At the beginning of this year, I was hopeful, but sort of terrified. I was just a few months in to my blog turning into a business with global reach, going on Good Morning America, ABC News, The Today Show, talking to Jenny McCarthy in my living room, and being featured in every major news site across the world.
I was getting used to (more like trying to get used to) being exposed to the world of virality, living in a fish bowl, and cyber bullies. We were moving out of our little rental in Northwest Arkansas and gearing up to embark on our full-time travel journey in our camper. So much has happened, so many things have changed. I'm looking back on this year and feeling shocked.
How does so much happen in such a brief period of time?
I thought it might be fun to talk about what happened, what's changed, and what's coming in the new year in the different areas of my life and the blog. I've been getting lots of questions on Instagram from you guys about what is going on with the podcast, why the blog has been so silent, and all that stuff. So let's catch up a bit.
Let's start with the blog.
To be honest, things have been silent here for longer than I planned. What started as a "quiet month" in October turned into a nearly-three-month hiatus. I needed a break, quite simply.
I was burned out and writing had turned into a source of stress instead of the relief it used to be. I've always struggled with spotlights, being seen, and being judged, and I think knowing my posts were being seen by so many people all of a sudden freaked me out. I'm a very vulnerable, open person when I write. What used to be 350 people exploded into millions and that really effected me. Coupled with exhaustion, traveling full time with four kids, and lots of life changes, I just needed to press pause on blogging and not share everything for a bit.
All in all, the time of rest served me really well. I was able to take a step back, get some perspective, and make some decisions and changes that are going to be better all around. I found a love for Instagram Stories and began sharing my day-to-day life there since I was writing less, and now that's turned into a super fun community that I look forward to sharing with each day. I got lots of new ideas during that time of no blogging, and God restored me in many ways.
I'm excited and expectant instead of exhausted now.
Your Uncluttered Home now has THOUSANDS and thousands of students enrolled, and lives are legit being changed every week - it's absolutely incredible and invigorating to see! I wake up every day with the best job in the world. I love helping you let go of the clutter that's been weighing you down.
I launched Unburdened - a mini course for mothers who are overwhelmed to the extreme and can't focus on just their homes just yet - and it now has over a thousand mamas enrolled. Crazy!
I launched The Purpose Society - a monthly membership site for moms who want community as they reach their goals.
Brian and I started and quickly stopped a family vlog - totally not our thing!
I launched Made For This Mom with Kendra Hennessy, and we turned our collaborative project Rock Yo' Mom Life into its own entity.
Look at all that good right there! Ahh thank you Jesus!
We grew and grew and GREW.
I started this year with two part-time sub-contractors helping me with emails and social media. I thought that was a lot! God must have been laughing when I thought that...
We are ending this year with SIX contractors working for us plus a full team of creatives managing Facebook and Pinterest.
We were able to take our friend (who's also an amazing husband and father) out of a terrible job that was sucking the life out of him, exceed his pay, and bring him over to do what he loves and work for us from the comfort of his home as our designer.
We were able to fly my Chief of Staff from North Carolina to San Diego and spend three days in a seaside hotel and plan out the entirety of 2018 while also figuring out how to get my weekly work hours from 38 to 6. SIX!
This year, I left "blogger" behind me and stepped into being a CEO. It's been dang hard.
Firing people sucks. Giving bad news is so hard. Laying down the law feels weird sometimes.
But you know what? This business isn't mine, it's God's, and I have a responsibility to run it well. I am still learning and have such a long way to go, but I do feel like I'm getting the hang of this more and more every week.
What's changing in the new year?
Last month, Kelsey and I made the announcement in our final episode together that The Purposeful Home Podcast is becoming The Purpose Show (with just me) and Kelsey's starting her own podcast next year.
It's been weird and sad, but also incredibly exciting. The split needed to happen and was covered in prayer (Kelsey and I are friends and our relationship had nothing to do with this decision), but it's always more fun to record with another person.
The Purpose Show has been getting situated behind the scenes and it's been so fun! There's been lots of branding, photo-shooting, planning, editing and recording.
I will be producing two episodes a week, and a special Friday segment with Kendra Hennessy is making its way into the schedule in February.
The new show launches January 1st with new episodes every Monday and Wednesday.
One thing you can really look forward to with the new podcast is the fact that I get pretty vulnerable and am opening up a lot to share stories and experiences I've never shared anywhere else, including the story I've had the hardest time sharing - the story of the blog and Brian leaving his job and how my business saved our family. I end that episode literally sobbing into the microphone, and I can't wait for you to hear it.
If you were subscribed to The Purposeful Home podcast on iTunes, you won't need to do anything to find The Purpose Show - it's the same thing on there, I'm just taking over it. If you're not subscribed and you want to be, click here. (you can still listen to all of me and kelsey's episodes, but just subscribe and you'll see my new show when it starts! i'm just taking over the old show)
What's going on with us...
Our family has gone through so much this year, and for the first time I don't mean that in a negative or difficult way. Of course, we had hard days and problems, but this year was really great! It was our first year in the green pastures God promised us a long time ago after wandering in the desert in a lot of ways.
We pursued our dream of traveling full-time while also taking on sort of a dare and seeing how small our family could live. We did our traveling in a 26-foot travel trailer with no pop-outs. You can read my very honest post about it here.
We prayerfully decided to stop homeschooling and enrolled the kids in school in August. That was hard and weird and a relief all at once. I'll be really honest with you... I've cried a lot, questioned myself a lot, and run to the feet of Jesus a lot.
Here's what I know:
Sometimes God gives you peace and asks you to do something, and it's our humanness that causes us to feel like the decision is final.
He never told me homeschooling was over for me. I took the peace I felt about public school and read it that way - final. Now that we're on winter break and I've run to Him a thousand times with tears on my face, I see that I needed my kids in school for a period of time. I needed to work extra for a little while. I needed to get the business ahead of schedule. I needed it to be able to run without me every day. I needed to hire and train people to take over so that I could get back to my roots and handle homeschooling and business owning at the same time.
Before we hired six new people, I was overwhelmed. I couldn't run my business and do all the work I was doing AND home educate four kids at the same time. There are only so many hours in a day and there weren't enough for me.
Having the kids in school was a relief and a wake up call for me. It gave me the time and space I needed and it lit a fire under me that had me moving quickly, delegating everything I could, and working hard towards a meaningful goal.
We will be getting back to homeschooling very soon (I'll share more with you when the time is right), but my message for you readers for now is this:
Don't put your own meaning or limitations on what God tells you. Just listen.
2018, here I come.
I am so freaking excited for this year, you guys. There's going to be so much good!
Don't think that the blog is going to die now that the podcast is my main source of content. Each episode is being transcribed into a blog post, so you can still read my voice if you prefer. I'll also be writing posts that aren't podcast episodes as the inspiration strikes (like right now... it feels so good to be inspired and not forced!).
I have big goals both in business and in my personal life. I've found myself slipping back into some old habits that don't make me feel very good, and I'm really looking forward to breaking them again and stepping into more joy in those areas!
I am so grateful for the place that Brian and I are in as a married couple after this year. We celebrated ten years of marriage in September and I feel like it was a pivotal turning point for us. Something just clicked and we are more in sync than ever. God is so good. It has NOT always been this way! We have a ton of episodes on marriage coming in February and lots of them feature the two of us talking together about this kind of stuff!
We have some big announcements coming soon about our family and where we're headed and how we're growing in the coming months. There's just a lot of GOOD, and no matter what happens or how life tosses and turns as it always does, there is always grace, love, hope, and the joy of Christ.
Merry Christmas, my friends and happy new year!