April 16, 2010

some thoughts and confessions.

Something I've learned over the years... that perfect family whose blog you read or live next door to or see at church? Yeah, they aren't perfect.

Lately I'm amazed [and saddened] at the friends and acquaintances that have been struggling, divorcing, hurting... often they are the ones I'd least expect.

I've learned that instead of wishing my life was like theirs and what I think they have that I don't, I should just be minding my own business and working on my own life. And take what I do have. And make it better.

I find myself in church on Sunday mornings and wish that the feeling I feel there didn't escape me when I leave. Because sometimes, oftentimes, it does.

And I slip back into the me I was the week before. I'm working on this. Because I love that feeling I have at church. I finally (maybe for the first time, definitely in a long time) feel like I've gotten the church thing right. And I'm laying down my trust again.

Sometimes I get behind on laundry, or just want to take a break from cloth diapering, and so I put Ivy in disposable diapers. And I don't feel guilty about it either.

I really don't feel like we're going to have another baby. But I want to write about my desire for another baby, because my body, my soul really does desire it. I'm just not sure my mind does. And so I'll keep writing about it. Because it makes me feel better when I do.

I am not going to BlogHer this summer because I don't want to leave Ivy and my family, really, for that long. And even if I could take someone to help with her full-time while I'm there, I don't want to go. And even if my whole family could come, I don't want to go. Because then I'd want to be with my family and not at some blog conference. When I really think about it, what I want to do most of all? Be here at home with my family. And so I will.

My house is small and very cluttered. I am frustrated at my every turn, so many things need their own place but instead are on the floor or crammed into some makeshift home for them waiting for me to figure out where I should put it someday, I imagine when the kids are all in school or old enough for me to do something for longer than twenty minutes at a time.

My thoughts are much like that, too many to fit in my head, very cluttered. I've got some great ideas up there but they are thrown on the floor of my mind, waiting for me to put them where they go.

Today I'm going to buy a new shower curtain, and new towels to hang on the towel rack. And maybe! even a new tissue cube cover. One room at a time, I think, and starting small with the bathroom is totally do-able for me, today.


  1. Steph.

    This is a post that needs to be read by all. I liked you before but uh, now? I REALLY like you.

    And I LOVE buying new towels. I always do little things for my bathrooms because it makes me feel kinda together for a minute.

    Happy towel-buying!!


  2. What a great lesson learned re:the perfect family! I "learned" that lesson a while ago, but need to remind myself of it every once and awhile.

    This was a terrific post. Have fun picking out your new towels. I always find it so enjoyable. And pick out a special one for you. I got my on sale at Anthro!

  3. Girl are you reading my thoughts again! Ha! I feel the exact same way. There is no place I would rather be than at home w/ my family. I feel so overwhelmed right now w/ everything and all my clutter. I need to remind myself of what you wrote, to take it a small piece at a time. Great post. Hope y'all have a great weekend!

  4. I love reading your blog, and I really love your heart. You are always a huge encouragement to me in so many ways!

  5. Steph, selfishly, I am sad you will not be at BlogHer because you are a bright and lovely light every time I see you. Truly. I have a little ache-y spot in my heart right now thinking about BH without you.

    But I have always admired how well you stand firm on your priorities and are able to rock this space on your own terms.

    I have a post drafted that is related to this... in the vein of doing things on your own terms in order to make your life the one you want to live (not live up to what you perceive in others).

    Love you much, Christine

  6. Hi Stephanie!

    I'm not going to BlogHer for much the same reason. I'll just be getting back home after a week in Colorado and Wyoming with my husband and my boys. Love NYC, but not planning to jump on another plane so soon after vacation and so close to school starting again.

    Love this post.

  7. Great post Steph! My mind is like that much of the time - you are not alone!

    In the past couple of months I've found a balance that I've been chasing for months - getting church right and walking in His ways has made all the difference...one of my favorite sermon lines is "not trying to find a balanced life, but a Christ centered one."

    Good for you for focusing on your faith and family!

  8. Okay, first of all, I love buying new stuff for the bathroom too!!!

    Now, that that's out of the way... I am so glad I read this today. A reminder is always good.

    You are so true, all of it. None of us are perfect. All we can do is have faith in God, work hard, and love our family. Sometimes everyone else's life looks better than ours, but if we really stopped to look at ours, we would see a lot more than at first glance.

    I seriously LOVE reading you.

    You are so right!

  9. Amen!

    I just re did our basement bathroom...soooo easy and refreshing. Have fun.

  10. Oh Steph, I truly admire you so much.

    I'm sad you won't be at BlogHer because I love seeing you and Ivy so much, but I totally respect your decision and applaud you for knowing your priorities.

    Love ya!!!

    Ally B

  11. Stick to keeping things simple. No Guilt. No Pressure.


  12. Yet again, Steph, little pieces of wisdom from you. Priorities. One thing at a time. Just BE. Enjoy. They grow so fast-they don't need to have this enduring image of us with our work in front of us, brooms in hand getting all spazzy (as my son would put it) because things aren't perfect. Orderliness and clutter-free homes just should not coexist with children. So what if the laundry gets piled up on the dining room table! Great excuse to have a picnic in the living room! That's what we do. Thank you for helping me to keep it all in perspective, friend.

  13. I love your thoughts and confessions...especially this one...it is nice to be reminded i am not alone!! thanks

  14. "I really don't feel like we're going to have another baby. But I want to write about my desire for another baby, because my body, my soul really does desire it. I'm just not sure my mind does. And so I'll keep writing about it. Because it makes me feel better when I do."

    You took the words right out of my mouth.


  15. I love this post! I can relate to a lot of what you said. I hope the towels make you feel a little more put together. I just hung new towels in the girls' bathroom and it made me feel good.

  16. Love this post. I can relate so much.

    I will miss you at BlogHer but shall see you again. :)

  17. This post is so honest. So truthful. I wish that everyone could read it and admit to themselves what they are really feeling. Because it's good to see the truth in yourself.

  18. Love this post.

    We really should get together sometime since we're so close. Especially since I won't see you at BlogHer. :)

  19. Wow thanks for sharing! I feel the same way with lots of point that you have pointed out!

    We have a very very small house too (I did a post his week about it LOL) I mean it's so tiny that we had to cut our bed in 2 to be able to put in in "the master bed room" LOL !!!

    And for wanting to be home with you family I totally understand I love being home with them. I missed out on so many thing but have never had any regrets because I knew I was where God wanted me to be, with my family!

    Thanks for taking time to right your taught and sharing them with us!


  20. I couldn't agree more with what you've said here, including the fact that I desperately need new towels in my bathroom. And all the stuff on the floor of my brain. And the 20 minute intervals. And BlogHer. Awesome post, Steph. I feel like I know you better and can relate to you more honestly now. I hope you have a great weekend!

  21. i think you might have just stolen this from my list of drafted posts! ;) i can't even begin to tell you how i have been feeling exactly the same way, another baby, cluttered small house, never getting anything done...we have a lot of the same thoughts. yahoo for your for taking the time to share! and thank you too!

  22. Stephanie - You're an exceptional writer, beautiful person, and loving mama. Your family is so blessed to have you! I completely relate and struggle with the insecurities during church. We're a blended family of 7 and sometimes, divorce and its stigmas creep back into our lives. You have to take each day at a time, and trust that God will always give you strength. Much love to you girl! - Stephanie Wylie

  23. So true. Everything you said. We live in a townhome and every time I walk into a house with a backyard, I have to tell myself in my head that I won't covet.

    Baby steps.

  24. Stephanie, I love reading your blog because I feel like I can relate to you on so many levels. (The first of them being having my little girl after three cute boys!)

    Awhile back you posted a link to your church and I saw that it's an Acts 29 church. And, I know the point of your post is not to be jealous, but I am. We have had more than our share of disappointment with churches and I wish we had an Acts 29 church here. We listen to a lot of Mark Driscoll and other pastors on podcast and are hoping someone plants a church here soon! Although, I'm so, so happy for you that you found a church you love. Pray that we do, too, ok?

    Also, I have been guilty of wanting a marriage (especially, but not only) like other people only to find out they're divorcing. My marriage and life definitely isn't perfect, but it is so good.

    I'm glad you're doing what you feel is right about Blogher. I'd LOVE to go to a blog conference, but with a 3 month old it's not the right time. With 4 kids 5 and under it hasn't been the right time, but one of these days it is. Right now, I just want to savor this time with my babies!

  25. I'm pretty sure you are inside of my head, because that entire post could be me. Wish I could hit some magic button that would take care of all of it for me.

  26. This is so so so true. In every sense.

    I too am trying to focus more on what's going on in our house. I'm trying to build up our home with love and happiness.

    Above all, the thing that makes me happiest is staying at home with my family. I like that we have that in common.

    I love your writing and your complete honesty...it seems like you always put the most difficult thoughts into gentle words.

    I'm glad we're friends.

  27. Girl, I know exactly how you feel.

    I wish that Troy would let me clean the house while Zoe is at school, I wish when Zoe got home from school she would play with her brother so I could organize the linen closet.

    I wonder if we will always be disorganized pigs. We aren't pigs, but sometimes it feels like it.

    I just bought new bedding on eBay and didn't feel guilty at all because dammit, sometimes you just need a new duvet.

    Have a good weekend and I so wish you were going to NYC this summer.

  28. You are wonderful. I have totally fallen into that habit of thinking 'other' people's lives must be perfect. And I should totally be working on my own life instead of comparing.
    Awesome post :-) Thanks

  29. your not alone steph... i think ur going abt things well tho.. we have a very small home 2 if it makes u feel any better :) we have to build shelves to hold things high since we have no storage elsewhere.. extra rods to hang stuff on have become our clothing and pot's fans lol...

  30. Steph, I simply love you.

    Just yes.

    I worked for the last week and a half.. small things> paint, towel racks, new colors, new towels.. because my home should be a beautiful place for my family. Beautiful in it's own right. Just as each of us is beautiful in our own right and we should take that time to make ourselves, our homes the best they can be because we do it for guests.. why doesn't our family deserve the same, if not more.

    Not going to BlogHer either. We're going camping, as a family (plus, it's my b-day and I want family on my b-day)

    I can't wait to see you again, though. My kindred spirit xoxo

  31. all I can say is, I love you and so glad you are my daughter...Mom

  32. Your posts always make me reflect...which is a good thing. I am sad that you won't be at BlogHer, but I totally understand...family is first and there is a season for everything and there will be other times where you can get together with friends (and truthfully if it wasn't in a city that I was DYING to see, I probably wouldn't go)

    I will be taking the girls to Chicago this summer for a day or two trip and I so hope that I can see you and maybe all the other Chicago land girlies because you all are simply amazing and well awesome.


  33. I love your blog! I am a fellow babywearer(is that even a word?!?) and I came across your blog..super cute! Your pics are so pretty! I was given an award and would like to pass it on to you! Please stop by my blog to pick it up! ( I am just starting out, so my blog is no where near as nice as yours...but if you have a minute, check it out!)

  34. Steph, this left me wanting to come give you a huge hug. There's so much I can relate to... I signed up for BlogHer, it'll be the first conference for me... but now I'm wondering if it was the right move, because it IS a long time away from everyone. Sigh...
    Love when you spill your heart on the page like this :)

  35. I have really enjoyed reading your blog. You say perfectly what I am thinking EVERY DAY.

    ;) amy

  36. This is a refreshing post. I always find myself comparing myself to others...and no...things are always what they seem!!

  37. Yes yes yes. Look how many of us feel just the same as you. I feel just the same as you.

    PS. I haven't cloth diapered with any regularity at all since my miscarriage six months ago. I'm okay with this. And this pregnancy is, with 99% certainty, our last baby. Not okay with this yet.

  38. I am actually really excited for BlogHer because my grandpa lives about a half hour outside of NYC. He's in his eighties and doesn't like to fly since my grandma passed away three years ago– especially sad since he's a pilot and has always lived and breathed airplanes. Hopefully I'll be able to bring the kids up so they can spend some time with GGpa and my aunt while I'm at BlogHer.

    I'm pretty sure I need a tissue cozy, too.

  39. Steph, I can so relate to this post. When I am consumed with everyone else's life my doesn't have as much joy as when I just focus on doing what I am called to do and who I am made to be. Then there is peace of my soul. I loved this post!

  40. I love your heart, and seeing it out here on the page. I hope you realize that this little bit that you wrote here today, that probably poured out pretty easily, really encouraged a lot of other moms. Even if they aren't commenting.

    I'm so all about not feeling guilty for doing what's best (or easiest, or whatever) for your family. I really get you on the tiny, disorganized, messy house thing. And the random breaks from cloth diapers. I'm so there, especially on the house that will not be organized until we move out of it. ;)

    xo elizabeth

  41. I love you. I am not attending BlogHer either, mostly because I can't afford it but also because I hate leaving my family.

  42. Ahh, yes. I feel like this.

    Our house is quite small & I really want to toss/donate/relocate about 75% of the STUFF.

    (And I also bought a new shower curtain today. We're on a wavelength, you and I.)

  43. great post, you shoot from the hip and speak from your heart!
    I get the talking about wanting more or the wanting to count more, but not really wanting more.
    Until recently, we lived in a small ranch home, with three children and celebrated everything there, now I live in a two story with storage space. The grass really isn't greener!! The clutter still finds it's way and the storage is great if you can remember or find the time to get the clutter there!!! Chosing family over the stuff is always on track! Good for you. You really do have a beautiful heart!

  44. I sorta want to not go to BlogHer with you.

    And HUG.

  45. Our house is very small and cluttered, too. I always feel like the Blogger with the Smallest House. LOL

    This is the first BlogHer conference I'm making it to because it has previously conflicted with an annual family event that I was unwilling to skip. Family is so important to me. I commend you on knowing what's right for you. It's hard sometimes, isn't it?

    That said, thank you for this. Sometimes we all need to be reminded that others' aren't perfect and we're just struggling to make it. :)

  46. Were you in my head?
    I love you.

    From one cluttered mind to another...

    I love new towels (and sheets)

  47. i think you know how i feel about all of this and how much i love you....so that's all i'll say!

    you are so special. we're doing some de-cluttering here today. it's good for the soul.

  48. when i started blogging a year ago i wished to have readership like you and go to conferences but a year later I have changed my mind :) I am happy with what I have and I try to remind myself of this often because its no use harping over things you cant have and that in reality are no good for you :) you are doing right Steph...keep it up and lots of good thoughts your way!!

  49. I feel the same, and it's not easy to always stay on track. I often get swept up in the worry of things, and just need to take every day...day by day...and do what works for me.
    I decided long ago that I'm never thinking twice about my decision to NOT go somewhere. I do not easily leave my family, do not feel comfortable at all doing it, therefore, don't. Good for you.
    This is a lovely honest post.

  50. I love this so much. Since I've gone back to work, this has been something that I've reminded myself daily. It's so easy for me--running out to the ATM on my lunch to get money to pay the sitter--to be jealous of the mom with her two kids at the park, while I'm missing mine so terribly. But then, I don't KNOW her story. I don't know what might make her jealous of my life, because there is surely something, and so instead, I've learned to just smile at her and hope that she treasures her situation, as I do mine.

  51. Yeah, I'd like another baby too. But my fatigue says otherwise. Thanks for writing how I was feeling!

  52. Great post.

    We don't know what's really going on in the lives of those around us. Your reaction is a great one: "I should just be minding my own business and working on my own life. And take what I do have. And make it better." Great statement!

  53. I can so relate to this. I need to learn that it's okay to not be able to do everything and take smaller steps.

  54. disappointed i won't be able to meet you at my first foray into the beast that is blogher, but i totally understand. i think i might join you on the one room at a time plan :-)

  55. Girl I understand where you are coming from. With the recent things happening I don't know if I will be able to attend and I was so excited. That is what 3 layoffs in as many years does. After our recent lost, I am torn if I ever want to feel the anxiety of pregnancy again. Since the lost and battle the never ending infection on Ian tush we have been taking a break from cloth diapering. I don't know what buying new towels is like we have never bought our got any. All of mine where hand me downs from my mom's house that I took to college same with my Husbands, strangely no one bought us Towels when we got married.

  56. I keep thinking about this post. I thought of it the other night when we passed a Valpo sign and as I sat in church today, I thought of it again. For me, I think that amazing feeling is just a glimpse of how life is when you let God in. I can't help but feel it when I'm worshiping in church, and hearing from his word. Then, I get home, and I don't make the time during the week to spend time with Him. I know from experience, that when I do make the time, I have that "church feeling." Thanks for sharing, and helping me remember what this life is about and who my top priority is.

  57. I really loved this post - I often find myself struggling to just put one thing right in my life. Straighten something - smooth something - put away something. And it never ends. But I suppose that's probably what motherhood IS huh?

  58. This is so true! Way to be strong and do what is right for your family. That is really hard for me, but always turns out better. :) Thanks for the reminder!

  59. I'm almost crying. Because this is me... the small cluttered house, the laundry, the... everything....

    especially the church thing... how easy it is to see the "perfect" family... in church, or on the blog circuit and wishing that your life could be the same...

    how hard it is to forget that they, too, have skeletons...

    beautiful post...

    (oh and I'm with you on baby number 5 too... HUGE debate in our house about it right now too... my body says yes... my mind says four is enough...)

  60. There really ISN'T a perfect family...as much as I want some families to be... Why am I always so disappointed when I discover the imperfection?

    I guess the hypocrisy is what is so disappointing to me. This year, our whole town was ROCKED to the CORE by some hypocrisy (that is such a WEAK and LAME word for what happened). I hate hypocrisy. Just be who you are, and let me delight in your realness...

    However, even as I write those words, I know I am guilty. Even in little ways, I am guilty. I put on a smile when I feel angry or sad. Sometimes I don't even tell my closest friends when I am really struggling with something internally.

    Why do we do this?

  61. I was just cluttering MY brain today with the thought that my brain is often cluttered. ;) And so is my house, in certain places. We have young families so that's just kinda how life is right now I guess.

    And keep writing about your desire for another child. Whether it happens or not we are hear to read and support you. :)

  62. Random posts like this are my absolute favorite! And I feel the exact same way about BlogHer!


  63. I totally get what you mean about having another child. So many people ask me if we will have another baby and I am confused by that question because the babyhood is gone in a flash and the "help them grow into a thoughtful, conscious, contributing human being" phase lasts a really long time. I ache to have another child but I am not sure with our current lifestyle (hubby traveling a lot for the job) that it is in the best interest of the children I already have.

    I am desperate to not be done having children on an emotional level but on the logical/practical side I'm pretty sure we are done.

  64. Your mind may be cluttered quite like your house, but it sounds like clear thinking to me!

    I was in Chicago last weekend. I thought of you when I drove through Northwest Indiana. I waved, you didn't wave back. LOL

    Hope things are well and sunshiney there.

  65. Great post, Steph. The honesty is refreshing, because we all feel all of those things at one time or another(or all at once...).

  66. Steph you always amaze me. A nod to you later today on my blog for your Honesty! I love reading you which these days seems to be less than normal....Oh how times ticks away some days..


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