Think of new introduction.
Hit “delete” button receptively until nothing but blank space fills the page.
This has been the beginning of 2018 for Rosemary & Thyme. My mind is spinning with words and revelations that keep me up way past the rest of the family at night. So many words, so many hopes – too many.
It’s been a challenge to shave down all of the words streaming through my brain. A ticker tape that never ceases to stream around the perimeter of my psyche, ebbing and flowing, bending and changing with every rotation. The words are quiet and loud at the same time and have kept my mind occupied as of late.
Veteran readers know that Rosemary & Thyme is an ever changing platform. It’s a self imposed struggle that I’ve challenged myself with. Whenever I find myself in ruts of continual “quick content” posts, when I catch myself spewing DIY post after post and hitting the “delete” button on photos taken more than “edit” – I know I’ve hit the big wall of complacency.
I struggle to know my place in the Internet. It’s called the “World Wide Web” for goodness’ sake. Sharing any story goes beyond small fish, big pond – try baby krill, ENTIRE (terrifying) OCEAN. I love and hate the sea. I treasure its beauty, consistency, and calming presence, but I also fear those dark waters that could swallow me whole in a second with no trace. I feel this anxiety every time I reach for my phone or flip open my laptop. My heart swells when I can create something beautiful, document it, and share it. But it also retracts when I allow my thoughts to drag me into the murky waters of comparison, self doubt, and fear of the unknown.
The big question I’ve been asking myself of late is “why?” What’s the reason for keeping this small journal online? What would happen if it ceased to exist? Why does this project pain me to complete well and cause ache when I feel it has been neglected?
I could go on. For day and days, I could go on. These kind of questions simply perpetuate more questions and for a few weeks, I was frustrated by that fact. I wanted a solid, concrete answer. But as time went on, I realized that the questioning is not only inevitable, it is a gift.
All of these questions have led me to one simple truth: words matter. Let’s be honest, the world has no need for another blog filled with posts titled: “5 EASY Steps to Healthy Eating” or “10 Favorite Farmhouse Finds on the Internet”. Let’s be real, Pinterest exists and is full of a lot more educated resources on those topics than my inept kitchen and household musings. What I think the world could use, however, is more introspection. I could do an entire series on this topic so I’ll try to keep my point concise. In our fast paced culture, we need more slow moments, not quick ones. We need words with heart behind them. Our histories are built on stories. Where will we be in fifty years if we don’t start sharing those more frequently with one another? The honest truth is that the menial topics that keep the Internet moving at a swift clip (think fashion, health, culture) are only going to continue to change as time marches on. I would much rather look back on Rosemary & Thyme in fifty years and read back on the stories of victories and defeats throughout my life, rather than skim over posts that promise a repeated renewal of happiness based on my surroundings. I crave the enduring over the futile.
I’ll spare you all the rabbit holes I’ve fallen down in the last few months while weeding through all of these questions. What I will share are the red flags that I’ve noticed and the safe hopes I have landed on for Rosemary & Thyme.
So here come the red flags. These are areas of struggle. Probably mostly for myself, but as I thought about them, I realized they are potential challenges for my readers as well.
- While there’s nothing wrong with loving my blog, there are definite times when it becomes an idol. There are times when I am frustrated with my baby because he won’t calm down and give me an hour to get a task done. There are times when I’m ignoring David because I’m near the end of editing a series of photos and just need a bit more silence. There are way too many days when I log hours online scheming new blog ideas rather than sitting down and reading my Bible. I could go on. The main point is that I give a whole lot more of my time and energy to my blog at times than I do to my faith and family – and that is something that is never ok. No matter the deadlines or goals, my faith and family need to always take precedence over whatever I’m doing in life.
- We all act as though we’ve gotten used to the tone of the Internet, but this past year had me feeling exhausted. I feel like I’ve lost conversation with my readers and have instead have been yelling and waving my arms in the air in hopes that people notice me. What I want to do is stop striving. Trying is necessary, but striving to the point of struggle and fighting is just too tiring. It’s exhausting on my end and I’m sure it is on your end as well. The world is FULL of people yelling and waving their hands, and I never want to cause any of you to feel like my constant yelling is simply leaving you even more tired at the end of your days.
- I desperately want R&T to be a reflection of real life. My little tagline is “in defense of the simply life” and while I feel like my content often corresponds to that, I do feel as though I am often creating content for the sake of content rather than sharing what my life actually looks like on a day-to-day basis. This is a terrifying and honest reality. It’s also another exhausting one. It’s led to countless trips out to purchase supplies for projects that yes, I do enjoy, but that I likely wouldn’t have been doing if it weren’t for the blog. As a mom, it’s become increasingly unrealistic. My kitchen table will be covered in supplies for days waiting for quick bursts of time to complete them. It’s reached a point of disrupting my home and was taking my life from simple to complex which is in fact the counterpoint to having a blog in the first place.
So here are some hopes that I have for this space this year:
- I want to provide inspiration rather than instruction. I’m not an expert on any topic that I write about and there is so much content out there, I doubt you really need me promising you 5 steps towards having a cleaner, more organized life. But what I think some of you might need is a place to reflect and feel renewed. I hope through sharing beautiful, real life photos and stories, I can help inspire you rather than make you feel like you have one more task list to tick off before feeling successful.
- Something I struggle with so much on the Internet is comparison. It’s a major heart problem for me and I don’t want my space to be a breeding ground for it amongst others. I truly hope to temper comparison by encouraging and supporting others. I’m still working out what that looks like, but I know it’s going to mean incorporating other wonderfully talented people into the forefront of R&T. Basically, I feel the need to make less of myself. Hopefully by giving space in my heart and mind to support and encourage others, I will fill in the gaps of comparison and insecurity.
- One of the most life giving parts of working on R&T has been working with small brands to give them a platform for their dreams. I’ve been so careful to only take on projects with companies that I personally fully back and admire. Getting to know the business owners and to see their dedication and passion for their craft has been so inspiring. So I’ll be continuing to share their stories with you and hopefully connecting mindful consumers with brilliant craftsmen.
- This leads me to my next goal and it’s a big one. It’s one that I crave not only for my readers but also for myself. I want to encourage each and every one of you towards
not more, but better. This hit home for me this past year and I was inundated with bloggers trying to convince me that I needed to purchase $600 Christmas trees and $800 loafers. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with luxury purchases, materialism is a major heart issue that I struggle with and one that I would never want to increase in someone else. So this year will be a challenge for me as I find a balance of sharing products and shops that I love, while encouraging my readers to make well thought out purchases based on actual needs in their homes and closets. I spent about two weeks purging our home of objects I had purchased because I thought they would make for good blog content in one form or another. What I share needs to be from the honest life experiences in my real, everyday life- not the one I carefully craft to share on the Internet.
- Practice gratitude in every aspect of my creative life. This includes looking at the following I have and being content with it. R&T has never grown as fast as I have longed for it to, but if I’m constantly working to gather more and more people and ignoring the people who are already here to listen, then I’m failing to serve my readers who have already generously given my small voice an ear. I want those readers to feel appreciated – to know that they matter. So I’m going to be focusing a lot more on writing for all of you who are already here, not for those who I hope may be someday.
- Lastly, I want to use honesty to inspire empathy. There are so many people who appear to be killing it by only ever putting their best foot forward. I want to break that habit and allow my readers to see our lives for what they are, which is imperfect. I’ve noticed more of a trend towards this recently on social media and it has my heart glad! I truly hope it’s a habit I can embrace this year. There’s a solidarity that is dying to be spoken, and I hope to give a small voice to that cry this coming year.
So there’s going to be a lot of change. I’m equally excited and nervous about it. But there’s been a lot of change happening in my personal life that has been frightening up front but that has also been so much more life giving on the day to day basis. So I hope you stay and join me on my new journey. You are all dear to me and I feel blessed and honored that you have chosen to spend your free time reading and supporting my little dream. I have no idea what 2018 holds for me, but I hope that I can bring content that challenges both my readers and myself as we continue on this journey together.
Until next time!