HUGE Changes for Joyful Mothering

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It’s been on my heart and mind for a while and I finally know it’s time.

The Beginning of Joyful Mothering

You see, when I started Joyful Mothering back in 2010, I was just about to have my fifth child in eight years. I had been a pregnant or nursing mama for many months straight and it drained me during that season of my life. I was hormonal and exhausted all.the.time.

Leaving the house was a huge chore for me, so I left as little as possible unless my husband accompanied me. I struggled through some postpartum depression but I didn’t want to talk to anyone about it.

I changed diapers for 12 straight years; having 3 in diapers at once at some point. I was so busy and needed a safe outlet to be in community without actually needing to leave the house.

I had everything I ever wanted but I struggled to find joy. Thus, Joyful Mothering was birthed through that search. I needed a place to have accountability and a place to grow and release my feelings and thoughts.

As I began to come out of being a mother who birthed and breastfed babies, I began to see the sun again. It wasn’t that I was unhappy, it’s that I was hormonal. Lack of sleep and having your hormones completely out of balance can make a huge difference in one’s quality of life. I never took medications for it, though my doctor offered. I don’t believe it was so bad it warranted medication. I just struggled to function past survival mode.

Another Journey

When my youngest turned 2, we began the adoption process of our two daughters.  The stress and uncertainty involved in 18 months out of the 24 months it took to complete this process were almost just as bad as being hormonal. It was tough.

Our girls have now been home 4 months and they are adjusting very well. 

I have entered a new season of motherhood and life. I am no longer so focused on doing everything perfectly (a symptom of PPD); rather I am excited to get out in the world and teach my children about life and possibilities.

I’ve also learned that it’s OK to have more to me than being a mother. I am many things and I am not selfish for pursuing those things. I have also learned that moms can turn their children into idols unknowingly. While our children certainly require plenty of love and nurture, they also need space to grow independently when the time is right. And I cannot only look at life through the lens of motherhood alone. I have a husband and I have other parts of me in need of growth; not just who I am as a mother.

And some of this stuff I really needed to know during that season of my life.

So, what does all this have to do with the changes of Joyful Mothering?

Growing Out of, And Into

Well, I kind of feel like I’ve just grown out of this label; this brand. I don’t want to be seen as someone who has to constantly produce attributes having to do with joy, or even motherhood all the time. And I don’t like labels. Because there is more to me than both those things. And I am not a brand. I am a person. (Thank you Sophie Hudson).

So where does that leave me? Where does that leave this space?

As the new year approaches, I am going to be morphing this space into who I really am: Me.

And who am I?

I am a daughter of the most high God, so intimately He knows me by name, knows the hairs on my head, and knows the deepest parts of me.

I am wife to an amazing man, who has supported me in just being me and as a result has helped me grow into a better me; one who wants to reflect Christ.

I am mother to seven incredible children. A gift I don’t deserve and a role that I will never perfect. But everyday as I seek Him and hand their lives over to Him, He is shaping me and helping me shape them.

I am a writer. I am so much a writer that I’d rather text or email than talk on the phone. And writing is something I would like to pursue further, in more depth. I want to grow as a writer as I grow as a mother and in other areas of my life.

Joyful Mothering is getting a name change to: Christin Slade.

What the Future Holds

Because that’s who I am and there is only one of me and the only thing I need to grow into is who God molds me to be. I will no longer be narrowly focused on just learning to be a joyful mother.

So, what will I write about? The topics I write about won’t change, but their focus will. And my goal is still to serve you. I will simply serve you as fully me. Not just as a mother, but the whole of me, as a writer, a wife, and one who desperately longs for Christ.

I will continue to write about:

  • motherhood
  • homeschooling
  • homemaking
  • spiritual growth

But I will also being adding more:

  • marriage
  • writing
  • work at home mom
  • adoption

The latter list won’t fill my calendar, but they will be consistent additions.

Everything will be moved on my end, and really, you don’t have to do a thing. You won’t need to resubscribe or anything. Come January 1st, you will automatically land in my new space, ChristinSlade.com (yep, it’s already live and kicking). Right now it is solely my writing blog, but I am merging everything into one and giving it a face lift.

There is only one little thing you will need to do if you’re on Facebook, and that’s simply to “Like” the new page there. Easy peasy, you can click below.

 

I am so very excited about this new chapter and hope you will be, too. I feel like I’m stretching out my arms and waking up again.

I have other fun things to share with you that will be unfolding in the new year, but I think this is enough news for one day. ;)

Tomorrow I will be back with the Moms in the Word study on Psalm 37. I hope you’ll join me! Get your posts ready to link up. :)

How Many Followers Are Enough?

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How Many Followers Are Enough

A Little of My Story

I remember about five years ago I was hooked to a blogger who seemed to speak directly to me. I followed her for quite a while and she moved from Blogger to WordPress and her following grew.

When I first happened upon her blog, she had about 200 subscribers. As I watched her grow I tried to mimic her methods. Every time I would hit 100 subscribers more, it was exciting! I hit another milestone! But as I continued to watch her blog grow, it grew exponentially compared to mine and before I knew it she had 4000 subscribers and I was hovering around 500. I thought I would never catch up. But, catch up I did.

But by the time I hit 4000 subscribers, she was at 10,000.

So I asked myself, how many followers are enough? What is this really about anyways? A game? A race? A competition?

It really made me rethink my goals as a blogger, because if I kept up this unhealthy pace, I was never going to be satisfied. It’s not hard to get sucked into the numbers game, especially when you’re trying to build a business or write a book. Sometimes, it becomes our sole focus and we fail to see there are faces behind each of these followers. They aren’t just numbers; they are people.

Turn Your Followers Into Faces

Imagine this: take the number of subscribers you have, whether it’s 5 or 5,000 and place them into a room as people. You’re at the front as if you’re going to speak. It could be a small group, it could be a large convention, depending on where your subscriber count falls.

But look out into that room and see, there are people there who are listening to you. Let’s focus on the small group because that’s where so many bloggers are. Are the people in this group any less important than those at a large convention? They each have a story and they’ve come to your house (blog) to hear what you have to say; to see how you can pour into their lives and encourage them. They have given you permission to speak into their lives. This is HUGE friends. What a gift to be honored with!

What are we going to do with that? Are we going to look over their heads, waiting to see if more people will come through the door and as a result offer little of ourselves because we’re too distracted waiting for more people? I wonder, what do those in the room feel when we overlook them because they aren’t enough? When we focus on numbers, we miss the point. I’ve been there and chasing numbers will leave you constantly unfulfilled and dissatisfied; because it will never be enough.

Focus on your subscribers, those little Avatars or pen names, as people. Because there is someone behind that computer reading what you have to say, because for them, it matters.

 

We need to see subscribers as souls, not stats.

 

 

It’s the best thing I could have learned about blogging and the blogging community.

Be sure to see what this week’s writing prompt is by going here: Writing Prompt

Moms Write Challenge Intro

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Go beyond what you think you’re capable of and aim for that. One of the biggest challenges people face, especially mothers who are in the throws of motherhood, is allowing themselves to pursue their passions.

I’m not saying to try to find more time to do more when that time honestly doesn’t exist. What I’m challenging you with is to do something you don’t think you can do. Something you may even think yourself unqualified to do. Brush up your knowledge and do it anyways! You might surprise yourself.

How about submitting a piece to a magazine?

Lead a small group.

Write an eBook

Start a blog!

It could even be as simple as journaling for 15 minutes each morning or evening. Sometimes just getting started with something can be the greatest challenge!

Give yourself permission to create.

That creating can be writing, or painting, or scrapping. For me, it’s writing. I imagine for many of you, it’s writing as well. If you enjoy something other than writing, simply replace when I speak of “writing” with whatever it is you are passionate about creating.

I would love to consistently put challenges out for us mom writers throughout the year. Nothing completely out there, but far reaching enough to stretch us to become better than what we believe of ourselves–because God is capable.

Next week I’ll post the first challenge. Before then, I want you to give yourself permission to pursue your passion. Give yourself permission to create

Writing and Blogging Goals for the Remainder of 2012

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As we wrap up 2012, I’d love to make the most of it before ringing in the new year with new writing passion and fervor.

I’m writing an eBook right now and other than posting about twice a week here and 2-3 times per week at Joyful Mothering, all my writing efforts and focus will be invested in my eBook. I may not be able to roll this out for sale by the new year, but I can certainly have it in a position of editing by then.

I’ve already put a down payment on a cover — so I have purposefully committed myself to this project!

This eBook is geared toward mom writers and bloggers—those who are really in the thick of mothering who struggle to find 10 minutes together to breathe, let alone scratch out coherent thoughts.

Can you relate?

My writing goals for the remainder of 2012:

You do know reading is a large part of what makes a great writer, right? ;)

 

Tell me, what help do you need when it comes to wanting to write alongside being a mom? You don’t need to be writing a book to be a writer; you simply need to write.

What writing goals do you have? Or need to make?

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Hold Your Writing With an Open Hand

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This week, the mom in me has had to take over the writer in me. And isn’t that how it should be?

Sunday morning my toddler came down with a fever and proceeded to get worse. He had all the symptoms of the flu by Monday. Monday and into Tuesday morning, he didn’t want me to leave his side, and in many cases just wanted to be held–even while he slept.

Hosting Thanksgiving in our home had to be canceled and my house is currently in a position where a tornado has run through it and didn’t miss a room.

Where does writing fit in on days like these?

Writing still exists in the busy days of mothering, it simply takes a different form.

Maybe you only have time to jot down a few ideas that you don’t want to forget. Perhaps opening up a journal and writing unedited is all you find time for.

Experiencing life is what helps us write our stories. It’s what fills our words with emotion and depth. When we write from the core of what we know and who we are, this is where we find our voice.

You may write about a similar experience but no one can write it in your voice, and different people will grasp it best through your voice.

Being a writer and being disciplined to write everyday doesn’t necessarily mean you need to publish everyday. Just write. It also doesn’t mean that you cannot take time off when necessary. The goal is to pick it back up again as soon as you’re able. Don’t let too much time go by because you don’t want writing to become a distant passion.

In order to keep it alive, you have to keep your hand open to its possibilities.

How do we do that?

We are careful not to snuff out the life of our writing by hiding the spark that gives it its flame.

Living life.

Our lives must be lived so that we can write with passion.

Don’t close your hand so tight around your writing that you have to force out its life just so you can publish it. Keep it open to life’s possibilities and God’s direction.

Keeping it too close can actually kill it. How do we keep it close and keep tightened grip on it? By stressing when we haven’t had a chance to sit down to write because life happens. Or worse, ignoring the real needs of living life to choke out words that just aren’t ready to yet come out.

You don’t need to write a piece everyday that publishes on your blog. People prefer quality over quantity. It’s better to write one excellent piece per week, then 5 mediocre pieces.

In what ways have you tightened your grip on your writing?

A Place for Moms Who Write

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I’ve started a little something for mom writers. It’s called Moms Write {#MomsWrite}

If you’re a mom who likes to write or would like to write, but struggles with the juggling of homemaking, mothering, and trying to find writing time, this is for you. This is an ongoing space for encouragement, tips, and accountability for moms who write and want to keep mothering well through it all.

Come join us?

Moms Write {#MomsWrite}

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A while back God gave me a vision to start something, I don’t know, a community of sorts for mom writers. My blog Joyful Mothering brings in hundreds of moms in need of encouragement and direction. But not everyone writes. Not everyone has a blog and not everyone has a desire to blog.

Earlier this year I had a vision to create a separate site to connect mom writers and help them through services offered and a blogging community, which was birthed as Joyful Living Media. It wasn’t exactly what I was going for. Or maybe the timing was just off.

I watch the needs of bloggers through social media: Facebook, Twitter, and even Pinterest. I see what’s popular and I’ve kind of tucked ideas away in the back of my head {when really, I probably should have been writing them down}.

Moms need an outlet for creative expression–for many of us, that’s writing. For some it’s art or music. For me, it’s writing.

I know there are many moms out there who so badly want to write, but run into so many challenges and walls they simply can’t push through in order to get to that place–the place where pen meets paper or hands meet the keyboard.

It’s tough trying to juggle house work and meals and nap times and play time with the hopes of having a few minutes to sit down and scribble out some words.

If you have a deep desire to write, it’s because God has given you something important to say; a message to spread, and the best way for you to convey that message is through words.

I am a terrible phone talker. I stutter at times, mumble and fumble over my words. I don’t think “on my feet” through the spoken word as well as I do through the written word. That’s probably why speaking in public terrifies me.

So what is Moms Write? It’s really simple: moms who write.

It doesn’t matter what you write. You don’t have to write about being a mom on your blog or anything like that. You’re simply a mom who writes, or longs to write.

I have looked for a community that speaks specifically to mom writers about writing and have fallen short of finding anything that fits the vision I have.

I love reading blogs written by people of great influence–they typically have very large followings because of their knowledge and generosity to share it. But they also spend a lot more time than I have to reach that many people by making goals that can only be filled by a full time blogger. Even if that means paying someone to help them with the details.

The point is, as moms, some of who work outside the home, some of who homeschool, and everyone in between—it’s time for us to embrace the reality that we cannot set as many goals for our blog or writing as people who do it full time are able to.

But, we can instead learn to be consistent and watch the time we do set aside to spend on writing compound and take shape and be used by God.

Sally Clarkson spoke at Relevant (now Allume) in 2010 about blogging with integrity and it has always stuck with me. I cannot write for all the world to see about challenging mothers if I myself am not willing to be challenged. I write openly and honestly about my struggles as a mom, but my goal is never to stay there. My blog is very much an accountability for me as much as it is an encouragement and help for other moms who seem to go through the same things I do.

For me, writing is an important make up of who I am. It’s not just something I do. It’s a part of me. But writing has a time and a place and I must set aside time to make it happen.

That doesn’t mean I need to punch out a post every day of the week.

Maybe some of my writing won’t be public, but remain between me and God alone. Maybe that’s the case for you, too?

The goal is to set 15 minutes or 30 minutes or 60 minutes aside per day and just write. Maybe a blog post will come of it, maybe only part of one. The point is consistency.

The goal is also accountability, not just for writing, but for keeping mothering in the balance and Christ at the center.

You can find us chatting it up on Twitter under the hashtag #MomsWrite. Help me spread the word? You can pin this post, share it on Facebook and/or Twitter.

And of course don’t forget to subscribe below so you don’t miss any updates on Moms Write!

Welcome to the Moms Write community! Woot!

Allume – the Best Year Yet

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I have had the incredible privilege of being able to attend Allume every year it has run (which began as The Relevant Conference).

Last year I set out to the {then} Relevant conference ready to be all about myself. Let me tell you, I left that conference feeling terrible. I left empty and completely unfulfilled. The conference was fine. It was beautiful! But my soul was screaming at me for being so selfish.

But this year was different.

This year I was part of the Allume team–and at first glance you might think that something spectacular because of the title. You may think of me as some “big wig” superstar.

I’m not.

I’m just me.

What made this year so unique and so rewarding for me was the awesome privilege of being able to serve you.

Allume is a fantastic avenue to connect Christian women bloggers and I am so passionate about it’s vision, that being a part of it is  more than exciting for me.

God used Relevant last year to speak to me about my own gifts. I’m a writer, yes. I love to string words together and organize my thoughts and ideas. But I also enjoy {in a strange kind of way} organizing details and working administrative projects. It’s something I discovered of myself in high school.

Through a series of emails, God made a working connection between Sarah Mae and I and the next thing I know, I’m an administrative assistant (er, crackerjack) on the Allume team.

I am not in this position because I wanted to be part of a “big name”. I’m in it because I wanted to be part of a “big God” and I don’t believe it was an accident that He placed me here.

So, working behind the scenes and answering, literally, thousands of emails throughout the course of the year, and then seeing it all come alive as each team member did their part was nothing short of amazing.

The best part? Serving you. I have never had a more rewarding year, and being able to put faces to the email addresses I’ve conversed with was just wonderful. To hug the beautiful necks of ladies I had worked with on blog consults and have conversed with on Twitter and in Facebook groups was such a gift to me, that sometimes I’d grab women in passing whom I’d already hugged to hug them again! I just wanted to soak up everyone!

Furthermore, I got to meet and work with the amazing sponsors throughout the months and see their hearts behind their ministries. Each company represented at Allume is much more than a company alone. They have great vision for serving others, too. That’s what makes them such a great fit for Allume. Our goal is one in the same; to serve.

Thank you to those of you who stepped out and came up to me to say “Hello”. I really appreciate it and am sometimes really bad at recognizing people from their photos!! Apparently that’s not the case for me since people recognized me even when I didn’t have my name tag on! In fact, Sheila Gregoire shocked me by knowing me and my blog name!

So what is my take away from Allume this year?

Serving others is much more rewarding then serving myself.

That may be an obvious truth to some, but for me, it took real experience and regret for me to learn that.

Ann Voskamp is not wrong when she says you need to stoop lower to get the reward. That’s where it is…it’s not in reaching for a platform of people who will serve you (by making your numbers climb)–instead it’s reaching out to the people right in front of you to serve them. I reached out to help Sarah Mae and she accepted.

Many people throughout the weekend spoke the same truth in different ways. Trina Holden talked about fully serving the people already on your blog rather than going out to find more.

This space is meant to serve you.

My vessel, my life is meant to serve others so that I might worship Him.

21 Ways Postponed

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Happy October!!!

So I ordered my book over a week ago and it still has not arrived yet! So I will be postponing 21 Ways to Connect With Your Kids until next week.

If you are interested in joining in, you can sign up here. This will give you some time to order the book if you desire to join in!

You can also check out the awesome 31 Days series that bloggers all around are joining in on and writing up wonderful posts for. The possibilities are endless!

Also starting today is “A Holiday Ready Heart” that you’ll want to check out!

Have a wonderful Monday!!

Photo Credit

How to Build a Tribe

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Today I’m at Allume talking about tribes, what they are, and how you can build one. Come on over? :)

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