. It’s a good balance for me and I’m very happy with this set-up right now!

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The sweetest little blessing arrived just in time for Christmas 2017.
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Our little family enjoying a day at the zoo in August 2018.

So in the span of four years, I went from a special education teacher in West Virginia to a stay at home mom in Indiana. While my life looks very different now, the mantra of “simplify the chaos” still resonates so strongly with me. I believe that we can so easily overstuff, overcomplicate, and overcommit our lives which leads to busyness, stress, and exhaustion. Where is the joy in that? I consider myself to be a minimal-ish mama and that has shaped so much of my family’s lifestyle and the way we strive for balance. My hope for this blog is that it becomes a place where I share bits of our life and ways that we maximize joy by simplifying the chaos that can easily crowd our days. I hope you will be able to find something here that resonates with you and helps you simplify your own chaos so you can truly enjoy whatever season of life you are in.

Take Two

Well, it’s been a hot minute. Or four years worth of minutes. 

In June 2014, I took a step back from my little blog for three major reasons. First, it takes a lot of time to maintain a blog and I was in a crazy busy season where I was working full time while my husband was in school full time and blogging was just too much to throw into the mix.  Second, I felt a little uninspired. I couldn’t channel all the ideas swirling in my head into a cohesive vision for what my blog should be. My posts started to feel random, I never really had a plan for what was next, and it just felt chaotic (exactly the opposite of what I was going for). The last reason I decided to stop was because I felt a little uneasy with drawing a line for how much to share. Our world is becoming SO interconnected through technology and I felt like many of the bloggers I followed were sharing details of their family and lives and I wasn’t comfortable doing the same.

So without really intending to, I just stopped. I didn’t realize my anniversary post would be “it” for the blog. It was summer and we took a vacation and upon returning … the blog just fell by the wayside. I kept up my Instagram account for a few more months but that gradually faded out too.

April 2015 came around and I got an email that it was time to renew my domain name. I wasn’t sure yet what I wanted to do with the blog so I just paid the fee and didn’t think about it for the rest of the year. This happened again in 2016. And 2017. And each year, I thought “you know, I’m not touching that blog anymore – why am I paying this fee? I should just give it up.” But each time, something held me back from totally letting go and I kept on paying the domain fee. Not only that, but the word “simplify” has become a bit of a mantra for me and has stuck around all these years (it was even the word I chose to practice when I took a calligraphy class a few months ago).

Simplify the Chaos - calligraphy art class

This April, that email came again and I finally spent some real time analyzing why I kept paying for something I wasn’t ever using. I told myself I needed to start seriously considering why I couldn’t seem to let this go and promised myself that by 2019 I would either be blogging again or would stop paying for the domain.

I was listening to a podcast one day (Happier with Gretchen Rubin) and it suggested a “happiness hack” of thinking back to what you enjoyed doing when you were 10 years old. The argument was that you would probably still enjoy that activity now. I thought back and two things burst into my mind: reading and writing. I loved both so much when I was 10 years old. And I realized that I still read a ton today, but I don’t write. And a little niggling thought came into my mind: this is what your blog is for.

I have spent a lot of time over the past few months dedicating real thought to what I want for this space. I feel like this time around, I know what I’m getting into a little better and have a better plan for time management and vision.  My life has changed significantly since my last post four-plus years ago and therefore this blog will look different. The month of September will have a lot of “catch-up” posts to bring you up to speed with my life but once we’re caught up, I will proceed with two blog posts a week (Tuesday/Thursday) and I plan to keep certain aspects of my family’s life private (such as full names and the specific town we live in).  I’m very excited and I hope you’ll stick around for the ride!