Honesty Hour

*This post has nothing to do with dinosaurs. Sometimes, life just feels like it is sneaking up behind you like a raptor.

I’m a very honest person. While I tend to keep most of my personal matters close to the chest, I also have no problem dropping hardships I’ve gone through in conversations randomly. I have no problem sharing my story but usually I won’t share it until I’m on the other side of whatever I’m dealing with. I can talk about it easier that way.

Today, I’m throwing that idea away and just writing from my heart. I’m going to share what is on my heart and the things I’ve been dealing with and struggling with lately. If you’ve been following me for a while, I feel like I owe it to you if you have been wondering where my posts have been. There are going to be some changes coming up around here and I’m also going to share about that. 

At the beginning of November, I went to my annual women’s retreat with my church. I am involved with the women’s ministry at my church and have a hand in helping set up retreat as well as helping out during retreat. Prep for retreat took the entire week that lead up to it. I got up to Zion and was ready for God to move and speak into my heart. I was ready for whatever God had for me. I was excited.

Retreat was everything I was hoping for and more. God spoke to me. God touched my heart. God reminded me of the season I am currently in. I’m in a season of life I’ve prayed for. A season I’ve asked God multiple times for. I am standing where I’ve prayed for. I’ve also been blessed by answered prayers that I was too afraid to actually pray. Things that hung out in my heart but I didn’t think I could ask. I didn’t deserve it. I already asked for something else so I shouldn’t ask for that. I made stronger friendships, I felt seen by God. Retreat was absolutely amazing and I still get excited when I think about what God told me while I was up on that mountain. 

Then I came home from that mountain. I came home and promptly woke up the next morning sick. My headaches, that were minimal, are more frequent and back to being daily. I’ve been trying to make sure I get quality time with my son and my husband and as a family. (We are still adjusting to our new schedule.) and perhaps this only happens to me, but when the sun is suddenly setting at 4:30 in the evening, everything gets thrown off. It happens every single year and no matter how I try to mentally prepare for it, I get thrown off and all of a sudden my schedules are a moo point. 

I’ve been trying to get back into the swing of things and it just feels like things keep popping up. I’m one of those people who just handles things as they come up because I don’t see the point in delaying something if I can just handle it right then. 

This is probably something I should probably stop doing. When things pop up, it isn’t an emergency and it can probably wait. Unless something is on fire, it can most likely wait. As I write this, I’m realizing I feel my time getting sucked away is because of the things that pop up. The things that I could make a note of and put on a list for another day, are becoming the things I handle right now, instead of what I want to be working on.

Did that make sense? I hope so, I don’t know how else to word it honestly. These little pop-up things are what end up taking up the most of my time. Honestly, most of these pop up things could not only wait, but they might not even need to be done by me. I talk about saying no to big commitments and things that will take away from what you want to do or working on your goals, but I need to also start saying no to the little pop-ups. 

Which I know I can do. I’ve done it this week when I’ve realized we ran out of some things. For example, strawberries. I went to make Little Man’s lunch for school on Tuesday and boom, no strawberries. Instead of telling myself I had to go to the store after work, I said we will grab strawberries when we go grocery shopping this weekend. There are other options for what I can put in Little Man’s lunch. 

This is a very small example and most of the time, I’m not dealing with pop ups that involve waiting for the next store trip. It ends up being starting Thing A and then getting distracted and following up with Thing B before finishing Thing A. Then my dog needs something or Little Man needs something and instead of asking for patience, I jump up to respond. While I’m working on their need, Thing C walks over and causes me to pay attention to it and then next thing I know, it is Friday morning and I didn’t record my podcast. 

This also leads to me feeling overwhelmed. I know I have time for the goals I have and the things I want to do. I’ve purposely said no to other things to allow time for these things. So how come I’m getting nothing accomplished on the goal front yet feeling stressed and overwhelmed? What is even happening? 

I’m allowing the pop ups to dictate my life instead of allowing God to guide and following through. When I feel overwhelmed, it becomes hard for me to make decisions. It becomes hard to make healthy decisions. When I’m overwhelmed, I just feel tired and exhausted. So when I look at a stretch of time, if I’m already overwhelmed and exhausted do I want to work on my book or do I want to sit in front of the TV and allow my brain a break?

Guys, I definitely didn’t pick the first option. I believe in taking care of our bodies (I could be better about mine. I’m getting there) but in that taking care of our bodies, we need to be taking care of our minds. 

We need rest, real rest. Rest that only Jesus can give us. 

Matthew 11:28 Jesus says, “Come to me, all who are weary and I will give you rest”

The main thing I took away from retreat was that God gives us strength and energy and when we are living in His will, the to-do list still gets done and you don’t feel drained. I got that because my week leading up to retreat showed me that. I spent a week living it. 

I came home ready to keep walking in my calling, in the season of life I’m in. I’m ready to settle in. I have no idea how I got so distracted and I’m betting the distractions are what is causing my overwhelm and tiredness. It made me walk on the path.

So I’m ready to get back on it. I’m ready to keep going where God is telling me. I’m ready to enjoy the season of life I am in. I am ready to settle in

So that is where I am at. That is my honesty talk. 

There are a few things I’m changing around here. My podcast episodes are now going to be every other week. If I can do every week, I will. I love doing my podcast but I want to make sure I am creating relevant and relatable content and I don’t want to put an episode out every week just to put an episode out every week. I hope to move back to every week by next year. However, for right now, while I’m learning, I want to have space to figure out the next right episode. I also want to do more writing on the blog. I might even start a fiction series to follow along with. (I have one started that I would love to continue, maybe.) I think all my passions are interconnected. I love writing and speaking and talking and sharing my stories and hearing other stories. These loves are all connected. You write what you’re going to speak and you write what you’re going to publish. I want this blog to be more than one post a week and then the weekly podcast and a weekly devotional. It feels too structured and while I’m a scheduled person and I believe in consistency, I don’t think this format is working for me. I feel like I cannot share what I want to sometimes because then next 10 Saturday blog posts are already scheduled and this topic might not be relevant in the next 11 weeks. That is, if I remember to write it down to schedule later. 

I don’t believe in reinventing the wheel or fixing what isn’t broken. Things can always be improved though. So that is what I’m working on, improving this blog, my podcast and future things.

I just want to follow my call and do what I’m created to do that is the best way to serve others. You are my heart and I want to make sure this blog is something beneficial for you.

*Yes, I meant moo point, it’s a cow thing.

Currently-October

General- Our house is completely restored! Our floors are completely done after spending most of the month being out of the house in order to let the guy work in peace. My living room, kitchen and dining room all look fabulous and I’m just all heart-eyes over it. 

We are still adjusting to our changing schedule. I think for this month, we’ve had two different schedule changes. With hubby’s new job I’m really learning to put the theology of “go with the flow” into action. Every week has something different with hubby’s job so his schedule is always changing. 

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Sugar, Spice, & Everything Niche

This website is my fourth attempt at blogging. It has grown into more than a blog. However, I started with the idea that I wanted to write and I wanted a blog to write these things at. Complete control and creative freedom to publish what I wanted, when I wanted.

Over the years in my attempts at blogging I’ve done a lot of research and read all the resources from my favorite bloggers about what they do to make their blog successful. Everybody has different techniques and tactics but one message united all these experts and their resources. The thing that united them? The message that you find your niche and stick to it. 

Every successful blogger I read about in my research said something along these lines. Find the thing you love the most and talk about that. Find the thing you are best at and talk about that. 

I think my previous attempts at blogging were failures because of this message. I didn’t have a niche, I didn’t know what I was going to talk about and I struggled with creating content because I didn’t have a niche. My third attempt at blogging I decided that I was done and I didn’t need a blog because I didn’t have a niche. I wasn’t an expert at anything so therefore I cannot talk about anything.

The desire to start a blog didn’t go away. I started working on my book which is a journaling devotional and I realized how much I loved journaling and I wanted to share that message with people and how journaling is good self-care. I found conversations with God in my journal and I wanted to share that. That is how WritingOutLoud was born. Through my desire to share my message of journaling with people.

This was supposed to be my niche. I was supposed to talk about writing and journaling and just let that exist out in the internet world. As I am coming up on a year of this blog, I’m realizing that I’ve talked about a lot more than just journaling and writing. I’ve started a podcast and I’ve added weekly devotionals. My blog posts though, the content is constantly changing based on what is happening in my life. Sometimes, I want to talk about adjusting schedules, because my schedule hasn’t been consistent my entire life. My normal is adjusting to a new schedule. Maybe someone wants to hear about it, maybe it will be helpful to someone. 

Despite knowing I talk about a variety of things on my blog, I still felt like I had an overall message- journaling. 

I was listening to a podcast the other day, where the guest on the show was talking about how she had one type of blog, got pregnant and when she had her baby she lost a whole bunch of followers. She was afraid of talking about her baby because she didn’t want to lose more followers. The overall message was her owning her new season of life and her new identity but listening to this podcast made me realize I very much dislike the message of blogs need to have niches.

Believing a blog must have a niche or that one person can only talk about one thing on their website is putting people in a box that says they are only this thing. 

I am more than a woman passionate about journaling. I have an eye for decorating and making things pretty. I am an organizational genius and all about less stuff and open space. I’m the complete opposite of a hoarder and sometimes, you have to convince me that we need to keep something in order to keep it in the house. I find freedom in letting go even when I am clinging to control like a life line. I am made up of a lot more than a niche message that I feel like I need to stick to on a blog. 

Which is why I dislike this niche blogging deal. The person I go to for examples on decluttering and minimalism, has also built up a huge successful business, why wouldn’t I want to hear what she has to say about building a business? I’m great with journaling and I love writing, but maybe you’d like to see how add fall decor to my house when I’m all about less stuff on surfaces. Maybe you want to know how I juggle a a job, my husband, my son, my blog and school and get on the President’s List. 

My point is that things that I’m going through might be relatable to you but you would never know if I stuck to the niche message of journaling for self care and to build a deeper relationship with Jesus. 

I read and I love sharing what I read with people. I love talking to authors and shooting my shot to see if I can do a Q&A (that shot was successful) and maybe you found a new author you have not heard of yet. 

We, as people, do not fit into one thing. I am more than a writer. We all wear many hats and since I can control what happens on this corner of the internet, I’m going to talk about all my hats. 

Currently- September

General- If you follow me on Instagram, you might have heard about our little flood that happened when our washer machine broke and created a small lake throughout my downstairs. Well, the guy came and tore up the damaged flooring and baseboard and now the fans are gone and we are waiting to fond out if they are able to match our current laminate or what the deal is there. In the meantime, we replaced the damaged things and I wrote about how to make your house work for you. You can check out that post, along with how I used the small lake as an opportunity here.

We are undergoing schedule changes as hubby got a new job and for the time being, our schedules are very different than they used to be. We’re rolling with it though! I get a lot more time that is just me and Little Man so I have been working on creative ways to keep us both occupied and not outside. We are still rocking 90’s here and I cannot wait for cooler temps. 

Reading– I’m technically still reading Bookish Boyfriends. I actually haven’t picked it up in a while. I started reading The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter (again). I just really love this book and the entire series. I recently took a mythology in literature class and I spent a majority of that class referencing these books so it made me want to pick them back up. Maybe I’ll get back to Bookish Boyfriends one day. 

Listening– I actually went back and re-listened to Uninvited by Sophie Jordan. Gosh, I love that book! I just need to read the second one. I started listening to The Elite by Kiera Cass. I loved the Selection and since it is a series book, I promptly forgot that I had more books to read so I grabbed the audiobook from my library to listen to. I didn’t finish it in time but I struggled with the audiobook. I wonder if the performer can ruin a book for you. I think I might grab the book to just read it and see if the main character doesn’t annoy me as much. 

As for music, I went back to my high school glory days and started listening to all the bands I listened to in high school and now I don’t listen to the same 20 songs theses days, hahaha. I think I realized why my parents listened to the stuff they loved in high school well into adulthood. Music is constantly changing so when you find something you love, why are you going to try and keep up with the new stuff? (I don’t particularly LOVE the new stuff out there, some of it is good, but I get why my parents didn’t like the stuff I listened to.) 

Watching-We are COMMITTED to the show Younger. That show has me feeling all types of ways and I don’t know what to do with all the emotions. I might be slightly overreacting but oh well. Younger is what we are binge watching. But it is the end of September which means all the new seasons just started back up! So far we got the Masked Singer and I am waiting for some free time to catch up on the premier of Gray’s and Single Parents. 

Writing– I am currently working on a script for my screenwriting class that I am taking this term. Screenwriting is HARD, guys. Seriously, I didn’t realize how different screenwriting is from other types of writing. I am also writing blog posts and journaling a lot. I am working on a journaling challenge for October on Instagram! I decided I am going to do my book for NaNoWriMo this year so I’m just going to write an outline and then come November 1st, write it every day.

Other– There has been a lot of work going on with my Cricut and home stuff. It has been fun. Maybe I’ll post my projects on the blog so you can see all the stuff I work on. If you’re curious. 

What did you spend your September doing? I’d love to hear about it! 

Currently- August

General- Have I talked about the fact that I live in a dessert? Seriously, the past three weeks have had half of the week holding excessive heat warnings. Check on your dessert friends, they are burning up. This month has been very quiet around my house. We’re trying to stay home more and do more family time. We get plenty of family time, we are just trying to stay home while we do it. When we leave the house, we end up staying out way too long and spend money we didn’t intend to spend. Hubby and I have also been working on a lot of projects together. We made him a workstation in the garage (and reorganized that garage and go rid of SO MUCH STUFF) and he is building shelves. He made me a board so I can keep track of upcoming blog posts. I also made bible tabs for my bible and I’m in LOVE with them. They are so cute.

Reading– I’m still reading Bookish Boyfriends. I actually haven’t picked it back up since my trip to Washington. I started reading some business books and books along those lines. It is a struggle to read those too. It’s been a struggle to read lately. It makes my heart a little sad. 

Listening– I quit the Saving Quinton I started listening to. I just couldn’t get into it the way that I did the first book. I might look up what happens because I’m curious but I could not keep listening to it.  I listened to the first books in the Program series. That was very interesting and scary. It reminded me a lot of Uninvited by Sophie Jordan where the government is scared of something and doing whatever they can to prevent it but since they handle teenagers they don’t care what happens to them. Although, in the Program, the program that is supposed to cure depression isn’t ran by the government, just has a lot of power. They were good books. There are a lot more in the world of the program, different story lines and what not. I’m good with what I read (listened to.) 

I’ve been struggling with music lately. I feel like I’ve been listening to the same 20 songs and I need new ones. Tell me what your favorite song is lately! 

Watching– We cancelled Netflix in favor of Hulu Live (heck yes, sports!) so I am no longer watching West Wing or Criminal Minds. We just started watching Leah Remini’s series on Scientology and WOAH. Scientology was always a weird religion to me. A sci-fi writer wrote the textbooks for a religion? Really? And I’m supposed to believe he knew what he was talking about? I’ll stick with Jesus. We’ve also been watching a lot of Cats, the musical. My son loves it. 

Writing– Projects, presentations, blog posts and Instagram captions. I started an outline for my book. It was painful. Since I’m currently on a week long break from school, I am hoping to get caught up on the outline so I can set word count goals and really get working on this book. 

Other– The project I was going to announce has been announced AND LAUNCHED! I started a podcast called Hasta la Pasta where I will talk about all sorts of fun things. It will be an extension to my blog. The first episode is live now! You can listen on the website or on Spotify right now. (I’m waiting on approval for Apple & Google Play)