This post is hard for me to write. Bear with me, it might be longish.
I started keeping a blog not long after I had my first kid (I think, the dates are kind of fuzzy). It was a great outlet for me, and I felt I really had some things to share. I wanted to tell my friends and family about what was happening in my life. And then I started a more "serious" blog telling people about the "stuff" I love. I think I had maybe 15 friends following along. Somewhere around last fall, I discovered the blogging community and fell in love. I met so many like-minded women and moms and loved getting to know people and helping people and commiserating with people. Eventually I wound up with 3 blogs that I was scrambling to keep up with and bounced from platform to platform trying to make them 'perfect.' I have worked really really hard on this blog, to grow a following, to make it 'prefect' in design and in content. I am finally happy with where it is, and I've met so many great friends along the way.
Last fall I also started my little etsy shop. I love crafting and I started the shop to try to recoup some of the money I spent on supplies. And over time my shop has grown and has new fans and I've expanded what I make and have bought more materials and spent more money on advertising and worn myself out trying to keep up with exciting inventory and giveaways and swaps and - it just hasn't stopped. My heart was to help others by doing what I loved. I made it my mission to donate 50%-100% of the profits of my sales (depending on item) to charities that were dear to me. I felt like I was finally getting into a groove with things - like I was beginning to really understand networking, like sales might pick up soon, like I might be able to helps some people.
And then the whisper I've been hearing all along became a shout. It culminated for me at church this morning where we had a seminar on priorities and balance. The Lord was saying very firmly "I will not bless what I have not given you to do." I've been trying to drown out that reality by keeping busy and working harder. My blog, my shop - they are things that I love - but they are not my purpose. My purpose is my family. My purpose is the Lord. They are to be my priorities and the primary focus of my time and energy. I am to spend my time working for them not for myself. Which means I can't spend my mornings reading blogs and checking facebook when I need to be in prayer. I can't spend naptimes writing posts and making crafts when I need to be sleep, working out, preparing activities for the kids or cleaning. Those are the things that the Lord wants to bless - not my dearly loved hobbies. I know I've posted a little about this before, but today I am truly giving in.
This is what it means.
1) I'm getting back to what my blog is all about. When I see a product I love, a book my kids can't put down, or a recipe I really want you to try, I'll post about it. If there's something I really really think you should know, I'll post about it. I'm keeping up the Swap It To Me link up, but all other link-ups have to go (at least for now). I definitely won't post daily, and I may skip a week here or there entirely. But I'll still post what I think is most important.
2) My shop is going to the bottom of my priority list. I'll keep it open, but I'm only going to add items if I really, truly have the spare time to work on them. Which means finishing a lot of household projects (covers for the dining chairs, the quilt for my daughter I've been working on for 2 years, aprons for all the kids) first. Fortunately, I've got a pretty big inventory in there already, so there's no risk of it emptying out :)
3) I need to separate my finances from my hobbies. No more buying craft supplies. No more paying for advertising. If I have a little fun money left over, sure, I'll splurge on an ad spot or some new beads, but unless the stuff in my shop sells, no more money on my hobbies.
4) A lot less interaction in the blogging community. This is the part that really hurts me. I care about you all. I like knowing what's going on in your lives. I like reading your blogs and tweets and facebook updates. But I was spending 3+ hours a day doing so. Not ok. So, I'm not going to be on twitter much. Unless you're my sponsor, I'm probably not going to check your facebook updates. I can't read your blogs often. And I really apologize - I'm going to miss it and I feel bad not returning the support I've gotten from you all.
What I CAN still do for you:
1) I am still very interested in sponsor swaps. I'd love to put your button up for everyone to see. I will be doing sponsor intro posts (I promise this month's will go up before the end of the week).
2) I would love to offer an item for your giveaway. It's great (mostly free) advertising for me, and people love prizes. If you would like me to donate an item, please feel free to ask!
3) I definitely want to help you promote yourselves. I'd love to do a product feature for you, or post a write-up about a new project you're working on. Or just tweet or FB about you and your blog/shop so my readers can see it. I love helping people connect and I'm still very interested in doing so.
I just need to cut the excess. It's draining my time and my energy and my priorities are SO out of whack right now. I'm going to take a month or two to re-evaluate and take some time off (frankly, I really do miss napping, and working out, and reading edifying books - or even trashy magazines!) and then we'll see how it stands.
Please stick with me, you are all very important to me. And always feel free to contact me for anything! My email (and all my social media buttons - I promise I'll still be Pinning like crazy) are all on the sidebar if there's anything you need :) Thanks!