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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

on blogging, a new shop, & being brave.


  I looked at my phone this morning, bleary-eyed, and couldn't believe it: May 1st....is it true that we're already 5 months into 2012?! (By the way, I keep my phone by my bed at night, and I realized that I've been checking my email in my sleep. Seriously, problems right there! Who does that?) It's another reminder of the passing of time. How it flies by without asking us "can I keep going?" and how sometimes, the passing of time holds a sadness with it, because as hard as we try to hold onto it, it slips quickly and surely out of our hands like sand. Yet time passing can also be sweet and happy. And I've found that to be true lately... because this little blog had a milestone this week - reaching 400 followers! And though it is certainly not about numbers or stats to me - it's about hearts, souls, and relationships -  it is still a fun step in this blogging journey (Which will be celebrated at the end of this week with one AMAZING GIVEAWAY including some of my favorite blog sisters!! Keep checking back!) And with this milestone, I remembered how it all started. Two summers ago, I started a journal of things I wanted to write about someday, and I scribbled - "I want to blog brilliantly and beautifully.... but I just can't." I began writing down ideas of names for my imaginary blog.

And one day, I wrote down three little words: "Sweetness Itself Blog." I was on a short break from work; I sighed and looking down at the words on the white paper... I dreamed, "What if I could start a blog?" The very thought made me smile... but it also made me scared. A hundred questions (or rather, doubts) flooded my mind. "I don't know how to design a blog... what if no one reads it? What if my friends think it's dumb?" And the biggest one of all ... "What if no one understands what I write? What if I really am the only one who thinks this way and believes these things?" So, I didn't do it. Months and months went on, and I often thought about the idea of blogging and writing. I toyed with ideas, thoughts, themes. I journaled about it, I even questioned the title. The next Spring, I finally started a fashion blog. And I called it "Pink & Polos."

    It was my first attempt at this thing called blogging, and it was half-baked. Honestly, it was my "I'm too afraid to jump in the water so I'm just gonna stick a toe in." It was fun, but I made no meaningful connections with it and I didn't share who I was...not really. Oh, I shared the side of myself that loves Marchesa and Chanel gowns, pink Lily Pulitzer shifts, and boys who wear Ralph Lauren polos. But I wasn't being real, and I knew it. I never shared my heart, my struggles, or most importantly - my faith. Now, I'm definitley not saying that there is anything wrong with fashion blogs or just sharing one slice of your life on a blog - being true to ourselves and what we know we are supposed to do looks different for each person. Yet for me, somewhere deep inside my heart, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I needed to write about more... and that fear was holding me back. So late in 2011, I deleted "Pink & Polos" because the Lord clearly whispered to my heart to do it. He also told me to start a new blog, to start from scratch and do something I was scared out of my mind to do. Really. But I did, hesitantly and with fear and trembling.... and here I am tonight, blown away by the beauty of this process and the community I've found.

    Not only have I found my "voice" and seen lives changed, the most amazing community of women has encircled me. At times, it just takes my breath away. I've met life-long kindred spirits and the best of friends. People I can tweet or email, and beg "I'm having a bad day, prayers please!" And prayers are sent up. I used to believe I was the only one who had strong convictions about purity and waiting - but I've been proved wrong, by dozens upon dozens of emails, stories, and hearts who share the same convictions I always have. And I've learned so much from each and every blogger. I remember when I first started Sweetness Itself, somebody told me (with a negative tone in their voice) "Blogging is ridiculous, it's just a bunch of people who have nothing to say, all saying the same thing. Why do we all need to say something? There are a few good writers out there who write books, let's leave it at that." But that opinion has been proved wrong. And so have all my former fears.


      Not only have I been encouraged and uplifted by the blogs I've found, I have learned so very much. And I firmly believe that every person has a story to share. Every single individual has a voice that is begging to be used. And I've found a wealth of wisdom in the unique and different perspectives of beautiful people, walking totally different walks of life.... living all around the world. And what moves me is this: You've made me think. You've challenged me. You've brought me a whole new, fresh perspective. It's been like traveling all around the world and meeting the most incredible people out there - and learning from them lessons that shape who I am....I've learned so much from all of you. Kelle Hampton teaches me how to write well, how to accept differences in others, and how to embrace unexpectedness in life. Casey Wiegand taught me to be brave and pursue my big crazy dreams, even if that means making sacrifices... and how to love  your babies like crazy. L teaches me to serve others and love Jesus. Ashley teaches me how to be honest and real. Chantal showed me how much God loves His daughters. Rae is encouraging me to pursue unimaginable dreams. Kerri shows me how to trust the Lord and make amazing DIY projects, while Meg teaches me how to be real with the God and how really love a husband!And there are so many more of you who have a big impact on my life every day.

    So my dears, all of that to say (kudos to those of you who lasted through that whole long rant, haha!) go out there and take a risk. You know that big, crazy dream you have? The one your big toe is sticking in but you're way too afraid to let go and take the plunge? From a once-fearful dreamer to another, I say - go for it girl. Because it might be scary and uncertain, doubters might doubt and haters may hate - but friend, it might turn into something amazing and it might take your breath away.

This blog is living proof.


   As we're talking about being brave, I bravely stepped out in the spirit of being fearless - and I finally started the Etsy shop I've been yapping about for about a year. Go check it out if you fancy :) 

Sweetness Shoppe -  www.etsy.com/shop/SweetnessShoppe


   I found paper dolls cut out of fashion magazines from the 1800's, by my precious great-great grandmother who had little and made do - and now, they are treasures in my family. My grandma copied them, and I print them out and make pretty, funky, sweet, and romantic cards out of them. It's my hobby. And now I'm sharing it with you.



 So I encourage you to go.... Go out and be fearless. Pursue those crazy, insane dreams - even if you're scared, I dare you to jump. Because it just might turn out to be all kinds of awesome!


Love and thanks
to all the sweet friends I've happily gained through
"jumping" and pursuing my scary dreams.
My readers, know that I pray for you.
And bloggers? Know what you write is not in vain...I learn from you.


Go get 'em, you beautiful dreamer.


XO

Erin

25 comments:

  1. i've dreamed about checking my email, if that counts at all;)

    this was just a beautiful, encouraging post. i reckon reading words like this is one of the ways God speaks to me. so much truth and encouragement. thankyou for blogging and congrats on your 400 followers! and i will go check out your etsy shop -- it looks awesome!:D

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  2. Mwahaha! The first comment. I can't believe I am awake - I just randomly woke up. And then I checked my email - psh who does that at 4:00 am?? ;)

    And then did some blog surfing.

    I love you girl and I am proud of your dream pursuits. STOKED to check out your shoppe..and *cough cough* start my own :)

    Love the story behind your blog. The God...behind your blog :)

    I just love you. :)

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  3. great story. Fabulous post, love. If you get a sec, I'd love to hear your thoughts on my latest. xo

    www.fashboulevard.blogspot.com

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  4. You have made a good decision by starting this blog for you have blessed us, your readers, with your wisdom and faith in our God. Thanks, girl. And keep blogging and inspiring more ladies to live a life of beauty and purity anchored in Jesus.

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  5. I love your blog, always cheers me up. Dreaming is a beautiful thing and it's even better when we take the chance and live our dreams. Even if we fail, at least we know that we've tried. And you have CERTAINLY succeeded :)

    Those cards in your shop look wonderful. So sweet!!

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  6. you look as pretty as ever erin!! (: and that kinda creeped me out.. to be honest.. how does someone check their email WHILE SLEEPING!? :O

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  7. and WAHOO!! LOVE YOUR SHOP!!!

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  8. YAYY! I love you :) What an awesome heart on your sleeve post. I was nervous to start blogging! I first made a test-run blog, but then realized it was in vein. I wasn't making connections, being myself, and saying what I wanted! I immediately dived head first in...and I don't regret it. I have a lot of haters; people who think it's silly and sometimes make fun of me for it. But I try to disregard those comments. My blog, and the blogs that I read have made me grow sooo much as a person! I have found a wonderful Christian community of bloggers (that includes you my dear!) That encourage and inspire me!

    THANK YOU FOR STARTING THIS BLOG, mt dear friend :)

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  9. Wow, what an encouraging post to read just minutes after you open your eyes in the morning, you have a beautiful skill of writing and I am blessed to have been able to read your post this morning, now I'm thinking about what I want to do that seems far fetched in my eyes. Thanks for the inspiration, honesty, and encouragement!
    Have the most blessed day of your life. You've blessed mine,
    Xo!

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  10. Count me as a grateful one....so glad that you took the plunge and began this wonderful blog. Our family still misses you and your family every Sunday....what a blessed time those five years of fellowship were for our family. In recent days, Seth and I were talking about your gift in Worship and how amazing is the talent God placed in you. I often wonder if you realize how deeply and wonderfully God has blessed you. There are few that can sing and minister through Worship such as you ~ thank you for sharing God through the beauty of your life.

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  11. Erin! What a cool story of how God Le you to starting this blog! It has definitely been an encouragement to me. And congrats in starting you Etsy shop! Scary and exciting isn't it? I started mine last week. We'll see what God has for it and I'm excited to see where God takes yours. =) Thanksfor being so open an real. =)
    Alesha <3

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  12. Aww my friend. You too have taught me about trusting God. I'm so thankful and blessed for the friendship we have formed through blogging. Keep it up girly. Dream and impossible and go make it happen. If God opens the doors along the way, He'll make it absolutely great. Love you!

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  13. THIS is what blogging is all about. You are the essence of blogging. Building relationships, encouraging others and growing in God. I admire you so much for jumping in the deep end. Congratulations on the big 400 and I'm hoping you'll have so many more to influence!

    P.S. Thanks for your sweet birthday wishes for me :)

    SoUtHeRnPiNkY.bLoGsPoT.cOm

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  14. And that right there is why I blog. That is what it is about. To build relationships, to share my heart, to encourage, to share the gospel! So glad we share that same vision. :)

    P.S. I better see you at the influence conference that Casey is putting on!

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  15. ERin, I am actually just coming to your blog for the first time today- I have been following your pictures through instagram and for some reason I felt the need to come and see what you are all about! I love this post and it is definitely how many bloggers feel-- a fear and yet relief to blog about life and ourselves and finding all of the amazing people who help build you up along the way. I hope one day to have my own online store too but am so proud of you for taking the leap and being yourself! Hugs! Followin you b/c you are inspiring! :)

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  16. Oh Erin. Your life (and blog) has influenced me so much. The way you are so open on purity especially. I feel so alone on this journey sometimes, so it's nice to know that someone else out there holds the same values and standards that we do. I'm so excited to see all the new things that is going to come with this step of faith. You go girl! :)

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  17. Oh Erin. Your life (and blog) has influenced me so much. The way you are so open on purity especially. I feel so alone on this journey sometimes, so it's nice to know that someone else out there holds the same values and standards that we do. I'm so excited to see all the new things that is going to come with this step of faith. You go girl! :)

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  18. I am so excited to be a part of your giveaway!
    As I've told you many, many times...you are such an inspiration to me, Erin! I'm so glad that you were obedient and went along with the dreams of starting a blog...because girl you are changing lives! And that is the truth :)

    I love this right here..." It's been like traveling all around the world and meeting the most incredible people out there - and learning from them lessons that shape who I am....I've learned so much from all of you."

    I couldn't agree more!
    Keep shining, gorgeous!
    My prayers are with you ALWAYS!

    xoxox

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  19. how did you know that i needed to hear that tonight? thanks for finding me so i could find you :)

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  20. Sister, you are just too precious. And I don't mean that like, "awww, you're cute" - although you are - but as in precious oil running down the beard of Aaron (Ps. 133). You are such an encouragement as you earnestly strive to cause God great joy by helping others lift their eyes to him. XOXOXOXOXO

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  21. This is so awesome. I really am so happy to have found you or you found me or whatever. Either way, I'm happy to be your newest member. Blogging is so therapeutic to me and fun. Just plain ole, free fun! I really like your spot here and I am glad you didn't listen to that nay-sayer. Also kudos to you for waiting with integrity. A choice you will never ever regret and one that God WILL bless you for.

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  22. i love everything about this post! and you. and our amazing friendship we have. you are such an inspiration to me erin you have NO idea! i am so blessed to have you in my life! i'm trying not to be sad that we live so far away!!! so proud of you and the etsy shop! way to go girl!

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  23. Thank you for writing your blog and yes you are touching a lot of people. I'm glad I "stumbled" across it. I was talking to someone about how much I love blogs and how much I would like to write. There is so much I want to say but when I start, I start to get discouraged. I'm wanting God to lead me about what my next step is. A degree in Writing, maybe? We'll see.
    Just.thank.you!

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  24. Absolutely love this Erin! You are such an inspiration to people and I adore your blog! God is using you in such bIg ways!

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  25. All I can say is just: you're so right! :D

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