I came across this photo just today and was reminded of my old life at the big house–the one with livestock, raised beds, plenty of room to roam…and the various burdens of trying to keep it all going. I remember when Tom and I came to the conclusion that we needed to step back. Tom called it an “Everyone out of the pool!” time. Time to stop, step out, check the water, and reassess if all of this was really what we were supposed to be doing because there were times we felt like we were drowning. So we sold or gave away all of the animals, sold the McMansion we built from scratch, and downsized into an uninsulated little bungalow with major water problems (both coming and going) for two years. Now we live on a quiet suburb street in a nice rental, but there are no garden spaces to speak of and certainly no goats allowed.
It was the right decision. But now and again there pines a certain homesickness for those chickens and some dirt under my fingernails.
During that transition time, I sort of felt like I lost my bearings, especially when it came to blogging. It was easy for me to blog about homesteading at the old house because there was always something going on, in my mind, worth blogging about. In our new house, Tom would try to encourage me (“Write about the pie you baked!”) but my response was usually the same: (a) no one wants to hear about my pie and (b) someone’s already said it better than me, anyhow. And the thing is…both are still true in many ways. But I’ve come to realize that (a) it’s not about the pie and (b) it’s not about trying to be anyone else, either, and there’s nothing new under the sun, not even pie.
Another hiccup happened along to the way to where I am now, maybe a speed bump, I don’t know. I got weary of criticism. I tried to *monetize* my blog and the backlash was immediate and hurtful. Maintaining a website takes real dollars, and I suppose not every one knows (or cares) about that. In the end, I decided I still wasn’t ready or willing to deal with the negativity, so I simply slowed my writing. All because a small handful felt not only compelled to keep reading what they apparently didn’t like or agree with, but to let me know about it.
But, you know, slowly, I learned some stuff. Like: I’m still me, and I still have the blessed gift of observation and of being able to–sometimes–connect the dots in meaningful ways. My different locations or circumstances may change me in some way (and they certainly do!), but they don’t take away the very real presence of God, my family, and Holy Spirit desires within me to glorify God regardless of where I am. And I still like to write.
I also learned I can’t change people I find hurtful. Just because they don’t like me or what I write doesn’t mean I am any less beloved or that my writing matters less. It means we see the world in different ways–it doesn’t mean they can tell me to stop writing because I may say something disagreeable (to them).
Lastly, I learned that my deep seated goals haven’t changed a bit. I still desire to follow Jesus. I still find satisfaction in the writing itself and am willing to pay for the platform. I still desire to cultivate a home that is creative, happy, and full of life. I still value making deliberate decisions on how I spend my time and am still willing to fight the battle against draining and depressing outlets (usually a screen of some sort). I reject that being “busy” is a sign of productivity, and instead want to pay attention to my routines and rituals that let me not only get a lot done, but in ways that are relaxed and accessible.
So here I am. I’m not the same blogger I was a dozen-plus years ago, but my hope is still the same: that what I share will be a pleasure to write and that someone, somewhere, will be blessed and encouraged by it. Below are some pics to catch you all up with where I’ve been. And if you’re new here, hello…I’m Keri Mae.
I traded dirt under my nails for paint.
Just because I can’t grow flowers doesn’t mean I can’t draw and paint them.
I taught myself how to weave because I appreciate handmade.
I dream of a handmade home, through and through.
This is the latest project off my loom. It didn’t come out how I wanted, but there’s still beauty there. (Do you get me?)
I’m still a herbalist and I’ve been studying homeopathy like crazy.
I love connecting all of the botanical dots
and keeping my family healthy, too!
Sometimes my art is a mess. But it’s still lovely to me.
I guess attitude and expectation matter a lot in many areas of life.
I’m still taking classes or reading books
or learning about so many things in many ways.
I crave to cultivate the spices on this page throughout my days.
Perhaps most importantly, I’m still just a mom, just like most of you.
I’m still changing diapers.
I get it and I affirm with you the importance and blessing of womanhood
and motherhood and of spending our time well in it all.
We’re still podcasting when we can have some quietness in a home with nine children (hahaha). Otherwise, you can subscribe to my blog to keep up or find me on Instagram where I am “mini-blogging” with people who share the same goal and purpose I have: to glorify God through a deliberate and simple life. Thank you for following along in my journey. I’m glad for the traveling companions.