The heartbeat of your home

For a few moments, I felt complete. As I lay there, snuggled up behind my daughters’ small and tiny body, I could feel her breath slowly rise up and down as she drifted off into deep sleep. The warmth from the outside sunshine peeked slightly through her window above, showering us with such comfort. I listened to the hum of the Kitchenaid turning in the kitchen as my husband prepared dough for tonight’s meal. The easy melody of Mumford and Sons accompanied varied chops of the knife on the cutting board. The wind chimes from our backyard played a beautiful melody as it danced in the wind. Our house was moving and making beautiful music. I sat up and listened. I tried to memorize the moment and the sounds. I let it soak into my heart, body, and soul. This is what I live for, I realized. These small, inconspicuous, fleeting moments.

This is the heartbeat of our lives. This is the melody that plays in our home. I love our song.

My eyes fill up with tears as I write this. I have often pondered the question, “If I had one day left to live, what would I do?”.

I would do this. I would live my life the way we have been on lazy, long days for years. No stressful agenda, no big plans. Just living out our passions, be it as boring as cooking a meal for dinner and putting our little girl down for an afternoon nap.

These moments make me feel alive, blessed, and filled with peace.

Do you feel a steady rhythm in your life? What is the melody that plays in your home? Do you ever lie down in moments of peace and listen to it, allowing it to soak into your heart? Will you be able to look back on it and replay it in your head over and over?

Home truly is where the heart is. So often I try to hide our mess. There is so much beauty hidden in our mess.When I look at these pictures, I see life being lived. My daughter covered with pen and her mischievous little face as she tries to open something she isn’t supposed to be opening. Our living room, covered with books, blocks, chalk, and a sippy cup. Our home is being lived in. Sure, I see wear and tear on our couch and our wood floors. I get tired of picking up socks. However, something beautiful is happening in all the mess. Memories are being made, life is being created, and our home is being used in a magnificent way. Isn’t that what really matters?

Running the race of blogging

I liken many things I encounter to running. The training I put into my first half marathon changed my life. I have never experienced so many days of pain consecutively. I pushed myself harder than I ever have, and also experienced the moment of “victory” as I crossed the finish line. 
After my first half-marathon. I forgot to put my medal on for this picture! 

There are tons of people I have spoken to who said they would never pay to participate in a half marathon. Why waste the money? They argue you can do the same thing on your own time. 
I disagree. Had I not spent way more than I should have to basically experience four months of misery, I would have never ran the half marathon. No way. I would have given it to excuses, stopped training when the going got tough, or just found a new hobby. I do lack self control…
There was also something magical happening as I ran the half marathon. I choked up several times in tears as I witnessed cancer survivors running beside me. I ran through a garden as “Oh Heavenly Day” By Patty Griffin came through my ear buds. I ran into the ZOO as “Welcome to the Jungle” came on, and got goosebumps! I saw a man wearing a shirt that said, “I used to weigh 400 pounds. If I can do this you can.” I ran next to people two generations older than me. My heart was filled with awe for what people can do when they put their minds to it. It pushed me harder than ever. I felt all my training come to a beautiful high note as I ran beside these other people who had the same vision as me. As I crossed the finish line, I felt sicker than ever. I wanted to throw up. It didn’t matter, though. I was finished. I did it! I looked out at the other multitude of people hugging, crying, cheering, and celebrating with their friends and family who made the same life-changing decision I had that day to run a little over 13 miles. 
I didn’t even want to wear the medal. I just wanted to cherish that moment, next to these other people who did what I did. I wanted to go home, drink a good beer, talk about what happened, and eat a cheeseburger with my family. 
I realized something important:
Running is not about being the best. It is about the journey and the celebrating. 
Blogging is not about being the best. It is about the journey and the celebrating. 
Keepsakes for my daughter. Without blogging I would not have done these! 

I am writing this post because I have found that blogging is the same. I get up every morning, power up my old computer, and sit down to write a post. Sometimes what comes out is lovely. Other times it is horrid. I find myself, day after day, coming back to this place and pushing myself harder. I make new goals, re-evaluate my decisions, try new techniques, and show up to the same place hoping to go a little further than yesterday. 
One of my favorite blogging memories with my daughter. An Etsy shop sent us matching necklaces. She loved it! We took fun pictures and dressed alike for a day. 
I find that in the journey I experience moments of failure. I want to quit. I want to find a new hobby. I wonder if it is a waste of time. I feel discouraged. I feel less than others. 
I also experience moments of elation. I find myself searching for a pen and paper as quick as I can to write down a new idea. I can’t wait to share my heart of a new subject. I long to bury myself into writing for hours. I get on a “writer’s high” and can’t stop. 
Blogging, for me, has ebbed and flowed over the years. I have been on and off rhythm. Yet, I can look back at my journey and smile. I am a different person since I started this space. I know how to do things I never imagined. I know what SEO means. I know how to make pictures look pretty. I’ve tried new recipes, made new friends, shared my faith, and tried to capture my feelings on being a mother. I’ve pushed myself to be more real and transparent. I’ve learned how to self-edit, how to manage social media, and how to evaluate statistics. I remember trying to learn these things in my past job. I’ve taught myself these things, from home, with a baby around! 
Mainly, I’ve put myself on the line. I have given my all in writing and baring my soul in the hope that just one other person out there might feel a little less alone, worried, or discouraged. I’ve written things here and there in which hitting “publish” was terrifying. 
As bloggers, we encounter moments where others “win”, right? We see people get big, get awesome jobs, or get to be in the “Blogher” network. We wonder, “how do I measure up?”. 
My first blog post, on Writer’s Block. Over a year later and I still relate to this post! 

Today I pose the question, does it really matter? Because, to me, I feel the same now as I did about blogging when I had 25 followers. I love it the same, I struggle with it the same, and I show up to this place every day wondering how my post is going to turn out. I get weary, I have moments where I feel on top of the world, and I hope to keep pushing on. 
In the end, I view blogging a lot like running. Training for anything is never easy. It can be painful. It can get tiring. Yet the payoff is amazing. Seeing the journey and remembering where I have been and where I have come is beautiful. 

Let’s Be Friends Blog Hop #50 is live! Come link up now!

Welcome to the Let’s Be Friends Blog Hop!

A blog hop is a set time frame for current or aspiring bloggers to find new blogs and quality content. It is a great way to make new friends and find inspiration! It is also a fabulous way to promote your own blog and posts.

Dear Friends,

What a day to celebrate! This is the 50th week of the Let’s Be Friends blog hop! Thanks for joining us on this special day. Chelsee and Tiffany are extremely delighted to see the way this hop has grown and love to see your faces each week! 

Join us every Tuesday at 7am (MST). This blog hop focuses on content. LINK UP YOUR FAVORITE POST from last week in this fun content-sharing blog hop! I love the idea of blog hopping, but I love the idea of reading posts and quality content on new blogs I’ve never been to even more. Instead of simply linking up your blog button, you are now able to link up your favorite post you recently wrote. Have a delicious recipe to share, DIY tutorial, or heartfelt post? Share it with us! All hosts and co-hosts put up some unique and fun content from the past week. Make sure to check them out. P.S.- you may still link up your blog button and blog name, but it is encouraged to link up your favorite post instead. You will get more page views and interest if you do so! Some of the most successful blog hops I have participate in focus on content rather than just exchanging follows. You never know who will become a loyal follower or pin that delicious new recipe you posted!

The BEST part of this blog hop? Each week there will be a WINNER! That’s right, each week we will choose one lucky blog to feature from the previous week’s hop. This hop receives thousands of page views every week, so your blog will have the chance to be center stage for free. You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win. Only those who link up a specific post are eligible to be featured! *You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win.

The last exciting change is that the co-host spots will now be available to all sponsors of  The Dwelling Tree or Southern Beauty Guide. If you are interested in co-hosting the blog hop, email Tiffany or Chelsee about sponsorship opportunities and how to co-host the weekly hop!

Let’s Be Friend’s Blog Hop Guidelines
1. Link up your favorite post from your week.
2. Follow your hosts and co-hosts.
3. Grab the button and post it on your blog so we can share the love.
4. Visit 3 other blogs and follow them along!
5. Tweet about this blog hop, using #letsbefriends
6. Pin the button on pinterest so we can spread the news! 

***Once a week, one blog will be chosen to be the featured blogger from the previous blog hop. 

Meet your hosts: 

The Dwelling Tree: Blog, Bloglovin’

Southern Beauty Guide: Blog, Bloglovin’

and your co-hosts:
allisonleighann: Blog
Mice in the Kitchen: Blog
Simply Anchored: Blog

The Sunshine Blog: Blog
A Little Leigh Way: Blog
Livin’ on Sweet Tea: Blog

***This weeks featured post from last week’s hop:

Hey everyone! This is Tiffany this week. People! Your posts were seriously SO GOOD this past week. I had SUCH a hard time choosing this week’s feature. I feel that this post needed to be shared.

Codi is a beautiful blogger who loves books, pups, coffee, and helping others. I have fallen in love with her blog. She needs to be discovered by everyone! Her blog is called the Art of Balance and is her place of finding calm amidst anxiety. I love that because I seach for that daily myself! 

This post gave me chills. I loved the raw honesty and vulnerability that Codi shared with her readers regarding her thoughts on her body, weight loss, and the ups and downs that she is experiencing. I think every woman can relate to Codi. We always compare ourselves to when we were in the “best shape in our lives”. This heartfelt post examines where she has been, where she is, and where she is going. This post is written so lovely. I have been there. I know so many woman who are in her shoes now. Thank God for people who are able to share their wounds for the benefits of others. I forwarded this post to several of my friends who I know would relate and find her post so relatable and encouraging. Thank you Codi for writing a post that so many women are thinking but terrified to share with others. 

Keep posting awesome content! You make it so fun for me to read all your posts! If you can, please post a specific post. It makes it easier for me to come and visit! 

*Remember YOU can be next weeks winner! 🙂