Ah, the elusive Monday post. The idea sounded really good in my head and I felt pretty excited about sitting down to type out a weekly post that wasn’t necessarily related to food, recipes, products, or the usual suspects. But the execution has proven to be challenging! Whether it’s the inability to put my thoughts into actual written words, losing track of what day it is, or feeling like, “who would actually want to sit and read my thoughts??” I was losing steam and grew comfortable in the absence and silence…but something pulled me to type a
few words ramble here.
Not really sure how this post will turn out, I’m kinda free writing this, so I apologize if I’m all over the place (disorganization).
First of all, I recently received a couple of questions via email from some readers and thought I would answer them here in the off chance someone else was wondering the same thing.
- Why aren’t you on Instagram anymore? Are you coming back? And if not, why are you still blogging? I originally left IG with the intention of only taking a small break to focus on an emotional family matter…definitely didn’t plan on that break turning into several months! The short version: the time away showed me that I was spending too much of the small amount of free time I have staring at a screen and not enough time for self care. Now I don’t know how to go back!! My nights are spent meditating, reading and cuddling with my family without feeling the need to catch up on my IG feed. Truth is though that I miss aspects of it, but I do stay in close contact with a good bunch of people (through email, text, and here at my blog). Which leads me to the last part of this question! I continue blogging because I really enjoy the freedom to write and be who I am without feeling the need to impress. It’s a very relaxed space. But what I like most is that I have zero clue how many subscribers/readers I have…which helps me to stay more authentic. To stay true to who I am and what I want for my blog. There isn’t a focus on numbers here and as much as I wish I could say that numbers don’t phase me, they kind of do. While I was on IG, the number of “followers” kept bothering me…I’d watch that number drop (sometimes by the hundreds) with each post that had a hint of real life. Which was hurtful because to me, I care about the people behind a photo of food and I crave connection. My blog is my space to just BE! I’d honestly like to return to IG, but I don’t know how – in what form, what would I even share? And would I return with a new account and start over? Or dive back into my current (abandoned) one? I guess time will tell!! I’m open to any feedback on that matter…and if you’ve found a good balance on how to manage social media AND real life, I’d love to hear!
- What happened to ETSY? Honestly….it was mostly financial. I LOVE creating and I still make my family products (lip balms, healing balms, deodorant, toothpaste, and various roll-on aids), but selling it became a bit of a struggle. People were buying and leaving wonderful feedback, but since I work with high quality (expensive) organic ingredients and zero preservatives/stabilizers, it was difficult to figure out the right way to sell. I tried making products and posting them to sell, but more often than not I’d run into the problem of not selling fast enough…thus wasting/losing money. I’d have to throw away or give away unsold products after a while because some of the ingredients I work with have a shorter shelf life. I also tried making fresh once I got an order, but that was also tricky….either I’d get slammed with orders and couldn’t keep up OR I wouldn’t get enough orders and ingredients would expire. In a nutshell, we weren’t making a big enough profit for me to continue…with lots of student loan debt haunting me, a mortgage to pay, and trying to build a savings for Willow, it made more sense to put Etsy on the back burner…for now. I think this also ties into my absence with social media. Relying heavily on word-of-mouth for my shop just wasn’t enough. While I’m awful at self-promoting, IG did help a little with sales when I would post about my shop. I might reopen down the road, but once again, only time will tell!
I’ve had a few weeks of feeling like I couldn’t catch a break…like I was dropping the ball or failing at everything! Whether it’s sitting on recipes I created MONTHS ago and then seeing another blogger post a new recipe that’s too similar to the one I created (thus leaving me feeling like I can’t post it now because it won’t seem original)…It leaves me feeling deflated. Or there are the times when I just can’t seem to catch up (household cleaning, emails, or reading my favorite bloggers’ latest posts). My little rant list or shining on where I’m lacking could continue. It’s so easy, while in the midst of chaos, to lose sight of all the good things. BUT then I took a step back and really looked at my life and what’s been going on. And guess what? I realized that I’m actually winning at quite a few things…I’m not doing too bad 😉
For one…I wrapped up my first official year of homeschooling and survived! Haha!! Seriously, it was an awesome year. Willow continues to blow me away with her love for learning and her intelligence. She’s not afraid to ask questions and her reading skills make me SO proud – but more importantly, she’s proud of herself! Books have been a huge part of her life since she was born and now we have a six year old reading at a third grade level. I’m not at all sharing that to brag, but more to show that homeschooling is working for us. We’ve found a style that works for all of us and we’ve also managed to connect with a pretty great group of homeschoolers, too! If anyone is curious about why we homeschool or what our year looked like, I’d be happy to share more! Either leave me a comment below or shoot me an email and I’ll put up a post!
Another area I’m not completely failing…our first attempt at a garden!! You guys, I thought I was getting in way over my head, being overly confident, but we’re actually succeeding! The only seeds that didn’t sprout were chives, Tulsi, helichrysum, and foxglove…and we are 99.9% positive it was due to an intense and rare rainstorm we had shortly after planting.
We have organic baby lettuce:
Mammoth Russian Sunflowers (we have a row of four sprouts and we can’t wait to see how tall they get):
Our organic tomato and strawberry plants are still alive a month later!! Excuse me while I do a little happy dance!
Our lavender looks better and better every year! And what’s really funny about this lavender is the fact that we found them growing in the street (literally) near my parents house…so we dug them out and I transplanted them when they were just a couple inches tall! Now look at it!
We also have Dwarf Sunflower sprouts, Zinnia sprouts, cosmos, and dwarf buttons…all started from seed! Sweet Willow helps me water everything (she takes a lot of pride in that job) and she’s really good at giving the sprouts encouragement 😉
Inside our house we have two more small pots of zinnias and our cilantro sprouted too! Our cats have managed to leave everything alone, which makes us SO happy! Usually if I manage to keep a plant alive, one of our cats swoop in to destroy it…thank you, Oliver and Rockford for your cooperation!
I’m looking forward to watching these sprouts grow!
Another area I’m kinda winning…parenting. It definitely doesn’t feel like that every day and could even change hour to hour! Goodness. Raising a child isn’t easy, but it’s the best damn “job” I’ve ever had. There are challenging moments that make me lock myself in the bathroom to cry for a minute and there are moments when I wish I could clone myself, but I never lose sight of this amazing little human in my life. She pushes me to be the best person I can be and I have grown so much. But over the course of this last month, she’s the one who’s done A LOT of growing…in every sense of the word. We foster her independence and encourage her when she’s afraid. We are doing our very best to give her the reigns and take the lead. Today we have a kiddo who makes her own peanut butter sandwiches from start to finish (she gets the toaster out and all the ingredients, prepares it, and eats it with the biggest grin on her face) AND as of Thursday, June 7th, our days of co-sleeping have come to an end….unless I’ve just jinxed it. Willow is proudly sleeping in her own room and loving every minute! She reads until her eyes get heavy and then she turns off her light to go to sleep…which is usually between 10-11! Ha! Meanwhile, I’m still adjusting to her not sleeping next to me!! So bittersweet.
And lastly, I’ve kept up with meditation! I’m at 250 consecutive days and don’t see stopping this routine anytime soon. Now that Willow is in her own room, she will often times ask to borrow my phone to listen to her own meditation before bed. It’s pretty cute to sneak down the hall and peek in to see her eyes closed and completely in the moment absorbing the music. It’s wonderful to know that my daily/nightly routine has influenced Willow in such a way.
Willow has also taken to doing yoga on her own…and sometimes outside! I tried to snap a pic without her knowing, but I think she was on to me 😉
For anyone struggling with those same feelings of failure or disappointment, know that you’re not alone…and I’m pretty sure you’re killing it in a lot of ways! Sometimes we need to be reminded that it’s not a race or a competition – just be who you are and do what you love. There are definitely going to be days when you feel defeated or that you’ve failed somehow, but try really hard to shine the light on how you’re winning and don’t give up. It’s all about the little things…like not burning the cookies or managing to put the clothes in the dryer!
I’d love to hear from you! Is there something you’re really proud of or grateful for? How you feel that you’re winning at this crazy thing called LIFE?? Let me know in a comment below!
Thank you to everyone who read this all the way through! I ramble a lot and I appreciate you taking the time to read these posts!
Thanks for stopping by!
Me! I want to hear your thoughts! I LOVE reading your blog! I LOVE this Monday Musing! It’s like we’re sitting together chatting. Even though you cover so many things, your thoughts are so organized that the conversation is seamless. I do miss you so much on Instagram and I’d love to see you back but you should only come back if it feels right. And I totally get keeping up with Etsy!
I think you’re right in figuring out we have to focus on the “winnings” column. I’ve had a rough while and have been feeling like I had that big “L” on my forehead and it’s hard to shake off right? But dang girl – homeschooling, gardening, momming and meditating? That’s a grand slam right there! The pictures of Willow are so wonderful! I want some Wonder Woman cuffs and belt too! I’m so happy for you for finding your balance! Love you!
Love YOU, Diana!!! ❤️ I’m very certain you don’t have a big “L” on your forehead, but I can absolutely understand the feeling! It’s definitely hard sometimes to focus more on how we’re winning. We need to catch up when you have a chance…we just got back from our Yellowstone trip on Monday night so I’m slowly getting back into some sort of routine 😂 but always available to chat!
I really appreciate the kind words and encouragement – means a lot ❤️ Thanks for reading!! Love you! I hope everything’s going well (shows, adventuring, life, you and Ted)! Talk soon! XO
I just love you Mandy! Your thoughts and shares are always so right and so authentic and genuine! I of course miss your posts on IG, however, since we chat weekly through email, I am happy about that since we stay in touch! I completely understand about the whole IG thing too, I know we’ve discussed it many times before. Numbers on IG are just that though, just numbers, so much of it is fake and NOW the algorithm is SO favored that so many accounts are the only ones that get seen and that’s why they get so much more engagement. I hear people complain all the time about it, so you just have to know it has NOTHING to do with you and how awesome you are, it’s just without our control. I would so get off of there myself if it wasn’t a key part to my connection to readers making my recipes, but I only use it for that, nothing personal. I use my personal FB account for that stuff.
Ok, can we talk about how freaking adorable that pic of Willow and your cat and her reading look?? OMG, I’m dying. It is the cutest thing ever. I took a picture similar to this with my cat looking up at me like that while I was working a couple of weeks back that is so cute, I will email it to you. I can’t wait to meet you because it sure seems like Willow and Olivia are so much alike. Olivia LOVES to read too, so much and loves our cat Doot so much. They would be best buds, I just know it.
And you are AMAZING. I’m so proud of you for focusing on your winnings, you are spot on. I think all too often we focus on how much we are doing wrong, hello, I do that way way too often. It’s ok to state what we are doing right, it’s not bragging at all, it actually helps our mind and spirit, so I think that is a beautiful thing you’ve shared all these amazing things. And wow, go you Mom and Willow for her reading so well, that is incredible!! That speaks to how amazing of a Mom you are for her to be advancing that well at homeschooling. I’m just so proud of you.
Ok, this is turning into a book! I’ll email you today, haha, love you!
I am so grateful for our email chats!! You’ve been an amazing friend over the years – thank you for that! ❤️ Thank you for your insight regarding IG. I really did enjoy engaging and connecting with people through there…I really need to remember that and focus less on the things that drove me crazy 😉😆
I swear, we lucked out with these cats; they’ve bonded really well with Willow…it melts my heart! OMG! I just know our girls would be the best of friends – I really do hope we can all meet one day soon ❤️
Well, my dear, I’m proud of YOU!! So much winning going on. I agree, stating what we’re doing well at really does help our mind and spirit. I noticed when I was focusing too much on what wasn’t going right or what I was doing wrong, I was left feeling depressed and defeated. Thank you SO much for not only giving this post a read, but for leaving such a lovely comment ❤️
I love you!!!! XO
Hi Mandy, so great to read your post and you answered my ?s plus gave me the look into you and family’s life. I’ve missed your Instagram post. And now I understand where you have been. Willow looks and sounds like an amazing little woman and I can sense the joy she brings to you and Josh.
Love reading your blog❤️Keep on beautiful sole, miss you all, Barb. TJs
Barb!!! Hello!!! Wow, it’s been a long time…what a pleasant surprise to see a comment here! Thank you so much for the kind words ❤️ so sweet of you! Miss you!!!!! I’d love to hear how life is treating you and what’s new…I’ll send an email your way this week.