Lately, I have noticed that my kids are transforming into young adults, or you could say, TEENs.  It is somewhat of an uncharted territory for us.  You raise your kids and they just like everything you like.  They like the music you like, they love the fashion you like, or the lack of fashion in my case!  They huddle around you for your every word, wanting and needing your immediate attention.

As they get older, they blossom into who GOD created them to be.  They have their own vision for life and sometimes it is on your wavelength, and other times it is not.  You did all you could to shape them for this vital time where they have to make wise choices and you pray that they make the right ones.

I used to think that my kids would always be there huddled around me, searching my face for a sign of what pleases me.  Always following and abiding in my loving care for them.  With pride I would announce things like, “MY kids don’t like the world.  They have convictions, they like this or that.  Weeeeee don't do this, or Weeeee don't allow that."  It is easy to say these things when the kids are little because they tend to walk in your shadow and hang on your every word.  Later you find yourself in an all out battle against the tides of the world that you never thought were going to creep in.  And you think, just because you raised them right, you loved them, you poured into them, that they will not be affected by the pressures of society.

When you find yourself kicking against the pricks you realize that you need to pour even more into them.  Not hovering, not exactly micromanaging and controlling either.  I do not mean that.  I mean, LOVE.  I mean attention.  I came to a realization lately that I needed to come to urgently.  Just because they are old enough to be quite independent does not mean that you are off duty.

Quite the contrary.  I find that as they have gotten older, they need me EVEN MORE!  When they are little, they naturally gravitate to their parents and what the parents are doing.  As they get older they are not as dependent.  They can do a lot of things by themselves if you have trained them.  Maybe they can fix a meal, or bake a cake.  They can mow the lawn and do many things without your help.

It takes more attention and time to make sure you talk with them often and pay close attention to their interests.  The bonding is so important because if they do not feel that strong bond with the family or with their parents, they will form bonds with friends.  That is a part of life, too.  I have been doing more hanging out with the kids and their friends than I had been for a long time and it was needful.

This past month has been the time of my life as I switched gears from busy blogger/homemaker, to fun mom/homesteader/homemaker/homeschooler/friend.  I am enjoying just being there for them all day long.

This past year I started Keeper of the Homestead blog...

Growing a blog is a monumental task, I found out.  There is so much competition out there, a blog for everything and for anyone.  It is like a massive pot luck dinner. You can search for this or that, read this one or that one, and if they are not interesting enough, you can go to the next blog over there.  Our society is rich in instant gratification, so it is hard anymore now to keep them satisfied.  I have found that being a public figure is not a blessing but a HUGE burden for a person and their loved ones.  You spend much of your life living it for the public, making sure to fill them what they need so they will keep coming back for more and it is a vicious roller coaster ride you fear stepping off to find yourself dazed and confused.  Most of the big time bloggers are making a living off their blogs.  I was not one of them.  But thank God He can wake us up before it is too late and you are in over your head.

I went through a life changing experience the past 2 months.  I never told everything publicly because it was something I had to walk through alone.  I had to reflect on life and find out what was the dearest to me.  I looked around and found 5 children and a husband!  I realized I had been pouring my heart into my blog because women "needed" me.  I would get these letters that would fuel my love tank.  I felt they "needed" me.  All the while my kids needed my full attention.  Even though I had the schedule where I could "do it all".  I would wake at 2 in the morning and blog or do other graphic work, answer the many emails and letters, and get my list of things done before the kids were even awake.  I justified it as, I organized my time well and I never let my blog or work interfere with my family time.  Anyone could look in and say I had control over my life and home.

The trouble with blogging is that it is like a baby that you cannot let down.  With trolls on the rise who come in to cause damage to your blog, to the endless comments, you think about it, you pray about it, even though you are not typing, you are checking in on it or thinking about it.  Checking the stats, checking the shares or likes, the comments or emails.  You want to know that your words are not vain, that they matter.  So, that being said, I was not exactly honest with myself.  I let it consume my mind and purpose.  Instead of just living life and pouring into my family, I was pouring into a virtual entity.

You get the fruit of what you spend your time investing in. I invested a good part of my life and heart into my blog this past year and I got a virtual medal of honor.  What I lost was some quality time with family.  I was half way spending time with the
m and half way thinking about themes to blog about, things that would help others, and ways I could minister to all my readers.  And of course, you tend to think about ways to "make money".  The bigger the blog, the more earning potential—which is the reality of the blogging sphere.  The only way to make money is to keep a very regular, very relevant, upbeat, timely, blog rich in free advice, free lessons on DIY projects, recipes, and lots of ways your readers can share your posts on social media with giveaways and other perks.  This is the part, you as readers, never have to worry about.  It is the behind the scenes stuff that goes on without ever being publicized.  What the bloggers have to do in order to monetize their traffic.

In the rat race of trying to grow my blog, my kids started to find others to spend their time with.  The neighbors were over all the time. I thought, hey, no problem, the kids are having fun, they need to be social, it is good for them, I can get a little blogging time in while they are outside playing with friends.  To my dismay, they didn't "need" me as much.  And now I am trying to build up that need again.  It is so much harder when they have become more independent to show them their "need" for your fellowship.  So now I am spending most of my days and hours, finding fun ways to spend time with them.

I do realize God gave them to me, that they are not mine. They have to have their own walk with God and find their own paths in life.  My job is to love them for who they choose to be, whatever that is.  And I will never regret pouring into their lives.  If there is anything I know, I know that one thing for sure!

When I started the Homestead Community Post blog years ago, I thought, I would just once in a while give an update.  Updates on our homesteading adventure or life lessons.  That was balanced and fine.  I hardly noticed spending any time on it.  Last February, I was watching some ladies who blogged online, I did not know them but I could see that blogging was a HUGE commitment.  I could see it as an all consuming fire, really.  I vowed that I would NEVER have a full time blog.  I thought, there is no way!!!  My husband encouraged me to write a book, he actually told me that it was needful.  I thought, I might as well blog and use the blog for a start to the book covering things that I have learned through my vast failings and trials of life.  It was a way for me to be accountable and to finish the job I set out to do.  I also told my family that as soon as the book is published there would be no need to run a full time blog.  It is hard to let go of the blog when it was such a big part of life.  I put so much into it.  But I have learned that I can balance my time out again and post every now again like I did before.

When I realized how many, many, many, hours I was blogging each week, it was kind of like a full time job that I was not getting paid for.  Purely ministry.  I would work it about 4 hours each morning and a couple in the afternoon while the kids were playing outside every day of the week it seemed.  My house was clean, orderly, my homeschooling was complete for the day, but my heart was thinking, oh, I may as well document this school project for the blog, or photograph and document my cleaning, or my cooking, something to give back my readers.  Something to minister to others with.

So now, mission accomplished, I am back to where I started.  I sold 3000 books so far, and pretty much covered the 20k it took to self publish my book.  I could be spending my days promoting my book and trying to sell the other 7000 books I have in the warehouse.  We could use the money.  God knows that we could.  But, BUT, at what expense?!!!!  Shall I make millions just to have the comfort of this world, be able to afford all the things we "think" we need?  I would have to keep my blog growing, so that would mean I would have to be at this for many hours, just to sell more books and make more money.  But I never much ruled my heart by the love of money anyhow.  Money is needful, but it is not what I seek after.

I could have the other attitude, which I love, just do it all for free because I just love my readers and they mean so much to me, I could care less about the money.  That is totally my stance!  BUT, my kids are only here for a time, they are all I have that I can take with me to heaven.  They are the only things that really matter at the end of the day.  If I gain the WHOLE world, but lose the souls of my children, what did it profit me.  NOTHING!!!!

So you know me, I am REAL with you, I do not tell you what is popular just so I can keep you.  If you read my book, you will know that none of that matters that much to me.  I want to rather point people to Jesus.  He is the source of everything you need anyway.  You don't need me writing each day, there is a whole BIBLE there sitting, waiting for you to read it.  God's word is better than my words.  His plan for your life is written on the pages that are as vast as the shining seas.

I do not plan on shutting my blog off.  I plan on popping on my blog to write when the Lord leads or when I can take it no longer because I have a love of communicating and writing.  It could be once a week, once a month, I can't say for sure.  This time I will just do it for fun.  Sure, I know I wont keep most of my readers, they will find another cool blog to follow and learn from.  BUT, I will have my kids, their hearts, and a whole lot of Living Life to its fullest.  You can't argue with that now can you?!

As I searched my heart, I found my home.  Being a keeper of my home is a gift and I will cherish that gift because it is the best gift of all!

God bless each of you!

Just for a reminder…

Tea Time Talk Show Tuesday Upcoming Schedule:

Tuesday, May 1, 2018  at 10 am CST will feature Co-Host Owen Newman

  • The following Tuesday will be featuring Owen Newman from the hills of TN talking about homesteading and the simple life.  He has a lot of wisdom and experience living with less and making the most of each and every resource they are given.  If you have any specific questions, please leave a comment below or send us an email or message on facebook from the keeper of the homestead page.  

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30 thoughts on “Searching my Heart

  1. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
    We understand, Erin! Your first duty is to your family.

  2. Good for you! Isn’t it true? If your children don’t have your time, they will find someone else to be “close” to… I think about that often, especially as the years fly by with my oldest children.
    I think you are being very honest about something that few women “tell the truth” about…and that is having a “heart divided” that is only “half home.” I think it can be a fine thing to follow God’s call to write, and to minister, and to befriend…but it does seem clear that his directive is for us to guide the home and have “other dreams” that exist on the fringes of that home-centered life.
    I think that many of the really successful female bloggers (and by “successful,” I mean “earning money on the world’s terms”) are providing a very skewed picture of their actual lives. You can certainly take pretty pictures of family times, or cleaning activities, or homeschool projects…but children need our presence so much more than in “photo moments.” I think *other women* (readers) begin to feel defeated that they can’t homeschool, plus homestead, plus have meaningful marriages, plus keep immaculate homes, plus try Pinterest projects, plus provide creative homeschooling, plus have daily Bible time, PLUS keep a relevant blog and jet-set around the country to speak to thousands. And here is the truth: I think the whole thing is a house of cards. You can’t keep a home and guide children when you are never, ever there. (Physically, or mentally.)
    Personally, some of my favorite moments in your family videos are the ones in which you look just a tidge tired, or not terribly fashionable (though your energy and smile are so wonderful!), or have a slightly messy table, or something of that nature. I think: I can do that! I can learn to do that, because I feel encouraged that it doesn’t have to be perfect or look pretty all the time! I always felt like: She is just filming her life, and I feel SO BLESSED by that!
    I am praying for you, dear sister! So glad you are chasing the best things AND telling the truth about your own experience.

  3. Good for you! Isn’t it true? If your children don’t have your time, they will find someone else to be “close” to… I think about that often, especially as the years fly by with my oldest children.
    I think you are being very honest about something that few women “tell the truth” about…and that is having a “heart divided” that is only “half home.” I think it can be a fine thing to follow God’s call to write, and to minister, and to befriend…but it does seem clear that his directive is for us to guide the home and have “other dreams” that exist on the fringes of that home-centered life.
    I think that many of the really successful female bloggers (and by “successful,” I mean “earning money on the world’s terms”) are providing a very skewed picture of their actual lives. You can certainly take pretty pictures of family times, or cleaning activities, or homeschool projects…but children need our presence so much more than in “photo moments.” I think *other women* (readers) begin to feel defeated that they can’t homeschool, plus homestead, plus have meaningful marriages, plus keep immaculate homes, plus try Pinterest projects, plus provide creative homeschooling, plus have daily Bible time, PLUS keep a relevant blog and jet-set around the country to speak to thousands. And here is the truth: I think the whole thing is a house of cards. You can’t keep a home and guide children when you are never, ever there. (Physically, or mentally.)
    Personally, some of my favorite moments in your family videos are the ones in which you look just a tidge tired, or not terribly fashionable (though your energy and smile are so wonderful!), or have a slightly messy table, or something of that nature. I think: I can do that! I can learn to do that, because I feel encouraged that it doesn’t have to be perfect or look pretty all the time! I always felt like: She is just filming her life, and I feel SO BLESSED by that!
    I am praying for you, dear sister! So glad you are chasing the best things AND telling the truth about your own experience.

  4. Good for you! Isn’t it true? If your children don’t have your time, they will find someone else to be “close” to… I think about that often, especially as the years fly by with my oldest children.
    I think you are being very honest about something that few women “tell the truth” about…and that is having a “heart divided” that is only “half home.” I think it can be a fine thing to follow God’s call to write, and to minister, and to befriend…but it does seem clear that his directive is for us to guide the home and have “other dreams” that exist on the fringes of that home-centered life.
    I think that many of the really successful female bloggers (and by “successful,” I mean “earning money on the world’s terms”) are providing a very skewed picture of their actual lives. You can certainly take pretty pictures of family times, or cleaning activities, or homeschool projects…but children need our presence so much more than in “photo moments.” I think *other women* (readers) begin to feel defeated that they can’t homeschool, plus homestead, plus have meaningful marriages, plus keep immaculate homes, plus try Pinterest projects, plus provide creative homeschooling, plus have daily Bible time, PLUS keep a relevant blog and jet-set around the country to speak to thousands. And here is the truth: I think the whole thing is a house of cards. You can’t keep a home and guide children when you are never, ever there. (Physically, or mentally.)
    Personally, some of my favorite moments in your family videos are the ones in which you look just a tidge tired, or not terribly fashionable (though your energy and smile are so wonderful!), or have a slightly messy table, or something of that nature. I think: I can do that! I can learn to do that, because I feel encouraged that it doesn’t have to be perfect or look pretty all the time! I always felt like: She is just filming her life, and I feel SO BLESSED by that!
    I am praying for you, dear sister! So glad you are chasing the best things AND telling the truth about your own experience.

  5. Good for you! Isn’t it true? If your children don’t have your time, they will find someone else to be “close” to… I think about that often, especially as the years fly by with my oldest children.
    I think you are being very honest about something that few women “tell the truth” about…and that is having a “heart divided” that is only “half home.” I think it can be a fine thing to follow God’s call to write, and to minister, and to befriend…but it does seem clear that his directive is for us to guide the home and have “other dreams” that exist on the fringes of that home-centered life.
    I think that many of the really successful female bloggers (and by “successful,” I mean “earning money on the world’s terms”) are providing a very skewed picture of their actual lives. You can certainly take pretty pictures of family times, or cleaning activities, or homeschool projects…but children need our presence so much more than in “photo moments.” I think *other women* (readers) begin to feel defeated that they can’t homeschool, plus homestead, plus have meaningful marriages, plus keep immaculate homes, plus try Pinterest projects, plus provide creative homeschooling, plus have daily Bible time, PLUS keep a relevant blog and jet-set around the country to speak to thousands. And here is the truth: I think the whole thing is a house of cards. You can’t keep a home and guide children when you are never, ever there. (Physically, or mentally.)
    Personally, some of my favorite moments in your family videos are the ones in which you look just a tidge tired, or not terribly fashionable (though your energy and smile are so wonderful!), or have a slightly messy table, or something of that nature. I think: I can do that! I can learn to do that, because I feel encouraged that it doesn’t have to be perfect or look pretty all the time! I always felt like: She is just filming her life, and I feel SO BLESSED by that!
    I am praying for you, dear sister! So glad you are chasing the best things AND telling the truth about your own experience.

  6. Good for you! Isn’t it true? If your children don’t have your time, they will find someone else to be “close” to… I think about that often, especially as the years fly by with my oldest children.
    I think you are being very honest about something that few women “tell the truth” about…and that is having a “heart divided” that is only “half home.” I think it can be a fine thing to follow God’s call to write, and to minister, and to befriend…but it does seem clear that his directive is for us to guide the home and have “other dreams” that exist on the fringes of that home-centered life.
    I think that many of the really successful female bloggers (and by “successful,” I mean “earning money on the world’s terms”) are providing a very skewed picture of their actual lives. You can certainly take pretty pictures of family times, or cleaning activities, or homeschool projects…but children need our presence so much more than in “photo moments.” I think *other women* (readers) begin to feel defeated that they can’t homeschool, plus homestead, plus have meaningful marriages, plus keep immaculate homes, plus try Pinterest projects, plus provide creative homeschooling, plus have daily Bible time, PLUS keep a relevant blog and jet-set around the country to speak to thousands. And here is the truth: I think the whole thing is a house of cards. You can’t keep a home and guide children when you are never, ever there. (Physically, or mentally.)
    Personally, some of my favorite moments in your family videos are the ones in which you look just a tidge tired, or not terribly fashionable (though your energy and smile are so wonderful!), or have a slightly messy table, or something of that nature. I think: I can do that! I can learn to do that, because I feel encouraged that it doesn’t have to be perfect or look pretty all the time! I always felt like: She is just filming her life, and I feel SO BLESSED by that!
    I am praying for you, dear sister! So glad you are chasing the best things AND telling the truth about your own experience.

  7. Selfishly I say boo-hoo. But as a sister in Christ who understands our first call as wife, and then mother I say high five way to be obedient and listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I will look forward to when you post and thank you for being an example of serving God by serving our family and how to be good stewarts of what God gives us. Peace be with you.

  8. Wise choice…It will help me also. I spend too much time checking to see if you have updated. I will spend that time with my growing children. Great reminder to all of us…Quit reading about others lives all the time and go live life!!! Love your book….

  9. Your children will rise up and call you blessed, Erin. This is such a wise choice. I am grateful for all I’ve learned from you, but even more so for the example you are giving us of sticking true to what you constantly speak of– loving your family. Thank you!! May the Lord bless you!

  10. I have been so blessed by your writings. I do not homestead or homeschool, but am new to being a full time keeper of the home. I worked in my home for 11 years and managed to take care of everyone…. BUT had no true peace in my life. All that to say your writings helped me to refocus on what God wants from me. I look forward to reading your book, and your updates. Thank you for continuing to be obedient to the Lord.

  11. Life has seasons. God allows us to walk through seasons, it grows us and changes us. Refinement, it can be a lovely thing. Just a little bit more of His reflection in you is showing 😉

  12. Wow. I rarely comment, but I must. What a blessing this was to me to read this morning. I’ve often considered writing a book or doing a blog, but you have just clearly reminded me of why this is not the time. My time may come, but my family needs all of me right now. Thank you for your precious honesty. Makes me want to order your book! Have a blessed Christmas season. Since I’m a subscriber I know I’ll hear from you when you are ready to share.

  13. You got my vote. Hey I understand..I have young ones and young adults and running two business , homeschooling and dealing with health issues a BIG load! We need to find out what is important in life..do away with the things of the world and be more God-minded~ Hey now we can have that much needed phone call! Miss our ph times together!

  14. Good for you! I had a blog a few years ago and gave it up because I was constantly thinking about what I should blog about, how to get more followers and increase my readership, and would read and follow many, many blogs and join blog parties all over the place because I wanted people to “like me”. But you know what, I have a family that loves me and needs my time more than people that don’t even know me in “real life”. Nobody else cares about you as much as your family does. I think some of the big bloggers like to make money off of their blogs because they are able to be stay at home moms and still make money. But what is the point in being a stay at home mom if you have no time for your children or husband? Is money really so important that we would abandon our families for it?
    I applaud you and your decision to step back from your blog a bit. I will miss your posting often to your blog because you are an inspiration to me as a wife and mother, but I know as a past blogger myself what a relief it is to step away from it. You just enjoy that sweet family of yours and enjoy some time off!

    • I did the same thing, beth. It took so much more time than I’d anticipated and I ended up exhausted just trying to always find “blog worthy” moments to write about or photograph. What a relief it was the day I deleted it all…just let it go.

  15. Erin, I love your blog and your book (I have bought 2 to give away and will be buying more) You are a treasure and your family is blessed! You do what is right before God and everything else will follow.

  16. To all of you dear ladies that are posting here; thank you for the beauty in your post, seeing that God desires our hearts for Him, for our husbands, for our children. You have blessed me as much as Erin does, 😎

  17. Erin, I love your blog too.I just found it.
    I will keep reading, when-ever you write.
    I am hoping to get your book for Christmas.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family.
    Linda

  18. Hi Erin, this is the first post of yours that I have read. Thank you for your honesty. I agree with you, our children’s hearts and souls are the most important things. One day, when you truly are an “older woman”, God will give you that extra time you need to devote yourself to the “younger women”, to share your experience and wisdom and to instruct them according to His Word. Blessings on you and your family.

  19. Dear Erin, God bless you and I wish you all the best in knowing what your children need as they mature into young adults. My girls learn from me and I have to be open to learn from them. You may have disagreements as they get older but just keep in your mind that you love them and they love you. I have found encouragement from your blog and look forward to your occasional postings in the future. As you have been there for us let us be there for you if you ever need encouragement or advice. May you have a blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Year x

  20. Oh girlfriend praise the Lord for His leading in your life! Sometimes the journey is hard but we are never alone , He is at the stick !!! I am thankful for your transparency . Keep on keeping on dear sister. You are loved and prayed for . In Him Tammie

  21. I am so thankful for your book and for this post. I just finished the book and came here. The Lord knows better than I could ever just how much I needed you to be honest with your post! I was heading down the road you were on. Here He had been checking my spirit and I have been ignoring it, until today. Praising Him right now for His faithfulness and seeing fit to send me your book and get my mind off of me and back on to my family. I am in tears. Tears or regret and joy mingled. Now to get onto the life He has with my family not the virtual world ❤️

  22. Dear Erin,
    Wow! This post is making me think twice. Seven years ago, I left a very promising career in marketing to stay home with my children. It was a difficult decision because I was a very ambitious woman. But God impressed on my heart that I needed to be there for my children. After two years of public school, I pulled out my son because I could already see the bad influence of the world in his heart. This was a challenge in itself because here in Quebec (Canada) homeschooling is not very known and we faced difficulties with the schoolboard. All those years, we struggled to survive on a very small income. Last September, my husband asked me to return the kids to school because I was worn-out and my husband had lost his job. He wanted me to work as a freelancer to help. I did not want to, but I submitted to him.
    Since then, we’ve been challenged and still are. My husband found another job in December, but after 3 weeks, he got sick and had to quit the job. We’ve been without income since then. I’m struggling with the idea of going back to work full-time because I’m tired of living like a poor, but at the same time, I know my children need me. They are having a hard time in school and coming home for lunch has been a relief to them.
    Having contracts has been difficult and I wanted to start a blog to promote myself, but I know how much work it is with sometimes a very low ROI because of competition. Since I joined linkedIn two weeks ago, I’ve been obsessed with reading all about social medias and how to market myself. My heart and my mind is no longer filled with the Lord and a desire to please Him.
    If I could just have the heart of George Muller and trust in Him for all our needs…
    Thanks Erin.
    Julie (Montreal area, Quebec, Canada)

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