Why in 2018 when it seems that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE anddddddd their Grandmother has a blog of some sort, would I choose to start one myself?
I have a dream! A dream to write! A dream to share MY story! To share OUR family's story! To encourage women! To be a voice of truth in a world that is saturated with the lie that we need to be perfect, we need to have it all together, and if we don't, we should fake it until people believe that you do! A dream to be brave enough to share my imperfect life with you, in hopes that it would speak to someone else to share their own story, dream their own dream, and feel brave enough to go for it, and not look back! Because YOU CAN do hard things girlfriend ...if I can, YOU can! I've got your back! Let's do it together! #tribe
Since I was a little girl, I have loved to write! I'm fairly certain every blogger or author says that...but I promise you, it's really true! The thought of buying a new journal to write in with crispy empty lined pages, was like Christmas morning to me! In fact, it still is! It's why my husband usually buys me a journal every Christmas, because he knows how much I love them! I could write, and write, and write for hours until my wrist and fingers were numb and immobile. It was a way for me to express whatever needed expressing. My joy, my anger, my frustrations, my excitement, my imagination, my gratitude, whatever it may be... it could be BEST described by putting it down-in words-on paper!
Ask my middle school best friend, who 20 some years later, is still my best friend today...how I'd write her shamelessly- 5 page letters all those years ago because I just couldn't possibly explain HOW deeply my love and crush on J.T.T. was! (If I even have to explain to you who J.T.T. is... I might possibly go cry for haunting truth that I am not longer the "young generation".) Or because one paragraph would never suffice to express to my best friend just how upset I was at my brother for being on the phone for an hour when the boy who I've liked for two years, said he'd call me, but wouldn't actually be able to do so... because the line wouldn't be open. (Again.... with that whole feeling old... I realize my kids will never know the pain of fighting with a sibling over "keeping the line open" because of a wonderful thing called 'call waiting'...and the fact that just about every kid in America has their own cell phone by the time they're off to 1st grade!).
I just HAD to use long lengths of strung together... descriptive words to accurately express every little detail of my life or... I'd just explode! For some us, that feeling ends sometime after the high school years... for me, it never went away. And instead of my best friend (although she still tends to still get a long Facebook message or email from me every now and again) my husband became the next lucky recipient of my 5 page letters. Only this time, I wasn't expressing more adoration and love for Jonathon Taylor Thomas, but instead Ryan Michael Ellison!
Thankfully for anyone reading my blog... I've become a lot more passionate about writing about a variety of topics, other than 90's childhood stars! (Praise God!) I am also now a mom to 3 beautiful kids! Landon-who is currently 7, Graham-5, and Hailey Grace-3.
Like most of us, becoming a parent changed my entire world! Things got pretty real, pretty quick! When you have a baby sideways pooping explosive newborn diarrhea at you...how can it not?
There have been periods to my life... in every area I can imagine... where I have wondered... "Why does the world push this vision of complete perfection in marriage... parenting... faith... friendship... life in general.. that is so far from the reality?"
Before I knew it, I was longing for and desiring people to "strip it down to real" with me. ESPECIALLY during our first few years into the special needs life. Reality is... no family is perfect. No marriage is perfect. No parents are perfect. No friendship is perfect all the time. People are so so soooo messy to love ya'll (myself included!) We alll come with flaws and baggage, because we're real. That's what makes loving people so rewarding, it isn't always easy... but love is worth it! I think we can all agree, that if we all kept it more real with one another, we'd all be doing one another a huge favor!
I try to be better than I was yesterday, do better...in many areas of my life, every day! I'm a big believer in a positive attitude and the importance of finding gratitude and joy in our circumstances. More importantly however, I believe in giving myself grace in my imperfections, because those are the exactly the things that make me real! Make YOU and I relatable to one another, and to others. How transparent we're willing to be with one another, is the measurement for how deep our relationships and friendships are capable of being. Because truth be told... we can't connect to other people who wear masks, because God can't change who we pretend to be, and friendships can't strengthen when we never give opportunities to let people in to see the most real parts of who we are!
"The Shortest distance between strangers and friends is a shared story of our broken places." -Lisa Jo Baker
Maybe one day I'll resemble a woman who has life relatively figured out..but since I'm not super human..nor do I want to try to be...I'm not holding my breath! I am perfectly imperfect. I THRIVE for..and am so THANKFUL for...the REAL, and RAW, and HONEST relationships I have in my life who stand with me in my vulnerability and say:
"me too Jess..." or,
"we struggle with that same thing..." or,
"trust me when I say...you're not alone in that!"
When God put this dream of starting a website, and writing, I was intentional about taking my time to think, pray, and find a name for my website that best describes what I hope to share here...
"Stripped Down To Real"
I hope to share my life with you! The good...the bad...the vulnerable...the raw...the exciting...the imperfect...the joy...the celebrations...the let downs...the grind...the struggle...the reward...the self doubt...the hard work...the messy...the passion...the REAL, and everything in between!
From marriage, to parenting, faith, writing, dreaming, health, wellness, hobbies, raising a special needs child, friendship, recipes, books, podcasts, community, how to's, coffee, fellowship, sisterhood, DIY projects, travel, and so much more!
Join me, will you?