Happy 4th Birthday, Blog: Lessons from Last Year

On January 31st, this past weekend, my blog turned 4 years old! Yay!! I know that year 3 was kind of a wash, but I learned many lessons about myself and life during that time. Today I want to celebrate new beginnings, refreshment, a new year, and new goals–which is what I am hoping year 4 will be for this blog.

I would like to share with you 4 lessons that I learned last year during my little hiatus. While I probably learned more than 4 lessons–these are the ones that stick out to me the most.

  1. Material things will not and do not make you happy. I mean, I guess they kind of do–but if you go in with the mindset of “well, if I get this or that then I’ll feel better about myself,” you will be wrong. I think in the first couple years of blogging, I tried to accumulate so much stuff because “that’s what everyone else was doing” so that things could showed off and reviewed. While yes, I know that some bloggers do a really good job of giving reviews, writing about fashion and style, and marketing for other companies–I was doing a really bad job at it. After a while all of the stuff I had was beginning to crowd me and make me feel overwhelmed with the amount of money I was spending and also just how much stuff I had to maintain. I do not mean to offend other bloggers at all, because I know that many have full-time careers through them, but this was a lesson that I learned because of my blogging and social media experience. This lesson made me check my heart and evaluate the motives behind my materialism. I have since adopted a much more minimalist mindset.
  2. Moments with Jesus are powerful and change everything. If you read my last post, you’ll know that I mentioned my battle with anxiety and depression last year. There were many times that I felt so paralyzed by it all that I couldn’t really pray anything other than “Jesus, help me.” My quiet times with Jesus were not as often as I would have liked–but the moments that I would meet with Him and when I felt so desperate–I knew He was with me. I would instantly feel peace and an assurance that He knew exactly what I was going through. The times that I spent in His Word were so powerful because everything was relevant and applicable to what I was dealing with. That’s one of the amazing and powerful things about the Bible and gospel message–it is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12)! I encourage you to, even if you don’t know what to do or what to say, spend time with Jesus! He loves you, He is waiting for you, and He has given us access to Him at all times (Ephesians 2:18).
  3. Life is precious. Life is short and must be valued and celebrated! Last year, my mom went through cancer treatment and throughout the whole process, the reality of mortality was scary. It made me want to make the most out of the time that I had with her and my family each day, to not complain, but to plead with God for more time. As I mentioned in my last post, she is now cancer-free and God was, and is, so gracious to our family. I know that this world is not our home and one day we will be in eternity. I am so thankful for the promises of God and the hope we have of spending eternity with Him. I hope, very much, that you have the same assurance as well. I don’t mean to turn this post into a morbid topic, but that’s just reality.
  4. It’s ok to wear black 99% of the time. I’ve come to the reality that I just really like to wear black. I used to think it was boring, I really should wear more color, or that everything just looked the same. But that’s just me and my style–and I love it. Yes, I do have some color in my wardrobe–but it will most likely be accompanied with black. It’s classy, versatile, appropriate for all-year wear, and it’s great to mask the occasional coffee spill. Ha!

Those are my top 4 lessons of the last year! Some are pretty serious and some are not as much–but I think important, nonetheless. What are some lessons that you learned last year? I would love to know!

Happy Blogiversary: My Thoughts on Year Three

Today is the 3rd anniversary of starting this blog! Woohoo! Yippee!

The last year was an interesting one for my writing and personal life, but I learned a lot of things along the way. If you are in the blogging and writing world, I wanted to share with you my takeaways and thoughts from year three.

Sometimes blogging is not the main priority. Sometimes you need a break for your own mental health or tend to things that are more important. There were a few months that I just needed to stop writing and focus on work, family, and rest and that’s ok. Sometimes you need to take a break to find your vision again and gain inspiration. I think that earlier last year I lost my vision and didn’t even know how to move forward. I found my purpose and vision for blogging again at the end of the year, but I’m so glad that I let myself take that break.

You need to take care of yourself. You cannot serve your audience, your friends, or your family if you are exhausted, weary, or just faking it until you make it. You can’t preach what you can’t practice!

Your blog is YOURS. Take the pressure off and don’t compare your work to someone else’s. You get create your own vision, mission, and have creative freedom! You may not have a huge amount of followers, blog views, Instagram likes, etc…but that’s ok!

Unless blogging is your full-time job, don’t treat it like that. You do not have to keep to a strict posting schedule. Earlier last year I told myself that I would post three times a week for the whole year. However, that happened for about a week and then burnout ensued. Since then I have learned how much I can handle so that I can also thrive in my full-time job.

My Favorite Blog Posts from 2018:

26 Hours in LA & San Fran–It should not come as a surprise that one of my favorite blog posts was related to traveling. This trip was so memorable and great to see different parts of California.

A Weekend in Napa & Sonoma–This post was part 2 of my California trip!

My Home Interiors Inspiration–This was such a fun post to write during the process of purchasing my house!

28 Things About Me–I think it’s fun to learn random facts about people and I hope it’s the same for you!

Welcome to My House: The Living Room–I loved this post about mt living room interior design! I can’t wait to post more house reveal posts soon!

I can’t wait to write more this year and also learn a lot! Thanks for still supporting me on this journey!

What to Expect from The Declare Conference

** This post contains affiliate links–all thoughts and opinions are my own**

Last year I had the privilege of attending The Declare Conference in Dallas, TX. I am so excited that I’ll be able to return to the conference this October and can’t wait for all that I will hear and learn.

The Declare Conference gave me such encouragement but also inspiration with my writing, so I’m really looking forward to receiving that again. The conference is a great way to meet other bloggers, writers, podcasters, etc who share the same passion of telling others about Jesus and sharing His love. I’m also a conference nerd, so I’m excited for a few days away to learn. 

I will link all the conference information below but if you are able to go (and I highly recommend that you do), here are some things you can expect from attending the conference.

You will be encouraged.

There’s really no way that you can’t leave this conference and not be encouraged. From the main sessions, mastermind groups, meeting and talking with other women, your soul will definitely be uplifted.

You will be inspired.

If you’re in a bit of a writing rut (like I’ve been for a few months), this conference is the one for you. Declare helps to re-establish your “why” and purpose, while also inspiring you to be a better communicator. You’ll learn tools for social media and learn how to use programs effectively.

You will meet like-minded women of God.

It’s such a great feeling to be in a room surrounded by women who are all there for the same purpose–to communicate the love of God. I really challenged myself with getting out of my comfort zone last year and I’m so glad that I did because I was able to meet so many women and hear their stories.

You will hear incredible speakers.

I’m so excited about the speaker lineup this year and can’t wait to hear what they have to say. Last year’s speakers were amazing and provided such wisdom, insight, and encouragement for all different forms of communicating.

You will come home with lots of merch.

Last year there were so many awesome vendors at Declare and I came home with lots of books, shirts, totes, and other goodies. 

You will experience amazing worship.

You just will. And you might even cry a little.

You will literally be well fed.

Food was amazing last year and the Declare team was so accommodating with providing meals for those with Celiac Disease–which I do not take for granted. One evening there were also food trucks and a coffee truck that came to the conference.

You will not regret going to Declare.

I promise you won’t. I’m so glad that it worked out for me to go again this year because I know I would have regretted not going.

Join me at Declare!

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My Summer Reads

For as long as I can remember, summer has always been associated with reading. When I was a little kid, my siblings and I would all do the summer reading program at our local library–and sometimes we would even try to race each other as to who would finish the quickest. The librarian must have thought that we were some of the most well-read children with how competitive we would be, haha! (What the library didn’t know, though, was that sometimes we read a bunch of kids board books and books that were honestly too easy for us to read–oopsies)

This summer, there are a few books that I really want to read and, like always, I’m going to try my best to have these read by the end of summer.

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Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

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This novel is set in London during 1939–1942. It was inspired by the letters written between the author’s grandparents during World War II. This novel focuses around the stories of three characters and it is written “with dazzling prose, sharp English wit, and compassion…a powerful portrait of war’s effects on those who fight and those left behind” (People, Book of the Week).

Living Well Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life by Ruth Soukup

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 After going through the home-buying process, this book is especially appealing to me! I’m excited to learn more about life, organizing, finances, etc., from a Biblical perspective.

Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good For You and Avoid Those That Aren’t By Henry Cloud and John Townsend

2dadd0e5-7e5f-4ad5-9339-dc9d1b73dc39I heard about this book a couple of years ago and really wanted to read it. Based on the title, I think that this is a really important lesson to learn when it comes to relationships in your personal life, social life, and work life. This book will help to identify those who aren’t relationally trustworthy and also those who are relationally safe.

At Home in the World: Reflections on Belonging While Wandering the Globe by Tsh Oxenreider

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This book seems to be right up my alley. A book about adventure, traveling, and making it meaningful? Yes please!!

What are you reading this summer? Do you have any recommendations for my fall reading list?

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Blogs I’m Loving Lately

This month I have been focusing on different kinds of things that I love and I hope you have been enjoying those posts. I think it’s fun to write themed posts during certain months (i.e. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, etc).

Today’s post is going to highlight four different blogs that I have loved reading lately. You should definitely read and subscribe to these blogs! I also really like how crisp and fresh all of these blogs look.

Jenna Kutcher


www.jennakutcherblog.com

Jenna

Jenna Kutcher’s blog is for the #girlboss! This blog is really helpful for building a brand, navigating the various forms of digital influencing, and for learning tips that are instrumental for everyday life. Jenna has also offered some free online webinars for things like email lists and Pinterest.

The Refined Woman


www.therefinedwoman.com

Refined Woman

I love thing blogs because it’s centered around real life issues, work, encouragement, wellness, and style. The Refined Woman was founded by Kat Harris and she is such an inspiration for the creator and adventurer at heart.

Straight A Style


www.straightastyleblog.com

Straight A

This next blog is for the fashion lover! Straight A Style is written by Amy Ann Arnold and she is a blogger in my hometown–and she’s killin’ it! Amy Ann’s posts are so helpful for styling and shopping for your every day needs–wether it be casual to formal. Amy Ann’s photos are also so great and inspire me to take better photos. Go check out her blog!

Lauren Scruggs Kennedy


www.laurenscruggskennedy.com

LSK

I have loved following Lauren’s blog for a while because of her faith in Jesus, her strength in recovering from and overcoming a traumatic accident, and her dedication to health/wellness. Lauren’s blog is always so encouraging, uplifting, and relevant for every woman.

I hope you enjoy reading more of these blogs! What are your favorite blogs right now?

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