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?

A Little of My Story

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.

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.

Stretching Me Into Hospitality

Allume 2014 That's what God has been working in me. Hospitality.

This weekend I went to the Allume Conference and our theme was hospitality. Hospitality doesn't come natural to me...I don't often think of unique and creative (or even common) ways to serve those coming into my home. Hospitality is a non-negotiable, but I don't think it comes naturally to everyone.

That's not to say I don't want to welcome people in; it's just I often freeze with what to do next once they're in!

Allume challenged me this year; more than any other year I've attended (five years now). God is stirring this community and growing it and it has been so beautiful to watch unfold.

I love the web; it is a wonderful tool in many, many ways. It brings connections together and if allowed, can blossom into something tight and not easily broken. The catch is, we have to allow it to go beyond the screen.

There is nothing like hugging the neck of someone, skin to skin, heart to heart. But words are important, too, which is why I feel like I was born to write. But as a writer, we have to stop and look up, and often.

Unfortunately, I haven't fostered my writing much at all. I haven't allowed it space to grow and become better. I may write, but I'm not learning how to write better.

After this weekend, I've been inspired with a fresh vision and am really looking forward to what 2015 will bring. Not just to my blog, but to my community, my home, my life.

With the holidays upon us, I'll have plenty of opportunity to practice hospitality among friends, so that when the opportunity arrives to open my door to people whom I may not know very well, I can meet them with a better foundation.

I came home with a stack of fabulous books, signed up to become a Mary & Martha consultant and want to invite you into the next adventure with me.

For the next two weeks, She Reads Truth is doing a devotional series on Hospitality. I would love the Moms in the Word Community to follow along as I gather our next study. That's where I'll be reading and studying for the next two weeks. So be sure to head on over there to read Day 1 and follow along.

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I met the beautiful women behind She Reads Truth this weekend, and let me tell you, they are a-mazing. Beautiful women with a beautiful vision to help other women dig deep into His Word. Women after my own heart -- which is to be after His own heart. ;)

Also, if you're interested in listening to the keynote speakers from Allume, you can do so for FREE right here. My favorite was Shauna Niequist. And then Sophie Hudson.

Why You Should Be on Google Plus

You're probably wondering why you would even want to become acquainted with Google+. If you're reading this blog, chances are you yourself are a blogger and are interested in learning more about how to expand your reach. We know that social media is a way to connect with community but sometimes I think we go about it all wrong. Or think that all social media is created equal and functions as such. 3 Reasons You Should Be on G+

Why Google+?

While bringing people back to our blogs is certainly a perk of social media, that is not their main function. Many people don't understand the point of Google+ or are turned off by it simply because not very many people are there. I assure you, it is growing.

Today, I want to share with you 3 reasons you want to be a part of Google+.

Investing in G+ now puts you ahead of the game.

The very fact that everyone is not on Google+ yet is the same reason you should be there. People will come and you want to be ahead of them by having a presence established and having a basic understanding of how Google+ works.

The goal behind Google+ is similar to that of other social media avenues; to build community. But there are other perks that go with Google+ that other social media doesn't offer.

Google Authorship

What is Google Authorship and why you should care about it? 

Authorship offers you authority over your content. It tells those searching you are an established and credible writer and it allows you to break through all the other noise. It puts your content above those without Authorship establishment within searches.

If you are serious about wanting to get your content and your brand out there, this is something you cannot ignore. But don't be intimidated, I will help walk you through what I know, step-by-step, week by week, and share other informational articles with you from Google+ gurus such as Jimmie Lanley.

Meet Fellow Bloggers/Writers

Right now, many of those who utilize Google+ are people like you, who are working at expanding their reach and growing their brand. They're your colleagues. This is an excellent place to learn from others, ask questions, and be better at what you do: blog/write/run a small business.

You may or may not find your audience there. For example, if you are a blogger who's audience is moms who mainly read blogs, but don't blog, you are not likely to find them on Google+...yet.

Just Remember...

Not every social media platform is designed to function the same way with the same goals in mind. Google+ is a vital avenue for connecting, but it may not be with your own audience. Furthermore, connection on Google+ is only part of the story. The main reason I would encourage you to be on Google+ is to authenticate you as a blogger/writer. This is where Google is looking for you - not on Yahoo! search or Bing or SwagBucks. Google is the most used search engine, therefore that's where your credibility will count the most.

In subsequent posts, I will share how to set up your profile, Authorship, and tips to begin engaging.

For now, I encourage you to go to Google+ and just browse it. Familiarize yourself with how to navigate the platform and play with the search bar. You can search hash tags, people, communities and more.

If you have a gmail account, you are already linked to Google+, you just need to fill out your profile information. But don't wait to begin mingling and listening in on conversations!

Follow my Social Media Tips board on Pinterest for more great resources.