I think I figured it out! What this is, what I’m doing, or want to be doing. It kinda started with the show Fixer Upper.
If you haven’t seen the show, well… it’s definitely something special. It shows home renovations done by a sweet married couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines, living in Waco, Texas with their 4 (5th is on the way!!) children. In the show they seem so kind and completely authentic. They really appear to genuinely care about every person and every aspect of their business. It’s evident that they take great care to make sure every detail of the homes they create are perfect for each family they work with. Their work ethic is reminiscent of my grandparents time, something rare these days (in my opinion). I’ve made a point to follow their journey through social media since I first started watching them on HGTV. Everything I’ve seen from them has been just so inspiring!! As Christians, they’re not afraid to talk about their faith, but their not weird about it either. They have a gift in being able to relate to all people. Isn’t that what God wants us to do?!
In December, I received both of their books, “The Magnolia Story” and “Capital Gaines” as Christmas gifts. It didn’t take me long to devour both books! Reading the story about their road to success made me want to work hard, made me want to be brave. In both books, there’s an emphasis on going for your dreams, you only live once, what have you got to lose?! It all resonated with me. I was already living the life I’d always dreamed of by being home with my children, being married to the most wonderful man and having a happy home. But there was something else. After reading their books, after watching the Gaines family touch so many lives and be an inspiration to so many, I felt a stirring.
Ten years ago, I attended my very first women’s retreat with my church. Danna Demetre was the guest speaker for the weekend. She’s still an international author and speaker who encourages women to find balance in their lives, especially with their health. I was a brand new first time momma, and had brought my 4 month old son with me to the retreat. I remember sitting there with all of my new church friends, my happy baby in my arms, feeling super excited and completely inspired to get healthy! A healthy body, mind and soul. Danna was relatable, passionate and really wanted to help people. I went home from that retreat and really did make changes. She inspired me to take charge of my life and gave me the courage and the confidence to get it done. I knew, that weekend that I wanted to be that kind of person. I wanted to inspire and encourage too, and on a large scale. But, I felt like God was telling me, not yet. Wait for a bit.
Ugh! Waiting is so hard! Especially when you’re young and an easily excitable person, like me! But, I knew I needed to wait. I lacked maturity, wisdom ,experience and knowledge. To be clear, I still have lots of growing to do in all of these areas, but I’ve gained a bit of each over the years. After reading the books written by the Gaines’, and I felt that stirring again, I knew it was finally time!
My first thought was that I was going to start a home design business. We had just finished a home renovation project and that’s all I could really think about in the moment. It was fun, satisfying and completely romanticized in my head! But, I was going for it anyway! I started a blog, then a Facebook page and an Instagram account. The three free ways I could think to get things going. The blog started with “Home Sweet Home” and “The Hillside Home”. After that, I just started writing about whatever I wanted because those first two posts were just about all I had to offer regarding home design. But, I liked this writing thing. And then I remembered wanting to make a bigger impact, wanting to inspire and encourage people in the same way I felt inspired and encouraged at that first women’s retreat. I found myself writing about God’s influence in my life. How did home decor fit into all of this?! My Instagram account is filled with vignettes and different shots of my staged home. On my blog I write about homeschooling, decor, God, life, feelings, cooking, being a mom, being a woman, a Christian. I was feeling like a hot mess! Just recently though, it’s started to make some sense.
Instagram is a whole crazy world that I didn’t even know existed at all! I can definitely see how social media can affect self esteem, self worth and a feeling of belonging. Especially with teens or insecure people, or really even secure people. If you don’t tell yourself that it truly doesn’t matter how many “likes” or “follows” you get, you could easily fall into an obsessive trap! In starting Instagram, (or IG… I’m really not a fan of acronyms, is everyone just too lazy to say or spell out the words?! That’s okay, I’ll comply) I began by following like minded interior stylists. (that’s what it’s called when you like to style and restyle then take pictures of your home, who knew!?) I have to preface by saying that these ladies on IG in the interior stylist arena, are incredible! They’re so nice!! They aren’t afraid to be themselves and they are uber talented!! But, at first I was super intimidated. Some of these stylists and designers have 10’s 20’s 40’s or more thousands of people following them! It’s easy to feel like I definitely don’t belong, to start doubting everything about myself. Then it hit me! This is why I want to do this! This is why I want to connect with people! In a world that is so engulfed in social media people are feeling more alone than ever. More than ever, people need to hear and see positivity. I don’t care how many follows or likes I get. I will keep reaching out, because if I can make any kind of positive difference in just one life, it will be worth it!
So how does this all fit together? Instagram is the place it’s at. That’s where you connect with people. I love home decor and pretty things. IG is the perfect place for me to build a following, start relationships. My blog is the place where I’ll pour out my heart. Yes, I’ll write about more than just home decor, or styling. It all fits in because home is the central theme, Home is where life happens, where families and friends gather. Home is where I homeschool my kids, where I cook our meals where we learn and grow. “Home” can pull it all together.
I think this is what I’ve been waiting for. All those years ago when I wanted to be like Danna, to inspire and encourage, maybe even be the one up there in front of everyone. I think it’s time to start. Maybe the inspiration given to me by reading Chip and Joanna Gaines’ books was God’s way of nudging me. Maybe reigniting the passion I have for home decor and design through our renovation combined with this stirring to do more is a sign that it’s time. I want to be a light for people! That’s it! That’s all this is. However that’s accomplished and on whatever scale it happens to be on is fine with me. Hopefully I can encourage others to follow their dreams, or be a light to someone feeling lonely, or even just inspire through some home styling concept. I’ll just keep listening for which direction God is nudging me and prayerfully follow. With home bringing everything together.