The contents below are from an email sent to the Little House Living readers on December 30th, 2019.
I thought a lot about this email…my last one for 2019. I thought of all the fun things I could put in it, the interesting stats, the top blog posts, etc. But then I thought, what’s the most important thing that I would like to tell all my wonderful readers at the close of this year?
Friends, it’s been a long year for our family. Last year we did the unthinkable, sold our dream home and dream business to become debt-free and to ultimately become missionaries. I think about what the blog has become over the last 10 years since I started in 2009. I wanted a special way to share my frugal and simple living adventures with anyone who would care to listen.
And then blogging became a big thing. No one used to know what I did for a living and then everyone had a blog. And Pinterest/Instagram/YouTube popped up and blogging went from this fun, heartfelt thing to a competitive, perfectionist race. I was seeing bloggers that would buy a certain home just because it photographs the best. I took some courses to learn how can I place my food just right so the pictures look ridiculously tempting. Not only that but I began to feel the urge to create the most delicious looking meal JUST so I can photograph it and blog about it because that’s what you have to do in the blogging world to be seen.
And honestly, I tried to keep up to a certain extent. I would never try and be fake but I hoped that people find the LHL site and that my tips would be helpful. I always try and write from the heart and I hoped that those articles are seen just as much as anyone elses.
But yesterday I stood in my kitchen, making some homemade chicken nuggets for my family out of rice crispies and leftover chicken (aka REAL LIFE) (aka making the most with what we have this week) and I thought about all these things. When I pulled the nuggets out of the oven and thought about them I thought I was glad I didn’t have to photograph them because they were quite ugly. (For real, my hubby thought they were some kind of deformed cookie!) And then I thought about it more as my family was munching them down, telling me just how much they loved them and hoped I would make them again soon.
Friends, I am not perfect and I never will be. Most of the time, my food and my DIY projects do not look pretty. They work wonderfully and they serve a good purpose but they aren’t pretty or fancy and probably won’t win me any first-place ribbons from Pinterest. I think back to when we photographed all my recipes for my Little House Living book and how many times it was a strain to get the DIY items to be “book worthy” and how making things look good for the publisher just felt so staged.
So you want to know what happened on the Little House Living blog this year? Google and Pinterest decided that LHL was not enough. That the pictures and details and the blog posts are not special enough to be featured among all the other beautiful websites and so they decided to make the site harder and harder to find. In the beginning, I was quite disheartened. I’ve spent the last 10 years putting my time, effort, and money into LHL, only to see that it’s not enough. Not only that, you all know I’ve had my fair share of “haters” this year too. Lots and lots of emails and comments telling me what we SHOULD do.
But you know what? I’ve decided I don’t care.
In fact, it’s almost a relief. “Losing” the blogging game only puts me back to where I want to be which is sharing how our family honestly makes the most with what we have. No frills, no anxiety-inducing perfectionist pictures. Just us, trying to make the most with the little money we bring in. (I’m not sure if you’ve heard but most pastors/missionaries are in it for the outcome, not the income!) I don’t really care about someone’s version of what our family “should” do, I only care about what the Lord wants me to do.
So in 2020, I’m throwing the blogging “rulebooks” out the window. I’m not totally sure what that looks like yet but I hope that maybe some of you will stick along for the ride. The easiest and best way to keep up with whatever is going on will be this email since I’m not quite sure what I’ll be doing with Instagram/Pinterest/Facebook just yet. I do have some ideas for some projects that I’ve really wanted to work on but haven’t felt like they’ve been “good enough” or aren’t the things I “should” do.
I realize this email has gone on way too long but I felt that I needed to take this opportunity today and I’m glad that I did.
Ok…I’m really done now. We will talk more later. 🙂
All for now,
P.S. Hopefully you won’t misinterpret this email as a backhanded way to gather sympathy or support. My friends and family would tell you that I’m just a “tell-it-like-it-is person. I’m just thankful I was able to share these things with you today! If you aren’t into this or if you are following me just for the Pinterest pics there are absolutely no hard feelings if you click the unsubscribe at the bottom of this email.
And this was a follow up to the above email that will be sent on January 6th, 2020:
So my last email was kind of a truth bomb, but I know that I needed to send it to you. In case you missed it, I’ve stuck it in a blog post here. Mostly to remind myself of my own words!
I wasn’t totally sure how to follow that email, so I decided that what might be nice is to re-introduce myself to you. I know that some of you have been following me and LHL for a very long time. You may have read my back story either in my book or here on my website which talks about why I started Little House Living back in 2009. But today I’m going to share a bit about who I am right now in this moment in history.
I’m a mom of 3 little ones, 7 and under. All of our children were a blessing to us through adoption and all have some special needs. I’m a 6th generation South Dakotan but we currently live in Ohio for an internship and will until later this year when we will move again. My husband and I are training to be full-time missionaries somewhere in the rural US. My husband has a very interesting background that has led us to this place and I’m happy to share a sermon he’s done with his testimony if you’d ever like to listen.
I’ve been married for 12 years to my best friend. We currently unschool our children and love it. Our family loves nature, camping, road trips, and playing board and card games.
I would consider myself to be a minimalist but definitely not an extreme one. I learned a few years ago that I have some autoimmune issues and our diet tends to be on the healthy but affordable side although some days it’s whatever I can pull together and the kids will eat. I love to read non-fiction books and I’m fascinated by anything historical. I’m 49% extrovert and 51% introvert which makes for some interesting days. 🙂
My goal with Little House Living has always been to share how our family makes the most with what we have. Not what we will have or what we could have or what we should have, but what we have right now. Our life looks different than others and that’s ok. Different = not normal = not boring!
If you are getting these emails (and you actually read them!), please know that you aren’t just another website statistic. I think about my readers often and pray for you regularly. I know that each of you that follows the LHL blog is going through a special journey of their own and I hope that somehow, something I have to say or share is helpful to you.
All for now,