I don’t dive into my personal life too often on here, but I think it is important to keep you in the loop on a few things. For the last year, I have been a very sick girl. Almost every day this year I have felt like I have been under a fog, have no energy, and have been sick to my stomach. My weight dropped dramatically and the stress of managing this site and publishing my first book seemed to contribute towards my stomach issues. I have felt like I have been on a downward health spiral.
I went to see doctors, a food allergist, and two dieticians and the general consensus was that I had IBS. I felt like it was more than that though and continued to look for answers to resolve my health issues. I didn’t want to take medications and the nutritional advice offered didn’t seem to help me at all.
After seeing a dietician who had a focus on whole foods, she suggested that I try a diet to heal my intestines, but over the holidays to try a Paleo approach towards eating. The very first day, I felt miraculously better and am continuing to feel better each and every day since. A removal of gluten from my diet has made me feel like a brand new person. A family history of celiac disease (despite testing negative on my blood work and still needing to go in for an endoscopy for a truly solid answer) leads me to believe that gluten has been the culprit all along.
Of course, giving up dairy and giving up gluten is really hard, especially around the holidays. I almost caved when I saw my grandmother’s chocolate cream pie and my mother-in-law’s world famous sugar cookies. I didn’t though because I am determined to heal and to be a healthy mom.
This may change the focus of some of our recipes, but it will not be a blog devoted towards dairy-free & gluten-free eating. The rest of my family still happily fills their bellies with the things I can’t, but I do think we will be able to offer more recipes that may cater to families who face the same issues as me.
As for work, it has been the best year of my career yet. I have truly found the projects that I do to be so rewarding and I am so grateful for every project that has come my way. We are excited to be revealing a brand new design on the website that my husband has been working sporadically on the last six years on to create and I am so excited to continue offering the content you crave to keep you on budget and thinking creatively in your home & kitchen.
That being said, as we celebrate our tenth anniversary, I feel my heart is pulling me in a different direction. Perhaps because of the health issues, I am feeling creatively tapped out and I feel God has called me to do something bigger this year.
As you may have seen, I am hiring contributors for our website to assist with covering the topics that I know you want to see, but I can’t cover alone. I have done this for ten years alone with no one contributing, and I think it is time to give you more than that. After all, how many new things can I say after all this time?
We already have almost eighty applicants and I am reading every single blog and trying to pick the absolute best fit for our site and what you have come to expect from me. They will cover topics like parenting, craft, food, and home/decor, money, and health. These are all so essential to our site, but I just can’t do it alone anymore.
I will still be running our brand new book club and sharing crafts & the dishes you have come to expect from me. I will also be handling the sponsored content that pays my bills. Just as you see in a magazine with the advertisements, these sponsorships allow me to run this website. They pay for the web hosting, an assistant, contributors, an accountant to manage all the craziness, and everything else that we are able to offer for free to our readers. I am very honest about all of this over in this post.
Don’t just think of those sponsorships as my bill-paying opportunities though. I can’t wait to show you what I am able to do with the money from one of those sponsored posts I did last year. I was able to buy a birthday gift for myself that will bless 1,000 people. Although we can’t do that with all of our sponsored content, our family consistently uses the money from these projects to bless others and we have a commitment to continue doing that as long as our site affords us that luxury.
As for feeling a higher calling, all of that will unfold the week of January 12th. The site will be celebrating it’s tenth birthday and we want to do something big for a community in need. We will be calling upon you to help. Everything we have done here, has been free and we would love to celebrate our birthday with you by blessing others.
I will also be crafting nonstop, but not for my own financial gain this year. As we reveal this all on January 12th, I will be working to stock an Etsy shop called, “A Well of Hope,” filled with knitted hats, scarves, gloves, and coffee/tea cozies to sell to dig wells in Africa. 100% of my profits will go towards this passion project in giving children & mothers clean water. I feel like God gave me these skills for a reason and it is time to bless others with them.
Right now I am in the beginning stages of getting permissions on patterns (to sell my wares), shopping for supplies, and pattern-testing. I’m so excited about sharing this with all of you once I get everything up and going. I hope you will think of my shop when selecting your holiday gifts for next year.
I felt it was time to confess to you what is on my heart and where I am at right now. I hope you will stick around to see it all unfold and ask that you pray for us as we take these big leaps with our business. It is scary to give up the creative control that I have had for so long, but it will give me time to focus on the bigger things.