Six Things I Learned This Summer


Hi friends! I am so happy to be back from my summer break from blogging. It was wonderful and challenging in different ways. But now that I am on the other side of it, I see how much I needed a break to be physically more present for my family as well as work through some mental space on my own. A little quiet mindfulness proved to be good for the soul!

Here are six things I learned during my little break:

1. I need a place to share and Instagram isn't the place

Now I still love Instagram and will continue to use it but I found myself turning to Instagram to share my thoughts and heart during this blogging break. And it left me unsatisfied.

There is something about being able to write full sentences. Think about it. Edit it. And then finally decide if I am going to publish. I questioned myself more and felt self conscious about what I shared on Instagram. Social media seems to have a lot of rules or guidelines for success and I have found I prefer to pour out my heart in a bit of a safer place - here on the blog where I get to set the standards of what and how I share myself. :)

2. Stop sharing and just live my life

A message I kept hearing was to stop talking about my life and to simply live it. The first few times I heard this I didn't really like it. My need to share and to share to encourage felt very strong. But this idea of just living my life kept quietly creeping up. I finally listened and it has been life changing.

I realized I can become so consumed with sharing. So consumed with the perfect picture. So consumed with the right words. When my life (and specifically my family) was right in front of me asking for my attention and to simply enjoy this life I get to live.

I have also found that my children are much happier and less whiny when I am not on my phone. I now choose more wisely when and why I am on it to try to keep it at a minimum.

3. How to let go of being busy

I am learning to be less busy. To chose to put things on hold for a season to enjoy the pace that feels most peaceful. My children are only little for so long and I want to truly feel like I am enjoying them and giving them my best self. Having an infant requires a lot of attention and I know it will not always be this way. So I am choosing slower days and a more simplified routine at home.

4. I started running the dishwasher more often

We don't really need to run our dishwasher daily but I am finding about every other day to be our sweet spot. If I waited until it was full to the brim, dishes wouldn't always come out clean, we would be short on something waiting for it to be washed, or there was not enough room for more dishes come dinner time.

So running the dishwasher when it is not completely full is really changing the day to day. It seems so simple and silly but I am really starting to notice a difference. I would have thought that unloading a dishwasher more often would be more work but it is actually not. I have less dishes to put away and when they all come out clean it is pretty fast to unload on a more regular basis.

5. When I cannot meet my own expectations of myself I interpret other's words as judgment or criticism about the things I don't like about myself

This is a loaded one. But I realized that when I wasn't living up to what I thought I could do I allowed other people's comments to serve as attacks. So I am learning to not be so hard on myself and to not expect myself to bounce back to what life was like before our daughter was born. And to not let other's words have such a heavy affect on me.

6. A balance with work and being a stay at home mom

I have been doing freelance work for almost a year now and while I enjoy having something outside of my family that I am responsible to I found that it was adding a lot of stress. Not that the work was overwhelming but that my mind was constantly bombarded with having something to finish. I like to sit down and attack a project in one or two sittings. But with two small children to care for this has become impossible.

So as I tackle things a little at a time I am finding that to do lists are very helpful so I don't forget what I was working on or what is of highest priority. And I am learning that I have attached a lot of anxiety to work in general. I remember even feeling this way before kids back when I was a substitute teacher. So instead of running away from work that is fulfilling, I want to embrace it and learn how to sift through any mental anxiety I am creating.




Taking The Summer Off


After a series of events I have decided that I will be taking the summer off from blogging - and from any type of "influence" I attempt over social media.  I will still post on Instagram but more casually than intentionally.

I have been doing some freelance work over the last few months and my editor I work with is going on maternity leave.  So I will be taking a break from that as well until she returns. 

Things just started lining up in a way that told me it was time to take a break.  I have taken breaks from blogging in the past - but mostly it was unintentionally (life just got busy) or I was in a place where too much time online was becoming unhealthy for me. 

Neither are the case this time.  I simply think it is time to take a break to give my time, mental space, and creative energy to something else.  I am not even sure what that is, outside of my family, but I believe allowing myself a break will give me the opportunity to search that out more.

For the first time in years I feel completely free from any responsibility I have online and I want to take advantage of this opportunity to know what it feels like to simply be.

I loved this quote from a book I am currently reading:

So often, we are weary and burdened not because of long hours or having too much to do, but because we are taking on things we were never meant to do, or in a way or during a time we were never meant to do them.

I doubt I will ever completely quit this space.  I love having a place to share.  But I wonder if my purpose in this season is supposed to be devoted somewhere else for a time.  Only time will tell. 

Thanks for being here and tagging along with me during this journey.  I look forward to finding out and sharing where this break over the summer will lead me.

xo
Ashley

DIY Photo Board And Simple Photo Display


I love having photos around the house.  They tell the story of our family, help us relive sweet memories, and make for inexpensive art around the house.


I also love using our Instax camera for sweet vintage style pictures to put up.  I often take it with us on vacation and have been trying to remember to use it to take a few photos of our kids as they grow up.

These simple little photos are some of my favorite to clothes pin up around the house on simple photo display frames that I have made.  And even if you don't have a polaroid camera, I love printing photos with a little white border that give it a more matted look.


I tuck them into baskets we have on the walls as well as on mirrors and framed photos.


I think they add a touch of whimsy and color wherever needed.  Plus they are easy to change out without the work of redoing a frame.


I recently put together another little photo display board that I will be putting in our daughter's room.  Here is the simple DIY project:


You will need an empty frame, twine, clothes pins, and a staple gun.  I had an old mirror that was in my donation pile until I realized I could take the mirror out and use the empty frame!  I love reusing things making this a zero cost project!


All you do is staple gun the twine to the back of your frame and then tie a little knot so the twine doesn't come loose.  I align the twine slightly higher up (instead of evenly) as the photos hang lower than the twine.


Such a simple project but very gratifying!  I don't do a lot of projects as much these days so making something felt so good!  The next time you are at the thrift store, pick up a few of these vintage style frames and spray paint it white to make this simple and sweet photo display project.

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