the honesty post

Wow, has perspective altered. We have two kids. Lady Poppy has changed me. I thought I was a good mom with Ace, but now I know I am. I hope to explain that to you in a post down the road but for now, that will suffice. More than ever, I feel the pull of influence—parents offer the singlemost influential relationship in an individual’s life, and I want my influence (including my mishaps) to form their characters well.  I’m terrified to raise a girl. She smiles for me constantly with her wee 8-week-old smile, and I can see already how much she looks to me for reassurance, explanation, and abiding love.

These first two months of lady Poppy's life gave me time to reflect -- thank God one can always think regardless of one's activity. I've had little time for much beyond caring for the family and attempting to care for the house. Which is expected, of course, and is still quite lovely.

Without time to blog I found myself thinking about it at regular intervals.

I've experienced a bit of an identity question, asking the obvious why blog? I follow a number of talented, creative, and interesting women who blog (oddly, most of whom are Mormon) and found I can't compare. Almost all of them use the blog as a source of income and/or evangelization.

I've certainly felt pressure to monetize the blog. I swear, it’s the everybody’s doing it for the 25-to-30-something woman. Getting recognized, becoming an expert, being invited to a speaker panel at some blog summit in Utah or Arizona or Texas, have a constellation named after you. Or I find it becomes a source of additional income for an otherwise not employed woman. Usually connected to an Etsy shop or something. That would be nice. Bring a little income to the family so we can have a few nights out here and there or so I don't have to feel like I'm taking from the family to buy skincare products and pretty clothes. What mom doesn't want skincare products and pretty clothes? No one becomes a mom and says I want to look haggard. Ha.

I’ve never promoted the blog. I’ve read a great deal about how one promotes a blog, how successful some have been at growing their blogs through promotion, etc.

But most of my friends don’t even know this exists. Odd, right? 

I considered hiring a marketing company like this one or creating a new product to sell, and then I thought about closing it down altogether. I’ve run a few promotions, a giveaway back in March through another’s blog, and I got a Twitter account, but I’d rather read, drink, or play than update my twitter and facebook accounts. I feel so much pressure to have our readership explode, but I don’t entirely desire that it do so. 

I’d rather have regular, interesting conversation with you all than simply grow the numbers. I started blogging for community and creativity in the first place.

I then considered the content of our conversation. One consistent piece of advice I read again and again is blog about your passion. I'm going to take some time to settle on that topic or those topics that I want to bring into the conversation. Even if these don't enter into our conversation, the following intentions play heavily in the next year of my life.

I want to spend the next year learning how to cook. Not how to be a culinary master, but to be a master of my own kitchen and its produce. I want to better understand words like blanche and gazpacho and to prepare their recipes with ease. I want to grow rosemary, basil, oregano and peppermint indoors and to use them regularly in our meals. I want to offer daily vegetables in tasty, pleasurable ways as soups, with dressings, roasted, and dipped. I want to serve our lunch and dinners in makeshift courses so we appreciate the singular taste of each recipe rather than, as has been our typically American custom, throwing them all on the plate to be “enjoyed” willy-nilly, thus missing how separate yet complimentary each thing is. I want to take time for meals and let our dinners become the standard location for our family conversation. And unless I’m pregnant, I want to drink wine or beer with every dinner and save water for those hourly thirsts.

I want to enjoy what I read and let it exercise my mind and form my character. Having been raised to savor reading, I’ve always been the type of person to take in what I read. Books of all kinds act as little mentors in my life, be it fiction or non-fiction. I get about as much time as any parent of young children receives these days.  But it’s worth it. I often joke with my friends Colleen and Father Joe that while Colleen can’t spell most words, she knows exactly what they mean and how to use them in a sentence, whereas I can spell any word but and I’ll use them in sentences, but I often have no idea if I’m using them correctly. Or even what they mean. Reading expands my limited vocabulary, engages my little gray cells, and serves as an impetus to reflection and better formation of my character.

I want to establish and maintain a flourishing, clean, uncluttered, sanctuary of a home for our little family and our friends. Many of you caught the making it home series, and as the homelife/housekeeping is still in its infant stages, I’d like to continue to relay the whole learning process—trials, mishaps, and successes.

I want to love and, thus, to discipline* our children and to live my marriage vows. As my friend and Compass speaker recently taught, I want to build my children’s character, not ego. I want to encourage their awe and wonder, their desire for adventure, their desire for silence and stillness. I want to make them things they can use for play or for learning or both. And I want a great marriage, not a mediocre one. And I want to better discipline my life of faith which has waned the past few years.

I want to bring beauty and peace into our home, and I'm ready to be patient in becoming a person who does this well. 

I want to finish and post all the partially completed pages! Before Poppy arrived I was mad at work adding some great pages and series for the blog, so I'm very interested in seeing them up and active.

All this to say, I want to hear from you, so I’m taking off from the blog for the rest of May - June. What?! I want to discern and solidify just what this blog is about so that when I return we’ll have something great to talk about.

Which brings me back to you, readers. I blog because I enjoy it, love it, but as it is a medium of communication, I want to hear from you as often as possible So I’m going to bribe you to start. Yup. Bribe. I'll tell you all about it when we return in July.

Here's to a great summer start and a new beginning!



  1. Just want to comment to say your blog inspires me all the time, Jen! Especially moving into my house and trying to make it a home, giving myself to the others in my life, creating joy, and wanting to live deeply.... wish you were closer so you could come over for coffee. :)

    And so I could see your little ones!!! Sarah is coming to Milwaukee this weekend you know and we're trying to make it to Chicago in July. So let me know if you will be around, if we can see you!

  2. Does this mean I have to stalk you? Cuz I will. I'd rather get together with you in person as well. And I want to hear all about you being a great mom! Hugs.

  3. Still stalking. Miss you already. HOw many times do I have to do this?

  4. You guys are great! Lindsay, you're so good to Sarah and this makes me very happy. Jen, let's just hang out. Mornings are better and we get extra chickenbutts if we can walk so Isla can sleep in my Moby. (gosh, I'm back to the Moby).

    In the meantime, I'm still pondering blog life...

  5. where are you when i need decorating advice??? need tips on painting woodwork and trim...

  6. Jen, try this: http://thishawksnest.blogspot.com/2010/04/weve-finally-settled-into-green-room.html for our post about trim work. We used Sherwin Williams paint, and I would stick with higher quality paint for all trim. We used an oil-based SW primer after sanding ALL the trim (oh yeah, it took a while) and then did 2-3 THIN coats of paint. Though you can technically do additional coats the same day as the first, I recommend waiting a full 24 hours between to ensure curing. The few places we have chips are in rooms we painted in one day. I hope that helps! I can always do another post on it if it would help!


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