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!